Archived Posts from this Category

Taking a Break… when it’s a good thing

Posted by on 31 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: art, Happy Messages, musings, plans, Uncategorized

I realized this week that I haven’t had the energy or inspiration for “art” in several months.  My blog-babble friend, NRKII, is taking a break from her writer’s blog, and it made me take another look at my output and motivations.

While I still have the desire to write, I have completely lost the ability to even consider picking up a brush.  Still, I was thinking I “had” to — or “ought” to…  and it was making me miserable.

So I am officially on hiatus from card making, art projects or any other crafty projects for the time being.  I need to regain the energy and enthusiasm so it’s fun, something I wake up looking forward to, instead of waking up in the middle of the night dreading.

Would I take a break if I were making any money from these projects?  Probably not.  If I were making money from it (and needed the money), then I would push through the discomfort somehow.  Just as, every day, millions of people around the world go to jobs they don’t enjoy (if they ever did) because they need the money.

But I don’t make money from cards (other than things I “sold” to my mother — how pathetic is that?).  Or paintings.  Which has been fine, I have painted for the love of it.

And when I love it again, I will go back to it.

Artist Trading Cards

Posted by on 25 Jan 2007 | Tagged as: Happy Messages, QWW, Uncategorized

A group of us who play Babble have decided to trade these “Artist Trading Cards.” I made my first few this last week, prototypes in advance of actually making the cards I will trade with other Babblers. I think I am getting a feel for this size and shape, and will eventually share some of the results at my business site, to give people an idea of the range of ideas I have.

For now, here are two I made that were pretty nice. The first is for the husband of a friend, using a piece of silk I painted last year. Simple, but it looked really pretty. The actual size is 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

heron ATC abstract on silk

The one I made for my friend was more complicated. I wanted to experiment with making three-dimensional views of a pear using the lino block I carved in 2005 or early 2006. I used paper, acrylic paint, cotton thread, ink and some thick two-sided adhesive foam to pad the pear on the cover. Again, the height is 3.5 inches and the closed width was 2.5 inches. Open, it was about 4.5 inches.

Front and back:

the front for the pear harvest ATCthe back of the ATC which reads JOY


the inside of the card with inscription and more abstract pear

I am having fun!

Last few minutes of June…

Posted by on 30 Jun 2006 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, QWW, Uncategorized

Well, I thought I would spend a few minutes catching folks up to date.

The visit with my great aunt and her sons was wonderful. They are such kind and good people. Never enough time, of course, to do and see everything we would like… but enough time to sit and talk about important things and be “family.”

The garden is lovely. The blueberries are starting to get ripe. The dahlias are blooming and just lovely (as usual). The veggies are looking just fine. The raspberries are exuberant as usual, and the strawberries, when we can find them in the weeds, are delicious. Trailing blackberries will be next… yum!

The office will be my next project: need to clear out almost everything to get ready to replace the leaky skylight and the wallboard that was damaged this last winter. Hoping the damage will have been minimal and easy to fix. THEN I intend to organize and rearrange in such a way that we can keep things navigable even when I am in the midst of a creative tornado.

I am almost ready to add the scarves to my official website… I have pics of the ones I gave away, just need to load them and get a page set up. Seems like a small detail, but it’s hard to find the time (or energy) to sit and grind out code these days.

I bought a new swimsuit — size TEN for the first time in years, and it fits! I was so happy I went out the first afternoon and sat in the sun for a half hour, and promptly got a little pinker on one shoulder than I had intended. Will have to go at it a bit slower, I think!

The children are well. M’s surgery went just fine, and he was painfree by the next day. G is really enjoying his music camp experience. So glad my father was able to help us send him.

T has been interviewing every few weeks, trying to find a job that pay a little better. I am hoping that I can get some more cards and scarves made and start selling them before the end of summer, but I think I need to get the office/house/yard in shape first. Things that won’t take much money, but are necessary if I have to go “out” to work for any reason.

And, I think that’s about it. Need to check the kitchen and all before I turn in tonight.

Hope the new month will go well for all those who read my blog — and all those who don’t. If you can spare some thoughts for an acquaintance of mine, Christopher S has been redeployed to Iraq, and we hope he will return home safely.

He fixed it!

Posted by on 23 Mar 2006 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, QWW, Uncategorized

Now the blog looks good in my favorite browser [Firefox]! There was some sort of file missing that IE and Netscape weren’t smart enough to notice, but Firefox did.

I have updated the website for my business a little bit (probably won’t be noticeable to most). Need to figure out how to to the 404 message so it looks nicer.

The frogs are singing at night again! It is so pleasant to hear their chirruping, and peeping. And at dawn the birds…

I like the way the fruit trees peek over the hill now that the rugosas are gone, I might replace them with something a lot smaller. I wonder what a hillside of tulips, lilies and daffodils; yarrow, english daisies and poppies; with spots of lupine, peonies and mosses… It wouldn’t need mowing, it would have color much of the year, and at harvest time I could still reach the trees. I’ll need to figure out how the paths will work… Hm. Ideas, ideas, and no money, energy or time. Oh well — one of these years!

G is home still, and will be tomorrow as well. He just needs some time to get over this virus, but he is definitely doing better. I feel fine today.

