April 21, 2015

Creatively speaking…

Hi.

I’m sort of in the process of rebuilding my life and I’m at a point where I feel I can share my plans with you.

I have a bit of an internet presence…

  1. website
  2. livejournal
  3. twitter x 2
  4. tumblr x 2
  5. friends only facebook that I’ve recently been posting more publicly with
  6. facebook fan page x 2
  7. instagram
  8. youtube
  9.  does snapchat count?

…plus a million other things I’ve signed up for and never used again. The tumblrs and fan pages hardly ever get updated, so let’s pretend they don’t exist for now. YouTube is only used to embed videos in other places, so it’s more of a utility to me than any kind of community that I have to participate in, so take that off the list too. Everything else I use and most of them have some kind of community linked to them that I am part of.

Well, I want to build a new community around myself where my site or LiveJournal is not necessarily the center of it because I don’t think either has been the center in quite a while. I want this community to be built around Patreon, and my creative life, with everything else mostly pertaining to that. But I’ll get to how I plan on using each component after I explain Patreon. 

Patreon is a website that allows me to receive monthly payments from generous patrons who wish to support my work. In return, patrons receive perks, like Kickstarter, and they get to share in the experience of creating some pretty cool stuff, which, if I don’t suck, should give them a little bit of pride of being a patron of the arts and having a hand in whatever crazy thing it it is coming into being! And yes I *am* proud of that run-on sentence!

My first project is a zine that I’m (oh so originally) titling “Textibitionism”. I haven’t really posted anything about it over on Patreon yet (that’s my next  task), but what I envision is 20 individual pieces of paper-based art which tells stories from my life and the things I care about. The original idea was to use traditional scrapbooking materials/embellishments and instead of making typically pretty layouts with smiling children or whatever those happy scrappers do, I would be, well, me. The original idea was also that I would only use materials that I already had, but I already blew that idea out of the water, bigtime. Now what I envision is a mix of altered scrapbook materials, subverted and perverted by my very being, original writings and hand-drawn illustrations. If this sounds good to you, then you should know that almost all pics of works-in-progress, process videos and discussion about this project will be on Patreon, mostly via the patron-only activity feed, which is like a blog with comments and likes. This will be the centre of my creative universe, if the Patreon model of getting money to make art actually works. (We’ll see. I’m not totally convinced. Steph the Geek seems to be doing okay so far, though. Ana Voog and Blake are also using it.) Unlisted YouTube videos, Snapchat (which is where you get videos and pics exclusive to that app on your phone) and private Twitter will be used for daily life stuff for sure, but those media will mostly be where spur of the moment creative thoughts, ideas and work-in-progress photos, things that are pains in my ass etc., will be posted for patrons.

I’ll still be using my main Twitter account and I will (hopefully) only ever have one Instagram account because switching back & forth all the time sounds like a nightmare. LiveJournal is going to continue to be used for the emotional, real life stuff while my site’s updates are basically going to be State of the Union of Sunnyland addresses, linking to everything else once in a while.

I realized when I was in San Francisco that aside from my job, there was very little structure in my life and if my job is any indication, I think I’m less productive as a result. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I have tons of them, but for a while, whenever I tried to put an idea to paper, I’d start but ultimately lost interest for whatever reason and nothing ever got finished. “Textibitionism”, and the other creative milestones I’ve set for myself on Patreon, is the first time I’ve felt excited and energized about a creative project in a really long time so I really hope that if I make it, I’m not the only one who’s going to see it.

The big picture is that if the zine is well-received, eventually I would maybe like to build Textibitionism.com/.ca/.org where it would be for sale both digitally and hard copy after everyone on Patreon who is supposed to get a copy, does, and the site will have links to all the girls I can find still making and selling zines on Etsy and elsewhere.

The big, BIG picture I’m still working out in my head but there is one. Not giving it too much thought yet though, since so far Blake is my only patron haha

As far as adding structure to my life, today for example, I got off work at noon so I knew I was going to medicate at noon and then write this post directly afterward. I’m falling behind schedule already because I meant to have this done by 3pm but that’s okay. I bought a day planner to help me keep appointments and structure my days to be the most productive I can make them because I’m a freak and I’m happiest, the most emotionally stable and the most satisfied with life when I’m busy creating something, whether it’s writing this post or painting a mermaid. In the past, my creative endeavours have made other people happy too so I’m hoping for this whole thing to be mutually beneficial.

Now I think it’s time to forage for food. Peace oot, homies!

PS. It is a VERY GOOD IDEA to insure your camera equipment, as I found out this week when I realized my camera’s messed up after taking it treetop trekking. I got it insured a few hours before we went! *whew*

April 3, 2014

Reasons To Be Beautiful

I don’t know how I feel today.

I’m ridiculously, stupidly, unbelievably happy about this Hole reunion things that I almost can’t even think straight or even move. Like, I don’t even know what to do. I feel like I should call someone to tell them but A) I don’t think my mom would care and she’s the only person I would ever call for anything and B) I’ve already posted the Rolling Stone link everywhere I can think of.  Speaking of Rolling Stone, this is my current cam image:

This is Rolling Stone dated August 24th, 1995 and it’s very special to me for a few reasons. Mostly, Alex gave this to me and it is one of the best things anyone’s ever given me in my whole life and that is because Lollapalooza ’95 was my very first concert and my first time seeing Hole  and one of the best, weirdest days/nights of my life  and this issue is mostly about that. According to the cover anyway, because I’ve never actually opened it or read it  because I’m scared I’ll damage it. I did just acknowledge on Facebook that this was probably stupid and I should just read it because it’ll probably never be worth anything to anyone but me, but even after I posted that I still debated and decided to just put it back in its safe spot with the Juxtapoz magazine with the Mark Ryden cover that I’ve also never opened (I plan to frame both of these at some point if we ever overhaul my office…)

Hole getting back together might possibly be the best non-important news I’ve ever heard in my whole entire life and I mean that pretty literally in that I cannot think of anything I’ve ever heard that was any better and I can also say that the day they announced they were breaking up was one of the worst non-important things that has ever happened to me and I mean that pretty literally too because at this very moment, I cannot think of anything worse. And when I say “non-important” I mean, in my whole grand scheme of things. On a life level, they are seriously bipolar moments. It may seem silly but they get notable tickmarks on my life line, despite the fact I never remember the dates of anything so I don’t actually know when they broke up. I just know it sucked to be Blake that day.

It’s also a sunshiney day today, I had peanut butter and toast for breakfast even though it made me feel sick afterward (but was okay after cannabis) and I’m listening to my “Like a Hole in the Head” playlist which is all Hole, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to be in a bummer mood, but this is going to be sort of a bummer post maybe because yesterday was a good/bad day.

By good/bad I mean that it was a good food day:

There were a lot of tears before most of that food happened but it happened.
Wouldn’t have if Blake hadn’t have worked from home yesterday and drove me to Clover for a bag of chips and Flynn’s for a sandwich, of which I ate half, but it did.

The unfortunate thing though, is that a food day like yesterday cannot be duplicated for a while because the chips are bad for my pancreas, despite taking enzymes, and are just bad in general and I rarely eat them and their kind of Havarti cheese is sliced sort of thick and it’s spiced so I can’t really have that very often either because it tends to make me feel sick, as does the mayo (I like mayo a lot but if there’s too much on something I can’t eat it; often wiping some of it off isn’t good enough either, it’s either made right the first time or I don’t want it which sounds bitchy but the problem is that if it DOES gross me out too much to eat because there’s half a jar of mayo on something, there goes ALL my eating for that day because any time I think about food, until I fall asleep and forget it, all I can think about is the thing that grossed me out). I drank the ginger ale with my sandwich to help me keep it down and I figured the extra calories would make the dietitian happy even though they’re shitty calories. Ginger ale is pretty much okay any time, but I don’t drink pop with sugar and I think diet ginger ale is disgusting so it’s basically only used as a medicine to me. There’s probably not even enough ginger in it to be beneficial, it’s probably just the carbonation that makes me feel better (as diet Coke also makes me feel better but sometimes not as well as ginger ale) but sometimes it works so I just go with it.

So yesterday was a good food day AND a mostly sunshiney day but it was also mostly a bummer day because, to put it simply, there is no joy in my life. Even until today I hadn’t listened to music since Florida because I am so sick of everything that I’d prefer silence. And that makes me sad because that is a first in my life, my life has never been without soundtrack. Normally, as long as I’m awake and as long as we’re not watching TV, there is music playing because silence traditionally drives me insane because it’s never really silent and I can hear every little goddamn thing. The neighbours are having their roof done starting today and all morning I didn’t even have music on to drown them out (they’re on a 2nd story roof, but only feet from my office) because until the Hole thing I just didn’t give a single fuck about anything auditory.

I have no art and that makes me sad. My whole life every teacher and my mom and just about every adult I encountered have all remarked on my so-called creative “talent” and I have been conditioned since I was wee to feel like that’s all I’ve got. That’s the only thing that makes me worth a damn. And it’s gone.

Sick of paint.

Sick of paper.

No interest in canvas – front OR back.

Even glitter has lost its lustre.

