July 11, 2014

Where Bloggers Create 2014

Welcome to Where Bloggers Create 2014

Has it been a year? I guess it has, but it has flown. I wish I felt like my list of accomplishments were more equal to the accumulation of days and months that have went by. In any event, welcome to this year's tour of my workspace/studio/office. If you came by last year, thank you for coming to visit again, and if this is your first time here— I am most pleased that you have stopped by my little corner of the interweb. Before we get started I want to make certain to thank Karen Valentine at My Desert Cottage for hosting this party again.

Where Bloggers Create
Last year was such a blast that I am doing it again. I can not wait to see what treats there are in store for me when I go on the tour of all the great blogs that will be participating. In actuality, not a whole lot has changed in my little corner of the House since last year. On the whole, I am more settled; I have rearranged to make things more convenient or aesthetically appealing to myself, added a couple of pieces of furniture and gotten a bit more organized. When I realized that it was coming up on July, and time for Where Bloggers Create, I was certain that I had plenty of Time, that I would get everything clean and organized for a photo shoot and...

Gwen's Studio 2014
This year I have a much larger work table, and a couch (that I never sit on) in the studio.

The reality is that I moved stuff around and out of the way while I took pictures, just like I did last year when I only found out about this party a couple of days beforehand. I openly admit to being a procrastinator, but a procrastinator with an impossibly long to-do list. It is Summertime, and the "living ain't easy". I have even more to do than usual. It seems like the little extras just keep piling on. Everything from helping one of my daughters get moved just a few weeks ago, to my Mom is out of town so I go by her house and take care of plants a couple of times a week. I have also just went live with a commercial website I designed and built, and a million things keep cropping up to be done. All those little jobs, chores and errands can fill a day to overflowing before you even realize it.

Bead OrganizationOn to the tour now. I have managed to get through at least half of my bead stash. I have organized it into these handy little clear plastic cases, divided by different types of beads, findings and chain, etc. I have labeled these cases, and most of my studio. I have a lot better chance of actually finding what I am looking for than I did a year ago. 

Roll top desk in my studio
I finally got around to hanging the antique heddles which are all that is left of an old factory loom I actually found in the yard of a junk shop years ago. I learned how to weave on that loom, but it was in such an advanced state of deterioration that it didn't weather subsequent moves very well. I continue to decorate with thrift shop finds, such as the cake pedestal and old salt and pepper shakers on top of the wood file cabinet. The shakers are now filled with glitter. For those of you who commented and asked about the beautiful roll-top desk I got from my Dad, I did do a blog post with a virtual tour of its nooks, cubbies and crannies. You can find the post Autumn in the Studio with this link.

Studio Shelves 1Following up on the theme of Thrift Shop finds, I have shelves just loaded with such trinkets as those pictured here. Floral frogs, old and spray painted clothes pins, a glass globe I made, but am going to redo before the holidays, and the coolest little map print vase holding dowel rods shares space with recycled jars filled with tiny findings and clips.

Studio Shelves 2
I found the shabby white jewelry box in a NC thrift store. I replaced the plain knobs it had with some Tim Holtz ones I had on hand. The bracelet display came from a small shop's going out of business sale. The office section of thrift and second hand shops offer a wide array of storage options for paper goods, tags, etc. I have bought several items in industrial gray or black and spray painted them.
Lazy Susan-- work table carousel

Though lots of my storage, containers and displays are vintage or second hand, I have purchased several pieces from Michael's, and I love them. If you are cheap like me and wait till they are on sale 40% or more off, they are budget friendly items. This work table carousel keeps all my scissors, rulers, glues and other small items near at hand.
Recharge Station

I found this side table out in the back room of the barn. It was chipped and water stained, and a lovely enamel black. I was tired of having my phone and other devices virtually sitting on the floor by my desk when they were recharging, but the space next to the desk was narrow. It just happened that this little table fit in around the speaker and surge protector like a charm. So, I sanded, painted and decoupaged, and with the addition of some colorful little clips for the cords, it is a recharging station. It is a little funky, I know, but I like it, and it is very practical.

