April 30, 2011

ziggity zaggity life

I started a collage today made from Zig Zag designs, cut with Ziggity-Zaggity pinking shears. I thought about my life with all the Zigs & Zags that may have seemed confusing, misunderstood, unimaginable or adventurous. I decided to see what I could make from Zigs & Zags. 

Just like life, the moment I had a plan with my Ziggity Zaggity strips of paper, it changed course and something else happened. And just like life, I went along with it.

So here is the very beginning of the Ziggity Zaggity life, I have to let it dry before adding more layers, paint, pastels, charcoal or other fun stuff. I will post pics in progress.
Today I honor all the Zigs & Zags in my life for they are life in it's fullest.

April 29, 2011

you

  a very quick sketch with watercolor pen wash-over...still wet.
Just my thoughts scribbled over a sketchbook page on what I see in YOU!!!!


You are:
amazing
wonderful
talented
creative
unique
worthy
deserving
special
equal
intelligent
magnificent
imaginative
spiritual
one-of-a-kind
original
great
gifted
valuable
beautiful
loving
kind
powerful
a true blessing to those you touch, made with passion and purpose!


April 28, 2011

XXX1, CLXXX1X and almost M...thank you, thank you, thank you!

For today's X-day, I thought of Roman Numerals to X-plain how X-citing blogging has become and what the A-Z Challenge has brought into my life!

I signed up for a Blogger account in April 2009, one year ago, and did nothing with it. It was actually under a different name that I had used many years ago for my sewing and beading. On March 8th this year I started this blog under a name and vision that fit ME, entering a new chapter in my life with new dreams, emerging creativity, finding passions, strengthening up courage and a feeling of purpose.

When I thought about taking the leap into creating a blog, Mystele e-mailed me and said to do it for myself and nothing else. Not to worry if anyone ever read it or liked it, just do it. I took her advice and it felt good. I was beginning to find where my creativity might lead and enjoying every minute. I never thought anyone would ever read my blog, and really never imagined having a "follower". Really, what could I write or do that would interest others?

So here it is, my blog, less than two months old. I have XXXI  followers (that's 31!!!! You all ROCK & I happily follow you too!) with CLXXXIX comments (189-may have gotten that Roman Numeral incorrect?) and viewed almost M times (1000!!!!!!)! I am in awe and so grateful for everyone who has visited and commented.

This has to be one of the best "leaps of faith" I have taken in a long, long time. I am so grateful to the Brave Girl friends out there and to the A-Z Challenge, along with anyone else that has stopped by. I am grateful beyond words.

I will be sad to see the A-Z Challenge ending in a few days however I am X-cited to get back to painting, creating, writing and spending more time reading other blogs, making new friends and nurturing the relationships with the new friends I have found along this journey!

The A-Z Challenge taught me to post something, anything, every day and how to use my imagination too. In the past I have not been very good at believing in myself. I would get discouraged and give up. I made a commitment to the Challenge which strengthened my confidence in myself too. I have gained inspiration, strength, knowledge, encouragement and friendships I never dreamed of two short months ago.

It's all definitely a work in progress, this blog, wherever my art will go and me! I know now that dedication. reaching out to others, connecting, learning and PRACTICE is what will determine where this path will lead. I do want to learn to write so I can finish my book someday. I do want to learn more about mixed media and drawing, I am loving it and the artists that share their work and techniques. Finding the blogging world and committing to the Challenges that are stretching my comfort zone are assisting me with growing along with the wonderfully encouraging community of bloggers!!!! I am now fully committed to this newborn baby blog and my art to nurture it, feed it, care for it, let the "oops" happen and see where it all leads.

THANK YOU!


April 27, 2011

weather

Lots of Words popped into mind for the letter W today...
          • Writing
          • Words
          • Wisdom
          • Wonderful
          • Wednesday (perfect for W day being on Wednesday)
          • Winter
          • Waiting (Sarah Allen did a Wonderful post on Waiting for her W-day)
But when I got a call from my best friend Bobby, who moved to Arkansas a while back, letting me know he was  okay, I thought about Weather. His town was hit by an F4 tornado that sadly took the lives of four people in his neighborhood. CNN News was camped out reporting just down the road from his house.

