Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Mirror for Madison

A client requested a large mirror for her daughter's bedroom -
One of those really large mirrors that you lean up against a wall.
She found one on clearance and scored a great deal on it - but the look was not really teenage-girl appropriate.
It was black with gold trim.
Fine for an adult home - but not what she was looking for.

She brought the mirror and asked for a make-over -
the instructions were bright and "girlie" - include fashion, shoes, etc.
I think I accomplished the task.
Dresses, shoes, make-up, handbags, perfume, hairspray . . .
all things girl.

Of course - as usual - photos don't do it justice.
But it should brighten up a bedroom quite nice!

In other news -
we are experiencing rain . . .
rain . . .
and more rain.

I'm a born and raised Oregonian.
I know what rain is -
but I can't take this anymore.

How do you deal with overwhelming gray?
Because right now - all I want to do is crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head.
I want to scream.
I have no patience. I used to tell my kids - my patience was the size of a watermelon and now it is the size of a grain of rice.
Yup - I'm kind of "DONE".

On Sunday - my husband grabbed me and pulled me out of the studio.
The sun had broke through the clouds.
He sat me down in a chair on our deck and we soaked up the warmth.
It only lasted for about 10 minutes - but for that 10 minutes, I felt so much better.
Please, please, please - mother nature - please give us a break with the rain so that we can be reintroduced to the sun.
I have always had a wonderful relationship with Mr. Sun and I would like to reignite it.
I promise not to complain about the heat.
And may I say, Mother Nature . . .Thank you - in advance.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring is Springing

After spending some time in the studio painting today, my husband insisted we take a break and go for a walk.
I was not thrilled.
In fact, I was feeling a grumpy and sorry for myself today.
But I let him drag me along.

Mother Nature must have known I was feeling a little down because she really put on a good show for us . . .

Thanks honey, for making me get out side. I would have hated to miss this show.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything . . .

Here is a before and after picture of the new spice cabinet door in its home . . .
Before . . .

 And after . . .

Looking good - and I really love the punched tin backsplash!

A cute picture of my little grandson man.
With that hat, he looks like he is prepping for his upcoming artsy/music career.
A budding Jason Mraz!

Last night I checked something off my 2011 to-do list.
I was a student at a cooking class.
It was oh-so fun.
I have been threatening to take a cooking class for years.
But I spend all of my time fretting about "what?"
What kind of class? What kind of food? What about the price?
That questions can become downright paralying!
I finally decided to just jump in with both feet and sign up for one that interested me.
Part of the frustration is - I know how to cook.
I think of myself as a fairly decent cook.
So I didn't want to waste my money one something that I didn't like or something that I already know how to make.
I looked around at a few websites for my area and finally decided on a pizza making class at Bobs Red Mill.
I have shopped at this place for years. I love their products, I love that they are local, I love their philosophy and approach to food and eating.
I know how to make pizza. I have done it for years.
But I thought - this is something that, although I already do it fairly well - maybe I can learn a few secrets that will make homemade pizza a little better.
Afterall - I don't know about you, but I don't have a pizza oven in my home kitchen! No matter how hard I try, I will never get my oven to reach the temperatures of a pizza oven.
I had so much fun in this class.
We watched - we asked questions - we sampled and sampled and sampled.
And I learned that I already do most everything right.
I learned a few new secrets as well.
But most of all -
in a world where I am always giving to my co-workers, or my children, or my students, or . . .
someone else -
It was really great to be the student. To be able to have someone else "fill my cup" up.
I am already looking for new classes to take.

We are almost into the 4th month of 2011. Have you tried something new or different? If so - what is it? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cold Mornings . . .Warm Evenings

I know the calendar says it is officially Spring.
But when we woke up this weekend, we were greeted by some rather chilly temperatures.
The sky was clear (for a while) and we actually saw the sun (oh how I have missed the sun).
We walked out to our front driveway and I was greeted by some beautiful art work.
The frost on one of our cars was formed in a beautiful pattern -
this would be worthy of being framed and hung on a wall.
It didn't appear on any of the other cars around - just the one. 
A little bit of Mother Nature magic. . .

