Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Resolutions

I don't care what other people say, I love New Year's Resolutions. It's the perfect starting point for me, or starting-over point.

I know that you do better with goals if you write them down and if you have "do-by" (or in librarian-speak "DUE-by" hee hee I kill myself) dates. So, here's my list.

1. Give up Diet Pepsi (and Diet Coke). I need to give up the addictions. It's time for my body to become my own again. Other sodas aren't really a problem, so I'm not counting them in this resolution, but they might be added if they become such. (The husband will be the guide for this)

2. Give up Dove chocolate. Oh the pain. See #1. Addiction. (It's been really good to have been sick with the flu the past three days - makes it not taste good)

3. Write and post my How to Make Folded Books tutorial on my Etsy site by Jan. 31st.

I suppose I could go on, but these three goals are the ones that are topmost in my mind. I need to do them the most. As the year goes on, I'll probably add more...

Monday, December 28, 2009

In the Midst of my Chaos

I found this while scrolling through my blogroll - a featured item on Folding Trees! It's been a nice thing to happen to me in the midst of all this soul-searching I've been doing. You think that there's nothing about yourself good, but then you find someone appreciates some beauty you add to the world.

Thank you Folding Trees!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Contemplation


Those talking-to's my bosses gave me last week have gotten me to thinking about similar incidents I've had over the years. So many of the rough spots I've been in in life have stemmed from times when I've acted in the same way. In other words, I'm seeing myself in a new light and it ain't a pretty sight.

I talk too much. I'm many other things besides this that I'll never share in my blog - it's hard enough to share them with myself. I read a passage in my latest favorite books that sums up a quality I never valued before, but am doing so now:

" You have a grand gift of silence, Watson," said he. " It makes you quite invaluable as a companion."

And there is a scripture from the New Testament about Mary where she took all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I wonder what would happen if I were quieter...

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Couldn't Make This Up

I got a talking-to by the head of the main library about my weeding practices.

I got a verbal warning from my branch supervisor about a mistake I made with time sheets over scheduling hours without permission. (In this library system, you train yourself. There is no manual. I goofed on something I didn't know I was doing wrong, but like the captain of his ship, I am responsible for my actions...)

An email came from the head of our library system that we are being evaluated for outsourcing library services like Riverside County Library.

A retired librarian from Riverside County Library came up to my desk and said, "I used to be a librarian in Riverside County and I'm visiting your library for an hour while I'm waiting for my train." She told me all about when their system was outsourced 10 years ago.

And it's only 2:45. I still have more than three hours to go.

I want my mommy!

Weird how grownups don't feel grownup sometimes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh My...



I'm questioning myself right now with the stuff I put in my shop. Is it okay to make things I would NEVER wear? To sell, I mean. I have people make suggestions for phrases to make into jewelry and some of them are quite clever. Some are slightly sexy. It's not that I don't like them - I think they are funny. But I am not the type of person to wear something that says HEY I'M SEXY LOOK AT ME.

*gulp*

I mean, I make fun of sexy things. That says a lot about me, I guess.

That I think sexy is private?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Art After Books or, Why I Fold Books


Why make art out of books?

I have always been a prolifically creative person. That means I have an obsessive need to make things, but I don't spend a lot of time on any one of these things. During college, one of my personal challenges for my art was to let myself take more than five minutes at a time to do it! Friends of mine would fiddle with one painting for what seemed like forever. I had to do a painting in a day or work on several at once, flitting from one to the next in a constant circuit.

Over the years, I have tried a multitude of crafts - that word meaning "different forms of making." I dislike the word 'craft' in that it brings to mind tole painting or sticking cartoon speech balloons to photographs. Hokey. Ill-made. Dust-catcher. In it's original form, 'craft' actually meant: make by hand and with much skill.

I've learned basket-weaving, paper-making, stained glass, bookbinding, quilting, oil painting, sculpture, welding/casting, baking, sewing and probably many other things that I just can't remember right now. One thing that has always held me back is cost. I simply can't afford to make things at the rate (and skill level I have the patience for) that I, uh, make them.

So, I mulled it over on the backburner of my mind for a long time. I needed a craft that I could make a lot of, get the supplies for readily, was "me" and I could afford.

And then Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion had an article in one of their magazines about folding books. It hit me like a bolt of lightning. I usually tear out magazine articles and hold on to them for years, never doing anything with them. Not so with this one! I found an old book and got to work that night, folding away.

