Drop the Shop

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Every once in a while something happens that makes me consider shutting down my Etsy account. First, it was the fact that I had to sign up to Etsy payments, and they take a whole chunk of whatever money I make. Then, there was the tax code and IOSS bullshit that I still do not understand. Now, there’s that LUCID thing with shipping to Germany. And I hear that other countries may be catching on as well which will make shipping to other countries even harder. I won’t get into details because a. it’s boring, b. I hardly understand it myself and c. you seriously don’t care.

But the bottom line is, the reasons for closing my Etsy shop are piling up, and the reasons for keeping it active are dropping steadily. I don’t even make that many sales anyway. That is, I hardly make any at all. I’m lucky if I get one order every 10 months.

On the other hand, I spent years trying to keep it updated, revamped the appearance of it with pictures, colorful descriptions, adding more details on my profile about my life and my zines, and I also made flyers, business cards, catalogs, and all my zines have a link to this shop on them. So do I just throw all of it away, just like that?

But if I’m not making any sales, isn’t that also throwing it away? I don’t spend any money on making copies of my zines, because my husband works at a print shop and does it all for free. So it’s not like I need to cover my expenses or anything. But I still pay a monthly fee to keep my listings active, and Etsy still takes a chunk of my money if I ever do sell anything. So I still spend money.

It’s not just about the money either. I feel like my zines get more exposure if I have an Etsy shop. People express more interest, even if they don’t buy anything.

But now with all the shipping shit piling up, I’m thinking seriously about shutting down my shop and finding a suitable alternative for sharing my zines with the world. I’ll wait until the end of July (International Zine Month) and close my shop for good.

That said, if you still want to buy something from my shop, you can do so until the end of July. And if you’re in Germany, I’m sorry, but you only have until the end of May, just to be on the safe side.

Direct yourself here to check out the shop that is soon to be defunct.

Peace, love and I’m still keeping the name PMS Mess, that’s for sure.


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MoZiPro 2022 – April Prompt

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Today, I finally managed to get my ass in gear and finish the Monthly Zine Project zine for April. The zine is about pets, which I love, so why the fuck did it take me so long to finish it? I kept getting sidetracked by a variety of things, and once I had a chance to get back on track, I used that chance to do anything but work on the zine. But I finally did it! Here’s the cover.

I’m determined to have a monthly zine collection by the end of the year – 10 minis and 2 full-length ones. So I need to stay on track.

After I was done with the April zine, I was a bit stuck. The prompt for May is “Protection” and I got nothing to write about that. Back when the prompts were published, I said I’ll change it to “painting/drawing” and include some of the paintings I made in my drawing class. But I don’t have enough material for it, so I needed to come up with another topic.

I’m thinking lists… I love lists. I make them all the time. It makes me feel organized and it helps me to remember things – things to do, things to buy, things to make, things to bake, things to think about, etc.

I wonder if I can fill a whole zine with a bunch of lists. Check in with me at the end of this month to see if I made it work.

Peace, love and Bermese Python FOREVER!

MoZiPro 2022 – March Prompt

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The prompt for this month was “Mirror”. I watched the movie Mirrors this month and it served as a good source of inspiration for the zine.

I meant to write about the mystical aspect of mirrors and I did mention it a bit, but I expanded it to other elements related to mirrors as well, such as how mirrors appear in pop culture, movies and songs (mostly scary ones). I also discussed how we perceive ourselves versus how others perceive us and the issue of body image.

I really like how the cover came out. Although it’s not perfect – I think I could have done a better job with the font – the picture I used is flawless. It’s a picture I posted here and there several times over the years because it’s such a perfect photo – creepy, dark, mysterious, just the way I like it. It’s a photo I shot with my semi-automatic film camera back when I was 18. It’s my reflection in the double-pane window in my basement room, after nightfall. It still amazes me how I managed to capture this with no flash, when everything around me was dark, and yet my face is clearly visible. Creepy ghostly image indeed.

The April prompt is “Pets” and I’ll have no problem writing about this! Yay!

