Posts tagged personal
Life Lately
The past few weeks have looked like this:

Making products for a local shop, Arts & Letters
Bike commuting to work

Biking for pleasure

Experimenting with wool--this is welsh mountain sheep wool and camel wool

Exploring and having adventures

Making SO many custom portraits

Spending as much time as I can with the husband and pups

These weeks seem to be going by so quickly.  I'm trying very hard to relish the wonderful Fall weather but also practice good time management.  I feel guilty when I'm not spending all my available time on my shop and blog. I'm sure all handmade and small business owners feel this way at some point. It's the time of year when I am so incredibly busy, so I stay up until midnight and feel like I'm wasting time sleeping when I go to bed any earlier.  Then I wake up at six something the next morning and work very hard to be peppy and cheerful for children at my zoo job.  I know this is silly.  I know I need to take care of myself.  Because not only is it my busy season, it's also cold and flu season, and I'm exposed to so much of that through hundreds of preschool kiddos while at the zoo.  Let's just say, my body will be thankful when January arrives.  Until then, I will keep hustling.

Car Accidents Hurt
Hi everyone!  Sorry I was a little MIA last week--things got a little crazy and my blogging was set aside.  We were in a car accident last Tuesday (a week ago).  We were rear-ended on our way to work (my husband and I usually carpool.)  A Ford F150 smashed into our poor Toyota Matrix, sending us into the car in front of us.  Yikes.  It was scary and painful.  My head hurt instantly from the whiplash. My neck was sore for days. (It's still not as good as new, but it is much better.)  I have bruises from my seat belt on my arm and my stomach.  My husband was a bit sore too, but not as sore as I was.

Our car was totaled, so now we're searching for something to drive, which is only slightly exciting.  Mostly it's a bummer--our car has been paid off for over three years now and was in great condition.  We were planning on driving it for much longer.  And now we're stuck looking for a car that will fit our two dogs, plus up to three cats at once.  We also need a car that will fit my craft show supplies (separately than the dogs of course), and I'm not interested in something as big as an SUV.  We've got our eye on a particular Subaru, but now the trick is finding one that fits our budget. My husband jokingly showed me a 1976 Mazda wagon last night and was surprised when I actually liked it.  So who knows what we'll do. Maybe it's time to start biking to work again...though this triple digit heat here in Missouri makes that incredibly unappealing.

Here's a few photos from right after the accident.  The damage doesn't look like much, but our whole car frame was messed up and even the cargo floor area on the inside of the car was buckled. The back fender was laying on the back right tire.  There's a cracked taillight, the hood is skewed, and the back passenger door and back gate don't open. Poor, poor car.

Do you have any car searching or buying tips for me?   
Danipersonal Comments
Tattoo Update - Fourth Session
So, we worked more on my leg on Saturday, and we finished all of the six remaining flowers!! It took about five hours, and for some reason this time seemed easier than the last session. We only have one more session planned--my artist wants to darken up some of the blacks and do any needed touch ups.

Here are a few photos from Saturday...

I'm thrilled to be nearly finished, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already thinking of another project.  I think I might be hooked.
Tattoo Update - Third Session
You guys, I'm blown away.  It's like there is a beautiful painting on my leg--except this was created with needles and ink rather than a paintbrush.  I'm so impressed!

I tried to refrain from looking so I could be surprised.  That lasted about 45 minutes.  But when I did look, I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. Here are some progress pictures for this session.

(The photo below is what we finished this time and was taken the day after.)

We finished three flowers this session, so we have six more flowers to go.  This was by far the hardest session, even though it wasn't my longest.  My artist did a lot of work in a concentrated area, so it got really painful.  My leg was none to happy afterward either.  It was nice and swollen for two days.  It's been eight days now, and it's almost done peeling and looks and feels great.  I'm ready to go back!

(In case you need to catch up---> First Session, Second Session)

Tattoo Update - Second Session
It's been a few weeks now, but I got to work on my tattoo again.  I thought I'd share a before and after photo with you.  The first photo is the healed, pretty line work.  The second photo includes a couple progress shots during the second session. 
Gabe tattooed me for around four and a half hours, and it wasn't terrible.  I did learn, though, that my skin bruises and swells like crazy.  That purple that you see in the photo is not ink.  It's definitely my skin freaking the eff out.  I was sore for a few days, and it started peeling within the first week.  Over the weeks, my tattoo peeled twice, and a few spots even peeled three times. Healing tattoos are weird.

