Understanding My Demons

There has hardly been an art fair where I have found a piece of art made by someone else that I was willing to plunk down good money for. You know how we artsy types are. We see something and immediately think, “I could make that.” In fact, I will go so far as to say that we not only think we could make it, but were immediately calculating how we could sell some as well. But do we?

I have so many projects started that are hidden away in the deep dark recesses of my house, that even I don’t know where they are. Each and every supply was purchased with a feverish glee and a glowing visual of a long afternoon, crafting with my favorite tea cup.

Artsy folks have a different way of feeling about things. We get excited over scissors, crazy over crayons, and could lose our complete shit over a garage sale with drapery fabrics. So it goes without saying that no matter how much chenille we have vying for our attention, we will still get misty eyed at the opening of a new craft store.

Non-artsy muggles do not understand what happens when the magic takes over and the creative juices start flowing. It’s like being possessed. I remember one right minded person whining to me “You’re starting something else? Do you know how much crap you have in the closet already?” Hmpf!

I would just grin (mostly because it made him mad) and say, “I’m not in the mood to do THAT today.” It wasn’t a lie. All I wanted to do was knit, sew, or paint whatever it was that didn’t include what I had already started. I was not interested at all in a French knotted Christmas tree skirt or a mosaic tiled ashtray. I wasn’t trying to be wasteful. It was the joy of using my hands and working on a project that was my high. I think it’s similar to people who love to read when they crack open the book for the first time and smell.. well whatever it is THOSE people do.

I recently started thinking about my long lost projects, and even began working on a few of them again. Why would I spend so much time on something if I was never going to finish it? I was certainly able to finish them. I even thought I would finish them. So what was my issue? Then I started thinking about the creative process. Perhaps it’s not the bread I want to eat, but the kneading of the dough… maybe it’s not the flowers I wanted, but the digging in the dirt… and maybe it’s not a trim fit body I wanted… but the running on the treadmill… ok, let’s not go that far.

Then the blue light went off in aisle 7, the lightbulb in my head started to beam… I finally thought of something that made sense of all the bags and boxes of unfinished quilts and cross stitched bibs crammed in the crevices of the 3rd floor towel closet… I suddenly realized that it wasn’t the monogrammed bathroom tiles that made me happy… it was something so much bigger. It wasn’t the painted pots on my porch… and it wasn’t even the laminated Woman vs Wild bookmark that I started working on in 2012. It wasn’t the THING… it was the creating. The joy was in the DOING. Ah, I’m not a spend-a-holic. I’m a do-a-holic. Satisfied, I kicked a stray roll of raffia into the shoe rack and closed the door to my walk-in closet. I finally understood my demon. Your joy is not the flippin’ mountain, Deb, it’s the climb!

Technology- Push the Button

It is unfair to say that I am not a fan of modern technology, but I would say that there sure as hell are parts of it that are not my friend. I do not know what is my issue with keeping my devices charged, as it would surely be a simple thing to plug them in each night. This small move would assure that I am rip roarin’ ready in the morning, but in my defense, you can only plug the damn things in, if you can find them! It is a running joke about where have I left my phone in the office. I spend time each day looking for my iPad, to view the App that tells me where I left my phone. Oh it’s comical alright. Little do they know that I also misplace the bugger at home, in the car and well, just about everywhere I go. My husband, Chance, gives me a lot of grief over this, but in fact, he is likewise missing a lot of expensive hats! Just sayin’

The frustration with my electronic items does not stop there. I also cannot find the chargers that go with them. In the rare instance that I do have a charger, it is not the right one. Why the heck do they make so many different kinds and that does not even count the cords that hook them to other uncooperative things like my computer or my car.

It has been my greatest triumphs to figure out how to FaceTime with my kids, down or upload videos onto YouTube (I’m never sure which one it is) and set up my iPod with a killer playlist which is Blue Toothed to my new mini speaker. Booyah, this girl is on fire!! My Nikon can magically send pics to an App on my iPad, my FitBit can tell me when to pee, and I can set my coffee maker to perk a cup of Frappe latte at 4:30 a.m. every morning. What more do I need?

A lot. These are just gateway devices. There is a hell of a lot more to explore, but I gotta take it slow. Keeping up with technology is imperative for living my Red Shoe Life, but I usually end up in a virtual reality nightmare of an endless warren of wires, and the monotonous hum of a aol dial up.

Figuring out technology can be frustrating, but it is key to keeping up with current events, medical breakthroughs and of course, the Kardashians. Surfing the internet helps me carry on an intellectual conversation, save money on my car insurance and experience world events as if I were actually there. It stimulates my brain, keeps the temperature in my home at a steady 72 degrees and allows me to order a 50 bag of sheep food to be delivered without ever leaving the house.

If you think that sounds exciting, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video called Red Shoe Life-Virtual Reality for a good laugh. The kids gave me a quick tutorial on a few simple technical games and had a hearty snicker at my expense. Truly, if you want to know how to figure out something technical… ask a kid.

