Friday 5: Five random pix from my week

Friday 5: Five random pix from my week

I am writing this from my phone. How awesome is it that I can blog from my phone anywhere, like in the car, or on the John. I swear I am not blogging this from the John. I am however hanging out in the living room, don’t want to go downstairs to the studio computer where all the photos live. So today I am giving you 5 images from my phone that encapsulate my week.


No. 5: Size matters

I am at that point in my ceramic study where I am trying to get a feel for how big to make my mugs. Shrinkage happens. What I think is reduculously huge, turns out to be on the big side of average. The mug on the right was laughably large when I pulled it off the wheel. So here I am recording scale of my new carved mug so I can see how it shrinks once finished.


No. 4: glass feathers

I am making some fused glass feathers for a wind chime. Yes I am still making tons of glass puddles. But while I am working through my stash of broken pieces to melt, I am making this.



No. 3: cats stealing the dog bed

Ballsy…


No. 2: I made yarn this week

Read the post here


No. 1: my favorite journal page this week

I am working through a month long journal challenge. Check it out on my Instagram feed.

Off to paint more pages… what are your Friday 5 today

Friday 5: Random Pre-Valentine’s Day Love

Friday 5: Random Pre-Valentine’s Day Love

Alright Fiberistas. it is Friday, and after a LONG hiatus, I am once again bringing you 5 random things rocking my world right now.

No. 1: The Produce Box

I was pretty spoiled by Asheville’s killer network of tailgate markets, and was skeptical that any thing as awesome would even exist outside of my hippie community. Indeed there are some good markets here in The Triangle, but alas getting there on Saturday morning is a bit of a struggle, especially when one of the 2 glass studio slots available is on Saturday morning. Enter The Produce Box. NC farm goods delivered weekly. After their January hiatus, it is on again, and OMG I have missed them so. This week I opted for the bulk bag of jalepeno uglies.

No. 2: Clay stamps

I am literally having to keep myself from showing up in the clay studio everyday to make shit. Seriously, they are open pretty much all the time. But I have business to run, so clay time is my reward for doing my work(hence the increase in my business productivity…). As we learned about the dozens of glazes available to us, I am also learning the magic that is glaze on textured clay. Sweet Jezuz, just set up a cot in the corner of the studio for me. I bought some sweet clay stamps from this gal, and have complied a huge list of all the things I will be making in multiples to test every one of those damn glazes. I will never have to buy Christmas presents ever again.

No. 3: This guy

Since I am in a clay class, this also means I am relearning to throw pots. Right now I suck. Let’s just say, the last time I threw clay  FB, Pinterest or any other social media did not exist (well…except blogs). So, this time around I am in the rabbit hole that is “researching” clay shit. I found this guy via his FB live cast on the Expanded Consciousness FB page. I could watch him throw pots for hours. It doesn’t hurt that he is a cute hippie boy. But what makes his 2 hr FB live videos awesome, he is an open book when it comes to his process. His pots are far from perfect, and he totally owns exactly what they are and where he is in the journey of his work. THAT is what makes his work awesome. THAT is what makes them beautiful. These pots are not cheap. You are not buying his product as much as you are buying his DREAM. His dream is to make art, share his process, inspire others AND live sustainably doing all of this. THAT is what makes me want to sink almost $200 into a crooked mug with gloppy colorful glaze with his fingerprints visible on the footer.

No. 4: This Essential Oil

I am usually all about inspiring oil blends, but these days I am rocking some Young Living Sage Oil. For me sage oil has helped me clear negative energy in the same way one might smudge a room. I spray my pillow at night with a blend of sage, lavender and cedarwood. I full believe it has helped me overcome negative feeling of doubts and inadequacy around my latest weaving ideas. It has also helped me weather all the political turmoil present right now. Find that Sage oil here…(holler if you need help navigating the ordering interface)

No. 5: My Instant Pot

I am not gonna lie, when I bought this thing last November during the Black Friday sale on Amazon, I had no clue what I would make in it. None. I did not realize pressure cooking was even a thing. I will openly admit I was a sheep being led to the slaughter by dozens of friends who were losing their shit over the killer price. So why the hell not.

