Friday, August 31, 2012

Chaos and Mystery Among Papers

My latest posting on Etsy - a collage from 2010. I'm not putting up favorites first, but any that come to hand easily and are easy to scan. When I wrote about it for the site I found more things I liked about it. It always works that way.

Listening to Tracy Chapman here in the dark . . . my God, what a singer.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Blue, Blue Birds

I've been spending some more time posting pins on the web site, and here are a couple of very blue birds from my efforts. I love looking at the scans of these beautiful pins, so the work is fun.

There has been progress with sea creatures, fish, and now birds. Thanks to Jessika, who did a lot of scanning and photoshopping a few months ago, I have plenty of images to work with.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Four More

I've put four more collages in my Etsy Store over the past two days as well as putting more painted animal pins online. We sold a couple of hummingbird pins this morning, so maybe it's helping even though I didn't work on the hummingbirds directly.

As for the collages, I like the second one especially, the cow is funny, and I started to appreciate the one with the gorilla skull and the salmon again when I began making the notes for it on Etsy. They always mean something when I'm done with them, although I almost never plan anything because it rarely works. The fun is in seeing how random images, when put together, express something or lead me somewhere. I didn't dissect the collages, but I did find a few words to say about each in the blurb. It seems the '80s were productive years for collage-making (also the end of the '70s), and all of the collages above are from the 1980s.

I bought some new portfolios today, and tomorrow will begin organizing. Also, as the guy in the store termed it, "editing." That is, trash can for the ones that truly didn't work or aren't worth keeping.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shaking Loose, Part 1

Something shook loose this week and I began to follow up on my mini-success with eBay by posting more things for sale online, and all in places other than eBay. Some of them I've posted before, but most  have been sitting around anywhere between years and decades waiting for me to do something with them. Amazing. I really do feel a new energy moving in my life. 

The trout above is one that Les left here on consignment. After all this time I finally figured out an easy way to put larger numbers of these painted pins in the store so people can get a good look at them and it doesn't take forever to put them up and then take them down again when they sell, as the quantity of these older designs may be from one to just a few pins of any design or paint style. One of the quick(er) ways I'd been putting them up looked nice, but they were not optimized well for Google, and that has become the Holy Grail of anything you put online these days. If the Big G can't find it, forget it. When each pin had its own page they optimized much better, but it was too cumbersome to make sense. If the pin happens to be an elephant, it may look the same each time, but if it's a trout it may come in more styles than you can count on two hands. I needed a way to post more of them quicker and not lose our great placement by switching to a new web store entirely. What I'm doing now is a hybrid system, and I think it should work.

I had to show you another unusual trout (above). I've loved these pins ever since I came across Les and his booth at the Seattle Gift Show one year. We do sell some pins right through the year, but not nearly as many as I'd like to. Hopefully that will be changing now, and my goal is to get several hundred more animal pins posted in time for Christmas sales! Think I can do it?

After I finished the trout I moved on to tropical fish. I especially love this beautiful triggerfish.

Next I did the frog page. I'm not sure what animal I'll work on tomorrow, maybe more sea life.

So much for the Tapir and Friends Store. I decided to do something with my own artwork finally. I've posted this collage (a different style for me, but funny) on this blog before, and I decided to get my feet wet the other day by making it the first item in my new Etsy store: TapirgalLovesArt. Corinna has been selling stuff she makes and making money for TPF donations for a number of years now and she recommended Etsy as a venue. So did a discussion Catherine sent me recommending Etsy over eBay for vintage and hand-made items.

A detail from my first Etsy posting.

Here's the second Etsy posting. Maybe a weird choice. I called it "Space Girl." It didn't have a name when I made it in 1980. I have so many pieces of artwork in unmanageable old portfolios that I took the first candidate that was going to photograph OK and looked interesting enough to use.

I sure wish Blogger would get the orientation right. Facebook and Blogger both had the same problem with another photo I posted a few days ago.

I didn't say anything about this one when I put it on the blog before. I guess the symbolism is whatever you want it to be. I made it in 1983 when I was living in Corona and feeling disconnected. It was my third Etsy post, so I moved from not personal at all through a sense of insecurity to intense feelings in this third one. I plan to put more up tomorrow, not sure what it will be yet.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bye Bye Beanies

Beanie Babies. I like them. I think they're cute. I think they have a certain amount of character, and you know I love animals, even these cutely distorted ones. I don't like all distorted or overly cute animals, but Beanie Babies grew on me. I never paid them any attention in their heyday, recognizing immediately that they were an overpriced gimmick to make money for Ty, but once they began showing up in garage sales in quantities, Lee bought some for the store. I felt obligated to put them online, and then I grew to like them. They have endearing faces, and it's not their fault they come with bad poetry. We enjoyed finding more and more in garage sales, meeting friends and cousins of the Ty creations we already knew, and inventory blossomed. 

Occasionally they sold. The best times were when a parent or grandparent told me they were replacing a loved furry friend the kid had lost and would be inconsolable until the beady-eyed toy came home. I remember two little boys with two lost chipmunks, and we happened to have just the two needed for replacement; the boys - one might think a little old for Beanie Babies - had created a whole world of stories around these two chipmunks, now gone missing. With a mother's purchase, happy times returned for the lads and their chipmunk mascots and the store made about six dollars not counting processing time and customer service. (I'm not laughing. I remember the day my pet rat chewed the face off of the homely rag doll I had just finished sewing. I was in tears.) My mom fixed the doll. We supplied the missing chipmunks. How delightful it would be if all stories ended so well.

