Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year - New Journal

I've spent the last few weeks thinking about the new year. The time everyone starts thinking about New Year's resolutions. I had the idea that I'd start November 1st with the new journal I made. I think of the year changing on October 31st but that's another story. The idea got tossed on the back burner so I guess I'll wait for January 1st instead. The focus I want to put on the journals is not so much resolutions but goals. Not the "I will go to the gym 3 times a week and lose a gazillon pounds" stuff that you know you aren't going to do when you wrote it down.

Sometimes when I start mulling things over, I'll see the topic popping up all over the place. I generally take this as good sign. While I was thinking about the things I missed in my life and the things I value, several of the podcasts I listen to regularly talked about defining your values. I went to Violette's blog after listening to Ricë's interview with her and there it was again. Sometimes the Universe gives subtle hints, other times it whomps you up side the head.

I have in the recent past allowed myself to be swayed from what I want to do by other people. This baffles the crap out of me. Why the hell do I do that? Why now? For the whole of my life until now, I haven't given a flying fig what other people think about pretty much anything. And I'd always had an iron will. Iron clad in titanium. Getting so far off track isn't sitting well with me. I need to change this. Pronto. I need to redefine the things that are important to me, the things I value and focus on putting those things in the forefront of my activities.

So, what are some of the things I value, things that are important to me? Having an "online" life is one of them. I used to enjoy meeting and talking to other creative people all the time. I got away from it for all the wrong reasons. I met a girl here who told me she loved reading all the stuff I posted in some of the forums were were both on. It made me feel good. I tend to look at my ideas as being out in left field most of the time and it was nice to hear positive feedback from someone. And even better to learn that I had inspired them.

Making things is important to me and that didn't stop. It slowed down to a crawl for a while though. Making things to sell - well, that part did stop. It is important to me and I need to quit talking myself out of it. My head says stuff like "Your ideas aren't generic enough for mass appeal." Yeah, so what? Or "The type people who love your stuff don't have any money." Again, so what? As a used car salesman I know always said, "There's an ass for every seat."

Another thing I need to address is my health. My weight has yo-yo'd and it dramatically affects my ability to control my blood sugar. I was a vegetarian for most of my life and I was healthy. I am questioning why I decided to eat meat again. I say it was because I'm lazy. It's very hard to be a vegetarian around these parts if you don't cook. Everything has meat in it. Yeah those green beans look innocent and untainted but trust me, they ain't vegetarian. Don't believe me? Ask the cook. I have to control my blood sugar levels, it really is a matter of life and death. The weight is secondary. It would be nice to have all the clothes in my closet fit consistently. Going up and down all the time is annoying.

Making more time for friends is also important. One of the factors in moving back into the city was to be closer to friends. I have done a terrible job at making it a reality so far. Yes, I've had friends over but not like I'd like to do. And certainly haven't done it regularly. Part of the problem is some sort of distorted sense of perfection. I think that when the house is done, just so, then it'll all be great. That's ridiculous. I don't know anyone who's house is just as they'd like it. This house is monstrous huge and many projects are in various stages of completion. It'll be done years from now. No sense in hiding away until it's perfect. I think I need to hire someone to help me clean before I can entertain. First of all, my friends aren't the fussy type. If they were, they wouldn't be my friends. Secondly, even on my bad days, our house isn't that dirty.

There's plenty of other things but that's enough for now. I have aprons to make! And I just had an idea for a new one. And a purse.

New Traditions

We have no Christmas traditions. There's a long list of why this is; differing religious and spiritual standpoints, not living near family and not having much family to begin with, and just simply not being "traditional" people. Christmas evening I was sitting at my sewing machine while my Beloved played on the computer. Earlier in the evening, my daughter had said something about gnomes or elves or something. I don't remember exactly what she said but it made me remember something else.

Last Christmas my Beloved had just returned from a long and drudging job he'd been on. The cupboards were bare. The grocery store isn't my favorite place and if he's not home, I don't cook. Since it was Christmas, everything was closed. The only thing open was the restaurant at the truck stop. So we went in. They had one cook and one waitress and a motley group of patrons. We waited what seemed an eternity for our food. The waitress apologized several times but seriously, what else did we have to do? At the counter was a man dressed like a cross-cultural gnome. He had a pointy gnome hat, Osh Kosh overalls, an ornately carved staff, and a bone pipe choker. Some of the other patrons looked like extras for Deliverance. The part that amused me the most was that they kept looking at us like we were the weirdoes. We are, but that's beside the point. The food finally arrived and wow - it was absolutely delicious. I rarely eat everything on my plate but I didn't leave a scrap that time. I just couldn't stop myself.

So this Christmas evening I brought up the lack of Christmas traditions and that we should make our own. I asked if he remembered the gnome. He laughed and said he'd forgotten all about it. As I talked about it, he remembered how good the food was and the silly fun we had. I asked if he wanted to go. Now. That would be our new Christmas tradition. We'll go to the truck stop, eat like pigs, enjoy the cast of characters, and with any luck the Gnome will show up. So off we went.

truckstop_xmas The place looked exactly the same, cheesy Mardi Gras posters still lined the walls but they had more staff and customer this time around. And I really was the weirdest looking person in the place this time too. A group of seniors sitting at the table nearby were discussing which area casinos had the best buffets and whether or not they needed to protect the water pipes at home. The waitress came over to get our orders and I ordered the same thing I got last time. Once again, it was awesomely delicious and I cleaned my plate. They had gumbo on the soup and salad bar. It was pretty good but couldn't hold a candle to my friend Marsha's gumbo. She is truly the reigning Queen of the Gumbo. Customers came and went but there was no sight of the Gnome. I giggled all through dinner.

