May 2021

It has been a good long while since I have been here. But, I’m here now. looking forward to moving forward.

I have so much to share with you, all of it good. Because, I’ll only be sharing good here. (I save the crazy stuff for my private blog.)

First, if you are reading this, THANK YOU. And honestly, it has been quite a feat to get to this point. But I have realized I can do hard things (more on that in future posts). Don’t get me wrong – my life is not hard – it’s all this tech stuff. But I have to say, I am very proud of myself for what I have accomplished so far. I do not compliment myself often, but I am feeling pretty happy.

Anyway, I will leave for now with the newest member of our family.

Arlo - 5 month old Whippet
why the long face?

What are you proud of yourself for today? Leave yourself a compliment in the comments!

New Beginnings

Fist of all, I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since my last published post. There have been many posts drafted, yet none worth publishing. But, are any of them really worthy of being published?

What’s New

We’ve moved. Again. Not just to a new house, but a new state. After being in one place for seven years, I guess it was time. (That’s me being sarcastic.) Overall it has been a good move. It was the first time we actually moved by choice to an area of our choosing.

I have a new studio. Again. We jokingly refer to it as the she-shed. And if you have been following me and even remember, you’ll know this is actually a running theme in my life. Though it is a permanent structure and I love it, that doesn’t mean I’ll not be reconfiguring my work space every few months. Because, what better way to distract myself from “work” than by completely revamping, reorganizing or reconfiguring my work space?

Everything else new will slowly be revealed here.

What’s Not New

I’m still at the art thing, though there have been a few new developments in that area which I plan to share here on a more regular basis. And though my poor blog has been badly neglected and I tend to steer clear of social media these days, I do remain quite active on Instagram so feel free to follow me there @twistnpout13.

New Art

Here is a little peek at what I’ve been up to these days. I started doing more drawing a few years ago and have taken it up again as most of my projects and my entire studio has been packed up for a while. 

It may take me a while to get up and running again, but I have so many plans, I must stay focused on the bigger picture. It all takes time.

linedrawing (2)

 

I’m Still Here

OH WOW. I had no intentions of being gone so long. But I assure you it is for a good reason.

Several months ago I was asked if I would like to do a show for a local Tacoma Gallery .  For the past several months ( actually lost count at about 6) I have been locked away in my studio preparing for the upcoming event. I had committed to doing at least 10 pieces, but obviously the more the better. I finally had to stop at 13. Thirteen is a good lucky number to end on I think.

I am excited to get back to blogging. I’ve missed it so. I have so much to share – all of it good! Well, there have been a few little bumps, but I feel a need to keep things positive around here.

Being this is my first post after a long absence, I’d like to just start with some shameless self promotion by giving a little peek of some of the pieces I put together for the show. I will definitely be writing more about the process and what I have learned from doing this particular body of work. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I doubted myself and was ready to call it quits. Especially the last month and a half. With all that has been going on in the world, I found myself questioning myself more than usual about the meaning of all this. The time I spent completely consumed and immersed in this body of work left me feeling so selfish at times and also a little lonely…. ack… that will all be told in good time.

For now, I’ll just share this little bit.

sneak peek 2018 show

Happy Father’s Day Weekend to you all!

Every Picture Tells a Story

I’ve always liked the idea of making special gifts for people. The problem is I always underestimate the time it will take to make something I’d actually WANT to give to someone. I have plenty of unfinished gifts from Christmases and Birthdays past that will forever be constant reminders of why I never hand make gifts.

But this time it was going to be different. I made it a point this past August to devote the entire month to making an assembled paper cutting to give to my grandson’s aunt as a wedding gift. THIS TIME there would be no last-minute run to the store to purchase the only remaining item left on a gift registry. Nope, there would be no gifting of paring knives or spatulas this year – and who gives knives as a wedding gift anyway? Desperate people, that’s who.

