Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last Day for Deep Clean

January 31, 2018 - 

I am cleaning a kitchen cupboard. Not one's usual kitchen space. It holds business stuff. And has since we moved here in 1993. 

There are things there from my model horse tack-making business days.
And much of more current paper things.

Till just now.
Some papers will be shredded. 
Some will be put in deep storage.
Some in less deep storage.
And some will stay put for the present time.

There will be "new" space in this old space.

On the whole, the Personal Challenge for this month has gone quite well. There are large useable surfaces in both studios and the kitchen work desk.

I have found things I knew I owned, and even stuff I didn't know we had! And I vow to USE the three gift certificates this year. YAY!

Tomorror holds a "harder" Challenge for me. Tackling the work out/weight loss effort once again. With money to "lose" (give away) if I don't attain two goals. It will interesting to see if I like gaining/keeping on pounds more than I like "losing" money....

We will find out on that last day of February..... It's coming up way too fast.

And good luck with your own life challenges!!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Another Thing I Used to Do

Once upon a time I re-painted model horses for a living.
Now, because of an event that runs though the month of February, I paint one model horse a year.

Event: National Model Painting Month, or NaMoPaiMo

Hundreds of people around the world, really, create a new coat of color on a plastic, resin, ceramic, or other kind of model horse. Yes, from around the world. In just one year NaMoPaiMo has become a wonderful thing.

Here I am looking concerned over the Breyer horse that I will be working on, off and on, through this coming and way-too-short month - 

This IS going to be Fun. I promised this little piece of plastic that it will be. 

On to our personal Grand Adventures!

and wish me luck!

This month is going to be a wild ride - 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Input - Outcome

This guy was hiding in a stack of pastels for several years. Idecided to do away with a couple large sheets - or at least use the paper for other images. This guy was up for destruction in some way.


But then he started pleading for his "life." In the olden days I would have had to to all the deciding. Not so in this day of social media. So this bear got shot - and beamed onto Facebook. I requested votes of "paws up" or "paws down." This would seal his fate.

So many votes to save him poured in. And a couple "nope"s. And some suggestions. And a dialogue began betwen two people. This was all so helpful.

This coming week will find this image being reworked. Whether "successfully"  - well, that will be determined if a customer decides on its purchase. (Yes, I am a mercenary...)

On to the beautiful day - there is much to be done. And fun to be had! Best kind of day.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Motivation - Sigh

In 2017 I had a goal of blogging at least two hundred times. And so I did this - plus one. This year I have made no such goals, and so posting has suffered.

This also happened in my SuperBetter/Planning/Bullet Journal this week. I forgot to write down goals/things that needed attention, and thus, the week went by nearly unheeded. Yes, certain things got done, but the feeling of Accomplishment somehow went missing.

I guess I am a person who requires at least some structure to how I spend my day/time. I need a reason to be doing. Goals - even if tiny ones. Visual "baby steps."

It didn't take long to find this out! So back to the ruler and markers and such. Seven spaces for days of the week, one space for Goals, and another for Notes is almost all the prompting needed. I am a sucker for filling in little boxs of "time." Or boxes of "completed." Whatever works, right?

Saturday I will start filling out the page. The form stays the same, though the tasks and possibilites flex with the situation. Then to Stay Aware and do the deeds.

Ever onward. So it goes. (Quoting famous people who knew how to get thing done.)


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Still Cleaning

Worked another hour in Studio B, and twenty minutes on The Desk. There is "space" where once there was STUFF.

As a treat I took myself and a few art supplies out for coffee (de-caf...) in mid-afternoon. The brain goes "away" when in coffe shops. I brought along the laptop and listened to a podcast of Tim Ferris interviewing tennis player, Maria Sharapova. Ferris has a way of making well-known people "normal" - even when their life stories are decidedly not! And there are always life lessons learned from each listen.

Now it is back to paying attention to another segment. And maybe working on some art. So many fellow friends who art professional artists or craftspeople are admitting to not feeling like making stuff right now. Scary? Strange?

Back to work!

Monday, January 22, 2018

New Week - Different Room

No, The Desk is not completely as organized as it could be, but it is much improved from where it stood at the beginning of last week. It is beginning to help bring Joy and Happiness instead of Dread and Fear - LOL.

