Karen D. Miller

2013 Year in Review

Collage 2013(2) copy



What a fabulous holiday season we had.  My sister was staying with us again this year and we shared a lot of laughs and created a lot of cherished (and crazy) memories.  Hope your holiday was filled with as much joy!

It has become tradition to do a year in review before outlining my plans for the New Year.  And what a year 2013 was!!!

This year I could not possibly have asked for more.  When I look back at where I was a year ago versus where I am now, it is truly unbelievable the difference a year makes.  In 2013 it felt like all the hard work I have put in for the last five years definitely culminated in a “breakout” year.  I truly feel blessed.

There were several highlights in 2013.  At the beginning of the year I found out that I would have my ‘Solitude’ piece included in Rug Hooking Magazine’s “Celebration.”  I think I was on cloud nine for months, waiting for the publication to come out.  Equally exciting was our road trip to Sauder Village for the rug hooking show.  This was such a tremendous thrill to be a part of, and a fabulous opportunity to see amazing works of art and meet amazing artists.  And that one road trip led to the formation of the collaboration that will, I am sure, feature prominently in the highlights of 2014!

It had long been one of my goals to have my work published and as it turned out, “Celebrations” was not the only source of publication in 2013.  Being included as a Featured Artist in Judy Taylor’s book was unquestionably a highlight for me.  And more recently I now have a piece in TAFA’s 2014 calendar!

I am so thankful for the continued support that I have received in Corner Brook, Newfoundland this year- both through private sales and through sales at the Harbour Grounds coffee shop.  This was my best year for sales so far!   I look forward to continuing to hang pieces at the coffee shop and at the Newfoundland Emporium in 2014.  Thank you to both establishments, and to everyone who purchased a Marzipan Road piece this year!

This year my husband returned to work after nine months of parental leave, and I wondered if I would find my rhythm between balancing my life with a certain new and busy boy and making my art.  In the end, I am very happy with the amount and quality of pieces that I was able to produce, while still making lots and lots of time for my family.  I know for sure that having personal goals, dreams and accomplishments makes me a better mother.   And when my daughter tells me that she is proud of me, there is no better feeling in the world.  That’s how I know that I am on the right course.

Of course, I could not do all of this alone.  I’m so thankful for my husband with whom I endlessly discuss ideas and who is the builder of some truly awesome frames.  My kids who put up with yarn all over the house and being dragged to “another rug show.”   My sister who deals with all of my Newfoundland transactions and has not yet complained.   Those who made purchases from Marzipan Road in 2013,  and of course to everyone who comments and follows this blog and/or Facebook page and reminds me that I am not just writing to myself.  🙂   Truly- I appreciate all of your support.


2014- You have some big shoes to fill, and I am so ready for you!


Photo by Karen D. Miller

How I organize my pieces


Last week I showed you how I like to organize my photos and other inspirational ideas.  This week I thought I would show you how I organize my “portfolio.”

I bought this book back in my “booth at a craft sale” days as I noticed that people liked being able to browse through photos of other pieces that may have previously sold or that I didn’t have with me at a particular sale.  Although I haven’t done any sort of craft sale since 2010, and have really no plans to return to that approach anytime soon, I have been keeping this book up for my own purposes and I sometimes like to flip through it to see the progression in my art.

I have a photo in here for every piece I have ever done, dating back to my first piece in 2008.  I like to jot down a little bit about each piece to remind myself what materials I used, any particular challenges that I faced, and anything unique about that particular piece.

My daughter and I came up with a “dot system” using different coloured dot stickers.  Red is for pieces that are sold.  Yellow is for pieces that I have decided to keep.  And green is for pieces that no longer exist (every so often I will rip apart a piece that I am no longer happy with.  I’ve done this to a fair number of pieces and there are a couple more that are probably slated for this demolition.  Having the photos helps me to remember they existed and what I did wrong in them).  It is my daughter’s job to keep the book up to date with the dots.  The “dot system” is total overkill.  I could just write the status of the piece beside the photo.  But she loves doing the stickers so that is the system I’ve adopted.

Years from now I can envision this book being filled with pieces!

And speaking of organization, I’ve finally put the Postcards from Newfoundland series up on the website (thought I still have to add the write-ups!).


Photo by Karen D. Miller

How I organize my ideas

Almost all of my ideas come from photos that I take myself.  Many are from trips that we take and some are from things that I see when I am just out and about.  (In 2014 I want to try and collect even more of these “out and about” inspirations).  For me, I work best when I am making a piece from a photo that I have taken.  I think that is because the act of taking the photo is part of the creative process.  In that moment I am choosing to capture something for a particular reason and that is what connects me to the piece as I am making it.

I take an obscene amount a lot of photos.  I am very big on capturing the things that inspire me and all of the little moments of our lives.  Often I would have a vague recollection that I had taken a photo that I wanted to make a piece of, and then have to dig through all the cd’s and flash drives of photos trying to find the right one.


As time went by  I decided to just print out the “inspiration” photos as I was getting my other photos developed.  These I kept in a box- until my sister gave me this great photo album last Christmas.  It has become my “inspiration photo album.”

(Eventually I will get around to removing the random family photo that came with the  album.  I am sure they are lovely people, but I don’t know them.  Hasn’t been high on the priority list though.)


Many of these photos will never become a piece.  And that is ok.  Many of them will provide me with little ideas to add to other pieces.  And that is ok too.  And some of them will go on to become their own larger piece or a smaller piece, such as the Newfoundland series.  Each of those Newfoundland scenes came from this album.

I am constantly adding to this album, and when I use a photo for a piece I remove it and usually recycle it as I am unlikely to use the same concept twice.

So far this system is working great for me and keeping me organized!

Enjoy the rest of your week and the weekend.  This is the last weekend for us before the Holidays that isn’t packed to the rafters with activities.  So I think we will get our tree and spend some time decorating it together. Trying to take it easy will be the name of the game.  I find that now that my husband is back at work (and his long hours have returned) and my daughter is in school full-day, we cherish even more those weekends where we get to spend time together and connect as we don’t get much chance for that during the week.  The two weekends after that (and let’s be frank, the weeks as well) are utter chaos.  But so far it is all good chaos so I am really looking forward to it.  Among the highlights are some playdates with friends we haven’t seen in a bit, some nights out with friends, a special outing just me and my daughter and the arrival of my sister!  And of course I have to slot in lots of hooking time!

See you next week!