Friday, August 30, 2013

Photo Friday - Night Shot of the Duomo in Orvieto and Gelato

This picture was taken on a nightly stroll through Orvieto.  Our normal habit was dinner and then a stroll before stopping for our nightly Gelato. 

I did not get a picture of the Gelato in Orvieto, but here is a picture from Rome.  Oh, Oh, Oh, was this good, every night I got a small cup of Bascia (Hazelnut and I hope I am spelling that right) and dark cholocata.  Yummo!!!!!

Photo's are so special, they can transport you back in time in an instant.

blog-a-long day 30/30 - Just the Begininning

Aren't these plates beautiful?  I bought them as a splurge while in Orvieto Italy last year.   They are not large dinner plates.  Rather they are a beautifully painted salad plate.  Salad plates are what I use for dinner since I am trying to eat in a more healthy manner and watch my portions.  Do you see the little bowl in the head of the picture, it holds 1 1/2 cups, just enough for soup or other treats without over eating, plus they are just so cute.

Why did I choose this picture today?  The plates are hand made and have a great artistic value to me. Someday with lots of practice I will be able to draw and paint flowers like this. 

Today is the last day of the 30 day Blog-a-long with Effy Wild.  I have had so much fun blogging everyday.  Some posts have been serious, some have allowed me to stand on my bully pulpit and others have been whimsical, but they all reflect various elements of my personality.  I have really been trying to blog more this year, to use the talents God has given me.  Because of that I do not see this as the last day of a blog-a-long; rather it is just the beginning of new adventures in writing and posting.

For instance I need to learn how to increase the followers on my blog.  I am always excited and appreciative when someone follows me.  It is like getting a Christmas present.

I want to figure out my intention for this blog and for myself actually.  Where do I want to go?  What direction to I want my life to take?  What lessons are there for me to learn?  I still have so much life to live.  It would be so cool to live to be 88 like my great grandmother Fannie Jane Cole, so very exciting.

But for today, dear reader, I am so glad for this opportunity and the friendships I have cultivated from this blog-a-long.  Please stop by when you can, love to you all, especially Effy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blog-a-long day 29/30 Serenity

I drew and painted this portrait as part of the Life Book 2013 project.  I was on vacation and did not have al of the normal paper and paints I normally use.  So I chose pages from a book I had that I won during a give away from Jessica Sporn and a very limited palette.  I really like the serenity of her face, it reflects her soul.

There are days like today when I just feel at peace with the world.  There is no need for a lot of words, just a profound sense of gratitude.

Blog-a-long day 28/30 - Deep in Thought

August 28, 1963....I was 13 years old and preparing for my first year of High School.  This was the day the March on Washington was held.  I listened to the speech by Martin Luther King Jr. with great anticipation.  You see he had been in Detroit Michigan on June 22, 1963 to participate in the Freedom March that was held.  Over 100,000 people marched down Woodward Avenue to bring attention to the plight of workers in Michigan, especially Detroit.  The speech he delivered was a preview of the speech he would give in Washington DC on Aug, 28th.  The speech in Detroit ended with the I have a Dream statements.  It was powerful and I was so proud that my Dad, Edward K. Barber Sr. marched in Detroit representing the African American group of The Veterans of Foreign Wars group.

I spent today thinking about how far we have come and how far we have to go.  It is truly a challenge and we cannot be faint of heart.  Life is like that, there is always something to do, always something to learn, always something to heal.

The photo above was taken at the Train station in Kansas City, Missouri.  I love sepia tones for photos. I used my histogram app for this presentation.  I was traveling from Nevada to Detroit for my annual family visit.  I rode in a small roomette (private car).  50 years ago in some parts of the south I could not have had a private room; 50 years ago I still would have had to use a restroom for African Americans.  50 years is not really such a long time ago.....We have really come a long way, but we still have so far to go.  There are lessons every person has to learn no matter ethnicity.  Wouldn't be nice if we could drop our guard and learn them together?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blog-a-long day 27/30 Random Thoughts Tuesday

Postcard made for Arthouse Coop Post card swap

Wow day 27, where has the time gone.  It is time for random thoughts tuesday, a day to just talk about whatever comes to my mind.   There are a few things I thought about this morning as I cleaned the kitchen.

