Word, Wire, Paper, Bone Redux

A bright pink and yellow stuffed animal in the shape of a moth examines a hand-painted cylindrical bead wrapped in dark gold and bronze colored wire.
Sylvie Investigates A Moth-Proof Bead. Neener, Sylvie.

Well, this week sure was A Lot. On top of everything else, we finally got a phone call last night from the shelter that was going to be helping us out with the cost of the Goblin Boys neutering (Puca, in particular, because hooray cryptorchidism), only to find that the new vet that we’d have to use (the original one they had recommended turned out not being comfortable doing his surgery, and directed us to someone else, so we had to go back around for the approval from the shelter) doesn’t do ultrasounds first, but does it the old-fashioned way of “just open him up and poke around to find the MIA organ”, and yeah, that’s a deal-breaker for me. Our vet is expensive, and I appreciate so much that the shelter was willing to help, but we’re not going to be doing major, invasive, exploratory surgery on him when there’s an option not to. With ultrasound, they can locate the missing nut and go in with a small incision; without it, they have to basically go fish around because there are multiple locations it could be.

Needless to say, I now have even less time to come up with a couple of grand, because the biological clock is ticking down on puberty. There’s a small chance that we won’t have to redo their bloodwork again, at least?

In the meantime, I’ve got the studio rearranged into a more functional manner. Still needs some straightening up, but that’s always the case. Working out how to navigate Mothpocalypse damage and prevent further depredation. (Seriously, I’ve never had fucking clothes moths eat paper before, and while I’m glad they seem to have only gotten the one piece, and it was a minor one, having the little bastards eating my work is wildly unacceptable.) Today I’m working on jewelry, since gesso, paint, wire, and stone aren’t particularly edible to anything short of a Rock Biter. If I get one of those in here, well, I’ve got bigger problems to worry about than some gnawed-on artwork.

Always an adventure…

Apocalypse Moth Is My New Band Name.

Well, yesterday sure was a Whole Thing. “Moths ate my artwork” sounds like the Worst Excuse since “The dog ate my homework”, doesn’t it?

*sigh*

I mean, I’m glad it wasn’t one of the pieces that I’d spent days working on, and that it seems to be *knock on wood* an isolated incident, but still. I have no idea how to go about managing this situation and preventing it from happening again. Not gonna lie, after the last months’ shit luck, the temptation to chuck it all once and for all, sell all my worldly possessions, change my name, and drive off into the sunset for a few years is pretty strong right now. Maybe I’ll take up sailing and live on a boat somewhere.

Sadly, I don’t think I could talk Himself into it, and the cats would *hate* it, so I guess I’ll stay put.

It is, however, a reminder of both why my business is named what it is, and why I’m allergic to single-source income streams. If something goes wrong in single-source, it’s a disaster. If something goes wrong with multi-stream, it’s still a problem, but not a catastrophic one.

Today’s plan is rework my schedule to better suit multiple streams. Conveniently, the studio has just been rearranged in a way that makes that easier, as well. Time to get up off the floor, wipe the moth dust off, and get back to work.

*Endless Screaming*

Went to put a piece away and found this. This piece had been listed in the shop, and now it’s not, because, just…

If anyone needs me, I’ll be somewhere in the woods, screaming. I just…I don’t know what else I can do at this point.

Nervously Chewing Nails

Went to look at the studio space and artist collective with the three other folks I’m looking at sharing space with tonight (not naming, as I haven’t cleared things with everyone yet), and holy carp, y’all, I really love the place. The studio itself is slightly smaller than the space I shared with another friend years ago, but bigger than the spare room I’m using as my primary workspace right now, but since we’d all rarely be in there at the same time, this is fine. Even if we’re all there at the same time, it’s still got enough space for us all to to the Things That We Do (fiber/silk painting, leatherwork, jewelry of assorted varieties, mixed media, etc.) without really getting in each others’ way. The area that the collective comprises is….

gorgeous.

It’s small, cozy, and packed to the gills with beautiful jewelry, paintings, candles, hand-spun and dyed yarn, books, pottery, as well as delicious furniture in the common area, enormous windows, vibrant blues and purples, and and and…

I am in LOVE.

I want this work so much it hurts. I want to be around other artists again, and have a space that I can display and sell my art and weird little bits and bobs again and not have to worry about shipping and SEO algorithms, and oh gods, I just…

I want this so much I’m afraid of it. I’m afraid to hope. I want to hope, but I’m scared that this will get taken away again.

Light candles, throw bags of butterscotch candies at Trickster, or whatever, that our application will be accepted.

