Moving On…

Today is my last day at my job. I’ve been working part time at a local paper store (turned national chain store) since 2007! I started out while I was still working at my old full time job, working during the holidays and on occasional Sundays. I took a year or so off somewhere in between then and 2010, but when I left my full time job in 2010, my old manager said she’d hire me back “until you figure out what you want to do next.” (It took me awhile…)

Since then, I’ve looked for other part time jobs, on and off, depending on my happiness level. (We’ve had a lot of managers during this time…transitions aren’t always good.) But I could never find something local and part time that was a good fit.

Last summer, our store got a really fantastic manager and work became fun again so I stopped looking. But all good things must come to an end–she got promoted to a bigger store (yay, Danny!) and everything has been in this weird flux since then. I don’t do well with change and a lack of transition plan…and so I started looking again.

I found something that I *think* will be a good fit. I don’t want to jinx it, because I start on Monday…but there are some good signs. I’ll tell you all about it once I get up and running.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate turning the page on this chapter and look forward to a quiet October weekend…

In My Mailbox: Vintage & Current

Happy October! (Obligatory can-you-believe-it’s-already-October comment here…) It has been so hot and humid here this week, it’s hard to believe it’s pumpkin weather. But, I know that’ll change soon enough. I’ve been super busy the past couple weeks preparing for Brookfield Fine Arts Festival and Music, Art, & Wine at Empowering Gardens, and applying to more shows this fall and winter…this month is going to be busy with preparations for that and some other changes I’ll talk about soon. For now, let’s talk about mail!

Recently in my mailbox, I was delighted with a surprise package from Robyn. She found this vintage Forest Park, ILL stamp at a flea market. Isn’t it fun? I’ve already used it on some mail. I made me curious to know when the post office changed to 2-letter abbreviations for states. It turns out it happened in October 1963 and it was because of the zip code! Apparently, in June 1963, the post office came up with a list of abbreviated state names, but it was too long for the 23-character limit of addressing equipment. So, they had to change it again in October. Weirdly enough, Illinois was Il. in 1831, and for some reason, they added an extra L from 1874-1963 and removed it again for the final 2-letter abbreviations we know today. And we are both fans of Schitt’s Creek and we convinced Katie to try it again when we all got together for gel plate printing, so the keychain is fitting. If you haven’t watched, I can’t recommend it enough. I was not crazy about the first part of Season 1, but I stuck with it and it’s totally worth it…it’s just so fabulous.

Also, how cute is the package Robyn sent?! It just made my day. Thanks, Robyn, for the treats and for prompting a little postal history lesson, too!

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James & Presley’s Avocado Birthday Bash

This weekend we hosted a little joint birthday party for Presley and our friend James. They share a birthday week. I found an avocado dress on Amazon and avocados were “on trend” this summer at Paper Source, so we decided that was a perfect theme. Presley took to wearing the dress pretty well, but we didn’t leave it on her more than fifteen minutes, as I think dressing her up is cute but I also don’t believe in torture. Naoto made an avocado corn salad and Korean beef tacos. Karen made bruschetta and a key lime pie. I made yuzu sidecars. I borrowed the giant hanging avocado decorations from the Paper Source window and used a kit to make little avocado place cards.Naoto’s was my favorite…Presley’s too…Presley ate rotisserie chicken for her birthday meal since she’s not a fan of tacos and corn salad.She is, however, a fan of her new avocado catnip toy from James. I keep finding it in different places when I wake up in the morning.

It was a fun night. We haven’t really been hosting very much this year, and I kind of missed it. Maybe we’ll have a few more opportunities to have people over this fall.