Fast forward 2 months, and if there was a fire in my house, this is what I am grabbing. Holy crap. I love my instant pot so freaking much. I use it no less than 3 times a week. It has changed the way I cook my great grandmother’s family red beans and rice recipe. I will never use anything else for making spaghetti and meatballs. OMG bone broth that really gels takes 3 hours instead of 48. I am about to ditch my crockpot and maybe my rice cooker, because all I need is instant pot.

 

So what are you rocking for your Friday5? Post it on your blog, leave me a comment below with the link and share on social media using the hashtag #friday5.

 

••• Some of these links are affiliate links. What that means is I get a small commission of any sales generated through this post. This will help me offset the cost of my website. I pinky swear I would never promote anything I was not personally using and loving enough to share with complete enthusiasm.

Sign Up for the UrbanGypZ Fiber Arts Collective

220195_10150996938972124_1233200635_o

Friday 5: 

Friday 5: 

IMG_6321

Can you believe it has been almost a year since I had a dedicated studio? Me neither. I swear when I moved out I though I would be on a much shorter hiatus. And I have been itching to get back to work. So today I am sharing with you the top 5 project I am ready to tackle when I get back into my space

IMG_3187

#1 Dyeing Fiber

I have been sitting on an obscene amount of fleece for years now. And I am ready to outright get it dyed up. My new dye space is not really a dedicated space. But it is a safe area in our home where I will not mess up someone else’s flooring. But the good thing is I am translating what I know about dyeing into the kind of space an average Fiberista has available. As promised a tutorial is in the works. But this time with the average home dyeing in mind.

#2 Weaving

I have been bursting with so many ideas it is nuts. And after packing up my ginormous stash, I am just ready to blow through it with project after project. I also am ready to dust off the old Structo table loom I have been schlepping around and take my weaving a little deeper.

10636329_10152435404502124_7786263010097364058_n

#3 Sweaters!

I say this every August…This year I am going to make at least a couple of awesome sweaters. {{{{sigh}}} at this point I have quite a few WIPs that I can pull out and just finish them already…

#4 Felted Hat

I bought this tutorial and I am itching to give it a go.

IMG_4440

#5 Just get back to a routine.

A solid 75% of what sold me on our new place was how the studio space was set up. Separate from the living area, and big enough for me to have room to work.  It is so refreshing to grab my coffee and go downstairs to get some work done. It is also great to be able to feed some of those late night inspirations that I was not able to really do with a space away from home. This time next week we will be there and out stuff will be there and I am just ready.

What are you Friday 5? Post them on your blog (with a link below) or jus list them in the comments. Have a good weekend y’all.

Friday 5: Asheville Edition

Friday 5: Asheville Edition

IMG_6321

We are back in Asheville getting everything ready for movers. While moving overall sucks, letting go of that next layer of useless stuff feels pretty awesome. We have been donating crazy amounts of stuff to our favorite charity thrift store, Brother Wolf. It also feels great to get things somewhat organized to go into our new home.

This big moving idea, has been …no lie…a year and a half process. I am just ready to be on the other side of it all. One of the things I get asked so very often is why we are leaving Asheville. Asheville is one of those magical destination places that everyone loves. And true there are some things I am going to miss the heck out of when we go. A part of me is in denial. I know I can always come back and visit easily (about a 3.5-4 hr. drive down the interstate) since we have family vacation condos here. But, alas, here in lies the difference between living in Asheville and visiting Asheville. So today’s Friday 5 is all about 5 things that made us decide to move.

17311_10153391473949501_8617637347487778856_n

#1 Jobs are insanely hard to come by

This has always been true of Asheville ever since I first moved here. But since becoming so freaking popular, that job hunt in Asheville is next to impossible. Granted there is a crazy amount of service industry jobs. Especially thanks to the booming tourism industry. And there is a huge amount of support and resources for entrepreneurship especially if you are an artist. I don’t agree with all of the information available to artists, but it is awesome that it is available. But when it comes to average professional jobs, the competition is crazy huge, and the pay is far below other areas. Put it this way, an art director position at a local weekly pub pays 1/3 of what I could make in another town. I could make 3x and average Asheville art director salary elsewhere. It is also $3k/yr less than what I was making in 1991(at the age of 25), and with out benefits. I knowingly took a 35% cut in pay when I moved here in 2001, and the cost of living was about the same as it was in Birmingham at that time. I was still within a livable wage and was in love love love with Asheville overall. So to me it was worth it back then. But that said even those jobs have dwindles significantly. The publisher I had worked for closed shop 3 years ago. My fiber art business is very portable, so I could be anywhere really. Bruce was easily able to get temporary work across state, even with an out of town address. Plus, there has been far more job opportunities for him in the Raleigh/Durham area that pay significantly more.

