Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Living is an Art

I'm alive! I'm here! Cleaning house is good for the soul!

Re-designed the banner for the shop and started looking at what/how to re-list everything.

Christmas was pretty cool. Gave and received lots of nice presents. Made two cheesecakes from scratch (that were actually YUM!). Travelled around SoCal a lot to visit relatives.

Figured out what my new product will be. Here's the picture I jacked from my book:

Now just to make some samples!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's slowly starting to sink in that the job I sank so much of myself into over the past seven years is now just GONE. I catch myself mulling over old failures and pointing to mistakes, thinking "that's the one" that got me laid off. But truthfully, the $$ was what got me laid off.

Still I kind of wonder why people would want to hire someone who was obviously not valuable enough for her old job to make allowances to keep. I always thought my job was essential to the function of the business. I guess not, if they can outright eliminate it.

It kind of makes me want to go to bed and stay there for a few weeks. But lord knows I can't do that... so I drag myself out of bed and go through the motions of writing resumes and data mining all of the job sites for potential leads. Bleah. I hate it.

This weekend, hubby and I are going to do a full inventory on the Painted Kitty stock and see what we can do to pep up the shop again. It's been running on autopilot for too long. I need to get some of my umph back into it.

So stay tuned for new products and new pictures and hopefully some cheerful posts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baby Steps...

I lolled around in bed for a couple of hours this morning, wallowing in self-pity and talking to a good friend on the phone. Husband brought me coffee and breakfast in bed. That chat cheered me up enough to begin setting up the mechanics of my job search.

Spent the rest of the day building a job-search database in MS Access so that I can track what positions I am applying for and for what companies. That's something that I have always found challenging when doing major job search - knowing to whom I have already submitted independent applications so that I don't stupidly submit the same thing twice (or allow an agency to submit me for a position I have already applied for independently). It also helped me knock some of the rust off my decaying database skills.

Filled out the Unemployment application online, then started data mining the CalJobs listings for leads to type into my pretty new database so that I don't forget to follow up on them.

After that was done, I pulled out my 7 year old resume and started ripping it apart. My old resume was far to dry and uninteresting. I decided to go with something still low-key, but that also demonstrates my skill with MS Word. I've drafted hundreds of data sheets and promotional fliers over the past years, and the eye I have developed is standing me in pretty good stead. Just need to add a little meat on the now-constructed skeleton, and I will be ready to start sending out applications.

In the mean time, I was fortunate to receive a couple of custom orders from my Etsy shop. So I can fill some of my non-employed downtime in being productive and bringing in at least a little tiny amount of money.

Things aren't peachy keen and hunky dory, but I'm concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other to go forward. Every now and again, though, I catch myself thinking of things that were on my to-do list at the ex-office. Stuff that I really wanted to complete this week, that will lie fallow until some poor shlub gets a nastygram from one of our customers or sub-contractors. Part of that makes me cringe... but then I remind myself that THEY sacked ME. So let them do it themselves. That's what they wanted, right? Riiiight.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

"The Life of Brian" is one of my favorite Python movies. Right now, I'm thinking really hard about the end where the three guys on the cross are singing, "Always look on the bright side of life."

Yesterday, I got laid off. Canned. Sacked. Given the Old Heave Ho.

This morning, I woke up and started the process of figuring out what to do when I wake up and suddenly realize I don't have anywhere to go.

Always look on the bright side, right? More time for arts and crafts! More time to look for a new job. More time to sit home and play with my cats and rats.


I think I will go make something pretty.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crochet Wire Hanger Covers

This is all my mom's fault.

Crochet Wire Hanger Covers

She reminded me about how my step-grandma used to crochet over wire hangers and how awesome they were, so I had to try it.

Hehe. I'm a big dork!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Drawstring Koi Pouch

I'm sewing! I'm a sewer! (Oh wait... that didn't come out right.)

Today, I went to the fabric store (OMG AGAIN) and got fabric to make the tank and jacket that match my awesome skirt. Since I didn't feel like doing heavy duty garment making (well, heavy duty for me anyway) I decided to get a couple of fat quarters and see what I could do with them. The result is this super cute koi fish pouch!


I know - it's just two scraps of fabric sewn together... but I put a drawstring in and everything! And I did it all by myself with no pattern... and... I MADE A BUTTONHOLE!

KoiPouch1 KoiPouch

Yeah I know... I'm a big dork, but I don't care, because I have an automatic buttonhole maker! YAY!

Monday, March 23, 2009


I cannot believe!

Clearly, Harley cannot believe either. :)

Here's another view... Just a simple bias-cut skirt... four panels and some elastic. Not a big deal really, except I haven't made a garment (that I would actually be caught dead wearing) since eighth grade!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

P.S. New TOY!

My parents came to visit and they brought my birthday present:


Point of Pride

About two months ago, a friend of mine commissioned a piece of original artwork based on one of the picture poems included in Kenneth Patchen's "The Walking Away World". Today, I completed it and I am simply beside myself in love with it (which, for me, is a big deal - because I pick all my own work to pieces)... so I have to share.

Here is a photo of the finished piece:

"Walk Away World" by Marlene M. Baldwin
based on excerpt from "The Walking Away World" by Kenneth Patchen
Papercut on Cardstock and Wood
March 22, 2009

I took it in to have the frame assembled, and was flat-out shocked when the guy asked me where I'd found the frame in the store because he couldn't find the price tag. When I told him I had bought it unfinished, decorated it myself, then brought it back, he was surprised. When I came back to pick it up, he commented that the verse was actually quite ominous, and asked me what everything was made of (the detail on the frame, the design around the text)... he thought it was finely worked clay - not just cut paper.

I tell you, that gave me the BEST feeling to see a complete stranger be so taken with my work. That kind of thing just makes a body glow from the inside out!

Here are a few more pictures, for posterity's sake. The photos really don't do the piece justice, but they are the best I can do right now:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturdy Blues

I'm not really blue. It has been gloomy and rainy all day - which I like - and I got to sleep until noon - which is always a plus... so the day hasn't been half bad. Managed to do my taxes and rack up a fat refund (at least part of which will no doubt find itself in the hands of the local craft shops before long), and I cleaned up my office. All in all, not bad!

This week, I finally broke down and ordered this bag from HautTotes:

I am so happy with it! I haven't had a HUGE purse in EVER, and it's turning out to be a blessing. I can carry everything in it, and it is reinforced with mesh, so it won't break. This lady does beautiful work. I highly recommend her.
Tomorrow, the parents will be bringing over my birthday present! YAY! EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESSY! YAY! I love holidays where I get free stuff. SRSLY!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cat Chatter

Here are links to a couple of short movies starring my cat. I know... how boooooring... but I'm 'sperimenting!

Harley Puts on His Investigating Feet

Harley Chatters at Lights on the Wall

Hello World?


My name is Marlene, and I am companion to the Painted Kitty (aka Harley). He earned this title by sitting in the middle of one of my first art projects when it was still wet. By doing so, he also earned a midnight trip to the shower. He was not amused.

Neither was I.

But now, in his honor, I have set up an Etsy shop and called my new itty bitty business "Painted Kitty Creations". I decoupage stuff like frames, switch plates, vases, boxes, blocks, and pretty much anything else I can get my mitts on. I also occasionally take an awesome photograph.

I was blogging on Wordpress, but I have not been happy with some of their features, so I am checking out Blobspot.

My laptop just died a flaming death of glory (not really flaming, but it sounds good), so I have made myself a promise to be more diligent in blogging (every day instead of once a month). Sort of like a new-computer resolution.

Stick around and lets talk about stuff!