Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to 2017; It's Been Real!

Today is Sunday, the last day of 2017. It has been a tough year for a lot of people, myself included. A roller coaster of fear, stress, exhaustion, emotions, anger, illness, pain, and depression, with short interspersed interims of joy, happiness, love, faith, art, and hope.

A year that I would have never made it through without my husband, family, friends, a few angels on earth, and especially God. I am not good at showing it, but I love all of my family, extended family, and friends so much.

It started with my mom falling right before Christmas last year, and her health, already not good, going downhill rapidly, culminating in a five week hospital stay, during which she turned eighty-five, and her death from metastatic liver cancer June 6, less than two weeks after the doctors found it.

I am an only child with no children, who lived next door to my parents after I married. There are very few days in my whole 68 years that I didn't spend time with my parents or talk to them. My dad left us on Veteran's day 2004, and on Sunday my mom told me she was going home with daddy, and she did early Tuesday morning. To say I'm lost is an understatement.


 Thankfully, I made it through my first birthday and the holiday season without mama. Not easy, but here it is New Year's Eve and I'm still here, by the grace of God.

We also said goodbye to one of my husband's first cousins that we both loved dearly, but he was especially close to her, one of my first cousins, who I always thought of as my sister, another of my first cousins that I loved dearly, and hubby's second cousin. All of this happened within a nine month period, plus several of my friends also said goodbye to a parent.

My cousin, Debra, Aunt Minnie's Daughter

My sister-cousin, Kaylean, and me several years ago goofing around

The day of mama's funeral, and for the first time in my life, I completely lost my voice, which was the forerunner of one of those awful flu/virus things that my husband and I both came down with and were basically in bed for three weeks, while trying to tend to the business that follows a death. Three months later my ears were still affected and I was still coughing, so the nurse practitioner gave me an antibiotic and some nasal spray. The antibiotic caused an itchy rash that I'm still wrestling with almost four months later. Also something bit me on my side a couple of weeks ago that made a puffy place with red streaks running my vein patterns. The bite is much better, but I was supposed to go back to the doctor the first of Dec for a checkup anyway, which got delayed until this week, so we'll see how that goes.

Hubby was up in his fishing boat doing some repairs 3-4 months ago, fell, and hurt his knee pretty bad, but wouldn't go to the doctor for x-rays. Now it takes spells of hurting really bad, but he insists that arthritis has set up in it, because the colder it is the worse it hurts.

As Bettie Davis said, "Getting old ain't for sissies!"

We did have some happy times during the year, as well!

One of my favorite aunts, daddy's sister, Minnie, celebrated her 100th birthday with a party in April. Tons of family and friends came to wish her well, and she enjoyed herself, despite healing over a broken hip. She was the middle child of eleven children and she and the baby of the family are the only two left. She is now in the nursing home, having lost her only child Thanksgiving night. She is still alert and fiesty and will celebrate here 101st birthday April 9, 2018. She is a treasure!

Aunt Minnie at her 100th BD Party

I have participated in a couple of online art classes, as I had time and energy to do it, and I did some sketching. Among other things, I discovered teabag art, which I LOVE, and I learned more about, and practiced, portraiture. I learned that I can sketch, draw, and paint with my non-dominant hand! My art and music helps my nerves and depression, plus it keeps me sane, whether I'm actually painting or finding inspiration by reading about and looking at other artists' work.

Recycled Teabags Prepped and Ready to Paint

Intuitive Portrait on a Teabag

I also published my first calendar for 2018 with thirteen of my original paintings featured, both old and new. I didn't publish them for sale this year, but sent them instead of Christmas cards to extra special family/friends who have been there for me and I feel close to. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them, so maybe next year I'll publish some and do a better job. Maybe I'll offer some for sale next time. A possibility and something to plan for!

My First Calendar Featuring 13 of my Original Paintings

The idea presented itself to start a new blog beginning January 1, and I have one set up and under construction. It's called Shaker's Folly and was going to take the place of this one, but I'm kind of having second thoughts now and am not so sure that's what I want to do. We'll see!

