Monday, April 27, 2009

Motherhood Moments

As I tucked Pearl into bed last night she told me that one of the things she liked best about me was that she could talk to me about anything. Wow! That is a compliment to be proud of. Then we talked about dreams and what they might mean and how interesting it is to have a brain and to be able to think all the thoughts we think. I was practically breaking my arm slapping myself on the back for my awesome mothering prowess. Then riding the good vibe wave she asked if she could wear make-up in middle school. Slap down. Not quite the elevated spiritual ending I was hoping for. We'll talk about it, and we will because that is what we do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Give a little, get a little.

Needless to say I have felt a little contracted lately. I know many people have, even the ones who have not lost jobs are really being careful about their spending and I think this is a good trend, to a point. We have too much stuff, more than we need. Cash has been a bit tight and I have had a few things that I wanted to buy but didn't. This week though, in an effort to expand my feelings of hope for prosperity for the future I made a few careful purchases. With my bills paid and my May mortgage ready to shoot across the universe to where ever the heck it goes, I decided to invest in a few small things. This may sound just crazy and insignificant to some but for me it has been pivotal. I have been sending out a whack of promo cards and envelopes loaded with good DMR stuff and I had been using this crappy rubber stamp return address. The design was no good, type was too small and not-reflective of my love of mailing in the least. I did me some searching on the low speed and found a good company online to make me a fancy large self inking rubber stamp. I designed a nice (gotta quit using this word, so pedestrian) and more cheerful return address slug with a little more useful information on it and I sent that badboy off via the internets. Yeeha! Next step was to order special mailing tubes so that I can shamelessly send out the wrapping paper I designed last year. Lord knows I had 1000 sheets of each design printed and I need to either find ways to sell it or give it away to people I admire. It's nice for a business like mine to have something to give away as a way to thank people for various things. When I worked at the record label I loved getting those little "with compliments" gifts.

Mark suggested to me a few years back that sometimes it's good to spend a little as an act of faith that what you send out will come back to you. I am hanging onto this notion. Spend a little, save a little, earn a little and the world keeps turning and the universe will provide. Good bye contraction, hello expansion.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Morning Pages

For those of you who read the blog regularly you may have noticed that my posts have thinned out of late. This happens from time to time, the blog seems to be an ebbing and flowing thing. Facebook and Twitter seem to satisfy my need to send short quips out into the world without much thought. Sometime in the beginning of April I was reminded of the exercise—made popular by Julia Cameron in the Artists Way—of writing morning pages. I had hit a bad spot and realized a lot of what I needed to get out wasn't useful as content for the blog. So I started writing 3 ages each morning in a spiral notebook. I do it as soon as I wake up, before I have spoken to anyone or have begun thinking about the day. Coincidentally I have the book the Artists Way, it was in my mothers collection, she too was a diligent morning pages writer and I have in my possession many of her notebooks which are handwritten, singlespaced, on both sides of the page. I read the book briefly just to get a few pointers on what to do on these pages and set off. I have missed a few days since I started but not so many. The book suggests that you don't go back and read what you have written, it also suggests you keep the notebook private and even validates burning pages when neccessary. So far I am just writing and moving on and doing it again the next day.

Without going all gospel on you dear reader I just have to say that this activity has been extremely useful to me. The first few days I wrote exclusively about a certain person who's life has intersected mine for the last 2 decades, I got that out of my system, no harm to you my kind readers. Next I wrote about daily activities and sometimes I have just written some statement over and over to get to the end of the third page. The book encourages this too, moving your hand across the page, leaving a mark, regardless of what it says, pushing ink. Eventually though ideas have begun to rise up and beneath those ideas is the reaquaintance with my creative self that for whatever reason I had lost sight of. I am not sure if it's just the effect of spring in the air or the writing but I have been feeling renewed, hopeful and yes creative, a word I used dodge like one instinctively dodges bullets.

