"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18.2

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Little Woman Who Could

Saw a quote recently: The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. Sarah Ban Breathnach
Which got me to thinking: why don't more dreamers become doers? I've known many, MANY folks over the years who dream big dreams: changing careers, leaving an abusive relationship, going back to school, becoming a secret agent and saving the world from the evil villain - well, not so many on that last one. And these dreams aren't always great big dreams. Sometimes they're simple, private dreams: learning to dance, taking art lessons, learning how to program that  **bleep** DVR!
One of the perks of bipolar disorder is having delusions of grandiosity, which was one of the toughest things to reckon with after my diagnosis - you mean, I'm not as fabulous as I always thought I was? Bummer.
Anyway, a byproduct of those delusions is that I've jumped feet first into so many things I'd never done before, completely believing I could do it. You know, we worry about what people will think - will they like it, will they approve, will I look like an idiot, all sorts of negative things. But, guess what, there's another kind of "what will they think" that can bring you down too. People, esp. other women, can be pretty hateful when you shine. I actually had a "friend" say to me, "Well, it's a good thing you're not a size 8, or I would really hate you!"
When I was diagnosed with bipolar two years ago and began therapy, I started a therapy journal. One of my spreads was, Whatever happened to Beverly the Magnificent? On that spread I listed things I had done well, just reminding myself that I am competent and talented, that it wasn't all delusions.

Disclaimer: my purpose with the following is not to impress anyone. Just sharing some first-hand observations.

For instance:
  • For an Easter production at my church, I volunteered to turn the sanctuary into the city of Jerusalem! I painted 24 4x8 panels that stretched across the front of the sanctuary, and also built a "mountain" that Abraham and Isaac could walk up. Had I ever done anything like that before? No! But I had no doubt I could do it. And I did! (Wish I had photos to share.) Since then I've painted many murals of all sizes; I'm no longer able to - fibromyalgia is no fan of going up and down on ladders! So now I paint smaller.
  • When my best friend couldn't afford the wedding cake of her dreams - to serve 300! - I made it for her. And it was gorgeous and delicious! People kept saying, I didn't know you make wedding cakes. And I was thinking, I didn't either!

    Am I cute, or what?
 Anyway, just a couple of examples. Of course, these were from the "manic" periods! But even during the "depressive" periods, I still had a tendency to jump in where angels fear to tread!
Do I recommend such reckless behavior? Not really. I've been very fortunate to not have any epic failures, but there certainly have been failures and near-failures. On those occasions when I did succeed at some crazy idea, I believe it was due to confidence as much as any ability. Maybe it was delusional confidence but it worked!
So, my point is: fake it until you make it. That little voice that keeps saying, You can't... what will people think... this is a stupid idea... that voice is lying to you! (No, I don't hear voices in my head - that's schizophrenia LOL)
Now before you say, well, she sure thinks she's special! - that's not what this post is about. I'm just trying to say that if you think you can, you most likely can! So - think you can! Believe you can! And then do it, and prove you can! And to hell with what anyone else thinks! Do you want to wake up one day, look back on your life and say, I wish I had...?
And now I will take my soapbox and sit down.
Until next time,


Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Declaration of Freedom

I hereby proclaim and declare that I have given myself permission to:
  • stop using all my time and energy to produce pieces to sell
  • forget trying to please an unknown buyer
  • participate in any challenge that strikes my fancy (BTW, I've always wondered where my fancy is located...)
  • "waste" hours doodling and experimenting and just messing around in my art room
  • focus on creating and finding my own unique creative voice
  • get back to having fun with art
So there you have it.

Detail from The Scream, c. 1893
by Edvard Munch

What is it with "should"? I should sell my things. I should do more collage work. I should do more painting. I should do more sewing. My art should be more colorful. It should be more shabby. It should be more like that artist's work. I have come to the conclusion that SHOULD is a 4-letter word. Well, not technically, but you know what I mean.

All those shoulds weigh me down, burden me and stifle me to the point where I just don't do anything. My two escapes are sleep and the computer. My drugs of choice. 

I've been thinking about and pondering all this for some time now. It was a huge step to release myself from all the shoulds, mine and the ones others impose upon me. But no more! Are you fooled by my bravado? Yeah, I'm not either. This is going to be a real challenge. Hopefully the payoff will be  - wait for it - creating! Art that I like, that was fun and interesting to make. Art that has pushed my creative and technical boundaries. Art that I can photograph and share with you here on my blog.

I saw a quote recently: Make your life an exclamation, not an explanation. Wow, and ouch. So here I go. No more explaining why I didn't, but exclaming my newfound freedom to make art! Hooray for me!

Until next time,


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Not the kind they make movies about. My art studio has transformed temporarily into a sewing studio. Once upon a time I had two separate rooms - one for art, and one for sewing. But when my sister & nephew moved in with me last Thanksgiving, I had to squeeze it into one room. Ouch!

You may or may not know, but I make and sell one-of-a-kind purses, and with fall bazaars looming in the near future, it's sewing time! I move all my artsy stuff to one side of my work area, set up my ironing board next to the cleared workspace, plug in the iron and I'm ready to go.

The first purse I'm making is in luscious shades of brown and teal, great colors to transition from summer into fall.

So far I have ironed interfacing and stabilizer to the various pieces. Next I'll sew this to that and that to this. Then more ironing, sewing, ironing, etc.

I'm a firm believer in ironing at every stage of the sewing together process. I find that pieces line up much more accurately, and the finished project looks much more professional.

My stash of purses that are cut and waiting for me!

For this purse I want to add some piping trim, but don't have exactly what I want, so it's off to the fabric store. Then home for some sewing!

Until next time,


PS: I haven't forgotten I promised some UFO's. They're still coming - soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

I've had a fascination with gypsies for as long as I remember. Every Halloween, I'd rummage for long, flowing skirts, billowy blouses, colorful scarves, and of course the iconic gold hoop earrings. One year I used Mason jar lids (just the rims) for my earrings - I rocked it!

Over at Alpha Stamps, they're having a Gypsy Fortune Teller swap, which I signed up for. We're using chipboard pennants and collage sheet images from Alpha Stamps. For probably the first time ever, I've gotten started several weeks before the due date. As opposed to the day before they have to be in the mail. (See previous post God Save the Queen - that's me, the Queen of Procrastination.)

We are to make 3 different pieces and will receive 3 in return from 3 other artists. Yesterday I completed the first one. Actually, the first two, since I'm making a duplicate set for myself. I quite like the way it turned out.

I've broken down my process, in hopes you're interested:

I cleared my work table area (see aforementioned previous post) and laid out my chipboard pennants and the papers I plan to use: Weekend Market Collection by Bo Bunny in the 6"x6" size. These are beautiful, richly colored, double-sided heavyweight papers, perfect for the gypsy theme.

I wanted each side of my pieces to be different, so I chose 6 papers.

First order of business was to cover the chipboard pieces. Using gluestick, I glued the papers to the chipboard and placed them under an old dictionary to dry. Then I trimmed as close to the edges as I could.

The next step was to sand the edges. My two favorites tools for this are emery boards and the little white sanding blocks used by manicurists. I buy those in quantity at the local beauty supply store - much cheaper than buying one at a time in the department store.

After sanding, I inked the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Rusty Hinge.

Now on to the embellishments. I wanted to use some fortune telling spinner games in the background, and found exactly what I wanted on Alpha Stamps' Gypsy Fortune Teller #2 collage sheet. These two images are but a small portion of what is included on the entire sheet.

I glued them to plain cardstock, the kind you would use in your printer, to give them stability. Then I inked the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Worn Lipstick. After adding Tim Holtz spinners, I applied foam tape to the backs. The larger one has one layer of foam, while the green one has 2 foam layers. I love using the foam tape to give depth and dimension.

Next, the focal image, this time from Alpha Stamps' Gypsy Beauty collage sheet. I cut the gypsy dancer and feather circle from one copy, glued real feathers on the back to peek out from the front, applied foam tape and attached to a second, uncut copy of the image.

Then I added gold Dresden trim (also from Alpha Stamps) around the perimeter as a frame. I used Ranger's Stickles in Diamond to highlight the gypsy's scarf, and Stickles in Xmas Red to add a little bling to the "feathers" behind her.

After everything was dry, I put 3 layers of foam tape on the back so it would stand above the spinners.

There were 2 other bits from the Gypsy Fortune Teller #2 collage sheet that I used: "Madam Morrow's Fortune Telling Cards" and "The Gipsy Fortune Teller" banner. I applied Distress Crackle Paint in Clear Rock Candy to both and adhered to base when dry.

The last step was to add the metal coins and violin charm to the bottom left corner, using matte medium. I have found that anything applied with a generous amount of matte medium will NEVER come off!

On the reverse side, I glued a card giving the name of the swap and my personal information, held by a hand-reading chart that I crackled with Ranger's Crackle Accents. The Crackle Accents gives a larger crackle pattern than the Distress Crackle Paint.

And Voila! The first of 3 Gypsy Fortune Teller pieces!

A word about the collage sheets: I purchase the collage sheet downloads for 2 simple reasons. First, no shipping costs, and second, I can print out as many copies as I want. Since I like to cut up and layer my images with foam tape, I usually need at least 2 copies, sometimes 3. So the download is much more cost-effective for me.

I hope you like my gypsy art and that my little tutorial has been helpful. Your comments are valued and much appreciated.

Until next time,


PS: There may be UFO's next time...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God Save the Queen!

That would be me, the Queen of the Nation of Procrasti. I have "doing it later" down to an art. True, there are many Ladies-in-Waiting, but I reign over them all!


You know that place where you just put stuff when you're not sure where it should go? Like mail, toilet paper that hasn't quite made it to the bathroom, those great finds in the clearance aisle... Well, in my world "that place" has been my art work table.

Over the summer I've participated in a few swaps, so everything that I pulled out for possible use has been in a pile under a notebook. (Next to the toilet paper in photo #1). 

There were road trips to visit family and friends: no time for putting things away!

There were lazy days of doing absolutely nothing. I call them "mental health days".

And finally what I'd been dreading all summer: I had to do SOMETHING with these dozens of boxes in my living room, in the corner by the TV, behind the sofa, and any other empty spot I could find. When my sister and nephew moved in with me last Thanksgiving, we cleared out my then art room and sewing room so they would have rooms to sleep in. (A lightbulb moment: people sleep in those rooms, hence the name "bedroom". Aha!)

Tax records, bank account statements and cancelled checks, receipts - all going back to 1982! Now shredded and hauled away. In addition to all of that, my dad took 11 - that's eleven - banker's boxes full of  trash to the dump. There's one very large plastic tub full of items for Goodwill.

Now I'm down to a mere 8 boxes of "things to keep". But it's all good because they all fit behind the sofa, out of sight, out of mind. (I thought about taking photos, but that could be incriminating.)

Clearly I have not had opportunity to deal with my art room. However, I have committed to two other swaps, with deadlines rapidly approaching, and the procrastination is just too too tempting when my work space is a disaster. So this morning I dug in.

There were rub-ons and collage images to file away, little bits of ribbon and other trim, buttons and various trinkets. And we mustn't forget the goodies I've purchased here and there that I simply tossed onto the pile. Okay, onto the floor, too. (See photo #2, above)

And true to my bipolar nature, while I'm sorting/filing/tidying up, might as well reorganize all my trinkets, charms, jewelry bits, tiny this and tiny that. 

 Over the last several years I've amassed a collection of cheap cheap cheap jewelry, purchased with the thought that, "Hey, I could take this apart and use the individual pieces in my collages!" Except, of course, I never got around to actually doing it. They've been shoved into a storage tray, mostly untouched, because when I'm in the throes of creating I can't take time to dismantle these things!

No longer a problem, my friends - all are now deconstructed and sorted and ready for service.

Ta-Da! Here's my workspace, all tidied up and ready for my next creating adventure. Note the empty spots where you can actually see the table. And I've set out my basic supplies for my next swap - Gypsy Fortune Tellers, hosted by Alpha Stamps. Love me some gypsies!

I suppose I will have to relinquish my throne, at least temporarily. No procrastinating now, there's art to be made! But it's late. I'll get started tomorrow.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Tim-ified" Tin

Another swap with the All Things Tim Yahoo group. This time we altered an empty mint tin, Tim Holtz style.

I started by covering the outside with torn pieces of masking tape which I then inked with Black Soot and Aged Mahogany Distress Inks, followed by a couple coats of gloss gel medium. I was aiming for a leather look - not sure I quite achieved that.

Although we were not required to, I decided to do something special inside. I lined the inside top and bottom with black velvet (from a thrift store shirt). In the bottom I put lilies, a scroll diecut, and a butterfly. Hard to see, but the butterfly has Distress Crackle Paint in Rock Candy. I put several layers of foam tape on the underside of the butterfly so that it seems to float in the space.

Inside the lid I put a single TH Ideology Adage Ticket, also with the Rock Candy crackle, and aged with sepia color ink.

On the outside, I used gold Dresden trim around the upper and lower edges and used a gold leafing pen along the lip of the upper section.

On the top there is a flower, a TH alphabet card, a TH heart charm, and three tiny buttons. I love tiny buttons! I chose the "C" card for Cathy, who will receive this in a few days. It also is covered in the crackle paint and aged with ink.

I love how it turned out and hope Cathy loves it too!

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When your children are older than you...

Yesterday was my older daughter's 40th birthday. In December,
my younger daughter will turn 35. What I can't wrap my head around
is this: how can I have children that age when I'm only 35 myself!?!?!
Years ago I heard or read, "The secret to growing old gracefully is to
pick an age you like and stick with it." So I chose 35. Honestly, in my
head and in my heart, that's my age. My knees and shoulders would
argue, but overall I feel 35.

Another quote that resonates with me is, "We don't stop playing
because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
In my humble opinion a major component of playing is being silly.
I love being silly. Being silly rocks! Sure, I get strange looks
from other adults. Whatever.

Me and Martie being very silly in the photo booth
Recently someone posted this on FB: "How can you become
old and wise if you were never young and crazy?"
To which I replied, "Who wants to be 'old and wise'?
I plan to be young and crazy my entire life!"

My daughter, Leslie, and her friend Martie
My daughter Leslie had a terrific party to celebrate the big 40.
She rented a photo booth, you know, the kind where you
get inside, pose, and press the button. There was a LOT of silliness
going on in that photo booth!

My son-in-law Boo and his brother Alan
I'm guessing that the average "age" of the party guests was about 15.
The photos I've shown here are only a small sampling. 

One last quote: "How old would you be if you
didn't know how old you are?"

Today, be silly, be young, and be at least crazy enough to
make people stare!

Until next time,