Friday, December 14, 2012

For Sandy Hook Elementary

In memory of the 26 victims, at 
Sandy Hook Elementary School, 
in Newtown, Connecticut...  And
in honor of the brave and heroic measures
teachers took to protect their students...
And to all the surviving students, parents, 
family, and friends who have been touched
by this tragic incident...   My heart goes out to
each and every one of you, and...
prayers Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Turning 50 (Exhale)

Just wanted to quickly post a couple of art journal pages I've made recently.  My birthday is fast approaching, and this year I turn the "big 5-0".

Yup.  Fifty....  I'll say it again. "FIF-TY"...  

Play it again Sam!!  FIFTY!...


Hmmm...  So what are my thoughts about that?

It's funny to me that I now can remember 40 as being a big dirty f-word!  I didn't like it, and I was determined to rebel all the way, "kicking and screaming", as they say!  But now my feelings are mixed.

pink and purple when I was young; currently turquoise and black if you
could even pin me down to any favorites.  I love ALL colors!  

As I turn 50, the next dirty f-word, I think I still have some very legitimate reasons/issues to be a little dissatisfied with; but what I've really discovered is that "kicking and screaming" never worked for me...   not one little bit... hard as I tried!  It didn't turn back time.  No magicians, fairy godmothers, or genies from a lamp appeared to grant my wishes for an instant facelift or a renewed metabolism... And frankly, now I was a little ANGRY!  In fact, forget what the numbers are, or how many fine-lines or wrinkles I have, or what my present weight is at the moment!!!  I'd bet my way of thinking has been my worst enemy EVER for the past ten years!  It never did me any favors!  It never flattered or enhanced my true self in any way at all!  Nor do I imagine anyone else was ever remotely impressed by it!  Such rebellious and contemptible thinking is poisonous really.  Here I had kicked the habit of smoking, but now running through my veins was this vile attitude about nothing but numbers!  (Wait a minute...  Is this one of those "a-ha moments"?!)

Well, here you see what I've found most wonderful about art journaling.  While I get to play with everything from papers and paints to markers and crayons, for even so little as just 15 minutes to half an hour a night, my thoughts and feelings have a way of sorting themselves out.  I wind down.  My mind seems to clear itself of stress, confusion, frustration, etc., while then, oftentimes, makes way for illumination, freedom, and absolute joy!

I like how Joan Rivers says, "Don't Count The Candles"!  What for?!...  "Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is God's gift.  That's why we call it the present."  If I'm gonna AGE, I'd like to do it gracefully!...   And HAPPILY!..   While doing my best, to put my best foot forward!

"There is a fountain of youth:  It is your mind, 
your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and 
the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap 
this source, you will truly have defeated age."  
~Sophia Loren

Ask me how I'll feel when I turn 60, God willing?...   and I think I will probably, again, just thank my heavenly Father for getting me there, and for blessing me so greatly as He does!

Thank YOU so much for stopping by today!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Blessed in Holiday Best

Oh my gosh, it's been too long since I've last posted.  Again, finding the time has been difficult, but I got up extra early this morning to squeeze in the time!  First, I hope everyone had a blessed and very Happy Thanksgiving!

 (a zen-doodle type of turkey in my art journal, 
done in permanent ink pens and watercolor paints.)

Our holiday was kinda spread out, into the course of a couple of days, starting with a big home-cooked breakfast with my kids while watching the Macy's Parade...

 (Dear Son In Law found some game/app where you could balloon-ify yourself,   
so here I am, dressed in my elf-like holiday best!..  ha ha!)
Later, we had a small turkey dinner, just me and Dear Son.  Then, we had a big family get-together, for dinner at my daughter's house on Friday!  (Yes, I have to adjust to taking turns with the in-laws now, but that's o.k.)...  With the exception of setting the marshmallows on my sweet potatoes on FIRE, we had a wonderful holiday!  (Actually, we thought that was pretty funny, once we got over the initial sense of alarm, and the fire was OUT!..  No fire department required!  After scraping off all the burnt-black mess, I was relieved that the sweet potatoes still looked and tasted pretty good!)

Anyways, our Fall season has been a beautiful one, and we really are blessed in that it's stuck around so long as it has, I suppose...

 (Here is an art journal spread I did for a prompt at Artists in Blogland.  Below shows a 
removable tag, where I added a bible verse to the front, and some journaling on the back.)

