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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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Entries in calendar (8)

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.

Saturday
Dec102011

Come here often? OR Bloglessness of the Long Distance Runner

Well, hello, there. Long time no see, eh?

When last we met in April, I was crowing about having run 6 miles. That was pretty cool. Then I finished a sprint triathlon in May. Very cool.

If you've been following along here for a while you know that when I do things I tend to, well, DO them. So, I got a little caught up in running and swimming and whatnot. Last month I finished my first half marathon, and now I'm training for a full marathon in the Spring. For reals. And though I've been crafting and cooking and writing (you can read about my swim-bike-run exploits here; other stuff isn't quite ready for prime time), just like always, there were inevitable trade-offs. Work greedily gobbles up most of my free time, leaving little time to sit back and appreciate time to draw, daydream, write, think, and laugh. Over the last few months I realized that under these conditions I could either live my life or I could photograph it. I chose living it. That didn't leave much in the way of pretty pictures for the blog.*

But now that another semester is behind me and my evenings are my own again, my sweet blog has been calling out to me, begging to be revived. In particular, some of you have been asking if/when another calendar would be available.

I have good news and bad news. So the good news is that there is a new calendar. The bad news is that it is based on the same drawings as last year—if, like me, you loved those drawings, there is no downside; if, on the other hand, you are sick of them, I guess you're out of luck (that's the bad part).

© 2011 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist

The printable calendars are available here 

Alrighty, then. You've got 21 days to plan your collard feasting for 2012. Get cracking!

----

*Does that sound defensive? I don't mean for it to. I've written three different long, drawn out posts explaining why I took an unplanned break from blogging; how I want Cottage Industrialist to change and grow; and the responsibility I feel to portray my crazy, happy, frustrating life honestly. But every time I have written those posts, they sound like defenses against an argument no one is making. If I want this space to grow and change and be a little different, I only need to make it so. Right?

Saturday
Jan012011

2011: A Produce Calendar Odyssey 

Happy New Year!

Last year I resolved to eat more locally grown and seasonally appropriate fruits and vegetables. And to aid in that effort, I made some quirky little calendars. And  while I have occasionally snacked on an apple in june or sliced up a hothouse tomato in the doldrums of February, I think I can report that I have mostly lived up to that resolution. I like to think the calendars helped with that.

This year I took a different approach to my seasonal foods calendar. Each month features an illustrated fruit or vegetable, along with reminders of the other goodies that are at their peak in that month. Obviously, growing seasons vary around the globe, but I did my best to approximate what is generally in season in large parts of North America for each month. I'm very happy with the way they turned out, and I hope you are, too.

***

But it wouldn't be the new year without a new resolution, right? And working through these drawings for the last few weeks has given me a lot of time to think about what I ought to challenge myself to this year. I've decided that 2011 will be my year of taking care of myself. That means, of course, continuing my seasonal produce odyssey. But it also means getting more sleep. Reading more books. Finding more quiet. Getting more exercise. Singing more 80s pop songs at the top of my lungs. And—ahem, this is the hard one—valuing myself. And that starts today.

This website is a labor of love for me. I would be doing it even if you weren't reading. But it's so much more fun because you do. Because you write to me and share your own funny stories, because you are kind enough to tell me, from time to time, that you appreciate what I do. I use the site to promote my tiny side business, and I get the occasional affiliate payment because you buy something from Amazon after visiting my site (I'm looking at you, Kate!), but this is not a money-making endeavor. And that's okay with me. I LOVE sharing my little doodles and flights of fancy with you, and as long as Cottage Industrialist is around I will ALWAYS make those freely available.

But. And there is a but. This is hard work! For this year's calendars, I designed a new font, refreshed my research about the seasons for North American produce, and drew 12 brand-new illustrations. All-told, I put in about 40 hours of work on these. And but for wanting to brain myself while drawing kernel after kernel of corn, I loved doing it. Still, as I labored stroke by stroke over the thistly choke on March's artichoke and the craggy details of October's carrots, I got to thinking about the widely held concern among artists and craftspeople about the danger of giving their work away, especially in the era of Etsy and the internet. If we make something freely available because we take joy in sharing and we enjoyed the work for its own sake, are we saying, "This thing I spent all this time making is really cool, but it's only worth $.00"? Are we, in essence, devaluing ourselves and our work? Are we letting our desire to share our work (which is an eensy bit tied up with ego, but that's a whole other conversation) trump our desire to be respected and valued for it?

I don't know. But here's what I'm going to do about it today. I'm not going to plaster my site with ugly ads. No, I'm going all NPR on you. Yep. If you want to support the stories and projects and designs that you get here, you can show your support (in any amount you choose) with a small PayPal donation.* If that's not your thing or you don't have a dollar to spare, that's a-ok—I love emails, too! I'm happy you're here, no matter what. It's not about the money, it's about reminding myself that my work and my time are valuable.

So, without further ado, here they are, in a single, printable PDF—convenient, yes, but also huge (15MB), so be patient! Each calendar is sized to print on a single sheet of 8.5x11" paper.

Now go eat your vegetables!

*This is different from NPR in at least one very important way, though: my site may not be profitable, but I am not a non-profit, so don't go claiming your donation as a tax deduction, or I'll have to take off my blogger hat and put my criminal defense lawyer hat to keep you out of trouble!

Sunday
Feb282010

Calendars: Part Deux

Did you think I would let you down? I promised calendars by the end of February (after hinting they'd be ready by the first week in January. Whatever!). And now, here it is the end of February, and I HAVE CALENDARS! Trust me, no one is more relieved than I.

If you want to read my natterings about the process of designing these (and my relief at finishing them), there's more than enough nattering to go around (just scroll below the thumbnails). But without further ado, I give you July through December:

Continue Reading . . .

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb012010

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Ok. So I did a little math. And though February is a shorty of a month, by its end, there will be 50+ extra minutes of daylight per day (at least here at the 32nd Parallel) that we didn't get at the beginning. I think that's pretty good for such a wee little month. We're going to need all that extra sunlight for Spring and Summer's bumper crops. In the meantime, we're still trying to keep it seasonal around my house, and Heather is back at it at Home Ec 101 with a new batch of seasonal recipes featuring some of my favorite cruciferous veggies.

Continue reading . . .

Click to read more ...