Monday, April 28, 2014

April Showers takes the cake

    Goodness knows it has rained in the month of April. Here I was thinking I killed my lawn by cutting it too short and then it rains for a solid week with a day of sunshine and then the grass is even taller...*Doh!* I think the weather is making up for the fact that we had a relatively dry winter early on. Or maybe that was just the basement apartment talking... time stood still there and not in a good way.

     Soooo... in  a mere 5 days I am supposed to post my bead soup reveal... The very bead soup that I have tinkered and played with and moved around on my mat for weeks like a weird form of zen garden without the sand or rake, and then promptly stuck in a drawer because nothing was working. Good news is that I located the copper findings I had purchased... they were in my glove box. HA!  I have no doubt I will come up with something. If I don't like it- I can always re-do it. What a concept!

   Here's my charm for the "Pick Some Flowers" swap...


     I'm looking forward to the month of May. My parents are driving out for a visit in late May or June. Plus the new hood is trying to organize a neighborhood wide garage sale in the end of June. Hopefully this will be the motivation I have been needing to finish the last of the unpacking- fixing up my art den AND getting rid of a bunch of stuff that has been piling up. There are also talks of a  Block Party... finally get to meet more of my neighbors. Which is good because quite frankly they are all starting to look alike at this point. Unless they have a dog. Then I know them by their dog, but that's it. We moved in Super Bowl weekend and since the Sea Hawks actually won, I think everyone was on cloud 9 for a few months... lol

Have a great Monday!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A State of Mind

   I lived in Texas for a very few short months back in spring of 2001. I ended up leaving because of all things- my allergies were making me miserable. The weather, the grass, the giant bugs, loneliness and the feeling of failure of being 2 years post college and still not having any experience or that dream job to show for it. Moving there was a vain attempt to gain independence- leave what I considered a small town.  Never mind I gave up in under 4 months and most of that spent in continuous misery of allergies brought on by something I was so excited to do regularly...mowing the grass. I had allergies on occasion back home in Missouri, but nothing like this. For the better part of those 4 months, it was one continuous , raspy, watery eyed sneeze-a-thon, snotfest, snottopia, snotapalooza... (I could go on)  So, I tucked tail and moved back home. Defeated...  4 months.  I chalk that up to one of the most stupid things I ever did. Not sure on which one- moving to Texas, or moving back home.
 
      It was just a few months after I moved back to my home state that 9/11 happened and everything changed and it just seemed that time just froze. I think every generation has that event of  "where were you when...?" That was definitely mine-  having just turned the ripe old age of 24, clueless, naive and broke. Funny thing is I remember an episode that Oprah had called "quarter life crisis" that same summer. It's definitely a stupid age. It's pivotal for sure. You aren't as young, and yet  you really aren't an adult except for your numerical age. Yet some people have full blown families and real lives by then. Then I think maybe if I hadn't wasted 5 years (it was only 5 because of my major- not because of bad grades or undecided major choosing) on college, life would have been different. It would have forced me to get real that many years sooner. Maybe if I had NOT kept dating that nice guy I started dating my senior year in high school and dragged out for the next decade life would have been different.  Maybe?  Maybe if I had spoken up more, life would have been different. Some days all I have is the fact that I know without a doubt I am where I am supposed to be,despite the overwhelming fact I squandered my 20's on the wrong job, wrong guy, wrong state.
     A few days after my 29th birthday, I gave notice at my crappy job, and bought a one way ticket to Washington state. I had a safety net, but I was determined to make this move stick. Thank God it did. Ironically I now live in a town a small  fraction of the size of my hometown and I love it. I'm also excited to announce I can mow the grass without it turning into anymore than grass stains on my shoes.
    Well, you know... it's the little things.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Brick Wall Combat

     I am beginning to think that as great as the internet is for being a source of eye candy, inspiration, tutorials, information, techniques, tips, etc...  I can't help but feel it also reminds me that it's all been done before.
 The internet allows us access to a great source of many people's hard work- tips, hints, very well done tutorials, etc. But then what?

     Please note- I firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due, whether it's using a tutorial or inspiration for a technique. This isn't about that directly.  In my opinion THAT goes without even being said.

     I'm talking about actually creating your own thing.  Putting your own spin on something... is that really enough anymore?  It seems that nowadays you pretty much have to reinvent the wheel or a new formula of Tide or risk being accused of not giving credit or plagiarizing. Not from my personal experience, but things I've seen on pages or sites.
      I am seriously beginning to think I just don't have what it takes to create something new and original. It's all been done.  10-12 years ago, I was into altered dominoes big time. I LOVED Ranger's Adirondack Markers, and loved using Sharpies. Any of my creative sessions were always jump started by altering a domino. I used to experiment soooo much back then. Same thing with polymer clay. I would jump at the chance to try something new and just push through it. Sure, my first ones were never perfect but that was okay. Practice makes progress right? I would move forward with it and create something. It was so simple back then. At the very least I learned something new. I used to make a lot of canes and cover small pots, boxes, a lot of Bic Pens crossed my path. Anything that didn't move, got covered in a layer of cane slices. I'm pretty sure I've covered my weight in Christmas ornaments. lol  Nothing original of course.  But my experimentation was my own, or was it?

     But now? What about now? I piddle and putz around inspired and uninspired at the same time in my art den, well currently I am spread out on the dining table.lol  But seriously- I string beads only to unstring them. I wrap something in wire, and clip it all off moments later. I just don't think there is anything left that I could possibly "put my own spin on" and feel satisfied with.  I can create something but feel as though it's all been done in some variation before.  But how can you not mirror or mimic something that inspired you?  If I created something with a water lily on it- does that mean I've been inspired by Monet? I've been there- I've walked the cobblestone streets of Giverny and crossed Monet's bridges spanning his ponds and his lovely water lilies. He was an inspiration.

