Category Archives: Organization

Oboy…New Toys!!

I love new stuff.    I especially love new stuff if it’s pretty.  And if it’s blue….particularly Tiffany Blue.

Ok, so my new toys aren’t exactly Tiffany Blue but they’re in the ballpark.  When I went to my Weight Watcher’s meeting this week I got my tools.  I didn’t get them last week and had to track online, which was fine, but I wanted the STUFF!

I’m blogging about this today because of the overwhelming interest and support I’ve received over the last 24 hours.  You guys rock!!

When you join, you need to be able to track what you’re eating.  At my second meeting I found out that some people don’t track.  I don’t have a clue how they manage to lose anything.  I tracked every single thing I consumed last week.  I became absolutely obsessive about it.  I’m sure once I’ve been on the program a while it will take less time, but for now, I’m ok with the time it’s taking.  I put myself on Project Status.  Yes, it’s slowing down the artistic process but I’m just going to do it anyway.

With my starter pack I got this spiffy, zippered binder to keep all the other goodies in.  LOVE the colour!

And I love all the pouches too.  It’s so organized!  Which is good….I have this “mess” issue, ya know?

So there’s lots of ways to track what you’re eating.  As I didn’t have this stuff last week I tracked online.  When you track online there’s also a function that allows you to calculate the points for the foods not in the guides as well as a recipe function.  You can take any of your favorite recipes and calculate the points for them.  It rocks!  Got a favorite cheesecake recipe?  Just enter the recipe and it will tell you how many points per serving.  Too many points per serving, then adjust either the recipe or the serving size.  The little calculator gives you the ability to calculate food points on foods AS YOU SHOP.  Wow.  I have NEVER had this much information about the food I eat and it’s so exciting.  This program enables you to take the label information and figure out what it MEANS, as opposed to just being befuddled by it all.  I’m all about information being power and this program makes me feel incredibly empowered and in control.  Not that I have control issues….well….much…..er…..nevermind.

When you’re away from the computer there’s these handy-dandy little guides that list the points in foods AND in restaurant menu items.  Want to know how many points a Timbit is? This will tell you!  Yay!!  There is never any reason to wonder again whether you’re sabotaging yourself by eating half a donut.

All of these goodies are going to follow me around in my amazing Doggie Bag that my hubby bought me for Christmas  two years ago.  I used to use it to haul illicit alcohol to parties at my friend’s restaurant, but this is a much better use for it.  It will also hold my blogging camera and whatever else I need for my day.  My crazy, hectic day.  My days are crazy now…just wait until we start going to the pool.  I have to say though, to anyone who’s struggled with losing weight and wants to try again, I have never had the tools supplied by this program.  I know it’s only the first week, but honestly, I don’t see how I can lose.  Or not lose.  You know what I mean……

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Learning Curve

I finally got my studio mucked-out.  It’s once again a place that I want to retreat to for play-time.

That’s what it’s supposed to look like, more or less.  There’s still some clutter but the creative itch overwhelmed the maid so she quit.

She did manage to organize some of the supplies before she decamped though.

Now that I had some time and space for painting, I still had to force myself to pick up a brush and work on the current project.  It’s a comfort zone thing….and a learning curve thing.

My back ground is in decorative folk-art painting.  I even taught several kinds of traditional and non-traditional folk-art.  The thing about this discipline is that it’s pretty much fool-proof.  It sometimes feels like it’s glorified paint-by-numbers.  This is great for beginners and people who are intimidated by a blank sheet of paper, but it doesn’t really lend itself to improvisation.  It’s very structured and fairly rigid, depending on the style, so you don’t really learn to just  let the brush go and paint with abandon.

I also learned to do folk-art using liquid acrylic paints.  They’re very different than tube acrylics.  They flow and blend easily, but their pigments are weaker, dimmer.  They’re great for that style of painting but not for what I want to do now.

This piece is a sample I painted for a class I used to teach.  This style is all about how you hold the brush, how thick your paint is, how you load the paint on your brush, and how you execute each stroke.  That is so not going to work for my current painting.

So I’m learning.  The learning curve is manageable but the process, for me, is still involving an inordinate amount of cussing.  Cussing does help, you know.  I blocked in the beach today and I’m still learning how to manage these paints.  I’m letting myself just PLAY.  I’m discovering ways to achieve texture, ways to create light and shadow without the luxury of floating ultra-thin paint, ways to fix the boo-boos.  Yes….plenty of boo-boos.  It feels so good to be painting again though, I’ll continue to muddle through, cuss away, and follow that learning curve wherever it takes me.

Life is a Cabaret…

I’m going to rant a bit now.  Fair warning.

I love living in the community I live in.  It has such great things about it, especially such great people.  It’s fairly good at supporting artists and there is a wonderful group of artists and artisans that live here.  They’re very supportive of each other and produce some amazing work.  There’s also a thriving musical community here, as well as an excellent theater group.  There’s a hockey team and large junior-hockey association.  That part is all good.

Here’s the rub, though.  This community, for whatever reason, is reluctant to attend things.  Now before everyone starts sending me hate-mail, listen for a bit.

Over the last 20 years I have been very involved in both the theater group and the musical community.  More recently I’ve become involved in the artist and artisan community.  I’ve gone to a lot of events.  I’ve organized a lot of events.  In general…and yes, I know there are exceptions…..most entertainment events in this town are drastically under-attended.  And I’m at a loss to explain why.

We had a summer music festival.  It’s gone now, as far as I know.  I’ll be stunned if it isn’t.  Organizers can only put on events for so long without breaking even before they stop spending their own money on them.

