Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Store on Etsy- Flea Bagatelle!

   I've had synchronicity working with me over the past week-all starting with ukulele gig bag inquiries-and while I've sold a handful of them,they've not done as well as I'd hoped. However,I got a nice compliment from a follower on Twitter showing the first one I ever made. The a few inquiries about some that might go with the banjo uke you see at the top of the page here. And then a grandmother who wants a nice bright bag for her grandaughter's soprano uke. 
   At the same time I placed myself back into creative recovery via Julia Cameron's book "Finding Water". I started my morning pages again after many years of not doing them.
   While this is going on,the little uke boutique I had on another site had it's last listing end,and seeing as I hadn't had any sales there,I closed the shop. I wondered about opening yet another store on Etsy. I looked thru a Thesaurus for words alluding to "bag" or "purse" I found "bagatelle" also meaning trinket or bauble. Flea bag had been on my mind but that name was already taken. Flea Bagatelle came out of nowhere and I loved the word play. I wanted one to think of Paris,of posh accessories so rarely found but cherished and desired. I opened the store yesterday,relisting my fashionable uke gigbags and dustcovers. Designed the banner on the left this morning. I enjoy sewing and creating things...and this is do-able.The morning pages had cleared the static in my head enough to hear the Universe calling.Do visit the store and let me know what you think-what fabric prints you'd like to see. I have jewelry in mind for the shop too-stay tuned! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Fire up Your Creativity Book

     I consider myself a rather odd individual at times because of seemingly strange habits that I have-like buying a book and not reading it for a year,two,or three years. Then the urge finally hits and the plunge is taken.
  What can one conclude from that? Personally,I think it's a part of  myself that knows I'll need the info for that particular book (not talking fictional books,btw!)but that at the moment,I'm not ready/receptive to the info inside. 
  My latest adventure is in finally cracking my copy of "The Creative Habit:Get It For Life" by Twyla Tharpe.If anyone would've said I could learn a lot from a dancer,I'd thought them crazy....but they'd be right.
  The reading style for this book is very random. Rather than start at the first chapter & plod thru,I asked the Universe "What do I need to know now?" as I flipped the pages and let the book open where it will. Wow. Where it fell hit right on what I needed most-how to get started. My biggest flaw in personal projects like compiling a book of tunes for baritone ukulele. This chick has very concrete ways of getting you to focus,start,and proceed. And they make sense! Just so you know there's no fluff methods in here such as perching yourself high in a tree or sitting by a river. It's all how to organize your ideas for a project & get them going. So now in the quiet moments of morning before the house stirs,I wander the pages and have 'ah-ha!" moments in how to bring things from the realm of ideas and "wouldn't it be neat to...." to actually doing it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Musings on Creative Unblocking/Recovery

   I remember back in the mid 90's when "The Artist's Way" was a huge hit among blocked creatives in all genres,me being among the blocked. I purchased the book & worked thru it,and while I wasn't completely unblocked,it did enable me to see what mental conditioning needed to be gotten rid of,and sure enough opportunities did present themselves,which had gotten me back to playing for audiences. This is when I was mainly a guitarist. 
    Last night I was having a phone conversation with a friend I considered to know well.Imagine my surprise when we got to talking about music,and after knowing her 2 years,she confided in me she was a pianist in her youth up to college. I asked her what got her to quit playing. It was a teacher she had that she simply couldn't stand in addition to the mechanics of music theory being shoved down her throat as opposed to making music. 
    She still has a piano in her home. The one her mother learned on & played-an old upright. I asked if she ever tickled the ivories & no was her response. At the same time,her job has been in a stressful situation due to changes in her department,which has led to weight gain. We talked about her beginning to have fun with the piano again and different head trips teachers,parents,lovers and friends can cause,and the damage we allow it to do. And how to get past it.
    This gave me ideas for looking for a piano book for her that would be fun & refresh the musical memory at the same time-then Julia Cameron came to mind. Had she written any more books since "The Vein of Gold"? answered the question with a yes & presented other books to look at. 
    I'll admit I'm still blocked when it comes to recording utube videos or sound recordings. In part due to my mother who's mission it was to be sure I didn't act like a "Leo" she made sure I never played guitar for people visiting as I grew up. After all,that would be being the center of attention-a Leo flaw. Even with her being passed on for nearly 10 years,and me in my late 40's,I still contend with this and I come up with "valid" excuses not to record. 
    To my delight,I found two of Julias' books used on eBay-one is called "Finding Water" and the other is "Walking in This World" I'll see what I think of them once they get here,and I may get an additional copy for my pianist friend. 
    Funny in helping another sometimes,we hear ourselves giving advice we need to hear for ourselves. Stay tuned....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arranging Christmas Carols and Reading Music

