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Choices

What brought me here today:

Growing my small art-based business requires changes. We decided a year ago that I would need to move my website to another platform. I feel as though I’ve ourgrown my current platform. This feels like a natural evoution. Word Press and WooCommerce have allowed me to comfortably dip my toes into selling my artwork online. I’ve learned a lot. And discovered that there are things that I want/need to do that exceed Word Press and WooCommerce’s capabilities.

Research:

I remember as a child, my parents would consult Consumer Reports magazine when thinking about a large purchace. Cars and large applances were well-researched before a final decision was made. I don’t know if they still print a magazine. They do have a website though. I take some comfort in that. As a kid, the magazine wasn’t tremendously interesting to me. But knowing that my parents did research before laying out their hard-earned cash made an impression on me.

My own research into website platforms lead me to NerdWallet. They have several different posts comparing and contrasting web platforms. I’ve always found these kinds of visuals to be informative. And a little conforting. I’m a person who begins to get lost in the swirls of computery language. Most of which I do not have the best grasp of. Many times I have to write down questions that I then ask my husband. He has a much, much better grasp of all the website and computer lingo than I do.

Choices:

Man. There are a lot of website platforms out there! Some of which I’d not heard of before reading about them on NerdWallet. I thought that I would just look at some of the larger e-commerce platforms that I’ve seen some of my fellow artists use, like Big Cartel and Shopify. My intention was to compare them to Squarespace and WooCommerce to see what I have now. And what I want for a future online shop.

I kind of went down a rabbit hole. There’s part of me that just cannot just say “I will get that one.” without doing some research. These sites will cost me some hard-earned money. And I want to get the best individual fit for my specific needs. No one platform is going to be able to do that. I know that now. Especially after going through so many platforms!

Requirements:

Before saying committing to any platform, I needed to know what I wanted and needed. I like having my blog and my online shop on the same platform. My husband and I discussed several different alternatives. None of which I liked. Rather, none of which felt ‘right’ to me. I know that feelings shouldn’t matter in this kind of decision. But I’m going to be spending a lot of time with the new platform. And I want to make sure I’m comfortable with it. That I like it. Well, perhaps like is too strong a word. I should be able to use it with a certain level of comfort and ease, perhaps?

I also require a rather large chunk of storage space for my images. Most of the items that I put into my shop have between two and five images per item. At any given point, I have quite a few (read: “between 5 and 50”) items in my online shop. With more sold items that are taking up storage space as well. The more storage space the better for someone like me then!

A new platform is also needed so that I can have a more professional face online. I’ve felt for a while now that I’m kind of at the ‘kiddie table’ with my current online presence. A better fuctioning webite and online shop will go a long way in making me look and feel more professional.

Big Cartel is a no:

The first platform I decided to pass on is Big Cartel. Which is kind of a shame. It’s advertised as a great place for artist to sell their artwork. But I think I’m not the right kind of fit for Big Cartel as an artist. Many of the artists have things for sale like posters, clothing, pins, jewelry, stickers, etc. They have an item in stock that is easily (allowing for varying definitions of easy) replicated. Print more posters and stickers. Make more pairs of earrings. Etc.

There are a lot of artists I follow selling their work on Big Cartel. But it just doesn’t feel right to me. There’s limit on how many photos I can post with an item. And the limit on the numbers of items I can post. These were deal breakers enough for me. Not being able to have my blog and online shop on the same platform sealed my no.

There’s also the graphic designer in me. I just didn’t like any of the layouts. The idea I would think is that the artwork should be front and center. With the platform interface being low-key visually. If you know me, I’m anything BUT low-key from the visual standpoint.

Shopify is a no:

The prices alone made Shopify a no for me. Well, to be honest that wasn’t the only reason. I don’t move enough product to justify spending the money to have my online shop through Shopify. I did like that they had a ton of different payment methods available. Not to mention a ton of great tools to use. The storage offered is excellent as well. I’m just not selling enough artwork. I’d be in the red after my first month.

Wix, Duda and Weebly:

As of right now, Wix is still in the maybe category. As well as Weebly. Duda I eliminated because there are some extra fees on top of the regular plans that make it too expensive for me right now. Weebly is still in the running because I’ve used their Square reader to sell my work in person. It was extremely easy to set-up and use. I like the online tools that come with it as well. Their cut isn’t egregious either (2.6% plus 10 cents per swipe).

With Wix or Weebly I would still have to link to a separate platform for my blog. Part of the reason I’m not discounting these two platforms is because having a separate online shop and blog may be the best option for me. Shopify doesn’t have a blog and online shop combo, but the prices were enough to eliminate it from the possible choices for me.

Zyro and Strikingly:

Zyro is still in the maybe pile. I need to look a little closer at what the platform has to offer. The prices are in my range. And unlimited storage and 70+ payment methods is something I like. I can also have an imperial crap-tonne of items on my website. They’re running a promotion right now with some excellent price cuts. Sometimes things like that make me skeptical. I’m going to do some more research on the platform anyway.

Strikingly is platform that I’ve never heard of before. They have some text on their font page about building a brand and conquering the world. I’m not sure I’m down for that. I want to sell my artwork. Make some money. And be left alone. ANYWAY. I need to take a closer look at how the individual websites go together. Strikingly makes some promises about it being super-easy to create a website. This always makes me suspicious.

Squarespace:

Before I started doing any research on a new platform, Squarespace had already been planted in my head. They advertise everywhere. I was hearing about Squarespace while still living in Finland. The ads popped-up all the time when I was listening to podcasts and music. I suppose that’s good advertising. It got inside of my head without my even knowing it.

Squarespace seems to be the 800 lb. gorilla in this arena. They’re well established and rather beefy. I’m not super-crazy about some of the designs. But I can get over it. I will have a little finessing here and there. The plan I want is within my budget. There’s unlimited storage too.

Squarespace is the only platform that gives me an option to have my online shop and my blog together. That’s checking off one of the things I really, really, really wanted. My husband thinks I’m a little nutty I’m sure. We had a discussion about this need/want of mine. He’s very much a man who wants to streamline processes. I just like having all the processes I control in one place. That could be two processes or twenty.

When I explained to him why I wanted my blog and online shop in the same place, he understood. It’s not how he would do things. But he gets it.

So, now what?

Well…I have some more research to do. And I need to sit down and discuss things with Berin. I’m not saying that I can’t do this myself. I want his opinions and suggestions. Bouncing ideas and plans around is what he and I do well. I’m not trying to play stupid or anything. I’m not requiring my husband to mansplain all the hard computer things to me. I’ve been working on computers for over 30 years. I’m just no expert.