Before Bobby moved to Arkansas, another good friend of mine Anna had moved to Indiana. I was raised in Ohio and sometimes miss it terribly. With both Anna offering a place to live if I wanted to move there and Bobby reminding me of the opportunities and cost of living in the mid-West, I always remembered the violent weather and declined, staying safe in my cute, cozy, little town in Northern California.

I do not live in a big city nor do I live where it's sunny beaches with palm trees. Winter is cold, raining and snowing. Summer can bring temperatures exceeding 100 for days. Even though the cost of living is higher and job opportunities are slim, there are majestic mountains, deserts and rock cliff coastlines all in a short driving distance away. I have seen the beauty described in Louis L'Amour's books I read as a kid right in my backyard. The beauty, the history and the Weather keeps me planted here even if I still have a mid-Westerner's heart.

I miss the mid-West. I miss thunder and lightning and fireflies (no fireflies in Cali). I miss the people, the fresh corn and tomatoes in the summertime (Cali has fresh grown veggies however they never taste as wonderful as what is grown in the mid-West). I miss the memories of growing up in a mid-Western rural community. I just don't miss the violent Weather.

Know that all of you dealing with the devastating storms this week, my thoughts and prayers are with you! 
I pray you, your families and your communities are safe. 


April 26, 2011

v is for vacuum cleaner

This looks like fun to drag around the house. This is an ad for Booth's Vacuum Cleaner 1906. Picture came from
www.v-like-vintage.net 

And they were marketing  only to women and as a gift...hmmm.....why? wasn't on my birthday list. And Vacuuming in a dress and pumps...ouch!


Now here's a cool old ad from www.vacuumland.org which will take you to more interesting old Vacuum ads and Vacuum history.

And for more reading pleasure that explains some of the history of the Vacuum, go to About.com. Did you know the first attempt to create a vacuum was in the late 1500's! Really!

Think of all the hair, dirt, dust and junk our Vacuums suck up in a year. I have hardwood floors and I Vacuum the floors, Vacuum the couch, Vacuum the cobwebs off the wall (with the attachments of course) and I would Vacuum my dog if she would just sit still long enough and cooperate. She is shedding like crazy.

Do you have any interesting Vacuum stories? Vacuum facts? Something your Vacuum ate that was not on the menu and you had to dig it out of the dust and crud to recover? Do you own a Vacuum or do you just sweep the old fashioned way? Do you have a new fangled, robot Vacuum that just runs around your house? Have you figured out a way to Vacuum a shedding dog that will not have calls rushing in to the SPCA?

Hope you had a Very, Very wonderful V day!

April 25, 2011

unfinished & untitled

Since I now have three Unfinished and Untitled pieces started, today's "U" post for the A-Z Challenge is dedicated to:
just not liking this one too well. not sure i can salvage it.

i think this one will make a good background, just haven't found the picture or theme hiding in it yet.

started this last night. I was really needing some inspiration and direction. i found www.createmixedmedia.com and watched a video by katie kendrick. i learned new collage tips and techniques. great tutorial.
i like this one. it has potential.
So what projects are you working on that are Unfinished and Untitled?


April 24, 2011

my easter day surprise!

I just received the Blogger Buddy Award from my friend Heather over at Little Red Henry. She is one of the first bloggers I connected with and have enjoyed her blog, her posts, her comments and her friendship every day! She is an incredible artist and such a sweet spirited person. Thank you Heather, you ROCK!!!! Oh and hummingbirds are my favorite right after dragonflies! Aren't they pretty?
Blogger Buddy Award
I have received three awards this month that I want to pass along. With all that has happened recently, I have not done that as of yet. I will be passing these awards along to other wonderfully awesome bloggers very soon. Forgive me for being a little slow about it. I feel if I do it in a rush, I may miss out on writing how I truly feel and not give them or their blogs the credit they deserve.

Enjoy the rest of Easter Day!

happy easter everyone


I pray that everyone who wants celebrate Easter is with family, friends and/or their communities today.
For me, as a Christian, Easter is God's day for reminding us of new beginnings and new life through Jesus!

I made our Easter Baskets this year! I used strips of paper grocery bags, weaved the paper and painted them. And even though my boys are pretty well grown up, the Easter Bunny still shows up every year to fill their baskets.