This week's tackling is the room we call Studio B. No good reason for this name - but hubby and I know what we mean when we say it.

Today I listed in Planning/SuperBetter/Bullet Journal: Clean in Studio B for one hour. Then drew three little squares. Each square equals twenty minutes. For some reason this system works best for me - and so I keep using it.

First area to tackle? Printer desk and shelves - 

Not pretty. Anybody else use artistic stacking as means to store one's possessions? Time to click that timer for first twenty minutes - and, GO!

Twenty minutes later:

Magic!?! No. Simply focusing twenty minutes at a task. (I have NO idea how this "new" space will be used now, and that is O.K. A little "Zen empty" is lovely to see.)

After two more twenty minute stints the area now looks like this:

Almost like a "normal" person's working space? I AM trying...

Tomorrow holds at least another hour in this room, but also a twenty minute period back at The Desk.

And maybe time for making Art!!

Baby Steps Sue

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Today was warm for mid January here in mid- Minnesota.

It was a perfect day for the Ice Cream Social down near the frozen-over St. Croix River. (There is still a small area of open water.)

A perfect day for the Old Time Baseball game. Bare hands. Icy dark baseball. Players warming their wooden baseball bats over the flames of the blazing bonfire.

A perfect day for hot-air balloons rising over the valley. One lifted off feet away from us attending the Washington County Historical Society's Ice Cream Social.

Kids of all ages got to play baseball. Some batted the ball onto the frozen river. Sometimes almost near the open water.

Nother horrible happened.

It was a perfect day.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Desk - Part the Third

One's perception of Stuff is most always interesting. That is as vague and general as I can type.

Here are some thoughts on Stuff On Desk - 

Here is part of the top layer of Stuff on Desk:

This accumulation includes a hand-colored image of a woman riding a horse sidesaddle. My maternal grandmother colored it many years ago. It is beautiful. Can't see it? Believe me - it's here. Right next to Aaron Rodgers' head on a stick. Really.

And an unusual number of wooden coffee stir sticks are here, too. (Well, not NOW - they have been bundled and moved to main studio.) I have a thing about taking stir sticks from coffee shops. Yes, I buy a coffee. No, I usually do not use a stick there. But I do use use them here - to take glue out of tiny glue tubes. To write inspirational sentences on. Once, to paint a picture of a bear.

In the mix are tools I use often, and tools I never use. As the containers, treasures in their own rights, get sorted through, I am sure to find "that thing I spent hours looking for!" Maybe several. Or lots! That treasure hunt is yet to start.

The hand-colored styrofoam coffee shop cup has a story: Several years ago I had to go to Hudson, Wisconsin for a meeting. I liked going to a particular main street coffee place because it had a great seating area right at front windows. I could sit in the sunshine, draw, read, or journal. I always got a "to-go" cup. This day I simply thought, "Oh, the cup company has started using colors on their designs." I was wrong. The barrista and I started chatting. She said that the girl who staffed the later shift sometimes got bored, and would use markers to decorate a few cups. The morning barrista would give these cups to "special" customers! Huzzah for my luck that morning! This cup will not be leaving the top of this desk any time soon. Reasons.

Tomorrow brings more de-cluttering. And, finding more things that will trigger more memories. And one more day before the big Vikings NFL play-off game against Philly. Yes, another football fan lives in this house. He is not a Packers fan. I might just have to cheer for his team. I've done it before, but for other reasons.

The mind is now getting cluttered with football memories... I think it's best to quit typing and go on to the adventures of the evening.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Desk - Part the Second

No, I haven't been spending any/much "serious" art-making time in the studios. Why? Because of The DESK.

It was with serious intent that I planned this week around Cleaning The Desk. So far.... so not too bad.
This is how it looked at start of week. I am not Proud of this, and a 2008 photo found of same desk showed it in much the same condition, though with different "clutter." But... some, uh, of the same...
Yes, I put every single object seen here here. For a reason. There are always reasons. But now there are reasons to move on, and so it began...
Time periods were broken down to twenty minutes sections. No great reason - "twenty minutes" works best for me. So far, thirteen chunks of twenty minutes have been put to use on this project.

After forty minutes on Monday the desk looked like this:

There are a few visible clues to what's been improved, but they are hard to spot. However, I know the parts that are "better" here, and why. Not too many things have been tossed away, but lots have been moved to places where they are better off. The Box has even been addressed - I understand if you cannot tell.

