So After My Last Post. . .

apparently y’all really like reading about my humdrum daily goings on! My last post received 54 views! Wow!

So after my last post, I ended up spending all day painting. Enjoy the eye candy:

This is only the base coat and I still have a couple of glasses to go, but when I’m done, this will be a set of 6 shot glasses and a matching serving tray and decanter.


I’m Failing Miserably . . .

. . . at keeping up with this blog.

Summer is in full swing and I’ve been so busy with work (hey there, overtime!), I’ve hardly been online at all! I’ve barely had time to eat! Being a head guard is hard! This summer it seems like something is ALWAYS going wrong! In a 9 hour shift I might get 5 mins to myself. I’ve had several times where I’ve been too busy to eat at all :/

I hate skipping meals though because then I go way overboard when I have a few moments and realize HOW hungry I am.

I’m not gonna lie, the first few weeks of summer were rough. There was so much I had to learn and so much I was getting yelled at for not knowing. It was very frustrating. I want to do a good job and I’m so happy to finally be given the opportunity to show what I can do but I’m so terrified of blowing my chance :(

I haven’t done much artistically speaking, I’ve been getting home so late the last few weeks. I need to.

I made a sale on etsy and the ring the lady bought from me broke in the mail. I’m mortified. My customers are so important to me and it was awful, getting that message on etsy asking what type of glue she should use to fix the ring.

I work so hard to make sure my materials are all good quality and everything is put together and will STAY together! I know I can’t control the mail but it still stings, knowing something I worked so hard on got broken and the poor client had to fix it!

I’m gearing up here today to do some painting. My mom asked me to paint some glasses for her. It’s not paid work but I enjoy painting and it’s been a while since I’ve done any. I’ll be sure to post the pics when I’m done. I’m sure y’all will like them!

My garden is growing like a weed! I harvested basil last week and made 3 jars of pesto! It was my first try at making pesto but it turned out really good! My mom and brother came over for dinner Thursday night to celebrate the first harvest! We had stuffed peppers, whole grain pasta with my pesto that I had made, garlic bread, and Caprese salad, made with tomatoes and basil from the garden, as well!

Something has been eating my peppers though. I have no clue what, it keeps boring a hole into my peppers and then they rot from the inside out. I’ve tried spraying the peppers and treating the soil but it’s still chewing them up, I really don’t know what to do, I just hope whatever it is doesn’t destroy my watermelons or eggplants either!


SO I Finally Got an Instagram. . .

. . . and I really don’t care for it!

I thought having an Instagram would help promote my art and my jewelry and while I’m gathering followers and whatnot, as a whole, I really don’t like the app. 

Almost immediately I started having technical issues with it. I couldn’t upload pictures, I couldn’t tag pictures, my feed wouldn’t load. I couldn’t “explore” or search for other users. I couldn’t follow people. If I did manage to follow people, they would mysteriously vanish from my account. The first day I had Instagram, I deleted and re-downloaded it three times! 

In addition to the technical problems, I really don’t like that all the suggestions that Instagram gives me “based on what’s popular in your country”, is ALL IN ARABIC!!! I live in VIRGINIA!!! IN THE US of FUCKING-A!!! WHY IS MY ENTIRE INSTAGRAM IN ARABIC!?!?!?!?!?!? 

There’s no settings that I can change this either!!!!

I hate that I have to refresh the explore button every 20 posts or so to see anything new, unlike pinterest and facebook that just refresh as you scroll.

And this brings me to my biggest issue with Instagram. The posts. I liked a bunch of fitness and recipe posts and now my feed is being bombarded with “thinspiration”. For those of you who don’t know what “thinspiration” is, it’s thigh gaps, jutting collar and pelvic bones, visible rib cages, visible spinal columns. It’s anorexia, bulimia. It’s horrifyingly skinny women and endless lists of why you shouldn’t eat. 

