Sunday, December 27, 2009


2010 is almost on our doorstep.
It seems only yesterday that I was worried about Y2K.

What happened to the past 10 years? How did they slide through my fingers so fast? I become frantic and think, what were the most memorable moments of that time? What have I done in the last 10 years? Have I made the world a better place to live, or have I added to the chaos, negativity, and environmental destruction of the planet?

This year I am making a resolution that goes beyond me and my hedonistic behaviors; it is a resolution to help heal the world, or at the very least, do my best to recognize and stop irresponsible and wasteful behaviors.

This year, I can't afford to break this resolution. I have vowed to take responsibility for how I affect the earth. I will educate myself about responsible consumerism, and do my best to purchase goods from companies which are organic, who recycle, and give something back to the world. I will do my very very best to use a minimum of chemicals in my daily life, as well as help conserve our natural resources by recycling, and buying recycled goods.

I will support my local organic farmers, and locals whose merchandise is made in the USA, (even better if locally) rather than from corporate stores which supply us with cheap goods from China or other countries who practice human rights violations. (as well as have lower or zero standards of manufacture).

It will be a year of conservation, even if I have money, because for every thing I purchase, I am also purchasing packaging for that item.

When I stared writing this, I realized that the past few years have been an epiphany for me, spurred on by Zoe Weil's seminar on MOGO..More Good, Less Harm, (hint..check out the book on the link I posted) and the seminar about empowerment and responsible living given to some of my students. I have put some things into action...and I will keep myself on track when I derail or get lazy.

Below are a few things that I have been doing; each thing that I can do is a step towards healing the earth.

*Use both sides of the paper when you are printing on your computer.
*Make your own cleaning products.
*Carry bags with you so you are not taking home more from the store.
*Find an artist/teacher who needs things that can't be recycled such as Styrofoam plates from your meats; they make great palettes, and can be reused
*buy toilet paper that has recycled per a Time Magazine article: "Scott, started offering toilet paper made with 40% recycled fiber. Switching to such material could make a big difference: the NRDC estimates that if every household in the U.S. replaced just one 500-sheet roll of virgin-fiber TP a year with a roll made from 100% recycled paper, nearly 425,000 trees would be saved annually.
*don't run water while you are brushing your teeth.
*make your own personal care products when possible. They will contain a lot less chemicals that what you are using now.
*plant an organic garden.
*make things rather than buy them. There is a great sense of satisfaction when you do this.
*donate money/goods/time at a soup kitchen
*read the paper online. Less waste (even though you ARE using electric..)
*buy energy saving light bulbs
*don't buy a car bigger than you need. You can always rent or borrow a truck.

WE are the responsible party in healing or destroying the earth.
WE are the models showing our children how to live responsibly.
WE need to be solution - if you aren't putting in effort, then you are part of the problem.

Please send me your suggestions and ideas; collectively we can make a huge change.

To the earth and healing in 2010


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shame on Me

So....want to hear how busy I have been? By now you must think I have given up writing as I only post a few times a week if I am lucky. Well....I have been SO busy that I totally spaced out on paying some bills, and it has cost me my phone, possibly for the holidays.

I have NEVER had my electric, phone, or any other utility (not counting cable once) shut off in all the years I have been living away from home as I am a responsible bill payer. Sometimes I will forget a month, and then send two payments in (however this does not work for car, house or credit card payments) and all is well.

I abashedly called the company, admitted to my great sin, and told them I had made a payment online. They guy was very kind, but then hit me with the news. It will take 2 or 3 days to be turned back on.

I was mortified, for a moment angry, then I realized I caused my own problem, and to buck up accept the consequences of disorganization and over stimulation. It isn't the worst thing in the world - after all, I have email, a cell phone, and some of you know where I live and work.

How bad can it be? Quiet dinner times where there are no solicitors calling for money.Bad news gets postponed for just one more moment. The joy of silence.

Larry's calling me to help finish trim the tree. I tell him we still have a few days before Christmas, he insists that it must be finished tonight.

At least there will be no phone calls.

(Photo is of my niece dancing in the Nutcracker from last weekend in Pelham.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter MUSTS

I have reached the age where I no longer care what I look like. Though I always make it a point to have some panache in my style, I strive for comfort, and in the winter - WARMTH. I don't care if I am wearing boots that look like I am ready to hike the Yukon with my black velvet skirt, or that my coat has no shape and I could be 50 lbs heavier or thinner and you could not tell.