I completely cleared my table of any other projects and spent time sketching ideas, cutting and forming pieces and often reforming pieces and even tossing pieces out completely.  It was such a pleasure to work this way; completely focused on one job, no other distractions. WOW, what a concept. I gave myself plenty of time, took my time and enjoyed every minute of it.

I knew I wanted to incorporate elements that were an important part of the soon to be bride and groom’s story.  And I’ll admit, I felt like a stalker for a minute; peeking at Facebook and Pinterest pages, even messaging the bride to ask her about their engagement spot under the guise of planning a trip for myself, but it all helped to gather information I needed to tell their story.

As I cut and placed each piece,  I thought of how they met, which explains the truck, where they became engaged and how they like to spend their time.  It was one stunning photo of Mt. Rainer that was the inspiration for the focal point. Knowing the significance this iconic formation, with its surrounding trails, wildlife and just plain glorious beauty has been to the bride and her family  – well, I knew it had to be at the center of the entire piece.

And so, here it is.

papercut scene

All of it hand cut with the exception of the three small birds (representing their three children) a few of the small flowers and the tiny star shapes which were cut with a paper punch. The larger elements are made up of several pieces that I cut and then layered.  On some of the pieces I added detail by  by scratching, scrubbing or piercing the paper. The dimensions are 12″ X 12″.

It is my hope that they have a life time of great adventures as they embark on this journey together. And if it turns out they are completely turned off by this particular display, well, they have some kindling for a nice cozy fire.

 

Happy Little Hauntings

I’m actually cheating a little here, this is not a recently completed project.  I think I may have completed this last year. But it is the season for all things creepy and I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought what better time to share this than now.

Assembled from two Altoids tins, and three of the Smalls tins situated on a plastic lid and then balanced on top of an oversized spool. I know it looks rickety and a little messy, but that’s the look I was going for. All the details are hand drawn and or hand cut. It was super fun piecing all this together. And just right now at this very moment, I realized it is missing a black cat! Well, I may have to put that in TODAY. How could I forget THAT?

Here is a front and back view along with a few details shots.

haunted house tin 7

haunted house tin

hauntedhouse collage

This entire piece was made from salvaged materials. Including the paper, which was all leftover from other projects. My favorite part is the creepy ghost who haunts his cell where he went insane after being locked up in isolation for many years. Over those long years he managed to write his confessions, fears and hopes on every surface of his tiny holding cell. Someday, he may be set free along with the poor souls who have been trapped in the dungeon for more than 100 years.

Well, Happy Hump Day! Now for that cat…

I’m (Not) Coming Out

“MY OH MY….. we are living in crazy times.” Said pretty much everyone who’s lived in any time ever.  Yep, perhaps it was the very first complete sentence Lucy, our most ancient ancestor, managed to coherently grunt out just before she took her very last upright step.

For almost a year, I’ve debated taking this blog in a new direction. Everyday, while I work, I listen to a lot of political pod casts and news radio. Like, ALL DAY LONG. It’s actually unhealthy. With so much going on in our country (our world),  I think I’d be coming off as completely uncaring and out of touch if I didn’t take time to address the issues. This is why my absences have been getting longer. Each time I log in to post I think, “How can I go on writing about creating silly, trivial, meaningless crap when there are so many important issues to address?” It is too much, really. It’s why  I feel the need to stay in my little cocoon, my safe place. My safe, happy, peaceful space. And how ridiculously self-absorbed would I be to think for a minute that my opinion mattered? Opinions don’t matter, action does.

Yet, something else keeps coming to mind; The smile on people’s faces when they take a peek into one of my little worlds. Now, doesn’t that sound like the corniest load of kitty litter ever? But it’s true. One person told me, with a big smile on her face, that she felt transported to a “very lovely place” when she observed at my ‘art’. And honestly, while I work and listen to bleak, dismal world reports, I feel transported too. Though I’m sure it’s more likely the NEED to be transported.

