Saturday, August 1, 2020

so how is it going for you?

I filed sales taxes for the quarter.  I had online sales of $158, and owed no sales tax in the state of Iowa.  Let me tell you, for a business that runs primarily May to Oct, with June usually one of my best months.... this is not normal.

Honestly I haven't been pushing online so much anyway.  Jerry and I have talked the last few years about basically taking a year off, and Covid sort of made this year a natural. 

Not to say if you want some custom work I would say no.  I would take your commission in a heart beat!  I haven't been making much this year, and I do miss it.  I'm starting to get back to the studio more, but other parts of my life are a priority this year.
recent project... it's parts from vintage jewelry from the 1950's and 1980's and a clock gear.  what do you think? 

Big one is health.  More and More this is a concern, and again Covid really makes it stand out in stark relief.  I am on the "high risk" list about 4 times.  A family member has developed new and alarming health problems that are HEREDITARY.   The chances of me getting this in 10-15 years are high, and I kind-of feel i have enough chronic diseases for one person now.

Best way to avoid is to finally change our life style.  Jerry is on board all the way ( he's got health issues as well)

We have tried this before, it lasts 6 mos to a year, and then slowly goes away.

But I have a secret weapon this time.  I have a fully functional kitchen.
Me! stylin' in a homemade mask made by my sister.  She makes several different designs!  check it out!

the changes we are making are gradual and mostly involve me cooking more and more meals.  Substituting better foods than we eat now. 

I'm also working on portion control.   Best thing I've done for this? I bought smaller plates.  They are out of print Nightmare 8 inch plates and I adore them.  They are colorful and cheerful and fun to eat off.  And since they are smaller you can't fit as much food on them.

I'm going to buy another set so we have 8 settings -- you know so in 2025 when we can all be face to face again I can through a diner party!

This weekend I'm planning on making a large roast, a turkey breast, something with chicken, spaghetti casserole with hamburger and butternut squash, and some vaguely pastry like sausage things that I'm just sort of making up.

Some of this is because we just changed fridges and some stuff got defrosted , so they need to be used now.

But any left overs are getting frozen as individual servings.  That way when Jerry or I need a quick lunch or don't feel like cooking supper, we can just defrost something. 

That is the biggest barrier to healthy eating.  It takes more effort... and time.  After a 10 hour work day, even at home, I just don't feel up to any effort but nuking on some days.

Eventually we will have a decent pile of these "tv diners" all the time in the freezer. 

I'm also working on a carb friendly pizza crust.  There are several recipes out there, but i'm trying to find one that has a level of effort that won't kill me and yet all 3 of us like the taste of.  Once I hit that gold standard, I'll make them in bulk and freeze them at will.  Then we can make pizzas anytime we want to, and as long as you are using healthy toppings, pizza can be good for you.

so far the recipes are either time consuming and annoying to make, or quick and easy but the taste and texture isn't quite there.

I have a recipe that I think will be the eventual winner, but I'm tweaking it.  It's eggie in taste, and I want a crispier crust.  Instead of a dough, it's a batter, and you cook them like pancakes. 
"pancake" version.  about 6 inches, the perfect serving size for a personal pizza.  now if I can get it to taste more crust like than an omelet. ...


It's a work in progress, like just about everything I've described above.


That's sort of our family motto right now.  It's a work in progress.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

I spoke too soon.....

Remember how I was bragging / over sharing not wearing a bra for a month?  One should never ever tempt the fates.

Tuesday brought way more excitement that I ever want... one of our electric outlets poofed.  One small fire, a couple of hours panic, and one melted air purifier, and a visit from the electrician who mercifully only charged $150.00 to fix what could have been a major house fire and very very expensive mess.  Wearing my bra while he was here was a small price to pay.


It felt weird though.

It was in the bedroom so of course that meant it needed to get all cleaned up and de-stunk asap so we could hopefully sleep in there. 

So washed all the bedding, febrezed the heck out of the room, brought in a different air purifier.  Opened most of the 1st floor windows and ran the fan pointing out of the room.

I suspect with my asthma I'll be bothered for a few days, but really we did a good job at the clean up.

Very proud of the hubby, he had excellent reaction time and did all he could to mitigate the situation.  Because our wi-fi is out of our bedroom and it had no power until the outlet could be fix- and we are both working from home right now -- he especially reacted quickly to run 3 extention cords so we could get the wireless back for work.  All in all, both of us were only down for 30-40 minutes .

Today work was blessedly boring.

Stay safe !!!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

I Have not Worn A Bra In A Month!