Image Three is yet another evidence photo. My brain doesn't well remember how things WERE; therefore, it is best to shoot photos as proof that progress is being made. It's kind of like a "Spot the Differences" game.

More hours of cleaning have gone on since these first images, but there are still many to go. And other parts of life have to be lived as well. I am often an "all or nothing" sort - so doling out hours to particular deeds can be tough. And, odd is sounds, I am FOCUSED on this Desk Project. However, it is time to make some art now. Or do more bookkeeping, or make supper.

Tomorrow brings proof that I am being Serious about this Desk Thing. 

Perhaps it's time for tea and contemplation. And maybe a piece of toast. 

Here's a toast to Organizers/Cleaners everywhere! 

Sue the finder of a few lost things!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oh Oh

It is 8:20 A.M. I am still here in the recliner. Sucking up the Facebook. I'd planned to be elsewhere by eight. But a few topics were interesting.... and Goodbye, Time.

However, I'vee walked an hour worth of laps through the house, worked the ol' spine and arms out with a kettlebell, and listened to some wise words spoken by Seth Godin.

The day is grey and cold, and I will hope that the old yet feisty mini-van starts on the first try. Planning to spend a certain amount of time with (mostly) good people at breakfast. And then back to work on The Desk.

Note to self:

Then take time to play.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Desk - Part the First

What seems to be working best here in the Battle for A Neater Home is to do stuff early and often.

I have a particular notebook that I designed for a week's worth of particular doings. With daily areas, Goals for Week space, and another simply titled Notes.

Lots of little boxes to fill in - I have to have my little spots for baby steps. Most often twenty minute attempts - brave or otherwise.

This morning's Desk Meeting lasted three twenty mintue squares. Two in a row, a short break for breakfast, and another right after.

A large area on the top of shelves is now very much "better." The box with art fair application information makes sense. Some things from the box have been moved to better places for their purposes. Some things were tossed in recycling box! Memories, good and bad, were re-discovered.

Now I feel more certain I won't miss the number of art fair applications I missed this past year - a few by one day! The master list for applications was been blocked out, as well as anaother sheet of paper for other possible events for which to apply. It is good to mix up events from time to time - new shows might add new fans to one's work. One never knows what jurors will decide, though, and some shows remain favorites through the years. Applying to art fairs is almost the only way I gamble...

Also worked on is a small wooden box on the left-hand side of the desk. Papers thought to be "important" go there. And then lie ignored - sometimes for years. Again, some sheets get tossed, and others get re-filed (so to speak). All of the single pieces I touched are now no longer in this box. More baby steps. Many more memories.

Now I am back in Studio B for an hour of dealing with greeting cards. Most of them are under control, but there are always a few that escape, and must be rounded up and put back in their proper numbered boxes. No, they don't escape on their own. Yes, it takes longer to put them back than to take them out...

It's time to quit typing, and start listening to the Golden State Warriors battle the Cleveland Cavaliers. This Packer fan actually enjoyed watching Vikings fan husband go slightly crazy after that most unlikely post-season victory by "his" team. Listening to sports  on the radio is just enough unreal reality for the brain to relax and focus and almost enjoy working at mundane tasks. Yes, I know. Multi-millionaires moving balls to other places, and other multi-millionaires trying to stall their progress.

As Kurt V. wrote: "So it goes."

and today a pal inspired me to attempt some different artwork - 
now to do the doing!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Quote

From the book The War of Art:

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got."


How I Spent My Saturday

I spend five hours today with other members of the Lake Country Pastel Society.

Everybody else painted landscapes.
I started working on an overly-colorful bunny.

The End

Friday, January 12, 2018

The DESK....

While scribbling in my regular scribbly journal this morning I focused on writing about how the January Personal Challenge to de-clutter was coming.

I am O.K. with progress so far. Lots more horizontal surfaces that are clean, useful, and not dangerous to walk through. Well, not dangerous, but some of you know what I mean.

As the listing of the areas now clean grew, one very nearby spot kept whispering, "I'm not on the list.... I'm not on the list..." The source of this haunting whisper??? Um... my ever faithful antique maple kitchen work desk. 

