Friday, August 31, 2012

I've Got Too Much Stuff! (Said in an exasperated tone of voice!)

The more I pare down, the more stuff  I have coming out of the woodwork! How does this happen?!?! Part of it is hobbies...I knit, spin, weave, draw, make baskets, 'play' music, etc. etc. etc. Each of these hobbies comes with it's own little cache of goodies that needs to be at the ready for when the mood strikes. Plastic bins here, plastic bins there! Here a spinning wheel, there a guitar, everywhere a flute, flute♫.

Because 99% of my hobbies involve 'making things', I  have a bunch of knit goods, baskets, jewelry, etc. laying around. I give most of the stuff I've made away, but now that I'm trying to get my Etsy store going  the 'homemade stuff I had laying around' now turns into 'official inventory' and needs a place to live.

Because of my Etsy shop and the fact that I work from home some, I have an 'office'.  OK so it's a corner of my bedroom, but involves papers, writing utensils etc. and we all know how those things multiply when you leave two or more on a desk or in a drawer together. I've never understood folks who say that they can't never find a pen when they need one. WHAT?!?!?! My problem is deciding which one to use; ink, gel, porous, fine point, medium point?  And then there's the matter of colors.  Dear Dog!  All of the many, beautiful, colors!

I have a few books. I have pared down extensively from the mass of paper I used to own. I used to single-handedly keep Frugal Muse use bookstore in business. Now I get my books through our excellent library system or electronically, but there are still those books that are special...ones that just can't be given away for whatever reason, and the small stack that folks have given me to read that are still waiting to be read and returned a woman, I have clothes that I wear, clothes that are too big (YAY!) and clothes that are too small.  I keep the clothes that are too small because I'm going to fit in them some day.  I keep the clothes that are too big because I'm afraid I might fit back into them one day. Of course all of these clothes come in three categories-dressy, casual, and 'Lord, I hope no one sees me 'cause it's laundry day'.  And there's also the matter of the climate in Wisconsin.  I have to have cold weather clothes, warm weather clothes, hot weather clothes, cold and wet, warm and wet, snowy, the combinations are endless...and don't get me started on the 'old' clothes I have to keep around for working at the barn.

I have a penchant for shiny things.  Because I don't have money for the royal jewels, I compensate by collecting many, many cheap (but awesome) pieces of jewelry that migrate from my jewelry box to my dresser to my bathroom. I swear they're always on the move!

I live in a small place by choice.  I've looked at condos and houses etc., but decided that this cozy, little, nest is the place for me right now. Low maintenance and upkeep. You'd think it would be easy to keep neat as a pin and uber-organized.  A place for everything and everything in its place right?  Except there isn't a place for everything? Now what?

Over the past few months (mostly fueled by Pinterest) I've been trying creative organizing and storage techniques.  Seems like I've been picking up and cleaning constantly but when I  stopped and looked around, I still wasn't happy. It's still looked cluttered. Of course in a place this small, one thing out of place looks cluttered, but that's beside the point. I was getting anxious and overwhelmed until I sat down and had a long, hard think about it and had an epiphany.  I have too much stuff! What a wonderful problem to have!  How blessed am I to have so many things I love to do and the materials to do them, a job that allows me to work at home when I need/want to, wonderful books to read, nice clothes and pretty bling to wear, things I love all around me. How many people aren't so lucky?  My house isn't 'dirty', it's cluttery at times because it contains a lot of things I am so  fortunate to have. Could I get rid of more stuff? Of course! There isn't a thing here that I couldn't get rid of if I had to, but I don't have to...I'm not excusing a big mess, everything can still be neat and clean, but I have a new perspective and I've changed my tone of voice. I've got too much stuff! How lucky am I!?!?!?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekly Challenge #84: "String Theory v. XI: Blind-Sighted

This week's Diva Challenge was to close your eyes and draw a 'blind string' and then deal with the beastly thing. I drew my outside boarder (traced a coaster), closed my eyes and drew the string. When I opened my eyes, about 1/2 -3/4 of an inch of graphite was actually inside the boarder, so I did something I never do on a challenge...  I started over. This time the majority of the lines landed inside the box so I just ignored what was outside and set off. Here is how it turned out:
My scanner decided to cough up a fur ball this morning and it's really grainy, but you get the general idea. Once I finally got the string down, I had fun and used some patterns that I had never used or hadn't used in a long time. Thanks for another great challenge Diva!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Squee!!! A Birthday Extravaganza

I am so excited, you guys! As you all know, I never go anywhere, I never do anything and I never have any fun. (*cough*) Poor me! (*cough*) So this afternoon, I booked myself a birthday blowout weekend !  There is going to be a two day Zentangle retreat in Mineral Point,Wisconsin on October 13th and 14th taught by Diane Knauff from Stone Angels Studio!!  I even sucked it up and got a hotel room so I don't have to drive the hour and ten minutes home on Saturday night only to turn around and be back on Sunday at 8:30 AM!

