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, 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


Oh My!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Random Thoughts

 Some time ago, I raved about my new little cart but didn't post pics of it all filled with beady goodness.

Actually it's wire goodness, as playing around with the various things I could put in the cart, I discovered I could fit almost all my wire, and all my other stringing materials in it!

I so love love love being organized !!

 The pics show both sides and how all the wonderful extra bits can be hung off the rim of the shelves.  I really love it!  It was made for scrape booking -- the bar where I have wire spools was probably for tape or ribbons.

I got it at Micheal's this spring on sale...  I think retail it would be $75 but I got it 40% off. I highly recommend it  ( and it's all metal, so my magnets work on it as well)

In a few weeks thanksgiving will be upon us, and 4 weeks after than Christmas!   This year has gone fast fast fast!   We moved into the new house in February  and I still have pictures left to hang.  I can honestly say if I haven't unpacked everything, I have gone through all the boxes. 

The big house project right now is setting up the spare bedroom.  Jerry has a headboard he had as a child.  It's a family piece, and probably around 100 years old.  The full frame went missing years ago So we bought a cheap frame and mattress and set up the bed.  The room is large enough we also moved the day bed up there ( so I now have even more room in the studio!! )  So now we have proper accommodations for family and friends who visit.

Still working on cleaning up there and putting up ( you guessed it) pictures to liven it up.  Need to figure out a door for the bathroom -- right now it's sort of a room divider  with a open space where a door would go.  I figure we will just hang a curtain or something.  We specialize in economical quick fixes!!

We got yet another family member this summer, another kitten that needed a good home.  His name is Parker, and he gets along really well with all the cats in the house.  We got home when he was around 12 weeks, and the picture below shows him sprawled on me is around his 13th week.

He's gotten so big now!
Doesn't he look like he's sucking his thumb in this picture!

Here he is keeping me company while I make earrings. 

OK the elephant in the blog ... yeah, I know I've not posted in months and months, and I hadn't posted much before the last post back in August.  I am not going into details... suffice to say this year, despite all the happy / good things that have happened (house, improved studio space, a working oven, new kittens, family etc) I've really struggled.  My asthma has been hard to keep under control, and I've been fighting depression.

I'm finally coming out of it, and for the first time in almost a year I'm finally feeling like I have my self back.   I haven't felt like blogging pretty much during this time, and it's only been in the last few weeks I felt like I could share stuff again - that I could even get the energy to try to write a blog.  (or do much of anything)

So everyone out there, take care of yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Getting on Track.......

HereĆ¢€™s the start pile for this week.  Bunch of bling earrings and a few necklaces.

Hi.  I could go on and on about how busy I've been and yeah, this is the first blog in MONTHS and yada yada yada.

Instead, lets just go forward.


Today is a rare rare day in Kat's word.  I literally have no obligations other than to feed and amuse myself today.

Do have dishes to wash?  sure, but it's only a couple of loads, so if I skip them today, no biggie.  Should I work on laundry? of course, but if I don't I have all day tomorrow to worry about it. 

Jerry is at work.  Jesscera will be leaving for work in the next hour.  Not only do I have no pressing chores but I have the house to myself!!!

Seriously unprecedented.  its been maybe since we moved that I had a day so unfettered.

And I feel pretty good today... I've been having the worse Asthma / Allergy year so far, but today I'm feeling pretty good.  A little snuffly, but no wheezy when I woke up, no lung pressure (so far) and my knee is as good as it ever gets anymore.

It's like the planets have aligned!

I really want to get some stuff made today... I feel it, which is fantastic- cause of late, my artsy mojo is been no mo. 

So, I'm wearing favorite PJ's, I have the sweet sweet salsa / 40's/ scat/ swing goodness of Caro Emerald playing right now, I have a starting pile of interesting bits to play with, and I just ate a great brunch. So let's make magic!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My New House

AS you know, I've been very distracted most of this year because we moved Jan 3rd.  

Now I love my new house, and we got a great deal on it, but that's because it needed a bunch of work!   Especially on the outside.  