And with that said, I’m going to go make some artwork with my hands.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

*NerdWallet has a lot of advice and comparisons to offer. They compare and contrast things like insurace, student loans, travel, banking, credit cards, mortgages, etc. Everyone needs to research and find the best products and services for their own unique situation. This site has some good info to help you make good decisions for your own individual needs.

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Sick

What brought me here today:

I’ve been sick for ten days. We were scheduled to get our third dose of the vaccine on the day my temperature spiked. My husband became sick about twenty-four hours after me. We had been isolating for almost two weeks because we didn’t want to get sick and miss our booster shots. It probably is covid. And it was more than likely brought into our building by someone our neighbour invited over. This kinda pisses me off. A lot.

We’ve consulted friends of ours that are licenced medical professionals. They’re pretty sure it’s covid. Again, this pisses me off. I’m glad we got the vaccine, because I wouldn’t want to be sicker than I was during the first 72 hours. I’m at the point now where I’m just annoyed at the persistant cough, fatigue, and lower-abdominal aspects. Working from home does give us a lot of time and space to deal with being sick. But it still sucks, just in a new way.

In the before times:

Being sick makes going to a job outside the home more of a really crummy challenge. As a public school teacher, I would dose myself up with cold medicine to the gills before teaching.  None of the medications did anything to make me actually recover more quickly. They just masked the symptoms so I could muddle through my day at about 40% my usual abilities. I hated taking cold medicines and having to teach. The medicine either make me fall asleep, or feel like I had bugs crawling under my skin.

But that’s one of the biggest differences between being sick in the US and being sick in Finland. In the US, you’re just expected to work while you’re ill. There were times as a teacher I went to school with a temperature of 102 because I had to. I can tell you that I made one class of students cry because of this. And the rest of my teaching that day wasn’t productive at all. I was a warm, sick body to watch the students while the classroom teacher got some prep-time.

I remember at the beginning of my teaching career, a principal told me to stay home if I had a fever. By the end of a decade of teaching, even emergency surgery wasn’t a good enough reason for me to take my alloted sick days. I knew that it was time to leave after that. If I was being expected to give everything to a job that was not going to support me when I needed it. It was time to leave.

Suomessa ollessan:

Berin and I were sick maybe twice while living in Finland. I caught something in February 2019 that knocked me down for almost three weeks. During that time, I took Bisolvon tablets for coughs, and Fexorin for congestion. Neither one of these made me sleep or gave me the creepy-crawlies. The Bisolvon let me cough up all the yucky crud in my lungs, and the Fexorin allowed to breathe more normally. In addition to the OTC remedies, I drank lots of tea with lemon and honey or tar syrup, took steamy showers, and rested.

Yeah. I rested. OTC’s like Day and Ni-quil aren’t a thing in Finland. There were plenty of other options at the Apteeki, like Bisolvon and Fexorin. But the idea that a person needs to ingest OTC’s so that they can go to school or work while they are still actively sick is not something the Finns do. If you’re sick. Stay home. Rest. And if you’re not getting better, go see your doctor. Get treatment or medication if you require it. Oh, and still take the time to rest too. Then come back to work or school.

Being sick now:

Getting sick right now is just pissing me off. The difference is that I’m the only person working on my business plans. Again, I’m fortunate to work from home like my husband. What stinks is that my being sick is dictating what I’m able to do during my regular work day. There have been several days where I’m fine in the morning. But need a long nap in the afternoon because I’m just exhausted. This may not seem like a big deal, but it just crushes my productivity. And when I’m not working on something creative, I’m not a contented person.

I’ve been plugging away at pieces and parts of my Patreon launch. It’s the one big thing I want up and functioning by the 4th of February. I’m itching to get this thing up and off the ground. Being sick is making me second guess myself. Part of me feels as though a launch that’s anything less than perfect will be doomed to failure. (Insert eye roll here.) The launch will not be perfect. That’s okay. There is plenty that I plan on building upon as my Patreon project progresses.

The elephant in the room:

I have to admit that being sick at 51 is way different than being sick at 31. Parts of getting older can suck more than others. Being sick is one of them.  Berin laughed at me when I made reference to this fact the other day. He’s older than I am, and in considerably more chronic pain than me.

In addition to having gotten the vaccine for covid, we also got flu shots a few months ago. That decision was made because of our age. We now have some medical coverage squared away too. Now I can look into getting the shingles vaccine. I promised my father I would get that jab when the time came. He had shingles and said it was some of the worst pain he’d ever felt. I inherited his dyshidrosis, and had a wicked-bad case of chicken pox as a child. It stands to reason that shingles are in my future.

Gee. So much to look forward to. I’ve already turned into one of those people who spends ages talking about their physical maladies to perfect strangers. (Insert another eye roll here.) Getting older just kinda snuck up on me.

So, now what?

I continue working. Albeit, while having to wrestle with fatigue and lower-intestinal matters as they arise. The vaccines and boosters are totally, completely 100% worth it. Berin and I will continue social distancing and wearing a face mask when we are out in public places with people too.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Bottled-Up

What brought me here today:

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about the most recent group of dolls that I’ve been creating. Their collective name for the time being is ‘bottle dolls’. The three largest are Eugenie, Phyllis, and Sondra. I then created three additional dolls, Clarisse, Nadia, and Doreen. These three are slightly smaller dolls. Georgie, Liza, and Jane are close to completion. And I’ve decided that they too shall have a base, with a clear, plastic drink bottle as a cloche.

There have been some questions regarding my use of the clear, plastic drink bottles as cloches. One commenter felt as though the use of the plastic bottles detracted from all of the work I put into the dolls themselves. Another very kindly sent me links to businesses where I could purchase a wide variety of cloches, both plastic and glass. The suggestions offered to me regarding my choice to specifically use plastic bottles as cloches for my artwork were all taken in the spirit of kindness that they were offered.

That being said, I do want to make sure that not only I can explain my materials usage to viewers and patrons of my artwork. But also to help me make sense out of my choice other than a it-felt-right-so-I-did-it kind of way. After all, my artwork is not only my therapy, but a means for me to make money.

