Craft Catatonia

Hoo boy….I am beat down to a nub. I have been arts and crafting my ass off in preparation for the upcoming local county fair.

While the term “county fair” may imply something small and hick-ish, my local fair is anything but. It’s a huge event

Back in February, I visited with my godkids in Las Cruces, and they were all fired up about their own county fair coming up in September.

My niños are all about 4H and have decided to raise pigs this year to show at the fair. Their excitement was contagious, so I came back to Northern California fired up and ready to participate in my own fair.

In fact, I was so excited that when the guidebook arrived, I decided to sign up for four events. Four. Which means I’m either stupid or sadistic. I, uh, have a full time job.

Since the fair kicks off June 11, my four entries are due, oh, NOW.

The events I’m doing are: short story, photography, visual art, and baking.

Yes. I said baking.

The short story had to be turned in over a month ago so the judges had plenty of time to read and evaluate the stories. Last week I got the smoking hot news that my story won my genre category, which was Western.

Whoo hoo! The fair hasn’t even started and I’m liking this already!

The story will be published in an anthology of stories put out by the Fair and sold to benefit charity.

Pretty damn excited, I can tell you that!

The photography entry has gone fairly well, too. I knew which photo I wanted to use and it was a matter of getting a good print made (harder than it sounds) and then cutting the mat and framing the piece. I got that done mid-last week. Boom!

The visual art piece is a Dia de los Muertos inspired craft. Oh, how this work has vexed me. I had a *very* ambitious idea and have spent the last couple months constructing tons and tons of tiny details and figures and touches. The work, just finished this morning, doesn’t include all of the aspects I’d hoped to accomplish, but I have to say, I’m very proud. This project really pushed the bounds of my abilities as both crafter and storyteller.

Yesterday evening I slumped back in my chair, catatonic. I had nothing left. I had glue and paint all over my hands, sweat on my brow and an ache in my lower back that defies superlatives.

But yet I was still compelled to keep going and finish this piece on deadline, for no other reason than the pure satisfaction of having completed something so very boundary testing.

I did it. I DID it. I’ll be damned…I actually did it. Whoa.

Today I’ll turn in the framed photo and the art work and then I’ll do a little “I made it by the deadline” dance.

Then I’ll collapse.

But wait, there’s more! The deadline for the fourth event comes up next week. I entered the “ethnic desserts” category and I’ll be whipping up a batch of Biscochitos.

New Mexico! Representin’!

And then I will eat my fill of anise seed treats, slip into a sugar coma, and sleep for a very long time…or at least until The Muse taps me on the psyche again.

A Common Language Usurped By a Simple Decimal

Today I went to a workshop to teach me how to properly measure, cut, mat and frame a photo. The end result of the workshop was to be a gallery quality framed photo ready to be hung in an art show coming up in May.

I participated in this workshop last year but was so confused by the process (the volunteer showing me the instructor’s method knew what she was doing, but not how to adequately teach it) that I vowed to pay close attention this year so I could both get it right for the gallery show and be able to cut mats and frame my prints at home.

Ok, so I showed up at the workshop, took possession of my mat board, went to station #1 and got to work.

The instructions said: “measure your image, not the paper it’s printed on but the actual image, and write those numbers in the center of your mat.”

Ok. Fair enough. I measured.

My image came out to be 9 11/16 by 8

So I wrote that down.

Step two said “subtract the larger number from twenty and the smaller number from 16”

(we’re using standard 16 x 20 frames)

So ok.

16 minus 8 equals 8. Perfect. That’s the easy one.

20 minus 9 11/16.



Did I ever mention that I suck at math?

Ok, I was bound and determined not to screw this up.

Might I also mention that I think that our standard measuring units…an inch divided into sixteen units, is really dumb? When I craft, I use centimeters for measuring. The 10 based system makes freaking sense!

Determined not to be outsmarted, I wrote on my mat:

19 16/16 minus 9 11/16 and then I worked that out equals: 10 5/16

Well I gotta tell you, I was feeling p-r-e-t-t-y darn good about myself right then.

Then the next step said: “Divide each number by 2”


Okay. 8 divided by 2 equals 4. Rock on!

10 5/16 divided by 2 equals…..well it equals a string of curse words that I’ll refrain from repeating.

So I paused. I hemmed. I hawed. I considered calling The Good Man who is really good at math.

