i'm sure there would be pictures...

If I hadn't left my camera at my parents' house a few days ago.  To make a long story short, somehow I've ended up carrying only the bare minimum around with me for the last couple days.  Usually there's a larger tote with the yoga clothes, fig newtons for the adorable girl, camera, sunglasses, calendar, etc.  But for the last couple days I've just had my keys and my wallet.  I'm not at all a minimalist so I'm not sure why the situation is going on as long as it is.  There have been several occasions that I've wished for my camera.  Wait, was this going to be a short story?  The short story is that there are no pictures with this post.  I really don't like blog posts without pictures and if you are of the same mind, you might as well just stop reading now.  But I thought I should say something.  I've been so negligent lately.  That's what I get for thinking badly of people who can't post often to their blogs.  Karma, I tell you, it gets you sooner than you think it will.

So, where was I?  The month of November has been much more pleasant than October.  Not only does that make me happier personally (it was really depressing to think that the next nice weather we would have would be sometime in April), but that makes the store busier.  People are starting their holiday shopping but they are also just out and about enjoying the sunshine and the fall colors.  There are still some leaves clinging to the trees, though I am also enjoying the emerging bare branches. There's something so poetic about bare branches silhouetted against the sky.

My parents' have made the move to their new house so I've been helping a little with that, though I need to spend a lot more time unpacking some boxes.  I tend to hang my artwork within a few days of moving so I was glad when Mom went ahead last week and started hanging things up, even though there will be some painting done sometime down the line.  I think everyone is getting settled into new places and new routines and all in all, it feels totally right.  I am really glad for a Facebook friend's suggestion that I take pictures of the old house.  I had several photo sessions and it was a good way to work through my emotions and to say farewell.

I finally had a chance to take care of some paperwork, including cleaning out my email sent messages box last week.  I do periodically find those messages useful so it's something that I might not do for 8 months. It was an interesting reminder of everything that went on this year.  A good first step in the Christmas-letter-writing process, which really should begin soon.  I remember times when I used to everything written and addressed before Thanksgiving and would just sit around waiting a week or two until it wasn't too early to send them.  It will probably be a January project this year, though I must be careful not to expect too many things for January.  We will be gone for a week to southern California for the craft & hobby trade show, as well as some beach vacation time.  And I'm always busier than I think I'm going to be, and consequently get less work done.

I enjoyed an inspiring night out to see Carmen with Mom, and then this week, a last-minute outing for Flamenco Vivo, which was a really great performance.  Dance with live music is a treat for me, and there were a few moments when I was busily figuring out how I could modify an awesome flamenco dress into something for myself.  Perhaps that will be my treat for my 40th birthday party.  I thought I'd make everyone wear polka dots, or would that be too dizzying?

In addition to being busier with customers, many of our artists have brought deliveries for the holiday season: storybook coasters from Naomi, bottlecap necklaces from Emily, hand-dyed slips from Michelle, felted critters from Lisa, sock monsters from the other Emily, felted baskets from Donna, mirrors from Jen, notecards from Alisson. Not to mention other shipments like more fun notecards, recycled book journals, Christmas wrapping paper... LOTS of stuff to find space for!  The office is a little crazy, despite two attempts to enforce some order.  And I need more drawer space. That's a chronic condition.  I did spend time this week and rearrange the store.  There have already been sales of some of the moved items so it feels like the moves have already been rewarded.  Now that we have a little table of Christmas items (don't worry, we won't play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving!) that means things have to crunch even more.  

Sachi and I have been diligently restocking as well. Sachi made another batch of resin pendants with some new images: books, shells, pears.  We are having lots of fun putting the pendants on the silk ribbons.  Well, I just love the silk ribbons no matter what; I like the color and charm and their flexibility - I've been having lots of fun with the ones that I made myself, trying a different grouping of ribbons with every outfit.  Sachi has also been making her Madison photo snippets and button bracelets.  For me, this week has been a terrace chair extravanga: button frames, bracelets, photo snippets.  Not to mention that we've had a lot of commissions for custom photo charms so I've had plenty of opportunities to play with ICE resin. 

I'm also working on a 2x2 book swap for the guild that I'm a member of.  I'm making several editions of a mini Alice in Wonderland book because I'm hoping to persuade other people to swap with me.  Now that I've finished up the blurb 2x2 book, I see how many fellow artists' books I don't have in my collection...  And, oh yeah, speaking of blurb, I'm working on Lily's second year book.  It might not be done in time for Christmas at the rate I am going, but it has been fun to work on that.  She has changed so much over the last year! It's pretty amazing.  I find now that I am an aunt, mentions of aunts/nieces/nephews resonate more with me - I'll find myself thinking, 'oh, that will be me in 20 years' when someone talks about taking their niece on a college visit.  