Polymer clay didn’t really work out although I haven’t given up on it completely. Actually I have a $48 gift certificate for Amazon.com and all I can order from there is books so if anyone has any recomendations on a couple of good books on polymer clay, I’d definitely be open to them. Right now I have this one and this one in my cart but I’m scared to waste the gift certificate on something I won’t like or use so if anyone has any opinions on those books specifically, I’d like to hear those as well. Amazon reviews are terrible and I don’t count on them for much. I chose those two books because they looked the most comprehensive and had the nicest covers out of the others I found when I searched. The others were very specific like, “how to make X with polymer clay”, which I don’t really want either I don’t think so that’s why I passed over those. I’m just scared that polymer clay will just be another dead end and I’ll have wasted the gift certificate on something I’ll end up donating to the library in the end anyway.

I have no interest in photography. Part of the reason photography was fun was because the people I was taking pictures of liked to see themselves through my lens. But then Madison started getting self-conscious I think and didn’t want me to take pictures of her anymore and I love Wes to the end of the Earth and back but he is the WORST model. He likes the idea of taking pictures and he likes seeing them afterward, but he is such a massive pain in the ass that unless we’re doing something specific, forget it. I took a couple of classes and got okay at taking pictures of my family. And now I think I’m done. This is not my thing. If I need to document my life, I have my phone and my iPod and both will upload to the internet immediately which is usually what I’m going to do with them anyway. Like, I see pictures EVERYWHERE – EVERYWHERE! – but I feel too self-conscious carrying the big camera around with me and most of the stuff I want to take pictures of you either probably aren’t supposed to and/or you’d have to ask permission and I’m not down with either of those potentials. I want to be the girl who carries a camera and a Swiss army knife but I just don’t think that’s me. I don’t know how to be that person.

And like, throughout all of this, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “did I ever really give it a fair try?” and the answer, I feel, is “no”. So there’s that bit of fucking guilt laying in the pit of my stomach now. A couple thousand dollars worth of camera equipment and no…whatever ingredient it is I need to be that person.

My girls. My beautiful girls. I decided that what’s on sale on Etsy is what’s for sale and once they’re gone, they’re gone and there will be no more for sale. I will only make boys and girls as gifts and this was pretty much decided when one of our friends the other night told Blake that he was expecting his first child and I realized…holy shit man, so many of our friends either have babies right now or are having babies right now or are soon to have babies right now that I’m pretty sure I’m only going to paint them for girls and boys I know from now on and not until the bun’s out of the oven, hopefully starting with our friend’s son Apollo. The only worry I have with that is I’ll feel pressured to make them for everyone, like maybe people who think they’re better friends with me than they really are, or that someone might feel offended that I didn’t make one for their kid. Realistically that already happens though, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much. I haven’t decided on commissions yet. We all know how I feel about them and we all know that if I’m low-balled I’m going to be seriously pissed off, so it’s probably just best if I didn’t. Zazzle shop is staying. Truthfully, I find the Zazzle stuff more interesting than the originals and so far I’m my own biggest customer. I don’t understand why more people don’t utilize that when I’ve been hearing for years and years that people wished they had a more inexpensive way to procure my work. Originals are work, man. I can’t afford to buy the world a Coke. I’m still interested in the colouring book idea although I’m sure that by the time it’s actually finished, you won’t be.

All I have right now, creatively, what I’m clinging to, are these two writing projects I’m sort of not working on at the moment simultaneously. I loved writing at Froth but Froth has shitty hours (only open until 6pm/4pm on Sundays and it takes half an hour for us to get there; even with Blake working from home, the earliest we can get there is like, 5 and by the time we get set up with food and drink and are ready to work, they’ll be almost ready to close) and Froth is really expensive. We’ve scouted out Wasaga Beach and a few other places for nice, independently-run coffee shops that don’t care if you’re there all day/night and have wifi. And aren’t full of annoying kids. All. The. Time. And actually now that I think about it, we didn’t try the Starbuck’s that’s inside the Chapters bookstore in Barrie which is tiny tiny but most people get their shit and go browse the store so if they have tables at the back that I haven’t seen because I haven’t been back there, I’m betting that might be a more adult place to write that’s open relatively late and isn’t super expensive. Sucks that it’s Starbuck’s* and the music (among other things) is terrible but Blake swears to me that he thinks that’s the best we can do. I’d love to just write at Tim Hortons but they don’t have Coke products and I don’t drink coffee. I’d love to write at the Coffee Time down the street that’s SUPPOSED to be open 24 hours but really closes between 8pm-9pm, depending on how busy it is, but I don’t think Blake ended up liking it there. Can’t remember why. That place would be good because I could maybe go there during the day if I got comfortable enough there with Blake and write without him and they have Coke products BUT! I asked Blake if he would buy me a patio table with an umbrella for our front porch this spring BECAUSE, and I DECREE:

If I am going to plant the fuck out of my front yard this summer and put in all that effort, I am NOT going to hide in my house like a little fucking mouse like I have every other year, only scuttling out at 7am when no one’s around to take pictures. NO! I will sit at my patio table on my front porch and I will drink my own Coke products and eat my own free food (or not, as the case may be) and I will write there! Whenever I fucking feel like it! Have laptop, have wifi, have diet Coke, have bong – the only potential problem here is me. And rain.

This is what I’ve got going for me right now: flowers, two stories to work on and a patio table. And I have to wait for half those things at the moment so basically until then it’s Bummersville, population: me. Apologies in advance.

I am getting more and more excited about the garden the more sunshiney days we have, though. I can’t plant anything until next month but I’ve already sent Rugg my Keep Off The Lawn 2014 flower wishlist and we’ll see what happens I guess. I’m hoping for a lot of things on it, but mostly the lily of the valley “pips” which I think are like bulbs except they’re not dormant when you plant them like the ones you plant in the fall are? Anyway, these you plant in the spring and I specifically wanted them because they are the flower of May, which is the birth month of both my grama and her mother, my great grama, the latter of whom used to lay in bed with me at night and we’d list all the flowers we could think of. Then we’d list all the birds and she’d do all of their calls (poorly). Then I’d fall asleep. She had lily of the valley in her garden and because it was both her and my grama’s birth flower, it was just around a lot growing up and it’s an important plant to my family. I don’t have any and they also happen to grow well in shade, which is exactly where I need them because so far I can’t find anything else I like that will. If I recall correctly, lily of the valley likes to spread itself around if it’s happy, I feel like my gramas were constantly giving some away, so instead of digging up the daffodils and hyacinths in the front bed in front of our living room window and relocating them for something a lot bigger like peonies (which won’t grow in shade), I want to plant the lily of the valley all around them so they’ll fill in the whole bed and it’ll look full the whole growing season, unlike now when the daffodils and hyacinths peter out by May and then the bed lays empty or full of weeds for the rest of the season because nothing else will grow there. (Speaking of daffodils and hyacinths, I just checked and they’re both up and out of the ground about an inch and a half so far, so that’s pretty cool.)

Actually, that’s only partially true. Originally these ugly things were in that bed and the first summer I was here and we did the front garden I ripped them out of the bed because I didn’t like them and planted wildflower seed instead (which didn’t grow) but then I felt really bad at this pile of still-alive flowers I had dug up and didn’t know what to do with them AT ALL so I basically ended up just transplanting them a few feet forward. So dumb. Now they’re there and I still hate them every year and wish they’d die on their own but the fuckers thrive instead and I have no idea what to do with them. Suggestions welcome. I don’t even think I could drive them somewhere, throw ’em in a ditch and wish ’em the best. I’d feel like such a terrible person, I would not be able to live with myself. But every year they grow and every year I think about it…maybe I should let them grow, cut them down and decorate random graves with them…hmmm…

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got in me for  today. Well, there’s one more thing but it’s its own post and isn’t about me at all or even important.

(*I like Starbuck’s. TO GO!)

December 12, 2013

Song Lyrics Go Here

It’s so weird. Normally I start my posts with a title and normally they’re song lyrics because I’m completely unoriginal. I’ve been sitting here this morning listening to music with the WordPress window open, waiting for the perfect song to come on but none did, not even something super cliche like Cypress Hill (who I genuinely like and not just because they write songs about weed).

So Friday I got my prescription for medical cannabis and between then and Sunday afternoon, I started looking at the three growers listed on the Health Canada website. See what you have to do, which I now know because of Jackie Walters at Peace Naturals Inc. (one of the growing companies), who answered all my questions, is send them your original prescription copy, along with the grower’s paperwork which is just asking about your mailing address and your doctor’s info and just clerical stuff really, then they ask you about your ailments and symptoms and your experience with marijuana and then you fill out and sign a medical disclosure form that just states that they’re allowed to speak with your doctor about your condition. It’s actually a lot of paperwork but easy enough to fill out and Blake witnessed and signed the parts that needed it and yesterday before my shrink appointment we sent everything to Peace Naturals registered mail (because that prescription is valuable) and now we wait for them to approve me which they said would normally take 2 days or so after they received my package.

As it turns out, their PO box is like, 45 mins from our house which makes me wonder if their grow is too. It’d be cool to get a tour of the facility. I’ve never seen a weed farm before. I bet they’d say no but I’m going to be a client with them for the next year (pending the paperwork all goes through; I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t), can’t hurt to ask. Especially since Jackie seemed pretty eager for me to jump on board as a client, which isn’t surprising as they’re the latest addition to Health Canada’s 3 grower operation (not exactly the $3bil one we were promised, but it’s still soon).

On Friday we went and saw my grama and we had a good visit. When we get there she’s weepy, then while we’re there and having conversation she’s good, but when we leave she’s weepy again. She seems to be hanging in there okay. She’s pretty fucking skinny though and I really wish I could convince her to get a weed rx too because she’s not eating and she feels sick when she does. Man, if I were at the end of my life, I’d wanna go out eating. But that’s just me. And I don’t even like food all that much.

