Settling back into the Hudson Valley

This past week I met a couple of friends from my school days for separate lunches.  One I have seen every now and then.  The other, not since high school.    It was good for me to socialize since this past year has been difficult.  I had a great time, yet it is still hard to make the initial step to set up a social engagement.    Step by step!   :)

 I started to tend to the landscaping, again.  So much to do.....

Orders for custom house ornaments for Christmas are atarting to roll in.  From new and repeat customers.  

Today, a trip to the dump was warranted.  The first set of moving boxes was recycled.  It did not  seem like much when I was taking then out of the car, but a start is a start.  20+ boxes.

Halloween ornament designs are mulling in my head.   Hmmmm.  I better get crack'in!

Well, off to do some work.  Enjoy the rest of the summer🚣🎡⛱!!

 

Studio set up is almost finished!

It takes awhile to set up a studio/work space in a new local.  A table I had brought with me does not fit in the space and I've had to improvise.  I still have not found the table lamps, but thankfully there is an overhead light.

The clay materials and supplies are all ready set up and I will be working on that today.  There are a few orders to work on this week and the rest of July.

I am still tired from the move and quite frankly, from the past year.  There are still times of stress, but swimming a few times a week is helping to lessen that.  Also helps my body to recover from lifting and moving things-which I am still doing and will be doing for quite awhile.  I can see myself getting rid of a lot more things so that it is not so stressful.. Tag sale!

There is plenty of work to be done on the landscape here.  Things just keep on growing!!

One thing that I've welcomed by moving back here is the convenience of getting to places.  That was lacking when I lived in the boonies of Western MA.   It would usually take 2 hours to travel to a grocery store and do the shopping.  Here, there is a grocery store rather close and it only took me 35 minutes round trip recently.  That was fantastic!  A gas station is less than 5 minutes away as opposed to 8-10 miles away.   It's the little things, right?

I am still in the process of changing everything one needs to when moving to another state. 

I am glad I moved back to the Hudson Valley!!   Enjoy the summer!

Happy 4th!

Well, i am back to being a New Yorker today.   Hurray!  It was 4 long extremely hot days in western MA as I moved the last of my possessions to the dump, curb or packed for the car.  The station wagon nor the suv were available for transporting so it was a tight fit for things in the sedan.

I am glad that i finally got to leave that place, but I hard a hard time the last hour I was there.  There were plenty of good memories but whike dwelling there I experienced 2 pet deaths, an attack by my cat, the losses of my dad😥and sisters.😪😥.  I grew so many different things and talked to farmers, along with apple, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry picking.  My younger sister was with me on many of these excursions.  I still really miss her.  And sometimes i will want to phone my older sister only to catch myself knowing she has been gone 5 yrs now.  

Near the end of my stay in Shutesbury I found love❤️.  One that will last a lifetime.  🎼🐶🐱🌲🌿🙂

New beginnings in an area that is both familiar and new at the same time.

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!

 

One month from today.....

is the big move back to the Hudson Valley, NY!   There is still a lot to do, but I have made some headway.  A special thanks to my friend, Liz, from Virginia who stayed with me for week and helped me get rid of a lot of stuff!  Very tiring, but definitely needed and appreciated.

I just finished my last custom house ornament at my current location and won't start up again until July.   There is all ready one order of multiples on the list (for Thanksgiving!) and one custom pet figurine, both to be created and shipped in about 6 weeks.

At this point in my life, I have amassed so many drawings, paintings and sculptures that it is becoming more challenging to move them all with me.  Get rid of something else in order to keep the art I tell myself.  Though I have been using this reason when I want to keep items that belonged to my sisters, as well.   Tough calls along the way.

I did not see too many robins this spring, but I did see a young moose walk by the kitchen window a few days ago.  Boy, was that something!   Never saw one that close before.  I'm glad I was inside because you never know how the moose are going to react.

Sometimes I take breaks from packing, but I know I have to start packing up the studio supplies pdq!   I decided to leave out the pens and pencils until I get closer to the big moving day.   A few choice drawing pads, as well.

Enjoy the late spring!