I'm so excited to start working on the flowers! I'm ready to finish this!  
So I had a Birthday Yesterday...
...aaaaand now I'm 30.  Yup.  Thirty seemed so old even five years ago.  But, really, I'm thankful to be thirty.  It's certainly better than the alternative of never reaching thirty.  As I get older, I find it easier to settle into who I am and the life I have. And, I don't really mean "accept" when I say "settle."  Mostly, I mean that it's easy to be myself.  And it's wonderful.

My birthday weekend was great, too.  Our Friday and Saturday evenings were spent on the deck with my favorite person, my favorite beer and new art supplies.  Over the weekend, we went for a little hike with the pups, enjoyed a yummy bagel from my new fave bagel place in town, and spent as much time as we could outside.

Oh, and there were cupcakes. Happy Birthday to me!

I'm a bull.
I'm a horoscope kind of girl.  They're just fun.  Maybe horoscopes are your thing too, or maybe they're not.  Though, I feel like they're written to be applicable to a host of situations, sometimes they seem "true" and sometimes they're way off.  I consider them to be good entertainment.  I'm loving these gals lately.

I do feel like my zodiac sign fits me pretty well.  I'm a Taurus.  A bull.  I'm stubborn and not a fan of change unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm also emotionally cool and detached, and typically don't express myself well in that way. To others, I may sometimes seem aloof and as if I don't care--bitchy even.  My Taurus response to this is "meh, oh well." 

I'm loyal and dependable, practical and planning, and not too excitable (which can be positive or negative.) I worry about embarrassing myself, but often realize that those concerns are unnecessary or at least short-lived.

It's funny what we learn about ourselves during and after new and trying situations.  But, really, the most important thing is that we DO learn.  And as a Taurus, I value knowledge terribly. So I will strive and reach until it doesn't matter any more. 

P.S.  It will always matter.
Something Crazy Happened
So, Saturday I had a missed call and then a subsequent facebook message: "Would you want to do your first [tattoo] session today?"

Um. Oh my god.

This, of course, was completely unexpected. If you remember my post from a few weeks ago, I wasn't expecting to get started until 2015.  But there was a cancellation, and then not one person ahead of me on the list could come in that day.

So, I had a few moments of freaking out.  Then I called back and said I could be there in forty-five minutes. 

So I have a few photos from the session that I will share with you.  The tattoo includes seven flowers, each representing a country that my husband and I have visited. 

My tattoo artist used markers to freehand the design on my leg and hip. This is a shot from my perspective looking down.  (He's sitting on the floor.)

Here are a couple progress shots. You can't see the whole piece in these--we'll have to wait until it's healed up a bit more for better photos.

We were there for about 4 hours, and I think he tattooed me for about 2.5 hours. It wasn't terrible, but there were a few tender spots. It's been a couple days now, so I'm really not too sore anymore.  I have been avoiding pants, though. :)

It will be at least a month before I can go back in to work on shading and color. I am crazy excited to make more progress!
Danipersonal, tattoo Comments
Remember that tattoo I mentioned a year ago...?
Remember this post about a tattoo? Well, I thought I'd share the latest with you.  I've been planning this tattoo for well over a year.  I've been thinking about it, letting the idea stew like one probably should before permanently inking your body, and I'm still completely in love with my idea.  Last November, I started my search for an artist.  I visited a friend's tattoo artist at a local shop.  He did great work for her, so I thought I'd see what he could do for me.  We exchanged some emails, and right off the bat he gave me a price that was "half off".  I don't know why, really, but that gave me a bad vibe.  Later on that week, I stopped in the shop to talk with him in person and show him my ideas.  My experience at this point was a little strange.  My husband and I walked in, and there were two kids, like nine year-old kids, sitting behind the desk. I paused and looked around.

