geeking out: a cat of impossible talent

One of the most exciting and rewarding things about being an active member of a creative community is all the amazing people to meet (and by whom to be inspired). Many of the artists we feature here, and befriend in real life, are multitalented individuals with interests in a variety of crafts and trades outside of the creative work they do for a living.

That is totally the case with today’s featured artist, Andrea Eames Mitchell, aka A Cat of Impossible Color. She’s a published author, brilliant cosplayer, a resourceful friend, and an overall rad human being. But the thing she does over which I’m currently swooning is this fantastic repainting and sculpting of dolls into one-of-a-kind works of poseable art.

The first pics here below are a before-and-after comparison of the Monster High doll she began with, and the fairy it became.




When I asked Andrea about how she got started and what inspired her, she offered, “I’m a novelist by profession, but staring at black words on a white screen all day drives me crazy unless I’m also doing something involving color and texture and working with my hands. I started doing these doll repaints a
couple of months ago after seeing a couple on Pinterest.”

As someone who also dabbles in painting, and makes unbelievably detailed miniatures for doll houses, it’s no surprise that Andrea wasn’t intimidated by the new challenge. “It seemed easy
enough, so I plunged in and started work, and soon became addicted. My first finished doll was the white unicorn girl, and I have also made a variety of different faeries and pixies.”




“People started commissioning me to make dolls — my favorite commission project so far has been Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max.”


You guys, I have a special soft spot for Furiosa fan art, so this one make me extremely happy!


What’s next in Andrea’s doll-altering adventure?

“Currently I’m obsessed with making a series of Game of Thrones dolls — I’ve made Petyr Baelish, Sansa Stark (the Goth version!) and Daenerys Targaryen so far, and I’m working on Jon Snow, another Daenerys and another Sansa (the not-Goth version!). I’m not sure what will be next, but I definitely see a lot more faeries in my future. It’s a fun way to express my love for a particular fandom or to create a new character.”

You can order your own doll from Andrea via Etsy, and see more of her work on deviantArt.

The artist cosplaying as a rainicorn.

The artist cosplaying as a rainicorn.


biz chat: how to deal with holiday show rejection

Holiday show rejection is the worst, it’s the busiest shopping season of the year, and we all want to be out there as much as possible. As most of the show letters have gone out now, and you may have been rejected from some, here are some tips on what to and what not to do now.
*will denote personal experience notes

how to deal with holiday art and craft show rejection

First, and most importantly, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
I know it stings, you may want to cry, and you may see someone get in that you think you’re better than, and that’s okay. We can all feel those things, just don’t stay in that negative space for long, and only share those feelings with your friends and family, not in an public forum. You don’t want negative posts to get back to show organizers. Don’t email show organizers in a defensive manner, either. Stay professional, review your apps, and work on improving your app. You don’t want to hurt your chances of being accepted in the future, or getting a bad reputation.

*I know I said “don’t take it personally”, but sometimes you could not get in because a show organizer is close friends with someone, and they don’t want them to have any competition. This happened to a friend of mine. The show did tell her that she could bring everything else she sold, just not one particular item that competed with their friend. Is that fair? No, but if you run a show, you might do the same thing for your friend. I think it’s not fair, but I would continue to apply for that show, because you never know if that person is going to apply.

Hit them with your best shot.
The number one thing that keeps people from getting into a show is bad photos. I’ve seen people using bad photos in their shop, social media, and of course their apps, and I cannot understand how they don’t know they have bad photos. If you were rejected, this is the first thing you need to review. Some juries only look at photos and know nothing about you, so if your photos are bad, or there is a lot in the photo causing distraction from the piece you want reviewed, you might not make the cut. This is the most frustrating reason to see people get cut over. It wasn’t that your work or quality was poor, it was that your photos didn’t do your work justice. If you invest in nothing else, invest in good photos.

*When I was on the ACR jury I scored someone low because the products didn’t look great. Thankfully, aside from scoring we would discuss. Two people on the jury owned work from that person, and they said the photos were terrible, but the products were solid. If we only went by scores, that person would not have made the cut.

Never expect it.
When you’ve been accepted to a show many times, you may expect you’ll always be in. When I give talks on shows, this is something I always stress. You need to give every application your all, treat each app like it’s the first time you’re applying to the show. Give them the respect of showing your best work. Just because the jury loved you one year, that doesn’t mean the jury will love you the next.

*Often this is a numbers game. You could have had a great score overall, but your category may have been super competitive. Imagine your category had many people scoring 100’s, and you scored an 85. An 85 is a respectable grade, but if your category is packed (jewelry makers know this all too well), you might not pass. Meanwhile, if you had that same score in a less competitive category, you could have been at the top.

Show growth.
Show organizers want to keep their show fresh and exciting, giving shoppers something new to look forward to. If you keep applying with the same photos, and show no growth, it will lessen your chances of getting in. Maybe you have a product line that doesn’t really change, in that situation, make sure you change your booth set up every year. If you make candles, you can just simply add a new scent. Remember there are new people coming on the scene all the time, and if they make something similar to you, but also have a little extra, they can edge you out.

