The State of Wordsremember.

I’ve shared our story a couple of times but I don’t mind repeating it, because we worked so hard for the outcome and we’re both rather proud of ourselves.

Short form: we went back to school with a toddler and no money, soon had another kid and he joined the military both for the experience and also because healthcare. We both worked part-time while going to school and eventually homeschooled those kids and then (dramatic music) …. the funding ran out. So I went after a promotion at work and stopped taking classes: I was about seven classes short of my degree at that point. But he finished his degree and landed a job that would eventually lead to another job that would enable me to also finish. Another kid joined us, we had some financial pile-ups, and this year is really the first year that it was practical for me to contemplate finishing. So I applied to ASU.

My kids also informed me that this year they wanted to be homeschooled and gave me a good rational for doing so. I want them to practice self-determination so the paperwork has been submitted and curriculum ordered. We’ve also scheduled our lives on google calendar and pretty much every hour is accounted for, because after a series of health issues us older ones are committed to taking better care of ourselves and we’re working out at our local YMCA several days a week.

I’m also keeping Wordsremember going, because that is my outlet and also I was really looking forward to seeing how I did this Christmas, given that last Christmas surprised me (in a good way: I had my biggest month to date). But … I’ll be transitioning to only ready-to-ship items and taking the “customize” option off, because I doubt my ability to run a business, homeschool the kids, keep up with homework, and work out regularly. Not to mention keeping the house somewhat clean and eating things other than sandwiches.

So that is where I’m at this Friday. I’m redoing our schedules and lists and reinforcing the sanctity of “studio time” because it will be limited in the months to come. I’ve also been a busy bee and I’ve made several new products that I think will be smash hits:

All travel-themed, all passport-ready;) You can find these at wordsremember.etsy.com

So Art On, my friends. The learning never stops!

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.

justbe

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;)

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;)

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;)