Category Archives: Unfounded Scribblings

As much resolve as a Banana…

I think I can safely say I’ve broken most if not every single one of my New Years resolutions. Weekly blog posts? Clearly not. Frequent art? So far, no. No new books? Um, about that…. And only art supplies to finish projects. Well… I DID get the thread. But then there were the markers… and… such. Exercise? What’s that?

Oh well. Even at the time, I knew it was excessively hopeful. However, they will remain as challenges to myself. I might point out that I HAVE been doing well on one of those resolutions– the reading. Between what I was already reading, a few new books (oops…) and librivox (free audio books in the public domain!) I have read nearly 20 books since the start of the year. The majority have been either children’s books or classic literature (many have been both.)

All that reading is not why I haven’t been on the blog though. I’m nervous to post this so publicly, but I think it needs to be said. I struggle with depression, and currently, lack insurance with which to address it. Most days, I just muddle through, but sometimes it hits harder– when that happens, I can barely do the necessities of the day, either sleeping excessively or unable to sleep and thus exhausted. Inspiration and energy for art are long gone. As you can imagine, conversations are less than pleasant– and thus, so would be anything I posted here. Most of the time, these episodes are a few days, maybe a week. This time, it was a good two weeks of incapacitation, and over a month of just not quite being myself. It’s not that I’m a naturally peppy high-energy person, or that I expect to be, but there’s a difference between my normal quiet reserve and the way I was– it was like I’d been drained of all mental, physical, emotional, and creative energy.

I say this, not to elicit your sympathy, but because I feel my flakiness deserves an explanation. Also because, maybe in the future I can just say so when I’m unable to post happy cheery creative things. Maybe there will be less apprehension in admitting I’m just not up to it sometimes. It feels weak. But then, it feeds itself, because I see all these talented artists, many overcoming their own personal challenges and still posting several times a week with great projects. Maybe I can commit to being present weekly, even if just to say “I’m here, I’m trying to stay afloat, please be patient.” Maybe from that will grow more.

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The Prodigal Blogger

The word “prodigal” is easily misused. We’ve so often heard the parable of “The Prodigal Son” that we have come to think it means returning after a long and possibly ill-planned absence when in fact, it has nothing to do with absence. It is about lavish and wasteful spending. (True story. Read the definition, and reread the parable. You’ll come to see it in a new light if you’ve never understood the meaning previously. Not that the actual text uses the word prodigal, but we attach it so often, it’s almost become canon. Anyhow…)

I figure I’m going to twist words just a little more in applying it to myself. Yes, I am in fact returning, so in that sense, I am using the common non-definition. But also, I am currently overflowing with hopefulness. It’s a good way to start the new year, no? Very shortly, I’m going to be quite prodigal in my resolutions– a tradition I’ve always considered rather silly, but one that just feels right in my current mood. But first, a bit of back-story.

The last few weeks have been a bit rough– not necessarily dismal, but just stressful. On one hand, there’s the typical holiday crunch. On the other, I was pet sitting and thus driving between work, home, and the other house every 4 to 5 hours, living in two places at once. On top of that, I was experiencing more car trouble, borrowing my boyfriend’s car (which thankfully he’d left here while out-of-town), and then finally giving up entirely and purchasing a new car– so then there was the stress of car switching, as well as finances. And the end of the week culminated with plans changing umpteen times and not enough sleep. I was truly ready to skip celebrating and fall asleep early on New Years, which is saying something because I’m NEVER asleep before midnight. However, I’d promised to go to a friend’s party, so off I went.

I knew a few people, and of course, I was my usual wallflower self — which I really do enjoy, I might add. I feel I make a rather pretty wallflower. Or… something. But watching our small crowd dancing like fools and enjoying themselves, chatting with new and old friends when they were too tired to dance, helping with cooking, listening to the babble and chatter– it was an aura of infectious exuberance. By the end of the night, I’d even been dragged into dancing a little, albeit after things had calmed some.

We spent the first day of the year in such a comfortable fellowship, enjoying a late breakfast and chatting with slug-a-beds ensconced in blankets, and walking to the park where we all sprawled in a circle in the grass laughing and listening to children laugh. At the end we even hopped a low fence and picked our way from rock to rock in a verdant gully of watercress and mud (in which I nearly lost my shoe when I chose a particularly deceiving bit of ground which swallowed my foot and ankle.) We laughed and explored and I was glorious with my girly ballet flats mud plastered and sprouting crushed bits of green.

In our last hour before leaving, we contemplated the approaching year. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but there really is a lot to come. I think it is a year of changes. For one thing, I have just purchased a car. That’s a major financial decision, which is going to change many things. But with that added stress, I will also have added security and even a few luxuries. Also, Koby is graduating in April, and his choices and career paths will affect mine. It’s possible I could move out and get a full-time job. And maybe, now that he’s so close to graduation, there is more to hope for. Maybe. It could be a big year.

