Monday, January 21, 2008

Home Improvement Progress

Well, I have the donation dispatch number on my speed dial now and they have made two pick-ups this months to the tune of oh, twenty-five plus large shopping bags full of stuff. This is the first layer of many I need to make, but at least I have started and made somewhat of a dent. The ridding of clutter can be a very emotionally painful as well as a joyfully freeing process. I am really feeling the pain and the cost of all that I have accumulated and am trying to "stay in the feeling" a bit so I don't go out and repeat the pattern. At some point, "stuff" keeps one from living and enjoying life, and that is certainly what happened to me. My creativity chakra was so incredibly blocked, it would have taken more than a box of laxatives to get me moving again. I want to spend more time doing and less time gathering, more time creating and less time shopping. I want to have less and use what I have. It occurred to me though that as we attend art retreats and make things, our creations do have to go somewhere. Collecting other people's art is always fun, but I'm not so keen on displaying my own. A bit of a conundrum. Perhaps, as I spend more time on my craft, I'll improve and eventually be able to sell some of my work. That's the goal anyway. I'm curious - what do you do with your creations? Is it all about having an etsy shoppe these days? If you are a part-time hobbyist, do you price your wares to make money or just to get them out the door?
To assist me through the tedium of this massive decluttering job, I ordered this audio book. What a great! (And I immediately sold it on Amazon when I finished in order to keep the feng shui karma clear.) Audio books are so wonderful when you're sifting through piles of rubble. Anyway, I are a few nuggets I have learned about myself these past few weeks.

1. I do not like to unpack from art retreats. Case in point: have just now unpacked supply bags from Art & Soul two years ago.
2. I will never have to buy adhesive of any type as long as I live. My unborn daughter will have enough adhesive to last her lifetime too.
3. I should have bought stock in EK Success since I have more Jolee's stickers than I care to admit. (They were just so darn cute when they first came out, dang it!)
4. I have a freakish and twisted addiction to vintage Christmas decorations (including shiny brites, plastic reindeer, and anything small, cute, or sparkly.
5. I am a sentimental girl, a nice way of saying "hard-core pack-rat." Case in point: found a box filled with Snoopy pencils, fruit shaped erasers, Hello Kitty stationary, and a plastic Farrah Fawcett fan club membership card from the 1970's!
6. My love for paper and ephemera has existed since childhood. Case in point: As a child, every time I flew in an airplane, I kept the what-to-do-in-emergency folder AND the barf bag. I have a whole collection of these things. Why did I want these??? Turns out, one of the barf bags is from Pan Am and my husband (aviation nut) says it might be worth something. Go figure.

I am trying not to beat myself up over all the excess accumulation and waste of time, money, and energy. (This painting from this cool girl always makes me smile.) I am making a conscious decision to be more of a producer and less of a consumer, a lifestyle change that I know will bring more joy into my heart.

As you can see above, the hubby is making good progress on the floor. Notice the unkempt hair, unshaven stubble, and maniacal grin on his face. (Yes, he admits...he would NEVER do this again.) We are crazy. We are possessed. He with the floors and me with my art room. Personal hygiene is suffering, people. But, it's all for a good reason: Baby A. One last photo to leave you with: a basket of vintage millinery flowers, lo and behold, I had more than I thought I did which makes me hap, hap, happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What?! Pregnant and Baking!

Those who know me know that I'm a little behind the eight ball when it comes to domestic duties. I like to think it's because I was the fourth child and my mother lost any interest she might have had in teaching me how to cook or clean, but the truth is, I've never been that motivated to learn. It's actually quite embarrassing to not know how to perform simple tasks such as correctly sewing on buttons or say, baking a pie. It's never too late, right? At the ripe ol' age of 41, I baked my first pie. I am a true late bloomer in all respects. Yes, it looks like a 5-year old did it, but it tasted reaaaally good because it was made with lots of loooooove. The recipe is from my sister Caron, who was the only one in our family who received any domestic and culinary fairy dust. (The rest of us just eat out.) Here's the recipe:

Blackberry Pie

1 box piecrust
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag frozen blackberries (or go to Costco and buy fresh like I did)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon, lime or orange juice
vanilla ice cream

Follow the directions on the crust box. Mix together sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Pour berries into the crust. Pour sugar mixture over berries. Chop half the butter up into little pieces and sprinkle over berries. Pour lemon juice over berries. Cover with top crust. Sprinkle the rest of the butter over top crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 and continue baking 45 minutes. This pie tends to overflow so place a larger pan on the oven shelf under your pie.

So, other than pretending to be June Cleaver, I've been in a big time nesting mode. I'm 33 weeks and the upcoming arrival of Baby A has led me into treacherous, shark-filled waters...yes, I'm cleaning my art room and it is not a pretty sight. I know many of you have tackled this dreaded project and, in fact, may be doing a little spring cleaning yourself these days. There's just something about January and new beginnings that makes us all want to hit The Container Store. Anyway, I've basically pulled everything out and am slowly sifting and sorting and trying to put only that which I need, love, and and use back in. The carnage is just too bloody to show you now, but in my frenzied excavating, I did find a sack of junking goodies that I had never unpacked- some vintage baby cards and gift wrap which I can use in Baby A's book. Yea! So that's a glimpse of what's happening in my neck of the woods: hardwood is being laid, art supplies are being sorted, organized, and donated, and there's a little bit of sweet pie thrown in the mix. Kinda boring, but kinda good too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Good Read

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this little jewel of a book! In the same vein as Victoria's The Business of Bliss, Country Living has published Crafting a Business - Making Money Doing What You Love by Kathie Fitzgerald. Full of eye candy and inspiration, it showcases several artists/entrepreneurs (many whom we know and love) and how they came to do what they do. I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of this stuff. I wish someone would publish a monthly magazine that simply focused on following your dreams, how to start a business, and give plenty of examples of women doing just that, with lots of colorful, dreamy photos of course. I love to see how people live, their studios and shops, what drives them, what they are passionate about, and of course, how it all manifests in the world. And it all begins with a tiny thought, just a spark of an idea. Isn't it awesome that we have the power to create! Happy 2008, everybody, with wishes that you will be empowered this year to think big and create what your heart desires.