Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and Rock Bands

A couple days ago I googled my name. I like to do that once and while because I always find strange things. This week I found a website about a band called Tools of The Trade. It turns out that this is a band I was part of in Cedar Falls, IA with my best guy friends when I first moved there. They actually included my name in the section that mentions former band members, even though the band didn`t even have a name when I was part of it. I can`t believe it has been almost nine years since then. I wonder where those guys are now...

The other strange band I was in was called Chariot. The site is under construction at the moment but you can get the gist of our aesthetic... much different than Angel Fire. Glitter is so much more my style! Will Glitter Chariot do a tour of Japan??? We can only pray for it.

So far this has been a strange Christmas. On my way to work/school I gave the bus driver a candy cane. He is the driver who never talks to me and always looks miserable, so I think it was meant to be that he was my driver today. I really mean MY driver, not THE driver because, like usual, I was the only one on the bus. I think I shocked him out of his funk a little. Maybe he will talk to me next time. Of course All I could say is, "nice weather, isn`t it?" and, "Thank you very much." Another bus driver once told me how to say "mistress" in Japanese; in reference to what, I can only guess because the rest of the sentence was way out of my comprehension... and judging from the word I DID understand, it is probably better left that way.

I am the only festive person at Nichu-- like usual. I decorated my desk and gave candy canes to everyone. I don`t think Christmas will really start until after work when Mikel meets me up her to pick up our car!! Yay. It is a Mitsubishi Minica. It is so cute and tiny that my Board of Education, who we got the car through, is afraid that Mikel is too tall for it. No worries though because Tony has the same car and we ride in it all the time.

Rock bands and tiny cars... good times.

Time to try and spread more Christmasiness!

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is the view across the pond near our apartment. We still don`t have snow in our area but the mountains are beautifully dusted.
Today I am thinking about The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Did you know it was originally written in German? I didn`t. I had only seen the movie until this week when I started reading the English version of the book--not that I could read any other version, but seeing as I am in Japan, and I just mentioned it was written originally in German, I though I should clarify.
It is a magical story, in case you haven`t checked it out. The heroes are young boys in two different realms who are joined by adventure and a book. I like the layers of reality, and I like that I can escape into the book just as the boy Bastian escapes into his book.
Escape is an interesting theme right now, mainly because I have been noticing my desires to escape from things that are difficult. These desires are strong now as it is getting darker outside, Christmas is approaching and it will be spent far from family other than my lovely husband, and soon after Christmas, Mikel will leave for a month or more.
My escape? Books and art. They are also my way of changing my experience so that I no longer want to escape. Interesting...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nichu Day

Nichu is the name of the second middle school that I work at-- ni being two and chu being middle. The other is Iichu. Ichi is the number one, and it certainly is number one in my book compaired to here. Since today is my first day back at Nichu, I have left over energy from last week, and my fun weekend, to be determined not to let the collective anxiety and unhappiness of Nichu teachers get me down. No way. Thank goodness I teach elementary school today and I have brough W00t along.
He looks a little nervous, but he won`t let me down.

Another good thing about today is that there is a little snow up here in Nino where this school is. It is so much higher than the part of my town that I live in, that it is quite a bit colder too. Yay, snow!

I also got to enjoy some grape flavored gum offered to me by the bus driver on the way to school. It`s official. We`re buddies.

I had a fantastic day in the studio yesterday which topped a fun weekend. Here are some uncorrected images of what I am working on.

This painting is only about 12"x 8" or so...Sorry the lighting isn`t very good, but I think the texture shows well.

Here is my most favorite wall sculpture I have been working on. It is a combo of my painting and jewelry with some fake fur thrown in for good times. It is about 15 inches at the longest stretch.

Here is another dark image of a painting...

Anyway, when the powers of good computers and internet combine, LOOK OUT! I will have totally swanky images to post.