The year has not been without work. I've done some de-cluttering in my house and doing stuff that had to be done in my mom's house. Her freezer went out in the kitchen and we lost everything in it and had to clean up, plus a lot of food stuff in the fridge and cabinets. I've gone through very little else yet. The AC went out and it was too hot, and now there's no heat, and it's too cold, so maybe in the spring I'll feel better and resume work in both houses. A lot to be done!

We had a good Thanksgiving and Christmas with our niece and nephew and their families, and my father-in-law and our brother-in-law. We missed sharing the holidays with mama, but it was so good to see all the kids back at home and under one roof, and to hear the laughter and feel the energy of young people. We are the old people now, aside from my 92 year old father-in-law. What a blessing that we got to share! Good food, great company, and excellent hugs!

Hubby, his dad, and me, at our niece's home Christmas

My father-in-law, wearing his new Christmas hat, and me

Last, but not least in any way, I have three of the best friends from childhood that I could ever ask for. I certainly don't deserve them, and I haven't been that good of a friend lately, but they have visited, brought me cakes and pies made with love, even though I'm diabetic, called, texted, let me know they're there if I need them, sent cards, and they've been here for me in a number of other ways. Not only this past year, but since childhood. They are chosen family that live close enough to be in daily contact with, both in good and bad times.

My husband has been my rock for almost 48 years, especially after my dad passed away. It's not always smooth sailing, but he has always been here for me, and I love him more than life!

I'm so thankful for all the people and things that God has blessed me with, and I'm looking forward to the new year with hope and faith that He will see me through whatever is ahead of me in the new year, as He did in the past, including this past year of struggles and triumphs.

Resolutions for the new year are a thing of the past for me, because I never keep them anyway. Instead, I try to take life a minute at a time anymore, and I'm trying to live in the moment and savor it as it comes. Not easy, but I'm working on it!

I don't usually do a recap of the year at the year's end, but it just felt right this year. I am definitely looking forward to working more on several active online art classes, more teabag art, and the year long art class, Paint Your Heart and Soul 2018, plus I want to start writing again, and finish several unfinished projects that I got sidetracked on. In my spare time, I hope to finish de-cluttering my home and going through my mom's house and things! And I want lots more music than I've had in a while! It's a lot, and I may not get any of it done, but, hey, it doesn't hurt to dream! :D

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish us all the best of new years, full of blessings and gratitude!

See you in 2018!

Peace, Music, and Angels

New Art Books to Enjoy and Two Boxes!

I got these three awesome art books and two large canvas storage boxes for Christmas too, and I didn't buy them for myself! :D They were gifts from our niece's family and her dad, and y'all know from the previous post that I love boxes and bags, but I also LOVE books!

I have already looked at every project in the two books on making art out of books, and there are some good ones in both books, and I have read half of Steal Like an Artist, also good reading with good tips.

My books to finish and books to start are piling up on me! I'm also currently reading Type Two Diabetes for Dummies, The Polio Paradox, Talon of God by Wesley Snipes, and a couple by Anne Rice, plus all the online blogs and stuff I read. I have a whole stack of real books and also Kindle books that I have yet to start. Hoping to intertwine my reading, my creative interests, and life, and get a lot accomplished in the coming year!

We never know what the next hour holds though, so we'll see!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Bag Attack

I confess. I have a "thing" for boxes and bags of all shapes and sizes. I have so many boxes to organize things in, sitting empty beside what's supposed to be in them. And I have always loved purses and bags, but hadn't bought one of either in a long time.

Well, I apparently had an attack when I started Christmas shopping for everyone else this year!

Having spent quite a bit of time in the past, and time this year, sitting with loved ones in the hospital, and having to carry a heavy tote bag around, I had often thought about one on rollers. I happened upon the one above at a Burkes Outlet store for fourteen dollars. It's actually a heavy fabric flight carry on bag with a pull up handle and rollers, with large outside pockets. The next time I'm sitting with someone, I can pull our stuff around instead of trying to carry it, which wears me out, and it holds a lot without taking up a lot of space in waiting rooms or hospital rooms.

