I am a Maker

Like my Creator I too have been given the blessing of being able to create. I have been given hands that can hold my instruments, and a mind that can see things that are not yet there. I have seen beauty beget beauty and deep searing pain beget beauty. I have seen that which seems impossible and made it so. I make words work together. I make small beautiful things to adorn people and places.

I work on my artistry and craft for the same reason I write here…for therapy. Every piece has held, helped, and healed a moment in my life that was joyful or painful. Each piece I have crafted is a monument to my desire to make beautiful things as I have been made into a beautiful thing. To remind others that though they adorn their homes and themselves with my work, they have been adorned with a souls, crafted by the greatest hands of an Almighty Craftsman.

I work to remind the world, that if you want beautiful things you must…absolutely must….stop starving the artists.

Below is a collection of some of my small adornments. They are a combination of metals and natural materials. If you’d like to see more you’re welcome to visit my business Facebook page.

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Christmas Plans

The day has been grey, and as I sit here at my laptop I can only be thankful to be indoors. The combination snow and rain is making my bones chill, even though my heat is on full blast and my cats are warmly tucked at my feet and behind my back as I type.┬áIt officially feels like winter now, as I can watch the sun sink a little earlier in the day. It’s only 4pm and nearly dark out, accompanied by clouds looking stern and cold through the water droplets on my window pane.

My husband and I set up our Christmas Trees last weekend. This year we set out only 3 instead of 4. Our little 3 ft white tree in the living room, our 2 ft frocked tree in the bedroom, and a 3 ft metal frame “tree” my husband keeps in the basement with the rest of his nerd ornaments. This year we have no travel plans and no required places to be. We’ve not committed to anything at all.

I’m actually looking forward to Christmas this year.

As I’ve posted in the past, I do not often like Christmas. I dislike the commercialism, even though I do enjoy shopping to a fault. I struggle between wanting things and wishing I didn’t want things, as I think most people my age do. We’re raised by TV and Internet to be consumers and then we we are adults, we realize we cannot afford to consume as much as we want, and more than half the time, we can’t even afford what we need. So while I love shopping, I shouldn’t, and while I would love to give Christmas Gifts to people I love, I usually can’t.

One of the remedies I have discussed in past posts has been to alternate Christmas gift giving between making handmade gifts, and giving gifts that support greater causes like Charities or a small family-owned business. By doing this, I find either I give something a little more thoughtful and custom made, or I’m giving a gift that gives back in some way or another. That way my family gets gifts, and my gift giving feels more meaningful than just buying the lasted gadget at a large corporation that doesn’t do that much for it’s community or the charities it claims to support. Plus, I leave with less buyers remorse than usual.

A few of the Charities I’ve given to and supported this year I posted in a previous blog post and have been supporting for a while either with my money or my time (or both).

Another reason I’ve been enjoying Christmas more this year, is because I’m doing more to celebrate. My husband and I are starting to formulate and investigate Christmas traditions, which we hadn’t done last year because we were only celebrating our first Christmas and didn’t quite know what the other thought about the holiday, much less what we thought about traditions. One of the traditions we decided on, that also works as a personal goal, is that we’ve decided to attend every Advent sermon at church this Advent season to help us reflect on not only the positivity we should feel for the season, but also the greatest Gift of all…The birth of Jesus Christ.

Another tradition my husband and I are starting this year, is we’re throwing a small Krampus celebration, where we have invited friends over on Dec. 5th (Krampusnacht) to watch the Dark Comedy Film based on the old lore of Krampus, the Christmas Demon. Apparently an old European tale of a demon who took care of the naughty children in a way that St. Nick didn’t (usually kidnapping and eating them). A little dark and ridiculous, but all the same a fun little something that we can look forward to every year.

What are your holiday plans? What traditions do you celebrate in the winter months?

A Confession: Failing

I was supposed to be a friend’s plus one at a wedding this evening. “Supposed to be” being the key term. Tonight, during a bought of freezing rain, my car slid a little and threw me into a panic attack induced by a car accident I had a few months ago, where my husband and I hydroplaned into a cement divider on the interstate going 70 mph. I was driving at the time and totaled the car.

The panic attack I had this evening forced me to pull into a parking lot to calm down, and when I did, I had to call my friend and tell her I was struggling to make it the 45 min drive to her place, and told her I had to flake out on her. She understood and told me to go home and stay safe.