Expense:

My use of the recycled plasic drink bottles as cloches is cheap. Free, to be exact. I’ve saved the plastic bottles that I thought would make the most interesting cloches for my artwork. The lables were removed. And the plastic cleaned inside and out. A little measuring and cutting was required to remove a small portion of the bottom of each bottle so they would sit flat on a base. It took me around half an hour to get the cloches for the three large dolls measured and cut.

I could choose to purchase newly manufactured plastic cloches. But I feel as though I’d simply be helping to create more plastics that won’t/cannot be recycled by doing so. There are jobs for people that I would also be supporting if I bought newly manufactured plastic cloches. The people who make th cloches, pack and ship them, etc. Then there are the shop owners that I would help to support as well. But that kind of seems like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Someone will have to pay for all the plastic use at some point.

Recycling:

My husband and I recycle. I’ve been a recycler since my early 20’s living in Indianapolis. O’Malia’s grocery store downtown had glass and metal recycling bins that were super-convenient to use. It was my father who first told me that I needed to start recycling. He was an avid recycler who kept his recycling bins neat and organized. I still remember him hollering at me because he could tell by the sound of the metal clanking together that I’d put an aluminum soda can in the steel can bin!

His interest in recycling came after he read some articles and research about modern landfills and how they do not allow the refuse (that will break-down, like paper) within them to actually biodegrade. There’s not enough air for the organisms needed to do the breaking down of the trash. My father showed me photos of core samples taken from landfills in the 70’s showing completely readable newspapers, packaging, etc.

Recycled, plastic drink bottles are everywhere. I know that some plastics are recyclable. But let’s face it, not enough of them actually are recycled. You can take a look at this information from the EPA to see how much plastic ends up in landfills in the US alone. It will take a lot more action by the government to change this. But until the corporations decide to change what they sell, and how they package it, plastic recycling will be a problem.

Influence:

Explaining the meaning of using a clear, plastic drink bottle cloche is either going to make me sound like a pompous self-centered windbag. Or it may end up sounding like much ado about nothing (in particular). Either way, here we are. And I need to make some bit of sense out of it at least for myself.

I’ve talked previously about some of the dolls that have influenced my artwork as a doll maker. Liddle Kiddles were a series of dolls marketed in the US during the mid 60’s to beginning of the 70’s. I don’t know if I was given my first Liddle Kiddle dolls, or if I simply took them from my older sister. As a toddler, I had some pretty sticky fingers. But I also know that dolls were never a big deal to my sister. She may have just given them to me to get me out of her hair.

There were different series of Liddle Kiddle dolls. The one that I absolutely adored were the Kola Kiddles. Shirley Strawberry was my favourite. I’m not sure why I became so mentally and emotionally attached to these tiny dolls. The ability to adequately explain myself here 48 years later still eludes me. To me, these dolls were just the whole package. They were tiny, cute dolls that had their own little bottles (homes, displays) that kept them safe.

Art school:

When I was in art school, I remember creating a series of drawings and prints (etchings) that were bottles with corks in them. I drew bricks or a cinder blocks inside of the bottles. Granted, it wasn’t incredibly subtle, unique, or even mildly interesting imagery. But for some reason I created quite of few finished pieces utilizing some version of the bottle, brick, and cork.

I think that the reason I created these pieces was due to the fact that I was listening to Reggatta de Blanc a lot. If memory serves, it was glued in the tape deck of my car for most of a summer. This coincided with my (as yet to be diagnosed) clinical depression becoming a larger and harder to ignore component of my mental state. I was beginning to understand how my depressions cycled. And how it made my relationships with friends and family difficult. Any S.O.S. that I might manage to send, might as well be a brick in a bottle. Sending for help was a useless endeavor for me.

Hunting and gathering:

I’ve already talked about how the happiest I remember myself in the past was when I was around 6 years old or so. The world hadn’t gotten it’s hands on me yet and made me loathe myself completely. But even as I write this, the world and all the people and things in it were getting their icky little lingering finger prints all over my sense of self when I was that little girl.

But even while I was in the midst of the not-so-fun-stuff, I still had these little precious pieces of who I was before everything changed. You know, the parts of yourself that you don’t share with anyone. They’re yours and yours alone. And the insanely weird thing is that those precious pieces and their happiness exhisted within the same exact space as the not-so-great-stuff. Which doesn’t seem at all possible. How can a good and bad thing exist within the same space with in my memory? It doesn’t make one part better or worse either. They simply coexist.

My creation of the Bottle Dolls is my attempt to make sense of how the good and bad within my own life can have occurred at the same time. Perhaps I reached out to find something that would be a means to keep my head above the water? That’s a large job for a set of such tiny little dolls to accomplish.

So…uh…

It should be noted that these Bottle Dolls are a long way from being finished. I’ve been working on the text that will accompany each of the dolls. And how I plan to finish the cloches as well as the bases as well. In fact, when I’m finished with this blog post I need to place a wool felt order so I can keep working on them.

So, now what?

I know that my small efforts to be more knowledgible about the tools, materials, and supplies that I use in the creation of my artwork will not make the tiniest dent in this world-wide plastics problem. I’m also completely aware that my artwork, in the long run, isn’t of vast importance in any way that visual art can be important. I know how completely and utterly insignificant I am. However, my artwork allows me the ability to generate a modest income, while keeping me mentally healthy, all without making my carbon footprint larger. This makes me able to sleep a little better at night.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Hello 2022!

What brought me here today:

Today is the first blog post of 2022! It begins the new schedule for my once a week, Friday blog posts. There’s a part of me that feels a little out of practice writing blog posts right now. The words are a little harder to squeeze out of my brain turnip, if that makes any sense!

I enjoyed my holiday time off of regularly scheduled work. There were accomplishments during the holiday. I made some artwork. And I attending to the plans and scheduling of the two big projects that are starting the new year off. Those who follow me on Instagram know that I created a large bulletin board expressly for the implementation of a new website (and online shop) as well as a Patreon.

A place for my plans:

I’m beyond pleased with how my homemade bulletin board turned out! Purchasing one from a store wasn’t an option. Not because of price, or even transportation factors. I made my own because of the walls in our apartment. Our apartment is in a house that was built in the 1880’s. It has lath and plaster walls that we cannot put a nail through. This meant that there was no way that I could hang a commerecially made bulletin board.

I created my bulletin board from two large corrugated cardboard (double thickness), clear packing tape, sticky backed cork sheets, and some sticky backed velcro tape. The size of the board was determined by the size of the sticky backed cork I purchaded. The construction took about an hour. And I used simple tools to make it: ball point pen, tape measure, triangle, metal straight edge, and a large craft knife.

The part of the project that took the longest was applying and then attaching the board to the wall. Removing the protective tape from the velcro was a bit more arduous than I thought it would be. Tweezers were needed to find the edge and pull it up. Then a pair of jewelry pliers were required to separate it from the sticky part of the tape.  I did do some measurement on the wall to make sure the bulletin board wasn’t hung up crooked as well.

Artwork created:

In addition to creating a plan-of-action bulletin board, I also created several dolls. Clarisse, Nadia, and Doreen. They have received stands with cloches made from recycled drink bottles. Larger stands, with larger recycled drink bottles were used for Eugenie, Phyllis, and Sondra. These larger doll stands are covered with felt, while I still need to cover the smaller doll’s stands.

There were three additional dolls created just in the last few days. They only received their names last night too! Georgie, Liza, and Jane. Georgie is the doll with pink hair and sticky-outtie pig tails. Liza has short blue braids. And Jane has mint green, braided buns. My intention is to make tiny poofy pants for all three of these newest dolls. They too shall be receiving a stand with a recycled drink bottle.

I’ve already had some viewers inquire as to the use of a recycled plastic drink bottle instead of a cloche. There are two reasons why I chose the bottle over a more traditional cloche. First, the bottles are part of a the design of the completed piece, i.e., ‘I’ve got artistic reasons for using them’. The second reason is because choches can get stupid expensive. I may use pre-made cloches in future artwork. But for now, I like the recycle plastic drink bottles better.

Events outside:

My husand Berin and I stayed isolated during the holidays. One of the biggest reasons for this is the increase in cases of the Omicron variant. We’ve both had two doses of vaccine. And we’re scheduled for our booster shot in the next week. Neither one of us wants to catch Covid in any of it’s variant forms. So, we’re isolating and keeping our contact with people to a minimum.

Our last outing was on 30 January. I think it kind of ‘sealed the deal’ with regards to thinking about isolating again. I’m glad we did have that outing. Much needed art supplies were purchased, along with other items we had carefully chosen to purchase. We’ve also returned to placing orders for our groceries. The weather has turned cold, windy, and a little snowy. So I’m not bummed at all not to have to slog through it to the grocery store!

I feel like isolating will be for the majority of the month of January. Again, this works no hardship on either of us. We are fortunate to each work from home and can pay our bills doing so. We’re also both a little hermit-like. Prefering to submerge ourselves in our own specific flow states and lose ourselves in our creative work.

Nesting:

Speaking of which, I’m feeling much more connected and nested into my new work space. I’m just calling it “The MIdden”. I wish I had some kind of super-cool name for it ala Kurt Schwitters Merzbau. But Midden seems to work for this specific space at this specific time. Adding elements like the bulletin board have helped me feel like I’m making the space my own.

I’m also finally going through much of the artwork I brought with me. It all needs to be organized and photographed properly. The larger, paper mache pieces also require some repair work as well. Berin surprised me with a new tripod and ring light a few days ago. The mobile phone tail-spin threw me off to such a degree that I haven’t gotten a chance to get thing new light out and take pictures.

“Mobile phone tail-spin”

I love technology. Rather, I love it to a degree. Computers, mobile phones, printers, scanners, digital cameras, etc., are all tools that I need to create the artwork I want to create. It should be known that I see myself as a person who has one foot in the world of technology, with the other foot planted firmly in the realm of ‘not technology’. Perhaps, technological and creative  would be better descriptors of these realms.

I sew and do embroider by hand. My mind is happiest when it’s engaged with my hands in the creation of artwork. It’s the place in my life in which I am most completely myself. I’m also in complete control. Technology is something that I understand (a bit) , but am not in complete control of it. My technological efficacy is somewhat lacking. Therefore technological challenges can frustrate me.

The mobile phone tail-spin occured when my phone (purchased in FInland) three or four years ago began to fail yesterday. It’s old and out of date. I know this! The profits from the holiday pop-up sales were intended to purchase me a new mobile phone! However, between the panic of my phone getting progressively more and more flakey and the INSANE number of mobile phones to choose from, I tested my limited technological efficacy.

What happened?!

After two hours of sifting through mobile phone listings and the endless details of features, I had to have an impromptu nap. I was frustrated and close to crying. It seems like something that would not warrant this kind of reaction. A new mobile phone would cost a chunk of money. I didn’t want to make the wrong choice! Berin came to my rescue. Before crawling under the duvet to escape, I sent Berin a list with some links of phones that I liked.

Berin went through the list and then asked me some questions. After a bit more searching. And a little more questioning, he found me a refurbished, unlocked mobile phone for my needs. And that was within the budget. Long story somewhat longer, my new phone will arrive next week. However, my work day was half gone and I felt like a toddler after a crying jag and a long nap.

So, now what?

What do I always say? It’s time to get back to work. There is so much work that I have to do that it makes my head swim a bit. However I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about the new mobile phone anymore. The rest of my day today will be spent sewing and embroidering. Technology, but from way back in human history.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Holiday

What brought me here today:

This blog post is the last of my regularly scheduled blog posts for this year. I honestly did not realise how close Christmas was getting until the last in-person holiday pop-up sale on the 18th. The on-going pandemic, and my working alone and from home, makes the days just fly by. Once I’m at work, there isn’t a whole lot that distracts me from my work. I wouldn’t eat on a regular schedule if I didn’t have a husband who did all the cooking telling me to come and eat something.

Holiday break:

I had intended to continue writing regular blog posts until the end of the year. But that’s just not going to happen. No one is going to want to read a blog post of mine on Christmas Eve! And I can tell you, I need some time away from certain parts of my work load. There is so much that is coming in the new year. I want to be rested and ready to devote all my time and energies to my two big projects.

I mentioned in last Friday’s blog post that I will be taking a holiday from regular blog posting for the remainder of the year. The first of the new once weekly blog posts will begin on 6 January 2022. This new schedule will go a long way in streamlining my overall work load. The first few months of 2022 are going to be packed with so much work that needs to be done. I want to make sure I’m up to the challenge.

Other bits and bobs:

I’m not only taking a holiday from regular blog posting, but from my regular social media postings as well. Long-time readers know that I post every day on Instagram. Posts are created for my personal account, and for the Go Marielle account. Insta-Stories are also created and posted. There are also Twitter accounts for myself and for Marielle that need to be tended to daily. And then there are my Pinterest and Imgur accounts that require my attentions.

