1/18/2013: Good Morning!    Saturday, January 26, 2013

I received my photography "studio in a box" yesterday. I have it set up in the spare bedroom, away from the glare of the morning sun in my studio. I haven't received the props yet...the "shoulder boards" for the necklaces, so I'm practicing taking photos of some vintage pottery pieces I have picked up along the way. I am a sucker for old things. Things that have been loved by others and find their way into my hands makes me wonder whose hands held them originally. Were they gifts from an admirer or a school child eager to honor her mom on her birthday? Where did the item land in the owner's home? A place of prominence on the mantle or the bedside table? I love the mystery of it all. I also love the feeling I get when I remember where I have seen similar items in the homes of long gone loved ones.

Mr. Virgo and I were watching Pawn Stars the other night and a gal was trying to sell her old Victrola. It was in very poor shape with major parts missing so the owner of the pawn shop didn't want to buy it. However, as soon as I saw it, I was transported back...WAY back, to maybe age 4 or 5. I cannot remember where I was or who I was with, but I very distinctly remember the dimly lit room with the sun peeking through the slit in the heavy burgundy curtains, the dust motes swirling in the sunbeam, the heavy, dark leather furniture...a sitting room or library perhaps? And there before me was this MAGICAL box! An old woman showed me how to carefully wind it and laughed at my delight when the thin strains of music wafted into the room. I remember clapping my hands and dancing as little girls do when they are pleasantly surprised by something wonderful.

I am looking forward to getting more photos done and up on the site for your pleasure and mine? I hope you have a wonderful day!

1/17/2013: Coffee!    Saturday, January 26, 2013

There is a group of ladies who have met for coffee for the last 20+ years...every Thursday morning...same little coffee house. They started meeting as friends with children the same ages, and even though the coffee house has changed owners at least three times, and their children have just about all left home for college or travels or jobs or marriage, these wonderful women continue to meet every week to share and laugh and support each other. I was truly blessed back in 2002 when I had my little needlework shop and would stop in for a coffee a couple times per week. I ran into them on their routine Thursday and they invited me to join them. I love these gals! They are brilliant, funny, loving, supportive, brave...just being around them makes me a smile a little brighter and feel a little braver about this new venture.

After coffee, it was errand day...change the oil, get a new battery, wash the car, then a trip to Lowe's to pick up a few things. I have a spring of a coleus plant that I have been dragging around for the last 7 years from house to house and never really gave it a proper home. I found a little vintage green flower pot at the thrift shop yesterday for 50 cents (it has a little crack) and today I picked up a bag of potting soil while I was out. Now, voila! The little sprig is planted and hopefully it will survive. You see, this little mite of a plant has very special meaning to me. I lost my mom 9 years ago next week and I have been missing her terribly this week. I picked this little cutting from a plant by her headstone. I wrapped it in a wet paper towel and drove all the way back to Colorado with it in a discarded McDonald's cup. When I got to Colorado, I did put some soil around it, but it never had a proper home. I have dragged it on three moves, each time vowing I would finally plant it. Then yesterday, I noticed the deep cold we have been having the last couple of weeks nearly killed my dear little plant as it sat on the kitchen window sill. It had to go into nice soil and a cute pot in a hurry! So, today when I got home, I filled my little planter with some sponge in the bottom for drainage and some good quality fertilized potting soil, and gently trimmed the dead bits away. I talked to my mom and asked to help me watch over this little plant that I have carted around for so long and to please make it flourish.

Yes, I miss my mom. But somehow, it is very comforting to have that little plant that came from so far away and grew in the earth over her.To have it sitting on my windowsill in my studio makes me feel closer to her somehow.

1/16/2013: Another Order!    Saturday, January 26, 2013

I have been polishing the website, moved the blog, ordered more supplies, and I'm learning about my new camera. I was so excited yesterday when I got another enthusiastic response and an order for two necklaces! It is very satisfying to know people like my work and I am even more encouraged that I can make a go of this latest endeavor.

