I’m @ Work

You could call me on the House Phone and you’d have a slim chance that I’d actually pick up. Oh, it would be me on the answering machine all right, but I’d say something like, “Please call me on the cell or leave a message. Thanks.”

I’m not trying to be a smarty-pants.

I’m @ Work.

Even though my work space is out in the barn, or at the kitchen table, or on a trail, or in what will someday-be-the-garden-again, I try to set aside uninterrupted time to get creative work accomplished.

And I know how easily I can be distracted, and I know I like to do so many things. I still haven’t completed writing that resume, but made a postcard instead, because I’m attending a writing/illustrating conference soon. I need to have a promotional material. My bio and contact information are on the back.

And here are a few photos that didn’t make it to the final “cut” to be on the card. But I wanted to include them here, as part of an online portfolio.

Leave a message if you’d like. And I’ll get back to you.
For now though, I’m @ Work.

Happy Creating!

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Finding a Niche or Writing a Resume

I update my resume every once in a while, but this time, I’m having a really hard time narrowing down WHAT I do and HOW MUCH experience I’ve had in doing it.

I need help.

For one thing, I don’t want to put anything in there along the lines of, “has been doing this since _______ (fill in the blank with a year) because I’m thinking it sets a date that might be older than the person reading it. I don’t want to offend anyone, especially if I’m trying to get freelancing work out of it. Neither do I want to put in anything that might allude to my age as “being older than dirt.”

I know, I know….there are circumstances which are designed to protect a person from AGE DISCRIMINATION, but I really don’t want to take any chances.

So I’ll go for factual information, with a twist of humor thrown in. One of my last bios reads along the lines of “has experience in Traditional Handcrafting skills which enables her to travel undetected between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries.” I’m hopeful that should cover for me for at least 200 years.

If you’ve been taking the time to read this blog, and maybe any of this information has meant something or could be considered useful as I revise the resume, I sure would appreciate hearing about it in the comments section below.  Thanks.

I’ll see you along the Creative Journey.

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Reference? or Recreation?

My family tells me that I’m a hard person to buy gifts for, because: 1) I like to do so many things, and 2) I end up ordering the book or getting supplies as needed when I need them, or 3) by the time a gift giving occasion has come along, I’ve moved along to a new idea or project.

I don’t MEAN to make things difficult. Really.

It’s just that one idea will give momentum to try this or that, and that leads here, and then I’m off to do something over there. Right after that. Oh wait, look over…yonder. That looks like fun, too.

Since it’s now the beginning of a New Year, a lot of people are making resolutions. My main problem with making a list of Things I Plan to Accomplish is that I know in my Heart Of Hearts that I’m gonna lose that list somewhere in my stash of art supplies or loose leaf notebook paper. Then I’ll feel bad about that and it makes my creative impulses slow down.

Not this time.

Because I’ve decided to focus on doing Creative Things EVERY DAY and leave myself a reminder of what I’ve done. Starting with these few books I bought for myself after receiving lovely gift cards from family members.

AND you can call it Research. Or you can call it Recreation.

But I’m getting a lot of new ideas for writing AND making art.

Really.

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Handcrafted

We have alpaca. Alpaca give fiber.  LOTS AND LOTS of fiber.

Our animals get their haircuts, or are sheared, in the spring.  Each animal provides almost four pounds of fleece and yes, I know what to do with it. Ill spin it into yarns and then make a variety of items.

Here are a couple of shawlettes that were handwoven on a triangular loom.  The natural colors of alpaca are neutral colors–white, beige, light brown, dark brown, gray, black–these are how alpaca appear in nature.  Anything else is the result of my playing around with dyes and blending other fibers in with the alpaca fiber.  I love to play with colors! OR I might take a commercially spun yarn and ply it in with the natural alpaca yarn to achieve a unique yarn in that way.  Sounds like work, but it’s the FUN kind of work!

Hats are fun to knit or crochet (these are knit) and here are a few samples. All of the colors are neutral/natural colors and the hats are VERY warm. Some of these are sold at market, given as gifts by me, or given by friends to friends.

Not to worry, though.  The animals have plenty of hair left and they will stay warm in cold weather.

And now we will, too.

I’m happy creating!

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello, it’s me…

The summer has come and gone. You know I look for ways in which to find more hours in every day and really, I didn’t mean to stay away from the blogging posts for THIS long. It’s been a while hasn’t it? I trust you’ve been creatively productive, too.

With Farmers’ Markets, farm chores, family happenings and a growing sense of ZEN I find myself trying to be in the here and now more often. It’s easy to think about putting something on a TO DO list, but lately, I’ve been misplacing the list. And when that happens, I re-evaluate what it was that I wanted to accomplish in the first place.