Daffodils are Blooming

I'm afraid that not much is happening on the creative front.  These days it is mostly still about downsizing and prepping for the big move at the end of June.  So much shredding!  So much donating, recycling.  Hey, somebody else can use the stuff I don't need!

Tomorrow I get to have lunch with a friend and then lug endless amounts of old computer instructional books to the curb for recycling.   Well, I do have a hand truck.   It is pretty clear which activity I will enjoy more!  Ha, ha, ha!    Must have ripped the covers off of 50 paper back books.  A lot of these books were dated from 1985-2000.   Time to be recycled.

I do have a couple of house ornament orders  and am almost at the end of a 6 piece order.  But it really is the slow time of the year for my Etsy site.  

Yes, the daffodils are all blooming.  Forsythia and hydrangeas, too.  Lilacs may bloom in another 2 weeks-especially after the warm spell coming this week.

I have been drawing abstract guitars in my sketch book.  Maybe I will post a few later.

Enjoy the spring and remember to get some rest!

It's snowing....again!

The crocuses are blooming, tulips have sprouted and forsythia buds are forming.  And yet, it is snowing, again.   I suppose that there is another month to go of possible snow falling.   :)

I've been working on Etsy orders and prepping for all things to do with moving.   The activities for moving seem to go slowly and then speed up.

This Sunday marks an anniversary of sorts for me.  6 months to the day.   These few days will be relatively quiet.  A time to think.  With the fireplace lit.

....I feel quiet.  Welcoming the snowfall, no matter how brief it is.  With the spring bulbs surrounded by snow.

Enjoy the spring.......

Happy Spring

Just a day late.  I think it may be snowing outside.

I took a break from packing and donating things from my living space.  But sure enough, after being away for a few days, the mice came back to my car.   Emptied the trap today.  That makes 21 caught mice.   Not my favorite job by a long shot.  I say a few kind words to the caught mouse before  putting it in the woods.   It's sad, but necessary.   Sometimes I pray that they don't come inside my car.   :(

Been creating some abstract guitar drawings here and there.   House ornaments for clients, too.

I will be moving to a much smaller place and will be paring down my art supplies.  I think that for the most part, I will keep it simple and do mostly what I used to do years ago.   Drawing, painting.   The custom house ornament work will continue along with miniatures.   I've missed the mountains of the Catskills.   The mansions, too.  And don't forget the stone houses.

As much as I will miss some of the people I got to know in western MA, I miss the diversity.   This area is so much concentrated on the colleges and universities and the people who work there.  Apparently, there are artists, writers, and musicians in the little towns around here, but I have not met many of them.   Maybe that is my fault.   But, there also seems to a lot of closed groups.

Well, I've spent almost 16 years here in western MA.   I think that is enough time.   Home is on the horizon.  

Yes it is.     :)

A turn of an event

It's been awhile since my last posting.  'Didn't realize it.

My life is quite different from 7 months ago.  Am still trying to come to terms with it.   I have a few good friends that have been very supportive.  Other people.....not so much(my younger sister hated that phrase!).   I think that some people don't understand what it is like to lose someone that you have lived with for many many years.  If it is not a spouse or partner, their understanding of the situation seems to go out the window. 

3 weeks ago out of the blue, the cat attacked me quite viciously.  Badly enough that a trip to the hospital was warranted.   2 nights later, I thought I had a fever and went back to the hospital.   Had a test and everything was okay.   I had to be sure.   I was on medicine for 2 weeks and the wounds have been healing fairly well.   There was a lot of swelling from the knees down, but it has since gone down a lot.

I am not sure what happened to the cat to make him attack me like that.  It had never been to that extent before.  Some swipes, of course.  I am glad that I blocked out some of the attack.

The little guy went to kitty heaven the day after Valentine's.  It was such a hard thing for me to do, but I think he was in pain both physically and emotionally.

Now, I have lost 2 buddies in 4 months.  What a challenging time.  Sad, too.  I miss the lovable cat I knew and my little sister who could always make me laugh.

I have been trying to keep up with my Etsy work.  It's been hard, but I am trying.