As with every process I enter into in this life I have no idea where it is all leading but it feels good to be on top of what I once felt crushed by. So I will keep at it and hopefully it will help this writing to be more interesting and focused. If you want the quick quips, check my twitter feeds here and always feel free to leave a comment, they keep me going too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

This is a little example of the first in series of promotional cards I am designing and letterpress printing bearing quotes about marketing. With the economy contracting I thought it might be useful to remind potential clients about the importance of marketing their businesses. This subject hits very close to home here at DoubleMRanch. Two years ago I had more work than I knew what to do with and I became complacent about marketing. I had stopped promoting my company and the prospect of doing it became a bit overwhelming. When you are busy it is the last thing you have time for, running a small busy business there are lots of other more pressing tasks to take care, like doing the work for example. In the spirit of shameless self promotion I went back and looked at how I used to promote myself. I was reminded how much fun it was to do. I would come up with some little idea, print it on my letterpress and send it out to my list. Pieces ranged wildly, looking back it was a bit like the thrill I get from blogging.

…Work! The above piece, printed on a folded piece of vellum felt like a singles ad. I think I also included a nude painting stolen from a "Learn To Paint" pamphlet with the provocative line "would you like to see my portfolio". I was never above using sex to sell myself.

This little postcard ode to spring was a simple poem that came to me driving around the county one sunny spring day. I was never sure if people connected my design work to these pieces or if they just thought I was a nice quirky girl with a letterpress and time on my hands.

Just an O-Card a month is all I ask. It suggests I was praying for a mere morsel we called an O-Card back in the day which paid about $425. An O-Card was the official package name for a cassette single. Good lord, I am so old.

This last one was a better direction. It was the cover of a little folder that contained actual reproductions of my work and earned me the classification of rustic minimalist design, a wave I rode for some time.

Nowadays I am selling my services in earnest. Design for Marketing is what it's all about. It's what I do best. So watch for a little series of these cards to come. I am back baby!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring, It's Here!

Pearl and the neighbor play.

Iggy and the peonies bursting forth.

Ahh the Rhubarb remembered where it was.

Each year that I have had Rhubarb I lose it over the winter. It shrinks back to nothing somewhere in the earth and I am always amazed when it pops up seemingly out of nowhere. This year we are double lucky because it has been so cold there are no slugs yet. The Rhubarb leaves were able to unfurl with no one chewing on them. I hope the slugs never come back but of course that would signal some sort of ecological crisis and I am trying to avoid those. In fact I am happy to welcome all of the bees and other buzzy citizens of the garden as if my life depended on them. Which I think it does.

Just like the drunken abusive husband who sobers up and says he's sorry, spring has arrived in the nick of time smelling sweet, sounding like chirping birds and frogs and having the desired effect on everyone it touches. Spring is all about charm and promise and hope. I am totally sold on it, as crappy as I felt last week, this week I feel equally awesome and elated.

The pollen count will be off the charts but who cares. The temperature is above 45. I'm giddy with it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday again, already

I keep checking on my blog to see if I have anything to say and to see if anything I have said has prompted anyone else to say something. I check in on my Facebook page, I look at my analytics page and then I go back to work. I have had little to say this week but it's not because nothing is happening it's just because what I have to say is best left unsaid. The things that I cannot say have been eating up my insides like a cancer. On top of these things that are heavy and unsaid was a constant nausea from the flu I am getting over. Topping the nausea was a persitent headache and on top of that like the whipping creme of despair there was a hearty dollup of fear. It's like a suitcase I carry around with me, I long to leave it in a station somewhere where maybe some other traveler might mistake it for their own and carry it off but somehow I never lose it. It sticks to me covered in labels from the various places this malaise springs up. I keep it closed, I dont need to look in and see what is there, it watches me, silent as my clothes.

I learned a new word this week. Optimalism. It's a combination of optimism and realism. This week I was a little too stuck on realism, I have high hopes optimism will return as I get back to walking and maybe the sun will come out for us this weekend. That would be nice. I could use a little nice.
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