Friday, February 24, 2017

2-24-17


There are times I really miss the desert. 
That said, I know that I am (currently) where I need to be.
This whole week I have had to "step-up" on the things I help out with for my mom... and it's been good that I have been here. 
That said, I am tired, and a looking forward to the weekend and a bit more rest. 
Much love to you all... and I will see you all tomorrow for my weekend haiku.

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This photo was one I took in Tuscon while we were visiting a nature center. 
I believe the formations are selenite. The center featured minerals and stones that were sometimes found in Arizona. 
Selenite comes from a Greek word meaning "moons", and selenite was often used in olden times for window panes. 
Metaphysically, it is thought to help with confusion, and making decisions.... sounds like a great thing to have on hand.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2-23-17


This year, perhaps more than ever before... we have realized the importance of clearing out,
using things as much as you can (and in new ways)... and of salvaging and fixing things up.
To this end, I thought I would do a series of posts on clearing out and organizing, and living a simpler life.
I hope to do one once a week (Check out previous posts on Thursdays!)

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Yesterday I cleaned out my mother's freezer (just a little one at the top of her fridge)
... and it got me thinking of how we all save food.

We have a "normal" American freezer (ie: on top of the fridge).
There are times I really wish I had a freezer that was larger, because we freeze lots of veggies from our garden and such.
That said... I do not want a big old chest freezer like my grandmother had.
Truth be told, she had several. She had the one in her fridge. She had a chest freezer and an upright freezer on her back porch. And she had another chest freezer in a room that was politely known as the "sewing room". Why she had so many, I do not know. But I do remember helping clean them all out after she passed away; and I will say now... food is not meant to be kept for more than a year.
Even in a freezer.
There, I've said it. And I will not go into detail about the fish I found from the 60s.

Lots of folks save food by freezing it. I think the goal here, is to have food on hand during those seasons when fresh isn't as available or affordable. You have fresh frozen berries and such during those winter months, and come summer, you clean out your freezer and get ready for this season's worth of produce. They also come in very handy if you are able to purchase meat in bulk from local farmers.
Living in rural PA, one of the "perks" is that there are folks who sell 1/2 a pig's worth of meat, or 1/2 a cow's worth of meat. You get a good, fresh food source -- and you know what's in it. You know how the animals were raised, fed, treated... and how the meat was processed and preserved. You can't ask for better.

Anyway. My mom has a little freezer above her fridge, and she also has a large chest freezer in the garage
 that currently is housing food for my niece's family... and some of my food.
Having only a little one at my house, it is nice to be able to store some things at my mom's.
That said, if we get the opportunity to have extra funds, a nice upright freezer would be awesome.

I take great care to "rotate" the food in her freezer so that the "older" stuff is in the front ... so it's used first. I also make sure to clean it out completely at least once a year so that it can defrost and we start again. It helps to keep track of what foods you have on hand, and what you potentially need to pick up. I've seen lots of folks who use dry erase marker's on their chest freezers to catalog what is inside... and that is a handy tip as well. If you buy a freezer, try to get one that is an energy saver.... it does make a difference.

There are lots of foods you can freeze.
Here is a great site that lists them: HERE

