Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lumps and Bumps and Pink Eye, Oh My!

This is where I mentally spent a LOT of time today. Let me explain....

It has definitely been that kind of day. I knew I had an appointment at an imaging center, so I tried really hard to get all of my ducks in a row last night.

Then morning dawned, full of possibilities and grandeur. I gently swept into the kids' rooms to wake them and... my daughter's lump in her neck (swollen lymph nodes) was a LOT worse today and my son woke up with...wait for it....PINK EYE! Where did THAT come from? The shopping cart? Yikes!

I had an MRI scheduled for today to take a look at another lump in my jaw area and to check my sinuses. Apparently I have had chronic sinus infections for years that have mimicked tooth pain, so I never realized what was truly going on. The teeth are fine, the sinus isn't. The doctor also shared that I must have a high tolerance for pain. Yep, that one is true. Always have, hopefully always will. The downside of that is that I often let things go longer than another person might.

Surprisingly, the MRI was actually pleasant. Having done this once before, I knew to bring earplugs to tamp down the noise pollution. I also realized from my "experience" last time to keep my eyes closed. Eye opening is an invitation to Panic City, which is not a great place to visit and don't get me started about LIVING there.

With eyes closed and ears plugged, it is easy to imagine being somewhere lovely. I was in a forest, I meditated, I prayed, I planned some dolls...Pretty productive, really. I should probably look into going about once a week. I would get more done!

The repetitive "clunkclunkclunk" sound was conducive to mind wanderings, too. A bit like being in the womb, I'd bet. I drifted off at one point. It is SAD when a trip to the hospital is like a spa day! Woof!

After about an hour, I was free to toddle home and get the kids from the grandparents. Aren't grandparents wonderful? Who else can one call at 6:00 AM and say, "By the way, I need you to watch two kids; one is lumpy and one has goo running out of him. Sound good?" and have them not run away screaming? Thank God for grandparents.

Two more doctor trips later and I am ready for a stiff cup'o'joe and to tune up the sewing machine. I'll try and post the new dolls later in the week.

Thanks for popping by! Happy health!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Yelling, Selling and Happiness

OK, remember a few posts ago where I declared that I wasn't going to yell? Remember how I was doing super great? Guess what?

I yelled. It was, in theory, justified, but I cognitively "get" that it is unecessary. Old behaviors take a while to extinguish, I guess. Sigh. What is a harried mom of three to do? Bourbon? LOL

The good news is that I sold my pixie
and mushroom piece on ebay. Wasn't super happy about the price, but I was glad to know that it sold.

I will be listing three more pieces this weekend, including the Merbaby. Hopefully she will fetch a good price. I am going to have to start her listing at an acceptable level and hope for the best. If she doesn't sell, she doesn't sell, though I have a good feeling about her.

I will also be posting the pixie in the yogurt cup and the little brown rat. Wish me luck!

Until next time, happy everything!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Merbaby Egg

Here is a picture of a merbaby in her egg. We used to think that mermaids had live births, but we now know that female mermaids lay soft shelled eggs. These eggs are then carefully tethered to long strands of seaweed that grow in sheltered coves along the coastline.

While still an infant, the merbaby's tail is not bifurcated. It remains a single narrow strip until the merbaby is old enough to take her first swim outside of the egg. At that time, the powerful propelling motion causes the tail to split into the "fish" tail that we see in most mermaid images presented in today's media.

Often, a starfish "nanny" can be seen guarding the egg. The nanny's job it to make sure the tethers hold firm during times of ocean upheaval and to cover over the egg's opening, which becomes wider and wider as the youth inside grows and develops.

Until next time, happy crafting! Thanks for popping in!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Isn't that always the way it happens?

So, to bring things up to date...

Last time I was here, I mentioned how I was trying ebay because etsy was slow. Can you guess what happened? Of course! I sold something on etsy the same day that I posted the blog! Then, as I sadly watched no one looking at my pixie up for sale on ebay, someone finally bid on that. Then today, someone bought another doll off of etsy! Now I REALLY don't know what to do, except maybe a combo of both etsy and ebay.

Both items that sold on etsy were hand sewn dolls, not needle felt. Hmmm.

When I figure things out, I'll let you know. Until then, I will just muddle along, making my own idea of art and the messes that go along with it.

Thanks for popping in! Until next time, happy everything!

Next time you pop in, I should have some good pictures of my baby mermaid, still in her egg.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Etsy vs Ebay

I love etsy. I truly, truly do. I just can't seem to sell much lately and it is getting me down. People seem to love my work in person where they can touch it, turn it over, get a good idea of size and scale, etc., but it doesn't translate to online sales. Sigh.

