Monday, July 30, 2007

I Survived!

Just a real quick post to say "hi" and let you know that I made it through my surgery in one piece! I wish I could say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be... but it was pretty awful! Way more painful (read: bloody!) than I had anticipated, and the recovery is going pretty slow, but the good news is I am actually breathing through my nose as I type this - which is nothing short of amazing for me! It's still kind of painful, and my head is full of the gook they put in there to help things heal, so my personal assistant is taking care of all of my appointments currently:



I also want to give a huge, HUGE thanks to all of you who have commented, emailed, and sent well wishes to me! Your words mean so much to me and have helped me get through all of this - thank you for being such truly wonderful friends!! A super big thank you goes out to the lovely Megan of Moogan Creations who sent a huge and fabulous surprise care package of awesome goodies my way! Wow, I can't wait to show you the cool stuff she sent that put a *giant* smile on my face... next post, I promise. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An*tic*i*pa*tion

I shouldn't have watched so many doctor shows.

Nip/Tuck, Grey's Anatomy, and Dr. 90210 have officially provided me with way too much information and too many ridiculous things to fear when it comes to surgery. So now, not only am I worried about the risks they read to me several times during surgery pre-registration (which took a whopping 4.5 hours versus the 1 hour I had planned for!), but I am also thinking about things like the possibility of drunk anesthesiologists, inexperienced interns more concerned about their love lives than their patients' lives, and that awful feeling when they YANK! the cotton out of your nose a few days prior to the operation and you, well, scream...

I've been totally missing in action this last week, because I've been so busy dividing my stress between meeting art deadlines and being freaked out about my surgery. I did meet most of the deadlines I had, so I'm feeling pretty good about that stuff. When I get back to normal after all of this, I'll post some pictures of the new stuff that I sent out to shows and such, plus I have lots of new stuff for Etsy (including some plush toys and cool new skirts!) that I meant to post last week but didn't end up getting around to. I've also been meaning to show off some cool stuff I got in trades, but I didn't get a chance to do that either! Basically, I've just been bummed out trying to take my mind off of things by watching Hitchcock movies (because I get totally absorbed) and eating Ben and Jerry's "Chocolate Therapy" ice cream (because I get totally absorbed). I can't wait to be done with my recovery and feeling upbeat and ready to make art again!

To give you a better explanation of all of this, I've been having sinus problems for about 8 years. I've been to a few different allergists, none of whom could figure out what was going on or provide me with much relief. I get sinus infections like they are going out of style. Usually once a month or so... I finally found a good allergist who referred me to an ENT after testing me in every way possible for allergies (scratch test on my arm, needles in my arm, scratch test on my back, needles on my back) and finding that I was really only allergic to cats, even though I was sick all the time from my "allergies." It turns out cats are my only true allergic reaction, and I have something called non-allergic rhinitis, which basically means that my nose is super sensitive and reacts to everything (dust, pollen, and all the usual stuff) in an allergic-like way that is not really allergies. Doesn't make much sense, right? So then I got a CT scan and brainscan so they could see more of what was going on, and they saw all my years of sinus build-up all throughout my face and the fact that I have a slightly deviated septum. It turns out that I'm so congested, swollen, and built-up that I breathe through a tiny, tiny opening in my nose rather than through a normal, nostril-sized opening. If that makes any sense at all.

For the past four months or so, I have always had fluid and pressure in my ears, making me need to turn the TV up all the way, like a little old lady. My left ear *always* hurts and things sound muffled. I always have a sinus headache, and in the last few months, it's crept all the way to the back of my neck, where I always have a constant pain on my left side. I always have post nasal drip. Sometimes I feel dizzy when I get up from all the sinus pressure. I always have to breathe through my nose when I sleep, and usually most of the time I'm awake, too. My voice sounds nasally and "trapped." But really, I've just gotten so used to having all of that wrong with me, that I hardly even feel it. I've also gotten used to not getting to go to thrift stores and antique shops as much as I'd like to (too dusty) or being outside really at all (too outsidey). And all of my friends have gotten used to never sitting in the outside tables at restaurants when I'm there, and they know not to ask me to join in for any outdoor activity or anything like that. And did I mention the whole shortness-of-breath-thing that makes me tire really easily? Yep, that one really sucks!