1.  Stop flying by the seat of my pants.....I need to plan my day.  I get up eat and then move around randomly touching this and that.  I have a lot to do and it usually gets done, but I find that I waste a lot of time also.  Really, I do and then complain to myself (since I live alone) that there is never enough time.  Of course there is enough time, I just have to use it wisely.  Taking a few minutes just to jot some notes to myself will not hurt and will probably help a lot.

2.  This is a thought I have know what to do just do it.  Why did this become so important today?  I received an invitation (ok advertisement) to sign up for a 27 day journaling challenge on line. It will show me how to get my thoughts on paper, how to journal better and talk about what I want from life.......<making face and thinking>.  I considered signing up when the thought came to me "how many classes do you need to take?  You know what to do just do it."  Makes logical sense

3.  This thought was from this morning but it is just as profound (if I do say so).  I participate in Life Book 2013 and each week we get a new assignment.  They are wonderful and I am behind.  Truthfully I was up to date until I went on vacation.  I only did two of the assignments while I was gone and now I have to get the motivation to catch up.  Back to the thought....Some of the participants have the picture done within an hour or two after viewing the weekly video.  The work is beautiful and I say to myself "how in the Hell did they get it done so fast?"  They probably just sit down and do it.  Should I take the hint?  Maybe, but I am not a fast creator.  I have to think about it, let the paint dry, get easily distracted and knit a few rows on a scarf.....I think, dear reader, you may be getting the picture.  Hence the need for thought number 1.  Quit flying by the seat of my pants.

I like my random thoughts for this week......I just have to honor them

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blog-a-long day 26/30 - Life's Journey


Life's Highway can be tricky
full of pot holes and curves.
I trudge along this highway
dodging detours
turning around at dead ends

I periodically look over my shoulder
just a quick glance,
to make sure that you're  still there

traveling life's highway would be
lonely without you.
-glenda hoagland

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blog-a-long day 25/30: Art takes many forms

The picture above was altered by using an app ArtistaOil which takes a photo and turns it in to a rendition of an oil painting.  It was so much fun to work with this app and discover what can be done with photo's.

Art does take many forms.  I sometimes struggle trying to define what type of artist I am.  There are so many things I like.  For example, I have been really struggling trying to decide what type of book I am going to take with me to China to capture my trip.  I toyed with making a book, using one of the watercolor books I have sitting empty on the shelf, taking a smash book to capture all the ephemera and memorabilia I collect.  Why I have make this so hard is beyond me.  

Last Christmas I took a picture of my Christmas Tree and transformed it into an oil painting and then printed on card stock for my Christmas card.  I loved it and it was so special.  But I am torn between fine art, mixed media and folk art.  Where do I fit?  I think a better question is where do I want to fit in? I have to believe in myself and understand that art takes many forms and give myself permission to embrace myself right where I am.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blog-a-long day 24/30: A Time to Speak Up

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
I was thinking about what I was going to write today.  24 days in to this blog-a-long I was wondering if I really had something to say.  Then I had an experience on Facebook that gave me my topic.  You see, everyone has a right to their opinion, and they can share it anyway they want; however, when that is done, the sharer also must be able to accept the responses they may elicit.
Since not many read or respond to my blog posts, I thought this was a good place to get out my frustration.  I really try not to post political thoughts on Facebook, but.......this is my blog and I can post my cool is that??????
In 2003 I retired "early" from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, I did not qualify for continued health care coverage, as a result, I went two years with no health care coverage and prayed that I did not get sick.  I could not afford the $800 a month for health care coverage under COBRA. I then purchased individual coverage and paid $500 a month for coverage for one person.  In 2008 I started working again and  got health care coverage. In 2011 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in both breasts,  I was not worried about the cost of treatment because I had health care coverage.  June 2012 I retired because at age 62 and having survived four surgeries to treat the breast cancer, I did not know how much time I had left on this earth and that I needed to appreciate everyday, reduce stress and live.  The company I retired from does not provide the option for health care for its retirees.  As a result I had to get COBRA coverage which I pay for and will end on Dec. 31, 2013.  I will not be eligible for Medicare until Nov. 2014.
In today's environment there is a pre-existing benefit clause that prevents payment for medical services received for a condition, such as breast cancer, for a specific period of time ranging from 18 months to 10 years.  Effective 1-1-1014 the affordable care act (in the United States) will remove this pre-existing benefit clause. will be eliminated. November of 2014 when I turn 65 and qualify for Medicare.  I have been living in fear of the removal of the affordable care act simply because of the cost to continue to take a small pill designed to keep my cancer from coming back that costs $485 a month or the cost of the yearly mammogram and follow up medical visits every 6 months.
I am so blessed and thankful to be alive.  I am so thankful that I will hopefully be able to purchase health care coverage without any penalties.  I understand that many people in this country do not like the Affordable Care Act, and that is their right and I pray that they never have to walk one block in my shoes.  However, I am so thankful for the assistance that it will give to people like me.
Ok, I am stepping off my soap box.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog-a-long day 23/30 - Photo Friday