Science Fair Saturday

Posted by on 11 Mar 2006 | Tagged as: Family Matters, QWW, Uncategorized

M’s science fair project with his friend went well. They did all the work in class, and managed to put together a fine poster. I think they learned a good bit, too! The community scientist was very complimentary of their work, and they seemed to enjoy explaining what they had done.

G didn’t do a project this year — we didn’t get the form filled out in time. Just as well, since his class just completed a multi-week project of their own!

Today, he was supposed to go to a movie with his grandmother, but appears to have a stomach bug, so ended up coming home almost right away. He is still having trouble keeping things down, but is resting so should be better by tomorrow. Something like this has been going around the school the last couple weeks, so I am not really surprised, just annoyed.

I am going to try once again to learn SQL and php or perlscript, to try to make a dynamic website for my greeting cards… this is a big project, but I have the time, the ability, and an expert “on-call” as I need him. I think if I just focus on manageable segments (learning just the parts I need to know at this time) that the task will be easier. I can add on the rest if I am that interested!

9 March 2006

Posted by on 09 Mar 2006 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, QWW, Uncategorized

The dogs needed to go out at three-thirty this morning. And there was a thin layer of white stuff all over the ground. Grumble, cold, grumble.

At five-thirty they wanted fresh water — their bowl was empty. I looked out the window. Still white stuff, and the floors were so cold

At seven-twenty T was talking to the boys who were thinking they might not have school today… What? I pulled myself out of my much-interrupted slumber and sat up. Yep. Snow.

So I hopped online. While the now very fluffy snow fell increasingly thick and insistently. School hadn’t even been delayed [sigh of relief], and T poked his nose outside and said it was not going to stick.

Obviously, we still have power. Snow continues to fall in flurries, now sounds like it’s mixed with some rain. It’s not sticking to the roads or driveways, and is melting pretty well on other surfaces also. Which pleases me, because I really want enough plums to make jelly this year! And with the blossoms appearing yesterday, the timing of the cold could hardly have been worse.

We’ll see how the garden fares. Hoping my happy little pollinators won’t be set back by this weather!

Meantime, on my agenda for today is transferring most of my business’ website to the server that hosts our family website; dishes, laundry, sweeping; and working on my handwriting. Yes folks, I am doing the old-fashioned handwriting drills in a drive to make it easier to write by hand, and to make the lettering I do for art projects a little neater. We’ll see how that goes, too.

A New Gardening Year…

Posted by on 06 Nov 2005 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Happy Messages, QWW, Uncategorized

Following the ancient agrarian practices of the Celts and Saxons, I count the first of November as the beginning of a new gardening year. Typically, by this time of year, the harvests are in, most of the garden beds are ‘put to sleep’ for the winter or have their cover crops sown, and the plans for the next season are well underway. I want a bench here, a trellis there, and we really must plant that tree this year…

This year, things are off to a soggy start. After years of near-drought conditions, we have normal rainfall — on schedule — and I was caught off-guard. Only a few of the beds are done being weeded (but now it has to wait until a dry spell or the soil will compact too much), mulched (and the leaves I normally use are now very wet and heavy and won’t “loft” properly), and planted (I have at last count 7 trees and one sedge still in pots). Given our normally balmy winters, I am not worried about losing anything, just a bit put out that the weeds will have a head start in the Spring!

Inside, I have several plants that need warmth to survive, and the usual houseplants. I have a nice collection of cobwebs, too: ranging from orb spiders’ webs to the house-spiders (I call them hob-goblins for their long legs) to the strange little wood spiders that come in this time of year. We also have a few jumping spiders… Not sure what all these critters eat, but most of them seem to do just fine.

This autumn has been long, and mostly unproductive. With one shining exception. I am finally trying to create greeting cards and art for profit. I don’t know if it will work, but I have decided to to give myself a full year from this month to see how things go. Happy Messages is the name I have used for greeting cards and other artwork since high school in the early 1980s. Quality Word Works is the “umbrella” business name I use for all the computer-related jobs I do, from website design to tutoring, to word processing. Both names have been registered with the Washington State Department of Licensing for at least seven years, but I haven’t done much. Until now!

I have worked on the website, prepared a workspace and acquired materials. I am keeping records of expenses. I have a friend who is willing to help find local retailers who might sell also, and also do the investigations about bazaars and such. I even have “sold” a few items. Okay, so it was to my parents, but at least it’s a start!

Like the work I do in the garden, I work in rhythm with life around me. I do laundry, play with the dogs, take the kids to appointments… listen to music or language tapes… and spend close to 8 hours a day on one part of the job or another! I am basically organized, but find I need to be flexible and work in spurts. Some days I spend five hours in a block, other days I get maybe one full hour and lots of smaller blocks of productive time.

And around this, I am playing catch-up to a relatively minor annoyance: the steel and canvas carport in which we had stored some boxes of “not yet ready for garage sale” blew down last week. We did lose some keepsakes — things the children had when they were younger — and the carport will need some repairs… but no one was injured, no other property was damaged, and if nothing else it gives us incentive to sort through the boxes (now under tarps) a lot sooner!

I hope that this blog will give my friends and family (and curious others) some insights into me and my life.