our weekend starts on wednesday

July 1, 2011

So I had two days off in a row this week, making today feel like a Sunday.

It was kind of nice, actually, to have such a long stretch of time with no real obligations.

Got to read, catch up on some sleep, make jewelry for a custom order, etc.

Finished up A Million Little Pieces, about 6 years too late considering all of the hub-bub that went on with Oprah, etc.

I actually bought the book for about $1.50 at Case’s huge annual used book sale probably 4 years ago because I liked the cover with the little rainbow sprinkles, then just kind of forgot about it. Then, Oprah had James Frey on one of her last shows as a follow-up to the show she had a few years ago where she tore him a new one. (She basically just asked him how it felt to have a new one torn, as well as what he’s been up to lately.)

Anyway, after watching that episode I  remembered “Hey, I HAVE THAT BOOK!” and decided to read it and see what the big deal was.

I really really enjoyed it. If you can get past vulgar language and talks of crack whores, I say it’s worth the read.

If you live under a rock like I apparently had been, the basis of the controversy is that the book was pushed as a memoir, when really some parts of embellished/flat out fabricated.

Yeah, it sucks that it had to happen that way, but it still was a very moving book. You cheer for him like you cheer for Dexter. He’s thoughtful and compassionate.

* * * * * *

Anyway, I also did a lot of cleaning these past couple of days. You wouldn’t know it by looking at my old room, but I cleared out a few trash bags worth of Goodwill donations and, well, actual trash.

You see, my old bedroom in my parents’ house has over time become a dumping ground for any random thing that we don’t know what to with. And random hastily-packed bags full of art supplies and odds’n’ends from college.

…And don’t forget about the relics from high school (and earlier) that never left.

Hello, my name is Autumn and I’m a recovering Pack Rat.

I came across probably every drawing or piece of art I’ve ever made in my life. I found little goofy Star Wars toys and dozens of bottles of bubbles and the crayons that my friend Ashley and I melted on the stove and shaped with cookie cutters when my parents weren’t home. I even kept my book covers from high school, on which I collaged pictures of bands, famous artwork, quotes, quirky pictures, and The Parking Lot is Full comics (yes, I threw those away).

There is some stuff, however, that I can’t sort through on my own.

So I called on my dad today to help me out with just a few things.

I wasn’t expecting him to actually come upstairs, but he did and his first reaction to the piles of years of junk was, “Holy sh*t, Andy!

I guess he knew it was bad, but didn’t know how bad. I feel guilty for having trashed the place, but I really never had time to clean it up when I lived out of state. Now that I’m around, it has been strongly suggested to me by Dad to clean it all up. (Not that I didn’t already know that.)

Anyway, I showed him the bag of driftwood that I had acquired from Lake Erie (’cause you never know when you’ll need driftwood) to see if he wanted me to put it in the pile for for woodburner, or just throw it in the woods or whatever.

After a moment of pondering, he holds up a smooth flat log and exclaims, “This would make a good base for something!'” then holds up a smaller twisted piece and says, “This looks like a snake!” while proceeding to make a hissing sound and holding out two fingers like fangs.

DAD, THIS FRAME OF MIND IS WHY THE REST OF THIS [crap] IS HERE! (I say, gesturing Vanna-style to the piles of random junk in the room).

Still, he took the bag and I’m not quite sure what he did with it.

It’s tough being a creative person.

I’m still on the fence about some other things-that-could-become-other-things. Such as our old globe that still reads USSR. Or my extensive burned-out lightbulb collection, that’s hundreds of pieces strong and still growing. Or my box of circuit board pieces that one of the labs at school was just going to throw away.

At some point I have had or will have plans for them all, but it comes down to what I can realistically store or work with.

If any of you artsy folk out there would be interested in learning about what kind of unconventional “supplies” I actually have, feel free to contact me.

Hopefully I’ll have a more functional studio-type space soon and will actually be able to make all of the things that I want to. Imagine that!

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If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down

April 23, 2011

Tomorrow’s Easter, which means the end of the Lenten season.

So far I have done well with the coffee ban, but I’ll admit that I couldn’t have succeeded without the help of my old friend hot chocolate.

I know that the point of sacrifice isn’t to substitute one vice for another, but it was really nice to wake up to a warm drink, especially on those days where my work shift started at 6 or 7 am.