Here is what it looked like in the front when we bought it: 

 Craptastic right?   I think most buyers were majorly turned off  by the external appearance .  I can't say I loved it.  But the price was right -- we got a house with just over 3000 sq feet at just under $48 dollars each.  That's unheard of!   2400sq is on the first floor,  including a bedroom for me and Jerry, laundry, bathroom, kitchen, livingroom, and my studio -- a huge consideration for us.   I hate to admit this, but I'm starting to have mobility issues, and getting everything we need on 1 floor -- unbelievable. 
Amazing just how nice it looks with the under siding stuff, compared to when we bought it!

The over all total price was way under what I was willing to spend, which left money to get the work done that was needed.  I'm happy to say that as of 2 weeks ago, finally all the external house stuff is done done done, and it looks fantastic!

Front view, the large windows in the top left corner are in my studio area.  

Our neighbors appreciate the work we have put in...   folks from as far away as 3 blocks have stopped by and thanked us for working on the house! 
Side view, notice the 3 colors and the gorgeous brand new roof in a dark blue.
Here you can see the whole back of the house.  The sun makes it look like a grey, but in person its a lovely dark blue on the first floor, light blue on the 2nd, and white trim.

We did major stuff inside as well -- adding a HVAC system, updating some electrical, some painting, etc. 

Now that we don't have people pounding on the walls or the ceiling, it's time to start getting all the wall art up. 

We did buy some new to us furniture to go with the new house, and I am look forward to buying or making those little touches that will really make it a home.

My kitchen, dining room and livingroom have a vague Nightmare before Christmas theme, and the first floor bathroom is Doctor Who. 

Just last week I found the cutest soap dish for my bathroom!
We are hoping to put in a garage next year, and eventually I plan to actually make the back area a BBQ patio.  That's sort of last on the list, because with my allergies there is probably only a few weeks a year that I can really enjoy that, but still...

I really love my new house.  I'm really proud of my new house!  I'm really proud of myself and Jerry for being so frugal over the years to make this house possible. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's EEK! time.....

My first show of the season is next Sat morning at Des Moines Downtown Farmer's Market 

So it's that special time of year that my hubby likes to call my freak time.  Where I go crazy getting ready for shows.

I"m trying to not be as crazy this year... I'm getting too hold for that kind of crap.  I'm trying to live a less stressful life and all.

It was working til now... but now, I'm going EEK! constantly in my head.

Do I have enough inventory?  Did we find all the show stuff from the move? did something get left behind? The tent is getting old, maybe I should replace the tent ??

I didn't make any changes in the display this year, what was I thinking? ( OK on this one by brain tries to rally self defense... with the move I've been incredibly busy!)

Will our spot be as nice as last year?  (it's the same spot, so hopefully this one is covered... )

Will my various illnesses be even more problematic this year ?( probably when I'm honest with myself, this one I'm having some self denial)

Can I find the time to get a few more pieces done without skipping sleep? (probably no)

Will people still like my jewelry this year?   Will my business continue being successful?  Will making art jewelry still calm my soul? ( well except for right before a show)

This weekend, I'm doing final prep, trying to get a few more pieces done, and getting it all packed into the car in time for Farmer's Market at 7am next Sat.  I have a bunch of stuff I've made in the last few weeks I need to get pictured and priced.

I know it will work out in the end.  Or in this case, the beginning of show season!  It's just getting all of my brain to agree......

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rabies tag jewelry

Moving gave me an opportunity to really sort out things and get rid of stuff we didn't really need.  
Digging through my computer desk I found what had to be close to 20 years worth of rabies tags from the city of Des Moines.  For those not in this great town, you have to licences for you pets, including cats.  After you pay your fees, they provide you with tags for the cat's collars.  Since our cats are inside ones, and we couldn't get them to wear a collar short of gluing it on, they collected dust in my desk.  Now, any sane person would get rid of them on moving, I mean what's the point right? You only really need this year's batch, right? 


Me I have to make jewelry out of them.. I mean they come with nice sized holes already, why not? 
So I've turned my collection, covering 6 different cats over the years, into fun wearables for the cat person, not the cat.
Some of them are at the Five Monkey's Inc gallery if you are interested, the rest will premiere at Farmer's Market May 25th.   (or just let me know you want something!) 

 Yep, I really will make jewelry with just about anything.