I was really disappointed when I got home. Disappointed at how much the anxiety from my car accident made me fearful and prevented me from living my life. Before the accident I didn’t have issues with minor things like sliding. I knew how to control slide. I was able to push through them. I wasn’t paralyzed by them. But since the accident, I’m afraid to even drive in rain during the summers.

So I flake out on my friends and fail myself and them. I wish I knew how to get over it. How to not be afraid.

Diabetes Awareness Month…is a joke.

So November has been diabetes awareness month, and I have to say I haven’t done much posting about it. Why? Because I fucking hate it.

I don’t want to be a diabetic. I hate this disease. I hate being obsessed with food and with counting carbs and needles and all the complications of everyday diabetic life.

I don’t want to make people aware of my disease…I want my disease gone. I want it eradicated like polio and small pox. I want it destroyed.

The problem is, I don’t think there will be a cure in my lifetime. Why? Because insulin is the sixth most expensive liquid in the world. The fifth most expensive is Chanel perfume. If that doesn’t tell you the priorities of common man, then I don’t know what does. Big Pharma makes money off my plight, and I for one am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

There. That’s the awareness I’m spreading. That diabetes awareness only educates people more on how to care for diabetics…care for….not cure. While I appreciate people being aware that I have a disease that causes me to need special attention…what I really would appreciate is a cure and making people aware of how much that probably isn’t going to happen.

Still I hope for it in my lifetime. Not for my sake, but the sake of so many others like me.

End rant.

Panic

As I sat in the waiting room, I suddenly realized that I was the youngest person in the whole room, between the usual patients, some of whom I recognized from the same waitingroom several months prior. We must all be on similar schedule routines.

The scent of musk perfume was overwhelming as more patients entered the small room, which I suspected was once some kind of hospital room now converted. Probably the kind that had 2 patient beds and a curtain between them. The room felt smaller as walkers and wheelchairs piled in with their owners. An elderly gentleman and his wife sat near me, and while they were friendly and made small talk with me, I began to feel a slight sense of panic. The room was filling up, and I began to be uncomfortable in my own skin, suddenly realizing how many of the people there were probably on their last legs with the same disease I had.

I pushed it down. I had no reason to panic. There was plenty of space to walk and move. I wasn’t going to die from diabetic complications. That’s why I was here. To do everything I could to prevent that issue. Besides, people, especially the elderly, are nothing to be afraid of. This social anxiety thing had to stop. I swallowed hard and sighed. Breathing my way through it all.

Thankfully, moments later a nurse came in, and realizing how many people were in the room moved me into another room where I could comfortably take off my insulin pump and fill out paperwork. “This should do just fine until I can get you an exam room.” I looked around. The room I was in now had a table with chairs around it and an examination table in the corner, and I wondered why this room was never utilized as a typical exam room since it was already set for it.

I was glad for the moment to gather my head before seeing the doctor.

The doctor was positive about my progress. My organs were behaving normally. My A1C was high, 9.4, but was positively lower than my last one. I was exercising every day at least a half hour to an hour and while I had gained weight, she seemed positive about me losing it once I got my A1C down and ate more low carb.

For once in my life, I left the doctor feeling like I could actually make even more progress. My goal was to get my A1C down to a 7 in 6 months. I could do that. I knew I could do that. I just had to eat lower carb meals and exercise like I was. All manageable.

I’m going to do it.

Creative and Poor

I purchased a font this past weekend at the Wayzgoose, and I’m so discouraged by what a hard time I’m having with the poster I want to make using it. Either I over ink or under ink and my paper jumps and I just can’t get a good print out of it to save my life.

Normally I don’t get so discouraged, but this week, having spent so much time seeing what other people do with their own creativity, especially in the letterpress world, I’ve become quite discouraged by my lack of equipment, time, and creativity.

My talents usually lie in being a bit of a wordsmith. Yet, I haven’t found my knack for translating that into some kind of appropriate format with letterpress. Which is ultimately my goal. Usually it’s because I never feel like I have enough. Not enough images. Not enough type. Not enough talent. If only I could make my own type, but alas, it is another resource that I simply have no money for. Depleted and discouraged by the font purchase, I worry that perhaps I was not worthy to work with such a lovely font.

If only I were better at woodcuts or something. If only I had more time. More money. More original ideas when I needed them. A bigger and better press. A bigger and better shop. More lead slugs. Less distractions.

