Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Aftermath

For those of us in the U.S., the Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone as well as has the infamous Black Friday. Thankfully I didn’t brave the masses this year, instead we had our family Thanksgiving ON Black Friday. A much better way to spend the day, in my opinion. *smile*

Like so many others, I have much to be thankful for this year (and every year) but I do my best to not just celebrate my thankfulness on only one day a year…I try very hard to do it every single day. Life works better that way, if you ask me. But hey, the holiday is good for bringing family together and eating some good foods. OMG at the food…talk about heavenly!

scan0016For the first time since our Mom died in 1991, we were going to have all of the siblings together in one place…everyone was so excited…until my brother Mick (Michael) punked out and left us one sibling shy. Grrrr! (He’s getting crotchety in his old age is my guess. lol)

That’s us, oldest to youngest (I’m the “baby”) in ‘91 in front of Momma’s house right before leaving for the funeral. No, the smiles aren’t fake but trust me, they were all that was holding back some serious tears…and the tears weren’t held back for long. Mick-the-punk is the brother standing in front of me.

Sibs Tgiving 09 And here we are, youngest to oldest this time, 18 1/2 years older and maybe a little worse for the wear. There’s more gray hair for all of us, less hair in general for some of us (lol), pounds packed round the middle for many of us, one punk brother who backs out at the last moment, a few troubled times having been between many of us…but hey, we’re still kickin’ and we’re still family.

That’s what I am thankful for today…and every day.

Sibs Tgiving 09 w Mick photoshopped inBut hey, we’re not a family to leave well enough alone and we all love a good joke…so we had my nephew act as a “stand in” brother for Mick (the brother who punks out!) so I could photoshop him in.  I thought it would be funny to send him a copy ragging on him a bit…so here we ALL (sorta) are.

Too fun! I’m still laughing about this one.

Hope you all had great a great holiday…good food, good friends and family, and some great laughs.

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love in a Box

IMG_0349I have so many art supplies that I love, it’s hard to narrow it down to my very favorites. But these babies came in the mail today and I am in art supply heaven once again!

Copic Sketch Markers, ahhh! They write over most any other kind of media, are refillable, true colored, feel good in your hand, don’t skip. Hey, what more can you ask from a marker?

I tried Prismacolor Markers but I just didn’t like them. I love Prismacolor pencils (the best colored pencils there are, in my opinion) but their markers leave much to be desired. Copics are the way to go, definitely.

And now I have my own little set (not to mention another four individual markers that I bought separately when I was testing to see if I would like them) and that makes Barb one happy girl. Wheeee….

Just a quick drop in to share my new goodies. Y’all take care and keep creating!

Peace & Love,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What’s in a Name?

I have been forced to work out of town the past two weeks, staying in hotels and working long hours at stores that are hours from home. Being away from home just exhausts me. Luckily no going out of town or even any work at all for me this coming week, with the Thanksgiving holiday and all. YAY!! It feels like it takes days to get back to feeling normal once I get back to the ol’ homestead, and this time was no exception.  But I feel like I’ve been oh so productive today after sleeping my life away on Friday and Saturday.

paper macheI’ve had these paper mache` letters (like the one’s here) spelling our last name floating around my studio for ages but hadn’t made up my mind what to do with them. I love letters and numbers and when Hobby Lobby had them on sale a year or so ago, I just grabbed them (for a buck each, so what the heck) and since then they’ve just sat around. Every once and a while I’d shuffle them from one shelf to another but I just never got around to doing anything with them.

Do you ever do that?  Buy something that you like but with no clue how or when you’ll ever do something with it?  I do it all the time.  LOL  Especially at thrift stores or in the clearance section wherever I’m shopping. Guess I’m a girl that can’t stand to let a bargain get away. *grin*

Anyway, I decided this morning, after moving those damn letters for the fifty-eleventh time, that it was time to do something with them…and I did.

