Monthly Archives: March 2011

Win $5000 worth of original art by giving a donation of $10

UPDATE – Please see this blog post for the results.

I’ve been thinking about how to make my original art available to everyone, while still earning a fair living wage while doing so.

In order for this to work, a minimum of 500 donations must be received by April 15th, 2011. This amount will cover the cost of the original art, the subsequent shipping and Paypal fees related to said art. To enter, simply donate $10.00 CAD via the Paypal Donate Button located at the bottom of this post. You can donate more than once. Each donation received will be entered into the draw for one of five originals created by me. You could win more than once. Continue reading

Customer Appreciation Photo – Bree’s post office

A few days ago, good friend and Massage Therapist from Portland, Oregon, Andrew Jecklin sent me this photo of his daughter’s play Post Office. She uses the little miniature greeting cards and envelopes that I create from scratch as part of her mail delivery system. Kids love these little cards!

There are now 10 different sets of greeting cards listed in the shop now to choose from.

And just for size reference, they are tiny!

Thanks Andrew for sending me this photo!

A Little Something – limited edition series of three fine art prints

floral abstract fine art

These beautiful illustrations have taken a long time to produce, from when they first painted one year ago, into fine art prints. It wasn’t until a local buyer here in Saint John requested them as a series of fine art prints to hang in her children’s bedroom that I actually created them this past weekend.

And they are soft, pastel and lovely!

Each measures 8.5 by 11 inches (21,5cm by 28cm). This is a limited edition run of 25 editions only.

Anyhow, they are listed! Enjoy!

The Amelia Mandala Series Locket Set and happy Springtime!

Collaboration between jeweler polarity and artist Jessica Doyle

Very pleased to announce the fourth locket set that features the Amelia Mandala Series. This is a collaboration between jeweler Polarity and myself.

This locket set can be purchased on Etsy or from HandmadeCloud. The locket sets ship directly from Polarity’s studio in the USA so that you are not paying double shipping costs.

I also seem to have missed announcing the Beachy Beachy Beach locket set available on Etsy and HandmadeCloud too! It features a series of four beach themed illustrations that I completed two years ago.

Life is good. Don’t give up.

vintage coupon from the 1940's

What would a person succumb to if they lost their ability to create or it was forcefully taken away during times of joy, sadness, anger, anxiety, illness or struggle? Most people have developed coping routines, whether they are conscious of them or not, that they do automatically during emotional periods of their lives.

But we only celebrate the joyful and not the sad or desolate times. I’m not saying that we should celebrate the sad or angry times but perhaps by stepping back we’ll realize that those times will pass and they’ll in turn incubate a new time for you.

Over the last few months I slipped into a darkness. I tend to write more during darker times with much of the words being hidden away behind the scenes as WordPress post drafts. I stop drawing… completely stopped drawing. The last time I picked up a pen to draw or doodle with was six weeks ago which spelled a beginning or rather crunch time when decisions must be made in order to find the clarity and love one so desperately needs.

I shut myself in. I barely spoke to anyone. Yes, I did the daily tasks reading and answering emails to the best of my ability and yes, there were happy hours and moments of what felt like normalcy. And in the end those happy times turned sour for days again quite quickly. And yes, people got angry at me online and offline ’cause I didn’t respond quickly enough or with enough fervor. I am one person, not a multi-national corporation and while I do my best to be prompt, it won’t always happen.

I finished my taxes during the last six weeks. I began the task of applying for an art creation grant that I hope to finish and submit later this week. I rented one room in my home only to find out on Facebook that he moved out, without giving notice, and only after he read my last blog post, while I was away in Fredericton having my computer repaired for five days. No hard feelings on either of our parts part. That’s the beauty of choice. A personal blog for me is simply a form of creative expression… a diary… a way to work through life and share ideas and I have no control over what another person decides to do after reading.

I could barely cry during the last six weeks or laugh for that matter. I danced numb and around to music in the studio during the last six weeks. I paced. I watched movies. I talked a lot to anyone, namely my parents, the postal clerks, the cat and two close friends who would listen in real life and also to people online too. I repeated myself a lot while talking. I lost the feeling and sense of touch in my hands and all over my body and feet during the last six weeks and it only returned last Sunday while in Fredericton. My eyes grew puffy and I had to drop dead on the bed to nap even after 10 hours sleep. I never slept soundly and awoke with a start each morning grinding teeth. I applied for a job and went on an interview and was offered that job last week.

I went into hiding for six weeks. I came out of hiding one night and attended the gallery hop only to become more confused after talking to two awesome but drunk doctors that night and being told it was wrong of my docs out West to withhold treatment for ADHD. I didn’t get a chance to say that I moved back east two weeks after getting that diagnosis. And I talked in the backroom with the wife of a gallery owner who has hypothryoidism away from the incessant noise of the gallery and it was the most memorable peaceful time of the whole night. We understood each other and it was good.

And I realized over the last six weeks that there isn’t too many people in real life who “get” me or maybe I just don’t “get” them. And that’s OK. No hard feelings.