But in the last few days that we've most recently walked our dog, it's become increasingly clear that Old Man Winter is definitely knocking on our door.  Oh, he's being polite for the moment...

Teaming up with his long-time sidekick, Jack Frost, they're still warning that their time is nearly here, with temperatures dropping, frost now replacing the morning dew, and the scattered flurries that have fallen several times now.  I find myself dressing in layers again, before I head outdoors...  The trees are starting to look bare, but oh how I love the smell of wood stoves from street to street, from random houses 'round about our neighborhood.

Back home, I breathe in deeply, that sweet aroma of home-baked goodies coming from my very own oven! 

It's tradition...  Every Halloween we make and decorate our Great Pumpkin Cookies! (recipe HERE.)

...And this year Dear Daughter (who teaches Spanish) and I made some Pan de Muertos too!..  a simple little treat, but delicious with my morning coffee!

Next, I baked some muffins for our Church Bake Sale!

  (Sweet Potato-Oatmeal Muffins, and Chocolate Chip-Banana Muffins)

Dear Son really loved the homemade cornbread I made recently!

And just look at the new cookie cutters I bought on clearance, at my local Walmart!  I'm such a kid at heart, and you just know I had to have them!

I can't wait to find the proper occasion to make some fancy-schmancy cookies with these!..  and while on the topic of princesses, here's another journal page I painted recently for a group art prompt.  She's a damsel in distress, who really didn't need a prince, or some knight in shining armor, to make her problems disappear, or for her dreams to come true!

Well, as the weather's gotten colder, I began looking to my patterns for some crocheted fingerless gloves, which I always wear over another pair of regular store-bought knit gloves for double the warmth!  Now, I have people asking me to make them some too!..  So, during my free time at night, I'm working on that!  I've been doing a couple different styles, but HERE'S a new pattern I tried, by Sugar Toe Babies.

 (So darn CUTE with the little scalloped wrist ruffle!)

Here's another pair, made from the same pattern; but without the scalloped ruffle, and I just added a few more rounds to cover right over the knuckles.  That's the way I like 'em!

I recently got a new cell...  or should I say "smart-phone"?  Whatever it's called, I can make and receive calls and messages on it!  Yes, THAT much, I know how to DO on it!...   The thing is, it's bigger than my old phone, so I had to crochet all new little totes for it... or "cozies" you may call them.  Not only do I make them because they're cute; but I make them for protection against dropping it to the floor, and then from the certain damage that would otherwise most-definitely occur if I just threw it into the dark and mysterious black hole which I call a purse!...  Of course, once I made one, I just couldn't stop there!

 (black, denim blue, Gryffindor-inspired crimson-and-gold, sage green, Twilight-inspired crimson-and-black, and pink)

And as you can see below, I even made a couple in peppermint candy-type stripes and colors, just in time for the holidays!

Well, that's about it for now, but I feel good to be caught up a bit!  This weekend I dragged out the boxes that contain the many "faux" branches of my faux-but-much-beloved Christmas tree!  I had a great deal of rearranging to do, so the job was never completely done by Sunday afternoon, like I hoped; so now my plan is to have it gradually up, lit, and fully decorated by mid-week.  From there, I'll work my way from one end of the place, to the other, redecorating my home in holiday cheer!  The radio stations are playing all the Christmas classics, and I'm starting to feel that holiday spirit!...   With all due respect to whatever you celebrate or believe, I just hope you're feeling it too! 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fearless Shades of Brown

Here is a most recent mixed-media art journal spread I made, focusing on a color I reach for the least.  I don't know why, but brown just doesn't seem as bright, or pretty, or girly, as other colors I choose, I don't suppose;  but having worked with it, I find it an absolutely rich and gorgeous color when it depicts the colors of Autumn!  Here, I loved working with various shades of brown!

I used shades of orange for the first background layer, then I painted and scrapped various browns I could think of, such as coffee and coffee beans, the earth's soil, the autumn leaves...   and of course, I couldn't forget my all time favorite, CHOCOLATE!  I saved the candy bar wrapper to use as a pocket for tags I am journaling on for the week.  I added a quote by Rumi, and one by The Mamas and The Papas, California Dreaming.  Then I added some homemade paper flowers, inspired by Jennibellie, and a couple of Martha Stewart butterflies.....   I just plain had fun with this!