Something good:  some of the spring flower bulbs are peaking through the soil.   :)

 

New Year, changes abound

It was extremely cold here last weekend, but I am happy to see that it was in the 30s today and still warmer temperatures in the next few days.

My holiday season on Etsy had some bumps.  I took on too much work and made amends with a few customers.  The Halloween ornament sales were a bust at the fine art craft store in Harvard Square and I was not able to produce any ornaments for their Christmas season.  I was disappointed in the Halloween ornaments since I thought a few of the designs were my best ever.

I took 2 weeks off from sculpting and am slowly getting back into it.  The first order up is a custom dog ornament.  

A new item to be added to my shop utilizes my drawing skills.  Stay tuned.  I need to complete at least one other item in order to list it.

There are times where I am still reeling from my little sister's sudden passing.  I still don't have an answer as to why it happened.   That bothers me, but mostly her being gone bothers me more.  

One of the major changes in my life this year is that I will be moving from Western MA back to the area that I grew up in.  The Catskills, NY state.  The Hudson Valley.   I am currently undergoing a major purging of my possessions.  Major donations, recycling and throwing out of items for the next 3 or 4 months.

Even though the Hudson Valley has its ups and downs of economic growth, in the long run, I think it is stronger than the current place I reside which focuses a lot on UMASS and a few other colleges.  Yes, the new MGM casino is opening up in Springfield this year and the company is bringing new life to the city, but I've been here for almost 16 years and any kind of economic growth is at a snails pace.

Returning to the Kingston, NY area is familiar, but is also different from when I lived there full time.    New companies have moved in.  The farming community is expanding.  I imagine the Woodstock Music Lab will be up and running, soon.  It is a large art area that seems to more welcoming than out here.   I have some family and friends there.

Hopefully, I can find a smaller place with a garden.  A garage would be heavenly!  Okay, okay, a carport is good enough.   :)

It's exciting and scary at the same time.    Wish me luck!

 

Sad Times

Less than 12 hours after my last post, a close family member of mine passed away suddenly.  I am not even sure what to say, still.  And I won't know why it happened for another 1-2 months, though I like to say when people ask me "next year."

At the moment, all that matters is that she is gone.  I lost my best friend.

I've been fumbling through my days.  And just started working on my house ornaments again, last night.  And sculpting other mini items.  I've been sketching off and on since it happened.

Not sure if the Christmas ornaments for Co-op will be created this year.  I currently have 21 orders on my Etsy shop to work through.

I came back just in time to see peak foliage on the highways and in my town.  It's been raining for a couple of days now and the different colored leaves look quite nice in contrast to the darkened trees.

I have a lot of think about......

...happy birthday, dad.  miss you, too.

Keeping up

Trying to, anyway.   I went to Cambridge, MA this past Monday to deliver the Halloween ornaments to the Cambridge Artist's Cooperative.   I hadn't been there in person in a long time.  I would like to go back and look through the store.

I wasn't too crazy about the new layout of the roads in Harvard Square and the surrounding areas, though.   I'm all for bike paths, but the roads were all ready narrow and now it looks like crazy town!  It's all for the best, I suppose.   :)

More and more multi-unit buildings are being built in tiny areas.  Not a fan of that either, but I did enjoy looking at all the other architecture as we zipped around the city and surrounding towns.  

I'm forging through and working through my past custom house ornament orders even as new ones come in.   I have 4 designs sketched out for the Christmas Ornaments.

My work flow has been delayed this weekend due to life events. .....10/26 note:  I didn't realize how bad the situation was at the time.   :(

It was fairly nice outside today.  The foliage is peaking is some small spots and fall farm stands are filled to the brim.  I bought a large head of cauliflower for a small amount of coin.  Sweet.

Back to work I go.   Keeping up......

Back into the Swing of things

My part-time temporary job at the GCC in Greenfield ended earlier this week.  I kind of miss it.  It was a nice work environment and the campus was quite nice.  Beautiful contemporary architecture.  A mix of red brick, steel, glass and wood.   I took several photos and have started to make small sketches.  I showed a few to my manager(former).   She liked them and asked if I would be interested in creating cards for selling in the store?  Yes, I would!   I will be going back in the fall when the leaves turn a little more to take a few additional photos.  Drawing architecture-what could be better!!

