Welcome 2018! A new year of possibilities.

I’ve had the tiger-stipe pencils since I ordered them from Circus Fun cereal about 30 years ago. The other is from a set of pencils with quotes from/designed by the artist Karen Finley. I’ve had this one since the mid-90s.
It’s nothing shy of confounding that another year has passed and a new year is upon us. Yet here I am, simultaneously welcoming 2018 and hoping that I remember to write the right year on my checks sometime before March.
I’m not a resolutions kind of gal, but I am the kind of person to mull over thoughts, ideas and goals.
This is my list of goals — in no particular order.
1. Make better use of social media for the stuff I make.
2. Be consistent with my blog and taking process photos, not just final-product photos.
3. Work ahead on items for the market.
4. Drop five pounds (at the very least).
5. Workg in a sketchbook/art journal regularly.
6. Keep my Etsy store in better shape.
7. Make more keycaps.
Is that a lucky No. 7 or a lazy-not-quite 10?
There are so many things that I want to do/tackle/make/learn. But 2018 will be, if nothing else, a year for focus.
The beau and I are committed to the idea of cohabitating. That means packing up my small store-worth of various art and craft supplies—including books and magazines—and putting much of it in storage for a month or more.
I’ve actually started the process of sorting and tidying in my craft room. It’s a surprisingly satisfying process, and I only wish I had more time to do so and the discipline to keep everything organized.
Part of tidying meant testing a box full of pens and markers. I tossed out all of these, which seems like more pens than most people own.
Here are some fun finds during the tidying.
I found a whole pack of beads and a Klutz bead loom bracelet from many years ago. That’s totally the the wrong bead thread. I’m wondering if there’s a way to save it.
I also found a tiny paper clay book and to glass cabochons. The cabs need to find their way into some beaded pendants.
These kinds of cleaning binges always result in my finding cabs or other pieces that have been waiting to be turned into something great. How could I have let that “Joy” cab languish for so long?
Because the sale of my place and subsequent renting of a “together” place will possibly disrupt time typically used for making items for the market, I’m making a commitment to be very good about #3 on the list. I’ve already started some more dried-flower pendants. I even broke out some plain wooden bangles and have started painting some and decoupaging others.
Bangles painted and decoupaged. Of course that green — with a coat of glitter — is my favorite.
More decoupage and paint. The one with the green dots will see some stamp action. But which stamp?
Plus, in the week leading up to Christmas, I had some crazy insomnia and one of those nights/early mornings I started thinking about the Jewel Loom that I purchased more than a year ago. So, after watching a few videos and digging out the book Julianna Avelar wrote about using the Jewel Loom, I made some bracelets. On Christmas Eve I took those three bracelets over to the family’s Eastside compound and my mom declared that all three were hers. Of course I’m fine with that. I only regret not having photographed them for a little bit of blog show-and-tell.
Here are some other Jewel Loom pieces that I have (mostly) completed in the last few days. The beau loves the “chicklet”-like shape of the tile beads and is encouraging me to make more.
The one in the middle is still on the Jewel Loom. They all make me happy.
I know that soon I’ll need to step away from projects with bigger beads and do something with some size 11 Delicas. (I can’t help but have flashbacks to my Rick’s Beading Loom “dropped” beads. They funny thing is, I should be able to do the same kind of loom projects on both looms.) I’ve been trying to decide what kind of pattern might interest me. Should I design something fancy or stick to something simple?
What is it about the Jewel Loom that I love so much? I’m not sure. I know that I could make some off-loom bracelets with the same look, but the claw clasps  give these pieces a finished look that I can’t get with off-loom stitching. And when you have to tie all of the leather warp threads together, the beads at the top bunch up and pop out to one side or the other, which makes a girl like me kind of batty (battier?). So for now, I’m a Jewel Loom gal.
Two random notes: I really do need to make more keycaps. I’m trying out some Daniel Smith watercolor ground to see how that would work on the top of a keycap but underneath resin. Unfortunately, the only kind I have is titanium white. This bottle is so old that they might not have had translucent when I first wanted to try the product. (That might be a lie. Maybe I just didn’t know to look. However, the bottle is a good five years old or so, which means my test might not be happening under ideal conditions.)
I sent in my second batch of Art-o-mat pieces, too. The first round all sold out, which was (is!) a huge thrill for me! Again, being a planner, part of me feels that I should go ahead and make more to not be in a position of scrambling when (if) some more sell. Again, who knows what supplies I’ll have access to when that time comes.
One last aspect of moving-prep in the new year is going through my many books and magazines. Once upon a time I imagined that I’d do one book review a week. Prepping for the move feels like a good time to revisit that idea. I just don’t know where to start. And what should those reviews entail? Trying some of the projects? Just giving the text and photos a good, long look?
There’s still time to decide, I know. Even though books seem like the easiest thing to box up first, the thought of moving things that I’ll end up discarding drives me more than a little crazy. I went from moving so often throughout my life up until my mid-30s that I’ve lost that muscle memory. However, I really look forward to working in whatever well-lit work space I’ll have knowing that MF (one of his many nicknames) is just a room or two away.
No matter what, change is afoot in this new year, and my arms are open wide to embrace it all!

