Monday, November 26, 2007

Disappearing Act

OK folks. This is your warning. I start my classes tomorrow and depending on how bad the commute is will determine how often I can post between then and 12/6. I'll do my best but I ain't guaranteeing anything.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Can I Quote You On That?

I was reading the latest issue of "The Craft Report" earlier today and came across a quote that struck me, "Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." That was from the oh so talented Ella Fitzgerald. It's a very poignant statement at this time in my life. One I hope to commit to memory.

I've come across quotes from time to time that make me take a pause. I thought I'd share a few with you:

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." ~Bill Cosby

"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." ~Georgia O'Keeffe

"Not all those that wander are lost." ~J.R.R. Tolkien

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies in us." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." ~T. S. Elliot

"You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far." ~Uncle Remus in Song of the South

"Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before." ~Joseph Campbell

"The trick is growing up without growing old." ~Casey Stengel

"Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." ~Mary Kay Ash

"The most potent muse of all is our own inner child." ~Stephen Nachmanovitch

"Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience." ~Victoria Holt

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching." ~Mark Twain

"Saying no can be the ultimate self-care." ~Claudia Black

"Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew." ~Guillaume Apollinaire

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Pledge Allegiance...

I pledge allegiance to making and buying handmade gifts this holiday season as well as in the future.

While sorting through email I came a cross a wonderful item in my BeadingDaily newsletter. It's called the "Buy Handmade" campaign that encourages people to shop for handmade gifts and support independent artists. If you don't make it and least buy from other artists however you find them; online, art and/or craft shows, from family and friends... I'd actually seen the email a few days ago and saved it to look at it again in more detail. Now that I am, it fits nicely into an earlier post about gift giving and Christmas.
The thought of making something to give to someone I care about just appeals to me whole heatedly. I've regularly bought handmade items over the years as presents but I want to include more and more work from lesser known artists (the ones that don't get into the shows or galleries). And I have a selfish reason as well. I want to be able to sell my work one day soon and in order to give me that chance, I need to support and encourage others so the world knows the value of handmade.
I'm behind on my gift making, as in haven't even started, but for those items I don't make or IOU, I'll be buying them. From Etsy, craft shows big and small, co-op galleries, studio tours, friends and wherever else good things appear.
Anyone else wanna take the pledge? Click above or on the sidebar icon and check out this worthwhile effort for yourself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

So today several of us met at the Combattitude gym to watch the full (missing footage added in) version of "Enter the Dragon" starring Bruce Lee. To say we had a great time is an understatement. Firstly because here was an opportunity to see the version of the movie that Bruce Lee had wanted to make in the first place. Then we had narration/explanations from Chuck, owner of the gym, who has lived the martial arts life since he was a young child. How cool was it to watch a scene and recognize some of the moves we'd been learning. SWEET!!

Nostalgia hit me while watching the movie. Except for the fact that I wasn't sitting on my grandfather's bed back in New York at the time, the afternoon reminded me of watching "Kung Fu Theater" with him. Every Saturday, there I'd be with him and my brother watching some guy kicking some one's butt while flying through the air for an incredibly long amount of time. When the more modern movies came on, they weren't always as interesting unless they have Bruce Lee in them. He was just too smooth for his own good. There he was, surrounded by 10 guys and after taking out most of them, he'd motion one guy to take him on with the "come here" waggle of his fingers. The guy would of course foolishly come at him and Bruce would send him flying. Taking out the guy sneaking up behind him at the same time.

I never wanted to be the person who got into fights. I had no desire to ever get hurt. I'd never had the desire to take karate, tae kwan do, or any other form of martial arts because I didn't think I'd understand it and again, I didn't want to get hurt! Falling into Combattitude was purely accidental (visiting the school as a favor to a friend). Chuck and Suz, his wife, don't teach fighting so people can go out and kick 10 guys butts whenever they want to. They teach fitness, confidence, and how to defend yourself if necessary. What they teach is adjusted for everyone's needs and abilities. Some people are there just to stay fit or lose weight. Others for self defense. A few want to get into the movies (stunts) and here's an opportunity to learn from a real Hollywood fight choreographer. Once you have the basics, it's just a matter of where you want to go with it. Me? I'm a sponge and have been taking in every blasted thing they've shown me. I'm even taking stick fighting which looks beautiful when done correctly.