Sometimes I am having a hard time getting back into working full-time at home.  I better get used to it fast since I have to catch up on orders!!  Just say'in.   :)

August weather has finally arrived here nearing the end of September.  I'm not surprised.

A trip to hippie town will be coming around soon and hopefully another one before the snow arrives.

A fun town item.  A homeowner put out an invitation to volunteers who would like to help her and her significant other put in garden beds on their property.  They are starting a farm.  Volunteers can stay 10 minutes up to 8 hrs.  Bring your enthusiasm, tools and own refreshments, too!   Learn about permaculture-that seems to be the bring draw.   lol.   I think I'll pass.   I might do this for a friend, but it takes gumption to ask total strangers to come and help start a farm on one's property with no offering of produce for the following season!  Or to maybe have an open house the following season.

Besides that, fall has arrived and with that I have made one batch of applesauce so far-make that two.  Applesauce cake was made yesterday.   Went apple picking last week.

Be creative.  Be kind.  Don't take advantage of another person's generosity and spirit.

 

 Sketch of GCC Front Patio

Sketch of GCC Front Patio

Change-O of Summer Plans

Originally, I had planned to make a trip back to the Catskills-in my case-Hippietown-this week.  As of yesterday, I accepted a temporary job that starts training at the end of this week.   It's something that I've done before: working student rush at a bookstore.  This time around it is at the community college in Greenfield.  It's good to go somewhere new.

This will be my 4th college bookstore that I've worked at throughout the years.   The first one I worked at was the Boston University Bookstore.  Back then, it had 5 floors.  That was a great training ground on how to deal with crowds.   The new job won't hit those high levels of people, but there will be a good amount.

This gig will last a few weeks.  Good enough to pay for the electric bill, etc.   The campus is nice.  And interior of the main building was nicer than I expected.  The commute is not bad either.  People who grow up in this area think a 45 minute commute is long.   Not me!   All around, a-okay.

So now it looks like a trip to Hippietown will happen at the end of September/early October.  Maybe I will bring some flower bulbs with me to plant.

I may participate in the Etsy all site sale from 8/31-9/4.  Possible free advertising.   :)

When I moved out to western MA almost 15 yrs ago I didn't know that my second job would be that as a juror.  Just received another jury notice a couple of weeks ago.  This is the 6 or 7th jury notice I've received since living out there.  I delayed it because the original date was for in the middle of my busy season and it is also 3 days before Thanksgiving.

 

And last but not least, the farm stands around here are all full with wonderful produce!  Big eggplants for only $2 each!   3 green peppers for $1!  Love it.   And the tomatoes are available too, along with everything else.   I have all ready prepped enough peaches to make up 8 containers for the freezer, 2 containers of chopped gr. pepper to use for chili later,  watermelon, blueberries.  And a friend gave me so many blackberries from her garden.  I put 1/2 in the freezer as whole berries and cooked down the other 1/2 and made ice cubes out of the juice that we can add to drinks in the next coming months.  She gave us blueberries, too, but we ate those almost immediately!  I think cherries will be frozen, today.

And I finally finished the Halloween ornament prototypes.   Well, one of the designs may have to be tweaked a bit, but all in all, it's a good line up of designs.  You can see them on my Instagram site.  The last one will appear this week.   They will be for sale at the Cambridge Artist's Cooperative in Harvard Square in October and on my Etsy site some time in September(this month is now packed for time!).

...maybe I'll get to the Big E this year....maybe.....    :)

Enjoy the early fall weather!

Celebration on Etsy!

Yesterday morning I thought I would hit my next milestone of sales in another week, but I just hit it today.  500 total sales since I opened my shop!   Things really started to pick up speed 4 or 5 years ago.  The house ornaments are definitely the big seller.   Adding the dollhouse miniatures was a great idea-especially when I enjoy creating them.

I think I will celebrate with a long walk today.  It's beautiful outside.   :)

Summer Doings

It's been a different kind of summer mixed in with things that I normally do.

