Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yarnity, yarn, yarn...

I Love Yarn. I think it takes a very cold, calloused person with a frigid soul to not appreciate, if not love, yarn. Who can resist the come-hither squishiness of a ball of yarn? Who can avoid grabbing, with child-like delight, the balls of wool and mohair? Even the synthetics like acrylic have a luscious appeal. And there is a purely magical aura to those wild yarns made with bits of silk, soy, and bamboo. Bamboo! Will wonders never cease?

When we cradle a ball or skein of yarn, the best moments of our childhood come rushing in around us like a warm bath. Balls and skeins nestle in a basket or a bin like so many easter eggs, awaiting your discovery. A favorite sweater or afghan is recalled as your nuzzle the merino wool. Hug the ball of mohair, and you are once again holding your first teddy bear or the kitten you got for your 4th birthday. Draw out the strands of novelty yarn, and you are transported to the Halloween you were a mermaid or a dinosaur. You don't have to be at all versed in fiber crafts to be captivated by the Call of the Yarn.

For those of us who do knit, felt, or crochet, the yarn has a special voice. We will spend ridiculous amounts of money on hand-spun, hand-dyed strands. When we have a unique and particularly desirable skein in front of us, we contemplate it like Michelangelo finding the form in the marble. We circle it, court it, ask it what it wants from us. We wait for the yarn to reveal its true self through color, thickness, and the ever-pressing concern of amount. We know we cannot press the yarn past what it is willing to give us. Miscalculation can lead to disaster and shame. Yes, shame, I say! For it is always upon our own shoulders when we fail to read the yarn. However, when we successfully tap into the soul of the yarn, glory abounds and beauty reigns! Magic happens. The spirit of the skein is given shape through the artist, and the sum total of comfort and happiness on Earth is increased a little.

Oh, Beauty, thy name is YARN!

Monday, July 14, 2008

An Adventure in the Arts

I was laid off my job about three and a half months ago. I figured this was as good a time as any to explore selling my own jewelry designs. I got a shop up and running on Etsy (www.stagebunny.etsy.com). Many people on Etsy are able to support themselves on their work. I am not yet one of those people. I get giddy from one sale, and the euphoria from that one sale can last for days. I had pulled from the collective pool of Etsy wisdom that it can take a couple of years before one actually sees any kind of profit. That makes sense to me. It's like any other business, right?

I feel pretty good about this. Even though I will have to get, at the very least, a part-time employment position soon, I am dedicated to the long-term goal of making my little business go. I have already learned so much, including the fact that the majority of the time I spend on my business is not in the studio creating, but shopping for ads, promoting, looking for new materials, etc.

Things I have done so far to build my little empire include:
~Buying up affordable ads on Project Wonderful.
~Ordering and distributing some truly beautiful business cards
~Joining groups like Indiepublic that are relevant to my business
~Talking about my business and wearing my pieces while I'm out and about.
~Keeping track of my sales and what advertising I do on a monthly basis so I can get some idea about any correlations.

I really need to get out of the mentality that I am an unemployed person with a hobby. When people ask me what I do, I need to start saying, "I'm a jewelry designer." If I don't believe in it myself, it's never going to happen. I want this, so onward and upward.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Notes from the World's Most Absent Blogger

I'm a woman of few words...sometimes. This statement alone will send people who know me into fits of laughter. But the fact is, I often find it hard to write. My internal editor is so very insistently vocal that I often give up before I begin. And there is also the question of feeling my life is not all that read-worthy. But it's living-worthy, so I guess I should have no qualms about chronicling it. Today marks (yet another) promise to myself to keep things going on my little elbow of the intertubes.

Since I last posted, I have fallen in and out (and in again!) of love, lost a job, found about a million new interests, moved, moved again, changed life direction entirely, made some new friends, revisited old friendships, and let a few people go.

Despite the changes, I feel more like somebody I was "back when" instead of a "new me". Something about change keeps us young. It forces us onto the path of exploration and growth. Resourcefulness, flexibility in mind and spirit, and the wonder of our own being seem to leak away from us as we get lulled into the illusion of security.

Anyway, through this blog, I'd like to challenge myself to get out there and be successful at seeing things through. I've got a lot of plates sitting on sticks right now. They're not even spinning yet, but I'd like to get them going and see what I'm made of. If this seems disjointed now, don't worry. All will be revealed.

