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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Art Garbage Disposal

I got up this morning, determined I was going to make huge leaps and bounds on my altered art recipe card swap.  And I DID!  I had six ADORABLE things made, if I do say so myself....and during my accidental nap (fell asleep watching football with my hubby), Bentley turned my computer chair, climbed up on it, then climbed up on my art table and chewed three of them to smithereens!  It looks like someone put them in an art garbage disposal!  I WAS SOOOOO MAD I couldn't even talk to him.  I had worked soooo hard on them and put a lot of time and effort into them.  Sigh.  I can recreate them, but what a waste of time.  Isn't it?  I mean, I already made the same thing six times and now it will be NINE times!  Sigh. 

This week I have tried to get Jeffrey out to take pictures.  He just hasn't been in the mood, I guess.  I know he hasn't felt well at all this week, but I thought if I could get him outside it might help in some small way.  Today it was rainy.  And he decides he wants to go up to Reiman Gardens and take pictures of flowers with water drops on them.  Ha!  I knew he was serious and desperate to do it.  It is really unlike him to put our cameras in any sort of adverse weather conditions.  He can't see, he is sick, super wobbly and weak, and we went anyway.  Why?  There is a desperation, I think, before his next eye surgery on Wednesday.

He struggled a lot today, and I pray there are some great photos on that camera card.  We didn't make it very far, he almost passed out several times and I had to hold him up so he could snap photos.  It was really stressful for me to have him be so weak and unstable, in the rain, with two of our best cameras, holding the umbrella and him...but despite that, I had a MARVELOUS time with him.  It was cozy.  Just him and me, out in the rainy gardens, no one around...we could struggle all we needed without feeling awkward with others watching.  And I know it felt good for him to be behind a camera.  It is his passion.  Like me, with art supplies or a torch in my hand....that's when I'm happiest.  It gives me a boost of spirit, even if it is for a few minutes out of a day.  He goes huge amounts of time without taking pictures.  And I'm going to make a point to change that. 

It was also odd to pick out what he should shoot.  He had a great eye for pictures I would never attempt.  Today I had to tell him what flowers were good to take photos of, or point out a string of raindrops on a branch that would make an interesting photo because he couldn't see them.  And he would position himself and take a picture...not the one I would have in my mind, but one HE would have taken if he could have seen well.  It is like his brain has a sense, even though his eyes don't have that ability they once had.  How does a blind guy take such cool pictures?!?  Ha!  Maybe God or an angel is holding his hands and guiding him.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Uncle Charley and I've lost my mind

I went to the Create Retreat in Chicago, Illinois on Friday and came home Saturday night!  Oh Man, Oh Man, Oh Man!  I had a gooooooood time!

Friday night I hit the Artist's Faire.  It was a bit overwhelming at first.  All these ladies converged on tables of artists and vendors and it was mayhem, but fun!  I bought just a few things, because between the class, the hotel, the gas and food...this has already become the most expensive necklace EVER...but wait, let me go on...

Okay, so I was at the Interweave shop and there were lots of tempting goodies to buy...books, art supplies, dvd's...but they had an artist making prints using a gel plate.  I had just read about these the day before and had thought, "Oh geeze!  I want one of those!!!"  So I picked one up and watched the artist making prints.  Well, it was Dorit Elisha.  She's the author of "Printmaking and Mixed Media."  She was delightful and I purchased her book and she signed it for me.

I purchased three little wooden shrines that you can build, from Coffee Break Design.  Pretty nifty!!!  I think I will trace around the pieces so I can have a pattern of sorts if I want to make some out of card stock or papers or something.  Oh, and I bought Jeffrey two old film canisters for his camera collection (two that he doesn't have, I couldn't believe it).  There were waaaay too many good things there.  Trust me.

I met and loved Sue Pelletier and Judy Coates Perez!  They were so charming to talk with!!!

I got to meet my teacher, Jean Van Brederode, at the end of the evening.  She may not know it, but she high on a pedestal now!  Lol!  I was just browsing her table and I picked up one of her Uncle Charley Has Left the Room necklaces, and I was brought to tears I was so happy!  I AM NOT A CRAZY PERSON...but I was so happy.

Okay, so class the next day!  Of course I got there early with all my excitement (ha!) and helped the teacher set up.  We only had SIX people in our class!  Other classrooms had 20+!  I was shocked!  But I was glad for it as we got a lot of individualized attention.  My classmates were great!  Not a pain in the bunch!  And I may have made a new friend, named Deb!  She rocks!  And she likes creepy stuff...ha!  Her necklace turned out FABULOUS!!!  She got some great patina going...and then found fibers to help match the patina in the fiber bag!  It was meant to be!