It was wonderful. I had a piece of work that I was proud of in just a few hours. I love books (as evidenced by the fact that I own about a billion of them, have worked in bookstores or libraries for my whole life and consider reading to be both good for you and fun, too) and saw the potential for using old, unloved books in new and exciting ways.

So I use old books to make art. After a lot of trial and error, using all different sizes and shapes of books, I decided that Reader's Digest Condensed books give me the most consistent results in what counts: number of pages, quality of paper, and size of finished piece. This is not to mention the fact that RDC Books are in great abundance (for people donate them in quantity to libraries and thrift stores), they are cheap (see previous fact), they are well-made in terms of both binding and paper quality, and, lastly, they are not valuable anymore in terms of the information they hold.

That makes them perfect.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Always Fun When Family Comes...

Two of my sisters (I have five) came out to visit me from Utah (blech). I thanked them for their long journey by making them go fossil-hunting. I found a shark's tooth in the first five seconds my hands were in the dirt. They found nothing except a lot of aches and pains from hiking up the mountain (hill). I'm in the pink shirt. Please note that I'm the only one with a digging tool.

I have added some new items to the shop - kilt pins! I think these are more better (I CANNOT THINK OF THE WORD! I'M AN IDIOT LIBRARIAN) than necklaces - you can wear them with more stuff.

What is the word I'm trying to think of? Am I losing my memory at 41 years of age? I'm doooooomed...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Re-reading Childhood Favorites


I've been re-reading the Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace over the past couple of weeks or so. It's been an eye-opening remembering-type experience, seeing the world as it was a hundred years ago. Refreshing. Innocent. Makes me want to be there, but have Internet. It's weird how much we've changed since then. Hand-holding was "serious". Oh my. I was such a hussy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yes, I have a Master's Degree!

This morning I finally figured out what was wrong with the cornstarch I've been using to powder myself.

It's powdered sugar.

I put the wrong bag under my bathroom sink last week and only noticed it when I poofed the puff in the powder (say that five times fast) and tasted sweet on my tongue from the wafting particles in the air.

What a dork.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween with the Eddys


Since I now work every Saturday until I die, Halloween was spent at the library for me. Brian was sweet enough to bring the kids over to see me in my getup (and visit my new digs - more on that later). Here my smile is sweet, soft, serene...



Now here is me at the end of the day - we're at a church party. The kids are high on candy and Brian and I are so tired we're barely holding it together. Look at that manic smile on my face!


And look what happens when the husband leaves out a bowl of candy (ill-gotten gains stolen from the kids) on the couch before going to work. And mommy doesn't get out of bed to see *why* the kid is sooooooo quiet...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Walking the Walk

A few posts back, I talked about the woe I felt over not being able to have another baby. Instead of just clucking her tongue, a friend of mine, Holly, did this...


All the way from Hawaii, a package was delivered to my doorstep. I opened it to see this.


Then I unzipped it... ooo... suspense...


Ta da!


Kid, that little thing spells your doom. Doom, I say! Bring on the baby sister!

BTW, Holly will be selling these pouches in her etsy shop as soon as she gets a move on and OPENS IT! (Not that I'm being anything but lovingly encouraging, eh?)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Books, Books Everywhere and Not a Word to Read


This is the wall in my dining room. I've sorted my 100+ Readers Digest books into color groups. Now if I'm in the mood for a certain color, I can...

Oh, who am I kidding? I just pick from the top.

I Like Bakersfield Today

My hubby would die if he could read this post because he has known that it was a true sacrifice for me to move to Bakersfield after we got married. I had always heard jokes that started: "If Stockton is the armpit of California, Bakersfield is the..." Yeah.

Anyway, I love rocks. I briefly considered geology in college. Bakersfield is close to a few places where you can find fossils and stuff. When I was at work on Saturday (*sigh*), Brian went with his brother and family to go fossil-hunting. I wanted to go so bad that I asked him to take me where they went [but I won't do any digging because it's Sunday...] so I could, uh, look.

So we went just outside of town, about five miles (that's all!), drove off the road to this dirt-moguled area by the bike path and parked. We three (Kiff, Brian and me), got out and walked up the bike path about 2/3 mile before we got to this steep trail that led up the side of the hill. We don't have mountains here in Bako - just hills. This valley we live in was once an ocean (Temblor Sea, I think), and there is a strata of fossils that peeks out of the hillside every so often. So, up we went to where you could see the layers of rock/dirt and treasure.