Here is a yard sale find that I am very happy with. It is a vintage Sunshine biscuit Currier & And Ives Autumn tin and while it has a tiny bit of rust, it is in wonderful shape. I paid $1.50 for it. When the woman having the sale told me the price, I clutched it to me, afraid that if I put it down someone else would grab it. It makes a splendid holder for sewing bric-a-brac.

This case holds just a small fraction of my button collection. I have old (a couple of cracked leather buttons still on the original but unreadable card) and new, wood, ceramic, glass, plastic, metal, leather, rhinestone and crystal buttons just off of the top of my head.

Christmas in July

And yes, there is a tiny Christmas tree sporting some LED lights with bubbles embedded in them I wanted to try out a string of, and an assortment of beaded ornaments I still have. They were a good seller for me when I belonged to a craft guild in North Carolina a few years back.
Yarn filled Baby Buggy

Every once in awhile when you are the sort of inveterate Thrifter that I am, you walk through the door of one of your familiar haunts and have an AHH HA kind of moment. When I saw this little baby doll basket at one of my favorite shops, I immediately knew it was going home with me. I think I paid about $3.00 for it, and I am convinced that I got a deal. It has become the catch-all for several different items over the course of the last few months, but currently is harboring a heap of yarn.

Wicker Couch in front of Studio Window

As I get ready to wind up this tour, what better place to stop than the big cozy wicker couch that now sits in front of my picture window. In a less hectic world, we would share a cup of tea and admire the view. I wanted to make certain, on the off chance that Romeo from Confessions of a Junkyard Cat should stop by, he will have a place to relax for a bit.

And speaking of the view out the window. It has drawn me more and more of late. My daughter and I are entertaining ideas of doing not only a bigger vegetable garden, but a patch of herbs and small fruits like figs, elderberries, blueberries and blackberries for the Farmer's Market. To that end, we have been spending many, sometimes grueling hours out in the heat trying to tame the wild patch that was the garden area here when we arrived. I don't think the tour would be complete without including a photo of where my daughter Gaia and I do a lot of our Creating these days. So, I am going to wish you farewell from the little building behind the House that we call the Garden House. Thanks for stopping by...

The Garden House 2014

July 2, 2014


Social Media-- Accountability

Living on the Cusp— Finding a Direction at the end of The Age of Reason

 We are indeed fated to live in interesting times, living up to the blessing or curse of the old, supposedly Chinese adage that is blithely and often bandied about. Perhaps this is always the case. Whatever times we find ourselves in are likely, speaking in probabilities, to be eventful and frought with one sort of adventure or other, and very often not of the welcome or expected variety. But I think most would agree with me were I to state that these are turbulent times we are experiencing just now. How often have you heard ones state that their lives are too busy, too hectic or just too rushed to keep up with this, that or the other thing? Expressing how overwhelmed we all are has become a Mantra for this current decade.

As usual, I am also busy and harried, and not timely with my Blog posts. I honestly do not know where my weeks go. The Time unravels like trying to track the path of a falling star. By the time I catch my breath, I have already moved on, seemingly at the behest of some automatic pilot I was not aware of being equipped with. I keep Thinking that I have all this time, that I should be able to accomplish so much and organize my life, but I seldom get far past the initial thought. My life is like this Blog. It goes off in directions I could not have anticipated when I began it a year and a half ago. I have often struggled with this direction, trying to push it back into saner and safer channels. However, I have had some thoughts on this subject lately, and I think ultimately, I will let this Blog be what it wants to, while I split off into another venue in order to pursue other interests and necessities.

The fact that I can decide to launch a new shop, publish my photographs or writing, or any number of other business avenues as easily as I can is just another indication of how fast and far we have come, at least technologically speaking, these past few decades. I think I can say, without doing the research, that the first world nations have made greater scientific and technological leaps in the last few decades than in the preceding several hundred years. It literally boggles the mind of anyone over the age of thirty or so to try and mentally assimilate the vast changes just within their lifetimes.  I have to wonder about cause and effect. Are we so rushed, so overwhelmed in our lives by this onslaught of change, or has the tempo of the change come as a response to the acceleration of Time itself?