Plus it can double for my weaving yarns, heddles, etc., and/or other crafts!

This little canvas rigger's bag I've seen on artists' sites where they've painted them, gelli printed on them, sewn decorations on, etc. I found it at Harbor Freight for less than fifteen dollars. It's a wonderful little bag full of outside and inside pockets for brushes, art tools, crochet hooks, or whatever comes up. I have plans to paint it, but I have so many plans for art projects, so we'll see. When, and if, I get it painted, I'll show you!

This one I ordered off of Amazon online. It's an oversized leather bag with pockets on the inside and a zippered pocket on the outside of the other side. Hopefully, it will hold my ten inch Kindle, plus all the other stuff I have to keep up with for myself, my hubby, my father-in-law, and, until I get things settled, my mom. I think I will love it, when I get moved in to it!

So, Merry Christmas to me! :D

Advertising Bag from 1960s

Isn't this shopping bag cool?

It has the same design on both sides, but the store name is torn off one side and there's a hole by one of the girls on the other.

I found this plastic shopping bag while going through my mom's outside closet, full of old lace and ribbons. The bag is so rotten that any pressure at all disintegrates it, so I had to handle it very carefully to bring it up to my house.

It is a small bag from a store in a nearby town in the sixties, and maybe seventies, before I was married, called Town and Country. Whatever mama and I brought home in it must have been special, because though we would go in there to browse, it was out of our price range, and we rarely bought anything.

I do love the black and white sixties graphics on the bag, and I want to make a much better photo before it completely falls apart, just for nostalgia reasons. I happened to be a teenager in the sixties, and this brings back good memories! Plus the wonderful old lace and ribbons will be put to use in my fabric journals and crafts! Mama would be pleased. :)

You never know what piece of ephemera you happen upon will trigger a bunch of memories, good and bad.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

My First Original Art Calendar 2018

I got the idea to see what a calendar with my original artwork would look like this year, so I went to Vistaprint online, who happened to be having a half price sale on their calendars. I made new photos of some of my old and new artwork, favorite paintings that were handy, with as high a millimeter as I could get with my camera, which is 7.

I picked the calendar elements that I liked, placed my photos where I wanted them, added a caption, and placed my order. I was only going to order one to see what it would look like, but I decided to order ten to use as Christmas cards for part of my list. I figured they couldn't look that bad.

When they came, I was impressed with the quality and the look of the calendars, so I ordered ten more to give. I had to mail thirteen of them, but they all got to their destinations intact, and the recipients seemed pleased, which makes me happy.

The pictures I made of the calendar months/captions are not real good. I didn't take the time to get them just right, but here are the calendar pictures after it was done. Of course, the bottom half has the weeks and days with blocks to write in.














Back Cover

I love my first art calendar, and my mind is already working on things for next Christmas! I hope those that received one instead of a card this year enjoy theirs as much as I am mine! Such fun!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

B/W Photo Challenge for Facebook

I was challenged by a FB friend to do the 7 day B/W photo challenge, one photo each day for 7 days showing my life, no people included, no explanation, and nominate one person each day to do the same. I didn't give any explanations on Facebook, but I will here, if only for my own memories. They are not necessarily in the order I shared them on FB, and a couple of these weren't shared at all.

Small glass elephant salt shaker and a little glass bird. I bought the elephant for a friend who collects them, then couldn't part with it, and bought her a different one. I bought the bird because it is adorable!

Recycled teabags on my table ready for painting on...

Two paper-clay dolls and an Icon that I made a couple of years ago...

The second fiddle daddy ever made from scratch, which has his name written in ink calligraphy on the back by Mr. Johnny Morris, a wig on a styrofoam head, a basket, and the ironstone bowl in the upper right corner was a gift to mama for her wedding shower in 1949.

Sleeping angel that I took the flower arrangement off of and placed my mp3 player next to. I love music, and the angel was from daddy's funeral in 2004.