With a super thick chipboard sign I scavenged from work (saving it from the dumpster, tyvm), some paint, some coordinating scrapbook papers, Claudine Hellmuth’s Multi Media (OMG, I love that stuff!), and a little time, I made this sign for our living room (or maybe the dining room…I haven’t decided):


The flash from my camera washed out the “S” but all the letters are a light olive green with shapes/graphics in a burnt red, a darker olive green and a lighter burnt red.  Our living room sofa and loveseat are a deep olive green so that was my color inspiration and, luckily, I had scrapbook papers to match my color scheme.

Smith1Here’s another view, although the colors are much more true in the picture above.

Now to decide how I’m going to hang it but I think that will have to wait until morning. I’m a bit worn out this evening and I need to think on it a bit. I don’t know if I want the hanging wire to show or not…and do I want a border on the piece or not.  Yea, I need to think on it a bit to decide.

I just think it’s great to be creating things and hanging my own art in my home.  I don’t know why I’ve failed to do this in the past…I think it might be because I didn’t feel like my creations were worthy. HA! If I don’t affirm my own artistic ability and appreciate my own work, how could I ever expect any one else to appreciate it?

While I worked on my little project, I listened to 7 (yes seven) episodes of Ricë Freeman-Zachary’s podcast and absolutely loved every one of them. If you don’t know Ricë (rhymes with Lisa, btw), you should get to know her…she is an awesome soul in every way! She has this way of just sparking my creative energy with her words in her books or on her blog, with her views and, now, with the sound of her voice. Check her out at her blog, Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, and her podcast can be found on iTunes or on her blog.

What creative things have you accomplished lately? Do share, won’t ya?

Now, time to play in my journal for a while before I hit the hay.

Peace & Love,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Life Lesson

As many of you may remember, I had started a new blog, thinking that it was time for me to move on from “Craft Therapy”…I see now that I was wrong. Very wrong!

Looking back, I think I was just feeling overwhelmed and a little stagnant in this space and had the thought (misinformed as it was) that starting something new would give me the feeling of being refreshed that I was didn’t.

I have missed this space. I have missed my friends that came here to visit me. I miss being crafty!

So, I’m back…simple as that, I’m back.

I have managed to transition all of my posts from my other blog to here (so I don’t lose anything) and I am planting my feet in the virtual soil and sticking around these parts…for good. This is my online home and I want to stay here. I guess you could say I've taken a little vacation, seen the world from another view, and now I'm back; it's time to unpack my virtual bags.

It feels good to be home.

Peace & Love,

P.S. If you haven’t read/seen the posts from the blog I “visited” during my time away, all the posts are now incorporated here, including my artwork made during that time, and I do hope you’ll take a peek at them. They are the most recent posts below this one. 

Now, onward and upward…wheeeeee!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


From November 14, 2009:

I feel like that feather in Forest Gump…you know the one that just seems to float, willy-nilly, at the beginning of the film and then again, at the end?  Just floating on a breeze, unable to control or even have any say in its life but instead, forced to float along on whatever breeze that life may throw its way.

Yea, that’s how I feel these days…just willy-nilly and a bit out of control.

Work is mad.crazy.busy.  I love what I do but it does tire me out terribly and what does the big boss (aka Regional Manager) go and do? He decides that I’m doing such a good job with my own district, TYVM, that he wants me to start spreading myself over other districts in his region and getting their stores into shape…What’s the big deal about that?  It means overnight travel. And not just a night here and there but entire weeks (M-Th or F) gone from home, gone from my hubby, eating out, sleeping in hotel beds, and working 10-12 hr days PLUS driving to and from on the 1st and last days.

And I thought I was exhausted before…this past week has me really aching and grouchy and just plain ill. Looking at my work calendar, I have 4 more weeks (that I know of) to go in this fashion.


Can I just cry now?

