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Getting Used to Here Pt. 2

What brought me here today:

We’re a little past the three month mark for living in Wilmington. My husband and I feel as though we just moved here yesterday. While at the same time, we’ve lived here for a year or more. This could be due to the fact that we returned to the US, and not another country. The US is familiar, yet incredibly different from when we moved to Finland. We’re still feeling a bit out of sync I suppose.

There are some things that I’m enjoying quite a bit. I guess Wilmington is growing on me!

People:

I’m getting much better at greeting people that I meet on the street. And I’m enjoying the interaction, even if it is brief. I didn’t realise how Finnish I’d become when interacting with people in everyday settings. Sometimes there would be a short verbal exhange at a bus stop, like “Has the #12 bus come already?“. But that was it. No small talk or joking around or anything like that.

Since we walk and take the bus everywhere, we interact with lots of random strangers during the week. In Finland I would never say ‘Hei!‘ and smile at a person on a walking path. That would be considered weird, and a little creepy. More often than not, I would say “Huomenta!“, usually to an older person on a walking path. But nothing more. And I’d say something similar to the bus driver when I got on the bus.

Interactions:

This past Sunday, my husband and I walked to do some shopping. Along the way, we discovered the Italian water ice shop open. We’d wanted to try some, so we got in line. There were several people ahead of us. One gentleman and his wife were picking up some water ice and a couple slices of pizza to take home. He was itching to get home before the football game started. He chatted away with myself and my husband while we all waited for our orders, and had a lovely time!

The week before, we had what I can only describe as the most intensely interesting bus ride of my entire life time. Here are some highlights. The bus driver’s son is in the hospital after being shot; his legs still aren’t moving. A woman that the bus driver drove past at at stop, because she was smoking a cigarette, got on the bus and was not happy with him. He told her he was trying to protect his health. She sat down, and an older lady asked the smoking lady if she remembered her. She did! They started reminiscing about family. THEN the smoking lady got up and walked to the front of the bus to show the bus driver she had tiny bottles of alcohol.

THEN…the bus driver encountered a car that was blocking the regular bus route. There was no way he could get the bus down the street. So, he backed the bus up, did a three-point turn, and took the bus in a different direction. He ZOOMED down the street, hitting every green light too! Then he hooked back up to the regular bus route, bypassing the block with the car obstruction. The entire time, there was more drama going on within the bus too! A lady that got on the bus was talking loudly with the bus driver. I couldn’t make out what they were talking about, but it was intense! My husband was white-knuckling it beside me, looking a bit overwhelmed by it all. He pulled the cord two stops before our regular stop and we walked home.

It was the most exciting, drama-filled bus ride of my LIFE. It was a complete three-act play in less than 20 minutes! I was ready to ride the bus until there was some sort of conclusion too! While walking home, we discovered that there was something happening about three blocks from our bus stop. There were a lot of police cars at a specific spot for what seemed like an incredibly long time.

Exploring:

My husband and I get around via the public bus and train system, and by foot. Neither one of us likes having a car. I personally hate having to worry about where my ‘giant, metal baby’ is and who might be doing some kind of damage to it. My husband hates all the added expenses that a car brings. Gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance. YUCK! Taking the bus or train takes a bit more planning at times. But the lower stress and worry for me is a fantastic benefit.

We’ve been conducting a once a week exploratory walk. Usually on Saturday or Sunday. And we include packing a lunch to eat in a park along the way. Sometimes our walks get a little out of hand too. One Brandywine Park walk was far too long. We were having such a lovely time that we completely forgot about the time. And how far we had walked from home. Needless to say, we plan our exploration walks much more carefully now!

I’ve enjoyed getting to see different parts of the city while doing this. It makes me feel so much more at home here. And it allows me to construct the visual map of the city in my head. Then I know how far one place is from another. It’s also added to my knowledge of the bus system and the routes.

Parks and green spaces:

I was so worried that moving to a city would mean that I would have to get used to not having plants, trees, and general greenery around me. It was as if I somehow thought that I was moving to a city made of nothing but brick, stone, and concrete. Wilmington is not that at all!