So here I am- feeling it's all been done before- hitting a brick wall.

Speaking of water lilies...


    This photo is not from Giverny, I don't currently have any digital versions of those photos. This is of a water lily from Butchart Gardens in Canada. I believe it was in the formal Italian garden, if I remember correctly. Oh and I altered it in Photoshop with a filter or something done to it.. I like it. But it's been done before. Especially the way I held the camera with my two 5 fingered hands,  pretty sure I closed one eye when I looked through the viewfinder. DANG IT! So unoriginal.  Why can't I have unique ocular organs and unique phalanges. I feel so cheated.    

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gift Card charm swap received!

   Been a little under the weather... husband was a little generous with the bug he brought home last week and it finally caught up with me earlier this week. This evening is the first time in 3 days I've felt mildly human and feel like I'm on the road to recovery.
    But happy mail came today! The Gift Card charm swap arrived and I couldn't be more pleased with what I received. A lovely lot of charms. I swapped 2 sets of 5- so I received 10 different ones. All lovely, all different.


    I'm still waiting for one more swap to be returned from last month and then it's nearly time to ship out what I have brewing for this months swaps.
That's it for today! Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March Color Palette Swap received

 Oh and it's so pretty! The ladies that participated really did a great job! The color palette was so fresh and pretty! Here it is again:


The good news is that I found my camera charger and am now able to use something besides my phone.

The bad news is that the skies are gray and there is no really good natural light when I took these photos.


Now I get to have fun stringing them onto something! 

Happy Sunday!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Recharging

 So... inspiration today was taking a long walk in the woods. I was wanting to explore a new section of the trail and didn't take my dog, he's usually good for 1-2 miles, and I didn't want to make him overdo it. I had a good walk. The temperature was perfect. One part is a subtle incline and I am already feeling it (in a good way). But I had alone time to think and reflect. As I progressed on along a seemingly long part of a uphill trail, I had an idea of where I was, but also knew I still had a few miles left ahead of me. It kinda felt endless... then I stopped, turned around and looked back down the trail. It reminded me of a quote I had found just a few days ago and now it resonated a little deeper. I tried to find who to give credit to, but it kept coming up unknown.  The quote is:

 "The reason why people give up so fast is that they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten."

  Which was exactly how I felt, except I couldn't give up because I was a couple miles in and still had a couple miles to go to finish my goal. Why backtrack when I can move on- I pressed forward. I was rewarded by reaching my goal- a gorgeous lookout point and the dang mountain was still under clouds. RATS!!!  So I hoofed it down to the coffee shop, had a coffee and sat by the fire before heading home. But the mountain did peek out from the clouds just a little bit from this view.


From this view- I was able to *see* how far I really did come today. Not just because of the fancy trail map posted on the board at the coffee shop.  lol But I could see how far I'd walked. I felt good.  I need to apply that quote to my life in general. I don't know why I haven't looked back at my progress before. In life, not just a walk. Maybe because it's that biblical reference involving pillars of salt? lol  But I've come a long way. I still have a ways to go, but looking back- wow. I can do this. If I can move twice in 6 months, I can surely survive unpacking one final time.  

Total mileage hoofed today:  Just a little over 4 miles, my goal is 7 and eventually 10. Eventually turn that 10 mile walk into a 10 mile jog. So while I share my distance, I will not, however, share how long it took me. That's another level of goals. lol 

I can do this...   Oh yes... YES I can. But first...

 Neosporin for my blisters. ;)  Because apparently I am a glutton for punishment and go for the longest walk while breaking in a new pair of shoes.  *DOH!*

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another facet of creativity

    Facet or tangent? Ramblings? As the unpacking continues- I found the box of books that I had packed and did not have at the apartment. So these have been in storage for well over a year! I found some goodies!  This box had my stash of polymer clay books and a bunch of coffee table art books.  I also found the one book I thought was lost forever. It was one of those books I knew I had, but couldn't remember the name or author and could not for the life of me find it. I just knew it was on shrines.
        But I unearthed that baby... and lets just say- the hubby bought a sheet of foam core a few weeks ago for a project. Ahem... I may have to replace said sheet of foam core.  So what is this book? Well here ya go...  "Crafting Personal Shrines" by  Carol Owen. Here it is on Amazon .

   So my fascination with shrines comes with my trips to San Antonio for "The Day of The Dead" celebrations. The days when cell phones were not mainstream, let alone the ones with cameras. Back when I still lugged a decent film SLR around and just on the cusp of the digital camera evolution. 10-13 yrs ago? ha! Anyhow, if you've ever been able to observe such celebrations and have witnessed the amazing and colorful tributes to the beloved deceased you know how emotionally evoking it can be. The colors, the ruffled dresses, the rhythm of the music and the aroma of the "Pan de Muertos".

     Well- the book is not really anything like those per say.  Honestly I think I like the idea of the construction part of the shrine as much as the decking it out part.  But this is what inspired me and that's how I was introduced to shrines and it will always be burned into my brain. I think it appeals to me because in my personal environment, I tend to lean towards neutral and earthy colors. Something I fought hard when we picked out the finishes for the new house, I thought it was so boring but neutral is a very good canvas to be accented with the bright stuff. I just gravitate towards the more vibrant saturated palettes in anything else.   I wish I had a negative scanner so I could share the beautiful images I took back then.  Nowadays,I  try to attend the celebrations closer to home at either the Seattle Center or the Tacoma Art Museum. Both locations create giant sand paintings, another fascination of mine. Again- the bright, beautiful colors, followed by the fascination of how they created it, let alone the scale of it!


This one is from the Tacoma Art Museum.



                                      
The one below is from the Seattle Center.


 So that is today's creative tangent. Happy Monday! (or Tuesday) lol