(No, I’m absolutely not freaking out about the state of this website right now, at all. I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to pretend I’m a Real Artist and Business Owner or anything while this place is a disaster that I haven’t had the time to really clean up and make presentable to Polite Company yet. *hyperventilates into a paper bag over my continued failure to come up with a pithy bio section or “proper” portfolio section yet*)

Seriously, though, and without dramatic *gestures above*, I want this to work out for us. For me, having a space to showcase my art, without the stress of having to fight with photography lighting while living in a questionably lit valley and not being a pro photographer, produce the massive quantities associated with shows, or the caliber expected at galleries (let’s face it, I’m effectively an illustrator of sorts, and my work doesn’t jive with fancy art gallery styles), and the flexibility to do the weird, random things I do, would help me get a solid foundation under me. For my would-be studio mates, it’s also a solid foundation to really, finally, get a solid footing in the lives and worlds we want to build for ourselves, and I want this for us all, so very, very much.

Gonna go huff a Goblin Boy’s fur for calm now…

Dancing Around With Nervous Excitement

Tomorrow evening I’m going to look at the studio space with the other folks that I’m going in on this little adventure with, and I’m so exciting I can hardly sit still. I’m nervous, because this will involve being indoors with other people more, and well, *gestures at ongoing pandemic*, but I’m vaccinated up to the gills, have no problems wearing a mask for hours at a time (just ordered a couple packs of KN95s), and honestly need access to the kind of resources that I can only get by being in a studio group.

In general, though, I’m really, really excited and hope that this works out. I’ve got several pieces of art that aren’t on the site for a variety of reasons ranging from being difficult to photograph, to being outside my current shipping capabilities that will have a place to go that those issues evaporate. I’ve got many more pieces that live only in my head right now simply because my spare bedroom doesn’t have the space to work on them, and my house doesn’t have the space to store them until I can find a physical space to sell them out of. On a personal level, being able to share a workspace with friends and be around other artists in person (the Pocket Friend Collective is wonderful, and I adore y’all, but sometimes I need to be around folks in meatspace, too, and that area of my life has been sorely lacking for too long).

Hell, just getting to see a dear friend (who started this whole idea) that I haven’t seen since 2019, alone, is so exciting I can barely even. The idea of getting to see her on a regular basis?!? Utter glee!

So looking forward to tomorrow.

There’s Someone In My Mug

Got up late this morning, because I was entirely covered in cats and didn’t want to disturb them. It’s rare for them to all curl up and sleep in a pile, since one of the usually ends up deciding that pile time is play time, and I was enjoying it while it lasted, even if it was on my legs. Stumbled out into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, started the kettle, and picked up my pumpkin mug with the intent to use it as a bowl for my oatmeal.

Someone was already using it. Inside, hanging on one side, was a very small hunting spider.

It’s gonna be one of Those Days, huh?

After apologizing, I unceremoniously dumped the spider out and rewashed the mug. I do not need extra protein in my breakfast, thank you.

Kittens are now beating each other up on the kitchen scratching tree. Bodach’s about to be unhappy with me as it’s time for his eye meds. He’ll get over it, good-natured beastie that he is, but in the meantime, he’s going to be Very Mad At me.

After that, the day’s schedule includes seeing about a vehicle inspection (and praying it passes), getting a painting photographed and listed, working on the newest Foxenwood painting, and making a pot of haluski for dinner. It’s a good day for comfort food.

Ridin’ This Rollercoaster Of A Week

This week has been A Lot.

The shelter we adopted the kittens from is going to help us get them neutered. It’s a little wonky at the moment, scheduling-wise, but it means that we might not drown trying to get everything taken care of with a wiped out bank account.

Several wildly generous people donated to the Goblin Boys Medical Fund, which made me cry. The timing was excellent, too, since Bodach developed an eye issue today that, if it doesn’t improve by tomorrow, will need to be seen by the vet asap. So at least I can pay for that from the donated fund.

Depending how nitpicky a mechanic I end up with, my truck might not pass inspection this year, and I’ll have to come up with the money to get a borderline issue fixed immediately. Also got the news that it probably has about a year left before I have to either replace it or spend more than it’s worth to try and limp it along further. Assuming it doesn’t break down sooner. Figures. I just sold Dad’s Tacoma in July, too. It would have been cheaper to fix that up and let the Rav4 retire. Sadly, I needed the money from that to pay the bills on the Albatross House. Need to get rid of that cursed place.

We were trying to avoid turning the heat on as long as possible, given heating oil prices, but my chronic pain informed me yesterday that that’s no longer an option if I want to be able to do anything beyond lie on the couch and cry. Oh, and the first oil delivery of the season and overdue furnace tuneup is just over a week away. Here’s hoping that nothing goes wrong with that, seeing as that is also going to run at least a grand already.

The good news, at least, is that while yeah, most of this is catastrophically bad at the moment, it’s temporary. We just need to manage to ride out a bad month or two and things will improve once we get past this immediate clusterfuck of expenses and not drown between now and then.