Posting and attending to these platforms usually takes about two hours of my morning every day of the week. That’s on a good day. If there are posts that have to be built it can take longer. I try to work one week out for the Go Marielle daily posts. The same can be said of Insta-Story posts regarding online shop updates and other announcements. Sometimes a file becomes corrupted and I have to recreate it. These are the days when just making my regular daily posts can take three or four hours.

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’:

Regular posting to social media and my blog posts are just a small part of my working day. I try hard to keep my social media presence regular. We all know how much the Algorithm likes that! That all being said, doing the computer-based portion of my daily work is not my favourite. I’d much rather be physically creating artwork. Or planning and designing new pieces that I would like to create.

My holiday break from daily posting will give me some much desired, uninterrupted time to work. Even though I sell some of my artwork, the creating of it is still my daily therapy. The current pieces that I’m working on I would like to finish during this short break between today and the 6th of January.

Sporatic is the correct term:

That all being said, I will be posting here and there on social media. I also know that I will be writing one more blog post before the end of the month as well. Whatever I post will be done because I want to. Not because I’m sticking to my usual daily work schedule.

So now what?

After I post this blog post, I will return to working on the three newest dolls (in pinks and greens) I started yesterday. I need to get their faces embroidered. Then their arms and legs put together. OH! And their hair sewn on too! These three newest dolls will be receiving plastic bottle domes and stands like Eugenie, Phyllis, and Sondra.

I also have some things I want to do in my studio. Organising and decorating mostly. These tasks aren’t exciting, but they need doing. And I’m strangely looking forward to them.

Thank you for reading! Happy Holidays, and I will see you again soon!

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Experiments

What brought me here today:

Regular visitors to my Instagram (katie_kinsman_artist) know that I’ve been working on three dolls since the 5th of December. Part of the impetus to create them was the sale of Honey. She was another 12 cm doll with a stand. Honey was the last doll I created in Finland before we returned to the US.

I missed Honey’s presence in my art midden. Or at least I think so. There were some ideas that I’d been wanting to try out for quite some time too. I didn’t start out to specifically created three dolls. It just happened that way. The only colour I specifically chose was the light blue. The peach and buttery yellow coloured felt were chosen because they were not blue.

Experiments:

It may not look like it, but there is always something that’s experimental within each of the dolls I create. It’s rare that I continue creating a series of pieces without experimenting. Some experimentation is simply for fun. I wonder what will happen if I do this? There are times in which I find an interesting material. I want to see how the new material will interact with my current techniques for construction, so I try it.

There have been some experiments in which I’m combining techniques in a new way. This is evident in the wings I created for the Niittykejuja dolls. I used a printmaking technique called dry point. The image is scratched or cut into the surface. Those scratches hold the ink that is transferred to the paper during the printing process.  For the niittykejuja doll wings, I scratched the lines. Then daubed on paint. I removed some paint. Then allowed the plastic to dry. I did this several times to achieve the desired affect.

It’s important to remember that not all of my experiments actually work. There are times in which I can disguise the failed experimental portions of my work. At least enough so that they don’t bother me very much. I so dislike wasting supplies, materials and time though. Sometimes I just need some time away from a failed experiement so that I can see how to fix or disquise it.

Multiple heads:

It’s easy to see the experiementation with the number of heads of the three dolls I’m working on. Eugenie has four heads. The heads are stacked so that they all face forward. And range in size from large to tiny. I could have made each of the heads face a different direction. Or have a different expression. I thought about a different set of hairdos for Eugenie’s heads. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it without first attaching the heads together. This will make creating the hairdos difficult.

Sondra also has three additional heads. I had a much different configuration in mind when I started. I landed on the one that she has because I just wanted to see if it would work. Because I changed the way in which I attached the heads, I also needed to change the hairdos. I decided on the sticky-uppy pigtails in the end. Again, I just wanted to see how it would look. I like it much better than what I originally had planned for Sondra.

Phyllis didn’t have much experimentation with the heads. Her hairdo was the experiment. Creating multiple, stacking heads with two hair buns each is something I’d not tried before. Eugenie has long braids that were wrapped into side buns. They’re easy. The hair buns for Phyllis required me to create some of the tiniest hair buns I’ve created for any doll. They also required me to make sure that the way in which I stacked and attached the heads left room for each set of buns on the head below it.

Wire:

There’s no way to see what I’ve changed on the inside of each doll. I don’t seem to take any pictures of the adding of the wire process for my Instagram either. Perhaps it’s equal parts not exciting, and wishing to keep a few construction details to myself. There’s also the fact that the way in which I create the wire inserts is something I feel as though other artists would find clunky. Or perhaps super-crappy and cheap.

I’ve tried different types of wire in the past. I like armature wire a lot. However, it’s a little bulky for what I want to use it for. I’ll know I can find something smaller. As much as I hate it, Amazon has smaller gauge armature wire. Armature wire is easier to bend. It’s not as hard on my hands either. But the biggest plus is that it’s aluminum. This means it won’t rust or corrode.

Painting:

I’ve been wanting to experiment with adding paint to the surfaces of my felt dolls for quite a while. While living in FInland, I just couldn’t afford wool and wool-blend felts to work with. I used acrylic and viscose felts instead. The Thinner viscose felts can take paints and dyes. I did experiment with thinned acrylic paints. I created abstract compositions using cardboard and plastic recyclables to ‘stamp’ designs onto the viscose felt. This was done prior to piecing the felt for the doll. I liked the end results very much.

Acrylic felt is essentially plastic. This means that the felt doesn’t ‘take’ the paint very well. I guess I should really say, acrylic felt doesn’t ‘take’ the paint the way that I want it to. I found my previous experiments with acylic felt and acrylic paint not to my liking. An oil paint might have worked better. But I didn’t have any. Nor any inclination to spend precious resources on something that “might” work.

For Eugenie, Phyllis, and Sondra, I painted the surface of the dolls after I’d sewn them together. This was more like working in the round. I used watered down acrylic paints to add the different splotches and slpoots of colour on the surface skin of each doll. Because the doll parts were already sewn together, they soaked-up the watered down paint like a sponge. I used at least three colours on each doll. I liked the effect of depth I got with Eugenie’s blues and violets.

What’s next for them?

The three dolls are almost completed. What that really means is that thier outfits and hairdos are almost completed. I’m itching to get started on their mounts and displays. All of the pieces for the mounts and displays are on hand. Hopefully I can start them next week. As much as I’m looking forward to creating the mounts and displays, I wonder how they will be recieved. But isn’t that the way it goes when creating and then showing artwork to an audience? Will people like it? Or will they just be ignored?