So what to do?

I have posted an item to eBay to see what happens. Unfortunately, I had to put a starting bid price of $35, which I am told,by those in the know, will prevent it from moving at all. Que sera sera, I guess. I can't afford to have a piece that took several hours go for $2!

So, what is an artist to do? Do I start looking for local shops to sell my items? Does that require a contract? Yikes!

I am going to try 3 series of postings on eBay. If none of them bear fruit, I will have my answer. At that point, I will have to reconsider how I am going about things.

This one is listed as a pixie, though I usually have called these guys brownies. I was told by a wee folks buff that they couldn't possibly be brownies as they aren't wearing brown.

Until next time, happy crafting!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yep, It's Spring!

See? The flowers say so.
All the windows are open, birds are chirping, and I have a pile of gorgeous green wool roving on my lap.
Does life get any better than this?
Happy creating! Happy Spring!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Yelling Yet. That's Good! Oh, and Diabetic Hamsters....

Well, I made it through one day without yelling, nagging or pestering the kids. It required my attention at times, but I was able to do it.

It began, of course, at the beginning. I woke up at 5:10 and did my normal morning routine; coffee, granola bar, news...more coffee. At 6:20, the troops got up. As usual, my middle one took a BIT longer to wake up. (He sits and stares off into his cereal for a few minutes each morning. I like to think of it as a morning meditation on the meaning of life. Unfortunately, it usually makes him a bit late getting ready.) I told him, very calmly, that he needed to be ready by 7:00 or that he would not earn the use of his electronic devices for the day. I also let him know that I wasn't going to nag, remind, or prod him in any way. And I didn't! What is more, I didn't feel overly compelled to do so. Wow!

So, at 7:10, when he was still futzing around, I told him that he had done pretty well, but that I hoped tomorrow would be a bit faster because I know how much he likes his video games. His jaw dropped a bit, he looked at the clock, but there was no whining. No grumping. Whew! Personal responsibility. Gotta love it.

My youngest one is a bit easier. His issue right now is a small bit of whining. He is generally such a good natured kid that it isn't that big of a deal. A few small reminders today were all he needed to keep on track and it was easy to keep my cool. It isn't easy, however, not to laugh at him. He is SO funny. He knows it, too, which only makes it worse.

My oldest's issue is sassiness. To offset this, I have a chart up on the fridge with all of our names on it. When any of us is overly unpleasant, not much is said about it, but a check mark is added to the list. When the weekend comes, when she asks to do something, we will check the list and see if her behavior over the week warrants the privilege of her participation in whatever activity she has chosen. So far, things are going pretty well.

My thoughts are as follows: the kids know what they need to work on, as do we all, and it shouldn't have to be a struggle. They should do the right thing because they are good people and choose to do so. When that fails, they should do it because their parents expect them to and would be disappointed if they failed to live up to their potential.

Oh, did I mention positive praise? That is happening a lot, too. Big help.

Now, on to the diabetic hamster....In addition to my artistic endeavors, I have been busily researching diabetic hamster food. Let me 'splain...

My daughter had a hamster at her bio dad's that she has been dying to have live at our house. We thought the pet should stay with her dad, as we had a cat and her dad was the one who bought her the hamster, but her father was getting ready to move again and she was worried that something might happen to the hamster. It did. It got out (again) and was lost. My daughter was beside herself. Trying to be a comfort, I told her that if they found it, she would be welcome to bring it to our home. Famous last words?

Well, you can guess what happened. I noticed very quickly that all was not a rosy hamster paradise. The hamster was drinking and drinking and urinating like crazy. I checked for a bladder infection. Nope! It had DIABETES!

So over the past few days I have been researching the most balanced diets for diabetic hamsters. I have been hand blending food, looking for appropriate protein sources, and using keto-diastix to check his glucose levels in his urine. Luckily, the change in diet is usually what most hamsters need. No expensive vet bills....I feel like we dodged a bullet on that one! Whew!

I am hoping that tomorrow will be a good day for creation. I have a monster in mind, a fetal mermaid (I know, I know! Don't ask. I will probably post it by next weekend.) and some more pendants to make.
Thanks for popping by! Until next time, happy creating!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wood Sprites and Wonderings

Here are some pictures of the wood sprite I mentioned yesterday. The lighting wasn't much better today, so you will just have to forgive me for any poor ones.