Peace, love and still up for trades

MoZiPro 2022 – February Prompt

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That Monthly Zine Project’s February zine almost didn’t happen. I knew it would be a difficult zine to write because the theme I chose – Triangle Family – is a sensitive one for me. But I managed to get it done.

I was off by a couple of pages so I had to fill the extra ones with drawings I really didn’t feel like doing. So instead, I got my daughter to draw them for me. It turned out great! She drew three family portraits in the I’m-5-years-old-and-I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-lines style she mastered. I absolutely love it.

The cover is also not as “happy” as the January zine cover is, and it really shows that I didn’t invest much effort in it as I did for the January one. But that’s ok. I think the content is powerful and was cathartic enough for my purposes.

Moving forward with MoZiPro 2022, the prompt for March is “Mirror”. I said I want to write about the mystical aspect that we attribute to mirrors, but I still don’t know how to approach that theme… I need some heavy-ass brainstorming and figure it out.

How is your MoZiPro going?

Peace, love and fucking ran out of glue again

MoZiPro February 2022 – Triangle Family

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Moving forward with That Monthly Zine Project.

This month’s prompt is No-One Is Illegal. But as I said in my MoZiPro planning post, I have nothing to say about that. I changed the prompt to Triangle Family, and that was before I even realized that February 1st was in fact Family Day in Israel! It just occurred to me that the Triangle Family prompt fits February just as perfectly as the Trees prompt fit January.

I’m super excited about it even though it’s a difficult subject for me to talk about. I think it needs to be discussed especially because it’s such a misunderstood issue. People who are not only children or people who have more than one child especially do not seem to understand that and sometimes say the most stupid, ignorant and insensitive things about it.

Parents who did not plan on having an only-child (like my parents, as well as me and my husband) are often on the receiving end of these insensitive comments, and are always made to feel guilty for their inability to give their only-child a sibling. I am quick to react with anger to such people and never think twice about insulting them and cutting them out of my life. But I think that channeling this anger and frustration into something as productive as a zine can serve as a good, healthy and necessary form of catharsis for me.

And maybe educating these ignorant people is better than cussing them out. And what better way to educate people than through a zine?

And obviously, this zine can also serve as encouragement and support for other triangle families who can relate to my experience as an only-child who also has an only-child.

So now I’m off to brainstorm and start working on my MoZiPro February zine. Wish me luck!

Peace, love and happy Yom Hamishpacha!

MoZiPro 2022 – January Prompt

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Seeing as I was going to write a short zine about Tu Bishvat for That Monthly Zine Project’s January prompt – Trees – this year I actually did a bit more for the holiday than I usually do. I wanted to celebrate the holiday properly so that I could have enough interesting things to write about.

First, I baked a cake made with dry fruits. Dry apricots, dates, raisins, dry figs, dry pieces of banana, dry plums and others is the customary food for this holiday, so it was only fitting to make a cake packed with some of those. It came out fucking awesome and I added a picture of this cake in the zine.

Second, we decorated our small lemon tree. A couple of months back, when we just planted the tree, my dad told me that it’s a tradition to decorate new trees on Tu Bishvat, and I LOVED that idea. So my kid and I did it on Tu Bishvat morning, January 17, before we left to gan/work. We didn’t add too many decorations because I didn’t want to burden our tree which is still young and fragile, but it was good enough for our purposes. We took some photos and I added one of them to the zine.

I also wanted to take my daughter out to some field to plant a tree, and I saw a few organized events for that. Unfortunately, there were a few reasons that this didn’t pan out. The week that these events took place was a cold and rainy one. Also, Covid cases are on the rise and although I’m sure we’re eventually gonna get it, I still didn’t want to push it by going to events with lots of people. Another reason is a religious one. This year is Shnat Shmita – the year where according to Jewish Law, you’re not supposed to plant anything, and let Mother Earth take a breather. There was an event flyer that mentioned it and said that the planting of trees will take place in an area that is permitted in accordance with Halacha, or something like that. But in any case, I didn’t feel comfortable with it. Maybe next year will be better.