The Magic of Technology
   Even though I can contemplate and pursue avenues not available to me even a decade ago, through the magic of the internet and the array of gadgets that keep all of this constantly at my fingertips, there is a price. It costs me Time, an increasingly precious and rare commodity, and forces me to fragment my attention to achieve my goals. To be a successful internet entrepreneur, you have to not only keep up with a technology and infrastructure that is evolving right before your eyes, but you have to be savvy enough to use Social Media and other tools to draw traffic your way.

I will readily admit that there are things about the internet that I like, and just as many that I don't. I am old enough that none of this really comes naturally to me. The learning curve can be steep for those of us not born and raised on the techno-teat. However, the lure is there. My Dad is a Texting aficionado, seldom is far from his iPhone, and spends several hours a day on Email and the internet. It is not something I would ever have expected, yet it is a testament to the power that these devices hold over us as a culture. Social Media is another example of this magnetic sway. First embraced as a cutting edge icebreaker by the young and tech-savvy, or as a networking tool by the scientific establishment,  it has grown into a gargantuan network of internet industries catering to any interest you can conceive of. I think that it was a shock when young people discovered that their parents, often just tuning into these social networks to monitor their offspring, became as enamored of them as their children. So, young people hopscotch from one venue to the next, trying to keep a jump ahead of their internet hungry parents. And there is always somewhere new to go.

To get back to the usage of Social Media as a business tool, I will say that it is somewhat akin to being sucked into a black hole in many ways. While infinitely useful, the pitfalls are there. You can be caught in the magnetic fields of many of these media before you even realize that it happens. No matter how efficiently you manage these things, they will still swallow up large chunks of your precious time. Before starting this Blog, the only social type sites I had accounts on were deviantART and Pinterest. As I have admitted before, I am a bit of a Pinterest addict. It is my unwind at the end of the day activity. I keep expecting to get bored with it, but thus far, it still maintains its luster in the constellation of my leisure time activities.

Since launching this Blog I have spread out, so to speak. I have accounts on Google+, Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and Amazine. Ostensibly, I started these accounts to publicize my Blog. And truly, I do not usually spend a great deal of time on any of them. I finally dropped my account on deviantART simply because I did not have time to maintain it, and I should do the same with Instagram. Much as I love photography, I just never got that involved on that famous and very nifty site. Taken as a whole, these things, along with all else that goes into Blogging or opening a web store, take an enormous amount of time. And still, you have to attend to all the regular chores of life, and hopefully use some of that scant leisure time to unwind away from devices, internet and Social Media...

Daytona Beach-- June 2014
Okay— I know that many people are posting pictures of what they are doing on their Social Media even as they are doing it. But I also know that I will never be one of those people. I like to screen my photos, get rid of the out of focus or boring ones , and I like to enjoy what I am doing. How many times these days do you find yourself in a social situation where half or more of the participants have their mobile phones in their hands, either texting, browsing the web or updating social media instead of genuinely engaging with those around them? In my experience it happens very often, and I have even found myself pulled into this same activity at times.

We are a  lost people, looking for pearls in the dust of a decaying cultural milieu. So many of us have forgotten how to truly connect, or become jaded or suspicious from past experience. We know that the world around us is changing, that a way of life is passing. But we do not yet know where we are going, so we immerse ourselves in the barrage of artificial entertainments that too often pass for life.

There are hopeful signs as well as apocalyptic ones however. Magic is again becoming a widely accepted possibility in this world. The Age of Reason is crumbling beneath the onslaught of imagery, information and technical wizardry that has become our contemporary norm. Albeit much of the imagery is altered and enhanced. The information, crushing in its sheer amount, is just as likely to be misinformation or outright deception as anything resembling truth or illumination. However, if this abundance flows forth via the magic of one or more of our many technical gadgets, than a certain credibility is lent, a shine that is acquired just by association with the divine oracle of the Internet.

Again, I would say that I believe we are a people on the Edge of an Abyss. Great change is occurring in the way we apprehend the world around us. Our perceptions are being shown through a new glass, and we are yet to understand just what it means. A choice, I think. We are a folk at the Crossroads, and we have only to choose a direction, or to let go and let Spirit select it for us. That is a Choice, too.

Many Blessings and a wonderful Summer.

I will leave you with an image from our pasture. We did not have our anticipated flock of baby  wild turkeys, or poults, this year, whether because of weather, predation or some other factor. However, we enjoy the few that we have, and try to see that they are well fed.

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