Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hand wash in cool water.

I have been back in Indiana this past weekend, seeing to the old house. I had a 20 yard dumpster delivered and set in the driveway, and Sweetie and I filled it up with cardboard boxes, broken furniture, rusted curtain rods and all sorts of junk. It was exhausting, but it was good to have so much stuff cleared out. The house has been 'empty' for almost a year, and the previous renters left food in the pantry and a filthy stove. Doing all this work was deja vu. We did the same thing when we moved there in 1994, and that made me so sad. I fought back tears more than once, let me tell ya. Since I am no longer on my mood stabilizer, my emotions are very close to the surface, and this trip was emotional. But I fought through it, I felt the sadness but I kept going.

We have a trusted contractor painting the house and repairing windows and doors. We have someone keeping the grass cut. We are paying the water, sewer, and electric bill. And don't forget about the taxes and insurance. What a thief a house can be.

The original goal was to get the house in good enough shape to put it on the market, maybe by fall, but we may have found a couple to rent it. We are told they are good Christian people, but we will rent to them in spite of that. I love how someone being a 'good Christian person' is supposed to be some sort of vouchsafe.

Don't get me started.

So. Here are some photos.

I painted this in 1999 with plain old craft paint.

We stayed in a motel instead of the house, as the plumbing was broken yet again, which was an unexpected expense. Then Sweetie inadvertently pulled back the bottom sheet and pad on the bed and found a dirty pair of thong panties. Size small. I do not wear a small anything. I wrapped them in a hand towel and presented them to the manager upon check out, saying that maybe housekeeping was getting a little sloppy. Got a discount on the room for both nights. Sweetie was a great deal more skeezed out about the whole thing than I was, and really wanted to forget about it and throw the panties in the trash, but I have spent too much time talking to customer service at Frontier and AT&T. I finally learned how to turn my dissatisfaction into a plus.

Anyway. Looking forward to some sort of a normal day tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sign me up.

So. I have decided not to pursue selling at that show in November. I will participate in my guild's sale that month. I will not pursue becoming a juried member of Best of Missouri Hands right now. I will continue to work at this craft of felting, though.

I think my anxiety level was rising to near panic stage. I have done the guild show once, so I feel a great deal more comfortable about doing it again. I don't have to decide to do anything else now, and that is a relief.

I am just not happy about the quality of my work. I don't want any inferior quality goods amongst my wares. I want time to just create and learn and enjoy without the stress of wondering if this thing will sell. I gave away 5 pins and a keyring today to everyone at my vet's office. That made me happy. These were among my early work, and I have improved. They weren't crap, though.

I did some work on the brown purse. I like the way I did the handle, and I think the rose looks so much nicer. The bag now looks 'smart.'

I like the rose, and made it by accident. I had wanted to make a little vase for a votive candle, but during the felting the cup-shape became smooched into a lovely little flower. I immediately made 3 more, tweaking each one.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Beat well.

Over 3" of rain today. Crazy rain. Flood rain and crop-ruination rain. We have had right at seven inches of rain this past week. And now it's going to get hot, too, so that will be lovely indoor weather.

The reviews of the new movie about Brian Wilson are all good and part of me would like to see it, but I don't think I ever will. It's too bittersweet; too sad and too deep into the pain of abuse and too deep into the joy of creation. No, I don't need that sadness or those visions of abuse running around in my head. I can't and don't watch anything to do with whales or elephants - it upsets me too much. I have to be so careful and vigilant and guard against seeing the pain. Certain books I cannot read, so it isn't just visual things that cause me anxiety and distress.

On a brighter note, Sweetie and I saw Mad Max: Fury Road(?) this afternoon and it was fabulous. So much better than I was expecting with great effects and a good story and of course, action. I'm not a movie reviewer, but let me say that I have seen a lot of movies far worse than this one. Fake movie violence doesn't bother me usually but I have to know that the dog, or whatever, lives or I won't watch it.