We were going through the instructions and tools and our teacher decides we should take a field trip across the hall to shop at another artist's classroom!  Ha!  FUN!  The teacher across the hall had tools we definitely needed for the necklace...oh yeah, I spent $56 the first time into the room and another $12 at the end of the class!  Sigh.  Again, this is the most expensive necklace EVER...but I love it!  I actually hung it from my rear view mirror and looked at it (and sometimes the road) on the 5 1/2 hour drive home.

One of the best things that happened out of all of this was....on the drive home, I was wishing with all my heart that Jeffrey could share this excitement with me.  I wished he could/would make a necklace with me...and shortly after that, Jeffrey says, "What do you want do tomorrow?"  I told him, "Whatever you want to do!"  He said, "I want to make a necklace with you, Maggie."  I looked at him and asked him if he really meant it or was he messin' with me...he meant it!  That man was an absolute angel this weekend (he is every day, but it was really great of him to let me do this).

Now I have to go buy a butane torch for sure today!  Ha ha ha!  Oh, and some copper sheeting, plexiglass, and hope I can find enough things for him to make one today!  Lol!  That necklace just got even more EXPENSIVE!!!!  ha!  But I'm okay with that (sort of).  I may have found my true love medium to work in.  I can't describe the joy it brought me.  More soon!  Maybe some pictures, too!  This is a new adventure and it is going to be so freakin' much fun!!!

Maggie  xoxoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heeeey Bonnie Louuuuuu! =)

Today I have really sad news.  My good friend, Bonnie Lou, passed away!  She was 58 years old.  So this post is in honor of my Bonnie Lou.

Things friends do for each other:
1. teach each other how to quilt
2. grow gardens for each other and share produce
3. exchange your very best recipes
4. pray for each other
5. sing together
6. help put a bra on after surgery, clean amputation sites and put on clean bandages
7. call at 3AM and know that you will come running to help save all the fabric and new sewing machine in the basement when the sewer water is shooting like a geyser from the toilet in a horrific summer storm and the water is up to your knees
8. eat pickles together, honk when you drive past their house, volunteer together
9. buy sewing buttons for each other just cause they are colorful and buttons make you happy
10. cry with each other when you find a lump in your breast and then hoot and holler when it's just a cyst
11. listen but don't judge when your kid screws up
12. tells you when your shorts are caught in your crack
13. Ooo and aaah over the fact that one of you is going to be a grandma
14. help the other one clean house like mad because out-of-town company is coming
15. love your friend's dog even if he is the size of a Buick and weighs more than you and sheds and slobbers like no dog you've ever encountered
16. go to seedy Mexican restaurants on the 'bad' side of town to eat the best tacos of your life together...and go back again the next week just because it was so good
17. panic when you can't get in touch with them when they've been out driving in an ice storm
18. buys you a new hand mixer when the one you lent her won't hold the beater in---even though you told her it was that way for the last 20 years when you lent it to her
19. encourages you all the way
20. hugs you to your bones

Bonnie was a good friend.  She was a fabulous Southern cook (won ribbons at the state fair!), she loved her own family, she loved my family, she loved anyone she encountered.  She had excellent fabric choices in quilting, she made quilts for children with terminal diseases, she prayed all the time for anyone who needed it, she was generous to a fault, and very encouraging...she just plain ol' cared!

I am ashamed to say that I hadn't been in contact much with Bonnie since she moved from our town.  And the day she died, I had been out in my garden and thought, "When these tomatoes turn red, I'm going to get a hold of Bonnie Lou and take her a bag of them.  I should call her."  I should have listened to that voice and contacted her that day.  Shame on me for not listening.  But you know what?  Bonnie Lou would understand, she was a good friend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Waaaay freakin' fun today!

Well, yard work and cleaning the photography studio isn't exactly my idea of great fun, but I got to make some art today and used beeswax for the first time to do some encaustic work.  Ohhhh boy!  That was waaaay freakin' fun!  I am goofy over it!

When I was a little girl, I got into soooo much trouble because I was melting crayons and candles in my room and dripping them on paper to make cool designs.  My brother ratted me out, but it was probably a good thing since I could have caught the whole house on fire.  So I guess I was doing encaustic back in the early 70's before it was "cool"---ha!  Boy, did I get grounded.  That squelched my wax days until now!  I was seven or eight years old, now I am 44 years old.

So, I'm in Suzi Blu's La La La class, and the first assignment was to make a cute pink bunny.  I love bunnies, and used to raise them as a child, but as I got to making it I sort of felt silly for some reason.  Like it wasn't really art or something.  What dumb gremlin snuck into my head? So in a rebellious mood, and thanks to some inspiration from my friend Kelly, I made an alternate version...a zombie bunny!  I posted it on my page at Suzi Skool, hope she doesn't expel me.  Ha!  I love my zombunny!  He makes me happy.