And thus, with so much exuberance (I couldn’t help but be caught up in it) and so many hopes, I feel I can afford to be a bit prodigal in my resolutions. Even if in the back of my head, I’m hearing Lumiere suggesting “Promises you don’t intend to keep,” I am shushing that voice. At this moment, I have every intention of fulfilling them. The rational part of my brain can occupy itself with finances while I take a moment to scrawl a few bold promises.

  1. One blog post a week (Wednesdays perhaps?) even if some of them are about past artistic activities I never managed to chronicle. I intend to make use of the scheduled publishing feature and time travel a bit.
  2. More regular art– whether mixed media, jewelry, sewing, or writing. I need something to post about, don’t I? The challenge is this is I hope to settle on a weekly quota of time or else finished pieces. The specifics still require thought.
  3. Related to that is that I want to limit my spending on art materials by only using materials I already have. I have a few exceptions– refilling or replenishing something exhaustible (glue?), procuring small item needed for a particular project (thread?), and indulging in the 7 Gypsies’ Binderie Punch I’ve been waiting to come back into stock so I can finish a certain project. But in general, no new supplies! I have enough projects waiting to be finished, or worse, started.
  4. A corollary of the above– watch my spending in general. I have more financial responsibilities to think of, and I should have been saving more all along anyhow. Less eating out, less art supplies, more use of the library.
  5. Exercise on the treadmill or Wii fit at least 2 hours a week. It might be a trick of the eye, but I’m feeling a bit curvier in the wrong places. Someday those wrong places need to go in a fancy white dress. I’d rather they look photo-worthy when that time comes.
  6. Maintain better contact with people. This means gathering addresses, writing letters, making phone calls, smoke signals and what-have-you.
  7. Keep a written journal. While I am not going to hold myself to daily writings, I’m hoping I can train myself to write in one most days. It would likely jumpstart my creativity, and if nothing else, provide fodder for art journal pages.
  8. Read more books from my ever-growing list of to-read and to-read-again. A few include the rest of the Wheel of Time series, a whole slew of other fantasy, Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Lord of the Rings, and a host of old favorites I’m itching to reread.
  9. Find a third job for now (Starbucks maybe?) and look into a full-time job.

Overly ambitious much? Just a smidge. But as I said, I was feeling prodigal.


Postdated: Easter Crafts

I don’t normally get into holiday crafts, but I saw Alisa Burke’s post about her lovely canvas wrapped easter eggs, and wanted to try my own. Over my students’ spring break, I needed a craft, and as the canvas might have been a little much (just for materials and time, if nothing else) so I improvised. I did the same project with two 4th grade students, and they each made a handful of great looking eggs. The two I finished were done alongside my students, and the last one I ran out of time to decorate. I may do more eggs later, holiday or not!

Three Eggs

This one is my favorite:

Green Egg

How did I make them? Pretty simple.

1. Take a plastic egg, and decoupage with tissue paper and white glue.

2. When sufficiently covered, decoupage other colors if needed.

3. Glue decorations such as rhinestones, buttons, sequins, flowers, etc.

4. Let dry.

Tada! Pretty Easter egg!


Not Actually Missing

Much as it might appear I’ve been neglecting the site, it isn’t so. I just have been neglecting the blog portion, and for a good reason. I have been working on a gallery of my work. Previously, I did have a gallery of my ATCs, though there were issues with it. For one, it was difficult to update. Also… I haven’t done many ATCs in this last year. There were also various mistakes in the format. After THREE WEEKS (I kid you not) of grueling work with html, and no small amount of griping and tears, I have finally completed my gallery. Look at the shiny tab above! See? That wasn’t there before. Granted, turns out, I did leave something out. *facepalm* Oh well. Give me a few days.

In this process, it has become clear to me that I have outgrown Wordpress. It’s lovely for what it is, and I’d still totally recommend it to the casual blogger, but I have had little annoyances here and there for awhile. Now, trying to put together an attractive and efficient display of my work in hopes of making art more than just a hobby, I realized I will probably need to find a different server, one that doesn’t limit which html I can and cannot use, and allows CSS (which… I don’t actually know yet, but clearly need to learn). Also, as I have no extra money, it needs to be free, or very verycheap. At the very least, until my art actually earns anything. I’m willing to renegotiate that if it contributes to it’s own room and board, so to speak.

At any rate, during all this grueling work and frustration, there were still crafts done here and there, either due to the holiday, craft nights with friends, or swapbot swaps (of which I overwhelmed myself with in the beginning of the month– oops!). There are also a few art related things rattling in my head that I’ve wanted to ramble about. However, if I was on wordpress, my energy went first to the gallery.

That said, expect some updates on various April activities in the next week.


Pondering the Why of Failure

Today, I’ve been just a little too sick to get much done, which is fairly demoralizing. It should take more than a sniffle to derail my plans. However, after a few small errands, I found myself wanting to curl up and sleep at work, and realized the likelihood of me getting anything done was slim. I’ve thus spent my evening perusing various online distractions, mostly art related.