Speaking of food, I’m not much of a cook. This is common knowledge. In theory I *should* be a good cook because growing up I did so much of it with my gramas and stuff (“Cooking is an art, baking is a science.”) but after Wes was born and I’d taught Blake all the recipes I knew, I let him do the cooking. The reason for this is that ever since I became pregnant with Madison, cooking smells really bother me. You think I’m a picky eater? I’m an even pickier smeller. If I smell something cooking too long, I no longer want to eat it. I feel sick. That has only gotten worse since pancreatitis. However, I’ve  found that since I began medicating with cannabis and have had a better appetite, I have a better tolerance for cooking smells and so I’ve been trying to do a little bit of the cooking, which Blake is grateful for and my shrink is impressed by.

I started out small with just simple cheese omelets with sauteed garlic and onion, which I made for the whole family for a while. Then I started making Sunny McMuffins, a slight variation on the cheese omelet only this time with peameal bacon and on an English Muffin. Then one night I saw that we had pork chops in the freezer and Shake & Bake in the cupboard, along with two boxes of cheesy potatoes which are terrible for you but good sometimes, and Blake was going to be home late. So I made dinner and it was more or less ready as soon as her got home (by total fluke). I mean, that’s obviously a very simple meal that anyone could make but our oven’s tricky and getting the timing right so the potatoes would be done at the same time as the pork chops is hard and we also had peas, but those take 5 minutes in the microwave.

Yesterday I tried making these chocolate and peanut butter squares and I followed the recipe to the letter but they turned out so hard that they’re almost impossible to eat. Pinterest did me wrong!

Pinterest did me right last night when we made mini chicken pot pies with cream of chicken soup and Pillsbury biscuit dough in muffin tins. Madison’s vegetarian so I invented a version for her with tomato soup, cheddar cheese, corn, peppers, onions, garlic, basil and oregano and she was a big fan. I asked for other veggie ideas for this on Twitter and my friend Quelyn suggested a potato soup base and Deanna suggested broccoli soup, which would also work pending Madison likes broccoli soup (I don’t know that she’s ever had it). Anyway, everyone was a fan of those and everyone helped me make them. Wes grated cheese while I chopped veggies, Blake chopped up the chicken breast for ours because I really really dislike touching raw chicken. It seriously skeeves me out. I’ll do it, but I will bitch and moan the entire time. So he did it, then he went back to work. Then Madison put the dough in the tins and we each filled one (there were 10 biscuits per can and we used 2 cans for 2 kinds), then she sat in the kitchen and talked to me while we waited for the pies to bake.

Just now I finished putting in the ingredients for crock pot chicken teriyaki which will take about 5 hours to cook. Then I also have to make rice, which I’ve never done before so Madison will have to show me how to use the rice cooker. Then I also have to stir-fry the cabbage mix and bean sprouts we got for the occasion. I guess you would just stir-fry them in a bit of oil until they’re tender-crisp? That’s what it looks like they do at the mall. I told Madison I would make her extra stir-fry so she can make something similar using tofu and this jar of honey garlic sauce we have in the fridge.

I’m not becoming some domestic goddess housewife person or anything like that, I’m not about  to do anything crazy like clean something or vacuum or put away laundry. But for now making meals sometimes is working out okay so I’ll go with it. Truthfully I don’t even know if I’m going to eat any of this teriyaki because I don’t really like chicken but we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s all I really have to say.

You can still get free shipping in my shop for the next 4 days!

December 3, 2013

Thanks! I got it on Etsy!

I think if Etsy ever does a large ad campaign, “Thanks! I got it on Etsy!” should be their tagline. People are constantly saying to me “oooh I like your [whatever]! where did you get it?” and the answer is always, “Thanks! I got it on Etsy!” because chances are, whatever it is, if I’m getting complimented on it, I probably got it there.

I just spent the day tidying up my Etsy shop for Christmas and adding something new. Allow me to present to you the following:

This is a set of seven 4.5 x 2.7 inch rectangular stickers, featuring some of my most popular paintings.
Included are two mermaids, two princesses, an angel, a fairy and a bee girl.

On Zazzle, these stickers come four to a sheet but all of the same design, so I bought a whole bunch of sheets a while back of all the designs I had uploaded at the time in order to offer you guys a variety pack for Christmas, the idea being that they could be put in Christmas cards or used as stocking stuffers.

~*VISIT MY SHOP TO GET YOURS!*~
(Supplies are limited!)

But wait!
There’s more!

Have you ever wanted to buy one of my paintings but felt that it was too cost-prohibitive?

Well maybe this will help:

Use coupon code MARYSBOYCHILD on my Etsy shop during checkout and receive free shipping until December 16th!

Why December 16th? Because I figure that’s the latest date  to order a painting from me if you’re in the North America and still have it arrive by Christmas.

For overseas orders, I’d say the 12th of this month at the very latest for it to arrive by Christmas and even then I’m not making any promises.

Small things from Etsy, like stickers, ACEOs and zines, are sent by Canada Post letter mail and shouldn’t take anywhere near as long as paintings to arrive at their destination. The last ACEO I mailed out was going to Spain (from Canada) and it only took about a week. Again though, that was letter mail. Packages require duty and taxes etc. so they just take longer.


“Red and Gold 2/8” mixed media ACEO, 2.5 x 3.5 inches

So that’s what’s happening over on Etsy…
ZAZZLE is a whole other ballgame.

Zazzle has deals on literally all the time and unlike Etsy, you can’t create your own coupon codes so you’re at the mercy of Zazzle execs. Right now, for example, it’s “Cyber Tuesday” on Zazzle and if you use the code “CYBERTUESDAY” during checkout, you’ll receive 20% off your order, which is actually a really good deal, but it’ll be something completely different after midnight tonight.

My Zazzle shop isn’t the most well-designed thing on the planet but that’s simply because Blake and I haven’t found the time to get together and make it look like the rest of my sites yet. One of these days we’ll get around to it, but for right now it’s simply functional.

In my Zazzle shop I have all kinds of things: 1″ buttons, more stickers (different shapes and designs than the bundles I have on Etsy), postcards, greeting cardsposter prints, iPhone cases and silver-plated necklaces in about 13 of my most popular designs. And I won’t lie to you, the quality is actually really good. The greeting cards came out beautifully and I’m assuming the postcards are the same. The buttons are adorable, I have them all over my camera bag and purses. When I designed them though, I wasn’t really thinking and realistically I should have put my Etsy shop’s URL on one of the edges in mouseprint. Oh well. I’ve sold 3 of the iPhone cases, all to the same person, so I think it’s safe to assume that those look good too (I don’t have an iPhone so that’s one thing I haven’t purchased myself). The silver-plated necklaces should be like the 1″ buttons and since the 1″ buttons are great, I’m sure the necklaces will be too. And that brings us to posters…since my house is full of originals, it seemed like a dumb move to spend money on a poster of something I already own. I have little doubt that they are of the same quality as the cards, though

ANYWAY!

If you’re going to buy handmade this holiday season, which you should toooootally do, my shop is a good place to start!

Just sayin’.

Peace!

PS. Don’t forget! Back issues of my old zine, The Paper Blog, are also available in my shop!

Trying to make ends meet, trying to find some money then you die…

It’s 4:30am and I just woke up. It’s almost time to start work. (Realistically it’ll take me all morning to write this.)

Blake and I have been talking a lot about life and we’ve come to the decision that we’re NOT going to move and that this house, despite its faults, is going to be our forever home because Blake only has to commute twice a week now (which was the main reason we were going to move in the first place), Madison’s going to be out of the house in a couple of years and Wes is going to follow shortly after so once they’re gone, it’s not like we’re suddenly going to need more room. It’s just going to be me and Blake and the dogs (Madison’s taking her cat when she moves out and another one will not be gotten).

Yeah, this house is not even remotely close to my dream house, but it’s redeemable and now that I know we’re here to stay, I can do certain things I couldn’t do before, like potentially the “teacup wall” or bringing back the wildflower garden (or a version of it). Sometime soon Blake’s going to have a dishwasher put in. I asked him if it would be possible within the next 10 years to put a roof on our porch so it would actually get used and he said that was a definite possibility.

We’re eligible for a mortgage 3x the size of the one we have now and we looked at a lot of really pretty houses that I’d love to live in, but there’s no point in getting a mortgage bigger than the one we have now for a house that’ll be too big in a few years and honestly? I don’t really want to have to clean a big house.

Once the kids are out of the house and it’s just us, we really only need a “home base” rather than a fancy house that impresses people when they see it. We don’t know what the future holds, obviously, but I haven’t seen much of this world and I kinda thought traveling might be a possibility, once the kids reach independence, and traveling is expensive. I’d rather have a small, functional house with disposable income for things like travel, as opposed to a nice, big, fancy house where your only option is to sit in it because you can’t afford to do anything else.

I’ve been saying this whole time that I wished we didn’t have to move because I like being 10 minutes from the the world’s longest freshwater beach and my whole mental health support network is up here, so this decision is not unwelcome.

Do I wish we had a nicer house? Of course. But now that we don’t have to be “safe” because we’d planned to sell the house one day, we’re free to do all kinds of things to it to make it the one we want to live in. I don’t know what all of those things are yet, I haven’t thought about it (we only made this decision a few days ago) but now that my imagination is free to go there, it’s gonna go there.

