Patina'd Pennies and the Decluttering Your Fantasy Self Video

Watching Allison Anderson's "Decluttering Your Fantasy Self” video has been eye opening for me about the things I save. My fantasy self would do something with these patina’d pennies and entitle it “A Penny Saved”.

Wait. I just did. 🙂  Here’s the video in case you need to watch it:

Day 3:
Art Comes from
Learning and Working

I don't apologize. I don't apologize for reposting writing from the past which applies to now.
~ Dixie, on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. 😂

I received this email after yesterday's post on making choices. It was  helpful for me to read, and I think might be helpful for some of you, too.  I'll share my thoughts after you read it. 

I have reached the same fork in the road that you have - I am 52 and starting to realize all those things I wanted to make and all the wonderful things I have bought to make them are still sitting here.  I have a sewing room with fabric and everything else you could think of and I have a mixed media, collage room, with everything you can imagine.  I am very lucky (or I used to be  this economy is tightening our budget quite a bit), but I have enough stuff that I could make things the rest of my life and never have to buy another thing.  But all I continue to do is, buy more stuff, look at all the great things that other artists have made (I can spend hours doing that) and also reading their blogs and thinking I wish I could be like they are.  I am reaching a point where I am going to have to force my self to get started and when I say force, I don't mean it in a bad way, but I always sabatoge myself by thinking of a household chore or an errand to run and then I can get back home and make things, which never happens because by the time I get it done is when everyone starts getting home and I am busy with helping them and spending time with them and before I know it, it is time for bed and I still have not made one thing.  I am really mad at myself and have decided that I am following you, I am going to make different choices, I am going to take the time to nourish myself and put art in my routine - I have plenty of time to do it if I just start doing it.  I am asking myself what do I want to accomplish in the next 5 years and another big stop sign for me is not being good enough, but as you say I have to be fearless, that sounds so good to me - now if I can pull it off.  Making art has been my dream and I am going to start making that dream come true, with your encouragement of course.

I am here with you because I need to clean my slate too!!  Thanks for being brave and putting it out there because I totally understand where you are because I am in the same place my friend.

What you see online 
is someone's best foot forward.   

They are not showing you their disaster works or their failed experiments. Or their messy workrooms.  Usually they are showing you their best works and their workrooms on a day after major cleaning.  Here's a better side of my sewing room.  There, don't you feel better? 


Our Art Is Not In the Other Artist

When we look at other people's work we see them using wonderful things and we think, I want to do that, too.  And that's okay.  But what we are seeing them do is work after becoming very experienced with a medium.  We are not seeing their first work ever in that medium.   And you cannot expect that your first work with a particular medium is going to be wonderful.   

The magic is not what the other artist is doing.  The magic is when we take our unique point of view and we express it somehow. We don't want to make work that is a copy of someone else's.  We want to make work that gives us joy and hopefully interests other people, too.   

If I tried embossing copper my first try would look wildly different than Maureen White's work, who has been working with the medium for several years now and makes some stunning embossed metal pieces


Our Art Is Not in the Art Supplies

We think when we look at other people's work that it's the supplies that bring the magic.  If I buy the exact paint/glue/crackle/clay Artist X uses then I will be able to make great work, too.  But the magic is in the experience of using those supplies, and the way the artists have honed their use of the supplies to express their vision.   We are not seeing their first attempt! 

 Inktense pencils I bought  because  
Sandy Mastroni's work makes me smile.  
My first attempt was somewhat sad. 

Our Art Comes From Learning

Tools are tools, whether they cost $3 or $3,000.  It's what we do with them that makes magic.  It's US.  But we have to let ourselves be learners.That doesn't mean throw all your art supplies out.   But maybe it does mean limiting yourself to one medium for a while.   Pick the one that makes you feel most at home while working on it.   And let yourself really get to know that particular paint, clay, pencil, whatever you're using. Or even if it's really hard, the one that makes you feel best when you break from the day.  

Our Art Comes from Starting

Here's what I do sometimes (something I learned from Flylady) to get myself going.   I set a timer to get myself OFF the darn computer.   I let myself have x amount of time to check sites.  Then I set a timer to work for so many minutes.    When I go down to the creativity zone, I say, "Today I will make imperfect art."  There, I've let myself off the hook from the get-go.   Then I work for that amount of time.  Usually by that amount of time I'm engrossed and don't want to stop. 

There's a lot in your email - those of us who are parents have a lot on our plate keeping a home running.  And we are surrounded with our to-do list when we work at home.   Sometimes we hop on the computer to connect with the outside world.  It's wonderful.  But sometimes real life friends are just the ticket.  I would suggest finding some art buddies locally to "work out with" artistically.   ;-)  

Guess, what?
I still have to sort my supplies!  

Any thoughts from other artists?

Perfection Is OFF the Table

REPOST from 2015. But applicable now! 😁

Sometimes if I can't make a perfect change I make no change at all.  Which is self-defeating.  it makes me think of the old Hee Haw song, "If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all..." But replace the lyrics with, "If I can't be perfect, I'll make no change at all..."

