Monday, December 05, 2011

chew on this

I've been fusing the last couple of days about the lack of sales in my Etsy store

it's discouraging to put in the work, try to do what everyone tells you you're supposed to do and have none of it work

this morning someone on one of my mailing lists was talking about waking up and finding that she had 9 sales out of her shop -- wow!

of course I went right away to see what she was doing -- heh, well -- price things at under $100 then offer a 25% off sale with free shipping



do you ever wonder if you're just not ever going to figure it out?

on the other hand, this morning I heard that something I had sent to someone as a gift has been the source of encouragement in a difficult time

now that's a good thing

Thursday, July 28, 2011

further ruminating

when last we saw our hero -- heh, yeah

in our ongoing ruminate photos, here we have 3 Suffolk sheep

when I posted here last I was talking about the new Etsy store I had been putting things in

now that it has been open for a while, I've begun to think I really need to keep both of the Etsy stores open -- the new one will continue to be where I list my jewelry and bead work, the other one will be where I put my fiber art

this will take a bit more work, and I'm still thinking about it, but I'm pretty sure that's where its going

with the hope that I can actually sell some things that way

Sunday, May 08, 2011

back to ruminating

with sheep

in the past couple of weeks I've been posting things in my new Etsy shop in an attempt to sell some of my creations

most of what I've posted has been my jewelry, and as a result of some "fiddlin' around", I've been invited to join a juryed team on Etsy -- all entirely new territory

there is a certain amount of panic involved in this

partly because it means I've spent a lot more time doing computer work and I'm concerned about actually getting any creative work done

its all about balance -- and its long been known that I'm "a bubble off plumb" (heh, right!)

also because I'm worried about balancing the bead work with the art quilts -- both of which are extremely satisfying to work on, give me an opportunity to create art, and take up lots of time

I'm trying to hang on to a quote that was on a book mark my daughter gave me a while back --

"Its never to late be be what you might have been"

I'm tying a knot here to hang on to ----

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


this could have been titled "Ruminating V", since (as my daughter recently pointed out to me) sheep are ruminates too

but "baaaaaaa" seems to be a more appropriate title for this post

WARNING: this post contains whining!! if you are faint of heart, turn away now!

I spent this morning writing all the bills (except the utilities, for which the bill has not yet arrived) for the month

and after doing all the calculations I figure we have about $150 in our account to cover gas, groceries, dog food, RX and whatever else we need to have between now and May 25 -- 22 days hence when we get paid again

I had been carefully saving up little bits of cash for months so I would have a bit of money to use when I attend the SAQA conference up in Denver -- good thing I did because that will probably buy groceries for the rest of the month -- but I'm totally pissed that it will have to go there

and why are we here again?

one $400 car repair and my total inability to sell any of my work anywhere

(and that doesn't even include the fact that our dishwasher has died too, and since that would be probably another $300 plus to replace, I'm back 30 years ago, hand washing the dishes)

sometimes I wonder why I even keep making stuff, but since its that or just sit in front of the TV and turn into a turnip, I think its preferable -- maybe

sure wish I could figure this out

Sunday, April 17, 2011

the Civil War -- from a more personal point of view

one of the most amazing things about doing family history is that you get a lot more personal view of the bigger picture

this week there have been a lot of things in the news about the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War

like one in seven people in this country, I have a direct line connection to someone that fought in that conflict

his name was Sloman White -- that's him there, sitting in the middle chair

his wife, Mathilda Caroline Earp White, is on his left -- his sons, Andrew Jackson and Thomas Benton (wish I knew which one was which) standing behind him and his youngest daughter, Tennessee is sitting there on his right

he volunteered to the Confederate army (and served in a unit from Arkansas under his brother-in-law) even though he was older than the age of the men who were being conscripted

his unit fought at Shiloh in March, 1862, and he was discharged at Corinth, Mississippi, shortly after that for "illness" -- rather he was part of the measles outbreak that infected many of the troops there I do not know

I do know that at the time he joined the service, he and most of his family lived in Polk County, Arkansas

and I know that when he returned there, he signed an Oath of Allegiance to the Union

his sister refused to speak to him after that, and not long after that he moved his wife and children to Washington County, Arkansas, and had no contact with the Polk County group again

how do I know this?

because he lived until 1920 and claimed his veteran's pension and I was able to get the records

but what little I know only raises a million more questions in my head

"Civil" war indeed

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rumminating IV -- taking stock

a lot of people review and make resolutions on New Year's Eve

I've never been good at doing that, but around this time of the year I usually do a sort of mental review

this year seems especially momentous for this purpose

today is my birthday -- I'm 60 years old -- the age I remember my grandmother being and certainly not an age I've ever imagined myself being

I can say that aside from my body reminding me that I'm not 20 any more, I'm not unhappy with that number