There are so many trees here in the city! Even downtown there are small green spaces that are well maintained with huge, lovely trees in them. Wilmington really goes out of it’s way to preserve and take care of trees. There are three lovely parks within a short walk from our apartment. And they are full of large trees of all kinds of varieties. The large oaks are my favourite. There are also tons of sycamore, linden, maple, and even a few walnut trees!

There are not a lot of ponds and lakes. But we’re on the Del Marva penninsula, and already so close to the Atlantic Ocean that it doesn’t bother me too much. One of the parks we go to has an amazing man-made pond that is part of an initiative to grow native species of plants. There’s ample benches to sit on and enjoy the pond too.

SQUIRRLES!

There are so many squirrels here! Every on that I’ve seen has been what I take to be a standard American grey squirrel. They’re not terribly afraid of people either. Some will stop and check you out from a comfortable spot on a tree. We’ve had some squirrels come very close to us while having lunch in a park. They must just be so used to humans, and humans with food, that they can afford to let their defences down a bit!

Grocery delivery:

I detest grocery shopping. I’ve never enjoyed it. Part of me thinks it’s because I can sometimes make horrible choices based on my level of hunger at the time of shopping. My husband is the meal planner and cook. Trips to the grocery store with him are now more like just taking a long walk and carrying things.

Having groceries delivered for us means that our work day isn’t interrupted by a three hour errand. The one grocery store here in Wilmington within walking distance is still quite a walk for us. Add to that lack-luster produce offerings, and you can see why we have our groceries delivered from the Sprouts on the northern side of the city. We can get to this Sprouts by bus. The problem with that is that it takes a three hour erran and turns it into a five hour errand.

We shopped at Sprouts before we moved to Finland. So we’re familiar with the brands on offer there. Plus, the produce is a lot better. I should note though that even though the produce is better at Sprouts, it’s not as good as Lidl in Finland. But that’s another post for another time.

So, now what?

This blog posts only covers the bigger high-lights of things that I’m liking about Wilmington. There are other smaller things, like bodegas that make hot sandwiches. Or all of the amazing historical architecture just in our own small neighbourhood. OH! And Italian water ice! These topics will all be addressed in time. I’m sure.

Completely off the topic, I do have two new items listed in the shop today. Cassandra Tuesday and Annabelle Wednesday. These two little vampire girls are looking for a good home where they can help celebrate Halloween! There are stories behind their names. Cassandra is named for Cassandra Peterson. You may know her better as the character she plays, Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Annabelle is named for a character from the movie The House on Haunted Hill. This was the first horror film Cassandra ever saw. The Tuesday/Wednesday parts of their names is for the character of Wednesday Addams. Her original name was Tuesday-Wednesday. Calling them Little Vampire Girls is for the Jonathan Richman song.

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

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47 DAYS

What brought me here today:

Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. Late autumn was my favourite season when I was a kid.  Halloween was an overlapping venn diagram of delights for me. Cooler weather, getting to pretend and dress-up, creating costumes, and candy! FREE candy at that too! You just went to a house, knocked on the door, said the magic words and BOOM! Candy in the bag! This was candy with no strings attached to it either.

Christmas and Easter, yeah, there were candy and all kinds of sweet treats, but they were doled out by adults. When I was a little kid, Halloween candy was under the sole control of the kid who humped their butt out to hit as many houses as they could on Halloween night. Halloween candy could be traded (my younger brother and I did that) but not taken from us. It was ours. We could eat it when we chose to.

For a kid like me that had a lot of her food intake as a child scrutinized and controlled, there was no wonder why Halloween was my favourite holiday. Well, that and given that every single tooth in my head is a sweet one.

Inspirations:

My love of Halloween and the candy that it would bring me as a child aside, there were also other things I liked about Halloween. Monsters were another attaction for me as well. I’m the person who’s always rooting for the giant monster in the movie. One reason might be the fact that my early childhood experience with “monsters” was largely of the Sesame Street and Muppet-type variety. Blame my empathy towards all monsters on Jim Henson.

