Thursday, June 28, 2012

Changing Course is Sometimes Necessary

I had planned on posting yesterday, I had finished another page for the Milk Carton Book Series, but alas, my trusty faithful camera finally gave it up, with no warning. Well, I have had it for 12 years, which is a long time for an electronic device, and it gave me good service. Because the page has 3D elements on it, it will not scan properly and I'd rather it looked as good as possible when I show it to you.

Today has been one of those days where little annoyances ganged up to play "trip up" in my life. Plus I am trying to read and disseminate The Patient’s Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia,  by Dr. Bruce Campbell which will help me put in place the steps necessary to manage this illness, rather than let it direct my life continually; but it's sort of a Catch-22, because the brain fog and overwhelming-ness I feel after reading it for a few pages frustrates me almost as much as the ME/CFS does. ::::::sigh::::: baby steps, baby steps, baby steps!

As I felt the frustration build, and as I was praying for release from the darkness, I came up to my studio to paint, to work out my tension. Here is the journal page with the painting:

(click for details)

I call it Caught Between The Darkness and Light, the words don't show up very well in the scan. It's a mixed media - acrylic paints and oil pastels. I hope you can see the waves of stormy water. This was a fairly quick painting, but after all, it's a journal entry!

As soon as my new camera gets here, I will show you the addition to my book pages!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Art Postcard and a Story: Salmo Salar

This art postcard was fun to do and is off in the mail today.

(click for details)

The base is an ad postcard, which was sent to me in a bundle of other postcards I had ordered. I covered the front with gesso, because it was a black and white photo and very dark. I then added a layer of tissue torn into strips and collaged on, then paint, then more tissue, then paint, etc until I was satisfied that it was the right color of pink and purple. I then attached the Tim Holtz paper tape, a scrap from an early 1900's French magazine, the lace and fabric flower and some pink polka dotted ribbon. It was finished with Silver Leaf around the edges. I hope the receiver enjoys the card!

Salmo Salar
54th in the Tuesday Story Series

When I was in my teen years, mother was having to feed a large hungry family of six children with only ten years between the oldest (me) and the youngest. A couple of my brothers were old enough to be involved in sports, so they were always hungry. The Piggly Wiggly grocery store she used had double coupon day on Thursday and so that was shopping day for Mom and usually one or two of the children to help. Mom made a careful list because she had a limited budget, and usually had two buggy's full by the time she reached the checkout lane. Sometimes she allowed the child helping her to pick a special box of cookies for dessert. There were piles of sandwich meats, bread, a couple of dozen eggs, a chicken or two, pasta, and perhaps a roast for Sunday dinner. We had our milk delivered by a driver once or twice a week (that was still done back in my day). And always, always, there was canned salmon and a bag of grits.

On Thursdays, what we would have for supper was almost set in stone; since it was a busy day for Mom, after making the list, shopping and putting away all of the food, she planned a simple meal for the end of the day. But it was a meal several of us really disliked. She would open a can or two of salmon, dump it in a pink Melamine bowl, cook a pot of grits and bake a can of biscuits. Put some margarine on the table, and that was supper.  I thought it was awful. 

The salmon was straight out of the can, the way my father liked it. I grew to really dislike the taste, texture and the small round vertebra bones which always seem to find their way onto my plate. I would spear a piece with my fork, get as much grits on it as possible and force it down. The grits, being pretty bland, did not help much. If we dawdled at the table, then the grits turned cold, and that tasted even worse. And it wasn't just at our family dinner table, the other place I was faced with canned salmon was in the school cafeteria. Every Friday during those days, they served fish of some kind, and often it was Salmon Croquettes - a small ball of the yucky fish deep fried with a thick coating of flour. At least at school I could ignore it and eat whatever else was on the plate. I didn't have that luxury at home.

Since then,  salmon has been touted as one of the best health foods, a delicacy, rich in Omega 3's, etc. etc. And I don't care. To be fair to me, I have given it a try - fresh salmon steak, cooked just right (I was told), and I tried to clear my mind of the stubborn memories. I ate what was in front of me, but deep down inside, I knew it was a waste of time, that my mind would never be fooled by all of the "but it's healthy.." verbiage. So, I am being kind to myself and am not going to eat it. Ever. There are too many good, healthy other things out there I can eat!