This year I decided that if I had to live in the great northeast, it was time that I had the gear for it. And, it's a good thing, as the temperatures have plummeted this week, giving me a slap upside the head to remind me that winter HAS ARRIVED.

At the end of last winter I bought a pair of tall, insulated, waterproof boots on sale in Great Barrington. They aren't sexy, but so far they have proven warm and waterproof during the last two storms I had to help clean up after. This is my second pair of Canadian boots...if our northern neighbors can't make a winter boot, then no one can.

A few weeks ago I broke down and bought a long down coat for less than 100.00, and so far, that too is quite toasty. Along with that I also bought a down vest, which I wear inside the house. It is perfect for when I walk around with the headset (making dreaded phone calls to various people and agencies) as the little phone fits neatly inside the pocket, and it keeps me just warm enough so that I don't go turn up the heat.

However, today I had the heat set for 71 and the house only reached I pumped it up a bit to get it a bit warmer. I am going to have to check out putting plastic on the windows, and buying heavier curtains for some of the windows in the rooms that we don't use much as they will help keep some of the cold air out!

Off to drink some glug, which also keeps me warm!!

Patti O Heater

Monday, December 14, 2009

To all the GOOD Men

I don't know if it is age/wisdom, or facing the fact that life is so precious, but as of late, Step 4 and 5 of the 12 steps to "sobriety, strength, and serenity" have been haunting me.

I am fortunate that I have a low addiction risk considering the pretty serious issues that permeate my lineage, and I have spent many hours in the halls of Al Anon, ACOA, and in AA itself as support for those whom I love. I am grateful that I have only been brushed with some of these issues, and have had the wisdom and strength to stay relatively clean and sane.

Out of those hours I have come to see the wisdom of the 12 steps, and believe them to be a really good basis of living life. And, let's face it, most of us have some kind of problem in our families and lives, and can use some good guidance.

#4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

# Step 5 - Admitted to our higher being (if we have one), to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

At my niece's baby shower this weekend, I ran into the sister-in-law of one of the men I dated after leaving my husband. I had not seen her in some 20+ years, and re-introduced myself. I asked how J. was doing, and if he ever did get his pilot's license. He did, and he works for the UN flying between NY and Europe.

I was happy that he realized his dream of so many years ago. I also told her to send him my regards, and as a "side" I said to her: "he was so nice, but I was just out of a horrid relationship, in the middle of a divorce, and I was not able to have a relationship, nor did I know what to do with a nice man". It would be better to tell him that myself, but since that is unlikely, I hope that she carries that message to him. He was kind, he was gentle, he would have done anything for me---and I broke his heart.

The same with R., whom I was only friends with in college. Nice guy, taught me how to drive a standard on an old classic car (like a 60's Ford Fairlane or some similar car) that he had restored. He too was studying to be a pilot. I never got close enough to hurt him badly, but I am sure that he was quite disappointed when I put the kibosh on anything more than friendship. I had just moved out of my parents home from a bad situation, and what was I going to do with a nice guy who treated me with respect?

I was lucky the third time however. This nice guy I did not turn away, though I did put him through all kinds of tests. 15 years later, we are still together, and now, more than ever, I appreciate his kindness, his unconditional love, and his respect for me. I know I am not perfect and can even be an intensely strong and demanding woman, but he accepts me in spite of the few pieces of carry on baggage that I carry.... all the good men I send my sincere apologies, and hope that they found wonderful women to share their lives with. I thank them for the kindnesses they showed me, and I will always be grateful for that, more than they will ever know.

And to my GREAT man, thank you for putting up with all the nonsense over the years.
I have worked hard to be the best mate I can be....and am thankful for the chance to have a solid and honorable relationship.

Patti O Step

Photo of my brother and me circa 1965

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Card Dilemna

After reading about DOONCARDS in an article on Facebook sent to me by a friend, I realized that I need to redesign my business card to include the urls of my blog/website/twitter.

