"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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's elementary, my dear Watson

I love alphabets - well, yes, I love AlphaBits the cereal, too - but I'm talking about the ABC kind of alphabet. Check out this too cute alphabet sampler from Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy . In addition to enjoying her lovely blog, you'll find information to order a kit and make this for yourself.

And a closeup:

 Now, if you also just LOVE this but are thinking, What! Are you out of your mind? That's hand embroidery - I don't know how to do that! - just get over yourself! Seriously, it uses only a few very basic stitches and clear instructions are included. The design is printed on the ground fabric - you just fill in with the stitches. Kinda like coloring inside the lines. Certainly easier than counted cross-stitch which you might have tried and abandoned after nearly landing in the loony bin. (Before anyone gets offended at my politically incorrect terminology, I'm bipolar - I'm entitled to say loony bin.)

Admittedly, this will not be a quick project, but did you know that doing handwork such as knitting, crocheting, hand embroidery, quilting, painting, sewing - you get the drift - is good for you? Seriously. Scientific studies have shown that an hour of such activity gives the same health benefits as an hour of yoga! It reduces stress, and even blood pressure. Plus, at the end you have a marvelous new addition to your home decor.

Way back in the day, and my day is really way back, I did all sorts of hand needlework and enjoyed it very much. At some point I migrated to painting, altered art, and mixed media collage as my creative outlets, with the occasional handmade purse or quilt thrown in. But this sampler is so fresh and fun, I may just have to go searching for my embroidery hoop. I know it's here somewhere...

PS: Thanks to Patty at The Snug Bug for her post of this sampler. If you're a lady with curves and like to sew your own clothes, or just love fashion for real figures, check out her wonderful blog.

Don't you just love modern technology?

Friday, April 29, 2011

I prefer sushi, but Geishas are nice too

No, I didn't fall off the seesaw - I've just been busy with some swaps and things. What's that you say? Oh, okay, I'll admit it - I've also spent a ridiculous number of hours looking at other blogs! So there.

However, I have actually spent some time in my art room creating art! Wow, what a concept. Some things I can't post until they have been received by my swap partners, but one I can share with you now is a 4x4 I made for a 4x4 challenge at Gingersnap Creations. For more information about Gingersnap Creations and this challenge, go to: http://gingersnapcreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/gc97-chestnut-theme-challenge-geishas.html

The theme was "Geishas" and I thoroughly enjoyed making this one. All the images I used were found online, mostly from Google searches. It's difficult to tell in the scan, but the geisha and the fan in the lower left corner are mounted on foam to give them dimension. I supplemented the flowers in the background print with some tiny flower decals meant for fingernails! Found them at the dollar store and they were perfect for this card.

I also like to make the backs special, so I made a Shoji screen to hide my personal information. You just pull on the tassel to open the screen, which BTW was a bear to make, but I really like how it turned out.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my art, and if you care to leave a comment, thank you very much!

PS: Will be posting details very soon about my de-stash plans. Stay tuned...

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Should I Give Away???

First of all, you must understand that I'm not a hoarder: I'm a hunter-gatherer, and my art room is bursting at the seams with supplies that I will never get around to using.

When brads and eyelets were the big news in scrapbooking, I couldn’t rest until I had some of every size, shape and color available. Then there’s the patterned papers, handmade papers, corrugated papers, tissue papers, printed paper napkins, vellums, the stamp sets, brass label holders, ribbon slides, ribbons & fibers, fabrics, buttons, little round metal tins with glass tops - and that's just scratching the surface! (Oh yeah, and I didn't even open the door to the sewing room!)

I really need to de-stash in a big way, so I’m thinking I should have a give-away of some sort here on my blog.

How can you help? you ask. By telling me what sorts of things you would be excited about winning! Even if I didn't list it above, there's still a good chance I have it tucked away somewhere. Let me hear from you - the sooner I receive your opinions and suggestions, the sooner I'll get my give-away package ready to go!

I will post details as soon as I know them LOL!

BTW: I took these picture with my little cell phone! Isn't modern technology wonderful? And as if you can't tell, I am NOT a high-tech redneck, so I'm easily impressed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bottom End of the Seesaw

Or: My Brain Has A Mind Of Its Own…
Truth in blogging disclaimer: This is a long, rambling post about fun times on the bipolar playground.
Okay, so the voice perched in one ear says, “Retreat! Retreat!” Or, to quote Monty Python, “Run away! Run Away!” This voice warns, “Keep it inside. No one cares and they certainly don’t want to hear about it. Don’t be a bore.”
The other ear is hearing, “It’s okay, you’re just having one of ‘those’ days. All right, maybe a few of ‘those’ days… But this is where you are right now. Allow yourself to experience this time at the bottom end of the seesaw. Writing about it may have cathartic value. Who knows, someone else on the ground end of the seesaw may read this and be comforted in knowing it’s not just them.”
I did warn you.
“Don’t rest on your laurels.” Once upon a time I had laurels. Lots of laurels. There was no time to rest on them because I was always so busy earning new ones, bigger ones, better ones, more impressive ones. At least that’s how it seemed to me. Then one day I realized my laurel-earning days were simply gone. Vanished. Hold on! So what happened to “The sky’s the limit!”, “Of course I can!”,  “Aint no mountain high enough…” sorry, a little Motown slipped in here somehow…
A few days ago I sat in a staff meeting with a room full of movers and shakers, real get-it-doners, and I don’t remember when I have felt so out of place. Their comments and ideas were about what we need to do to bring our church into this millennium. They shared visions for the future and strategies for getting there, and all I could think of was just getting through the meeting without bursting into tears and wailing like a baby. Fortunately I was able to get home before the crying began. And it lasted all afternoon. And all night. All the next day and evening…  Just one of the many pleasures of bipolar disorder.
Please understand, this is not a pity party – trust me, you’d know! I’m just wrestling with this feeling of having been put on the bench, while everyone else is out on the field playing with all their strength and energy and enthusiasm. I used to play. I enjoyed playing. But these days I can’t. (BTW, I am the Queen of Analogies)
Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Ouch! This haunts me. I remember in my glory days judging others because they didn’t strive for perfection. One guy I knew aimed for making “C”s in his college classes. His reasoning was that once he had his degree, it wouldn’t really matter whether he had a 4.0 or a 3.0, so why stress? I was truly horrified; it made me feel physically ill. How could he settle for less than all he could possibly be?
And it made my head spin when someone couldn’t handle more than one appointment per day, and in some cases, only one or two per week! What on earth was their problem?!?!? As shameful as it is to admit, I judged them harshly and dismissed them as silly and inferior. So, in the way that things have of coming back and biting you in the butt, I expect that others are judging me that way now, although I suspect most are kinder than I was. To all the people over the years whom I have judged harshly without knowing the facts of your life, I’m sorry. I know better now.
So this former Martha is now a Mary. (In case you’re not familiar with the reference, read Luke 10:38-41.) I must admit it is taking some getting used to. It’s just natural for me to say, “Sure, I can take care of that,” only to realize later that I can’t. Very frustrating, but I’m now learning to say, “I would love to, however, I’m just not able.” Now that’s a real pride-crusher. It’s much more impressive to step in and save the day, and don’t we love to impress?
How did I move from being SuperWoman to SeclusionWoman? (My friend Tom says that when I’m staying in with blinds closed, not answering the door or the phone, then I’m “in seclusion”. Sounds better than “hiding from the world”.) It could be worse. At least I’m not in the corner of the closet, curled into a fetal position, although I’ve been there. Not a nice place to visit.
Back to how did this happen. My mother warned me many times, “If you keep burning your candle at both ends, eventually you’ll get to the middle. Then what will you do?” I didn’t believe her: I would be SuperWoman forever! Funny how moms have a knack for being right – not sure if I like that or not.
Looking back, now that I know I have bipolar disorder, I can see that I was at the top of the seesaw in those years, in full manic mode. But you know what they say, what goes up must come down? Yeah.
It didn’t happen overnight. I started running out of steam much sooner than I expected to. Then the aches and pains began. BTW, it’s really hard to be SuperWoman when it is soooo painful to fly! Oh yes, let’s not forget the Black Hole. Not the one in outer space. This is the one that the Bible refers to as the “miry clay”. The more you try to drag, crawl, climb your way out, the deeper you sink in. Is it the chronic pain that leads to the chronic depression? Or does the chronic depression cause the chronic pain? Well, either way, it hurts. A lot. And so began the age of The Pit of Despair. Sounds a bit melodramatic, but it is not an exaggeration, I promise.
Fast forward a decade or so: when I got to the point where I couldn’t stop crying for hours, maybe even days on end, I knew I had to have some professional help. Then came the diagnosis. Let me just state for the record: it is freak-out time when you find out that you have a mental illness and that your brain doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. I’ve always thought I had a pretty awesome brain, and I still think that most of the time. It’s just when it doesn’t want to play nice – that’s a problem.
So I’m now about 8 months into drug therapy and psycho-therapy (or maybe I’m just psycho – that’s a joke, you can laugh) and life is good. Until I find myself in a staff meeting surrounded by normal people who can run and play the game and score points for the team… then the seesaw begins to tip downward again. Therapy is great, therapy helps, but the bottom line is this: my brain has a mind of its own.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Kind of Social Commentary...

13247282_fOzulQio_bNancy Wethington posted this today on her blog, Art From the Heart. Take a moment to visit and enjoy the creations of a very talented artist!

BTW, Nancy, I love Pinterest too, but I try to stay away because it's the sort of place you can get sucked into and never be seen again...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cheri's Craft Corner: Priceless.... Had to share!!!!!

Cheri's Craft Corner: Priceless.... Had to share!!!!!: "I wanted to make a video showcasing some of the projects I have made from the patterns I purchased from the talented Laura Denison of http:/..."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Juliet Arrighi: Japanese bookmark dolls

You have to check out this new tutorial over at Gingersnap Creations - precious little Japanese bookmark dolls! The talents that are being shared in the blogging world are astounding - I love it!


Spring Giveaway!

In celebration of her 200th post, Artist Amy Jo is having a huge giveaway! Follow the link for all the details: http://www.artistamyjo.com/ 
Also, click on her button in my sidebar to check out her blog, Art From the Heart.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What would Miss Melly do?

We're all familiar with WWJD, seen on T-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, bumper stickers... you name it. And I'm all for it; we should stop and think, "In this situation, with this person, what would Jesus do?" However, I think for many, that's a bit lofty; we're human and it's kinda difficult to think like the Son of God sometimes. So here's my updated version: What would Miss Melly do? You remember Melanie Hamilton Wilkes from Gone With the Wind? If there's ever been a human with the ability to see the good in every person she encountered, it was Miss Melly. She was never judgmental, a claim to fame I cannot boast.

What really grabs my gut about this whole judgement thing is this: I'm a big girl - okay, I'm fat. I don't say that in shame or self-hatred. It's simply a fact. And I hate when people judge me, assuming that because I'm fat, I can't possibly be intelligent or talented. And yet, I find myself doing the same thing! Some people just "look" stupid, or lazy, or shifty, or whatever. If anyone knows you truly can't judge a book by its cover, that should be me!

Going back to Jesus (which, BTW, is always a good idea), I think we fail to realize that He hung out with the rough crowd. The "sinners", as it says in the scriptures. So I'm thinking thieves, ruffians, drunks, druggies (yes, they abused drugs back then), gays (homosexuality was rampant in those days), harlots, all the sorts of people we "good folks" look down upon and avoid at all costs.

And why would they hang around with Jesus? I don't think they would have wanted to be around Him if He were judgmental or preachy or constantly reminding them of their sins and shortcomings. So what could it have been? I'm thinking it was because He knew their sins and loved them anyway - real, honest, no hidden agenda love. Just as He loves us all that way.

Back to Miss Melly: that's the way she was. Remember how she felt no shame in being seen with Belle Watling? Remember how she welcomed that hussy Scarlet into her home after Scarlet had been caught in the arms of Melanie's spineless husband, Ashley? (There I go judging again...)

Jesus is still our ultimate role model. But when it's a little difficult to imagine what He would do, just think about Gone With the Wind and ask yourself: What would Miss Melly do?

Miss Melly - you rock!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Won't Believe It Until You See It - Golden Book Gown!

From the Altered Books Yahoo group message board this morning:

For more photos, go to:

Be sure to scroll down to see how this was created!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Easter ATCs!

I'm heading to the Post Office shortly to put my Easter Bunny Swap ATCs in the mail! I'm actually going to meet a deadline! Hooray for me! This swap is hosted by Alpha Stamps and is a 3 for 3 swap. I really had fun creating these - I hope you enjoy looking!

The image of the chicks and flowers is from Alpha Stamps "Easter Chicks" collage sheet.
I cut out the flower section and the tie ends of the kerchief to make them 3D. I found a bit of tiny white rickrack to outline the egg cutout, and added green seed beads in the valleys. At the top is a piece of green silk ribbon. The banner is mounted on foam for extra dimension.

This one also uses an image from the "Easter Chicks" collage sheet. I put white lace trim around the egg cutout, topped with a pink chenille-type fiber. At the bottom, the banner is mounted on foam, the leaves are punches, and the flowers are picked off a stem from the dollar store. I glued seed beads in the centers. (There is a pink flower in the center, but it was molested during the scan.)

This image is from Alpha Stamps' "Chicks & Violets" collage sheet. I cut out the three chicks at the bottom and mounted them on foam for dimension. The violets were not as distinct as I wanted, so I hand painted over them to give them a bit more "oomph". I put dark magenta silk ribbon at the corners and a ladybug made from a button with the shank removed. Again, the blue color was washed out, so I painted it.

It is so satisfying and gratifying to get into my art room and actually produce finished projects. I think perhaps I'm getting my groove back!

Sculptural Origami

For more than a few years I have subscribed to Dover Publications' weekly sampler. Every Friday morning in my inbox there is a link to the newest sampler which offers a, well a sampling, of several pages from their publications, usually theme-related. Dover provides these images, and sometimes text, for you to download free. Some weeks I download a LOT, some weeks there just isn't anything that interests me.

Well, today's sampler included photos from their new publication about sculptural origami.
These pieces of art are each made from one uncut sheet of paper, and they are amazing.
I've never been able to master the crane, which apparently even a young child can learn. Not me.
Tried. Tried really hard. Tried really hard some more. Gave up.

I'm all about artsy-fartsy stuff, but this is way beyond my skills and patience.

If you'd like to check out this week's sampler, click on this: http://www.doverpublications.com/sampler/0401
And if you go to the Dover website you can sign up.

BTW: Today is my mom's birthday! Born on April Fool's Day - can you imagine?
Maybe that's part of the reason she's so feisty!