Monday, April 23, 2012

Introducing Anita Rivera, Designer and Paper Artist with an Artful Giveaway

Many of you are already familiar with Anita Rivera of Castles Crowns and Cottages. Now you will learn more about Anita Rivera, Designer and Paper Artist.

1)Anita I know that you have a real gift for writing very inspirational posts on your very popular blog Castles Crowns and Cottages. Tell me about how that began.

A Stunning Wedding Gown Centerpiece with Train (not pictured)

Four years ago, my sister-in-law started a blog. When she told me about it, I had no idea what it was. When I saw hers, I was mesmerized by the creative outlet and opportunity having a blog could provide. I am a teacher by profession but an artist at heart and when I pushed that START button to begin my own blog, it has only been a life-changing experience.

 Through writing for a SPECIFIC PURPOSE, I was able to focus on my real purpose: TO WRITE. Like any other blogger, my blog has gone through changes for the better. The best thing about blogging is the connection I have made with women around the world that engage in meaningful friendships. Writing inspirational pieces is my goal so that someone out in the world can know that THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

Golden Slipper

2) I do know a bit of your background. How did you get into the teaching profession & what made you decide to leave and pursue the arts and design?

I taught myself French at the age of 34 then my husband encouraged me to go back to night school to get my B.A. in French. Then he suggested I teach. That was a major decision, as I never intended to teach. For 17 years, I went to night school and finally obtained my B.A. in French, TWO teaching licenses with French specialties and my Master's in Education.


My resigning from my full-time post to pursue art and writing came as a shock to my colleagues, but later, they understood that the pressures of being a teacher in today's feebly-equipped educational system is very stressful. A kind and very talented blogger "discovered" my art and has been mentoring me in my art process. I had never thought about being a professional artist, only a writer. But I am focusing on combing the two and as of this June, I will no longer be a full-time teacher but I will return in September as a per-Diem French  speaking substitute. Having those French speaking skills comes in handy!

Bunny Wand

3) Who are your mentors or some other artists you admire?

    My professional mentor is Lisa Moran from the blog and website, Bilancia      Designs. She is extremely talented and knowledgeable and is a great friend. She has been generous in inspirational ideas and guidance. My number one favorite artist is Miss Clara from France and then Isabella Borgrave (spelling??)

Castle Print

Paris Print

4) I have seen some of your amazing works of art. What is your favorite medium and why?

Paper, hands down. I illustrate, but I would much rather work with THREE DIMENSIONAL ideas, to bring a sort of LIFE to an idea, and then combine it with my original poetry and quotes. I am currently working on making life size paper shoes and period dresses.

Bluebird Wand

5) What is on the horizon for Anita Rivera, Designer and paper Artist?

I am looking to connect with a local artist guild AND to début my work in local art events. I was just contacted by a local shop whose owners are interested in my work to sell!

Mauve Paper Slipper

6) What advice would your give to the aspiring artist or designer of any age?

BE BOLD and be productive. However, work from your heart. In my experience as a teacher, I have found that the "market" dictates everything we focus on in education and culture and even art. Yes, if I want to sell and earn a decent living, I must see what it is that people need and want. 

But to be a true artist, OBSERVE, LISTEN to your heart's reactions to life and then produce. Stretch your imagination and use what you have. See what you can produce with the most organic of resources. But the most "organic" resource of all is your HEART.

 Anita thank you so much for this enlightening interview and for offering such a beautiful work of art for this Giveaway!

Enter to win a Fabulous White and Gold Winged Angel Wand made by Anita!!
This Giveaway is  International for all Readers

1) Visit Castles Crowns and Cottages and then visit Anita's Etsy Shop: click on it in the right hand column. Come back and tell us what you love the most.

2) Extra chance to win if you post or link to the giveaway on your site

3) Another chance if you post about the Giveaway on Facebook!

4) Yet another chance to win if you Tweet about the giveaway.

So you have 4 chances to win

Please comment separately for me to run

The winner will be chosen at Midnight EST on Friday May 4th

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support not only of me; of your fellow artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and bloggers!

Now for the winner of the Soft Surroundings $100 Gift Card Stacey of Quintessence
Congratulation Stacey, you will love the Quality and great Customer Service at Soft Surroundings

A huge thank you to Michele of Hello Lovely for the beautiful Vintage Gold Crescent Bracelet from her Etsy shop!!

Art by Karena

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Soft Surroundings Specialty Shop and $100 Gift Card Giveaway

I recently started receiving catalogs from a company I was not familiar with. I loved perusing some especially artful and comfortable looking clothing.
Then I Came to find out that Soft Surroundings is opening its 6th  On-Site store here in Kansas City on the Country Club Plaza.

