Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 - The Year of MORE

As I sit here contemplating the year that is nearly gone and the new year to come, one word comes to my mind for resolutions: MORE. More what, you ask?!


Well, I don't know anyone who couldn't use more money right now! But honestly, my little family is doing ok and our needs (and even a few small wants) are being met just fine. So I don't really NEED more money!

More CUPCAKES? those desperate moments I often feel that I do NEED MORE CUPCAKES! Heh Heh! But the occational one at a birthday party or on a weekend is really more than enough! So no, I don't really NEED more cupcakes!

So, if I don't NEED MORE money or cupcakes, what do I need MORE of, you ask?

Well, I need MORE MEDITATION for my body and soul:

I'm always fighting the battle of chronic pain with my body and I often forget to use those tools that can help all those frayed nerve endings to calm down: Meditation & Prayer. So in the new year, I resolve to use MORE MEDITATION for my body and soul.

I also need to THINK MORE of Mother Earth.

While I recycle as much waste (paper, metal, glass) as I can, use discarded books and ephemera in my artwork and remain conscious of my electrical and water usage, I feel like I could do more. So this year I resolve to ACT MORE to lessen my carbon footprint by taking shorter showers, turning the television off for several hours a day instead of having it on for distraction and noise and to start a compost pile in the back yard.

GIVING MORE HUGS is another one I NEED!

Who couldn't use more hugs?! I know I could! Hugs make you feel good by releasing endorphines! I think too often in our world we shy away from touching in positive ways. When we feel angry or discouraged we often push others away - which are the exact moments when we could use those hugs the most! So this year I resolve to give MORE HUGS to others! Of course, I will refrain from doing this with total strangers unless the social situation calls for it! Heh Heh!

GIVE MORE RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness) is an important one!

This year I feel like I failed a bit in the RAK department. Part of it had to do with my difficult muse because she really didn't want to create very much art. But I should have found other ways to show kindness to others! So this year I resolve to DO MORE RAKing and connecting with others through Kindness in many different ways! My goal is for at least one per month!


Yes, I realise that this doesn't really seem like something I NEED to do! But honestly, silly socks are a good thing! Not only do they keep my feet warm and toasty, but they brighten up my mood, make children smile when they see them and generally make people feel less threatened by this large, goofy chick rolling around in a wheelchair in Michael's! So this year I resolve to WEAR MORE silly socks - especially if they don't match my outfit!

Eat MORE healthy foods!

This year I did pretty good in the food department (except for those cucpakes!). In fact, I got all my blood levels (glucose, cholesterol, etc) down to NORMAL for the first time in years! Whoo Hooo! I did this by eating whole grains as much as possible, not drinking milk (except for Silk Soy Milk), and staying away from pre-packaged, over-processed foods as much as humanly possible. So this year I resolve to continue to eat MORE HEALTHY and to REPLACE MORE proteins with tofu and legumes. I will also attempt to cut out all dairy by switching to soy based butter and cheese.

Plant MORE FLOWERS in the yard is one that is sorely needed around here!

We have lived in our new house for an entire year now and I am ashamed to say that I haven't planted even one flower in our yard! As a nurseryman's daughter, I really should be ashamed of myself - and I am. So this year I resolve to PLANT MORE flowers in my yard! How can I expect the fairies to whisper sweet things in my ear if I don't give them places to alight? So more flowers is definitely on the list! Especially since it will get me outside in the fresh air and not locked up alone in the house with four cats all day. I think we all know where that kind of behavior leads (cuckoo cat lady - calling cuckoo cat lady!)!

Speaking of fairies and wings...I need to give myself MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO FLY!

Too often I am content to just sit in the house and not go anywhere. Part of this is due to my PTSD which is triggered in loud situations, especially around vehicles. Part of it is also due to the fact that I need to use a wheelchair to go any distance outside of the house. So this will be a tricky one to do for sure! But I am determined to find ways to do this! I resolve to FLY FURTHER AWAY FROM HOME MORE OFTEN!

Cut myself MORE SLACK for not being perfect!
Oh yea, this is a biggie! I think it is for a lot of us! We can forgive others without too much effort, but how long do we hold onto our own failures and revisit them over and over and over again?! How many times in a month do we say "You should just quit because you are not a good artist!"? How about "You failed on your diet again and you'll never make your goal weight!"? Or "How could you have said such a stupid thing?!?"? I do that one A LOT! So this year I resolve to give myself MORE SLACK, accept the failures and use them as a learning tool! I hope this will allow me to start creating art with the abandon that my soul so craves!