Oh, and here's one more art spread I had fun putting together, as a facebook art challenge from Tee Thompson!  The prompt was to make a foot, any foot, any way we wanted.  So I actually traced my own foot, and added it to a leg, and then a quote which I thought was perfect!...   Anyone up for a game of kickball?!

I am linking with the following art journal challenges:


Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cuckoo for Cardboard

I don't know why, but I've been on a real roll, recycling and crafting with cardboard.  I cut up any unneeded boxes of all sizes, as Heaven knows I just can't throw them AWAY!..  And then I save the pieces for whatever artistic purpose or project I might come up with next.  And inspiration for such projects can be found 'round Blogland all the time!

For example Chan, from HERE on her blog, or from HERE on her YouTube channel, shows how to make cardboard dolls.  Well, I LOVE dolls of ALL sorts, and Chan's dolls were so cute that I couldn't resist trying to make a few of my own.  The first doll I used in an art journal page.

The second doll, a good little witch, I made to hang up on all wall for a Halloween decoration.

The third doll I made... hang on another cardboard project I made.

It's a visual board...  A homemade bulletin board of sorts, made of cardboard, to display personal reminders, little notes of spiritual up-lifters, and photos/pictures representing any goals, dreams, etc., etc...  Jennibellie shows you how to make one HERE.

Jenni also shares how to make your own handmade stamps, HERE, and HERE, so I had fun using up some cardboard scraps for these too! (and you all know I've got plenty of scrap yarn for a project like this!)

These will be fun to use in my art journal-mixed media pages!  The trouble is, of course I couldn't just stop there, so I got out my fun foam and made MORE homemade stamps!

(Note:  I'm showing you the word stamps before I glued the letters down, because then I'll have to glue them backwards...   so that they'll print right-wards!  Got that???)

Next I decided to make another little cardboard guitar, like the one I made in my previous post...

But this time I added a little more detail, just for fun!  With some bling and some Stickles, I think it will look perfect on the bottom right corner of my visual board...   You know...  To remind me to practice my guitar, instead of thinking "woulda, shoulda, coulda", right?  In fact, I think I'm going to put it on there right now!

Thanks so much for stopping by today,
and I hope your day's a good one!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Before The Clock Strikes 12...

I'm going to get one more entry posted for Scrapping The Music!  This will be my second entry for this round, Challenge #207B, which currently prompts all participants to scrap about a favorite instrument.  Another option was to scrap about either an instrument you play, or about one you WISH you could play.

Immediately, I was inspired to scrap about my guitar...  But wait.  How long has it been since I purchased it?...  Maybe a little over a year?  I went to find my receipt, which was hidden away, with my guitar, in a case which was stored in my bedroom closet.  The receipt was my little reality check, stating I had bought it over TWO years ago!  (gasp!)  Has it been that long ago?  Is that possible?!...  Well, I guess the receipt doesn't lie.

You can imagine, from how I stored it away like this, how much progress I made learning to play it.  Stuffed in a closet, it was like they say, "out of sight, out of mind".  What a shame.  My guitar does indeed "gently weep" from neglect.

So I was compelled to scrap and journal about it.

(I made the guitar out of recycled cardboard; inspired by SaCrafters)

This may be the kick in the pants I needed, and I am re-inspired to resume practice!  I have placed my guitar in a more easily seen and accessible place, and hope to practice at least 15 minutes each day, for at least 5 days a week...   

I'll let you know my progress in another two years!
Thanks so much for stopping  by!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Challenges

My gosh...  October is certainly challenging me in more ways than I can even discuss in one post.  But at the end of a day, I set myself down with a pot of tea, and maybe something on t.v., I exhale, and wind down.  I try not to let life's challenges get me down, and so I count my blessings, and thank God for them.  Today, I just want to share a couple of challenges that come in a more calm, creative, and friendly kind of way!  First, I joined a new social network of crocheters and knitters called Yarn Challenge!..   And this month's challenge was to crochet the given pattern, Pineapple Pumpkin Lace!

I used a slightly larger hook than was called for, and I crochet loosely as it is, but I really love how pretty it came out!

The directions were easy to follow, and it only took me a couple of nights...  hmmm..  maybe three, actually, to finish it...  If you would like to try to make one yourself, you can find the pattern HERE, at Bella Crochet.  Just think how pretty this would be on a white pumpkin too!

Next, Scrapping The Music's current challenge is set to a song by Chrystal Bowersox, called "Ridin' With The Radio".  (Remember her from American Idol?)...