I meant this to be a short post. Long story short (LSS), it's hard to pay the rent when you put as much time into listing and selling one unique item as we've put into these Beanies. (Ty would not sell Beanie Babies to online-only retailers, so I had to make do with what I found in garages, and they rarely matched.) I am not a collector and I had more interesting things to do than researching the ones that might possibly sell for more. During the couple of years the store was open to the public, the kids enjoyed them - but the beanie corner became more of a babysitting venue than a profit center. So today the time finally came today to hug the little characters goodbye and send them all off to an orphanage a loving home.

I tried recently to sell these Beanie Buddy bears (bigger by far than the Babies) on eBay, but there were no takers. Kinda sad. They are in good condition and they're pretty adorable. I can understand, though, that nobody would want to pay the $12.00 shipping on five bears they had bought for $1.00 total. I wouldn't mind sending them to a place where real kids need real toys, a disaster relief or something, but they are heavy, and shipping could be expensive. Anyway, the U.S. seems glutted with products that have run their course and end up as cultural landfill (and all too often, physical landfill as well). I wonder what adventure lies ahead for Spangle the Bear and Jake the Drake. Today I'm listing them all on Freecycle Astoria. Bye bye Beanies. It's been a fun if not very profitable ride.

So what have we here? In front are the obvious beanies, and behind them my art portfolios. They hold my past and my future - another story for another day. Next to the art is a stack of empty mailbags, used daily to mail more profitable (if not necessarily more deserving) animal replicas from the store. Next to the bags are plastic storage cabinets containing supplies for future artwork and maybe a few things I can sell on eBay that people will actually buy. A new easy chair - actually the first I've had in many years. It's comfortable and attractive. It's one of the few pieces I've ever bought that goes so well with its setting, and it needs an uncluttered home under the window with the pleasant lighting. Bye bye, Beanies . . . I take one more step along my path to somewhere new.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chairs, Flowers, Blood and Feet

Outside the fabric and quilting store on 10th Street
Astoria, Oregon ~ August 20, 2012

Spending a few moments in a plastic Adirondack chair outside the quilting and fabric store after getting energy work done downstairs was a higlight of the day. I was relaxed, the chair was comfy, the sun was perfect, and a nice breeze blew up from the river. Unfortunately the photo showing the trees turned sideways when I uploaded it, so I took it down. I've had that happen before with images on Blogger, not sure why. It was a phone photo if that makes a difference.

 Columbia Memorial Hospital exit and Park Building
Astoria, Oregon ~ August 20, 2012

This morning I had my blood drawn again and had to return one of those ultra-fun 24-hour pee tests. The women in the lab and the records office and I are getting to know each other pretty well by now. They are all very cool, so that part is fine. If I want a copy of the test sent to me, I have to go down the long hallway and fill out some papers. Finally we all know the drill, and this time the lady was right on it when she saw me coming. 

Some days the hallway is an issue, though, because I still cannot walk anywhere without my feet getting sore and bleeding internally. The two latest theories both say my nerves are giving the veins signals to behave wrongly, as there is nothing at all wrong with the veins (which is good). The podiatrist in Astoria thought the screwed up signals might be from low potassium, but my potassium is normal. The vein doctor at OHSU in Portland thought fibromyalgia could be causing the nerves to give wrong signals. Maybe so, because my feet began to get weird the week after my bad fibromyalgia crash at the end of May 2010. Maybe we're getting somewhere with the cause. The tests are about my parathyroid problems (which also affect nerves, so who knows), but it's all connected. I see the fibro specialist in about six weeks and am beginning to try some new things on that score. More in another post.

I know I am getting very tired of the walking problems (although I am beginning to get the awareness of being grateful for every little thing, such as the fact that I still HAVE feet). After yet one more set of tests, it was elevating to walk out the side door of the hospital and see such bright flowers. I didn't even notice the sculpted bush until I downloaded the photo. By the way, the hospital is behind me. The nondescript brick thing is the Park Building across the street.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cross Writing in 1856

N.C. Hudson to Helen R. Joy ~
August 15, 1856

Same letter as above

Cross writing was a popular way to save on postage and paper in the 1700s and 1800s. Fortunately for me, there are not a lot of cross-written letters in the Hudson and Joy collection I'm working on, and when the people do cross write, it's usually only a small portion of the letter. Some examples can get pretty extreme, though, as you can see from these letters that came up in a Google image search.

I've found cross writing to be easier to read than you might think, especially once you get used to someone's handwriting. In the case of Nathaniel's letter to Helen (above), I had to get out the old Agfa Lupe to be sure about his first line (after the date and "My Dearest Helen.") Not only does the writing cross, but it's extremely light. There is not usually much fading in these letters, but either his ink was thin, the paper was slick and the ink didn't adhere very well to the first page, or it really did fade.


Aha! It's the ink. At the end Nathaniel apologizes for "this miserable looking letter - I believe my ink is entirely spoiled."

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.