Posts related to business, but not marketing.

Legal Absurdities

It was just a farmer’s market. A small one. One with pretentions for grandeur.

First, they informed all the vendors that if they wanted to participate, they must be compliant with all “regulations”.

Now, in the first place, regulations are NOT LAW. They are guidelines. Recommendations. Not even exactly legal requirements since they aren’t EVEN Civil Law. Just something that the state harasses you about until you give in and let them enforce them on you. Sigh.

But the farmer’s market board does not understand this, and does not want to. They require that all vendors sign that they will be in compliance with regulations (and the regulations are specified). These regulations require licensing for some things.

They also burden the vendors with many unreasonable requirements, and some reasonable ones. That isn’t what this is about, really, but it just goes along with officiousness where it impedes the intent of the event. They can’t quite figure out that their primary purpose is to help people honestly earn from local sales. They have to make sure that the vendors only do it in an “approved” way, and that they sell only the things that the board thinks will make the market look good. This year EVERY SINGLE ITEM that you sold had to be approved by them, and even if you wanted to bring ANOTHER item that they had already approved for someone else, they did not want you to sell it unless YOU were personally approved to sell that thing!

All this bother for a TWO HOUR PER WEEK market!

It’s $25 for the entire season. Most people just give in. Just like the government.

We get to the farmer’s market and there is a big sign there. “Food sold here has not been regulated, licensed, certified or inspected.”

Wait a minute.

They REQUIRED it to be “regulated”.

Some vendors CHOOSE to license, seek certifications, or invite inspections. Some vendors are PROFESSIONALS who choose to do that. Some are PROFESSIONALS who choose not to!

But after requiring the vendors to DO SO, they now warn the public that it HAS NOT BEEN DONE.

So when an entity decides to ENFORCE regulations on independent vendors, they do not DECREASE their own liability, they INCREASE IT. Because THEY have now ASSUMED the role of ENFORCING it. Voluntarily.

If they really wanted to avoid being sued, they would simply say, “All legal compliance is the responsibility of the vendor, the market entity is not responsible for enforcing any legal or regulatory compliance.” and leave it at that. This is the escape route, rather than taking it on, along with the entire load of liability.

But to then declare that NO regulation (or other compliance) has been done is not merely an insult to their vendors, it is a further invitation for suit. The vendors can sue them for posting a false declaration. The CUSTOMERS can sue them for misleading statements.

Kinda dumb. They want to control so badly that they do it backward in both directions.

I made enough to justify the $25 fee, the transportation, and the time to get there. Barely.

I predict that next year they will have another layer of impeding controls laid down upon the unsuspecting vendors who really just want to bring part of a local business into the public eye long enough each week to increase their earnings.

Keep it up farmer’s markets. You’ll eventually put YOURSELF out of business.

Warp Speed

Weaving, that is. Star Trek never had this.

I don’t have pictures yet. Sorry. But I need to write anyway.

I have a SampleIt Loom. Have had for a few years now. I got it soon after I started spinning. If you spin, you have to USE the yarn you make, or the thread you make. But then, you also have to make ENOUGH thread or yarn.

Problem was, I didn’t have enough of any one thing to really DO anything with on the loom, and warping the loom requires space that I did not have. Still don’t. So my loom sits in the corner, lonely and abandoned looking, gathering dust. Too costly to let it do that forever, I WILL use it. But I need a project that I have enough yarn for first.

Stumbled on Band Weaving. Was not impressed. Then I was. It is quite lovely in many patterns. They used to call it Ribbon Weaving, and sometimes Tape Weaving. Look it up, it is easier than me trying to explain and you getting it all wrong.

Shoelaces. You can make shoelaces with this. Decorative ones. In any color you want, provided you can find the thread. I started with crochet thread, bedspread weight cotton. Works good.

It took WEEKS to get from “I want to do THIS” to actually threading a heddle.

