Sunday, June 24, 2012

Steampunk Boxes

     Steampunk caught my attention a while ago, and I've been trying my hand at making Steampunk jewelry boxes and jewelry.   If you're not familiar with Steampunk, it's a mix of   Jules Verne, Victorian sci-fi, dirigibles, and lady airship captains.    All fun things, right?
      I'm gradually working my way into Steampunk.   These first two pieces are part travel, part Steampunk.   The necklace that I recently made, which I'll show another day, is totally Steampunk.  
      I found my first box at Marco's, my favorite paper arts store in Dayton.     Originally it was a plain "suitcase", and I added the compass, Bon Voyage tag, side stitches, and fiber.   It is a very tame Steampunk, and could be considered a straight a travel piece.   But I like it a lot and use it to carry my jewelry when I travel. 

       It was the last tan one that the store had, and they have since told me they can't get any more.   I've looked on the internet without success (so far), but I intend to keep looking. 

       My second attempt was much more Steampunk.  I started with a box I bought at Hobby Lobby.   I added the fiber, metal findings, and the paper stamps.   One tag says "Thoughts" while another says "Dream".    Good things to remember to do.

      I haven't decided what I'll place inside this box.   It's about the size of a deck of cards, but I'm not a card player.   But I'm sure something will look good there.  In the meantime, it was fun to make.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Structuring Retirement

I’m working now, but as the site address suggests, I’m a retiree-wannabe.   I had hoped to make the leap last year, but it didn’t happen.   This year I’m hoping it will.  

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with all that free time I’ll have.   (Those of you who have already retired can quit laughing now.)   My friends who are already retired tell me they are busier than ever---many don’t know how they ever found time to work.   And while most of them are doing what they wanted to do, a few have just fallen into things.  So I want to make sure I end up doing what I really want to do.

To that end I’ve been making a list of all the things I want to do or am interested in checking out.  A type of bucket list.  I know I won’t have time to do everything, and I want to make sure I end up doing what is really important to me.   This way, if something comes up that isn’t on my list, it will be easier to say ‘no’.   In the past I’ve ended up working on projects or committees that involved things that didn’t really interest me.    But for one reason or another I agreed to take on the project when I was asked.   This time around I want to have a plan, a structure, for my time.

At the top of my list is writing.   I have an unfinished novel and another one in the idea stage.  Not to mention this blog, and another blog idea that I’m considering.   Getting the novel completely written is priority numero uno, even if it never gets published.  I’ll probably continue writing a blog, too, either this one or something different.

I’d also like to return to taking Spanish lessons.  I had to quit last year when things got totally crazy and out of control at work.    I want to keep mentally sharp, and studying a language will help with that.  Plus I love Mexico and would like to take trips there more often.

I know I have to schedule in some exercise time.  If not, I’ll start to write or read and never break a sweat all day.   Except for walking and splashing about in the pool, exercising isn’t something I enjoy.   There’s no excuse not to do it.  Sun City Grand has two activity centers with classes in aerobics, dance, yoga, and lots more.  So another goal is to find a physical activity I like, sign up, and show up. 

My need for structure was never more clear than yesterday, when I had an afternoon “free”.    I had thought about going to a new bead shop, my latest hobby interest, or attending a beading session here at Sun City Grand.   I looked at the info for two bead stores that give lessons, and I stopped in briefly at the beading group.  But I never took a class or strung a bead all day.  

I cleaned the casita.    On my “free” afternoon!     It needed it, but cleaning wasn’t my plan when I started the day.    The problem, of course, was that I didn’t have a plan for the day.    

Writer Aimee Bender found she needed structure in order to write consistently.   She wrote about it in her article “A Contract of One’s Own”, published in this month’s O, the Oprah Magazine.  Years ago she started writing in a closet for two hours, and has continued the two hour routine long after leaving that closet.  “If left to my own devices,” she writes, “a blank page and a free day and that meadow, little will get done and I’ll feel awful about it.  But put me in a box for two set hours and say go?  It is one of the most steadying elements of my life.”   

That’s the way I feel about my retirement time.   I’ll need a plan, a structure, so that the things that are important to me get done.  I’m working on the list now.   Then I plan to prioritize it and figure out how many things I can fit into a day or a week.
  If anyone else has approached retirement this way, I’d like to hear how it’s working out.    

Saturday, June 2, 2012


A new exhibit on paper just opened at the Phoenix Art Museum.   Since I love paper, it was an exhibit I had to see.    I use paper to scrapbook, make cards, and write.   These artists showed that there is a whole lot more to paper than that.

One of the first exhibits is a giant, white ceramic paper wad.  It’s a great intro piece.   It was also appropriate for me since I managed to mangle the paper-folding invitation that the museum sent to members.  As you can see from the pix, the flyer was colorful and fun.   The directions told how to fold it into something that your fingers were supposed to be able to slip inside.  It sounded cute.   

The Museum’s webpage shows two of the articles on display, including a pop art paper dress.    There were lots of other paper dresses and t-shirts, too.   They also had a paper-making kit on display and other paper items that looked like they were from the ‘60’s.   
Their handout shows a sampling of some of the other types of art featured in “Paper!”    In addition to the exhibits in the Steele Gallery, there were items featured all throughout the museum.

My favorite exhibit, however, was the photographs of W.Eugene Smith.   He was a photojournalist for Life magazine, and a few of his most moving articles are on display.    Two of them involve a country doctor in Colorado and a mid-wife nurse in South Carolina.    The exhibit will end June 17, so I was lucky to have gotten to see it.

We had lunch in their cafe’.  I had a great Sonoran Chicken Salad while Kent had their tuna salad sandwich.  Both were yummy!   

They had a book sale, too.   Can’t pass up books, of course, so we came home with a few.   

Then we rode the light rail back home.  Even though it takes about as long to drive to the nearest light rail station as it would to drive downtown, we like to support light rail.   One of these days (soon, please!) it will be extended to Surprise.    Can’t wait.