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Riding the Wave

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Riding the Wave

Oh hello! I have a blog!

Why is it always

Sometimes life

See this is exactly what happens every time I pull up this stupid window to try and write a blog entry. What moments ago seemed to be clear, easily verbalized thoughts suddenly turn to absolute crap on the page, I glare at this blinking cursor in disgust for a minute or two, then blow out an exasperated sound like “ughhrhhrghhg,” close the window and go back to reading endless blog archives or watching Poirot on Netflix. But if I stay away much longer, I’m going to have to just erase this blog and give up, or leave it to atrophy like thousands of other little broken threads hanging from the Interwebs.

No! Since the whole theme of this thought I’ve been struggling to get on the page is to pull up one’s big kid undies and carry on, it seems appropriate for me to suck it up and start here.

You might have noticed this too: 2012 turned out to be largely total shit right up to the end. Or maybe you didn’t! Maybe 2012 was a great year for you (you lucky jerk). It’s not that nothing good happened all year long. Lots of great things happened–they were just so hilariously, ridiculously outweighed by the crap that they barely budged the scale. I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but I have to at least explain where I’ve been for the last few months, and why I find myself in need of this internal pep talk to begin with.

We spent the last year living in Pennsylvania for my husband’s internship, part of the requirement for finishing his doctorate. And he met that requirement! He loved the work he did in his internship and he grew a lot over the last year. But, as internships are wont to do, his ended at the end of July, and he found himself jobless and hung up indefinitely in his career path by that other big requirement of graduation: his dissertation. He hoped to be done before his job ended, but that didn’t happen. In fact, he was only able to finally finish his first draft on December 29th and send it to his chair to begin the long (oh for craps sake) process of edits that will last until…who knows. You might notice the significant gap between the beginning of August and now. It’s awhile. And he’s been unemployed and writing furiously that whole time.

While in Pennsylvania I worked a few jobs including teaching, singing and retail. These were not enough to keep us afloat there for any significant amount of time. Right around Mid-October, as it was becoming suddenly clear that he would not be done with his dissertation (and therefore employable) by Christmas, we decided to take drastic action. So we made arrangements to move back to Louisville, where Husband’s family were, very generously, offering us housing in a property that was currently up for sale. It’d been on the market for two years with no movement at all. We’d pay a small amount of rent there, I’d be able to find work, and he’d have time to finish his dissertation so we could MOVE ON already.

So we packed all our stuff up to move it into a storage unit until such time that we could afford to rent a truck and move it down. We were ready to cram all our essentials into our cars and drive to Louisville when we learned that the property we were moving into the next day had sold. The new owners would want us out by the 15th of December. Whee! Lacking any better option, we took out a good amount of the stuff we’d planned to create a little mini household with, threw it into the storage unit too, and took off for Kentucky.

We’ve been pretty much scrambling to figure out our next move ever since then. We stayed in the property as long as we could, then with generous and wonderful relatives in Indiana. Then to North Carolina for the holidays, where a friend had an empty apartment and I had family to crash with when needed. It was great to be with family, and we had a wonderful Christmas, but a pal of uncertainty hung over us the whole time we were there. We rang in the new year with friends on the beach, which I think was a good way to reset our brains for a new start. Then we drove back up to Louisville, and are currently living in the guest room of some extremely awesome people. I’m still job hunting, Husband is working on his first round of dissertation edits and looking for temp work. Our only income since mid-November has been from my Etsy business, which is not exactly booming, but has helped us to keep gas in the car.

It’s been very hard for me to think about young artists programs, applications, auditions, or really singing in general for the last couple of months.

But for the first time since we left our apartment in PA, I’m finally feeling like we’ve come rest somewhere, even if it’s just for a moment. I feel like I can catch my breath and start planning, rather than just having to react to circumstances that are changing too rapidly for us to get ahead of them. It’s 2013, a truly New Year, and I hope it will be a good one. I can do my part to see that it will be.

So I’m heading out on the town tomorrow a bit to follow up some job leads, sing for a local choir director in hopes of finding work, and PRACTICE. I can find a temp job for now, and something that will further by career goals after that. We WILL be back in our own place soon. I will be able to pay for applications again soon. I will sing for people, I will find gigs and auditions. I will find students and start teaching again. This will all be fine. Life rolls right along, and I can either be swept along by it, or get on top of the wave of craziness and ride it.