And lastly, I think this year needs MORE LOVE!
The world needs MORE LOVE! I need MORE LOVE! You need MORE LOVE! So maybe this is one we can all work on together. Say it with me: I resolve to CREATE MORE LOVE in my life and in my world! This is really the easiest one out of the lot I think! Because love is something that benefits everyone involved and is super easy to do. Something as simple as giving a smile to the person behind you in line at the market creates MORE LOVE! Because that person feels good, smiles at the person behind them, goes home and hugs their child or dog or husband and thus fills the world with love and so does that person behind them and behind them and behind them! I'm not naive enough to believe that a smile can or will create utopia. But I know that it can make the world a nicer place when it is shared and passed onward! And all of us could use more moments of love in a world that often feels depressing, scary and shaky!
So that's all, folks! I wish you a beautiful New Year and success with your resolutions! You deserve it so very much! And please feel free to share your resolutions with me! Maybe we can work on some together! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bloglandia Givaway From Cart Before The Horse!

Oooh! Do you want to win a sweet little guy like this?

Then find the quickest internet connection you can and get over to CART BEFORE THE HORSE and leave a comment for their 100th post! Although I must say, being their biggest fan who has yet to be able to buy one of their awesome creations, I am destined to win this myself! So I'll apologise now for jumping around in glee in front of you! Heh Heh!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Owie. Ouch. Oowwie. Mrfwrrr.

My curse upon thy venom’d stang,
That shoots my tortur’d gums alang;
And thro’ my lugs gies mony a twang,Wi’ gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,Like racking engines!

Where’er that place be priests ca’ hell,
Whence a’ the tones o’ mis’ry yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell, In dreadfu’ raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear’st the bell Amang them a’!
-Robert Burns
Guess what I got for Christmas?
A root canal.
Listen up kids! If your tooth hurts, go to the dentist right away! Do not wait years like I did. Because then they gotta get that drill really, really, REALLY far down in there to get all the infection out.
This is my karma for avoiding the dentist for 24 years. And I'm trying to take it like a man. Well, maybe more like a furry kitten, cold and wet and huddled in the corner saying "please don't hurt me...".
I must go sip some soup now. Solid food? Not in this mouth, ma'am! Never before have I been so repulsed by the thought of chewing!
Now go brush your teeth!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Footprints

First, a few stanzas from "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Then the "footprints" I will leave behind this week:

"The Creative Soul" Gothic Arch for Tamara S.

"Sweet Treasures" Gothic Arch for Dorothy A.

"Go Ask Alice" 8x8 Tip-in Pages for Judy E.

Monday, November 17, 2008


UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS JENNIFER R.D.! You won my book giveaway from this post! Whoo Hooo! I'll pop it in the mail this week sometime! :)

Eight years ago today my life changed in one quick moment. All because one man was in a hurry to get home and failed to stop at his red light.

I don't remember much of the moment. Mostly just my husband saying "Oh God, please, somebody help me". And screaming. And the feel of glass on my tongue.

I had to be sent to a hospital 100 miles away because they didn't think I would live. For 3 days they waited while I dreamed in my morphine-induced haze. Then I saw my brothers' face - oh, it was so beautiful! He was there when they wheeled me in to put back together all the shattered bones, once they knew I would actually live long enough to enjoy their labor.

Still, I don't remember much until 2 weeks into the journey. The most clear moment was with me alone, in a darkened hospital room, crying. I cried because the pain - physical and mental -was too much to bear, even with all the drugs. My body had been crushed and repaired as best as could be and I couldn't do anything for myself - not walk, not feed myself, not use the bathroom. Nothing. And the pain, oh God the pain. Like nothing I had ever known before.

So laying there crying, I had a talk with God - The Universe - The Supreme Being - Whatever you want to call it. I said: listen here, if I'm supposed to learn something from all of this, if I can actually take this kind of pain, then please send me the strength to fight. And if I'm not strong enough, than please, please, just take me now - cuz begging the nurses to kill me isn't working. Put me out of my misery and don't make everyone else suffer along with me! I'm going to sleep now and if I wake up in the morning, then I'll take it as a sign that I'm strong enough to overcome all of this and I'll try my hardest.

Well, seeing as it is 8 years later, I guess you know what the outcome was. I obviously fought. And I did it hard! The doctor said with my extensive injuries - two shattered wrists (now with metal rods in them), a shattered left arm (now brand new with a cadaver donated bone, which leaves me craving steak when I hated it before!), a shattered left shoulder and a obliterated left knee (currently with metal rods and soon to be with a new knee altogether) - that it would take 4-6 months in the hospital to recover. I did it in 7 weeks. But it took something I had never had before: A belief in my self worth. I literally had to wake up each morning, tell myself that I was worthy and loved (most importantly by myself!) and that I could do it. And I did!