Today is Photo Friday.  The photo this week is of a rainbow after a major storm in the desert last year.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blog-a-long day 22/30 - Nothing Much to say

Some days there just is not a lot to say.  The picture above was done in March 2012 as part of a class with Orly Avineri.  It is a piece from a cereal box painted with layers of paint and then a sponge replica of my hand was covered with molding paste so that when removed there sat an impression.  It was painted, and then I made up the poem that is inside:

This little piggy was the prompt we were given resulting in:

This little piggy went to surgery
this little piggy
had radiation.....

This little piggy
has spent time healing
This little piggy has HOPE!

The poem was to relate to something we had experienced and I chose my year long journey through breast cancer in 2011.  No, this will not be a long post today, but I still have HOPE as I get ready to get the latest monthly installment of medicine that I must take for 3 and a half more years.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blog-a-long day 21/30 - Creative fun

Inspiration Cards

Sample of Butterfly's that will be used on Inspiration Cards

Before I get to the main subject of this blog, I just need a moment....WOOHOO 21 days of posting. Wow, major accomplishment!!!!  Ok, I am better now.

The pictures above represent a project I am working on that needs to be finished by the end of the month.  I am well on my way to making that goal.  Inspiration cards are a lot of fun to make and very soothing for me.  This is my second time participating in the Inspiration Card Swap.  The premise is that you take a deck of cards and decorate them.  Include and inspirational quote, send your completed deck to the curator who divides them among the participants and mails you a completed deck.

The first deck I completed was completely collaged with painted deli paper.  This time I decided to paint the cards.  So after coating each card in the deck with gesso, I chose 4 main color palettes for painting.  I allowed 1 hour for the acrylic paint to dry and then painted the edge with archival ink from ink pads using sponges.  The top butterfly's are from a stash of stickers I had, but since I am on a use what you have journey, the second picture reflects butterflies that I die cut using my big shot die cutting machine.  I cannot tell you how much fun I am having making these cards.  The theme is song lyrics and my lyrics related to Butterflies are from Mariah Carey and -Jamiroqual.

I forgot to use this one so I am going to print it here.

Come my Lady
Come Come my Lady
You’re my butterfly
Sugar Baby
-Crazy Town
The above lyrics are from the opening song from one of my favorite movies "Something's Gotta Give."
Creative fun takes many forms, paintings, art journaling, designing and creating greetings cards or participating in a card swap.  Your mind races, your hands fly and you embrace the finished project.
When the project has been completed and mailed, I will post a picture of  the cards.
As you work on your assignments today, whether it is clean the house, wash dishes or make an exquisite piece of art, remember to have creative fun.

Blog-a-long day 20/30: Random Thoughts Tuesday-Beauty in Simplicity

In Orvieto, Italy there is an art college from Boston (I forgot the name) that has students studying abroad.  As we toured the campus we came across these masks that were hanging on a rustic wall out side of the school.  The entire city of Orvieto, with it's ancient Etruscan Tombs, narrow cobble stone streets, twice weekly farmer's markets in one of the many public squares and the massive Duomo, is an excellent backdrop for artistic endeavors.

I was struck by the simplicity of the arrangement of the masks and the substrate on which they were hung.

There is great beauty in simplicity.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blog-a-long 19/30 - Lee Daniel's The Butler

Forrest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines - The Butler

On Saturday I went to see the movie The Butler.  It was the first time I have ever gone to see a movie on opening weekend.  So when the numbers were listed this morning that it had topped the Box office with $25 million dollars I was proud to be a part of it winning the number one spot for the weekend.

