Friday, January 28, 2011

Tiny Bug Underneath

... to be a tiny bug.
Thankful I can hold the "underneath" on my strong shoulders, and manage to push up to the sunshine.
Thankful... our little house covers us wherever we need to go, or be, whatever the day of the week.
Thankful my bird voice can sing a song, whether it be a sad song, a mad song, or a glad song, and there are others who respond. Ask, and receive.
Thankful, my artistic hands paint sad days away, and allow beautiful sunshine into my heart...
So thankful....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

God doesn't give us something he knows we can't handle

... so how come He thinks I'm so strong?? Sheesh, He must think I have the strength of an ox. Perhaps a mega-bodybuilder, a stone mason capable of building the Taj Mahal. Someone who can pinch grass like it was a cheek.... Heck, what?

Each day, a new adventure, some less pretty than others. Some, like those lately, are down and dirty-dog bad... Thank you, dear blog, for being my sounding block. Reader, if you are there, don't take pity on my words of woe. Just send me a silent prayer, in hopes I am capable of summoning the strength of heart, the braveness of soul, to keep plowing through and pulling up the socks of my family's life right now.

If you are wondering (as I would, naturally), here is a one minute recap of events of late. Please note this is within the last two +1/2 months...
  1. Move to step father's house in order to help restore order in his Alzheimer's fueled state of disrepair (he hasn't lived here for the past 3 years).
  2. Learn that 14 year old has been getting into trouble.
  3. Work like mad (successfully, thankfully) to accomplish 4 holiday craft shows in a 2 week period, and a madness of custom holiday orders. (Did I thank you for that, you and the universe? Thank you!!!)
  4. Move my studio to our new home right after the holidays. Yea, this is good.
  5. Austin's gallery.... s o o o s l o w after the holidays.
  6. Teen gets into bigger trouble :o(
  7. Husbands business is ....s o o o s l o w :o( Not good.
  8. Teen... in trouble at school. Tells the principal we have moved from Coronado. Yikes...
  9. Learn (today) that both sons are dismissed from the Coronado school system at the end of the day. Yes, that would be TODAY, end of the day today. OMG.....
  10. Get my mom to legally take over as "Caregiver" for my boys in order for them to continue in Coronado school.
  11. Realize this means that the boys are supposed to move in over at my mom's house....
  12. (Ok, my mom is 76, and is caring for my step father with Alzheimers... I can't ask anything more of her. Really.)
  13. Learn that they do "bed checks" in Coronado, where the asst. principal and a Sheriff arrive unannounced at your door at 6am to make sure your child is in the bed at the caregivers house... (Freakshow, sheesh)
So, amongst questions of moving again-back to Coronado, different school solutions for my boys, house swapping with my mom and step father, moving IN with my mom and step father, ways to help my wayward son, sanity of continuing my business in lieu of getting a real job.... I need God to help me handle this. I'm sorta wrung out here. God, are you listening?....

Monday, January 24, 2011

I've Fallen & I Can't Get Up...

Well, that's really just how my spirit is feeling these days... I am getting up, slowly, and putting one foot in front of the other. My spirit is happiest when I can paint, create, work with color... I feel like I can float away on the power of creating. It's such a good feeling, and I love it when I have that. Yes, that!

I have had that this last week. Just here and there... Painting in the "warm up style" of Kelly Rae Roberts is always a good way for me to start. I think what happens is that painting the girls (me) gets me in touch with what I'm going through right now. Once I get that out of my system, I'm ready to move on. I do so love this...

The most powerful painting for me in this group is "Own your Truth". It's so hard sometimes to do it; own your truth... It's the thing that makes me want to bury my head and heart under a rock right now. This truth is busy rearing it's ugly head, and just when we feel like we have a handle on it, it raises it's head in a whole new way. Plus, it keeps coming at us at warp speed. That's why I feel like I can't get up. But, Michelle, my magic elf helper came and worked in my studio today, and she helped me feel a little bit more sane (Thanks Michelle :o) So, on that weepy note (not the part about Michelle), I will leave you with this. Especially because when I later read it back, I will remember this last, and this is what really matters....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creativity Inspiration 101

Are you feeling like you are in a creative rut? It certainly happens to the best of us from time to time. I know all my "outside obligations" (aka family drama) have recently left me feeling drained, and like a worn out washrag when it comes to finding my creative energy... I decided to sign up for a class taught by Terri Brush and Julie Haymaker Thompson at Paper Tales. Wow, it was the best thing I could have done! And guess who was taking the class too? My good friend Dana, of Tutu Monkey. Yea!

So, Dana and learned all about creating multi-media deep shadow boxes, with fantastic soldered charms inside. Wow, talk about creative rejuvenation... everyone in the class felt like new women after that. It's amazing that a class can have that effect on you. I can't believe I have stayed away from classes for so long. What in the world was I thinking?!

Here are my and Dana's nearly finished projects. I was a little stuck at the end of the evening how to finish my piece, but woke up this morning and knew just what to do with a little turquoise blue paint. The photo at the top of this post shows the finished piece. I just love it and can't wait to create more shadow box glory!