The teacup wall, as some of you probably remember, is something I came up with a long time ago, pretty much when we first moved to this house in 2005 and it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years. The original idea was to cut off the backs of teacups and teapots and stick them to the wall using something like maybe stucco or some other type of “outdoor wall cement” but now I’m thinking a better idea would be to leave the cups and pots intact so the morning glories and moonflowers have more room for their roots. Also cutting a teacup in half is probably a really difficult thing to do, especially when you don’t even have a saw. I’d still have to drill a hole in the bottom of each teacup for drainage but all I need for that is a masonry bit and I just watched some stoner kid make a bong out of a Patron bottle and a masonry bit, so if that kid could do it, I’m pretty sure I could too. Or Blake could. I think what I should do is put up sheets of that wood that has all the little holes in it, prime and paint it and then wire the cups and pots to that with stainless steel wire. Where I would get stainless steel wire or if that’s even a thing, I have no idea, but I would hate for the wire to rust and then 10 years from now my cups start popping off the wall.

Before I can do the teacup wall though, this whole room needs to be rebuilt. My office actually used to be a carport but they made 3/4 of it another  room because they put in a gas furnace and didn’t have anywhere else to put it (the house had electric baseboard heaters previously). The problem, though, is that we doubt this room is legal in any conceivable way. They used chipboard for the outer walls. CHIPBOARD. We’ve had nothing but problems with the roof in here leaking because since this room was never meant to be a room, let alone a heated room, they didn’t vent the roof/ceiling properly so the warmth from this room causes ice dams on the roof which fucks it up. That’s going to be the next big project: fixing the roof. Again. This time though, I think we’re going to see if a metal roof is possible.

Since this room used to be outside, the whole length of it to my right has vinyl siding on it which means that hanging anything on that wall is pretty much out of the question. And that sucks. So when we rebuild this room, that’s coming off and we’ll put up drywall.  Then we’re going to try and find something creative to do with the furnace. Obviously it can’t go anywhere else, but maybe we can build it in and make built in bookshelves around it or something.

Another thing on the list of things to do, since this is now our forever home, is improving the lighting in this house. You rarely see the inside of my house because the light, or lack thereof, in this house sucks, especially in the living room. We already plan on painting the living room, including the ceiling, so we’ve decided that when that project rolls around, we’re going to look into built-in ceiling lighting because as of right now, there isn’t any and it sucks relying on two yellowy lamps to light the whole room. I’d also like to put a ceiling light in the hallway because there isn’t one there either.

Something else I’ve been thinking about now that we’ve made this decision is the Springwater Guild of Artists and Artisans and next year’s studio tour. After the tour, the guy who keeps everything organized for the guild asked us to let him know if we’d be interested in doing the tour next year. I replied with a polite, “No thank you,” for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that we weren’t sure if we’d be here next year. But now we know we are.

The thing is though…it’s $50 for membership into the guild and for that you get to attend meetings to plan the studio tour, you get one picture on the main page of their site and one picture on your bio page on the site, that also has a link to your site or your shop or whatever you want (I link to Etsy directly from there). To be in the studio tour it’s $75 on top of that. I’m not getting any traffic whatsoever from the guild’s site to my Etsy shop. I sold 4 greeting cards at the studio tour, which I think totals $32 – minus the processing fees for two of the cards because the lady paid with Visa. I also volunteered a lot of my time and energy for the project with pretty much no return. Another “benefit” of being in the guild is that sometimes opportunities arise like when I had my work up at the township office for all of August, which are cool, but others aren’t so cool. (I have a really really hard time forking over cash for “exposure”…)

Financially, this is a no-brainer. This year I lost money on the whole guild thing. However, I am part of this community now for better or for worse (after 8 years of living here haha) and maybe this is really stupid, like throwing money down a hole, but I think paying $50 to be in the guild is sort of like…helping out your community? Or something? I like that the guild exists, even if it doesn’t really benefit me at this point…maybe it will one day? Does that make sense? And as far as the studio tour, I’m still thinking at this point it’s a tentative “no”, but we’ll see what I create between now and May-ish, when I have to decide. Who knows? It’s quite possible the studio tour isn’t even going to happen next year. Also, in the new year I plan on making smaller paintings (8 inches x 8 inches) with a lower price point, as well as a couple of batches of ACEOs, and I’m wondering if I had those at the studio tour this year, if I’d have sold any of them. I had two ACEOs on my table for sale, the only two I have left, but I don’t think people really knew what they were or what to do with them, especially since they’re the same size as my business cards, which resemble artist trading cards. I think if I were to do the tour next year and have ACEOs on my table, I’d have one or two in small frames as a suggestion as to what to do with them.

I just think, maybe, now that I know what to expect from the guild, from the people in the guild and the studio tour, that maybe I should do things differently in the new year. We’ll see.

And like I said to Blake a few weeks ago, maybe a better idea would be to take the $125 I’d be spending on the guild and studio tour and try running some Facebook ads. I don’t even have to do it to know that I’ll get a better ROI.

Like I said, we’ll see.

November 8, 2013

Flotter plus, bouvillon moins?

This blog post is 2 years old and I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it on my site before, but I know for a  fact I posted it other places so some of you may have already read it. If not, read it, then come back here.

But my first wish is that you’d wake up and start steering your life toward where you want to be.” – Joe Peacock

But what if you have absolutely zero idea as to where you want to be? I have literally ZERO life goals right now for probably the first time in my life. I can’t think of a single one. Not even one. Oh, “don’t die”. That’s about it.

My job is my job, I don’t love it or hate it (but I do think I’m good at it and I’m grateful to have it) but there’s no room for advancement so there’s no life goals to be had there.

I make paintings “whenever I feel like it” or whenever I’m inspired. You can’t make a business plan around that. Furthermore, I haven’t sold a single solitary painting since November 19th of LAST YEAR. (Thanks, Robin.)

I’ve pretty much decided I’ll never be a full-time nor long distance driver ever again. I’ll drive to the grocery store and the post office by myself and maybe even to the Wal*Mart or dollar store in Wasaga Beach if Madison’s with me, but that’s IT. I know I have the ability of driving longer distances, on busier roads, at faster speeds but even with Blake right beside me, telling me what to do and after taking all the Klonopin and Ativan available to me, I still spend the entire time in the driver’s seat crying, gripping the steering wheel so hard with both hands* that my nails go right around it and dig into the fleshy part of my hand and all I can think of is “when is this going to be over? When do I get to be done? How long do I have to do this to be able to say that I tried and then have no one bug me about it for a while? Or hopefully ever?” Maybe I’d feel differently if we had 2 cars, but we don’t and if I crash the one we have, we’re pretty fucked. Also? Over the last 2 & a half years, I have been through MEDICAL HELL and the last thing – the very very very last thing – I want to go through is another medical trauma as a result of my own shitty driving or my delayed reaction time when it comes to someone else’s.

I. Hate. Driving. I cannot handle the stress and responsibility and truthfully, I don’t remember 75% of the rules of the road. I got my licence when I was 20, after taking Young Drivers (Canadian driver’s ed that gives you a discount on your insurance) and drove to Toronto for school almost every single day for 2 years. But 2 years driving experience is NOTHING!  It’s not even a “blip!” in the grand scheme of my life. Might as well forget that ever happened. I’ll keep renewing my licence in case I ever change my mind but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I just think I’m done. It is literally the most stressful realistic situation I can think of. The whole time I’m just in sheer panic and all I want to do is close my eyes and pretend to be somewhere else…but that would get me killed.

I’ve hit a brick wall with photography. I no longer want to have a photography business. I just don’t like my pictures. I didn’t take a single picture with my DSLR in all of September, only once in October and those were just snapshots and then Madison wanted me to take pictures of her after school today but just looking at the previews on the camera, I don’t think any of them are worth posting, let alone printing. The whole reason I liked photography was because I could document things but we never do anything worth documenting and the kids were my inspiration, Madison in particular, but she’s got some body issues happening and she just doesn’t want me taking her picture these days (yet she’ll sit at my desk where the light’s better and take “selfies” with her iPod for hours) so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve just put the camera away on a hook behind a door with no real plans to pick it up again any time soon.

I have not and will not be applying for an Ontario Arts Council grant this year. I thought I was going to, I’d planned on it, but when I looked at my body of photography work so far, I was too embarrassed to send any of the pictures in and I was going to be applying as an “emerging artist” for money to go toward a photography project I’d really like to do. The bulk of the money was going to be spent paying a part-time female assistant with a car. (For this project, it needs to be a woman.) The rest was going to be used to purchase lights and pay for gas. I am 95% confident that I could execute this project successfully if given the funds to do it but I don’t think I can convince the OAC of that by my shitty sample pictures that are basically only of my kids, my husband and my pets. I’m completely uninspired by my surroundings. I thought about shooting some pics to specifically use as my sample pics but there’s just not a whole lot that’s interesting to me around here. I’m sort of at the point where I dread taking out the camera because I’m either ultimately not going to end up doing anything with it except to put it back and I’m not going to like the pictures I take so it’s just going to frustrate me and make me sad.

