Yesterday, which was Tuesday for those who like to keep track, I did not have a post. What I did have was a long, long day fixing computer problems. Again it crashed during the night and I'm fairly sure it has something to do with an automated update that doesn't seem to want to update. The final decision was to take all the automated things off and do them myself each week until I get a new computer.
That brings me to the fund raiser for a new computer. While I have been asking for funds to help me keep my business running, I never explained why I've done it this way instead of taking out a business loan or some other avenue that most small businesses do. I am not really a small business. I'm a short, chubby Nana who likes to craft in her spare time. I have no collateral, no savings, no way to pay back a loan should a miracle occur and I actually was approved for one. The upswing with the economy has been great for many but I have not had anything change for me since the end of 2009. I make the most of what I have, don't dwell on what was taken away, nor do I sigh sadly about the missed opportunities because funding wasn't available. What I do is find a way, whether conventional or maybe not so conventional, to find what I need to get through the next 24 hours. Actually I often don't think much past the next hour. So much can change in 60 minutes!
Please don't misunderstand. It's a good idea to dream and plan and set goals and I do that often. I even meet some of them and add news ones to the list. One of the things on the list is to find a few sponsors to help me with costs of running my business, or the business I have envisioned I'd like to have. Finding a financial wizard who can handle funds for said business and who will, in return, accept free mosaics or other craft things I create for life. And the ever popular goal; getting backers and artist type people to gather together with me and find a place to share our art, play together a few times a week, sell what we do ... all in one bricks and mortar building.
After the computer crashed yesterday, all I could think of was how uncomfortable I am asking for money to get a new computer. It's my upbringing mostly to believe that if I can't figure out a way to get it myself, I can't have it. My Dad handed me a phone book (remember those big paper books with businesses and residence phone numbers in them?) when I was 12 and asked for a stereo for my birthday. He said: "get a job". And that was that. I found one and another and another and eventually got a stereo, a car, an apartment, a life by working for it. I wasn't given much because we didn't have much. My Dad was a full time artisan and had been for years by the time I was 12. He worked hard, long, long hours building furniture, repairing antiques and doing shows to sell his wonderful, handcrafted things (he's close to 80 years old and still does all these things - lots slower and with tons more pain in his hands and joints, but he does it). It's no wonder I decided my life would be happier if I continued to do what I do, no matter what the cost to me physically or emotionally. It's in my blood.
My life is very different now that I've reached 59. I have been out of work since the end of 2009 and stopped looking in 2011. I hadn't been on an interview although I applied for hundreds because what I did was no longer useful and I really didn't love what I did - I felt the odds of my being happy doing anything other than mosaics were slim to none. My savings ran out, unemployment stopped abruptly just when I needed it most. I had no where to go, a large bill to pay for back rent and utilities. My art was selling but not steadily. I keep my work priced on the low side except for a piece here and there that really took a lot of time, patience or materials to build and/or create. Truthfully, if I charged $1,000 for a piece of mosaic wall art and it actually sold, I'd have been closer to paying off the bills and would have made 1/2 of what I make during an entire year in selling my art. It's not a bad side business but it's the only funds I get. I'm happy to get it, grateful that I do and feel often very blessed to be able to do what I do at all! I keep the prices low because it's not all about money to me. I enjoy what I do and I want people to get a piece of mosaic art they love at a price they feel is fair. I do crafty things, not fine art pieces (I can honestly say I've only got maybe 5 pieces I'd consider labeling in that way and putting more than $500 on a piece of art makes me uncomfortable even if it's worth it to those who are buying it), and crafty things can be done by anyone who is crafty. If I taught myself, anyone can learn how to do a mosaic. What I find is that people who buy my work like it because they want to learn how to do it themselves. I love that! Everyone should experience the joy I have when creating. No matter if it's inspired by a stained glass candle holder or a dot painted cross. I'd love to have a central location to share my work and have people come to learn how to do it. Or just play on their own with things I provide plus a little experience along the way.