Some of the thinspiration posts I’ve seen: 

“do it for the thigh gap”- First of all, I’m currently 213 pounds and I have a thigh gap. It all depends on your fat distribution and body physiology. It also depends on your muscles. I’m carrying a little extra weight than I would care to carry and I’m working on it BUT between volleyball, swimming, and MMA I have very toned and muscular legs and a thigh gap. This shouldn’t be a mark of “skinny”. If it is, then I’m a fucking anorexic. 

“why reward yourself with food, you are not a dog”- Second, I will reward myself with food. I work really hard to eat clean. Lots of raw fruits and veggies. I try to limit my salt and my sugar intake. I try to keep my food as raw and unprocessed as possible and you know what? I will reward myself with food because if you don’t give into those cravings from time to time, you’ll end up eating half the kitchen trying to avoid those Oreos. I’m not saying go on a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson style cheat day and eat 100 pancakes but it’s OKAY to have a slice of pizza from time to time. 

“waking up thinner is worth going to bed hungry”- Fun fact: Skip that meal and go to bed hungry and your body is probably going to go into starvation mode. When that happens, you’re more likely to GAIN weight than to lose it because your body is going to slow your metabolism down to conserve energy and make that body fat last. 

“skinny or die”/“if you gain weight, you need to kill yourself”- If I gain weight I deserve to die? Seriously!?!?! Bitch please, I gain at least five pounds when I’m menstruating, it’s all water weight, I’ll pee it out in a few days but really, peoples bodies can fluctuate 3+ pounds depending on what you’ve eaten (salty foods make you retain water!). I suppose if you’re anorexic though you probably don’t experience a period so you wouldn’t know about water weight. 

“do it for the short shorts/crop top/bikini [insert any favored article of skimpy clothing]“- My boobs are huge, you wouldn’t catch me in a bikini or crop top even when I *was* 130 pounds. I have more respect for myself than to show off my body like that. I enjoy my denim shorts. I live in Virginia, summers are HOT and they’re HUMID, but I prefer to respect myself and dress in such a way that respects myself and my body, as well as flatters it. I don’t need to be showing my tits to get male attention. Showing miles of skin will get you plenty of attention but I guarantee you, not all of it will be positive.

None of these are okay. Period. I’m not trying to fat shame, slut shame, skinny shame, whatever the fuck you wanna call it. Is fat healthy? No. I’ll be the first to admit that. I used to be 250 pounds and I had a lot of issues with relationships, men, confidence, esteem. I didn’t like how I looked or how I felt and I lost weight. I’m still trying to lose weight but I know I probably won’t ever even get to 150. I know there’s plenty of people who are just naturally skinny. My mom’s one of them, one of my best friends growing up used to be distressed over her apparent inability to GAIN weight. I will never fault anyone for just being skinny but when you do have the means to control your life and your health, you should do so responsibly.

I found the thinspiration posts most disturbing because all I could think of were the little girls I see at the pool. The ones in my swim classes. Eight years old and they’re concerned with their “chubby legs” and won’t take off a tee shirt because they have a little belly. I don’t think there are many 8 year old girls on Instagram but if I had a daughter, I would want her to know that as long as she is eating right and active, she is perfect the way she is and Instagram and other social media sites allowing posts like this:

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is doing more harm than good.

I used to be UNDERWEIGHT, believe it or not. My mom was a model when she was younger. 5’1 and 110 pounds. Growing up she was always telling me “that dress looks cute but it would look better if you lost 10 pounds”. I was never anorexic.

On the contrary, her constant commentary on my weight, even when it was healthy (12 years old, 5’5, 135 pounds), I used to look in the mirror and go “I think my tummy pooch looks cute” and I started eating to spite her and my weight ballooned until I had no control any more.

I know from first hand experience how easy it is for that one offhand comment or picture with 50,000 “likes” to send someone over the edge and Instagram and other social media sites have a responsibility, especially when you begin allowing children to use the sites, to protect them from those images.

I’m 25 years old now and I know that puking to lose weight is a bad idea. That eventually your period will stop if you lose too much weight or weigh too much.