I pondered selling my car and have made the decision to sell it after the brakes are fixed. And I couldn’t be more happy to begin walking and taking the bus when needed again for socializing is good when you work and live alone. And while having a car is convenient I can’t justify the cost or alienation from society that I feel when driving.

Over the last six weeks I’ve lost hope in modern politics, farming and energy and long for peaceful, organic and renewable ways of living. I loathe fast paced life and am slowing things down and surrounding myself in joy, simple and exciting things.

We all deserve joy and pleasure after darkness. We all deserve a decent living wage for a weeks work. We all deserve the freedom to speak our mind without fear of what others will say or do when what you speak of, is not threatening, hateful or harmful to a specific person. We all deserve to live with open minded people if we choose too. We all deserve choice and that is where it’s OK to agree to disagree. We all deserve to make our homes what we want them to be. We all deserve friends and family. We all have a right to all of these things and I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose my ability to feel at peace in my own home or place of work because people think I shouldn’t be so damned open and shut online. If people were really so black and white we’d all be from the 1950′s and starring with Beaver Cleaver.

Really, we are just human beings attempting to live in a world that’s becoming more crowded, more fast-paced, more race to the bottom, more segregated, more polluted, more poor, more wasteful and for what? Only to die in 50 to 100 years? Really if you can’t see beyond your own lifespan into a brighter future and work to create a loving memorable environment for yourself in your community then what do you have, but nothing.

Life is good. Don’t give up!

And thank you all for reading, for the thoughtful emails and comments. They brighten my day, everyday.

The Perfect Baking Powder three colour printed coupon form the early 1900′s was put out by the Canada Spice and Specialty Mills which were located in Saint John, NB, Canada and listed for sale in my vintage shop. I’m also loving the change of pace with working on my hobby! Life is perfect!

The iMac, the ACORN, the Vacation, the Stress

http://etsy.com/shop/OLDisNEW watches antique vintage time clocks brass

I am attending the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network Conference (ACORN) this coming weekend with my folks on Friday evening and all day Saturday in Fredericton, New Brunswick. With all the health issues I’ve been facing recently and to be honest for most of my life, it’s about time I make a serious commitment to eating only organically grown food. My body is beginning to shut down in very weird ways. While my thyroid seems to be doing better (knock-on-wood) I am suffering through candidiasis and other vague, debilitating and mysterious symptoms.

I go for food allergy testing at the end of this month. I am already allergic to dust, dust mite, birch, alder, dog, cat, golden rod and ragweed. I also suspect I’m extremely sensitive to chemicals that are found in everyday household products. I have a strict no scents policy in my household… even the smallest scent of anything sets me off or causes my fingers to swell if I touch it.

During my mid-twenties candidiasis ravaged my body when my Crohn’s was active. And I’m determined not to repeat that again and get whatever it is under control, now. My autoimmune system has never been great and I’ve always been sensitive to everything but lately it seems to be getting worse. I’ve shed 1/5 of the inside of the lining of my cheeks over the last three months and It is chronically broken out and sore and I know it sounds gross eh! My eyes are red, always glassy and puffy. My skin breaks out in odd miniature itchy hives. My upper back hurts and I’m exhausted regardless of how much sleep I get.

The strangest symptom I have is that I emit the wonderful smell of garlic or onion regardless of whether I ate it or not almost always now and after some searching online many women say this is the smell of yeast i.e. candidiasis. I’ve upped my dose of pro-biotic and took a massive dose of doctor prescribed Diflucan yesterday. About three hours after taking the Diflucan, the swelling around my eyes eased and my energy returned a little bit. I couldn’t beleive it! I’ve had yeast infections down there before but what I’m experiencing now isn’t that; it’s systemic like it’s in my blood or something. All these issues are interconnected. They always are.

I just need to keep on top of it and not lose my house in the meantime. I may need to sell my car (safety net at the moment) or dramatically increase my art sales. In any case I need to decide what to do by the end of this month. I’m six weeks past due on my mortgage payments. All my other bills are paid up to date. I have six weeks before my house is repossessed and that is F#$%ing scary folks.

I feel so mad at myself for not saving more money for when things got tuff. I had enough saved for about eight weeks living expenses but I’ve been feeling shitty since late last summer. So, I went through that eight weeks pretty fast.

I am driving to Fredericton a day early (tomorrow) to bring in my 27 inch iMac in for much needed repair and servicing. Sadly, it’s not working right and sick too. As soon as I get four or five applications running the fan comes on at full speed and it sounds as loud as a hair dryer. I’ve run all the diagnostics I can and really wish there was a closer licensed Apple Dealer and Technician but there isn’t, as Saint John is all about the PC. Haha! The ethernet port also stopped working. I can only connect to the internet wirelessly now.

In any event life is good, albeit hectic, worrisome and draining at the moment. But as the answers present themselves and I learn more about my body and finances I’m coping and adjusting as needed and doing my best to keep smiling and moving forward. There is a radiant rainbow out there somewhere!

Perhaps in the not so distant future I’ll sell my home and buy an old farmhouse with a few acres of land and homestead instead of living inside the city limits.

