Friday, December 28, 2012

2013: The Year of ACTION

I recently participated in a couple independent assessments called DISC and CORE.  They are the kind of assessments that measures the individuals strengths and weaknesses. 

The weaknesses part kills me.  As predicted, the assessment rated me very high on the perfectionist scale (clearly, this is not a grammar, spelling, formatting, or punctuation scale), which means having to stare down my flaws...ugh.  Kill me now.

My weaknesses ranged predominantly in:

having to make hard decisions
and...what if people don't like me 

Anyone who knows me at all... knows this is SO accurate.  I would rather wait months, sometimes years, hoping a difficult situation will resolve itself, rather than address the issue head on... especially if the solution involves a hard decision that could result in someone not liking me.  (Egads!  not that!!)

There are so many things I have been procrastinating.  Changes I have needed to make for:so:long, but I was to afraid of the repercussions.  Afraid of hurting people I care about, and afraid of facing my fears.

It's time I stop being such a wimp.  I'm going to confront the hell out of 2013. 

I made a lot of decisions in 2012.  Free-ing, lighten-the-load, push-the-weight-off-my-shoulders, kinds of decisions. I feel so good.  They were not easy decisions to make, but the feeling that comes when I've made a decision I know is the right decision-- that is freedom and self-respect.

But, you know what I figured out in 2012?  It's completely possible to make BIG decisions.... and then go right on living exactly as you always have... without making any changes at all.  Sort of diminishes the whole point, but it's so much easier to not actually do anything. Life still sucks, but it's easier. Do I want an easy, sucky, life?  Yeah, not so much.

Action.  It's time to start DOING all the things I've been talking and thinking about. 

I have been procrastinating long enough...

Now, I am going to make a decision to have a hot long bubble bath....  And Im actually going to do it. 

See ya later,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Custom Hand-Tooled Leather Cuffs... the latest

This weekend I had a bit of time to catch up on some custom back orders.. I'm still a bit behind, but making headway.  Hey...  Good things come to those who wait, right?

... Or wasn't there something about a squeaky wheel......

Here's what I've been up to.  These are all SOLD custom orders... 


This next bit...  Makes me giddy.   A couple months ago Brave Girls Club asked me to come over and tool a cuff on time lapse.  This four hour+ process was trimmed down to a little over 8 minutes.  Its a bit hard to see the detail, but if you want to know how I do it..... 

I've got moves... 

Love Cam
(Thanks for sticking with me)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Virtual Gallery Walk Day 4

Artistic Inspiration: Then and Now

I have been thinking a lot lately about what inspires my art.  Everything.  Simply everything. 

I must listen to music that speaks to me while creating art.  Calm soothing Norah Jones, Adele, Peggy Lee, Billy Holliday,  Sara Bareilles..

What else. 
1970's color palettes
Original flowers sketched in pencil
Any original handwritten book containing sketches transfers or photographs 

Check out this book I picked up at an antique store:
MaryAnn Caughoan... August 1926.  You inspire me. 

Mixed Media Art inspires me.  I love that there are NO rules and that most mixed media art remains in a perpetual state of incomplete.  Mixed media combines my love for three dimensional design, texture, and two dimensional display art.  The detail in mixed media captivates and draws me in. The combination of old, new and re purposed items combining together to create a unified finished product.

Life experience inspires me.  I love to create art that matched what I feel in my soul.  Sometimes it's a portrait of despair and sometimes a portrait of hope, but mostly it's a portrait of what I know life can be.  It's taken me a long time to get to the place where what I feel on the inside matches what I create on the outside.  It means letting go 100% of expectations, preconceived concepts, comparison, fades and trends.  It means using the colors that really speak most to you.  The textures that inspire you, and leaving the rest.  It's impossible to create what you feel on the inside if you are attempting to impress or duplicate someone else work or style. 

I have a friend who created the most beautiful art.  I love her work.  It's very bright and cheery.  I often find myself picking her color palette, and following her style... and it inevitably leads to feelings of frustration.  I really feel like my soul gets a little put off and angry when it wants to speak and be heard, and I'm expending my energy in the wrong style and color. 

Technique is one thing, style is another.  I love to learn new techniques... but the style must be my own.  I spend a good amount of time in thrift stores going through bins of old rubbish sewing notions, patterns, business ledgers and forms.  Anything that can be used as a tool or supply. 
The tree is made of tissue paper and Mod Podge.

I am inspired by vintage tooled leather.  I'm not particularly fond of the traditional style, but I love to look at tooled leather and discover new techniques, techniques make my hands go crazy with anticipation of getting a hold of tools, using the tools to combine what I've learned with what I know.  Each piece is a journey into unknown territory, always expanding and developing the talent.  I fall more and more in love with leather every time I create.

I created this cuff for a time lapse video.  I am very excited to see how it comes out.  I'll be sure to post a link when it does. 

xoxo Cam

Please check out all the other amazing women involved in this inspirational project.   I feel so privileged to be included with them. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When is it okay to make a change?

