Four Star Brass Band

These guys were amazing! I couldn’t stop my feet from moving. They were called Four Star Brass Band.

These guys played at Ravenswood Art Walk toward the end of the day on Sunday. I took a bunch of pictures of them in my Flickr stream. They are called Four Star Brass Band and they rocked. If you want to feel like you are celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orléans, check these guys out. I thought they were particularly photogenic, too ; )



Gotta Pay the Piper

I’d rather be beading.

Tonight I am taking a long, hard look at one of my least favorite things. Finances. Credit cards. The big picture. I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be time to get some help with this stuff. It’s not that I haven’t paid all of my bills on time, or that my credit rating is shot. All of that stuff is in good order. But what I’m realizing is that for most of 2012 I’ve focused on reinventing myself as an artist, which is what I’m really good at. I’ve done it at the expense of carefully managing my money, which, frankly, I’m pretty bad at. My family’s finances have been beaten into shape by force of will and determination, not by any mathematical skill on my part. The responsibility weighs heavily on me, but the fact is it takes me way longer than it should to keep the money in line. So when time gets tight and I’m already staying up late to work on art stuff, money hasn’t gotten managed as it should. The scary thing is, I’m the one in the family who’s better at money management *sigh* Passing the responsibility off to my better half wouldn’t really be that much better.

This year, since I dove into making art, I’ve slacked off with the budgeting thing. Gotten lazy. Given up. Consequently, credit card debt has crept up, we have no real household budget, and my receipts for my art business are neatly saved in shoebox, but that is the extent of my organization. I’m now busily looking at my credit card interest rates and trying to shuffle debt around for the best rate. I’m thinking long and hard about where I was financially in the past and how far I’ve come in my relationship with money, and I’ve come to the conclusion: I have all the skills I have to do this properly, it is always going to take me longer than someone who has an affinity for numbers, and I still hate doing it. I’d rather focus my energy on making and selling my artwork.

I have two financial resources at my disposal with which I can turn around my financial disorganization and put things right. Several years ago my husband and I hired Monica Ross at Virtual Bookkeeping, and she kept us straight for five or six years until I felt confident to take it on myself. I also recently went through the You vs. Debt class and found it enormously helpful. My plan of attack will be to use both. Hopefully Monica and her team at Virtual Bookkeeping will be available to help us out with personal and small business bookkeeping, and Michael and I can go back through our You vs. Debt materials once again to really lock in our understanding of the financial big picture. But what I’ve decided is its ok to take some of this off my plate so I can focus on what I do best.

It is good to dream big, but dreams don’t come true without a solid foundation under them. Even artists need to balance the budget. That being said, to err is human; to delegate is divine.

If you are not one to enjoy crunching numbers, what makes it easier? I’d like to hear what works for you.