is really complicating my life! :)
I wanted to open with a photo of the still unpacked studio, but I can't find my camera docking station (Is that what they're called?). Instead I'll share a picture of one of the upcycled dictionary heart confetti packages I recently made for a custom order. She requested Tiffany blue as the color and while the lighting in this picture is a little off, in real life I think I came very close.
Upcycled confetti was the sleeper movie that became a blockbuster over here this summer. It was crazy! PUNCH!PUNCH!PUNCH! My thumbs are glad peak wedding season is over. It was fun though.
I used to spend a lot of time writing, but set aside my writing life to focus my art life a few years ago. However, with what was a pretty hectic and stressful summer I'm in deep need of a "hobby" that I find as relaxing as Netflix. I used to lose hours writing and making jewelry for fun. These were things that I loved doing, so I decided to bring back the love!
I ordered some very pretty glass beads on etsy for $3.00. It's a nice little reward because I recently got some great wallet news that will keep me busy for much of the winter. I have a nice bead stash already and I look forward to using up some the old because I'm inspired by the new.
I also decided to increase the love around here in November by signing up for NaNoWriMo. No pressure, just fun. Hopefully I'll wind up with solid drafts for the twelve short stories that have been floating in and out of my mind (and occasionally my pen) for many years.
This doesn't mean that I have days upon days to do nothing but bead and write, but it means that when I do have those moments, I want to do something meaningful and fun. Some days it means watching a good movie (honestly---it's a really good movie) other days it means making a necklace. Plus, I do better with a plan otherwise those moments get lost over here.
Our quest for simplicity is by no means a quest for showing off how much we can deprive ourselves of. I wanted to give you a very "real world" example of what I mean. Many people embarking on the minimalist path immediately get rid of cable, give away everything, cancel gym memberships and give up their car. This is great if it meets your lifestyle. For us it isn't like that.
We use our cars less because we now live in a walking neighborhood, but Mark must travel all over the county for his job so he needs his. Borrowing Mark's car will almost never be an option so I need mine for shows, trips to Chicago, getting to places to camp and frankly because I need the independence I feel when I set out on a solo road trip. I didn't learn how to drive until I was 35. I'm still exploring. My car is important to me, but I do recognize that it costs us a lot to insure and maintain it. Plus, it's another vehicle on the road which just adds to pollution. As a solution...I use it less. That's a start. Maybe we'll change and decide to rent one as needed, but for now that is the way it is.
We recently had a discussion about cable. I could do without cable all together, however it's important to Mark. He doesn't want movie channels, but he wants good news, animated shows, football when he chooses etc. So, we decided to get cable when we moved here. It comes out of our entertainment budget.
I insisted we have Netflix. Not for the dvds, because the library can provide those, but for the streaming of movies. When I'm in the studio working solidly for twelve hours a day (yeah, right) audio books and a huge selection of movies keep me sane. It's worth $9.95 a month. Mark and I don't spend much money at bars or on expensive hobbies every weekend, but we can have movies and television whenever we want.
There was a time when I would have wondered if we were shallow and wished that I could say we let them both go, gave up a car and spent our weekends skydiving and planning our next trip to the Andes. But, for right now...that isn't us. We've always been movie people. We even hosted a private showing in a theatre when we got engaged (Mark's mom worked there and this is what made it affordable). This decision makes sense.
Now to many people this would seem like a no brainer. Cable and Netflix? What's the big deal? Believe me, if you begin reading more blogs about simplifying, you suddenly realize that to some these are dirty words. Sometimes I leave these blogs feeling a little guilty. As if we need to cut back and scale back more...but honestly... there must be balance. My life choices are my own. Choice is a privilege we shouldn't feel guilty for having. It's fine if you want to join an experiment and live without heat or food to prove a point (a valid one) or make an impact, but if you don't recognize the luxury of choosing I think there is a huge disconnect...I have a hard time with people who treat these experiments as games.
We're finding a balance that works. Our new apartment is under 500 square feet. This is small, we're making it work and not missing the extra space. In fact, I think I can say we love it. We're not even unpacked and already we see how easy it's going to be to live here. It's less than 1/3 of what our mortgage was and we will never have to make any repairs. Plus, our place came with awesome free storage-it's heated.
We know that housing can be a good investment, but you know what? We're not great home owners. We don't like it and we resented the work involved. People, we had a condo and we still thought it was too much work. Living here means a lot of time spent living the way we enjoy. And we pay close attention to needs versus wants. We used to spend so much more and it wasn't good for us or fun in the long run. We talked about it, but didn't change anything. Now, I think we are doing more than talking about it. How can we best live our lives? How can we best spend (or save) our money? What do we care about?
Now my studio? I'm grateful and proud to be working the way I am and to pay the rent from my business earnings. It's very cheap (even for our area and this area is very reasonable) and includes utilities. My work tends to take over living spaces so this is a very good investment in myself. I consider it a necessity, but I never forget that it's a luxury to have necessities. Does that make sense?
I'm also lucky that Mark's good job and support enabled me to take the time I needed to build my business four years ago so that it could support itself today. It's modest and I'm still learning (making good and not so good decisions), but it's here.
Now...getting into my studio? That's another story. I think if our neighbors peek into the windows they're going to want to get Hoarders involved. It's a disaster, but like all things around here...it's coming along.