Friday, April 25, 2008

Fresh Air

We have had some fierce storms in Lafayette County, but the fast traveling fronts have also meant wonderful breezes to invite into the house. The air is a little humid, but not bad, and the clean ozone scent is a welcomed replacement for the stale stuff trapped in the house up until now. The downstairs bathroom has my favorite window. The stained glass piece is one I did during my Hallmark days in a workshop (a refreshing break from greeting card art). Originally designed for the bathroom in my very first house, the piece didn't work in two subsequent houses. Now our current bathroom has a diamond pattern in its linoleum flooring, so the window looks custom made once again. The "curtain" is a flat sheet with Battenburg lace trim that I had kept long after the full sized bed was replaced with a queen, which has now since been replaced by a king. I threw the sheet carelessly over the curtain rod for spontaneous privacy when we first moved into our current house 2 years ago. The intended rod pocket has never been sewn in. The sheet hangs fine without it. When the window is open, the sheet flutters a welcome to the breeze.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Going Postal

For an artist, what could be better than working in a post office? Yes, working, earning money as an artist would be very good, but what if you had done that, moved on to other things (like staying home and raising kids) and now didn't know what you wanted to be when you grew up (again)? I had been thinking about that recently. A little. "What now?"
Then an amazing thing happened. A job fell into my lap. I did not have to scan the want ads, fill out applications, re-do my portfolio or update my resume. I simply walked into my little small town post office on a Saturday morning to pick up mail and send off a couple of ebay packages- and it happened. I was offered a job. The girl who normally worked Saturday mornings and whenever the regular Postmaster was sick or on vacation (known as a PMR, PostMaster Replacement) was tired of the very part time hours (and part time pay) and so had found a full time job. Not with the U. S. Postal Service. But who would replace her?
Melissa: Would you like me to put your name in as my replacement? It's easy work.
Me: Hmmm. (thinking a moment) Yeah, why not? (warming to the idea of pigeon holes and canceled postage and mysterious packages holding exciting contents for its recipients) Sure. Yes. Put my name in!
And so after a background check (clear- no surprise) and a drug test (clear- no surprise) and being finger printed and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and... Yes, I got the job! The interview was a mere formality. Then followed two days of orientation in Kansas City, taking the oath of office (same one recited by the military and President) and I was official. I am now a federal employee. This past Thursday was my first day solo. Yikes! I SO appreciate what my regular post "mistress" does to get my mail to me! And being a newbee, I can understand now how some mail can take a stupidly long time to get to its destination-- if there are people like me handling it along the way! Haha!
I am picking up speed and getting better, but the stuff I have to learn doesn't come from a text book or manual. It's stuff like knowing where to put someone's mail if it is addressed to their street address instead of their PO Box (I have to eventually memorize everyone's box by their name or street). Knowing who is in each household, whether it is children, a temporary significant other or temporary child who moved back in after breaking up with a spouse or significant other. Some folks have a perfectly good PO Box of their own, but want their mail put in with their dad's because he picks up his mail more often. The postmaster has to remember all of this info. At least in this small town I do. You gotta love it. Customer service on a micro scale.
Then there is forwarding mail and "loop" mail. Stuff gets missent. I am now so in awe that so much mail actually makes it to its destination. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail travel through the system every day. In the past week we got a postcard addressed to someone in Italy that came to us, because it seems an Italian town or province has the same postal code as Corder, MO. No one bothered to see that the words "Corder", "MO" and "USA" were all completely missing from the postcard and that the card was written in Italian. All they read was "64021". The other day we got someone's credit or bank statement the same way. From INDIA! Same code. "64021" No mention of US in the address. Addressed to Kumar Abi Sahir (I am making up the name, but it was something very NOT small town, midwestern USA), metered in India (cool stamp!). So if you find out your mail art was never received, it could be because it is in New Zealand or Tasmania or Turkey, waiting to be looped back. Use correct zipcodes (don't guess, don't omit it) and write CLEARLY. The postal workers handling your mail will love you for it. Take it from me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hang On!

Okay, this is weird. I just finished posting about the earthquake tremors this morning and now I have felt, what could be nothing else, but an aftershock or another smaller tremor. I am up in my studio. The wind is blowing fiercely outside today, but although the house will creak and groan against the force of the wind, it doesn't normally "wobble" so my bookcase rocks and rattles the tins, books and bottles of ink. Wow! Not scary, just makes me go "hmmm, that was weird".

A Whole Lotta ShaKin'

You must have heard on the news, this morning about the midwestern earthquake that hit at 4:37 this a.m.? They have reports of it (originated in southeast Illinois) being felt as far away as Chicago. I am close to Kansas City, MO and felt it! I woke up just past 4:30 this morning, trembling violently in bed and thought it was just me. I didn't hear rattling or anything, like the house was shaking, and I listened for the train that goes through our town and didn't hear it and it doesn't shake the house that hard anyway. So, frankly I was relieved to hear later on the news that there was an earthquake. I feared it was personal issues (although I wasn't having a nightmare when I woke up). I have only experienced earth tremors one other time in my life and that was on vacation in CA about 9 years ago. That one was a split second compared to this tremor which was much longer. They say it measured 5.6 on the rictor scale. Did you feel the earth move?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hostess Gifts

I HAVE to share these wonderful treasures sent to me along with ATCs for the women's swap I am hostessing (and about to swap out and mail). The Asian themed booklet is a Post-It note holder and the art doll was created by Cindy Ericsson from recycled materials- fabric scrap, paper towel, dryer sheets, hymnal page, tea envelopes and buttons (she said in honor of my status as the Recycling Queen to which I knighted her with the title Dumpster Diving Dame.) I don't host swaps expecting to receive hostess gifts, but sometimes I get some amazing ones! A very special kind of RAK.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hip Christianity

As I promised- no inchies today! heehee Today it's women's ATCs for the swap I am hosting for Christian Paper Artists. I love working with sepia toned photos, but you might be surprised to know that I also have a campy side (or maybe you are NOT surprised ;)). I love the patterns and fashion lines from the '60s and '70s. Maybe because design was so clean and graphic and rick rack was in vogue- along with pom poms! So here I took two fashion models from a dress pattern envelope to illustrate two of the beautitudes ("blessed are they..."). The legs didn't get tossed, but were used to illustrate "how beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news" (Isaiah 52:7). Don't you love the winged feet? I got the wing charms on ebay a few weeks ago, in three sizes. These are the smallest.
It was so much fun to design with the dress pattern models that I may just do more general ATCs , to have on hand for spontaneous swapping or use the images in my art journal. Love those twiggy models with the smooth flowing lines. They make even a house coat look good!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Dog and Butterfly

YES! MORE INCHIES! Linda is hosting a dog inchie swap and a butterfly & bugs swap. I am sending them in at the same time since they are going to the same hostess. I promise that my next post will NOT be about inchies. :)