The weird thing is, I don’t like slashy, gore-filled movies. Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street are movies I’ve never actually seen. Mostly because of the aforementioned gore. You might fin it odd that I did enjoy the hell out of Lovecraft Country then. A large part of my enjoyment of Lovecraft Country was due in part to being already familiar with H.P. Lovecraft’s work. For me, the scariest parts of Lovecraft Country involved racism and violence against black people.

But, let’s put a pin in that C’thulhu for right now, and get on with the rest of this post.

Themed work in online shop:

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog and Instagram account, you already know I’ve been creating a lot of artwork with distinctly Halloween themes over the past few weeks. Marlene and Minerva, two little witches, are available for purchase in my online shop. But don’t forget about some of my previous artwork either. I’ve not made Halloween specific themed artwork in my recent past. Dolls like Cielo and Xochitl, who have a Day of the Dead inspired theme are available in my online shop. And don’t forget Nutmeg, Ginger, Russell and Saffron!

Skull pins:

My latest additions to my online shop are skull pins that were inspired by Day of the Dead sugar skulls (Dia de los Muertos Calaveras Azucar). It’s customary for people to have sugar skulls with their names placed on the forehead of the skull. I wanted to try something similar with my skull pins. I’m working with felt and embroidery floss instead of sugar and icing though. Once the buyer has chosen the skull that they want, all they have to do is give me the name and the colour they would like it stitched onto the skull in the ‘Order Notes: optional’ shipping section while paying for their skull pin. You can see a photo of what this section looks like here with the skull pin listing.

Remember too that ordering a customised skull pin will require a bit more working time for me on my end. Two days should be added to the shipping because of this.

No wait! There’s more!

I’ve also added three more Halloween-theme dolls to the shop! Junia, Lenore, and Elena. These three really aren’t witches. But they do appear to be incredibly ready to celebrate Halloween. That is, if their clothing has anything to say about it. And maybe the pumpkin and black cat head. Oh. And then the bat wings. Then there are more little black cats on their boots. Maybe not witches, but really, super-duper into the Halloween spirit!

The title of this blog is 47 Days. There are 47 more days until Halloween and Day of the Dead. As always, ordering early (and often!) will ensure that you recieve your order in time for the holidays!

So now what?

Honestly? I think I may take a nap. I’ve had a cold for the past week. This morning I didn’t take any over the counter medication for it for the first time in several days. Hopefully this is an indication that I’m through the worst of it. Oh. And I have more pieces that I’m working on for my online shop as well. So yeah. I’ve got all that going on. Yup.

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

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In Between Again

What brought me here today:

I’ve finished two dolls that I’ve been working on for the past week. Honey and Bizzy are now both available in the shop. These two dolls are the last of the major pieces that I will be creating in my current work space. Creating is something that I do daily, as a means of therapy. So I cannot imagine completely stopping while preparing for the move that is coming next month.

I’m still trying to figure out what I will work on while completely taking apart my work space. Creating artwork while dismantling my work space seems like a precarious thing to attempt. I can’t quite remember if I worked in my studio up until the last few days before we departed Albuquerque or not. I remember that it was the last room that we dismantled though.

Creating art until…

I have a short list started for what I need to accomplish in taking apart my work space. The most important tools, materials and supplies will be set aside first. Those will be the things that are required so that I can create the artwork that I’m currently creating. Other tools, supplies and materials can be sorted and figured out from that point.

Sometimes, I wish that my needle work and sewing was more two-dimensional. That way, I could transport the tools, materials and supplies, as well as the artwork in progress more easily. While I can appreciate that kind of needle work, I need to work in three dimensions.

I’ve contemplated cutting out dolls and simply having them ready to assemble. But I’m not sure. I’m going to create a few new sketchbooks so that I have ample space to write and sketch ideas for pieces that I may not be able to create for a month or so. Whatever I end up doing, you’ll be sure that I will be writing about it here.