It is another cold day today, however the sun is shining and it's one of those blue blaster winter days here in the Rockies. I promised Mr. Virgo I would bake him a chocolate cake today and I need to take a 45 minute webinar at 10am. I am still involved at the office as their Clinical Research Coordinator and this is a presentation regarding a new test procedure I need to be familiar with. So excited to get another paycheck today for hours worked over the last month, both at the office and here at home. that will pay for the supplies I just ordered for Marshmallow Ranch.

I consulted with a dear friend and have decided the best venue for sales is probably my own website so I will continue with those plans. I need to get busy at the bench today and get some more pieces out with the supplies I have on hand. I ordered an application to participate in the Downtown Market this summer in town. I am not sure I have enough time to make enough items to enter something like the big summer fairs yet, but we shall see. It is only January!

Hope you all have a fabulous day!

1/15/2013: Deep Freeze!    Saturday, January 26, 2013

When I first wake up, I have a peek at the news and weather on my iPad. It's my "first cup of coffee". So imagine my dismay when AccuWeather said the temperature is -23 out there. Twenty-three degrees BELOW zero! Ok, I know it's January and I know it's the Rockies, but can someone please tell me why Mr. Virgo and I are not on a beach somewhere in Mexico? This is always the time of year when I wish I was anywhere but here. It's dark and cold and miserable. Mr. Virgo keeps telling me my dissatisfaction with winter is created by my state of mind. If I think of winter as a beautiful time of year filled with the warm low of the fireplace and the smells of comfort food wafting from the kitchen, I am bound to boost my spirits and get through the early months of the year feeling much better. Well, we don have a fireplace and the best thing I can make for dinner is reservations, so what's a gal to do? I think I am going to go on Google maps and take a little trip to the beaches of the Caribbean, crank the heat up, install airplane landing lights in my studio, and put a little umbrella in my hot cocoa. Ahhhh, maybe Mr. Virgo is right and I CAN get through this!

1/14/2013: Online Selling Platforms    Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ahhhhh, what to choose? Selling on my own website is clean, but how do you get out there without spending money on advertising? You can set up a store on your Facebook page, but I can't figure out if I have to set it up on my personal page or if I can set it up on my business page. Every time I try to connect to the Ecwid app, it wants to redirect me to my personal page. there are so many options for selling online, it's mind boggling. I've reactivated my PayPal account, so that part is out of the way. I have ordered a photography "studio" for taking photos of jewelry, arts, and crafts that really look professional. I am going to go today and buy an 18.2 megapixel camera so I can get sharp photos for my sales page as that is the most important step in making sure whatever sales site I choose will look like I know what I'm doing. All of these steps take time and above all, patience. Something I have not always been known to possess?

So, one step at a time, ever forward. It's the only way to go. And the rest of my day is devoted to Mr. Virgo as this is the start of his weekend.

1/12/2013: Website    Saturday, January 26, 2013

I worked all day creating a website. I have a 30 day free trial so it's worth looking at. There are many venues in which one can make their presence known on the Internet. I already have a Facebook page and this blog. I also have a place mark on Etsy so I can get a store going there if I want. And now I see it is possible to put a shopping card on your FB page and sell there. Different pricing structures. Fees for this and that. Who's to know? I Googled and hundreds of thousands of results popped up. My computer froze and I had to reboot. What's a girl to do? I finally decided to step back, picture what I want the whole thing to look like, sketch some ideas on paper, and go at this in a more organized fashion. First, I have applied to have my PayPal account reinstated. Next, I will get a small camera to take better photos of the things I want to sell. Then I'll sit down with Mr. Virgo over a breakfast of French Toast tomorrow and pick his brain. I am SUCH a Gemini and I get so easily distract....oooooh look! Sparklies!

1/8/2013: SOLD!    Saturday, January 26, 2013

There is something so thrilling and satisfying when someone admires your work enough to buy it! I have sold a number of pieces at the local art center, but I never got to know where they went. Except one time. I was sitting have coffee with a group of gals when I noticed one of them was wearing a pair of earrings I had made! Pretty cool!

