Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Independence Day!

LIFE updates! Usually I post something in May every year about my progressions, however this year it came and went without any acknowledgment. Lately, I’ve been having some mental health issues which in turn makes it very difficult for me to find the motivation to get up and make any sort of art. I’ve probably been feeling this way for a few years and it’s just now escalating to the point where it has become a major issue. Exhaustion isn’t good. I have recently discovered the cause of my depressions and anxieties and will be changing it very soon. I can’t announce it just yet, but I’m so looking forward to the change. I haven’t been this ecstatic over something in a very long time.

I feel like since I’ve graduated I’ve discovered more of what I don’t want to do than what I DO want to do. I’m still trying to strive to live by “do what you love,” however, I’m realizing that having the FREEDOM to do what I love is almost as important if not more important. And staying in a position that strangles my ability to do that is wrong. Why should I sacrifice my life and well being to something that diminishes me on the inside and does not allow me to grow? I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching recently, and a lot of discovering what I don’t want to be doing.

Changes are scary. But doesn’t that mean that we’re growing? If I wasn’t scared, it would be too easy. Not that I don’t want things to be easy (I’d much rather live without conflict, but I have been recently and have been miserable), but I think it will be a good challenge. I am PURSUING HAPPINESS. My heart feels so full to be discovering where I belong.

All that being said, watch this space for more updates and probably some more art! I’ve been working on a few ideas and am pretty excited to share them.

Areyouhappy_a2_web_1024.jpg

The Annual Introspective

May 9 marks the day of my undergrad graduation. It is also the day my cat, Stella Rose, adopted me.

I've been sitting on this post since last May. It's always a month where I tend to evaluate myself and my progress due to the anniversary of my graduation. I remember getting to my car after the ceremony had ended, and pictures had been taken. I took off my gown and my cap and sat in the car and....cried. I think I became overwhelmed with the fact that I had no plans post-college. During the ceremony, I was looking around at everyone who had decorated their caps with inspirational messages about how they're moving up in the world and I had no big adventure. I just had my apartment, and my knitting, and whatever knowledge I had from my art classes. I knew I wanted to go to San Diego and make art there, but nothing else. How would my adventure from the summer before (Internship) ever measure up to whatever 2013 was supposed to be?

And then Stella landed in my lap. She crawled out of the bushes at my parents' house during the graduation party, sat in my lap, followed me around, and I decided I needed to take her home. She was probably going to become coyote food if I didn't. So then, I had something to take care of and to keep me busy and give me companionship...but maybe she really adopted ME so SHE could have someone to take care of.

Lots of things have happened since the last time I wrote a blog. Mostly schedule and job changes. I'm now back working solely in San Diego with two jobs. One keeps me busy most of the month and the other is my old internship! Now, who could have told me 4 years ago while I was sitting in my car crying that I would be back at one of the very places that brought me such joy? Also, I think I wrote in a blog post once that I wanted a job where I could spend all day in a yarn shop...and here I am (two days out of the week, at least). Funny how the universe works like that.

Since working at the shop again I have been telling customers about my story - about how it was my internship in 2012 (5 YEARS AGO - GET OVER IT MEGAN) and it was my dream summer. One of them threw me off guard when I had recited my tale...she asked: "What's next?"

What is next? I'm in San Diego. I'm working at the place that brought me so much happiness 5 years ago. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Are these questions I should be asking myself??? Am I thinking too hard about it??? Do I have to have a "what's next?"

Well, of course not. I could sit here happy as a clam. Sometimes I feel like I'm always looking too far forward and not enjoying the moment. I do know that I need to get back to making art.  I'm still (STILL) working on the damned felted deer (does anyone want to take bets on if I'm going to finish it or not this year?). It seems that after one of my friends bought my mini felted creatures that I just stopped doing any art. I do make little watercolor studies sometimes, but a lot of the time I long for a studio and that halts my progress. I know that these things take time, but I also need to work hard for it.

I found a little bit of inspiration as I was going through my notes for blog posts. I don't remember him saying it, but I wrote about Dylan telling me three things: 1) Stay positive, 2) Keep moving forward and 3) Tell everyone your dreams.

I'm staying as positive as I can. I'm exhausted from my other job at the moment, but still happy (I really need a vacation, though). I'm doing my best to keep moving forward. And as for my dreams? I'm having a hard time thinking of what that is at the moment. I'm sure it will come to me though.

What are some milestone dates in your life that you use to evaluate yourself? Where have you been and where are you going?

Finding Time

Sometimes there are days when you just run out of time. I've been noticing this occurance a lot while I've been doing the 100 Day Challenge. Some days one gets too busy to work on anything. I especially feel this way between work and home life.  