First I had to make a loom. I did. A modification of the Beka 4″ wide loom, mine is wider, and shorter. Just 9″ by 12″. Works much the same, but has a design change on the warp board on the back to make it simpler for me to make.

Then I made an even smaller loom, just a 6X9″ frame. I tied on two raddles, and added a 3/4″ by 1/4″ board that is about 8″ long to wind the warp onto. Tied that on, strung the heddle, and made pink and yellow shoelaces. The colors I HAD that I didn’t mind using on a practice product. I now have two 30″ long striped shoelaces that someone in my family will find in their mailbox sometime around Christmas this year.  25 threads wide, ends up about 1/2″ in finished width.

Next are Kevin’s bootlaces. Navy, Light Blue, and Dark Green. These are about 3/8 of an inch wide. They are wool. Handspun wool. It is what I have on hand. I started these on the same tiny loom, but used some clamps instead of string, to make it faster to advance the warp. The loom suddenly went from simple looking to trashy – the clamps are large, with pink handles and grips.

The thing is, weaving by hand is SLOW. And this is a TINY loom. Even the larger one is SMALL. Weaving ribbon is pretty fast as far as passing the shuttle is concerned. The time is lost in advancing the warp .

Warp thread is the long thread that you put through the heddle (look it up). It runs from the back of the loom to the front, and however many warp threads you put on determines in part the width of the end product.

The threads that go back and forth in the shuttle, to form the rows from bottom to top are the Weft. So you weave the weft into the warp, again and again, until you run out of room. Then you advance the warp – you unroll more thread to use at the top, and you roll up (or just reanchor) the finished weaving at the bottom.

There are all sorts of ways that looms handle this one basic function. Some are easy, and some are hard. Some are simple, but take time. If you make a loom by hand, this is one area where you often have to compromise, and accept a more difficult or time consuming method, in order to simplify the pieces and assembly of the loom.

I’m faster now at advancing the warp than on the first set of shoestrings. With those, I wove about 3-4 minutes, and then spent 2-3 minutes advancing the warp. Now it takes less than a minute to advance the warp, but I’m also weaving wool, which is a bit slower since it likes to cling to itself and does not slip easily when the heddle is raised or lowered. It seems to be taking longer to weave this set of laces, even though I’ve gained so much speed on the warp advance.

Band Weaving is a great place to start, because it teaches you patterns in Straight Weave. Straight weave is just back and forth, every other thread, alternating row to row. So if you have a hole and slot heddle you just lift for one row, and drop for the next row. There are literally hundreds of patterns you can create with Straight Weave, just by varying the colors.

With Band Weaving, it is a Compressed Warp style weaving, so all the warp threads get pushed together tight, and you don’t even see the weft threads. It makes it so you only have to worry about the colors on the Warp, in order to work out a pattern. It can be simpler to start out than many other kinds of weaving.

Kevin is weaving on a Peg Loom, and it is Compressed Weft. So the back and forth threads compact down, and you don’t see the warp threads that hold them together. This simplifies the process for him, he only has to worry about getting things right one direction, not two.

There are other things I want to do. But I have to work out how to make the loom do them. There are problems with small looms that cause aggravation for weavers worldwide, and it makes it difficult to produce even work.  Wider and longer finished work compounds those problems, and it gets really awkward to first warp the loom, and then keep the warp from getting all tangled or having uneven tension. I assume there may be solutions. But I cannot find them.

Meanwhile, I CAN make small ribbons. And they make really cool decorative shoelaces.

I am either really crafty creative, or I am really pathetic.

Becoming A Professional Artist

Back then, I could not do it. I could not even IMAGINE doing it.

In highschool, where I was taking art classes, and learning to paint with oil paints (they never introduced acrylics at all in those days), I could not envision myself picking up a paintbrush and wrestling with the canvas EVERY DAY as a full time artist. I could not imagine harnessing that kind of flow of creative inspiration EVERY DAY, let alone full time every day!