The feathery pattern was so intricate and depending on the angle that I looked at it, the sunlight reflected and it all glistened.
Good work Mother Nature - good work!

Later - I decided that it was a good day for some warm weekend comfort food.
And something simple -
A pot of soup was the perfect answer to warm the evening.

Sauteing a rainbow of vegetables

Add some white and kidney beans. . .

You gotta have potatoes. . .

Herbs, spice, and everything nice . . .
A perfect meal in a bowl.
A perfect end to the weekend.

Now - Mother Nature. . .
As much as I enjoyed your beautiful display on the car this weekend. . .
as much as I enjoy a hearty bowl of comforting homemade soup . . .
as much as I enjoy curling up with a warm blanket -
I really am done with this winter thing.
Could we move spring along a little faster please? Thank you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Colors So Nice . . .

The finished spice cabinet door. Won't this brighten up the spot above a stove?

A new mirror. . .

Just a quick check in with a few pictures of two recent projects. I have finished the spice cabinet door for a client and will be excited to see pictures once she has reinstalled this in her kitchen above her stove.

And it's been awhile since I have worked on a custom mirror - I forgot how much I love doing them!

Next up - two chairs and a 7 foot tall mirror!

My weekend will be filled with painting and cleaning and hosting friends for game night!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life's Firsts

Need to call my friends and family and let 'em know I turned "1".

Yummy cupcakes!

Did you read this text????  

Have I had cake before?

Oooh - this is pretty yummy

You should taste this. Wanna share?

Yeah - I know. Today is all about me. . .

And I get presents??? . . .Notice - I have changed my clothes because I was covered in pizza, cake and frosting.

Birthdays are cool . . .

Here Uncle Collin - you need some cake too!

A year ago, we witnessed the birth of our grandson. A miraculous experience. One I will never forget.
For the last year, this little man and his mom have lived in our home with us.
I have once again had the opportunity to witness the first year of life with all of it's changes.
Only this time - through the eyes of a grandma.
Through eyes that have a greater understanding of just how quickly this time flies by.
Through eyes that have more patience.

In the last year, this little man has learned to
hold his head up, roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, cruise around the furniture, laugh, smile, wave, feed himself, sprout a tooth . . all of the traditional milestones.
He has also learned . . .
He loves smoothies in the mornings for breakfast and ice cream really is "the bomb".
Peanut butter - though sticky - is pretty amazing too.
He has learned that balls roll.
Music brings joy - whether it is played on Nana's Piano, Papa's guitars or the toy drum. It even makes going to sleep a little easier.
Crayons make marks on paper.
Screaming gets someone attention - but it also gets a brief timeout.
A rocking chair is for snuggling.
New teeth hurt!
Nana and mom's cell phone are fascinating.
As a male - there is an uncontrollable attraction to the tv remote - even though tv is not that fascinating.
Books are great friends.
Peek-a-boo and wheels on the bus never loose their appeal.
Blowing kisses makes everyone smile.
Dinner time with the family is full of talking and laughter.
He has learned. . . what love is.

Thank you Cameron . . .for joining our family and bringing your sweet spirit into our lives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Fear Got To Do With It?

A work in progress . . .

A preview of a new work in progress . . .
This will be the front door of a spice cabinet that sits above a client's stove.
Based on a scripture, which will be noted on the piece, it is full of deep, warm color.
Still some more work to go - but I just thought I would tickle your interest a little . . .

