25 June, 2012

Facing facts

I'm a terrible blogger. I blame MySpace. I know you may have been routed here lately, but actually the best contact for me is pinswithfury.etsy.com . I know there's not much there presently, but there will be soon. Promise.

15 May, 2011

demon wrestling for fun and profit

So, it's been a while.

Unfortunately I failed in my 40 by 40 goal. I'm a bit embarrassed, but as it is want to do (wont to do? I never know how to spell that), Life happened. I did get a little bit of everything done. Some painting, some photography, a bit of writing, but I only have a few accomplished pieces to show for ten months of work.

Motivation kind of snuck away from me this year. I can chalk it up to many things, but probably my ability to be easily distracted is the biggest of them all. I am both the person who will start several creative projects at once, forgetting where I left off, and often not returning to them because the joy has left; and the person who will work a project into the ground, ignoring all outside obligations until it is done.

This was a loooooooong winter. Not so cold, but just snow. And snow. And did I mention snow? This year was a doozy for everyone. It wasn't just frustration, but brains got fuzzy. At least mine did. And it sucked away a lot of my drive for many things. Not like I was standing still, but in a way where it made more sense to work on something else for a while. So I did. But obligations loom.

I never fail to question during come December why I choose to remain in a state where nature repeatedly kicks my ass (at least) five months a year. Kind of an existential "Why Are You Hitting Yourself?" as it were. But as dysfunctional a relationship as I have with this state, truth be told I love it. I love being close to my family and friends. I love living in St Paul in a neighborhood close to the bustle but far enough away that things stay quiet. I love the prettiness of Minnesota as a whole. I don't get to see enough of it during the warm months, which is something I'm hoping to change. That ball of twine beckons, man.

One victim of my winter apathy was my Etsy shop. I haven't posted anything new in ages. It's not that I haven't been sewing, or making stuff, but those last steps of taking photos and writing copy do me in every time. I will happily promote the holy heck out of the work of people I know and love. But my own work doesn't get the same treatment. I think what I do is good. Sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's pretty freaking awesome. But damn if I can tell anyone that. Blame it on my Midwestern passivity. Blame it on my overwhelming shyness. Blame it on all excuses being hogwash. I get nervous about promotion, and when I think of having to do so, I withdraw, and it gets to a point where I don't finish projects for fear of having to eventually talk about them. I want to get to a mindset where self-promotion does not equal bragging. How do I do that?

I love making things that make people happy. People-pleasing is to a fault an inherent part of my nature. But Ricky Nelson had a point. While often I'm at my most productive when working toward someone else's goal, I need to be better at completing my own. That could be something as grand as the painting that's been half-started in my hallway for two months, or the Christmas 2010 gifts I haven't quite finished, or a smaller scale, like the dishes currently in the kitchen sink. Geez, those really should be washed.

2011 has been a banner year so far. A weird mix of good, awful and unexpected. But what it hasn't been yet is progressive, and that's on me. My goal has to be to complete my goals. Cut my tasks into small manageable bites and perhaps they will be easier to swallow. At least I'm aware there isn't a magic wand fix. Believe you me, I've tried saying "bippity-boppity-boo" till the cows came home and nothing's happened. Maybe I need a drill sergeant, or a lifecoach, or Buddy Love-style persona to represent my shop.

Or maybe I just need to get to work.

04 December, 2010

give a spark for the holidays

Around here, Toys for Tots just kicked off their annual drive. It's brought up every year how difficult it is to find donations for older kids. In the age of everything electronic and disposable, I'd like to propose something to you, Gentle Reader.

Give the gift of Art.

Despite spending most of the time living paycheck to paycheck, I've tried for the last ten years or so to get at least one gift into a donation box. What I prefer to do is to give a sketchbook, pastels, pencils, etc. Art supplies tend to get overlooked in the world of gift-giving, but I know there are kids out there who spend days doodling on notebook paper, wearing their Crayolas down to nubs. Now throw a set of watercolors, or some canvas boards, or paint pens, etc. into the mix, and see how that creative universe expands. It may be just the spark a child needs for hope or inspiration.

Want to make your Toys for Tots (or similar organization) donation even more special? Buy your gift of art supplies from a local business, and in one step you've helped your community two different ways.

'Tis the season, y'all.

24 September, 2010

shameless pluggery: fifty cent piece

I have come to the realization I am only one sale away in my Etsy store from my fiftieth. That seems a definite cause for celebration, does it not? So I am going to throw in a giveaway with this purchase. But not just any random object. In what is probably very Project Runway wanna-be of me, for whatever item becomes my 50th sale, I will make a companion piece. What it could be will wholly depend on the purchased item.