Many of the seedlings I grew in the spring were unfortunately eaten by the large chipmunk population.   There doesn't seem to be enough food for all of them so they feel the need to eat things they normally wouldn't.   Critters have also invaded my car.  I have since placed moth balls in there which have forced them critters out, but have also forced me out, too.  Strong odor!  Hard to win in the country sometimes.   lol

Last week there was a critter climbing on the outside of the house.  At night, of course.  Just enough to freak me out.  That happened two nights in a row.  Then it was gone.

A month ago I visited my mom for a week.  Plenty of laughter, sleep, reading and tending to the landscape outside.  I did what was asked of me and then I got to put some design into the landscape.  Another visit in August I'm sure will be coming.

There have been the usual heat spells and more often than not cool weather.  Especially at night.   The perennials have done quite well this year with the tiger lilies blooming more than ever, the rhododendrons bursting with flowers, the lady's mantle growing wider and sprouting their light green stems and flowers.   

I may plant a lot of seeds in the enclosed garden this week.   Cilantro, lettuces, carrots, radishes, zinnias.   There is a lot of weeding to do again.  It happens.

I've been slowly designing and creating Halloween ornaments for this year's lineup.  Tough to do in mid-summer.   This year, I think a lot about designs......Still have plans for surface design. 

Been getting back into architecture in terms of drawing.  Maybe I will post some to the website soon.

It's one of those quiet, sunny, breezey summer Sundays.  More quiet for me since I am feeling the effects of a summer cold.  Working in sort of solitude.

Enjoy the summer!   :)

Spring into Summer

The day before the heat spell I took a walk on what was a very nice day with a slight breeze.  All was going well until I stopped to talk to a neighbor a little too long and was mercilessly attacked by no-see-um flies.   Soon I had to beg off realizing that applying buy spray while talking was not doing me any good.    Off I went.   Before I rounded the bend for home, I found myself and the neighborhood engulfed with a thin veil of smoke.   I did see the person responsible for the smoke going to the source to take care of it, but that wasn't in time to stop my lungs to be filled with smoke.  It took me quite awhile after I got home to stop coughing and breathe better.    The aftermath of the no-see-um bites took a few days to go away.  Someone pointed out to me that there is a pretty big bug bite on my forehead....I answered that "that looks pretty good compared to what was once there!"    ....it's all relative!   :)

Even though it was a beautiful day, there were challenges along the way.   That sums up the week at my self-employed work, too.   I obtained 3 orders last week.  One order took the natural course of initial contact, answers, set up of custom order listing and eventual purchase.  The next one lasted about 6 days with an ending of an eventual purchase.   The 3rd one was very fast.   The listing was purchased within 15 minutes. 

Other than the Etsy store, I've been keeping tabs on my seedlings.   Transplanting and starting more seeds.  Some are not working at all, but thankfully the basil has come through like gang busters.

Outside, I have been watching the robins take care of their 3 baby birds.  There is a nest on the back deck in a planter that apparently is perfect for this activity.  This is the 2nd or 3rd time robins have made a nest over the years.   I've seen the baby birds just after they were born with no fuzz and have watched them grow over the past week.   The happy family made it through the thunderstorms with heavy rain and the heat wave just a few days ago.   The baby birds are now fuzzy and all are sporting a rock'in hairdo.    The parents must be getting tired of fetching food as I see them flying back and forth to the nest with the edibles dangling from their beaks.   It's been quite the show and I am looking forward to watching the little ones practice their flying.  Update:  they all left early one morning and never returned.  Didn't get to say goodbye.  

I decided to limit my membership on www.freelanced.com.   Free level all the way.   I haven't gotten any work through freelanced and it was time for a change.

As time goes on, more changes will be made in regard to the type of art work I do.  Less stress on the hands would be best.   More painting.   I'm still working through this and it remains to be seen what will eventually transpire.   I may have to leave one art form that I have been making a small living from.  Have to be good to the hands.   A form of art work that is very much like swimming through water.  We shall see.  Changes are a coming......