The application deadline is December 1st so I have a bit of time, but I still don’t think I’m going to bother applying. They’ve already rejected me 4 years in a row as a painter, I think largely due to the fact that I have like, no exhibition record. I’ve been in Touched By Fire 3 times and I suppose I could add the studio tour to the list since I EXHIBITED lots yet sold nothing, but still, that’s painting. My photography idea will never happen. :o/ Anyone got $5k laying around that they don’t need? I’ve thought about maybe doing a Kickstarter type of thing but I can’t think of incentives, aside from prints, and what is the final goal? If I say my final goal is to show these pictures in a gallery, people aren’t going to give me money because photographs in a gallery do most people no good. There’s no benefit. A book? But how many pictures would I need to fill a whole book? Because the pictures I want to take are super tricky, semi-illegal (trespassing), and it’s gonna take a slick-talking assistant to get “models” (who are actually just random, normal women) to do what I need them to do and where.

Cryptic, I know, but this idea is my baby and I would be absolutely devastated if someone stole it. I’m so protective of this idea that I can’t even ask any photographers for advice because when it comes to ideas, I don’t trust anyone. Especially photographers.

So yeah, I just don’t know up from down these days. Every day is grey. All my plans for this year and next have disintegrated.

As I posted about previously, I didn’t submit anything to Touched By Fire because the whole thing was a clusterfuck from the beginning. First there were $20 submission fees, which counted me out. Secondly, they’ve switched domains inexplicably from touchedbyfire.CA to touchedbyfire.CO. This is suspect to me. THEN they got a sponsor (Deserres) who agreed to cover the submission fees which is fine but at that point they didn’t even have a venue. So long story short, I did not submit. I didn’t feel I had anything to submit to an art show that prides itself on showcasing how fucked up all us mental patients are. My glitter girls are happy. They don’t want happy, they want tortured, mentally ill people and they want their work to reflect that. So fuck it. Who needs a remedial art show anyway? OH! That was the other thing I wanted to mention. Tickets to get into the event? $20 per person. Isn’t that fucking ridiculous? Every other year it’s either been free or $10, so wtf.

I’m lost. I have no direction. Every grey day is the same. I do nothing. I have nothing. I am nothing.

PS. Feel free to head on down to Sunnyland Studio to see what I’ve got in the shop. Unfortunately the Xmas season is upon us…

(*I have never EVER and would not EVER drive with less then two hands on the wheel. 10 and 2, people. The only time my hand MAY leave the steering wheel for 10 seconds is if I’m getting a drink from a BOTTLE because with cans, you have to take your eyes off the road to look at the can and make sure you turn it around so you can actually drink out of it. This is too complicated and for me, too dangerous, so bottles all the way.)

August 5, 2013

Be Cool, Man. Christ.

Sooooooooo many thoughts, so little time.

I’ve been thinking about my grama a lot today. My mom says she’s doing really well right now. I mean, obviously she’s still dying, it’s not like she’s doing “better” than before she was diagnosed with cancer, but she’s doing better than she was when she was going through radiation and chemo and she doesn’t need someone with her all the time anymore. It’s not going to last but at least she’s having lots of visitors while things are good. Or so I hear. I know my mom and my brother visit her often and I’m curious to know what she thinks of Chad since she doesn’t really know him. When Chad was like, I dunno, 5 or 6 maybe, my grama gave him a blue lamp that was in the shape of a pencil and he didn’t like it so he said so and threw a tantrum because his present sucked. So my grama took the lamp back and it was in her spare bedroom for the longest time, she probably still has it.

Well, soon after that my parents split for good and my brother went to live with my dad/Ken and when my brother visited my mom, which didn’t happen every weekend or even every other weekend most of the time, they would spend time together, not at my grama’s. The only time my brother ever really saw my grama from that point on was Xmas. She went to his grade 8 graduation too. I don’t recall any of his birthdays being celebrated with her in the picture, but I could be wrong on that.

So yeah, I’m curious to know what she thinks of him now. It would be so funny if she left him the pencil lamp when she died haha

When I was little, we lived with my grama, my mom and I. And my grampa because they were still married then. Then when my mom and Ken got married, we lived above my grampa’s carpet store in Stouffville, beside Good Eat and across from the clock tower. It was a one bedroom apartment so my brother and I shared the bedroom and my mom and dad’s bed and bedroom furniture was in the living room. My dad was a really amazing artist. I’m sure he still is but after we moved into our first house in Greenbank, he sort of stopped drawing and never really picked up the habit again. One of his many artistic talents was airbrushing and my room in the apartment in Stouffville was painted yellow and my dad airbrushed a big rainbow and clouds on one of the walls. I used to read Robert Munsch books to my brother at night, through the bars of his crib, in whispers.

Anyway…I started this post at like, I dunno, 3pm maybe? It is now almost 9:30pm and I have to go to bed because I work at 5am. Boooooooo.

What I did want to say before I go to bed though, is that, at the encouragement of some of my Twitter friends, I’ve been persuaded to put the box of my old zines I found on Etsy for fun and profit so I just finished doing that. I figured there’s no reason not to, they’re just sitting in a box in my office taking up space. Some of you will remember The Paper Blog and may still have copies, while others have probably never heard of it because it’s not like I talk about them all the time or anything. The Paper Blog was a zine I wrote, made and mailed between 2004-2005. Only issues #s 3-6 are on Etsy though because I only have ONE copy each of issues #1 & #2 and the files for them all are now long gone so I’d like to keep those. Issue #7, the final issue, was digital and I no longer have the file.

Go to my Etsy shop, if interested!

I need another project like I need another hole in the head, but I kinda think I want to make a new zine. I was just told yesterday about this site called MagCloud which is a print on demand service where you upload your zine (or whatever) as a PDF and they print it as people order it and send it to them. Then I was also informed that Etsy now allows digital downloads, which, as my friend Less put it, is a fucking game changer. I could make an e-zine and sell it on Etsy. I’m still looking into both of these things, but you have to admit, they have some pretty cool possibilities.

Anyway, it’s now 9:35pm and I am soooooo tired so I’m going to bed. Peace oot.

July 17, 2013

Cryin’ Won’t Help You, Prayin’ Won’t Do You No Good

Here’s today’s theme song:

I’ve only updated 4 times this month and it’s already the 17th. Remember when I used to post 3 or 4 times a day?

I don’t really know why I haven’t been updating. I guess I just haven’t had all that much to say. And I’m not exactly getting feedback these days so I don’t really have all that much as far as incentive. I don’t even think Blake reads anymore.

I got notification the other day that my Memoir Project book has been digitized but I tried to read it and they’ve messed it all up. Here’s the link anyway. I really only wrote about when I got sick so it’s not like it’s full of stuff you guys haven’t heard 100 times before. I also found one instance of where I should have written “too” but I wrote “to” instead. That shit drives me crazy and I wish I could fix it. I even proof-read it twice before sending it off! Oh well, what’re ya gonna do?

I have 4 days left of work hell. Five if you count the fact that we have our weekly work meeting the day after my last crazy shift which should technically be my day off. Once I’m done all that though, I’ll have 25 hours banked that I can take off whenever I need to. Nine of those hours are going to be the Saturday of the studio tour and the rest I think I’m just gonna save in case I need a sick day or in case we go to Montreal, which Madison wants to do this summer. I wouldn’t mind going to Montreal but I don’t speak very much French and Blake speaks none. Wes just started French last year so he barely knows any and we’d be relying on Madison whose best mark this year was en Francais. I hate working from anywhere other than my own desk so if we do go, I’d take some time off. But since I don’t really *want* to go, I’d feel like those hours were wasted but at the same time, if I didn’t go I’d feel left out, so I dunno.

I think next week or the week after we’re going to go see my grama. My mom says she’s been feeling well enough that she hasn’t needed people to be with her 24/7 so that’s good, but let’s be realistic, also temporary. My mom has a show to do in August so at least this is giving her some time to make product for that and prepare for it etc. My grama requires a shot of heparin in her stomach every day and I dunno who’s giving it to her since people aren’t with her every day anymore. It’s a blood thinner. When I was in the hospital, I had to have the same shot (as well as wearing compression socks, which are terrible!) and it fucking hurts. Like, first the needle part physically hurts and then the heparin itself burns and stings. It’s only like, 10 or 15 seconds of pain but pain is pain and I haaaaaaated that. My grama has to have it because she has/had blood clots in her lungs. I had to have it because I was bed-ridden and with the lack of circulation, blood clots were a possibility.

I should be painting today, since I’m awake (and I don’t intend to go to sleep until about 5 or 6pm because I have to get up at 2am to work at 3am, boooooo) but I just don’t feel like it. Plus there’s nothing to really watch and I have to watch something while I paint.

I watched The Newsroom premiere on Monday morning but I couldn’t really follow it. Same with True Blood. With the hours I’ve been keeping, my brain is just mush. Unless it’s work-related, nothing sticks. :o/

Anyway, I think I should force myself to go paint. I have my next project sketched out already so I need to work on that (it’s sort of a commission, sort of not…it’s an idea I’ve had for a while now but my friend said he’d almost definitely purchase it if I did it and I REALLY need money right now so that’s why I chose it to be next) and then I have to work on an 8 x 8 inch painting for the food bank. I get the feeling that I’ve explained this already somewhere but I forget where…on the studio tour we’re supporting the food bank as our charity and each artist is donating a piece of work to be used for a raffle/draw. Like you would buy 10 tickets for $10 (or something) and then you’d put your ticket in a basket beneath the piece of art you want and then at the end of the tour we’ll draw the tickets and whoever’s ticket gets chosen for each piece gets it. And the money obviously goes to the food bank.

