Friday, December 31, 2010

Wave Goodbye, Say Hello

Another year is coming to a close so it’s time to say Goodbye to 2010. Whether it’s adiós, au revoir, addio, lebewohl, afscheid, adjö or however it might be said where you’re from, I bid a not-so-fond farewell to a year that has been less than the kindest of years to me. I hope with all of my wishing power that the upcoming 2011 is a much better, kinder, gentler year, for each of us (even if your past year has been a good one, I hope the new year is even better!)

For those of you that have stuck with me, continuing to come and read my silliness and whining, even when all I could manage was to just grunt and moan a bit:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” ~ Neil Gaiman

And for those that have been less than my friends; those who have hurt my feelings, ignored me, snubbed me, been fair-weather types or just made me feel like I am less than worth their time :

*snicker*

Happy 2011 everyone! Talk to you next year!!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Word for 2011

I’ve been very quiet around here lately and by lately I mean the past few months, not just the past few weeks. I’ve been very busy inside my own head, thinking and remembering, planning and seeking. Sometimes I believe we all need time away from the hustle and bustle and general loudness of the outside world just to be still with our own thoughts in order to find some peace, find some answers, or even just to allow that quiet to penetrate our soul.

That is what I’ve been using much of my time for (in addition to trying to heal my beat up, wore down, sickly body) since leaving work on August 1st.

I’ve discovered lots of things that I hope to share with y’all over the next few weeks (months?) but one thing that is really hitting home with me right now is the idea of living more simply…and by simply I mean with LESS. I know, the idea of living with less in this age of rampant consumerism is quite blasphemous, especially for an artist who really wants you to buy her art and her other goods, but stick with me here. I swear it will make sense eventually.

I was in Wally World (what we call Walmart ‘round these parts) a few weeks ago mindlessly picked up a new brand of glue stick. When I got home and went to put that single $2.00 glue stick with my other art supplies, I realized something really scary. I realized that I already had (oh, how I hate to admit this) 32 other glue sticks. Seriously. Who, in their right mind, needs 33 glue sticks? Apparently I do, sadly.

In my defense, when Walmart had their school supplies on clearance, I bought Elmer’s Glue Sticks for next to nothing…lots of them! Add those to the other glue sticks I already had…Scotch brand, Coccoina, Uhu, Ross, you name it, I have it…and I thought I needed just one more stupid glue stick. (I won’t go into how many other adhesives I have because then it would get seriously frightening!)

*rolling my eyes*

Do you see what I’m getting at?

How many things are there that we do this way? Our paints or brushes? Artsy or crafty gadgets, pens, markers, paints, stamps or inks? And not just art supplies, either… how much makeup or perfumes do we need? Or nail polishes? And how many clothes do we all really need (or actually wear, to be honest)? How many kitchen gadgets, tshirts, placemats, sheet sets, books, DVDs, purses, or yes, even shoes do we really need?

I know, I’m probably freaking out some of you chicas out there by implying there are limitations on shoes but let’s be honest here…you don’t seriously need 147 pair, do you?

THIS is what I mean by simplifying in the New Year and throughout 2011.  I have called a 100% hiatus on buying ANYTHING outside of groceries and household NEEDS (toilet paper and that kind of thing) for our household. We absolutely do not have the extra money since I can’t work anymore and the truth of it is that we don’t need so much ‘stuff’ in the first place!!

Do you?

So, even though I’ve attempted it before, this time I’m completely committed to paring down and really making our life and home much more simple by way of less stuff! No more thrift shopping and buying just because it’s a ‘great deal’ and no more buying stuff off the clearance racks since I’m saving so much money (if ya didn’t come into the store for it, even if it’s free it’s not a good deal…all it does is clog up your space!)

Simplify_Organize

Simplify, simplify, simplify…that is my motto for the coming year. That is my word, my goal for all of 2011.

What is yours?

Share with me, won’t you?

Peace & Love,
Barb

Saturday, December 25, 2010

From the Bottom of My Heart

It’s Christmas morning, shortly before 10am, and we woke up this morning to snow!!! We live in Alabama, y’all…it hardly ever snows here so to wake up Christmas morning to snow falling an the ground covered with a few inches of the beautiful white stuff is stunning. Quite the site, to say the least. Our house is warm and cozy despite the chilly snow on the ground outside.

It’s also quiet and peaceful…not at all what any Christmas morning has ever been in my entire life so it’s a bit disorienting.

