Wrapping Up and Moving On

I taught my first photography class in the spring of 2011. Having always been a hobbyist, I felt incredibly unqualified. I had to concentrate intently on not hyperventilating from the barrage of nerves that threatened me each week. When I try to remember that first class, it is mostly a blur. In its original incarnation, the class met three hours a week for 14 weeks. I cannot for the life of me remember what I managed to talk about for a total of 42 hours, over the course of the semester! Apparently whatever it was was mildly informative and moderately entertaining, because the 24 people who signed up left me with positive evaluations, and I even had some people say they enjoyed the class so much they planned on coming back. I am still a bit flabbergasted by this.

Over the years, the class has morphed into its current format — a six week class presenting the technical aspects of photography, followed by a second six week class composed of guest speakers and photowalks, each with a maximum of twelve students. Sometimes there’s a waiting list, other times it’s me plus four — the minimum number of students required for the class to make. The class I dubbed the “Making Friends with Your Camera” class ended up bringing me more than a few friends of my own.

One student from the early days wanted to learn to take photos of her granddaughter. It’s funny, though, how she started down one path and ended up doing something completely different. A classmate’s invitation to go on a wildlife photowalk sparked a passion for bird photography that came completely out of left field. After she finished my basic class, she took off running — seeking out additional photography classes, watching YouTube tutorials, practicing, practicing, practicing. Always learning! And her work has won awards — people have purchased her work to hang on the walls of their homes and their businesses. I’m incredibly proud of her.

It was really a no-brainer when I realized this fall that I really need to, really want to pass the torch and I thought of Cheryl. I’ve enjoyed the almost eight years that I’ve taught this class. I guesstimate I’ve probably helped between 250 – 300 people make friends with their cameras. But I have other things I want to focus on and I know my former student — my now friend — will do a fabulous job of helping people make friends with their cameras when she becomes the new photography teacher in the spring. I’ll begin my last session this evening with my friend observing and assisting. I’m a little sad — teaching this class has been a huge part of how I define myself:

“What do you do?”

“I have my own business, I’m a writer, and I teach photography at the college.”

I have the business to help our family economy. I teach photography because my teacher asked me if I would when he moved away, and I discovered I enjoyed it.

But the thing that I’ve done since I was in grade school, the thing I want to find more time for, the thing that I always find myself coming back to is there in the middle, in the heart of my answer:

I’m a writer.

My House and “The Buoy House”

I’ve been working pretty hard the last couple of weeks. Because I have a difficult time keeping my workspace tidy, I asked my husband right before New Years if we could switch spaces. He has had his very orderly study in our spare bedroom, while I’ve had my disaster site in an open area just off our entryway. I asked if he would mind switching so I could close the door on my space when it gets out of control. He was agreeable, but before I could do anything our daughter got wind of the plan and asked if she could switch her bedroom into the room my husband had been using. It is slightly larger than her room. I said, “Sure. Why not?”

So I moved my stuff to her old bedroom and she moved her old bedroom to my husband’s old study and my husband is now where I used to be.

Shuffling tons of stuff around is so easy, I decided to make it a little more complicated by painting EVERYTHING beforehand. Ha!

So my husband’s new study (and the adjacent hallway) is painted “Cottage Hill,” a lovely shade of green by Behr. Our daughter’s new bedroom is painted “Amber Moon,” a warm yellow, also by Behr. And my new study is painted “Watery,” a really pleasing blue from Behr’s Cottage collection of colors. Actually, all three colors are from the collection. I like them because they are colorful without being aggressively so. All the trim work throughout the three rooms has been painted with Behr’s Ultra Pure White in Hi Gloss enamel. That was a task all its own, because a number of years ago, I got the clever idea to paint our trim BLACK. I’d seen it done on a number of Pinterest boards and it looked very sharp.

Not everything on Pinterest is advisable.

Three to four coats later, I have beautiful white trim. The paint has a primer built in, but that black is a bear to cover completely.