Earlier, I was scanning my FaceBook and came across this wonderful note about fear. The author of this post is in Japan and was in her high rise apartment during the recent earthquake that has rocked the entire world. Her words are profound and got me to thinking about fear and the debillitating effect it can have on us.
Yes -
I know that the quake hit it Japan and they are the ones cleaning up the mess.
I know that they are the ones who are racing to make sure they are ready in case they are quarantined to their homes for several days because of toxins in the air.
They are in the middle of it.
But I also understand that this quake shook the entire world.
I am in Oregon and we were put on alert due to the after effects of the tsunami.
For an entire day, the main topic of conversation was "what if?" "when?"
My dreams have been interrupted, my muscles are tight and I have an unidentified feeling of anxiousness.
Hmmmm . . .fear?
I think so -

The article about fear by Anna was so appropriate to where I am at in my life right now.
I go through a daily dialogue with myself that goes something like . . .
"You can do what ever you want. You are worth it!"
"No I am not - I am not good enough . . .what if someone realizes that I am just faking it and the truth comes out?"
"You are good enough. Why can't you see that in yourself?"
"But what if I am rejected?"
"What if you are?"
"What if I loose everything while trying to pursue this dream?"
"Why do you assume that you will loose?"
"Am I letting my family down while I pursue this dream?"
"No- you are teaching your family that our dreams are meant to be our roadmap and we need to follow them". . .

You get the idea -
So how do you silence the voice of fear?

Anna is right - it doesn't matter if we are fearing failure, feeling fear because of lack of money, or if we are caught in a catastrophic natural disaster.
Fear is fear.
And it can be dibillatating.
It can make us stop progressing, panic and say "why bother?".
It makes us a victim.

So - for today -
I am going to take Anna's advice. . .
"chin up, deep breath, flowers on the table. . ."
I am going to turn off the tv and the computer and stop comparing myself to everyone else - especially those who are farther along in the journey than myself.
Sometimes I say - "oh, I need to see that artist, that magazine, that . . .whatever it is, for inspiration."
Reality check - sometimes it just makes me feel more like a failure.
So instead - I am going to compare myself to myself.
I'm doing better and doing more today than I was yesterday, last week and last year.
I have a husband that has loved me unconditionally for over 24 years.
I have a family that loves me and we are all doing our best.
I have amazing friends who lift and listen and encourage.
I have a job that helps to meet our financial obligations.
I get to spend time on my dream and my passion.
I have a home - a home filled with imperfections like a roof that needs to be replaced, and an unfinished yard and a dryer that isn't working - but I have a home that is warm and filled with the things and people that I love.
I have food to eat and plenty of it.

Let's get real -
let's share our fears with each other and help one another to feel the empowerment of overcoming them.
Let's lift and encourage.
Let's all lift our chins, breath deep and put some flowers on our table . . ."

What are your fears? How do you resolve them and keep moving forward? What or who helps you move forward?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Words to live by part 2

All finished - all 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 feet of it . . .
A close up of the left side . . .
Life lesson words to live by . . .

The right side featuring some of the special girls interests.

Yesterday, I got up and got myself ready for work like a normal Thursday.
Half way to work, I received a phone call -
my place of business was suffering a power outage and the electric company didn't know what the cause was or how long it would take to restore power.
Don't come into work.

A day off?
Yeah - what a gift!

I went home and changed my focus and finished up the commissioned  painting that I showed you in my last post. 
I was so humbled by the wonderful words that were shared by all of you amazing women. Some were shared here and some were shared on FaceBook. 
I'm sure many of them will end up in future pieces!  

Now it is on to new projects and new adventures. . .
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Words to Live By - Part 1

A blank canvas - 3 1/2 ft x 4 1/2 ft approx.
The smearing of paint . . .right now it just looks like a mess!

Layering in some vines

A variety of small boards and canvases will be built up for a three-dimensional feel. The large canvas in the middle will be filled with empowering statements and words. A visual meditation . . .
Here is some progress on a large commission piece I am working on. . .
this is a meant to be reflective and inspirational for an incredible young lady.
A visual meditation of sorts.
Something to look at, absorb uplifting messages and empowering words.
A gift for this young lady from her parents.
What a great way to help a daughter to feel strong and able in a society that
strives to make our girls feel just the opposite.

I have been watching my own daughters go through their individual struggles with self-worth -
feeling fearful that they are not perfect enough, pretty enough, rich enough, skinny enough. . .

Really - what are we doing to these girls?