During my perusing, I noticed a trend in the pieces I was drawn to:  all of them had tightly clustered bunches of collage. And then I thought back to where things went wrong last night. It was fine when I was getting ready to glue, but by the time I had more than a smidgen of paint, it went down-hill. So… maybe I’m overusing the paint? I’m still not sure how to proceed from here (or when I’ll have the energy) but I’m open to thoughts. Do I overuse paint? How can I incorporate this “collage cluster” thing that seems to appeal to me? And just what does one do about a yucky page?


I’m back (but off to a slow start)

Well, my distraction was forcibly removed via school. His spring break ended, and thus, there was no avoiding it. I am back, and ready to go!

Sorta…

For one, I’m sick. Not miserably sick, but tired, chained to a tissue box, and unhappy with the medicine I bought (note to self: the placebo effect is NOT always effective, even with real medicine!) For awhile, I resorted to sticking bits of tissues in my nose just so I could focus on my work and not be distracted. It was awkward, at best, but helpful for a short time.

Second, the momentum I had a week ago has come to a dead halt. I was afraid this was going to happen, and so I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, but I had this hope that I would be able to jump back in and get a running start as if it was nothing. As if!

Finally, I am missing him, and frankly, just a bit mopey. Ok, a LOT mopey. After nine days of his near constant presence, I am in withdrawal. I feel more like myself when I am with him, more like I can do anything. At a distance, it works to an extent, but the initial shock always leaves me feeling pretty low.

Despite the slow start, I am not at a standstill. While he was here, I was as mentioned, QUITE distracted. But a few creative things did happen.

We took a walk, infiltrating SDSU’s campus in search of the rumored Dick Blick store residing there. After an hour, we found it. And it was closed. As I’m only in the area on Sundays, it won’t be an option like I was hoping, but the walk was pretty, and the peek in the windows made me drool.

While we were out, I photographed as many trees as I could (and continued throughout the week) and I hope to use them in a future project, inspired by an a piece I hope I can find again so I can give credit. Who knows when it will actually come to fruition, but nonetheless, the photos were taken.

During his visit, I sought his technical/handyman skills to help me construct a simple solution to a desk dilemma. I now have a shelf just below the desktop for newspaper and wax paper to reside, ever handy for painting. Though hardly fancy (plywood and miniature curtain rods) it will make my life much simpler and help me keep organized, which is an ongoing effort. Also, now I have extra plywood. I haven’t a clue what I am going to do with it, as I can barely hammer, and can’t saw at all.

On the subject of organizing, I got a good amount done on Friday, before he arrived. I can’t say it was the wisest choice, as organization projects turn a simple cleaning effort into an all day (and then some) project, but nonetheless, I’m glad it was done. It is so much nicer now. It’s not finished, but the remaining parts are pending a few purchases.

Joann’s slipped about a billion coupons into my bag on a previous visit, good for this week. Thus, I decided that, over a few trips, I would pick up two or three scrapbook paper boxes for collage paper. I figured it should be simple enough– find a box, or maybe, if the right size, a drawer thing, apply coupon, and then repeat the next night. Oh, how wrong I was. The most available box was “on sale” for $16.99. Are you kidding? I was hoping for half that BEFORE I applied the coupon. I looked at drawer things. Both possibilities were too tall for the space I have available. I scoured the whole store, and finally found a decent and relatively affordable box. At least it won’t (shouldn’t…) be as difficult to get another tomorrow when I visit with yet another coupon. Hopefully, once I get the boxes, my space will be more organized, and it will be simpler to access collage materials. Any tips on organizing would be appreciated though!

Currently, I am working on a journal page about how I responded on an emotional level to him leaving (cheesy, I know). Identifying the cause helped me at least partially bypass a low mood. I was going to finish the page first, then post, but I had to be realistic. Photographing it will be a pain, and just that much worse at night. I’m better off posting in the morning. I plan to finish before bed. Also, depending on how my energy lasts, and how much I get done, I may do a little work on my Wish Journal, as that was set aside when he arrived. I am determined to finish it!


Reserving the right to be unavailable

I’ve been on a roll artistically, but… that is going to have to go on hold for the time being. Why, you ask? A very very good reason. My biggest supporter is on spring break and staying for a whole week. Now, you’d think that would mean more productivity, wouldn’t you? Well, it just so turns out that he’s also my biggest distraction, haha.

So, actual artwork production will likely only occur while he’s sleeping or working on homework. But fear not! My mind is still going about a million miles an hour in terms of creativity, and he’s always up for the whimsical sorts of things, so I’m sure we’ll do creative things this week, perhaps building things, or taking pictures. Its really only the paintbrushes and whatnot that will be lonely. I will do my best to post this week before bedtime, either on progress on the wish journal, other projects, or just personal thoughts on relevant subjects. Maybe on my workspace reorganization (and the foolishness of trying to do that as part of the pre-company cleaning). Perhaps I’ll write about handy digital tools that help in my creative process, one way or another. Who knows.  I promise I WILL write something.

In the meantime– oh how I love him!