This evening I took a break to go to the Surfside Beach Chili Cook Off with my husband. By the time we got there, it was starting to slow down, but there were still some artists and craftsmen offering their creations. We wandered into a little booth run by an artist and I fell in love with one of her paintings: The Buoy House. I love the theme, the colors, the stories to be found in all the interesting details. There was a less expensive print of the original painting, but it was smaller and just didn’t have the same effect on me.

Guess what my sweet husband got me for an early birthday gift?

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The artist, Kathryne Brayton Lieser, and me with my new acquisition!
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Had it hanging over my desk within 30 minutes of arriving home! 

Here are a few photos of the painting projects I’ve been working on since December 30:

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This is my study (my desk is behind me in this shot).
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I got the clever idea to paint the recessed panels of the doors Garden Rose White (also a Behr color). I really like the little bit of contrast to dress things up and provide some interest.
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My husband’s new study — since taking this photo he has replaced that chair in the corner with his Morris chair and ottoman.
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The other side of his study. He is a neat and organized person, so whenever visitors walk by, it will look just like this. It NEVER looked like this when I was in this space.
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This is my daughter’s new bedroom “in process” – the walls have already been painted, but you can see the black trim I had to cover.
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Almost done. The trim is painted glossy Ultra Pure White now and so much prettier than the black! In a few days we will be getting an IKEA daybed that has three drawers for storage. We are going halves on it for her birthday.

Last, but not least, and certainly not final — the backseat of my car is FULL of boxes of things I will be donating to the Salvation Army. In the midst of the shuffling and painting, I thought it couldn’t possibly hurt to do a little purging. It’s difficult to make the decision to let go, but even moving the stuff to my car was freeing. I can’t even imagine what it will feel like when I drive away with an empty backseat.

Re-boot

I’m in the middle of a re-boot of sorts. Moving stuff around in my office, hoping to make things a little more user friendly. One of the things I’ve done is move my computer to a standing desk. I find that when I’m working on the computer, I sit way too long without getting up and moving around. My hope is that I’ll move back and forth between the computer and my desk — doing some work standing and other work sitting, and reduce the amount of sedentary time each day.IMG_1215

It’s a quirky setup, but so far it seems to be working. I’m moving around more and I’m becoming a little more conscientious of my posture. Which is terrible. But won’t be for long. The other bonus is I now have a five foot table that is for the most part clear. The goal is to keep it that way. If I have business to take care of, I have room to spread out my papers and prepare quotes. Then the papers get filed and the table is clear if I want to work on a photo project (organizing, scanning, scrapbooking). But I have to put things away when I’m finished for the day. The trick will be disciplining myself to do that. I’m not always good at putting things away. But I’m working on it.

Just Keep Trying…

I was very proud of myself when I managed to post three days in a  row. Then I got a little distracted by other responsibilities and missed a day. So here we are — I don’t have a whole lot to say, but in the interest of building better, stronger habits, I am determined to just keep trying.

Ran a few errands today and came home to continue working on my decluttering project. I am feeling very happy about progress so far. Of the eight items I posted on VarageSale, I’ve sold six. Six items that no longer take up room in my house or require any attention from me. Hooray!

I may have mentioned it earlier, but if not — I also have an Etsy store specifically geared toward things that are vintage, collectible, probably worth a little more than what I can get for them on a virtual garage sale site. You can check out my listings here: MoMo’s Attic Treasures  I’ll be listing mid-century china, vintage cookbooks, collectibles and the like. It is a bit time consuming, since I have to take photos, upload them, describe the items, etc. But I think I may enjoy it as I become more proficient at the process.

Some of the “goodies” that I hope will find new homes:

I am challenging myself to write interesting descriptions of each item listed. Little stories, if you will. For example, that chartreuse creamer has a tiny chip in the glaze on the handle. So I came up with a story to explain how the chip got there:

After a delightful afternoon playing bridge, Barbara offered to stay and help Lottie clean up. She carefully took the coffee service tray adorned with brightly colored Fiestaware to the kitchen.

Setting the tray on the counter, she asked “Wasn’t Midge’s dress adorable?” She turned to face Lottie, and accidentally brushed the little chartreuse creamer across the counter, slightly chipping the ring handle.

