Not So Starving Artist

A friend of mine got me thinking about ways to save money on food today and I decided I would share these thoughts with you lovely readers. How do starving artists, well, NOT starve?

A year ago I came across this article while browsing the net and it totally helped how I think about my grocery money when I first moved here to Seattle and my cash was pretty thin. I had to search around a bit to find it again but I did. And I really think that more accurately for a single person it’s more like $20 a week. $7 per day is a bit excessive.
Check out this page on MSN: Healthy Eating on $7 a Day

Anyways, the idea is that you get your basic staples and then build off it or add to it to make nutritious daily eats. It's not the most gourmet but it is good, cheap & sustaining.

The way I tend to shop is to get my dry goods in bulk (pasta, rice, beans, cereal, spices etc). Nowadays most larger supermarkets will have a bulk aisle. I’ll stock up on those, plus canned tomato sauce and garlic, bout once a month - $20. Olive Oil, another staple I get about… 3 times a year? Then each week I get about $10 of fresh stuff – veggies, dairy. It averages to $15 a week. In the case of fresh stuff it’s whatever is on sale/cheapest and I make do with what I got. Which tends to be the seasonal stuff. Kale in season? Go for it. Broccoli on sale? Go for it. Squash? Oh bugger but I’ll still get it. I built up a way of scanning the produce aisle for the sale flags – and large displays of stuff usually means seasonal.

In the winter, when a lot of the fresh stuff gets more expensive, I start making sprouts. Lentil and Mung Bean are my favorites.

And in all honesty – what I tend to eat the absolute most of – are wraps. What kind? ANYTHING I got mixed with a little lettuce/veggies. Sometimes it’s the standard rice and beans with veggies. A jar of salsa and an 0.80 cent can of black beans will go a long way. Sometimes it’s leftover pasta wrapped up with a little lettuce. Sometimes it’s leftover stir-fry veggies. Whatevers. It helps make your food stretch.

I tend to cook only a couple times a week and when I do I make enough for a couple days - Lunches AND dinners. And if I go out to eat, I try to only eat half and save the rest for the next meal. Example: This week I went and got my favorite hot and sour soup from one of the stands in the market - $6. I ate half for lunch and then that night I made 1 cup of rice. Mixed it in with the soup and I ate that soup 2 more times. 1 cup of rice costs what? 15 cents? Combine that with the yummy soup and I had 3 meals for $2.15 each.

It took me a long time to fully make habits of all this stuff but I really do believe that you could do it. Not only will you not starve but it’s actually pretty healthy too.


Lightbox Tuning

Yesterday I created the light box. Everyone passing by the kitchen undoubtedly would ask, "What are you doing??" with quizzical looks as the cardboard box I was massacring. I would answer "I'm making a photo light box" and the quizzical look would remain as they went "hmmm..." and walked away.

Tonight I tried out said light box and well... it needs some tuning. I think the vellum paper I used for the sides may have been a bit too thick.
I was following this tutorial recommended to me by Scarywhitegirl. The tutorial was quite wonderful. The operator following the tutorial may need to be questioned however...

The whole idea was to be able to better photograph all of my wood burned pendants. Either I need to trade out the paper, bring in 10 more lights, upgrade my camera or do all three because I'm still not satisfied with the way these little guys are photographing.

Trust me - this looked way cooler in person.

Someday my pendants will be on Etsy! Someday!


Portland or Bust

Hooray! Accolades!
I've been accepted to the October Crafty Wonderland show! And it couldn't have come at a better time =)
I've been wanting to check out this show for AGES --- the Portland craft scene has exploded in the years since I've been away. It's about time I returned "home".
Portland or Bust babes!


Strange Days & Fall Changes

What an interesting and strange time it has been these past 48 hours. The transition from summer to Fall has always been an inspired time for me, as it is for many that I know.
This particular year has been a... what do you call it when the Universe steps in? What do you call those moments when a crossroads is crossed. A Bridge Burned? A door opened?
Whatever it is I'm fascinated. Sometimes you totally think that you are in control of your own life and that's when it happens. Something or someone steps in and shakes it all up.
I am no longer working on I Heart Indie Holidays. And I might not be able to return to I Heart Rummage. Which saddens me. IHR has been a part of my life for a few years now.
I suppose it is just time to move onto new things.
So there be the trouble at the garden gate.
But things aren't all bad. In the garden and in the works are some exciting new developments in my life:

A connection with the girls of Crafty Wonderland and
I may start going to Portland once a month to participate in their show.