I don’t particularly like tea, so that was out of the question. I even tried drinking it again just to be sure that I don’t like it, and I was right. I think there was that one time that I liked an herbal tea, but I’m plum out right now..

My Bible-reading quest hasn’t progressed as well as I had initially planned. But if I can only read another 700 pages before I go into work today in 4 hours, I will have reached my goal of completing the Bible before Easter.

So that’s up to you to decide if you want to believe in my success or not.

As mentioned previously, part of the problem is that I mostly tried to read right before bed. Which made it difficult to get through more than 2 or 3 pages before falling asleep.

I was hoping that I would be able to stay awake for more once I got to the more familiar parts, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I blame it on the Catholic church.

If we would have read through, say, Deuteronomy or Numbers more often in church when I was growing up, maybe I could have gotten through it easier now. I mean, how hard can it be to base a sermon on how many bulls would need to be sacrificed to forgive touching an unclean woman? Or how many yards of fabric would be needed in the creation of the Sacred Tent? Instead, we just skipped ahead to the New Testament most of the time.

Too bad I have to work this evening, or I could have watched all 15 hours of The Ten Commandments on TV to make up for my lack of diligence.

What I have been working a lot on, though, is preparing for the ODDMALL craft show, which will be held in Hudson, Ohio, on May 7.

I’m pretty proud of the strides I’ve taken to keep on top of this. I had a 1-inch button-making-marathon on Wednesday, worked on some new designs, and wrote down a schedule of how I’m spending the remaining two weeks of my preparation time. I still would like to develop some new jewelry designs and fine-tune my display materials, but I’m feeling pretty good about it so far.

Anyway, hope everyone has a safe and Happy Easter! I know I’ll be hanging with the fam, and hopefully eating some delicious foods..


I heard the dude blamed the chick, I heard the chick blamed the snake..

March 17, 2011

So I’m still only about 50 pages into the Bible and already I made a mistake.

In my previous post I allude to Cain and Abel in my Bible-read-a-long checklist, citing Abraham and Sarah as the parents.  Really, the honor goes to Adam and Eve.

This goes to show how terrible I can be with names, and lists of names pretty much make up this whole first book of the Bible.

Through reading this, though, I wonder how some biblical names carry on through the generations (ex. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc. etc.), while others fall by the wayside. I mean, sure, those are some pretty important biblical figures, but why not go for some less obvious choices for naming your child:

Jidlaph

Chesed

Jokshan

Basemath

Uz

Mehetabel

Oholibamah

All very attractive choices.

Anyway, I really need to devote more daytime-time to reading instead of right-before-bed when I have to be careful not to fall asleep and drool on the Holy Book.

Thank goodness the Good Word transcends some beat-up and stained paper…

In other news: I did finish up the last 60 or so pages of the other book I was reading, The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I picked it up at random at Barnes & Noble, and really enjoyed it. On one hand, it discusses class differences in India. The illiterate servant, Bhima, lives in the slums with little access to proper medical facilities or education, while the mistress, Serah, lives in a nice home and has power and influence over others. Through hearing their stories, however, we see how universal our dreams and feelings and insecurities really are.

The author was actually supposed to be one of my professors at Case, but she had to cancel the class for some reason. Probably because she was working on/promoting a national best-selling novel, which is a pretty awesome reason to cancel a class.

There are a few more books on my short list to read, but I’m reluctant to start those quite yet. Besides trying to play catch-up with the Bible, I’ve been working on some new jewelry designs to post on my Etsy page.

Here’s a hint as to what to expect next:

vinyl.


I would have stopped at Day 3 gladly, but Day 4 came next…

March 12, 2011

So today is the third day of Lent.

This year I decided to give up coffee. Was going to give up pop, but I don’t drink it that much whereas consuming coffee has long become a daily occurrence for me.

The last time I gave up coffee was in college. Before then I never got into the habit of drinking coffee, but for some reason (perhaps as a right of passage? done out of necessity for pulling all-nighters?) college kids just start to do the coffee thing.

There was also a Starbucks right on campus, which was a total novelty considering that my hometown never had one until only recently. Plus they totally accepted “Case Cash” which is the extra money put on your student ID as part of the meal plan — to use at times when the cafeteria’s not open or to go to Subway, etc.

