The Year That Was Covid and Visual Feelings

The Year That Was Covid and Visual Feelings

I’m fully burned out. I didn’t even realize it until I saw that Jen Hewett posted her announcement that she was closing up shop early, she doesn’t have much left to sell and she feels DONE. Wait, what? We can do that?! Today, her decision is all I can think about. Instead of fully closing I will plan some protected time off. I want time to review the year that was, what I want to do in 2021 and create at least a basic plan for the new year. We’re lucky to be here, afterall.

There’s definitely no need to drag you through the world event timeline of this year. We’ve all lived the news. In real time. All over the world. Each of us has had the time to do more and do more nothing than ever before in our lifetimes. The pandemic has taken a huge toll.

As this pandemic disaster year draws to a close, I’ve decided to take stock. A somewhat therapeutic wrap-up of emotions, milestones, challenges and triumphs in my businesses and life:

Little home germ circle
Because we were home all the time, we had weeks of being sick of each other, times where we hated making another meal and always the dogs feel underfoot and needy. But overall Roland and I have been so grateful to have the gift of more time with Ramona before she goes off to college. My mom commended all of us for our self-directed, strong work ethic. Yes, we could have it so much worse, this home and yard was like quarantining at a park over the summer and fall.

Joined the Art Brand Alliance
This supportive organization has been a valuable business resource! Mostly artists who sell products and support each other’s path. I always learn something when I log on as many of my art (she)roes are there. We Zoom and we look forward to connecting.

Designed and produced three new Southwest Bandanñas
A task on the back burner for over 2 years finally came to fruition. Sales were great over the summer. Everyone still had an optimistic outlook and the unemployment checks really helped our economy. These new white Bandanñas are also great for dyeing… resulting in color palettes I would not usually tend towards.

I re-invested in my products and business more than any year prior. Unfortunately, I can’t say how that plays out at this exact moment because QUARTERLY RECORD KEEPING will be on my list to conquer next year. (Don’t judge.) I’m grateful to have had the finances to do this mostly credit card free and know my expenses for this year will be great for my taxes. Because I don’t have up to date quarterly records I was not able to take advantage of some of the small business grants available in New Mexico, so lessons learned there too.

Opened, closed, opened, closed and opened casita
Our sweet little Air BnB was empty most of this year. With New Mexico’s early and strict health guidelines we felt it best to err on the safe side. We have missed the usual carousel of interesting and nice guests. I really enjoy hosting but I found that less time managing, cleaning and entertaining was highly advantageous to my Gifts + Goods business.

I finally had the chance to work with some of my friends and favorite niche brands. It’s encouraging that people want my brush pen, vintage-style to help represent their products. A certain Bandanña-style commission for a larger brand will be announced in February. I’m also really proud of a kitchen towel design for the historic La Fonda Hotel Detours gift shop in Santa Fe! These jobs really helped fill the gaps in my income.

You may say; now, really?! But yes, really. For some reason I had never found an easy click-and-ship option that was *my brain* friendly. Conquered, thanks to a tip from my pal Jenny/Penny at Field Works Petaluma.

See shipping. Although not exactly the same, I’ve always wanted nicer photography but… skills AND technology! Between Covid and cost, I could not hire my favorite image maker Laura Schneider, nor really contract anyone local for the number of shots I wanted. After some great advise from photographer friend, Mark Owen I invested in a 35mm auto camera for dummies. I love this little white camera! I’ve already dropped it and it has a little battle scar but it’s a tough bugger and really just another tool. I call it the magic light box. Mark so smartly explained sensors to me so now I know the little I know and it’s fantastic! DIY! Maybe next year I will learn how to make images lighter when I want, instead of randomly.

I sent out my newsletter almost every month this year! I believe the June and July were combined. I plan to continue this schedule, maybe 2 times a month; one with writing, one with special offers.

BLM, BIPOC, ACAB, LAND BACK, DEFUND, PERFORMATIVE ACTIVISM, DO BETTER, ANTI-RACIST, SAY THEIR NAMES, a year of powerful acronyms and phrases. This year of a call for justice like never before. I continue to learn, to consider and be aware of my actions daily.
My recent obsession with the WPA also fits in this list. Although some Americans saw this massive back-to-work program as a communist project and certain parts were wrongly set up in a racist way, many of the Black (and white) writers I learned about got a leg up from this steady work and it launched their bigger careers. Zora Neale Hurston, for example. Can you imagine if we had a program like this today?!

Felicity More and I sold Bandanña masks to benefit to 2 organizations we believe in. $1,680 went to the ACLU and Navajo Water Project. This was one of the best things that happened this year. It felt so good to DO something that mattered.

Finally, finally some good news in the form of capable, compassionate leadership brought my biggest smile of the year. I banged my pots and pans at 11:00 am but the energy and excitement was too much to contain. I quickly printed some Biden/Harris signs, plastered my car and we took to the street! The crisp high desert day was absolutely joyful as people cruised and celebrated up and down Route 66, honking, waving, gleefully and humanly cheering behind masks with sparkly smiling eyes… deep into the night.

It’s good to look back.

And I’m really looking forward to looking forward.

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