I keep trying to remind myself that I really don’t have to be more, but it still feels so discouraging when I feel like every time I make a gain in an artistic direction and I have an idea…I don’t have the resources to execute that idea.

It’s difficult being creative and poor.

Ultimately I know if I had the funds and the practice I could make some really awesome stuff. I’d just need to really be willing to dedicate myself to the design and put in more effort to make something really great. But between my day job, my life as a home owner and wife, and my lack of funds and resources… being able to work on my letterpress has been difficult, and though I try not to be discouraged, I find more often than not I’m comparing myself to those who have quit their day jobs and just work on their presses as a livelihood. They come up with amazing work. So much more beautiful than I have the capacity for right now.

Most days, I laugh at myself for having the audacity to call myself a printer. I’m hardly a designer most days. It’s like my creativity has left me. I’m all dried up and discouraged that this hobby is so expensive, and yet has captivated me so deeply.

I Voted

“My husband told me he doesn’t want me to get a job because we’ll lose our state health insurance.”

She poured out the sorrowful story I had once known all too well. People having to work a broken system to stay alive. In her case it was behavioral medications she and her family needed, with several members on the spectrum, and herself with severe mood disorders. All of them with suicidal tendencies, and the youngest of them 9 years-old.

It’s days like that that I feel so deeply we should have socialized healthcare, being chronically ill myself and knowing so many others who also are in situations like his, where woman can’t contribute to her own home an society by remaining unemployed to keep their public healthcare. It just breaks my heart.

I wouldn’t mind helping others stay alive and healthy given the opportunity. I pay for sidewalks I’ve never walked on, and parks I’ve never visited with my tax dollars, how much more important is the person who HAS walked on those sidewalks and visited those parks, clearly we give enough to help them enjoy those perks of our tax dollars, so why not help keep them alive and healthy?

It’s all I could think of when I voted yesterday.

While some have reason why they’d rather not have socialized healthcare, my heart only broke as I recalled listening to my friend talk on her situation. I too know that fear. I too hated the idea of having to abuse a system to stay medicated and alive with insulin costs only on the rise. I too was tired of paying high copays and deductibles, having more than half my paycheck going to keep me alive and very little else. I recall giving up food, internet, showers, and heat at different points in my life as I lived alone, just to make sure I could get my insulin. How much better would it have been if I could get more help and have reasonable payments on insulin? That would be nice.

Alas, while only time will tell, there is so much resistance to fight.

Wayzgoose

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines Wayzgoose as

A wayzgoose (or wayz-goose, waygoose or wayzegoose) was at one time an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). It marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight.

For those of us in modern terms, it’s a time of year that many letterpress printers, paper manufacturers, wood cut carvers, wood/metal engravers, font and typography designers, and lovers of printed ephemera come together for a weekend of workshops, creativity, and art/equipment swapping/selling. In the spirit of the tradition, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum puts on the event the first weekend of every November, and I have been fortunate enough to volunteer each year for the last three years of the event, as well as offer my time there every Saturday I can during the year.

This year had a couple of firsts for me.

It was the first Time I could attend a full-day Friday, which is usually workshop day. I was fortunate enough to assist with the workshop Rick VonHoldt of Foolproof Press and Bill Allan of Gaslight-Daze Printery using the Silver Buckle Press collection now housed at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. I learned so much during that session and assisted in helping so many talented artists create beautiful and meaningful pieces using this rare collection of type, ornaments, and illustrations.

My other first this year was going to the pre sales for Virgin Wood Type and moors Wood Type, which involved huddling in a crowded hotel room, drinking, purchasing newly crafted wood blocks for letterpress printing, and publicly shaming Brad Vetter for hogging all the good stuff (all in good fun of course).

But the first I enjoyed the most? Finally attending the annual bowling outing and bowling with Jim Sherraden and Celene Aubry of Hatch Showprint who was also our volunteer coordinator. I was out until 2:30 AM sipping gin and tonics, belting out songs that were playing on the juke box, and bowling…badly.

While I had many firsts, some things never change. Friends I see yearly were back, and we were able to reconnect for our annual catching up. Work was swapped, business cards passed, and nearly everyone was in tears when it came time to call the weekend quits. Even though I was tired, I found myself misty eyed as I drove back to my home to rest, knowing it would be another 365 days before I’d see any of them again.

Therapy

“My first therapy appointment is Nov. 6th.”