Because of tinnitus, I sleep with the radio on. And because I need to hush all the sadness in my head, I listen to stand up comedy all night. Makes me happy.

This is a decorative bowl, you might say. It was an idea I've been studying on, and it didn't quite turn out like I'd planned, so I added some machine stitching which made it moderately less sucky. I rather like the back better.

Seems like I am all over the place with my felting. I feel like there is so much to learn and try to do and I have no sense of remove from my work to know if it is any good. This might be one of those pieces I put aside for awhile and come back to later.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Safe for baby.

I made this little bowl last Saturday while I was staffing the Art Center, and completely forgot about it. Today, I added some machine stitching, which makes it more interesting. 7" x 2.5" more or less.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

No alcohol allowed.

I don't know why I hadn't seen it, but I watched the last episode of season 3 of Sherlock. Fabulous in all the right ways! Crumpetpie Bandersnatch - what more can I say? And Mary! Excellent writing and direction, too.

And so, while I watched it, and all the little short 'behind the scenes' bits, I made another little messenger /iPad mini bag. Beautiful brown on the outside and turquoise in all its glory on the inside. And I figured out how to make a pocket. Although I had intended for it to be on the inside, but once that first cut was made, it was too late. An "aw fuck" moment, that. But I was inordinately pleased with myself, nonetheless, with how it turned out. 

You can see where I laid some extra brown over the resist. In the rest of the bag, the brown and turquoise gently merged. The flap is all brown, too. Ah well, another thing learnt. I put a magnetic closure on the one, and all is done save for attaching the strap. Maybe. I may add some stitching to the rose, and I may do a little something at the top of the inside. It looks a bit rough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gentle and Mild on the Skin.

This should be a bag for pets owners; it is so fuzzy that dog and cat fur will look like a design feature.

You can see how much shrinkage there was, laying there on its resist. The wool is some rough grey Shetland, I think it was, carded with some dyed green mystery fiber, from Dharma. I think I may edge the top and inside the handles in blanket stitch, for a little pizzazz and added strength.

I had no idea how spoiled I was by the merino I started felting with - it is hard to go wrong with such a lovely fiber. And now, I am in sudden miser-mode, and using all sorts of other wool that I have on hand. I have two bags of white alpaca, too, that I should dye and card. That might be a project for tomorrow. Or tonight, even.

This is why blogging is so good for me, if possibly painfully boring to the reader - I have the idea and I write it down, thus making it not only possible, but probable.

And that is why I have an Etsy shop now. I spent the morning taking photos and writing copy and thinking up tags and descriptions, and I gave them $2 and I have 10 items in my shop. I am not sure if the above bag will make the grade. Sometimes, with a little embellishment though, ugly ducklings can turn into moderately less-ugly geese.

Oh, I guess I should say the my Etsy shop is called FuzzarellyFibers.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Call the confidential hot-line.

According to my doctor, I am doing well. My diabetic blood work, (I can never remember the name of the test,) is 6.0, and normal is between 6 and 7, and last  time, it was 6.4. If it continues to dip lower, he might take me off some of my meds. So that's all good.

Best thing was being able to smell something, coffee and patchouli, this morning. It has been two months or more since my face started hemorrhaging mucus due to the worst pollen outbreak Missouri has ever seen, and I have not been able to smell me or other people since. The sense was gone after an hour or so, but it was a sign that maybe soon I will know when to change the cat litter by smell and not sight.

I made felt balls last night. Because it is a way to use up the fuzz that I brush off the drum carder after  every color run and I can't seem to throw it away. And I saved some basket cane from the trash after my first basket class yesterday, (because, you know I don't have enough to do,) and the two paired into whimsy. I like the basket I am weaving. I like the four little pointed feeties it has. When done, it will be a bit over a foot high with small handles.