10 years into being retired from the corporate world, I can finally say I feel like I've made the transition from that daily grind to something more in keeping with what I enjoy doing

so here are the main points of where I am

1. am I an artist or a craftsman? I'm now comfortable with saying I'm an artist, and acknowledging that being a good craftsman was a necessary step in that direction -- being comfortable with the materials and processes of working with them is an important step in being able to say I am an artist

2. abstract or representational? still in the representational area -- I have really enjoyed doing the landscape or pictorial pieces in the last year, and I have a lot more of them calling from my head to be worked on (although I do have one abstract percolating in there too)

3. process or product? Yes! many of the pieces begin because I have at least a vague idea in my head of what I want it to look like when I get finished, but recently I did a whole piece just because I had the opportunity to learn how to work with a new medium

4. wearing my art? this has been a new question -- for the most part when I make a new piece of jewelry I don't wear it because it is my intention to try to sell it -- but when I do wear some of my work (for instance the repurposed shirt that won a blue ribbon at the state fair) I get very positive feedback -- I still need to work on this idea and be willing to make a few things specifically for myself

so where does it go from here?

more pieces entered in competition is the road to success I think -- which means I also need to get into the studio and actually make (or finish) some more pieces

and to continue to connect with other artists

things are looking good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ruminating III -- embroidery or thread painting?

this seems to be an ongoing series

of cows that is

it just seems so appropriate when I'm discussing things that are little bits of thought that I've been turning over and over in my head

mooooooo, moooooooo

I've been working on a competition entry for the Hoffman Fabric Challenge

last year's entry (the first one I had ever done) made the traveling show, which in a way makes the creating of this year's entry even a little more intimidating -- big things to live up to after all

so along the way I'm using some different techniques

like this one

there has been a lot of discussion among art quilters about the use of what they call "thread painting" as a technique for embellishment on a quilt

"thread painting" is done on the sewing machine, but it requires a foot for the machine that I don't have (and that is a pretty pricey item)

I did this this sample piece by hand

it looks like thread painting

the process felt like embroidery to me, but with quilting thread instead of embroidery floss (which actually was less of a hassle and allowed me to put the rows of stitches closer together)

so, when I fill in the entry form there will be the question of what do I call it?

since the competition makes no differentiation between hand work and machine work, I guess I can still call it thread painting

and in the long run I don't think it matters what I call it so much as rather I execute it properly

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ruminating II - what's in a name?

today's cow picture courtesy of the local newspaper

moo two!

seriously though, one of the email lists I belong to has had an ongoing discussion about blogs and websites and businesses and what name you should use

this is a subject I've spent some time thinking about

back in the early 1980s when I first needed to register for a sales tax license there really wasn't anyone to discuss this with --- I liked the sound of the name Esmerldas (it was part of a John Denver song lyric), no one else had registered it in the jurisdiction I was registering it in, so I took it

because it isn't specific in terms of what the "product" is, it has been easy to use it for all the many art adventures we've been involved in -- mohair bears, jewelry, clothing, web design, art quilts -- just about everything

it has also been nice to be able to put the work that both the DH and I do under one "brand" instead of having two and the attendant duplicate paperwork

one of the discussion topics on that email list has been the idea of using your own name because people will be able to find you by putting in your name

that's a good idea perhaps, but I'm forever having to SPELL my name to people because they want to spell it with an "e" and 2 "r"s

what's the difference if I'm spelling my name or my business name to folks?

so there you go

guess I'll be keeping the name -- which means I really, REALLY, need to do something about the content on that website

and another thought -- perhaps its time to create an Etsy shop that carries the same name too

I feel the onset of more ruminating

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I know -- "moooooo"

every now and then its a good idea to step back and try to figure out where we're going

I tend to get the cart before the horse sometimes - it kind of fits with my style -- as in "let's learn to play the piano with Moonlight Sonata"

and I think in some ways the pressure of finances sometimes makes me want to jump into the "lets see if we can sell this stuff" stage before I've had time to fine tune the process

so I'm trying to be patient and do this art quilt thing the right way

keep creating things, trying new techniques, learning how to use new mediums in them and entering shows or competitions with them to get feedback

and put a few of the better ones on Etsy -- especially the smaller ones, just to see if there is any interest

just keep doing the work and maybe, just maybe, there will be someone that finds it

I've been distracted by the idea of maybe selling a pattern or two, but putting those together takes time away from the other work that I want to be doing, so I will be listing those patterns that I've already put together, but probably won't do any more, at least for now

and I want to be part of SAQA's Visioning Project -- which means I need to set a goal that is defined enough to actually be doable

yup, need to chew on this cud a while longer

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

will I ever figure this out?

one of these pieces of jewelry is my work, priced at $50, available on my website for sale

the other piece was done by someone else, priced at $400 (!) available through a catalog that I received in the mail a couple of days ago

ok, it's not that my designs are so far off the wall that they aren't good enough for a catalog to the general public

sure wish I could figure this one out