Skull ART!

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I literally have the best vision for these skulls! Please check out my Gofundme and consider donating? It would mean the world to me!

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Arizona Green Tea Bedroom

My daughter wanted her room painted differently. We moved in about 5 years ago and I painstakingly painted each kids room exactly how they wanted. They are really cool rooms! But she was in the third grade then, and now she’s 13 in the eighth. Even I have to admit the room was too young and princessy for her. Jazz's Old Room

But, for the past three years, I had a crappier paying job than I had when we moved in and I couldn’t afford our bills, let alone to re-do her room. But now I have the best job ever, and I have more time and money to do things, so I asked her how she wanted her room done. All I could say to her response was:

Not ImpressedReally?

 

Arizona Green Tea. That. Was her answer.

And so it began.

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And the finale!!! At least for the mural part…

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As if that wasn’t enough, we decided that the carpet in her room needs to go! So we did this!

 

This is some serious girl power! Tomorrow we lay down the laminate and we will feel like the baddest bitches in town! Please hit me up if you want to commission a mural of your own! Maybe a giant Sun Rise Sushi Logo or your favorite sports team logo in the living room! Er, uhhh, I mean the man cave?  Go to my Murals page for pricing. Updates on the floor soon to come!

Broken Chrysalis

I woke up this morning…different. Consciousness rose to the surface somewhere around 4am-ish. I don’t know because I didn’t reach for my phone, for once. Oh, all the familiar aches and pains were still there. So many days of being bent over the bench, using my hands as tiny vices, pushing down prongs, sawing, torching, searching for that thing I just had in my hand, eyes always in the microscope, everything pushing toward the center and never having my chest and arms opened up. I can feel it every morning when I wake up on my stomach with my arms out under my pillow. My hands and arms involuntarily push into the bed and my back burns all the way down the middle, my spine clearly out of alignment, muscles tight, hands clenched, throbbing and aching. But, today, even with the aches and pains, was…different. My head wasn’t so heavy. I didn’t feel dread for the day or the future or the heaviness of life’s burdens. I felt, maybe not energized physically, but certainly a new kind of energy, positive energy and the absence of negativity. I was actually able to pull my body out of bed at 5:45. No, it was better than that. I couldn’t KEEP my body in bed, when, for the past…at least three years I have had to willfully and grudgingly drag myself out of sleep wishing I never had to wake up again.

cocoon

It occurs to me that I’ve been in a very dark, confined space, not free to move at all, or to see or to feel. Nothing about my surroundings or situation has changed drastically…yet. But this morning, I felt like the cocoon is beginning to give. No wings are out, they are still bound, my legs still can only barely wiggle, but my antennae are out, feeling around, tasting the air, proboscis unwinding, ready to partake of life’s nectar, and my eyes are almost uncovered. I can almost see my way out of confinement. Every day I will wiggle a bit more, search a bit more, seek a bit more, till my bonds break free. I want to fly.

I won’t think about darkness anymore. I will push those thoughts from me and concentrate on the light. I will keep dark people at arms length and seek out the people who’s light is contagious. I will let their flame ignite my own. Then, when I’m a full fiery blaze, and those who’s lights have gone dim are drawn to mine, I will use my light to ignite theirs. I will learn a new way of thinking, a new way of speaking, a new way of existing. I will free myself. I will move my body, wake with the sun, and consume only that which will heal and nurture. I will grow strong. Someday very soon, I will love myself again.

Choices Part 3

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Image taken from the artforadults Instagram page. Not my work.

Several previous posts have outlined the events that have lead up to the mess my life is in right now. None of it is pretty, lots of it makes me ashamed. I am stagnant and depressed. I keep saying I have no hope, but if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t even try to get up in the morning and the dreams I have would go away and leave me alone. It’s been brought to my attention that I have choices. I CAN change my life no matter how impossible it seems. I NEED to change my life, or at least my outlook on the life I have. I have always gone where the wind blew me, until it blew me into pregnancy and marriage, which seem like a dark corner where the gusts can’t reach and so I stay here damp and rotting till someone comes with a broom and sweeps me out. The thing is, I don’t want to depend on anyone with a broom! I want to sweep myself out! Maybe not even out of marriage, and certainly not out of motherhood, but out of this stagnant depression, this groundhog day like existence of doing the same things day in and day out. Get up, take kids to school, go to work, come home, eat, help with homework, go to bed and do it five days a week and then clean and prepare all weekend for the next week to be exactly the same. My life isn’t horrible. I have three beautiful kids who love me, a husband who cares deeply for me, a job that pays the bills and feeds us all even if just barely, a car, clean running water, this computer, all things that most of the world doesn’t have and many yearn for. It’s absolutely unfulfilling, boring and enslaving. I have no time or money to LIVE. I only exist and I MUST do something about that. So here I plan to list my dreams, plans to make them happen, obstacles to overcome, pros and cons of each including the effects they may have on my family, in the hopes of being able to choose a pathway to freedom and happiness, or at least less depression. getting them all in order is going to be tough, so please bear with me as I struggle.