It's way too late for me to be just starting a blog post... so this will be interesting.
 I have had a lot on my mind lately with regard to change.  I've been making some big ones.  Huge. 
Life-changing, Huge and scary.
Letting go of a lot of people, and preconceived notions of what my life was supposed to look like.  Transitioning into where I need to be.
It's funny.  We all have these dreams.  And then we make decisions in an attempt to reach our dreams.  And sometimes the decisions don't turn out how we had envisioned them.  Sometimes that is okay, sometimes it works out even better than what we had wanted, and sometimes..  sometimes life screws with us and the decisions we made, that we were so sure of, takes a right turn, or a U-turn, and does not fall in line with peace and happiness.  Yet we are so committed to the decision, not the dream, that we stick with the path even though we know... 
We know.
I'm not talking about quitting.  I think the two terms, quitting and change, are confused way too often.
When I think about change I'm referring to a change in direction.  A new path.  Realizing the path that you are on is not headed in the direction you need to go.  Or perhaps that the path you are on is nothing more than  a continuous, never ending, circle through mud and muck.. and that you've been circling hoping the circle will straighten out and face the destination you're desperate for.  Hoping the mud and muck might be interspersed with some flowers...  and hills, and ...hope. 
Really.  Hope.
When you come to the point were you feel comfortable and confident and ready to ACCEPT things as they really always have been then the need to change is undeniable.  The dream becomes so clear again.  Even if you are not sure how you're going to achieve your dream, going nowhere is so much better than dashing in the wrong direction.  Every situation and commitment deserved the opportunity to show it's true colors.  To succeed, or die trying. 
Every commitment deserves respect and honor. but you should also be able to clearly define why you entered the commitment in the first place... and is that reason still served by the commitment. 

I'm not into airing my drama publicly in a single minded effort to try and control other peoples image and perceptions of me.. because I have news..  well old news:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right-
for you'll be criticized anyway.
You'll be damned if you do,
and damned if you don't.
--Eleanor Roosevelt
There just isn't a lot you can do to control what others think of you.  So you can spend precious time expending your energy trying to chase down each person who listens to gossip, or you can live your life. 
I assure you, the people who matter most are the ones who are giving you the benefit of the doubt, and coming to you out of concern and concern alone.  I have way to much I want to accomplish with my life to spend it chasing anyone down to justify my actions to them in an effort to "save my reputation."
Who cares what anyone else thinks,if I have peace in my heart?
I am not easily intimidated.
So change!  If you know change is the right decision throw nervous anxiety and fear of the unknown to the wind.  You deserve to live a full life. 
To many people are living lives surrounded by locks and chains of their own design, self -consumed in the portrayal of how they want others to see them.  Pretending. I used to be one of them.
Now, I am WonderCam.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Tooled Leather! Sculpted Flowers

I'll put together a tutorial later, but wanted to share my latest creation.  :) 

It's all leather.  Hand-tooled, painted and sculpted by yours trueley. 

Happy Tooling,
xoxo  Cam

Monday, July 9, 2012

Holy Smokes.... What a Response!


I was so worried nothing would really sell and in less than 24 hours 75% of my finished tooled leather cuffs were sold out.  Warm fuzzies to the tenth.

I agonize over my art.  Mostly myself.  I have to love it.  That is most important.  But then secondly....  will anyone else like it?  Agonize.  Not even kidding.

Tonight I listed a new cuff.

Here is it:

Cool, calm and collected.  Thats the name of the game.  Real women do not engage in public drama.  They do not fight dirty.  They do not react impulsively.  They do not wrestle with pigs.. 

Because pigs like it, and you'll get dirty. 

But don't let that fool you into thinking women are weak. 

The opposite is true.  It takes immense strength to not give in to the fight and to stand tall regardless.of.all.else.  And in the end the truth always comes out.

Thats what this bracelet is about. 


This one of a kind hand tooled cuff made by yours truely belongs on the arm of every lady.  Because you know...  being a lady and having power are the same... in that if you have to tell people you ARE...  you aren't.

Measures 9.5 inches by 1.5 inches.  Adjustable two snap closure. 
PS.  This bracelet has my favorite wings ever.

xoxo Cam

Sunday, July 8, 2012

WonderCam the Leather Whisperer - My ETSY SHOP IS NOW OPEN!!

My new ETSY shop is OPEN!!  Omg, omg, omg, omg..  I"m so anxious! 

I wonder if anything will acutally sell.  And then the buyer gets it will they love it?  And will I be able to keep it stocked?

Oh, I should let you all know.  Any money I manage to earn is going into savings.  Cause mama needs a new pair of boobs. 

Yup, you read that right. 

xoxox to all,


Some Stuff you can buy:  :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Transformation of a Vintage Train Trunk

A couple weeks ago I went to Orlando to visit my most favorite Floridians:

Lorraine (Hot chick on the right) introduced me to transforming vintage train trucks..  mixed media style... 

And then she let me pick one from her 'stash to work on during my visit. 
(This is a true demonstration on REAL GENUINE LOVE)

I forgot to take pictures of the trunk I was actually working on before I started, but it was similar to this in size and style.   

And I was kind of about 6 hours into it before I started to take pictures at all.. 

