Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Idea/Bad Idea

Today I ventured out to the Ohio State Fair. I returned with a ridiculous( and I mean ridiculous in the hysterically funny, don't want to be seen in public way..) sunburn on my face, and a few insights.

First, there are so many artisans and crafters out there who are so much better than I am, on so many levels.

Second, I need a large stained glass window, peacock patterned, room divider. It took best of show in the glass division, and it was absolutely gorgeous!

Third, I need to spend more time focusing on improving the things I do know, and not find any new hobbies for a while. I am a Jill of all trades, master of none.

While in Ohio, I have none of my paint supplies. None of my leather working tools, although I'm in the midst of working that one out. No scrap-booking paraphernalia. No beads, yarn,clay, or any of my musical instruments.

What I do have is my grandfather's guitar that needs new strings, his banjo that my mom won't let me touch until I've learned to play the banjo..*cough cough* insert shameless ploy to guilt her into letting me restring it and teach myself. I also have her sewing machine, a few tubes of paint, a digital camera, and an endless supply of printer paper- with no ink at the moment.

So lets see how creative I can be at being creative in the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still Crafting.....

Eight months. Eight! Since I last posted. This is just a hello and a quick update.Blogging will begin semi-regularly from now on. I will dive a little deeper into the subjects below, but for now here is a recap of my life since last September.

September and October were full of costume designing for Ren Faire.
November was all about camping for Thanksgiving, and prepping for December

December was of course a full costuming extravaganza as I prepped for the Dickens Faire for myself and a couple friends. But better still my Mom came to CA!
      After my back injury I was not able to travel, and therefore, apart from the wonderful invention of Skype, had not seen my mom in 3 years.We played the role of enthusiastic tourists quite well. Visiting the local redwood parks, wineries, galleries, museums, and so on.

    This time was full of amazing wonders and reflections, that never made it to the blog and have since departed from my collective thoughts. However, that's what photos are for.

                                         Korbel Winery, Russian River California

 Naturally her trip was to be until mid January, but we extended until late January. And February.And March! At which time I went back East with her for the remainder of the summer. Where I am now sitting in Ohio, typing away.

And what does anything have to do with crafting? Well, now that I am semi-settled here at Ma's, I have taken over her sewing machine and fabric stash. One green dress is in the works that will be worn to see "Brave" (I won't delve into just how obsessed I am with everything Celtic, or that this is the first Scottish, Disney, AND Pixar movie... Or how that makes me want to climb the highlands holding a stuffed Mickey Mouse, singing about how the hills are alive with the sounds of c.g.i!)

Hm, I seem to have gotten off track. Let us rewind a bit.Along with my travels and sight seeing, journeys and tourist life, I still had school. A fashion drawing class was the most recent endeavor. The plan was for me to return to CA after two weeks. But that got changed. So, having the rest of the semester to finish, and all of my supplies back in the quake-and-bake state, I had to repurchase a lot of materials. Which since then have been put to great use, designing my summer wardrobe and craft list. (cue rolling of the eyes)

Basically I didn't bring much with me for what was supposed to be one week of driving, and one week of staying out here. And now with what will be a total of six months in the Buckeye state, I decided I needed to spruce up the closet space I stole from my Ma.

After taking the scenic route,this brings me to my conclusion. I will be making and posting a few crafts  this summer. Off setting with some points of interest and travel here in Ohio, a few flashbacks of the months missed,and of course including my usual ramblings.

Basically, Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

1950s Mini Album

Measure 4"x4" This little album of cuteness was created after I went to a classic car show. Accordion style, I put pearls and frilly-ness on one side, and rock'n roll edge on the other. I wanted to keep it clean and simple, with the papers and few embellishements doing the takling for me. Especially since I will have pictures of the rad rides in here later, and I didn't want to distract from them. These are pictures of the finished project. A video will be on youtube at shortly, which will show the process.

Stay hip, cool cats!

1st Cover. Nothin' says fifties like a pair of pumps!

1st and 2nd pages. A journal spot, and frame for pic. Pearl details  on the tab.

3rd and fourth pages. Tags, small pockets, a small frame, and polka dots. Meow!

Second Cover.Vegas flair!

 1st page. Even rock-stars can scrap! A frame and small journal spot.
2nd Page. A large pocket, and chipboard piece for some bling!

3rd Page, an envelope for ticket stubs and so on. A "Friday night at the local Diner" feel.