So, I am investigating selling on Etsy. Again. I tried and failed to sell my Bunny and the Beast back in the way-back, but I did sell a bunch of it on eBay. I need to learn to take decent pictures of my stuff with my ancient-by-today's-standards digital camera. I have a tripod, so that's a start. 

There is just so much to do, but I am not feeling overwhelmed (yet) and that is something. My health is improving (mostly) although it seems as though once one thing clears up, some other Hydra-head of Malady appears and needs to be reckoned with. Now, it's my allergies making me tired, and almost without warning, I need to find the couch and rest or nap. Today, it was a three hour afternoon nap. Then there is the fluid build-up in my ears that makes me unsteady when I change direction too quickly. Maybe if I can sell shit online, I'll be better able to work when I can and not when I have to.

Because what else am I going to do with all this stuff?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Visit the Egress

Crazy happy flowers.


Millie the goddamn cat.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Your 1-Stop Resource.

I felted another purse yesterday. It's a straightforward bag with a little yarn embellishment. The flower really adds a finished look. I really should be making three of four large pieces, (hats and purses,) every week if I ever hope to stockpile any sort of inventory.

The reason I would need an inventory is that I do plan to offer these things for sale first, at the guild Holiday Sale and maybe at a thing called the Artists' Boutique. Have I mentioned these things before? There are a plethora, a virtual corn-u-copia of art fairs in Missouri.

Again with the questions - Do I want to do this? Do I want to work this hard? Can I stick with it? Can I make enough money to make it worthwhile? Can I embrace the profit-motive lifestyle? Can I do this on my own? (I know Sweetie will help as much as he can, but he is tied to his job that sometimes takes all his time.)

I have established that I need to create a booth, and I am erratically working on that. I have three 2' x 6' white wire grids, and I have a large folding table. I actually have another, smaller, folding table come to think of it. So, I will need more grids and some hardware for them; bits that allow one to hang garments, hats, or purses. I need to spend some more time on packaging, to acquire some sort of cohesiveness. And some signage.

Also need to take some, or have someone else take, photos. I need this to apply for a booth(s) and to apply for a Best of Missouri Hands status. I think I can demonstrate more than mere competence in my chosen field. Which adds cachet, if nothing else. Look, this group thinks I am worthy! (I just visited their website and the page I need for more info Can't be Found. Drat. I hate that. However, I know The Person to contact. And I will.)

I'm all about that Stream of Consciousness. Enough! Here are pictures.

One of Bunny Boo-Boo's offspring, chilling next door.

The purse I made yesterday. It's about 10"x10"

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Use the blue envelope.

So. I actually feel Good today! Rested and with energy to make something.

K asked in a comment on my previous post what specifically I would have done differently in the Felted Flower class on Monday.

1.)   I would have had them open their kits! Not one person opened the enclosed instructions, which I toiled over and had photos and everything. Polite mid-westerners, didn't want to make a mess. (Where is your curiosity, people?) I would have them go over the written instructions with me.

B.)  I would have had them empty out their little bags of differently colored wool. I would have them examine the embellishments and pin backs that I so thoughtfully included.

III.) I would have told them to use more layers of wool and less water. I would have made sure everyone was rolling their little package long enough and hard enough.

%.) I would have been louder, making sure that instructions were heard.

Now that I am rested and can look back, I can't beat myself up about it. That night and the next morning, my old friends Self-Doubt and Insecurity had me in their grip. I feel okay now about teaching this class again even though it is harder work than one might imagine - mentally and physically.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Tested & Rated


The class went well last night; the flower felting class. I had 4 students, and all made three flowers, except for one flower that ended up being a bowl. I had them make one with a stem and then they used a resist to make a double layer flower. Or a bowl, in one case.   

They all seemed happy as they left, but I, of course, was thinking that it could have been better. What could I have done to make their flowers better? Sturdier? Prettier? Which is a stupid question. But still, it’s there circling my brain and the voice is still quietly saying, You should have said this, done this, explained that, and corrected more. Here, Let me just do it for you! What I need to do is look at some of the first flowers I made. Ha! (Some real stinkers in that basket, and I remember being so proud of them at the time.)

This morning I am tired. Two things on my calendar: get an allergy shot and Art Council board meeting tonight. I have already decided that the shot can wait until tomorrow, or even until Monday next when I have another appointment in Columbia. I can get Chinese for Sweetie’s lunch. I can spend the day recuperating from a busy week and hide and recharge my batteries, which are dangerously low. Maybe felt a little something this afternoon. Or not.

The Art Council tonight is not something I can blow off, as I am president and need to chair. I am hoping for brisk and business-like. I have been toiling over by-law amendments for a couple of months now and that meticulous sort of shit almost hurts me physically. Especially when I think I have it the way I think it should be and then someone gleefully finds a stupid mistake or a paragraph which is unclear and my brain is too fried to even contemplate fixing it. And then, I emailed it to the board members in a format that some couldn’t open. Just when I think it’s over - and it isn’t and there is One More Thing to fix. I want to table it, shelve it, put it in a box and mail it to Timbuktu.
(Okay, not gleefully. But oh how I love that word.)

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Is Boris really Gudonov?

My life is so busy any more. For me and my life, that is. Crazy busy. I mean, actually going places with other people, going places and doing things. Taking an art(y) class or two, even.

Last night was the season premier of our town’s Music in the Park series. One older woman came up to the booker and said, “Thank you for bringing some good music to town!”  The art council that I am president of was in charge of it for the first time, so that was good to hear. Not that there was or is anything wrong with the oompa-pa-pa bands that have played there in the past. 

So, oh yeah, the art council, the one I am president of (who knew?) is going through some fits and starts. I think a third, and maybe a fourth, member is quitting. Not that anyone is throwing them overboard intentionally, but the ship would be better off if they jumped. We’ve been able to finally move forward with some of the good things we had hope to accomplish, and I am in the position of being the calm(!) center. Again, who knew? 

And the classes. Today I travel to St. Louis to take a silk painting class, a one-off. I wouldn’t go but a friend asked and she is driving. Next Sunday, other members of the board plan to take a caricature drawing class in Fulton, Mo. I think it will be a nice bonding kind of thing - girls’ (ladies’) (women’s) day out. 

Monday, I have my first paid gig teaching how to make felt flowers. Members of the spinners’ group have expressed interest in taking a class from me, and the owner of a B and B asked if I could teach her friends how to make vessels. 

And now, I am contemplating actually getting a booth together and selling my merchandise at a couple of art fairs. And getting a Square. But first getting an iPad. 

Just way more shit and socialization and commerce than I am used to. Fuzzarelly Fibers rises from the ashes. Who knew?

If you’ve read this far, let me say that part of all this comes from me getting better, mentally and physically. I have been able to stop taking most of my ‘happy’ medication and so have lost some weight. I quit drinking two and a half years ago, (again,) and that has freed up a lot of spare time. And money. It takes time and money to be a drunk. I was able to stop seeing my therapist because I felt well enough to do so. More money saved. 

So, here I am and there I go. A person that others rely on; that is scary. A person that other people want to be around. Egad. I am being more creative than I have been for 10 years. Seriously. I am teaching, without fear and anxiety. No shit Sherlock. And if I keep writing here, I will become interesting again.

No wonder I’m exhausted. That, and the Allergies from Hell. 

Handle on the purse. A learning experience.
This one won't be for sale.
Felt flowers for class.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Join the discussion.

I received the Mystery Wool roving from Dharma, and it dyes nicely. I felted a little flower, (flower class coming up on June 8,) and it was well-suited for that. Last night, I made this little mini-iPad cover/messenger bag and the felting went less well, but it went. I need to remember to weigh out the fiber beforehand so I know I will be using enough.

The resist design is thievery from the innerwebs.

All in all, a good learning experience, and I think I will add a carry strap today.

9" x 7",  sans flap