Anyway, if my posting here is even more sporadic than usual in the coming weeks, that would be the reason for it. Work. Yep, it pays the bills but it leaves little time for much else when you’re forced to do it in the fashion they have me doing it in these days.

I hope that you’re all doing well and that life is treating you kindly.

Peace & Love,

Video Help? & New Journal Pages

From November 2, 2009:

I’ve been working in my art journals regularly, even though I’m working monster hours lately, and am even doing some things on canvas, too. But I’ve got these ideas in my head that I want to share with y’all in video format, I’m just not a video savvy chica. Things like making your own masks (like the Tim Holtz masks that are great but a little pricy for my meager budget), how to make your own spray inks, etc…but I have to figure out how to edit the videos so I don’t look like a ditz.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good video editing software that is freeware or shareware? One that isn’t too complicated to figure out?  If you know of one, please share with me! I will be forever grateful.

I’m also doing NaNoJouMo with Dawn Sokol and the gang. I may not be able to keep up with everyone this week, with doing prep work for an inventory at work next Monday, but I’m trying.  If you’re interested (and you should be!), check out the info HERE (and the pages that follow.) Dawn is a total sweetheart and I love that she’s started this idea.

Here’s my latest creation, journal-wise:

EyesI’ve just been working on some different techniques and there’s no better place to do experimenting than in your art journal.

I hope you’re all doing well and had a great Halloween/Dia de los Muertos. Just think, Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those of us in the US. Wow, this year has flown by!

Back soon and don’t forget to leave me ideas about video editing. Thanks!

Peace & Love,


Dia De Los Muertos

From October 28, 2009:

I lived in deep south Texas, on the border of Mexico, for almost ten years. In fact, my youngest daughter was born at Brownsville Medical Center and my room there had a fabulous view of the Rio Grande and further into Matamoros, Mexico…so I feel that the Hispanic culture is a very important part of my life. I embraced it fully while living there and enjoyed learning about and taking part in Cinco de Mayo, Dia de los Muertos, and other important traditions native to the culture.

Instead of doing a Halloween spread in my journal, I decided to embrace that part of my history.

Dia De Los Muertos

I know that before I lived there and made friends, I had no clue what the traditions and holidays were all about and “The Day of the Dead” was certainly one of those.  It wasn’t until it was explained to me that I came to understand what a beautiful holiday it really is.

To celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost is such a wonderful way to honor them. To take time to remember and celebrate their lives with joy is the way that we should all do for those that are no longer living. I found it to be such an honest and loving way to commemorate those gone from this life and have taken that attitude to heart in my every day life. I share stories about my parents with my children and my husband more often these days…silly ones and sentimental ones. I keep loving them, even though they are gone.

Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead…not so morbid after all, is it?

May your Halloween be filled with plenty of treats and why not incorporate a little culture into your life and do a little remembering of your loved ones who are gone this year?

Peace & Love,

Living and Learning

From October 16, 2009:

Are there reoccurring themes in your thoughts, in your journals or other art…in your life?

I seem to gravitate back to the thought in my mind and in my art of how my life is passing by too quickly. I am so often amazed that I am really 44 years old. That just astonishes me beyond belief. I truly feel like I should still me in my 20’s…my early 20’s, at that.

How does all this time pass, all those years, in what feels like (in retrospect) the blink of an eye? How did I let them go whooshing past at the speed of sound and not appreciate every morsel of them better? So many questions flood my mind when I get off on these tangents.

  • Why didn’t I take more pictures?
  • Why didn’t I take more chances?
  • Why didn’t I travel more?
  • Why was I so worried about what others thought?
  • Why did I let circumstances control me instead of me controlling the circumstances.
  • Why didn’t I say YES more often?
  • Why didn’t I say NO more often?
  • Why didn’t I get out sooner?
  • Why did I settle for less than I deserved?

SCAN0055I don’t really think of these things as regrets because I truly try to live my life with no regrets. I do think of the questions as “lessons” and the good thing about all those questions flooding me is that I know I still have time to do things right during rest of this life.