But life changed me. First off,  I learned a set of SKILLS and TECHNIQUES from Bob Ross, and other painting instructors. My teachers in school never even hinted at the wonders I learned – how to use a brush to create effects instead of having to paint each dot individually to create the same effect!

This changed not only HOW I paint, but WHAT I paint. I was never even able to TRY to paint some things, and I learned to paint them quickly, and easily, and the outcome became better with practice. I was still that artist that painted the thing that I was never satisfied with, but I could at least produce a thing that had merit.

I stopped painting when I got married. No place for a studio, not even a desk.

After the birth of my fourth child, I started painting again. That was the Bob Ross phase of learning, and I sold a few paintings, gave a few away, and kept a few. One portrait, in progress, never finished, lost in the great disaster. I learned to gain inspiration from the works of other artists, and a little from photographs.

But in the mean time, I became a successful home business owner, and webmaster. All my spare energy was funneled into that business. My reading was no longer novels and biographies, it was technical manuals. My art was headers and template designs and logos (I learned to be an accomplished computer graphics professional). My writing was all instructional. My hobbies were all technical and professional.

I became a type of Commercial Artist. I learned that when someone wanted a design from me, the thing I thought was perfect, which I created first, and knocked out of the park, was NEVER EVER the thing they wanted! I learned to satisfy the customer who thought entirely differently from myself.

About a year ago I started painting again. Kevin bought the supplies for me for my Birthday.

There’s a difference now. I can work daily at painting, and produce more than one painting a day, for weeks at a time, and not lose my enthusiasm for it, as long as there is hope of a customer at the end of the day.

I’m no longer the unfocused girl I was. I’ve learned technique, method, and skill. And I’ve learned not only the business and marketing side of things, I’ve learned two major skills that are ESSENTIAL for an artist, which I did not know I even needed, back when I just knew I’d never be talented enough to be a full time artist.

I know now that talent is only a small part of the equation.  Oh, you HAVE to have it, but it is nowhere near enough by itself.

I know TWO things that I did not know I needed to know.

  1. I know how to START when I feel absolutely uninspired. I know how to pick up the brush when it is the LAST THING I want to do, and GET STARTED on a thing I know I am capable of doing. I learned this troubleshooting databases, and installing and configuring website structures. I learned that if I just PICKED UP the task, and STARTED IT, then I’d be able to get inside it enough to FINISH it.
  2. I know how to GET PAST the stupor of thought in the middle of a thing that makes me feel unable to finish it. When things don’t go right, when I’m out of ideas, when I just can’t face wrestling with that again, right now, I know what to do. I either take a little break and go to do something else for a bit, or I just dive right back in, after a prayer for help. I know that 95% of the time, I can just KEEP WORKING IT, and something will change. So the solution is sort of the same. I just pickup the brush and KEEP GOING until I FINISH IT.

I used to have all manner of unfinished paintings laying around. I no longer do. I have a stack of unstarted items that are roughed out, but once I start it, I finish it.

I am capable now of doing things for a living that I never thought I could. I’ve walked the walk as a web designer, sufficient that I know that in the end, full time creative work is just a job, like any other, and a privilege to be able to do every day.

I also learned to be PRODUCTIVE, and I now approach art in the same way I did the $500 website (which was our bread and butter). I learned to create a $500 website in a matter of a few hours of my time. Far less time than my competitors. I also learned to give HIGHER VALUE to my client (we gave them EVERYTHING they needed for the website to WORK, at THAT price), and how to EARN MORE myself. I systemized and streamlined the processes, invented my own processes, and became something outside the mainstream.

So I now paint with an eye to efficiency, and I work on my OWN techniques to speed the processes without compromising the quality of the art. There are assuredly many growing pains. But I produce a painting of higher quality (for me) in 2-3 hours. I produce a rougher work in less than an hour, on average. These same things took 4-10 hours for me to do many years ago.