 

When I think of the ultimate happy life for myself from this point on, this is what it looks like:

I could somehow magically quit my job and still pay my bills, no, pay them completely off except maybe the mortgage and I could stay home while my husband worked at whatever amazing job has magically presented itself.

I would still have to wake up Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00am to take my daughter to school, but once I got home and saw my boy off, I could start laundry, do dishes, clean the downstairs and then the upstairs. In the summer, I’d tend my garden before cleaning the house, before things got too hot. That all should take maybe two hours. Then I would shower and dress and shop for the week. I’d get home, unpack groceries and head upstairs to Blog for the remaining two hours before it was time to pick up my daughter from school. We’d come home and I’d help kids with homework before starting dinner. We would eat, and clean up together, then I’d either hang out with them or go upstairs and read articles and watch vlogs on how to homestead, permaculture, how to raise animals for food, how to build treehouses, how to navigate the art business…

Tuesdays, up at 6:00am, off to school, home, garden, clean, shower, then go to some art studio like The Generator for four hours to work on some massive project till it was time to pick up my girl. Then home, homework, dinner, clean up, and hang with kids or watch more vlogs and read more articles on beekeeping and woodworking and outdoor survival…

Wednesdays, 6:00am, school, home, garden, clean, shower, Generator for art, school, home…well, you get the idea. All that till I could accumulate a big enough body of work to show my art at as many events, galleries and contests as possible up to and including Burning Man. Hopefully that would allow me to make more money and connect with people who could actually show me how to do all the things I have been trying to learn about through blogs, vlogs and articles. I would be able to keep up with housework and homework as well as having my own time to do the art, building and gardening work I’m passionate about. I would have time to plan the healthy meals which I love to find and prepare for my family. I would make meals and snacks that I know would help heal their minds, bodies and spirits as well as my own. We would use essential oils and other 100% natural products to clean our home and treat ailments and keep us healthy. I would have the TIME and money and energy to decorate and prepare for holidays and vacations. I would have TIME to clean up after our adventures and get the home back in order. On weekends I could afford to take the time and money to go on adventures with the family and bring them to my shows and exhibitions.

With the money I’d make from my art I would continue to fix this house up. I’d be able to put new floors in, update to energy saving appliances, make the murals and decorate the rooms the way I envisioned them. I could finish the ocean mural in my friend’s home and all the other projects I’ve started for friends but haven’t had the time or energy to finish. Once it was all done, I’d stay for two years enjoying it, making art, making connections and getting the kids through school as happy and healthy as we can be within this system and within this marriage.

Then we would sell this house and buy unimproved land somewhere and build ourselves a homestead where we could get EVERYTHING we need from our own land and be independent of the system except for property taxes, insurance, and the smallest necessities needed from town or other homesteaders. We’d go to music festivals and sell our wears and grow our own meat and veggies. I KNOW it’s not impossible! I can SEE people out there DOING it!

 

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Again, not my image. Taken from Instagram username wendyortizart.