Sounds terribly violent? Not really. It can be but it doesn't have to be. Everything is taught with a respect for the art, a respect for one's self and a whole lot of fun mixed in. Where else can you learn how to disarm a person holding a stick and find yourself laughing hysterically in the processes? Chuck and Suz (and everyone else at the school/gym/studio) aren't here to show off. Those that come with that intention end up not hanging around. This is the Cobra Kai dojo from "The Karate Kid" movies. No trophies in the window. No taking a person out nonsense. There are no mirrors anywhere so you can primp and show off. My mom is even having fun doing it!

When we're not learning how to do the various techniques, we're learning how to think. That's where the famous quote, "The Art of Fighting Without Fighting" comes in. Rather than be this emotional wild child, think. Either to avoid a fighting situation or to quickly end a situation so you can get out of there, think. To not be locked into a set series of movies or a single style, think.

Oh and when we're not learning how to fight, we also have the opportunity to learn cosplay combat. Think Star Wars fans in full costume not just holding a lightsaber but actually doing a skit that looks like it's right out of the movies!

Yes, that's me near the end of the video. =)

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The food has all been put away (in the tummy as well as the refrigerator) and everyone has smiles on their faces.

It was a pleasant Thanksgiving overall. We drove over to the eastern shore to visit the hubby's parents and have lunch. Then we headed back to our place so that I can get dinner going before my brother arrived for dinner, movies, and lots of laughter. Roasted chicken, braised carrots, roasted purple potatoes and TWO kinds of pie. For 3 people there was plenty of food let me tell you. I could have had any brother in the world but I am thankful that I have my brother. He is dear and special to me and I am so proud of him. Now to find him a girlfriend.

Tomorrow we have hangout time at our gym, they're screening "Enter the Dragon" which I haven't seen since I was a kid. Then we're seeing either one set of friends or another though which is still in the air until we narrow down timing. Regardless they are all wonderful people that I am very thankful for having in my life.

The only sad note is that my mom is working in Ohio at the moment so I didn't get time to spend with her but we did get to talk lots this morning. We're debating, no plotting, going to Convergence next year. We've been wanting to attend the convention for years but either the location was too far, the classes were of no interest, or we had other plans that conflicted. This year the convention is in Tampa, FL and the classes are incredible!

So now it's getting late and Bry and I are getting sleepy (actually he's out cold on the sofa now). Thank you all for being such wonderful people. I hope everyone had a great day and have only joyful memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pay It Forward

I was just reading through a couple of blogs that I like and came across this idea on FiberFish's blog. She found it elsewhere, but I think it's a great idea.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

So, if you are interested in receiving a handmade something from me, leave a comment. The first three will receive something...........knitted, beaded, food? Who knows?

This post actually feeds nicely into a discussion I was having with my mom and then again with a friend today. Presents and gifts should be meaningful. Something you want the person to have rather than some item that will be forgotten a day after the wrapper comes off. It can be as simply as a handmade card to your favorite couple saying you'll watch their child one evening so they can finally have a night out to themselves, or as extravagant as buying every movie your loved one's favorite actor/ess ever made and then creating your own movie marathon (don't forget the popcorn!)

In something I was reading recently, there was a challenge to only spend $3.98 (or something like that) on each person and have the receipts to show for it. What makes the challenge a real challenge is that not only can they not spend more than the set amount, they also can't spend less. They have to spend exactly the sum agreed to. I think one person said they bought a beautiful card and a pack of the person's favorite gum to get the right amount.

For years my mother and I made most of our Christmas gifts and all of our cards, spending months and months getting everything together. One year we were so busy we only did bought presents and cards and several family members and friends thought we were mad at them or something until they realized no one received anything handmade that year. LOL!!!

The point is, the old adage that it's the thought that counts is real. I'm hoping to get back to this sentiment this year and all future Christmases with my family. What I'm hoping to convince everyone to do is that we should have a family trip each year, either before or after the holidays, and make the Christmas presents themed to the trip. Maybe a new camera or journal for the trip or something neat from the destination. Whatever the outcome, I just want present giving to be special again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cooking Up A Plan

So now is the confusing process of deciding what I want to do with my life next. No, not what I want to be when I grow up? I’m never going to do that. I just want to figure out what I want to do with this current phase of my life.