I decided that the zines I will make for MoZiPro will be in the size of a standard mini-zine (i.e. A7) but not in the same style of folding a single sheet of paper. Just small-sized regular booklets bound with a couple of staples. So it still looks like a zine, but simple to make and easy to read.

So the zine for January is an A7-size, 16-pages, full color, little beauty. Hand-written in cursive, which I hope people can read because my penmanship is mediocre to put it mildly. Includes a couple of tiny drawings and a bunch of Washi tape.

I’m happy with the way the zine came out. What do you think?

I hope that by the end of this year, I can have a collection of 12 MoZiPro 2022 zines, and post it on Etsy as a special MoziPro grab-bag. Yay!

Peace, love and tiny zines

MoZi Prompts

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The Monthly Zine Project prompts are up and I’m all a-tingle. But not as much as I had hoped to be. There are some prompts that do not appeal to me so these will either have to be deleted from my list or replaced with others.

So here are my plans:

January: Trees
I was hoping this prompt will be a little later in the year so I can write a bit more about the new lemon tree in our backyard. It’s still small and young and has yet to bear fruit. But it’s actually really fitting that Tu Bishvat (the Jewish Arbor Day) is in January! So I can definitely write about that.

February: No-One Is Illegal
No, I don’t really want to write about that. Instead of that, I’m thinking of writing a zine about triangle families and maybe busting a few of the myths associated with having an only-child. It’s a difficult topic for me to write about but I’m willing to give it a shot.

March: Mirror
I think I want to tackle the magical aspect associated with mirrors. Why does it feature in horror movies, fairy tales, songs, etc.? What is it that makes the mirror such a mystical object?

April: Pets
I’ll write about all the pets I’ve had in the past and today, and also which ones I would have liked to have but never did.

May: Protection
Umm, no. I can’t think of anything related to this prompt that I actually want to write about. I’m replacing it with the topic of drawing. Since I’m hoping to sign up to a drawing course soon, I might have enough material for a zine about it by May. And I’ll definitely include some of the drawings I manage to make.

June: Celebration
We celebrate Shavuot in June so I’ll write about that.

July: Clothes
July is International Zine Month and I’m usually too busy working on a full-length zine to be doing much of anything else… but why don’t I work on a full-length zine about clothes? I’m sure I can fill a whole zine with pieces related to this topic. I just need to brainstorm and I’m set.

August: Tools
I think I’ll write a bit about my muscular condition and how I really can’t use any fucking tools because my hands are too weak. Yes, this prompt makes me angry, and I can put this anger to good use.

September: Dreams
As literal as it gets. I’m going to write about dreams I have at night, including nightmares, flying dreams, sexy dreams, and everything. And also why I love sleep so much.

October: Things I’ve Read
Yet another opportunity to brag about my addiction to Stephen King. Don’t mind if I do!

November: BLM
November is ZineWriMo, and I honestly have nothing to say about BLM. This movement does not exist in Israel (though it probably should because there are Ethiopian Jews living in Israel and racism exists here too). I was thinking about writing another issue of Raise Your Horns for a while now, so why don’t I do that? Write a bit more about metal and my utter desperate love for this genre of music.

December: Magic
Well, Hanukkah is in December. Maybe I should talk a bit about the magic of Hanukkah or something… I’ll figure it out when the time comes.

So there you have it. My plans for MoZiPro are set and I’m quite pleased with them. How about you? Are you also participating in MoZiPro? How do you feel about the prompts?

Peace, love and *changing Rose Madder’s ink ribbon*

A Zine for Every Period

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I’ve heard of That Monthly Zine Project a while ago, but I never took part in it for various reasons. I actually wrote a post about it back in January 2020. Back then, it was called MoZiPro and the only source I found about it was on Instagram. Their Facebook page was close to empty.

A few days ago, I came upon their Facebook page again and was stunned to see how much better it was. I think Facebook groups and pages are far more user-friendly and also more interactive than Instagram. The new MoZiPro FB page now has a lot of pictures, posts, new members, including myself. The fact that members can post about their own projects on it is already a huge plus. Finally, I found the community and the zinesters who are interested in this project and participate in it. It attracts me more than it did before.