“Oh, Lottie! I’m so sorry!” Barbara just felt sick, but her friend smiled comfortingly.

“No harm done, dear. No harm done.”

This vintage creamer dates back to the mid-fifties and while in very good condition, does have a small chip on the handle, showing it was in service and not just for display. Priced accordingly.

While I’m no J. Peterman, I’d say it’s moderately entertaining, and not even half bad.

Be joyful, y’all —

Laura

Four Down, Who Knows How Many To Go!

Odd title, I’m sure, but I managed to sell four items that were cluttering up my house — a deep cast iron pot and four crystal items (candlesticks, a vase and a bowl). It felt incredibly good to hand those items over to their new owners, get a little cash in hand and know that I’ll never have to dust or wash those things again. In the next few days I’ll be uploading more items that serve no purpose and provide no joy here at Casa Jinkins. Hopefully they will quickly find new homes with people for whom they serve a purpose or provide some sort of enjoyment.

This evening I am organizing photo negatives that are thrown in a box willy nilly. After that task is completed (and I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel), I’ll finish organizing the photos that I brought home from my mother’s. I’ve decided to use simply pocket page albums to organize the old photos because it will be faster and it will also be easier to slip them out and back in if I need to scan a photo for someone. I’ll save the “creative” scrapbooking for my own photos — and I’m even contemplating simplifying that. Back in the day I would do these elaborate pages (and they were simple compared to what you see online now), but they take a long time. So I hope to do pages that are more focused on the photos and the journaling, because that’s what really matters.

For now though, I’m off to fix a quick dinner for my guy and myself. I just had to hop on here and touch base — posts three days in a row is a pretty big deal for me!

Be joyful, y’all!

Laura

I’ll Never Be A Minimalist…

IMG_1180I’m a very sentimental person. Whenever I use or admire one of the many “hand me downs” in my home, it’s a point of contact with the person it originally belonged to. I use an old bottle opener with a Bakelite handle that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, GG. The Pyrex salt and pepper shakers that my mother handed down to me before she passed away have a very 1960s’ “race for the moon” feel that bring to memory snippets of my very young childhood. There are a few EAPC (Early American Press Cut) glass serving pieces my Grandma Power gave me when I moved into my first apartment. I’m pretty sure she picked them up at a garage sale — she loved garage sales, and I enjoy that memory of her. Things like these, that are in regular use and help to keep the memories of loved ones alive — I will never get rid of them if I can help it. But the rest of it? I am cleaning house, my friends.

Last night I spent about an hour posting items for sale on VarageSale. The most time consuming part of this is taking decent photos to upload to the site. Decent photos are important because potential buyers need to be able to tell if the item is in good condition. I look at listings on eBay, Etsy, and VarageSale regularly, and if the photo is blurry, I just keep moving on. I’d already taken quite a few photos of some things I want to sell, so actually posting them goes pretty quickly. I woke up this morning to discover a lady wants to buy three of my listings: a crystal vase we received as a wedding gift (can’t remember who gave it to us), a crystal rose bowl that was at my mom’s (have no idea where it came from), and crystal candlestick holders I bought for a party we had about eight years ago that I haven’t used since.

$28 for things I don’t use, and I’m decluttering, too. It’s a win-win!

IMG_1181I’ll never be a minimalist, though, because I’m just too sentimental. When I see my mother’s copy of “Etiquette” by Emily Post sitting on my bookcase, it reminds me the importance she placed on good manners and the importance she placed on how we treat people. Flipping through that book when I was a teenager was how I learned about “bread and butter” letters (a short letter of thanks to one’s host and/or hostess after an overnight visit). And when I look at the children’s world globe (still reflecting the United Soviet Socialist Republic!) my husband gave me our first Christmas with a sweet, but cheesy, note that said he would give me the world, I remember the butterflies of newlywed love. IMG_1182

Yeah. No. I’ll never be a minimalist.But I am working on making sure what’s here deserves to be here.

Be joyful, y’all!

Laura