I have NO IDEA what I’m doing for my piece so I suppose I should figure that out…I also have to buy a tablecloth for my display at the township office next month which I’m stupidly nervous about. That doesn’t even make sense considering I don’t even have to BE there for it or talk to anyone or anything like that. I’m more scared of my paintings being damaged or stolen.

I also have to make hang tags for the paintings, which I’ll staple to the back of the canvases. That was my mother’s idea.

I have a lot of stuff I need to do but no desire to do any of it. But I better get my shit together because all of these events are happening SOON so…yeah…

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up by saying GO VISIT MY ETSY SHOP!!! Or my ZAZZLE SHOP!!! If ya see anything ya like, BUY IT!!! :oP The reason I say that is because I need to know what I’m putting in the township office and I need to know what stock I have for the studio tour so if you had your eye on anything, you should totally grab it now!

And if anyone has any idea of what I should do for the 8 x 8 inch canvas, I’m all ears!

Peace oot, homies.

PS. One of my ACEOs was chose for an Etsy treasury this week! Check it out!

July 11, 2013

Asses Kicked, Names Taken

I went to bed last night around 7:00pm, then started work this morning at 4am and I would LOVE to be asleep right now but I have a work meeting at 2pm. Shortly after said meeting, like maybe an hour or two later, I’m going to take my evening pills and go to bed because I have to work again at 2am until 8am tomorrow morning. The good news is that after I’m done work at 8 tomorrow morning, I don’t have to work again until 2pm on Saturday. Granted I have to work 9 hours on Saturday, which sucks, but then I can sleep in on Sunday morning. Then Sunday night (well, technically Monday) I have to work 1am-5am. So I kiiiiinda still get my days off (Sunday and Monday), I’ll just be sleeping through most of them.

Then next week….Tuesday I start work at 5am, then Wed.-Fri. I work 3am-8am but Friday night I have to work 11pm-5am Saturday morning, sleep, then start work at 2pm-11pm and then my last crazy shift is the Sunday night (technically Monday morning) 1am-5am. Then it’s all my normal shift work after that.

I was worried I’d burn out and not be able to handle this but as long as I get creative with my meds and sleep when I’m tired, I should be good. Or at least it has been so far. It’s not even how many more hours I’m working while Belinda’s in Asia, it’s how weird they are that had me worried. For the last year & a half, my schedule has been pretty rigid. Go to bed at 9-9:30pm, get up at 4:30am, start work at 5am, go back to bed at 8am, wake up again around 11am and then paint the rest of the day. The only day that truly sucks in my regular schedule is my 9 hour long Saturdays. But even those I’ve gotten used to because they’re busy and I don’t have time to think about how much they suck haha

So that’s work right now. My meeting’s in an hour and 7 minutes so I better stop blabbing about work and write this damn post.

I’m so tired I’ve pretty much forgotten what this post was supposed to be about.

Yesterday I started a Twitter account for the Springwater Guild of Artists & Artisans (SGAA) where I’ll be tweeting about events we involved in, including the studio tour, so if you have any interest in that, feel free to follow it. I think we have 7 followers at the moment haha Really, the goal of the account is to get the local newspapers and radio stations and local celebrities to tweet or retweet about the event. I also think that during the studio tour, I’m going to live tweet the event using that account. My plan is on the Saturday I’ll get Madison to watch my stuff at the library while Blake and I take an hour or so to go to each stop and tweet pics along the way. I think I’ll also figure out how to incorporate Facebook into that too. I’ve kinda been designated the social media guru so…yeah…

Then this morning I spent a few hours on the SGAA site, on this page specifically that has all of the artists participating in this year’s tour, and coming up with 4 or 5 interview questions for each of them. Then I e-mailed each of them their questions and I asked them to e-mail me back their answers, along with 1-3 pictures, which I’ll then put together as little profile articles to be posted sporadically on the SGAA’s Facebook page. The idea will be for people to see those little articles, which will be based around pictures, and share them, boosting our signal.

I’ve also got the Facebook advertising nailed down so it’s been a really busy morning! I am SO ready for bed!

Anyway, the studio tour isn’t for another 2 months but here’s the Facebook event anyway so if you happen to be in our area, you can “save the date” so to speak. The tour is on September 21st & 22nd from 9am-4:30pm. I won’t actually be IN my studio because my studio is really “the grown up living room”/my office and there’s no wall space to hang any of my stuff so I’ll have my stuff set up at the library in the center of town.

Two & a half weeks from now I have my exhibition for the month of August at the township office. I’ll post more details about that when I know them, for example, WHERE the township office is because I have no Earthly idea. I know it’s between my house and Barrie but that’s all I know. I also know I need to buy a table cloth for the table they’ll be providing to me to use for my setup.

Earlier this week I ordered 400 business cards because I figure between people just asking me for them all the time, the township office exhibition and the studio tour, I very well might need that many and at the moment all I have in my wallet is 4 measly little MOO mini cards (which I did not get any more of, but I did get my cards from MOO because I wanted several different designs).

So long story short, I’m busy and getting shit done.

On Sunday I finished my “Silver Angel” painting, which, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen progress pics of but you may not have seen the final result yet. So voila!

More pics are available on Etsy…
…where you could also BUY HER!

But I’ll show you this one here though too so you can see what makes her so cool:

Her dress is mirrored silver with holographic, 3D stars!
(That were REALLY REALLY hard to photograph.)

When I had her glued onto the canvas (notice that it’s actually NEGATIVE! my backgrounds are always WHITE but this time I went BLACK!), she was pristine. So I started the varnishing process and when I got to her dress and brushed on the varnish, all was well and when I was finished, I put her on top of the washing machine away from shedding-in-clumps dogs. Then I forget what I did, I think we watched TV or I did something online, but when I checked on the painting about an hour later, I FREAKED because the varnish over the holographic paper was CLOUDY, completely ruining the effect. It was so humid on the weekend that it took until Tuesday morning for the varnish to cure and turn clear, which it did THANK GOD, but man I was losing my damn mind until that happened. But in the end it all turned out and now I’m trying to think of things I can do with the other holographic papers I picked up when I was at Michael’s a few weeks ago.

BUT!

Last night I decided on what my next project is going to be. It’s actually something that I’ve had in the back of my head for a while now and I even bought the material to do it like, 2 weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure if it would be my next project or not until a friend on Twitter last night said “heyyyyyyy remember you said you were going to do [X] painting? Whatever happened to that?” and I said I was still thinking about it but that I had all the stuff to do it. And then my friend was like, “well, if you do [X] painting, I will almost absolutely be buying it,” and that spoke to my poor, broke ass so that’s what I’m going to start working on tomorrow after work. It’s NOT a commission because it was something I had planned and had even sketched out already, already had the materials, but it IS a sale, so yay! It’s been way too long since I sold a painting…

Then after that I think my next painting is going to be an 8 x 8 inch piece for the food bank. The studio tour is partially for charity so we’re selling raffle tickets where the proceeds go to the food bank and each artist is donating a piece and what will happen is, you buy say, 10 tickets and you put them in a basket in front of whatever item you want to bid on. You could put all 10 in the basket in front of my painting for better odds of winning it, or you could put 1 ticket in each basket for the chance to win multiple prizes. At least that’s how I understand it’s going to work.

Anyway, the food bank donation raffle stuff will be set up at the library where I’ll be and I think I’m going to see if Madison can run it and have the hours go toward the volunteer hours you need to graduate high school here. I haven’t run that past her yet but it’s a thought I had.

Okay my meeting is in 12 minutes so I better post this, then post it to Camwhores, then pee, then have the meeting.

OH! Speaking of Camwhores, I’m doing a members only show on Friday night at 10pm EST! If you need a free trial to watch the show, e-mail me and I’ll send you an invite! Sunny@SunnyCrittenden.com! This week’s theme is storytelling, so that’s what my show’s going to be all about. Should be interesting.

Peace oot, homies.

June 7, 2013

Smurf off, eh?

Yesterday was hell. Pure and utter hell. I worked in the morning and everything was fine and after work, I went back to bed and got up at like, 10:30am or so. In pancreatic pain. I’d had some discomfort on Sunday or  Monday so Blake picked me up some hydromorph contin and I started a really bland diet. Not quite the liquids-only diet you’re supposed to go on during a pancreatic attack but I barely ate anything between then and today.

Anyway, I woke up in pain and stumbled into my office to sit down, check e-mail etc. and I was just in way too much pain to even do that, so I took a hydromorph, pancreatic enzymes just in case they might help (they don’t usually but they won’t hurt me so there’s no harm in trying), Tylenol 1, ibuprofen and Gravol (anti-nauseant, so I didn’t throw the pills back up). Then I grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and stumbled back to bed.

I laid there for about 25 minutes in excruciating pain, hot and cold and sweaty and just feeling like I was dragged through an asshole backwards, when I had to get up to puke. Moving is the worst when I’m having an attack, just turning over in bed makes me want to die, like I can feel my guts touching my pancreas and it fucking hurts just having one organ slide against the other. I have no idea what organs are near what, all I know is that when my guts shift when I turn over in bed during an attack the pain is a million times worse than having a baby.

So I get up to puke and I’m hugging the bowl partially feeling like I have to puke and partially hoping I puke because maybe it’ll make me feel better (it won’t) but at the same time, I’m worried if my pills had enough time to do their thing before I barf them up.