I was trying to work on moving away from "cute" for a bit. I used to do all kinds of work, some sweet and some scary. This one falls in the middle somewhere, I think.

My wondering for today is this: Are my standard posts WAY too long? It seems that most postings I read are short, though I didn't think about that fact until today. Something for me to consider, I suppose, when I sit down to write.

Until next time, happy crafting!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Decisions, New Fiber Work and More Decisions

I really should be doing this blog daily, as I always have a heck of a time deciding where to focus my attention if I have a few days in a row without putting fingers to keys.

Side note before I get into it: It felt SO delicious to dive into my box 'o' fiber today! I have working with glass and paper a lot lately, and the wool I bought from Speckled Ram (look on etsy!) has been calling. I opened the box and that woolly wool smell hit me ahhh and it was so soft and I started going going going.... Oops! Sorry for channeling e.e.cummings there for a minute, but I had a Nirvana experience today. Bliss city. Yum!
Decision 1: After much debate, kettle corn, and peppermint tea, I have decided to put off getting my Day Lab Copy Pro for photo emulsion. The cost is a part of it. I can't find a used one anywhere. I Googled, eBayed, Craig listed...nada.

The FILM cost was the clincher, though. The process I have been interested in requires the use of Polaroid 669 film, which used to be dirt cheap and everywhere. I went to Tuttle Camera in Long Beach, the BEST BEST camera store in Long Beach (a shout-out to the Mom and Pop stores in the world), and they had 6 packs. Three of the six were already reserved. The other three were $50. EACH. Now, I am all for a hobby that requires special equipment, but when the daily use is going to be an arm and a leg as well, that is another thing. Fuji is supposedly making a comparable film. If people I know who use the Day Lab try it and find it to be a quality product, I will revisit the whole idea. It just seems prudent to let those who are already invested do the testing for me.

On another note, I have been working on a few new characters. One of them, the largest right now, is a wood sprite. (Take "largest" with a grain of salt. His is probably about six inches tall, if that. I love working small.) He has the usual hair that I tend to do on my wee folk, but his face is a little less pretty...short of sinister, but not sweet either. He has hand sewn boots, fitted pants, and a wooden staff. I KNEW that tangerine wood would come in handy someday! His teeth are what give him the creepy edge. Unfortunately, I can't post a picture until tomorrow. I would rather wait and take a good picture than to post something that is hard to see.

I also made a 1 1/2 inch brown dinosaur for my younger son. It is modeled after the orange one I have posted on Flickr. See? Picture this, only brown and a bit smaller.

Decision 2: I am working out whether or not to try eBay. Etsy has been slow for me lately. I don't know if it is the economy or if my stuff is just too quirky, but I would like to see things move along a bit more quickly. A WONDERFUL felt artist named Barby Anderson sells her things there and does really well. A lot of other people, however don't. (On that note, if you are interested in learning how to felt, Barby sells online courses and I have heard some really good things about them. In fact, she just came out with a new one. You should definitely give it a try. Google Barby Anderson to see her work. Too cute!) Anyone out there with advice? I would truly appreciate any insights!

Decision 3: A dear friend and I are trying a new experiment this week with our kids. You are all welcome to join us, if it sounds like your cup 'o' tea. We have vowed that for the next week, we will not raise our voices or become visibly frustrated with our children. We will calmly ask them to do their chores/homework/whatever without the merry-go-round of lectures and tension. Life is supposed to be fun! Time for fun!

I always remember that I can't control the behavior of others who are adults, but often forget that my children fall into that category. Do I expect them to do what they are asked? Absolutely. Will there be consequences if they fail to do so? Yep. Then why do I get all frothed up over it? They will do what needs to be done and I don't need to bust a gut. (They are lovely kids, by the way. I am the grumpy one right now. I never used to be frowny. Time to get over it, no?) I can't wait to see what kind of change might occur...

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. I will photograph my sprite tomorrow!

Oh yeah! Speaking of photographing...instead of buying the Day Lab, I decided to get the items needed to make a light box. That should help with my pix!

Thanks for popping by and happy crafting!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


Here is a little clue...When working on a new project that one isn't familiar with, it is a good idea to have the kids be at school or a friend's house. I was working with some new materials when making my pendants and had lots of kids (OK, it was just my three, but it SEEMS like a lot when they are all atwitter and flying around our teensy tiny house) stopping me, stopping me, stopping me. Eating. Stopping me.
The result? I forgot an important step: putting the micro glaze on my images prior to mounting them on the glass. Smear city. Ink leakage. Time suck. Materials wastage. Disaster.