Once you learn to treat it like a job, instead of like playtime, you can do it full time.

Oddly, it doesn’t take the joy out of it. It only takes the joy out when you can’t treat it like a job!

When I have the brush or pen, or pencil in hand, I still lose myself in the work. I still delight when a thing turns out, and I still despair when it can’t get the magic working.

I became a Commercial Artist, as I said. Able to create according to someone else’s specification, within my scope of talent and skill. And it was VERY fulfilling.

And now, I can create “fine art” (a subjective term, to be sure) in a more intensive manner.

I can be a Professional Artist, and am working in improving my skillset within that capacity.

The Myth Of The “Ideal Customer”

There’s no such thing, folks!

All these so called marketing experts out there crying that they have the secret to endless buyers. They tell you one of the first steps is to identify your “Ideal Customer”.

Now they do this for all kinds of things, but I am seeing it lately with Art Marketing Coaches.

There’s no such thing! Ok, I already said that. But there ISN’T an “Ideal Customer” for ANY business.

There’s too much variety.

You can’t even isolate a set of characteristics that is valid.

You CAN isolate some NEEDS. But they vary also, and you can’t cookie cut your customers.

I decided I wanted to go after Assembly Line Art buyers.

But they are all different!

Some are brokers, some are gallery owners, some are boutique or even big box retailers. Some ware wholesalers, some are distributors.

There’s no “Ideal” because there are too many types.

Even among those types, the INDIVIDUALS will respond to different messages.

You don’t TARGET anyone.

You BE YOURSELF. (Ok, some version of nice, professional, informative, honest, etc, in case you aren’t those things, ’cause “yourself” only works when “yourself” is LIKEABLE.)

Talk to your audience like you do to your friends. Talk to them like you do when you are talking to an actual prospect, or customer.

And you find that you keep having to add little bits, because encountering new people to negotiate with or to inform, exposes you to versions of customers that you could not envision! They keep coming up with new perspectives that blindside you! You just can’t predict it!

So just tell the world about your product. Because THAT is something EVERY customer needs.

Just give good and honest details, and speak to the NEED that your customer is likely to have, that YOUR product provides for, ESPECIALLY when it is a unique product that meets the need better.

Speak from the point of view of THEIR NEEDS, and not from YOUR NEED TO SELL. It works better.

But don’t go trying to map out some mythical customer who only exists in the fragile minds of the mentally unstable.

That customer doesn’t exist except as a figment of your imagination, and you’ll just be wasting valuable time, that you could be using to present your product in a persuasive way to the general public. Let them choose. Don’t filter them (except for legal and moral reasons).

Let THEM decide if they are the winning customer that you never expected would be the one to buy your product or service again and again.

Pardon My Faux Pas

“Underwater Painting of Alexander Belozor”. That’s what it said. Really.

I’m browsing on Pinterest, looking for some inspiration for the next seashell thingy, and there it is.

And I must say, it didn’t look a thing like him! Truth is, I had a lot of trouble telling just which rock was supposed to be HIM. Maybe the artist didn’t have much talent…

I have great fun sometimes naming my paintings, titling my articles, and coming up with brand names for things I dream up. Occasionally I come up with a screamer – one that just makes people howl with laughter. Sometimes a scorner. But often just plodders.

So far though, I haven’t tried to name anything as a portrait of myself when it was just a scene of something else!

The CRIME Of Charging Sales Tax Across State Lines

No, folks, you CANNOT charge sales tax from your internet business in one state, to the residents of another state. I don’t care if you DO live in Chicago. I don’t care is some ignorant webmaster wannabe says you have to now because some law or another says so.

They are wrong.


It is against the law to do so.

Which Law?

It is Contrary to the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution which PREVENTS any state from collecting sales tax from any resident of any other state! It GUARANTEES free trade between states, and this is part of it, and the Supreme Court has ruled on that, many times.

It is that simple.

