Common Thread

So, here’s some observations from my Saturday morning.  Daughter is away at a sleepover…Hubby is sleeping after working an overtime night shift.  I am enjoying some quiet and thinking and observing life…

  • When making art, the space clearing and tidying up can be just as important as the actual creating part.  Clutter and lost stuff hinders effective art making.
  • It is probably a good idea to clean out the fridge more than once every three months or so – no matter how busy you are.  Avoiding the fridge because you aren’t sure what you might find inside (science experiment wise) complicates life immensely.
  • Clean sheets and a welcoming bed make life so much more pleasant even if you think you haven’t time for the effort.  Sleep is important.
  • If you forget to water your plants over a period of time because of higher activities on the priority list, drenching them to try and make up for it doesn’t work.  A dead plant is still dead after you water it…it’s just really wet. This also seems to apply to relationships that are neglected during said busy times (except for the whole watering and wet part).
  • Your children never really move out.  For months after the big move, you will keep finding stuff and the new guest room becomes a holding area – kind of like the lost luggage area at an airport.

I’m seeing a common thread here…

It involves my less than stellar approach to cleaning up, and housekeeping in general.  It’s a good thing that I’m having a good day and am able to realize that I have other good qualities besides housework.

And that’s why I’m going to go back to making some stuff right now…

…right after I clean up the work table in my studio because I can’t seem to find a single bottle of glue in this entire house.

Payday!

Today is a day to roam from one task to another in an effort to catch-up and maintain some semblance of order and peace in our life.

First, off to the grocery store to help shop for a home for handicapped kids and adults – one of my part-time jobs.  That makes every Wednesday a small payday of it’s own.  This year I’m making it a game to see how much of our grocery supply I can provide off of this small check.  We are eating through the freezer and pantry to see how far we can stretch without a major shopping trip.  Any money we save from this will go into our newly opened savings account!  We haven’t had a savings account in many, many years.  Now, we have one, albeit a small one.  I’m counting it as a major win in our effort to live more intentionally and be more fiscally responsible.

Next, a major push to catch-up on the homeschooling front.  We had a lot of fun during the holidays celebrating with family and friends. I’m sure we learned more than a thing or two, but…we didn’t actually do any of the “official” school stuff that I had written in the planner.  Now, we are trudging through.  As always, I’m not putting too much emphasis on the books and worksheets.  They can be useful, but are not the be-all and end-all of learning.

Finally, I’m going to work on clearing out the studio in preparation for a weekend renovation binge.  Friday is the big payday and I get to buy the paint and flooring to finish out the space.  I’ve decided on white paint for the walls, placid sea (blueish) for the cabinet, and citrus peel for the shelves.  The floor will be black and white linoleum squares.

Payday is always exciting around here, but this one will be especially welcome.  I can’t wait to have a new space to work in.  I have lots of projects in mind!

I am feeling extraordinarily creative at the moment.  Not sure what’s prompting it, but it is a welcome change.  Perhaps the increased meds are helping.  The cloud seems to be lifting.

Life is good!

Not Complaining

Another quiet Sunday.

The only other two occupants of the house are my son and his best friend (home from college).  They pulled an all-nighter on the computer and are now gently snoring under piles of blankets.  What a good feeling.  I’ve missed having the two of them together on the weekend.  Kids grow up and we can’t go back, but we can have brief interludes of the old days every now and again.  Whenever they wake up, I’ll cook breakfast and hold on to the memory – of today and all the other breakfast meals we have shared.

It’s raining and I’m not complaining.  We really do need the rain.  I choose to live here – in the land of all or nothing.  Drought or flood.  That’s just the way it is.  My chickens on the other hand – they are complaining.  They’ve had enough of the rain, the drips, the wind and the chill.  We’ve hooked up the warming light for them.  They venture out of a snack, squawk, ruffle their feathers and huddle back together under the warmth of the light in the coop.  They are so cranky that they are refusing to cooperate and take a decent photo.  Usually they smile and “ham” it up for the camera.  Not today.

IMAG1057

And the focus of the day.  The studio…

IMAG1055 (1)IMAG1054Sigh…  I know.  It’s more of a storage room right now.  Storage for materials, supplies, possibilities, and ideas.  Those things are important to have, but basically useless without a workable environment to utilize them.  I’d like to be making art, but first I’d better make room.

No doubt, I will find five things to declutter from this space today.  Wish me luck!

The Spider Web

Today I’ve decided to focus my energy on the inside of my house.  Yesterday, I toiled outdoors cleaning up around the yard and managed to fill both my trashcan and my neighbors’ with junk.  None of it was recyclable…just junk.  Where did it all come from?