So, consider this my re-introduction post. I am Catalina Keller and I will be your blogger today. Exits are at the top of the screen and to the side of the keyboard, but I hope you will stay a while.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Mermaid's Tale

Once, there was a young blond girl who lived on the cliffs of Dana Point. Almost every day during her summers there, she would climb down the steep chaparral bluffs to the beach and dive into the ocean. She’d swim out past the waders, the surfers, and the waves. She would float for hours, letting the sea support her and whisper stories to her. Her blue eyes would turn green from the sunshine and briny water. Her hair would turn the color of pale sand.

One day, this little mermaid grew up and knew there was more in the world she needed to see. She ran off to the big city, then, years later, to the Smokey Mountains. But she always longed for the salty waters of her past. Her hair grew dark, and her eyes turned more grey than green, but inside she still felt the embrace of the sea.

One day, while sorting through her grown-up treasures, she came across her collection of mermaid charms, sculpted of silver and crystal, glass and pewter, a purple satin cord linking them to each other. While polishing these charms, she remembered who she was. Even though she was sitting in a February-chilled apartment, miles from any ocean, she could feel the sun in her hair and thought she heard a familiar whispered greeting.

She knows she still has much land to explore. Big cities and exotic countries still beckon to her. But she knows, when her travels are done, there will be a place for her beside warm waters. In her old age, she will once again have sand-pale hair and ocean-green eyes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"The List" by Tara Ison - A Review

Why are two people who are so obviously mismatched compelled to be together? Reason dictates that if you are miserable together, you should be able to part ways, never to look back. What mysterious force draws us back and binds us to each other? What makes us remember the most obscure detail (a gesture, a scent) and turns it into a reason to stay? And should these little reasons be enough? The List, by Tara Ison, explores these excruciating puzzles within a tumultuous relationship.

Isabel and Al are as incompatible as couples get. One is driven and high-strung while the other basks in his slacker life-style. They can never seem to keep their relationship going for long, and yet can not resist the urge to reunite. Does the need to hang on to each other come from the fear of missing out on experiences left unshared? Isabel and Al set off to find out with unexpected, and often undesirable, results.

So much rang true in this story. Jealousy, anger, affection, desperation, lust, and memory whirlpool around this couple as they search for closure before moving on from their emotionally violent love. We watch them fight. We watch them profoundly misunderstand each other. We wonder how two people can ever come together in midst of all that is hurtfully said, and all that is felt and never said at all. And yet, when we are given a glimpse inside their heads and shown moments of tenderness and wonder, we understand why these two persist in hanging on.

In reading The List, I found myself torn, like the characters, not knowing whether to root for separation or reconciliation. Like most really remarkable books, this one gave me insight into myself and my own stormy relationships. Being able to observe this familiar couple was a strange, sometimes painful experience. I would guess the vast majority adults have been through a relationship of this ilk. The List is a wonderful sympathetic novel for all of us who have ever questioned ourselves in terms of our emotional bonds, our fears, and our choices.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


So, there is a song out there that really bugs me because it’s about an ex-girlfriend calling a guy who is in a relationship with somebody else. It seems these two exes are still deeply in love and he wishes his current girlfriend were the one who is calling him in the middle of the night. It annoys me because a) I wonder if my boyfriend is really over all his exes and b) why is this guy in the song in another (live-in) relationship if he’s still so gone over the girl on the phone? The part that really annoys me is that it has a very pretty melody and gets stuck in my head fairly easily.

Then, this morning, the song didn’t bother me as much. I tried to figure out why, and I came to the conclusion that it is actually about my boyfriend and me, not some woman in his past. If we ever break up for good (our break-ups don’t seem to take), I am going to be the one he can’t get over, whether he knows it now or not. That made me smile as I looked at him all snuggly in bed. Of course, that would also make him the guy I never fully get over, either. That’s not a comforting thought when we’re apart, but I can certainly live with the idea when we’re together.

Monday, November 20, 2006


After reading Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, I was once again reminded of the things for which I am thankful...

~I am not only thankful for what I have, but for what I am allowed to have.
~I look at my library and know I can fill it with whatever books I want.
~I am thankful for the bounty of food available to me, and that I can afford it on a modest income.
~I can take the lover I choose and, with him, define the parameters of our relationship.
~I can love my God and still love those who don't believe in Him.
~I can buy art supplies and still pay rent.
~There is no black market for the things I desire.
~Nobody in bombing my city and my friend don't just 'vanish' from their homes.
~I am thankful for frivolous entertainment.
~I can laugh loudly and run like a madwoman without fear.