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Spoooooooons

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Spoooooooons

Hands of folks addicted to Pinterest? Pretty much everybody? Well, if you like crafty things, you might have seen a pin floating around linking to this A2D project.

Cool, huh? Well, as it turns out, I am currently facing a huge amount of uncertainty about where I will call home in a month or two, and this apparently makes me a little nesty. I love the shades of blue that she used, but I decided to go with reds and yellows for my living room.

Now that I look around, I have to admit that this was fairly arbitrary. In my grad school apartment, I had one red accent wall, and a red futon cover, and thusly went with a lot of browns and yellows and oranges in that room. But that wall and that futon are both long gone, as are the red and yellow throw pillows, and the yellow wooden plaques that I’d painted with Italian tile designs… In fact I have more blues and greens in here right now than reds. Whatever.

I spent an evening watching TV with the Husband and cutting the handles off of spoons. I discovered that it was easiest to score the plastic just a bit with the scissors, then snap it off. Cutting all the way through with the scissors caused cracks and chips.

Instead of trying to glue and tape together an 18 and a 12 inch MDF wreath form, I just bought an 18 inch one and a sheet of foam board. Much easier. I hot-glued that sucker on there, cut out the circle and poked holes through the foam from the back using the pre-drilled holes in the form to use as reference when lining up the spoons. Feeling pretty proud of myself, I put on some netflix reruns and started gluing down spoons.

Right about then, I realized that I hadn’t ever cut out the center circle to put the mirror behind. Bummer. After some careful measuring, cursing, measuring some more, and the judicious use of a knitting needle, yarn and a pencil, I marked off a center circle of about the right diameter and cut it out. Woo! I continued gluing on spoons over the next couple of days, whenever I had free time. I had to make a second trip out to Big Lots for spoons, because I can’t read. But finally it was done!

It actually looked really pretty with just the white spoons. But not really what I was going for. Now in the original blogger’s instructions, she says that its super easy to paint each individual spoon, but that she primed and spray painted the whole thing first. I just used a Krylon for plastic spray paint, and painted the whole thing yellow. It looked really cool when I just put that first really light coat on since it mostly painted the outer edges of the “petals,” but didn’t get all the way down into the overlapping curves of them. You could do a lot just with that, either over the white of the spoons, or with two shades of spray paint. I gave them a pretty good coating though.

Now, let me just tell you. It was not easy to paint each individual petal. It was awkward as all get out, since i was intent on painting the edges and the undersides as well. It took forever. And the acrylic paint I used required more than one coat per petal to not look like streaky crap.

To create the color fade, I started out in the middle with a dark red, then kept adding yellow to the cup for every round. When the whole thing was done, though, I was very pleased with the result. I used some plastic roping that we had laying around to hang it, and taped rather than glued the mirror to the back, in case I should someday change my mind. It looks pretty cool just as a big starburst wreath. I also went over each petal with a layer of varnish leftover from a previous project, to both seal the acrylic paint and to make the whole thing a little shiny and finished looking. This could easily have been accomplished with a can of clear spray paint, but I am cheap and didn’t want to go back out.

I liked the way it turned out so much that I decided to make two smaller ones to accompany it (if HGTV has taught me anything, its that things look better in threes). I used the center circle I’d cut out of the larger mirror for the smaller one, and had enough spoons leftover from the first one to do the second. This time I laid out the spoons on the circle first, figuring out how many would be in each round. Then I spray painted the foam circle first (DO THIS!), and all of the spoons individually. I painted each spoon before I glued it down, and though that seems like it should have taken a lot longer, it really went faster that way, since I wasn’t having to hold the thing at an angle and get a little brush up in there to get the undersides. I glued the whole thing together, taped on the mirror, and added a piece of twine to hang it with.

I did this one in shades of orange rather than starting with red. The third will between the two sizes I have, and be in shades of yellow, but I have to go buy another mirror and some more dang spoons before I can put it together.

They’re on the wall  now, though not in their final home. I think they turned out really well!