Taking the Art Outside. And getting crisped.

When we bought our house we did so knowing it needed some work. Nothing major, just aesthetic repairs and one yeah-this-actually-needs-to-be-updated electrical thing. One of the first things we tackled, and by we I mean Mr. Wordsremember and his friends, was the front porch. Turns out it’s good we started there, because the whole thing was rotten underneath (we knew it needed to go from the inspection but we didn’t know how far the rot had spread). So we got a new one built. And then it sat there, unstained, because every weekend was busy and/or raining.

But this past weekend we finally got to it. And by we I mean me, with some help from Mr. Wordsremember and the kids, because staining is painting and painting is in my territory seeing as how I’m an artist (I pointed out that I do tiny detailed drawings, not great big landscapes, but that argument did not have any effect whatsoever;). I actually had fun, and I don’t mind being the resident painter.

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As you can see, the siding is yellow. And white. The other porch, when it had paint, was painted red. I do appreciate that yellow and red are cheerful colors, but they make my artistic sensibilities roil, so that is the next major project: scraping down and painting the siding. I will be getting some help on this one because it’s just too big of a job for one person.

After finishing the porch we decided to tackle our backyard. The lady who had owned the place before the previous owners was an amazing gardener: we have stuff blooming year round and you can tell everything was planned out. Neither of us really have green thumbs but we’re trying to clean up/maintain what’s there AND I decided we needed to try gardening. We have deer that occasionally use our backyard as a sunning spot so we also had to construct some sort of fence that will hopefully deter them from munching on my wee planties.

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All of these efforts are related to my last post about intersecting life with art-we want Mr. Wordsremember to retire early and we’ve both got skills that translate from the art world to the mundane (or real world, but that seemed insulting to artists)-so we’re doing many things ourselves rather than hiring someone. I can’t say that my garden is artistic, however;) but it’s functional and we used what we had on hand rather than spend money on fencing. And the following picture is what happens to artists who don’t stay inside their nice shaded studio:

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So happy Monday, my friends. I did not want to get up today, but my neglected etsy shop and studio need some love, so that’s what I’ll be doing.

And Art On, no matter the circumstances:)

Intersecting Life with Art

Like many youngish Americans, we have a noose made out of student loans hanging around our neck.

How does that involve art? It does, I promise, and I’ll get to that bit. I have a horrible backstory compulsion thing going on that must be satisfied first.

So we made the decision in our mid-twenties to go back to school. Mr. Wordsremember (I’m adopting this conceit as of now;) had a good job, but we were drifting, I was in the midst of PPD, and we had to do something different. That something different involved knowingly acquiring debt. Looking back I can see how we could’ve acquired less, but at the time we made the decision that seemed best.

We graduated (meaning Mr. Wordsremember, but I supported him financially those last few years so I think if it as “we”) in late 2013, with an engineering degree and lots and lots of debt. We got a good job, enough to purchase a house and pay the minimums on our student loans.

It wasn’t enough.

And thus Mr. Wordsremember started looking for a more interesting job. And he found one. So we moved (again), sold that other house, bought a new one, and in the middle managed to pay off 1/3 of our student debt (go us!). And that’s where we are right now … amazing job, amazing house, in an amazing school district … and it isn’t enough.

So as we do, we went for a drive (a drive means the kids are contained;). And we discussed what we really wanted to do when we grew up. We’ve had this discussion before, we’ll have it again … but this time I think we finally stumbled upon the solution that we’ve been chasing for quite some time. You see, when I first met Mr. Wordsremember, he wanted to be a writer. I didn’t have many dreams, he’s my dreamer, but I wanted to own my own business and escape the 9-5. Those dreams seemed a mere pipe dream at the time, so we made no plans to truly pursue them. And then we stumbled upon Mr. Money Mustache and something clicked; there are so many good financial gurus out there but sometimes one of them speaks a language that resonates, and this blog did that for us. And on that discussion in the car we decided that we want Mr. Wordsremember to retire early, with enough money to fully fund our writing and artistic business ventures (there! I brought art into it;).

