Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quick Typing Skills Put to Use

I'm putting my quick typing skills to use today to make a quick update.  The power supply for my computer is broken and I am currently running on reserve power from my battery.  : /   Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of my new power cord, which is supposed to come some time today (why don't I feel confident in that?).

I've also been fighting some kind of tendon issue in my elbow which makes it pretty painful to type or really, do much of anything that takes precise movement of my fingers.  Gah!  It could be worse of course so I'll shut my yap and stop complaining.

Found out that dying the grey sweater is not going to work.  According to the dye company, the color will not take on fabrics that have been bleached.  Oh well.  It was worth the try.  Still going through closets, Etsy, etc., trying to come up with ways to refashion my old wardrobe.

Power is now in the red and ready to fritz out on me, so I'd better close this entry.  More fascinating (LOL) bits to come when I get my new power supply.

Be well and happy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Fashion Maven is Born!

With the current abysmal global economy, not to mention the state of my personal economy, creativity and lots of imagination are in order to keep my wardrobe looking half way decent.

This year I am getting a pair of boots and one sweater for the fall/winter/spring season (all are pretty chilly or cold here).  Typically I would get a couple of new sweaters, maybe a pair or two of pants, fashion boots, etc.  Not this year!

Much of what I have in my closet is many years old or well worn, but I've spent the better part of the past two days looking things over and coming up with solutions to wardrobe problems.

My plan is a bit ambitious I must admit, but if I work on one item per week I should get things in order fairly quickly:

  • Red Cardigan:  Has an oily stain on the front that I can't get out.  It's colorless, but the sweater always looks wet in that spot. I was going to toss it in the Salvation Army bin, but then I saw a very cute idea on Pinterest that I've decided to try.  I'm going to find a doily, hopefully something in Battenburg lace, and shape them a bit, then sew them onto the sweater as pockets.  Sounds weird maybe, but I've seen it done and it's quite pretty looking.
  • Grey Cardigan:  I love this sweater because it's super comfy, extra warm and wraps around with a tie belt.  It's a bit on the longer side, meaning it covers the caboose nicely.  The problem is, bleach was spilled on it a few years ago so I've just worn it while coloring my hair, etc.  It's a really great sweater and I hate to toss it because it truly does look awful.  I've decided to dye it black!  It will go with just about everything (and I do wear a lot of black), and it will feel like I have a new sweater.
  • Loooong Purple Cardigan/Ratty Old Purple Blazer:  The cardigan is one that I wear around the house all the time.  It's a great heather purple color, buttons up the front, has a tie belt, pockets and comes down almost to my knees (well, okay, more like mini skirt length).  It's gotten quite a bit of pilling on it, but I am going to shave the pilling off.  It looks in good shape otherwise except the elbows are almost see-through. This is where the ratty old purple blazer comes in.  I'm going to cut elbow patches from the blazer (which just happens to be the right shade for the cardigan - I couldn't find any fabric the right color at JoAnn's).  I'm not sure what shape I'll cut yet.  I think maybe hearts.  Cardigan saved!
  • As I mentioned, I wear a lot of black and I noticed that some of my black winter clothing is no longer truly black.  They are fading, etc.  Well, I figure while I'm dying the grey cardigan I might as well dye some of the nicer pieces of black clothing that are fading.
  • Purple Dress:  I have a gauzy purple dress that I wore to my son's high school graduation.  Yeah, from the 1990s (LOL!).  I have been sentimental about the dress, but it's pretty ratty, especially the bodice.  I took a good look at it today and since it was a tea length dress with the waist band under the bust, I think I should be able to simply cut the bodice off, fashion an elastic waistband and have a comfy lavender skirt ready for when the nice weather returns.  I'm thinking of doing something decorative around the hem.  Perhaps some embroidery, but maybe something with bleach painting.  Have to put my thinking cap on with that one.
  • Then there are the its and bits of various articles of clothing that need new buttons to jazz them up a bit, etc.  And some shoes that I'm tempted to take up a couple of notches by painting some kind of design on them.  
  • And for the old jeans that are getting a bit tattered, well it seems that distressed (ripped) jeans are "in" again, so I thought I'd create a distressed area or two, patch the hole from the inside with a bit of lace and wear the jeans with a white blouse or sweater.   
You know, while I'd love to be able to go shopping for some new clothes this year, I'm actually finding myself rather excited at the idea of getting creative and personalizing some of my old clothes and breathing new life and new style into them.  I'm sure there will be some misses, but I'm hoping for a few hits as well.

I'm even going to have to ask my mom to teach me how to darn socks!  I remember seeing her darn my father's socks when I was a girl, but she never passed the knowledge on to me.  It's become a lost art I'm afraid, but I'd rather darn my socks right now than have to throw them out and spend the money on new ones.

Off to bed with me in my pajamas with the bottoms that fall down if I don't hold them up. I think I need to add putting new elastic in their waistband to me list. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life on factory default settings

A computer set to factory default settings is perfectly serviceable, as reliable as anything can be that is made of parts that eventually wear out, gets those letters typed, resumes prepared, internet surfed.

A computer with well thought out customized settings is much more enjoyable to use.  Personalized settings and background photos can make the computer easier to use, but more than that, can make the entire experience exciting.  Vivid colors and stimulating music to greet you when booting up - or something a bit more soothing and relaxing if that's more your style.  Fun, personalized with customized features and shortcuts just for you!

I've been thinking of my life a bit in these same terms today, and have come to the realization that I've somehow ended up restoring the computer that is my life to "factory default settings".  :(  

I realize that too many times in my life I have followed the path that someone else has steered (or even pushed) me toward, rather than taking a deep look inside and choosing my own path and following it with determination.

