Hi Everyone,

Yes, last week I spoke too soon about getting back on my proper schedule. It pretty much fell apart again last week. My Mom had replacement knee surgery last Wednesday so I went and spent part of the day Thursday at the hospital with her. I managed to get a little work done while there, but not much. Writing these posts takes some concentration and it’s pretty much impossible to concentrate at the hospital. Too much going and coming of the staff, answering the phone for her, moving the table around, etc. It was all good but on Friday I had to play catch up. My plan was to write this post yesterday (I could have over the weekend but I will explain that in a minute) but about 7:00 yesterday morning our power went off. Hummmm, not good. It came back on around 2:30ish, just a few minutes before I had to walk out the door to pick up Miss L.  So much for that big plan!

Finally I’m back and I’m thinking I will try for Tuesdays for a while and see if that works better. It seems that the week picks up speed as the days go by. Monday is always busy, but Tuesdays have a slower quality. We’ll see. Anyway, hope all is well in your world. Spring is beginning to show up and in my opinion that makes everything better!

What has been happening here? It’s all sort of a blur. I am still doing some design & printing for clients but slowly winding down. I am still making a once a week trip out to do deliveries of the printing and that pretty much takes up that whole day each week. The estate is closed but there is some lingering paperwork and errands to finish as well as a situation with my late SIL’s headstone that someone at the VA dropped the ball on and we have to start all over with the paperwork again. I will refrain from subjecting you to my thoughts on that.  Miss L has some regular appointments now that keep me on the road. We are trying to get the garden ready between monsoon weeks. Every year it’s a scramble to get the planting done on time, plus we are now a year behind on some much needed repairs and projects that got put on hold after my SIL died last June. 

I have been trying to do some remodeling of the house and that also came to a screeching halt last Spring. My dear husband could not only happily live without electricity, he could happily live in a cave. His rustic hunting lodge home did not fit my esthetic so even before we got married I started updating his house. Our kitchen was SUPPOSED to have been painted in 2017. I FINALLY got started back on that project this month. 

(I’m so sorry this is sooooo copy heavy. Keep going. There ARE pictures!)

Miss L got to go spend the weekend with friends and I took the opportunity of a kid free weekend to tackle not only some kitchen painting but some sewing as well. I love to paint. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s on a canvas or a wall.  D. says I just like the smell of paint. Ok, maybe but I LOVE to change the whole look and feel of a room with a bucket of paint. My kids used to go visit their Dad, come home and find that I had painted a room or two in their absence. I prefer color, but have had to make some compromises because of Mr. Neutral. All walls at either gray or beige now. Yuck. 

I am drawn to the vintage 1930’s -40’s styles, probably because of my memories of my Grandma’s house.  The colors and shapes just feel warm and cozy to me like a favorite quilt.  I have collected furniture, dishes, etc. over the years without realizing they were all from that era. Now we have acquired more from D’s grandparents.  Several things need a fresh coat of paint and there will be color!  The original colors were reds, greens, blues and yellows and for the most part I am going to stick with their original colors. As I move through the process I will include photos. 

My other project this past weekend was some sewing. Have I mentioned that I hate shopping? Thanks to the fabric stash from D.’s late Mom and even some from his Grandmother, I may never need to visit a clothing store or fabric shop again. Miss L. does not like to shop for clothes either so she may benefit from the fabric stash as well if we can find some fabric she likes. She loves some bright colors but I’m not sure how many of those are in the stash.  Anyway, after years and years of not having real pajamas (I was a single parent for 13 years and many personal things went on the back burner to pay for things like braces and sports equipment.) I found a classic pj pattern and saw several posts of them sewn up by lots of people and liked the style. I managed to get the pattern printed out (love that we can download patterns and print them at home now!) this weekend and I took advantage of yesterdays power outage to get the fabric cut. I will post those whenever I actually get to find time to sew them.

I have two new portrait commissions to start and I started several little paintings. I am not enjoying painting that small. There is a very good chance that these will not get finished. I prefer working bigger so you probably won’t see these again. I did finish my egg painting and will have prints for sale in my Etsy store when I get it scanned. 