It is NO DIFFERENT than if you have a mail order company that sends out catalogs. Online business is the SAME, and your website is considered to be nothing more to the courts than a MAIL ORDER CATALOG SYSTEM. This is also upheld by the Supreme Court.

The fact that the system is online, rather than hand processed by the business MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. It is still just a MAIL ORDER BUSINESS.

It is a CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION, and a FEDERAL CRIME if YOUR BUSINESS charges sales tax to anyone outside YOUR state (tourists are IN YOUR STATE when the sale occurs).

In fact, it is TREASON to do so, and a CAPITAL CRIME. That means, if you are found guilty, the death penalty is mandatory.

Not only is this a crime Federally, but it is a crime in EVERY STATE to collect sales tax that is not legally due. Every state stipulates that you can ONLY collect tax on sales that occur IN YOUR STATE (with the customer present), OR from mail order with an in-state customer. It is a crime at the state level for which you can receive the death penalty also. THIS is Tax Fraud, and it is no small thing.

If your webmaster or accountant is telling you otherwise, THEY ARE A CROOK.

If a business is charging you sales tax for a state YOU DO NOT LIVE IN, then THEY ARE A CROOK.

No exceptions. No excuses.

This is a growing trend among dishonest businesses who charge you illegally, so they can skim that extra amount for themselves. You better believe they are NOT paying it to their state. There is NO STATE that requires that, they cannot without getting sued six ways to Sunday.

We are a Constitutional Republic. That means something. It means that the Constitution of the United States of America is the SUPREME law of the land. It holds. No state can just decide that they don’t want to do it that way anymore.


Lessons From Solitaire

I admit it, I play Solitaire on my computer. It is one of those things that rests my brain, and brings order when I am in the middle of chaos, or when I’ve had a day that really took it out of me.

There are lessons in Solitaire, and some are fairly profound.