“I’m so proud of you!”

I was too. I was so proud of her for finally taking a step towards dealing with her issues and setting goals. It was about time she started seeking more professional help in her situations, instead of coming to me for advice all the time.

My thoughts turned to myself then, and wondering why I don’t just buck up and go? I’ve been wanting to for a long time, and since getting married and navigating my relationship, I began feeling the depression worsen slightly, but not enough to alarm me.

Overall, my real issue is I’m too depressed to go.

Building another professional relationship with a therapist feels overwhelming. Becoming a better person takes a lot of time and investment, and I’ve invested a lot of my time in other things, like my friendships, hobbies, and work. You know, those things every human needs to survive and feel functional.

Most days I hardly feel functional at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look it.

I find any free time I do have is spent wishing for other things. I used to be such a content person, but since getting married I find I spend more time wishing things in my life could be different. Wishing that I had better things, prettier things, better health, better home, better everything. I’ve spent most days having the “I wants” instead of focusing on the “I needs” in my life. Really, I’d rather put my money to retailer than to my own health, because I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and the fewer specialists I have to see, the better. I’d rather have my money go to things I want instead of my needs. Thus, I retail therapy. A lot.

I feel terribly guilty after making purchases though, which makes me wonder why I enjoy buying things so much. Heaven knows how it got his way. The things I buy don’t make me a better person. They don’t make me feel better. They don’t really do much for me when it comes to self gratification.

Still the cycle continues, and I wonder why I don’t just do the right thing and go to therapy?

Because, I guess I really don’t want to.

Nostalgic for Another Age

The Lady in Gold by Anne Marie O’Connor holds my thoughts a lot lately as I’ve been reading it. In a time where wealth, elitism, and a hostile environment towards modernism in art and Jewish culture become a chaotic romantic period all its own. I continually think about what it must have been like to be part of high society. To live with papers writing about you and to see painters display portraits of yourself commissioned and hung on gallery walls. To live during a time of revolution and oppression all at once.

I often think about the way things were then. About what being a young woman in society looked like. The oppression of the feminine sexuality in the brink of its liberation. A time when social standing could be both a blessing and a curse to the private and social life depending on the pastime you chose as a lady. The more I read about it, the more I find myself wishing to ah e lived it. To be part of the golden revolution of sexuality and modernism. To go to fashionable parties and meet the artists of the time, talk to hem about their artistry, to speak on political climates and to spend time bejeweled in gowns at operas with friends.

Most days I wish I was born in another era.

What I both love and loath about the time is he way men treated women. Male callers would respectfully call on you and show you a good time, but to be seen as anything but virtuous while out with the male caller would mean the complete destruction of your eligibility were things not to work out. If you were less fortunate, you’re marriages would be arranged, with wealthy older men who probably had mistresses and STDs. Still, the glamor of the wealthy lifestyle would have been nice. To own palaces and fine jewelry. To attend social events regularly at salons to exchange new and exciting ideas. To get dressed to the aces and go out dancing as a single debutante. The thrill of being chased after, and the thrill of knowing you had a chance against all chances to sense the changing tide of female liberation.

Of course, the book I’m reading takes placed during both WWI and WWII. With political anxiety at its height threatening the liberation you so desperately were seeking and the research of Freud was so nearly honoring, only to be swept under the rug of war along with racism. What a trying, terrifying, and anxious time it would be to live in, if we are being realistic. Not something to envy.

Still, I romanticize the idea of living high society life in those days at its glamorous height. I envision myself much like the rebellious women of the time. Sensually dressed in the latest forbidden fashions. Frequenting salons to talk on the artistic and political climate (which only means talking about men, which I would be a considerable advocate of being young, single, and allowed my forgivable ignorance). Sipping champagne and tea on hot afternoons in galleries, alone and mysterious…and stubbornly unchaperoned. Loudly fighting for women’s suffrage and rights at the turn of the century.

Yes, I’ve been daydreaming about it a lot. Wondering why such things no longer take place? Though, to be realistic once again, such lifestyles require not just wealth, but elitism, something most Americans, myself included, would cringe at. That is the unfortunate issue with fantasies like this…they have so many negatives about them that at the end of the day you wonder how good could anyone in high society, then or now, really have it? Still, the shallow part of me wishes being able to dress up and go to respectable house parties Gatsby style wouldn’t be too bad if one could avoid the drama and times were fairly peaceful.