My routine usually consists of getting up, driving, working, driving, showering and then either relaxing or going to bed. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I don't always want to be felting and accidentally stabbing my fingers. And I don't always want to be taking some picture of the socks I'm knitting to show you I'm making something. I like doing my little watercolors, as I said in a previous post. Hopefully my schedule eases down a little soon and I can show you more of what I'm doing.

This has been your weekly update. Until next time... 

P.S. I wrote this at a pub. We'll see how coherent it is. Haha

Sick Days

It can be rough for an artist to get sick. Monday I had a stomach bug, and Tuesday I developed a sore throat (however that may be the result of the dust and roofing at work). So, here we are on Wednesday, and not much progress happened in the past week. Unless we’re talking about my socks.

When I’m sick, I have a couple of rules: If I’m throwing up, I’m not going and if I have a fever, I’m not going. However, a sore throat, cough, or a runny nose doesn’t usually stop me from doing what I need to do. Sometimes that doesn’t include art, though. I was able to do a painting last night, so it’s something. I just need to get back to felting. Soon enough. New ideas are coming.

Thinking about being sick made me think of this post from 2013 about me being sick.

Until next week, hopefully, full of fewer sickies and more artsies.

My 100 Day Project

Just a reminder that I started my own 100 Day Project over on Instagram. My hashtags are #100DaysOfShowingUp // #100DaysOfArt //#100DaysOfFiberArt Please check it out! @captnshamrock

This past week I wasn't able to work on a felted creature until yesterday.

Even so, it was a false start. 

But, I believe that progress is made even if I show up for 30 minutes to an hour every day and show off what I’m working on.

I DID do a couple other things this past week: 1) I started a new pair of socks (some of the fabric is shown in the first image) and 2) I did a small watercolor study. 

 Giraffe Skull

Giraffe Skull

I haven’t done watercolors in a long time, probably not since before I graduated college. Doing a small quick study showed me that I still have a little skill there which makes me super excited. I’ll be adding a few to my 100 Day Project. 

So, that’s it for this week. More to follow soon! Thank you for all the support, it really boosts my confidence and keeps me writing/making art. 

Showing Up

The hardest part of my day is waking up. I have two alarms set four days a week: one at 4:45 and the other at 5am. The 4:45 one breaks me out of whatever deep sleep I was in so I can slowly start moving towards being fully awake. The 5am alarm is the final push to get me out of bed. I never hit the snooze button because I know I'll just go right back to bed and miss work. In fact, I keep my phone across the room so that it forces me to get up to turn it off. 

Showing up to work isn't too much of an issue. When people are depending on me I always try to make it a point to be early or on time. But what happens when you need to start showing up for yourself? Personally, when I have plans to work on something on a certain day and then don’t force myself to sit down and do it, I’m disappointed. I was depending on myself to show up. I didn’t . This is something I need to work on now and in the future, ESPECIALLY if I’m going to make art a full-time thing. 

A lot of creative marketing blogs and podcasts discuss the idea of showing up for your audience. That's what I've been trying to do for you these past few weeks. If I have something to show you, and I show up to present it to you, the more likely it is for you to want to continue to see what I'm working on. And that's all I want. (Hopefully, my start time can be a little later than 5am, though.)

So, check this out!

I made another Mini-Felted creature (fox/wolf?). He measures 4" x 2.5" x 3.75". I haven't quite decided on a name yet, but he looks like a Frank or Frankie to me. I'll sit with him just a bit longer to decide, but I think that will be his name. As soon as he has a name, he'll be up for sale.

I would love to start having some audience participation in naming some of these creatures. Do you have any suggestions on what to name this little guy?

I Made a Thing

I'm rather enjoying the concept of Wednesdays becoming my blog days. Let's hope I can keep this up!

It's been a long time since I've really made and completed an original piece of art. Sure, I’ve finished lots of knitting, but it’s not of my design. I guess I finally got fed up last Friday/Saturday. I buckled down to make something.

Meet Maxwell.

Maxwell-04062016.jpg

He's my new Mini-Felted Fox measuring 4" x 2.75" x 2.5". He's the first in a series of Mini-Felted Taxidermy, an idea that has been bouncing around in my creative brain for too long now. Finally, he has emerged. Which leads to my next thought.

Idea Debt. I read an article on Idea Debt about a month ago and was filled with dread…I have Idea Debt. Basically, it's the concept of imagining and talking about something you desire to create or do for so long that it is established as “real” in your mind. Therefore, you just don't do it. It's a whole lot of thinking and not a whole lot of doing. That's how I was starting to feel about these Miniature Taxidermy pieces I'm kicking off. Hopefully, that has changed and I start to make more art.