I started by building my background.  I used blue strips of paper in the background and applied them to the trunk with Mod Podge... tinted with a little bit of light blue paint. 

Why add paint to the Mod?
When working with papers in the same color range that I want to really flow well together, adding just a small amount of paint to the mod adds the exact same base shade to all the papers... so they look like they could have been sold together in a package. 

When applying the papers to the trunk:
First, using a broad paint brush, apply a thin to medium coat of mod podge (hereto referred to as "mod") directly to the back side of your paper.  Then add a thin coat of mod to the surface of the trunk where you intend to place the paper.  Next, place the paper onto the trunk and add a final coat of mod to the front of the paper. 

Why add mod to the paper?  Why not just mod the trunk surface and stick the paper on?
Paper is a wood based product... and what does wood do when it sits in water?  Absorbs and expands.  When applying paper to any surface, 90% of air bubbles develop because the paper is absorbing the water out of the paint or mod, and expanding... buckling and wrinking.  Applying mod to the paper on its own gives the paper time to expand BEFORE its applied to the surface...of whatever you are applying it to.  Way less bubbles, wrinkles, folds... etc, and then...  as the paper dries its going to want to shrink back down.  It can't because, well it's immersed in drying glue...  but what it does is leave a very smooth tight surface.

I worked very carefully around my hardware, as it was not removable. 
Holding the paper in place and then using a fingernail or art tool to indent the paper around the shape of the hardware.  This creates a template but cutting on the crease lines.

My trees are all hand cut out of paper.  Easier than you'd think, just time consuming.  On the backside of your paper trace an outline of a tree.  Using pointy detail scissors, start at the tips of the branches and begin cutting away the negative space working inward towards the trunk. 

If you accidental dismember a tree limb, just remember where it goes and glue it in place.... trust me, no one has to know.. 

Use mod to glue the tree in place.  Start at the trunk and apply mod to small groups of limbs individually rather than attempting to adhere the entire tree in one fell swoop. 

On to design:

I have been contemplating in my personal life about why things never seem to get to that perfect "sweet spot" where everything is perfect and you feel so satisfied with everything... and you just feel that way forever...

... and the realization that never happens. 

It is the very nature of live to evolve and transform.  Each season building on the next.  Ever changing.  Constantly changing. 

A few years ago I started to get very anxious in the fall when the weather started to get cold and the days started to get short.  I have this lifetime fear that plagues me that I'm going to end up homeless and that I will die by freezing to death in an alley behind a Chinese food restaurant. 

I know this feeling is COMPLETELY 100% reasonable and normal, which is why I just don't fight it. 

Anyway, the onset of winter really freaks me out.  Once it has been cold for a few weeks I'm totally fine, but initially... yeah, I'm freakin' out.

Summer is of course my favorite season because no one... and I mean no one has ever frozen to death behind a Chinese food restaurant in the middle of the summer.  At least not in Boise.  In summer, all you have to worry about are dead bodies in the water.  (shivers!)  but I'll save that idiosyncrasy for another art project. (Well, you are welcome!)

On the lid of my trunk case I hand sketched a tree, and then divided the tree limbs into the four seasons transitioning from spring through winter.

"No winter lasts forever,
no spring skips its turn"

This trunk is to remind me that I AM exactly where I need to be, at exactly the time I need to be there.  The winds of change are constantly blowing.  I can trust  that I am where I'm supposed to be.  The people I meet and allow into my life are intended to be connected to me during this time and place.  The challenges which occur in life are supposed to be happening.  And that everything is going to change.

For the better or the worse..  It's going to change.

I shadowed in 4 children flying kites to represent my children, and the connection they have in my life.  It is not random chance than placed these specific souls in my care, they are supposed to be my children.  Specifically. 

All of my tree leaves are hand cut, and the flowers bordering the walkway are hand painted.

Next comes fall and sweaters and beautiful colors... the last hoo-rah of carefree warm days. 

And into the frigid, low down, good for nothing, COLD winter.  Yup...  I'm not a fan.  

I did at least try to make winter pretty and enjoyable, and I suppose if I could sit behind a large very thick window in a very well heated room and watch this little scene I may enjoy it. ;) 

I did hand piece from paper my little snowman.  Closest I'll get to making a real one.

And into spring... and tweeting birds, and love and romance.

This is when I can finally exhale (and begin eating Chinese food again).

The leaves on this tree were made in a typeset fashion, by pressing a leather stamping tool into an ink pad and transferring the ink to the tree, then outlining in black.

Handpainted tulips. xoxo
(or maybe they look more like orchids?)

Little personal Brave Girls Club message...

Texture.  I used mod to adhere thread to the trunk for my kite strings.  I love the way all the textures play into each other.

Finally coat the entire finished trunk with a layer of mod, tinted very lightly with dark brown paint. Then load it up.   

I'm so excited.

Someone needs to invite me over to make art so I can carry my trunk around.  :) 

You know how sometimes you have a concept in your head, but find actually implementing the idea can prove to be challenging at best?

This was not one of those times.  This is exactly what I was going for, and I am in love with my trunk.  (and sooo happy!)