I also did some more Christmas shopping this weekend in Iida. I found only a few gifts but I did buy a sweet pair of snowboard boots from the thrift store for my future snow adventures. They were super cheap! Only $13!! Craziness. I may be a bad snowboarder, but I don`t have to drop too much dough for it!

Ok, time to play with W00t and 15 third graders!!


Craft Land has been blog-less for days now, so here comes a long one.
W00t is the name of my new puppet.
And, not to sidestep the everyday announcement of a new puppet, w00t is also a new word recently added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as either woot or w00t or w007. It seemed at first to me like a reference to James Bond with a little extra W left on the beginning. It turns out it`s an expression that can pretty much replace "cool" in any situation to express excitement. I thought, "w00t! I can`t get enough of those words." I mean, I can only use "sweet" and "rockin`" so much in a day.
As I was looking up the new word, I found Merriam-Webster`s Open Dictionary where anyone can submit words. Although they aren`t all going to be inducted into the official dictionary, I think the list is evidence of flexibility in language. I have been thinking about this flexibility a lot lately. As I am learning Japanese, and have multiple chances to use the little bit of other languages that I know, I realize that communication is so much more about what my vice-principal would call "heart speak." In a normal day, I may use worse Japanese and sometimes more ridiculous English than a toddler does, but I still find a way to communicate. When I finally get to spend time with a fluent English speaker, all of my dammed-up words come gushing out. Speaking any language seems more like a game now. I notice other people`s word choice all the time. Some of our new friends are from England and have strong accents. They use words like rubbish and wank, that we don`t normal use. Those words are more like new colors and textures rather than just funny differences that I might not otherwise notice.
Anyway, back to my puppet, W00t. He will help me teach my elementary school students about the ABCs tomorrow and forever after. I suppose they will also learn the word w00t... so much English in so little time!! I can`t post a photo of him today because I am at home on our broken computer. I will say that he does look a lot like Squidward on Sponge Bob, but not as grumpy, with more feathers on his head, and pink. I also made sweet ABC flash cards where each letter is a different glittery, colorful character with cool eyes. These kids haven`t learned the Roman alphabet yet-- they will next year in 4th grade-- so I want to make this a crazy ABC play-date. They will sing the ABCs, run around, make letters out of clay and find the letters in a worksheet, which is pretty much an embellished version of our Christmas card. They may not retain anything, but I hope they will at least feel like language and learning is fun. Whatever I teach, ever, that is what I want my students to learn.
Speaking of learning through fun, and not so much fun, Mikel and I learned very important information this week. The first week Mikel was in Japan with me he got very, very sick. We thought he had a 24 hour bug, but the fact that he swam in a new river the day before was suspicious. This week we learned that the river directly receives waste water from Iida City. A local recently caught a fish out of it and gutted it right on the shore due to its bulging belly. Indside was used hospital gauze. Enough said.
It is time to check the glittery stripes on W00t`s nose and eat some apple crisp made by my hubby. W00t w00t!
Just another day in Craft Land.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Longing for Art Basel

One of my favorite writers about all things art, is Megan Voeller. She is a sassy lady currently kickin` up the dirt in the Tampa/St.Pete, Florida art scene. Here is her new blog which is really fun to read. She spent last week in Miami and blogged about what she saw. So inspiring!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Art Basel Miami

Last year at this time I was surpassing my ability to take in art by walking around Art Basel in Miami. This year I actually have work there at the Red Dot Fair --part of the Art Basel weekend-- but I am in Japan. Funny how life works. I would love to go to Art Basel Miami this weekend. I`m dying to see some hot contemporary art. I have been checking out sweet Art Basel artists on the internet. I came accross Sandy Lytchfield, Jen Garrido, Frank Owens and Reed Danziger. They don`t all hit the spot exactly but have something exciting for me. I always love Julie Peppito and Sarah Sze.
Oh Sunday! How can a weekend end so fast? So little time to settle into the studio. Less writing, more painting/cutting/gluing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Large Frogs and Butter-Futter

