Time to fly…

I have been so incredibly stuck lately. Not kinda stuck. Not sorta stuck. Really friggin’ stuck. Like in a bog, with chains around my feet, blindfolded, hands tied….got the picture? And the worse part is I don’t exactly know how it happened. I was rolling along fine…..doing my thing….even made this out-of-my-comfort-zone owl using an old necklace I’ve had on my desk for over a year (I kid you not). And then somehow I tripped into the bog.

I’m slowly coming out – using every Macgyver manuever I can think of. Would really like to be chopper lifted out of this, but alas, I know it’s up to me. I think what tripped me was my grand thought to begin the big wood panel I’ve had on my easel since January 9th. Yes, I know the date I put it there. I had a brilliant idea. And then I didn’t. But I really do, but fear took over. So the wood has stared at me (mocking me – daring me), since that date. So what do I do……I make owls.

I whipped this guy up rather quickly. I’ve spit a tiny sailor one out (photo will have to come later-the little sailor hat is too cute). And now I just started another one tonight. Seriously? What is up with that? Owls must be my go-to creation. Maybe if I make enough of them they will lift me out of the bog.

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Ode to my diabetic boy

My 14-year-old son is type one diabetic – has been for almost ten years. And yes, it does suck – on so many levels. But we try to stay positive and grateful that this is a manageable disease and that somehow, someday this will make him a stronger person. Sounds good right? Trust me – it’s hard for me to remember all that positive mumbo gumbo on most days. Especially on days when he stands in front of the food cupboard grazing like a cow. When I ask him to please stop eating or slow down, he digs in his heels, throws back his head and bellows “I’m hungry!”. Honestly, I wish I had a dime for every time I heard that phrase – I could be typing this on a brand new lap top with all those dimes.

So finally around Christmas time I got so fed up with it that I decided to make him a gift that would forever capture this moment. Now mind you I do not draw or paint (like really paint – i.e. texture, depth, etc.) so this is the best I could come up with. A cartoon version of my hungry diabetic boy. It got quite the smile when he opened it at Christmas – the kind of 14-year-old boy smile that says “I really love this, but I’m too cool to tell you so.”  It was one of those times that art helped bring a little humor to a really tense topic. Now every time he yells “I’m hungry” he catches himself and we both have a little chuckle thinking of his cartoon self.

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Look Into My Eyes….

Here are a couple of my latest 6 x 6 pieces I whipped up and have at Most Everything. I rather like them….but I may be a bit partial. Anyhoo (no pun intended….well maybe so) just thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been up too lately.

Here they are up close and personal….

I also made these little guys that have already sold. And yes I was WAY excited about that!

But what there’s more…..(these next are 12 x 12 pieces)

Here’s what I learned about making smaller pieces…..just as time consuming as the larger ones. I actually found it tricker to find the patterns within the fabric that I wanted to use that would fit such small spaces. Also a lot of little snips requiring a steady hand and can I just say I think I need stronger glasses (eye sight ain’t what it used to be).

Promise next post will not be owls……I think.

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This is my most recent piece I call “Acceptance”. You may have noticed (or not) that I have not posted to my blog since August. I can only say I have been in a rut. And when I get in a rut I tend to move in, arrange furniture, paint walls….you get the picture. Well, to be fair, I did go through a huge push to get a bunch of owls done for Most Everything…and then I moved into the rut.

So to force myself out of the funky rut I called upon The Lady and came up with this piece. I’ve been journaling a lot about my struggle to accept good things in my life. The bad I accept easily – expect it in fact. And that’s the problem isn’t it – I expect the bad, but have no clue what to do when the good arrives. It’s like when the good arrives knocking on my door, I peer out and say “You must have the wrong house” When good persists to try to get my attention I still shake my head “No, no. You must be mistaken. You are not intended for me.”

Argh, I’m my own worst enemy in that regards. Why can’t I just shut up, open my hand, receive the good, and say thank you? Doesn’t sound too hard does it? Shouldn’t be. Not rocket science. So I felt inspired to create this piece as a personal reminder to hold open my hand and to be willing to accept the good in life – the blessings – the love.

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This is how I feel when I have to say good-bye (artwork by Gus Fink). I don’t like good byes. Good-byes bite. Good-byes suck (like the quality of this photo I took!).  Good-byes scream change is coming and I struggle to accept change – even when it’s good change (yes, I have issues – I know this). And why do I hate good-byes??? Because I had to do it so flipping often growing up.

Here’s the run down: Age 8, move to Mt. Eliza, Australia – good-bye friends in Kentucky. Age 12, move to Hudson, Ohio – good-bye friends in Australia. Age 14, move to Piedmont, California – good-bye friends in Ohio. Age 16, move to Modesto, California (really??) – good-bye friends in Piedmont. Age 18, move to Santa Barbara, California – good-bye friends in Modesto. Age 22, graduate, marry & move to San Francisco, California – good-bye friends in college & awesome room mates. Are you seeing a trend here?? Lots of moving, lots of good byes.