#2 Tourism is spiking the cost of living

Tourism will always drive the prices up in any town. Asheville has been hitting the top destination lists across so many publications for more than 15 years now. And with that comes tourism prices on everything from groceries to utilities to housing. To many visitors, Asheville is still pretty cheap compared to New York, California, Florida, DC. But, in those places the salaries are also significantly higher. Tourism prices makes it hard for locals with crap wages to scrape together a living much less thrive.

#3 More specifically housing is expensive

Let me first say that, this actually worked to our favor when selling our house. The house I bought in 2002, had significantly increased in value as my neighborhood became one of the more desirable zip codes in the South. My house was a tiny 1000 Sq ft bungalow that was way too small for us + a fiber art business. But upgrading was out of the question within the Asheville area. Price per square foot is significantly lower ANYWHERE in NC outside of Asheville. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a home with more that 2 tiny closets.

#4 A city in denial about the growth

Asheville population has increased by a third since I moved here in 2001. But the tourism has grown even more. Asheville seems to be having some serious growing pains in terms of infrastructure. The roads we not planned with such growth in tourism. The numbers may work for the actual population, but on the weekends the city swells exponentially. We had gotten to the point of not wanting to leave the house and fight the traffic and parking after Thursday night through Monday afternoon. The city council has strong ties to developers and have been approving developments that would increase density in areas that are already so very congested, with no ways to expand roads to improve that congestion. Granted this is a town of liberal activists. And they have been very active in fighting many of these developements.

And let me just say these tourist are just as a whole…RUDE and lousy drivers. Locals are reactive to them as well which is making the roads crazy dangerous. There have been all kinds of heated debates on my neighborhood FB page about the traffic. And yes traffic in Raleigh can be intense too. But so far, I have noticed people are not as rude, and it actually moves despite the density on the roads at rush hour. And even a drive across town can be quicker than a drive through Asheville on the weekend.

I also need to point out that our new home is actually in a new cookie cutter looking development. The entire town of Cary is somewhat of a new developements kind of place. I kind of was surprised that I was okay with it, once I went to the grocery stores to see who my neighbors would be. What I found was a very diverse group of everyday people who were general kind, but for the most part kept to themselves. But the roads were planned with the that small yard cookie cutter type of density in mind… including a killer network of green ways and sidewalks. And I could not resist the crazy good studio space.

#5 The vibe is just different

This is a little harder to describe, but the Asheville I fell in love with in 2000, has changed in a way that I am just not loving anymore. One example is the focus of downtown was once a place for the community to come together, go to work, support their fellow artists, and just hang with fellow hippie artist Ashevillagers. Now it is completely tourism focused. Little shops and small businesses are being replaced by high end restaurants, tourist focused shopping and hotels. In the past what tourists loved about Asheville was integrating with the hippie artists in our community. Now it is just another place to see other tourists. Studio space is too expensive for many of us, especially in the trendy River Arts District. I have yet to locate the places where my old artist hippie locals have migrated to. And it seems that that kind of local has left all together.

That being said, I have changed too. I have gotten older and feel out of touch with the millennial hipsters that have moved here in droves. Becoming one of the countries many “Beer Cities” has not been something I vibe with either. It feels like a perpetual frat party in some areas. I am also just tired of struggling here for the love of a town that is fading for me. What I love about Asheville has become the friends I have made here. And for that I will always come back.  As one dread headed hippie girl once told me back when I first moved here, “Mother Asheville will totally let you know you are welcome to stay here, and also let you know when it is time to go.” Yep, we totally knew when our time here was done. I am not bitter, or necessarily angry at the tourist. Historically artists move into depressed communities and become a vital part of a community revival. They buy and rehab the cheap properties in crap neighborhoods. Haight Ashbury, Soho, Even my old neighborhood, Southside Birmingham, has seen this. And currently this is what is happening in places devastated by the economic downturn of 2008 like Cleveland, Pittsburg and Detroit (so I hear…). I am proud that I could be a tee-tiny part of helping make Asheville the funky art town it once was, and helping make it a place others would fall in love with. It is just time to move to the next community and that is okay. It is the nature of who I hang out with.