So, yes, if you order from either of my shops while I’m away I won’t be able to ship your order until March 15th as I’ll have limited computer access while away. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my friends Vikki and Dana too. They are two long time college pals and they have an awesome spare bedroom in their home with two big furry cats to hang out with too! And I’m going for a drink (date?) with a nice man, that I met on Facebook last year, on Saturday night. And a public thank you to my parents who purchased an extra ticket so that I could attend this conference with them! xo

The watch photos are of watches I have listed for sale in my vintage shop. The pocket watches are listed here while the wrist watches are listed here.

I wish this paper held more meaning or why income tax should be abolished

self employed canadian income tax preparation

Last night I began the task of sorting all my papers from 2010 into piles.

There are shipping cost piles, art supply piles, utility bill piles, packaging supply piles, energy pile, gas pile, two insurance piles, an oil pile, cleaning supply pile, mortgage pile, car cost pile, an office supply pile, printing supply pile, sale piles, room rental receipts, local sales piles, an advertising pile, a personal pile and these piles don’t include the copious amounts of online presence, fees, hosting costs, contracts or sales on the web piles.

Needless to say, I’m overwhelmed with the paperwork from operating two businesses and at a point where I feel like writing to the Government of Canada OMG wait… it’s now the damn Harper Government and demanding that poor people shouldn’t have to provide proof of income in fact no one living in Canada should have to provide proof of income. If they want to know how much money someone earned then they can come and do all the paperwork for me as I can barely afford to buy food right now let alone take time away from working to prepare my tax return.

Have you ever seen that New Brunswick social services commercial where the lady has to choose between eating a can of food or paying her rent? I’m in that situation and it has nothing to do with overspending, not budgeting enough for this or that, not working hard enough or making bad decisions with my money. It has everything to do with getting sick at an inopportune time, renting to an idiot last fall and not qualifying for health insurance, one bad art sale where I earned one third of what I earned the year’s previous sale, being single with no children in Canada combined with dramatic increases in the cost of food, home insurance and high rises in the general cost of living over the last two years.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. I earn barely enough to survive. And right now, I’ve gone through all my pennies. I need to laugh. Haha! It’s not all doom and gloom.

People who are employed and receive a T4 from an employer and who complain about taxes have it easy at income tax time. I’m not saying paying taxes are easy… all I’m saying is that you do not have the tremendous amount of paper work that someone who is self employed has. Please don’t ever complain about having to prepare your simple income tax forms. I know the difference as I used to work for somebody else too.

Self employed people in Canada have it the roughest. Self employed poor people have it even rougher. I have the same amount of income tax paperwork to do as someone who runs a large company.

And I’m not angry at anyone. I made these life and career choices. Really, I’m trying to find the positive in this. I’m trying to find the courage to overcome this. I even thought about getting a job, any job, and seriously looked for one in January and February but it’s not enough money to even make a difference so I worked very hard and got one room rented to a nice man and have another room rented for next month to someone who lived here last year. and each of those men will be here through to the Fall of the year. Those two room rentals pay me what I’d earn working at a part-time job. And room rental is a part-time job. I can’t count how many people say I’m lucky having the rental income… where is the luck in this? I work at it and clean those rooms and give up my privacy in exchange for money.

On the other hand, I get to have wonderful people to share my home with which is socialization that I so desperately need. It keeps me happy and keeps me going and in a weekly cleaning routine. I’m generally happier with people living in my home. And that in turn allows me to think more clearly and do the (tax) things that under Canadian law I must do.

I also know the bad times don’t last forever and that there is always a silver lining or upside to the downside. I have never asked for nor applied for a government handout, I’ve never applied to help pay for my health-care costs or housing. Maybe I’m too proud or maybe I’m just stubborn. I miss having the safety net of Employment Insurance and even though they’ve opened up to allow self employed people into the EI program… it won’t work for me as the income I earn from room rental will cancel out any benefit that I’d receive when underemployed, sick or pregnant. My life is a catch 22.

I do beleive things are changing though as my health improves ever so slowly. I hadn’t realized how bad I actually was until five or six weeks into taking Synthoid did my body and mind go “This is what I’m supposed to feel like and how did I even manage before?”.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to get the latest round of blood test results. Sadly, I’m feeling as low as I did in early January, meaning I’ve likely plateaued on the Synthroid and need the dose increased.

Anyhow, this is what I’ve been up against over the last five months. And everyday I’m grateful for family and friends both on and offline who provide the positive energy I need to keep going and finally rise above and overcome this mess. Thank you, all, for that.

And keep in mind that income tax was only created as a temporary measure to pay for the wars and now that war continues against the disappearing middle classes and poorer classes in Canada.

And it makes me laugh because even Missy the cat is shaking her head in disgust sitting on the paperwork. ;)

Saint John Gallery Hop is tonight!

Tonight, I’ll be heading out to the first Gallery Hop of the Year here in Saint John, NB. It was supposed to be held last weekend but due to a severe Winter storm it was postponed until today. There are 11 Galleries in total taking part.

Hope to see all out there in the bitter cold! At least it’s sunny outside.

Image of Flyer courtesy of Artist, Sara Jones!