TMI?

Probably, but I'm trying to gather all the positives I can during this time.

Spending more time with family ? yep. What really helps with this is Jerry finally changed his job, and his work hours are normal now... not 2nd shift.


He more or less got a new job in February, but had to wait until the next training class started - which kept getting delayed for various reasons.

Then they finally got it all set and Covid hit, delaying it some more.

Strangely, the IRS really need folks, so they finally set up a way for him to be trained virtually.  So this past Monday was his first day at work, at home, and for now, he gets off at 5pm. When he's done with training his normal workday will end at 6pm.  No more 11pm!! No more weekends!!

So we now are doing puzzles as a family, having family game days and at least one night a week is movie night. 
New earrings, the pearl drops are from vintage jewelry, probably 70-80's .

My home office is set up in the war room, downstairs right by my studio I now get to look out my choice of 10 windows, or my studio while working !!!

Jerry is set up in the spare bedroom upstairs, with attached bathroom and 4 windows to look out of.

Instead of gassing up the car maybe every 1-1/2 weeks, we have gone over a month without filling up.

We probably wouldn't need gas then, but Jerry is making store runs for my 89 year old mom.

He's such a good guy!!

Both Jerry and I are getting more sleep.
I feel asleep with my glasses on and my CPAP off.  Jerry took the pick and then woke me up.  Grrrr


I'm cooking more, and trying to work in more veggies and healthy stuff.  I'm baking! fun fun fun and tasty!  I think I might even start making bread.  I keep dreaming of pumpkin bread, which I love and used to make every Christmas.  Family tastes have shifted and then I didn't have an oven for 9 years ( don't ask) so I haven't made pumpkin bread for a realllly long time.

I have been making cinnamon rolls, yum!


My asthma control is so much better! (for the whole how and why, check my blog entry here) 

I think I'm ahead in the stress race.  I have anxiety about Covid for my family, friends and local businesses, but being in better health personally?  I honestly feel so much calmer and happier overall.

I have time to pet all the cats everyday.  I have 6 so this is actually more of a feat than you would think.
Youngest kitty, almost 1 years old and all grown up.  He's also the largest cat in the household now.  His name is Parker, but I call him fluffy butt most of the time.

So what are your good spots about this crisis? What things are you grateful for during this time? What hobbies are keeping you sane ?

Stay safe.. and remember practice kindness everyday, cause yes, there will be a test.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Random Thoughts & masks


I've left my house twice in the last 4 weeks, and I didn't leave the car either time.  Wore a mask.  This was maybe 2 weeks ago?  At that point, I saw maybe 2 others wearing masks. 

For those of you out and about, how many do you see now?

I have a new work supervisor.... Kya!  So I've moved one of the tall bar stools by my desk and sacrificed my light jacket as a pillow for her Highness, and now she naps most of my workday.  This pic shows a chair, but she didn't like it.  Must has standards in the workplace . 

I liked my old co-workers, but well, I adore my Princess Kya.  Giving her a place to settle is actually making me more productive... she likes laying on my chest which makes typing hard.  This way, I get to cuddle and pet for a few minutes, and then she happily jumps to the stool for her mid-day 8 hour nap.




Since I"m working from home I really don't have that much more time than I did before to do stuff, but it's inspired me to get a few projects done.  I've had the poster and frame for the Doctor Who bathroom for over a month... the problem is I bought the frame about 1/2 inches 2 big, and I needed a matte to make it look good.  Trying to find one pre-made was a epic failure.  I was going to go to a craft store and buy the strips, but well, that's not gonna work for several months, now is it?

Part of this crisis is we are all learning just how resilient we are, and how much can do spirit we have both as a nation and as individuals.  

It may seem a small thing to you, but making my very own matte out of materials at hand custom sized for this frame - I'm damn proud of myself.

I ended up using leather scraps I have to make bracelets out of.  Most of my scraps are actually leftovers from purses ( bought off etsy from a purse maker! ) 

Crappy pic, but it looks great in person!    
 I've also gotten most of the pictures and other artwork up now, or ordered frames for them.  So over a year after we moved, we are almost done moving in!!!



 My sister is making wicked cloth masks .... my hubby stole this one since I'm not leaving the house!!  If you want to check out her masks see them here.... for each  one she makes, she's donating 1, so between quality fabrics, free US shipping, and giving them away, her $12 per mask is deal, and you are helping her help others. Win-Win. 