This is a castle in Matsumoto. It`s made of wood! Castles are traditionally made of wood in Japan which is why not many are still around: a tiny spark does a real number on wooden structures. This castle has a secret floor to hide in! I think all houses should have secret floors! I went to Matsumoto last week for a conference. It was very fun to meet other English teachers from all over the world. I also found some cool Christmas gifts and a few tiny hidden bars that I would imagine to be more at home in Europe. I almost bought a pair of gloves which had a different finger puppet on each finger...I don`t know why I didn`t...I think I may be one of the only people who would wear and five-year-olds. They were pretty rediculously fun. One puppet was an octopus!!
The visual highlights of the trip:

A giant foam frog fighting a fatter...frog? toad? They welcomed me to the appropriately named "frog street." I don`t know why it had that name but all the buildings on this street were traditional Japanese shops with mini ceramics, second hand stuff and many weird frog souvenirs.

GIANT polka-dot flowers by an artist named Yayoi Kusama. She also makes steller room installations.
Speaking of second-hand stuff--like five minutes ago-- I recently was introduced to Japanese thrift stores. WhooooHoooo!! Serious finds! I will be bummed when I have only thrift stores in the US to go to. Better stock up now!
Craft Land News:
I have been in a bit of a slump. It`s time to ask new questions! I think I am finally settling in here a bit more so maybe my paintings won`t have to mimic my busy, full and confused mind as much as they are now. I usually need to have a few long studio days-- more than 5 hours-- a week, to really settle into my studio and spend time with my work. My job doesn`t make that easy so my process feels slower. I will post some new works soon... it`s easier--only possible maybe-- to talk about art when it can be looked at.
Until then, I will be making a newspaper with my special English class. All the stories will be murder stories with stellar collaged images. Violent? yes. But fun? Of course!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mini and Compact

On our Christmas shopping adventure in Iida last weekend, we found this store, which is actually called Megane, the word for eyeglasses...strategic photography. Me means eye in Japanese.

This is a lovely shot of some fall colors by a Shinto Shrine. There were some old men tending the landscaping who thought we were pretty funny. The white shapes hanginging from the ropes are folded pieces of paper. Shintoism recognizes the impermanence in life. Even the shape of the actual shrine-- not in the photo-- mimics that of old nomadic tents. Mikel and I are both interested in what we perceive as the theatre of Shinto practice.

This is not an optical illusion. Mikel really was way too tall for this little door. Traditional Japanese architecture was not created so it was so convenient that one could almost ignore it-- how often do you notice the top of a door you are walking through in the USA? Or the ceiling?-- Here, architecture seems to be functional and intended for direct contact with the human body. I am so much more aware of how my body moves through space here. Mikel MUST be more mindful here or he would hit his head many times a day. He even has to duck to enter our bathroom!

Here is part of my new collection of mini food and household items. The detail is divine. They could never be sold in the USA because of lawsuits. I can`t believe I would have never known about these miniature collections had I not come here! EEK! I used to make little homes for my trolls that would have been strongly enhanced had I had these treasures. My future kids are lucky ducks!

Craft Land explosion! After a weekend of crafting and laundry, here`s our main room. This room serves as a kitchen, studio for both of us, laundry line, and now bedroom-- the rest of the apartment is too cold to sleep in!! There`s my cute hubby planning his next attack in the studio. He recently made a full-size, very realistic fox and three spooky crows which also share this room with us.

The whole room isn`t a wreck. Here is a shot from the opposite direction. Cute kitchen, eh?
ok, I`m off to write a store about a bubble-blowing elephant for my students--a regular day in Japanese Craft Land!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thirty Minute Sculpture

Just think of the things you can do in 30 minutes!
-decorate a pinata
-watch an episode of Peep Show
-ride the bus home from work
-clean the teacher`s room
-bake a marble cake
-eat just about anything
-make a pink, mini-mountain

...just a thought.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pinatas in Japan

I figured out how to get some photos in action! Yay. Here is the only photo of me from our crazy pinata day yesterday at Yasuoka Middle School. I was so amazed at the pinatas that the students made. Many were sculptural like this one:

The students in Japan wear these blue uniforms, as well as more fomal uniforms, to school every day. I think the blast of birthday color really brightened up the joint. We taught them how to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish--one of the many ways-- and made cake for them too.
Today I taught my first elementary school class. YAY! It was fantastic. I taught them the parts of the body so they could draw their own "Yokai-- monster-- bodies." I love teaching my own classes and I really enjoy the energy and curiosity of elementary school students.
This brings me to something that I think is very important: Last night, Mikel and I were discussing how important it is to be curious about the world. The people I have met who are curious about the world also tend to patient. If you enjoy the process of learning you will be patient with the process of other people`s learning. You will also be able to ask yourself if what you are teaching is remotely interesting to your students. It seems that usually, if something is boring to you, your students will be bored as well. Also, if you act annoyed and impatient with your students--or your own children-- you might kill their curiosity. People don`t grow into unhappy adults because adulthood is miserable. We are taught to be miserable.
I cannot craft when I am miserable.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pinatas and Calligraphy

Craft Land exists in our main room which includes our dining area, kitchen, and Mikel`s studio. We close this room off to keep it warm-- central heating is very un-Japanese. This room is now EXPLODING with color and papier-mache animals; Animals by virtue of my partner-in-making, Mikelou, and color thanks to Iida`s Hyaku yen store-- a fabulously Japanese version of a dollar store.
We will be leading a workshop about birthdays around the world, to junior high students on Tuesday. We took a train into Iida yesterday and packed two big camping packs with treats and decorating supplies-- glow bracelets, striped wrapping paper, dimensional stickers that look like my cat, Tiny One, and glitter, are just some highlights. I also bought soft green yarn and wooden knitting needles because apparently I left my hat and gloves in Vermont. Oops!
Today, after creating glittery worksheets, while watching The Usual Suspects-- which, anyone who knows me could have told me, is NOT my kind of movie-- we ventured out on a long walk to a friend`s house for dinner. After 45 minutes, and right before it started to rain, we were picked up by her husband, Katzuo Hirota, sparing us 6 kilometers-- about 4 miles-- of wet feet.
Madame Hirota, is a glowing, fifty-year-old Japanese English teacher who looks much younger than her age-- probably thanks to the local hot springs. She is also a fantastic cook with a flair for Thai dishes. She and her husband, an elementary teacher with a flair for eating Thai dishes, live in my dream-house. It is like an old body whose form reflects its long and useful life and the happiness of its occupants. Her house is what I want my body and life to be like. I wouldn`t mind it if her cooking skills somehow came with the deal... We ate and talked among their eight cats, all of us sitting at the table, on a heated rug, under a blanket. After dinner, they showed us a beautiful book of contemporary Japanese Calligraphy created by a young woman. As I looked at it, genuinely enjoying Calligraphy for the first time in my life, I thought, "I have no doubts about why I am an abstract painter."
Somehow, we left their house with a beautiful, old silk Jacket, a Japanese version of Ice Age and a refreshed look on life. Thank the universe of craftiness and cats because I have been stressed a bit lately; both because I am neurotic and because I have had a lot of work to do this week. I have been illustrating funny, Roald Dahl-like stories for my students-- I read them and they fill in various blanks as they listen. I have also been planning my first solo teaching at elementary school tomorrow. ALL BY MYSELF! AHH! If there is one thing that I have learned through my relentless neurosis, it is that every class can be both art and English class. I can teach anything using art. It feels integrated and I am a better teacher that way. Heck, it`s my specialty!

ok, seriously, Megan, this is way too long for a blog. Go and get some freakin` crafting done!
ok, I will.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Collecting Brilliance

There was not much crafting in Craft Land today because I didn`t spend much time at home. Instead, I watched dance performances by local school children in the nearby city of Iida. There were lots of tiny skirts, glitter, bright- almost neon- colored lights and fabric, intense music and traditional Soran dance performances. AMAZING!