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The Garden is Still Growing

I haven’t been to the garden as much as I’d like lately. Naoto has been running down to harvest tomatoes and basil and herbs on an as-needed basis, but yesterday, we were both home and free to go together. As usual, our plot is a jungle of tomato vines, but this year, it’s also a jungle of overgrown herbs and nasturtium! Look at that nasturtium!! I just can’t believe how the plant took off. It seemed like it wasn’t going to do much but now it’s huge and it has lots of flowers inside the big poof a leaves. I just found a recipe for nasturtium pesto, so I think we might experiment with that soon…which is good timing because our basil is done. Some of our tomatoes were slow to produce this summer thanks to the white fly infestation that plagued the garden. But we’ve gotten a decent harvest from our Juliet and a few other heirlooms. We haven’t been overloaded with tomatoes like we have in the past, but it’s definitely enough for us to feel good about plot 6 this summer. I picked a bunch of zinnias, nasturtiums, and marigolds to make a little bouquet for my desk. The zinnias are as tall as me and still going strong. And in other happy garden news, my tiny carrots are coming in! I planted them kind of late in the spring and they were quickly overshadowed by the tomato plants, so I didn’t have very much hope for a harvest, but I think it’s going to be decent! I’m not quite ready to pick them all, but I wanted to do a little test. This variety is supposed to be only 2-3 inches big. We’ve never had luck with root vegetables, so I decided to try a tiny kind and I think it worked!

How is your garden growing? Any other ideas for my nasturtium bounty?

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Upcoming Shows

I have two shows at the end of this month. First, on the 21st is the Brookfield Fine Arts Festival. We loved this event last year because it’s right next to the Brookfield Famers Market and Naoto was able to snack all day long. Naoto has been going to this farmers market all summer because the Mirai corn people sell there and also because I’m in love with the muffins. Also I should mention that the artists showing their work here are all really great. It’s a nice variety of work and all different price ranges. Then, on the 28th, we’ll be at Empowering Gardens for the Music, Art & Wine event. We love Empowering Gardens and it’s a joy to show at this event. For a $5 donation, you get snacks and wine and to peruse the plants and art while listening to music and mingling. It’s really great. And finally, I got accepted again to Petite Boutique at Pleasant Home this fall (November 8 & 9.) Petite Boutique will always be special to me because it was my first show back in 2016 and I love the local maker vibe and the variety there. I can’t wait. I’ve applied to a couple of long-shot shows this fall/winter, so hopefully I’ll be able to update with a couple more events before Christmas.

In other business news, I finally opened an Instagram account strictly for Galaxie Safari stuff. It was time. If you feel like following, you can find me there at @galaxiesafari (and still updating all things Presley, random like, cocktails, and more at @adamihasegawa, too!)

August Books

August was a slowwww reading month. I didn’t pick up a book until I had to start reading for book club and I filled the rest of the month with short stories and an art book.

The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway 

This was our book club read for August. It was well-received by the group. It’s a memoir of a woman who had spinal tuberculosis and spent ten years as a child flat on her back. The treatment was supposed to minimize the curvature of her spine. Sadly, her spine was still affected and she lived the rest of her life hunched over, her head lower than her shoulders. Somehow, she ends up living a mostly “normal” life, not really feeling like an outcast and working her way through college and buying a house on her own. The story is heartbreaking, and fascinating, and inspiring, especially because at the end you learn that she has two love affairs with Japanese men and gets married to another man (which isn’t a spoiler because she does have two last names.) There is a collection of her journals and letters which I’m perusing now. I thought her childhood/early adult memoir was interesting, but I’m more interested in her adult life, which she spends among artists in New York and Paris.

The Heavenly Tenants by William Maxwell

This is a children’s book that Maxwell wrote in 1946. It’s a fantasy about a farming family who enjoys stargazing and the zodiac comes to life. It was the runner-up for the Newberry Medal and the illustrations are fantastic. It was a little weird but as usual, he handles the human connections so perfectly.

Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess

Obviously this was more for research than enjoyment but I wanted to learn a little bit more about the different stencils and layering techniques involved with gel plate printing. I found this to be a good resource, but I have another book coming so maybe next month I can compare the two.

“Bliss” & “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield

“Bliss” has it all: a dinner party hosted by a happy wife, major symbolism, a lovely tree that has multiple meanings, adultery… It asks the question, is it better to live with the truth or in ignorant bliss? (I think I’m a bitter truth person, how about you?)