I didn’t realize how addicted I had become until about the 3rd and 4th days when I got a (lack of) caffeine headache.  I guess I didn’t think that the crappy vending machines at the art school really had coffee in their coffee drinks… I mean, I didn’t go to Starbucks every single day, but I did frequent the 55-cent-watery-powdered-coffee dispenser fairly often.

This year it’s not so bad.  I did have a bit of a headache today, but I can’t tell if it’s from the caffeine or something else since I was also kind of nauseated.

*******

Though I’m Catholic, I’m  interested in utilizing this time to exercise some self-control. I mean, I know that giving something up/not eating meat on Fridays represents sacrifice and things, but I would have to dig deep in the ol’ mental filing cabinet to really remember all the details and how-comes that go along with the Lenten season.

On that note, however, I am going to try to read through the entire Bible before Easter.

You may remember this post about my teenage “bucket list”… Well reading the Bible is one of the items I added to my grown-up version (which I have yet to publish).

I have the basic gist of it down from going to church every weekend throughout my childhood, but I’ve never sat down and actually read the book from start-to-finish. I’m not expecting to understand the entire Bible in just a few weeks — I just want to get a feel for the flow of it.

That’s why I’m reading through a Contemporary English version to start. I’ll graduate to the New Oxford Annotated Bible (with Apocrypha) when I’m really ready to be ultra-studious about it. (That’s the huge one with elaborate academic-sounding footnotes and the “missing” books in it.)

I’ve only made it through about 12 pages (I need to do about 21 per day to finish on time), but a lot more has happened than I expected/remembered.

-The creation of all things (check!)

-Adam and Eve get banished from the Garden of Eden (check!)

-Noah saves all the animals from certain death (check!)

-They all have a whole bunch of descendants when they’re like 300-600 years old (check!)

Abraham’s Adam’s wife, Eve, bears a son who kills the other son (check!)

-The evil, corrupt cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed (check!)

*******

It’s amusing the way it’s all put into layman’s terms. Like the first verses are simplified to pretty much read as follows:

“God decided to create birds. This was good. And that’s how birds were created.”

I get that there’s no way that we could possible know how God created birds, but it’s just funny how this version lacks the eloquence that the original versions surely had.

Anyway, I should probably head upstairs and get to readin’ if I’m ever going to catch up.


Gotta go turn in my Rock Star Card, and get fat and old with you..

February 13, 2011

So it’s time for Valentine’s Day again.  I feel as though it already happened, since I work in retail and the V-Day stuff has been on display since Christmas.

I think that’s why it took me so long to create Valentine’s-related crafts for my shows and shops.  I saw so much red heartsy stuff so early on that I kept thinking that it would be “too early” to get started.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Since the extent of my celebrating tomorrow will consist of going to work in the evening, I thought I’d share some of my favorite love/breakup tunes here.

In compiling this list, however, I realized that pretty much all of these songs are my favorites partially because they are nostalgic to me.  Basically all have at one point been featured in mixtapes that I made in high school (anyone remember the classic mix Love and Let-Downs??).

I do.

Does this mean that they just don’t make songs like they used to? I like to think so..

So in no particular order, here are my ten favorite songs highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of this “disease they call love.”

* * * * * * *

GOOD

-WEEZER – Falling for You

I heart this song so much since it gets the point across while still being badass. How can you go wrong with a line like, “I’d do ’bout anything to get the hell out alive… or maybe I would rather settle down with you.” Kind of reminds me of the MTX song that goes, “Who needs happiness? I’d rather have you..

– JIMMY EAT WORLD – Crush

Ignore the crappy homemade video — it’s the price we pay for sharing music for free.

Anyway, this song is very moving to me, especially at the end. Can’t say that it hasn’t made me tear up a time or two..

– WESTON – Clumsy Shy

This is so ‘high school’ that I love it! Never said that Weston’s songs are the best-orchestrated, but they are ultra-fun.  Gotta start the video at 7 min. 33 sec. to get the right song.

– JETS TO BRAZIL – Sweet Avenue

First got a hold of this song on a mixtape from a friend with the note “BEST SONG EVER!!” by it.  It’s definitely a contender in my mind — Just soft and sweet and sincere.