Blessings and Happy Easter to all.

April 23, 2011

tribute...to my brother

On April 2nd, "B" day of the A-Z Challenge, my Big Brother Bruce passed away. 

Today I would like to use "T" day of the Challenge to pay Tribute to him.

I miss you brother. May you be at peace soaring with the eagles.

An artist in Florida where my brother lived did this crayon drawing of him dressed up as Santa this past Christmas. I received it in the mail today from my sister-in-law Jeanne. What a great surprise.

April 22, 2011

sunshine...please


It's raining again and Sunshine is not expected until next week. I got home feeling a little gloomy from the weather and decided to try out my new paint pens on a Sunshine sketch I drew. Great thing about drawing, sketching, painting...it can bring Sunshine to a rainy day.

Hope you have Sunshine in your life today, regardless of the weather outside.

April 21, 2011

reading blogs

The day is almost over and I made it just in time to post my R post for the day! 

Just a few short months ago, I decided to get serious about creating art and maybe start a blog. I was Reading and following  Mystele's Little Glimpses Studio for inspiration. It was a blog about something I was looking for, mixed media art. Mystele gave me the gentle nudge and encouragement to start this blog. Soon after I found The Brave Girls Club where there were lots of artist bloggers. I met Diane Costanza and she gave me great tips and advice on designing my blog. So there I was, just last month, starting my little blog and Reading other mixed media art blogs.

Then started the A-Z Challenge! Now I have found the best part of being a blogger is Reading blogs. I'm hooked and look forward every day to Read some of my favorite bloggers, and to find new blogs to Read. I wonder what other bloggers in this challenge are going to blog about using the daily letter and can't wait to Read their posts! I Read blogger's that write short stories. I Read blogs about life, inspiration, religion, overcoming obstacles, and I Read blogs by bloggers who just blog about anything. It's amazing!

I know for a twisty, creative short story Li's Flash Fiction blog is where it's at. I didn't even know what Flash Fiction was until I found and Read her blog. Now I can't get enough of her stories.  You can never guess the ending, there is always her unique twist every time. She is an amazing storyteller. I am waiting for her to put them together in a book (hint, hint Li). 

If I want to learn a new biblical word, term or philosophy Gregg at Gospel Driven Disciples will always have a post on something definitely worth Reading. He's intelligent, articulate and passionate.

Arlee Bird's Tossing It Out blog has something different and creative every day. He has a way with words and has been sharing some great history of his life too. He is one of the leaders of this year's A-Z Challenge and his blog has the list of the over 1,200 bloggers signed up for this! Yes, that many bloggers are participating so if you want to find a blog on anything, or just want to blog hop, hop over to his blog and start hopping, that is if you can stop reading all his own great posts!

When I am needing some personal insight, understanding, advice or just want to Read some great posts on life's lessons...or learn a little about Charlie Chaplin, I go to Eddie's Harmony of the Heart. Eddie is an incredible writer whose words touch my soul. His blog has helped me through some of the toughest times I have faced this last month and I go back to his blog several times a week to read the hundreds of posts he has out there. Every one is something I need at that moment. 

Then there is my sweet friend Heather at Little Red Henry. She is an incredible artist, a gifted writer, soft hearted and one of those encouraging people that make me feel so blessed to have her on this path with me. If we lived closer to each other, I would sign up for all her art classes. What about an online class Heather?

If I feel like life has been a little too difficult and cannot get motivated, I grad a cup of coffee and visit Kristy over at her blog My Healing Through Art Story. Her enthusiasm for all the new art she is creating and the classes she is taking is contagious, along with the amazing healing taking place in her heart through art.

Then there is inspirational writing and art with Amanda Trought who has two great blogs, Inspiration, Art and Creativity and Amanda Trought Mixed Media Art.

And for a blogger who could make a trip to the mailbox sound fun with a bit of sarcasm thrown in here and there, it's Allison at Allison Writes. She has personality plus! I smile every time I visit.

And its even funner to "open in new tab" (that could've been my O post, Oops) the links to other blogs from blogs I am reading. I find seven or more tabs opened at once to read one by one and connect to other blogs from those tabs.

So from this newbie whose only been blogging for...six weeks, two days...I started off with a plan for mixed media art and following mixed media artists. Look where this is going! My world is expanding more and more every day! Thank you my blogger friends for being YOU. And for Reading my blog too.