Last page, some tags and small pockets, keepin it simple.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


By now I should have posted two videos and pics. One pf a classic car show and an adorable 1950's diy dress. The other of a 1950s inspired mini album. But of course I am fighting with programs and my spoiled past.

I used to have amazing video editing programs, and access to a whole slew of things. Now I am using basic programs for the first time, and it is a frustrating learning curve.

Give me a few more days. I will have vids up...will be bald from frustration..but vids will be up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Step

Two years ago, on August 2, 2009 I ruptured two discs in my lower spine. I don't want to linger on that fact for very long in this post, but instead use it as a means of an explanation. You see, after I was hurt, I didn't have much to do. I couldn't work, well as a reality check I could barely even walk.

I spent the majority of the first three months in bed. After that point I couldn't take it, and started going out more, regardless of how much pain I was in. With obscenely ridiculous mobility issues, about the only thing I could do was shop.

After watching various arts and crafts shows online, and being an artsy person to begin with, I found myself in an art store a couple times a week. Holding on for dear life to a shopping cart. Limping my way down the aisles. It wasn't a pretty sight, I know. Sweat would start to build on my face after the first fifteen minutes as the pain would build up. The limping would sometimes get worse, and sometimes get better as I stretched out. Random bursts of pain would shoot down my legs to accompany the constant burning of sciatica. Add in the fact that the discs were pressing on the nerves that also go to the bladder, and you can paint a rather dismal image of an angry,hobbling,sweaty mess trying to bargain hunt.

Many a random shopper had to suffer the stare-of-death if they dared to enter MY aisle.

But I have made the observation in the past few months (OK longer than a few, but I am just now doing something about it). I am developing a shopping addiction.

What started as a practical application of time, small funds, and the desire to get supplies at a good deal, turned into an absent minded constant spending of money, that I began to quickly run out of. While I had steady checks coming in for disability, there was also an extra steady out put.

Now to clarify, (justify if you like) Everything I have bought in the past two years has been some sort of artistic supplies that I will be using to (hopefully) start a side business as I finish up college- also an artsy/theater/costuming degree. So I have been attempting to “invest”, especially in the leather working, because it is not cheap- not even to start. On another note, everything I have bought has been on sale. And not just like 10% off, but 40% or more. So if I had waited, I would have spent even more money later.

The original concept of this was great. With coupons to every store, I was checking and comparing prices online before driving anywhere. Nothing at regular price. Clearance sections and generic brands first. However my application is now questionable, as I have enough supplies to last me eons for each of the different hobbies I am interested in. And that’s another issue. I keep finding more things to try, and therefore more supplies to purchase, but never actually making anything with it.

I am beginning to stress out over money, while feeling better after shopping. Which is odd because I used to HATE the process of shopping. In fact I called myself a "purchaser". I knew what I needed and didn’t buy anything else. A get in, get out, get on with it mentality.

But I have been irresponsible with what the Lord has given me these past few years. And enough is enough.

So, long explanation longer, this is my resolution:

A year of no un-budgeted,frivolous, reactionary, impulsive spending.

 I will have rules for how,why,when, and how much I can spend, with a set amount going to tithing first. Every time I need (actually need) to buy something, I will have a list. Nothing can be bought if it isn't on the list.

So here are the rules,

Money can only be spent towards or in the event of:

Bills (that are already established, no new financial commitments)
Groceries (with a list and menu planning)
Gas (with mileage and trips planned-no frivolous driving- which used to be a “hobby”)
Repairs (for various house hold and automotive items-only after saving)
Medical (in savings)

Rare spending:

Supplies (only office/adhesives, and other notions such as needles,thread, and like items that are required to use up what I have already purchased)

$40 a month (to be used for outings for the whole month. When its gone, its gone. this seems like a lot, but I can easily drop $40 or more a day without even thinking about it)

No spending on:

Clothes ( I won't go there)
Shoes (where did they all  come from??? 0.o)
Accessories (I don't wear what I have now, and if I buy another purse I should be committed)
Specialty art supplies/items
Movies (dvds)

My blog and youtube channel will have posts on this topic. I am sure some will be of me having a melt down, but others will be of me trying to be creative with what I have and make this work. A name for the thread will follow later..for now its too late at night to be that witty ; )

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Struggling Artist

Now typically when someone hears the term “struggling artist” they picture an eccentric, and eclectic individual. Living in a small dwelling that should not house a human of normal proportions. Spending every waking hour perfecting their “craft”. Lost in the poetry and meaning of their latest creation. And Top Ramen. Lots of Top Ramen.

