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Archive for April, 2012

Taking a break

Hi everyone, I’m feeling like I need to take a break from the blog right now…that’s why I’ve been quiet and will be for a little bit.  I want to not feel pressured to follow a blog schedule, but rather blog when I feel inspired.  My new schedule has been fantastic and is allowing me to re-evaluate where I spend my time and what I want to focus my energy on, so with that, thanks for understanding while I take a lil’ break!

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On Sunday, I posted a snowy pic from our deck.  I had a brunch with my girls scheduled that morning, so when leaving, I decided to take my lil’ camera and snap some photos on the way to one girlfriend’s house, a little over an hour away.

Here’s the hairpin turn between our driveway and the road; our neighbor parks her car at the top of the switchback in inclement weather as her driveway is even tighter and steeper than ours!

What always kills me in Colorado (compared to growing up in New England) is that as soon as it finishes snowing, the sun comes out in full splendor with no remnants of a storm nearby.  It’s not unusual for 6-8 inches of snow to be completely melted within a day of a storm because of the strong and plentiful sun up here.

This is kind of a lame photo, but if you look real close, you can see the tip of the ears on the black fox that ran right in front of my car; I fumbled to grab my camera but by the time my it powered up, s/he was already scurrying down the side.  Dang…was really hoping to show you.  We have a family of both black and red fox in our neighborhood and in the summer, we can hear them calling every. single. night.  They’re still cute…

The view going up our road; even with 4WD and snow rated tires, I had a little trouble getting up the steepest parts, but didn’t have to chain up once this year!

A half hour later and an ear-popping descent of 3,000 feet we are “down the hill” near Littleton/Golden and here I snapped a real quick shot of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.


This area here is across from Red Rocks, known as Green Mountain and a beautiful area just west of Denver.

I didn’t snap anymore photos after that as I got into suburbia (though I wish I captured the Flat Irons of Boulder which was in the backdrop of my girlfriend’s house; I was too excited to see the girls including our friend who flew in from Phoenix).  By the time I got there, it was dry (they only had rain the night before) and sunny.  But by the time I left in the afternoon, my drive back was met with fierce hail and a heavy snowstorm by the time I got back home.  Alas the sun came out on Monday and by Tuesday, we were back to soaking the sun and eating out on our picnic table.  Funny how the weather works up here.  And frankly, I love all the changes…makes things exciting!

So that’s the weather up in our neck of the woods, how ’bout you?

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I don’t have much to post as I’m working on a licensing project of 20+ pieces; I spent the better part of Saturday digitally creating the panel backdrops (above) which I plan to paint on.

However, I did make a small collection of vibrant trees (bright colors usually not my M.O. as I tend to prefer working with grungy pastels like above, but try to stretch my palette every once in a while); here’s one of ‘em.

And I finished up an angel I had started working on during the holidays but hadn’t quite completed.

I hope to have more completed by next week, but I don’t know…my new schedule has been fantastic and with all the free time, you’d think I’d be painting like a fool, but strangely I’m getting to all the other things I haven’t done in a very long time (i.e. reading, relaxing without multi-tasking/working on a project) and things I’m needing to do (spring cleaning, organizing, finishing up old projects) and many, many things on the to-do list.  I’m one that finds it much easier to sit and paint when my environment and mind are clear and clutter free.  So, I’m hoping checking things off my long overdue to-do list means that it will clear more space/time to paint.  Meantime, I welcome the break.  It makes getting back to painting that much more exciting.

Hope your week is going well; thanks for stopping by to see what I’m up to!

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It’s a pug’s life

Tonight Peanut skipped dinner in lieu of another nap…

She’s our lazy girl…

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Travel is a big priority in David’s and my life, so we make it a strong goal to set aside money every couple of weeks for trips throughout the year.  Travel may sound extravagant, but it need not be.  I’d rather save money for a trip somewhere than go to a show, go shopping, or spend frivolously.  Sure, a long weekend somewhere can easily rack up hundreds of dollars (or more if flying) but I choose to spend maybe $200 a year on clothes (most women spend that in a week or month!), not go to any shows/events/movies (which also can quickly rack up) so I can save that for travel.  I know it’s not for everyone, it’s all a matter of what’s important to you, and for me (and David) getting away and seeing new sights (or visiting favorite spots annually) is at the top of our list.