And what else?  Oh yeah, the CRAFTACULAR!  Coming soon!  The volume of emails has definitely dropped off so that's a good thing.  It was a pretty time-consuming task there for a while but now most of the details are worked out.  We're getting a flyer printed for the day of, there were posters and postcards to distribute.  I'm pretty excited about it, even though I probably won't get to see the results of the work.  It's the Saturday just after Thanksgiving and hopefully the weather will be fantastic and lots of people will come downtown for the holiday open house and Mom and Pamela and I will be so busy at the store that we won't be able to stop over and see Sachi and Deandra and Jen and Naomi and Jermoe and everyone else.  There was already a nice write-up in the Sunday 77 Square section of the newspaper and certainly a lot of people that I've talked to have been excited about it. 

The time has just been flying by.  Every Friday, Sachi and I marvel that yet another week is gone.  But things are good and busy and happy, even if the list of things to do doesn't really get any shorter no matter how much I accomplish.  On Facebook, people have been posting things they are thankful for, in honor of the upcoming holiday.  A friend started posting a list each day, which has been a fun challenge.  There's so much that lists quickly gets long.

a case for connection

OR, another reason why I love Facebook.  Seriously.  I know, I know, it's silly, but here's the story. 

Our parents are in the process of selling the house they've been living in since... hmm.... 1980?  I think I was in 5th grade.  They are wanting to move to a single-story house and down-size a bit.  I certainly don't want a house and wasn't feeling that emotional about the whole thing until a couple weeks ago.  I was at their house with Lily while the realtor was walking around measuring and assessing and I was starting to feel like a two-year old (apparently when I was around that age, when meeting a new neighbor, I hauled out all my toys, put them in the baby buggy and threw my body across the buggy.  "MINE!").  All of a sudden, it was all rather bittersweet, thoughts of no longer playing with Lily in the yard, not being in that place.  I know, I know, in the grand scheme of things, this is NOTHING.  My parents are not moving far away, everyone is still alive.  Nonetheless, combined with the list of things to do to prepare for the holidays here at the store,  the tiredness resulting from an amazingly busy summer at the store, having to pack and make room for stuff and studio at my house and leaving my childhood home - it was all leaving me feeling a little fragile.  And then, so fast, I've barely had time to catch my breath, an offer was made and accepted (on the house my parents want) and offer/counter offers were made and accepted (on my childhood house).  And just like that, it's done.  Another month maybe and that will be that. 

Ok, that was a long story, but there was a point. Mom came today and told me that they accepted the counter-offer and I was feeling a little teary.  Not that I have anything to do with it at all, but of course I don't think the buyer is the right fit for the house, I think the price was too low.... did I think I was ready to let go of this house?  Too late.  Anyway, I mentioned as such on Facebook and a Facebook friend (let's see, I think she was in Latin with me in high school but we haven't really been in touch in the meantime), mentions that a friend of hers was in a similar position and made a photo book about the house and all their memories.  Everything that was precious, they could take with them. And another Facebook friend reminds me that the location, the place, isn't really as critical as the people who are in it. Others who have been through this ahead of me and still others who have been through much worse give me comfort.

So, I'm still feeling a little emotional about the whole thing.  But my mind is also racing with ideas about a house book.  A blurb book?  Hmm... but an altered book would be totally awesome.  The advntage of the blurb book is that I could make a copy for other people, but there are so many cool altered book options that I can tell that is the way to go.  Nothing like a new project to make me feel better!  And now that I have my sewing machine at my house, I can work on it until late in the night (sorry downstairs neighbors) and include some sewn pages.  So now, besides packing, I get to take photos of the house, and also gather old photos, think about text, paper, paint.  This is going to be a good project.  And maybe I would have thought of it eventually but I'm really glad to have something positive to be thinking about instead of wallowing in what cannot be changed.  So, where was I?  Are you on Facebook yet?  I have friends who say, oh, I don't have anything to say, I don't have any time, I can't even keep in touch with the people I WANT to keep in touch with, let alone those random people from high school who will track me down.  And sure, being open to possibility means that you might run into some people who are boring or annoying or who post political views that make you really aggravated, but who knows where the next big idea for your art or mental health is going to come from.  It seems like such a little thing but then there are so many ways that you can give and receive little gifts.  It's worth it to be daring!