*Shows can get three times the applicants of spaces available. Some shows have a percentage of new artists they want to accept each year.

Find your place.
Once the show roster is up, look at who got in, does your work fit? Sometimes you could be applying to a show that is targeting a market you’re not right for. That doesn’t mean your work isn’t “good enough”, it just means it’s not the place for you.

*When I was on the ACR jury we turned someone down because they were too fine art for the show, not because the work wasn’t amazing, but we knew they wouldn’t get the sales they would expect. We did let them know the reason, but other shows might not take the time to let someone know that.

Don’t ignore being wait listed.
I’ve seen people get called from the wait list the day of the show! You never know what could happen. You may have missed the cut by 1 point, you don’t know how the decision was made, treat being on the wait list in a positive light.

*People can drop from a show because they applied to two shows the same weekend, and prefer another one. They can drop because they didn’t get the space they wanted. I dropped a show I love one week before because I had pneumonia and was way too sick to drive to LA.

Don’t give up. Keep in mind that juries can change from year to year, maybe a strong competitor of yours won’t apply the next year. As long as you keep improving your work, have bright, clean photos, and are applying to a show that your work fits within, there’s always a shot.

Now that you’ve gone through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance)…

Let’s talk about how to make up that show income:

Have your online shop full and optimized (SEO and tag wise).
Pitch to blogs.
Advertise on sites/blogs (check out Passionfruit for some leads).
Get your line sheets in order to send out.
Pitch to stores (keep your pitches extremely short).
It’s pretty late, but see if you can get in any gift guides.
Try to get in show swag bags.
Work on your social media game.
Join an Etsy group or a Treasury group, any kind of group that does a great job of promoting one another.
Suck up your pride, and apply/sign up for those smaller shows you weren’t even thinking about before. This is the time of year we need to be out in full force to get those sales. Every show is a learning opportunity, and a chance to reach more people.
I’m one of those people that believes everything happens for a reason. Maybe the show wouldn’t have been the place for you (wasting your time), maybe you needed a reality check to humble you, maybe you’re going to have such a busy season, you’ll need the break. Rejection hurts (we’ve all been there), but it’s up to you to move past it, take it as a learning experience, and keep pushing forward.


makeup monday: tightline mascara

Have you guys heard of a makeup technique called tightlining? It’s a pretty nifty trick for making one’s eyes appear larger without applying a bunch of cosmetics, and is typically done using mascara and a dark eyeliner pencil. Last week I appeared on KVUE Austin for Quita Culpepper’s weekly “Does It Work?” segment, where we tested a product that claims to streamline the process by offering multiple steps in one.


The product is called Tightline Mascara Primer, and is made by IT Cosmetics. Check out the video for our review!

KVUE Does It Work Wednesday: IT Cosmetics Tightline Mascara Primer


What do you think? Will you be trying out this product, or at least the technique? We’d love to see pics if you do! Tag @jenheartsart in your posts on Twitter and Instagram and I’ll share them.

Happy tightlining!



makeup monday: fantastical floral


Happy Monday, everyone and happy fall, too! Now that we’re a week into the official autumnal season, I’m getting all sorts of excited for impending cooler weather and fall holidays. Of course, it still feels like summer in Texas, so today’s post is sort of my final farewell to this year’s sunny spring/summer style.


A couple of months ago, I did this soft, pretty makeup look on Cassidy for an outdoor photo set with local photographer Nick Bruner. The results are beautiful and vibrant, and I think this look is simple and versatile enough to instantly make anyone look and feel a bit rosier.

Product details at the bottom of the post!


•I filled in Cassidy’s brows with a brown powder (by Anastasia Beverly Hills) and angled brush, but did not alter the shape or use harsh lines. The goal is to simply amplify natural features for this look, rather than too much contour or illusion.
•Use a felt-tipped liquid eyeliner pen for faster, cleaner, more user-friendly cat eye application than you’ll get with a brush or gel liner. Need tips for perfecting your cat eye? I’ve written a post about that!
•A rosy pink or peach blush with a little bit of warm gold shimmer will flatter all skin types and brighten up your whole face, making it perfect for a fresh and feminine look like this.
•Choose a lipstick and gloss combination that’s close to your natural lip shade, but slightly brighter and a couple of shades darker. Dusty pinks look great on fair skin, and more bronze/tan neutrals work well with darker complexions.


•brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Caramel
•eyes: Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper + Rimmel Pin-Up Tease mascara
•skin: Bare Minerals powder foundation and mineral veil
•blush: NARS Orgasm
•lips: Sephora lip liner in Royal Rose + Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Peony

I hope you dig this look! I absolutely love the way the makeup colors and Cassidy’s dress and hair color blend perfectly with their surroundings. They found these amazing flowers in south Austin, near St. Edwards University, and I’m incredibly happy with the magical finished product.



makeup monday: how to rock a red lip

Photo credit: Ricardo Acevedo

Since the first recorded accounts of humans tinting their lips red with crushed gemstones and minerals in ancient Mesopotamia, red lipstick has continued to evolve and gain popularity through the ages. By the time cosmetics were popularized in Europe during Elizabethan times, lip stains were much safer and easier to make. Today, modern makeup lovers continue the quest for the coveted perfect red lip, and we have an immense variety of products to help us achieve it for any occasion.

