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.