Well, there were no pills in my vomit so that was good, but I puked so hard that I peed my pants. (TMI? TFB.) So I started crying and when I was finally done barfing, I rinsed my mouth and went back to the bedroom to put a new pair of underbums on. I didn’t bother with pants because I knew that next time I puked, it would just be the same scenario unless I was COMPLETELY empty beforehand which just isn’t possible because when you have to puke, you just have to puke. This peeing while puking thing is relatively new, it just started happening after I got home from the hospital last year. It’s just that while having a pancreatic attack, I vomit with such force that I can’t help it.  When I’m sick, like with a stomach flu or whatever, it doesn’t happen. Just during pancreatic attacks. I dunno why.

Without going into more detail than I need to because it’s really just more of the same, I spent all of yesterday in bed, only coming out of my room to throw up. I don’t remember Blake coming home. I remember at some point he got me a glass of ice water and my night time pills (and Gravol so I didn’t throw them up). I think that was around 7pm. Then I laid in bed some more and slept a bit, then I got up I think around 11pm because I finally felt sort of better and so I sat in my office and checked e-mail while Blake got ready for bed.

I woke up this morning still in pain, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday. And really, this attack was not as bad as any of the others so that’s encouraging I guess. The only thing I can point to as far as a cause is that on Tuesday, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner (like, baked macaroni and cheese with real cheese and milk, NOT Kraft Dinner) which I had leftovers from on Wednesday for dinner. This never used to be a trigger food but it’s been a possible factor for the last 2 attacks and this time I was really careful; I took 3 pancreatic enzymes each night. During the 2 attacks prior to yesterday, I did not take enzymes before/after the mac & cheese so this could be why those attacks were worse than this one. The other thing I’m thinking is that traditionally, Blake’s bought medium cheddar to make it and I asked him to start using old cheddar instead because I thought that’s what my mom and gr. grama used. And then mac & cheese becomes a trigger food.

SO, I’m gonna bite the bullet and try macaroni and cheese again maybe next week or the week after using medium cheddar, with enzymes, and see what happens. After an attack, I have to rest my pancreas as much as possible, hence the 2 week window. Macaroni and cheese being a trigger food is NOT COOL AT ALL. It is one of the only food that, up until now, I’m almost always in the mood for. I rarely get sick of it and when i can’t think of anything to eat, that’s my go-to staple. So it’s really going to suck if I can’t eat it anymore. :o/ Not like my fat ass needs it but, y’know…

Speaking of my fat ass, check out this slip that Blake bought me the other night. How gorgeous is that? I ordered the pink one so it would go with this sweater in the winter and I dunno what yet in the summer:

Unfortunately I’m not built like the model on the Free People site so wearing it as is, over top of anything bodycon or skin tight is sort of out of the question. I’m definitely going to have to try and find a white or pink skirt or something to wear underneath it, even with that sweater because the sweater doesn’t cover my bum. Unfortunately everything I own that would work for that purpose is black and that piece is too delicate for black. It needs white. I dunno, I’ll find something. There’s an ivory mini dress that would work on my Free People wishlist if anyone felt so inclined…. I wish I could get the slip in blue too, because this piece is literally my favourite of all their new stuff and blue’s more versatile but I went for the pink first because I suspected that it would sell out of my size first. I ordered a medium so neither colour has run out of my size yet, but the large in pink has sold out already so I suspect the medium’s not far away.

Anyway, I love it. :o)

On Wednesday we went to see my grama with the kids. She looked okay, better since the chemo is out of her system now. More alert, more “up”. I’m not sure how that is compared to her every day but she seemed to have enjoyed the visit and when we said we were going to leave because we had to have dinner and stuff, my grama said she’d pay for dinner and that we could eat there and take the leftovers home, so Stouffville Pizza was called and pizza was had.

At one point, my grama pulled me into her bedroom and handed me a basket of rubber smurfs and I said, “I can have these?” because I had told my mom a while back that if I had my pick of anything of my grama’s to have, it would be those and she said “just one” so this is the one I picked:

Meet painkiller addicted junkie artist smurf.

She also gave me a full-sized plush smurf, which honestly I had no interest in but she wanted me to have it so I took it anyway. I wanted the little rubber ones like the one above because when I was little, she collected them and they were my favourite thing to play with at her house, where I spent a lot of time. Smurfs were also our family’s mascot for the smash-up derby in Minden at Thanksgiving when I was little and we used to enter. There were usually smurfs painted on the car or a stuffed smurf crazy glued to the roof of it. I think I’ve already written about my grama and I going to Minden for Thanksgiving every year when I was tiny until I was about 13, but for those who don’t know, my grama’s next-door-neighbour and friend was Mike Baker, the son of Wes Baker, my son’s namesake. He bought property up north in a town called Minden and started building a house there by hand and every Thanksgiving weekend, on the Saturday, Minden has a smash-up derby. And as long as I can remember until I was maybe 12 or 13, Mike and our family would enter a car in the derby and I’m not sure if we usually won or not but I think we did. All I know is that in October in Minden in 1984 was VERY VERY cold. Now, thanks to global warming, it’s not so bad (and I’m so sure smash-up derbies are great for the environment!)

I remember being like, 3 years old and sitting in the backseat of my grama’s car in a full snowsuit in between heats, freezing my ass off while it lightly snowed. My grama had brought hot chocolate in a thermos and I remember being very very happy. Thanksgiving in Minden used to be the best holiday. My cousin Jeff who was maybe 2 or 3 years older than me I think came up with his mom, Eunice, and often his sister Janet, who would sometimes bring a friend or two as well. I think there were other kids there too but I don’t know who. Janet died the summer I was sick. I don’t know how she died, I just know that while I was in the hospital dying, so was she and obviously I’m here to tell about it and she’s not. Eunice used to babysit me so I was really close with Jeff and Janet when I was little.

During the first few years of going to Minden for Thanksgiving I think Mike only had a basement. I’m not even sure there was running water. Instead of getting turkey, we would have fried chicken, that I want to say was Dixie Lee, but I forget now. Eventually there was a whole house built, including a kitchen, so we’d have chicken on the Saturday, derby day, and my grama would make a turkey on the Sunday and then we’d come home Monday. Jeff and I would play our Gameboys together and all of us would go for walks in the bush. Once we dug up an oak tree and transplanted it to my grama’s house…which is now someone else’s house. :o/

For the derby, we would only enter one car but we’d have multiple drivers for the various heats. Mike drove; I remember my Uncle Bill driving, his son Billy eventually and also my Aunt Sandra’s husband John drove a couple of times. I think there were other people too but no one I really knew. Eunice may have even driven in it at one point, they had a “powder puff” heat just for the ladies (ugh) so she might have. I’m pretty sure my grama never did. I have no idea what my grampa was doing for all of those Thanksgivings because I don’t remember him being there. (He may have gone to my Aunt Judy’s  for T-giving because she did T-giving at her house up until my cousin Kim died.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how it got started, I should have asked her, but I think I remember my grampa getting her the small rubber smurfs that I used to play with when I was a kid, like the one above. I don’t know how they came packaged or if they came packaged at all. I’ve never seen any “out in the wild”, so to speak. Since I only got to pick one out of the two dozen she had, I thought that one was the most fitting for me. I played with junkie artist smurf the most when I was little. He was always married to Smurfette. (My grama never had a real Smurfette though. The one she had was a knock-off with green skin.) I didn’t marry a dude with green skin, but he does have a lot of tattoos and I did become an artist when I grew up, so that’s why I picked junkie artist smurf.

And I suppose this is a good segue into the next topic…the stupid Artist Studio Tour this fall.

We have decided to take moving off the table for now and work on getting our house ready to sell next spring. There aren’t any houses we like right now in the area where we’re looking and the idea of having our house on the market freaks me right the fuck out. Everything about moving freaks me right the fuck out. The good news is that the real estate agent who came to look at our house, said we could sell it for like, SIGNIFICANTLY more than we bought it for, especially after we do everything on the list, primarily re-doing the bathroom (re-drywalling one wall, installing a shower insert and fixing the plumbing behind the tub faucets because they leak), painting part of the one of the living room walls where it’s bare wood due to us putting in the new window, painting the trim of the house and potentially taking down the shutters on the front of the living room window and putting up ones that fit better because the shutters that are there now were put there for the floor-to-ceiling window that used to be there, but we replaced it with a waist-high bay window after Lucky broke the big one. The other thing is that we re-did our mortgage a couple of weeks ago and the bank manager lady said we’re eligible for a mortgage 3 times the size of the one we have now. Not that we’d buy a house that expensive but it’s nice to know that we can afford a century home with a bit of borrowing cushioning on top for added peace of mind.

So. That means we’re going to be living here in September. When the tour is. And I got the e-mail this week from Mike saying “hey guys, our meeting’s next week!” and I reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaalllly don’t want to go. I don’t want to go because we decided during the last meeting that June 30th was the deadline to decide if you’re going to be in the tour or not and I’m sure that’ll be reiterated during the meeting. And the fact is, I don’t think I have $75 between then and now. I’ve been trying to be super good with paying down my credit card, which has me living on abou $50 per paycheque. This paycheque was only $45. And that’s the pits. I mean, the good news is that I don’t really like, NEED anything. The spending money I keep in my bank account after paying my credit card isn’t allotted to anything and it gets primarily spent on food. I suppose it wouldn’t be completely irresponsible to spend $75 on the tour since I’ll have gotten 3 paycheques this month so I guess I have a little more money to work with.