I hear so many women — both friends and clients — express frustration with wanting to rock a red lip, but feeling overwhelmed by obstacles and options (color, finish, durability). We have it way easier than our primping predecessors did! Hopefully this post will help you to navigate the world of lipstick and find the red that’s right for you.


First, some info about my red lip photos. I’ll also impart a few of my go-to red lipstick application tips, and finally, I’ve included a great casual red lip tutorial video at the end of this post that’ll help you get acquainted with trying red lipsticks, as well as a lovely neutral look for the rest of the face so your lipstick can take center stage.


PHOTO NOTES (from top to bottom)
The photograph at the top of this post is a portrait of me by an amazing Austin artist, Ricardo Acevedo.
My lipstick is OCC Lip Tar in Maneater, a vibrant shimmery orange-red. I am absolutely in love with this color, and will be wearing it frequently this fall.

Second photo down is one of my omg-my-makeup-looks-nice-today selfies, when I’d just gotten the aforementioned OCC Maneater and couldn’t wait to try it on. Both of the top two photos show this warm lip color paired with a dark neutral smoky eye, nothing too dramatic, but certainly not the sort of fresh and minimal eye look you’ll see in the video below.

Third, the side-by-side photos are of my gorgeous friend and bride-to-be makeup client, Emily. She never usually wears red, and is going retro glam for the wedding, so we used Stila liquid lipstick in Beso, which will stay put all day and doesn’t really require any maintenance once it’s applied. We paired the statement lips with a simple, bold cat eye. Doesn’t she look like she should rock a red lip, like, all the time?!

Time and experience, along with really getting acquainted with your own face, will improve your ability to pull off the precise look you’d like to achieve. Along the way, keep these tips in mind for a better overall red lipstick experience, regardless of your mouth shape or color family.

Use liner! Always! Lip liner helps keep your lipstick from bleeding or feathering. Choose a color that matches your lipstick, or get a versatile neutral red that can be used with either cool or warm lipstick shades, and draw a line around the perimeter of your lips. Afterward, fill in the lips, holding the pencil at about a 30 degree angle, to create a base layer. This will keep everything in place and looking fab much longer.

Clean up the edges. It’s not easy getting those edges crisp and pretty like the plethora of perfect Pinterest lips you aspire to have. Over time, as with any precision work, it becomes more natural to maintain a steady hand, but you’ll still mess it up from time to time. Concealer is your best friend, and can heal (almost) all wounds. If you go outside the line or need to correct a wobbly edge, first carefully wipe the excess with a Q-tip (which you can dip in makeup remover if the lipstick is longwear or otherwise not budging). Then, using a small, flat eyeshadow or concealer brush, dab on a tiny bit of product that best matches your skin tone, and blend it out into the rest of your skin. Take a wee bit more concealer and brush on a thin line right along the entire edge of your lip. Blend out away from the lip, into your face. This step makes such a noticeable difference, but please skip it if you’re in a rush! It’ll take some time and patience to master.

Give it time to set. After you’re all done applying lipstick, blot on a tissue or napkin for good measure and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Try to refrain from eating, drinking, or otherwise disturbing your lipstick for a little while. 20-30 minutes is usually plenty of time. Don’t let this discourage you from wearing bold lipstick all together if you’re about to indulge, but is a good idea to keep in mind so you can avoid rubbing off your freshly applied makeup as often as possible.

Ready to try it yourself?! Not yet? No worries.
Here, watch the process in action. This video from Shameless Fripperies is full of all sorts of helpful info on now only applying the makeup, but also comparing and selecting the right color for you. Check it out!

If you try the tips included here and learn something new, please tag us in your pics or comments on Instagram (@thiscreativelife @jenheartsart) and/or Twitter (@thiscre8ivelife @jenheartsart)!


music monday: the get up kids

This week is very full, but mostly full with awesome things! More on my week coming tomorrow. Wednesday is my normal work day for Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, but I’m leaving early because that night The Get Up Kids are playing. I’m SO excited! If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my tweet about one of my besties (Daniel) calling me from the show in SF when they played Woodson (my fave song) so I could hear it. It got me even more excited for the show. Here’s another one of my faves:

I’m really hoping the crowd will be as energetic as in the video (minus the crowd surfing). Ryan (the drummer) is so good. While looking for a vid to post I would get lost watching him play. I remember in college when we would get to bring in “pop” songs we wanted to learn I would always bring in a song by The Get Up Kids. Sometimes when I listen to them I regret selling my kit. Maybe I should buy a new one next year after I move. Hmmm. Things to think about.

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