As luck would have it, I had my meditation class last night, so I think I may go and breathe.

If they find me dead of hyperventilation, you can all have my various stashes to divide amongst yourselves. That way, I know everything will be used.
Until next time, if there is one, happy crafting!
PS You know I am just kiddding. There are too many fun things to make to let myself die from hyperventilating. Death by chocolate is more my style.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Guess what I learned on Sunday??? Photo Emulsion!

OK, I usually am pretty family oriented on the weekends, but I have been on a "me" jag the last week. Every few years I feel a little stagnant and feel the need to get out and stretch my brain a little bit. Meditation has been helping, but I felt the urge to learn a new skill.

So, knowing that my husband would be around to pick up the slack and that this particular weekend was going to be light on "have to's" for the family and big on "what shall we do's?", I decided to sign up for a class that I have been wanting to take for ages. Photo emulsion.

It was so COOL! The class was from 9-1, just enough time to feel refreshed and come home with some good ideas. The process itself is quite simple, though it does require some specialized equipment. Not cheap specialized equipment. The sort of equipment where I ask myself, "Theresa, do you REALLY need it? How often will you use it once the excitement of 'new' wears off and you hear the your fiber boxes and bags calling again?"

Confession: I have been known in the past to buy various and sundry bits that I feel will be good additions to my "stuff" piles. Some of them have worked out great, others not so much. For instance, the rug hooking frame I asked for for Christmas a few years ago has only been used three times. I have learned that I sort of prefer to hook on my lap, Nantucket style. It is great for punching, though, so I know I will drag it out eventually when I have to crank something out uber-fast.

An example of a FABU investment was my chocolate temperer. Don't get the wrong idea- I don't make chocolate on a daily basis. Not even a monthly basis. But when I do put the effort in to make handmade chocolates, they are gorgeous, tasty (because I can use excellent chocolate without worrying about goofing it up by improper tempering) and are fulfilling to produce. Chocolate work is some of my favorite artwork, truth be told. It is wicked evil on the teeth and rear, though. Proceed with caution!

So, the question remains; do I or don't I? It IS my birthday month, so I am sure to have enough money without impacting our savings. But will I use it enough to justify the expense?

Thus far, all I know how to do is make images that can be transferred to tile, glass, or paper. The machine can also make a different kind of image transfer that is more like a watercolor. It can be used to manipulate images as well.
Decisions, decisions.

Tonight I used some of the scrap images from the class to make a new tile, two fridge magnets, and a pendant. The ones done on glass remind me of daguerreotypes. I need to throw a layer of glaze on and see what the durability is like. If good, then I could use the machine to make all kinds of jewelry components. (Mmmmmmm. I may be talking myself into it.)

I could make my daughter's teacher a pendant with the school logo on it. I could make my mom a bracelet with the grandchildren's images on it. But would I?

I am fickle, dear readers. I have to mix it up or I become bored. I always needlefelt concurrently to whatever else comes up, but I can feel my synapses starting to pop. Tickle-y.

We'll see what my birthday brings. I still have 11 days. Perhaps by then, this will all seem like a distant memory and I will wonder what I was so excited about in the first place.
Hope everyone is well!

Happy crafting to all!

On this page are two of the tiles I made using vintage images. This last one is an image transferred to watercolor paper. Doesn't it just cry out for watercolor pencils? It is saying, "Please, make me even MORE charming!"

Until next time!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Parks, kites, and a better day

What a beautiful day. The wind was blowing JUST right, it was about 62 degrees and the sun was out. Big billowy clouds dotted the skies and I felt I just had to be outside. My plum tree is in full bloom, buzzing with bees, though I don't think as many bees as last year. (I had to make 4 batches of plum jam last year!)

Isn't the color of the bark amazing in the back lighting? It is a really vibrant magenta hue. I had never noticed this in the previous years. Maybe I wasn't looking...too much thinking, not enough noticing? Could be! It wouldn't be the first time.

As luck would have it, the kids were out of school early today and thought a picnic sounded like a fine idea. My youngest and I had anticipated the positive response and arrived to get the older two with sandwiches, fruit and drinks in our beat up Trader Joe's bag. (I swear, I couldn't live without those bags. Especially the canvas ones.)

Off we went to the park. Not just any park, but the one with the giant pumpkin carriages, like something straight out of Cinderella. Even I can't resist getting into a pumpkin carriage.

A quick bite, a look at the progress reports that came home today (good progress was made, luckily) and then KITES!