Nine year-old- "Can I help you?"
Me, a perplexed look on my face-"Um. I'm here to talk to so-in-so."
Nine year-old who at this point couldn't be bothered and resumes her coloring (I don't really remember if she was coloring, but she was doing some sort of pencil-to-paper work.)-"He's over there doing a tattoo."
Nine year-old-"You can go over there."
Me-"Oh. Okay."

So, my first impression of this particular shop was so unprofessional.  Not good.  So I walked over to the studio area, not exactly sure where to stand, because he's clearly busy.  He greeted me and was super nice, but it felt awkward interrupting his work on someone else.  Plus, the studio seemed cluttered and a little disorganized to my tattoo virgin eyes. It was just weird.  But I was there, so I talked to him about my idea, left him some pictures, and he said he'd get back to me with a drawing. And he did. And it was great.  But my gut feeling was to keep looking. 

So, two months later, after the holiday rush in my shop, and after a lot of internet searching and portfolio browsing, I contacted a different shop.  Their work is stunning! I pretty much already knew that this is where I'd get my tattoo. I stopped by one afternoon to let them know what I wanted. I talked with one of the artists about the idea, he had some input and advice, which I was a little put off by at first, because his advice meant changing the tattoo a bit. (The more I thought about it later, though, the more I appreciated his input.)  So after our initial chat, it was then my job to pick which artist I wanted to do my tattoo. This is not really what I was expecting, but it makes complete since. (For some reason, I was hoping that they would tell me which of them would be best suited for my idea. But like true artists, they each have their own style, so of course it makes since for me to choose which of their styles fits me best.)  So, after thirty minutes (read: f o r e v e r) of staring at their portfolios, I finally picked Gabe

And honestly, it was this tattoo in Gabe's portfolio that convinced me. (This photo is not me.) And no, I'm not getting butterflies. At least not yet. ;)

I gave him a quick run down of my idea, and he liked it.  Cool.  But here's the kicker.  His waiting list is a year long.  A year!  Oh, I was so disappointed.  After having already pondered this idea for a year, I was ready.  Like put-me-in-the-chair-and-let's-do-this ready.  And, understandably, a deposit is required to secure a place on his list. 

So, we left the shop with plans to think it over. Not even five minutes later on our way home, I had decided that I would go back the next day to put down my deposit.

So now I'm on the list!

For 2015.

Which is still disappointing, but folks, it will be WELL worth the wait.
Danipersonal Comments
Bits of my weekend
So last weekend seemed busy.  My husband and I tried a new(ish) restaurant here in Springfield called Cafe Cusco.  It's on the same street of the oh-so-famous Red Velvet shop by the gals of A Beautiful Mess.  The interior is so pretty, and I was impressed that the menu had some decent vegetarian options.  We each had their homemade black bean quinoa burger--it was really good! We'll definitely visit again!  After lunch, we walked down to the Askinosie Chocolate factory to grab a couple bars.  Askinosie can be found in lots of cities and countries now--if you can get your hands on a bar of this chocolate, it's worth the splurge.  Do it.

So after food, we made our way toward a HUGE antique auto parts swap meet.  Remember our new (to us) Volkswagen camper van?  We are looking for some original interior furniture for it.  We thought we'd at least give the swap meet a try.  (By the way, this photo is no indication of how big this swap meet was.)

We had no luck on finding furniture, but we did spot another VW camper van!  This one is a Westfalia, which is a slightly different model than ours. 

We also found a vendor that sold original literature and brochures.  We picked up a brochure about our '74 van and a sheet of original color swatches!

Last night, I also baked a bunch of goodies as a Thank You to the zookeepers that I work with for all of their help with my summer kids' classes.  I tend to be a bit messy in the kitchen.  In my defense, my kitchen is not set up well at all.  (Good excuse, right?) After witnessing and proclaiming all about my mess, my husband says, "Your next blog should be called a Cute Mess. You could take before, during and after pictures of the kitchen.  You know, because there might be stuff on the ceiling after you juice something, or chia seeds and quinoa EVERYWHERE.  And you can talk about how you mess up Tollhouse cookies, and how you once messed up mac and cheese."  Geez, honey.  Thanks....