Sunday, June 29, 2008

early summer sunday

It's early summer, a sunday morning. I'm up just after dawn to open the house to the cool breezes, the chickadees rasping in time to the woodpecker pounding away at a telephone pole down the street. I'm glad it's not outside my wide open bedroom window, but I'm up anyway, enjoying the lack of human sounds-I can't even hear the faint hum of the freeway, nearly always present.
The neighborhood slumbers on, leaving me with my newspaper and coffee, enjoying the quiet and the breeze.

I do love summer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's been a very busy couple of weeks around here, and nearly every waking hour of my life has been filled with organizing, designing, working, shopping and planning for the summer sale in the studio here at Camp Cactus, or one of the five other projects I have in progress at the moment.

One of the issues faced by self employed artists (and maybe in other professions as well) is the necessity of looking for work. Unless you're incredibly famous and well established, (hey, I'm workin' on it!) the self employed artist is always on the lookout for the next job. In my case, the next job could be anything from photo styling to color consultation, or house staging, or graphic design, or illustration, or calligraphy, or teaching at summer camp. Sometimes, (like this month, for instance) it's all of the above. All at the same time. Gaahhhh! More on the ups and downs of self-employment at a later date.

So, last week I posted a couple of pictures of the studio at its most chaotic...and promised I'd put up a couple of "after" shots to show how cute it looks when I'm not actually working on a deadline.





It cleans up real well, huh? I'll be posting about the Summer Sale here tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

it takes a neighborhood...

I've been doing these studio sales for about 15 years now, and you'd think I ought to have it pretty well under control by this point, but it always seems to sneak up on me. Maybe I'm getting (gasp) old or something, but I manage to get by with a lotta help from my friends.
After spending half the day at the VA with an unexpected medical issue, Dave came to my rescue and finished up a couple of projects for me.

Matt and Tamara and Liz and Becca came to the rescue and helped with setting up  just when my energy was flagging. (And thanks for the home made cake, Davide!)

Stay tuned for the Friday festivities!

Monday, June 16, 2008

chaos is my middle name...

Whew! The last week has been crazy, even by my standards! My studio here at Camp Cactus has been a veritable hive of frenetic activity, and today it all freaked peaked. Eighteen artists stopped by and delivered their work for the summer sale, some in a slightly more organized fashion than others. We artistic types have a different understanding of the term organization than do most "normal" people. For instance, some artists feel perfectly comfortable hastily scribbling out an inventory list in the driveway, surrounded by their ceramic pots, bowls and vases, while others bring detailed Excel spreadsheets complete with stock numbers and vendor codes.

One artist had trouble with the total number of pieces...every time we counted them we ended up with one more than the last time, and we came to the conclusion that the necklaces must simply be reproducing like bunnies every time we turned away.

In between checking everyone in I tried to finish up a couple of my own well as getting the back patio and yard cleaned up for the garden art. In the interest of showing just how bad things look before they start to get better, I'm posting a few before pictures taken this morning. I promise I'll post the after pictures on Friday, when (she says, fervently praying to the Powers That Be) it will all come together and look beautiful for the preview party Friday evening.

This part is not too bad, really.

even I have to admit this is not so good...but I'm still working on projects!

Okay, I give up...this is bad.
I often put down my scissors or paintbrush or whatever, and can't see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Here's the patio, before I started hacking back trimming the undergrowth. Wish me luck! (I think I'm gonna need it!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

oooh! my first meme...

For anyone who's unfamiliar with the use of the term "meme"in blogging land, it's a little game of tag played with a set of questions, or challenges or themes, passed from one blogger to another. It's done in many different ways, but you can read a much better explanation of memes here.

So, today I got tagged with my first meme by Magpie Musing. It's kinda random, so I'm pretty sure I can follow along. Here goes:

What was I doing ten years ago?
1998 was kind of a crazy year. We celebrated Dave's 50th birthday, Matt's graduation from high school, and Caitie's graduation from middle school...all in the same week. I was working as a photo stylist in the advertising department of Meier & Frank (a local department store swallowed whole by May Company in 2002, then most recently, by MACY*S). My dad died, and my nephew Max was born. We went to see Keiko the Whale (Free Willy) at the aquarium in Newport. Have you ever seen a whale with an erection? Not something I'll ever forget. That's pretty much all I can remember, due to my now advanced age. You can see a few photos at the end of this post.

Five things on my to-do list today:
1. stop blogging and get dressed, for God's sake!
2. bank deposit
3. go out to the studio and make stuff
4. walk the dogs
5. send out invoices

Snacks I enjoy:
Pinot Noir
Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate covered pretzels
Gamay Noir
Chocolate covered biscotti

Things I'd do if I had a billion dollars:
Pay off the mortgage and all my other bills.
Give my siblings and children homes of their own.
Pay off my kids' student loans.
Buy a hybrid.
Hire a dog trainer and a housekeeper.
Stay out in my studio all day, making stuff.
Keep blogging.
...and for the other $997 million: Start a foundation to fund art and music in public schools all over the country.

Places I've lived:
Havertown, PA
Flushing, NY
Burlington, VT
Boulder Creek, CA
San Francisco, CA
Alhambra, CA
Portland, OR

People I'd like to know more about:

Tag, you're it!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

here's the last may birthday, I promise!

Whew! Month O' Birthdays is finally over! Not that I actually go for organizing big time shindigs for all those Geminis and Taureans (Taurusites?), but I seem to spend a lot of mental energy on them. Especially the ones who are no longer around to celebrate. A long time ago, when we lived in San Francisco, we'd have big Gemini gatherings at our house, and they'd all get together and party. We're not so much into partying these days. Maybe it's old age, or maybe the passage of yet another year doesn't seem like such a fun thing to commemorate.

With those lovely sentiments in mind, Caitie and Matt and I took Dave out to the ballgame to kick off the start of his (gulp!) sixth decade.

There were hot dogs to be had, beer to be drunk, and cheering and jeering to be done. I'm always amazed at how LOUD Caitie (a mere slip of a girl) can yell at ball games.

I love minor league baseball, mostly because it seems much less about high-end sponsors, and more about accessibility and small-town values. Although there is still plenty of advertising and practically a promotion-a-minute in an effort to keep the fans coming, it's definitely not the slick Jumbotron replays and gourmet foods in the concession stands of the big leagues. Nope. Round here, the only gourmet items on the menu are the local microbrews.

The entertainment between innings (because we MUST be entertained AT ALL TIMES) consists of fans being taken on a crazy wild ride across the field by our very own manic mascot, Lucky Beaver, or making fans circle around a bat till they're falling-down dizzy, then running the bases. My favorite, though, is when Lucky gets up on the dugout and dances to MC Hammer.
And of course, it goes without saying, that aside from watching the game itself, Triple A baseball is a fabulous People Watching Venue.
Like the guy right in front of us who kept asking every vendor how much the peanuts cost, maybe hoping one of them would give him a bag at below wholesale? His girlfriend got up at one point to get a beer and asked him if he wanted anything, "can I get you some peanuts, Hon?" I thought Caitie was gonna spray beer all over the back of his neck when she heard that.
Personally, I love to watch the little kids running down to the nearly empty box seats above the dugout at the end of each inning, hoping to catch a ball tossed their way. The players at this level don't often disappoint the fans. Except, maybe when they lose by 7 runs.

I'm pretty sure the birthday game was a hit.