A basic truth — or two

Oh the randomness! I printed out these images on shrink film years ago. Yesterday seemed like the right time to shrink them. In fact, I have a few more to shrink today.

The first basic truth about me is that sometimes I feel down, less than inspired because my crafty obsessions are pointless. I’m not so self-absorbed to think I’m alone. It’s just that sometimes I want to steep in it. And so when I wrote the draft of this post on Friday, my capital-BT Basic Truth was that Im a foolish time-wasting hack.

It’s nearly 24 hours later, and I’m feeling better (never mind the wish that I had all of next week off). Morgan has been ill, and that gave me time to dig into a few things. And, it helped boost my spirits, if not my confidence. So, take the below words for what they are: a snapshot of a moment, of a mood.

Here’s a basic truth about me: My day-to-day existence is nothing if not a roller coaster ride of feeling pretty good about myself and feeling rather down on myself. I know that doesn’t set me apart from anyone or make me special in any way.

I’m guessing that, like most people, it’s something I think about only when I’m in a “less than” frame of mind. You know, those days when you question yourself, your worth, your skills … your everything.

On the good days, I’m too busy making stuff and bouncing from idea to project and back again to think about myself. I’m busy thinking about beads, paint, paper, pens — pretty much all of the supplies.

So, how to harness the feelings of the good days? Or, how to ignore the doubt-filled messages that scroll through my head.

I’ve tried books. I recently finished Real Artists Don’t Starve. And then there was Make it Mighty Ugly that inspired me about two years ago. I really need to get to Life Without Envy. I have high hopes that there will be some message in there that works its way into my brain and becomes so deeply rooted that I can become one of those people who moves through the world with confidence and ease, not once surrendering to fear and skepticism.

I can say that, even at my lowest, I still manage to make things, even if I am unhappy with the results.

This bracelet, for example, is something I worked on despite being fearful that the result wouldn’t be perfect.

Sorry for the blurriness. This bracelet was too ashamed to be on the Internet, and this was the best I could do.

Even before I reached the halfway mark, I knew that I needed ot see it to completion, no matter how arbitrary that decision might have been. It’s a simple peyote stitch around a metal bangle. Those Delicas should be a uniform size, so I’m not sure why some rows stick out a little more than others. Oh well … It’s affixed and stitched up, and it is what it is.

I’m still thinking about soldering. Still trying to solder. Here are some of my most recent attempts. It is amazing how just a little practice makes a big difference. I also need to remember that burnishing is my friend. That said, I’ve burnished until my hand cramped, and the foil was still lifting. I wonder if my iron is getting too hot. Do I need a rheostat, which books and some online sources say I should have. Sigh…

Today I mostly worked with fused glass, broken “china” and some random titles. Here they are, waiting to be soldered.
Soldered. There is some lifting of the foil. There just awaiting jump rings. Ugh! Adding those is my least favorite part.
Jump rings — in all of their wabi sabi glory. The fused glass piece wit the copper back has me hankering for some affordable black-backed copper tape.
Is it some kind of sign that this glass cracked twice will making this. And always on the “Just be you” side. I finally got it to work. Whew…

Here are two keycap caps that I stitched up a couple of weeks ago. These I love, no matter how anyone else feels about them. They’re silly and make me smile.

Morgan suggested the bead to look like a ball on top of a knit hat. He’s very clever like that!
I am so smitten with this tiny pussy hat!

Speaking of keycaps, I have some new tools to put to use with keycaps: tiny stencils! I used them on keycaps and a few resin pendant.

Hold me closer tiny stencils …


Until then, here’s another basic truth (and then some!) about me.

• I’m a horrible housekeeper.

• I’m a decent baker and OK cook

• My feet are happiest in tennis shoes — after being barefoot, of course.

• I have a lot of bathroom rules. (Just ask Morgan.)

• I’m OK moving from baking to feet talk.

• There is no greater comfort than just being with Morgan. (Here’s one of his personal truths: No matter how motion sick he might be feeling, is is a rock, comforting me while I feel the same. Damn, I love that man!)

• I like making lists.

• I really like taking classes. And this week the universe is tormenting me with classes I would love to take, but can’t because there’s full or too far away.

There’s a class at Art and Soul in Portland this week that’s being taught by Laurie Mika about embellishing polymer clay that been put in molds. Man I’d love to have those skills – or boost the limited clay skills I have. Then, I visited Tracy Stanley’s site and after not have posted anything since last August, she has a relatively new post about classes she’ll be teaching in Milwaukee at the Bead and Button Show in June. It’s kind of breaking my heart to be missing those classes. She is local, however. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll find a place to offer them in the Pac NW.

All of that pining aside, I often find that trying to figure out something that I can’t learn in a classroom setting helps fire up my creativity.

If you have a basic truth — or two or 12, I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, enough with the navel gazing, it’s time to get back to making things.

Beating myself up while plagued with self doubt

I only just tried the pamphlet stitch. Small potatoes for people who make journals regularly. Truly a game changer for me. How I love having stitched signatures *and* a pristine spine.

Welcome to the last day of November. I’m making and making myself crazy with worries and self doubt.

