Changes

Changes. Yep. Life keeps going and I’m just along for the ride with little control over the direction. And that needs changed because I’m not content with where that train is currently going. So first things first, a haircut.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” – Coco Chanel

From long hair:

StandardLongHair

To this:

NewHaircut

Big Change! Holy Curls Batman! This was a week ago right after my cut. Probably cut off 4 or 5 pounds. Since then I’ve been researching the curly girl method and made some flax seed gel last night. Bangs/Fringe/short hair covering my forehead is also a big change for me. The last time I had something like this was when I was growing out my hair in college (last two years in high school I had short spiky hair). Mr. EG has never seen me with hair this short. A week later and I’m (we’re) still getting used to this new look. This was the first change but also the easiest one to make.

Change #2: More exercise. I’ve been going to Yin Yoga twice a week for a while. This is a great stretch but it isn’t a workout. So more moving around to get my heart pumping. Why and I doing this? I still look fine but I’m starting to get slightly winded walking up shorter hills. This needs to change because it leads to the next change that’s needed.

Change #3: More Adventures. We’re living thousands and thousands of miles from where we grew up. On a completely different continent in fact.  Time to get off our butts and explore more of this crazy country. (Seriously the wildlife is so weird.) Hiking, biking, camping, boating we need to get out there. And make sure we have lots of sunscreen.

Change #4: Debt. Most of us have it, especially if you attended college in the US. I want ours to go away. This means extra income from my end is needed (no side jobs for Mr. Eg, the visa doesn’t allow it). My job search has been discouraging and disappointing and depressing. (It seems as if Australians love their degrees and certifications. “Certificate III in Administrative Assistant is required for this position”. Yep a true requirement I’ve seen plenty of. And at $5K per certificate level I’m not willing to spend that kind of dough for a job I’ve already done.) It might actually be time to start my own business. I’m open to suggestion on what it might be. It needs to be something that can move around the world with me as who knows where we’ll be living in two years. Something that I can do without having to get another degree.

So. Changes. Time to get started.

I’m open for suggestions! Have an inexpensive adventure suggestion for me? Or a business idea you think I would be amazing at? I’m all ears.

Because you need to see a picture of me fake eating my long hair.

Because you need to see a picture of me fake eating my long hair.

 

Someday and trying new things.

I’ve been holding on to this cross stitch kit for at least 5 or 6 years. Possibly more.

I received it for free at a craft store (in Ohio while visiting family) for buying something else. I can’t even remember what the other stuff was. This little kit has been moving around with me. From Ohio to Philly. On to Baltimore and Santa Cruz. Now it’s here in Brisbane. I even brought it on the plane in my carry on bag.

This kit has been moving city to city with me because “someday I want to try making this”. Someday.

This week I finally said enough. I opened it and read the instructions.

Someday finally happened this week. Enough with the “someday”. Why not now? What else was I doing? Browsing Pinterest? (I love Pinterest but it’s such a time suck.) I’ve never tried cross stitch before. I thought this would take lots of time to learn. This kit? Super easy. It’s actually very relaxing and almost meditative. Needle in, pull through and repeat.

I have no idea if there are “rules” for cross stitch. There probably are. But they don’t matter to me right now. I’m learning something new. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I’m almost done with the kit as I sit here writing this post. My “someday” turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be. This weekend I’ll be trying something else that’s new to me. Can you believe I’ve never used Sculpey?

Changes around here.

This year has brought a couple changes to my life.  After 9 years together, Mr. EG and I were married in May.

Yes, I wore a red dress.

Another change? Well, after 7 years of being car-less, we’ve bought a 2007 Prius.

Mr. EG and our “new” car. (Or, “Why are you making me be in this photo?”)

I was told by a co-worker that I had to take one of these photos. Apparently it’s a “thing” to have a photo where the owner is jumping (from happiness?) with their Prius.

This change has probably been the bigger of the two. I mean, we can actually buy more food than we can carry on the bus or in a backpack (or in a bag over my shoulder while riding my bike). I can actually be home for dinner with Mr. EG (3pm to midnight is a weird shift to work). We can take mini road trips along the coast! Or go camping in one of the many parks out here! The only drawback (besides now having a car payment each month) is that I haven’t ridden my bike since buying the car. And I think that’s why my knees are now sore. So bike riding will be thought of as cross training for this race that we signed up for in September.  Should be fun. And we now have a way to get there.

Simple stamps

I had an extra wine cork or two floating around and saw a tutorial somewhere around in the blogverse about making them into stamps.  It’s pretty easy to do and doesn’t take too long to make.  A marker, x-acto knife, wine/beer cork, and cutting surface are the only supplies you’ll need to make the stamps. (Of course, some sort of pigment and surface to stamp on are also needed!)

Draw your design. Simple designs are easiest. I made a star and a heart.

Cut away the extra material.  Either inside or outside the lines. (Yes, do be careful with the sharp knife, and keep your fingers away from the edge that you’re cutting. It’s easy for the knife to slip and cut your fingers instead of cork).

cork cut from the outside of the heart

I tried to make sure that enough cork was cut away for good definition.

side view...