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.




Ready, set … blather on

Just a little notebook I made. Morgan called it art, said it should be a diptych.
There’s been a lot on my mind lately. I recently conducted an interview for my day job. It was with a CEO of a of an international company. His recipe for success is: Decide what you want to do and apply yourself.
I have been chewing on that for weeks. Do I spend evenings making jewelry? Yes. Do I give up most Saturdays six months out of the year to sell said jewelry and other items that I make? Yup.
But there’s so much more to do to feel like I have a handle on the business angle of what I do. I barely dip into social media. (By the way, you can follow me on Instagram at @ponderpress.) I can’t even remember the last time I made use of my business page on Facebook. That’s just the tip of the what-I-should-be-doing iceberg.
A friend told me that success is a state of mind. As much as I agree with that, it all depend’s on one’s goals. I think. If feeling good about what you do is your goal, then just feeling successful is the way to go. Sometimes basking in a sense of community is my biggest goal. But if I’m honest with myself, my dreams have me doing bead embroidery for hours on end. Unfortunately, the pendants I make mean that’s not a financially sound decision. So, what do I need to make and sell to make that dream come true?
And, how much work am I willing to do? I already feel plenty busy, but that’s busy with the fun stuff. Is the promotion that I need to address.
It’s time to set some clear and firm goals, isn’t it? That’s what I thought.
I regret not getting and pressing more of this plant. I don’t regret that blue.
And if all of those thoughts and worries weren’t enough, I signed up for a two-day class at Pratt: Mixed Media Sketchbook. I don’t draw. I don’t keep a sketchbook. What was I thinking? The saving grace is that we’ll be doctoring up blank journal pages with stamps and stencils and image transfers. Those things I do know how to do/use.
But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not freaking out about being expected to at least tackle some kind of drawing or sketch. Then again, this feels a lot like art journaling. I’ve not done much of that, but I’ve sure read many issue of Art Journaling Magazine and and own several books about it.
You see what it’s like to live with my brain? The worry. The rebuttal. More worry. More attempts at calming myself down. It’s exhausting. But it’s also nice to be aware of how I’m feeling and why.
When I expressed my worries to Morgan, he said that my willingness to jump in and try things without any sense of mastery is part of what he likes about me. That sure was nice to hear. It certainly doesn’t mean that there won’t be a continuous inner monologue about how lacking in skills I am and how great everyone is.
Then again, the class is barely a week before Christmas. It seems like a nice time to chill out a little and dabble in something fun. See!? See what it’s like to be witness to my ceaseless push-me, pull-you thoughts? It’s not pretty.
There’s some good depth to this one. Plus, pink and green are great together!

On the bright side of things, in little more than 48 hours my busiest jewelry-selling weekend of the holiday season will be done. Afterwards I can think about making gifts, photographing items for my Etsy store and more. From this vantage point it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But you know what? It’s all going to be OK.