I was in the store the other day and a gal stopped me and asked where she and her sister could buy jewelry like the necklace I was wearing. I need to get my Pay Pal account set up and get my shop open. This is going to be so much fun! I have been looking for a job that I could do from home that would draw on my creativity. I think I may have found it!

1/6/2013: Senioritis    Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mr. Virgo and I have "senioritis". We're in between the work-a-day world of earning and the retirement years of enjoying the fruits of our labor. It's worse than high school! At this age, you want to just go outside and play. You want to have milk and cookies and a nice nap. Mr. Virgo has a coupled of years on me and he works long, stressful hours so he is more than ready for the change. that is one of the reasons I've changed my course. I'd like tot pave the way and create something we can do together that would be lucrative.

I suppose it's a good thing we don't know what the future holds for us. I went to visit my former father-in-law in the nursing home yesterday. He's nearly 90 and has always enjoyed an active life even though he worked hard and never really took a vacation. When it came time for him to retire, he became a caregiver for his wife with Alzheimer's. She passed away a few years ago so he's been on his own, puttering around the house. He has macular degeneration and is severely hard of hearing. When I was starting to leave yesterday, he tearfully kissed me and told me how much he appreciated my visit. And it broke my heart. We just don't know. Is that what we are going to face as we head into our last decade or two? Are we going to go through an extended illness or go peacefully in our sleep? Again, it is a good thing we don't know or why would be bother?

1/5/2013: Swim Meet    Saturday, January 26, 2013

Neither of my children were on swim team so I had no idea what an ungodly time of day these parents get their kids up for a meet. We were on the road at 5:45am desperately searching for the nearest open Starbucks for our morning latte. Apparently, space is at a premium at these shindigs. If you don't arrive early enough to stake out your turf, you may be one of the unfortunate souls who stands for two hours watching little tadpoles flailing their arms across a 7 lane pool. My grandchild is one of these little water bugs. She recently forced her mother to take her to the pool to practice, even though they were on winter break and nothing was scheduled. this one is SO unlike me! Driven, focused, and dedicated to perfecting her craft. (Wait...that sounds JUST like me!) She is already planning on being in the 2020 Olympics. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, that's only 7 years from now. I didn't (and still don't) have the foresight to see 7 months ahead, let alone 7 years.

My older grand daughter is in 3rd grade. I'm trying to remember what I was thinking about in third grade. I think it was mostly playing dolls with my friends and watching Captain Kangaroo after school. I do remember once, after watching The Ed Sullivan Show, I was determined to be an Irish dancer on the show. My mom came in my room and saw me practicing and asked me what I was doing. When she learned of my aspirations, she pooh-poohed the whole thing and informed me I could never be on TV. I was determined my own children would be encouraged to follow their dreams. I let them know that the could try anything and could accomplish the things they loved if they applied themselves. It give me great pleasure to watch my daughter as she mothers her children and lets them express who they are. In the meantime, I will cheer them all on from the sidelines and be on the road at 5:45 again in the morning!

1/4/2013: A Day with Mr. Virgo    Saturday, January 26, 2013

There are days when you just have to chill and watch a great movie. Our choice today is Star Wars. I believe I had only seen the original so it's fun to watch the prequels and see what led up to that amazing film that changed forever the genre of sci-fi. I remember the first time I saw the original Star Wars movie. It had just opened at a new theater on Colorado Boulevard in Denver. I had never seen such a big screen? I was absolutely mesmerized. I was in my early 20's, a young single mom, out for a fun evening with my roommate.

Star Wars not only gave us special effect, the like of which we had never seen before; it gave us the age old battle of good vs. evil. Light vs. dark. A balance that often tips one way or another. The movie illustrates to us how we must constantly be watchful of the forces of the dark side. how we should train ourselves daily to bring light into the world. We make choices every day that can effect this delicate balance. I choose my creativity as my contribution to bring beauty and light into the world as best I can. This will be my focus as I continue creating my workspace. I have many ideas that I am looking forward to exploring in the coming months.

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