Practice, practice, and practice some more … a leatherworker I shall be.

Today I started taking myself seriously as a leatherworker.

By take myself seriously, I mean I could see getting a business loan and really going for it, not just the cautious slow crawl I’ve been doing. I’m not going to do that, I think my organic shuffling is better for me (because I’m learning more this way) … but eeeeeek … I love what I do and I have THOUGHTS about how to keep improving.

And that’s what I’ve been up to:) You can find all of these in the shop.

Art On, my friends, and tomorrow is Friday!

I made something for me. Because I’m a momma and it’s almost Mother’s Day.

In a funky twist, I will not be home for Mother’s Day. I’m off to what is currently my family’s hometown (they’ve all said they’re not staying … but they haven’t moved yet;) to celebrate a baby and do Mother’s Day with my own mother. I’m rather looking forward to this … I’ll get to have a peaceful and quiet Mother’s Day luncheon and then return that evening to my wild and loud children.

To facilitate my travels I made myself a sketchbook holder:

I rarely make things for myself so I figured it was time. I did take listing photos and will put the option up in the shop once I get back (I am on VACAY). I also made a few other drool-worthy travel journals (and my first-ever passport holder!):

These will all be available in the shop once I’m back and recovered from having fun. Sign up for my newsletter-with holidays and fairs coming up I’ll be motivating myself to send out a few with unique coupon codes (I’m dreaming of the day when my youngest is in school and I’m not desperately trying to get everything done around the edges of life).

So have fun, my friends!!! And remember: Art On. I’ll be drawing and relaxing, hopefully:)

Just Be.

I’m tired. More than normal, even. I think it’s a combination of our rather busy schedule (my kids decided THEY SIMPLY MUST PLAY BASEBALL/SOFTBALL and they have several games/practices each week) and my trying to spiffy up my gift/Christmas sections, because I had no time last fall and was completely unprepared for the season (I sold completely out of journals). I’ve got plans, they’re gonna be wonderful, and …. blah.

So Mr. Wordsremember told me I should just get some coffee, cuddle on the couch, and watch our Winter Wonderland (that’s killing my pretty flowers … such is life). I snapped this picture to show my brothers (they live in humid Houston) and I thought “I need to write about this” because I’m not the only creative who sometimes stays too long in overdrive.

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And it’s so easy to do, isn’t it … we have such lovely ideas and the power to bring them to fruition so we say “just one more …. ” and then neglect to recharge the batteries. So today, after fulfilling orders, I’m going to do my best to recharge. Relax. And Just Be.

TGIF, and Art On … just make sure to relax every once in awhile;)

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;)