We did a little celebration here last night with our girls and boy, the son-in-law, the grandboy and my wonderful in-laws. It wasn’t a huge celebration but a quiet meal of way too much food prepared by all us women (and I think I overdid it a little by using my left arm way more than I should)…ham and chicken tenders with all the sides, 3 different pies (sweet potato, key lime and pecan), candies & snacks (Oreo balls, peanut butter balls, Chex mix, sausage balls, and puppy chow)…YUM!

We made the decision not to exchange gifts between us adults this year since none of us could afford it… we only bought gifts for the kids and the kids loved every single thing they received.

Noah, the grandboy got a new ‘big boy’ bicycle from Richie & I so we’ll be helping him learn to ride with no training wheels over the next few days. He is very excited about moving up to a ‘real’ bike and not a little one anymore. I think he wants to be like the other big boys in the neighborhood and maybe this bike will help him feel like he fits in better.

His mom, Savannah, got him lots of goodies…games for his Wii, lots of books (since he’s learning to read and loves it), an art kit (a gift I am soooo happy he received!), clothes, etc. Aunt Shelby & Uncle Toad got him a remote control Ferrari and he is having a great time with it (although chasing my poor Chloe pup with it is freaking her out a bit. LOL) He received lots of good things and is having a ball with all of them.

Chad, our 15 y/o autistic son, said all he wanted for Christmas was a black kitty cat named Chester.

*stare*

Yes, Chad asks for strange things like that most of the time and I do what I can to answer those little wants of his so that is exactly what he got… a black kitty named Chester.

Chad also loves maps, menus from restaurants and pictures of foods so I am working on making him a couple of special books…one is ‘Chad’s Book of Maps’ that will have maps of the cities that he loves (NYC for Barney live in NYC, Albuquerque for the hot air balloon festival, etc.) and another book, ‘Chad’s Menu Book’, that is full of restaurant menus from all the restaurants that he loves.  These are the kind of things that Chad loves and I know when he comes over tomorrow he will be so excited to open his books and will pour over them for months to come.

I had planned to make his books much earlier but my broken shoulder got in the way so it’s been tough trying to create them before Christmas…but, since I received a very cool bookbinding tool yesterday (YAY! but more on that later), my task just got tremendously easier so I know I can finish up Chad’s books today. YAY!

That is our little Christmas in a nutshell. Smaller than in years past but good, none the less. I hope that each of you is having a wonderful Christmas or other Holiday (if you celebrate) and that you are each blessed in every way possible this season.

My deepest thanks and appreciation to each of you that take the time to come here  for being my friends, even when all I can seem to do is whine. It is my goal for the new year to be more upbeat, share more art and tutorials, give more classes, and just share my love of art in every way possible (and with much less whining, too!)

Enjoy your day in whatever way makes you happy…that’s what I’ll be doing.

Sending each of you much
Peace & Love,
Barb

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little Holiday Break

Like so many others are doing around this time of year, I'm going on a little blogging break—in addition to trying to heal this broken shoulder of mine, I am also trying to do as much xmas tree as possible to clean and bring a little holiday spirit into our home and maybe even make some holiday candies—so I'm leaving you with this little surreal photo manipulation from a Christmas Tree of last season.

I feel like it speaks to the season; it reminds me that it really is about the little things; being with family, remembering to be thankful for all that we do have and no worries about what we don’t, it’s about having simple fun of playing games, making meals and candy and deserts together to share and not about spending tons of money we don’t have on junk no one will remember a week from now!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, or your very own brand of winter holiday, I sincerely wish each of you tremendous joy this holiday season…and remember, enjoy the little things for in the long run, they are really the big things!

I plan on using the next few days to heal, art journal (yes, I’m going to try and get back into my love for my journals), reevaluate some things, make some plans and maybe do some tutorials and videos to share with you all.

Peace, Love & Happy Holidays,
Barb

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Checking In

Hi y’all.  I hope this finds everyone doing well and getting into  the holiday spirit. It’s so hard for me to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away…especially since I have done NOTHING to prepare for it. I have only bought one gift, too (a bicycle for our grandson, Noah.)

I know that probably sounds sad to y’all but with so much going on (more than I’ve even had the chance to tell here,) I can’t get into the spirit. Not only do I have my heart attack worrying me and my broken shoulder making all of life very tough to muddle through (can’t wash dishes, cook, do laundry, or even bathe on my own, much less do any kind of holiday preparations) but now my husband, Richie, had developed something in his left hip/leg that is causing him severe pain.