Brian showed me the hole where his brother had dug and found six shark teeth and a huge vertabrae (whale? - no I'm not kidding). I looked into the hole and said, "I'm just going to see how hard it is to dig." [It's Sunday! Keep the Sabbath day holy!]


I figured if I didn't use tools, just my hands, I wasn't breaking the Sabbath. I'm not even Jewish - where did I get THAT logic? Anyway, I didn't find anything where my bro-in-law had looked, but I decided to turn around and dig on the OTHER side of the hole.


Bingo. Found a shark tooth in two minutes. Then a couple of bones, then a cup-shaped thing.


I love where I live although, I'm allowed to change my mind in the future.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ooh... hooked on motifs

Have you seen this book? It's AMAZING! If I had time to crochet, I'd be making tons of these!

This is one of the problems of working at a library. It's all "free" so you end up getting greedy with all the books you can check out. Then you have a billion types of crafts you want to learn ALL AT ONCE and then you don't have time to do any of them because you are drooling over all the books. *sigh*

Okay, in my next life, I will have more time. Yeah, right.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last Day

Today was my last day at the Southwest Branch. Every few years they like to shake us up a bit and have us get experience at another branch. And yes, keep us from getting territorial at "our" branches.

I start tomorrow. I have a key and an alarm code. I don't know where the branch is very well, so I need to get directions. I don't know where the staff entrance is, so I'll have to wait for a co-worker to show up. I hope they like me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Literary Boy

The other day I was talking to Kiff, trying to use my time as a Mommy wisely by having a teaching moment.

"What sound does a doggie make?" I asked.

"Ruff ruff!" Kiff answered.

"What sound does a kitty make?"

He hesitated, although I know he knows what sound a kitty makes. "Meow," I prompted. "Meow! Meow!" Kiff chimed.

Thinking that I had to help now, I said, "What sound does a cow make?" and said, "Moo-ooo!" with him.

"What sound does a pig make? Oink oink!"

"NO Mommy! Pigs say, Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!"

Humility


I am at the main library today where I work one day a week to fulfill my 40 hours. There are often down times at the desk when I don't have patrons to help and I have a few minutes to explore things.

I am working on a tutorial for my folded books. In order to make this, I asked Odile from woollyfabulous for pointers. She kindly obliged, showing me the layout for her tutorial and giving me ideas. One suggestion was that I use Microsoft Publisher for my layout. We have this program here at work and I decided to try it. I'm pretty good at Word, but Publisher, not so much.

While I was playing around with it, a colleague of mine came over and sat on the desk, watching me work. He then gave some suggestions. I listened patiently although what he was telling me, I already knew. This went on for a while and I wondered if he would just leave me alone. It was then that I let him guide me through a series of steps to make a text box. Text boxes are duh-easy. Well, guess what. He taught me something about them that I never knew. And then he taught me something else. And then another thing. I have learned that I don't know everything and I should listen with intent to learn instead of just with pseudo-patience.

Thanks, Dave.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Needs vs. Wants

Brian asked if we could buy a new camera. I need one for Etsy, so I wanted to get one, too. Men have very different ideas about "needs" vs. "wants". I buckled and we bought the one that Brian said we "needed" but I insisted was a "want." I will be paying it off forever.

Still, the quality of pictures is amazing!

Friday, October 16, 2009

If Wishes Were Fishes

Yesterday I had a long-overdue girly-appointment with my OB/GYN. I've been avoiding this appointment for about a year and a half, always hoping to return, not for a check-up, but because I was pregnant.

It's been more than two years and nothing has happened. I have baby fever and see pregnant women everywhere. I talk about having a baby sometimes with Brian. Although he says he wants another baby, I don't hear the longing in his voice and I wonder if he really is glad we don't have another. He has two from a previous marriage and I worry that he feels "full" enough already. I love Alex and Kenzie and Kiff, but I want another of my own. I want to feel pregnancy one more time, to experience the wonder again.

The weight in my chest got heavier the closer I drove to the doctor's office. I parked and sat in the car for a few minutes, composing my thoughts. I walked in the doors and the smell was overwhelmingly familiar - it reminded me of anticipation and giddy happiness. It was the first time I remember not feeling homesick for my family since getting married.

Everything in the office and waiting room was the same except for me. The main waiting area was filled to overflowing with pregnant women. I couldn't bear to be surrounded by so much fecundity so I went to the smaller waiting area off to the side. Tears threatened to spill, humiliating me further. I hate being jealous. I want to be better than that. I'm not.

