My Identity – What I Did Not Pack

The time between when we close on our current house and when close on our next house will be a four, possibly five, months. On Thursday, the movers picked up our household belongings, and they are going into storage for the indefinite future. We will be keeping some clothing and select belongs with us in our little Ford Escape as we travel and visit friends and family. I learned that trying to figure out what I think I will need to have for my art supplies and what I will pack was one of the hardest things I had to do. It was more than high grading my studio supplies. I am not sure but I think it is a combination of my personality and my comfort level reflected in what I kept and what I packed.

It was hard to let things go into the packing box knowing I would not see them again for months. A friend of mine said that when I unpacked them it would be like finding friends again. This experience also serves as a reminder that what I have is a blessing of abundance. I got rid of supplies that maybe did not turn out to be my kind of creative. I also let go of supplies that I could not see myself using again. Sometimes we creatives try things and after making a few things it turns out to be “been there-done that-don’t need to do it again”. Supplies that fell into that category I allowed myself to let go of as well. I think we creatives tend to hoard things because we might want them again. It makes more sense to share with others, rather than discover several years later that the product is no longer usable. It took me weeks to slowly figure out what I thought I would not have “to have” for the next few months, what I would pack away and what was better served by giving it to someone else.

After may layers of packing I have finally come up with a very full satchel bag that will be my art supplies for the foreseeable future. In my bag you will find:

  • My good watercolor brushes in their case. There was no debate on these.
  • A custom watercolor pallet case with personally selected half pans and a swatch sheet.
  • NeoColor II – I debate long and hard between this and Inktense pencils. I chose this one because I thought it would be more flexible
  • A water soluble graphite pencil and sticks.
  • A collection of cube ink pads. It is a collection of Archival, hybred, and Distress inks.
  • 5 stamp collections
  • 5 stencils
  • Watercolor sketch book
  • Dyan Reavley small art journal
  • Small dot journal for daily journaling
  • My Mixed Media journal for my year long weekly art lessons
  • Two zip pouches of assorted materials that can be used for mixed media, classes, and art journals
  • Clear gesson
  • Small collection of soft pastels.
  • My pencil case with assorted pencils
  • My pen, watercolor, marker and other goodies bag.
  • Liquitex clear gesso

I was also allowed an art box of things that was fully enclosed for items that may not traveling the bag well. Here is what I selected:

  • Acrylic Paints – I picked an assortment of craft and art paints.
  • PVA glue
  • Stabilo pencils in black and blue
  • A black archival ink pad
  • Glue stick
  • Assorted pens, pencils water brushes
  • Gel matte medium
  • Lindy’s Magical and Shaker water colors
  • Prima metal wax
  • ratty craft brushes.

I would have to say there were two things I packed a day before the mover came that were actually the hardest to let go of but space prevented them from even being considered. I hated to let go of my sewing machine and my Sizzix cutting machine. They are two things I use all the time in so many of my creative endeavors. I hated to let them go and have already had occasions when I wished I had them.

If you had to use only a few of your many art supplies what would you keep out and what would you pack? Are there supplies that realistically you are not likely to use again and would better served by giving it to another person to use?

Picture A Day

I have been working on taking a picture everyday with my phone. I am not looking to take photos that will end up in National Geographic or get printed and hang on the wall. They are all about documenting the moments of this life I am living. I don’t know what I expected when I decided to do this in 2021. It is turned out to almost be a visual gratitude journal. It is also a memory box of little moments I have forgotten were it not for picture. When I look at the pictures I have taken I can see so many moments that are good. Some are simply photos of the food that I have made, others are of art or craft projects, some are of my family, there are weather and the landscape photos, and some are just plain nonsensical. It isn’t easy to find something to photograph each day, but with time and practice it has gotten easier. I worry less and shoot more.

Night time walk using regular mode

One of the other benefits of capturing a moment each day with my camera is that I have learned to use some of the more advanced features of my phone. I was doing an evening walk the other night and I learned how to use the night mode to capture my home and see the differences it makes.

Same shot using night mode on my phone’s camera.

It has been fun once I got over the worry about shooting good and relevant pictures. I encourage you to do the same. Let me know how it goes for you.

The snow itself is lonely, or if you prefer, self sufficient. There is no other time when the world seems composed of one thing and only one thing! Joseph Wood Krutch

Free Time – Life Balance

One of the biggest changes for me, now that I am no longer working out of the home is to allow for time to make myself work-ready and to commute to the office. For me the loss is a couple of hours each day.  I am not special in this loss of personal time.   It is the personal price that millions of people pay as part of being gainfully employed.  It is time the working person can never get back.