Dear Desk,
     Thank you for bringing this fact to my attention. It is not for 
appreciating your value, and the usefulness you bring to my every day. And I do mean Every Day. You are right there. Solid. Sturdy. Ready to hold anything heaped upon you, or shoved into your most innermost spaces. Sadly, I take you for granted, and forget the JOY of finding you waiting for us at Midtown Antiques those many years ago.
     In the over twenty years you have quietly served me you have witnessed an almost complete change in your use.
   Once upon a time you held working supplies for my model horse tack-making business. Now your job is mainly to keep hold of papers, paintbrushes, and other art supplies. And ideas. Tiny books filled with sketches, words, and ideas. And that drawer of "scrap" paper. You still hold that plastic drawer container from those tack-making days. It still holds tiny metal things and single-edged razor blades, and paper clips, and leather lacing. And needles and waxed linen thread. Useful things are useful things.
    Anyway, I decided, and WROTE DOWN IN TWO JOURNALS that next week is YOUR Week. You will be the focus of my thought and de-cluttering deed.
    I would wish for you to be a place of Joy and Usefulness. Restful yet energizing to the mind and eye. Are you feeling almost excited? Or more, yah, what took you so long?
     Hoping that you will accept my sincere apologies, and will help me face this task and adventure with seriousness, happiness, and no feelings of the doing being drudgery.

Sincerely yours,


Now, on to the rest of the day's adventures.

and wish me luck - 
Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Twenty Minutes

Another day - another quest.
This time it is the table in my main working studio.
Not much room to work, is there?

This space has been more a holding area for the past three months than a place to use for creating. Timer set? Yup. Twenty minutes - and, GO!

I do love using timers. And twenty minutes works best for me.

Amazingly, orders got mailed, mats, pastels, and other art supplies were returned to the places they belonged in, and I got reacquainted with LeBron James and Seth Curry.

Some things got tossed. Some things got filed. An edge of newspaper got taped down. I couldn't replace the paper yet, because I scribbled some quotes about Michael Phelps and his coach in that purple area. And I may have a hoarding issue with small empty plastic containers. We shall see come serious art-making time.

After twenty minutes?

Not perfect, but a functioning surface one again. When one has an area on which to work, there is a far better chance of work getting done.  One less excuse. And James and Curry might be watching!

It is quite wonderful to find how much can be made clear of clutter if one focuses for just fifteen or twenty minutes. I have been doing this experiment early in the morning, and therefore feeling a bit accomplished before eight A.M. 

Breakfast even tastes better!

Yes, this evening I started a pastel painting on the table. We will see how painting and trying to keep pastel "clutter" at a minimum works out. Wish me luck! I'll need it.

On to the challenges in your day!
With mixed emotions I've already scoped out mine for tomorrow. 
And the next day.... and the next. And...

So, fare-thee-well,
Sue the Timed De-Clutterer

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Space 2 -

Fifteen minutes dealing with the various stuff on top of my dresser - yes, there were rubber duckies and rubber monsters among the various varieties of things that had no real business being there.

I boxed up journals from many years - sneaking in short peeks at former days. That IS mainly why I write - to know that things DID happen. And to note life-long stuff I am still dealing with. At least I am not dealing with journals on my dresser. Well, except for the one documenting the Packers winning that now almost long ago most recent Super Bowl. 

So this is what part of this lovely oak dresser looks like now:

Still much to do with books, and vintage hats, and VHS tapes of Packers games, but a good start to note. Photos can remind one of what is possible, and how much more relaxing a clean space is to live with. I MUST REMEMBER THIS.

Today's time was spent dealing with main studio work table. One hour equaled a now useful large work space.

Personal Challenge for January? O.K., so far. Yes, one can always do more, but I am content with steady progress. And spaces relaxing to the eye. And areas now useful again.

Oh, and the surveyor's tripod lamp is no longer our "Christmas tree" again. So the New Year is truly feeling 2018.

On to the grand and not so grand adventures it will hold! And maybe some merry bears doing joyful things.

And, if you feel the need to de-clutter - just set a timer for ten, fiftenn, or twenty minutes and focus on one space. It is seriously doable! Good Luck!!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

One Space

Early this morning I set a timer for ten minutes. Just ten. Not an hour. Not a day.

And now one bookcase is "better."
And one more little area of the house is clear of stuff.
Because of ten minutes.