I’m researching culinary options at the moment. It’s probably my greatest love with arts and crafts following right on its heels. There’s no reason why I can’t do both though one will have to be the bread and butter and the other more a hobby. I’ve received so much negative feedback from family and friends about becoming a chef but with the culinary arts I don’t have to be limited to working in a restaurant. I think that’s what everyone who told me I shouldn’t go into that field years ago only saw. There are so many other options! Cookbook editor or author, recipe tester, recipe or product developer, catering, sommelier, cooking teacher, private chef, personal chef, etc…

I’ve loved to cook since I was a little girl; pulling out the various kitchen drawers in order to make myself a little step ladder to get up into the spice cabinet. For what you ask? Why to get the container of parsley to sprinkle on my buttered toast. During the entire process I would do my best to imitate the voice of my hero Julia Child; a budding young gourmet was I at age 6. As I got older and my grandmother allowed me to cook more food on my own, I was again the little chef as I doctored my Campbell’s soup or worked on my perfected recipe for blueberry muffins (they where from a box but still) when visiting my great grandmother.
Once I was into my teenage years, I was cooking all the time and even considered cooking school then but was “convinced” out of it. I loved going to restaurants and then go home and try to figure out how the meal I had was made. Cookbooks and cooking magazines could be found all over my room along side magazines with pictures of the members from Duran Duran or John Stamos in them.
My grandmother and great-grandmother were both excellent scratch cooks and I know it was their influence on me that made me love cooking so much. The best yeast rolls in the world, so soft and yeasty and dripping in butter. Beef stews that made every nook and cranny in the house smell divine. Macaroni and cheese to make a grown person weep for joy! And one of these blasted days I’m going to figure out how to make fried chicken like they did! For now I have to be content buying it already made but it’s just not the same.

Through high school and college I watched my friends go to cooking school, even helped several of them with their projects. Tried to help my brother look into pastry school (his talent among others is baking) though he decided to go into computers instead. THEN, once I realized that computers weren’t of any interest to me did I finally look at cooking and say, “Hey stupid! Why not look into cooking school yourself? And I did but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. Bills to pay, no night courses at the school I wanted to go to (they’d canceled that track the year before I decided I wanted to go to school again), immaturity on my part, and on and on.

Jump to the present day. I’m looking at two schools at the moment, L’Academie de Cuisine and the Baltimore International College (BIC). L’Academie is my first choice but it’s terribly expensive and getting more so every year. The curriculum is intense but exactly what I’d want to stay committed and motivated. Right before I started working where I am now (a job I took because I needed something, anything at the time) I took a tour of the school and got to sit in for lunch with some of the students. They made me lunch which was part of their course work and chatted with me about themselves, their goals, and of course the school. I was giddy with joy when I left but rather than start the application process I got a job where I am now. Ugh! I know nothing about BIC though the head chef at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World told me he did have someone under him who came from that school. I’m still investigating but it’s definitely on the table.

So here I sit, trying to figure out which I should attend, when I can afford to attend, and what should my focus be on. That last one will probably change as I learn more and more about my options.

I hope to say one day soon that I’ve been accepted to one of these schools and can then report on my experience as I go through it. Here’s crossing fingers!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I’m Back! Honest!

Anybody out there?

Really and truly, I’m back! So grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Nestle down and prepare for a big make up post.

First let me apologize for being MIA for so long. There are lots of good excuses. Well, some are good. Some are just what they are. I do promise however not to go disappearing from the blogosphere again without fair warning. Like, FAIR WARNING: I’m going to be in Configuration Management training (let’s all say Ooooh! Aaaaah!) from 11/27-11/30 and then 12/3 to 12/6 and may or may not have easy access to a computer for blogging purposes.

So let me explain my disappearance in 3 acts.