Let me start by saying I love Forrest Whitaker.  He is an excellent actor with the most expressive face which was a great asset for this movie.

The Butler covers a period spanning from 1926 to 2008.  Cecil Gaines was a young boy working in the cotton fields of Macon, Georgia (my family is from this area). The son of the owner of the cotton farm raped Cecil's mother on a regular basis.  When his father tried to speak up for his wife, the owner's son killed him, and his mother had a nervous breakdown.  The owner's wife took Cecil to the main house and taught him to serve.  Her main lesson was to tell him that he must learn to be invisible, the guests must never know he was in the room.  He called upon this lesson often when he became a butler in the White House.

This movie was very emotional for me.  In addition to chronicling the life of Mr. Gaines, it also showed very eloquently the struggle between the African-American generation of the 20's and 30's who were taught to be seen and not heard and the young African Americans of the late 50's and 60's who wanted to be seen and heard during the Civil Rights Movement.  I remember my father not allowing me to wear an Afro hair style in 1969.  As long as I lived in his house I had to follow his rules. I also remember being told that in order to get promotions and be taken seriously on my job I had to stop wearing my big Afro.

This movie was a reality gut check for me.  It brought tears to my eyes and left me feeling very somber.  As an African American I can never forget where I come from and that I am very proud to be who I am.

 After serving eight  Presidents Cecil Gaines retired.  He campaigned for President Obama as best he could given his advanced age and went to the Inauguration.  He echoed what many felt, never in my lifetime could I have dreamed we would have an African American President. 

Cecil Gaines was  man of dignity and strength.  In his own humble way he was a Civil Rights Pioneer.  The movie the Butler made me very proud.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blog-a-long day 18/30 - Family comes in all sizes

Photo of Painting in Vatican Museum
I was sitting in Church today for the first time in six weeks.  I have been going to my Church, St. Thomas More Catholic Community for six years.  During that time I have made many friends.  When I moved to the Las Vegas area I knew two people.  My best friend since 5th grade and her husband.  Everyone else important to me lived over 2100 miles away.
Over time when I started attending the same Mass, 8 am on Sundays.  Sitting in the same area with the same group of people.  They become your church family.  You give them a hug every Sunday, ask about them when they are missing and give them a big hug when they return.
That is what happened to me today.  I had not seen my buddy's since June 23rd and so when I sat in my normal seat today I got hugs, "welcome back", and we missed you from everyone.  It was so heart warming to see just how much I was missed, but even more important it was so heartwarming to be connected again with my "family."

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blog-a-long day 17/30 - Overcoming Fears

I have posted this painting before, but looking at it makes me understand the thoughts and yearnings I have been having.  I have been taking a lot of on-line classes this year learning to paint and draw.  In these classes we use the inspiration of the teacher to create a work of art and it has been great; however, I have this sincere desire to just pick up the paint and paint brush and just paint something coming from me.  This strikes great fear because I do not know if I have it in me, 

The picture above was painted in a painting class I took and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas  three years ago.  The teacher showed us a similar picture and said in three hours we would have a painting done.  The first thing that came to my mind was "No way Jose"  I would not be able to do it.  Needless to say I did complete the painting.  It is done on 18x24 watercolor paper using acrylic paint.

I want to uae a photo that I have taken and do an interpretation with paint, so I am giving myself an assignment.  My birthday is Nov. 14th and I am painting a birthday present to myself.  I am giving myself permission to try and I promise to post the painting no matter the result.

Overcoming my fears has been a lifelong struggle but I refuse to give up.  If I can conquer cancer, I can do anything.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blog-a-long day 16/30: Photo Friday - Train Ride Home

Fishing on the Colorado
Country Side from the Train

Photo's shown today were taken from the train as I made my way home to Michigan in July.  I was on the California Zephyr which sojourns through the Colorado Rockies.  I love the terrain and moving slowly by the Colorado River for miles upon miles.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blog-a-long day 15/30 - Tummy Wins

The picture above is a close up of a portion of the wall of the Duomo in Orvieto, Italy.  I was attracted to it by the pattern.  It is both intricate and simple at the same time.  In my life I have noticed certain patterns that are also intricate and simple at the same time.