I'm definitely feeling more positive this week and have more confidence in myself after posting pictures of Maxwell to Instagram on Saturday. But, I did have to get up the courage to put a price on him. (Yes, he is for sale. He's $45 + shipping. I hope to create a shop page on here soon, but for now, contact me if interested! ) I believe that in order to be taken seriously, one has to have the courage to just go for something and do it. I simply needed to set my mind to it, and - voila! - new pieces!

Yesterday, Elle Luna, an artist and designer, posted on her Instagram about the 100 Days Project.

This could not have come at a more opportune time! To participate in the 100 Days Project one picks an action and then does it every day for 100 days. I reposted Elle’s picture and asked who would join me on this journey. I might not be picking a specific medium since Fiber Art is pretty broad, but I figured if I'm at least working (not thinking!) on something every day for 100 days that I might bring a few things out into the world. Want to see what I'm doing during my 100 Days? Follow me on Instagram @captnshamrock and/or Like my Facebook Page! The journey starts April 19th!

That's all I have for this week. Hopefully, another felted creature will be here next Wednesday!

 

Heartlines

Just keep following /The heartlines on your hand / Just keep following / The heartlines on your hand / Keep it up / I know you can / Just keep following / The heartlines on your hand

This song by Florence and the Machine has been floating around in my head for a little while. I don’t think that I had really listened to the lyrics until one occasion recently when Dylan and I were driving back from Arizona. It was a Sunday night, and I was dreading the thought of going to bed only to have to get up in a few hours for work in the morning. Dylan was singing the song to me as it played and at that moment, the meaning of the words really hit home.

It’s been while since I’ve written on my blog. Partly because I have switched jobs and found it difficult to scramble some time and thoughts together to write about. I’m now working for a well-known fibers company. It seems that when you really put out your hopes and desires to the Universe, it listens. While I’m just pulling orders and not designing or getting to make anything, and the commute is rather a grueling journey, I’m in a much more positive environment for my creative self. But now that I’m only working 4 days a week, Thursdays are my Fridays and I’m trying to use the extra time to create things.

Except that doesn’t always happen.

Most of the time, at least, the past two months, when I’ve been trying to work on things some part of it doesn’t work out. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make molds for miniature animal heads for a while now. I think the silicone method we tried will work, however, it is very time-consuming. I have a couple more ideas to try.

I did do some natural dyeing with The Northwoods Hat kit in Logwood from A Verb For Keeping Warm that Dylan was so kind to gift to me for Christmas. And I did finish felting antlers for my deer. I just need to figure out how to attach them. All in due time.

IMG_8728.JPG

On top of all of this, the house seems to be a mess a majority of the time, and I’d rather work in a clean environment than a messy one. 

However, all of these things are excuses. It’s not that the house is too messy that I can’t make things, it’s that my brain thinks it’s too messy so makes up an excuse to not work on art. Just like when in school and you have that huge test to study for... when all of a sudden - THE ROOM IS A DISASTER I MUST CLEAN EVERYTHING!!! It's not that I don't have the time in the evening to work on things, but sometimes I am very tired of being on my feet all day, and driving does take the mental energy out of me. I think there is a lesson in discipline here somewhere...

Progress happens, but it's slow. I feel passionate about what I want to do, I just have to keep on doing it. I know something will come of me making my art. Just because I can't support myself on it now doesn't mean that I will never be able to. I just have to keep following the heartlines on my hand, just like Florence says. Keep it up. I know you can. 

3rd Annual San Diego Yarn Crawl

It's finally here! Today kicks off the 3rd annual San Diego Yarn Crawl! I had such a good time last year, running around to the different shops and expanding my stash. This year, however, I'm staying put in my Local Yarn Store. I'm going to be volunteering at South Park Dry Goods (formerly The Grove at Juniper and 30th where I interned 3 years ago) on Saturday and Sunday. 

There's a crispness in the air today that tells me Fall is finally creeping around the corner. It's been so hot here lately that putting wool into one's hands has been trying. Luckily I'm working on a laceweight project, Oceanspray, in Zen Yarn Garden's California Love. I'm almost finished with it, but with no plans for the next project. I have some pattern and yarn pairings ready to go, so I'll probably just grab something out of there, or cast on more socks. We shall see!

If you're going on the Crawl this weekend, be safe, have fun, and come by South Park Dry Goods and see us!

