Friday, November 30, 2007

nothing without a reason?

Over at Clarity of Night (a blog I read regularly), Jason has posted 2 very interesting items this week.

On Wednesday he talked about a marker in one of the cemetaries near him and drew a lot of comment about the idea of "coincidence".

Today's posting was about a very special incident that happened to him after he had read some of those comments.


Do you believe in coincidence?

Are people rewarded or punished here for what they have done?

Do you think they're right when they say "no good dead goes unpunished"?

This much I do believe -- everything we do has an impact somewhere -- if we had not made every decision we have ever made, we would not be exactly where we are -- perhaps the ultimate expression of the rule of unintented consequences

What do you think?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fiber as an art form, and how much is too much?

Yesterday morning I started in on the annual "clean up the house for Christmas decorating", albeit slowly (very slowly due to the cold meds, etc.) when I was summoned to the TV by the DH and told to "sit, stay, watch this program!"

He had stumbled into a program on PBS titled The Art of Quilting, and he thought I might be interested in seeing it......well, let me tell you, I was GLUED to that TV screen through it all!

Now I can tell you that I have made a few quilts. To me quilts were functional, useful objects (guess that goes to my grandmother's telling me to be frugal with materials), but I have found ways to make my own sort of "artsy" statement with some of the ones I have done.

Lately, while the pieces I have worked on have been intended as gifts and intended to keep the user warm, there has been a certain amount of experimenting going on. In fact the piece I'm currently working on is another combination of piecing, applique, embroidery, embellishing and my current plan is to quilt a design over it that does not following the design on the front which will be a real departure from anything I've ever done with one. (All this from someone that two years ago was a confirmed PIECER -- no applique -- too difficult, etc., etc.)

Anyway, regarding the show -- I was fascinated by the work of a group of women who call themselves The Chicago School of Fusing -- a technique that I know a little about and have not previously been interested in doing anything with because I can't see it as a good technique for something intented to be a cover to be wrapped up in. However, as a technique for something to be hung on the wall, that transformation of quilt to art form to be VIEWED it holds a lot of fascination.

The project I'm working on now features a dragon on a water/mountain background, but after seeing that show I see the potential for a smaller hanging version with more than one dragon -- all of which would be possible if I used that fusing technique....

hmmmmmm, perhaps an idea for a later time!

Meantime, I'm considering rather my idea a few months ago to split up my areas of art into several different blogs was such a good one.

Sometimes, less is more, and after all, anyone that knows me, knows my work or has even randomly read my ramblings knows that I have this whole issue of focus -- or lack thereof -- multi tasking seems to be my middle name and I'm not sure at this point in my life if its a good idea to fight what has worked (ok, most of the time!) by trying to split it up into little bite sized pieces.....

We'll see

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Multi tasking -- crazy or not?

In a catalog recently I saw a t-shirt for sale that said "Multi tasking - the art of screwing up many things at once"

hmmmmmm -- do you think there is any truth to that?

I must admit that from time to time I get frustrated with the "lack of apparent accomplishment" that accompanies this phenomenon, but on the other hand, I'm just as likely to get totally bored and just put it aside and never finish if I try to work on just one thing at a time

Is there a happy medium here?! (and if so, could you please tell me what the winning lottery number are!)

Actually, I've been pretty steadily working on 3 projects this week -- two of which are Christmas presents for folks that actually (at least occasionally) read my blogs, so I can't say much about them -- the third one is a "make it and it might sell, possibly an order" item that I'm about half done with.

As I've been slogging along through these 3 items, I've begun to think about trying the "focus on one project" idea for a bear that I did the design for a while back and that is as far as it has gotten. Part of that has been because for me the bear is easy (relatively anyway), but pulling together all of the accessories/costuming/etc/etc is not so much, and there is still the "it doesn't look like what I saw in my head" issue to deal with.

So, maybe in a few weeks after all the Christmas presents are done (including the at least 3 more that haven't even been started besides all the WIPs); I'll have a go at putting away everything else (well, ok, except the afghan squares which I use like a "pacifier" before I drift off at night) and concentrate on this one bear and all of the accessories that I have envisioned --- we'll see how that goes!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The post office is making me CRAZY!