   I know I covered this when I had a seperate baritone uke blog,but felt it was important to go over this for all uke players,no matter what tuning or size flea you play. 
   I accidently discovered I have abilities to arrange music from my soprano uke books,"regular" songbooks,vintage sheet music & the like because I taught myself to read music when I was 11. Whenever I hit on uncharted territory with a song,as in "I've never heard that one before" I grab my baritone uke-I'll confess my strongest music reading ability is on baritone from my previous years on guitar. As I have a good working knowledge of the fingerboard up to the 7th fret,I can usually navigate a piece with relative ease. 
   If it wasn't for my being able to read music I'd be stuck with uke tabs only. And that would seriously limit the songs I play. 
   I'd like to encourage all ukulele players to learn to read music for their flea-it's not nearly as hard as some would make it out to be,and you won't believe the doors it opens as far as your being able to pick up any piece of music and see what it sounds like-and that can lead one to arranging tunes for their flea from pieces that weren't written for uke! It's very freeing,really and makes you a better player. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Encore for Eternity" Online Memorial

  I have sponsored two more legendary web memorials- that of Mel Bay and Paul Ash,who had many popular tunes put into sheet music with ukulele arrangements. Not wanting to have too many memorial spots on this page,I've created my own web memorial on the lower left hand side. Click on the picture and you'll see Roy Smeck,Mel Bay,May Singhi Breen,and Paul Ash listed-click on whichever one of those you desire and you'll be taken to their final resting place on the web,where you can leave flowers and a note if you wish-free of course! I suppose this comes from my Celtic roots of honoring those who have went on before us,but I do like to acknowledge those who have aided me musically,or wrote songs that I enjoy playing on ukulele.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Tunes via Old Songs!

     I'll confess it-I have a weak spot for vintage uke sheet music. And I won a huge lot at opening bid which arrived yesterday! It's amazing how interesting & catchy the lyrics are on most of the tunes,and the titles can be just as catchy. "Heard Hearted Hannah the Vamp of Savannah" is a favorite right now tho I need to copy it for myself and learn it. Humorous lyrics that are right down G rated but you get the point the songwriter was aiming at. Marketing was pretty innovative too-back in the 20's you not only got the song you paid for but snippets of others the publisher had available. No one does that today for fear of giving away a freebie. The covers often have a portrait shot of whoever was performing/composed the piece-I have to remind myself that the female performers in their flapper do's & dress were right down daring in their day-so quaint by todays' standards but so on the edge in their own. I think every uke player should have a fat stack of antique sheet music to pour over for inspiration,making sure songs don't die out totally,and for preserving ukulele history!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hep Kitten's Bari Uke Notes Moving Here,New Look

   Spent the morning designing the new banner-and getting ready to move Hep Kitten's Bari uke notes over here-it'll be easier to have both on the same blog as opposed to two different blogs. I'm thinking of having Hep Kitten do a once a week insert so the posts will be available in the blog archive. If the demand for more bari uke notes gets to be greater,the posts will increase from once a week to more frequently.
    Repaired a crack in my favorite Harmony uke-I'm uncertain as to whether I never spotted it before or if it's a new one,but it's all glued now & good as new. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Web Memorial Added For Roy Smeck

  As October is traditionally associated with remembering those who walked the earth before us,I am now sponsoring the web memorial for Roy Smeck,whose contributions to the ukulele still affect us today. It's on the lower left hand side of this web click on the candle photo and you can leave cyber flowers & a note of appreciation if you wish,and you can also do the same for May Singhi Breen-DeRose if you wish-another major player in the first wave of ukulele popularity. Just my way of showing appreciation for what they did during their lifetimes,and to make sure they're never forgotten. :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time is flying-Halloween Ideas for Flea Pluckers!

    Here it is the 6th already and I'm still preparing for Halloween,and it's a joyful process. Just because it's a night of costumes and candy giving doesn't mean your flea has to sit in it's coffin-er-case all alone. How many of you ever thought of dressing in costume and assuming a uke playing vampire or witch? A mummy? Scarecrow? 1920's flapper? The possibilities are endless. Try learning "them bones",Hangmans's reel,"Monster Mash",or any other Halloweenish tune that comes to mind. You'll probably be able to find free versions of the songs on the web. You'd only need to know two or three-the kids won't hang around that long....they want to get to the next house before the candy runs out!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October is Here!

   And here I was going to cut back on my blogs,and I see this one has 6 followers!
   I have decided to combine my bari uke blog with this one then,to cut back on the amount of blogs I have as this has resulted in my not doing any writing-I want to update one blog,then knowing I should update all of em,I get overwhelmed. 
   Halloween is coming and I'm plucking Yuletide carols-I got out my vintage Hilo and Harmony ukes as I haven't played them for Zither Heaven uke has become my main tote along tho I still have a deep love of vintage fleas. To my amazement,I'm finding out I'm memorizing more chords than I thought I knew!