 

All of that is how I WISH things could go from now till then. But where is the money going to come from? I have to face the fact that my husband is probably never going to get a job that could support us all and provide enough money to actually live life like that. No one is going to just GIVE us money to make that happen, and I’m not sure I’d even want them to. I hate feeling DEPENDENT on anyone. I hate being dependent on my husband for his half of the contribution to everything right now. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to anyone except those less fortunate than me. Maybe this hang-up with obligation is why I have a hard time opening up to my husband physically. I hate that I feel obligated and that it’s not my own not passionate choice in that moment, especially since there is only a small window of time between other obligations to get it done. I also HATE going to work outside my home and having to bend my family’s life around it. My kids are alone far too much of the time. I just don’t see any way around it. I make art whenever there are no other obligations and there is time before bed or I can afford to stay up and work when the inspiration is there. That happens maybe once a month, if even that. But I still do it and I will hopefully be able to come up with a consistent body of work at some point. Right now it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of plan to make even small parts of this lifestyle come to be. Here are things I think I should do:

Meal plan on weekends and give a list of groceries to my husband. I don’t do the shopping, but maybe I should start doing that on weekends. He would scream about the bill, but maybe I can get him to trade the mortgage bill I pay, for the grocery bill he pays and then I wouldn’t have to answer to him for the amount of money it takes to feed a family of five an abundantly healthy diet. I’m not sure I’d even have the money or energy to pull that off, but I can look into it. I don’t get home till almost 7:00pm and I still have to help kids with homework, so he does most of the cooking and I’d have to depend on him to stick to the meal plan. Sometimes he’s not home till late either and then it’s even harder, but I enjoy cooking, and if we are eating right, the kids might not have as much trouble in school and I might be able to spend less time having to help them. I have no idea when we’d have time to fix up healthy snacks that so often require putting together instead of just opening a plastic package, but we can try…

I need to make a budget. How much we make vs. how much goes out. I already know it’s pathetic. I’ve done it before and got scared, so I put it out of my mind and hoped for the best. I need a PLAN for paying off all this debt that wasn’t a problem when I was getting paid a lot more. I can’t ignore it anymore. I MUST put in more effort to stay on top of my bills. I must get my money organized. I need to accept the possibility of bankruptcy or at least call the creditors and ask  for options to lessen the burden. When I think about this I get terrified. I’m no good on the phone even with friends and family. Seriously, the phone SCARES me. I know it’s irrational and after I do take care of something like that I feel better, but I’m literally terrified of paperwork and legal stuff and talking to people on the phone, or asking for help, or accepting defeat and fault. But it’s time to suck it up and act like the adult/parent that I am.

I need to stop complaining and be grateful. My kids aren’t sick, my husband isn’t sick. I am sick, but it’s fatigue and depression, not some life threatening, expensive hospitalizing disease. I CAN still get up in the morning and I CAN still go to work, I CAN still help the kids with homework and let them vent and talk to me about whatever they need. No matter how much I want change and adventure, no matter how much I resent my life as it is now, I DO have a lot of things to be grateful about.

Lastly, I guess I need to ask for help. I don’t know who to ask or how to ask or even really what to ask FOR. Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading. Really just typical American woman lifestyle stuff I guess. Advice and encouragement welcome.

 

 

My First Step Toward Homesteading. Help? Please?

I have all these passions inside me. Things that grew from … probably my childhood living in Oregon and Tahoe, I don’t know, but as I have become an adult, the passions grew but so did all these circumstances that have prevented me from actually perusing them. So now I find myself, almost 40 with this weird “American Dream” (More like nightmare!) type of lifestyle with a pretty ok job and a husband with two pretty ok jobs, barely making our bills, living out in suburbia (A.K.A. hell, ok maybe it’s not SO bad…) with our 2.5 kids (Three. We have three kids. I guess we are the rare family that made that stupid point five, like you can have half a kid…whatever.). Our cars are on the brink, and the boy has a nice medical bill from THINKING he MIGHT have broken his arm,that we can’t pay thanks to medicaid cutting the kids off every other month and having to re-apply which is a torturous process (I loath paperwork!) and I’m about to take the family dog to the vet next week because he’s limping, has stinky ears and seasonal allergies that cause him to scratch himself bald.  So I know you’re kinda sorta supposed to start these things with some kind of “budget” (Watever that is), but yea, our budget right now is negative nothing. So all I’m left with are these passions, and my head is gonna explode one of these days and I’m gonna go postal if I don’t do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to start moving toward them. So I’m making lists. Things to research, to learn about to do in order to get us closer to the actual DOING of the things. I’d love any insight any of you homesteaders have regarding this list (I need SPECIFICS people!!!) and I’m going to work on each thing at least three times a week (God and Family willing). So here’s my list, my first tiny baby step, me, throwing it out into the universe (A.K.A the internet) in the hopes that if I keep stepping and keep throwing, it’ll all come back to me somehow.

 

Homestead check list.