So again, be responsible for my 50th sale, and get a surprise coordinating object along with it! A challenge for me, and a treat for you. Win-win, in my opinion. But you don't have to take MY word for it...

THE pinswithfury ETSY STORE!

16 September, 2010

square peg, round job market

If I had to express a single word to sum up 2010 to this point, it would be UNEMPLOYMENT. I spent the first five months and most of this last month out of work. Financially crippling aside, it's also a real downer.

In 2003, after a layoff, I began temping. I ashamed to admit that I still am. I've had several long-term gigs in the last seven years, two that lasted in the three year range, but the chaos of real life has made it hard to find something steady, stable, and permanent. I've gained a lot of experience in several areas over the years, and even went back to finally get my degree, but when looking at my resume, the first employer one sees is a temp agency. Which usually turns potential employers off. No matter how qualified I may be for a position, I am not considered.

I would love to get off the Temp Train to Nowhere. My question now is how. I've mentioned to friends how I wish there was a headhunting agency for artistic types. Not necessarily for creative fields, but those who have creative skills and backgrounds that aren't easily explained in a resume or cover letter. Maybe such a place does exist and I haven't been able to find it. I've also looked into going back to school. I can't handle the debt I have now, but there are still things I'd like to learn, and perhaps a truly marketable skill can be one.

In the meantime, I'm trying slowly but surely to find a source of stability. I still have whacked-out schedule needs, which I'm guessing other single parents do as well. I just haven't figured out how others actually make theirs work.

01 July, 2010

40 by 40: the project begins

I had a real problem with turning 35. Spring 2006 was a pretty tumultuous time in itself, personally speaking, but still the action of being mid-30s was itself a mental hurdle. It's not that 35 is middle-aged. Hell, Middle-Aged isn't Middle-Aged anymore. But there's definitely a feeling of being on the cusp between one thing and another. Still, I muddled through just fine.

Now things are changing. I turn 40 ten months from today. FORTY. I don't look it, and aside from needing to wear arch supports in my Chuck Taylors, I certainly don't feel it, but as Sally Albright once said about that magic age, it's just sitting there. And it's not just that I'm turning (I hate this phrase and will never use it after this) the big 4-0. All of my friends are, too, for the most part either a year ahead or behind me. When did we become the grown-ups? Our life after four decades doesn't look like our parents' did, at least not mine. I'm not married, I don't have a house or a secure job, I'm not in a bowling league (not that that wouldn't be awesome), I still see most bands I like in bars and nightclubs versus arenas, or rather, I still see bands at all. My kid will be 13 when I turn 40. I was 18 when my mom did. My 2011 birthday feels less of a calendar turn than an opportunity to make a monumental shift in what I'm doing with my life. But rather than begin anew then, I want to spend the time leading up to it making those changes a bit at a time.

Several friends have a "101 in 1001" list. I absolutely admire their determination; it's more than I have. I'm lucky to accomplish one or two of my New Year's Resolutions, and am still working on those for 2008. Still, it's a good idea. Things like a master goal list, and projects such as Brock Davis' "Make Something Cool Every Day" project (which I saw, and which was freaking amazing) are inspiring. I may not be able to get myself to do the dishes nightly, or give up caffeine for more than twelve hours, but perhaps I can make colorful stuff that didn't exist before.

So here's where I actually get to the point of this blog. In the next ten months, I would like to create 40 new works. Be it with paint, fabric, photography, sand, food, whatever. I don't want to count items in my Etsy shop, because whether I decide to sell anything I create that will be secondary, and quite frankly I don't know if I'll want to sell them. This is more of a challenge to myself, that I can expand my artistic horizons further than my comfort zone normally allows.

Even though I could average forty works into four a month, I won't. I know myself too well to know I won't stick to that. I also hate the idea of forcing things. If they happen they happen. As long as they all happen before May 1, 2011.

Saying that, however, I'm still going to start tonight. Right foot, as it were. Anything I make, I will post on here. 304 days could go by fast.

20 June, 2010

shameless pluggery: like me and win free stuff!

Hi all-

I just spent my morning finishing a really long diatribe-ridden blog post, only to have Firefox unceremoniously take it from me in a crash. So instead I'm going to post about me. But have no fear, my creative narcissism can be your gain!

Starting today and going through July 3rd, my shop is part of a giveaway on HandmadeMN! The winner gets the bag pictured above, and the rules are in the blog post.

If you haven't had a chance to check out HandmadeMN, our state Etsy team, please do. This is a group of many talents and specialties, and worth supporting and patronizing.

Later I'll try to restore my original crashed entry, but first I'm waiting for my browser to apologize for the annoyance it caused me today. Cookies would be accepted.