The EtsyRain meet up group had a meeting last night at Ravenna Third Place Books which both the group and the location was super inspiring.

I've now had the pleasure of getting to meet and now potentially work with Rosalie of UglyBaby and bARTerSauce.
This girl inspires me to no end and I can't wait to brainstorm with her over beer again. Besides... I now owe her one... or er two...


Grey Muse

Today the Puget Sound is the kind of grey that begs for cups of tea and sewing machine thread. The kind of grey that begs for wet oil paint because the colors are brighter than the day. The kind of grey that leads to my muse pulling my soul strings.
The kind of day that makes me yearn for my days to be my own.
Previously I blogged a post about how having a day job actually enhanced my creativity. (April 07) Today I'm giving that idea a second thought.
Because what does it matter to have enhanced creativity if you end up not having the time to do anything about it?


Weekend Recap

A quick update to let you all know that the Punk Rock Flea Market officially well... ROCKED!

It was so much fun, way laid back with chill music all day and lots of shoppers. I shared a booth with Betsy of Baddins Design who also rocks and we had a great time trying to outsell each other's stuff as we admired all of the fabulous outfits that came down the stairs in front of us.
Also in attendance were some of my favorite artsy friends: Anna Perrone Designs, Florid Disposition, those lovely ladies of Knelow Cosmetics and Dawn of Scary White Girl. Also got to see the lovely Ambika who came just to shop! She scored a gorgeous yellow shrug made by Miss Betsy of Baddins that looked perfect on her! (Can't wait to see if she posts pictures on her blog...)
The day was topped off by being able to trade jewelry with Julia of Metalwing. I'm wearing my new enamel pendant today... I wonder if she is wearing her wood burned squirrel =)

Sunday was filled with I Heart Rummage crazies which sadly wasn't anywhere near as busy as the previous day. The slow day made for some great networking though. I had a little meet up with Rosalie of UglyBaby to talk about daydreams (might be something up our sleeves)
I also had a great connection with the inspiring Jenna of Chimaera Creations.

Logically I should be exhausted... but overall I'm happily inspired just to do more!


When Pens Fly

First there was this piece of marketing material that reminded me of Ben & Jerry’s. Which led me to want to draw a cow on said marketing material. And then there was this brief office conversation about disappearing pens and then this lovely invitation for some soirĂ©e or another arrived in this fabulously silver envelope and voila – my new desktop masterpiece titled “When Pens Fly”.
Had to make up for my lack of a post yesterday by having lots of fun today.

If I was a real teacher giving myself a real grade on this project I’d say a C for getting a zero on 2 out of 7 assignments. But since I’m just myself and I had kinda forgotten about how crazy the week was going to be… I officially give myself an A for effort!

So how’d you do? Go ahead – give yourself a grade. I won’t tell.


Expose Your Healthy Side

"Expose your healthy side" is the trademark name for the current marketing campaign by Naked Juice Co. I happen to know this because while I was out on my lunch break today picking up soup to compliment the grey morning weather I came across a huge dancing, yelling, heckling group of giant pieces fruit. Or rather, teenagers dressed as giant pieces of fruit. Did it set the tone for my lunch break drawing of free form creativity? No, not really. That had more to do with a dream I had last night. But I sure did enjoy my free Naked juice while drawing it.

Weekend of Plenty

... Plenty of getting my art out there that is! This is where I will be this weekend:
Punk Rock Flea Market on Saturday 10-6 with bands until Midnight!
I Heart Rummage on Sunday 12 - 4 with FREE IZZE Sparkling Juice for Everyone!
And just as a thank you to YOU my new found friends and blog readers I'd like to offer you a 15% off discount if you come by and say Howdy!
Happy End of Summer Shopping!