He ran the numbers and it’s doable, so doable, but only if we cut our yearly budget back. A lot. We’re making steps that seem crazy (to me, anyway, good little middle-classer that I am): he’s giving up his cell phone, I’m keeping mine but when I’m able I’ll be leaving our major carrier for one of the cheaper options because I really only need it for a few things. I got rid of Netflix, he’s getting rid of some of the subscriptions that we got because we had a good job and had “arrived”. We’re already down to one car (note: we have a public transportation system here that enables us to do that), we’re taking measures to cut our utility bill, and we’re also slashing, and I mean slashing, our food/entertainment budget.

And I’ve rarely been so happy. Because although I don’t enjoy cooking, don’t enjoy doing many of the home improvement projects that are now on the docket … what I’m doing counts. I’ve wavered about whether or not I should get a “real” job; I love running Wordsremember, that’s what I want to do, but I’m not making as much as I would if I dusted off my resume. And now I’m seeing that it might be possible, in conjunction with my efforts, to achieve an artistic lifestyle I didn’t think would be attainable.

So I’ll be writing about some of my efforts to cut back on spending and make more of the everyday things that we use. Specifically the beauty products that I usually buy and now am thinking about making, and also the gifts that I plan on creating (rather than buying). I’m not sure whether or not these things will make it into the shop, but they might, and it’ll be both useful and fun (something that’s important to me).

And Art On, my friends. Never give up those dreams … it’s never too late to finally figure out what it is you want to do when you grow up;)

Literary Jewelry

I deactivated all my book necklaces in preparation for redoing all of them … I’m still waiting on some components but I had an idea and that turned into three new listings;) I also redid the pictures … I can’t bring myself to do just a white background, doing interesting things with photography is THE WHOLE POINT of selling through Etsy (not really, but if I’m going to be artistic it’s the place to be artistic) … so I tried photographing them like I do my bookmarks.

I also decided I’ll only use my handmade paper in these little book necklaces … the ruffled edges make me swoon, surely I’m not alone in that? And I’m leaving edges rough, because it contrasts so nicely with the sterling silver.

You can find all three in the store, and look for more to come … I also really should make one for myself. I don’t make things for me … which always strikes me as funny. And then sad.

So Art On, my friends. I’m having a hide-my-head week over here, and I’m doing just the things I find beautiful in the moment.

Happy Wednesday!

I don’t know all the words.

I’m an artist who doesn’t really know how to talk about art.

I know terms like “abstract” and “modern” but any further breakdown into categories and I’m completely lost. The same with techniques: I’ve probably done a few of them but that’s just experimenting; I’d look at you blankly if you were to give those techniques a proper name.

More recently I was wanting little tags with the word “wanderlust” stamped on them. I described it in my seller’s group exactly like that, and was later informed that the word I was looking for was “engraving” (done in the kindest way).

With bookbinding I’ve expended a bit more effort and know many of the names, as I think a luxury boutique selling journals at my price point should be knowledgeable, but there are gaps, especially when it comes to leatherworking: I know how to use the tools but not what they’re called.

My point is, though, that I know how to do all these things. I’ve stumbled my way into the art world, blithely ignoring textbooks and guides and simply doing, sounding like I don’t have a clue but creating nonetheless. And I think art should be approached this way. I’ve seen many people blanch at the thought of taking an art class, overwhelmed by the terms/supplies/techniques … and really all they need to do is put pen to paper or paintbrush to canvas. The rest can be learned on an as-needed basis, as you figure out what mediums call to you and what you want to accomplish/speak with your art.

So Art On, my friends, and don’t worry about figuring everything out. Just do;)

Twas my birthday week.

And it was lovely.

The kids were off so I spent most of my week reading on the couch while they lazed about. I completed a few projects, tidied up the studio (a never-ending task), and in general ignored everything else.

To add to the gorgeousness of this week: no one smeared poop over ANYTHING on my actual birthday (they apparently have a penchant for doing this activity on important days like anniversaries and birthdays;) -and- my parents and brothers remembered my birthday. We have a very lackadaisical approach to the important things; I adore my parents and brothers (and I’m guessing it’s reciprocal) but we tend not to communicate very often. Perhaps it’s the introvert in us, not to mention my brothers are always working on one of their freelance projects and I can’t say I’m less busy at this point.

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My flowers!
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My birthday food!

Next week I’ll be back in the saddle, so to speak, but having these weeks of NOTHING is just so important. I get to feeling like Bilbo (LOTR) …. stretched thin, feeling empty, and weeks like these restores my normally workaholic self.

So Art On, my friends! Or take a break to read/play/have fun;)