Remember how it was to be a kid? Back when your biggest worry was getting home before dark so your Mom didn’t have to come looking for you? I think kids have the right idea…just live and leave the worrying to those that can’t seem to do anything else but worry. My husband is a worrier…he is always thinking about all the things that could go wrong…but I am not (anymore.) I just refuse to waste anymore valuable time on things I can’t control. Being happy is so much more fun than stressing out over things that may never come to pass anyway. I try to do all that I can about everything that I can. Above that, worrying gets me no where so I just can’t waste my time or energy on it.

I think it’s even rubbing off on my husband, too. He seems to be worrying less these days.

Ah, Life. Such an overwhelming subject.

Peace & Love,

Be Original

From October 13th, 2009:

Talk about feeling like a ditz.  I finally get to feeling better after dealing with the swine flu all last week, work yesterday (and it went well, although I was tired last night) and then I go and be a total airhead this morning.  I took my morning meds when I first got up and went about my morning routine.  Then when I was about to get into the shower, I saw my evening med pack and without thinking I took Tuesdays meds.

Yea, took two batches of meds all within 45 minutes. *slaps forehead*  Oh geez!

After calling the ER (it was 6:30am so my doc wasn’t in yet) and having them tell me that I’d be hungry, sleepy, chilly and generally feel like crap all day (and possibly tomorrow), I had to call in to work.  Yep, can’t drive when you’ve had too much anti-depressants and Xanax (not to mention diabetes meds, liver meds, kidney meds, etc.) 

I feel like such an idiot!  I spent most of the day in a haze and/or sleeping…and eating once an hour, too.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I can go back to work.

I did manage to finish this journal spread and I guess you could say it speaks for its self. 

(Click photo for a larger view.)SCAN0060

Just my thoughts today…even through the haze.

Peace & Love,

Beauty and the Beast

Blog post from October 7, 2009:

I am in the bed right now.

My step-son was diagnosed on Monday with N1H1…yep, Swine Flu.  And he spent three days with us last week.  Needless to say, it looks like I also have the dreaded Swine Flu, aka “The Beast.”

Oh Joy!

I did try to go to work yesterday but that was a flop and, I realize now, it also wasn’t very fair to those at work to expose them to this crap.  My intentions were honorable but I guess I wasn’t thinking very clearly.

The good side would be that I will lots of time to do art before next Monday when I go back to work. YAY for art time. I love my art time and I never seem to have enough of it these days…so I will fit in as much art time over the next few days as I can around coughing, aching, and feverish chills.

My latest journal spread is inspired by the Dove commercials that show REAL women…women with curves and bumps and bulges, with waists larger than 22”, with breasts that aren’t as perky as half melons on their chests.  Real women who look in the mirror and compare themselves to the starving, airbrushed models on the cover of every magazine in the world.

(Click for a larger view.) SCAN0059

But, dammit…we are all beautiful and we need to start living the life of the beautiful.  Know you are beautiful; embrace it and live it outloud!

There’s my schpeel for the day. I hope you will seriously take it to heart.

Now, time to lay back down and try to rest for a while.  And maybe twitter a little, too.  LOL

Peace & Love,

Pipe Dreams & Fantasies

From October 1st, 2009:

I have been busy with tons of hours at work but I’ve still managed to work in my art journal every night, even if only for a few minutes.  Sometimes it’s just some lettering or doodling, but it still makes me feel “with it” and creative…and especially peaceful and calm.


I’ve also had time to do work with my friend Alexia on an art retreat we are putting together to be held in March, 2010. It’s all coming together, too.

I’m so excited!

If any of you are interested in coming to an creative retreat for women in the mountains of North Georgia (for a VERY low price compared to other art retreats around), drop me a comment or an email (craft4therapy (at) gmail (dot) com) and I’ll give you all the info and a link to our NING site that explains everything..