I know that forcing myself to throw up is going to make my breath stink and that the stomach acid from doing so will rot my teeth. I know that junk food, high processed and sugary foods will do the same. I know that even my hair could fall out as a byproduct of malnutrition but I’m an adult. I know and understand the balancing act and the consequences of going to extremes. Kids don’t. 

I remember when you had to be 18+ and in college to have a facebook and I would even go so far as to label social media sites abusive and neglectful for allowing body conscious posts and allowing children on their sites to be exposed to such images.

I know parents are just as responsible. I have friends who police their kids facebook page but it wasn’t so long ago that I was a kid and I had a myspace page and my parents didn’t know about it. Hell, they didn’t even know I had a deviantART page for that matter. I know kids will find ways around their parents and their rules. I did it. I was a pro at it, which is why social media has a responsibility to monitor the content that’s being posted. 

I tried to report several of the posts I saw but Instagram declined to remove them. Popular culture, the media, Hollywood, they’re all responsible for the vast majority of exposure that we will receive. Go stand in the check out line at the grocery store and you’ll probably see dozens of magazine covers:

“[insert celebrite name] shares their weight loss secrets!”, [insert celebrity name] shares secret to MASSIVE weight loss!”, [insert celebrity name] scary skinny after massive 30 pound weight loss!”, “Get In Shape for Summer, [insert celebrity trainer] Shares Their Secrets to the Perfect Bikini Body!”

Isn’t it time, we as a society said “enough is enough”. We need to abandon BMI. It’s a mathematical equation and stop focusing on weight loss, fat or skinny, and focus on healthy. I certainly don’t want any kid of mine to feel inferior because of some “artistically” unfocused, heavily filter photo declaring that you don’t mean a damn thing if you don’t have a damn thigh gap! 

 


Spring Has Sprung!

Well the winter is finally past us. I’m so relieved. I was going crazy between the cold and being cooped up. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside. We got a grill and a patio set and it’s so nice to sit outside with a drink and a book or eat dinner out on the veranda. We planted a garden too. Spiteful Mother Nature rained this afternoon after I had finished planting and watering it! 

Despite my absence on the internet, I’ve been quite busy creating new stuff. I participated in a fundraiser last month but it didn’t go so well. I made $20 all day. I think part of the problem was people had to pay to get into the event, and I know, I don’t have kids, so why would I have paid to get into an event supporting child care services. Had I been doing the event planning, I would’ve charged people to participate in the games and activities and then kept the vendors separate that people could walk through and shop. 

I made some sandwich board signs for the event and I’ll use them this coming fall in the Second Annual Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival. I’m quite pleased with how well I did, since I’ve never built signs before. They’re HUGE. Four feet tall and two feet wide. Incredibly hard to miss but I kind of wish, given how difficult they are to transport, that I had made them smaller. Oh well, you live and you learn. 

This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend. Opening day. We all worked so hard to prepare the pools and I’ve been working nearly non-stop the last month straight.

There’s so much going on right now. I’m working on jewelry but not much else. 

My etsy shop is picking up. I’ve made several sales through etsy. Not as many as I would like but we all have to start somewhere! Hopefully one day it’ll be a viable source of income! 

I got to go to the International Gem and Mineral Show! It came to DC a few weeks ago! So much pretty sparkly jewelry! So much beautiful beads and materials! I was good, I set a budget, took cash, and once it was gone, I was done. It was such a challenge but I’m so proud of myself for sticking to my budget! I could’ve easily spent twice as much as I did!

I haven’t been on here in so long, I was surprised to see I’ve got almost 400 page views. I guess I had to leave this alone for it to flourish but I’m glad my blog seems to be doing well and hopefully I’ll be back on it on a regular basis once the summer prep and pool opening craziness settles down. 