Now don't get me wrong! I don't think I'm all that and a bag of chips (yum, chips!) by any means! I still struggle with self esteem issues and crankiness due to chronic pain and a body that doesn't work the way it should. I mean come on, I had spent 32 years up until the moment of my accident hating everything about myself! And while falling off of the front porch while trying to walk to the car is funny in hindsight, at the time it is pretty humiliating! But I am defintiely in a better place with myself now. And honestly, I don't think I would have ever found that without flying through that windshield! I'm so very thankful to still be on this earth! The last 8 years have not been easy, that's for sure! But every day I am given a life that I love - I create art, play with my furry children, love my husband and read about the lives and share art with my dear artist friends online! I get to wake up every day and know that I am loved and share that love, smiles and art with others. And that, honestly, is what I think this whole life journey is about! What a lucky girl!

Now, to celebrate this day of becoming who I was meant to be, I am giving away this book:

"SPILLING OPEN: THE ART OF BECOMING YOURSELF" by Sabrina Ward Harrison. This book was one of the first ones I bought after finding my creative muse (all because of art therapy in the hospital rehab!). It really is a beautiful book filled with so much insight about life and art. All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post by SATURDAY the 22nd to be entered into the drawing. And if you want to share a story about a bad situation that turned out for the better in your life, that would be awesome! But it's not necessary!

Now, go have a wonderful week! And please remember that running red lights is NEVER a good idea, no matter how much of a hurry you are in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles!

I actually accomplished some art this week. Actually, these took me a while to finish at my snails' pace! But finally finish them I did. The first one is an 8" round that I made for Megan. Her theme was POLKADOTS. The inspiration for the piece came from a song by Rufus Wainwright called "Tiergarten". Tiergarten is the word for animal park in german and it is an actual historic park in Germany. I didn't think these would turn out so "fun", but I'm glad they went that way!

These next two pages are for Sandee in our round robin tip-in. Her theme was FAVORITE POEM. Instead of choosing my all-time favorite poem - The Daffodils by William Wordsworth - I decided to find a new poem (to me) that inspired my creativity. The one that really captured me was "Child in Red" by Rainer Maria Rilke. I'll put it at the end of this post since it is difficult to read from my scan. I hope she likes what I came up with for her. I did enjoy thinking about the very few dresses I actually wore as a young girl (I was a tomboy!). And one I remember had red and white checks and I wore red shoes with it. I remember twirling around in it and feeling like such a young lady. And, I kinda still have a thing for red and white and red shoes today, actually. So those moments, as this poem suggests, really do stick with us.

Child in Red

Sometimes she walks through the village
in herlittle red dress
all absorbed in restraining herself,
and yet, despite herself, she seems to move
according to the rhythm of her life to come.
She runs a bit, hesitates, stops,
half-turns around...
and, all while dreaming, shakes her head
for or against.
Then she dances a few steps
that she invents and forgets,
no doubt finding out that life
moves on too fast.
It's not so much that she steps out
of the small body enclosing her,
but that all she carries in herself
frolics and ferments.
It's this dress that she'll remember
later in a sweet surrender;
when her whole life is full of risks,
the little red dress will always seem right. Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Floating in Blue and Retail Therapy

So, I've been a little down lately. It happens even with my daily intake of happy pills. I've learned to accept it as a part of my being because to fight it just makes it worse. Sadly it has been affecting my creation of art - ie: I really don't want to make any! It's been difficult to pull through my swap commitments as the whispering muse just isn't there. What once flowed like a swift river has been like drudging through half frozen molassass. What a yucky feeling that is! I'm starting to come out of that, though, which is good. One of the things that has really helped has been looking at artist blogs. There are so many amazingly talented artists out there in blogland! And while I haven't been able to create anything even close as inspiring, just gazing upon so much creativity is filling up my soul!
One of my newest finds is an artist named Monica Magness. Please click on her name to see her blog! As soon as I started reading her blog I was delighted. She has so much creativity and sunshine! Well, after reading some of her blog I had to check out her ETSY STORE, of course. And I ended up doing a little retail therapy! Now, if you know me, you know I'm a big one for saying "Oh, I really want that!" and then not buying it! Because I do like to be practical...and I'm on a budget! But I found a couple of things in her store that I just HAD TO HAVE! Seriously, I just couldn't imagine not having them in my life! Was it the depression talking - begging - for some retail therapy to chase it away??! Perhaps. But instead of overanalyzing it like I do every single thing in my life, I just decided to go for it and buy the things! I feel so...irresponsible! Heh! But when the items arrived today, I was so thrilled that I had listened to my irresponsible voice! I think these things were meant to come live with me and tomorrow I will find a place in my home to put them where I can see them each and every day. I'm hoping they'll bring me many smiles and even - dare I ask for it?! - a touch of inspiration!
Here are the goodies I splurged on:

She is the "NEWFANGLED" art doll. Oh, there is so much wonderful texture on her and her face is SO COOL! She reminds me a little of Picasso and Katie Kendrick, but in her own unique and delightful way! And she arrived in bright tissue and a fabric ribbon that will be stashed away for future art projects!
This beauty is called "LOVELORN..." and represents lost love and unrequited love. And oh, she is just awesome! Her skull face is made of clay and she wears a beautful metal heart with a key wrapped around it with wire. There is so much texture and she is so well made! I feel - and please don't laugh at me here - but I feel honored to house this special art piece in my home! She's really that cool! I'm in lourve with her, man! She's going to sit on my fireplace mantle with two other Day of The Dead Dolls we have I think. I'll take pics when I can find my camera! Heh!

And lastly, I bought this lovely art doll form to inspire my creativity! I love the red swirly fabric and the shape of her is really great in person! I'm already thinking that she needs wings of some sort - maybe metal or wooden. And I have this cool vintage ceramic face pin that may just work for her head. She'll be my very first art doll (other than paper dolls) and I hope I can do her justice!

So that was my wicked behavior for the week. Hopefully the universe will forgive me for indulging myself! But just in case I need to bank up a little karma credit, I think I'll root around the art room tomorrow for some blog giveaway items. So stay tuned for that this next week, beautiful artists!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I was tagged with seven things meme by the beautiful Megan of Peaches and Peonies.

1. Post the rules on your blog.

2. Write seven random things about yourself.

3. Tag seven people at the end of your post.

4. Pass on the tag.

Tamara’s 7 Random Things:

  • 1. Every Saturday night at midnight for 2 years I performed in front of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a Transylvanian with a tuxedo jacket, bow tie and silly party hat! Our group was called "The Denton Affair" and it was one of the best times of my life!

  • 2. My favorite place outside of the U.S. is Caerphilly, Wales. I would love to live a little thatch roofed cottage near the castle ruins when I am old and gray!

  • 3. I absolutely love tofu! Seriously I could eat it every day! There are so many things you can do with it and it makes me feel well nourished and healthy!

  • 4. When I was younger, I wanted to be a window dresser/designer in a big city and even went to FIDM in San Francisco for a day of classes to check it out. But I didn’t think I was artistic enough to do it!

  • 5. When I was 5 I had an OBE (Out of Body Experience) when I had severe pneumonia. I remember floating across the room and up to the ceiling where I was watching myself on the couch. My mother came in and when she saw me on the couch she said “Oh my God…” and I rushed back into my body. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks because I was so sick. I believe if my mom wouldn’t have come in, I would have kept going onward…

  • 6. The hubby and I love books and cannot be without one or more nearby at all times. We have books in every room – including the bathroom – and even keep some in the car, just in case!

  • 7. I adore my 4 furry children (cats Figaro, Gabriel, Leopold and Sally) and fully believe that we understand each other a lot of the time! I also worry about them when we go away on vacation, so I call and talk to them on the answering machine to reassure them that we are coming home. I realize this makes me sound like the crazy cat lady down the lane, and I’m ok with that! Animals need love too, ya know!

As for tagging 7 people, I think most people I know have been tagged already. So if you would like to play, please leave me a comment here after you blog your 7 things so I can read about you!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Frustrations & Goofy Ideas

Well, It's been another frustrating week. We attempted to adopt a sweet rescue doggie named Sophie, but it didn't work out. SHE was perfect and a total doll, didn't mind the cats and was even a little curious about them. But the cats just couldn't deal with a small, fuzzy thing in the house - even though she barely weighed 5 lbs! Gabby knocked the lamp off of the fireplace mantle (on purpose - he's vindictive that way!) and he and Figaro hissed more times than I've ever seen every time they even smelled sweet Sophie! And all through the night they would jump up on the bed, see her sleeping, hiss and do an acrobatic backward jump off the bed. It was like the circus of the bizarre around here! What, did they think she wouldn't be there after the 10th time or something?! Geesh! So, after several hours of sleepless crying, attempts at interspecies communication and some human discussion, we decided that Sophie deserved a better home. I was afraid one of the cats would end up hurting her and I wouldn't have been able to handle that guilt. And also, I do love my furry children, so it wasn't fair to turn their world upside down just because I have a "I need a baby" yearning.