She's not trying to make money with these, she's trying to break even.  She just can't afford to help others and donate masks by herself but this way she can.  If you want to make these masks yourself, she even offers a free TUT  to help you out.  Way to go Sis! 


 This is Parker taking his mid-day 8 hour nap.  May we all have mid-day naps in our future.  Stay safe, my friends.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Simple Blue Earrings

I got ahold of a bunch of stainless steel with turquoise patina and I'm in LOVE!!!!

Some of the detail on them is so wonderful and complicated, that just adding them to rings for extra dangle factor... they are fab!

So here are my "don't be blue, cause your stuck at home" earrings.....

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Anyone else feel guilty???

I'm a home body.  I love to go out with friends of course, an
bored at home? get a cat ! 
d even better they come to my house... my nice, big house with nice big studio and lots of corners to hide in if someone needs space.  Even have a big yard you could frolic in if that's your thing. 

We have lots of space for entertaining -- which since we moved in last year, we have done more than possibly the entire time 20 + years in the old house.  For 3 people it's bloody spacious and it's gonna take a long long time to feel trapped in it. 

I have a oven!!  ( I didn't for 9 years.  seriously)  I've been  making brownies, and today I"m thinking cookies.  I just found out one of my favorite local bakeries is having problems due to Covid so i'm very sad.  Quite a few local businesses are suffering, and some aren't going to make it.

My jewelry business will be way way way down this year, but unlike several artists buddies, I don't need the extra income right now. Believe me, we had some years where selling jewelry made the difference in eating or not.  I'm so relieved Jerry and I are blessed with good jobs right now in vital areas so we are both working.  We will not be missing paychecks.

So this forced social distancing thing really doesn't bother me, and if I didn't have to think about the people who are going to get sick and even die.... I could be pretty cheerful about the whole thing.

I even get to do my day job at home!   I really adore that.  A side effect is I get to see Hubby and Kid more, even if it's just a few extra hugs during my working day.  So far I'm pretty proud of how well it's working out.. I feel as productive as I ever felt at the office.  I am so much less stressed about work.  The last few years my asthma has gotten worse and the long list of things that trigger it keeps getting longer.

Working from home, I have control of my environment.  Every few days in the office something triggers me.  Anything from mild discomfort (pressure in my lungs, extra coughing) to actual attacks.  I have FMLA so on really bad days I would stay home, but it's not an ideal solution.  I knew it stressed me out, worried about having a attack because of someone's deodorant, or hair spray. It's really such a huge relief working from home I'm so much CALMER.  My emergency inhaler is just that.  for emergencies!!  I was using it 2-3 times at work almost everyday, just to be able to work. 

Keep in mind, work knows about my issues, most of my co workers are decent about it, and the managers try to enforce the no scent policy in my area, but when I'm sensitive to hundreds of cleaning products, hair products, smokers, and HAND SANITIZERS it's an impossible task.  When I have bad breathe days something I could tolerate on a normal day might trigger me.

So working at home? it's like a freaking miracle each and every day.  BREATHING is a freaking miracle! 

So I'm loving being home, I don't mind that I'm not leaving the house much.  The only time I poke my head out is the check the mail. 

Since I don't have the travel time I get to sleep in a few extra minutes, and getting more sleep is a bonus.  Since I'm home I can do meal prep for supper on my last beak -- or run the crock pot during the day ( I've never liked having the crock pot run with no one is home... I have too much imagination.)

So yah, I feel guilty i'm enjoying myself, when I know I'm one of the lucky ones.  I have my big, comfy house, I have a job and I'm unlikely to get laid off during the crisis.  Hubby's job is pretty secure right now too... we both work for a telephone / internet company.  We have wicked fast and secure WiFi all over the house, and we can have all 3 computers, 2 laptops, 2 tablets and 3 smart phones going at once, and my work computer.... and still have wicked fast connections.  This staying at home would truly suck without fast and reliable internet. 

Still, I have a library filled with great books to read, we have all kinds of games, and I'm a decent cook when I want to be.  I have my wonderful studio to putter around in. 

Honestly, with 6 cats how could a body be lonely or bored in this house???

So unless the zombies invade we are as well suited to homesteading in the crisis as we can be.

I do worry for my friends and relatives, especially my 89 year old mom.  I chat with her online almost every day, just to check up with her.  I worry what the social isolation will do for her.  She's at risk a couple of times over, and with my asthma and other health issues, I'm right there with her.  For now, neither of us are leaving our houses.   Between my brother and his family and my hubby, they are making grocery runs for her when she needs something.

I still feel guilty.  I'm trying to turn that guilt into gratitude.  I know i'm so lucky, and loved, and frankly pampered. 