On a really exciting note, I’m looking at renting a studio space with a couple of friends at an art community about a half an hour away, which will let me bring some of the projects that are too big or complicated to work on at the home studio (aka, the spare bedroom), give me a space to go that I won’t be tempted to procrasticlean, get to be around other artists, and also have a physical space to sell art directly during Open Studio events so I’m not exclusively online. Folks are aware of the current disaster with the finances, and the limited timeframe on them, and are willing to work with me around it. While I’m nervous about being indoors around other people during a still-too-active pandemic, I’m at the point where I’m going to have to do so if I want to be able to get further than I am. At least the folks I’ll be sharing a room with understand basic safety protocols and are all fully vaccinated, and it’s a giant mill with lots of airspace.

The new studio space? Yeah, turns out it was started last year by a few folks who left the studio colony they were at before to start someplace that was more affordable to smaller artists than the old place had become. The one they left is the same place that I shared a studio with another friend, 12 years ago, that I left because of the Cataclysm of 2008. Assuming we get the space, it’s going to be soooo good to be back in a repurposed old mill full of artists again! I have missed it almost every day since I left.

So yeah….A Lot this week. Art-wise, I’m stuck on the damned Hallows ghost story, again, but I did get a new Foxenwood painting started and am keeping my spirits up by thinking of the days when I’ll be able to work on larger paintings and make brumeries without worrying about a stray metal clipping being eaten by a cat.

Speaking of cats, Oisin is yelling at the door, so I guess it’s time to wrap up and go to bed.

May things get vastly less eventful very soon…

In Which Our Heroine Returns Home To October’s Hall

The pumpkin lamps have been lit on the mantle, the cider is warming on the hob, and there’s a fresh gingerbread cake cooling on the counter. October is here, and with its arrival, I am home. The larder may be a little less full this year, compared to some other years, and the air a bit colder, but such is the mercurial nature of things. It will not be the first lean year, and likely won’t be the last.

I’m just happy to be home at last, where it is easier to think and I can remember who I am.

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

Mobile vet has been and gone. The Goblin Boys did SO WELL, and after several tubes of squeezy paste (wet cat treats in a little tube), have more or less forgiven us. Now we wait to see what the blood work results look like and continue on toward getting the boys neutered next month. Sadly, the vet was still unable to feel Puca’s missing testicle, so we’re going to have to get an ultrasound done to find where the hell the damned thing is, and his neutering is going to be a lot more invasive than normal to get it taken care of.

Yes, I’m having a panic attack about the amount of time this little jerk is going to have to spend under anesthesia, as well as trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to afford it, along with the work my truck needs to pass inspection.

On the other hand, I’ve got the Grotesquery painting framed and listed in the shop and updated my pinned post on Twitter. I’ve been meaning to get the new pinned post done for a while, but kept putting it off. Glad to have that off the plate. Today and tomorrow are for getting the Hallows Ghost story finished and ready to be posted on October 1. It’s mostly done. Just need to do the last scene and then proofread/edit it.

First, though, time to go drop the truck off at the mechanic.

A Small Grotesquery and Helpful Kitties

The best part about autumn really is being able to cook the things I love to cook again. Last night I made a pot of sausage and kale soup for dinner, with enough left over for lunch for the next couple of days. Tonight I’m planning to bake a pear crisp, using the rest of the pears a friend gave me from her pear tree. The household cooking is generally divided by season around here, so Himself does most of the cooking in the warm months on the grill, and I do most of the cooking in the cold months, and it works pretty well. The cats do their best to help us both year-round, which is to say that Púca nearly made a successful attempt to jump into the soup kettle last night while I was stirring it.

Slowly but surely figuring out a new household pattern that lets me get some serious work done, and as a result I’ve got a new painting finished! Turns out that some of my monsters make excellent grotesques when combined with medieval illuminated manuscript techniques and stylizing. Planning to see if I can find a frame for it this afternoon so I can get it formally listed in the shop, and then get another one started later on.

I spent some time earlier in the week reconfiguring my Ko-fi membership tiers, so now monthly subscribers will have exclusive sneak peeks at whatever I’m working on that I won’t be posting elsewhere online, as well as the ever-popular cat pictures (since subscription donations go toward helping keep them fed and housed by providing a steady source of income), in addition to the discounts that the two high tiers already get. With shifting away from Patreon, it’s so much easier to manage perks, which frees up a lot of mental bandwidth to make sure I can reliably follow through on them. I’m hoping to add more as I go, but for right now, it’s a good start.

Now, though, I’m off to the store to see about a small frame for the newest Smol Monster and maybe a couple of extra to have on hand for it’s upcoming siblings.