As we were driving back into town last week, I was noticing how lovely the mountains were, and realized I will miss seeing them everyday. I look forward feeling welcomed by those mountains when I return to visit my friends.

So what are your Friday5? leave me a comment below, or post them on your blog and leave a link in the comments. Have a good weekend y’all.

Friday 5: Random stuff from my first week here

Friday 5: Random stuff from my first week here

So today’s Friday 5 is pretty random. Which is fine, things feel pretty random overall as we are in the thick of moving back and forth between Raleigh and Asheville.

 

No. 1: Walk in massage appointments

I don’t believe these actually exist. Every place I have ever seen that advertised these, ereally did not offer it. But as soon as I hit publish, I am heading to one such place to ease my back. We have only moved the tiniest of loads and I am feeling every minute of my age. Fingers crossed… I really want relief today.

 

No. 2: A change of plan

 

I was supposed to go back to Asheville this week to grab another load and return with Bruce and a small Uhaul. Plans changed when Bruce landed an interview on Monday. So I have officially been here a week. I am kind of glad I did not attempt a second load and trip, because I am beat, and actually super busy with other tasks of setting up house.

 No. 3: Brain power and downtime

I am working on this right now. It is one of the more complex patterns I have ever tackled. But it is absolutely perfect for making me slow down in the evening and just focus on my knitting. It is the Jewel Dragon Pattern and is a Ravelry Download.

 

 No. 4: Zaycon Fresh

So the main reason I needed to stay through the end of this week was to pick up my co-op meat order from Zaycon Fresh. We had been getting grass fed meat from the local Ag school near Asheville. I has looked for a suitable substitute for when we move and found Zaycon. This was my first pick up in Cary. The prices are great and the meat is good. We have ordered the chicken breast and ground beef, both awesome and terrific prices.

Full disclosure: that is referral link… But rest assured I would never recommend stuff I don’t use and love myself.

 

#5 I love my new studio space

I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to have dedicated studio space again. It has been almost a year since I moved out of the space in Asheville in preparation for our move here. Right now there is only my drum carders and some shelves here right now. But for the last 3 morning I have been able to grab my coffee come downstairs and  do a little work. This space was totally what sold me on the townhome. So very grateful.

 

So what are you rocking this Friday. Post on your blog and link it here, or just leave me your 5 in the comment below. Have a good weekend y’all.

Friday 5: the Raleigh edition

Friday 5: the Raleigh edition

We are house hunting this week. Just shoot me now. Here are 5 insanely random things about this week. And just for giggles I am doing it countdown style. WOOT!

#5: I ❤️ Air conditioning

Because it is 96˚ out. And humid. Like Alabama summer humid. It is also 8:30am and that cicada sound is happening.

 

 #4 Little boxes made of ticky tacky

As we look for a place to rent, we are sifting through an alarming number of new developments. Evidently the triangle area grows by leaps and bounds, and developers are buying up the tobacco farms and building these communities with tiny yards and prefab houses. The whole time the theme song for Weeds is going through my head. I kind of miss seeing old skool neighborhoods with yards and stick built houses. I am not loving these developments too much. HOAs, cheap finishes, high density.

 

#3 An awkward moment

Our dog’s name is Jerry. Which also happened to be the name of one of the landlords we met. I am not sure that is a good thing.

 

#2 I am in Asian food heaven

It amazes me the number of Asian restaurants here. I know I mentioned it in last week’s Friday five as well… That is how happy this makes me. And it is not because I am semi-asian…I was raise on the Kraft macaroni and cheese and fish stick all American dinners of the 70s too. But I have a thing for rice noodles and Gluten free savvy restaurants(several of these Asian places are well versed and have great GF options).

 

#1 I am dreaming of some good studio space.

It is kind of a pain to have to look for a home with enough space for my studio. It is like having to account for a whole other person. But the upside, is all the dreaming of being able to finally get back into my work full tilt. Which I have been itching to do…for months now.

 

So what are you rocking for your Friday5? Post it on your blog, leave me a comment below with the link and share on social media using the hashtag #friday5.