My adventures on the information superhighway...

This blog chronicles the activities of my Etsy and Artfire shops, and my adventures as both a jewelry designer and information specialist.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seasons change...

Although as a Canadian, the weather is ever-present in my life, I was inspired to do a feature about our experience of autumn after reading today's Scoutie Girl post. Living in the Northeastern part of Canada, autumn comes early here...even earlier than many other spots on the North American continent. Days have been getting shorter for awhile now, it gets dark much more quickly, and frost is on the ground most mornings. Luckily, it hasn't snowed yet! Normally, it rains more and the light changes, it becomes flatter. This fall in particular since we're so close to the coast we've also been treated to the somewhat spent high winds from two hurricanes - so's hoping we're done with that!

As an active, sporty family we spend time out-of-doors regardless of the season, yet note the changes, and dress accordingly.
*Some* of us like to dress in outgrown clothes from the previous season. I refuse to reveal the amount of boots and coats residing in the house along with the three of us. It's embarrassing. Did I mention we sometimes have to outfit the American grandparents when they visit? Yeah, that's my excuse...

And yet, though we bundle up in the mornings when it's a mere 7°C, we find that we strip off layer after layer in the afternoon as the sun breaks through and warms everything up.
A Canadian fall is changeable, and the people know to change with it. And we cling to our outdoor cafés like a lifeboat!

Although this unfortunately means that both summer and winter clothes are out at the same time - and in a small big-city dwelling, this is a big deal,
we just don't have the space - it also means that we get the best of both worlds. Cool temperatures for sleeping, and lovely warm, but not too warm weather for playing.

Although, I expect that my husband will begin to make noises about putting the snow tires on the cars in the next week or so, I doubt we'll be skiing before December, and that we'll have plenty of days
to get in lots of long bike rides as a family. Which are MUCH more pleasureable now that the 100% humidity and 30°C+ weather has ended. We may even get in an end-of-season visit to our favorite semi-local desitination, Tadoussac, QC.

We've never brought the little bear there, but I think that he might be ready this year. Now that he's 3 he's listening much better, holding hands, and much less inclined to go running off a rock cliff into the 150 ft. deep water of the St. Lawrence. We're also planning on taking him apple-picking this year for the first time.

Honestly, fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I hate to sweat and I hate to be cold. I like wearing cute coats and fun accessories, rather than the functional keep-out-the-subzero-temps fashion that I sport during a Quebec winter. And it's a much happier time than spring as everything is melting then.

So, we're all looking forward to fall, now that it's officially here. Our local farmer's market changes its wares to reflect the season and we're now leaving watermelons and corn behind for squash and pumpkins. It's time for lovely, spicy soups and warm comfort food. Our freezer is ready for Pumpkin Spice Soup, Shepherd's Pie, and Tourtière. And I've promised my husband to learn to make Tarte au Sucre this year, so that will be joining the peach, cherry, and blueberry pies in our stash. With our weather, it's best to be prepared!

So, goodbye to summer, and Bon automne!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Beginning...

I've been so absent from blogging over the summer that I might as well say that I'm starting over, rather than just getting back at it. Although I enjoy writing immensely, so much so that it informs a good part of my off-Etsy life, I find the task of blogging to be, well, a task. Not a form of enjoyment. I always feel slightly self-conscious and sometimes struggle for a topic. I promise, I'll try to do better and post at least weekly from here on out and try harder to make it an enjoyable pasttime, rather than just another tick on my to-do list.

So, what have I been up to over the summer? Well, I've redone nearly all the pictures in my Etsy shop on a new, white background and have slowly been tweaking and relisting all my items. I've also been busy creating, and I'm happy to announce the appearance of rings in my shop (more on that in a later post), as well as some new styles of bracelets and necklaces to come. And I've embarked upon a major reorganization of our living space.

Now, I live in a typical Montreal walk-up. Big on charm, not on space. I am normally very good at keeping things organized, and knowing when to "let go" of stuff, but I've been so busy lately that things have just gotten out of control. And I live with a messie (i.e. my husband) So I finally decided that something had to give. That we need to begin purging, and to do better with organizing what's left. I began with my office space.

My office began as just that, an office. A place for me to do my "real" (paid) work, as well as my own academic research. Then we had a child. So it became a place for him to nap while I worked, and for me to stash stuff away that I didn't want him to get at. (See that background? That's my "real" work)
The pack-n-play for naps is gone as he's much to old to stay in one now, but I was being overrun by presents I was storing and books in need of repair. Warning: being a trained librarian does not mean that your child will not try to eat or destroy books.

I've always been crafty, and our closets and basement are full of my unfinished, boxed up efforts on that front. But when I decided to take my jewelrymaking public on Etsy in Sept. 2010 my office space went from being a single subject work zone with some toy issues, to a true, shared workspace - granted, between my two "selfs". And I couldn't find a darned thing.

I've long used the pile method as many academics do, but books and documents don't pile so well with boxes of beads and tools. I lost my mandrel for 2 whole weeks! Occasionally I couldn't find my purse. Business receipts? One large pile mixed in with normal bills and photocopies of 18c. French notarial documents. Not good at all.

So, I took some time, bought a lot of organizational items like drawers, accordian folders, and notebooks. Repurposed some of the carp that's just been kicking around here but was not being used. And, voilà. I now have a space where everything has a place. And I can switch happily between my two work selves. And when my son breaks in in search of "fun" things to play with - this is usually either beads or rings, he doesn't find my stash of presents anymore.

I've also managed to move some of his toys/books/miscellanea out into our very wide hallway so it's not cluttering things up as much, and is more easily accessible for both him and us. (See above photographs)

(Note to self: do not take pictures directly into sunlight) I've put all my beads in plastic cases, replacing their previous - somewhat haphazard - home in a deep Rubbermaid tub. And they now all reside in plastic drawers, sorted by color. I would have liked to have gotten something wooden, or at least prettier looking, but it just wasn't in the budget, so plastic it is for now. A third set of drawers on wheels holds mailing supplies, empty bead containers, and all the silly little plastic bags that beads come in, and that I'm determined to reuse rather than litter some landfill!

I keep magazines, books, and pages I've pulled out as inspiration on top, as well as my driftwood photo props, my works in progress, and any boxes of materials that I'm presently working on. Later in the fall I'll bring some of the flowers in from the balcony and place them in the window that sits just behind this section of storage.

On the opposite wall I have two more plastic sets of drawers which are on wheels so that they can be rolled out of the way in case I need to access my filing cabinet. Although it mostly houses articles from my comps and early work on my dissertation, I still need to get at it from time to time, so the rolling option seemed to be best. In these drawers I keep my kraft boxes, tissue paper, mailing envelopes, and supplies like glue.
On top, I've stacked my accordian folders where I keep business related receipts, and my records related to how each piece of jewelry was created. Yes, it's all in paper form in addition to being in spreadsheets. I'm old, um, old school. Some of my present research and reading (for my other life) is stacked on top for easy access. I do still need to find a home for my various bags and purses however...
(far wall, minus the purses) The final two walls, which I haven't included pictures of, house my desk with my computer, scanner, and printer and my books. Nothing too exciting, and no big changes so I didn't take any pictures. Next room on my list? Our den, my husband's "room". Watch out!

I cannot believe how much room was in this small space! I can now turn around in here without knocking anything over. It does take a little more effort to sort things immediately as they enter our home rather than just throwing them into a pile for "later", but it's been worth it so far.
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