Mostly as a result of just not keeping up with things for awhile.  When we owned our own business my husband worked really long hours.  And I never realized how bad I had felt with all the extra weight and health issues – those I knew I had and others I wasn’t aware of.

Now that I’m feeling so much better I’ve got my list and I’m cleaning, clearing and tossing inside and out!  Life, for me, is so much happier when I’m moving along instead of sitting in one place – metaphorically and in reality!

Anyway, I’ve moved inside for today.  It’s really hot outside and I sweated my fair share yesterday.  It’s not really that hot outside since we’re normally in the 100 degree range at this point in the year, but it’s hot enough.

I was reading about a couple who had been working towards a simpler lifestyle for quite awhile.  When their only child went off to college they decided to take the next step and get rid of it all – and I mean all!  They each have two suitcases of belongings and they travel.

When I showed the article to my husband, the expression on his face was priceless.  I could almost see the questions racing through his brain.

Be not afraid, my dear.  I’m not getting rid of everything (yet).  I know we can’t afford to retire (yet).  I know we don’t have an empty nest (yet).

I boxed up a collection of books in the classroom that we aren’t currently reading.  I had some empty cabinets (YEA!) and they are dusted, packed and neatly stored away.  The two shelves the books were on hung above the windows. I’ve taken them down and now they won’t be sitting there and tempting me to re-clutter.  I cleared away about a million spider webs along with the nasty little spiders that resided in them.  The room looks so much more spacious and the windows invite you to look outside into a tree-filled yard that is home to all sorts of wildlife:  deer, squirrels, birds…

From the vantage point of the stepladder, I looked over and saw this:IMG_0337Another spider web!

Two thoughts popped into my head.

First, I need to clear off that fireplace mantle and I really need to dust more often!

Second, why is there a spiderweb on my easel?  Has it been that long since I used it?

Okay, that’s three thoughts.

But what’s important is the answer that I came up with.

I can dust later (and I will because I wrote it on my list).

Right now, I need to use that easel.

Studio Re-do

Because my whole house is in perfect order and clean (HA) I decided to take apart my studio and re-do it.

Here’s what it used to look like:

Everything in one place! Studio redesign

And now:IMAG0773IMAG0775 (1)IMAG0774

I moved out the big black cabinet because my daughter needed the storage in her room AND I like to be able to see everything. If I can’t see it I tend to forget about it.

I also built a separate desk out of a long table and an old door to use as a journaling and art card station.  That stuff tends to spread out and stay out.  Now I can work as time allows and the big table is freed up for other projects.

It’s not quite as “pretty” as the previous configuration, but I like it.  I believe it is more practical and will be more functional.

I’m finding that I’m less and less concerned with the overall appearance and tidiness of the studio.  I think that it has something to do with my attitude and confidence with “being an artist”  rather than “looking like an artist”.

It’s a shift in thinking that I’ve been working on.  Before I used to think about how to be an artist.  Now, I’m thinking less and doing more.  I’ve really been working on looking ahead and not looking left or right. (I’m stealing that terminology from a blog I read, but I can’t remember which one and I can’t locate it to properly credit it.  My apologies and thanks to whoever wrote it in the first place).  It’s all about looking in the direction you wish to move rather than concerning yourself so much with what others around you are doing.

Anyway, I’m worrying less about what other artists are doing to be artists and finding my own way.

Now, what to do?  Deal with the piles of stuff leftover from cleaning the studio or make some art?

Maybe a little of both.

Finish or die trying.

I believe that today will be project assessment day.  The studio is in the other half of the room we have been pulling carpet up in.  I did a massive overhaul and organization of it about a year ago.

That was before I totally realized that “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF STUFF”.  Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.

There is a lot of stuff in there and most of it is necessary.  Really.  A mixed media artist can’t do mixed media without stuff.

The problem is…the projects.  Projects are like stuff for me.  If I like it, I want it.  I want to possess it and enjoy it, or in the case of projects, I want to create it.

There’s the problem.  I do have other responsibilities:  homeschooling my kids, cleaning house (or at least keeping it to a standard that will not involve the health department), chauffer, chef, Mom, wife, friend, sister.  You know…life.

There are a lot of projects in that studio.  Today, I’m going to sort them out.  Do I still want to work on it?  Will the end result be a “thing” that I have to decide whether to declutter or not?  Does it matter?  Do I have what I need to complete it if it makes the cut?

And then – I’m going to get them done or get rid of them.  To be clear, I’m not going to try to finish them all today.  Just prioritize and organize.

Unfinished projects are like little voices in my head whispering, “You’re behind, you can’t keep up, what’s wrong with you?” – I have had enough of those voices in my head.

And (sigh) I’m going to deal with those art journals today.  No more piles of postponed decisions in my life.

To work!