The intake of fantasic experience did not stop there! Lunch at Kappa Sushi- including my favorite, green tea ice cream- and shopping for clothing are always inspiring in Japan. I am very fond of strangely used English so I bought a purple shirt that has a rainbow sewn onto it, an embroidered tree, and screen printing that says "All around us with love; Find the RAGOUT; Flows holy from the USA forest SKY; Spirit of 1968; Please face oneself and naturally; Just Fine; Happiness comes from everywhere you know."

Again, I am sorry for no pictures. You are really missing out. The shirt is intense and I`m totally going to copy its brilliance. In Craft Land I am always trying to copy brilliance that might stumble into my path. I collect other people`s brilliance to copy. If you have any, please send it my way... unless you don`t want me to copy it.

rock and roll!

ps. We also saw three REAL rainbows today.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where are my Japanese Skills?

Oh no! I erased one of my blogs from a couple days ago. I was trying to edit it and I was guessing which buttons to push. I guess I pushed the wrong one...

Check out this review in SHE Unlimited Magazine. The Beauty and Style editors want to do a pruduct review of Beaded Weeds yay! I made a pair of earrings to send their way asap.

You never know what the great ice cream shop in the sky will dish out.

Friday is here! Usually I go out to Kappa Sushi-- a cheap and delicious Sushi restaurant where the food goes around on a conveyor belt--with other English teachers, but tonight I will attend a work party. Drunk co-workers are always good to practice Japanese with. Oyasuminasai!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Puppets and Painting

I spent all day at school working in the special ed class. The main teacher was at a conference so we made Shrinky Dink string puppets from images in story books. I love teaching art! Again, sorry for no photos here. We are still having computer issues.

After school I was jazzed to get to work. After a fantastic dinner made by Mikel-- inari, miso soup, fried tofu and wine-- I got down to some painting. Suddenly, I realized that the pieces I have been working on lately have reached the usual rough spot that my paintings hit after working on them for a while. My professor, Kevin Wixted, once told me that this is where painting really begins. Damn, painting is difficult!

As soon as I get the means, I will post a new piece or two. The colors are intense and they are smaller than I usually paint. I found superb little wooden panels at a store in Nagoya for an amazing price. I swear Japan makes everything that is cute and small.

Ok, time to check out some other crafting bloggers and keep the craft flow a-rockin`


Monday, November 5, 2007

Lamination Magic

Before I hit the hay, I want to express my excitement about the world of lamination. While I was creating some cards for an English game today at school--"This is Johnny Depp. He is my friend. He is nice to me..."-- it dawned on me that I have been totally missing out on the incredible world of lamination. I instantly threw some shiny dessert stickers in the machine. By threw I mean delicately placed them on paper and between the laminating plastic, then helped it go through the machine, trying not to wiggle too much with excitement. And, Voila! Plastic covered stickers...redundant? Maybe. Fun? Yes!

I also watched Patch Adams...a very good movie with nothing to do with lamination but everything to do with excitement and passion.

Any idea how lamination can be earth friendly?

good night!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Land of fried octopus balls

Has is really been since June that I have blogged? Crazy. Someday I will be a good blogger...not yet though.

I have been living in Anan-cho, Japan for five weeks now. I am an assistant English teacher in elementary and junior high schools. I love teaching. It gives me a fire for teaching workshops someday in the future. For now I am learning how to be a good teacher and how to speak Japanese. I have also been painting and crafting in our beautiful little apartment. We only recently got e-mail in our place, and it is only yet on an old PC, so pics will have to wait.

Japan is so inspiring! Mikel noticed that my new paintings are more brightly colored than usual. Maybe this is evidence of my inspiration. The landscape is dramatic and misty. The huge mountains seem to float in the mornings, and roads, winding around and around toward their destinations, are like horizons of stacked landscapes. It seems so far to me that the Japanese somehow work with nature to allow each element come into its own potential. It`s both messy and organized; Complicated, yet emitting the visual equivalent of a deep sigh that can only come from one who accepts who they are suposed to be. I could really learn from the latter.

