Sunday, March 7, 2021

Procrastination by Organization

Hello again! I have dropped in to share my adventures with paint storage, and since that sounds dull even to me, I think it's best if we start with a photo of successful knitting. Plus a box of sort-of matchy pins.

These are socks I've knit and toe-grafted and run in the ends on, but somehow forgot to wash so I could get to wearing them. Mostly they sit in this attractive bowl which was a present from the last friend I got to see in person for lunch before the pandemic. Sandy found it in a dollar store and used it as a vehicle for (amazing) chocolate brownies, but I've appreciated this dish so much and admire it every day, not just for the socks that are in it now. It's like half of a cracked egg: it suggests possibilities. And not just the possibility of a mess on the counter, either.

I've been organizing my art and office supplies for the past few days. Which is much more interesting than, say, paperwork, if only because it's colourful. Just be grateful I'm not here to tell you about all masks I stitched up before treating myself to the organization project because that really was dull and also, hard on my back.

Let's start with a mostly respectable picture of my paint problem, shall we?

Even though I still can't paint a proper, recognizable watercolour flower, I did upgrade to better brushes, and treated myself to a good set of Daniel Smith paints in a tin. That set came with a second, empty tin and it seemed like a wonderful storage solution for my many extra paints, some of which were still in their original tiny sets with no mixing wells or other conveniences. It was such a choppy setup I wasn't using them, and that made me feel even more guilty about having bought so much more than was sensible.


Wait a minnit. Isn't this basically everyone's experience with knitting? Whereby one must buy Every. Pretty. Yarn, even before one can knit with even tension? And then it gets worse from there because you decide to learn to spin, too, and have to buy a spindle and some roving and then a wheel? Plus, naturally, a swift. And maybe a bag of undyed roving straight from the sheep, and dyes, and...


In any case: one thing I finally decided to do was squeeze out a bit of all the paint I bought in tubes, after spotting discounted sets from Schminke and QoR, and never use because it turns out I'm more comfortable with dried up paint in a pan. I had an inexpensive plastic palette, discovered long ago on an Urban Hike with my friend Jan, and it turns out it has just right number of wells on one side for the Schminke paint, and on the other, for the QoR. Yay! 

(except for the cut I got on one hand trying to unscrew a particularly stubborn cap. that was Ow.)

Then it was time to test-swatch all the colours and decide what I want in primary rotation. This job required meticulously cutting up little 1x3" cards and drawing a line on them, precision work I will definitely do again next time I'm stressed and need to calm down:

Incidentally, the whole time I was working on this speckly board I was missing shopping in HomeSense. I bought this and a smaller matching cutting board there and I use the two of them together when painting, to protect my desk. Now I think, Why didn't I buy a second big one?? Seriously, when I think of the first thing I'd like to do once the pandemic is over, it's taking a walk to the nearest HomeSense so look at different dishes than I already own. Three great pleasures in one outing. 

I really need to aim higher.

Completing all of the cards was a satisfying project even though it forced me to acknowledge just how much I have overbought and duplicated my watercolour stash.

Thankfully, this stuff is not going to go bad. I might have reached the point of having more than I can use up in my lifetime (see: yarn references above) but it will definitely last my lifetime.

A sidebar about my idea to use the empty Daniel Smith box to store all my additional paint: 

Even though it has the same dimensions as my brilliant Winsor & Newton metal box, the clips are too close together to allow anything more than a brush to sit between the two primary rows of paint. This is where online shopping is a sad substitute, because I would have noticed that issue in person. And honestly, why waste space like that in the design process? To say nothing of the fact that the second flap full of mixing wells doesn't open sufficiently far enough to be useful. 

However! by filling the middle channel of my Winsor & Newton box, then removing the insert and setting it over the mixing well of the first Daniel Smith box (see photo above), I was able to get a lot more paint out into one compact area. I figure if I can see it, I'll use it. 

Because let me tell you, this mess is not enticing me to paint.


Another project I took on just yesterday was putting together my very first Dot Journal. Holly, who went with me to a pen show a few months before the pandemic started, tipped me off about these things. Almost apologetically, because she assumed I must already be keeping several given my ridiculous stash of coloured pens and markers and notebooks. But she was so wrong! I was using journals with dots in them all the time and hadn't even considered linking up the dots to make personalized charts and planners. It's the perfect hobby for me, in that it gave me an excuse to watch for sales on even more coloured pens and markers and notebooks.

Again... I seem to have overdone it even by my standards.

It's not like I'm tops at decision-making to begin with, and there I was, faced with all these colour options for keeping the journal. I finally decided to do a small palette, like I would for a painting if I ever learn to do a real one, and doubled up a colour or two with a different brush tip.

I was very proud of this achievement and got all the way around the house to show it off before I realized that I wanted to use the yellow book to plan out a novel I'm researching.  I'd picked a green book for the meal planner I wanted to work on first, so I would be prepared, rather than paralysed, at 3pm on days when I'm supposed to make dinner. And I'd already bonded with the healthy-looking green for this purpose. GAH.

I considered using the same pen palette and just getting on with it already, but I know myself too well, and coordinated a new palette with the new cover. It's not like I was running short on pens or anything.

 All of this pen selection nonsense boiled down to me being afraid to put a mark in the book. I'm always wary of 'ruining' a notebook like this, which is why I generally use books with tear-out pages. But I was determined to use all this gear I've been accumulating, and - whoa.

The paper in an Oasis Light notebook is smooth like glass. I already knew I loved writing with LePen markers because I've been using a pair of them over the last few years, but LePen on Oasis paper is amazing.

I even recognized the advantages of having set up a 6-pen palette. It's really nice to have those decisions already made and neatly grouped with the notebook.

Because there are so many pages, I've been able to note down a lot of nutritional information to make grocery planning easier as well. I will regret the hours I've already spent on this after my three-month planner period is done and I have to start a second book for the next three months. But maybe after the first book is through, I can do this job with my eyes closed?

A girl can dream. But first: she's gotta paint the map for the new paint boxes!

Hope you're having a lovely March so far. Stay safe and I'll see you again soon... maybe even with a plausible watercolour flower at the top of the Hug.


Laurinda said...

That is some high-level organization! Getting my paint supplies into one bag is about the best I can manage.

My daughter bought a watercolor pot set & some paper for me to play with, & am playing at painting images of knitting. That was a fun birthday present!

I've even started knitting again, which feels very good

Mary Keenan said...

Laurinda I'm so glad to hear you're getting some creative outletting back too! Even when my hands don't feel like going through the motions with my needles I have been really loving the feel of knitted fabric. And woven too. All kinds of fibers. I guess it's like being in a band or choir versus just listening - both are good, but being 'in' it makes you part of it :^) And happy birthday, however late!