House-keeping news:

A reminder to those who read my blog;  my last regularly scheduled blog post of the year will be on 21 December. I will be posting on social media, but not regularly. I had intended to only take a week off, but I really want some completely un-interrupted time to spend with my husband enjoying the holidays. It will also be nice to just sit down and work on some projects as well.

Last holiday pop-up sale:

I’ll also be participating in my last in-person sale of the year tomorrow! I’ll be at Books & Bagels from 1-4 pm with all kinds of different dolls and holiday ornaments for sale. All of the items I sell during these pop-up sales have a discounted price too! If you’re in the area, stop by and see me!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again on Tuesday.

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Art Museum

What brought me here today:

Last Sunday, Berin and I went to the Delaware Art Museum. It was our first trip to this museum. It’s free admission on Sunday. The busses don’t run on Sunday to that particular part of Wimington, so we walked. It was around 6 kilometers (approx. 3 miles)  round trip. It was a nice sunny day for a walk. It was a little windy though. My windbreaker kept me nice and warm during our time outside walking.

I didn’t realise how incredibly convenient the centrally located museums were in Jyväskylä until now. The Jyväskylän Taidemuseo and the Suomen Käsityön Museo are both less than an American city block’s distance from where the #12 bus would let me off downtown. Fridays were free museum days. With the central location, Berin and I were very frequent museum visitors. We didn’t have a lot of money, but many times purchases small items, like postcards, from the gift shop. This helped us feel like we were contributing at least a little to the museums financially.

The Delaware Art Museum is a lovely museum. It’s beautifully situated and has had larger, more modern wings (galleries) added. I was quite impressed with the exhibits that they had to offer currently. As well as the other fascillities, like the gift shop and cafe. The staff were all welcoming and helpful as well. Free Sunday admissions continue through the end of this month*. Berin and I will be walking to the museum for the next two Sundays to re-visit exhibitions and to see what we haven’t gotten to see yet.

Amazing exhibit:

There were exhibits that Berin and I are eager to see again. One is Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks. I don’t think I can adequately put into words how incredibly amazing this exhibit is. There’s an array of styles and mediums that are so, so, so impressive. I’m personally drawn to the more modern styles, of which there are just breath-takingly sublime offerings. Humbert Howards work in particular evokes a physical response from me. I would like to purchase a poster of his painting Black Orpheus (1969) for our apartment.

This exhibit is a recreation of the Wilmington Armory show in 1971. Originally, Percy Ricks approached the Delaware Art Museum to show the exhibit in 1971. The museum didn’t even respond to him. The exhibit went ahead and was shown at the Armory in the Little Italy neighbourhood in Wilmington. Here’s an eye-opening  article from NPR with more of the history of the exhibit. I recommend reading it. The amazing contributions to visual art that so many Black MUST be acknowledged. And made part of the historical artistic record!

Belonging and separation:

I cannot remember a time in which I didn’t feel at home in an art museum. From an incredibly early age, I went to museums with my parents and family. These trips were integral in helping me to become the artist and art teacher that I am today. My eyes opened to different places, people, and time periods. All in a way that was unique to visual art mediums. I love strolling through galleries filled with artwork made by other artists. Getting to see what’s inside their creative minds. I’m surrounded by kindred minds and spirits of fellow artists.

As I’ve grown older, the feeling of belonging has becomed tempered with a feeling of distance. A feeling of belonging and separation at the same time is hard to explain. I don’t know that I can adquately explain it even to myself. Sometimes I think it’s merely the venue of the museum that’s creating these conflicting feelings. But I’m not sure.

Experiences will differ:

Being a visitor to an art museum is a different experience for every individual. Dewey’s Art as Experience covers a lot of how individuals react and interact with art. The book is not an easy read. I love Dewey too. But man! This book is a hard chew! I’m more drawn to Duchamp’s explanation of art interaction. Badly paraphrased it goes something like this: art changes according to the person viewing it.

As an art creator, I have working knowledge of many different artistic mediums. When I look at a lithograph I have practical experience. Stone lithography is something that I’ve personally done. I have the ability to actually feel what it’s like to grind a stone down. The sweet, oily smell of the ink. How the press feels when I turn the press wheel. The little ‘thunk’ noise that can happen when you’ve cranked a little too far, and the roller comes off the stone. All of this adds to my overall personal experience of the art before even considering the image or object I’m looking at.

All of these viseral reactions are a part of how I personally experience that art in museums. It can help me connect with an artist and their work. While at the same time making me question why my own art work will never be considered good enough or relavent enough to be be displayed in a museum. OH! Then my imposter syndrome kicks into high gear. All these emotions make me feel like a fat, whiny baby. And then I want to go home and crawl into my art midden to hide.

I should have gone left at Albuquerque:

I’m a person who has made art history and the creation of art a central part of my life. It should be no wonder that I do think about how or even if I become at least a very minor artist footnote. Maybe. Perhaps. I don’t know. Then I get thinky about what will happen to my artwork in the future. This is when I become mentally axle-wrapped and write a blog post about how going to a local art museum has given me a tiny existential crisis.

So…now what?

I’m sitting in my art midden right now writing this blog post. I’m surrounded by my artwork and art supplies. My chair is comfortable. I’m wearing my super-cute teddy bear socks to keep my feet warm. There’s a sunny day outside of my window. When I’m finished with this blog post, I’ll return to working on Eugenie, Phyllis, and Sondra for the remainder of my work day.

I will continue to think about my recent trip to the Delaware Art Museum. And how much I’m looking forward to walking over again this Sunday. Where I will stand in front of amazing pieces of artwork that make my heart and mind each sing two different songs that sometime clash and sometimes harmonize.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Tuesday.

*  The museum is located in a part of town that is quite wealthy. As much as I enjoyed my trip to this museum, I think it’s strange that the one day a week in which the museum is free is on a day in which no busses runs anywhere near it. I cannot help but interpret this as a means of keeping the museum and it’s artwork for people who don’t live on my side of town. And by ‘my side of town’, I mean a much poorer side of town. This is my own personal observation. And even admitting it to myself made me feel the incredible socioeconomic divide between the part of town where the museum is and my own apartment.

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Changes: Pt. 2

What brought me here today?