But still that’s $75 I highly doubt I’ll make back. Plus what I’m going to have to spend on business cards.

Speaking of business cards, as an aside, when I went to see my shrink last Thursday, Sue, the receptionist, for the second time, told me that my painting that I gave to my shrink and put in Touched By Fire this year that is on display at the mental health centre gets a lot of compliments and that people inquire about buying it all the time. And she asked me if I had any business cards that she could pass along when people comment on it. And I kinda hated that because I like to keep my shrink life and my internet life COMPLETELY separate. My shrink has next to zero idea of anything I do online. She knows I blog, but like, I don’t even think my shrink is on Facebook. She’s not very tech savvy, so the topic has never really come up in the 7 years I’ve been seeing her.

Well, my business cards are like ATCs (artist trading cards). On the front is a picture of a painted girl – several different styles because I use Moo and you can get as many designs on a pack of Moo cards as you want – and on the back is the URL to my Etsy shop, the URL to my main site and I think my e-mail address. I have both full-sized Moo cards and the mini ones, although I haven’t bought business cards in at least 5 years so I only had one full-sized business card, which I gave Sue, and about 5 or 6 mini cards.

I also felt compelled to tell Sue that the paintings take me about 2 or 3 weeks to make and because they’re so labour intensive, they’re kind of expensive. A lot of the people who go  to the mental health centre I do are on disability or Canada pension – fixed incomes – and I kinda wanted to give Sue a heads up because I don’t think the average clientele there can afford my paintings. If I wasn’t making them, I couldn’t afford them either. Hell, hardly any of the people who come to my site can seem to afford them either. I don’t think my prices are unreasonable, not for original paintings, as opposed to prints, because y’know, I’d love to make more than $2 an hour, but they are how much they are because my time, my ideas, my efforts are marketable commodities. I just suck at actually marketing them. (Truthfully I put zero effort into it though outside of my own site so that’s partially my own fault.)

So. Guild meeting on Wednesday and I pretty much have to make my decision to be in the tour or not by then. As far as anyone but Brian knows I’m in and I’ve said all along, I’m in, and now that we’re not moving I have less of an excuse to not do it.

I’m scared of being paired up with someone. I don’t have a public studio so I’ll be paired with someone who does. I’m really REALLY hoping I can display at the library because it’s only 2 minutes from our house and the kids can come in and out and Blake can come in and out and I can come in and out, but if I’m paired with someone out in the middle of nowhere, the kids can’t help and Blake will HAVE to stay with me the whole time. And I won’t be able to leave. If I get paired up with someone, they’re going to want to chat all day and chances are I’m not going to want to but I’ll feel obligated to because this person is opening their home to me to help me sell my work. And I don’t want to be rude, but that would cause me great anxiety. I hate the role of “guest”.

I’m scared of dealing with “the public”. I hate talking about 3 things: myself (go figure), sex (also go figure) and I hate talking about my work. People ask me questions all the time about my paintings and I have absolutely no idea what to tell them. Like, after Touched By Fire the lady who runs the organization behind it called me and asked if I had more work because there were a lot of people interested in it who were disappointed that the piece I put in the show this year wasn’t for sale. (Which was pretty stupid because all of my work is ON THEIR FUCKING SITE, supposedly “for sale” yet I’ve never been able to figure out how you actually buy anything on there and I’ve definitely never sold anything there.) So anyway, she calls me and asks me this and I give her the URL for my Etsy shop and then out of nowhere she asks, “what is your inspiration for these?” and I was completely dumbfounded because no one had ever asked me that before. My genius answer was “Toddlers & Tiaras“. Which is partially true. In the beginning, they just came out of my imagination, but then I started watching Toddlers & Tiaras and that show inspired me in 3 ways: 1. it made me come up with several dress styles, 2. it made me come up with several different hairstyles, hair colours and eye colours/eyeshadow colours and 3. the girls on that show is exactly whose bedroom walls I want to see my work on. Sadly, the show’s become pretty extreme in its views so I’ve stopped watching (and I watched half of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, which is also garbage) and my girls just come out of my imagination now, not really inspired by anything explainable. At least saying I was inspired by Toddlers & Tiaras has an quasi-interesting story behind it but telling someone that the scrapbooking aisles of Michael’s makes me damn near wet my pants is NOT what they want to hear. It’s the truth though! But it’s not one many can relate to so it’s a terrible answer for that question. I can’t even think of other potential things people might ask me because I’ve blocked past conversations out of my brain and thinking about it is practically panic-inducing. But I need to think about it, I need to be ready.  I need to have answers ready for questions like the inspiration one and other things they might ask. What would YOU ask an artist at a studio tour? Has there ever been anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me about my work but just never bothered? The more relevant questions you guys throw at me, the better prepared I think I’ll be. No rush though, the tour’s not until September.

I’m probably going to have to take the Saturday off of work. I work 9 hours on Saturdays. That’s a pretty huge chunk of change out of my paycheque that will not be replaced no matter how many paintings I sell (which I don’t anticipate to be many). If they do put me in the library though, I could be there from opening until I start work at 2pm and then Blake could stay there until it’s over at (I’m assuming because last year’s brochure doesn’t say when it starts or finishes) 6pm. Then I would be present all of Sunday.

Another bonus of being at the library is that I would be able to take credit cards there. I can have my laptop hooked up with my Etsy shop open and if people liked a piece but only had a credit card, they could purchase it on Etsy, minus the postage, and I could just give it to them. Anywhere else, I would have to be cash only. Cheques bounce and people are hard to find after something like this so those are completely out of the question. (How do I tell people I won’t accept a cheque?? Cuz, that’s like saying you don’t trust them, which is true, I don’t, but you don’t want them to think that…)

A snag with the library is that I may not be able to hang anything on the walls. Which would be problematic since everything I make is to be hung on a wall.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS. *panic*

The other thing is being involved. I don’t like going to the guild meetings because it’s almost painful how it’s one step forward, two steps back. At the same time, not only do I have nothing to contribute but I’m glad I don’t have anything to contribute because then you’re on the hook for something and that is crazy panic-inducing.

My work is going to be on display at the township office for all of August and I’m going to have tour guides in my display. That’s what I’ve committed to and that’s all my mental health can allow me to commit to. Hopefully that’s enough.

In about half an hour, Blake and Madison (and Blake’s friend Charissa) will be starting the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. It starts at 7pm and ends at 7am and neither of them had a nap today. I told Blake that if he woke me up in the morning that I’d cut him, so he’s going to come home and sleep on the couch until I get up. I really wanted to go with them tonight to take pictures but I still feel like shit because of the whole pancreas deal, I’m on a crapload of hydromorph contin so I’m chemically dozy at the moment and probably couldn’t pull an all-nighter if I wanted to. Plus I work tomorrow and I figured I could sleep from 8am, when they would be getting home, until 2pm when I started work and would probably be okay until the end of my shift at 11pm but with this much morphine in my system and only 3 people on the team (the less people you have, the more time you have on the track and the less able I am to get home if necessary), I didn’t want to gamble on it. Also, it’s currently raining and is supposed to rain off & on all night. So yeah, I stayed home. However! If you would like to sponsor their poor soggy asses, you can click here to do so! I just reloaded the page and they have DOUBLED their donation goal since the other day when it was looking like they wouldn’t even meet it! Thanks, family and friends! Your donations mean a lot to us right now, especially since my grama’s really happy that we’re doing this (I say “we” like I’ve actually done anything other than trying to use social media to get donations. HINT HINT.)

Now I think I’m going to finally watch this TED Talk I’ve had open in another tab since 6am but never got a chance to watch until now. Then since all I’ve eaten and kept down in 3 days is a lone, single spring roll, I’m going to make a bagel sandwich for dinner, watch Magic Mike since Blake’s not here to make fun of me for watching it a second time (the 1st was in the theatre so it’s extra stupid), eat chips, read my book and go to bed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Peace oot, homies!

PS. Mike, the guy who runs the artists’ guild, is a photographer who also does commercial fine art printing. I don’t have prices yet but he can take pics of my paintings that actually do them justice (in theory) and he can print giclees of them. Any size I want. So these are the questions:

– Most of my paintings are approx. 12 inches x 12 inches. How big should I offer the giclees?
– Open edition or limited edition?
– How much would you be willing to pay for a signed giclee print? Or would you be willing to buy one at all? If not, why not? (I ask because there are posters in my Zazzle shop that so far no one’s touched but a poster is a far cry from a signed, limited edition giclee.)
– Since each print would be too big to mail flat, I would have to use mailing tubes and those cost money. I haven’t priced them yet so I’m just guessing $4-$5 as a ballpark with double that for actual shipping costs. These costs are unavoidable so they obviously factor into the final price.
– Which current pieces of mine would you be interested in buying a print/prints from?

I just kinda want to get a feel for what people might want now that this is a possibility. I dunno if it’d even be worth it since I have no idea what he charges for taking pictures and like I said, no one’s bought the inexpensive posters from my Zazzle shop so I don’t even know if anyone would want these. I can tell you right now that a print would probably have to be about $40-$50 because I have to pay Mike to take proper pictures of them, whereas the posters, which are lesser quality obviously, are only around $20. The posters are nice though, I wouldn’t sell them if they were crappy, but a giclee is signed on archival fine art paper using archival dyes and is something you’d want to get framed, whereas with a $20 poster, it’s okay to just stick thumbtacks in the corners.

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts.

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