 

 

How much wood will we need for approximately 2000 sq ft of structure (Not nessesarily one big house, but maybe a network of tree-structures for the family, a small barn, a shed and a wood shed?

What kinds of wood will we need?

Will we need steel beams or other components, what kind and how much will they be?

What types of widows will we have?

What type of insulation will be best?

Composting toilets. How do they work, how much do they cost?

What kind of bathing system will be best for us?

What other supplies for building will we need?

cattle panel

What kinds of tools and equipment will we need?

come-a-long

hand tools -screwdrivers, hammers, hand drills, saws, crowbar, ropes, chains, pullys

power tools? cordless or non? how much power would we need for the running of such things?

Wood burning stoves. What are the best kinds, how much are they?

Rainwater cachment systems?

How much does it cost to dig a well?

What should we look for when purchasing land as far as growing food and having enough water and wood?

Can we use water from nearby lakes/rivers/streams? How?

Plumbing to and from a treehouse?

Water filtration?

Water heater?

What kind of power and how much will we need?

How much storage will we need?

How will we make money?

What will we live in while building and implementing our plan?

How much $$ will we need initially?

What is our plan for getting that $$?

Internet/WIFI? We know we need it, how will we get it and how much will it cost?

How much food will we need to grow to sustain our family = How much land will we need?

Best growing/harvesting practices?

Food preservation practices?

Wood storage shed.

Hoop house for growing during winter months.

10-12 chickens.

One milk cow.

Four or five goats.

link to article I read on arched cattle panel animal shelter DIY:

http://www.valhalla-project.com/2013/09/valhallas-quick-and-easy-arched-cattle.html

 

A dog.

Several outdoor cats.

Maybe a llama for wool.

Best composting practices?

Keeping critters out of the garden.

Bees! Types of hives and best beekeeping practices.

Treehouse building practices and techniques?

How are we going to gain that knowledge?

Fruit trees, how to prune and take care of them.

How much money will we need each month for things we can’t grow or make from the nature around us? Like castile soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, flour beans and rice, gas, clothing etc. as well as bills like property taxes and insurance etc…

What exactly WILL all those extra expenses be?

A small barn/coop for the few animals.

Clothes washing? In winter?

What will our daily schedules look like?

Weekly Schedules?

Monthly Schedules?

Yearly Schedules?

What laws/regulations/codes make life harder/easier for homesteaders?

recipes:

Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries

useful hacks for homestead living:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51702/10-lifehacks-100-years-ago

http://www.homesteadingfreedom.com/the-worlds-simplest-and-oldest-chair-design/2/

 

So that’s it. My baby step.

Jump Start an Artist

Well lookie here!! I may not be making tons of cash but I got featured in a national publication! It’s pretty cool to see my designs in print! Especially InStore which I have been reading and browsing through since I started my apprenticeship in 2008. The designs shown are all ones I had done prior to getting this job. I would love so much to be able to make that scarabesque ladybug into a real ring. The blue wax that is pictured was for a lady who got her wedding band before she got her engagement ring (weird, but cool for me!). She had me design a sturdy ring for her big diamond to match her band. She works with her hands a lot and wanted something heavy. Here’s how it turned out in the end:

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The angel is the first wax I ever carved. It was a gift for my mother in memory of my niece. It will forever be a treasure to me and my family, and the author of the article is right, I had drawn a picture of her that the piece is based off of long before she died, and before I ever dreamed I’d be a jeweler!

Erin when she was little.

   Erin when she was little.

Erin a few weeks before she passed.

   Erin a few weeks before she passed.

My drawing of her.

  My drawing of her.

Hand carved, cast and finished Sterling Silver necklace in memory of Erin.

Hand carved, cast and finished Sterling Silver necklace in memory of Erin.

I thought since I hadn’t designed anything in CAD before the information was submitted for publication that I’d share a few designs that I have done in the last few weeks and haven’t shared yet. Enjoy!

Rose gold and colored diamond necklace centerpiece.

Rose gold and colored diamond necklace centerpiece.

Rose gold and colored diamond ring.

Rose gold and colored diamond ring.

Androgynous ring. Can be a man's wedding band or a man or woman's right hand fashion ring.

Androgynous ring. Can be a man’s wedding band or a man or woman’s right hand fashion ring.

Scroll pattern ring.

Scroll pattern ring.