I considered converting it to decimals and using my calculator. But that doesn’t help…I still needed to know how many of those stupid little 16th hashmarks on the ruler were required to cut my mat to the proper size.

This is not about expressing the math correctly, it’s about counting 16th marks on a ding dang ruler!

So…I wrote on my mat: 10 5/16 divided by 2 equals: 5 2.5/16

Yes, I know that you can’t put decimals in your fraction. I just don’t care. This works for me. I can count two and a half 16th marks on the ruler and mark ’em off and make a cut.

It was about this time my instructor came over. “Let me see what you’re doing” she said.

She looked over my shoulder and saw my mash up of decimals and fractions. Then she rolled her eyes. Then she said “oh…make it 3/16ths!”

Then she did what my dad used to do when he’d assigned me a task but was exasperated by how I completed the job. She took the tools out of my hands, re-measured my print, marked the coordinates and cut my mat.

Hey, no problem here. She is the curator of the art show and she has to approve all prints for show. I know she’s not going to have a single problem with how my mat looks….


I still say there is nothing wrong with my 2.5/16 fraction. I know exactly what it means and my mat would have been measured fine. Cutting it correctly? That’s a whole other story.

Really, it can’t be helped

Uh oh. I went and did it again.

It was ANOTHER boring conference call.

And the marker board…it calls to me.

It’s my employer’s fault for giving me such a nice big marker board and a full accoutrement of colorful markers.

It can’t be helped. It really can’t.

Herewith, my latest seasonal doodle (click photo for larger size):

All the peppermint sticks and sugar cookies might be getting to me, ya know?

Thanksgiving doodle here

Happy Gobble Gobble Day

To celebrate the holiday, I present to you a doodle from my marker board at work.

I was on a *really* long conference call. It was boring. I got distracted.

May you and yours have a fabulous, gluttonous day!

Photo taken by Karen Fayeth with an iPhone 4 and the Hipstamatic app.

Insomnia, Plaything of the Creative Mind

Yeah, so I’m pretty much not sleeping these days.

Can’t say I have a lot of worries on my mind keeping me up. All the standard stuff, nothing especially taxing.

Yesterday, I was firmly awake by 5:30am, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll get up and get on the day.

I rose with a vigor unusual for one who hasn’t had much sleep. Ok, I did take on a bit of caffeine, and that probably helped, but man oh manischewitz, I was full of energy and had a wonderfully creative day.

I was in the flow. It’s rather addictive, actually, being in the creative flow.

I got a lot of the To Do’s done and even many of the I’d Like To Do’s made progress.

Good stuff. I felt pleasantly tired by the end of the day. Like I’d put in a good, valuable day’s work.

So I dropped off to sleep.

Then, at 4:01 this morning (I know cuz I checked the clock) I was awake again.

I had an idea!

And at 4:01 in the morning, it seemed like a super duper blog idea!

Oh yeah, I was fairly salivating to get the blog post written about this idea. It would be funny! Witty! And maybe even a bit touching!

So I *had* to jot it down, quickly opening notes on the iPhone and tapping out the idea.

Yes! I couldn’t go back to sleep I was so excited about the idea! I’d get up right away with the alarm and do some Google work to support the idea!

It was going to rock!

Hooray me!

Yeah. This is how lack of sleep and middle of the night ideas can fool you.

My fabulous 4:01 am idea was: “The Least Favorite Color of Crayon”

Yeah. Woo!

It was going to be an indictment of people who gaze on less vibrant colors and don’t give them a chance in the sixty-four count universe.

I was sure the least favorite crayon color would be black. This focus on the color black is likely due to the canvas I’m currently crafting. It has a deep black background and I’m totally into it. So maybe my brain is processing the color…or something.

Except, it turns out that the least favorite crayon color is *not* black, it’s white. Which makes sense because kids most often use crayons on a sheet of white paper, and so then what is the use?

And while this makes for an interesting bit of trivia, it does not, however, make for a scintillating blog post.

By the way, the favorite crayon colors are red and blue. So now you know. Drop that one at a cocktail party.

Also found as part of my Google research:

Behold, Crayola’s Thirteen Retired Colors. I grieve for them all. Alas poor raw umber, I hardly knew you…….

Image from Wikipedia and used under a Creative Commons License