in the sun: a summer update

Mt. Rainier, Paradise.  No, literally.  It's called Paradise.  For good reason.

Long time, no talk.

I hate it when bloggers are all like yeah, so it's been awhile. I've been busy., because chances are, none of us really noticed. The buzz of social media gets all loud, and nobody really pays that much attention to blogs anymore, anyway.

So, that said:

Yeah.  So, like, it's been awhile.  I've been busy.

Or, rather, I should say, I've been evolving.

As one does, y'know.

I can't remember if I last posted a year ago, or if it's been two now.  Time sort of all runs together into a giant wad of chewed gum as I get older.  One minute, it's November, and I'm doing one thing, and when I glance up again, it's, like, August and I could have sworn I just updated XYZ, like, a week ago.


(Why is that?  Time's so smooshy now that I'm all old and junk?  Summers used to feel like they stretched on forever, and now, an entire year can go by if I blink too fast.  WTAF, time.  We need to talk about your job performance.)


(like y'all expected less.)

I honestly can't remember where I left off last.  What I've already recorded for posterity in ones and zeroes, and what I've been quiet about.  (Mainly because I yammer incessantly on Facebook, so it feels like the world knows everything about all the minutiae of my life already, so...)

So let's bullet point what I can remember thusfar, shall we?
  • I finally started making soap again.  I missed it a lot.  It's one of those creative outlets that makes me feel all deliciously mad-scientist-like and such.  I'm selling it here.
  • I sort of re-discovered a love of YA fiction.  My only-12-volume physical library re-exploded.  I'm working through the stacks again, and while I read an insane amount, I wish I could read faster, because I can't seem to stop buying yet more books.  (You can see what I'm reading here.  Apparently, I've read 140 of them in 2019 already.)
  • On a whim, I joined Duolingo and picked Norwegian as a language to learn.  I'm 450+ days into it, and still can't speak it as well as your average Norwegian three-year-old.  But I'm still having fun, so there's that.
  • I've been trying to go on more adventures, now that I've got a car of my own and J's out of town for work so much.  Lots of mountains and forests and beaches and waterfalls and strange little shops tucked into backstreets in big cities and small towns.  I like this part.


I'm kind of restless.

I'm feeling the end of summer coming, and while I've been out in the mountains a little, it hasn't been enough.  I haven't had enough trees yet this year.  Or ever, really.

I took a little bit of a break from social media this week (thus, my yammering here, obviously) and have been away from the screen, and I just want to go somewhere.  Do something.  A million somethings.  Preferably right now.  (Though it's three a.m. as I write this, and it may be a bit early to to tramping around a mountain trail.)

It feels like something big is coming, but I can't make out what it is yet, exactly.

I'm thinking about making a monthly newsletter.  Physical.  In the mail.  Just snippets and sketches and stories and fun stuff I find in my travels.  Nothing all high art or anything.  Just fun.

And I've been gravitating back toward dirt and ferns and drawing things, anyway.


Should be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.  Whether this'll end in superpowers or a mutated third limb in the middle of my back.  (As happens, y'know.)

One thing I know for sure:  I need to write it all down.  Keep a record.  For me, not for posterity or anything; I'm not that important, in the grand scheme of things.  But I do like looking back down the mountain at the way I've come, so I can more fully appreciate the journey I've been on.

So, yeah.

I've been busy.  Sorry it's been so long.

(p.s.  I have no grand designs of being A Blogger™.  Just some chick on a couch reading books about teenagers and occasionally making all the things.  For the record.)

Because Bella.

There can never be too many pictures of Bella.

I continue to be smitten with her face.

(And I thought I'd reward y'all for sticking around after the Great Googly Moogly disaster of 2018.  So there 'tis.)

Oh, ferpete's sake.


Apparently, my old theme here is no longer google approved, and they did some crazy nonsense where nothing was showing where it was supposed to be, all of a sudden.

I'm on it.  Finding a new template, trying to make some changes, blah blah blah technoblah.

If it looks completely wonkified for you, hang in there.  It'll be back to semi-normal/new-normal here asap.

Tricksy Google.


So I've kind of fixed it, though it's kind of plain and not very ME-ish yet.  There are probably broken things and a few places where the text runs behind the header/larger text, and I'll fix those things as I find them.

See what happens when I ignore blogging?  EVERYTHING BREAKS, THAT'S WHAT.

I made things!

So I have this tendency.

I make all kinds of things, fully intending to list them on etsy (both to share them and to make space in the house for the next batch of things I'm compelled to make...), but...

for some reason, I don't list them.

It's not like it's particularly hard to list things on etsy.  In fact, they've made it much, much easier than it used to be, especially for multiple items with varying types.

But I just don't do it.  There are always more important things to do.  Like binge watching Doctor Who for the eighty-fourth time.

(I admit nothing.)

So I'm trying to work through the backlog now of EVERYTHING I have in the shelves that hasn't gone up.  Hoping to put up a few day.  Realistically, a few a week.

Starting with these:

I originally made a bunch of small watercolor paintings just kind of as practice, and turned them into these planner clips.  They're hand drawn and  hand painted, on heavy watercolor paper backed with sturdy cardboard, with a paperclip mounted in the back so you can use them as reusable tabs in your journals or planners, or just as decoration.

Six themed sets.  Available here.

Now to move on to the eighteen tons of other stuff I've made.  (Ahem.)

My Weirdo Inner Critic

His name is Frank.  Frank has no idea that's a banana.

Maybe it's because I'm kind of an explorer by nature.

Or maybe it's just because I'm inherently kind of strange, and have a tendency to do things kind of backassward and to unnecessarily complicate things.  (Ahem.)