To make a long story short (or is it too late for that now?), I've been feeling like poo for a while, and it effects me mentally, too, since I spend so much time thinking about my health and wondering what's wrong with me. I really need to get this done so I can feel like a normal person who can breathe through their nose and go outside, but I'm still really scared and nervous, since I've never had any kind of surgery before (not even wisdom teeth removal)...

So, come 5am tomorrow morning (ugh!), I will be having endoscopic sinus surgery and getting my deviated septum fixed. Whoo-hoo! Then I will have splints and cotton in my nose for two days, be hopped up on pain medication, and be in bed for a week or so. My full recovery could take up to a month, but let's hope for something a lot faster! I'm going to miss you guys and making art and the internet waaaay too much!! Hopefully I'll be able to post (or have someone post for me) by the end of the week to let you know how I'm doing and maybe even to show you how silly I look with my nose all full of cotton...

Until then, here is some fun stuff for you to puzzle over in the meantime. I can offer you no explanation whatsoever...





P.S. Thanks so much for all of your wonderful and thoughtful comments about my last post! You guys are awesome, and you have no idea how much it means to me to hear your thoughts about what I wrote. I plan to write more about that stuff in the future and to respond to your responses after all of this surgery stuff is out of the way, and I can *think* again. Thank you so much for reading!! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welcome to Deadline Headquarters, Where Deadlines Go to Die...

Ok, I know I have been neglecting my blog, and of course, this is occurring right after I said I was going to pay more attention to my blog - make it better...longer posts, more pictures, more interesting... Ack!

Here's what's going on... I have about a million (well, ten) deadlines that I need to "kill off" before my sinus surgery in two weeks. I have projects to finish, art to submit to shows I was just invited to exhibit in (yay!), and I have to work on pieces for that big solo show, of course. That, and I've been putting things in my Etsy shop each and every day and plan to keep doing so up until I get loopy from pain medication... Ha!

So today's post will be full of Etsy shop eye candy, since I have yet to take photos of the stuff I am submitting to all of those upcoming shows....

Here are some "hot but lame" horse boy shorts. I love these undies! They were so fun to make, and I almost want to keep them for myself... If they don't sell, believe me, these will be mine!

I experimented with glittery fabric markers for the first time to draw some bling onto them by hand, and I'm really excited to keep using these in the future! I love making things that are one-of-a-kind, and the hand drawing makes them super unique!
Whoa! What are these horses DOING?
Oh, they're just "Living the American dream," that's all...
That's it for the eye candy for now... more to come soon, I promise!

I do feel a strange emotion when I slack in my blogging, and I guess it can only be referred to as "Blogger's Guilt." (Sort of like Catholic Guilt, only slightly less abrasive...) Do you get blogging guilt, too? Even though I've been so busy in the studio, I am constantly missing our little blog universe, and I love that it provides a nice reprieve from constant art-making AND the fact that it holds me accountable to keep making and making and making...

I haven't stopped making art since I finished art school several years ago, but initially, after graduating, it was veeerrrrry slow going. And, um, the stuff, the "art"...well, it wasn't so hot. I think one of the main reasons I was faltering with my art making is because I was realizing how tough it was to create art in a vacuum. I was making things alone inside my little studio, by myself in my own little art world, but no one was looking. Since I no longer had the art school community to share my work with, no one would really see what was going on in my studio except for my friends who would stop by from time to time. I was wondering why I was making art at all if no one saw it or reacted to it, and I kept second guessing everything I did - which was something I wasn't familiar with. I had been so confident in art school!

I wanted to tell you about that because thanks to you - all of my wonderful Etsy and blogging friends - I finally feel like I am apart of a creative community again, and I am feeling confident in my work too, more so than ever! I have to say, it's the best creative community I have *ever* been a part of, SO very different from being in art school, which is full of idea-stealing and jealousy. I've finally found a wonderful, supportive, and giving art community, and I am so glad that I have the chance to share my images and ideas with you all on a regular basis!

Not to turn things negative, but for those of you who didn't go to art school, I wanted to share crazy little anecdotes about how cutthroat and awful it could be at times... These are some extreme cases, and some happened to me, others to friends of mine, and there are TONS more stories where these came from, so let me know if you want more... If you went to art school, share some similar stories in the comments section! The names have been changed for obvious reasons.