3 Days Three Doodles

Silly oh silly me - give myself an assignment and then leave for the weekend. I was oh so good and remembered to bring my camera with me for taking progress photos but what I forgot was the USB cable. Oops! Ah well - doing the assignment has been the important part anyways and oh so much fun. Here they are posted in order of creation - Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

On Saturday I was so into yard sketching that I actually did more than just the one. But I decided to post the crows because they amused me so at the time. All of these crows coming and going and making happy happy crow noises while they went after these vivid red berries in the yonder tree. The next day I spent quite a lot of time on the porch in the sunshine journaling. I was working through my thoughts on a major housing and studio opportunity and after I had completed those ramblings I was struck by this vivid image of a camel. I'm still not quite sure what her story is but there you have it.

Saturday night while in Olympia I spent some time sneaking around the Capitol campus after dark getting night shots of the Capitol building as reference for a painting I want to do. I felt very secret agent like and it was tons of fun. I do recommend more reference photo escapades for myself and you!
I didn't start the painting tonight but I couldn't help but make a little drawing collage from the imagery I took on Saturday night.


The Wild Telephoned, Will Call Again and Wants to See You

My housemate, Xtina, is a tarot reader. She runs a business called Scarlet Foundry Tarot and this is primarily how she pays her rent. Ever since I first met her she has been an inspiration – she dances with Hands of Kali, she’s traveled and lived overseas, supports herself and her daughter by doing something she loves and she gives the appearance of never compromising on following her dreams. One of those true artistic souls.
Now, she has offered to give me a reading multiple times and I had never yet taken her up on it. Not enough time, not the right time, not sure of what questions to ask… yadayada.
But last night I took her up on it.

Ever since Bumbershoot, and maybe even starting a bit before, my mind has been brewing with discontent. My ramblings have taken me further from wanting to do what I felt I should be doing. Things that I had dreamed of doing for ages. Despite all of the achievement of the previous weeks I was feeling stagnant. I was craving change.

So late last night, after Alexus was tucked and sound in bed, I joined Xtina in the kitchen with a bottle of wine as my offering and she gifted me with a General Reading.
Except for adolescent dabblings, I have never had a tarot reading. The experience was remarkable. The cards and Xtina brought things to the surface that resonated instantly. Things I knew but hadn’t acknowledged or things I had acknowledged but had chosen to ignore. A reading that left me feeling relieved, gratified and shifted. I won’t go into too much detail – mostly because my knowledge of the cards is limited – but the primary points and players for me was my creativity. And a warning from The Empress to embrace said Creativity and let go of Productivity.
It hit me and resonated like a Tibetan Prayer bowl singing through my soul.

The image above that I have posted is the first burst to come out of it - "The Wild Telephoned, Will Call Again and Wants to See You". The drawing is still intrinsically me – but the piece overall is freed. Unplanned, drawn on office recycling and non-precious.

And while I was drawing I was struck by the idea of a little homework assignment for myself: For the next 7 days, I will blog a post a day and instead of using just any ol’ image of whatever I’m working on or what strikes my fancy, I will MAKE an image to use. Maybe it will all be just like this first one – thrown together in a frenzy of creative play on my lunch break. Maybe they will be more substantial. Maybe less. I’m not assigning myself any rules to this project. Just the simple rule of posting one completely brand new fresh image a day.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings shall we?


Bumbershoot Decompression

Us I Heart Rummage folks made it through Bumbershoot 2007!
It was a lot of fun and lots of good networking went on between other vendors in the Indie Market. I could not BELIEVE just how much talent was located in one spot for the weekend. Lots of inspiration abounded.
Here are my personal highlights from my time spent at Seattle's largest cultural event:
#1 Meeting Matt and Anda of Etsy - almost like meeting rock stars only better!
#2 Seeing a long time favorite band of mine live for the first time - fabulous!
#3 Roasted Corn on the Cob - best fair food ever
#4 Sharing the love for Etsy and blog reading with Allison of PrettyBirds
All in all it was a good experience. Sales weren't spectacular, but they weren't bad either.
I'll be updating my Etsy shop with glee later this week - after I take a couple days of rest that is!