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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Setting a Record--Two Posts in One Morning!

 I started to respond to Laura's comment on my blog about Bad Art Night being one of the very best things that happened this past year, but decided I should write about it in the blog and post so more people can hear about it.
 We meet twice a month on a Friday night and bring whatever type of art we want to work on and explore.  The beauty of BAN is we can experiment without expectations and desires of perfection.  I've loved seeing what people bring and how they challenge themselves.  We've seen photographers try painting and non-artists try water color and several other art forms.  I watched fascinated as Beverly used wire cutters on coat hangers to create a new form, Laura and Kristine and others worked on transfers from digital photos, Nancy taught us all how to make 'squishies' with acrylic paints and glossy paper, and I started inheriting everyone's cigar boxes to decoupage and cover with buttons and beads to transform them into treasure boxes.  I even made bad art jewelry one night, though it only proved beauty is in the eye of the beholder because many women picked up the necklace at open studios and looked at it with fascination.  It didn't sell, but I think it came close.  
  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has grown artistically in both my thinking and my interest in creative expression from attending these nights.  We've formed a great camaraderie and many new friendships in our shared experiences with art.
  I highly encourage others to try this with friends and let it grow.   Here's a link to help get you started:  http://www.badartnight.org/start-your-own.php.

Last Post of This Forgettable Year

 I'm sure many people are writing their end of the year blogs today...and I hate doing what everyone else does, but I'm doing it anyway.  When things are on my mind, I feel compelled...
 A year ago I said this was going to be a good year--11 is a favorite and a lucky number.  I might have to chose another favorite.  This year sucked for many people.   I've seen friends lose houses and businesses, and everyone's finances took a nose dive again.  I have high hopes for 2012.  Things have to change.
 Every year I write down a few things I'd like to bring into my life for the new year.  I've done this since the early 90's and I don't read it again till the next year.   Sometimes it's only a word; sometimes it's a phrase.  I can't say it works well--I'm still writing annually about some things I've wanted to change that still haven't, but I'll write it again tonight.  Maybe I should try reading and focusing on those topics monthly this year and see if it brings about anything new.   I keep it hidden away and always use the same small stocking-shaped pad of paper, so I can also look back at each year.  I also try to keep it positive--instead of "don't do this", I think of what I'll do instead.
 Yesterday was Matthew's birthday.  I had a hard time getting him to say what he wanted to do last night--eat out?  where?  At one point, he told me he was going to cook.  Then it was dinner out and a movie.  Then walk down the street to Cafe Gibraltar.  Sushi?  Movie?  Nothing?  It made me think about how hard it is to say what we really want.  I do the same hoping he'll figure it out on his own.  I also wonder if he was disappointed his son didn't drop by at some point during the day.  He called on his way to work, but hey, he drove down highway 1 and was within 1/4 mile of our house.  He could have come over for 5 minutes to give his father a hug.   It's not like Matthew hasn't been there for him through thick and thin.
 By midday yesterday, I finally tried for reservations at Gibraltar, but as I thought would happen, they had only very early or very late times available.  So Matthew agreed on sushi.  I decided not to mention I'd been there the night before with 2 friends from the Thurs. night knitting group.   I didn't even pick up the menu...it was his night to order anything he wanted.  And wouldn't you know, he ordered several things we'd never had together before--and one of them was the roll I had the previous night with Michele!  I still didn't tell him till half way through the meal.  Dinner was good, and he was happy with the gifts I bought for him, so the day ended on an up note. 
 Today, the last of the year, is a good one for cleaning up loose ends--the office remodel, my inventory from Savvy Skirts, a few necklaces sitting here that need findings, paperwork for Wise Woman Weaves, etc.  And then starting the new calendar, a new jewelry business program Terri recommended, some organizing...and exercise.  Lots to do...I'd better make a list, so I can check off what I do and feel accomplished.
This is from last year's trunk show at Savvy Skirts, which just closed at Harbor Shoppes.  Sheri returned all my inventory yesterday, which was bittersweet.  I know she's planning on reopening in a better location later in 2012, so I hope to continue our relationship.  She's awesome to work with and did a fabulous job with the shop--so I'll look forward to April.  Her energy inspires me!
  Time to start working on that list.  I'll start by writing it....




Friday, December 23, 2011

Too Much Bad Art Fun

 Such a busy time these days, but I managed to get a massage in this afternoon after morning Pilates and lunch with Jed.  I've spent the week rearranging my office to accommodate my new computer--I needed a flat surface for the trackpad.  And I needed to combine my office with my beading/jewelry creating, which I'd never done.  I've gone through drawers and moved things that haven't been moved since they were brought in here.  Good time to vacuum under and around everything too.
 I've also done some knitting for my nephew Jeff.  He's moving to New York and I wanted him to have a warm hat to wear from his auntie this winter.  The colors were inspired by Laura, and I found a style that's long enough to cover his ears.