And what about the name of the story - Salmo Salar? It's the scientific name, Latin for Atlantic Salmon. Those words are the only thing poetic about it!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another Milk Carton Book Page

In my last post here, I wrote about beginning a new project  - making a book from milk carton paper. I've been a bit slow this week, I have had to rest more than usual, but I did a bit everyday and this is the second page:

(click for details)

(click for details)

The front is a mixed media collage; materials used include a chalk inks, acrylic paint, torn piece of a local map, buttons, embroidery thread, rubber stamping, oil pastels, and acrylic paint. The textured pot is a piece of the cardboard insulator used around a Dunkin' Doughnuts coffee cup, a green fabric strip for the stem, and flowers were cut and frayed from an old hankie. Very tiny silver beads were glued in the middle. The back (which is actually darker than is showing) is collaged strips of tissue paper, with some gold ground mica brushed over the surface, and then the edges were done with Gold Leaf pen. On the pot is a German stamp with the word GROEN, (means green in English).

This is fun to do; I hadn't realized that I missed doing the smaller pieces of art. I know I still do postcards, but it's nice to work on a project that will all be put together. I hope to make the book a cheerful piece of art!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Starting a Small Book, and A Story: Bob White

In the latest issue of Somerset Studio, one of my favorite magazines, was an article about making paper from milk cartons. I was so excited about the possibilities, I went downstairs and pulled out the empty carton of Flax Milk (alas, no dairy products here except Greek Yogurt) and by the end I had 4 pages ready to incorporate with whatever I wanted to do. I decided I will make a small book and here is what was completed.

(click for detail)

(click for detail)

Since I plan on including 3D objects on each front page, the back will be more neutral and flat. I used acrylic paints, oil pastels, rubber stamping, a flattened old Dr. Pepper bottle cap, Micron pens, paper scraps, and cut out words. I have 3 more blank pages, and then I will make more from the next empty carton; page size is about 7 x 3.75. Once I feel the book is the right size, I'll put it all together. 

And in case any readers may be wondering about the wall hanging I was making, I had put it aside because of the trip out of town, and I was waiting for some more inspiration for details to add, and now I have them! So I will be posting about that as well, soon.

Bob White
54th in the Tuesday Story Series

Yesterday I posted briefly that it had been a day for spending on the bed, as I had awakened weak and fatigued. In the afternoon, as I was playing a game on my laptop I heard a Northern Bob White quail calling from nearby. Their name comes from the whistle call they make, and it's one of my favorite sounds of summer. (Click here if you have never heard it) It brought back memories of a time early in our marriage when the quail provided us great entertainment.

When Tabitha was not quite a year old, John had been offered a job in Berkeley County which would provide more money for our family. It meant moving to Goose Creek, South Carolina, which at the time was not much of a town, more of a collection of homes, different stores and fast food places which catered to the nearby Naval Weapons Station. It was growing, though, and we were able to move into a new 2 bedroom condominium not too many miles from where John would be working. We had the end unit and it had a small screened porch facing a slice of woods which provided a sound buffer to the busy 4 lane highway on the other side. There was a patch of grass about 4 foot wide between us and the woods. 

It was lonely for me during that time, because we were down to one car, which John drove to work. It was also a long distance away from our church and the friends who had lived nearby. Sometimes if John did not have plans to leave the office, I would drive him to work and then Tabitha and I would drive down the interstate to visit friends; but mostly he needed the car, and he put in long hours. 

One day after we had settled into the apartment, I heard the Bob White calling from the patch of woods behind us. Late that afternoon, I saw a pair of them come out of the woods, clucking softly to several babies scrambling behind them. John came in just then, and we quietly went out to the porch to watch them. They did not mind us, but continued hunting for food, parents and chicks busily scratching the ground. Every evening after that, we would sit on the porch and wait for them to come out to feed. We sprinkled some corn on the ground for them. It was fun watching the chicks grow.

Watching them helped ease the loneliness, and there was also a whippoorwill in the woods which would make its calls every evening that summer around 9 PM. We only stayed in the condo for about 10 months, because John was offered an even better job which brought us back to Charleston, and a job where he stayed until he retired. But we enjoyed the birds the short while we lived there.