I'd brought a folded book with me to work on while I waited. I sat there and folded, my chair facing away from the main waiting area and walkway. I was startled by a hand on my shoulder - a nurse had seen what I was doing with the book and begged to see it. Her enthusiasm for my project was like a ray of sunshine in my overcast mind. It warmed me and, for a little bit, I forgot my emptiness.

Sometimes I wish my husband read my blog, that he knew how I felt. Isn't it weird to think there is so much he could learn about me if he chose? Does it matter that he doesn't know?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Late Night

Last night I had to work on grading my papers before I had a mental breakdown. It's like in those dreams you have where you've signed up for a class and you either can't find the classroom or it's the final before you've even attended. And either way, you're not prepared. That's what it's felt like for the past two weeks. I forgot that it's the final this week for the class I didn't get the last set of papers graded and feedback back to the students. Some of them need a LOT of feedback. How did they get into college in the first place, I wonder?

Anyway, after getting most of the papers in order (there is always one more you've forgotten to do), I went to bed and started reading Catching Fire by Susan Collins. Oh. My. Gosh. I stayed up way too late reading because I wanted to know what came next. I shouldn't plow through this one too fast because it's only the second in a trilogy...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Self-Conscious

Sometimes when I do my blog, I am so self-conscious that I have trouble forming my words. It's like I know I'm speaking to an audience and I wish I could speak like I'm talking to myself.

Or maybe I'm self-conscious because I'm speaking to myself and that is how I understand. Or maybe I'm crazy. That is possible.

Last night Brian helped me bring in my Readers Digests that I've had outside for a week or so. They are piled up and are a reminder of all the wonderful things I could be doing if I wasn't doing whatever it is that I have to do. I also have boxes of neat looking books that I want to make purses out of. Ugh. No time!

In my spare moments at work, I pull out my yellow paper that I've been keeping my ideas for my book origami how-to book. I wonder if I can make a PDF that I can sell on my etsy site. I read about this woman on etsy who crocheted pomegranates out of wire and no one bought them because they were so expensive. Then she made up a pattern and sold it. They were willing to pay 1/9th of the cost of the actual item to be able to make their own copy. I have been batting around the idea of a book for a while now. I even looked up Lark Publishing (imprint of Sterling who does all the craft books I like) and saw their rules for submission. I could do that. But how to make the time? AARGH!

You might be asking yourself, why doesn't she do this now instead of blogging? I'm at work! I only have time at work! And even then, I'm probably stealing from work because I should be weeding or planning my next program or rearranging some horribly full area. Ugh.

Monday, October 12, 2009

End of the weekend

I have Sundays and Mondays off. Today is the last day of my weekend and I did so much today that it might be restful to go back to work tomorrow...

Behind me are Readers Digests stacked on the floor half way up the wall. I had sorted them according to color/design last week out on a table on the patio. It's supposed to rain tomorrow (yay!) so I brought them in. Now they will stare at me mockingly.

To sleep, perchance to dream...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Circles Within Circles Book Art




I am proud to present my latest creation: Circles Within Circles. I am very pleased with how it turned out. It took forever to figure out how to make the design, but I'm happy with the result. I've listed it in my Etsy shop...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ups and Downs and Sinister Mermaids

I mentioned in my last post that my friend Holly and I had done a swap. I'm not really into sewing and am more than happy to let someone else stab themselves with needles while I fold books. I made her a "wanton" book and she made me a sinister mermaid bag. She stenciled the mermaid and sewed a front and a back picture. Here's the back. See why it's sinister?


And I've been working on more books. I'm trying to finish up the hundreds of in-progress ones I've got laying around the house. I call this one Ups and Downs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Day the Camera Died


Before my camera died, this is the type of thing I took a picture of.

It's a potato. Isn't that a hoot? I showed it to Brian last night before I had him peel it and cook it and he told me that Letterman had a woman on the other night with a heart-shaped potato. I could've been famous, huh?

And I listed a new book in my shop.



And then my camera died. Right when I have a ton more books to photograph and list. Ugh.

Finding Time

People often ask me how I find time to do everything - art, work, take care of a 2-year old. The answer is easy: I don't blog.

In fact, I've been thinking a lot about different things that eat up my time and what I am choosing to do rather than make art, be with my family or do my work here at the library. One thing I thought of was my blogroll. If you are like me, you feel the need to read EVERYTHING on your blog roll like it's a to-do list. I have had days where there were more than 400 items to be read. It made my heart sink.