Show and show

In one week’s time, I’ll be done with the second holiday craft show of a two-show weekend. I’ve spent the last week making things for those two shows. It’s always difficult knowing whether or not I’ve made the right thing.

Once the resin on a few dried-flower pieces is cured, I’ll finish them with chains or cords and be done (in theory). All in all I feel good about my progress. Maybe I should think about another journal or two for the weekend. Maybe one with original collage work and one from a board game. Maybe…

But, despite the fact that I said I’m feeling good about it all, I still feel like I should be making things and not sitting at my computer.

So, here are few things that have claimed my time in the last week.

Here are nearly 70 pendants that needed bails. (Hey boyfriend, note the gloves — to keep chemical-laden glue from underneath my fingernails!)

So many tile pendants. 

Here are some dried-flower pendants.

The big, speckled leaves are difficult to work into pieces. I’m happy with how this one turned out.
Blue and orange! Need I say more?
This chartreuse one is lovely, too. It’s Morgan’s favorite.

And, here are some beaded bezels. I really love the blue-and-green Christmas pendant. That might be my favorite Christmas color combination.

This pedant features a turquoise cabochon that I got in Santa Fe last month.
The finished raven pendant.
Labradorite! I love the iridescent nature of Labradorite. This was also the first time I experienced with bigger beads on the bottom and smaller beads of top. Color me satisfied.
This one makes me smile. I hope it finds a good home in the next month.
So Christmasy — and Morgan’s favorite of the two Christmas pendants.


One last thing: Today the podcast Off Book has kept me company. It’s great! If you love improv and musicals this is the podcast for you!!

A world of possibilities

Oh the holiday season. My inbox keeps announcing early black Friday sales. And, I realized that Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. It’s crazy.

I’ve been trying to plug away at getting ready for holiday shows. I’m always plagued with so much doubt about whether or not I made the right thing. It’s a silly exercise, and I know I should stop.

It’s the show-and-tell section of my post. I took a metal-etching class last Saturday. I did learn some tips and tricks. And, I was so inspired that when I got home on Sunday, that I did these.

The beau likes the cat in the suit. I like the Space Needle with the rain.

Here’s a commissioned piece for someone whose niece loves compasses. I had some worry in the beginning, but I think it turned out pretty bo

And I think this tree is lovely. It’s maybe a titch big, but I still think i’s pretty great.

After learning that 20 of my art-o-mat pieces have sold, I’ve also spent some time making 50 more.

My resin-splattered silicone mat is an eyesore.

The beau is out of town for the weekend, so I had today to do whatever. I thought I’d work on my art-o-mat stuff, but that didn’t happen. Mostly I tidied, which felt nice. I also played a wee bit with some of the Swellegant metal paints, patinas and dye-oxides. They’ve been on my mind after I recently painted this resin crow.

Resin crown painted with Swellegent and embellished with the darkening patina.

These chipboard pieces are plenty porous; they likely don’t need any prep. However, I prepped some of them. There’s really not a difference.


I love the brass on the turtle, but then again, I love brass in general. The rick bronze is also pretty great. And the iron took more coats than the other metallic paints.

I had fun playing with the dye-oxides, although I’m not crazy about all of the results. The bronze owl took more of the dye color than I thought it would. The brass owl is kind of milquetoast. And, I couldn’t get the gold-verdigris patina to give me the results I want. Perhaps I need to keep trying.

What’s not to love about a chartreuse turtle that’s also showing some signs of patina? The whale has a spot of prep showing through that I could not cover up. You know what? I’m OK with that. The next step is to put a sealant on all of these.

Here are more of the same shapes after I painted them with mica watercolors.

Tomorrow I’d like to tackle my Christmas cards. I had one idea, but after thinking about watercolor paints, I may need to rethink my plan.

Speaking of thinking, I think that knitting or crocheting may be what I need tonight. The only choice now is which project. I know I shouldn’t start anything new, but the temptation is strong. And my resistance to new projects is next to nil. Wish me luck. And stay tuned to see which path I took.