See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2-22-17


Back in June 2016, I started a new "series" of posts... if you will... 
 And so on Wednesdays; I've been posting an old photograph to inspire your creativity.
Write a poem!   
 Plot out a short story.
 Have inspiration for a piece of art or composition.... let your artistic soul shine.
--and occasionally I write my own sordid story or poem. 
 (you can click on the photos in this post to make it larger to see).

~~~

This is the last known photo of Professor Dodde.
An immigrant from Wales, he received his doctoral degree in Quantum Physics from Stanford University in the early 40s;
and taught for many years throughout California and the west coast.
He was a peculiar fellow, having left all his family back in Wales, and did not associate with them (or even speak of them) once he moved to California. He did not chat with his neighbors. He did not attend the local church. He was a studious sort, preferring to spend his days in dusty libraries and tinkering about in his garage. He relished his solitude, save for a black cat he named Midnight.
Every so often, one could catch a glimpse of him on his way to the store to get cat food,
or writing furiously in one of his journals on his back steps... cat curled up at his feet.
It's not that he didn't like folks.... it's just that he didn't have much reason to deal with them.

In point of fact, no one knows what became of Professor Dodde.
He simply disappeared one day. Actually.. it could have been any day in the month of February, 1958. For no one saw him the entirety of the month. Not that many did anyway. ...But he didn't pick up his mail... and soon enough the papers were strewn about his door. Neighbors called the police, who politely wrapped on his door... and discovered no trace of him. His clothes were still in his closet, his pipe, cold and forlorn on the mantle. His bicycle was still in the garage.
But he was gone. His journals were all gone. His favorite coffee cup was gone.
And there was distinct smell of sulfur about the house that no one could explain.

Rumors thought he had perfected time travel, and had moved on to another time and place.
Whispers on the wire thought he might have been a CIA informant, and had been eliminated.
Still others thought he had finally become homesick; and moved back to Wales.
Who knows....
but when the wind howls, and the sand stirs up on some foggy beach near Santa Cruz,
folks have said to have seen him... walking and writing... cat at his feet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2-21-17


Crazy weather... warmer than it ought to be for this time of year....
and I know my lilac bush is going to be upset, as it is starting to bud out already.

Today was jam-packed with errands, visits with my mom, visits with a couple friends...
and now I am trying to catch up on some work... so.
I will see you all tomorrow for my "Creativity Prompt" posting for the week.
Hang in there everyone.... keep creating.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2-20-17



Happy Maker Monday! 
... my series of posts where I feature something the daughter or I are working on, 
 and encourage the maker lifestyle. 
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So... I am incredibly excited about a rosary I am working on, but it's not done yet.
So. I will show you a scarf I finished last night.
It is a whopping 94 inches long, and 6 1/2 inches wide.
If Dr. Who wore a white scarf, this would be it.
I have named it "Snowfall," and listed it today in the Etsy shop.

I also got all my items that I had at Firestone Forge (they are closed for the winter)...
so I will be listing them on various sites this week. 
It's been busy... but it's been good. 

Keep Creating!!!
See you all tomorrow.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

for the weekend



bloodshot eyes, restless
nights of waning sleep
dreams that never come

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Just something completely different from my usual today.
Hope you are all having a great weekend, and I will see you all back here on Monday.

Friday, February 17, 2017

2-17-17


Let's talk business for a minute...
I think as artists, we’ve all been there. 
Someone asks us to make 20 (or 200) of a thing… and the money is tempting. 
At some point, I think most all artists wade into the waters of making things in bulk or wholesale.
There are certain crafts that lend themselves to producing in bulk, and are a natural “fit.” 
Even jewelry sort of lends itself to being made in larger lots… things like band rings where you can put a different stone or design on each one.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone.

There are several factors at play here. Being able to purchase supplies in enough of a bulk so that you can bring the individual costs down. Being able to then produce the items in enough of a quantity to be able to offer them at half or less the cost that you would normally sell the item for… and of course, the time and energy to make the same/ mostly the same item over and over again. For some folks it is great. You get into a rhythm…. You knock out several at a time…. You become a sort of manufacturing “machine.” It takes a very special personality to be able to do that, and to have it work for them…. And kudos to those who do and can. But that is not me. And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been there. I’ve done 100 pairs of earrings in a week for a specific event.
I’ve made 50 rosary rings at a pop for gift giving, and I used to sell my envelopes at wholesale to a shop in Australia for several years. (which was cool).
It comes down to what you truly want to do. Do you have a plan for your business? Are you looking to sell a specific “line” of items that would lend themselves to more mass producing? Do you have several places that you market your items that would each want a sampling or variety of your work? Are you looking to sell your things in large quantities to shops and centers? Then this is a great plan for you. And it’s a great way to get your work out there.
As a dirt-poor artist (and I am not saying this lightly)… there is no way I could do this even if I was inclined. I just don’t have the funds to start up a production of items like that. And I am not willing to garner debt in order to start. It’s just my personal choice, there…. But one I feel strongly about. My whole aesthetic, has been one of re-use, re-purpose, and recycle. And that core belief is in everything I make, including my jewelry. I use recycled materials when I can. I salvage old pieces and fix them, or use them in new ways into new pieces. I buy metal, but I try to source recycled materials there as well. A couple years ago I made a decision to only use my handmade materials as much as possible. That means that most of my findings… are ones I’ve made. Yes, I am using up things I currently have (and yes, I have quite the stash)… but it’s the intention here that is important to me. I would much rather make pieces with great care, attention to detail, and have there be only one of them…. Than to mass produce them. I think there is a percentage of the population that would prefer to wear unique one-of-a-kind pieces, than something that perhaps 50 or 5000 other people might have.
There has been a movement sweeping the world for the past decade or so, to go back to simpler times. To embrace the handcrafted.
To respect the artistry that it takes for someone to develop the skills and the wherewithal to create something from scratch.

Conversely, there is a strong movement to make things en mass. To wholesale. To become (albeit on a smaller scale) a manufacturer of quality goods. And either is fine. Either is correct. It’s just a matter of what works better for you.  There is no “right” way to run your business. There is no set and firm answer that will work for everyone. Choose for yourself. That is the beauty of it all.