Why checking my emails is so easy these days

If you’re anything like me, you have more than one email address. Perhaps one for personal stuff, one for business-related stuff, one for subscriptions, another just for family, and one for everything else. I have these, they help sort out what hat I should be wearing when writing emails or replying to them. (Yes, I know you can create folders and sub-folders within the one email address, but it can get really messy).

The problem with juggling several email addresses is that the amount of junk mail that gets into your mailboxes can be phenomenal. And these days junk emails can come cleverly disguised as personal emails. They even address you by name now, instead of the dead giveaway “Dear Sir/Madam/Customer” at the start. It’s only when you scroll down that it becomes obvious that it’s nothing more than advertising touting for your custom and exhorting you to part with your money.

I have now devised a very easy way of managing my inboxes. Here’s a (short) list:

1. If it’s not from a recognised person, or if the subject line sounds suspect: DELETE

2. If it’s something you may have subscribed to in the past, but are no longer interested in, but the company still has you on their mailing list : UNSUBSCRIBE & DELETE

3. If it’s from someone who has the habit of compiling contact lists and blanket-emailing/forwarding rubbish to them on a daily basis, believing it to be an acceptable way of “keeping in touch”: PUT THEM IN THE JUNK MAIL CATEGORY. Or, BLOCK THEM

4. If it’s from a retail store purporting to be giving you something for free: DELETE. There is No Such Thing as FREE these days. Don’t waste your time. They just want your money.

And that, folks, is why it’s so easy to manage my emails these days. My favourite icon on my eMail manager application is the trash can, yes. Life’s too short to be reading through all the rubbish that gets thrown at you in the name of consumerism. Just bin it!

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Mixed Media Project : Believe, Inspire, Hope

I repurposed 3 square cradled wooden panels (thrift shop finds) by simply covering them over with layers of white gesso, paint and collage elements. This is only my 3rd attempt at mixed media art, and I must say I’m very happy at how it’s progressing.

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This time, I chose the words myself, wanting something inspirational and uplifting. I used alphabet stamps to create the words. The collage elements came from washi tape and bits and pieces of ephemera that I’d collected over the last year. I’d bought them and then photographed them to be used as digital elements in my mobile photography art projects. But now the spirit was being made flesh, and the actual physical items were being used instead. Best of both worlds.

Here are the finished works, together (they can be displayed in any order, and not necessarily up-down or even left-right, try a pyramid perhaps?)

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FREEBIES! (Remains of the day)

Yes, it’s time again to give away more backgrounds for your creative endeavours. These are close-ups of an Art project I did a short while ago. I like to keep such images to blend with other images for future projects. You may want to do the same too. Go ahead, indulge!

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My New Bike

After 3 years of hard riding and scrapes and falls galore, I have just retired my trusty old bicycle. It was a swell bike, and I loved it to pieces, quite literally, but its death pangs began when it got stolen from outside the shops about 7 months ago (see my post “Zen and the art of Bicycle Recovery” for the story of how I got my bike back from the thieves). Since that incident, the gears on my bike had not been quite the same – sometimes engaging, sometimes not.

And so, for the past few months, as the gears got progressively worse, I actually thought it was ME who was getting out of shape and finding it hard to keep up with The Kid on his bike. There he was, the little tearaway, zipping ahead on his mountain bike while his poor elderly (hehe) Mum tried valiantly to keep up. It was the gears – it was either too low or too high, there was no compromise. Cycling started to become a pain in the arse, literally…

Around Christmas time last year, hubby convinced me to put a new bicycle on lay-by. This meant I was to pay the bike shop a few bob each week until I’d finished paying for it all. We could ill-afford to do that, with more going out than coming in…but I’m glad I agreed to it, because this treadmill of an old bike was getting on my nerves, especially my sciatic nerve.

So, last week, I decided to go for broke. And paid the rest of the layby using my battered old credit card, thereby securing its freedom from the backroom of the bike shop. I also bought a pannier rack and basket for the back of my new bike, as well as new lights for both front and back.

And…I’m glad to report that my hunch had been right. It wasn’t my old bones that were struggling to push my old bike faster. It was indeed the clapped-out gears that were letting me down. Because you should see me on my shiny new bike. No, actually you can’t see me, because I’m just a blur flashing past your field of vision, that’s how fast this new bike is. Sigh! I’m in love.

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The Inspiration behind the poem “Persuasion Before Contact”

I was working on 2 canvasses that I hadn’t been satisfied with. I had painted over the canvasses with acrylic paint, but had reached a deadend as to where to go from there. So I tore up some Chinese newspapers that I’d gotten from a recent trip to Chinatown. And pages from a book that I was going to alter. I added some cut outs, stamps, vintage dressmaking tissue paper, scrapbooking paper, gesso. I layered my ephemera over the canvasses, and then noticed that I’d subconsciously chosen the words Persuasion, Before and Contact.

So I went with my subconscious and added more letter stamps and numbers etc. And came to realise that this project merited poem of its own.