The local theater group is packed with talented actors, directors, costumers, set-builders and writers.  The quality of their productions is very high for a community theater and yet they struggle to fill the seats unless they put on musicals involving large casts and tons of kids to ensure a built-in audience of family members.

I was talking to one of the hockey organizers at New Year’s and she said that when they go to other communities there’s at least 1000 people in the seats.  They don’t come even close to that many attendees here.

It’s not that there isn’t advance promotion for these events.  There is…lots of it.  It’s not that the costs are too high…ticket prices remain modest.  It’s certainly not that audiences don’t get value for their hard-earned dollars.  They get lots of bang for their buck.

One of the groups here that is trying valiantly to keep live entertainment happening is the Sasquatch Arts and Music Society.  They have taken on the management of the Snoring Sasquatch and are doing their best to keep the venue alive for our community.  They are a volunteer, non-profit society that is over-worked, under-funded, and stretched to their limit, but still they soldier on.

So for those of you who read this and live in our community, consider coming out on January 29 to their Cabaret fund-raiser.  It’s $15, a licensed event with a cash bar, and if past shows are any indicator it’s bound to be an evening of fun, high-quality entertainment.  There’s even going to be yummy appetizers to munch on.

So be a part of the change.  I’m going to keep writing about this periodically in the hopes that each one of us can find our way back to going out to watch quality entertainment that is produced locally.  After all, TV is over-rated and we can all stand to go out a bit more.  Aren’t our computer-butts big enough as it is?  I know mine is.

Living Up To The Name

When I named this blog “Just Make a Mess” I meant it.  I meant to be willing to show the chaos that can ensue as a result of the creative process.  Now I know there are artists that create magnificent works while their studios remain pristine.  Their paints are carefully organized according to colour family, their pencils are all neatly sharpened and stored with their tips protected.  Their palettes could be sold as colour-wheels.  These kinds of artists do exist.  I personally believe them to be alien life-forms, but I do believe they exist.

Unless you have the luxury of a studio completely separate from your house, or you have a house with tons of storage, keeping a studio tidy and dedicated to its intended use can be difficult.  I live in a house that was likely built in the 40’s or 50’s and it is woefully lacking in storage space.  The end result of this is that most of my spaces must be multi-functional.  Which sucks for the studio.

Over Christmas, the usual happened.  This kind of thing……

led inevitably to this kind of thing…..

That’s my poor studio, buried underneath the remnants of our holiday.  Everything that needed to go “somewhere” ended up here.  This mess enabled the packaging of soap, the storage of yummy Chrismas baking, the taking of many blog photos, the printing of jewelry packaging and the final polishing of tons of new jewelry pieces.

So tomorrow, this room stops living up to this blog’s name and gets a mucking-out.  It’s a new year and I’ve tons of new projects I’m just itching to get at.  This is one of them:

From Away

This is a painting I started a long while ago that I kind of abandoned to get some jewelry done.  The plan is to spend more time on painting.  Until this is done, it’s going to be one day painting, one day jewelry, during the week, Monday to Friday once the studio is in working order again.  I have big plans for this painting.  I want to take it somewhere I’ve never seen a painting go before.  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated on that, AND the exciting new direction I’m going to explore with my jewelry.  It’s going to be a great year, isn’t it?  I’m excited and inspired and all of you are a big part of this journey.  Let’s see what’s next, shall we?

Back in the Day

This weekend’s Craft Fair was the first one I’ve participated in since probably about 1996.  When I had my consignment craft store in the mid-90’s, and even before that, I had a table almost every year.  The first time I put in these cool harlequin clowns I had made.  I sold out and made about $700 that day.  I was flabbergasted.

In subsequent years I had all kinds of different products, with varying levels of success, but I always did pretty well.  I stopped going though.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t just that I wasn’t doing much “crafting”.  It wasn’t even that “crafting”, as such, had gone out of vogue a bit.  It was that I just started feeling that there was a lot of…. well, here’s me being totally honest…. a lot of junk out there.  Things that were over-priced and of poor quality.  Things that were ugly.

It was like everyone on the planet had decided they could build stuff because they bought a hot-glue gun.  Problem was, they could.  And they did.  And it was not a good thing.

Having participated in  the Trade Shows here, however, I knew that you couldn’t get much better advertising.  Advertising was what I was really after, both to introduce the bath line and to let people know where the jewelry is now that I’m building again.  For a $50 table fee, you just can’t beat it in terms of being able to communicate with people.

The most important thing I want to stress in this entry though is that things have changed at the Creston Craft Fair.  Boy have they changed.  As I wandered around checking out the other booths, I was extremely impressed with the calibre of the products being offered.  Gone were the ticky-tacky, lace and ribbon-ridden froofy-thingies.  No more rose-embellished toilet-paper holders.  No more crocheted necklaces and knitted-skunk bathroom-spray covers.  Not at THIS craft fair.

Instead, there were lovely photography displays, warm felted slippers, wreaths made of fresh pine and balsam.  Chocolates to make your mouth water and your fillings ache.  Hand-blown glass and lots of sumptuous soaps, lotions, and salts….not just mine.  Gorgeous original artwork. And the pottery.  Oh wow.  The pottery.  Raku pieces to die for.  Innovative glaze applications, intricate pressed-patterns, glass frit on porcelain.  Literally To. Die. For.  And yes….I came home with some.  I had to.  It was talking to me.  It would have been wrong to leave it there.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show it to you.  You’ll be glad you did.  In the meantime, here’s another shot of my table.  Thanks for visiting.  See you tomorrow….remember….tomorrow is Pottery Day!!