  1. Some people judge you if you play Solitaire. Life is full of people who judge you as inferior if you engage in certain activities. But there is no dishonor in Solitaire. It can be a great time waster if you lose yourself in laziness, but it can also be used in positive ways.
  2. There’s more than one game. Hoyle has more than 50, and it is generally accepted that there are around 150 games, plus variations on those, bringing the total with variants to over 500. Life should never lock us into just one game.
  3. Never play an unwinnable Hand. Experience teaches us that many games as laid out are unwinnable. We can recognize these with a fair degree of accuracy, and filter them out. No point wasting time playing the game we know we will lose.
  4. Choosing not to play the layout means you forfeit. It counts as a loss. Most people filter that out in their calculation of how winnable a game is, so their perspective on the game is skewed.
  5. Don’t get too attached to the draw. When we invest the time in playing the game, sometimes we want to really make sure it is not winnable. With a computer game, we can undo, and then replay certain parts. Sometimes this leads to a win. But there is a point where we have to abandon an unproductive game, and go on to something worthwhile, because a game we cannot win, or even one we spend too much time winning, is no longer worthwhile. Maybe you COULD win after all. But at what cost?
  6. Most people cheat. When you ask someone who plays Solitaire with actual cards, how much they win, they report higher win rates than they experience on a computer game. It is so simple to shift a card, shuffle a deck, or reverse a draw pattern, giving us a chance to win simply by breaking the rules in some little way that we excuse for ourselves. We always discount this, and count the win anyway. We cheat more than we acknowledge. My own person observation and analysis shows this is fairly universal.
  7. Cheating skews your perspective regarding the odds of winning. This means you will recommend a game as winnable that YOU, PERSONALLY have to cheat, to win at the rate you credit yourself with. It does not make you GOOD at it, it just makes you INACCURATE at teaching about it.
  8. Playing a hand with physical cards is DIFFERENT than computer Solitaire. You can cheat more easily with cards. The computer generally stops that, but you are limited by the programmer’s interpretation of the rules (and some are implemented incorrectly), and you are given additional tools to aid in playing more easily.
  9. It is HARD to play a new game when you don’t have a copy of the rules. Ponder that.
  10. The best games are the ones that are less popular. The games we love most are not Klondike or Freecell.
  11. We enjoy Solitaire more when we have a variety of games. We rarely love it when we lock ourselves into a single game.
  12. The game that is easy to win is not always the best game. Those games that require more skill to win are the most fun for me. Those that are easy to win are what I go to when my brain is overloaded, and I just need to be able to do something right.
  13. The “Best” game is the game YOU think is best. It is never the one someone else likes best.
  14. Winning is never just chance, and never just skill. It is always BOTH. Even with an “easy” game.
  15. If we pay attention, SKILL develops over time, and a game we could not win, becomes winnable. This means we can LEARN to win some games. The skills we learn may be somewhat different from game to game.
  16. The rules of the game, and the way it is played results in a WIDE variation of winnability. Some games are simply easier to win than others, even when we have no skill. We learn to filter for those games we consider to be WORTH trying to win.
  17. Sometimes the Undo command allows a more realistic life experience, and sometimes a LESS realistic one, depending on what you are relating it to. Sometimes errors can be undone and corrected in life. Sometimes they cannot.
  18. With Computer Solitaire, you get either a single game in an application, or a bundle of games. Your perception of Solitaire on the computer is strongly affected by the software you choose. The Programmer becomes the origination of your Definition of Computer Solitaire. In life, our definitions of various activities and endeavors may be defined by OUR programmers – our parents, teachers in school, college professors, employers, government, etc.
  19. If we approach Solitaire with a track record in analytical problem solving, we will develop our own set of guidelines to improve the odds of winning. Things like looking for a hand with aces showing, or simple rules for ourselves about when we play the drawn card, and when we pass on it, depending on the objective of the game.
  20. The way the computer automates the game is NOT always the best way. You can’t always let the computer do it for you, sometimes you have to place the cards yourself in order to get them to go in correctly.
  21. According to one source, people who play multiple types of Solitaire learn critical thinking and analytical thinking better than those who do not. Those who play complex types score even higher.

So we do not intend to imply that all the world may be explained and rationalized through the lens of Solitaire.

But it does give one something to think about.

Etsy Fail

I had a product to sell. I finally decided to give Etsy a try.

Created the shop just fine. Loaded product. shop went live.

Minimal traffic. I have to market it, I know that.

Then the backend. You have to put in your bank account info. We expect that.

But it won’t validate. It says I have to sign up for Plaid. A third party payment gateway that I have not heard of yet.

Plaid does not like my bank account. It says give it another one. Yeah… right. I’m just gonna open my wallet and give them ALL my accounts? I have this funny smell in my nose. Sorta like fishy.

The thing is, they ALREADY deposited ONE deposit into MY bank account. They have to do two to validate. They already told me that when I entered my info in the OTHER Place. NOT where they want me to sign up for Plaid.

And I can’t validate. They only deposited ONE deposit. No place TO enter in the info until I am cleared by Plaid.

Upshot is that they can BILL me, but they claim they cannot PAY me. They have enough information to satisfy themselves that they can TAKE money from me, but not enough information to GIVE money to me if my goods sell.

And they DO take the fees. $5. For LESS than one month of nothing.

I closed the shop after three weeks. No way to do business there. So I removed ALL of the goods from the shop, and followed the procedure to close it. They inform me it can take a few weeks for them to do that.

It is nearly a year later, and I am STILL receiving emails from them. “This Week In Your Etsy Shop” emails.

I don’t have a shop, Etsy. I closed it. You failed. You failed to give me a platform that I could use to do business.

Something still smells fishy about it.

An Everyday Artist

I’ve been drawing since grade school, and painting since highschool. I always knew I could not be a professional artist, because I could not paint and draw everyday, all the time. I knew I lacked the essential inspiration to produce art on demand.