Hey, Terri and Julie are teaching some awesome classes this weekend at the Urban Barn in Escondido. Click on this link here and check it out. I only wish I had the time to go and spend another day with these fantastic and creative women. It's the best 8 hours you will ever spend...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blogger Love

My dear friend, Marcia, finally has the Transportation backpack in her clutches, which she's been lusting over since it was "under construction". She is such the travel bug that this piece will suit her just fine! She has instructions to refer any interested customers back to me, along with a big stack of cards. She is soon off to NYC, what a perfect place to show off this bag :o) Right, Marcia?! (hee hee, I'm so excited of the places this bag will go, and the things it will "see") Marcia was nice enough to feature the bag on her widely read blog too. Thanks so much, Marcia!

Other exciting blogging news is that I was recently featured on Melody Miller's Ruby Star Rising blog! Well, actually the Transistor Radio purse was featured... and I did get a mention. What a nice wrap up to all the excitement over that bag, and especially that fabric. Love, love, love it...still :o) Thanks ever so much, Melody!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What makes me Happy? Heck, these Curtains do!

Following up my "Ruby Star Rising fabric bliss" has been a big serving of excitement over here- a fabric organization session in my new studio! I have been dreaming of the day when all my fabric swatches and cuttings could come together in one place, showing off their patterns and colors alike. Well, it finally happened this week. They were all released from the cabinets and storage boxes where they'd been hiding and biding their time. They have come to be placed right next to my lovely yarn collection. Just like at the Grove, where Susan's yarns and Judy's fabrics are like one happy marriage, they can be sisters together on one fabulous colorful shelf. Yes, we are all very happy indeed over here in the studio. :o)

Well, the fabric arrangement lasted for no more than 5 minutes. Humm... I'm actually not convinced the arranging was actually finished before fabrics were ripped out of place, and combined together with the Ruby Star Rising Dishes fabric that was awaiting a new purse design. My 1/2 yard of Dishes in turquoise was soon cut apart and sewn into these likenesses of oversized dish towels in my favorite color combinations... turquoise, reds and oranges.

I know many of you don't know me very well, but if you did you would know that I'm very big on using old linens and tea towels for curtains in my old, historic home. Wringing my hands over how to design curtains was quickly solved in our last home when I pulled out a collection of grandma's tea towels and matching table runners. They are simply glorious when pinned into an old window. The light shows off every lovely stitched nuance. This Dishes fabric made me think of old style tea towels every time I looked at it. I suppose it was only a matter of time before this was sure to happen...

Here's the Before:

Now... here's the After:
I am so happy I could scream! When I walk into the room, my whole being cracks into a wide smile when I see these magical curtains. Isn't amazing how, when faced with a myriad of life trials and tribulations, something as simple as curtains can make us want to dance?!

Ok, I know, I'm weird like that. Now, please excuse me so I can sit and feel blissful amongst my evolving studio. More photos coming soon!
x, Val

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's On My Work Desk Right Now

Readying canvases for collages painting is what's happening in my studio today...

I have a new app for my iPhone that I'm all excited about. It's called AutoStitch, and it lets you take several photos and then it stitches them together. Ok, half of what attracted me was the name "stitch", as I'm all about anything stitched up... but I digress... I just love this app, and have been using it like mad. Take a look...

You start by taking a series of overlapping photos, then add them to the app,
and hope to get something that works out. My first attempt looked like this:
So then I tried a different camera angle, and walked down the
length of the desk, instead of taking all the photos from one spot.
Then I cropped it, and it turned out more like what I was hoping for:

Now if I could just figure out how to get the photos to come out larger on my blog (wow, I did it! They are now larger!!), I'll be set! In any case, we visited the SDMCA La Jolla on Sunday, which featured a Retrospective by Kim MacConnel. Collection Applied Design features all kinds of fabric, photos and objects "stitched" together (so appropriate for my stitching state of mind!). We loved the show, and our day in La Jolla, and had way too much fun "stitching up" the photos. Here are a few of my favs from the day:

Kyle on the rocks above the beach, watching the skim boarders.
Drew set the phone to silent mode, and snapped
photos inside the museum. A no-no, I know...

What have you been busy "stitching up" lately?!
x, Val

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Studio, New Work

It's always a good time for change, don't you think? If things stay the same for too long, I just feel... well,
stale after a while. So in an effort to keep on my toes, I have moved my studio, yet again! Good golly, my inner essence must have been directed by Elvis during the last quarter of 2010... I haven't been this shaken, rattled and rolled in a very looong time!

So, the mojo is good here at Camp Chatsworth (the nickname for our new home), because there was a vacant room for my studio to occupy after the dust settled down from moving in. Good energy came along to get the space set up just right (though I still have to work on wall display and organization techniques). And, then, my fabric arrived from Ruby Star Rising. :o) ...Yes, everything is so right with the world when the fabric arrives.

This is one of those projects that "poured" out of me. Really, I am just the hands and fingers over here. Ok, the brain too. This purse was designed, cut out, backed, ironed, lined, sewed, and practically finished in one 6 hour setting.

Yes, it's good, and I really like it. No wait,
I love it. The transistor radios help with that too. I can't resist those transistor radios. Now really, can you? They are so deliciously... jammy!

Pics of my new home studio will be posted soon. Just got to clean up the bits of radio fabric scraps first :o) Hope your new year has started off with a bang too.
x, Val