For example for the past 6 weeks I was on vacation.  5 weeks at my daughters house and 6 days in Chicago.  I ate very sensibly during that time period and lost 8 pounds.  I am on a quest to lose weight in a sensible manner.  Been home since Monday the 12th and I started slowly creeping back into old patters of behavior.  Eating what I know is not good for me.  WELL, let me tell you my tummy rebelled this morning.  It told me NO MORE.  "I will not accept items too high in sodium, I WILL NOT accept processed meats.  No, No, No, it you don't have the sense to understand this, then I will SHOW you."  And I spent an hour losing everything but my kidneys (at least it seemed like it).  I got the message, time to change my pattern of eating for good. No more processed meats, drink much more water, eat my fruit and veggies. 

I have to make my goal for good-self care more than just "empty words".  I have to change the pattern that says I am not worthy, that self care is something others do.  It is for me too.  Starting with little steps and moving on to bigger ones.  I have to make the patterns of my life beautiful and much less complicated.  No matter how many times I have to start over to get it right, I just have to take a deep breath and carry on.

As I sit here sipping ginger ale to settle my stomach, I understand just how important it is to make friends with my Tummy.  Sorry Tummy, please forgive me, I promise to treat you better.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blog-a-long 14/30 Never Waste Paint

I watch a lot of videos by artists and most of them do the same thing.  They do not waste paint.  Artists like Jessica Sporn, Diane Reaveley, and Christine Urias all mention that they keep a journal handy to place the paint not used.  They use brayers, put stencils on blank pages to blot off excess paint, rub their palettes on the blank page to make backgrounds.  I watched but did not really pay attention until Monday night.  I was working on a journal page and had excess paint on two or three small palettes.  The light bulb finally went off and I pulled out my journal by Diane Reaveley.  I took the Palettes and rubbed them on the page above.  It made for an amazing (if I say so myself) background page.  From now on I am going to keep this book on the table beside me to catch all of excess paint.  Then I will be able to journal in my book with the pages in various stages of preparation.

I love learning lessons and this one is the best.  Not only does it save money, it also makes me use the journals I have on my shelf begging for attention. Hmmm, what other lessons will I learn as I make this journey through discovering my creativity?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blog-a-long 13/30: Random Thoughts Tuesday Giving Myself Permission

First weaving project by momoo50
First weaving project, a photo by momoo50 on Flickr.

I have the tendency to want to do everything perfectly and many times perfection is no realistic.  One of the classes I took at Stitches Midwest was making the Log Cabin Scarf on the rigid heddle loom.  My goal for taking weaving classes was to learn how to warp a loom.  I bought a rigid heddle loom about 5 years ago and the teacher a the neighborhood yarn shop moved to Utah soon afterward so the loom has been in storage, and I wanted to learn how to use it.  I love the feel of the fabric made from weaving.  Anyhoo back to the Log Cabin Scarf.

I entered the classroom with a negative attitude convinced that I would not be able to do the work.  In fact I had decided that I would leave the class if it go to be too much.  Well, suffice it to say my self fulfilling prophecy was coming true at the beginning.  I liked the warping process but my warp stand fell on the floor with my yarns still on it.  The turquoise was tied off so it did not suffer from the fall.  The coppery orange was not finished so it became raveled and I had to start over.  No problem because I had gotten comfortable with wrapping the warp.  I followed the other steps to get the loom set for weaving, I was slow and that made me feel inadequate.  My inner critic kept telling me to just give up.  I finally caught up by spending part of lunch working.  So when class began again I was ready to weave.

The Log Cabin design required the use of two shuttles and you have to remember which one goes on top and the bottom so that you can wrap the yarn. After many starts and stops I think I got the first 6 pairs done (I could not figure out how to count).  We had a wonderful teacher Debbie Jarchow.  She was very patient and encouraging.   Well she was showing us finished products and mentioned that many times she varied the pattern on her scarves and that we did not have to stick to the log cabin pattern.  Lights and bells went off in my head.  I immediately changed directions.  I used one shuttle back and forth, back and forth.  I switched colors so that turquoise was dominant and then the coppery orange.  It was wonderful and freeing.  I sat at my loom humming and smiling.  I had given myself permission to let go and just enjoy the process.  I had given myself permission to embrace my own design and just have fun.  The picture above is the outcome.  Because I waited so long to change I did not get a chance to make a 72 inch scarf, but it is long enough to wear especially with the fringe.