I still think that making 12 zines a year (one for every month) is far too intensive for me. And the fact that the prompts may not always speak to me is also still a bit of an issue. But in truth, I really want to make more zines and not just on International Zine Month or on ZineWriMo.

Also, the zines I make on this project don’t even have to be full-length ones. They can be mini-zines, micro-zines, as short and as simple as I want them to be.

The prompts are indeed very open-ended, so I think the trick is thinking outside the box and write about something that is maybe indirectly related to the prompt. Anyway, it’s not like I follow all the IZM and ZWM prompts down to the last detail. And what is a zine if not absolute freedom? Not following all the rules is acceptable and even encouraged in the zine community. The prompts only serve as a suggestion or a guide which you can choose to take or not.

So now, I’m actually very excited for next year’s MoZiPro! They’re already compiling a list of prompts. Maybe I can make some decent mini-zines to trade or share with the other MoZiPro participants on Facebook.

Who else wants to join?

Peace, love and more zines, no trouble

ZineWriMo 2021 – Day 29 to 30 – Wrap-Up

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Day 29 – Mini Zine Kit:
I finally put in the order for my kid’s Picabook photo album. I got a really nice discount for the Black Friday special they had, so fuck yes for that!
The ZineWriMo prompt for today is super cute, but with all the excitement of the past week, I forgot to bring my zine material to work. It’s ok. I still have my zine-making travel kit from two years ago, (and a mini-zine kit will not be that much different) so all I need to do is make a mini zine about it. Maybe at some point later on. I want to get through this holiday first and then see if I can find a day with the right time, right level of energy, and right frame of mind.

Day 30 – ZineWriMo 2021 Wrap-Up:
Today, I’m giving my completed zine to my husband to print tomorrow and then I can post more photos of it on here for your viewing pleasure. I also posted a request for trades on Facebook. I hope people respond because I actually miss trading zines.
So ZineWriMo 2021 is officially over. I must say I didn’t accomplish as many things as I had hoped, but the most important thing is that I got a zine done! And that was great! Going over the prompts, here is what I did manage to do:

  • One mini zine – Stream of Consciousness call An Ant’s Footprints
  • Got a Zine/Bake Ideas notebook – Fucking love it!
  • Posted pictures of my notebook, my creative space, my tools and my zine cover.
  • I made a bunch of cute drawings for my zine.
  • I typed on my typewriter as much as I intended to.
  • I tried a bunch of new recipes: Minestrone soup, soufflé, corn muffins, Amsterdam chocolate cheesecake, rainbow unicorn cake. Plus a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse that is not a new recipe.
  • Completed my daughter’s photo album and sent it to print.
  • One full-length zine – Issue 18 of PMS Perzine

On top of all that, I did a bunch of other things and meetings and courses and appointments not related to ZineWriMo. This made for one fuck of a stressful November, but a very productive one indeed.
There is still December to look forward to and I don’t see the level of stress dropping anytime soon.

Peace, love and happy Hanukkah!

ZineWriMo 2021 – Day 22 to 28

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Day 22 – Work on Picabook Photo Album:
Original prompt: Creative Spaces – share pics and writing (moved to Day 24)
It’s my daughter’s birthday today, so the prompt I set for today was to continue working on my kid’s Picabook photo album for the year.
It’s like so me to forget to bring my camera to work so that I can do the prompt. But luckily, I still had enough material to work with because of the photos I shoot with my phone and those I get via Whatsapp from my kid’s gan. So I uploaded all of those to the Picabook photo album and organized them as best as I could. I had such a good time, I literally forgot to eat! I had lunch just 20 minutes before my shift ended. I’m planning to complete the photo album on Day 28. Tonight, I will be taking some photos of my creative space and post them tomorrow along with photos of tools of the zine and bake trade.