I think that’s about it for the House of Weird update this week. I should be back next week same time (fingers crossed).

Have a great week and remember that some times you just have to go with the flow! 


A typical day in the life of…

wheat3If you have been reading my blog at all, I’m sure you might be wondering what the heck this crazy woman does for a living.  She is all over the place and none of it seems to be connected. Let me try and explain it.

For thirty years I have been a graphic designer.  That has taken many forms.  I worked for a newspaper as a designer/illustrator, an art director at an ad agency, production artist at a printing company, a freelancer, co-owned a printing company, did sales and some design at another printing company and now am a self-employed designer and print broker.  Whew!

But wait! That’s not all!  I have also often worked a second job in retail and currently as the office manager at my local community theatre part-time and am also an artist/maker (which is what you get to read about here).  I usually sell a few pieces of art each year and get a commissioned piece or two in that time frame.  I have an Etsy shop that is slowly growing and bringing in more income.  What may be on there when you visit is a changing assortment of my creations.  I seem to like to work in everything! I try to narrow it down, but I have creative ADD.  I paint, draw, work with glass & metal, fabric, etc.  Maybe one day I will limit myself to just three things.  I don’t think I can do less than that.

I listen to several podcasts about creativity, art, etc. (I will list those for you soon) and happened to hear one artist explaining how so many of us creative folks survive.  She called it “cobbling together” a career.  That’s about as good as I can visualize.  Maybe the game Tetris would evoke a good visual of that as well.  We piece together some crazy mixture of things that suit us and that brings in enough income to allow us to continue along our merry way.

There also seems to be a fierce independence that we are born with that makes it very difficult to work in a corporate world or even just for someone else.  It’s not that we are bad employees.  Often we are extremely hardworking people.  We just work vastly better on our own.  It seems we work when others are asleep, either early morning or late at night.  We require strange breaks to do odd mundane errands that often give us those “AH HA” moments of insight to solve a problem. We need constant novelty for inspiration so we will be found delving into some new obsession until we have it firmly encased in our brain, only to have it come out as some new version of our art.

It is not an easy way to live.  People don’t get it.  Especially those people who raise us.  They don’t understand why we don’t go to a normal office job with health insurance and retirement plans.  We don’t necessarily like living on the edge of disaster where one illness or accident could wipe us out.  Those of us who are single are especially vulnerable with only one household income.  But eventually, it is either “cobble together” a way of life that gives us a life or slowly disentigrate into depression and illness.

In my strange assortment of jobs over the years I was able to fulfill one very important goal that I do not regret.  I was able to be with my kids as they grew up.  I’m not sure they were thrilled to have to sit through business meetings at the Chamber of Commerce or help put together dance program books at our printing company for hours on end, but I knew where they were, what they were doing and who they were with.  As I sit here now with both of them having recently flown from the nest, I don’t have one second of regret that my choices were not always the most monetarily lucrative.  The years passed in minutes and I look at the people they have become and know I did the right thing. I am very proud of those two who have set out to make the world better.

I tried for many, many years to fit into “normal”, but inevitiably I would be miserable which would turn me from an optimistic, cheerful person into a resentful, depressed and short-tempered shrew.  Evidently, God got tired of listening to me complain and five years ago, pretty much pried my fingers off the railing of the Safe Ship and threw me into the raging ocean.  It was scary, especially with two teenagers to feed, but He also threw me a couple of life savers to keep me afloat until I gained some swimming strength.  Since then, I have been the happiest I have ever been.

My cobbled life fits me.  It’s not safe, but in this world “normal” isn’t safe anymore either.  My life ebbs and flows like the seasons.  I have the ability to shift with the winds when necessary. Actually much easier than if I had a “normal” job.  Success is not measured in dollars in the bank in my world.  It is measured in the satisfaction of knowing I have poured out my talents to the best of my ability every day and that I have not neglected people in exchange for money.