Sorry (to the one person who accidentally came upon my blog and was bored enough to read it) for no images today. Soon!

craft out, Artie-farties!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

some links

This is a new necklace I made for Twig last week.

Today, as I was exploring new ways to increase traffic to my websites, I discovered that I have been posted on a site called stylehive I have not even heard about this before and I am pretty excited about it! What a small world the internet makes.

I have also been reading some bits of Home Jewelry Business Success Tips which has great tips for anyone starting such an endeavor. Rena Klingenberg is a genius for contributing so abundantly to the community of self-employed crafters. There is a reason her website is in the top 1% if visited websites.

I just finished an AMAZING book yesterday: Eat Pray Love but Elizabeth Gilbert. So refreshing and inspiring. It reminded me in concrete ways about how important it is to find depth in my life and that deepening what I know about myself and the universe is a constant process (ever heard that before?) full of pleasure, pain/discomfort and love. I feel like I renewed vows to myself and now I'm on another honeymoon, on my way to the rest of my life. I love when art does this for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

pics and updates from Craft Land

Mikel just found this photo of us in NYC last year at Cinders gallery in Brooklyn. I added the grease to my face for the shot. Like it?

I also figured out how to insert links into my blog: use a different search engine. Not that this is an interesting thing to read about, but it is a significant aspect of the weird things I have to learn on my process of becoming a full-time artist.

Other things I have learned this week:

1. Sometimes it takes reading my horoscope to let myself off the hook (it told me to relax about my work endeavors until the 11th.)

2. Some colored wire is really wire just wrapped in plastic tinsel which is useless for beading because it peels and gets in the way of seed beads.

3. It is not pushy to hand out business cards...I keep telling myself.

4. I know there is something to learn from my problems uploading images on ETSY. I just haven't learned them yet.

Here is a photo of a new bracelet I made this week.

On the next episode of Craft Land: more photos, more fun.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Beginnings

I made it to Vermont. It has been way too long since I've written in my blog due to moving. Now that I am up in my home country I feel my creative spirit jumping for joy (as well as glitter, paint and beads!) I am currently at an excellent coffee shop in Morrisville, VT called Bee's Knees. This is one of the best coffee shops I have ever been to. Vegan friendly, great coffee, nice people.
Since I've been in Vermont I have made a bunch of jewelry to send to an online boutique out of St. Petersburg, FL called Twig. Check it out on My stuff won't be posted until at least next week since I just sent it, but the boutique is really excellent.
I also am painting up a storm. I want to have images of new paintings to publish in the next publication of RaiseUp ( Any artist should apply for this when they have an open call. It can bring really great opportunities (of which I have not experienced yet since the book is not published yet).
My husband just launched his website this week. The collaborative art collective he is part of is called The Fluff Constructivists. Check it out: It's a fantastic site. He and Ethan (the other member of the Fluff) make good work.
Now to add new stuff to my ETSY site. Ciao!

Monday, April 2, 2007

workshops and "Sweet Sweet Goodness of Life"

During the many days I have neglected the lovely blogosphere, the metaphorical housing complex of the universe has opened many doors to me: Firstly, Mikel and I have decided to move to Portland, Maine in mid-May. From what we have experienced there and researched about it, Portland sounds like a fantastic place for two people involved in the arts and DIY living (not to mention the great food, the ocean nearby, season changes, and giant lobster lollipops).

Also, I will be teaching my first workshop on May 5 at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, FL (where they will also be selling my jewelry in the gift shop!). The workshop is called "Bead & Embellish" and will cover the basics of beading, sewing, and composition as well as color and material choices. Everyone will make their own wrist cuff which they will have to take with them and show off their new skills. If you are in the area and interested in being at the workshop check out for more details.

I also sold my first pair of earrings on ETSY!! Yay!