I produce an average of 3-4 paintings a week now, but they are simple, and quick to do. I have learned to be a full time artist, even though I do not paint full time right now. I know I COULD, if the financial motive was there, and I know I could produce between 4 and 20 paintings a day, depending on what media, method, and batch production method I was working.

There are major things that have changed since highschool.

First, I know how to work. I know how to do a JOB day after day, and when it comes down to it, painting is just another job.

Second, I know how to do CREATIVE work every day, all day. I learned that as a web designer, doing computer graphics and website design, and doing web development to create individual solutions for each website.

Third, I know how to use TECHNIQUE, and how to develop METHODS and SYSTEMS to produce work more quickly, and more efficiently.

Fourth, I know how to RESEARCH and STUDY the works of other artists for inspiration and to learn new styles, methods, and techniques. That began with Bob Ross in about 1992.

Fifth, I know how to get up in the morning and just do the work. Just do the work that is here to do today.

The biggest thing that makes it so I can WORK as an artist is that I know how to get up and do the work, and that I now consider art to BE work, not just something I do for my soul. It IS still that, but I can do THAT as work!

Long ago, art was not BUSINESS for me. Now it is. But it produces a PRODUCT, and that makes it business.

I am an artist every day. I am a writer every day also – I made THAT transition long ago. I don’t LOSE something by being an artist every day. I gain something.

When I am not working on a painting, I am often studying a work that I plan to use as my reference work to paint from. I am sometimes researching categories of painting material to learn styles, compositions, color usage, and other elements that allow me to be READY to paint when I pick up the canvas and brush.

I study the techniques of other artists, but I also practice to REFINE my own use of technique to create various stylistic elements. I also work to refine METHODS, both those that I learn from other artists, and those I create on my own.

All that time, between youth, and middle age, I was learning. The things that come to make me ABLE where I was not then, are not merely artistic, but mechanical, intellectual, displinarial, and analytical. I am more of a person now, and that makes me more capable.

The art has a long way to go to improve as I want it to. But the rest of me does also. I’m not ready today to paint a highly detailed large work. But maybe I will be in a month or year or two. Because I’ll be even MORE of a person then than I am now.

But now, for the first time in my life, I am an artist every day… An everyday Artist.

View my scratchings and smearings at Firelight Heritage Farm Library and Gallery.

Rescuing The Failed Work

Sometimes you create a thing, and the thing is DECIDEDLY WRONG.

And sometimes you can SEE RIGHT THERE what is wrong.

Sometimes you can fix it. And sometimes you cannot.

I have paintings that have a flaw, that I cannot fix. I have the SKILL to fix it, and I have the knowledge of what is wrong.

But when you finish a painting, and clean up the paints, it is often really scary to go back again to correct something. It is HARD to get the paints mixed right, and if they are wrong, the correction might just be WORSE than the flaw you are trying to correct.

More times than I can recall, I have chosen NOT to repair a flaw, because the risk that I will completely destroy the painting is so great I just can’t make myself do it.

Sometimes though, it can be done. It isn’t always worth it with a really bad flop, but often it is.

Corrections, it seems, are full of “sometimes”.

I spend part of yesterday correcting two paintings. One had glitter glue that ran into the wrong area, so I had to paint over it, and then re-glitter it. Easy enough if I can match the paints and the glue, and I could, well enough.

The other required some creative modifications. It is BETTER, but not sufficient. I shall have to correct it again. This one also has glitter. So I need to paint, and then glitter. If I can get the color right.

One more waits, and it is a major undertaking. Matching the colors is only part of the equation, and I could entirely ruin it by trying. But it is not a work that has value as it is, so correcting it is the only thing I can do. The risk MUST be taken.

Meanwhile two half-finished paintings with oceans in the middle, and seashell framing are waiting to be finished. So I struggle to balance the time. Correct the old, or finish the new?

And how can I just do both?