What I Am and What I Do

You know how they say dress for the job you want, not the job you have? I think the same goes for telling people what you do. It's an infamous and boring question, "What do you do?" I read somewhere that a better question to ask is "What are you working on?" I like that question much better, especially from an artist standpoint. It opens up the conversation to more than just what the person does to pay the rent.

What triggered this post in my mind is an experience I had about a month ago. Some friends and I go to a local bar on Thursday evenings to play Trivia. This particular week we were short a few people in our group, so my friend invited some friends and relatives. Well, one was talking about his job, and I asked what he did for work. He told me, and then asked the same question in return. I felt my face fall, my body slump, and as I was about to say, "Oh, I'm a receptionist..." my friend chimed in and said, "She knits and crochets!" 

I knit and crochet. I sew and embroider. I weave, dye, screen print, and felt. I'm an artist. I'm a Fiber Artist. 

That could not be a better response.  So often have I explained my woes to people who are just looking for the short answer. "What do you do?" "You mean what's my day job? Or what do I really want to do?" It's so much easier to just say, "I'm a Fiber Artist." Just thinking about that response now even makes me feel better. If I don't believe that I'm an artist, I'll never actually BE an artist. It's all mind games. Actually, in her book Art, Inc., Lisa Congdon discusses this in the first chapter. The more you believe something something about yourself, the more it comes true. 

So, from now on, if anyone asks me what I do for work, or what my job is, I'm planning on just saying that I'm a Fiber Artist, because that's what I am and that's what I do.

What are you working on?

June 2015 Goals

And....we're back for a moment.  Which is just long enough for me to revise and revamp my life goals. So, what do I have planned?

-In the next 3 months (Now-August)

  1. Make Art Schedule 
  2. Finish Taxidermy Deer
  3. Get back to blogging regularly
  4. Go to the beach more
  5. Work on collaboration project with Damian
  6. Read daily

-In the next 6 months (Now-December)

  1. Put out a call that I'm available for Test Knitting
  2. Continue with Taxidermy Animals
  3. Build small loom
  4. Test new materials
  5. Make mini Taxidermy forms
  6. Draw/Paint more

I'd like to make a separate list of projects I have that wait in the wings, but I think I ought to take everything one step at a time. As stated in the 3-month goals, I'd like to get back to blogging more regularly.  

I must be honest, too. I have been stuck in a rut with a great many things. Maybe it's a bit of depression, maybe it's just a little bit of anxiety. Hell, maybe it's Mercury in Retrograde. Whatever it is, I've been having a difficult time with trying to get ideas off the ground, and even difficulty pushing myself to do things that would make me happier. But hopefully, soon, I can move past it all and gather enough strength and mind to get something moving. I can only read so many books and articles. At some point, you just have to get up and do it, right?

Moving Update

Hello, dear readers!  Thank you for being so patient with me while I work on building my life out here in San Diego.  Let me give you a bit of an update on my housing situation.

The first place we were looking at got scooped up by another interested party.  Disappointed, Dylan and I continued looking.  We thought we found another cozy home, but yet again, the landlords chose another party.  During the waiting period of them deciding who to pick, the first place opened up again...and we jumped on it!  As Dylan said this morning, "Everything happens for a reason."  We got the first house we were truly interested in and wanted, due to location and size and everything.  We sign the lease on Tuesday!

So we're heading to Phoenix this weekend to pick up some of our belongings, and Miss Stella Rose.  I miss her so much.  I'm sure many of you can relate when you're away from your pets...they're our fur babies. I've been away from Stella for about a month and a half...and I say every day that I miss her.  I'm so excited to be able to finally bring her home!  The drive is going to be interesting though...but we will manage!

I think one of the things I'm most excited for (besides bringing Stella home) is that I'm going to get to set up my first studio!  Yesterday at work I was planning in my head just where everything should go.  I really want a desk in there, but the futon from the old apartment might take that space.  Dylan wants to get rid of the futon, I don't, mostly because I want to use it in the studio. Another "We will see." I will be sure to keep you posted on how I end up arranging and organizing my studio!

I'm not sure when I'll get back to a normal blogging schedule, but I'll be sure to pop in when I can.  Until next time...!

 

MIA

During the next few weeks I may have to be on a more sporadic blogging schedule...or just blogging whenever I feel like it.   I'm afraid to jinx it, but I'm coming upon a couple of my first two goals for this year: 1. Finding an apartment/house and 2. Moving.  We've been looking for a place, and we think we've found one (fingers crossed, praying so hard, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this be it!).  So, that means going back to Arizona, packing up everything and bringing it out here...if we get the place (PLEEEEAAASSSEEE)...and with my work schedule, I'm not exactly sure how that's going to happen.  I know it will, but it's not going to be that easy. But, I'm putting the cart before the horse. Again.