This is one of those times that blast out all the lame, slow, and depressing times, no matter how many, with the euphoria and mania of what I can only call the Sweet Sweet Goodness of Life. This is the kind of moment that I tie a rope to so I can pull myself out of dirty dishwater days of the creative unknown and struggle. Don't get me wrong, I need and love those days but only if I contunue to cycle in and out of them, like a plate that is eaten off of and cleaned regularly. Its a purpose in life I think.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Let It Snow

I flew up to Vermont last Thursday to see my family and to drive over to Connecticut to pick up paintings from a show I was in. I was supposed to fly back to Florida last night but my flight was delayed so much that I would miss my connection in DC. My only choice was to stay until Tuesday morning (yay!).
So here I am, in Hyde Park, VT looking out at the landscape that has been imprinted on my soul, the landscape that my childhood took place in. It happens to be snowing a ridiculous amount, adding to the magical feelings that always come up in me when I am home. This trip gets my juices flowing for my future in New England. My husband and I plan to move to either Burlington, VT or Portland, ME sometime this summer. We need to do some more research about what these cities have to offer two artists. So far it seems that Burlington has a ton of artists but lacks greatly in venues for sculpture and painting. I'm not sure if that bothers me or not since the art world is so global anyway. I know that both Burlington and Portland have a place for a Crafter.
Being home and chatting with my mom has also given me renewed perspective on the difference between my "art" (painting) and my "craft" (jewelry). I know there is argument for those two camps being inseparable but for me they serve very different purposes. My art is where I ask the most important questions in my life. If it is an authentic practice for me, it manifests my mindset, energies, youth, etc. My jewelry is an aesthetic practice, very much linked to my painting but meant to be aesthetically pleasing and fun. My jewelry is also meant to be sold. My painting (as I am finding out from a seemingly negative-but actually quite accurate and fantastic review-in the Stamford Advocate, March 11, 2007) can be disturbing. It is not made for a market like my jewelry is. I could get rejected from every show in the universe and my work would still be what it is. I paint because I have to. I make jewelry so that I have time and energy to paint. I love making jewelry. It is creative and fun but is not as emotionally testing as my painting. It is what I love to do without pain (beyond the work it takes to have a business which can be seen as a certain struggle in itself.)
Actually, the struggle in owning a business is one that I need to practice. Specifically, focusing my efforts primarily on jewelry rather than thinking that I should make more things, other things. I'm full of ideas but I need to limit them if I am going to be successful in the craft world. As my mom would say, I need to use my creative energy within more of a focused practice to find innovative ways to market, organize and allow my business to grow.
For now, I think I might go snowshoeing
Lesson of the Day: Every step of starting a business is a learning experience.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

All or None

The Crushmeister escaped today: through the bars in our window he pushed out our screen to frolic with his buddies...ahh! I thought someone had broken in when I got home from work. And HOLY COW: One day out and he is covered in fleas again. Ybor City is not a good place for outdoor pets.

Note from Craft Land: I added more earrings and some paintings to ETSY in the last couple of days. I still haven't sold a darn thing. I've heard that marketing is the thing to do. I feel torn: should I wait until I have more stuff on ETSY to market or will marketing take so much time to draw a big crowd anyway that I should just market my little crafty heart out? I'm always of the all or none mind which is so silly.

Lesson of the Day: Some things I can just buy rather than make. Sure I think I can make just about anything that doesn't involve electronics but I don't have to (why this is news to me, I don't know). I can actually choose to spend my time making things that inspire me and drop a little extra dough on some nice office storage or a cat carrier.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Moving and Shaking

This is a thrift sweatshirt I recently altered. The kissing bunnies are a bit spooky I think.

Ahh, the Crushmeister (Orange Crush, our new cat, a.k.a. furry captive.)