April 20, 2011

quiet fears

For years I feared Quiet. Quiet meant the house was empty and I was alone. I did not know what to do with Quiet, except spend it with the only one around which was me. 

Recently I discovered it was not the Quiet I was afraid of, it was spending time with someone I did not know. Alone I was a stranger to myself. I had defined myself as a mother, a friend, a coworker, a partner and a neighbor. These are all good to be, however it included other people to complete the definition of myself; children, friends, working at a job, being in relationships, going outside my home. To be who I always thought of myself to be did not involve Quiet or alone.

Once I realized why I thought I feared the Quiet, I decided to get to know me. I found I liked myself and being alone with my thoughts was not that bad after all. I found feelings, needs, passions, creativity, new tastes in music and freedom that had been buried and was waiting to emerge. I actually needed Quiet to learn all this, for had life been noisy and chaotic I would never had the chance to hear the gentle, graceful whispers of my soul.

Quiet is now good. Quiet is no longer scary. And on some days, Quiet is welcomed.

What is Quiet to you?

April 19, 2011

poppies and pretty flowers

The Poppies are blooming!!! 
Yeah! Poppies on "P" day! Perfect timing!

This new Poppy blossom is reminding me that Spring is here, 
bringing new beginnings and a new season of life. 

And these Pretty flowers just appeared in the middle of my little yard. 
I am not sure what they are. 
Don't they just look like Spring? 
How am I going to cut the grass with these Precious flowers Popping up all over?

April 18, 2011

opportunities and options

As the month rolls along, my appreciation for this A-Z Challenge increases. Today is the "O" day of the Challenge. Each day I spend time thinking of words that begin with the daily letter and then decide on which ones I want to use and why. 

My choice for blogging today is Opportunities and Options.

The older I get,  I am recognizing more and more Opportunities all around. I know they must have always been there, however I am aware of what might actually be an Opportunity even though it is packaged a little different than I would have chosen:

My job ends.
My car breaks down.
I have to move.
My youngest child moves out.

Believe me, none of the above are experiences I would have picked and those experiences usually do not happen with the best of timing. But these can be Opportunities to:

find a job that will feed my passion and purpose.
get exercise, learn the bus route and take time to sit and meet new people.
move to better home with great neighbors.
focus on myself and learn to overcome the quiet.

I am welcoming the twists and turns of life as just Opportunities to learn, grow, experience and perhaps live a little better.

For me, Options go hand in hand with Opportunities.For every experience, I have a list of Options I can choose from. I can:

welcome the Opportunity.
become discouraged and give up.
feel sorry for myself.
reach out.
look for the positive.

Of course this is only a small list of Options I can conjure up in my mind when faced with the unexpected. I am learning though, the Option I choose really can create my attitude towards the experience.

What are some Opportunities and Options that have been presented to you lately?



April 16, 2011

never say never

I think Never is a jinx word. You know one of those words that comes out of someone's mouth to end up happening nonetheless. In my 49 years, I cannot even count all the times I said Never about something only to be experiencing the Never soon after. I have used Never to describe something I would Never do, something that would Never happen to me, or situations I would Never find myself in...most all happened regardless of my Never attitude.

A teenager is great to talk to. They can rattle off all the things that they will Never do, like get married, have children, work in fast food, make mistakes they have seen others make... only to find that life sometimes brings those Nevers into their lives.

A young woman with her first newborn has the childraising plan all figured out, along with all the things that her child will Never do...well most of us moms know how that works out.

The Never list can go on and on.

Even recently my Nevers have come to life...

Several years ago I had numerous people tell me I should try blogging. Blogging? Not me, I would Never blog. I was going to write a book. That was my plan.

I Never thought I would ever sketch or paint. I was going to sew, and be creative sewing. I would Never use paints, pencils, charcoals...not me!

So I give...Never say Never...here I am painting, sketching, blogging, volunteering in ways I Never thought I could, starting a new career I Never imagined possible, and finding joy in life I Never knew existed.

And also posting, on a blog I thought would Never exist, a picture of these cool new paint sticks I got today to do the painting on the sketches I Never thought I would be creating!