I’ve taken to turning off the television too, and hanging out with one of my Best Friends. Here is a photo:

Because when I spend time doing something I enjoy doing and I work at it Every. Single. Day. then the chances that I’ll get better at something increase greatly. Sometimes I think I sound pretty good, playing in the still, quiet time of the evening or early morning. I play what I want and at my own speed. I learn songs by ear, pick out tunes from You Tube and adapt them to my D A A tuning. The cat joins me on the couch and yes, I put her to sleep. Neither one of us sing.

November is the month for a Na-No-Wri-Mo challenge, and if you think you are up to creating that novel you’ve always wanted to write, it can be a great way to jump start yourself.

And as for me, I’ll take time every day to play a little song, read or write a little “story”, and if I’m lucky, speak (aloud) a few reasonable words.*
(*Attributed to influences of von Goethe)

Happy Creating!

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(I’ll) Take Two Road Trips and Call In The Morning

The wandering creative gypsy in my soul needed a bit of inspiration. One place I found it was at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, and if you don’t know his work, please take time to do a bit of research. You won’t be disappointed.

This is the Folk Art Church at dusk. It was beautiful and we spent time walking through the garden and seeing a lot of interesting objects created from recycled “stuff” as well as paintings and words of wisdom.

And here is a photo of the barn at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale PA. Again, please search for the information and attend a workshop or three. 🙂

These are two places where I feel I’ll be able to get in touch with my creative muse within, and when I needed a bit of a pick-me-up, they certainly did.

Creatively busy. I’ll call later……

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Take Two Road Trips and Call Me In The Morning

   
   

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What Are “Vintage Skills?”

I’ve been seeing articles in magazines, blog posts, newspapers or on television shows that refer to what is known as “sustainable living” or slanting toward a movement becoming known as “vintage revivalism.” Many of these sources cite some of the following as belonging:

Sewing, quilting, handspinning, hand weaving, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, needle craft skills, making pottery, basket weaving, gardening, growing food and herbals, making soap or candles, making jelly or wine or beer making. 

I’ve always enjoyed doing those things. Now it seems more people are enjoying them, too. 

   

  Here is a photograph of a scarf I’ve woven on something called a rigid heddle loom. 

 And when I agreed to help make decorations for a wedding, I practiced cursive handwriting. I was asked to create signage. It’s been a lot of fun and although it’s been a long time since I put that much effort into cursive writing, it was very satisfying, in a most unusual way. 

Time to take a class or learn something new….er, old?….or Vintage!

Happy creating to you, too!

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How Research Takes Me To A Whole Other Place

 

  

  

I am a student of the Creative Arts, as well as a practing crafts person. In order to learn more about the use and preparation of lye and the making of soap, well of course, I have to read about it.    

“Lye–a strong alkaline solution or solid of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, made by allowing water to wash through wood ashes. It is used to make soap and drain and oven cleaners. The chemical formula is KOH or NaOH.”

It makes me wish I’d paid more attention during high school Chemistry classes. 

But I read on, and research how to use fireplace ashes and filter rain water through a barrel, and how soap was made hundreds of years ago.  And then I research how craftspeople of today make handmade soaps. I practice their techniques and borrow a recipe or two. 

I can make soap. Out in the barn. Which makes the surroundings smell so nice you’d never guess that there are animals around. 

 The recipe I’ve found most success with includes coconut oil, olive oil, lard, lye, rainwater and fragrance oils. Lemongrass is at the top of my list. When the rosemary grows a little more out in the garden, I’ll pick and dry some of that. It will go in a special soap–to relax with after a long, but creative day. 

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Side Trips and Work-In-Progress

I will make no apologies for not being “here” since my last posting. But here is a brief update. I think I can do that.

September? I do remember it was a whirlwind, but that’s about all.

October? Attended a writer’s conference, fall festivals and continued to plow my way through the first draft of a current writing project.

November? This month was filled with emotion and self reflection. I won’t make any political statements as to the outcome of the presidential election, but philosophical ones, most likely, and still–not here. I choose to focus on raising awareness for the choices people make and how responsibilities and consequences for those actions have an effect on everybody, and that’s all I can say about that.
Any more time spent in this arena takes energy away from the current writing project and focusing on that project is the key component.

Until………
December? We celebrate Christmas on the farm and wished neighbors, family and friends all kinds of Merry Christmases and Happy Holidays. My hands were busy, my heart was happy for the loved ones who were with me and saddened for the ones who are no longer.

It is with hope for the future that I am reminded of a quotation from THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL: “There is no present like the time.” I choose to live creatively.

Happy creating to you, too!

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