– BILLY BRAGG – Greetings to the New Brunette

I’m celebrating my love for you with a pint of beer and a new tattoo. Of course at the end we discover that the entire song is this big fantasy, but I would still consider it to be more of a song about love and hope rather than disappointment.

 

* * * * * * *

BAD

– PEDRO THE LION – Bad Diary Days

Just the whole tone of this song is so melancholy. Probably the most heart-wrenching breakup song to me. It’s so sad without being whiney or going into “that terrible bitch did me wrong” mode. The breakfast cereal talked more than we did all day long..

– BRIGHT EYES – You Will

I like the lo-fi sound quality on this one. (Yes, this link goes to the album version..) Connor Oberst always sounds sincere.

– ALL – Shreen

I think that the best part of this song is the contrast between the emotional lyrics and overall punky ‘feel’ of their music. Like seeing a biker coddle a kitten.

– FOUR TOPS – Walk Away Renee

This song can make me tear up as well. Still like the original done by The Left Banke, but that version is too stiff and doesn’t convey the emotion of the Four Tops’ song. I like when people shout in their songs… not in a crappy “nu metal” sort of way, but in a “I’m so overcome with emotion that I can’t use my inside voice” sort of way.

– THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)

So what’s amazing is that I actually know a guy whose dad left his mom to ‘marry the sea.’  This song saddens me because I could empathize with Brandy… She’s stuck in this town that she probably grew up in and is so amazed to hear the sailor’s stories of the exotic outside world and is hopefully that he’ll come back for her someday, but in her heart knows he won’t.  It totally has a cheesy 70’s vibe, but has been one of my favorite songs since I was a little kid.  It’s even been my ring tone for the past 3 or so years.

* * * * * * *

So there you have it.

Some runners-up include: Jackson (Johnny Cash & June Carter), Kentucky Rain (Elvis), and 300 (The Stereo)


my recent life summed up in a single image…

February 9, 2011

a DOUBLE rainbow

I took this picture right outside of my house last week.  Though someone else’s photo of this occurrence was featured in the newspaper the next day, I still feel as though this particular (doubley-awesome) rainbow was just for me.

I was allowed to run in the house to grab my camera, but moments later it was gone.

* * * * * * *

And now for the long version:

A lot’s been going on in the past few months.

Toward the end of December I moved back home to the Pittsburgh area.  Cleveland just wasn’t working out for me anymore.

I was able to transfer my job from the Cleveland store to the Greensburg one, with the help of my old boss who gave me a great recommendation.  So far I’ve been liking the new place and am even starting to make some outside-of-work work friends. It feels like back in the day when I first realized that I could call my school chums outside of class to hang out on a weekend.

Anyway, I was invited to share in the booth space at Craftique (in Greensburg) that is being rented out by some of my crafty coworkers.  I could put some work in shop as early as February 1, but haven’t gotten a chance to get myself together yet.

In addition to making arrangements for the consignment opportunities I mentioned in my last post, I’m working on some new pieces to display at the I Made It! Mine show this Saturday. It’s going to be at the new Glass Lofts in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh from 12-5 PM.  The goal is to gain some exposure for both causes: awesome handmade crafts, plus the brand new condominiums.

The Pageboy arrangement has been working well for me, but I do have to end my reign at the Hudson Sampler Store.

I was already planning to take down my booth because it would be increasingly difficult to maintain from afar, but I just got word that the entire shop’s closing down as well.  My stuff will be out of there on February 15, and I guess the rest of the vendors will be out by the end of March.

Oh well, I guess it just gives me an excuse to take road trip to Cleveland where I can visit some pals and also happen to see JIMMY EAT WORLD in concert. I’m also planning to pack in as many fun-filled activities as possible like shopping at Torrid (my favorite store that no longer exists in PA) and taking care of my local taxes (woo hoo!) for 2010. After that, who knows when I’ll go back.

As far as my personal life goes, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and just generally “settling in.” Right now I still have some boxes stacked in my parent’s unfinished living room that I need to address. Mostly craft stuff that is yet to be organized.

I’ve been slowly reconnecting with some of my friends from high school (and earlier). It’s nostalgic, yet strange. Like I have to meet them all over again even though we can pick back up on a years-old conversation without a problem.

Last week I spent hours on the phone catching up with one of my oldest friends with whom I haven’t spoken since about (geez, probably) 2003.

