Thursday, December 26, 2013

Creative Flow

I am a list maker.  I keep lists of what to buy and what to make. Recently I started taking pictures as reminders. A shot of something that inspires or a design I need to remember. I am enjoying this visual to do list. Perhaps I am on to something. 

This is a shot of a pile of goodies that will become a necklace. The parts are in a bag in my studio in my box of projects. 

Found these shopping. I will go back and purchase some if I figure out what to do with them. 

These vintage ornaments got my wheels churning.  Stay tuned to see how these little snippets become items for sale at the next Glitterfest on March 15th!!! 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Creative Habit in 15 Minutes a Day!

All too frequently life gets in the way of our creative flow. I have had some serious down time lately with no ability to create, yet I have filled a sketch book with ideas for the moment I am back in my studio. So what has kept my juices flowing? 

I realized I developed a 15 minute habit. After surgery I could only sit and do anything for a few minutes. Out of sheer boredom I started doing some simple pen and ink drawings. That led to adding a touch of color using watercolor pencils. I enjoyed it too! 

As soon as I could manage I was back in my studio. It began as a little straightening up but turned into a real creative gold mine! 

As I sorted the bits and pieces ideas popped into my head. Because I had no to do list, my mind was allowed to wander and explore the possibilities of each little metal scrap. I was in the moment and connected to the pieces that make up my inventory. 15 minutes at a time. 

Soon I found myself creating little piles to create with.  Then, by playing with all the pretties it had transformed into actual designing. 

Take inventory, play, explore and let your mind wander through the possibilities! Just 15 minutes a day escape life and enjoy your creative brain. Soon it is a habit that will serve you well. Right now that tiny 15 minute segment is the best part of my day.  It is a habit I will keep long after my bones have mended. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sentimental Journey


Recently I have been spending a lot of time reminiscing. Perhaps I have had too much time on my hands. I have slowly eased back into my studio as my recovery after lumbar fusion allows. I have been painting and designing projects I will be teaching in the Spring and beyond! 

I have also been sorting though things. I had a great rummage through my jewelry box. There were so many single rhinestone earrings and bits of rhinestone jewelry that had long ago fallen apart. In fact I found one of the earrings I wore to my prom some 30 years ago!  Of course I have found a way to give them new life!  I may just have to keep this one for a while. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fighting Or At Least Fighting Back Tears


The last few months have been a roller coaster. In case you missed it: I had my lower back fused, developed a blood clot, threw a pulmonary embolism and finally started to get my strength back. Then came yesterday. As I headed to the Dr for my 3 month check up, I knew something was wrong. My leg hurt. That special gift only a blood clot can give. My recovery was being thrown off course again. 

The Dr at the emergency room wanted to take some drastic measures because he fears I am at thigh risk for another pulmonary embolism.  He started making the calls to arrange surgery to place another filter in my chest to catch blood clots.  Then came the worse news- I cannot have another filter placed as it is simply to dangerous. Now I have a time bomb in my femoral vein. I am taking injections to thin my blood in the hope of stopping the clot from growing. This is a battle for my life. Will I dissolve the clot without another piece breaking off and heading to my lungs? Before I had the peace of mind and the safety of the filter. Not this time. Just me versus clot. 

I cannot decide if I am scared or angry. I need to be thankful. Tonight is the memorial service for one of my high school friends. He was struck and killed in a parking lot. His daughter was there and hit too. She was not badly hurt.  I am thankful to have known Paul. He had charisma, a smile that was blinding and a wit to match.  I am thankful I am alive to fight another day. 
I guess I will just hold on tight and take another turn on the roller coaster. I will try and be thankful I am here for the ride.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Time off for healing!