My youngest one had never actually flown a kite. He had tried a few times last year, but it seemed that we never had the kite in the car on the really good windy days. I tried to be more proactive this year.

The wind was perfect. I could launch the kite without having to run. The breeze just grabbed it and up up up it went. It is a darling little kite shaped like a colorful, stylized owl with really long chartreuse tails that flutter and flick in the breeze.

Everyone had a turn. The flying styles are as unique as the kids. My daughter grabbed it and jumped in with both feet. No deliberating. No checking wind direction. I guess you could call it intuitive kite flying. Either that or interpretive, as there was much spinning and leaping as well. My older son, in contrast, found the wind direction, rewound the string, untangled the tails, and took a run, just to make sure that things would go properly. He is more like his dad, who is responsible for everything sane and organized in our lives. The youngest one, the most excited one, burned bright, felt what it was all about, and quickly had his fill.

Me? I was happy just to feel that glorious air on my skin. It was positively luxurious. Ahhhh!

Look at what I found! I can't remember what it is, but I was worried I had killed it off last year. Apparently not, as here it is, blossoming, no less. Yay! I love the foliage. Very unique.

I came home to work a bit on some new brownies/pixies and I have a request for some squirrels that I need to get started. Maybe I'll put a brownie on a squirrel. That would be a hoot!

Thanks for popping by! I'll post my new items before the end of the weekend!

Until next time, happy crafting!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Patience and...Rats?

Here I sit, fresh from a meditation class last night. I woke up this morning SO refreshed, though I had no real reason to be. Other than, of course, that I had a whole hour just breathing. Breathing. Breathing. Oh, I can't even describe it! Wonderful. It is so easy to get lost in the yimmer-yammer that runs through the brain every single minute. I had no idea how strong my self talk was. Pretty negative, too! So tiring!

Now, if I could just keep that peace with me as I go about the daily activities, things would be golden. I suppose things will get a bit easier as I move into the practice a little more.

Part of my general *blah* today is that my work is so slow in selling right now. I haven't had a lot of new requests lately and it is starting to get me down. I opened a new etsy shop today and I am already grumpy about it. It only has two listings right now, as I became a little frustrated at how poorly my work photographed today and just stopped. I can't think of the last time I just didn't continue. I am pretty tenacious, in a good way, and will usually work a problem until I have at least a minimally functional solution. The lighting was poopy and I am just not good at snapping jewelry, generally speaking, and I just..*sigh*.... There is a real art to balancing the reflections and showcasing each piece. I have seen some amazing photos lately. I'll try to earmark some of them and list 'em here for your perusal next time.

Well, I think I'll stop there. I could go off on many tangents tonight-child based, home based, me based, but I want to go breathe...

Peace to all! I will be more chipper next time! Promise!

Here is a picture of a rat I have worked on recently....Again, pardon the poor pix. Terrible lighting issues today!

Happy crafting!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Never Stop Moving

OK, I saw the COOLEST thing ever yesterday afternoon. My husband, kids and I were riding our bikes over to the park to get some yah-yahs out when I saw some women playing soccer. Not your stereotypical youngsters, but gals older than me. (I know, it is hard to believe.) In all shapes, sizes, colors and levels of fitness. It was awesome! They were totally into what they were doing. Some of them were really talented, some were not so talented, but everyone was enjoying themselves and just going for it.

I think I have gotten into a rut about exercise. I always err on the side of treadmill or skating. I don't mind these two things, mind you, but there isn't always a lot of joy in them. Perhaps that is my own fault....

At any rate, I think I need to inject a little more joy into my physical activity. I don't know exactly what that will look like, but I'll keep you posted.

Last night, I moved away from my felt Brownies and decided to make a rat. He is very rattish...long scraggly tail, beady eyes, the works! I used wool felt for the ears and paws. Just because I need to try new things once in awhile. I'll try to post a photo here later tonight.

Very happy here. Hope you are happy, too.
Until next time!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

What a Beautiful Day!

Today is one of those amazingly beautiful days. It is sunny with a slight breeze here right now. Just right for going out on a bike ride to the local city college to feed the bunnies.

The kids have been wonderful today, too. No bickering, no fighting, lots of sharing...I feel as though I should be pinching myself!

Some days are just like this, I guess. The trick is remembering to slow down and notice them.

I hope lots of blessings come to everyone today and if they don't, may the lessons learned at least be worth the cost.

Here is a quick sneak peek at a new brownie. This one has fallen into a fruit on the bottom yogurt. Italian yogurt, no less. Not quite done, but a beginning.

Until next time, happy crafting! Happy parenting, too!