May Day Fundraiser

Hey Everyone~

I’m a horrible person whose been largely MIA from their blog recently but I have a good reason! I promise! I’ve been SUPER busy photographing and cataloging ALL my jewelry for Etsy. I FINALLY have a shop up and it ACTUALLY has stuff in it! I swear! Do you know how labor intensive it is to photograph and catalog stuff? Inventory! Yikes! And I had no idea just how much STUFF I had actually made! Image

In addition to Etsy, I’m pleased to announce that I will participating in the Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge’s annual fundraiser. The event will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Charlottesville N*Telos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, VA. I’m told this is the first year they’ve opened it up to the public and they’re going for a whole street fair/craft bazaar feel to it and I’m super excited since they reached out to me and invited me to participate. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m so grateful they’re giving it to me and it’s really awesome that people are starting to hear about my jewelry and myself and finding ways to contact me with opportunities, since it’s just another step in the direction towards owning my own business. 


Second Annual Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival

I got my acceptance letter in the mail yesterday for the Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival. I did it last year, it was the first year they did it. It was my first craft show and quite a lucrative venture so I’m excited to be rejoining the James River Arts Council (JRAC) and all the participating local artists for what I hope becomes an annual event on my calendar again this year.

The show will be held on September 28, 2014 under the Scottsville, VA Farmer’s Market Pavilion, along the banks of the James River. It’s going to be a very happy birthday for me (mine is the 27th). 

I apologize in advance to my wonderful family and friends for the crazy I’m about to unleash on y’all but I’m going bigger and better for Round Two! 

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2013 Fall Artisans Festival


I Coulda Had a V8!

*face palm*

not really, I think V8 drinks are gross but my flash of inspiration was quite similar.

I’ve spent months collecting brooches for my wedding bouquet and it occurred to me when I was looking through the portfolios of several people I’ve consulted to make the bouquets for me, they use silk flowers (ick!), as well as buttons and brooches and hat pins and what not.

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I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t so blatantly obviously fake

I hate silk flowers, with a passion. They look fake, they feel fake, they’re not terribly attractive or durable. Don’t get me wrong, I like making flowers from silk organza ribbon but that’s totally different. I’m talking those ugly monstrosities you find in the flower arrangement aisle at Michaels. Yikes! 

So then I was faced with solving a problem I’m sure isn’t so unique to my severely limited budget. The most obvious solution seems to be using a mix of brooches and real flowers. Or using brooches exclusively. 

My original plan was to use brooches exclusively but I really liked what some of these artisans have been doing mixing flowers and buttons and brooches.

Then it dawned on me. 

I make jewelry. I am an artist. I handle beads on a regular basis. I design on a regular basis. I’m crafty and more artisanal than fine artist. Then the lightbulb went off! 

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Ding!

I do make jewelry. . . I do handle beads on a regular basis. . . SOB! I’ll MAKE some flowers to add to the bouquet! I’ve gotten instructions around here somewhere for French Beaded Flowers (also called funeral flowers). It’ll keep with my desire to not use real flowers (yay, budget pfffffftttttt), incorporate my crafting and beading passions, and the flowers won’t wilt so I’ll still have a bouquet to pass on as a family heirloom. Genius! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it moooooooooonths ago! 

I’ve ordered my seed beads in my wedding colours. I’ve downloaded several patterns for different flowers. I’ve read a bunch of tutorials. Watched a bunch of tutorials. I’m ready. I got this. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of my more brilliant DIY project. And relatively cheap to produce.

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not my colours but this is what I’m going for

I bought my bags of seed beads from artbeads.com. Each bag has 3500 beads and retails around $2-4/each. It’s probably going to be fairly time consuming, at least until I get the hang of it but materials wise, each flower will probably cost about $2 to produce but I’ve got over a year and I only want maybe a dozen total, so I figure 1 flower/month, maybe more, depending on my motivation, is fairly realistic and cost effective. Plus they’re small so it’s something I can do sitting on the couch watching tv or sitting on my break at work. 

I’m pretty excited. I really can’t wait. I’ve been wanting to make these flowers for ages but it never felt like the right time. Now I have a reason, more than just my own innate curiosity and I’m excited to surprise and wow people on my wedding day :)

 


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