And there it is, my acknowledgement of the chaotic ball of confusion this world has become. I wish it could be a better place. Actually, it’s a pretty great place and it is a pretty great time to be alive right now.  I guess it would be more accurate to say I wish people could be better. So, forgive me if I come off as aloof, out of touch or self-centered while I continue to present to you some of my creations and sometimes share other meaningless, yet somehow meaningful, thoughts, projects and experiences with you. This space will continue to be what it has been.

I recently took a few weeks off to work on a secret project. I can’t wait to show it here, but it’s going to be a while before I can post about that. For now I’ll leave you with this piece I finished a couple of months ago. As I made each little element I couldn’t help but feel a little happy spark down in my heart. Or maybe that was indigestion. All I know is there was something very satisfying about building this magical, happy, glittery, perfect little world.

Princess Wardrobe, Altoids tin

Yes, I will choose to live here in this little world for a while. I’m the boss  here – and I don’t think I’ll be coming out anytime soon. Except maybe to change the kitty litter.

(If you get the musical reference, you’re old. And so am I)

Thanks for reading – go out and be nice to a mean person today. And for the LOVE of GOD – I don’t mean make friends with a Nazi. Just your general run of the mill difficult, mean person.

Cheers!

 

 

When as Good as it Gets is Good Enough

I can’t believe its been 9 months since my last post.  There are two reasons for that. The first reason I won’t go into as it is depressing and dark and not at all interesting. I know, depressing and dark is almost always interesting, but in some cases it is also just predictable and boring. Besides, the second reason is a little bit better.

I’ve been busy. Busy is, of course, always a good thing. Busy with life and busy with business.

Well, maybe I should elaborate a little on the first reason, otherwise I may have to come up with another title and angle for this post and frankly I don’t have the mental energy for that.  I’ll leave out the years of psychoanalysis and relentless (somewhat narcissistic) self-analysis and get to the point: I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I think I’ve mentioned that before. Now, if you know me, have been to my house, or just peeked around any of my social media sites and have picked up all the glaring typos, you may be thinking “A perfectionist? Really?”

It’s true, though I’m not one of those perfectionists whose need for perfection has worked to my great advantage in life. You know those types who are always well put together, live in pristine homes or are wildly successful? Or those designer types with exquisite attention to detail with the skill set and patience to bring an idea to such a high level of perfection they are known as innovators in their fields?  Yeah, I’m not that kind of perfectionist. I’m more or less the kind who becomes so overwhelmed at the idea of failing that I can’t try at all.  Yes, I meant can’t. In short, I am a typical under achiever. Of course, there are other reasons for my lack of success, which according to the rules of psychoanalysis are all my mother’s fault, but over all I’m pretty sure it’s my desire to be perfect that is the root cause of all my failures. Or lack of success, since failing means you actually have to try.

Let me just get one thing straight right now – for the sake of this post, I am only talking business and my experiences in working for myself and my experiences in trying to figure out what that means. In all other aspects of my life, I’m perfect. (just seeing if you’re paying attention)

Now ,here is the funny thing. It took me so long to write this post (I’ve omitted several paragraphs) that I decided delete a good chunk of it and post without all the elaborate, frivolous details; just to prove that sometimes done has to be better than good.  But I now have ideas for future posts, so all that writing wasn’t a complete loss. After much editing, here is the best I can do today. I’ve come up with just two points (maybe three, you decide and let me know).

This morning I spent so much time fretting over my new Etsy listings being absolutely perfect, I almost decided to shut down my whole shop. What difference does it make? I asked myself, My shop has been closed more than it has been opened. One reason for that was due to building inventory for shows, but honestly it was due to my absolute unrealistic fear of publicly posting anything less than perfection. I can’t tell you how many times I have logged into Etsy, eager to revamp and reopen, only to be so discouraged by every single imperfection in my photos that I’d just decide to keep my shop on vacation. Then there was the pressure of writing the most enticing, entertaining product descriptions. I simply go blank when I see that white space staring at me. One thing became (once again) blatantly clear to me: I need to get over it. So I told myself “something is better than nothing”, gave up on anything close to perfection, hit that publish button and got over it.

