home life

Crafting by Upcycling

A few years ago I had some special cards made for a library conference. I was a teen services librarian at a branch here, but didn’t have professional cards yet. I also was (and still am) the volunteer manager of YALSAblog, and I wanted to include that on my cards so I could reach out to people who might want to write for us.

I ordered from Moo.com, my favorite place to splurge when I want fun, unique, yet high quality professional cards. I used pictures from my How I Feel About Books instagram account for the front, because I like a lot of the book photos I take and share there. You can get like 25 unique card fronts per pack, so I didn’t have to narrow it down too much! The back had information about my library position, my volunteer position, and my personal site and instagram.

Fast forward to when I’m not working at that library anymore, and the cards aren’t much use to me. I guess that job title isn’t a huge deal since I’m still the manager of YALSAblog, and they are unique and eye-catching and worth handing out at conferences, but not too helpful in my daily networking. But I love those pictures! I decided I would mount them on a canvas to hang in the house.

When I was hanging work from my photography exhibit around the house a few weeks ago, I moved some stuff around – stuff I didn’t like much anymore, or was hung “just because”, whatever I could do to hang more of my own work without putting a lot of extra nail holes in the walls. One things I took down was this stained glass-looking print that had been hanging in the bedroom for almost 5 years. I think I found it at a thrift store – maybe I was going to do something to it? Maybe I thought it looked cool at the time? Anyway, I took it down and was going to put it on the pile to donate, when it hit me. I could mount my old business cards on this instead of buying a canvas to put them on!

original
I didn’t think to take a picture in time to get the whole original, but you get the idea.

I used 20 different business cards to make this – I still have plenty left, but it’s nice to see some of them put to good use. Another bonus – I used up the last little bit of both of my super glues! It might sound stupid but it was really satisfying to throw away those things that had been sitting in the junk drawer forever.

I might gloss over it with Mod Podge, but I might just let it go and see if it all stays intact. The front of the original art was glossy, so I don’t know if the glue will stick to it as well as it would canvas, but it is super glue.

hanging

Since all the cards are book- and library-related images, I hung it in the back room with all my bookshelves – on a nail that was already there! Talk about low-key, easy art. I think it looks just right.

fun, home life, money, shopping

Tax Refund!

Before we even did our taxes, my husband asked what I wanted to spend our tax refund on. He wanted a new grill, and probably some other things. I, of course, wanted to put it into savings. And probably still will. But it made me daydream about…

An upgraded camera body

A macro lens

A home studio setup

New books to read

A trip to somewhere relax

A camping trip

New tattoos

A fancy, delicious dinner out

A fun evening bowling, snacking, drinking, eating

 

Did you get a tax refund this year?

money, working

Photography

Photography has been my passion since I was young. I used to take tons of film pictures, filled albums, owned a band photography business, and even had an application ready for art school… but I got cold feet. I didn’t think I could make photography happen for me, so instead of sticking with it and trying, or even just keeping it as a hobby… I quit.

It was sad. I was sad.

Within the past few years, I have picked photography back up as a hobby, and am now turning it into a business. I have watched videos on how to actually learn my camera, because I am purely self-taught. And by “self-taught”, I mean I picked up the camera, figured out basic settings, and started photographing what moved me. And it’s worked for me, but I feel like to get anywhere, I need to know what I’m doing.

Hence studying my camera, settings, the technical side of it, and the business side of it. I’ve been self-employed and worked freelance for years, so I can do the financial side and the taxes. But the marketing and the clients and all that jazz is totally foreign to me.

I’m excited about Allison and Her Camera. I wish I knew when I was in my early 20s that being a photographer, and not just a wedding photographer, was possible. I wish I had found some encouragement to follow what I loved, because I would be so much farther along now.

But you can’t go back, and you can’t change anything. So now I just have to hustle and work hard and learn all I can. I want to make it happen, so I can. And I will. Everything has been happening this year, happening quickly if you realize it’s only April.

This doesn’t have much at all to do with money, or possessions, or anything like that. You could delve into it and make it about that – about digital photos over printed photographs on display. About owning a camera and lenses versus renting them. I can twist anything into being about money and finances. But for this… I didn’t want to. I wanted it to be purely about my passion for photography and my drive to make it happen for me. So it is.

fun, home life, money, natural living, school

Nature

Nature is beautiful. And interesting. And so much fun to explore.

And, it’s FREE.

There is nothing better than to take your restless kids outside and see what they do.

My son loves to be outside. He will run around in the yard. He will ask to go on walks. He will swing on our porch swing. He will hop up and down the steps. He will blow dandelion fluff. He will pick up rocks. He will dig in the dirt. He will ask to plant flowers. He will pick flowers and present them to me: “I found something beautiful for ya.” (He will melt my heart.)

I am lucky that my kid is full of imagination. He will go outside with nothing and be playing in no time. He will amuse himself, which is great because I love being outside too. But when I’m outside, I’m usually doing something. I am taking care of the yard or the garden. I am hanging clothes on the clothesline.

Or I am taking pictures.

Nature photography is probably my favorite, right up there with portraits. I love capturing people’s personalities in portraits, but I also believe it’s possible to capture nature’s personalities, too. I submitted some daffodil photos (not the one above) to a competition and laughed when I saw one of the categories was “Portraits”, but it makes sense…

I love being outside. I love being outside with my kid. I love taking a break from those chores I mentioned, and putting my camera down, and taking a deep breath of fresh air, and appreciating nature.

home life, money, working, writing

Freelancing

Part of the reason I wanted to leave my “typical” job was because I wanted to spend time with my son. When he was born, I was getting my Masters, so I was lucky to stay home with him for 2 years. I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom, but something in my makeup pushed me to work outside the home. I was healthy, smart, able, and had worked nonstop since I was 16; I felt there was no reason for me to not work. Which is kind of messed up because there was also no one pushing me to work. I had just always done it, so I felt like I always had to.

Of course, now I have to work to an extent. But I am trying to find exactly what I want instead of settling for jobs that sound good on paper. I am tired of picking a job because of the title, or because the salary sounds so good (though I will admit that is a HARD temptation to push past!). I know I want to work from home, and not just because I prefer being as hermit-like as possible. I like not having a commute. I like the flexibility. I like being there for my kid when he needs me, instead of not being able to leave the office for a reason.

I am lucky to have a background conducive to freelancing – I have a degree in graphic design; a degree in English; a lot of years of experience writing, blogging, and managing my time efficiently. I had a photography business for a few years, long ago, and am starting that back up again.

I am also lucky that doing one thing all the time bores me. I admire people who can find their calling and stick with it and be passionate about it, and I know so many people like that. But I have always found myself getting restless after doing anything for a period of time, ranging from 3 months to one year. So I like the idea of cobbling together a living of writing, photography, working on different projects, doing different things for different people. Who knows if it will be a long-term venture, but it’s important to me, and I tend to push really hard (past the 3 month-1 year expiration date!) for things that matter.