When things that are supposed to be fun start making my heart sink, that's when I realize I need to unload some things from my (real or perceived) to-do list. So I started weeding out stuff. For instance, I realized most of my blogs were design blogs which means they kept showing me stuff for sale. My house is packed already and I was able to delete those sites without much thought. The second thing I did was look for sites that kept showing me how to do things that were not as clever as ... well, clever. Also, I realized that I will never have the time to turn my house into a completely bespoke creation - at least not before styles and tastes change enough that I wouldn't be interested in those projects anymore. Also, some of these "green" projects that people do nowadays are just plain tacky. Tacky projects photographed well. It's deceiving...

I kept blogs that inspire me, but not in a buy-this-now or make 100000000 things right now to be happy kind of way. I love blogs that show me their works in progress, too. I love seeing how other people work on things that I find beautiful. Look at my friend Holly's site to see some of that... There will be more about her later as she sent me the most beeyootiful mermaid tote a couple of weeks ago.

Now I just have to get a new camera to take a picture of it. Darn thing broke last night.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ooh... Pretty Treasury!


Hey! Look at this!

Pretty, huh? I'm always surprised at the items of mine that others choose for treasuries. This piece seems to be a favorite... The name is just soooooo weird!

For the Love of Dove


I have a confession: I love Dove chocolate.

My husband knows of this love affair. For our first anniversary, he bought me a large glass vase and filled it with Dove chocolates. It is my favorite gift to date. There were probably 200 little pieces of chocolate in there. Do you know how long 200 little pieces of chocolate last? Not long enough.

While I was pregnant, it didn't taste good. I looked forward to the end of pregnancy both to see my baby and have my tastebuds return to normal... Although I want another baby, I really do consider the fact that I will lose my taste for chocolate again.

I have a bag by my bed at night so that I can eat a few (hundred) while I do a puzzle before going to sleep. It's the treat I give myself so I feel special. Because that smooth creamy chocolate melting in my mouth is the most dreamy sensation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Berta's Book

This is a picture of my friend's book on display in her house. Darn, but it looks good...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Woo Hoo! Books

I've had so many books in the works now that I've told myself that I need to finish a few before I start anymore. I call this one Elven Crown. Cos that's what it looks like ta meh.


And on my bedside table, we have this little beauty in progress. Dunno what to call it yet.


My friend Holly and I have swapped things. She is a sewer (one who sews, not the other thing) and made me a bag - a sinister mermaid bag. I will take a pic of it later. Right now it is full of books in progress that I carry back and forth to work with me - I don't work on them. I just like to have them with me. A security bag, I guess? Eek. I have issues... But, I made her a word book. She should be getting it today or tomorrow, but I had to put a sneak peek in here...


And, the big news here is that I finally figured out how to do this pattern. I am THE QUEEN!

Good night for now. It's beddy-bye time and I really need a few Dove chocolates and a puzzle before bed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Melancholy Baby


I was in the shower the other night and a thought popped into my head: it's been so good lately that it's probably time for some bad things to happen. Even though I know that bad times alternate with good times, I hoped that the feeling was wrong.

Nope. The bad things that have happened have, fortunately, been nothing terrible - the car needed to be repaired to the tune of $500 and I had a run-in with a particularly horrible patron this afternoon (didn't want to pay fines because it wasn't their fault - it totally was). The events of the day sort of color the view of the future, too. Now I'm worried about tomorrow. Every Thursday I go to the main branch downtown to work - this is how I get my full 40 hours/week. The problem is, downtown is having trouble with their a/c and when you get a library full of hot hobos, things get icky. It was icky last week and I had to call 911 on a patron for the second time in a month. I just don't want to face another 911 kind of day tomorrow. Bleh.

Oh well.


But I did finish another book. Yay!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Emotionally Mute and Numb

Do you ever have it happen where you are working on a project like gangbusters - full of ideas and energy - and then, all of a sudden, you poop out?

I hit the wall on Sunday with my art. All of a sudden, my ideas dried up. I felt listless and tired.

I suppose this is part of the creative process - the rejuvenation part. It's just that I hate having to go through it. I feel like so much time is passing without accomplishing anything.

blah

And what's worse is that I can't adequately describe how I'm feeling. I've never been articulate about my feelings and emotions anyway, but I feel particularly mute right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lots of work in progress


Here's my table in the dining room (which we don't use during the week) filled with books in varying stages of completion. I'm really liking these new patterns.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Books for the Shop!


I'm on a roll now with some new designs. Here they go into the shop sometime today...