 So tonight I decided to go to Bad Art Night even though I'd had a busy day.  Matthew was making calzone, so I said I'd be back in an hour, but fortunately told him not to wait dinner for me.  He made Italian calzone--Italian sausage, mushroom, and cheese. 


 I only took knitting with me tonight since I wasn't going to stay long, but when I got there, it was so much fun, I couldn't leave.  Linda did an awesome water color, but she added more with pencil and stamps.  She's amazing to watch.  Chris was inspired to do Zentangles by Nancy for the first time, then he took the strip he'd done and was going to wrap a coffee can with it.  At the end of the evening, at least for me, Laura and Kristine gave us all BAN gifts.  We have enough very cool stuff to do Bad Art for months.  I'm so excited because in a sense, they've issued a subtle challenge to us to figure out things to do with the contents of the boxes, including acrylic paints.  I know this will stretch my thinking about art.  Good goal for 2012.  
 I make no resolutions...not since the year I made the one about never making another New Year's resolution.  It's the only one I've ever kept.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blogs...Writing, Reading, Privacy, Who's Reading?

 I woke early this morning, around 4 or 5 am--not sure since the power outage knocked out my bedside clock--and started writing this blog in my head.  Great...now what was I writing?  I know it started because my brother-in-law heard the word blog at lunch yesterday and asked what is a blog and what do you mean, I've been in your blog?  Don't you have to ask permission to put me in it?  Who writes them?  Why?  Who reads them?  Why?
 So that made me start thinking about all of that and more.  I know when I wrote about Peru, I had at least a dozen people tell me they'd read all about it and loved hearing my stories.  I also know my own husband has never read my blog and shows no interest in it.  Funny, my blog-reading peeps all know how I felt about the trip and the canopy walk in particular, but Matthew had NO idea.  I mentioned it last week and told him it wasn't my favorite trip (after he said how he'd love to return to Peru), and he was so surprised.  And you all know how I feel, right?  Duh.
 I've always been a writer; I used to love writing letters the old-fashioned way using snail mail.  I even loved the act of writing and of course, used multi-colored pens.  Some of my friends from high school remember that!  Oh, THOSE were notes written during class, especially history.  Sorry, Mr. Woods.
 But now writing isn't so easy with fine motor coordination being more difficult, so typing is the way to go.  And using the blog allows me to journal my thoughts and share with whoever is interested.  But who is reading this?  I only have 10 followers--oh, it says 11, but I was trying to figure out how it works when I first started and became my own follower.  Another duh.  I see some with hundreds of followers and wonder how they ended up with so many.  I know more than 11, oops 10, read my blog...and some subscribe to it as well.  I can't see who subscribes, but I know of one, Laura, who often graciously makes comments.  I love getting comments!  Does that sound a little like begging for them?  Well....  It's really the only way of getting instant gratification after writing something.
 The privacy part of blogging is interesting.  I notice in one person's blog I read, she rarely mentions others by name.  I don't use last names, but do use first occasionally.  And if I mention a nephew, like yesterday, that narrows down about whom I'm writing.  And I often use photos too.  Does one need permission?  Not really...this is a 'personal' writing space, and since I'm usually not saying anything derogatory, it shouldn't matter.  Besides, have any of you realized how we already lack privacy in our lives?  Do you ever wonder how your ads on Facebook and other places seem to be oddly geared to your own interests?  Hey, they've hacked into your searches and followed you!  Who's they?  Well, I don't know everything, but I do know all my friends aren't getting ads for knitting and bead making like I do.  Big Brother is alive and well, and I'm not talking about the TV program.
 Okay, enough of that ranting.  One thing I enjoy about blogging, both writing and reading, is adding photos of what's being discussed.  So no picture today since you've already seen my new computer, and I'd better not add one of my bro-in-law after yesterday's series of questions.  But I do thank him for giving me something to think about.  
 So is anyone out there?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Small Steps and New Aches