With my health issues, I'm more a risk of getting sick and having a serious life threatening case.  I know the absolute best thing for me, and my family and friends, is to avoid other people during this time.  Putting myself in harms way helps no one, me getting sick or dying doesn't make anyone else's life better and it will harm my family.  I am not doing that to my hubby or daughter.  I can't imagine making my mom bury a child before her.

 So really, why should I feel guilty for doing the absolute best thing I can do, just because I'm enjoying parts of it?

Guilt doesn't really help anything, and gratitude makes me feel better.  I'm not religious but I'm sending out as many good thoughts as I can to those in need.





Sunday, February 2, 2020

Random Thoughts

Do you ever just hang out in your car, in your own drive way reading your phone?  Peaceful isn't it?

Tomorrow is Caucus night in Iowa.  On one hand, it is a pain in the butt, but on the other it is a very important pain in the butt.  At this point in my life, I'm not sure I trust anyone in politics.  I like Warren quite a lot though.  She seems genuine, and her track history definitely shows she's passionate about protecting those who need protection. 

Just about anything is better than Trump.  And at this point, unless you are a old rich white guy, you need protection under his regime. 

And it is a Regime.

On to less blood pressure altering topics.

I'm actually working on jewelry in the studio!

 I'm soooo proud of myself.  I know artists are suppose to be all moody an depressed but it's really not my artistic style.  I want to be happy in making jewelry and I WANT TO SHARE THAT JOY!!   I want my pieces to lift up people.  There is so much wrong with the world, I want to send out seeds of peace and happiness and hope they catch and root and grow and spread more seeds.  It can all start out with 1 step in the right direction.  I made so little art in 2019, despite my new big and wonderful studio.  This year I feel so much better, and I think I can share that again. 

here's what's on the desk today.  The back piece is pewter, I've painted it and aged it, and now I'm positioning real vintage clock and watch parts.  Once I'm happy with the layout, I'll start assembling it with rivets and tiny screws.

It's February and 47 degrees out.  All the snow is melting, the sun is out and I've seen a gal walking her dog outside my window wearing biker shorts today.

Did I mention it's February?

Remember to practice kindness, because life is the test.







Thursday, January 2, 2020

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Random pieces from this year

large necklace incorporates clock gears, Swedish bike cycle emblem, watch parts, Catholic relic.  Smaller necklace watch parts.  
 Just cleaning out my picture files for 2019, as 2020 is just around the corner.  I'm at a very thoughtful place business wise in my head... changes are coming to my business in 2020 and I need to really think about what I want to do -- what it means to me as an artist , a maker and a small business woman.  And frankly a person who's starting to lose some mobility.

No worries, I'm still going to be around for a long time to come, but any healthy business changes, or it dies. 
a modern watch face, but I love the shape and color... and the font the numbers are in ! 

older key, watch parts and a eagle.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

So I got a notice from the State of Iowa Revenue Service.....

I love my phone.  It has a great feature, a combo checklist and calendar to help me keep on track with important stuff like birthdays, doctor appointments, work deadlines, and paying my taxes on time.


When we moved last February, I signed up for the USPS email summery of mailed items.  With all the package thievery going on it's a smart service from them and it's free, you just have to sign up online.

But sometimes knowing what you are receiving, but you can't actually check your mail til hours later after work can back fire.

This happened to me yesterday.  The summery had a thick looking envelope from the State of Iowa Revenue service.

Thick looking envelopes from the government are not normally a good thing. 

My anxiety peaked at work and after hours of stressing, I was exhausted and resigned to my fate.  I figured I was getting audited and while I am above board and legal in my business, but getting audited just sounds like a nightmare. 

Once I opened it, it was a bill, including penalty and interest.  Starting July 1st of this year, Des Moines has a local option Sales tax. 

With the extra fees my bill is under $20.00, and I'm very relieved it was nothing worse, but BOY!!! I really have been out of it.

I have no clue how I missed it, except for the past summer of depression and anxiety and inertia. 

Stuff like this make me realize just how bad it got, and how much better I'm doing.  Three months ago getting that in the mail -- I probably would have had a panic attack or cried for a couple of hours.  It might have triggered an asthma attack.  Instead I dealt with it.  I didn't have a great afternoon, but I got through it.

And how good it feels to just write a small check, send it off and it's DONE and my stress over it is DONE.  It's just such a good feeling not to dwell on the crap that happens in one's life. 



Dragonflies and

Dolphins 

Oh My!