I have not forgotten to blog.  I have been sidelined after major surgery.  I developed a blood clot from my hip to my ankle in the left leg.  Just to keep it interesting I threw a pulmonary embolism. I am still here.  It will take more than a dried wad of blood to kill me.  Every day I am getting better.  I will be back posting fun stuff before you know it!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Latest Obsession

This is a picture our guest room. Recently, I redecorated so I could feature my collection of baby gowns. Some are little cotton shifts and some are actual christening gowns. I love the sweet cotton that has taken on that golden hue that comes with age. Most of my collection is pre 1930. 

I have always loved items that play with scale and these are no exception. Tiny buttons and diminutive ruffles and lace make me smile. Maybe I just want to dress Lulu and Max in them. Face it, I love all things tiny.  Dogs, perfume bottles, buttons, figurines and frozen Charlottes. 

Today I found more at a fave store and it was all I could do to muster the self control to not buy them all. I started collecting them with a project in mind. Now I cannot bare to sacrifice one to be altered. This means I just need more to choose from right?  Well that is my story and I am sticking to it!!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Creating a Memo Board- Up-cycled Silver Tray!


I found a lovely silver tray at a yard sale but when I got it home and cleaned the dirt off it was pretty shabby. It had a great shape and detail so I scrubbed it well with fine grit steel wool being careful not to rub off any detail. Then I went to the garage to see what spray paint I had in stock. Pink Rustoleum was the perfect choice. I sprayed the tray using two light coats on the front repeating on the back a few hours later. Voila a magnetic treasure board!


Not all trays will be magnetic so take a small magnet with you when shopping. I use this trick when looking at costume jewelry or findings too. Brass is not magnetic and I do not buy any vintage jewelry items that test magnetic. They are steel plated and will rust. 

Take a minute to get creative today. Just a little paint can change your world!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I love a Collage


It had been a while since I created anything. My spirit needed a creative infusion. I have gotten used to the meds and I am feeling more like myself. My head is still a little fuzzy but what the heck! I am beginning a series of collaged pieces. Some mixed media pieces of art, some jewelry and a few altered goodies. 

I will have months with very limited ability to create so I am learning a little embroidery to occupy myself when I am laid up.  I have tea towels and a few other items to embellish. Should keep me busy and out of trouble for a bit. 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Creativity, Pain and Possibility


Last Thursday I began a journey.  I had a surgery called a discogram. Without anesthesia they made a small incision in my lower back. They then inserted long needles into and around the discs of my spine from L2 through the L5SI  joint.  I begged for mercy between F bombs. The pain was intense and torturous. Thank god it was also brief.  At one point, I believe just from the pain, I stopped breathing.

The silver lining?

The mere fact that they were able to replicate my significant pain meant we could proceed with the fusing of my back in a later surgery. It is a very strange thing when good news comes in the form of pain. After the surgery they injected lidocaine into my discs and nerves. I had two glorious pain free hours!!!!

So of course my husband and I used the time to try a new lunch spot. The Carnitas Shack in San Diego- it was amazing. I had carnitas tacos and two chocolate bacon whiskey truffles. I swear I heard angels sing.  

There is a point to this story. One moment life is pain filled and miserable and the next is chocolate bacon whiskey bliss. It would be so easy to miss the bliss. I could have just gone home to bed but I would have missed the bliss. It was not really the food it was the ability to enjoy a moment with my husband. I am determined to find the moments of bliss in the next few months.

The pain has made being creative difficult. The pain meds make it hard to concentrate so I can blame any errors in this post on that most conveniently. I have tried to enjoy a book here and there. So what if I have to re-read parts. This will not be a productive period in my life and I have accepted that fact. This experience will make me stretch and grow in ways I would not choose, but will benefit from none the less. I will focus on the possibilities! Perhaps I will be truly pain free for the first time in 3 years. Maybe I will make a new friend or find a new strength.  Perhaps I will be forced to acknowledge a weakness.

The possibilities are endless! I knowing will be an adventure. I will share some or all of my journey here.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Crying In My Fries

Disclaimer: The author of this blog post is heavily medicated, teary and scared out of her wits!