I love the Zentangle art form but have never taken any classes. It's my dream to take the teachers' certification class in Baltimore next year so this will be a good baby step in that direction. I only hope that all the large-scale-doodle-pa-looza-ing I've already been doing doesn't make it too difficult to stick the the true 3'x3'  format of the art.  But it wouldn't be me if I didn't have something to obsessively worry about between now and then.

Squee!!! I'm so excited! If I was a puppy I'd piddle on the carpet!!!! Hurry up October!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Irish Fest 2012

Went to Irish Fest in Milwaukee on Saturday. I had an opportunity to take a bus tour from one of the local travel agencies so I did. I was the only one on the bus that didn't have a cane or walker slowing me down but it was still fun. The bus let us off at noon and didn't come to pick us up until 6PM.

The weather was gorgeous; about 75° with a breeze coming off Lake Michigan. This picture was taken down my Meehan's boat dock.  Beautiful view of the Art museum and you can see a currach in the foreground.  I watched the races for quite a while. They should consider putting fins on their paddles. They row with what looks like a big,  long, straight stick. Maybe someone just hasn't mentioned the proper paddles yet. I bet they'd make me a saint in Ireland if I blessed them with a big-finned dory paddle!

 Off the pier is a nice bike path that goes around the other side of the bay.  Someday I'm going to go over and take a walk on it. Wonderful views of the breakwater and lighthouse and greater Lake Michigan over there.

Talk about great views, the best seat in the house is on the Sky Glider. You can see the Milwaukee skyline, the lighthouse and all of the fair-goers from up there. The only time I was a little concerned was on the way back  where I saw a large chunk of something mechanical on the roof of that building to the right. I hoped it wasn't a crucial part of the glider and I guess it wasn't since I made it back safe and sound!

 I walked around the park listening to music, petting the Irish Wolf hounds and shopping when I stumbled across an Irish Language session so I sat in. It was fun. What a difficult language, but the man teaching was convinced that I if I  should practice more by purchasing the DVDs he was selling I would be speaking like a native in no time!

I grabbed some shepherd's pie for lunch and sat at a picnic table and soon another couple was looking for a seat so I invited them to join me.  I recognized their Australian accent right away and asked them about it. We had a wonderful time eating and visiting for about a half an hour.  They own a Harley dealership in Australia and the mother ship invited them to Milwaukee on a dealers' tour.  They also have a farm so we had lots to talk about.  We wrapped it up with a lengthy discussion on how disturbing orange cheese is, and an Australian language lesson about the difference between hot chips and cold chips.In Holland, where the woman was from, they eat chips (french fries) with vinegar and mayonnaise. And she found orange cheese disturbing?!?!? We parted with promises to keep in touch. Nice folks.
After that I found a Bodhran tent that was giving lessons so I took one. I sure wish I had realized my latent Bodhran talent (the man teaching the lesson said I was a natural who would only improve by practicing with his DVDs) when the crazy lady lived upstairs! I'm equally adept at the Irish Penny whistle it seems; as long as all you want to hear is "On Top of Old Smokey". But I'm sure I could enhance my skills with the DVDs that they were selling. My last lesson was over at the dance pavilion...RIVERDANCE!!!!  I've decided to stick to the bodhran and the whistle. I was not meant to jig around like a flea on a hot skillet even if I practiced with the dance DVD. Not exactly cut out to be the Lady of The Dance as it were, but it was still awesome.

All this learning took it's toll (and the DVDs were getting heavy), so I got some tea and Guinness cake and sat down on a rock by the lake to rest.  It was a 99% perfect day.  The only thing that was disappointing was that Gaelic Storm was playing, but not until 10PM so I wouldn't get to see them. I have their CDs and just love them. I've seen them live a couple of times and they always put on a good show.  When I finished my lunch, I heard a Gaelic Storm song (Swimming In The Sea) playing at a small tent not to far away.  I thought it was weird that GS would let someone else sing their songs....and gosh but that singer sounded like Steve, who wrote the song and sings I went to investigate. It was THEM!!!! They were playing a tiny show under the name "The Santa Monica Hillbillies"! It was AMAZING!!!
 I don't play bodhran as well as Patrick! YET! (But I have the DVD.)

 Here's a good one of the whole band.  They played for about an hour, and afterward, I got to meet them and even had a CD autographed. Serendipity! Now my day was 100% perfect!

By the time the bus came at 6PM I was broke, tipsy, sunburned, walked, danced, drummed, and whistled out and ready to go home. A perfect day! Can't wait to do it all again next year! And I'll wear my 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' t-shirt. The man who sold it to me said that if I kept up with my DVD lessons, I'll be 100% Irish by next year!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weekly Challenge #83: DuoTangle v. V: Assunta/Mooka

I didn't think I was going to participate in this week's Diva Challenge since I have a lot of other things on my plate. But after seeing that it was a DuoTangle (using two tangles only-Assunta and Mooka) an idea kept niggling at me until I finally took 10 minutes and threw it down on paper last night. It's not fancy. It's not elaborate. It's probably 'cheating' on a lot of different levels but I just had to get it out of my head, so I thought I'd post it anyway. Heck, I posted a picture of my grubby barn-self holding a turkey a couple of posts ago. Can't get any worse than that can it?
Thanks for a 'niggle-y challenge, Diva!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cutie Patootie and Paoli Mill Art Festival