*You are made to sit in groups and discuss your ideas for a project you have been given. You are to critique each other's ideas and give them feedback. You all have the same assignment, but you must make individual projects. You tell the group about what you've thought up so far, and everyone loves it but Carla. Carla has a million criticisms and thinks you shouldn't even bother. You second guess yourself and change your idea completely. When it comes time to show the finished projects at critique, Carla has just flat out stolen your first idea, passing it off as entirely her own! She gets an A.

*Jessie casually asks you about a new printmaking process you came up with. You spent hours in the lab testing your process, using different chemical combinations, testing 50 types of paper for the best results... She just seems curious, and you are excited about your discoveries, so you tell her all about them. It doesn't cross your mind that she would take your process and make it her own! She ends up stealing your process, making work that looks eerily similar to yours, and trying to sell it in the same venues that you do.

*You haven't spoken to Damon in a year after you guys stopped being friends, but all of a sudden, he runs up to you at an art opening, banging on your arm and saying "hi," like you are best buddies. Apparently, Damon checks your online resume daily, and he knows about a job that you just got yesterday! Well, Damon wants a job like that, too, and he wants you to help him get it. He also noticed the other art-related places you work and wants to be hired there, too. Maybe you can help? He saw you started an online store, can you help him do the same? He also noticed that you illustrated for a fashion magazine - how did you do that, and can you put in a good word for him? Can you help him finish his new painting while you're at it? He doesn't even say hello or ask you how you're doing.

I just wanted to write about some of those instances so you can see the extreme CONTRAST between art school and the blogging community we are in. I feel like this is a safe place to share new ideas and images, and your encouraging words and support about my artwork mean so much to me. I can't tell you how excited I get when I see that one of my fellow bloggers has updated their page - I love seeing what you've been up to and reading your thoughts. I love all the sharing, the assistance, the cheerleading that happens here, and I can honestly say that I don't know what I would do without this little blogging world that has become such an invaluable part of my every day.

Thanks so much just for reading!

I'll leave you with a link I love, which shows more fun collaboration and sharing between creative and like-minded folks. I've been following this artful correspondence for a very long time now, and I think you'll enjoy it too:
A Polite Winter
Please also check out the links from that page - each artist has their own website, with more of their fantastic work!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arbitrary Ancestry


This is a piece from a few years ago that I wanted to share with you today. This series of prints (titled "A Faster Fade") comprised a solo show I had about two years ago, and I picked this one to share because it was the title piece from that show, and because I have some great news: I'm having a solo show again at the end of the summer! The show is in Panama City, and I'm planning to travel up to the Florida panhandle to deliver work/set up/attend the exhibition.

I'm *super* excited, and this older work is so much different from the work I am making now - the colors and textures are radically changed, and I've been venturing into 3-D land a little bit, too. I have so many things in progess, and I can't wait to start showing you when I get them finished up! Sometimes I drag my feet on finishing things, but this solo show is THE perfect movtivation I need, and the timing couldn't be better. I usually try to do one solo exhibit a year, and the one I had last year was really small, but this is a larger show (as was "Arbitrary Ancestry"), so it's even more exciting. Hoorrayyyy! I can't wait; I can't wait...

In other news, there was a really great thread on Etsy about the net neutrality issue this morning. If you care about being able to go on the internet (and you should!), please read this thread and follow the links.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Four Four Four Four

Happy Fourth of July!

I guess I'm a little late with that greeting, since the 4th of July will officially be over in 44 minutes in my time zone. I hope you all had fun days. What did you do? A random listing of what I did: chocolate chip bagel breakfast, spray painted some stuff hot pink, read books and magazines at the bookstore for a long time, grocery shopped, ate brownies, cleaned up around here, posted some used books for sale/trade, screenprinted, took photos, and generally lazed about. Yeah...it was a good day!

And now for some eye candy...

Below is a very special school bag that was a custom order from an awesome mother and daughter. There are even screenprints on the shoulder straps! This one was so much fun to make. :)





And this is a new little squirrelly skirt that I finished recently:






I've been working hard and will have some more new & fun stuff to show you soon. Have a great night!