Like Dandelion Wine, “The Garden Party” was a coming-of-age, discovering death story…it’s weird that the same themes are accidentally coming up in some of my reading this summer. The descriptions of the party preparations were delicious and were the perfect contrast to the more serious parts of the story.

I’m having a hard time getting into my next book. I think my mind is too distracted for reading right now, but that just means I really need to be reading! Have you read anything great lately?

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Garage Galleries 2019

My last show for August was Forest Park’s Garage Galleries. It was my second year participating and this year was even better than the last. Our garage host, Mary, was fabulous and welcoming. She created a whole little snack station for our guests to enjoy, even bringing out a tray of pigs in a blanket around dinner time! Naoto manned the food and drink table, offering snacks and water and wine to all of the garage visitors. I shared the garage with Carolyn Dunn and Kennedy Shenberg. The Garage Gallery organizers are always so great about varying the types of work in each garage. I’m really liking my new double rack set-up. I don’t have as much space for my framed pieces though, so I’m still working on making that less crowded, but my cards are the bread & butter of the business so it makes sense to give them the most real estate. I’m hoping to have a new logo and sign before the holiday shows start up in November…eeks!

The top picture is a “limited edition” postcard I made for Garage Galleries. No one bought them so now they’re going to be thank you notes for the GG organizers and our garage host. Sometimes you try something and it doesn’t catch on…I really love that stamp though, so I’m going to bring it back as a “You’re a work of art” card again.

Next week, I’ll start preparing for the Brookfield Fine Arts Fest and Empowering Gardens Music, Art, and Wine event. I’m trying to be more proactive with my preparations so that I am not cramming at the last minute, or so I have time for last minute ideas. “Always trying and failing to be more organized” is going to end up on my headstone, I swear.

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Happy Birthday, Presley!

I know I’ve already posted today, but it’s our annual celebration of all things Presley and I’d be sad if I didn’t document it here. We got Presley thirteen years ago today–you can read that story here–so it’s not technically her birthday but we still celebrate it that way. We’re making her a salmon fillet for dinner and cooking up a little laundry nap for the queen of the house. And we may be hosting a little joint birthday party for her and our pal James this weekend (fingers crossed!)

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Gel Plate Printing

A couple weeks ago, I spent an afternoon with my friends Katie and Robyn learning about gel plate printing. They are both experienced gel plate printers, but I had never done it before and didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have any stencils or tools (except paper!), but Katie and Robyn generously let me use their things and I had so much fun learning techniques and experimenting with layers of paint and stencils. Above is my stack of prints, all of the stencils are Robyn’s, so I won’t take credit for those. I’m going to cut down my prints and use them as postcards or backgrounds and accents in my Travelers Notebook. As usual, I wish I’d taken more pictures, but we were having so much fun and I pretty much always had paint all over my hands. As someone who makes things that require some precision and attention to detail, it was really fun to let loose and try something that is experimental and imperfect.

Last week I treated myself to a gel plate and some new paints so I’m looking forward to trying it out on my own. I think my biggest challenge will be cutting my own stencils. I’m confident I’ll ever have Robyn and Katie’s x-acto knife skills, but I have some ideas for new stencils I’d like to try to create. I’d better buy some new blades for my neglected x-acto knife first!

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Please Hold…

I’m having a hard time staying on task lately. I think my brain shut off this week after Garage Galleries. Hopefully I can get back on track this weekend and have some posts ready next week. Do you have any plans for the holiday (in the US) weekend? We have no plans! It’s very exciting. Right now, Naoto is at a brewery tour with some work friends, so Presley and I have the apartment to ourselves. I’ve repotted my fall mums and a new spider plant and I feel like I’ve accomplished more in an hour than I did all last week. I’m going to try to take some fresh photos of my cards for my website and finish cleaning up around here. Things are out of hand since I decided to clean out a closet AND prepare for Garage Galleries in the same week. Big mistake.

Anyway, I hope you have a good weekend!

P.S. I know Bitmoji are passé but Naoto and I really love using them when we text each other and this one was very on point for my non-productive week.

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