I have been spending time pondering what messages are the most important to put on this painting.
It has been on my mind alot.
And I was driving to work today - I heard a quote by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.
She said that the media has destroyed the music industry and turned the female performers into prostitutes.
Strong words . . .
She went on to say it is no more about the music or talent of the musicians -
but about their physical appearance and their makeup and their stylists.

Considering this project that I am working on - this really hit home.

Because in reality - our world is launching a full-fledged attack on our daughters.
Every image they see tells them they are not enough.
How do we help these young women?
How do we help them find peace, comfort and empowerment in their own skin?

In many ways - I feel like I am still working on answering this question for myself. I would love to say that I am immune to the pressure of "measuring up".
But that would be a lie.
And I really am trying to be truthful with myself and the other women in my life.
Afterall - if we don't share our insecurities with each other- aren't we just perpetuating the myth of perfection to each other?
I mean - how many times have you met a wonderful woman and thought -
"oh - she has it all. Her life is perfect. I wish I had it that easy. . ."
And then later - you learn the truth.
She has her own demons that she if fighting every day.
We all do!

Hopefully - I will be able to find the words that will speak to the heart, mind and soul of the young lady this painting is for.
And maybe - I'll find words that will help me as well.

For all you women out there -
what words or phrases or quotes have offered you strength throughout your life?

Share with me . . .share with each other!

PS - Keep checking back - I will post the finished project soon. Who knows - maybe your words or quote will be included!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Gets You Up In The Morning?

Do you ever feel like your day is nothing more than
wash, rinse, repeat?
I do.
A typical day involves an alarm going off at 6:00.
Do I listen and obey and get up or can I push it for another 15. . .20 . . . 30 minutes.
Pushing has it's consequences.
Shower, fix hair, put on make up.
Choose the "outfit of the day" while eating my portable breakfast.
Don't forget to create a lunch for the day.
Head to the day job.
Work my day job.
Go home.
Change clothes, eat dinner and then  -
the living can begin.
Not enough hours - use them wisely.

How is it that we spend the majority of our waking hours often doing something that
is not our passion.
I work in a day job and I am forever grateful for it.
Health benefits cannot be underestimated at this time in my life.
But the day job is not what gets me up in the morning.
It is not my passion.

What is your passion? Do you know?
Someone once described it to me this way -
What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?
What do you find yourself adjusting your day to get to?

I think it's pretty obvious that for me -  it is my art.
Specifically - it is painting.
I have experimented with a lot of styles of art and different art mediums.
But the paints are what I always come back to.

When I was younger - my passion was performing.
I lived to get to my rehearsals for musical theater, dance,  etc.
I still love to perform and even  miss it sometimes.
But I have come to peace with that part. 

There was a period when I was not acknowledging my passion.
I wasn't performing and I hadn't discovered my art yet.
I was a young stay at home mom with busy children.
I lived their passions with them.
Which was fine - but I also sunk into a very dark place.
When I explored my pull to art, my light started shining again.

I have come to know myself well enough to understand that I - we, as women - must learn what our passion is.
 It is imperative that we find that thing that gets us up in the morning.
When I do not make my art a priority, my world gets very dark very quickly.
This last week I have been helping out some family members. This has been a good thing, but it has changed my routine.
I have not been in my studio all week.
Last night the pressure of work, house work, family, responsibilities, etc. seem to come crashing in and it was more than I could deal with.
My husband and I had planned a mini-date to have dinner out with a gift card that I had been carrying around for several months.
We went to dinner. I was not happy. I was not chatty. I could have cared less!
The table was covered in white paper and there were 3 crayons.
New crayons.
Purple, Red and Yellow.
I started doodling.
The food came.
I kept doodling.
Nothing special - just a general theme of the restaurant where we were at.
It felt good.
My mood shifted, the light started to come back, the hope returned . . .

A little table art . . .
BTW - If anyone knows how to rotate a picture on the blog, let me know!

So - how about you . . .
What is your passion???
Have you found it?
Are you still looking for it?
Please - discuss!

PS - You leave comments and it makes me smile :)