I learned to quiet my inner critic, not give up and give myself permission to just plain old have fun.  I thank Debbie for her kindness and understanding.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blog-a-long day 12/30 - Home at last

I am home....I was away for 6 weeks and I missed my little apartment.  The picture above is over my fireplace.  It is a space of honor for the artwork of friends.  I really try to support my friends in their artist endeavors.  It is important to show how much they mean to you and just how much you admire and cherish their creativity.  It will take me a couple of days to rest and get back to regular blogging, but for now, I am just enjoying the process.

Blog-a-long day 11/30 - Beading Sampler

What I did on my Vacation (smile). Seriously, this is a sampler I made in the class related to adding beads to knitted items,  It was so interesting to see how you manipulate the stitches can affect the look of the beads,  Pony beads were a main part of this process so that we could see exactly how the beads look and understand the over all effect.

Such a fun class and time.

Blog-a-long day 10/30

Outside of Renaissance Marriott in Schaumburg Illinois, site of Stitches Midwest a wonderful venue for knitters and crochet.

Blog-a-long Day 9 - flowers make me smile

Hi for the next few days I will be catching up on my blogging.  Been on vacation and the last days were spent at Stitches Midwest in Chicago.  The picture for today shows a beautiful red flower, I just love the color.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Blog - a - long Day 8 Changing Gears

Spending the day in knitting class.  The little sweater above was knitted for an orphan teddy bear who needed clothes.  It proved to me that I could knit a sweater, no matter how small. 

So for the next few days I will not be painting or drawing, I will be learning to weave, crochet edges and knit a lace scarf.  Yes I am switching gears and having so much fun.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Blog - a - long Day 7

Daisy painted in Orvieto, Italy

There are times in life when
When I wonder
Wonder how
How I have survived
Survived pain, sorrow and worry
Worry does not solve problems
Problems need not be an obstruction
Obstructions can only tie me down, if
If, I refuse to Surrender.
Surrender to peace
Peace of mind and spirit
Spirit filled with love
Love comes when I surrender
Surrender and enjoy my life.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Blog-a-long Day 6: Random Thought Tuesday.....Saying Goodbye

Instead of writing two different blog entries, I am going to incorporate the Blog-a-long into my weekly Tuesday Series Random Thought Tuesday.

Thought for Tuesday Aug. 6, 2013:

Tomorrow Morning I leave for Chicago.  I have been visiting my daughter and her family since I arrived early in the morning on July 3rd, 2013.  It has been a wonderful trip and I get misty eyed just thinking about it.  I love spending time with the family.  We laugh and talk, giggle at silly things, watch Family Feud, Tiger Baseball, the lovely Muppet 2011 movie and House Hunter Marathons.
We go to church, shopping and birthday celebrations.  We hug and smile and enjoy each moment.

This is my second year of coming to stay for an extended visit.  Since I retired last year I do not have to rush back home to go to work and it feels good.  But, no matter how long I stay, it is still hard to say good bye.  Between hugs and tears I know in my heart that I will see them again next summer; that when I get home there is much to do; plan for meetings at church; prepare for a trip out of the country in September; catch up on delayed art projects, so much to do because life does go on.

However, Today, Tuesday Aug. 6th is my last day in Detroit, last day to sit and laugh; last day for so many things July when I come again for my annual visit.  I will make today as special as possible, laugh a lot, hug a lot, get a years worth of loving soaked into every pore because tomorrow I leave for Chicago to attend a knitting convention (see what I mean about being busy) and then on Aug. 12th I head home to Nevada looking forward to my next visit with family in friends in July 2014.

Love to everyone....huggy, huggy and smooches to you.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Blog-a-long Day 5 Using What You Have

Etruscan Pitcher
I am starting the last week of a vacation that began on June 30, 2013.  I have been visiting my daughter and grandchildren in Michigan.  On Wednesday I will leave and travel to Chicago, IL to attend Stitches Midwest (a knitting and crochet retreat).  I have a boat load of art supplies at home, but I brought a very limited supply with me.  Limited palette of colors, a few gel pens, about 20 watercolor pencils, 15 watercolor  crayons, etc.  During this time I have participated in 2 or 3 online projects that required a lot of art work and I had to use what I had.

