Happy Messages

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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!

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.