The Opening Date is April 20th for those in the region. Of course Springtime is a perfect reason to visit our great City and especially the Country Club Plaza filled with so many unique shops, restaurants, fountains, and iconic architecture.

Soft Surroundings carries women's clothing in all sizes, lovely jewelry  as well as pieces for the home that will have interior designers swooning!

Soft Surroundings carries an extensive line of  interesting jewelry, perfect for summer outfits.

The furniture lines are definitely high end for the discriminating  customer and designer. You will love perusing the many gorgeously designed chests, tables, etc.

The Bedroom Furnishings and Bedding are  Exquisite .You will find that their selection of decor items; pillows for example, are quite reasonable. 

The Ashbury Skirt with Crisp Linen Blouse!
Sole Mates for Summer

Byzantine Tunic in Aqua Shores

Seaside Topper with Cabana Cropped Pant

Tie Die pieces are now with a New Twist!

Tristan Tank with wide leg Gatsby Pant Note the great Earrings and Bangles.

Enter to win a $100 Gift Card to use toward a purchase at this amazing shop or online! At this time the Giveaway is Limited to USA Followers Only.

You are going to love looking through The Soft Surroundings on-line store and catalog

1) Come back and tell us what you would love to purchase from Soft Surroundings

2)  For an Extra entry Please post  on Your site or Link to this Giveaway

3)Another entry Like Soft Surroundings on Facebook. 

4)Or Follow Art By Karena on Twitter

So you have  4 four Possible ways to win!
PLease Enter each separately. It makes it much easier to run

The Winner will be chosen On  Sunday April 22 at Midnight EST

Thank you for all of your encouragement and support

I want to thank Brayton Homestead Interiors for the lovely scarf sponsored by Angela at  Parisienne Farmgirl!

Images from Soft Surroundings. Disclosure they are sending me a lovely tunic to review , and I will post a pic when it arrives.


Art by Karena

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bella B Decor for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Winners Announced!

Introducing Lynn the owner of Bella B Decor
Our  area Supplier of Annie Sloan Paint

Lynn Of Bella B Decor with Annie Sloan and Rose Wilde at The Annie Sloan 2012 Tour in New Orleans!

Annie is such an inventive and creative woman. I understand just being around her  is an exhilarating experience!
Bella B Decor Shop in Paola KS

When i was ready to create some projects after seeing all of the gorgeous pieces completed by my fellow bloggers, I did a search and found Bella B Decor! I drove out to Lynn's shop and Purchased some ASCP's. Here are some questions and answers with Lynn!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has become so popular in the design world. How did you come to hear of it and carry it in your shop Bella B Decor?

Louis Blue Chair with French Script

  Bella B Décor has evolved from my custom frame shop that I opened 8 years ago.  I was searching for paint that could be used on my custom frames to achieve truly custom finishes (especially after the economy went to pooh) and that is when I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  

Country Grey Chair with Olive and Stencil

Have you always been creative in your decorative painting and what some of your favorite techniques?

I had been using other products that were extremely labor intensive and costly.  After a few projects using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I was hooked!  

I love how easy and versatile it is to use AND the fact that you don’t have to sand, strip or prime! I also enjoy taking old worn out pieces and making them “new” again.  
The butterfly kisses window is one I painted then sandblasted the words, etc onto the glass.

Butterfly Kisses Window

 What truly inspires you as a creative entrepreneur and ?what advice can you give to the aspiring artist or emerging entrepreneur?

 During my workshops my favorite thing is watching people who thought they had no creativity realize they really can do VERY creative things.  There really is an artist inside all of us!  

I know that you have inspired me tremendously! See my pieces below painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

My Drop Leaf Desk with a combination of Emile, Old Violet, Louis Blue with A Smoked Oyster Metallic Stripe I absolutely adore this desk and it was so fun to paint!

Round Swan Table in Old White with Renaissance Gold Liquid Leaf and Garden Stool in Scandinavian Pink

Lynne you are a true entrepreneur! I can tell you I am so thrilled that you and Bella B Decor are right outside of the  Kansas City area. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Visit Lynn's website or call her at 913-294-4499  to sign up for workshops or to order Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Supplies

              Bella B Décor has many exciting things on the horizon for 2012! 

We would love to hear your comments!!

Announcing the Winners of The Cross Bottle Giveaway Courtesy of Artie from Color Outside the Lines.  and Cross Bottle Guy! They are Pam of Over 50 Feeling 40 and Alison of The Polohouse!
 Contact me with your mailing info and I will forward to Artie!  Congratulations!

You will both receive $50 Certificates to use towards a Fabulous Cross Bottle in Artie's Shop!

Art by Karena

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