Guys, all joking aside, this is serious. Being able to use technology is a key component to living a Red Shoe Life, and it is very easy for it to get ahead of you. Don’t let it intimidate you. There are whole stores full of people just standing around waiting for you to ask them a question (and sell you the latest gizmo). Ask them. Ask everyone until you understand. Don’t be afraid. There isn’t a button on any home gadget that will end the universe. Live your Red Shoe Life and push the button. Push all the buttons.

I do, when I can find them.

Just Under the Wire

Sliding in head first, just under the wire, I have finally fulfilled my New Year’s resolution of writing a post in January.  I just couldn’t get started.  Not that I didn’t have things to talk about… just the opposite.  So much has happened.. better start at the beginning.   For those of you who are new to my Red Shoe Life Transformation Blog, you’ll have to scroll back through some of the old posts to get the gist. In a nutshell, it has been an account of last year’s efforts to transform everything about my life from my grass to my ass.  I had a lot of trials and tribulations with failed attempts to renovate certain areas, but in the end (no pun intended) I finished the year minus a crap load of well.. crap, a few re-organized areas on the farm, and give or take 50 lbs. vanished off the scale.  As my readers will attest, it wasn’t without a fight.  Every single thing that was accomplished was so freaking frustrating, but I am blessed with superhuman stubbornness and a psycho’s persistence to throw fits until I get my way until I get what I’m after.

An example you ask?  Well, the 30 foot mud hole in my backyard, that was once our pool, is now a fabulous party mecca complete with ice buckets  and red beach balls.  It only took three summers and 6 or 7 pool companies to make things right.  At last, I can sit poolside with my keto lemonade  and not worry about beavers building condominiums under the fiberglass slide.  Yes, I have jackhammered holes in my relatively new cement, the lawn is incredibly rutted up, and, of course, my bank account took about a 10 thousand dollar hit, but my fabulously fixed oasis now shoots jets of sparkling water hard enough to tear off your tankini and the water actually stay IN the pool.   If you have ever spent a summer in Memphis, you’d know… this is a wonderful thing.

If you are keeping score, the simultaneous floor debacle has at last resolved itself.  We got a raw floor just before Thanksgiving and the project finished  one week before setting up our Christmas tree. After two years of living without a floor and 1 year of living with nothing but dirt… all it took was a shit load of money and a new contractor.  Who knew?  I now happily slide around in socks singing “Just Give Me That Ol’ Time Rock and Roll”

Needless to say, I am very thankful for closing the book on those chapters, but am ready to finally move on.  You see, at the end of last year I almost got to the point where I was going to throw in the towel.  The contractors, lawyers, employers and doctors ALMOST got the best of me, and unfortunately I stopped blogging about it, mainly because it just sounded like whining. Friends said I should have just kept blogging, but it seemed like such a broken record.   I had followed my own advice and put myself out there.  I tried new things and met new people, and frankly, it didn’t work out as expected.  At all.  The drama, the frustration and the disappointment were crazy. Here’s the good part though.  Even when it sucked that it didn’t work out the way I planned, in the end it was EVEN BETTER!!!  I’ll have many more posts regarding each aspect of the transformation, but just note that I’m happy to be back in the game” and all of the blubbering from last year is finally over.  I am excited to say, however, you’ll need to get ready for some new blubbering.  January is the beginning of the second half of my transformation.  It will include another 50 pound loss, a fitness challenge, another renovation, new friends, new skills and a brand new grand baby!  Hang on for some really deep stuff…hahah, not just the hike through the Grand Canyon deep… but holy crap I’m almost 60 deep.

Happy New Year Red Shoe friends, and welcome to Chapter Two. I’m not just sliding in under the wire,  I’ve got my sights set on a whole new finish line.

Deb’s Dreads

Life on the farm has been a swampy mess lately.  It finally thawed out and now has had at least two weeks of monsoon conditions, causing my girls to be cranky and not their usual glamorous selves.  Even Andrew, my Southdown Baby Doll sheep is moping.  I miss his smiling little face as he waits patiently for the other roller rink floozies to fight over the sweet feed.   I just muck around in my waders, schleppin’ hay and tidbits to higher and higher ground.  I’ve even been eyeing a pile of old fence wood contemplating building an ark.  BTW, thanks Bri and Brandon for the IKEA bag… it is working great for hauling hay and keeping spiders out of my hair!

So yes, I have a collection of sheep that I originally got to spin their wool and make art yarn. I love their wool.  It’s soft and fluffy… and so plentiful…  I even have a wonderful spinning wheel that I use to hang clothes on in my bedroom and drag out to the Mid-South Spinning Club once a year. The tubbies in my garage are really stacking up.  What to do… what to do?

I guess I lost my enthusiasm for yarn when I realized that I just can’t knit or crochet…  tried it… can’t do it. Perhaps I should have taken that into consideration before I purchased the sheep…  The other downer is that most people in Memphis just don’t wear woolen socks and hats.  Go figure!  I just had to come up with some other way to use all this wool.   That is when it hit me…  woolen dreads!  If you are unfamiliar with these cool beauties, check out Google or Pinterest and see all the vibrant colors and adornments.  My brain exploded when I saw how creative I could get with it and immediately fell in love with the whole process.   Thus, Deb’s Dreads were born.

