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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Saturday
Jan052013

January Radishes

A radish.

That I have been neglecting this site is undeniable. I have been conflicted about how and why to continue. In the Pinterest era, it is easy to believe that there is someone else out there who is better, neater, tidier, and thensome than anything I have to offer.

But that's the thing, isn't it?

Tightly framed shots. Perfectly placed bokeh backlighting. Marvelous antique silver cachepot somethingorothers.

Does anyone really live like that? I travel in some pretty well-heeled circles, and I don't know anyone who does.

For the last year or so, I've struggled with Cottage Industrialist. It has brought me incredible pleasure, helped me to forge real-life friends, and helped me soldier through some tough times. But I have become increasingly concerned that I have been a part of selling a fantasy. A fantasy in which I do not—and do not want to—live.

***

In late December of 2008, I posted a calendar on my blog, which was then only a few months old. I sent a PDF of the calendar to a blogger I admired. She never wrote back. I printed off a few copies for family members and moved on. And then on December 31, the hits started rolling in. First by the hundreds and then by the thousands. Some other well-known blogger I'd never heard of had found the calendars and posted a link in her year-end round up. And, overnight I went from having a handful of friends and random Norweigans reading my site to being (okay, feeling like) an internet sensation. And, well, that felt pretty fricking good.

To my great delight, a lot of the people who came for free calendars stuck around and became a part of a community of big-hearted people who appreciated the same things I did and encouraged me personally as I tried to figure out how to pursue them amidst the pressures of being a mom, wife, lawyer, daughter, sister, and friend.

That and, I would soon learn, they (along with every other person on the internet) REALLY liked calendars.

For the next few years, I would spend much of November and December trying my best to outdo myself, trying to please the clamoring hordes. I tried humor one year. The next I taught myself to paint. Seriously. 

***

This year, as October and November and December ebbed farther and farther along, the annual pressure to come up with a calendar felt lopsided and weird. I've never let up with my industrialist ways at home. But over the last year or so, I've decided to back off of documenting my every crafty or culinary move for the world to see. So why keep up the calendar business? Hadn't it run it's course?

But. Two things:

1. Radishes.

Two years ago, when I set out to do the drawings that became the basis of the Seasonal Produce Calendar 1.0, I had a file that I worked on for HOURS. It was a bunch of radishes. And I loved those damned radishes. But I ran out of room for them. And never finished them. I can't tell you how many radishes I've drawn since. It's like they're trying to tell me something.

2. Emails.

The Internet gets a pretty bad rap. Creepy ads for Viagra and Cialis and mail-order brides. Spam chain letters and flame wars and anonymous comment trolls. But, in my experience, the Internet is full of kind, lovely people. WHO FREAKING LOVE CALENDARS. And who write forceful, if very polite, emails requesting same. Posthaste, please.

So.

It's late. Your January is one-quarter finished. You are likely penciling in your February obligations.

And all I have for you is this radish. This single, winter radish.

But that's the thing. It's not perfect—radishes rarely are. But they are bright, red spots in winter's dreary harvest. They are a promise of spring's plump peaches, of summer's bright red tomatoes. And so, in a way, this single radish is my promise to you few who remain, who pester me (eversogently) for the next installment in this Julian madness. There will be more to come. In the fullness and ripeness of time. 

You never know when the next bumper crop is on the way...

Download January here. Be not a jerk. Do not sell, alter, or redistribute, please.

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Reader Comments (19)

Thank you! It's a lovely radish. Please do whatever blogging makes you happy and comfortable. :-)

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDot

A beautiful radish and I freaking love it. Thank you for sharing your art from the heart.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

beautiful... i love it!

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Reevaluating our path and purpose is a fabulous rite of being human. Thanks so much for this beautiful radish calendar. I'm one who makes this decision of which calendar to post each year much to deliberate. I've spent more time on this pursuit these last few weeks, yes weeks, than anyone ever should. After finally finding one that I thought was lovely enough to post near my desk and refer to throughout the year, my 9 year old daughter pointed out to me that the dates were wrong. This persons lovely graphics were rendered useless. So this radish is not only a beautiful, labored over, drawing. It is a representation to me of making a choice. To please yourself, to please people who have found your site and have enjoyed your posts. Thanks again for your offering. I appreciate this simple radish far more than you know. I don't even like radishes as a food. I do however love watercolor, love drawings, and love to learn of the process in how we arrive at our decisions. It is no small feat.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

thank you for the lovely post and beautiful calendar! I love it!! happy new year! pm

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpam

Love it! Thank you so much;)

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue

This radish is perfection! No amount of bokeh backlighting nor $7000 lens would make it any better...but maybe a radish wreath? For your door? Or radish homemade laundry detergent? Or a radish themed birthday party for 1 year-olds?

I love it when you draw vegetables!

Can't wait to see the rest,...no pressure!

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourt

Mostly pinterest bores me to tears. Life is not a staged setting as you know. I love what you do and appreciate the time and trouble you take in sharing your talent.

January 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Green

Oh thank you thank you. I was so hoping to have another installation of your beautiful work for my desk at work. I have been one silently blessed by your calendars for the past few years and look forward to them annually. Please know how very much they are appreciated.

January 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Lovely radish! And yes, I freaking love calendars too! I'm pretty sure that's how I found your blog in the first place.

Blogging meltdowns... (don't know if I'm being presumptuous being quite so dramatic about it, but I have meltdowns...) It's up and down with me; but every now and again I look back over my blog, and I realise that, whatever other people think about it, it's really there for me. And so I post a little bit again.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJesse

Thank you thank you thank you!

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterARE

Kudos to you for knowing your limits AND for being so refreshingly honest. The blank spot in our "command center" was waiting & hoping for your calendar. LOVE the radish! You could seriously just print the rest of the year on this image and I'd be thrilled & grateful. NO pressure. ;-) I look for your calendar every year - can't necessarily put into words the "why," but I love them. All the best to you!

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBren

I love your radish, it is so simply beautiful!! And don't worry about beautiful lighting and perfect shots. I don't anymore. I often even take a picture with my CELL PHONE and it may even be a bit BLURRY - oh no! lol. But I'm posting for me and my MIL...it's just a way to share ideas and what I'm up to...I hope you keep on posting because your posts are lovely!

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkim

You're back!!!! ish. the radish is lovely. can't wait to hang it in my non pinterest worthy office.

Thanks bunches. (bunches of radishes)

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKc

I just found your blog and I love it. Your Radish of January 2013 is absolutely beautiful! I love veg/fruit watercolor. I scrolled to find your calendar from 2012 and have printed it solely for displaying the beautiful pictures in my kitchen. Whatever you decide to do.....you have beautiful work!

February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTonya

It doesn't matter if others may be doing it too. YOU are doing it. Your work is beautiful. If you love it, keep doing it!

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Salinas

Welcome back! I absolutely LOVE your calendars but also understand that life is life. Thank you for brightening up my year with your beautiful calenders :)

March 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Lee

I often end up in the same boat after reading others' blogs or being on Pinterest for awhile... Why bother, I think? But someone out there is reading and appreciating, so please continue with this beautiful endeavour - it is appreciated!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdriana

Thanks for sharing your calender with us, and please, don't get discouraged, it would be lovely to read more of your beautiful writing, the important thing is, not to give up!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHoliday Guy

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