This painting just did not make much sense, because you cannot see the outline of the flower well enough to differentiate it from the background. I feared touching it up, because I was afraid I could not match the colors.


Gave it a try anyway, and failed utterly to match the warm reddish tones of the original colors. The color I used is a bit too orange. Fears realized. Not sure if the painting is better, or worse. But you CAN see that it is a flower, even at some distance. The color difference otherwise, between the two, is just camera color issues.

A Love Affair With Seashells

I’ve always loved seashells. You never find them, you know, you always have to BUY them. So I did. But only a few, it is all I could afford. A few trips to the beach where I gathered some sand dollars, and some fond memories of a close friend, and my husband and small children.

They were one of those things that were lost in the Great Disaster, and it is only now I can restore anything, and what I have now is NOT what I had then.

I’ve NEVER been interested in seashell crafts. But painting them seemed an option, and that lead to Shell Paintings where you paint everything but the shells, and you glue those on. I gave it a try.


I wasn’t unhappy with it. So I tried again. This time painting ON the shell.


Next, I did a painting with a wreath. It took me three days to paint the shells, paint the painting, and then glue it all together.


Various other shell items, such as painting on oystershell, followed. Then I learned to make Magnolia blossoms, Rose blossoms, and Water Lily blossoms from seashells. I kinda like the look! And instead of selling them as individual crafts, I wanted to put them into a painting.

The first effort is finished, Magnolias with an impressionistic background.


This one is a set of three paintings, very small. Because the shells were small, and the blossoms ended up small.

I still have quite a few things lined up, and more to learn. My love of seashells has taken a new turn though, and I only have one rule – I combine it with painting, and not just painting the shells. I have some exceptions, because some shells, it is all you can do with them.

About the only way I can get the shells is in mixed lots, and you get what you get. You know you may get a lot of a particular type, but the big ones are always a gamble. You just have to work with what you get, and learn to USE the shells one way or another.

So the output is somewhat irregular. But it is a lot of fun.

My entire production is available for sale, on

Knock It Off With The Sales Tax Fraud

You know, Amazon is NOT required to collect sales tax on all sales. They aren’t. They run a Mall, with multiple vendors, who come from all over. THOSE vendors are responsible for the sales tax, and Amazon isn’t even legally responsible to give them an interface where they can collect it.

So when I shop at Amazon, I am defrauded if the ACTUAL SELLER is not located in Utah (where I live). Because Amazon does not have outlets here. And the Seller (who is either Amazon, NOT HERE, or another seller, RARELY HERE) is almost NEVER required to pay sales tax on MY purchase (pass through tax, remember?).

So when I order from Amazon, I am being defrauded 99% of the time.

It is now much worse than that. charges me sales tax. For a business in another state. They tell me they are required to do so. They are lying.

The Commerce clause in the Constitution PREVENTS one state from collecting sales tax on sales outside their own state. Internet sales are judged by the Supreme court as having taken place in the ORIGINATING STATE for the seller, not the buyer.

No sales tax due. Not ever. But SO MANY businesses are doing this.

In fact, if you charge sales tax on all sales on your website, you are committing Treason. Yeah. Legal definition is broader than just trying to bring down the government. If you violate the Constitutional rights of people on a large scale, it is Treason.

What we find though, is that NO STATE tells people they have to do that. When sellers charge sales tax on out of state sales, it is ALWAYS fraud. They pocket it, and smile.

And you pay a dishonest merchant to commit Treason.

Sadly, some of my favorite vendors are falling prey to this.

It is also a favorite scam within corporations. Someone sets it up. Someone OTHER than the corporation collects the money, siphons off the excess sales tax. But make no mistake, THAT corporation is still on the hook legally, because the fraudulent funds are being paid TO THEM.

Yeah. I’m ranting. But it’s still a major problem, and my legal info here is still true.

No, I’m not a lawyer. If you don’t like what I said, go hire someone. Go study the Constitution yourself.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.