The words in the song are an inspiration to me, and remind me not to be too hard on myself...  To love myself and others better than that.  "Drop the hate", and "Let your love light shine."

Well, along with another 7-day challenge, by Terri Cole, I found at Positively Positive, both challenges seemed to coincide very nicely, I thought; so then I made them into one entire spread in my junque/art journal.  The left side page is the article I saved, and then that opens like a flap to reveal seven days of journaling, some "introspection", on how I treated myself during those specific days.

Some of the days were wonderful, and some were o.k., while one seemed not so very good at all...  But what can I do about that?  We all just have to take the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, as best we can or know how.   And like Ol' Blue Eyes Frank sings it, "I just can't let it get me down, 'cause this big old world keeps spinnin' around."....   "That's life"!  It's important to just hang in there, stay strong, be kind to ourselves in the process....  And don't forget to keep that love light shining!

Here's wishing that life, 
and this week has been kind to you...
And thank you so much for stopping by! 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Counting Crochet Crows

One...  Two...  Two Little Crows,
One, two, two little chairs...
One big girl serves two crows tea,
Behaving grownup as can be...
(adapted from the original Sesame Street song, Two Little Dolls)

Over the past week or so, I've been gradually changing the look around here, redecorating for Fall, and I had it in mind that I would like to crochet a black crow or two.  So I proceeded to see if there was a pattern already written that would suit what I had in mind.  I found the pattern, Jazz-Crow, by Anu Koski, to be just what I looking for!  I loved the size, and the character, and simply went with colors of my own preference.

As I worked on them, in the course of a few nights, while watching t.v., they reminded me of several famous crows, Heckle and Jeckle; Jeremy the crow, from the movie The Secret of NIHM; and those singing crows from the Disney movie, Dumbo.  Of course from there, I even had the song lyrics stuck in my head, "Well I'd be done see'n about everything,when I see an elephant fly"!...  At one point, I did a little research, just to learn a little more about the bird in real life.  They are said to be very intelligent birds, great learners and problem solvers.  They are not easily intimidated, and will chase away larger birds, such as hawks and owls.  But what a shame, that they're symbolized as bad omens, often associated with bad luck and death.  I even read that they've been depicted as vampire watchers!..  Being a big Twilight fan, that was news to me!
Well, whatever the case, I added colorful fabric ribbons 'round their necks, and added fall flowers and leaves to their hats, and I was very happy with how they came out!  One is for me, and one is for Dear Daughter!

In the way of scrapbooking and artwork, I made homemade gesso for the first time!  Gesso is like a primer for the paper you will be painting and collaging upon, but can get expensive for "the starving artist".  Made with simple ingredients, easily found 'round the house, I store mine in an old jelly jar....   And the pages in my journal now smell so NICE!!!

If you're interested, you can find Tee's Gesso Recipe HERE. I've seen gesso often used for not just painting, but for collage projects as well.

Next, I put together an art journal page for the current challenge, # 206, at Scrapping The Music.

The song of the day there is Rain Red Roses, (found here, or more recently here.  The translated English lyrics can be found here.)  I found the words of the song inspirational, because sometimes I let things get me down.  Sometimes, I am easily defeated, and I find it hard to realize that I'm deserving of good things just as much as anyone else would be...  If I don't have everything I ever dreamed of, it doesn't mean I can't keep dreaming or wishing for them....  And I don't have to dream of just little things.  It's o.k. to dream for big things too! 

Here you see I attempted painting my first rose (and rosebud).  Having worked on it, continuously to get it to look like I wanted, the problem I ran into was not only form, but too much paint, and I began getting more of a pink mess, rather than the red rose I really wanted in the first place.  Still, I think it came out looking like some kind of pretty flower, at least, and now I just look forward to practicing more painted roses.  They don't seem, at a glance, so very hard to do, but again, painting is very new to me.  I just think, done right, they are beautiful subjects to paint, and if I can just eventually master the technique to some degree, I'll be happy with that!

Finally, I leave you with one last picture I took.  We went apple picking over the past weekend, and because my camera wasn't properly charged, this was the only one that came out before the camera died on me.  No, it's not a picture of anyone eating or picking apples.

Still I love this one.  It was a perfectly gorgeous Fall day, perfect for picking apples, OR pumpkins, and for spending time with family!...  Soon, my kitchen will be filled with the aroma of fresh baked apple pies!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!