Today the dreads went even further out on the limb of the crazy tree… One of my awesome sisters has a beach side gig where she sells wooden nautical art and driftwood masterpieces.  It’s called “The Wooden Peg” (her name is Peggy) and if you are ever near Jensen Beach, you’ll have to check her out.  One of the biggest sellers at The Wooden Peg are mermaids.  She hand cuts them, paints them, puts on the do-dads and voila… Ariel swims off the shelf faster than Peg can make them.  So one day we were yakkin’ about a new project and it suddenly popped up that it would be cool if the mermaids wore dreadlocks.  Hmm…  hot pink perhaps??  This conversation resulted in me making a set for her today which will be ready for the dying process tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to sew on the little pink sequins and tiny sparkly shells!

This got me thinking about other types of dolls.  I rang Florida and asked if she could make me a stand up version that I could make colorful dresses, head raps and dreadlocks.  Now my head hurts… I’m going to have to get more sheep…

Stay tuned for the finished projects and let me know if my knitting days are over.  In the meantime, making dreads for my human customers keeps me happy and insures that I can continue to use my spinning wheel as a clothes rack… or better yet… use it as the helm’s wheel on my new ark!

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Keeping Keto

As the days of Fall Break speed by, we had one last chance for a sunny day lunch excursion.  It seems like I have been doing nothing but eating this entire week, but when I hopped onto the scale this morning, I was actually down 2 pounds.  Go me!  So with a positive attitude, we headed south into Mississippi.  It was a toss up between Holly Springs and Olive Branch, and as I had heard so much about O.B., the Mini Cooper led the way.  I was so excited to find this quaint and beautifully coiffed old-fashioned Town Square, chock full of antique stores, one-of-a-kind cafes and all sorts of artsy shoppes.  It was so hard to choose where to eat, and as we only had a short window of time, we flipped a coin and headed towards an eclectic little coffee house.  I would imagine that parking could be a challenge during peak times, but as luck would have it, the mighty Mini squeezed right in!  Pink’s Coffee House was not hard to find with it’s hot pink door  completely decorated with irresistible Halloween cuteness.   I just had to check it out.

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Pink’s did not disappoint. The place smelled like heaven and there was so much cool stuff to look at, it took a minute to figure out what the hell was happening!  The front room with it’s mismatched cafe tables and chairs had piles board games and there was artwork from local artists, funky statues, and signs about everything covering the walls. There was even a pile of stuffed fish net stocking LEGS, with leopard print shoes hanging out of a basket.  No sure what that was all about, but sooo whimsical!

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Along with the books and board games, each table had a large empty can with a roll of paper towel stuck in it and a pair of stripped witch legs showing off high heeled Red Shoes.  I knew I was in the right place!

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The menu was vast covering all kinds of breakfast goodies as well as sandwiches galore!  I started looking for my Keto selection, but didn’t have to look far.  This restaurant was all about it’s low carb customers and was ready with some amazing menu items.

First on the list was some scrumptious looking crust-less quiches.  I saw broccoli, mushrooms, bacon etc..  FABULOUS!!  I also snapped a pic of the quiches WITH crusts, just so you could compare how good it all looked!

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I finally decided on egg salad with olives (which should have been called Egg & Olive Branch, haha!).  It was served on a couple of lettuce leaves with a homemade pickle.  I LOVE  olives, so this was a big treat.  I hadn’t had that combination in years.  Wow!

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There was also pimento cheese, spicy and non-spicy, tuna and chicken salad and some mighty BLT’s to name a few, but here is the BEST part!  You can have your “sandwich” ingredients served on bread of all kinds, croissants, rolls etc..  but for Keto lovers, you could have it all served on a salad…

OR on two giant rounds of crispy bacon that serve as the “bread” that holds it all together.

Holy Crap!!!

I recommend this Coffee House with a Red Shoe Life thumbs up!  Thanks, Pink,  for keeping it Keto!

Be sure to look for an extensive interview with Pink and her other Keto recipes in my upcoming eBook full of dining-out options!  In the meantime, check out her extensive coffee and tea offerings and enjoy it in their outdoor seating area.  She has it all!

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Wyncies Woolery

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Named for the lovely lane in England where my husband’s grandmother lived.  “The Wyncies'”  thatched roof cottages and winding country lanes stole my heart and began my obsession with all things sheepy!

My little flock include Old English Southdown Baby Dolls and Shetlands, who boast names like Agnes, Andrew and Penelope. Both breeds are miniature in stature, but surely make up for it in personality!

Of course, I will be blogging now and then about my escapades with wool, but today my post is about making woolen dreadlocks.

I know, I know, unusual you say. Well, not really. Just unusual in MY world until now.  I have been having so much creative fun with this.  Just Google woolen dreads and you will see the most amazing works of art. They are dyed awesome colors and adorned with beads, fabrics and beautiful jewelry… All of which is right up my ally.

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It is a lengthy process if you start by shearing your own sheep.

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Then the fleece is sent to a fiber mill…which takes six weeks and eventually it returns to me like this!

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then comes the fun part of making them into dreads.

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and dying them.

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And then you get to wear them!!!

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Hahaha! You guys should never let me stay home by myself!