We have Bob White living here in the woods and pastures and still smile every time the call comes through the air. Maybe some day we'll see parents with their chicks again! 

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Checking In

I awoke today to extreme weakness and pain, so it's a lie-in day for me the whole day. Thought I'd go ahead and post something, as I am trying to get into the habit of using my blog more than once a week or so!

Here's a picture of something pretty to look at!

Ranunculus! One of my favorite flowers!! 
Cheerful, isn't it?

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Friday, June 15, 2012

What's Your Worth? Journal Page

In the past couple of days, I have been working on this journal page. After seeing Dr. Lapp, the ME/CFS/FM specialist, I've been floating on the encouragement both my husband and I felt. One of the things I had always tried to do is not let this illness define me, but instead to keep my eyes on Christ, and look for new things to be part of my life. One of the worst aspects of this illness is the comments made to you out of either ignorance or no desire to learn any more about what it is you have. It's been very hurtful at times. But my worth is not in how others see me, but in the beautiful robes I wear in the eyes of Christ. As I was playing about with this page, I came across this image of a woman dressed in very lovely clothes and then I found the words I put at the top. It's a journal page, so it's for experimenting, and not for creating a finished work of art. But still, I think it says a lot!

(click for details)

Background is a combination of acrylic paints and liquid water colors and includes a torn vintage music sheet. Paper images, rubber stamping, image tape, oil pastels, Stabilo pencils, and Stickles completes it.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back To Blogging... I Hope!

I have finally regained some of my stamina from the trip out of town last week. It was a wonderful, if grueling, appointment! He and his staff are some of the most compassionate people I have met, especially as regards this illness, ME/CFS/FM. (I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, caused by the ME/CFS - that was news to me, and now I know why I have such pain some days!) It was so tremendous to be in a place where there were no doubts cast or rude/questioning comments made. I have some work to do as I begin to learn to manage this illness and see what good things await me as I lead a completely different life than I lived the first 60 years. And I have no doubt that there will be good things, because God has shown me His love and held me up, so I know He will have blessings for me. I've already experienced many in the past 4 years of this illness!

Before I left, I wanted to do at least a little bit of art, even though I had to be careful not to tire myself out. I pulled this postcard out of my reject pile. I had started it a good while back, and did not like where it was going, so I put it away.

(click for details)
I did a little bit of altering before I went to Charlotte, and after I returned, I finished it. It's pretty simple, but I was happy to be doing something! It has now been mailed to my sister, who loves purple (and the flower is more purple than pink!)

(click for details)
A little paint, some strips of tissue, some alcohol ink, a big flower, 3 shiny hearts, rubber stampng and a bit of Stickles and Gold Leaf Pen and there it is! I hope she likes it! (And she should have gotten it by now!)

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Greetings from Charlotte NC!

No story today, as I had to travel to Charlotte NC to see a specialist for the ME/CFS - Dr. Lapp at the Hunter-Hopkins Center. Right now I am pretty exhausted from travel. I am thankful that it was only a 2.5 hour drive, many people come hundreds of miles, and from 19 foreign countries to come to this Center. So thankful for my wonderful husband for driving us, and for being with me tomorrow when I go in for my appointment. We don't expect anything really new, as much as learning the best way to manage this incurable illness. And to have help in understanding the world of disability and where you go to get the things you need.

Signing off now, I am really fatigued!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Art Is A Friend

I did this piece this morning. I'm really having to remind myself to spend more time down than up, because once I go one second across the line, the payback and recovery takes 10 times longer. No, that is not an exaggeration, as my family can attest. But it's hard to just lie there and one can play just so many computer games, and one can't think clearly and aches so badly, it's hard to do anything else. This was made as a good reminder to me!

(click for details)

Mixed media with liquid watercolor, oil pastels, alcohol inks and a paint pen. A little rubber stamping is thrown in for detail! Another journal page.

It's so cool and pleasant here! We had a cool front go through, and the temperatures are dry enough and cool enough to have the windows open and I'm loving having the window open on the second of June! Never would have happened when we lived in Charleston!

 Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!