I on the other hand, am a more literal translation. I am simply struggling with my art. Actually I am struggling with being able to get anything done.

About a month ago I purchased a Singer Golden Touch and Sew 620. This thing is about fifty years old. It's beautiful! (see below) All the original accessories, and the ability to sew through more than three layers of garment leather. This is why I bought it. I wanted a machine dedicated to sewing on leather so I wouldn't destroy my high end machine. And I knew my light machine was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Just one more piece of fabric even aimed in its direction, and it was going to crawl up into a sewing machine fetal position- crying about its intended use, and issues with its mother.

Now I know the idea of three sewing machines sounds like I have some shopping,or hoarding disorders. And well, I will neither confirm nor deny these allegations!

What I will say is these machines had a very specific purpose. The light one I am learning on. The high end one that can embroider was a gift from my mom. And the heavy duty one was going to be as I said, for repeated use on heavy fabrics. Because I am going to be the next best designer, and time period dress aficionado! (which in reality translates into learning how to make a skirt and sewing costumes).

One of my goals is to have a my own store online, and to travel to different time period events such as renaissance fairs and classic car shows. But we'll see.

My summer of productivity came to a screeching halt when the brand new-old machine didn't work. Right from the beginning. Lets skip the obvious questions and things I should have checked on. I got it fixed, and about two weeks later it stopped working again. To add insult to expensive injury, my light machine has finally abandoned me to the world. I hope to resurrect them both, but funds at the moment will not permit it.

So I am left with the high end machine. That has been sitting, unused for years because it scares me. I don't want to break it. I am still learning (I should actually say that I understand the basics and concepts of sewing, I just lack experience.) So, I stare at it. In its cream colored case. Sitting all alone. Wondering what it did wrong. I wish I could make it understand- I haven't forgotten about it. I haven't abandoned it, like the evil light weight one has me. I just have insecurity issues. Honest....don't cry snazzy machine. One day I will give you the attention you deserve. I swear it!

Beyond my sewing woes, I have had technology ones as well. Computer was down for a bit, so no editing photos (till now) that I owe people. Also lost my web cam (I don't even know how I managed that one) so no filming- or editing for that matter.

My garage has been a mess, so no leather carving or painting. Scrapbooking supplies are buried under a stack of junk. And so on.The only thing I have been able to do is brainstorm for an upcoming web-comic.

At this point you are probably asking (and rightfully so) “How many arts/crafts do you do woman? How many do you need????” Yeah, go back and read my first post. There you will hear my hidden “I told ya so”.

It is frustrating to have so many interests, so many ideas, and so many unfinished projects. I can feel the failure of each one judging me from shelves, storage bins, closets, and digital files. “You are the worst crafter in history”- they mock me. Like a coloring book mocks the kindergartner who can't stay in the lines.

Well ya know what unfinished projects? Keep up that tone, and I will let you sit there. Collecting dust till the end of time. Or until I donate you to some thrift remember what happened to the old Christmas decorations, don't you? Yeah, you better watch yourself!


By now you have realized I have many an argument with inanimate objects. Some of them even have names. Some are lawful good, others evil, and a great many are just neutral and boring.

But I am happy to say that after this weekend I will have shot some footage, taken pictures, worked on the comic some more, lyrics for a few songs, and so on. More "thinking" projects at the moment. And next week, its on!

I have a phrase I now love. “Cleaning like a mad Irish woman!”.  Basically I need to finish up getting things where I want them to be. I want to focus and dedicate time on setting up my various art stations before I start any I mean finish, yes FINISH all my other projects. Maybe that's what the Lord wants from me. To teach me discipline and dedication before I go off all wild and willy-nilly crafting away into the wee hours of the night. Damage control I guess. 0=o)

(a year from now I will have to check the ceiling for glitter. If there is none, I will know that I succeeded in my quest, and didn't go crazy- simply throwing my supplies about in a moment of craft turrets)

So next craft focused blog, I promise will actually have pictures of a current or finished project

Till then a preview of some of my previous work. Some leather carvings.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Experiment Part 2

Now let us enter into the wonderful world of Gluten Free. Two words of diet and nutrition that I think most of America fears, and doesn't understand. You see there is a slight difference between Celiac Disease, Gluten Allergies, and a Gluten Intolerance. All of which creates reactions to, you guessed it! Gluten. One of the main points of origin for gluten? Wheat.