After my husband got called in to work again this week I decided dinner would be In N Out. Yum! As I sat there in my car, all quiet with time to think, I began to cry. Not just tears for my hurting back but a release of fear and worry that has plagued me for weeks zapping my energy and my creativity. As the tears streamed down my face I realized I had not cried when I got the news that I need my entire lower back fused in a horrific surgery.

As is my usual response I began "getting ready" for the surgery. I bought two old lady snap front nightgowns,  figured out what items on my calendar I had to cancel, bought birthday presents for friends with upcoming birthdays, cleaned off my desk, organized my studio, did laundry, arranged help for my upcoming east coast buying help, made a ridiculous honey do list for my hubby, scheduled our annual termite inspection and the list goes on. I did not want to think about how terrified I was.

They are going to cut me in half front and back and insert a huge metal cage, plates and screws. No reason to be scared. I will not be able to drive, craft, cook, sit, travel, shop, clean, go to concerts at the fair, hit the beach, paint, make jewelry or any of the things that make my life rich. No reason to be scared. I will have one to three months of considerable pain that will be only partially taken care of with the narcotics that will make me a zombie. No reason to be scared.  The rehab portion where I learn to walk and do everything else safely will last an excruciating six months. No reason to be scared.

As I sat there cramming french fries in my mouth and crying I realized I am not scared I am TERRIFIED! I have been scared before- no big. I have never been terrified. I cannot avoid it, nor can I wallow in it. I am acknowledging my fear and moving forward. I have given myself permission to miss things, cancel things, change things and ask for things and do whatever helps. This is about getting through something really awful.

My friends have all rallied around me and offered help. I will need it. I have never had to ask for help like this. I am known for being fiercely independent and self reliant.  Accepting and asking for help with grace will be a new challenge. So here I sit- scared and that is alright. I will fight through the pain to rehab in record time. I will regain my independence one day at a time. With a ton of love, friendship, medical miracle workers, and a ridiculous amount of help from my friends I will get through this.

This is Addy. The best pain medicine ever. She delivers puppy kisses and snuggles in large doses. I have not forgotten my sweet Max or Lulu, they are helping with snuggles and kisses too. There is just something special about a puppy. They have magic healing powers for your worries or ailments.

I am not sure I had a point in sharing this- maybe I just did it for myself to acknowledge the fright and get back to being creative instead of avoiding the feeling.  At the end of this journey I will have a journal filled with bad, drug induced, emotional sketches. I am not sure they will translate into new jewelry designs but it should be pretty amusing! I cannot wait to get back to creating! I am going to rock Spring 2014!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cancer Makes Me Angry

In the war on cancer we can all play a part. One of the nicest people I know received the news today that she has breast cancer. I hope she knows there is an army behind her ready for this fight. She is strong and a woman of faith and I know she will kick the crap out of cancer.  I know from my personal experience she will need help. 

In 2004, I was diagnosed with a very deadly form of cancer. I had a 5% chance of making it 5 more years. I was scared. Really scared. I told people and they acted like oh cancer- no big deal. The cancer was in my cervix and no one dies from that right? I did not want to explain that I did not have the ordinary cervical cancer but rather a very deadly adenocarcinoma. I could not utter the reality. I felt so isolated. I had my surgery in San Diego and had no friends in the area.  I spent 8 weeks in intensive care after surgery. My right lung collapsed and I had a terrible pneumonia. I ended up with a chest tube and nearly died.  No one came to visit. No flowers, no cards no calls. No one knew I was still in the hospital. Everyone assumed I had a quick surgery and had resumed my life as normal.  I share this because when we hear someone has cancer we do not know what to say. They are sick- we think we should not bother them. Everyone assumes they have had tons of calls and visitors. 