So I started looking at things differently.  Instead of perfect, my goal is to make changes which are at least 50% better.  In most scenarios in order to be worth doing, the change has to yield a 50% improvement.  For some scenarios, a 50% improvement can make a giant difference!  This applies to so many things.  House improvements, health, art-making.  Do you choose 0% improvement or 50% improvement?  (NOTE to my children and descendents:  Do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating doing a half-way job.) If you are kind of stuck in the doing nothing land, maybe choosing a 50% improvement is a good way to go.  

This was the case with my house.  I am thankful for my house.  I have a nice house.  But I had a mindset of "If I can't do the gut kitchen renovation job I will do nothing."  Things are only getting a little settled after a family member was really ill last fall. I just didn't want any more major mayhem, because I am still recovering from that mayhem.  While the kitchen was nicely designed, I hated the light sucking property of the black countertop and the dark cabinets. I hated it for TEN YEARS. Sorry, previous owners, it is/was beautiful but I need more light.

Enter the Cozy Minimalist course, which I gave myself for my birthday last spring.  (I get nothing for mentioning this course, I just like Nester's site and loved the course).  Because of the Cozy Minimalist course, I've started making some changes.  I am slowly lightening things up, one piece at a time.  This winter will be SO much lighter in my house.  I'm about 1/6 of the way through painting my cabinets.  If I were to do it again, I would pay someone to paint them.   But I've started, so will take the kitchen a section at a time.  It will be so much better!  Maybe even 75%!  ;-)  Of course, 0% or 50% change are not the only options. 

 Perfection is off the table

Mistakes Yield Future Techniques

I am working on a few experimental works. I've been looking at some needle sculpted dolls and finding them fun. At this point there isn't a lot to *show* for it but I am enjoying trying new things, and am learning a lot from my mistakes. Some of the mistakes are very exciting! In the future I will use them on purpose. 

Day 2 of 31 Days of Posting: Straw Bale Gardening in Maine

This is a repost from last October 2, 2018.  I'm going to do straw bale gardening again! 


Last year I bought a delicious heirloom tomato at the farmer's market. I saved seeds.  I used to grow heirloom tomatoes years ago. That reawakened my desire to grow tomatoes, which I hadn't done in about 15 years. I decided to try straw bale gardening for fun and ease. My husband took this photo to show how tall the tomato plants had  gotten. And they were laden with fruit.

I started the plants in my basement in April.  It's been a fun, successful experiment. Did I save money? Probably not. But I enjoyed engaging in a nurturing activity, watching nature at work. You can't put a price on that in these times.

People Are More Important Than Coffee

Once someone who came to work with my son arrived late wearing a "meh" shirt. Urban Dictionary says "Meh" is to be used when one simply does not care. It was an irony played out in real life, in belated motion. That person isn't a bad person. The agency isn't a bad agency. I know that Mainers care. Many don't know that this is how things are.

The people who hand you *coffee* through the drive-through window are paid MORE than those who work with *people* with autism and developmental disabilities here in the state of Maine (or the elderly who need care). I'm the FIRST to say coffee IS very, very, very important, but even in a caffeine-starved state I know PEOPLE are more important than coffee. 

IMPORTANT: Wages for these direct care personnel are set by the Maine legislature, not by the market. People who work with people who need skilled help can't be paid a sub minimum wage. In order to have adequate programming, staff needs to know about autism and other developmental disabilities. Staff needs to understand how people with learning disabilities learn best. 

Also IMPORTANT:  Access to programs that work with those with developmental disabilities is also set by the legislature when they choose to fund openings to Section 29 and 21, the pathway to programming. There are waiting lists that the legislature could choose to fund. This waitlist for Section 21 includes many people who need 24-7 support. 

Please call your representatives and senators and ask them to support a better rate of pay for people who work with autism or developmental disabilities. 

Find your State of Maine Senator to Augusta:

Find your State of Maine legislator to Augusta: 

Antoinette Walker Gould

Some time ago I was looking through an old family photo album and came across this image of a little girl. On the back of the photo is written 3 years, 4 mos, 25 days and her name, Antoinette Walker Gould. I don't know how she was related to my family, but I smiled when I saw the exact age written out in beautiful penmanship.

The middle name of "Walker" caught my interest, because of my interest in Izannah Walker. I've been waiting for the web to percolate up an image of Izannah Walker for over a decade now. It could be that her image is one of thousands of unlabeled early tintypes and photographs. Or it could be that Izannah Walker's picture is in someone's old photo albums labeled, and all they have to do is snap a picture with their phone and put it on the web. So in the interest of sending the call for Izannah Walker's image out into the universe, I give you this image of Antoinette Walker Gould, whose name I found in the 1918 list of women students at the University of Maine in Orono. It could be that someone is looking for Antoinette's image.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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