Moving, whether changing houses, disposition, or focus, hopefully entails eliminating baggage. Stuff is easy: thrift, garage sale, incoming grad student, eBay. What about more intangible baggage: loose ends, broken promises and feelings of abandonment? I could lug them myself (as I am always inclided to do, right before I pull a muscle and pull my hair out.) What if those bags are carried by a guy called Integrity? Will he conveniently lose them on the way to the plane? Will he, in his prideful, carefree way, stop to grab an airport cup of coffee while someone else makes off with the bags? Will Old Man Integrity decide to exchange my Target brand suitcases for Prada as a thank you for employing his services? Does this all mean I skip freely to my terminal? How much does he charge? Could I, in the spirit of relieving myself of five bags, actually be purchasing a new bag?

One thing is for sure, as I sort through my stuff, tangible and intangible, it is freeing to lose things I know I won't need anymore. It frees up space, time and energy. But are we as humans (or Americans) destined to always feel like we have something or things that take up too much space, time and energy? Or do we never have enough? I forget.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Hello March

Hello March. Where does February go anyway? (let alone the first day of March!)

Notes from Craft Land: I have found new fire burning in the belly of Beaded Weeds. For one thing, I was able to sell a third of my jewelry at ART House last week (blog entry "Seed of a Day")!! Yay! I received great feedback from people. I never realized how much girls from ages 7-13 love my jewelry. I should have guessed since I would have loved it at their age. I also was offered a vague but exciting opportunity to be involved in giving a workshop about beads to teenagers at the Polk Museum of Art ( (I'm sorry I cannot make that a link. Apparently my blog host is based on Explorer, not Safari...I'll work on that) . I'm still not sure what the workshop will entail, but I find it to be such a gift from the universe since I plan to someday teach and give workshops on a regular basis. I have also spent some excellet time on ETSY finding other amazing crafters. Check out my favorites to see some fantastical crafters (

That's all from the inspired realm of Craft Land and Cat Land.
peas out!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

lesson of the day

Ok, lesson number one for today is to ask good questions. For example, making a vet appointment and making sure it's actually in the town I live. Poor little fluffy cat-of-doom-and-cuteness had his first ride in the car for nothing. I think he still loves me...Does anyone have tips about cats and fleas? I used frontline flea poison (like advantage) and I don't think it worked. Any tips? Florida is a crazy flea heaven.

Weekdays are slower for me in Craft Land (where my jewelry business is located). Overlapping my current full-time nanny job and the beginning of Beaded Weeds is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: crunchy and sticky but also sweet and satisfying. I added about five more pairs of earrings to my Etsy site on Monday night and plan to add more as the week progresses. I think I am finally getting the hand of pricing although obviously my work on Etsy isn't getting a lot of sales. I seem to sell much more when I actually am at a craft/art show. I wonder if this is true for most crafters/artists?

Here's to another day in Nanny Land. I wonder how many more lessons I will learn today...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Learning to be slow

This is a photo of our kitchen table, where most of my office work is conducted at the moment.

I know it's the same day I began this blog. Today I spent what seemed like endless hours looking at this computer. I did get outside a bit (jogging, hanging laundry) but after about 11 hours (woah! more than I thought) here, I think it is important for me to note that the hardest thing about starting a business is how slow the process is. There are so many new things I'm learning to do. I think it's time to get away from the buzzing, glowing screen. Maybe time to make something with my hands.

A seed-like day

I imagine everyone with a blog has been here: reflecting on day one. I never even imagined I would write a blog until I met a chic collage artist named Claudine Hellmuth ( and her husband Paul (Thanks for the business tips, you two!) Claudine and I participated in an art show this week at the house of my friend and local art consultant, Kathy Gibson. I exhibited and sold jewelry and paintings of roosters. Does anyone know why roosters are so popular? I think there is a possible psychology or sociology thesis out there about this one.
I am in the beginning of starting my home-based craft business called Beaded Weeds. I will root it in my jewelry, although I know I will branch out into the many other things I make. I have posted some pieces on ETSY ( and Mikel will assist me in website-making soon. This is not just a seed-like day. It's a seed-like time in my life. How will the seed grow? What will it grow into? It's a mystery. Right now I'm just trying to give it the best soil to begin to sprout.