Day 23 – Tools of the Bake Trade and Space
Original prompt: Tools of the Zine Trade (moved to Day 24)
Today, I baked my daughter’s birthday cake for her party at kindergarten tomorrow. I decided it would be a perfect time to take a picture of my bake space and tools! Tomorrow, work-in-progress Wednesday, I hope to finish up my zine and take a picture of my zine space and tools then.

Day 24 – Work in Progress Wednesday plus Creative Zine Spaces and Tools
After I got home from work today, I tried my best to finalize the zine. I corrected all typos and spelling mistakes but I still need to go over it one more time just to make sure it’s all good. I had zero time to do that and had to go pick up my kid from gan. She had her party today and probably had tons of sugar because when she got back home, she was all hyperactive and throwing shit around. LOL! I did get a chance to take a picture of my creative space. As you can see, it’s just the dining table. That’s right. I have no working station so whenever I want to make a zine, I need to take out my material and lay it out on the dining table. My favorite creative tool is obviously my typewriter. Isn’t she a total drop-dead-gorgeous bombshell?

Day 25 – ZineWiki
Original prompt: write to a friend
This morning, I did the first few steps of the rainbow cake. Thank the Goddess I didn’t leave the entire process to tomorrow because damn, it took me SO LONG! There are six layers to this cake, and I should have known it’s basically like making six separate cakes and every single step I needed to do, times six! Mix the coloring, times six; mix it with the batter, times six; oil up six separate platters; spill the batter in platter, times six; bake, times six; set to cool, times six; set in fridge until I can continue the motherfucker tomorrow morning, times six. Phew!
When I got to the office, I checked out the ZineWiki website. I go on there every once in a while to check on my edits and see if my pages are still up. They are. I also checked to see if I added the zine I made during International Zine Month 2021, “More than Default-Male”. I did. And it’s still up. That’s basically it for today.

Day 26 – Friday Baking
Original prompt: Set your zine free (moved to Day 28)
I had a hard time with the rainbow unicorn cake but I so owned it! Also, I let my daughter put the finishing decorations on it and she totally owned it too! I sent my parents a picture of it and my dad says “Now I know for sure that you’re in the wrong line of work.” And once again, I reiterated my belief that if I were to do this shit for money, it would never come out as good as it did. It also tasted great, which was a huge plus. I am so proud of my baking achievements for this month. I wish I could say the same for ZineWriMo, but alas, I only have two hands and not much time on them, so I’ll just have to be happy with what I got.

Day 27 – White Sabbath
Original prompt: Make a zine for a friend
Since my daughter got so many amazing gifts for her birthday, I spent the Sabbath playing with her and organizing some of her new clothes. She got a pretty elaborate Lego set and I fucking love building Lego. I tried to get my kid to help me find the right pieces and she did for a while, but then she got bored and moved on to another very original gift she got – a box of surprises – while I went on building the whole set. Such a blast! Now she likes playing with the completed thing.

Day 28 – Baking Thought Garden for Hanukkah and Zine Reveal
This evening is the lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah and I got the day off work. I spent my day working on my daughter’s Picabook photo album before having to pick her up from Kindergarten which closed early today because of the Hanukkah party they had this evening. I kept getting interrupted by Whatsapp notifications from the parents’ group of my kid’s gan. There was this whole issue with the Hanukkah day camp that the municipality decided to not open because there weren’t enough kids that signed up or whatever shit. The parents were stressed and got the rest of the parents stressed and the whole shitshow got me stressed as well and gave me a pounding headache for the rest of the day. There was no chance for a thought garden with such a fucking headache, so it’s a good thing that last week I was smart enough to set out a schedule for the whole of December. We got a fuckload of plans for that month so I needed to have it laid out in front of me so that I don’t forget anything.
The Hanukkah party at gan was a lot of fun and my daughter was a sweetheart, but I was glad when it was over because my facemask could barely conceal my endless yawns.
I still didn’t print my zine but I promised you a reveal so a reveal you shall have! I give you the cover page of the 18th issue of my perzine, Purple Moon Spawn – A PMS Perzine, special issue about baking!

Peace, love and stay tuned for the ZineWriMo recap coming in the next few days!