So, you can see, it just isn’t feeling much like Christmas around these parts…we’re doing all we can to just make through the days.

It’s okay though, really. I am a firm believer in positive thoughts bringing on positive results. I feel certain that the MRI results on Richie’s hip/leg will come back tomorrow and give us the answers we need and a means to relieve his pain; that my orthopedic surgeon will give me positive answers Friday when I go for my check-up so that I do NOT have to have surgery and am healing well on my own; and that my heart issues will be resolved, too.

I have to believe that way. It’s what keeps me going.

Now, enough of all that depressing health stuff, I just had to document it.

I just read the best blog post I’ve come across in a long time over with elkemay. If you are an art journaler or a journaler of any kind, go read her wise words and soak in some of the goodness she shares in her blog post “dare i say it? for fear it will leave again? is it really back?”  I haven’t worked much in my art journals for quite a while…my heart just hasn’t been in it…but elkemay has really inspired me to get back in them (even working with only one hand!) So be ready for it, cause my art journaling pages are bound to make a reappearance around these parts real soon.

And I have been working, slowly but surely, on what began as just a little sketch but has turned into a full-fledged portrait (I’ve had to find some kind of creative outlet these days, ya know?)

Girl 12-11She’s coming along and developing into someone that feels real to me, almost. But still, I had to add the silly little bird on her shoulder to keep things whimsical. I can’t seem to take a pic of her that the coloring is right but maybe it will be warm enough that I can get her outside on the drawing board in a day or two to capture her in natural daylight.

I guess that’s about it for me right now.

I’m sorry that I’m not commenting on anyone’s blogs much these days…it takes me hours to write my blog posts one handed and I’m reading everyone’s posts, I just don’t have the energy to comment much right now.

Take care and be well.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Progress

I wish I was talking about the shoulder but it’s still way too early to tell about it…I don't go back to the orthopedic surgeon until the 17th.

What is making progress is the portrait sketch I have been working on. 12-5 girlSo, what do y’all think?

Peace & Love,
Barb
 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

When it Rains…

When we last left our ailing semi-super-hero, she was fretting over a heart attack she had just learned she had suffered. Since then she has taken a terrible spill onto the concrete floor of her carport and smashed her shoulder, breaking the bone.

Uh yeah…that was my horrid attempt at humor.  I’m doing my best to keep my chin up and stay positive…in the face of all this bad health stuff that just seems to keep rolling my way.

Although my broken shoulder may have me incapacitated (yep, the orthopedic surgeon gave strict orders that if I want to avoid surgery then I’m pretty much homebound, can’t drive or do much of anything since I MUST keep my shoulder completely immobilized), the good news is that it is my left shoulder and not my right. YAY!!!  Maybe I can paint or journal in a day or two…I have already played around with drawing a little:
sketch1

I haven’t done much sketching in forever but I have wanted to so, no better time than the present. Now I just have to work on giving her some hair (which is always a toughie for me) and fine tune her before I add any color (paint, colored pencil, watercolors, pan pastels, etc.) I’m really quite smitten with portraits lately so you’ll probably see more of them in the coming days…and I want to dabble with doing folk art type portraits, so there is that to look forward to, also.

Anyway, this typing with one hand thing is so very time consuming and extremely tiring so I will probably be doing my blog posts by way of hand writing them in my art journal and scanning them in for the next few weeks. I hope y’all don’t mind. 

Last but not least, all of these medical issues are costing us out the butt so I am having a sale in my Artfire shop:

SAVE 15%
On All Items

Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

So, if you're looking for art supplies, Sharpie Paint Pens or maybe some original art as a Christmas gift, it’s a great time to stop in and load up on lots of goodies while saving some money and helping me out all at the same time.

Also, I am going to begin taking advertisers on my blog. I never wanted to do that but then I realized I have been advertising for others for free for a very long time…I do it every time I put some one’s button on my blog!!  so why not generate some much needed income from it? My little blog here has grown to approximately 3,400 unique visitors a month and that is some pretty great exposure. Ads will be prominently displayed in the top left sidebar…the very first place most readers notice.  There are lots more details HERE if you are interested.

Well, this has taken me almost 3 hours over two days to write so I think it’s time to close for now…I am worn out.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Mind is Blown

I am in a bit of a stupor right now.  Today was Tuesday but I don’t know that I realized that until just now…at 10pm. If it had been like any other Tuesday, I would have been up early, writing and posting my List it Tuesday list.

But it wasn’t like any other Tuesday. Not at all.