Some things are the same, while other aspects of my life are changing.   That seems about right.     :)

 

Happy May Day

Do people run around the May pole any more?   I would do it.   :)

My seedlings have made a lot of progress since I first planted them on April 22nd.   All the tomato plants are leading the pack at over an inch high.   I planted some dwarf curly parsley that just broke through the soil a couple of days ago. 

I'm happy to report that all the daffodil varieties are blooming outside along with the bright red tulips that one of my sisters gave me.  Whenever I leave this piece of land, those tulips are coming with me!   The forsythia is flowering after a no show from last year.   The weather has been more on track this year(though, I'll have to wait and see after a string of thunderstorms comes through tonight!).

I'm finishing up on a set of custom house ornaments.  Four of the same house.  A historical stone house in Ulster County complete with the thin tall stone markers out front.  Each ornament also has an American flag. 

There has been a little bit of sketching for possible Halloween ornaments, though I have to admit that I find it rather early to be thinking of such things.   :)

I found myself standing next to a bin of fresh fiddleheads in the grocery over the weekend.  You know,  I just had to leave them be.....they are not my favorite by a long shot.  I can think of a couple of other wild greenery that I would eat over fiddleheads.   :)

The last entry was a little down in the dumps.  I never really give up.  I just need to regroup and forge on.   More walking would do.  Logged 7 miles last week.

Maybe a little skipping around a May pole will help.

 

 

 

Seeds

Yesterday I said to myself "the plants won't grow unless I plant the seeds."   And so I planted 4 flats of seeds that included tomatoes, peppers, basil, various flowers.

Much like these planting of vegetable and flower seeds, lately I have been planting seeds in other areas of my working and creative lives.   Finally, some illustrations have been reworked and posted to the twotwirlysisters etsy site.  No takers, yet.   Various applications have been sent to "day" jobs that have ended in non-favorable results(I was caught off guard by a phone screen for a retail job;no go).    I inquired about a future opening at a hydroponics farm back in the Catskills; no reply.    And I am still working on my surface/fabric design skills even though my original plan of trying to sell them on Spoonflower was cut short when I learned that I would have to purchase a $5 sample for each one before offering them for sale. 

I also joined the Art Licensing Show via Linkedin.  One step closer.   I can't afford the basic level of $18 a month at the moment, but I can keep working on artwork.   This site is for artists who can't afford to attend the ultra expensive trade shows like the one at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.   I pretty much fit the bill.

I think I am going through a challenging time.  Lightly said, but feels more weighty.   It's best not to be so hard on myself.   Just keep plugg'in as a kindred spirit has said to me.   New friends and experiences are on the horizon.

Spring is here.  The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming.  The forsythia, too.  The crocuses and irises have come and gone.  And there seems to be more rainy cloudy days than sun in the past week.  But there is a silver lining.   The moss and lichen on the trees darkened by the rain can now by seen in all their glory.  And there are so many robins looking for worms in the moistened soil.

Have a nice spring!

Back to the drawing board....

In between sculpting the custom house ornaments I have been teaching myself how to create fabric designs.   It's definitely different from my usual work, but something that I have been interested in learning for awhile.  I've found that one of the best ways to approach laying out a design is to look at patterns that I love in my own house.   What makes a design more appealing than others? 

As I said, I am a beginner at this and have been playing around with drawings that I all ready have saved in my graphics program on the computer.  Relearning all the ins and outs of the graphics program is challenging, too. 

A couple of family members are/were great seamstresses and I suppose I'm drawn to fabric design because of them.  It's especially nice to have the option of designing one's own fabric to have printed out and also not having to print everything is a nice bonus, as well.  Selling the designs online is a great option.

Anyway, I'm having fun putting my illustrations onto fabric!   I had a design printed up almost a year ago which I thought came out very well for my first one.   I plan to list the designs for sale, soon.

Spring is trying to come, but keeps being pushed back-like today.  :(   After such a cold winter with several snowstorms, most people around here are more than ready for the warmer weather.  I think having a garage for my car would be more than grand.   :)

I've been picking up seed packets here and there and hope to start growing several varieties inside soon.

Enjoy the spring weather wherever you are!!