So, the dog adoptions are going to be no more. Which is sad because I really wanted a little furry girl that could hang out with me during the day. It gets pretty lonely around here while the cats sleep. And, you know, hitting the big 40 made me think about never being able to have a baby of the human kind. I mean sure, the kid was probably better off not having to have a mom like me, but would have been nice. Anyways...that got Shea and I talking and laughing about a show we saw on BBC America about "REBORN" babies. These are incredibly lifelike baby dolls that some women collect. Further than that, some create whole nurseries for them, buy clothes for them, wheel them around town in elaborate baby buggies and treat them in all ways like real babies. Here are a couple of them:

We joked that maybe I should get a reborn to get over the baby longing. So for fun, I looked them up. Do you realise that these things cost about $1000 a pop?!! And you can go more elaborate than that with them, too! They can have heartbeats, breathing aparatus, be weighted like real babies, have umbilical cords and real-feeling spines among other things! So bizarre! And a little creepy, too! I don't think there is any way I could have one of these around the house! I've seen WAY too many horror movies about dolls coming to life and eating people! Eek!!

However, if I were a LARPer (Live Action Role Player), I would definitely think about getting one of these:

I mean, if you were an elf character, you could totally sling your elf child around with you to your game sessions! Heh Heh! Aren't her ears cute?! And seriously, if I had a real child, I would make up a story about finding elf children for about 6 months before their birthday and then have them find one of these on their day as their present. Wouldn't that be fun?! But since I'm not a mom and not a LARPer, I don't think I'll be getting this little gal either. But I did end up finding THE PERFECT SOLUTION:

Little Umi So Truly Real Doll!! She's furry like sweet Sophie dog and small like a baby without all the creepiness of the reborns and the cat hysterics! And she's economically priced at about $100! PLUS, a portion of her cost goes to rainforest preservation! Absolutely perfect! Heh! Can you see me lugging one of these around town, all bundled up like a baby and then when someone asks to see her, I unveil this furry orangutan face?! Oh man, that would be classic! Snicker! I just crack myself up! Heh Heh! Yes, she's cute, but I don't think I'll be getting one of these, either. I guess I'm not that desperate after all. Although...I AM wondering if the cats wouldn't mind another cat or two...or 5 in the house! :)

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Altered Book Spread For Tanya

This is my latest spread in an altered book for Tanya. Her theme was angels and you were supposed to add a scripture about them. Well...I tried. Honestly I did. But my artistic voice just wouldn't allow me to add those words on this page. Instead I used a piece of sheet music that says "Worship and adore". Which is close to what my inspirational words were for the piece: "When the stars were created, all My angels sang praises to Me" (Job 38:7). And I did actually attempt to make another spread with those words on it...but it was so hideous that I glued it to the back of this page instead! It just didn't flow AT ALL and made this spread just lesser than, I felt. So Tanya, I hope you forgive me for being a rebel and sweeping away your one rule for your book! My intentions were good!! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Correction To Post Below

On the last piece "All I Have", the top photo is actually the LEFT page and the bottom photo the RIGHT. Blogger will not let me edit it - grrrr! :)

Shades of Blue - Literally and Emotionally

Here is the artwork I created for swap commitments this week:

This one is for PEGGY in the Mixed Media Madams Group. It is called "Peggy's Darling Garden" and the front is above and the back below. Peggy's pages are 6x6 and her theme is: What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes. Well, when I close my eyes and think about my sweet Mama P I think about: blue and white things, flowers, sweet little girls, and silliness (the hat). I really wish I had some google eyes, cuz that would have made this page perfect! Peggy, feel free to add those eyes if you wish! :)
Here is the next piece:
This one (again, top is the front, below is the back) is for JUDY in the alteredartchix group. Her theme was open and her colors were blue and brown with splashes of pink and white. I call this one "The Sisters' Journey". It is difficult to see and I cannot figure out how to let this thing make my pics bigger with clicking, but I used the masking tape technique by Claudine Hellmuth on these pages. Basically you cover the whole thing with tape going in all directions, use a bone folder to press it down really well, cover it with gel medium, let it dry and then paint it. It gives the piece some really neat texture, I think. :)

My final piece is an 8x8 for Debbie J. in the alteredartchix group as well. Her theme was vintage weddings in the color scheme of whites/off whites/browns and jewel tones. I call it "All I Have" and used a poem by Emily Dickinson as my inspiration. This piece also uses the masking tape technique. After the gel medium I added a tea-stain distress ink then painted with white paint. It has a nice texture and some color variation within the white, which I like. The top photo is the right page, the bottom one is the left page.