I'm really excited at the idea of the possibility of being able to have a studio space (FINALLY!) in the house.  There's so many plans and ideas I'd love to bring to light, I just didn't have the space in which to do it.  

So, bear with me, dear readers, while I embark on another adventure in my life...wish me luck, send your good thoughts and energy, and hopefully we'll be back to a normal, productive, art filled schedule soon!

This Week's Progress

I feel like I would never get a blog post out this week.  Between work and other activities, it's become harder to be able to sit down every other morning to post something...excuses, excuses.

Reading books counts as progress, right?  Good, because I've been better at reading since moving than I every was in Arizona.  It just works better with my schedule.  I wake up in the morning, get ready, make my lunch and then sit down with my coffee and read.  And then at work, during my lunch break, I eat and read.  I finished one of the books I received for my birthday, Blog Inc., on Tuesday.  It was an interesting book, full of helpful tips, but not much I really feel like I can apply here.  This is my artist blog, I'm not really looking to earn money off of it (though it'd be nice).  

The next one I'm reading is Art Inc. in the same format as the previous book.  I have a feeling it's going to be similar to the book I read with my morning coffee, Art/Work.

I finished the Jeweled Cowl Wednesday evening.  I plan to block it and hand deliver it on Saturday.  

And now it's time to chug my coffee and get going to work.  Have a great weekend!

Sample Knitting

So, what was I working on Wednesday morning that I couldn't post for?  Well, a local yarn shop had put out a call for sample knitters a few weeks ago. I was able to respond within about 5 minutes of them posting it and got an in to doing some sample knitting for them! I'll reveal what shop it is when I'm all done with the piece.

I showed you the yarn already. 

image.jpg

It's gorgeous and I love it. It's Forbidden Woolery's Pride Lace in Deathly Hallows. I'm making Sachiko Uemura's Jeweled Cowl. So far, it's going very smoothly and quickly. I've been lucky enough to be able to work on it at my day job during downtime.

sample-knitting.jpg

So, that's what I'm working on for the time being. While I was waiting for the yarn to arrive, I did make a pair of socks!

Thursday-Tuesday-Socks.jpg

It's been a while since I had made a pair of socks, and I had never made a pair for myself. I started them on last Thursday, and finished them this Tuesday. It's the fastest I've ever made a sock, let alone a pair of them! I used the Magic Loop method which was another first for me on socks. If you remember, that's how I decided to do the sleeves on my Driftwood Sweater.  

So, yeah! It has been a good knitting week.  

2015 Goals

Happy Friday!

Let's go over my 2015 goals, shall we?  This might be a post that evolves over the course of the day, but for now, let's recap what I said back in April 2014.

-In the next 3 months (Now-June)

  1. Begin packing (April)

  2. Extend lease to end of June (April)

  3. Locate storage space (June)

  4. Take the family cruise to Alaska and RELAX (May)

  5. Move back to my parents’ house (June)

  6. Continue working on felted animals and knitting projects

-In the next 6 months (Now-September)

  1. Continue working temp/contract jobs

  2. Continue searching for job in San Diego

  3. Search for housing in San Diego

  4. Take a trip to San Diego to physically be there while I search (July or August?)

  5. Move………………..?

-In the next 2 years (Now-2016)

  1. Living and working in San Diego

  2. Continue with felted animals and begin selling them

  3. Teach knitting classes

  4. Design knitting patterns to sell

  5. Go to the beach at least once a week (Sunday mornings?)

  6. Visit home 4-5 times a year (especially for Easter and Christmas)

  7. Travel (because the boyfriend probably wouldn’t let me get away with not traveling, but also because I’d like to see a little more of the world)

And now?

-In the next 3 months (Now-March)

  1. Find an apartment/house
  2. Move
  3. Continue working day job
  4. Sample knitting (more on that later)
  5. Design knitting patterns
  6. (Hopefully) Get started on art
  7. Make Sunday ME Days (Going to the beach, relaxing)

-In the next 6 months (Now-June)

  1. Continue working day job
  2. Continue working on art
  3. Continue sample knitting (?)
  4. Continue designing knitting patterns
  5. Family trip (June)

-In the next 2 years (Now-2017)

  1. Quit my day job
  2. Become a full time artist (maybe with a part time job)
  3. Travel?

It's a rough outline for now.  Hopefully as I continue living and working in San Diego (AHH! I can't believe I did it!) things will become more clear.

What kind of goals have you made for 2015?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  See you on Monday!