I bought a new art book this week, called Plaster Studio.  I'm really excited about it, maybe because I have a ton of drywall mud leftover from when our basement flooded last year and I don't have to run out and buy a million dollars worth of supplies to try something new.  So maybe this weekend I will try something out of that book.  We'll see.

Well, that's all for now.  More again, soon!
Maggie xoxoxo

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I WON!!!

I am sooooooo excited!  I just joined "Little Glimpses" group and found a place where they were asking what you do consistently to pause and assess.  Well, during Kelly's visit, she said one of the most profound and yet simple things that has totally changed my outlook each day.  She said instead of asking someone who is ill every day, "How are you?"---instead, ask, "What's good today?"  It makes you focus on positive things.  Poor Jeffrey, every morning was being woken and asked to concentrate on what hurts and what felt yucky when I asked, "How are you?"---now he gets a grin on his face when I ask him, "What's good today?"

SO!  Actually, Regan won the contest by a random generator, but she wanted to give the artwork to ME!  What an awesome and selfless act!  I am so excited and honored to have a piece of artwork by Mystele!  It's titled, "Sadie Paused" and is a wonderful, wonderful reminder to Jeffrey and me to continue to pause and think of "What's good today" even when he feels so crappy all the time.

Today I got to surprise him with a, "GUESS WHAT'S REEEAALLLLY GOOD TODAY?!?"  And I got to tell him that we won a painting and he was genuinely excited!  Hooray!

Maggie  xoxoxo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Little wooden discs...

I found some small, flat, wooden discs at Michael's for 29 cents.  I already had a plan for them before I walked out the door.   Anyway, I made a Suzi Blu-style face on one and it rocks!  So then I put it on a small rectangular wooden plaque...and since I had so much fun and great results with mosaics recently...and had tons of glass you see where I'm going with this?  Okay.  So I just played around and haven't actually glued anything down yet or grouted.  But I also want to try some of these little babies with some woodburning, collage with fabric, and other mixed media.  And then...I want to try...

Well, I need to get back to writing down all my "things I want to make" because I am going to forget them if I don't.

And for the record, I have no clue what I am doing most of the time.  It just happens.

And I definitely don't have a clue when it comes to figuring out Medicare stuff for my husband.  Trying to figure out which drug prescription company to go with and what deductibles and then that stupid "gap" thingy...I shouldn't have put it off until the month before it was to go into effect.  Now I know why they sent it three months ahead of time.  Such is the life of a procrastinator.  It usually works to my advantage to procrastinate on things, because then I have a super focused, gotta get it done attitude if the timeline is near.  However, this one is biting me on the ass.  It is making me physically sick and that is SO NOT like me, to let things stress me out.

Sorry for the little whine there.

I am going to tell you one of my secret Mondo Beyondo.  I want a place to create.  Now,  I'm shooting for building a shed in the backyard just because I have a hard time wanting too much for myself.  Ha! Even that feels greedy to me.  So much for dreaming big.  But wouldn't it be lovely if I could have a shop on Main Street and have art classes and guest artists, and a place for all of them to sell their art?  We could have gallery nights, with yummy things to eat and drink and good music and demonstrations.  And the best part of all, would be that I want to encourage young people to make art.  I want to have kids classes, and no matter how much money you don't have, you can come.  And I want those parents who just drop off their kids because they are sick of them to bring their kids...those are the ones that need it most!  I want to be the art teacher that makes a difference in their life, even if it is 30 years down the road and they suddenly pick up a paintbrush and remember.  I want to have groups of ladies and/or gents that want to have a place to come for a "club"---weather it be a group of stained glass artists, quilters, potters, whatever...a place for community and fun.  Okay, now you know my secret dream.  I've had it ever since I was a young child of about nine years old.  It has evolved a bit, from wanting a clubhouse to make art with my friends, to a more mature thing in my mid-forties.  But it is basically the same...I want a place to make art.  And my computer table isn't cutting it...I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gettin' crafty!

Well, today I worked on a project I have ALWAYS wanted to do!  I made a mosaic!  I got to break the plates I purchased at the Goodwill, which was great fun, and applied them to a mirror frame I bought at a flea market (did that stuff yesterday and the day before).  Today I applied the grout!  And in a day or so, I will seal the grout.  I learned a few lessons:  1. a project you think will only take a few hours, usually takes several days.  2.  They really mean it when they suggest trying to keep your mosaic pieces on the same level.  3.  You should probably wear heavy duty rubber gloves when grouting mosaic.  4.  You shouldn't start it when you know your daughter's future in-laws are going to be stopping by later on (my hands were a mess!!!).