It’s going to be such a blast; I would love to have some of you there…I’d love to have ALL of you there. Whatever kind of creating you do, painting, journaling, dance, music, poetry, collage…any kind of creativity. You will be so glad you joined us because it is going to be such a fantastic time, learning new creative “stuff” with some wonderful new friends.

Think about it, won’t ya?

Now, my art journal is calling and I am not one to ever refuse the call of the journal. LOL

Peace & Love,

Heaven…I’m in Heaven

Blog post from 9-28-09:

I bet I have that song running through your head right about now, don’t I?  Yea, it’s running through mine, too. 

I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, do you have any idea what this is:IMG_0291Well, for those of you that are not familiar with art journaling, I’ll tell you what this is…it’s a little slice of heaven.  Yea, I know it looks like just a pile of pens to the untrained eye…but in reality, these pens, these MAGICAL pens, are some of the most heavenly writing, doodling, decorating instruments that an art journalist can have in their arsenal of tools.

These, my wonderful new stash of uni-ball Signo UM-153’s in red, orange, navy blue, green, gold, silver, 2 whites & 3 blacks, came in the mail today (and I just ordered them Friday afternoon!) and now I am in pen heaven, I tell ya!

Ahhhhhh….nothing like some great new pens to give an addict like me her fix for the day (or week! lol)

I really need to do a post on what my favorite pens and tools for art journaling are, don’t I?  I think I will give it a little time for my readership to increase before I do that…and I have a little giveaway planned, too, so be sure to keep checking back.

Hope your week has started well and that you are enjoying a little piece of heaven in your life, too.

Peace & Love,

Creative Magic

From 9-28-09:

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t creative or crafty.  It’s just always been a part of me, making things or painting or drawing or just cutting pictures out of magazines and collaging all my favorites onto a poster board.

Yet, for a long time (my entire 30’s) I didn’t do anything creative short of writing. Nothing involving paint or glue, yarn or fabric…nothing. 

Coincidentally, I also think that my 30’s were the lowest point in my life.  Since I found my way back to the creative life and incorporated art into my everydays, I believe that I am better.


Guess that’s what was on my mind today.

Hope your Sunday was a good one.

Peace & Love,

Exhaustion Breeds Procrastination

This post is from 9/24/2009:

It’s 6am and I really should be in the shower, getting ready for work but here I sit.

It has been an extremely long week, beginning with a Monday workday that lasted from 6am until 9pm, and my body with all it’s maladies can’t handle those kinds of hours well, at all.


I hate wishing my life away but I really can’t wait for today to be over so my weekend can begin. I’m tired and just want to rest…well, to play in my art journal, work on some paintings and rest.

Yea, that’s the ticket.

For now, I guess I better shower and get on the road…another 10-12 hour day is ahead of me. Time to stop procrastinating and get to it.

Peace & Love,

What does it mean?

Here is post #1:

Unmasking my Soul = finding the depths of myself that have been hidden for so long, I didn’t even know they were there.

Just a Little Girl

It is my belief that we all have a story to tell but many never find the way to tell that story that works for them. I have searched my whole life for a way to tell mine and it was only when I found the concept of Art Journaling or Visual Journaling that I found the right vessel to tell my own story.

I have only been Art Journaling for about a year but it has become my solace, my psychiatrist, my best friend in that short time. I am learning to let myself go and trust my intuition and my heart when I open the pages and begin to “work” in my journal. It is through this process that I am finding myself and finding peace in a life that has had more than its fair share of bruises and scars, laughter and love.

There is no end point to this journey, I am here to enjoy and learn from the journey itself; to gain insight into myself and to continue to grow as a person, as a woman, as I live each day as fully as I can muster, laugh as much as possible and sometimes struggle through this thing called life.

I hope that through my sharing that others can find inspiration, spark their own creativity, and maybe even find a new passion.

I hope that you will come along with me.

Peace & Love,

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