My weekend started off with a pic of this little cutie Patootie.  This is Noelle and Ella the Elephant that I knit to celebrate her first birthday.  I can't believe she is a year old already. What a little sweetheart! She and her big brother William are quite a pair!
On Saturday I went down to Paoli. It's a town about 10-15 minutes and is little more than a wide spot in the road, but almost all of the buildings in town have been turned into art galleries. It's so neat to poke around down there. This weekend in addition to all of the galleries, there was an outdoor art fair on the banks of the Sugar River that runs through town.  The scenery was spectacular.

This little bridge is behind the Paoli cheese shop and crosses the river to a beautiful little grove.
The fair was set up just beyond the bridge. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful. It was such a serene setting to view the beautiful art. 
 Beyond the fair was the river again, winding lazily through the fields and woods.
 On the other side of the bank is the Creamery Cafe and gallery. I was there for breakfast one time and it was great.

Here is my art show purchase.  It's a painted portrait of Phil from Heartland Farm!
I had just heard of Alyssa Ingram for the first time last week. She came to the farm and took pics of the animals, painted their portraits and then made jewelry from them! I was pleasantly surprised to run across her booth at the fair.  She also had  one of Frances the sheep with one of the goats. It was a hard decision between the two, but I finally chose Phil and will save my pennies for Frances sometime in the future. You can see some of Alyssa's work on her Etsy Show  located here:

I went to Belleville to walk the river walk after the fair and had lunch at the Corner Cafe down there. Belleville park is one of my favorite go-to spots in the area when I need a little peace, quiet and a water fix! They have a new path that literally goes through the lake and along the river. It was a wonderful, peaceful, serene morning. Getting recharged a little definitely helps me deal with 'reality'. I need to do it more often!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekly Challenge #82: UMT v. VII "Brayd"

This week's Diva Challenge was to use Zentangle Master, Shelly Beauch's pattern' Brayd'.  My piece isn't a traditional Zentangle in size or form-only three patterns and not abstract, but I  had fun with this one! Thanks Shelly and Diva for a fun challenge!

See if you can tell which pattern is  'Brayd?' :-)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Turkey Love

As the world's most unphotogenic person, I hate to have my picture taken, let along have anyone else see it.  So why would I post this picture of my disheveled, dirty, sweaty self at the barn last Sunday?  So you can meet my buddy, Esme of course.  Esme seems to like to have me hold her. She lays her head on my arm or my shoulder and the rest of her body goes to Jell-o.  I have to hold her on my lap if she's not balanced just right or she would flop right off. I whisper sweet nothings in her ear and she closes her eyes.  She is such a sweet girl.  This Sunday's session lasted about 20 minutes until I finally convinced her that she had to get down and I had to go home.

That's Kristin sitting next to me with Sonny the Rooster. He snuggles Kristin like Meme snuggles me. She was walking all around the barn with him under her arm on Sunday and his head was hanging and dangling over her arm like he was sound asleep. She can even interpret the different weird noises he makes.

I never had much of an appreciation of the personalities of barnyard birds until I started working at the farm.  I had no idea how smart, loving and often opinionated they are. It amazes me that some of them actually crave human companionship!  Now if I could only convice Eddie the Tom turkey that he likes to snuggle too!

PS-Thanks Brooke for getting this great shot of Esme!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Diva Challenge 81: Relay for Life

I thought I had a volunteer gig down at the library last night. I rushed home from work, made treats (Nilla Wafers, Nutella and banana sandwiches), packed up the car and went to the library only to find that I was the only one there. Seems the volunteer thing is NEXT week. Sigh. So I took the treats over to The Sow's Ear and off-loaded them on the knitting ladies. There is no way that I wanted a plateful of those little lovelies in my house!  Then I came home and realized that I had an entire evening to do with as I wish. I had previously thought that I wouldn't have time to do the Diva's Challenge this week. I didn't last week's and I hated to miss two in a row so I decided to print out the mandala for this week's challenge and attempt it. I haven't done them before and it was pretty interesting. Here is the mandala template that you were supposed to tangle.
And here is mine. I didn't have time to shade it with graphite but I got it finished before bedtime-YAY!
I like the look of the finished drawing, but the jury is still out as to whether I truly enjoyed the process. I put incredible pressure on myself to make each section exactly the same and as you can see, that didn't work out, but I had fun with it and it was also fun to use a little color. You owe it to yourself to go over to the Diva's site and look at the other entries. It always amazed me how unique each person's work is when given the same assignment. This one particularly emphasizes that since we were all given the same template! Overall, I'm glad my other obligation didn't work out!

Sturgeon Bay Speed Racer

I was in Sturgeon Bay over the weekend and went to see the Third Ave Playhouse's matinee of Shooting Star with Doug Mancheski and Amy En...