I use my commuting time to plan my day or decompress and shut down at the end of a day.   When I push the button on the garage door, that is the line of demarcation of work time and personal time.   I don’t take home paperwork, my computer or say to anyone at work to call me at home.     I have traveled that road before of letting work take over my life and have no desire to do it again.    When I am on the clock I am 110% in, but when I am off-the-clock  I am guard my private time preciously.   It isn’t easy and I like so many others have struggled with this situation.

When I accepted this job, RangerSir and I talked about this.   We discussed what the realistic expectations were.   We discussed what was most likely to suffer and what each of us might do to limit the impact of my new job on personal time.

I have done several things to ensure that I don’t let work creep occur.    I am trying to cultivate new habits to ensure I don’t just go to work and come home and veg, because I  found I was falling in that pattern.    In January  I enrolled in a creative class with weekly assignments because I love to learn and I thrive on creativity.   With regular assignments I am forced to carve out time for myself.   It seems that once I have found the rhythm of making self-time, it seems I have found  time for other things as well.   I  have queued up several books at the public library, because I am back to reading daily.   I had wanted to make a baby quilt when my newest Great Nephew was born, but I had never started the project.  I felt I had no time.    Now the top is pieced and I am busy machine quilting it so I can go to baby Harrison.

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I had never imagined I would find the time to make a baby quilt, though I really wanted this special baby boy to have one.   Now suddenly it is well on its way. 

Are you caught in the never ending rat race of letting your work encroach on your personal time?    Are you not being yourself, but instead using the exhaustion of work  preventing you from finding enjoyment in life?   If so, I hope you take a little time and think about how you can find some time for you.  You are worth it.   Maybe you can’t be as lucky as I am, but even if all you get is a few minutes to yourself, it will be worth it.   Once you claim those first few minutes hopefully you can claim a few more and a few more.

It is something we all need not just with work and personal time, but holistically more life balance.

Christmas Cards – Going, Going, Gone

I think that the  tradition of sending cards to family and friends at Christmas time is fading away.    It seems sad to me that it is so.   Our list is made up of friends and family  scattered across the country.    It is full of friends that we have made in the many places we have lived.   They each have contributed to the color of our lives and helped to make us who we are today.  For me a card is a nice way to say “Hi” and you are important to me.

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This year I made my cards again.   Usually I pick one design and make a bundle of  cards in a single design.   This year I bought a designer paper collection from the local craft store including 12 pieces of two-sided paper and a sheet of stickers.    I decided that I would provide my own card base from my stash and make as many cards as possible from this collection.   I finished with 70 holiday cards and one thank-you.

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I have had a nasty cold this last week and it was a great step into and out of project.    I kept myself on task by posting each as I finished it on Pinterest.   You can see each card by visiting my Pinterest page.

When we were done RangerSir stepped up to the plate to help me get them addressed and out the door.

 

Sitting this One Out

Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month.   I have always felt I  had a book floating around in my head.   In October last year I thought what better way than to participate in the event to get it out of my head and down into black and white.   So I signed up and participated.

It was a great experience.   I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks that they have a novel floating around in their head.   It kept me going and the pressure to get the words out of my head on a schedule gave me some feel what doing this for a living might involve.  I wrote every single day.   My novel moved forward excuses not allowed.

Unfortunately I am sitting this year out.   For the first time I can ever remember there is not book in my head taking shape. I am not sure why, but I chalk it up to doing so much self exploration right now.   No matter the cause this year I am sitting National Novel Writing Month out.    It is the right thing at this time.

Good luck to all the rest of you who have made the commitment to write this year.

Photo Challenge Day 5 – Light

Still feeling under the weather today, but this morning the sun reflected off the mountains and it almost took my breath away.   I tried to capture it.   Now I am trying to share it with you.

Morning light on the mountains.

Morning light on the mountains.

Today’s challenge was light and for me it was morning light on the snow covered mountains.

Photo Challenge Day 4 – Sending Love

Tonight I am feeling under the weather and tired.   I had convinced myself it was OK to skip tonight. Yet when I was getting ready for bed, I realized that it might not be my best effort, but the photo challenge was worthy of an effort.    So I convinced RangerSir to be my hand model and started pulling things together to make tonight’s photo challenge happen.   Here are the results.

Christmas cards to mom.

Christmas cards to mom.