So the lesson today is Never say Never and let our God given purpose and passion come to be.





April 15, 2011

many flowers

I tried sketching on watercolor paper with a General's Sketch & Wash graphite pencil, using this type of pencil for the first time.

Added acrylic paint and immediately found out what the "wash" word means in the title of the pencil. Adding moisture really smeared the sketch. I should have remembered what happened on the sketch when Charlene added her wet nose and tongue when I tried to take a picture of it. This is an excellent example of me learning by doing.

Being determined to finish the Many Flowers, I used markers in various colors to redefine the sketch!

I want to do another sketch that I could color in. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to sketch with if later I want to add paint, charcoal, markers or another medium afterwards?

Have a blossoming day!

April 14, 2011

love

playing with stick paints for an ATC
It's been a long week. Actually it's been a long month, with more at times than I thought I could handle. Between loosing my brother and mourning him, my work, volunteering commitments, my health and my family I am definitely tired, and more emotionally tired than physically tired, but tired nonetheless. 

I got home tonight, 14 hours after I left this morning and remembered I had no post today for the A-Z Challenge. Oh no, the letter L. I have not finished any art projects to post so I thought about what came to mind starting with the letter L. I immediately began singing "Lean On Me". What a great song. 

I could have posted about the song, or about how important it is to have others to lean on. And how important it is to be the one they can lean on when necessary. Showing up for each other and supporting one another is important. We were not meant to do life alone. Along with supportive people around us, I think there is also something deep inside each one of us that keeps us going through thick and thin.

For me, it's LOVE.

I am there for my children regardless of what I am going through emotionally or physically, 
because I love them.

I listen to a friend that needs to talk no matter how tired I am,
because I love her.

I go to my job when I want to just stay home in bed,
because I love what I do.

I volunteer although I may also be in need,
because I love my neighbors.

I pray and give thanks, even though I may be hurting,
because I love God.

I show up every day for the A-Z Challenge no matter what,
because I love this opportunity and this community.

True, unselfish love is one of the biggest things that keeps me going through all times, difficult and smooth.

What is it that motivates you to keep moving forward no matter what?



April 13, 2011

k is for kindness

"Forget injuries, never forget kindness."
Confucius

"Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love."
Lao Tzu


"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
Mark Twain


"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness."
Seneca 


"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not."
Samuel Johnson

Wishing you a day filled with giving and receiving kindness.

April 12, 2011

just...

What I am really enjoying about this A-Z Challenge is I am thinking about all the words starting with the corresponding letter of the day. I have been paying attention to what I say, what I hear and what I read. There are plenty of words that start with J however the one that Just comes to mind is Just. 

I am not sure how this word is used in other English speaking countries, yet I am well aware of the multiple uses of this word in America. The first use I thought of was how well meaning people say to others "Just do...", "Just try..." "Just go here or there"...we have all heard the Just________ statements. I think these statements are gentle nudges at times from others to get us to Just take the first step in a positive or new direction. Even Nike uses the saying "Just Do It!" Just can be used in a good way.

Then I thought about how the word Just can be used in a negative way also. Such as "she is Just lazy" or "can't you Just do this and that", once again the list can go on.

This little four letter word can be used to describe something as true or deserved, getting our Just rewards. With all the different ways this one word could be used swirling around in my head, I did what I usually do when I want to get some data to back up my thoughts, I Google'd it! 
This is what I found  on dictionary.reference.com/browse/just

just
[juhst] 
–adjective
1. guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness: We hope to be just in our understanding of such difficult situations.
2. done or made according to principle; equitable; proper: a just reply.
3. based on right; rightful; lawful: a just claim.
4. in keeping with truth or fact; true; correct: a just analysis.
5. given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence,punishment, or reward: a just penalty.
6. in accordance with standards or requirements; proper or right: just proportions.
7. (especially in Biblical use) righteous.
8. actual, real, or genuine.
–adverb
9. within a brief preceding time; but a moment before: The sun just came out.
10. exactly or precisely: This is just what I mean.
11. by a narrow margin; barely: The arrow just missed the mark.
12. only or merely: He was just a clerk until he became ambitious.
13. actually; really; positively: The weather is just glorious.

13 definitions! So aren't you Just glad I used Just Just to share what I learned about Just for my J post today?

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