Some people might not think that a new "Zen" space will not make much of a difference in a day or life. But it does to me. And that's what counts. What counts for oneself. 

What counts for you this year?
We are all different in our priorities.
That is O.K.

I have to get back to creating art. And caring about creating. But first I want to make welcoming spaces in which to do so. The studios await much de-stacking. Much sorting. Much "putting back." Some getting-rid-of. Some giving-to. Some tossing in trash.

But there is always some space for drawing and painting. So then it's time to do some drawing and painting. Perhaps a subject can be clutter! Or wide open spaces...!!

Sigh and laugh out loud.

On to the mysteries of the day!!


Wednesday, January 3, 2018



Moving/putting away "Clutter" 
is not
the same
Removing "Clutter."


Daylight is starting to peek over horizon earlier and earlier! Sure, I feel a little sad for friends in New Zealand and Australia, but not much. This is another "miracle" of Facebook for me - the sharing of our opposite seasons through the year. If it is one way here it is the other way there - and so we keep twirling 'round giving eachother Hope in the days that are our darkest.

This morning I remembered that a sis-in-law gave me an indoor greenhouse for Christmas! I am hoping that this is going to be a wonderful addition to the kitchen "green space" soon. It measures 27.5 inches wide by 19 inches deep by 63 inches high. With four steel shelves, and a clear vinyl cover and roll-up zippered door panels. It might just save our marriage come seed-starting time! Hubby doesn't appreciate my messy "system" that works O.K., but isn't lovely to look at.

I've also started to grid out the calendar of potential art fairs for 2018. Because of early Spring travels last year I forgot to to do - thus, missing at least two favorite art fair application dates by ONE day! Stay AWARE. Stay Aware! I Hope to do much better at this.

Already done today - it's 7:50 A.M. - thirty minutes of ugly jogging laps in house, and work on twelve hearts on paper. Baby steps on 2018 Heart Project. And, watching YouTube videos on how a few others create particular kinds of journals. Todd lucked into a bunch of off-sized (for me) lovely lined journals from Canada. All the same style. Another cool gift to get! Some may find their way into Little Free Libraries, because I believe in donating sketchbooks and journals to places like these.

O.K., time to sip another cuppa, and get on with another bitterly cold day - half spent working at no-water-yet American Gothic Antiques. A few more shops are warming up/opening up in downtown Stillwater. The brave-hearted shoppers have been coming through the doors through the wickedest cold. That's one reason to try keeping a store-front open during "Open" hours whenever possible. We, too, have traveled to far-away destinations to be met with locked dark stores. Yes, there are always reasons for this being done. But an open door is a good thing to offer during minus twelve degree days. 

So, on to the only January 3rd, 2018 we will probably ever witness!
I might even make some Art...


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

30 Day Personal Challenge - Clutter - Again

Jaunary's 30 Day Personal Challenge? 
Dealing with "clutter." Again.
Like ridding the house of "30 Things for 30 Days" challenge I did some Novembers ago. But different.

This time the definition of "clutter" encompasses more than the stuff in the house and studios. Clutter in mind is a big one. Clutter in the doings is another. 

Time to baby step and giant stride through this messy month.
Others have been tackling the piles and stacks all year though.
It is time again here to join the game.

The book "SuperBetter" offers a way to game oneself through much of life. One gets "Power Ups" in a variety of ways. One names the "Bad Guys" with which one battles. There are "Quests" through the days. One can achieve "Epic Wins."

It's worked for me before. And will be put to use again.
Hi-o! Clutter away!!


Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

"However, one can not put a quart in a pint cup." 
                               - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year - New Days

Today was spent working a full day's shift at Stillwater, MN's American Gothic Antiques. Because of  seriously below zero weather for much of a week many businesses in town, including this place, have frozen water pipes. Some places have no heat.
We at least had warm enough interior to keep the store open.

But tomorrow I am wearing wool socks and serious boots because my toes were numb by the time we closed at 5 P.M.

Oddly enough, we had brave hearted customers and pretty good sales.

I had three solid Life Chats with folks who came to shop. Mainly about their toys they had as young people and the impact their toys had on them. (Don't wreck your siblings' toys - just sayin'!)

Fare-thee-well and on to the new New Year!
- Sue