Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chicken for New Years? Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

Since I received the eBay award to purchase my laptop last winter, I have been able to accomplish a great many things online that hadn’t been possible until then.  More updates to my Etsy, easier and faster queries to editors, even a NaNoWriMo novel last month.  But the most important thing I accomplished was the massive web surfing and reading of blogs connecting with people online, like you, my readers, Naomi at Itty Biz and the amazing Havi over at The Fluent Self.

One thing I really enjoy participating in at Havi’s blog is her Friday ritual of listing the hard and the good that happened during the week. She calls it the Friday Chicken.  I have found that as the weeks have passed, somewhat like the law of attraction people who tell you that what you focus on increases, the good has outweighed the hard, even in these difficult times.

Today she posted a Chicken for the Year, like Chicken of the Sea, but with less tuna.  In lieu of Chickening at the comments over there, I am Chickening here with you.

So 2009, this one’s for you:

The Hard:

The massive ice storm in late January which knocked out our power and our water for two days.  I could’ve dealt with the power being out that long just fine.  I do handwork, so could still create, we have a kerosene heater, and it was cold enough to keep the food on the back porch in a cooler.  But when the water went out, that was a deal breaker.

field at the end of our street

It looked so pretty, though!

Marty came thisclose to being offered a temp job in July.  The interviews all went well, the guy really liked him.  We were sure this was it.  Then we found out the job went to someone else.  It was spirit crushing and put a damper on all of August.

At some point we’re going to have to replace our kitchen cabinets.  That point being when funding becomes available.  We knew there was a problem with the sink, and it obviously is still livable, but it has become a “must do sooner than later” type of thing.

And I’m going to tell on myself here.  As much as I am happy that my friends in my art group are showing and selling their work, it has been hard to watch them sell their work while mine comes home from the shows we all were in.  Part of me knows that you can’t really compare why one piece of art speaks to a person over another.  But that part of me that comes out late at night when I don’t know how the bills are going to be met next month wonders if maybe it’s because their work is less expensive, and if only you’d lower your prices my work would sell as well.  Hard, hard, hard. 

The Good:

My book came out in the spring.  Well, not technically my book, but the book I have eight projects in, which was a really big deal, considering the initial query said they were only looking for 40 projects total.  1/5 of a book of my designs!  Yay!  And it is a beautiful book, too.  The editors at Lark did a great job putting this one together.

My other book came out in September.  Yes, again, not technically, but I have four projects in this one, and the beaded votive holders even made the cover this time.  Another great job by the folks at Lark.

Netflix .  Need I say more?  Thanks to the wonder of streaming video and my laptop here, I can watch endless episodes of Dr. Who while stitching on new projects.  Oh, and they send videos to your house as well. 

Thanks to my Netflix account, my son and I had a wonderful July exploring the work of  Charles and Ray Eames (check out their videos, I am especially inspired by the one featuring their studio space) and Sister Corita Kent .  I took some leaps in my work, and we collaborated on a piece which sold at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles “High Fiber Under Five” show.


African Masks III, design by Izzy Stern  2009

Getting back into some physical movement.  Not as much as I’d like, but more than I had been.  Marty found a program which enabled him to go back to school for his CPA, and while he was in class, I made time to head out to the bike path.  I’ve also incorporated more yoga and the Dance of Shiva into my days.

Connecting with new friends and old family through social networking (hi Emily!).  Finding out I probably had more in common with some of my high school peers than I thought at the time.  Being grateful for the opportunity to make up for lost time.

Then there are the massive little drops of good that manage to combine into a big pond of good.  Having pieces headed out to shows in January, being invited to exhibit at the library, being featured in the Athens County visitors guide, more book proposals, more pieces being featured in other books, winning the award at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts competition.  All great things, and all the things that are important to list because they are small and tend to get forgotten in the daily grind of making more work and getting it out there.  And lots of good to carry into the new year, getting 2010 off to a great start.

So there you have it, my 2009 Year End Chicken.  It’s a great ritual and opportunity to connect with yourself and others, and I heartily recommend you check it out, and try a little chicken yourself.  Who knows? You could be surprised at what you find out.


Havi Brooks (and duck) said...

Yay! Chicken!

Very exciting.

That's quite a year. I'm so happy I got to be a part of it and get to know you some this year. Yay.

*blows kisses at Andi*

Pearl Mattenson, CPCC, ACC said...

Just want to say I totally relate to the jealousy of other people selling their art. It is so honest and real. I am not an artist but seeing other coaches succeed where I want to is torture-even when I am happy for them. One of my best friends and I actually created a pact in which we promised to be honest with each other about everything-including and especially when we got jealous about each other's successes. It has been SO healing to have at least one person in my life who I can congratulate in one breath and then say- and you know it is killing me, right?
Anyway, love your honesty (and your art!)

Andrea Stern said...

*blows kisses back to Havi* :)

@Pearl, thank you for the thoughtful comment. I was a little afraid to say that, but I know that feelings like that tend to leak out no matter how much weatherproofing I do on the windows in my brain. I figured it was better to get it out there so that I can actually move on, and bitter doesn't start to tinge everything I say. I can't say that I could have such a pact with any of that particular group, but I am glad that you have someone that you can be whole with. And I am grateful that you came by to share with me :)