Before I continue, here’s my full disclosure. I didn’t sleep well at all last night. And the night before I woke up at 3:20 and could not get back to sleep. Those aren’t ideal conditions for trying to write a lot of coherent words. That said, I’m going to aim for just words. With my love of/penchant for typos, just getting real words on the page is enough for me.

It seems like just a week ago or so ago I had visions of adding more items to my Etsy shop. Now I understand that it might not happen. Another selling season lost.
I’m committing myself to getting my business-owner act together next year. I’ll spend December concocting a plan. That will be good food for thought while I finish up some remaining Christmas presents.

(Warning: rambling ahead! When I tried to post this page, the bots told me I didn’t write enough. Geez, even the robots know I’m a slacker, that my work could be better.

I dislike the litany of not enough time, frustration of wrestling with decent photographs, day job getting in the way. Why is sleep important? Why is me-time (not to be confused with me Lucky Charms) important? Why can’t I get away from my desk for regular lunch breaks? That would help, right? Maybe…

And is my title a lie? Am I really plagued with self doubt? I’m truly obsessed with maximizing my time. Or, wanting more time to maximize. I know I can make a lot of things: I’m really busy. And, I can make some cool things. It’s the damn business side. So I’m back to thinking about whether or not I’m ready to do the work. I tell myself I am. But my actions reveal another truth.

I also have to wonder. Is not putting items online a way to protect myself? I mean, if something isn’t available in my Etsy store, then it will never be rejected. Neat, huh?!

So, it’s not self doubt. Fear of failure—or fear of success—might be the better diagnosis. I can hear Morgan saying: That’s why you should never do anything. He’s joking of course. I think.

{I can also hear him laughing over my saying that with current events what they are, I’d rather listen to podcasts about murderers and cults than the news.}

[Look at all of these parentheses. What say we treat these musing like a math problem.

Ready for the answer?

I’m going to channel Douglas Adams and say 42.])

Speaking of Christmas gifts, which I was before the bots got into my head and made my keep typing to reach a specific word count, how much do you love these journals made from an old Six Million Dollar Man board game? I really love them!

And, a looong meeting in a packed room (where I sat in back with the bad kids) gave me nearly three hours to dabble in sketches/doodles.

why are knees and feet so weird?
Why haven’t I done a bead-embroidered hedgehog yet? Then a snail!! Sequins for the shell? Maybe… the weird bit to the upper left is the argyle wrinkles a man had on the back of his neck.

Hey, I’m not saying I’m one of the greats, all I’m saying is that it’s good to keep practicing. (I mean, that leg looks reasonably like a human leg. Now I need to work on the rest of the body.)

After being so excited about the pamphlet stitch, I started to wonder, again, if I’ve reached a point where I like making notebooks and journals more than I like filling them. I know I’d love art journaling. Add it to my new year to-do list.

I popped into Goodwill this past weekend to look for books that would provide good “bones” for some pamphlet-stitch journals. I came away with three solid options, including this book with this inscription. Oh how that made me smile.

Not only do I want to get to stitching signatures together and onto some kind of substrate, but I recently discovered  junk journals. I am so late to that party that the lights are up and the host is cleaning up.) Of course I want to make one—or 10–and an organizing project coincided with a search for “junk” to include in said journal.

That means stitching. I also want to try an easy one with staples to hold the signatures together and glue to hold the signatures in. Making journals and doing bead embroidery are the key to a happy creative life for myself. I need to keep finding time for both of those things. Wait!!! How about a paper mache joyrnal cover with some bead embellishments??!! See, lots of fun ideas. Certainly more ideas than time.

Staplers! Another goal is to buy a fat notebook and staple all of my receipts into it. I always say I’ll be more organized in the new year. 2018 is the year I make it so. This time next year you can look for a post titled “How a long-reach stapler changed my life.”

Look! I made it to 900 words. That beefier word count is another focus for the new year. I’ll keep giving in to the bots in hopes that they’ll reward me richly.




I know just where to put the glitter

What a week, what a week.  I completed two custom orders and really love this one.

It’s time to order more blue and green lucite cabs. Especially because this new piece sold within the first two hours of the market yesterday.

The two journal covers below have resulted in more than enough inner turmoil and self doubt. I feel that I’ve gone too far, and then I feel that it’s just right. Then I make a mistake. Then I think of a fix I can live with. Tricky business, collage making.