The old school bus that Papa Stricklin had his last shoe shop in. There's also an old bicycle leaning against the back door. The view from my back porch during the total eclipse of 2017 (not total darkness in our area).

Rooster Poot (hubby's name for her) and her  four new babies in her leaf nest in the car shed, her first litter.

Daddy's old dump truck, sitting right where he left it in 2004...

An oxidized metal sun that I bought mama for her birthday one year, hanging on her car shed post...

One of the two side porch closets on the old home place house. The board steps lead up to the attic.

A ceramic rabbit artist painting an embellished thread cone angel against an old sweater background, representing Rabbit Hop, where I've lived all my life.

These are all things that I love and felt like capturing in photos. Hope you enjoyed them!

Tiny Bags of Love-Warm Up Intuitive Portrait

Intuitive Portrait- Images emerged from the tea stains- Stabilo black pencil, open acrylics, inktense pencils on recycled teabag.

I used clear acrylic to prep the square teabag, which made it kind of gritty, which I don't necessarily like. I didn't prep the teabags I painted before the class at all, and I'm thinking I like the unprepped bags better, but I'm experimenting and learning here, so we'll see.

I like how this one turned out. Unfortunately, I haven't painted in a couple of weeks, so this one is the only one finished for now. This is a busy time of the year, so it may, or may not be, after Christmas before I get to paint with any consistency again. Looking forward to it!

Tiny Bags of Love- (Teabag Art-Prepped Teabags-Sketches)

Tiny Bags of Love class with Jeanne-Marie Webb on Ivy Newport's site (see link on sidebar), a class on painting recycled teabags. I watch and learn from the videos, but my procedure is not necessarily the same procedure in the classes.

Used Teabags Drying...

emptied and a coat of clear gesso on all the tagged bags and about half the square tagless ones that I had previously dried and emptied...

intuitive sketches for paintings on 10 square tagless bags and 2 regular teabags, one with missing tag, over clear gesso with Stabilo water-soluble pencil, letting tea stain images emerge-Ready for color! I did get ahead of myself here. This exercise was meant for later in the class, so I will practice with these and start from scratch on the right exercise later...

Went over Black Stabilo pencil lines with water brush and put the first layer of paint on one character...

The painted face is continued in the next post. These are so addictive! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Still Decorating Teabags!

Still experimenting and having fun doing mixed media art on recycled teabags! This is the latest batch I finished...

This a print using black gesso on a real feather, on a square teabag that didn't stain too well. The blob became a bird, of sorts, which I played with gold leaf on. I forgot how tedius gold leafing can be!

I used water color and inktense pencils, black gel pen, white gesso, and my imagination on this regular stained teabag.

This is a regular stained teabag, which I dropped paynes grey acrylic-ink onto and let it do its thing, then I used inktense pencils on the background and metallic gel pens for the hearts and halos.

A barely stained square teabag, which I painted some robin's egg acrylic on, then stamped on it with iridescent red gold ink on a wooden fabric stamp. The swirl is a stamp that I had made with a hot glue gun. It was handy, so I glued it on with gel medium, then finger painted it with blue and metallic gold paint.

This stained square teabag  has the background "painted" with a red inktense pencil and water. The elephant is a wooden fabric stamp with gold metallic acrylic ink rubbed on it, and I "borrowed" the title of Ronnie Dunn's album "Peace. Love, and Understanding", written in a black Pitt marker.

And this one is a barely stained teabag, on which I used my imagination, inktense pencils, plus my water brush, and black and gold gel pens.

I learned with the batch of teabags after these that I didn't leave these to soak long enough. I also learned that microwaving a cup of hot water doesn't stain the bags very well either. With the next batch, I put them in boiling water on the stove for several minutes, left them in the tea for a good while, then put them on paper towels to dry, turning them a few times, for a few days, until they were good and dry, before emptying them.

But it's all good! As long as I'm learning, I'm not failing! I'm just enjoying the process and feeding my soul!