Keeping a Creative Outlet

Sorry about the construction going on here. I am searching for a new header photo, but haven’t found one I like, yet.

Last time I touched base with you all, I was gearing up to start a new business with my husband. We were pretty sure we could make it work. It was basically selling business education, which is ironic, coz we got educated. We went through a three-month training course and were ready to fork over a $60,000 investment which would have covered more training in Fiji, Costa Rica and Malaysia. The company was run by an Aussie and many have had much success. We were in communication with top earners around the globe. We had some grandiose ideas.

Two days before we were to hand over the money, the Federal Trade Commission shut them down and flagged them as an MLM scam. Now, we did purchase products from them, which I liken to tuition for business school. And we’ve gotten our money back for everything except a $3500.00 payment to a loan originator. My husband says he learned more in those three months than he did getting his MBA. (He did that while we were dating in 2006.)

There are literally thousands who are out their investments and can’t turn a dime now, coz all their websites, back offices, front offices, online products pages, sales funnels…everything, gone. The owner, who is now worth $153 million, is paying his fines and retributions and cutting his losses. He’s moving into resort development now that he owns an island in Fiji. Everybody else depending on the company lost everything in the blink of an eye.

We still have retirement dreams that include travel, but we’ve found a rather unconventional way to afford it with International Pet Sitting. We connected with several house-sit platforms and an academy that helps you get set up and offers tips and tricks for sitting and travel. Again, we are in communication with people around the globe who are doing this and we’re pretty excited about it. We both love animals and lost our two doggies last year, but didn’t want to replace them coz when Greg retires we want to be free to travel. Many are doing this exclusively and don’t even own a home.

House sitting for two weeks to several months, caring for other people’s beloved pets, we’ll be able to fully immerse ourselves in other cultures, while getting our animal love fix. Greg speaks a few languages and looks forward to learning more. We have a website. It’s not fully completed, but it’s live now. (You can check it out HERE.)

I still have my writing. It’s slower than molasses though. I get a creative spurt and make it through a chapter. Put it down for a couple of months. Go back to it and trash another chapter. Writing has always been a hobby for me and I certainly never expected to make a career out of it, but it’s more than disappointing to spend so much time creating a good story, investing in good editing and cover art, then not even being able to break even. Have no earthly idea if or when I will finish book two in the Naked Eye series. I’d like to say by next summer, but I know we just finished home renovations and we have to install entirely new landscape in the backyard this winter. We are constructing a xeriscape with a couple of pergolas and a nice water feature made from a large blue temple jar. We have purchased a few colorful boulders as sitting stones for the meditation garden. It has rained heavy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. this summer. So we can’t start that project until things dry out.

My daughter, the professional student, has started back to school, so we are watching after the grandkids quite a bit more than usual. They will be with us for a whole week in October. That’s going to be interesting. Me getting kids off to school and playing “soccer mom” again.

I don’t get onto WordPress like I used to, but I still read a lot of your posts and try to keep up to date on who is involved with what, even if I can’t always comment. There are a ton of old-timers no longer blogging. These are people who were online when I started back in 2013.  I miss the way things were. A few are FB friends, so we keep in touch. Life changes.

I have thrown myself into painting this last month. I have to keep up a creative outlet or I’ll go stark raving mad. I painted in oils and did ceramics in my teens and twenties. Oils are expensive and messy. My back won’t let me throw on a pottery wheel like I once did. There is a place to paint bisque in Winter Park, but they want a small fortune for little pieces. Britt-David Park in Columbus, GA used to provide all of the clay you needed for free, and you paid a very small fee to use their space, wheels, and kilns. They taught raku and other forms. I sold pieces at local art festivals back then. Smashed seventy-five pieces of pottery when I was going thru my divorce…but that’s another story.

I dabbled a tiny bit in watercolors when Greg and I first married, but they didn’t like me. I was heavy handed with my paints and they seemed to have a mind of their own. It was fun and relaxing, but about all I accomplished was a parrot, some Bird-of-Paradise flowers, Native Americans in a canoe, and a tree. So far, I have completed eleven paintings in acrylics using mostly YouTube tutorials. A couple are my own designs or inspired by something I’ve seen. I’m using the tutorials to build technique so I can paint my own stuff better. Much cleaner than oils, but it has its issues. Paints dry super-fast, so there is little, if any, time for blending. Using paint retarders just makes them tarry and sticky, or else I haven’t learned to use them, yet. It’s progress, not perfection. Here’s a little gallery of what I have painted this past month.

Enjoy

 

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Beading and Other Things I Like to Do

This is my “everything” blog. Of course I read quite a bit, and love to write, but sometimes words overwhelm me. I need to take a break from the literary scene and do something different. Most of you know I paint in watercolors and oils. Not often, but the urge strikes now and then. It is messy and takes a lot of time. I also like to garden.

Looking for a hobby? I have another hobby. I like to make jewelry. Years ago, I only wore fine jewelry and would dare not wear costume jewelry. Then I found the Bead Bar. It is a place in College Park that stocks drilled stones and gems like jasper and amethyst, turquoise and sterling silver, pearls and polished woods. I use a lot of  lapis lazuli because it looks so nice with jeans, but it is increasingly hard to find. They also carry Swarovski crystal but I don’t use them much because they look fake, to me. I like to use things that look natural.

They have classes at the Bead Bar. I learned pearl wrapping from a little Japanese girl and love the colors found in freshwater pearls. I made this tiny bracelet for my granddaughter for being such a good girl at the fall festival. She hasn’t seen it yet. Pearl knotting is the most durable as the wire-tipped silk thread they are strung and knotted on is strong. It is not difficult, but it is tedious and time-consuming.

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Wire wrapping is really hard and extremely time consuming. This technique was taught to me by the owner of the Bead Bar. She’s really good at it and crafts some truly special items. Mine are fairly basic. This hard wire is more durable than soft wire, has to be twisted and shaped with tools, but the connections are a bit clunky. These are made with polished woods. I love the long and dangling earrings. Woods are great for fall wardrobes.

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What I finished up today was a turquoise and sterling silver necklace. This is the mess I had when I forgot to fasten the clasps on before I crimped the ends. I had to restring it. (Old age memory.)

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Here is the final product. This is the easiest form of beading. Select your strings of beads, get a bit creative and string them up on the soft wire. This is the least durable as the wire tends to break at the crimp over time. It’s fairly easy to restring them, so not a problem if you can collect your beads. Kind of tough if a necklace breaks in the car.

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I don’t make a very good neck model, but this is how it hangs. I love turquoise with a coral-colored shirt. If you are looking for a hobby that will give you hours of joy and provides rather instant gratification (unlike writing), this is a fun one to have. I think I have an original piece of jewelry for every outfit I own now. This one would have looked just as nice with three instead of five large pieces of turquoise. I get carried away.

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What do you do to take your mind off of work and relax?

Do you have a hobby?

Do you enjoy artistic endeavors?

Bird-of-Paradise: What I Do When I Am Not Writing

People often ask me what I do when I am not writing. I paint, but I am a novice. Most of it I give away to people who express interest in it, family and friends. This is my latest, rather two dimensional, watercolor. The flow of paint on paper or canvas is relaxing. I paint in oils too, but it is messier and takes more time. I also make jewelry. It doesn’t look that great photographed without being on a model, IMO, maybe one day.

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It is odd how different it looks in sunlight compared to incandescent light. This last one was taken indoors. Most of the time my studio serves as a storage room. Sometimes I paint outdoors. I don’t care for the background wash in this painting honestly. Better luck next time. The Bird-of-Paradise that bloom all winter are gone now.

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What are your hobbies besides writing?