I was so lucky. It took a team of amazing doctors to find a cocktail of antibiotics to save my life. After about 8 months I had my strength back. I needed no further treatment. No chemo or radiation. Whew!! Since my experience in the hospital I have been quietly delivering care packages to those I know will have a hospital stays or have to undergo chemo. It is one way I know that I can provide just a tiny bit of comfort. I know all too well the things you need in the hospital. A throw blanket, baby wipes, chap stick, face cleaning towelettes, good hand cream, a headband, magazines, bottled water and slipper sox make a stay a tiny more pleasant. 

I share this so you know that your friend or family member needs you after they hear the word cancer. Call, text, visit and keep offering to help. The journey is a long one and help and encouragement is needed at every step. If you live far away send a crazy funny card every couple of weeks. Offer to pick up/drop off the kids. Take charge and arrange a few weeks of meals for the family. Every little action is helpful. Know that your call or visit is appreciated. If you arrive at the hospital and they are not up for a visitor just say hello and just know that the fact you came meant everything.    

Everyone assumed I was strong and had everything taken care of- I did not. So call often, visit when you can and find a way to help. Cancer wages war so lets fight back together!

To my friend- I have an endless supply of cupcakes to see you through this!!! XXOO

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vintage Inspiration at Whimzy!

Today was a perfect California spring day! I decided to hit my favorite flea market in Tustin to do a little treasure hunting! For me, looking at all the little treasures gets my wheels churning. Imagining all the possibilities for giving these little treasures a new life.  When I am creatively stuck I often head over to my favorite antique stores. Today I was just going to enjoy a little sunshine and browse. I have been keeping a little mental list of things I would like to find when out treasure hunting and today was the day! I found everything on my list. I had been wanting a little 1950 bluebird and there she sat in a darling little stall just calling my name. I also found a little pocket shrine statue, two casket style jewelry boxes, four vintage hankies in pink, a hand carved wooden duck body, a composition doll with it's original outfit, vintage eyelet trim and of course my sweet little bird.  Well, the duck body was not on my list but it is really cool and only one dollar! I think she might need a doll head and some wheels. Because everything is more fun with doll parts and wheels!

Then all of the sudden appeared on of my other desires! Vintage hat stands like the type that would have been used in a store. I scored four of them. I was giddy to say the least. In my excitement I rushed over to show my hubby. His response was "those are really dirty". Ok maybe he does not always see what I see but,  I am so lucky that he supports my vision even when he does not get it! He loves vintage but he really only speaks Vespa!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Keeping it Creative

I am a terrible blogger. Ok, I was a terrible blogger. I have found my creative voice. Now I have something to say and ideas to share so you might actually hear from me far more than you wanted . So what was the big revelation? Ironically it was the fact that I do not need a big dramatic revelation to share my creative bliss with you. So here goes!

Keeping the creative juices flowing means knowing what I have. I spend a little time each day sorting things into their proper place. It is an ongoing battle but one that pays. As I spend my 15 minutes sorting the piles that have accumulated, or a box of goodies that were in overflow storage, I always find a little nugget of inspiration. The seed of an idea that I will nurture over the next days, weeks or months. So take a break from the creating every once and a while and look through your supplies. You might just get hit with a brilliant idea!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Art and Insecurities

I have been working on some pieces for Art Walk February 2nd in Santa Ana.  Last night I woke up with my heart pounding. The nagging voice in my head was growing louder. The voice of insecurity. All artists know this voice. Usually it is a whisper at the back of our mind saying - Is that your best? _ Hasn't that been done? -Will anyone like this? Last night my inner voice of insecurity was screaming at me. Very rude! " Your bird sucks! - You are rusty!"

So what do you do? I was laying there wide awake and it occurred to me that nothing bad would happen if my bird sucked. No one would be harmed, no one would starve, the world would not be knocked off its axis. I am not defined by a bird I painted. This is the year of no fear! I will paint. I will exhibit my work. I am certain that if I allow myself to give it a go after not painting for almost 25 years, something amazing will happen. Or maybe,  I will simply not be afraid to paint any more.