For quite a while now, I have been an Amazon Book Seller -- I list books on Amazon through their seller program (used books, new books, books found at garage sales, books given to me -- whatever I can get my hands on); Amazon sends me an email when a sale is made, I ship off the book and every 2 weeks Amazon tranfers the money I have earned into my bank account.

Slick little money making thing, and for 3 years it has been painless -- I buy $1.00 stamps from the post office (usually ordering through the mail), weigh the book on my postal scale, look up the correct Media Mail postage amount on, slap the stamps on the book and put it out in my mail box for the postal employee to pick up.

Recently, however, here in our ultra conservative, "there's a terrorist under every bush" little up tight town, the powers that be at the post office have tightened up their policies and made my life a lot more difficult for this endeavor.

It began simply enough. I got an email from Amazon telling me that one of the books I had listed had sold and I should ship it out. I did my usual thing -- this particular book weighed 2 pounds and 4 ounces as it was a thick hard bound one -- put the book out in the box, went on my merry little way.

But wait! Two days later, there it is back in my mail box with one of those obnoxious post office sticky notes pasted over the mailing address tell me that any piece of mail that weighs over 13 ounces and has postage stamps on it must be taken to the post office and handed to a post office employee. Not just drop it in the post office box either, nooooo, stand in line for half an hour just to hand them my already weighed and stamped package. Say WHAT!?

First off, what's with 13 ounces? I mean, why not say, 10 ounces, or 14 ounces or 3 ounces.....and the bit about "because it has stamps on it"......meaning if I could afford a postage meter and print those little tape thingies like the post office does I'd be able to just put it in the box. And then there is the question of "what's in the package?"

I had this whole discussion with the postal clerk at the desk -- I asked her "how do you know what's in the package just because I carried it in here?"

I got this whole song and dance from her about how since 9/11 the airlines won't let the post office put a package over 13 ounces with stamps on it on an airplane if it didn't come into the office. HUH?! Give me a break lady, I may be older but I'm not senile, and that is a CROCK -- like the airlines are going to look at each and every package in that big sealed container of mail that gets put on the plane....don't give me that!

And then again, consider that if I really was a terrorist and wanted to put a bomb in a package I'd probably be well funded enough to have that little postage machine and print those little tapes and then I could just send off my little package anyway.

One more piece of evidence that I was right when I said that 9/11 was the day the whole world lost its mind.............

Friday, November 09, 2007

Amen sister!

Over at A Little Imagination and a Pile of Junk the gal that runs Little Black Kitty Art wrote a great bit today about living simply.

I have thought about this issue a lot of late anyway, but her analysis brings it more clearly into focus.

One of the things she says is: "I don’t need near as much stuff as I think I do. Having more than I need just complicates my life. The more stuff I have, the more time I have to spend cleaning, organizing, and taking care of it."

Now I have felt that way for a while. Maybe its that we are in a huge, 2 story, 4 bedroom house and at least in the winter when we're here by ourselves, we don't even go upstairs except to shower! And its on a big lot which means we must also mow it/rake it/shovel it outside.

I'd be just as happy in a much smaller place with much less stuff! I don't want to have to clean it/dust it/wash it/polish it/rake it/repair it or whatever "it" requires. I want to work on other things!

At the end of her discussion on this subject she asks this question: "Do you have any tips for me on the logistics of down-sizing and getting the kids on board with it?"

To which I add a question of my own -- how do you get a husband on board with it? That I think is a much tougher question.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

blah, blah, blah......

as in, that's how I've felt for the past few days.....nothing serious, just that lingering, behind the eyes, "I don't want to do anything" feeling that usually accompanies the switch off of daylight savings time.....our sleeping schedules are all messed up -- ie the labrador thinks its time to go outside at 5:15 AM! after which I never really get to sleep again....{sigh!}

Its also the result of knowing that Christmas is only 47 days away and behind that the already scheduled increase in health insurance premiums which coupled with the rising price of gas almost insures that we simply will not be able to make ends meet in the new year which is just not a pretty picture.......

My ideas to try new on line ventures to make money have just not panned out, so I'm simply out of ideas at this point........

The best plan we had come up with was to sell our house and move into something smaller, but with the current glut of houses on the market, we wouldn't even be able to get enough out of it to manage that......

I'm seriously thinking that I will have to try to find some kind of regular job somewhere after the first of the year and the traveling/shows/art work will just have to stop