My old card is for Catskillpaper, (shown here) which has a fun design that I use in my Etsy shop and on my website), but focuses on my antique papers and my collage cards. I may keep that for now (have to change email addy however as the one on the card is the one I use for my websites for all the junk that comes through them, and I sometimes miss emails that are important) but I need something more serious.

As my art shifts into a different direction I realize that it is now time for me to present myself mainly as a landscape painter and collage artist, with the cards and ephemera as an off shoot/side business.

Which leads to the do I depict this on one card? I want to show my paintings, but I also want to show my collages as I also work in that medium too.

I could do a few things. 1) Design a business card that is two sided; one side has a lovely painting, the other an edgy collage. (both have the same site data) 2) Make two different cards; one for my paintings, and one for my collage art, and which card I hand out depends upon what the situation is. 3) Just pick one medium for heavens sake and lead them to the sites which will be a visual document of what I do?

For now I will keep my other cards (shown here) for my Etsy shop that sells mostly paper as I enclose them in orders, but I really want a strong card that shows me as a fine artist, not just a paper dealer.

So I am asking my friends, what do YOU think I should do? I really need some advice that I can start to redefining myself in a clear and creative way. I have a problem focusing in on things, and tend to go all over the place - a site for this kind of card, a site for a different kind of card, a site with art.... too much stuff, and rather ADD if you ask me.

SO Please either post to this blog, or post on Facebook......cause I need some help and I so value your advice

Patti O Confusion

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hoping for a Snow day

I need a day off. I worked hard last week, working 12 hours days. There were some days I did not even have the energy to go out and have dinner. Collapsing on the bed was more gratifying.

But the show is over. Considering the economy, I did well. The studio will be heated for a few more months thanks for the patronage of my faithful buyers and friends. I am done with production work and have a period of rest, even though my mind starts jumping ahead to Valentines Day.....

I showed both my fine art and craft items, and sold a few smaller pieces of art. I got some good feedback on my paintings, and met and enjoyed the best people, both vendors and buyers alike. It is a show I love to do once a year, as we all have a good time, no matter the weather or crowd.

And now, as the dust from my whirlwind two weeks clears, I find that there are just 2 weeks until Christmas. I have not shopped much, and need to get my ass in gear. That is what tomorrow will be for.

I am PRAYING that we have a snow day, so that I can start cleaning my house, seeing what I have bought already for some of my friends and family, and placing a majority of my online orders. I am spending less this year, especially since I did not get a raise (contract in litigation so no raises yet) and my bills have increased due to taxes, heat increases, etc. It is spending time with friends and family that means more to me and I HATE...can I repeat HATE the craziness of last minute shopping and crowds.

Off to see what I have bought so far, and make a list.

Gonna check it twice, and make sure I have gifts ESPECIALLY for those who are naughty AND nice.

Patti O Snow

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tool/Tip of the Week

I have been in the studio working away. It is the week that I finish what I can, package, label, and price.

Each year I wonder if I should have made more of this, or more of that, but in the end I end up taking a deep breath, and muttering "it is what it is".

I made a few collages which have some 3-D attachments, and am framing them in vintage frames, but not putting them under glass. I love them this way, and the art seems more accessible if it isn't hidden under a layer of glass and framing spacers. The problem was how to attach the items. Glue? Wire?

Glue is a tricky thing. Its composition and color can change over time, discoloring the art, or becoming brittle and no longer holding. Other than the Acid Free Bookbinding glue that I use with most of my collage work, I usually don't like to use glue. (save for the hot glue gun that was a necessity gluing vintage tinsel rope onto antique cards ) I decided that glue was not an option.

I bought out my trusty Dremmel, one of the best gifts that Larry has given me. Another gift that came with it was a drill press stand that the Dremmel slides into. I used a very fine bit, and it drilled smooth perfect holes in both a canvas board, and through a collaged mat board. I used very fine silver wire to attach the items to the artwork, and it looked fabulous. The items were secure, the wiring blended in/worked with the piece, and it was a minimum amount of work, which is always a good thing.

I have tomorrow to finish up any work that needs to be finished. Friday afternoon I will be deciding what to bring for display, and gather up all my goods.

Off to bed to put heat on me achin' back, and read a bit more of the Girl and the Unicorn (is that the name of it?).

Patti O Production

PHOTOS: two of the MANY handmade mini-work-of-art greeting cards that I will have this weekend!