Point 1 – I’m over it. ( really, I am…. )

Then I headed over here, knowing how long its been since my last post, feeling the shame and the pressure of it all. I was excited about “getting over it “and wanted to share that liberating feeling with you and offer you encouragement and advice and inspiration(!).

But as it turns out I have so much to say on the topic of  “good enough” “done is better than undone” “something is better than nothing”  that I went off on so many angles and tangents I became overwhelmed with finding the most perfect way to let you know you don’t have to be perfect. I started thinking ” what difference does it make? It’s been months since I posted, why bother now?” Then I remembered a promise I made to my blog, which brings me to the second point.

Point 2 – this might be as good as it gets.

I started blogging a little over 5 years ago. I promised myself I would make a commitment to keeping my blog alive. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Forever? Maybe. As long as I live? Possibly. My absence here lately has been weighing on me. I’ve felt the need to write something, but well, there is point number one which I wont go into. I thought announcing the reopening of my Etsy store would be a good way to restart and as I started to write about my struggle with perfectionism I remembered that promise  I made a few years ago. As I searched through past posts, I found it quite entertaining that today is the actual to-the-date 5 year anniversary of the promise to my blog.  The promise to never let it die a slow death, to just do my best and not worry about being perfect.

And so I face the harsh reality of point number 2.  This truly is all there is in life. This is me. This is as good as it gets. Sad.

But I can’t leave you with that, what kind of person would I be to leave you with such a dismal fact of life? A realist, true, but a realist who is not willing to force sad reality on others.

So instead I will leave you with this: I’ve  been working lately with new ideas and trying to find my “thing”.  For now, the main support for any medium I choose is still an Altoids tin. It seems so weird and silly, but by keeping this one constant thing in my art, I’ve discovered I really thoroughly enjoy working in small-scale, regardless of the medium, and I also enjoy creating with paper, regardless of scale. Here are a couple of pieces I made and sold recently. I WILL NOT talk about their imperfections and I’m happy to be sharing them here with you today.

 

IMG_3580
Inspired by a photo of a Japanese garden – hand cut and painted (punch used for the lotus flowers, center of lotus is hand cut, rolled paper) 

 

cottage
Cottage garden. hand formed and painted irises, daffodils and pansies, hand cut fence. Hand painted cottage. Gate opens and closes.

And now, to just hit that publish button and breath. Ahhhhhhh it feels pretty good to be back in the blogosphere.

Are there times when you’ve had to completely let go of perfection and just settle for good enough? How did that work for you?  I look forward to hearing your stories and advice.

 

 

 

In the Garden

Today I’m feeling like I need an escape; a peaceful place to gather my thoughts and tune out the world. I have it in my mind to create such a place in my own back yard, but for now I’ll just have to pretend.

Here is a simple paper cutting I finished last month. It was a good month for me. I think all the sunshine helped energize my mind and awaken a little creative beast with in me.

I did this tin because Japan during springtime is one of my favorite places to be.  I wanted to capture the serenity of a tranquil Japanese bamboo forest, the soothing sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the breeze and the trickling of a gentle stream.japanese garden papercut

I’ve started to use more of my own hand made embellishments and I like to keep it as true to handmade as possible, but I did use two texture plates for the sky and the grass. Also, I cheated a little and used a small circle punch for the cherry blossoms. I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of cutting out 50 little tiny circles by hand.

bamboo garden

Japanese garden collage

As I said, this was a pretty productive month for me and I’m excited to be finishing up a few projects, which I hope to share with you next time. But now – I must go tend to the garden –

Cheers!