That being said, we haven’t gone anywhere since last fall for a variety of reasons and I’m getting very restless.  Several years ago during the month of April, we took a trip to Colorado’s western slope and had a beautiful time and I’m itching to return (or go anywhere for that matter!).  As such, I’m sharing some photos today of that side of the state closest to Utah; feel lucky to live in such a beautiful state!

Wishing you a lovely week :)

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Friday it was this…

This morning it is this…

Spring in Colorado…gotta love it!

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Last week I decided to try a different work schedule.  I came to this decision because I was feeling like I was working all the time and never finding a split between work life and home life (which is already tricky when you work from home); but I was feeling moody, finding more and more days where I wasn’t liking what I was working on, feeling stressed out and not finding time for the things I really wanted to do.

David could see that something was up with me and he too was feeling a bit left out of my schedule.  So we brainstormed.  And together we got to the root of it all.  I was pretty much unfocused and all over the place for so many months.  And I’m a girl who loves routine (but routine is really hard to create when you don’t have any other external forces pushing you to do so, like school, outside work, kid’s schedules).  So I forced myself to come up with radical schedule, enlisted David’s assistance and have been sticking to it for the past 2 weeks and what a difference it has made in that short time!

Before, my schedule was something like this: wake around 8, check email, answers questions from customers, get on the Etsy forums to see what were the latest issues facing sellers, facebook, my blog, other blogs etc. until 10ish, many times later.  Then I’d do orders in the order received,  have lunch, and spend the afternoon scrambling to finish orders to get to the post office before the 5pm closing.  I’d return home to figure out what to do for dinner (often convenience foods since making a meal from scratch was the last thing I wanted to do), then land on the couch to work on new listings, photo editing and making new product until 10pm or so.  It’s easy to see how I felt like I never left work.

Now with my new schedule I get up at 5am, make a cup of coffee and go directly to my studio and start working on orders one shop at a time (in an assembly line fashion – all my supplies first, then my art shop, then my goodies shop).  I’m finding that because I’m so focused, I’m very efficient and there’s no distraction in the early morning, my orders are often made and packed up by 9am.  I then take a quick break for breakfast with David, feed the dogs and then spend the next 3 hours conversing with customers, working on new listings, working on my shops and making new items, etc.  I close shop around 12:30 and make my run to the post office (when it’s also empty and customers aren’t rolling eyes at me and my 10 packages).  The rest of the day is mine!

Lunch on the deck today, planning my spring/summer to do list (as in want-to-do rather than need-to-do)

It has been heavenly, especially with this nice weather.  Now I have time to do the things I really want to do…more time for painting, reading, sketching, spending time outdoors, going for walks, talking with David, etc.

I’ve been spending a lot less time online, less time watching TV and more time interacting with David.  Most nights we’re grilling dinner, eating on the deck and sitting in our adirondack chairs until the sun sets just talking, laughing, playing with the dogs…

Don't laugh at our mini grill - it's our backup for when we can't use our charcoal grill due to fire bans in our area; dinner that night was grilled chicken fajitas with homemade pico de gallo and guacamole...feels good to cook homemade meals daily

I feel better, lighter, happier and more connected with my spouse.  And it’s been there all along.  It’s the old adage that you’ll make time for the things that are important to you.

Not the greatest picture, my wide angle lens is broken and had to use my point-n-shoot, but while star gazing, we learned that the very bright stars to our west are really Jupiter (on the bottom) and Venus! Something we would have missed if we kept to our couch warming every night...

Now I recognize that not everyone can change their schedules if you have a set work time, but I think we can all find ways to be more efficient and focused at work and at home, deflect the distractions and set boundaries between work life and home life.