The result of this course of action (or should I say inaction?) is that I am not living the life I want to live.  I continually feel a void - something missing.  I've searched and searched to find what was wrong and have finally come to the realization that what is missing in my life is ME!

I've tried the medical field twice, corporate life and retail.  Of the three, I enjoy learning medical things, but retail would probably be my favorite, likely because it allowed the opportunity to express myself creatively through making merchandise displays, murals, etc.  

I'm tired of living on that default setting - just letting life and the influence of others leading me randomly down the road.  It would be a terrible thing to look back at my life and see that I never did what I truly desired.

So a decision has finally been reached!  I'm going to continue working part time (whether at the store or as a medical assistant, whichever pans out), and I'm going to structure my days off in such a way that I have at least one day each week that is completely set aside to write, draw, paint - do whatever I feel creatively.  It's a place to begin.  

First I'm going to clean the house from top to bottom though so I don't have that weighing on my mind. Nothing kills creativity faster than a house full of clutter!

Now to get busy and start customizing my settings! :0)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

School Daze!

What a glorious find for a perpetual student!

Perhaps everyone else already knows all about this, but it's new information to me.   It seems that major universities such as Duke, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan, University of Edinburgh, University of California Berkeley, Stanford, Rice, and so on, are offering FREE online courses!

Now, they don't offer any credit hours, but the courses look interesting and varied.  They are offering everything from medical courses to science, humanities, and philosophy.  There is a poetry course starting this Monday from the University of Pennsylvania.  I think I just may sign up.  There are other courses that interest me as well, and since I want to be able to absorb as much as possible, I want to choose wisely and not take too many at a time.

If you have an interest, here's the link to FREE SCHOOL:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Midlife Crisis?

A wee bit of depression tonight as I had been expecting to start nursing school tomorrow morning.  I know I made the right decision by not attending a school with limited accreditation, but still the disappointment is there.

I have ambivalent feelings about the whole idea of nursing school now.  There is another program I can get into and begin this winter, and yet another school that I can start next September, but now I'm not 100% sure.  I wanted to do this quite badly, but now I'm feeling...well...old.

I suppose I'm having more than just a little bit of a midlife crisis right now.  This whole issue of nursing school has really hammered home to me the fact that I'm getting old; perhaps too old to pursue certain things in life.

I still feel that I'm in pretty good shape, I lift weights and work out regularly, eat organic foods, supplement where necessary, etc., but no matter how relatively youthful I may be for 53thiscloseto54, employers don't necessarily view me the way I do.  I have communicated with many nurses in the past month, almost all of whom have told me that most facilities squeeze out "older" nurses, which means nurses in their 50s and 60s.  The idea of being hired for my very first nursing position with my age hovering near 60 by the time I finish school is not very realistic of me, or so I've been told.  Oh, there will be a job for me somewhere, but likely in a doctor's office or urgent care facility for around $16 per hour.  Well, I already qualify for that job as a medical assistant, so why bother becoming a nurse?

Perhaps I need to learn to set aside some dreams.  After all, every youthful dream can't be realized.  The garbage we were fed in the '70s and '80s (and continue to feed our children I fear) that one can "have it all" is just that...garbage.   As a man I know who is a wonderful counselor once told me, life is a series of trade offs.  We can't have it all.  We need to make choices and decide where our priorities and greatest passions are, then act accordingly.  At least that's the direction my philosophy is leading me tonight as I write this entry.  Who knew blogging would be such wonderful therapy!

As I write this the correct decision for me has become quite clear.  I am going to work at my happy-hippy job at the health food/supplement store for now, continue looking for a medical assisting position, and line up some shorter medical programs to take where I can earn additional certifications to make me more valuable (and higher paid) as a medical assistant.

I'm also going to pursue my writing and art in earnest once I get settled (until then I'll continue dabbling).  These are dreams that I've had all my life too, definitely a stronger desire than nursing.  Unfortunately I don't have the talents and abilities in these areas as I do in medicine, which I seem to have a natural knack for.

Fortunately, writing and art know no age limit!  Since the old proverb says that practice makes perfect, I have a perfect excuse to practice, practice, practice in pursuit of perfection!

While we're speaking of art (oh, what an awful segue!), I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of some wooden bracelets I've been working on.  They're not particularly good (it's a strange sensation to work on a bowed surface instead of flat), but they were great fun and if art isn't fun, then why bother?

I don't really feel I can call these "art", perhaps they belong in the category of "crafts".  For what it's worth, here they are.

The first is Dragonfly Dreams, done in acrylics with a bit of metallics and a dusting of pixie dust (okay, it's really microfine glitter) for a touch of whimsy.  Sealed over with numerous coats of glossy acrylic.

The next is called Faerie Flower.  It's kind of hard to see by the photo, but the background is a lavender/periwinkle ombre with rose-toned flowers, vines and buds, little silver-toned faeries near a few blossoms sprinkling a bit of magic dust, metallic silver lining the inside of the bracelet with microfine glitter and glossy acrylic.  All paint is acrylic.

And finally I  have one that's not painted at all and definitely belongs in the "craft" category.  An old copy of The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien was literally falling apart, and rather than throwing it out (since The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorite books of all time), I decided to repurpose some of the pages and make a bracelet of them.  I took this from the chapter "Treebeard" and selected some of my favorite phrases from the chapter.

At the ends of the cuff I placed the chapter name on one side and the author's name and book title on the other side.

I'm just learning how to add pictures, etc., so I hope you'll be tolerant if the pictures turn out too big or sideways, etc.

I took advice from a friend and finally did something with the Etsy store I opened years ago but never did I thing with.  I've listed these items.  Who knows.  Maybe I'll sell one some day. LOL!  If not, at least I'm having a good time with it, and that's what counts, yes?

Wishing every reader a blessed day!

P.S.  Etsy store is: