Monday, April 30, 2007

catchin' up...again

Well, last week was a very busy week. I got pretty worn down. Friday morning, I went out to Canaan in the desert prayer garden and stayed there a couple of hours. It was so peaceful. Just what my soul needed. I took a bunch of pictures and am sharing a few of my favorites with you.
The eggs were in a nest I photographed when I was there last time. I don't know what kind of bird builds these elaborate nests up in the cactus but nothing is safe from being built into the nest. There were bits of paper, string, plastic bags, popped balloon, etc. This MaMa bird is the ultimate recycler/ altered artist! This was the best shot I could get inside the nest because of all the cactus needles surrounding it! I just get giddy when I am able to capture something beautiful with a photo.
It got pretty hot that day so when I left around 11:30, I was not feeling so great, was very tired and hot. I came home and actually took a nap! Something I very, very rarely do. By that evening, I was feeling crummy. My allergies went wild and I spent Saturday and Sunday in my pajamas all day, laying around feeling yucky! I'm feeling a bit better today although I'm still coughing some and have been having to do breathing treatments every day. And, I'm taking sinus pills too. Yesterday, however, in between laying on the couch, napping in bed, etc.. I did come out to my studio and started going through some of my "piles" left in here. I'm sick to death of looking at stuff. When I left off on my major clean out, I had a couple of baskets of paper stuff to sort through and several small baskets of small things that are just a pain to sort through. I got through the paper yesterday and today, I'm going to work on the little things trying to organize them so I can have a completely clean table... and a clean, clutter free mind too!
I better get off here and see how much I can get done before school gets out. I can't believe there's only one more month of school! YIKES!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Women's Bible Study

What a powerful morning! Today was our last day of Bible study for this particular session, which has gone for 2 years. It was a time of celebration washed with many tears. Everyone loved their books. And I've learned something. Obviously, I learned lesson in perseverance while making these books, but I'm seeing a bigger lesson. The greater the sacrifice the greater the love.. and the bigger the blessing. My love for these 17 women seemed to increase the harder it was to create these books for them. And, when they receive them, their acceptance of them was also acceptance of my love for them. In accepting my love, I was blessed as much, if not more, than they were by my giving of my heart to them in a tangible way.

Next Tuesday is the beginning of a mini-Bible study that will only last 6 weeks. Then, we are out for the summer and don't start back until September. This summer will be a big deal for me because I have been asked to teach Women's Bible study next year.... a class about doing art with God..more like doing art as a response to or dialog with God. I'm very excited about this but nervous too, since I've never taught women. I've only taught kids! And, there's no curriculum so I'll be starting the class from scratch. It will be an interesting journey.

Nightmare part 2

Well, if you read about the testimony books I'm making for my Women's Bible Study group a few days ago, that was part one. THIS is part 2. These books have been anything but simple even though they turned out looking simple! I finished them yesterday and not without many hitches! One of the sweet girls in my Bible study is totally caught up in her daughter's high school play production with a cast of 50! She's at the school until 11:00 or so every night so, instead of having computer access to e-mail me her thoughts, she wrote them down. Not just written in lines, but did a drawing and the writing is in swirls, etc. It's freakin' cool... and she thinks she's not creative! I don't get it. Anyway, she didn't think to leave me a binding margin so, I thought I'd just scan her page, adjust the size, and print. Well, my scanner wouldn't work! So, I go get copies made and come back home and start printing all the pages out. Now mind you, there are only 18 of us in the I thought running off copies would be no big deal, right? HA! It took literally FOUR hours for everything to be checked for the binding margin, combining the shorter testimonies onto one page, and printing 18x18... FOUR hours! So, being to one to wait to the last minute to write my own testimony, I had already written some journal entries that I knew I'd just transfer to the computer, for the most part, and while I was printing was a good time to do it. Well, my keyboard freaked out while I was tryng to type! I would be typing and notice that only parts of words were there. When I'd hit keys, some of the letters weren't typing. It took a long time to get through typing and editing my page... only to realize that this "phenomenon" only happened while typing my testimony! The rest of the time, they keyboard works fine! Weird huh? So, got all the pages out and started assembling only to realize that now, it's to thick to feed through my sewing machine as planned! I was soooo discouraged, I can't even begin to tell you. And by this time, it was 1:30 and I had to pick up my kids by 2:00! I called a few places for an item I thought might be a solution only to find that I couldn't find it anywhere. So, I think I'm going to have to sew by hand but didn't have enough black waxed linen thread. So, I load up my kids and drive to the west side of town to get it. Thankfully, I thought to take a page with me. The lady that works there gave me a simpler solution with eyelets. I used my X-mas gift certificate from my mom and purchased a Crop-a-dile (LOVE it) and some cool eyelets and thread and ran back home to start on the binding. I had them all finished by about 6:00! I was so happy... and I'm equally happy with the outcome. Never have I had a project give me such difficulty but it's over now and I'll be giving them to the ladies today! So, here is the finished book. The vinyl is difficult to photograph and the slight golden reflection on the bottom left corner ofthe photo is not there but I think it's my red hair reflecting while I was bent over taking the photo! Anyway, you get the idea!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Table carving

What would you do if you were making dinner and look up to see your 7-yr.-old son with a pair of scissors and it LOOKS like he's using them as a carving tool on your antique teak coffee table? Well, after the initial shock, gasp, and squeal of "WHAT ARE YOU DOING????!!!!!!!!" and you walk around to actually see what he was doing, you find this: Well, I had a stunned and a bit scared child standing there holding a pair of scissors as he watched me run into the living room to see what he'd done. And then, instead of screaming, I burst out laughing! I mean, isn't this the cutest little guy? I couldn't help but laugh! Sam's an artist!!!! :) And geez, it could've been way worse... he could've carved a Pokemon creature.

Monday, April 16, 2007

OH my head!

Yesterday and this morning, I've got a sinus headache like one I haven't had in a long time. It's nauseating. I've done ice, heat, head rub by hubby (which is amazing in itself) taken my allergy meds, Excedrin (which usually knocks my headaches right out) and nothing is helping. It's sorta' weird but I get sinus headaches when the barometric pressure gets up around 30. I wonder if anyone else suffering with sinus headaches has ever paid any attention to this. I checked this morning to see what it's registering and yep, it's 29.87. No wonder I'm dreaming of a little drill for my face and head! When I get these headaches, they start in my face but travel down around the top of my ear to the back of my head and neck... only on my left side always. I had so many things that I needed to get done today and I'm so bummed I woke up with this stupid headache again! It's so hard to function because I feel like a total space cadet. I'll pray it eases up some or I'll end up on the couch all day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Charlotte's Web

OK, so some kid movies just have me in tears. There are certain ones I know better than to try to watch and I should have known better for this one too... but I sat and watched Charlotte's Web with my boys this afternoon... while they watched me... and bring me kleenex while I bawled like a baby. It was a sweet movie but it reminded me of why I've never read the book on my own. I vaguely remember having it read to my class in when I was in grade school and I do remember it upsetting me but forgot about Charlotte dying! I mean geez, I know better than to watch Bambi, Sounder, Where the red fern grows, and even The Fox and the Hound... but I'd forgotten about Charlotte. I remember now and won't be watching it again any time soon unless I just feel the need for a good cry. My poor boys don't know what to think! LOL!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

stuff I'm working on

Today, I haven't done much other than try to repair, or rather, salvage what is left from the book covers I'm working on. (see previous post) I did print out some of my photos and made some sewn note cards. Also, my amazing artist friend DJ Pettitt, has been encouraging me and coaching me to finally try painting a face. I have been scared to even try but, I finally am trying it out. This is my first attempt in progress. She still needs quite a bit of work but I've been pleasantly surprised in the process. And I'm loving it! But boy, making a run to the art supply store for fluid acrylics left a giant hole in my pocket! However, there is just no substitute for Golden's products. The face painting really requires the fluid acrylics and I mostly use heavy body paints so I felt like I was starting from scratch! Oh, and let's not forget about the cost of brushes!!! Anyway, this face is painted on gessoed muslin and is only about 6x10. I'll keep you posted as I work on it! I'd really like to try doing one bigger... in time.

Fabric finds

First, let me say that I hate shopping at Walmart and very rarely go there. But, this past week I went early in the morning and there was no crowd and Kenny G was playing! Hello!!! It was a nice experience! AND, as I was walking by the fabric section, my radar went up and look what I found at only $3.44 a yard! Don't you just want to taste it?

Now, this other STEAL was found at one of my favorite thrift stores all bundled up for $.50! I finally got around to opening it up and it's even more gorgeous all unrolled. AND, I discovered that there are about 4 yards of it and it's HANDWOVEN SILK FROM THAILAND!!!! Linda Thompson, thrift store queen extraordinaire, eat your heart out! LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! Now I have to try not to just hoard it....

Easter catch up

I'm behind posting about Easter but anyway... I finally dyed eggs with my boys outside and they enjoyed it.

Sunday, I tried getting a good picture of me with the boys and Max was just being a stinker and wouldn't smile. I was able to get one decent picture of me with them showing off the earrings Max made me for an Easter present. Yes, I wore plastic bead earrings to church Easter Sunday and chose my outfit to match the earrings. What my precious little guy remembers about me proudly wearing his creation is more important that how they look, especially to other people. He was so proud! And he did choose beads that are my colors! LOL! He was so sweet to even think of giving me an Easter gift.

Also, here's a photo of the boys and their basket mostly full of Beanie Babies and books! Sam has been wanting that white owl Beanie for at least 6 months. I finally bit the bullet and got him off of e-bay... but not a great deal. He was not an easy find though. And I had a very happy boy!

A quilt for Kayla

I recently read a book titled: Fabric of Faith about a prayer ministry of quilting. The concept is fascinating to me. I love the idea of someone hurting receiving a special lap quilt made just for them that was made with prayers “stitched” in as well as prayers “tied” in with the ties of the quilt. I decided to take this concept and make a small quilt for my 6 year old cousin, Kayla, who has a rare form of brain cancer and does not have a good prognosis. She just went through her first week of radiation, which is a total experiment since the doctors have little faith it will do anything but it’s ‘something’ to try. So, I made this quilt and prayed for Kayla and her family as I sewed it together. I then took it to our Thursday night prayer meeting and had everyone ‘tie’ their own prayers in as they helped tie the quilt with me. I will send it to this coming week so she will know that she is literally being covered in prayer just as the quilt will cover her tiny, sick body while she goes through cancer treatment. It is something tangible that she can keep with her. I pray it brings her incredible comfort and peace as well as encouragement. My greatest prayer is that she and her family feel God’s love and presence wrapped around them every minute of every day as they walk a journey of suffering they never would have chosen. May they know God’s peace and strength in their weakness.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Plan gone bad

Ok, so Tuesday at Bible Study, I came up with this "end of the year" (for our Bible study anyway... goes with the school year) idea. Most of us in my group have been together for 2 years now in the same class. We have learned so much and grown tremendously. I suggested that we all write out a brief testimony of what God has taught us over the past two years, how we've grown, etc... and then they could be compiled into a book. Simple idea, right? HA! Well, that's what I THOUGHT!!!! I get an idea in my head and I go... well, I thought it would be cool to use one of my photos taken on our silent prayer retreat of a statue. I took the photo of the hand reaching to the sky. I got them all printed out and cut. Then, using the verse Ps. 36:5 (Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.) I printed those out and got them all cut out. I took both elements and put them on black cardstock. Sounds pretty simple and up to this point, it is. It gets hairy when my idea for making the book from fabric and vinyl takes over and heads south. OK, so I go to Walmart and find fabric that matches beautifully for only $2. a yard. Well, the books are going to be standard 8-1/2 x 11 so double that per book for front and back covers... in fabric AND vinyl. Lots of fabric and vinyl. OK, first problem that crept up was that I accidentally cut all the fabric to make the book open from the top instead of left side. OK, so I can work with this. Because of cost and the amount of vinyl purchased, I thought I'd save some money and get the thinnest vinyl.. I mean, what difference would it make, right? Oh my, it's awful! I mean, it must come direct from the pit of hell! Try working with something 60 inches wide that you can barely peel apart?! I got a piece but and went to sew it onto the first book. IT's so GROSS!!! Not only does it lose the affect I was going for, but it sews awful, looks awful... well, it's awful! NOT gonna' work! I'm not torturing myself making 18 books with this stuff! So, then I think I'll just make the covers from black cardstock, and since I already adhered the other elements to the fabric, I'll just cut around it and create a fabric frame that would then be stitched to black cardstock. However, a big downside is the amount of time and money wasted on extra fabric that I won't be using in this project. Anyway, I'm short ONE piece of cardstock! However, now that I feel it, I think my black cardstock just isn't a heavy enough weight anyway. So, now back to the drawing board and another trip to buy more stuff for the project! Thankfully, black cardstock is my major staple items that I can never seem to have enough of so I truly don't mind going to buy more... but I was just at the paper store today!!!! ARGHHHHH!!!! Like geez, maybe there's an invisible force trying to totally sabotage this book of testimony to God's incredible love and faithfulness to us? Huh? Ya' think? Well, I'm feelin' it. But I do not give up that easily. This book may end up looking like something totally different than I planned but it WILL be made!!! Anyway, I needed to vent my frustration.... if anyone is listening. It felt good to get it out regardless...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

March journal quilt

WoooooHOOOOO! I'm caught up on my journal quilts! I made my March quilt today! I'm so happy I could dance. I used vinyl in this one too. I'm having fun experimenting with it. I love the look and feel of it. This page is 8-1/2 x 11 in size. The photos, you will recognize. They are those I took at the prayer garden last week! I encased them along with some writing and wild flower seeds in an abstract grid format with the vinyl. I'm happy with it.
Tonight I will be going to our prayer time at church so I have to get my kids some dinner.
Oh, I almost forgot! I haven't updated since I went to Passover Seder at Fran's house. I had a wonderful evening! I finally got to meet Dave and also his parents. They like talking a lot to conversation flowed easily. I bombarded everyone with questions and they graciously answered them! I learned a lot and enjoyed the evening so much! And the food was good too! I really like the apple stuff with the horseradish! :) I even tried the fish and have to admit it wasn't awful, although I wouldn't be wanting to eat it again any time soon! It was a very enjoyable evening!
Oh, I've got crying kids... gotta' run...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

art frenzy

I have been in a creative frenzy. In the past 24 hours, I've made two note cards, a soldered china pendant, a microscope slide pendant, and completed my journal quilt for February... yes, I'm behind. But I'm going to catch up! I plan to work on my March quilt on Thursday. Here is a picture of all the bird LFB pages together before mailing. The top two rows are fronts/backs of page one and the second set are the lower two rows. Boy, am I glad to be done with that!
Both of these pendants are gifts.This is my journal quilt.
I wanted to do something celebrating God's love for me and this past summer, while walking on the beach in Oceanside, I picked up this shell and it spoke God's love for me as I wondered why God had put such beauty on the INSIDE of a shell that wasn't exactly "meant" to be seen since it was the inside house for an animal at the bottom of the ocean! I was struck by the detail that God put into something seemingly so insignificant. Oh, how much more He loves me! I also saw God, theCreator taking such joy in the process just because he chose to create. It brought Him delight. His creation brings him delight and we are part of that. I also noticed that the outside of the shell is just sorta' plain looking and brown. It made me think of people....How we judge the "plain" outside and assume the inside is the same, yet, the real true beauty lies within and we will see it if we just take time to look. So, I used this shell and soldered on the top starting my wire wrapping. It is then suspended in a cut out window of the quilt using wire, pearls, and silver beads, which are also embellishmentsof the quilt itself. The "tubes" running in the quilt are actually tubes of sand I encased in vinyl and they are sewn into the quilt. My quilt measures 5-1/2 x 11. I want my pages for my quilt journal book to be different sizes. Now, onto March! I WILL catch up this month! I'm determined!
I worked on this almost all day yesterday and just as I sewed on the very last bead, I went to straighten a wire on the shell just a tad and the right hand corner of the shell broke off! I almost had a heart attack! It's the only one I have in the size and it had the prettiest color. AND, I had already rewired it into the cut out window twice! Well, I'm not one to toss anything or keep re-doing... I just change the plan. So, I made more wire swirls and filled in the broken corner with them. It worked although not as pretty as the original shell but hey, you gotta' adjust sometimes, right? So, the final shell product was my "lemonade".
Now, tonight, I have plans!!!!! My best bud, Fran, has invited me over to celebrate Passover with her family!!!!! I'm a little nervous but more excited. I can't think of being with Fran without getting excited! LOL! I get to FINALLY meet her hubby and his parents. I feel like I already know them though. It will be a wonderful, fun evening. It will be an amazing time of learning about the Jewish customs and traditions which I find so fascinating. I'm also really happy to get to be part of this celebration, not only to share it with my best friend, but to partake in a Holy ceremony that God's chosen people have been doing for centuries and, it is a celebration that my Savior was participating in over 2000 years ago just days before his crucifixion. I'm honored to get to be part of anything that He celebrated and it helps prepare my heart for the celebration of His amazing Love as He offered himself as a sacrificial lamb for me and triumphed over death when He was risen!!!!! Easter is my most favorite holiday so I'm very much looking forward to Sunday.
Well, Max sorta' "faked" sick this morning, as best I can tell, so he's home watching a movie and I had to miss Bible study. I'm disappointed. I guess I need to go clean my house since I certainly didn't do it yesterday while I was creating all day! Too bad there aren't two of me. Or better yet, someone else to clean entirely! LOL!