Et voila! “Persuasion Before Contact” by AlyZen Moonshadow. You’ve read the poem, now here’s the inspiration behind it.

From these:
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image(The 2 canvasses that I’d splashed paint on earlier. I did take some close-up photos of them, which can be used as backgrounds for other projects, so the exercise wasn’t completely wasted).

To these:

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I really like the idea of using text and also the concept of letting my subconscious dictate how a piece should look.

Question: which came first, the poem or the artwork?
Answer: actually, it was the artwork. The text used on the 2 canvasses sparked off the poem. However, I believe the concept was already in my subconscious before I even started collaging the elements together. It just wanted to be expressed one way or another, and in this case, both in textual and image form.

It’s All Here…

…if you’re searching for a one-stop resource for everything and anything to do with Art & Crafts, and more specifically (in my case) Mixed Media, go directly to Interweave’s site here. Yup, they are the people that produce the bi-monthly eye candy called Cloth Paper Scissors.

Everything, and I mean even the kitchen sink, can be found on that site. If you want to learn how to carve your own stamps. If you’re curious about encaustic art. If you want to invest in some Gelli plates but don’t know where to start. If you’re curious about this thing called a “Sizzix Bigshot machine”. If you want to know the differences between watercolour, watercolour pencils and colour pencils. If you’d like to know the true capabilities of a Sharpie. If you’re after tips on making books by hand. If you want to learn how to do an emulsion lift transfer. If you’d like to know how to recycle household items into useful items. If you’re curious about Transfer Art Paper. If you want to know about Golden’s Ground Medium. If you can’t decide between Art Journaling and Collage, or want to do both.

It’s all here.

The magazine Cloth Paper Scissors embodies all aspects of Art and Crafts that utilise its namesake. I’d seen this bi-monthly magazine at my local newsagents, but they ran out of copies before I decided to buy it. The only reason I hesitated was because of the price – not Interweave’s fault, but rather the hefty profit margin that the newsagent slapped on.

Luckily, just as providence would have it, Interweave sent me an email (I’m on their mailing list) offering 50% off digital downloads of past copies of Cloth Paper Scissors. (This offer would have expired by the time you read this post, so I won’t bother with the link here. But don’t worry, there are other exciting offers on all the time). So, instead of paying nearly AU$20 per copy of CPS, for the sum of around US$79 I bought the links to download every single copy of CPS from 2004-2013. Yay, Happy Days!

But hey, you don’t have to buy anything from their site. There’s even a ton of FREE stuff you can download. Below is just One example from many.
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And, Interweave doesn’t just do Mixed Media. They also offer everything under the sun if you are into sewing, knitting, crotchet, beading, quilting, weaving, jewellery making etc. And they also do paint and paint techniques. The list goes on.

But don’t just take my word for it…those of you who already know about this motherlode of knowledge about Art & Crafts, will be nodding your head sagely. Those of you who don’t – why are you still reading this? Go online already and check out Interweave for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

From Interweave’s own “About” page:

Founded in 1975 by Linda Ligon, INTERWEAVE, part of F+W, is one of the nation’s largest craft media companies with businesses in magazine and book publishing, interactive media, broadcast programming, and events for art and craft enthusiasts. Interweave’s mission is to inspire, encourage and support creative self-expression.

Interweave features:

18 craft-enthusiast subscription magazines and many more special interest publications.
More than 250 books in print and annually publishes about 40 best-selling, how-to craft books on the same subjects as the company magazines.
An extensive Internet network of more than 30 websites, including the popular online communities KnittingDaily.com and BeadingDaily.com, which bring together the best content from the company’s magazines and TV shows with free e-newsletters, how-to articles and patterns, with an emphasis on community.
Several major events for fiber and bead, gem, and jewelry making enthusiasts, including the Spin-Off Annual Retreat and Bead Fests in locations across the country, attracting thousands of consumers and industry manufacturers and advertisers.
A PBS television series, Knitting Daily TV and major sponsorship of Beads, Baubles and Jewels TV and Quilting Arts TV.
The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Perils of Homework

Homework
Homework!
Why so much
Homework?

And I’m not even
In school anymore
So why am I doing
So much
Homework?

I used to wait
Til the school bell rang
To welcome my kid home
Every day
From Primary School
So we could catch up
And talk about his day
Watch a bit of TV
Have dinner
Then kiss him
Off to bed

But now
When he comes home
From Secondary School
With his school bag
Heavy on his young shoulders
I shudder
To think about what
Homework
He has to do

Because
Like any Mother
Who wants her child
To do well
In his educational years
You just have to
Keep up with their
Homework
You have no choice
And there’s a
Helluva lot of
Homework to do!!

I will of course
Help him
As far as I’m able
But inside
I’m cringing
Because
Inside I’m screaming
“I’ve done my time
In school already,
Been there, done that,
Got the t-shirt
I have more than enough
On my own plate
Why must I now
Deal with
Homework
All over again?!!”