Cheap Like Me

I've gone thrift store shopping every day this week. Well, it's only Tuesday night, so it's only been two days, but I'm sort of upset that all of the thrift stores are closed for the 4th, sigh. We were thinking about doing the fireworks thing tomorrow, but it's prime mosquito time around here, and fireworks are never all *that* great. I think I'm going to end up seeing "Sicko" tomorrow night. I guess that's kind of an all American thing to do?

Anyway, here are some new sites I found to help you be cheap like me, and to help you save the world by putting less things in the garbage. I know a lot of you environmentally conscious Etsy folks are interested in keeping our planet clean through upcycling and reusing, and that is one of the reasons I love you so much!

Paperback Swap
This is an awesome site that I just joined a few days ago, and already I've had tons of book trading action. The best part is, you can even trade those old CDs (who uses those things anymore?) in for books! Hooray!

Freecyle!
Another one of my new favorite things. It's a message board/email list for every community that lets people trade things right out of their home. Get rid of what you don't need, get what you want, and meet a lot of friendly like-minded people in the process. I use this all the time.

Peerflix
I just joined this, but no action yet. Then again, I only contributed two really bad DVD, and it's only been one day... I'll keep you posted.

Thrift Store Shopper Listings
Don't leave for that summer family reunion trip before consulting this one and planning all of your escape routes! Comprehensive and constantly updated. Viewers can review shops and rate them on things like selection, pricing, cleanliness, and customer service. Usually I find the worse the customer service, the better the shop... :)

Another way to be really cheap is to not actually buy things at the thrift shop, but just to take your camera and take pictures of kitsch. My friend Thom and I did this recently, and we even set up some little vignettes with the tchotchkes...

It was kind of hard to leave this creepy little Noah's Ark of Anne Geddes-like dressed up babies at the thrift store... But if you only knew how many knick-knacks I have in my place, you'd have told me to leave it there, too.


I did *not* want to buy this. Not at all. So why did I feel compelled to take a picture of it?


One of our vignettes... A nutcraker cracking a cornhusk girl? We're so easily amused.


I don't have anything to say about this one...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Escapist Realities

When my allergies are raging, and I have a really awful day, like today, I usually end up finding crazy stuff to watch on the internet! Mostly today has been spent in bed watching YouTube clips about other bichons (I know - I'm nuts!) and finding some really good Saturday night re-caps that I want to share with you. Lately, SNL has been hit or miss, stocked heavily with misses... but there are a few *gems* in the bunch which you may not have seen. Heather, Thom, and I used to always have SNL mini-parties to at least give it a shot, and these are the skits that made us laugh our butts off...

I don't think it's totally kosher for me to put other people's copyrighted material in my blog, but I'll link you in the right directions:

Penelope Skit (You know you know someone *just* like her...)

Law and Order Extras Training Class for 3 Line Bit Parts (If you've seen even just one episode of Law and Order, this skit will make you laugh, guaranteed.)

In other news, I know I've told a few of you about this, but I'm having sinus surgery at the end of the month, and I'm pretty scared since I've never had any surgery ever... Yikes! But, hey, if it will help me feel healthy all the time, I would do it RIGHT NOW! It's been a bad summer for me health wise, but I am counting down the days to the surgery... I almost can't wait!

Sorry this has been sort of a downer, complainey post. There will be better ones to follow, because I worked on the sewing machine a bunch yesterday and have a bunch of stuff I'd love to show you all. I also will soon be posting pictures of all the PLUSH I make! Yes, I do make plush, but my problem is that I get so attached to cute, I tend to hoard it for myself, heh heh...

Speaking of cuteness, enjoy this little glimmer of talent:



That was Ruby Roo's exclusive YouTube only tutorial on how to dance by yourself to Kelly Clarkson while in your living room. Choreography is copyright 2007 by Ruby B. Roo and is expressly for the purpose of in-home use only. Performing this at an outside venue or talent competition is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of Ruby B. Roo and/or her affiliates/mommy.

That's all for now. I promise tomorrow's post will be more interesting and I'll respond to some of your wonderful comments. I truly appreciate the fantastic words you leave for me on this site - they totally keep me going, especially on a day like today. I've decided I'm going to "step it up a notch" (gross, Emeril reference...) and make this blog better and more fun for you all to read. Lots of eye candy to come, I promise!

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read it!