I walked away from the fine arts when I graduated from college and never looked back. During my last few weeks as an undergrad all of my work from the previous four years was on exhibit. The majority of the exhibit was stolen. I did not shed a tear or get mad. I just walked away and accepted that the universe had told me it was time to put away my toys and get on with my career. It has taken me this long to realize I could have been enjoying creating all this time. So this is a new beginning- a do over if you will.  I will re-learn the techniques I so enjoyed and I will paint.  It may suck but I will enjoy myself.

You will have to come to art walk to see the entire painting but here is the bird I lost sleep over. I started by sketching on paper in colored pencil and when I liked what I had I decided to actually use that image. ( I was afraid to try drawing it again.) I collaged it onto the canvas and added many layers of paint. In fact I had trouble stopping. I could just not get it quite right. So here is my imperfect bird!

Be fearless!! It wil free your creativity.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Art Walk followed by Glitter!!

I have been very busy in my studio the past couple of weeks. I am preparing for two completely different shows. The first is Art Walk in Santa Ana! I will be showcasing my mixed media canvases at Jenny Doh's Crescendoh Studio! This is a new adventure for me so I would love to see some friendly faces. 2013 is the year of no fear!!

207 N. Broadway St., Studio L
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Please join me at the studio Saturday February 2nd from 7pm until 10. There a re loads of galleries that participate so please come wonder and enjoy. Best part it is free!!

Next up is Glitterfest- My favorite show!!! The date is March 9th and the venue is all new!! No more parking woes! There will be more room too! The event will be held at the Anaheim Business Expo. More details to follow!  

Save the dates!
Art Walk Feb 2nd
Glitterfest March 9th


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Fresh Start- The Big Purge

After installing new flooring and painting all the rest, I have a blank canvas. I am taking this opportunity to begin anew. While I rebuild my studio and work spaces I am sorting and purging. Each object lucky enough to find a home in the new space is either completely functional and needed or a true thing of beauty and a treasure. The rest will have to go live elsewhere.

I will be listing destash lots on etsy so stay tuned.  I have far too many vintage cameos, brass stampings,  costume jewelry both pristine and for repair, vintage chatons and the like.  My purge may result in an amazing bargain for someone else.

In 2012 I began the purge and committed to design the life I envisioned for myself. Not all of the process has been easy.  I had to say goodbye to people in my life that were toxic. I spent too much time trying to rescue those that really just wanted to wallow in their misery. Walking away is really tough.  I paid the price for allowing myself to be taken advantage of both financially and emotionally.

I realized that I can be of service to others only when I am my best self.  In 2013 I will focus on healthy habits in all areas of my life so I am able to continue teaching and mentoring in addition to running Lulu Max.  I have always found great joy in being a positive force in my community so I will continue a long standing tradition of volunteering. It is also my honor to be a speaker at Sharon Hughes Launch Your Creativity event this spring where we come together to help you reach your creative goals.

I really just have one rule for 2013: Do not let fear get between you and your goals. What are your fears? What do you need to purge?

Together we can do anything!!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcoming 2013 And Adventure

This is the beginning of a wonderful new adventure! For me 2013 will be filed with new experiences and artistic ventures. Above is one of the photos I recently took on our travels. I found this wonderful statue in an old cemetery and her delicate hand intrigued me.

 I will be adding elements of my photography to my work this year. I am circling back to my fine art roots in most of my work. Beginning in February I will once again be exhibiting in fine art galleries and studios with mixed media pieces. I have really enjoyed painting again and creating collages. My first large pieces of art created in 1980 were mixed media collages. I still have one of them hanging in my studio. Who knew that 30 years later that would be a popular medium to work in.

No worries there will still be plenty of jewelry and rhinestones! I just wanted to spend 2013 experiencing new things without fear so I am getting out of my comfort zone and forgetting all the rules for creating art. What will you try in 2013??