You see, I went to those doctors appointments yesterday…the one with the disability determination doctor and I had an appointment with my regular doctor. Crazy enough, the appointment I was most relaxed about, the one with my regular doc, is the one that has completely yanked the rug of life out from under my feet.

I found out yesterday that I have had a heart attack sometime in the not so distant past.

I, at 45 years old, have had a heart attack. Me, not someone I know…someone older…but ME. I.had.a.heart.attack.

Those words have done nothing but ring around inside this otherwise empty head of mine for almost 36 hours now and they still feel as foreign as they did when they first came out of my doctors mouth to me yesterday.

I know it. I realize what it means…kinda. I mean, I do but it just still feels so very foreign…like it’s real but it’s not real.

*rolling eyes*

I know, that sounds so stupid but I can’t explain it any better than that.

We don’t know any more than that I have had a heart attack right now…more in depth information will have to wait until after I have an echo-cardiogram and stress test on Friday to determine how bad and how much of my heart muscle has been effected.

I am doing my best not to focus on it but when some crazy, out of the blue thing like this happens, how do you NOT think about it? I have played in my art journal for a while (and the outcome looks like total crap but hey, it was quite cathartic to just make a complete mess!), listened to all 22 of my unlistened-to podcasts, watched all of my recorded episodes of “In Treatment,” but my mind keeps coming back to it, repeating it over and over…you’ve had a heart attack, you.had.a.heart.attack!!!

My mind is blown.

Considering that is all I can seem to think right now, I don’t know what I can do a List it Tuesday about but I want to do one so I can focus on something else, at least for a few minutes….I just can’t seem to come up with a subject or a theme. How about…

My To-Do List for This Week

  • Finish my tree painting/collage.
  • Make both bank payments.
  • Sort through another stack of magazines.
  • Begin creating the armature for the tree jewelry holder project.
  • Get the paint out so Toad can paint the kitchen cabinets.
  • Go grocery shopping (and actually cook a meal!)
  • Go through my art books and re-read one that catches my interest.
  • Begin drawing a portrait, Frida maybe?

I don’t think I’ll overload myself with any more than that for now. I imagine if I can accomplish part of my list, my mind will stay somewhat occupied.

So, that’s what is on my mind.

What’s up with you?

Peace & Love,
Barb

Monday, November 29, 2010

It is what it is…

It’s been a good holiday weekend…we did nothing. Seriously, we didn’t do a single thing out of the ordinary. We just relaxed, ate turkey, ham and stuffing that our daughter and son-in-law brought us from their three different Thanksgiving meals they attended (yay for me not having to cook!) and we just enjoyed our quiet, peaceful house.

I usually brave Black Friday but this year, nope…no way I was venturing out into that craziness. We’re not doing a whole lot of gift giving so I had no need to go out and fight the crowds, thankfully.

Today, however, it’s back to regular life…the hubby is back at work on a regular schedule and I have two doctor’s appointments today. One is with my regular doc for my monthly visit but the other is for disability and I’m really hoping that goes well. Wish me luck.

So, it’s time for a shower and to get out the door and get this day started.

I hope your post-holiday Monday is a good one.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

List It Tuesday 1.3

Thanks to Aimee at Artsyville, I am continuing with my List it Tuesday posts. (I know, it’s 11:45pm but hey, it’s still technically Tuesday! lol) Anyway, I love lists so much…I always have seventy-‘leven (for those of you north of the Mason-Dixon, that’s Southern for a whole dang bunch) of them going.  So, let’s get on with today’s list.

 Creative endeavors I want to try/start

  1. Quilting…real quilting, the full size, crinkley, soft, just-like-yo-granny-made kind of quilting. 
  2. Pottery…throwing clay on a wheel kind of pottery.
  3. Stained glass…how I’d love to make beautiful pieces to hang in my windows.
  4. Book binding…the real kind, where I create books that look like the kind on the bookstore shelves. 
  5. Soap making…I want some yummy goats milk and oatmeal soap; an unending supply of it.
  6. Woodworking…I love furniture and bookshelves, picture frames and ornate plaques, not to mention the smell of cut wood.
  7. Welding…don’t laugh! I love beautiful shaped metal pieces. Big ones and small ones. How fun it would be to work with metal.
  8. Sculpting…more of a paper mache kind of thing but creating 3 dimensional pieces, none the less.
  9. Encaustics…I love the smell of warm bees wax and encaustics have the most gorgeous sheen to them.