Because the Universe works as it does, during that time, the more I tried to get people to buy my work to help me defer the cost of living on my own, it seemed the more people were really not interested in what I had to sell. Sales dried up for a long, long time; folks claimed they were saving their money and weren't buying non-essentials. Or that they'd say they liked what I was selling but just couldn't afford the $25 I was charging for something that normally would've sold for $50. This is what I do, it's my work, my career, my living. But having to put a price on things I create from my heart and have my followers tell me it's not worth it, made me feel unworthy for about a minute. Maybe two. I understood what they were saying but it made it hard on me. This was/is what I was meant to do - I found my calling - hooray! I had never been told whether I'd be paid for it when I followed the inner voices that led me here. I know it isn't supposed to matter. What is supposed to matter is finding what makes my soul sing. I did that and am happy I did. I knew even then faced with eviction and no where to go at one point, that I was to continue with my crafts, every day, forever, no matter what. The rest would work itself out. And it has.
My daughter and her family scooped me up and brought me here where I am now living, in one room sharing space with stained glass, paints, clothes, too many dishes and the wonky computer plus just about everything from the 3 bedroom apt I could get into one room. Plus all my art - every piece I ever made that hasn't gone on to a new home. And I'm happy. I have my family here with me every day. My grandson and the cats. Life is different but really nothing to be upset about or sad. No complaints. I'm in a safe place, they feed me and keep me warm and/or cool. I'm loved. It's a wonderful life.
But my computer helps me share these thoughts. And my business is done online. When I asked my daughter's boyfriend for help yesterday to get back online before he left for work, it occurred to me that perhaps it was time to ask my family for help. I had mentioned things ... the fund raiser, the things they see online, the fact that my computer crashes every 2 weeks. They knew this. But I never asked for their help. I just reached out to the very giving community I have come to love in cyberspace and got a nice little nest egg for the next computer. I suppose since I like metaphors, this one would be that I reached for the 2013's version of a phone book to try to find what I needed. Just like I did when I was 12.
In asking Mark if his company has any plans to get rid of their old computers, as they sometimes do, he started looking into it when he got to work. The results weren't good and the chances of getting a laptop through that avenue was slim.
Once he spent some time chatting with co-workers, all tech savvy peeps, they suggested he build me a computer. I don't need a monitor, speakers, keyboard or mouse really although if I were to get the funds I asked for, I would get all those things. What I needed was a tower with a OS that didn't crash twice a month, sometimes more. I hope by the end of today, he should have info for me to figure out how much it will cost to build one himself. He built his here at home that he uses, so I know he can build me one too. I also know what he'll need financially is more than I have been gifted doing the fund raiser. It's more than I had when my troubles began, however.
FYI: I have planned to close the fund raiser at the end of this month and give him what I have towards the new build. I hope he will fund the rest because he knows how important it is to me. And of course I will try to find a way to pay him back as I make sales by sharing what I make online each day with a new computer, if he'll take it.
So ends the saga of the computer crisis. And life continues to be awesome!
The fund raiser is still open until the end of September and if you think you might like to donate a little bit or a lot, here's the link. http://www.gofundme.com/49qepk
If you want to donate but don't want to use their methods of payment, you can send it to my email address through PayPal or contact me directly for a mailing address if you'd prefer to send a check or money order, note that it is a donation for the computer somewhere important so I'll see it, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be sure to keep it separate from the other funds in my accounts.
Now ... so that something besides my goofy grin is shown when I post today, I'll share a few things I did yesterday while watching updates and other fun things being run on the computer to fix it.
This is another dot painted ATC. 3.5 x 2.5 inches. Not sure of a title but I'm leaning towards "Circuits". You should be able to figure out why if you've read the above.
This piece below is 6.5 inches, called "Many Moons" was renewed and updated on Etsy this morning. Some smaller pieces of wall art will be brought back because I never know from week to week what I should do with all my art. Expect to see some you've seen before when I declared they were never heading back to Etsy. I don't know ... I change my mind often ... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Cindy, Earth Mother Mosaics