For some reason our conversation drifted towards wine (a topic about which we never previously spoken) and she pointed out that we “haven’t talked since we’ve grown up,” which was totally true. (Not that talking about wine makes you a grown-up, but you get what I’m saying…)

I mean, people go without speaking with each other for years all the time, but there’s something different about picking back up after missing the years where pretty much the most rapid, drastic changes tend to occur in one’s life.

Where do you even begin? I’m no good at being concise as it is, but it just makes me think about what a bulleted list of my life’s experiences would look like. Or a ‘top ten’ countdown.

Sorry, don’t have that list prepared for you today, but it’s something I’m thinking about…

* * * * * * *

On a lighter note, here’s a picture of my cat wearing a tiny Steelers bandanna that I made for her:

Skippy

black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow...


Even at 25, you gotta start sometime

October 10, 2010

So even though I knew the perfect title for my next blog entry for weeks, I’ve been putting off writing it, ’cause I wasn’t quite sure of what I would say.

But then I’ve been thinking about how I’ll only be 25 for the next couple of months, so I better write it now before my chance is gone forever.

(Deep, I know…)

So what am I starting?

Well, I mentioned before that I’m starting to more heavily pursue crafting.

On September 1st, I set up an endcap display at the Hudson Sampler Store. I found it when stalking the JoAnn Fabrics headquarters. I had a job interview about a mile down the road from the headquarters and thought that I might as well check it out.

Nestled between the JoAnn building and an actual JoAnn’s retail store was the Hudson Sampler Store. The light-up letters above the doorway still say the Country Sampler Store but I went inside because the sign in the window advertised that they rent booth spaces to crafters.

Upon further inspection (and after speaking with a very nice woman at the counter), I discovered that they actually sell a variety of crafts like photography, handmade cards, and blown glass.  So I filled out the application form and met with one of the managers a few weeks later.

The rent is very reasonable, and I can pretty much do what I want with the display (within reason).  The employees that I met on the day of my interview seemed very enthusiastic about my work and they thought I’d do well there.

September’s slow for retailers in general, so I wasn’t expecting too much.  So far I’ve sold a total of two items, but hoping it will pick up closer to Christmas. (My lease goes through the end of December, and then I can rent month-to-month.)

I stopped in to drop off some more inventory at the end of September, and found that one piece was broken and one piece was stolen. The broken item had a clasp issue which was easy to repair, but the other piece?  Who knows what happened to it.. I guess that’s just the risk you take with retail shops.

* * *

I also just started selling (well, I suppose you’d call it showing so far) at Pageboy Salon & Boutique in Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA. The owner, Rachel, used to have a cute shop called Kharisma Vintage Fashions, also in Pittsburgh. She’s really sweet and great to work with so I got a hold of her after I visited the shop about a month or so ago.

I sent her a lot of vintage eyeglass necklaces, 1″ buttons, and origami crane earrings, so please check out the store if you’re in PGH any time soon. Nearby are some cool shops like Wildcard (handmade cards ‘n’ crafts) and Dozen Bake Shop (spectacular cupcakes and unique foods).  I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to stop by the neighborhood again soon.

* * *

Additionally on the crafting front, I will be doing the Oddmall show in less than a month! It’s November 6, at the Clarion Hotel in Hudson, OH. The first one I did wasn’t the best, however, it’s been steadily growing in popularity. Also, April from Regretsy is scheduled to be there!

Also applied for the Bazaar Bizarre show, but was rejected. Which is strange since they accepted me two years ago when I had minimal items in my Etsy shop and absolutely no prior show history. I guess competition was fierce, so I’ll just wait and see if I can get in the Handmade Arcade again.

* * *

Tomorrow is also the start of my new job at one of my favorite craft stores (can you guess which one?) It’s just seasonal, but I’m hoping that I can eventually bridge the gap to work for corporate. Not sure how that transition will go, but it should be nice working for a company I actually believe in.

You may recall that I previously held a job at the local cable company. Without going into too much detail, call center customer service just wasn’t doing it for me. I knew it wasn’t my forever-job, and I’m feeling pretty good about moving on to an industry I enjoy.

* * *

So I suppose that the moral of today’s story is that I may not know exactly where I’m going, but at least I’m getting closer to it each day.