Those are a few of the art forms I’d love to try, at least once, and see which ones I like. Who knows, one of them might even stick?

What art forms are out there that you’d love to dip your tootsies into once or twice? Do tell?

Happy Tuesday…or Wednesday, now that it’s after midnight!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things that Make Me Happy

So many Mondays many of us wake up and dread the day ahead. It’s Monday, the weekend is over, the workweek is ahead of us (or, for some of us, just another week of the same old thing is ahead of us,) and that makes Mondays a tough day.

Not this week, though…not for me. It’s a week to be thankful and to recognize all the good things in our lives.That’s what I’m doing today so here are some things that make me happy.

 
My husband, Richie. I would rather be with him than anywhere else on earth. He makes me laugh like no one else on earth, he’s the best friend I’ve ever had, I trust him without end, plus he’s the sexiest man ever!…he is my soul mate.

Art Supplies…oh how art supplies make me happy! YUM!

Books. All kinds of books. Yes, books make me VERY happy.

  Art Journaling…seeing the work of others, playing in my own art journals, experimenting, learning, playing, everything about art journals make me happy!
(This page by
Teesha Moore)

 
My little precious Chloe pup who is forever by my side.

Anything that combines caramel, pecans & chocolate but especially brownies; brownies are my downfall.
*mouth watering*


Nuff said…I adore NPR podcasts. Listen to tons of them.

The beach…more precisely Clearwater Beach, Florida…
where we’ll soon be living!

Yes, these things among many, many others make me happy…so that’s where I’m keeping my focus today.

So tell me, what’s on your list of things that make you happy this Monday?

Peace & Love,
Barb

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Haul-idays, a Chance to Win

Chronicle Books is having a fantastic contest of sorts giving bloggers and their readers a chance to win $500 haul of great Chronicle books. If you are a voracious reader like me, $500 in books is a slice of heaven!

All you have to do is post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’re entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too! Sounds great, huh? Yeah, does to me, too.

So, here’s my list (tell me what you think and be sure to comment…maybe we can BOTH win these awesome titles!):

Can you believe all the beautiful, fabulous, awesome books you can pack into a $500 shopping cart? Wholly Cannoli, that’s a whole lot of good stuff up there, huh? It has taken me two days of browsing, reading about them, and being really picky to find exactly what books I would love to win?

Does your list look something like mine? If so, be sure to leave a comment and then we can both cross our fingers and hope to all things bright and beautiful that we win this tremendous load of fabulous BOOKS! (Is there anything better than a huge haul of books…well, other than a huge haul of art supplies or fabric, right? Gimme a load of each of those and I’m set for life! lol)

Anyway, be sure to leave your comment here and let me know if you’re blogging about this great giveaway from Chronicle and I will be sure to comment on yours, too (that’ll double our chances to win!)

So, be sure to leave a comment here so we’re entered to win a matching set of all of the books on this awesome list. 

Don't be shy! 

Be sure and leave a valid email address if you don't have one in your profile.  This contest is open to U.S. residents only.  Contest ends on December 10 and winners will be announced on December 13.

Good luck to all of us…and read on!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lonely Tree Studio

You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition. 
What you'll discover will be wonderful. 
What you'll discover is yourself. 
~Alan Alda

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

For two and a half years, I have blogged here under the blog title of Craft Therapy and Craft Therapy has done me well. It has been my home online, the city of my comfort, and I love it here. Wait…No fears, I’m not going anywhere…I’m just doing some minor renovating here at my little online home. All homes need some sprucing up from time to time, right?

I realized some time ago that I am no longer only about crafts but that I have grown and am finding that my focus is based more in art…my art…and learning more about the arts that I have grown to love.  This is my trek into the wilderness of my own intuition. Oh yes, I still have my crafty moments (what is life without a little craftiness here and there?) but even those moments are part of my studio and no longer just for therapeutic purposes (although the therapy part still helps, though.)

It has taken me forever to find the studio name that fit and that felt right but it finally came to me a few weeks back. That should explain the name change…I am Lonely Tree Studio.

I just didn’t want anyone wondering what the heck was up with the name change. My intuition says it’s time to narrow my focus a bit and see where it takes me. I am willing to bet that by focusing on my art and art journaling I will find out more about myself than I ever knew possible.

I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the journey with me…time will only tell where it will take me.

And hey, leave a comment every once in a while, why don’t ya? It’s nice to know visitors have stopped by and that I’m not here alone, talking to myself. LOL

Peace & Love,
Barb

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