Aaarghh
The Perils of Homework

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Persuasion Before Contact

Whatever happened
To chivalry?
Where have all
The Gentlemen gone?
Why is this Life
So much of a
Rush rush rush
That even Love
Must be hurried
Got over
Done with?
Let’s skip the formalities
And just get down to business?

Whatever happened
To the Art of
Gentle Persuasion?
Of talking and wooing
Before instigating
Contact?
Has Love taken
A backseat
To Lust?
Or are we just
Too busy
To make the effort
Anymore?
Shoot first
Ask questions later?

Persuasion Before Contact
Romance 123
Perhaps get to know
The Person first
Before you get to know
The Body
A relationship
Based on physical attributes
And no intellectual
Or emotional connection
Is one headed for
A cul-de-sac
Sure, it’s fun
But when it ends
…then what?
On to the next conquest?
…and then what?
Is it a case of
Perpetual
“Try before you buy”?

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And people call Them “Primitive”??

I recently saw a video on a friend’s Facebook wall, about how many ancient Tribes are under threat of extinction due to modern man’s “intervention”. Yes, you read that right. It’s PEOPLE I’m talking about, not animals.

Modern Man has a lot to account for, mostly negative when it’s regarding fellow human beings and animals. Kill, maim, capture, rape, torture, exterminate!! If it’s different, it’s a threat!! Shudder.

Sure, we live in a world of technological wonders, where anything we can imagine is possible…if not now, then in the next 10 minutes. But we seem to have lost our humanity along the way. And instead picked up plenty of ignoble traits. Shame on us!

The video clip (just one of many by Survival International) had captions which read like a Wish List for the “Modern” World:

No Debt
No Bombs
No Prisons
No Poverty
No Homeless
No Pollution
…and people call Them “Primitive”??

I was compelled to leave a long comment about those Tribes on my friend’s Facebook wall. I’ll share what I said here too:

These people are living the life that most of us dream about – a life with no debt, everyone contributing to the whole, communities rich in culture, where the young look after the old and the old look after the very young, everyone suppports each other and helps out in the fields, hunting or gathering. There is respect throughout, and the handing down of ancient healing and shamanic knowledge.

It’s the Western World that has twisted the whole idea and gotten it wrong. And it’s they who think these Tribes should get “civilised” and join the modern world. But why?? So these Tribes can be exposed to the corrupt world we live in? Where there’s all manner of manmade diseases that they won’t have any natural immunity to? Where they will encounter amorality, violence, wanton excesses, rampant consumerism, selfishness, greed and ego? Where they will be relegated to ghettos or reservations, put through the “System” and treated like second or third class citizens, on the dole, forced to live in modern houses, their children forced fed an alien education stripped of morals and ancient teachings, so that they forget their own culture and history but have to assimilate what the government decrees should be learnt instead?

We have come so far down the wrong path, that we now see ourselves as progressive and modern, and these Ancient Tribes as backward and uncivilised. When in actual fact it is US who are backward and uncivilised, squabbling like children over stupid invented realities like Money, Property, Land and Ownership, and starting wars because someone said/did/is something different to what we’ve been brainwashed to believe in.

It’s high time we looked towards creating a simpler society, or literally got back to our roots. We need to be more like these Tribes, we need to help them survive and thrive instead of dragging them kicking and screaming into this chaotic world we live in. We need to change our own perception of what is inherently good for us and what we’ve been brainwashed to believe is good for us. WAKE UP, WORLD!!

Want to help? Then donate to, or better still, join Survival International, the only organisation that champions tribal people’s rights.

Take a stand now. Be the Change you want to see.

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Out and About in Chinatown

The Chinese or Lunar New Year was on the 19th of February this year (2015), but because it fell mid-week our annual Family Reunion Dinner was postponed til the weekend. Yesterday (Sunday) we went to my 2nd Uncle’s home to join him and my cousins and their children, for our annual gathering. 2nd Uncle is my only patriachal relative in Western Australia. I haven’t been back to my Maternal Grandma’s for Chinese New Year for nearly 20 years now, and since dear Grandma passed away last year there will sadly no longer be anymore Chinese New Years at her home.

As dinner wouldn’t be starting til 5pm, the Kid and I decided to check out the festivities in Perth’s Chinatown first. I had read there would be parades and food stalls and stalls selling all manner of Oriental goods and souvenirs.

Here’s what we saw:

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Yes, there were thousands of people thronging James Street. Yes, it was hard moving about and not spilling peanut gravy from my chicken satay all over my front.

Yes, it was a lovely, warm, sticky day. We are still in Summertime here in the Land Down Under.

Yes, that is a large orange shaped kiosk selling freshly pressed orange juice.

No, I don’t know what Morris dancers were doing there during a Chinese New Year celebration.

Yes, I threw in that photo of a pub called “The Elephant and the Wheelbarrow” because that particular junction looks so much like Small Town America to me.

No, that is not a real Library, it is another bar venue. And no, those rays of light are not a special effect I created.