My inner critic, though -- the one that conventional wisdom likes to tell us is omnipresent and keeps you from trying new things -- has a broken GPS.

He shows up after I try new things.

(I mean, I'm late a lot, because time is weird and squishy for me, but after?  Come on,'s kind of ridiculous.)

New things don't bother me, generally speaking.  I'm one of those that gets a wild cockeyed hare-brained idea, and all of me's like YASSSS...LET'S TRY SKYDIVING WITH A LIVE PIG IN OUR ARMS or something.  There's no second-guessing, and rarely a whole lot of thought about consequences.  Which has landed me in hot water a few (million) times.  Beside the point.

What it's also done is let me try a whole lot of things.

I learn best by experience.  Hands-on, with my boots on the ground.  If I'm smart, it's also after reading the instruction manual, but let's be clear: that doesn't always happen.  If something sounds interesting to me, I'm on my way to Michael's or REI or Target or whatever, ready to pick up whatever I need to just begin.

Then, three or four times later, the banana gun is blazing.

I'm sure there's something that sets it off, but heck if I know what it is.  Maybe it's a whole bunch of somethings.  Maybe it's just that the explorer part of me gets comfortable, and bored, and starts making up things to scare me.  Or I finally become aware that I'm hurtling towards the ground and this parachute is uncomfortable and this pig isn't really having the best time, either.

I finally realize that gravity works and that going SPLAT! would kind of suck for me and Baconator III.  (Yes, I've named my imaginary allegorical pig.  Hush.)

Sometimes, this is where I quit.

Even if I'm not going to literally die upon impact.  

My mind tells me that this isn't what it signed up for.  Or I see places where I could improve and it's just too much, too soon.  Or I start worrying that people will think whatever it is that people will think because EVERYBODY has an opinion and most of them are completely mean and irrelevant to what I'm doing.

(It's the last one that usually gets me, to be honest.)

Sometimes, I talk myself out of things because Frank with the Banana Gun is all, you can't compete with XYZ because you have a camera from 2006 and you need at least that $100000 new one to be relevant.  (Frank thinks I have unlimited funds and no creativity.  This, from a guy with a banana.)

Frank is full of crap.

He's also late (I'm usually in motion), poorly dressed, and has bad taste in weaponry.  And he's woefully out of touch.

Not that this stops him from trying.

Some people will tell you that you should be nice to your Inner Critic.

That you should thank it for being concerned about you.  That yes, you could die if you keep using a sewing machine (especially in my case) or that people might laugh at you for using a sub-standard lighting setup for your videos (which I am, though it's not affecting the output that much, really), or that you're going to fall flat on your face if you babble like you always do (also a possibility).

But here's the thing:

Like I said, Frank is full of crap and threatening you with a banana.

It's a. banana.

Sure, it can poke you in the eye, but really...what else could it do?  Be yellow and tasty?

Your critic might not be a Frank.

Yours might show up as a monster, brandishing an Uzi.  Or your eighth-grade art teacher with a gaggle of mean girls behind her.  Or the Godfather, kissing you on both cheeks and smelling like cannoli.

But folks -- they're all just bananas.

In the end, even if the worst thing that you're worried about happens, you probably won't splat on the pavement with a live pig.

The best parts of my life have happened because I ignored Frank's threats.

What have you got to lose?

(Also, bananas are tasty sliced up in oatmeal.  SUCK ON THAT, FRANK.)



I finally figured out how to take video without ripping out my own eyeballs and throwing them at random passers-by in frustration.*

I ALSO figured out how to host all the weird and varied things I want to do for said class all in one place.  This is like a revolution up in here.  I think I mentioned it last time, but teaching makes my head all spinny with excitement, and I want to be able to give people PDFs and templates and audio files and videos and downloadable/printable stuffs...without having to scatter it all over the internets.  And now, I can.

I get the lights and the remote for the camera on Tuesday-ish.

Lessons are mostly written.

I'm putting together the fun extras and printable stuff now.

(insert high-pitched squeal here.)

*also, this may have been too graphic, in hindsight.  Apologies for any lingering images of surprise flying eyeballs.

Oh, and for the record...

(I know.  Two posts in one day.  I'm a madwoman.  This one's short.)

I gave up on some things.

I'm not embroidering a weekly thing anymore.  I did one that I hated and it just soured me to doing more.  I may go back to it someday, because I do love me some floss.

I'm also not sending 100 postcards.  When my tooth blew up a week into the thing, followed by a gnarly cold and food poisoning, I realized I needed to simplify the daily grind a little.  I kept the zines; put away the postcards.  For now.  I do know I'll eventually send more, because they're my favorite way to send joy to random people, and I still have people on my list who need a good postcard-sized blop of mail love.

I went through my books that were in my queue.  All the realizations about outgrowing some of them were valid, so I re-evaluated what I had on hand....and donated roughly 3/4 of them to local Little Free Libraries.  I read some.  Some, I had to admit that I just wasn't going to.

I also went through my art supplies again.  As we speak, there are roughly two hundred pounds of things in bags and boxes on my dining room floor, waiting to be shuttled down to a Portland art supply house that buys used supplies.  I love what's left in my studio.  I haven't been able to say that in a long time.

Then I went at my pen and ink collection like a madwoman with a hatchet.  I'm down to pens I love, and inks I love and use.  We will not discuss the literal box full of stuff I culled out. 

Most importantly, I culled my IDEAS LIST.

There are things I'm just not going to get to, or things that I just wanted to try but half-heartedly.  Or things that require a whole lot of supplies or software or learning a whole new Thing.  Or ideas that, when I thought about them, I still couldn't make them fully flesh themselves out in my mind.

That left a substantial list left over. 

So I made a box.