Monday, February 17, 2014

the nook

BEHOLD! before....

and after!!!
i love the nook, but it had become something of a hot mess.  the shower rod i was using as a curtain rod wouldn't stay up. i was doing a bunch of sewing in the downstairs den because i wanted to use the big table.  the nook became a good spot to dump things, but not to work in.

today i spent a lot of time (four podcasts of wiretap long time, plus some this american life) moving things around, throwing things away, vacuuming and making the nook into a working space again.

it's not the greatest set up right now; i wish i had a better storage solution for my fabric, and there are still boxes of craft stuff that i should sort through.  however, it's miles better than it was, and three grocery sized bags of garbage came out of this.

i dropped my stuff off at the lucky dumpster this weekend! i am officially artist #86 on the roster now.  the gentleman that owns the store is wonderful, and suggested i start selling them at a higher price than i thought might sell because moving down to a lower price is easier than raising the price of a thing. which is fair and good advice.  he said it might take a bit longer to find the right price, but when i do, it will the highest price, not too low.  D came with me too, and he really liked the store and the owner.  i came home and ordered some fancy woven labels to mark my stuff with, and felt good about myself. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

modern love

my therapist works in downtown mt. vernon, right around the corner from the cutest little quilting shop.  i hadn't been in there in years probably when a few weeks ago i popped in after an exceptionally good session to treat myself.

i normally do not get acknowledged at quilt shops. usually there is a nice looking older lady behind the counter, or at the back of the shop, who gives me a cursory look over and goes back to what they're doing.  i know i wear too much black. i know that i'm too old for ridiculous t-shirts. i know that with my round face i look younger than i am.  it doesn't bug me unless they're rude or outright ignore me if i ask for help.  however, two weeks ago i walked into this quilt shop and the lady behind the counter was awesome! she was friendly and excited and asked me questions about what kind of fabric i like, and we had a great talk.  i felt comfortable. i showed her what i was looking at and she found other stuff i might like. she asked what i was making and i showed her the little patchwork bags.

at one point she said to me, "you look very modern, do you only make modern quilts?" i said no, i like to make all kinds of quilts.  i did admit that modern quilts are pretty fun, though.  it made me giggle later that she called me modern because i think she thought that because i was wearing a lot of black and stripes.

tonight i went back in and she was there and i was so excited to see her! she showed me some new neat things, and then said, "you know, you inspired me to make a modern quilt last week.  i even blogged about it, about how you came in and you seemed so modern and had that hair, and i had to make something."  how fucking nice is that?! like, she made a thing because i made her think of a thing.  i was blown away.  she works mainly on thursdays, and guess what? she's totally got a customer for life now.  quilters unite!!!

my good news this week was that the lucky dumpster, one of my favorite stores ever (you know that, i mention it all the time), is going to sell my bags on consignment!  i sent them an email weeks ago, and didn't hear back and thought, "well, at least i put myself out there." which i'm still kind of proud of.  but i'm also really excited to make a thing that will be sold in a shop that i think is amazing, run by amazing artists, and in a very special part of the skagit valley.  oh, who am i kidding? i'm crazy about all of the valley.  if i can't live on the island, this is where i want to be.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

selfie madness!

i got a haircut today after work and it was rad.  there is nothing like the feel of freshly cut hair! yes, it's pretty much the same hair i've rocked for a while now, but what can i say? i like myself with bangs. i also like long hair, even though i don't do much with it.  my hairdresser is also one of my favorite bartenders, and it was great to catch up and let her pamper me a bit.  honestly, my favorite part of any haircut is the hair brushing and shampooing part.  i am a super sucker for hair-touching.

when i got home from my awesome new haircut, i put on some makeup and took some photos! i like the idea of selfies as self-love. it's nice to remind myself that i can be cute! 

work is seriously stressing me out, which is hilarious because work has been seriously stressing me out for a while now. i can't decide if this stress is going to be worth it in the long run, in working on my "career*" or if it's just going to grind me down into a semi-nutritive paste to be consumed by The Man.  ugh. work has always been a means to an end, and the end was always just paying rent and having money for goofing off and travel and time to do the things i really love doing.  work as a product in and of itself is kind of foreign to me. i also struggle with how much of my time and energy and emotion i put into work, when i'm not sure that what i'm doing is of particular importance.  life is short, and i'll be dead, and who will really care if i adjusted some insurance claims? i feel like what's honestly important is to spend time with the people i love, keep myself and them happy, create art of any and all kinds.  write and draw and paint and sew and knit, read books and listen to music, support other artists and craftsmen, go out and have new experiences: that's what's important.  i do less of that when i'm stressed out about work deadlines and how there are not enough people to handle the work load, and how there's so much freaking pressure to have the right answer, right away. 

to try to work with my stress, instead of fighting against it, i'm taking time every day to write in a paper journal about how i feel, and jot down my dreams after i wake up. i find the act of just writing for a bit every day, just to write, is good for me.  i help clear my brain out, and makes it easier to sleep.  i'm trying to be kind toward myself, and not hold myself up to exceeding high standards.  i'm trying to be flexible and open and sometimes just work instead of worrying that i'm wasting my life on a job instead of being the next lynda barry or aline kominsky crumb, or any of the other artists i admire so much.  even if i had all the time in the world to devote to "higher" callings, i'd still find something to worry and fret about.  grass is always greener, and all that jazz. 

*i can't use that term with a straight face yet. i know it's ridiculous to be 36 and feel so strange about the trappings of what i think of as adulthood.  i'm deeply uncomfortable with the notion that i am actually a grown-up. the kids, the husband, the mortgage, the job...i often feel like i'm play-acting.  is that because i'm spoiled and terrible and lazy? is it just me being neurotic? at the same time, i'm kind of proud of being the adult i am, and feel like focusing on career goals is the right thing to do right now. i feel like it's time. it's also challenging for me, which is good.  i need something tough to push me out of my comfort zone.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014


i used to loooooove perfume and all things scented. i used to have (and still do!) a giant perfume collection. a few years ago, though, i started becoming really sensitive to scented things.  i'd wear a perfume i had always loved, and found myself sneezing all day and ending up with a headache.  the boychik and D are also super sensitive to scents, and when i moved in with them, i had to start using unscented laundry soap and couldn't burn any scented candles. i don't know if my sensitivity to scented things came after that because i wasn't exposed to them as much, or if it would have happened anyway. it bums me out, though, because i still think a nice perfume is awesome, but i can hardly wear them. 

i dyed my hair today (which i haven't done in forever) because i'm not super fond of my grey hairs, and the smell of the dye is killing me.  ugh.  i used to love dying my hair! while i am enjoying less grey hairs and all the shine, i know for a fact that this will end up with my taking something for a headache. 

i also made a new thing with my stripe scraps!  a cuff bracelet!
one of the awesome things about my new machine is the decorative stitches.  i love this little kite tail design.
it's a simple little thing, but i think it turned out cute.

things at work are becoming stranger and more stressful, with two people leaving my department and the work of five suddenly being handled by three.  i had a good talk with my therapist about it the other day, though, and i decided that while it's okay to be stressed out, it's important that i try to go with the flow and try not to thing of too many "what if" scenarios. 

all the sewing and making stuff is also helpful.  i sold a few bags last week and it felt so good to have someone like what i made.  it's not like money is the epitome of value, but to have someone say, "i appreciate the time and work that went into this, let me trade you money for this" is still pretty satisfying.  plus, it's so much less stressful than my day job.  my plan right now is to keep making things, updating my etsy store, and try to keep a stash of stuff for selling this summer.  i'd like to do a farmer's market or two, or a craft show this year. nothing crazy, but get out there with my work.