The end of the year is quickly approaching. If you read my blog post earlier in the week, you know that I have two big projects planned for 2022. Moving my website and shop is one of them. There are some changes that I plan on making to my website, shop, and twice weekly blog at the start of 2022. I need to make these changes, even before moving the website and blog to another platform.

Some changes are so that my work flow is streamlined. Other changes are so that I can hit one bird with two stones, entrepreneurially speaking. My overall workload is going to increase next year. I want to make sure that I don’t burn-out. Then I won’t be able to do anything creatively or entrepreneurally!

Blog posting:

Starting 6 January 2022, I will be posting a single weekly blog post on my website. The blog will be posted at a specific time as well. I’ve grown to enjoy writing my twice weekly blog posts. Writing is not something that I would consider one of my talents. As much as I’ve come to enjoy it, there are times that writing is incredibly difficult for me. Sometimes the words are like a river. Other times the words are underneath a meter of granite.

Most of the difficulty stems from the time-crunch of writing two separate blog posts per week. If the words are tumbling out of my fingers onto the keyboard, fabulous! One blog post each week is usually like that. The other blog post then seems lack-luster to me. Or perhaps rushed. The end result is that I don’t feel like it’s good enough writing for people to spend their time reading.

Blog content:

The Patreon is the biggest amount of new work I’m creating for myself. It will also be subject specific. Go Marielle and the world I’m creating around her are the subject. The content of my weekly blog will be slightly altered starting in January. My blog content is kind of all over the map right now. And I’m not happy about it.

Because the Patreon is Marielle-centric, I want my weekly blog post here to center more of the other artwork I’m creating. Other topics that I want to continue writing about are creativity, art, materials usage, tools, techniques, etc. Some of the etcetera will be topics like showing and selling my original artwork.

New website:

The arrangement of the next version of my website will be organized differently as well. I’ve out-grown the format and layout that I have here on this platform. It just does not feel right to me anymore. I want to grow my business. The website needs to change to fit the image that I need it to portray. I may be a one-horse operation, but I want to look like I at least kind of know what I’m doing!

Photos:

I’m so not looking forward to having to work with photos. Photography is another talent/task that just gives me fits. I know that my photos are passible at best. New photos need to be taken of my artwork. In particular, the larger, paper mache pieces. A new camera and decent lighting will help me to get some (hopefully) good pictures that I can add to an online portfolio on the new website.

So, now what?

I have two large projects. And within them, the matryshka dolls of seemingly infite additional tasks. If I think about every single task at once, my just freezes-up. Writing a blog post about what needs to happen. And the when and why of it all does make me feel a bit better.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Flexible Plans

What brought me here today:

Flexibility is an important componant of my small business. Not everyone is necessarily good at being flexible though. My years of working as a secretary, graphic designer, and itinerant art teacher at the elementary school level depended on my abilities to bow and bend during my work days. Personally, I’m a person who runs multiple possible scenarios/outcomes in my head prior to any type of endeavour. This ability proves to be quite helpful in situations regarding my creative work.

2022:

I have business plans that I’ve kept on hold for most of this year. Having to move from Finland to the US in the middle of the summer delayed much of what I wanted to accomplish this year. I can tell you, it sucks to have to just stop and wait. When what your really want to do is race ahead and do the thing that you’ve wanted to do for so long!

Knowing and feeling all of the aforementioned has required me to be patient. Which is definitely not something that I’m good at. I’ve been planning and researching to assuage my lack of patience. I’m old enough and smart enough to know that the delay in creative plans is simply that. A delay. Not a cancellation.

Matryoshka dolls:

Planning and researching have allowed me to play around with what I want to do in 2022. I’ve distilled it down to two major projects for the first half of 2022. Starting the Patreon I’ve wanted to create. And moving my website/online store to another platform.

Within each of these large projects, are lots of additional smaller projects. I’m trying to structure the Patreon and new website/online store so that some of the smaller projects get to come to fruition. This way, I don’t have to completely abandon all of the plans that I’ve dreamt up!

Patreon:

I’ve decided to create my Patreon around Go Marielle. This may sound a bit strange to some of my followers. Especially those that don’t follow her on Instagram. The plan for the Patreon is to around the building of a house for Marielle. In essence, I will be creating a doll house from scratch. There will also be the creation of all of the furniture and decor that goes into the house.

The house for Marielle is a matryoshka doll. My large goal is to create better, longer, and more intricate stories using Marielle and her friends. The finished house will be a set in which I can create these stories. The planning and building of the house will give me a lot of practice shooting and editing video. As well as doing voice over. The doll house plans as well as patterns for the furniture and decor will be offered to my patrons as recompense for their monetary support.

This plan gives me a lot of options. Finished videos can be posted to my website or YouYube after my Patrons have gotten first access. Building a doll house and the furniture and decor is something that appeals not only to followers of Marielle. Miniature makers and collectors, as well as those who enjoy creating their own doll houses and miniatures are a group of people who may enjoy the content I create for this Patreon.

Strategic:

This all may seem like I’m carefully crafting my Marielle Patreon so that I can have my cake and eat it too. Well, yeah. Kind of. I’m the only one who will be working on the videos, patterns, tutorials, creation, and presentation of the work to be placed on Patreon. I need to make sure that the way in which I’ve structured my plans gets me the most out of each step. So yeah. I’m being strategic as I can!

Shop and Blog:

I began to out-grow WooCommerce within a few months of creating my online shop. I orginally had just a blog on WordPress, going back about ten years. WordPress has been fabulous for me to grow and become a better writer and blogger. If I only had a dozen or so products that I sold on a regular basis, WooCommerce would be more than adequate for me.

But I have a metric tonne of items that I offer for sale at any given time. Moving my shop and blog to a platform that can handle the amount of items I sell is essential for me right now. If I intend to grow my business, I need to make some changes.

Big, honkin’ job:

It took me about two weeks to set-up my orginal online store. This wasn’t working a few hours here and there. There was so much to do! Photos that needed to be shot and processed. Then uploaded. Creation of all the individual product pages. Writing all the descriptions and short stories. That’s all beside creating an inventory, assigning inventory numbers, making sure the postage was correct, and placing all the photos!

Creating a functioning website with a blog and a store isn’t quick or easy. It’s not a fun job either. In fact, it can be a rather mind-numbing task. This is why I’m taking it on as one of the two large projects I’ll be concentrating on in 2022. I’m also choosing a platform in which I don’t have to turn my brain to tapioca pudding to set up! The choices have been narrowed down (all that research while trying to be patient) to the final few. I’ll make a final decision soon.