 So here it is:  my new computer...got the IMac last week.  Never one to do anything the easy way, I bought the trackpad instead of the mouse.  Now I have to learn how that works and since I never liked using the pad on laptops, this is a new challenge.  The computer is beautiful, the graphics awesome--I'm transfixed when the screensaver comes on. First, they're always different, so I never know what to expect, and second, it's like watching a colorful slide show.  
 Many things are different on the Mac--like finding commands I often use.  I did sign up for a class, and my first one is this week.  I'll see how helpful this is before signing up for another one.    I bought the one-to-one, so I don't have to sit with 15 other people and have someone ask, "How do you turn it on?"  I've been in that class before and it wasn't fun.  Nor did I learn anything especially when they partnered us up and I landed with the one who didn't know how to turn it on.  
 What I need to find either in the app store or online somewhere is a good, simple program for inventory of my jewelry and textiles.  I have Quickbooks on my PC, but it's more than I need.  I would like something that keeps track of what I have by number and description, where it is (who's selling it--me or a store), price, and sale point.  On Quickbooks, I can archive something that sells, then recall it as needed.  I can also call up who has what by company/store, which is helpful.  But it also has way more it does, like invoices, which I don't need.  So if someone out there is reading this blog post and has an answer, please let me know!  
 So what else is new?  I have a new hair style....way shorter.  
I needed a change, so this was it.  People seem to really like it, but I keep hoping it doesn't start looking like an old-lady perm.  Hey, it's naturally curly, but still.  
 My oldest nephew turned 30 today.  I find that hard to fathom since I was just cleaning out a drawer full of pictures and there he was at 5 looking so sweet and innocent.  Not that he's a devious 30 year old--I leave that to his brother (notice I'm not mentioning which one, though neither of them read my blog). Jeff's always been considerate and thoughtful of his aunt and grandmother...and now he's moving to New York City, so he'll be far away from us.  His youngest brother is in Hawaii, his father is moving out of the area, and Garret is hoping to spend 1-3 months in Australia, so they're all migrating...and Nana and I are still here.  Times sure have changed.  When I was younger, my parents told me I had a 35 miles radius for moving!  And duh, that's what I did.  
 I am cleaning out drawers and trying to organize my office, so I've been finding all kinds of memorabilia.  I found a picture of myself Jay took at some event, maybe 20 years ago.  It's a close up of my face, and I'm amazed at how I've changed.  Sometimes it's not so good to look back.  I also found old love letters (which I saved) and many plugs, 3 mouse(s?) for the PC, and cords I don't use or need.  I LOVE getting rid of these excess things, but now I have to put them somewhere else.   This is all part of the change...cleaning out and eliminating.  What I realized is I started with an office and a dresser room when we moved in, but now they're also used for jewelry making and textiles, so the dresser room, renamed the loom room has been taken over with yarn and a huge loom, but is still full of dressers and clothes.  The office still has all the old furnishings, but I've added many MANY bead containers and accoutrements without re-organizing.   This must be my time of year for changes.

 Oh yeah, I also named this post "New Aches"...that's because my right shoulder and arm ache every morning lately.  Today I figured it's the new not-mouse I'm using and trying to do on the Mac.  I'm probably stressed from the freakin' learning curve of trying to get what I want it to do, plus I notice my fingers are far from relaxed on it.  Half the time, the hand is hanging off the edge of the keyboard table instead of on the trackpad and the fingers are stiff.  No wonder I ache.  Back to that learning curve.  
 I did get a free app for creating jigsaw puzzles to help me manage the trackpad better.  That was so slow!   Just have to keep practicing.  
 The holidays are coming...guess we all know that.  The damn music started in Nov!  I've done no shopping and have no ideas.  I don't really buy much anyway, though I do have a few things I should pick up.  Matthew is taking me on a little jaunt this month for a couple of days as a gift, so I need to come up with something for him.  I often get him something new for the kitchen--and I, of course, reap the rewards.  One year it was an electric pasta maker, and yeah, I do love pasta.  As I often say, "I met him 20 lbs. ago."  
 So there's no escaping the holidays this year.  We used to head for Mexico and last year it was Costa Rica with good friends.  I want to return to CR so maybe next year.  We have no travel plans at all for 2012...talking about maybe NYC and DC since we've never been there.  Odd to travel so much to other countries, but haven't seen that much of ours.  I've been through the South a bit and we've hit several western states together, but never back east.  Could be this year.  
 Small steps....like where the hell is the right click on something that doesn't have a right/left side???

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Mac; New Learning Curve

I decided to practice on the new IMac I got this week since I have always been an avid PC user since the 80's.  I've already locked myself out of the computer once and frozen the touchpad...it's a lesson on patience.   Not my strong suit.  I know I can't add pictures today to the blog since I have no idea how to do that...  but I do have my first one-on-one class next week, so maybe I'll feel more comfortable and know how to do more by then.  I'm going to keep a notebook of questions to ask.
Shows are over for this season, which is great.  I like doing them, but it's so much work to get ready--create enough things to show, plan displays, set up and take down--that I'm always glad when they're behind me. I did have a good time and enjoyed showing my new jewelry and textiles.  This was a good year for fingerless gloves, felted hats, and handmade flowers.
Hey Check it out....I just added a photo to my blog with my IMac!  I'm so easily impressed with myself.  It's always the little things that make the day go better.  
 I was just happy I could find my photos on the new computer.  The Apple guys transferred docs and pics from the PC to the Mac and I can find the docs, but haven't yet figured out how to open them.  
I do love my new keypad so maybe it will inspire me to blog more.  I told a friend I'd try not to become MACavellian or a MACabee...I've never been one to join cults.  But no promises....