We told the waitress why we were there. She thought the story was a hoot but instantly recognized the Gnome in the story. She said he always dresses like that and was a regular. I'd decided that if he had shown up, I would try to strike up a conversation with him. I wanted to know why he dresses like a Gnome. What do those pieces mean to him? I don't know how he would take being quizzed by someone dressed like a Pirate but there was a chance he'd think it was funny too. Maybe next time. As we were leaving the waitress called out, "See you next year!" Yes, yes you will!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yule Greetings

Happy Solstice and Merry Yule!

I tried to find a link somewhere out there in internet land of this years Solstice at Stonehenge but no one has posted anything yet. Still celebrating I guess. Maybe tomorrow some new ones will turn up.

Meantime, here's a video of The Dolmen. The sculpture at 1:32 is amazing. I would love to have something like that in my yard. Wow, just WOW!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Copycat, Copycat, Woe, Woe, Woe

A topic has been coming up a lot around here lately and that is copying. It's not so cut and dry as that really, more the whole Inspiration/Imitation versus copying/plagiarism ball of worms. A few instances of copying and outright theft have made me very reluctant to put too much of my stuff "out there" for all to see.

I used to post pictures of nearly everything I did and even instructions for some of the stuff. Then one day, one of my most popular designs comes walking in my store printed on a light blue t-shirt. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked the lady where she got it. The CVS on Canal. Ripped off at home this time. Did they think I wouldn't see it sooner or later? And what a big ball of worms it is trying to sue them. The part that irks me the most is that is was on a pastel color. I designed it to be printed on black. It looks like crap otherwise. Steal my work and butcher it too. Jeez Louise!

I have on occasion copied someone else's work as a learning exercise. Learning the techniques they used to achieve the finished product. I think this is fairly normal. There was debate about this way back in school as to some of the art world's masters. I won't get into all that but of course they were influenced by and copied others. The point is that learning is one thing. It can be seen as a step on the path of developing skills and your own personal style. Copying others because you're lazy or unoriginal is something else. Copying someone else's work and claiming it as your own and/or profiting from it is a criminal act.

A sense of personal style is important. Certain things I like have suddenly come into vogue. I'm not sure I like that entirely. On one hand, they're easier to find now. On the other hand, it cheapens it. I cringe when I see fad chasing girls wearing skulls and studded accessories with Paris Hilton butt-ugly sunglasses with Hello Kitty boots. Ugh. This is one of the reasons why I like to make my own clothing and accessories. No mass marketed-everyone has it. When I do buy things, I don't mind forking over extra for one of a kind items.

My family and friends tease me about how I behave when some people ask where I got things. If they have a similar style, are creative, or we "click", I will tell them. But if they're just interested because it's something they deem trendy, I don't. Information is different. I will gladly tell you HOW I did something, where to get supplies, and names of artistic people you might be interested in. I will even SHOW you how I did something. Learn it and make it your own. In my little world, that's the way it should be.

I don't feel flattered when I am imitated. I get annoyed. Except last Halloween. My daughter dressed up as me for Halloween. I thought it was funny. I am told at least once a day that I look "just like that girl on NCIS." Sure thing. Except that Abby is a fictional character, is much younger, doesn't wear glasses, and doesn't have dreadlocks. I don't have neck tattoos and I'm not that pretty. We both have bangs, wear a lot of eyeliner, and dress in black. Then they usually ask if I am trying to look like her. I've looked like this most of my life and that show has only been on for a few years. So, NO.

I find inspiration everywhere, from other artists to a streaky evening sky. I don't suffer from a lack of ideas - ever. I suffer from too damn many ideas. And never enough time to breathe life into them all. My Muse works overtime. I certainly have no problem inspiring others, I love it actually. Inspiration for you to make something that had YOU stamped all over it, no a carbon copy of something I did. Know what I mean, Vern?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Carts and No Horses

phone_clearbackWe have a strange variety of stuff at work and most of it is of no interest to me. No, I drag home all the stuff we throw away. After being off for a couple of days, I returned to find nifty looking clear cases for iPhones. My mind took off with all the possibilities of altering them. Reverse decoupage! My own artwork! Then I became flummoxed trying to open said case. My coworker figured it out in seconds. Yeah, just like having to get a kid to open your child-proof bottles for you.


My creative giddiness was quickly dashed on the sharp rocks of crushing reality. The case is for an iPhone. The iPhone home screen is printed on the little insert card. The iPhone doesn’t fit. Nope. Not even close. And I tried with the fervor of the wicked step-sister trying to shove her flat feet in those glass slippers. Damn.


My current case is cool so it’s all good. But an opportunity to have a super cool case would have rocked.