Like Gumby:

I’m counting on my ability to be flexible to get me through these two big projects. There will be the inevitable failures. I know this. The Patreon I want to launch is going to have a steep learning curve as well. Part of my planning and research was to account for failures and learning curves as much as I’m able. Each of these big products will require a lot of time and work. I know that I can accomplish them. Exactly to what degree remains unknown. But I’m gonna Bandura the hell out of this. Oh yeah, and remain flexible, like Gumby.

So, now what?

What do I always say? Now is time that I get back to work. I have some pieces that I’m working on right now that I’d like to get mostly finised before the end of the year. There are also two more holiday pop-up sales that I will be participating in on the 11th and 18th of this month.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Tuesday.

 

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51

What brought me here today:

Many years ago, I had a late night conversation with my maternal grandmother Wilma. We were standing at the kitchen sink in the house I grew-up in. She was taking some pills before bed. I think that she was in her early 90’s. I asked her what it was like to have lived a life that encompassed so much of the 21st century. So much had happened in the world since she’d been born in 1907. I thought for sure she’d have some thoughts on the subject.

Wilma looked out of the kitchen windows for a few seconds and then laughed and said, “I guess I never thought I’d get to be this old!” And with that statement, she was off to bed. This seemed like a typical answer from my grandmother. Not a lot of detail, and ending in laughing a little at the apparent absurdity she saw around her at any given moment.

The older that I get, the more I know that a fair bit of my personality is much like my grandmother Wilma’s. And tomorrow is my 51st birthday. I can say, with a chuckle, “I do and don’t feel like I’m 51.” Then the Gen X part of my chronosphere kicks in and makes me wonder if there’s some commonality between my grandmother’s generation and mine. HA!

Age:

I’ve always looked a little younger than I actually am. There are a couple reasons for that. Or at least that’s what I think. First, I’ve never been a smoker. It’s a revolting habit and I was vehimently anti-smoking from a young age. Second, I’m not a big drinker. There was a time, when I was younger, when I drank more than I should have. I come from a family that has addiction problems. And feel fortunate that I was able to halt my alcohol drinking before it became abuse.

The third reason I feel as though I appear younger than my age is because I’m fat. I remember Rosie O’Donnell saying something about how the fat “poofs-out” the wrinkles. Or something to that effect. While my face is chubby, it’s not overly fat. I still keep looking for crows-feet and other wrinkles. The ones that I find are kind of small. The biggest wrinkle I have is between my eyebrows. A vertical ‘thinking’ or ‘paying attention’ looking wrinkle.

I am getting some age spots. Mostly on my hands and arms. And I do notice that the skin on my hands looks a bit ‘crepe-y’ too. My skin is so fair that I sunburn easily. Most of my time is spent indoors creating art. Not outside in direct sun. When I do go outside for long periods of time in the summer, SPF 50 is my best friend! I know I have some sun damage. It just doesn’t look as bad as it could I suppose.

Physical:

I won’t lie. I’m beginning to feel my age. It takes me a little longer to recover from physical stresses and strains nowadays. Older injuries from surgeries and broken bones are beginning to I guess flare-up, you might say. My eyesight continues it’s inevitable decline. I have to use readers now to do most of my embroidery and hand sewing work. My husband bought me a lanyard for my readers because I kept dropping or misplacing them.

Menopause is right around the corner. Okay, maybe not quite ALL the way around the corner. I can maybe see it in my peripheral vision a bit. Some ‘items’ have shifted around a bit in transit as well. And some new and interesting occurances have made an appearance here and there. All of them are perfectly normal too. Which is another reason why I need to have that Bette Davis quote, “Getting old ain’t for sissies” embroidered onto something soon.

My husband has been ordered. Yes, ORDERED. To let me know when the mood swings arrive. There is no way in hell that I’m subjecting him to those. Been there. Seen that. So HRT is in my future. I just don’t know exactly when though.

Appearances can be deceiving:

I don’t exactly act my age. At my age, most of the people I went to high school with are grandparents. This kind of blows my mind a little. My husband and I don’t have any children. Which I suppose could be interpreted by some people to mean that we’re frozen in some adolescent stage of development. I don’t see it that way. But sometimes the way that I interact with the people and world around me could make people think I’m not an adult.

I spend the greater part of each day creating my personal artwork. All of my time and energies are put into creating my artwork and growing my small business. My days are largely up to me to schedule. When and how I work is up to me. I sometimes wonder if people my age see the life that I’m living and assume that I’m forever stuck at being sixteen years old?

Truthfully, I know that I don’t sound or act like I’m 51. I lose my shit when I see someone walking a dog down the street. (I had to stop writing because my neighbor was coming back from a walk with her two pups and I had to look.)Every flower I see while walking needs to be looked at, talked to, and a picture taken. I mutter strange things to myself like “What’s molentum?” and sing/hum little made-up songs to myself all the time.

What if?

Earlier in this post, I said that I do and don’t feel like I’m the age that I am. The curiosity and creativity that I seem to ooze out of every pore  marks me as different from some people my age. But I don’t have the same stresses and responsibilities that some people my age have either! We don’t have a mortgage, kids, credit card debt, cars or tuition payments. None of the stereotypical ‘American Dream’ sorts of stuff. (I’m Gen X! I was jaded by the age of 10!)

Do I wonder what my life would have been like with a mortgage and kids and two cars, and the life that comes with it? Yeah. Sometimes. But I know I’ve chosen the life that I want to live. And the way that I want to live it. This birthday, in the badly paraphrased words of Henry Rollins, marks me as “crossing the 50 yard line marker of life” and now I’m “running towards life’s goal posts of death“.

Would I change anything if I could. Hell yes! But not the things you think I might. But that’s fodder for another type of blog post.

So now what?

I have plans for my birthay. The second holiday pop-up sale is tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll make some more money for my new (and more expensive) cell phone. Today, Berin and I are headed to our favourite local deli (Rosenfeld’s) for a ruben and to pick-up some cake for my birthday. If my new business cards are finished, we’ll pick those up too. The back to my Midden to finish-up a few angel doll ornaments for tomorrow.

Berin already bought me my birthday present. A Met Museum book, Surrealism Beyong Borders. Dada and Surrealism are my favourite art movements. We aren’t sure if we’ll get up to NY to see the exhibit though. The book is HUGE and has so many artists from around the world that I didn’t know about! The perfect gift for me!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.