This week, I worked in a Words of Wisdom deco I received through a project on Art Forty-Two. I haven’t done any deco swapping in so long, I don’t even have any deco galleries posted anymore. I thought it would be fun to revisit a deco or two, since I swapped them for many years in a private group, and really enjoyed the experience. Decos have always been a sort of no strain, no pain experience for me—two little pages, and I’m out.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to take my own advice. Lately, I’ve been doing way too much thinking, and not nearly enough doing. I’ve been in a long, painful slump, and just the thought of conquering some of the big projects on my list makes me tired. This is by far the longest dry spell I’ve experienced, and none of my usual cures has helped me shake off the blahs. Thinking about this, analyzing it, only makes it more painful. Strangely, changing my schedule (including moving my weekly newsletter day from Sunday to Friday) seems to have helped a little, and I made a small dent this week. Don’t think, Lisa. Do. *sigh*

In other news, Ten Two Studios had its fifth anniversary this week. Quite a milestone for something I started with little planning, and even less hope that it would actually turn into my full time job. My little company has been supporting my meager lifestyle since the day I opened the doors in 2005. The mortgage is current, the dog has full food dish, and I still have money in my savings account. In a world where one third of all new businesses fail in the first two years, and over half never make it to four years, I feel very fortunate.

To celebrate my good fortune, I created a big, messy swap/giveaway/possible ‘zine thing (which is now closed to sign-ups). I created a collage sheet with images related to five, and posted it as a free download for those participating in the swap, running it through my usual download provider’s system so I could track exactly who was downloading it. And here’s what happened…

Over 150 people downloaded the sheet in five days. About 65 people, many of them regular customers, signed up for the swap, which will be epic of they all come through with finished cards. As I was matching up email addresses of downloads with sign-up posts, a little smile crossed my face as each familiar name appeared. If you signed up, and get an excellent parking space today, or find a dollar, or some other small happiness flits through, that was the little bit of positive energy you sent out coming back to you.

Most of the folks who downloaded and didn’t bother to sign up for the swap were people I’d never heard of before—so, those who have not bought anything from Ten Two Studios, commented, emailed, participated in other swaps I’ve hosted, or even bothered to say hello. If I could reach through my monitor and give them a little flick right between the eyes, I would. Some people only surface when they see a freebie, and the Internet does seem to bring them out in droves. On their behalf, Ten Two Studios sent ten dollars to a total stranger yesterday—someone in trouble, who really needed it, whose extended Internet family was called into action like an army of Amazon defenders—because I believe that when you’re at your lowest, and have no food on the table or diapers for your baby, it’s time for those who can to give you a hand, even if they don’t know you. That’s the kind of freebie I can get behind, no questions asked. Downloading a collage sheet designed for a project, and then not participating in the project? Petty. Small. It will come back and nip you where you can’t reach. Your shoes won’t stay tied. You’ll keep dropping your keys. The Universe is like that.

On the plus side, I structured all the rest of the freebies in my sprawling project so they are only received by the folks who actually send in finished artwork before the August 5th deadline. So there. My Libran need for balance is satisfied…