Again as a teenager, I would notice after eating bread that my stomach would swell. Not just the typical female whine of bloating. But like “it's alive!!!”- alien chest burster -type swelling. Fine, not that bad, but still worse than just a little water weight-it was centralized, and noticeable. (TMI yet?)
No bread for a while, things went back to normal,and I haven't had issues since. Uh huh. At least that's what I have thought. (I will take a moment and encourage people to investigate complications that can all be traced back to eating gluten, its scary)

I know a number of people who can't have wheat. One of my closest friends has educated me over the past year or so, and reminded me of what foods she can't have. Which at first you think, no bread? Ok, so don't eat bread and you will be fine. Hehehe..oh how simple we can be sometimes.

I decided to have a little experiment, to try wheat (gluten) free for a few weeks to a month and see how my body reacts. And if I feel better, I will make it permanent. One of the issues I have had recently is what is called brain fog. Basically after eating, especially anything with gluten, it feels like you are not quite drunk. That first rush when you can feel alcohol hit your system. First there is the warm feeling that extends outward from your belly to your limbs. Then your head gets a little lighter, you are relaxed. But with brain fog it is a bit different. You have a hot flash, and you are light headed, and a bit dizzy. Almost trapped inside your own body, detached from your senses. Brain fog.

With further reading, a number of people have expressed this brain fog, and that after eliminating gluten from their diet it went away. As did their headaches. I was diagnosed with migraines when I was 13. The first few years were horrible. Then I discovered what foods trigger them, so I could manage, and fake my way through them. Then I moved from Florida to California after high school. And it seems like since then my health has been one roller coaster of medical hell after another.

My headaches and migraines have varied. A few years ago I had a migraine for 3 weeks straight. Over the past two years I have developed silent migraines, which is all the other symptoms of a regular butt kicking one, minus the actual pain in your head. And then two weeks ago I had the worst migraine I have ever had. I couldn't move my body with out feeling sick and took a 4 hour “nap” as a result.

Those are just some thoughts on part of my gluten free motivation. I am on day four of no gluten, and can already say that I feel different. I don't have the fog anymore, and though my headaches are not completely gone, it is easier to tell why I have them. Say because I just haven't eaten at all, or my neck is tight, too much computer, sitting for too on. It's not food related.

But now let me return to the actual food related headache of eating gluten free, the shopping. It dawned on me when at the movies with a friend. I thought I would get a little scoop of ice cream ( which turned out to be two BIG scoops, but oh well, hehehe) and I wanted to get cookies n' cream. Cookies. Made with flour...made from wheat...GLUTEN!

I swear my brain had a temper tantrum for five seconds when it realized all the extra thinking it was going to have to do beyond the subject of bread.

       Brain:  You mean I now have to worry about ICE CREAM! Seriously??!! I can't process every side dish, meal, snack, and beverage with FOUR food allergies! Woman are you insane??!!!!

Me: Oh shut up. Look, they have  pecan praline

Brain: Oooh! Pecan praline? YUM!

Me: sigh... (to the clerk) Two scoops please.

But I realized this really is going to be a life changer. But I choose to see it as a positive. I found a rather popular blog called the “Gluten Free Girl, And The Chef”. A husband and wife. It is cute, educational, and practical. With recipes mixed in with her thoughts and a peek into her life, plus a community of other gluten freebies. So far I love it. .

She made a good point, that substituting gluten free packaged foods for the real stuff is just as bad for you as the allergic reaction to the gluten. Kinda like having lite beer instead of regular. Beer is beer. Junk is Junk.
I found her blog because I was looking for whole foods that are gluten free. Guess what folks, turns out there are grains out there other than wheat. No I'm not just talking about the nutrient sucking corn ( I will spare you that rant for now).

So now I get to play with new foods, er I mean experiment with new recipes. I will have to be creative in my outings, but that just lends to more chances to grow in responsibility, and learn new things. Its kinda frustrating, but honestly its exciting.

Because now I have an excuse to get my family to buy healthier foods, and not complain about it..MWAHAHAHA!

Ahem. Sorry. I think now is a good time for a break. More thoughts,recipes, and failed experiments to come. 

Preview of next post: Something crafty, I promise.