Some times I just want to freeze time. To hold on to friends, memories, moments, events. And I can’t. It all slips away. And logically I know change is totally normal and natural, but the kid inside me still hates good-byes. The old fear of never seeing people again rises up with each farewell – even if this is not the case. But it’s never the same again after the first good-bye. I know this to be true. And because of it I’m sure I’ve freaked many a person out when saying good-bye – it’s not a pretty site.

And so here is the time of year when I have to say good-bye to people heading off to college or to other dreams. Here is the time of year that I have to acknowledge my kids are one grade level higher – just that much closer to graduating. Here is the time of year that I have to say good-bye to the lazy days of summer. And on top of all the this I have to say good-bye to my beloved bug.

Yes, I am kissing my car good-bye. It appears we have a buyer for it & tomorrow it will make it’s journey to a new owner. Ok, ok. So it wasn’t all love and sunshine with this car – I confess there were moments of pure hate. BUT it’s what this car represents to me that makes it hard to say good-bye. This is the car I would have wanted as a teenager. This is the car I allowed myself to buy even though it may not have been the most practical. This was my growing up car. This car has seen me through some pretty dark days – days when the only happy thing I could grasp onto was the obnoxious green color of my bug. And this car saved my health – or at least my lungs – as I gave up smoking for this car.

So I’m faced with more good-byes. More change. More endings. But I know that every ending is really a beginning – I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.

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A New Kind of Alice

Here is the completed Alice outfit worn by my daughter – taken the night of the fashion show. All went well and we received many compliments on the outfit. Not 100% sure about the apron piece yet – I suppose I can always take it off or adjust later.

Here is a frontal view. This photo doesn’t do justice to the hair and make up job we did for my daughter. We went for a punked out version of Alice – a bit edgy and inspired Sucker Punch. Not sure if we hit the mark or crossed over into Vegas show girl?

It was a fun evening – Madeleine played the part well and ate up the attention she attracted. She rocked the ‘runway’ which were actually three stationary pedestals & really hammed it up for the audience. I’d love to go forward with this theme and make the Queen of Hearts outfit we had planned – we have all the materials to do it. I suppose there is always Halloween. We’d just have to pray for dry weather as the majority of the Alice outfit is made out of paper. Here are some more detail shots – also shows the outfit without the apron. I’d love some input on the apron – keep it or ditch it??

I personally am a little torn about the decision. Without the apron shows the great detail of the paper skirt…..but the Alice I know has a pinafore. Of course I did say this was a new kind of Alice….oh, bother, what is a girl to do??

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Alice Update

Here are some progress photos on my Alice outfit. It has proved to be a most demanding challenge – but I have stuck it out & I am really pleased with the developments. This shows how I worked over the dress I bought at Goodwill. I sewed some blue fabric right over the top of it – easier said than done – especially for someone who’s never sewn clothes before. The collar was a bear. It is very stiff as it is collage pieces of pages from the story book. Here is a close up.

Ummm…..could have sworn I had a close up of the collar….oh well. You can kind of see the words….squinting may help. Next, I had to figure out how to do the skirt part. My original thought was all wrong for the design. So I came up with ripping out the pages of the book – alternating words and pictures – painting a light blue wash over them, folding them like an accordion fan, arranging them around the skirt and stitching around the top with my sewing machine. This is NOT easy to do – sewing in a circle – trying to keep it straight – trying not to rip the paper to shreds….did I mention I don’t sew clothes??

Here is a close up of how that turned out – rather well, I think. I had to do two more rows to cover the entire skirt portion of the dress (don’t even ask how many curse words flew from my mouth as I tried to do this). I used a wide, black, grosgrain ribbon to connect the top with the skirt portion. Next I had to start working on the apron part of the outfit. Again, I used shredded pages from the book and 3 of what I consider to be central images of Alice – Alice (duh!), the White Rabbit (no falling down rabbit holes without a rabbit to chase) and the Mad Hatter (every story needs a bit of madness). The Queen of Hearts was top of the list too, but I had to cut one & she was it. So here is the progress on the apron.

I have to say I am really pleased with how it is turning out. I really feel like Alice has literally stepped out of the pages of the book – and actually took the pages with her. I have some more finishing touches to do, but it’s very close to being done. Even my daughter is surprised with how well it turned out – commenting that it actually looks like what we set out to do. And perhaps it’s a good thing I don’t know how to sew clothes because it may have stopped me from pushing forward. Not knowing the rules I don’t really know if something is possible or not & so I’ve just done it. I’m sure any designer would cringe to look at the construction on this dress – but from the outside it looks good. And unfortunately, that is something I’ve had years of practice on…..making the outside look good. Anyhoo, not to mind. Onward and upward!

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