Act 1: TeAntae promises to not spend so much time on the computer at work doing non-work things. We have a policy at work that states we can go on the internet for non-work reasons but it should be kept to a reasonable minimum and of course, no porn surfing or anything criminal like that. No, I wasn’t doing anything naughty on the computer but I was spending more time that I felt was smart reading blogs, checking out sites like and such. I was getting my work done but apparently I work too quickly and was feeling BORED and completely unenthusiastic about my job! “This is just not who I am!” I screamed inside my head.

[Fade to black.]

Act 2: TeAntae spirals into a deep state of depression but tries to tell herself and everyone else she’s A-OK. Yeah, who was I kidding? All the signs were there. I wasn’t beading, barely knitting, not seeing-call-emailing my friends, not posting, daily psyche-out sessions to get myself out of bed and into the car so I could go to work, staying in a crappy mood more often than not which got dumped on my poor hubby who I adore for being the sweet, wonderful man he is for putting up with me. The list goes on. I have two weird habits when I get like this. I either clean everything within an inch of its life (I hate to clean) or buy magazines and books like it’s the end of the world and just read, read, read. There are piles of magazines and books everywhere right now! And you can only pretend so long that the tears are from something in your eye or from waking up, or whatever the lame excuse might be. Some say the truth will set you free so here it is. The truth is: I hate my job. I’m not doing what fills my heart with happiness. I’m doing everything for all the wrong reasons and I feel like I have no choice but to continue like this because I don’t know what else to do!

[Curtain closes with a collapsed figure on the floor sobbing]

Act 3: TeAntae goes on a much needed vacation to clear her head, sails the HIGH seas, and gets her wedding vows renewed by Captain Stubbing. Sing it with me now! “Love, exciting and new. Come Aboard. We're expecting youuuuu!” OK, I made up the Captain Stubbing part but we did get our vows renewed by the captain of the Disney Magic for our 5th wedding anniversary. Pictures and stories galore in an upcoming post! I put all of the past insanity into the cabin safe until the end of the cruise. Not now, not this time. I was able to sleep soundly and smile daily. I think my body was a bit confused at this sudden change but it loved every minute of it. I sat one day and just grinned until my face hurt as I looked out at that beautiful azure blue, laughter all around me, and felt the stress just wash off me. Somewhere in the back of my brain I knew I’d have to face the craziness again but this time I couldn’t just live with it. I had to make a plan.

[A determined woman sits in a teak deck chair watching the ship sail into the first port]

So now I’m back and though much of the angst has come crashing back onto me (damn tears), I’ve decided to make some drastic changes for myself. You, my faithful readers, get to hang on for the ride and when necessary bonk me on the head when I’m caught slipping.

Change 1: Ala the always inspiring Margot, I’m going to post every day as of right now! I can’t guarantee they’ll all be winners so be forewarned. When I first started blogging, I was on another popular site that became a trip back to high school with all the nonsense that was being posted and petty squabbles. I just don’t care who’s not speaking to whom or whose boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife is better. I promised myself when I started on Blogger that it would only be about my various crafting endeavors and the occasional off topic but still fun. To post daily though that won’t always be the case. That being said, it still won’t be a school girl’s diary. There will be rants, recipes, observations, and of course craft/art goodness.

Change 2: Make time for myself to pursue my artistic side much more seriously. I have an store setup for my mom and me but it’s been languishing unloved and unused for about a year now. What’s the hold up? That damn fear thing. Fear that I have no talent. Fear that no one will like my work as much as I do. Of course there’s no way of even knowing if it’s true until I try so why play the fortune teller? I’ve tasked myself and my mom once again to make 5 things. Anything we want, just make them and make them good. Then we’ll put them up on Etsy and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe something, but we have to at least try.

Change 3: GET OUT OF THIS JOB! I need to figure out a game plan. One I can live with and then just do it. No looking back. No second guessing. Just do it. I have two dreams: being an artist and being a chef or something in the culinary field. I love being creative and seeing people made happy by my work. It’s what has always made me happy; I just foolishly never thought I could make a living doing either and always got talked out of trying by family and friends. No more! I’m leaning towards culinary with the craft/art part on the side, but I will do one or the other and as soon as possible. I’m already researching culinary schools in the area.

So if you’ve hung in this long, thanks so much. The journey ahead is going to be like Alice falling down the rabbit hole at times but I intend to win this croquet tournament.