Friday, June 24, 2011

Life in the bus and other stories...

Today is June 24. A few days ago my only daughter turned 35. The years are melting away. Things that I used to think were so important hold little significance any more. It is time to seize what is left of my days here, before they run out. In the end I will have no one to blame but myself if I don't. And that is partly why I live in a bus. Because when I owned a nice home I had to work way too much to keep it. When I wasn't working to pay for it I was working to maintain it. There was very little time for me to create the art that is in me. It owned me.
The building in the background is part of our daugher's house

Three years ago my husband and I sold our home and bought a 1975 International School bus that had been converted into a home on wheels. We thought we would travel around, see these United States. Our first trip was from South Dakota, where we had been living for nine years, to California to see our daughter and meet our three granddaughters. We parked and haven't moved since! And that's ok with us. Our daughter and her family live about 50 feet away and our wonderful granddaughters are a daily part of our lives.

Our overhead is very low allowing us to work minimal hours for pay. After twenty plus years of employment I took home with me nights and weekends I opted for a regular job I could leave behind at the end of the day. I found the perfect employment for me, an avid thrifter, collector and creator. I work three days a week in a local thrift store, sorting other peoples cast offs. I have amassed large quantities of art supplies, and bits and pieces for gluing and hanging and creating not to mention for cluttering our bus and garden and my tree house workspace! Since the body of our house is steel, inside and out, what better place to start a magnet collection? My granddaughters have a great time playing "I Spy" finding new magnets all the time. I love small spaces and lots of stuff!

Now I have the supplies I need and some time to use them. I could do with a bit more space to work in but one can't have least not all at once. A studio is an on going dream. For now though I have built a 4x8 tented platform in the trees. I call it my sanity room, a space of my own. I love our bus home but it is lacking in any sort of privacy. I don't need much. Just a place to be that is mine. It is truly amazing how much you can cram onto a 4x8 piece of plywood. Of course there is not much room to work, but it is a lovely place to be, to gather inspiration, and a bit of peace. (I generally end up working at the kitchen table anyway.)  I literally built my sanity room out of duct tape and baling wire, redwood limbs wired together for structure and bubble wrap for windows! It has gone through several rain storms and I am happy to say so far does not leak.My supplies are stored in shelves right outside, except for those tucked into every nook and cranny of the bus. I have everything I need. I just can't always find what I am looking for! Someday I will have order too.

The wifi signal is pretty good in my sanity room, in spite of the redwoods that surround me. I can sit in my cozy arm chair blogging away while a fountain gurgles just outside the door and the birds (and squirrels, grrr)  happily visit the feeders hanging all about the yard.

I don't mind feeding the squirrels. I have always put out seed for them as well. They started the battle we are waged in by getting greedy and finding ways to empty the bird feeders. I have strung about 30 plastic bottles on wire. When they try to walk across them they spin and the squirrels fly. Once I foiled them that way they started jumping from surrounding trees, so I hung chimes and bells and what-nots in all directions around the feeders. I am constantly adjusting this as they figure out new ways of attack. They are wily little creatures. I have purchased three squirrel proof feeders from the thrift store, which helps tremendously. Today I am winning the battle, who knows what tomorrow will bring!

 For decades I have crafted for gift giving, and for my own pleasure. Now I am hoping to also sell some of my work and have begun amassing an inventory to open a site on This blog is to help support that endeavor, and to chronicle the process of my dream chasing. I would love to create full time but for now am content with my thrift job and part time art. Besides, working there has allowed me to find nice presents I can afford for family and friends, so I am not having to spend all my creative juices keeping up with the various birthdays and Christmas.

In my next post I will show you some of my work. My goal is to 'open shop' by the third week in July. I am going away the first week with my daughter and granddaughters, a girlie vacation! When I get back, its no more fooling around...till next time...annie

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