 

 

Riding the Wave

When I posted I was DONE, you didn’t take me seriously did you? Well, the fact is – I am done, my last post still applies. And no, I don’t have anything profound or truly blogworthy to share, but a funny thing happened – not funny ha ha, but funny interesting…

Lately I’ve had a wonderful amount of “free time” and used that time to NOT stress about making goals, meeting deadlines or planning anything other than using my time to put more thought and energy  into the activities I enjoy.  This is not only true for the business side of things but also for the home life side of things as well. In reality, the daily chores and tasks that NEED to be done are simple and take very little time; keeping the floors swept, the sink empty, fridge full, electricity on, internet connected and having clean clothes – all important and all can be accomplished in less than 5 hours a week. As for business, well a person could fill every hour of  the 24 doing business related stuff and that doesn’t include creating and making. Now I’m just riding the wave of life, going with the flow, enjoying the ride. And with that new philosophy I’ve managed to get some fun “work’ done.

I was, for some reason, compelled to do a paper cutting using Hiroshige’s Thirty six Views of  Mt. Fuji as my inspiration. I decided to use The Sea Off Satta in Suruga Province because it is such a widely recognized iconic piece of work and my reference would need  very little explanation.

The Wave

It took about a month to do this one. There was no deadline and I even took a couple of road trips during the month too, something I would have never done before. This time I just enjoyed the process and had fun with it.  I didn’t even stress out when most the layers had to be peeled off and reconfigured because the lid wouldn’t close properly. Now I know how better to plan out my layers so that doesn’t happen again.

Here is a little peek at the process, the quick sketch and a few of the cut layers with one side assembled.

wave assembly

Well, that’s all folks.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention… I took this piece and about 4 other older pieces with me to an event I had no intention of selling at and what do you know… SOLD. And see, I am so done, I didn’t even bother to fret over the lack of wave metaphors I could have been and should have been using throughout this whole post to make it more you know, “bolgworthy”.

Cheers!

 

 

Signs Everywhere

There comes a time when you must stop and listen to the universe. The universe is telling you something. It is telling me something.

I’m not sure exactly what it is saying, some of it is lost in translation, but I think  I can make out the gist of it: ‘Ridiculous’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘useless’, ‘pointless’ and ‘stupid’ (my favorite) are words that keep filtering through.

I spent the past two weeks attempting to write a simple post on, of all things, time management and making time to do the things you love; the things that are important to you. It should have been a simple post. A post an average fifth grader could tap out in a matter of an hour. However, I can only give my time to so many areas. Writing takes time and for me, quiet. Certainly, I have time. But my time should be spent on more important things. Writing for a few minutes here and there throughout the week is  not working. The time I give to other areas I also consider important is not working. I see that now.

So, yes, there comes a time when you must listen to the universe when it tells you to “STOP! For the love of God, STOP wasting your time!”

Of course there are commitments I must follow through with, but I must pursue the areas that are far more beneficial and important, not those grounded purely in my own self interest.  I mean, how many times must I go through this “I’M DONE” stage? Every month there is another sign thrown smack in front of my face, but I choose to ignore it. The one commitment I must follow through with is committing for once and for all to BE done. Stop saying it to myself and just be done and move on to which ever direction I am supposed to be going. And I am now thoroughly convinced the road I have been traveling for the past four years is not the right direction. I have simply been forcing something that is not there.

So, ok Universe! I quit! I’m waiting for you to take me where I am supposed to be.

I haven’t decided to cut myself off completely from all social media. I’m pretty sure I will not be continuing along with my same goals. But I just don’t have the energy  to bother thinking about all that right now.

Anyway – Cheers! Thank you to all of you who have stopped by over the years. It really did mean a lot to me and is what kept me going this long. If I think of anything truly profound or something I think you can’t live without knowing, I may post again.

IMG_0623

 

What’s up with the picture? Nothing, I just like it. I’ve been trying for a very long time to snap a great picture of a raven. Last week this one just flew up and landed right in front of me – how is that for a sign?

 

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