What else?  My good friend, Felicia, gifted me with an on-line class called "Mondo Beyondo."  I wasn't sure what to expect from it, but boy! am I lovin' it!  Today's lesson was to "make a clearing"---meaning, anything from taking out the trash or ending a bad relationship so you are freeing your intuition and mind for other things that may be inhibiting you from following your dreams.  I thought, "Kinda silly.  And I don't feel like clearing anything today."  But on my way into the kitchen I found a twisty-tie from a loaf of bread that someone didn't throw away.  I save them for other uses, and was going to throw it in the junk drawer...and then thought I should go the extra one foot distance and put it in the zippy bag I normally store them in.  Well, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had gutted all the drawers, wiped them all out, pitched unwanted things and it didn't end there!  I went onto the pantry and snack cupboards and it just kept going.  It was sooooo freeing and amazing!  And it all started with a twisty tie!  My mind was freed up, and I went on to making my mosaic (not necessarily a huge Mondo Beyondo dream, but it was on my "to do before I die" list).

Oh, and then I cleaned my "art drawers" under my desk!  That was fun!  Except why, when you take things out and organize them, can't you get it all back in?!  Sigh.  Oh well.

Here's hoping you have a brilliant day!
Maggie  xoxoxo

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Puppy

We have a new puppy at our house!  He is an 8 week old min-pin and we've named him Mr. Bentley, because he has a bow tie on his chest as part of his natural markings.  He gets called Bentley most of the time though.  He is a dear little soul, sometimes in hyper warp speed, sometimes calm, sometimes sound asleep.  He's brave and timid and curious, all rolled up into a little black fur baby.  And he gets told how adorable he is a million times a day.

Yesterday we went to the Pella Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa to take photos of tulips.  Bentley went with, as I am determined to have one of those dogs that goes everywhere with me this time.  Anyway, there was another photographer there and she HAD to have a picture of him by the tulips.  He was a reluctant model, but she eventually got the shot she wanted after about thirty tries.  Ha!  I was glad he was nice to the tulips, because when he comes across a dandelion he promptly rips it head off and shakes the crap out of it.  The head of a dandelion fills his entire mouth, so you get an idea of what size he is.

Bentley has caused me to take a new look at things again, from his level.  Together we've found some interesting things (at least they are to Bentley): A couple of screws, a few cigarette butts, a link of a chain, interesting rocks that promptly go into his mouth, some interesting leaves, violets at the park...anything tiny that I normally would have passed by.  He has caused me to speed up (as he is really quick on his tiny feet) and slow down (because he is so tiny, I don't want to step on him...and he consumes great quantities of my time-- so who cares if something doesn't get done?  The house hasn't fallen down around our ears yet). I think we are going to be good friends.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lots of irons in the fire

I'm great at starting projects and not finishing them before I start another.  Must be the thrill of having all those supplies at hand, the anticipation of starting, and all the possible outcomes I see in my head that gets me pumped up to start something new.  Not only do I have many "works in progress" but I have an even bigger list of this I want to start!

Current projects include:  a painted guitar strap cover (completely painted, not sewn together), a woodburned art piece that needs paint and fabric on it, a photo mixed media that needs another photo and some more paint and doo-dads, several sketches meant to be turned into paintings, all those soldering supplies waiting to be used after signing up for an on-line class,  a fabulous felt hat that has been embellished with embroidery and beads, a fabric book with about three pages done, a new puppy sweater on the knitting needles, a scarf for my husband on the knitting needles, an amulet bag that only needs a bead sewn onto it, a knit messenger bag that needs assembling and felting, crocheted chokers with flowers that just need the flowers attached, a crocheted beaded cuff bracelet that only needs the closure sewn on, and my "secret project" for my family's friendly flower garden competition...just to name a few.  Oh, and I need to make two Mother's Day presents!  Yikes, just remembered that!

This week is not a good week to resolve to finish the WIP's as we have photo shoots, college graduation, in-laws coming for a visit, and a new puppy.  Still...maybe I can squeak in the final touches on some of the things.  I feel like I just need a week without interruptions to accomplish quite a lot, but if I had a week, really just had a week, you know what?  I'd probably want to start new projects!

Sometimes I feel like the storybook character in, "If you give a Moose a muffin, he'll want a glass of milk to go with it."  Where one thing just leads to another and another and another and I end right back where I started.  But I'm okay with that!  I love the thrill of the beginning of projects, but I also love having the final product.  I'll get it all done eventually if I want to bad enough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm working...

I'm working on individual drawings of each member of our family.  I was worried about a few things when starting this project.  First being, was I good enough to even attempt it?  Second, would they even look like my family?  Third, would anyone be offended of my rendition?  They will eventually be layered onto a mixed media background.  So far, everyone has liked their own drawing (or else they are afraid to tell me they hate it...ha ha ha!).  Stay tuned for the finished products, but don't hold your breath...they are time consuming!