Stamp away! I tried some calligraphy ink, which worked ok if I used a paintbrush to apply it to the stamp.  Acrylic paint was faster and provided more intensity. I just used what I had lying around (as I’m trying to use up some of the stuff I’ve had for a long time). Have fun trying out whatever you have on hand.

heart stamp with ink (applied to stamp with paintbrush)

heart stamp with acrylic paint

star stamp with acrylic paint

As you can see, the star stamp was made by removing the cork from inside the lines, which was a bit trickier.  This left the outside as the original circle shape. Of the two, this one is my favorite. 😉

Some photos around Baltimore

As I’m going on my 4th month of unemployment since moving here to Baltimore I’ve been getting really bored here in my apartment.  So I braved the cold and the wind today to go out and do a bit of shooting.

Grey Walls

Bricked in Windows

Fire Escape

Old Brick with Two Windows and a Door

Always Present

Really, I was looking for places that would make interesting backgrounds for portraits.  You know, for when I start a business and charge for portraits.  I find the “traditional” portrait studio boring at this stage of life and much prefer to be outside with interesting textures.  It is very cold outside this time of year though, so I understand the draw of inside location(s).

List of things to do when I’m bored

I was bored one night so I came up with this short* list:

  • make a collage
  • crochet
  • make a blog post
  • clean something
  • photograph something
  • take a walk
  • call a friend/family
  • go for a run
  • bake/cook something
  • re-arrange furniture
  • write a letter
  • learn to knit
  • learn embroidery
  • visit a museum
  • paint something
  • make a 5 or 1 minute quick drawing
  • watch a movie and review it
  • belly dance
  • rock out
  • go for a bike ride
  • make jewelry
  • clean out my purse
  • read a book
  • play the wii
  • cuddle with my honey
  • look up local events and attend something

Lots of other things can be added.   Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

*This is what fit in my journal and it took 5 minutes.

Peeling poster of a stuffy old man

Baltimore Stop of the Art of Non-Conformity Book Tour

The Art of Non-Conformity and cookies!

Last night I attended Chris Guillebeau’s book tour. For those that don’t know about Chris, he’s the author of both the site and the book The Art of Non-Conformity.  His 97 day, 50 state, 10 Canadian province book tour is self funded.  When he’s not touring North America he’s traveling the world.   Chris’ goal is to visit all 192 countries by April 2013 when he turns 35. Why is he doing this? He’s living a remarkable life and encouraging others to live a remarkable life on their own terms as well.

This stop was a little bit different as it was hosted in a classroom at the University of Baltimore (afterward a small group adjoined to The Brewers Art, a local bar).  Thursday Bram helped to set this up and it was while talking to her that I realized just how much  I never want to work retail again.  So much so that I got really worked up and started crying.

I used to work for a national camera retail chain.  Like most retail stores that meant working weekends and certain holidays.  I was required to work Black Friday (in the US this it the day following Thanksgiving in November) which is a huge shopping day of madness with crazy sales. Employees were also required to work Christmas Eve, by which time I had always lost my voice from talking so much. Due to my required work schedule I was unable to see my family during the holidays for several years.  It was worse the year I worked as a manager. I became so stressed out I wasn’t sleeping well and I was not a nice person. When the chance came to work a 9-5 job I grabbed it with both hands.

My new job was a breath of fresh air.  Vacation between Xmas and New Years?  Not a problem, my bosses weren’t going to be in that week anyway. I was able to see my family, an 8 hour car drive away. Finally, I was able to make plans for dates more than two weeks in advance.  Weekends were mine to do whatever struck my fancy.The last two years working in an office has allowed me to mellow out again.  It also involved enough free time to explore the internet and find people like Chris.

Since college I have flirted with the idea of starting my own photography business.  Fear and insecurity has always gotten in my way. Last night I was introduced to several people, followers of Chris’ blog, who are living life on their own terms.  Doing work that they love. I met Jill Fellman, who provided cookies and water, who is a fitness instructor and has started her own company selling organic cookies that she bakes. I also met Liz and Ryan from elizabethryanphotography.com . What some amazing, generous people. And Happy.  The happiness was radiating from the 1,000,000 watt smiles on both Liz and Ryan. These are people who love what they do and where they are in life. Liz, Ryan, and Jill were kind enough to answer my questions about starting a business and the other various concerns I’ve had for a while.

Coincidentally, someone I knew from college showed up at the bar last night, just as things were winding down with the AONC group. A mutual friend had told me that this guy worked in town and I should look him up.  Well surprise! It turns out that he’s a lawyer in Baltimore.  He also volunteers with a local artist support group (can’t remember the name right now, will update later) by providing free legal advice to struggling artists.  Upon mentioning that I’m an artist, he asked me what do I need to know?!  Hello!  Big sign from the universe here!

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Too many thoughts were going through my head, keeping me awake.  I finally fell asleep this morning, and while I’ve been in a fog for most of the day, the fear that I previously experienced when thinking about starting a business has all but disappeared.  There is still a little bit of fear.  But there is more excitement.

Thank you Chris, Thursday, Jill, Ryan, Liz, and all the others that showed up last night. (Jeff, I didn’t have a chance to talk to you last night, but you said some stuff that resonated with me.  Thanks for getting up there and sharing your story with us.)