Plus, in my mind, circles equal bubbles, which equal water. Stars equal sky. But I ran into having to reconcile circles/bubbles with green. That’s not a water color. And now I feel like twinkling stars are what this really needs.
Happily, when I googled “blue-green sky” I came up with some images of the northern lights. So green isn’t as strange of a sky color as I imagined it could be. I used to think I was a graphic minimalist, but after the layer upon layer of color and paint that I added to these, I have to admit that I might not be. And, I’m OK with that. While I first felt they were kind of lame, I’m now pleased with the results — even the fun tape to help seal the rough edges.
While waiting for layers to dry, I whipped up this journal, replacing the text block with plain paper which is glued in thank to my freebie “Your Story” binder.
I also created this one from a Seattle History Monopoly game. I might be set with journals for now — until a few sell.
In the midst of my making mania Thursday night I realized that three shelves in my craft room were taken up by bedding, and it hit me that I could move things around to free up some space. So, I got out of bed early, cleared off the shelves and am now in the very real beginnings of reorganizing my shelves to better serve my crafting needs and habits.
Lastly, these are prototypes. There are some air bubbles that displease me, but … I think it’s an interesting look, as if the flowers are floating.
I guess I’ll drill some holes, add a chain and see whether or not people like them. No harm in trying. (Although, that might violate my goal of simplifying my jewelry offerings.)
And, for funsies, I made a few more pendants with dried flowers and resins.
They get a lot of positive compliments, which makes me happy. (Yesterday when I asked a customer if she had any questions, she said: “No, only compliments.” That goes right up there after someone saying that I “know just where to put the glitter.”
Happy Memorial Day everyone!
p.s. I’m only 56 days away from having a week off to play at home. It’s become one of my favorite weeks of the year.

Be your own biggest fan today

As always, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the “worth” of what I create, which I manage to translate into some kind of measure of my own worth.
Why do I bother making anything?
Why bother trying to appeal to others and not just myself?
How much longer will people be interested in what I make?
Will I always compare my work to that of others?
Why aren’t my creative endeavors more successful?
And how is that supposed to happen without me hustling even a little bit?
Do any of those questions’ answers really matter? Isn’t it about having fun, scratching that itch and just doing what I’ve got to do?


So, I decided to listen to the most recent episode of You Made it Weird where Mike Birbiglia was the guest. They talked about the Birbiglia’s new movie Don’t Think Twice, and it was the right conversation for me at the right time.
The points that most hit home were that as an artist — whether your medium is sketch comedy or acrylics — what you do isn’t needed by anyone. Because of that you need to find something in it that you genuinely love, because you most likely won’t be able to survive on good feedback from others.
And, when jealousy was brought up one of the two said that he tells himself that if you’re going to be jealous of someone’s success you have to imagine taking on all aspects of a person’s life.

Then, after those two talking me down and helping me see that there’s no harm in keeping on keeping on, Morgan and I saw “Florence Foster Jenkins.” It is charming as hell. And, sure, she was a not a good singer, but she still loved music and pursued her passion. Do I want to be mocked? No. Do I want to pursue the things that stir my soul? Yes!

And then, to validate all of the reaffirming thoughts that drifted into my head over the past day, a friend posted this quote on Facebook: Be your own biggest fan today.


I don’t toot my own horn all that often, but it’s nice to remember that it’s OK if I do.

So, here I go … off to follow my bliss.

p.s. The quotes/art are from my 2016 page-a-day Today is Going to Be a Great Day! calendar. It’s pretty great!

From off the rails to back on track

I’ll admit it: I still want to knit more than anything else. Sleep might be a close second behind the desire to knit. (I worry that the desire to sleep might read like depression, but that’s not at all the case. Think hibernation.)
Luckily I’ve been able to shake off the laziness and finish two more journals for Saturday’s show. I’ve also poured resin for some pendants. (There were nearly no bubbles in the Gedeo resin. My Ice Resin got really dark. and while it’s supposed to be usable, white backgrounds now have an antiqued look.) I’ve even prepped some packaging for better display. (Why did it take me so long to step up how my necklaces are presented?!)

However, that rambling aside, it’s Thursday, and I know I should have some kind of book report. Where did those days of leafing through books and then breaking out paints or beading supplies go? Taken over by the knitting gods? Could be. Or maybe my block stems from the fact that I knew I wanted to dig into Tara Swiger’s Market Yourself. Opening that book meant that I had to do what feels like work rather than play.
I have forever said that I don’t like having to sell myself. Not in my day job, not in my side gig. I think, in both cases, that my work speaks for itself. If people can’t see that or don’t want to take the time to figure it out, it’s not my problem. But, especially for the Ponder Press stuff, I need to market what I do. Otherwise, my world will never be bigger than the market or the handful of shows I do in November and December. And, these posts will be seen by my beau, my mom and one or two friends.
I know what I need to do. And I know why I need to do it. So, why is it so ridiculously difficult?
Am I, like so many others, afraid of being exposed as a fraud? I know all of the counterarguments. I really do.
•I need to do it as long as it makes me happy and I do it all in truth.
•There’s plenty of room in this world for people to make art/jewelry/stuff. If not there would only be a handful of artists. Full stop.
•Why belittle what I make? Isn’t that insulting to my customers?
This post feels whiny and self-serving. Strike that, I’ll let it serve as an online journal entry. Let’s just say that I’m working through my stuff.
And, I’ll keep working on the book. I’m less than six pages in, and I already know one more thing I can do to help pretty up how stuff looks on my table and help to keep my business name in mind.
I stopped at the first quiz in the quiz; it’s something to the effect of what makes you “You.” ACK! My neuroses?
I think this calls for admiring the new Rubber Moon stamps I bought to make my displays more fun. I must breathe deep and breathe in these sentiments.

 I’d love to hear about your struggles with self doubt. Rest assured, you’re not in this alone.