Do I miss my sleep?  Sure…when the alarm goes off at 5, I always wish I could sleep some more instead of going right into work.  But David is helping me with getting up (he works nights and sends me a wake-up text) and each day gets easier knowing how much time I have to my day and how balanced it is now between work and play.  I actually go to bed each night excited for the next day to start!  Can’t remember the last time I felt like that.

So spend a moment to create a list of what you wish you had more time for.  Now brainstorm ways to be more efficient and determine what you can give up in order to make time for what’s important to you!

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Created in January and forgot to post! Have a couple of these, will post more in the near future...

Typically I can only fit in painting sessions on Saturdays, (something I’m fixing with a new change to my schedule that is working great) but this past Saturday, there was no painting to be had.  I had to wrap up inventory and business taxes.  What a P.I.T.A. (personal taxes are a BREEZE compared to business taxes) and each year I swear we won’t wait until the last minute.  But when you’re married to a procrastinator who likes to do this kind of stuff at the very last second, well, what can you do?  (love ya hon, mean it!)

However, I was able to sneak in a quick painting session on Sunday night to finish up this the mother daughter piece I started last week:

And I created a set of simple hearts, this being one of them:


I started a couple more sketches, but just finished the last bit of inventory/taxes piece tonight (we have to literally go through hundreds of receipts and calculate the cost of every last thing, to the last piece of cardstock, the last inch of twine, the last few drops of paint…oh it’s brutal I tell you!) so I’m hoping I can dedicate a lot more time to creating in the next couple of weeks.

Meantime, I have convinced David to have standing dates each month so we can sit down, reconcile sales/purchases/receipts/cost of goods and do away with this stress next year.  Time will tell…

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The weather has been stunning lately.  I spent the better part of my day on the deck yesterday, soaking up the sun, then retreating under the umbrella; sketching, daydreaming, goal planning and having a few heart to heart conversations with David that help me refocus.  I didn’t want to leave, I was enjoying myself so, but alas, the sun set and the cold mountain air became too chilly to enjoy without a blanket.

Anyhow, today is much of the same and me thinks it would be a fabulous day for a leisure bike ride (if only we had flat roads to do so!).  Here are some of my favorite cruiser bike photos:

Enjoy your day!

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Serindipity, fate and the universe at work

I believe that everything happens for a reason, there are no coincidences and the universe is always at work.  Take for example how I met David 12 years ago, on an online dating site (before there was e-harmony, match.com, etc.) where David’s profile came through even though he removed it several months before after a string of bad dates.  He was perplexed that I had emailed him and was curious to know how I found him when no one else had found him since he had taken it down.  Well, 12 years later, the rest is history and that is a profound example of serendipity.

 

However, I think that just as fantastic are the little serendipitous moments that happen seemingly out of nowhere.  The person you hadn’t talked to you in decades that you started thinking about and then you bump into them a couple days later.  The message you needed to hear, the thing you needed to receive, the blessings that come right at the perfect moment.  And sometimes it’s the quirky, “what-are-the-chances” moments in life. I believe that it’s the universe hard at work.

 

I had one of the latter today.  I mentioned in yesterday’s posts the cool Italian postcards I was able to source from a lovely archivist in California.  Essentially she was letting me use her scans of old postcards in her collection for texture in my artwork.  I was having trouble finding vintage Italian postcards to call my own. But alas, I found some from a woman insuring me Italian handwriting and intact stamps.  I quickly paid for them sight unseen and today they arrived.

 

 

I excitedly tore through the envelope, inhaled the musty scent of old vintage papers (I actually kind of like that scent in limited quantities…seems to authenticate old ephemera that much more!) and in the light of the kitchen window, we slowly looked over each postcard back (all that I was interested in), admiring the perfectly inked calligraphy, the old stamps, the familiar locales and the old dates…

 

And then we came across this particular card.

 

 

Look closely at the date.
4-5-1912.  Exactly 100 years old today.

 

What. are. the. chances?
You may look at it as an old postcard…I like to think of it as serendipitous, fate, the universe at work.

 

Some may think I’m reading into this way too much and that’s okay.  Sometimes we just need to believe.  But more importantly, we need to be open to receiving those moments.  How they can make life so sweet.

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