Diverted:

Go Marielle will probably be getting more of my creative attentions while we are actually nearer the end of preparing for the move. A lot of what I do with Marielle is done on the computer. As long as I have my laptop, camera and an internet connection, I can create and post stories for Go Marielle. Hopefully these new stories will not be boring.

There’s also several different projects that I am so itchy to start, but can’t until the move is completed. This makes me feel as though I’m in a hurry-up and sit still kind of mode. My sketchbooks and my daily work journal will be helpful in allowing me to flesh-out my ideas and plans. So when I do finally get to work on them, I have good plans to implement them.

So, what now?

Well, for one, it’s a short blog post. With each passing day, I feel as though I have more plates beginning to spin. Remember that my online shop is going to be shut down after June 12, 2021. When I open it up again, there will be some items that are no longer available. If you see something in my shop that you really want to purchase, it’s a good idea to buy soon!

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

 

 

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Tiny Animal Sale!

Spring is finally here and all of nature has come back to life again. Winter here in Finland can sometimes seem like it will never completely end, but it does. Eventually.  I’ve enjoyed watching the birds returning to the trees and filling the air with their sweetly twittered songs. I’ve seen more and more hares out and about, looking for new greens to eat too! And strange as it may seem, I’m even happy to see the insects! Well, maybe not the mosquitos.

The air is warming. The sun is shining longer and longer each day. I watched the sun begin to come up this morning around 5 am. Seeing the rosy sky during sunrise made my mood so much lighter and content. The windows can now be opened too! I’ve actually been outside without a hat, gloves or a scarf! It’s sunny enough that I need to find out where I put my sunglasses last autumn. I have no idea where they are.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been completely enjoying this later part of spring and am looking so forward to more green, flowers and more wildlife all around me!

Tiny Animal Sale:

Inspired by this, all of the Tiny Animal dolls in my online shop have been placed on sale at a new price of 24€ ($29 USD) with free shipping! Free shipping is for domestic and international shipping too! Purchase of multiple Tiny Animal dolls will come with free shipping as well!

There are a total of 33 Tiny Animals currently in the shop. This includes 11 brand new Kitty dolls! Each of the kitties is a unique, handmade piece of original artwork made completely by me. I’ve loved cats my entire life and cannot quite figure out what took me so long to create these little kitty dolls.

Tiny Animal Dolls:

Cleo, Coco, Paulette, Salma, Brita, Ramona, Bunny, Iris, Mabel, Bernadette and Sabrina are all new in my shop and waiting to be adopted! There are also bunnies, bears, ducks and even an elephant that are part of this Tiny Animal dolls sale!

If you have any questions regarding any of the Tiny Animal doll sale, or anything else in the shop, please let me know via the Contact page! I will answer your questions as soon as possible!

Thank you for stopping by my small online shop!

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Exhibition Art for Sale!

My art exhibit in the Käytävä Galleria at Matara in January generated an increase in the interest in my larger pieces of artwork. And by generated interest, I mean, I sold some of my artwork! It was an instance in which the ‘happy dance’ was done in the privacy of my own living room. Well away from anyone I might blind with my Elaine Benes-like dance moves!

It’s different for a reason:

I’ve added four of the pieces of artwork that I showed at Käytävä Galleria to my shop. These pieces differ a great deal from the artwork that I have in my shop currently. A big reason for this is because the artwork that I created required that it be hung on a wall, and not displayed in a case or behind glass.

Each of these pieces of art have metal hanging hardware so that they can easily be placed upon a vertical surface. Well out of reach of a little person or pet that might find them an irresistible attraction. Adults who may want to touch the artwork are something that will simply have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

New art:

I’ve added y Tragedia, Point of Conception, Sister Bougainvillea and Blue Doll #10 to the shop. Click on their names and it will take you directly to their page in the shop! There has also been additional video added for each piece in my Instagram Highlights. I’ve had to abbreviate the names a little bit though! Some of the titles I chose were a bit verbose I suppose.

If you have any questions regarding these four pieces of artwork, or any of the artwork that I have for sale in my shop, please feel free to contact me!

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