I have been saying for years..."Glenda, use what you have, you do not need to buy anything else", as I click send for the latest order of supplies, something I just knew would make my art just that much better.  Well, these past weeks have shown me that I can create using what I have.  My life is changing and my cavalier love affair with money has to change with it.  I retired a year ago and now live on my pension and Social Security.  If I want to travel (one of my fave things in the world) I need to save and I can save a lot if I don't order the "latest and greatest".................... you name it I have to have it.

I have an artist friend who is starting  month of not spending.  I like that idea and have designated October as my Not Spending month.  What does that mean?  For me it will mean only spending on what is absolutely necessary, such as food, Sunday offering, bills.  I want to see how much I really save at the end of the month.  During October I am going to take stock of my art  supplies, organize and label them so I really know what I have.  I am going to donate the excess (I know I have some duplicates and probably triplicates laying around).

I think I am going to enjoy this process, this change, this learning to live on a limited budget.  The picture I posted above was taken in Italy last year.  I chose it because it is one that I would probably not use in anything and that would be a shame.  Using what I have also means reassessing everything and use what would probably be an orphan languishing in saved to my computer never to use heaven.

I will be packing up my limited  art palette today so my daughter can ship it to me.  Time to switch to knitting mode using a limited palate of yarn and supplies. I know that my suitcase will be much lighter, my imagination richer and pocket fuller as I start my mantra do not need anymore yarn. Ok, maybe I will limit myself to just yarn that I will faint if I do not buy it.  Let's see how I do.

Thanks for stopping by.....Pilgrim

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Blog-a-long day 4: Hello....Come on in and Sit a Spell

Painting done in FW Acrylic demo class

Sometimes I take myself and the things I do too seriously.  I want it to be perfect.  I want everyone to love it.  I want everyone to love me.....well that is not always going to happen.  Not because I am not lovable or because what I do is not any good, but because that is just life. This is hard to accept because the message we receive throughout our lives is to be your best, be on top and if you are everyone will love it. Boy have I learned that this way of thinking is just not realistic.

It took me a long time to learn this, through much heart break and disappointment.  When I first started writing my blog in 2006 no one read it.  I would email friends and let them know about it and not a peep, so I gave up.  I did not write for 3 years until I believe 2009, still minimal responses.  Truly it was not until May of this year that I started blogging on a somewhat regular basis.  I was challenging myself to draw something everyday and post it.  It did not matter if I got a comment or not (of course it helps to get some), I just had to do the work, post the item, and have fun doing it.

Now don't get me wrong, I want people to look at my blog and comment, even a brief Hi. I still get excited when I check and find a comment.  But, the one thing I try to do, if I am looking at a picture on Facebook, is make a comment; or If I read a blog I try to leave a comment to say Hi.  Do I always, no but I promise myself to do better. 

Wow, light bulb is like walking into someone's house and not saying hello.  Hey this is interesting.  I am really going to live this now.  This means that I have to live my own truth and be more responsive when I visit blogs and enter your space; when I look at your artwork on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter; or when I get an email; I have to respond, say Hello and wish you well.

I like this blog-a-long.  It is making me think, making me do some soul searching and remembering to be humble.  So dear reader, as you visit me today I greet you with a Warm Hello and Welcome come on in,  Sit a Spell and have a good time.

Your Friend, Pilgrim

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Book Review: Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh

image by momoo50
image, a photo by momoo50 on Flickr.

For about three years I have been trying go get comfortable with the idea of doodling.  I bought all of the correct pens, looked at You Tube videos, bought the books and studied the examples.  Somehow my work just never measured up.  I was stuck in the realm of comparison.  I bought Art Doodle Love by Dawn Devries Sokol earlier this spring and it put me on a road to rediscovery.  Doodling wasn't just zentangling and making intricate designs, it was idle motions with a pen, sitting and randomly drawing whatever came to mind. Oh what a breakthrough.   Then, then, then I read that Jenny Doh had written a book with a virtual whose who of the doodling world including my friend Dawn.  I had to get Craft-a-Doodle and see what it was all about.  I have other books by Jenny and have taken on-line courses with her so I knew it would be a quality product.

The book arrived last week.  I am in the process of completing 24 days of doodling, a project that grew out of the Doodle Camp I participated in this July.  I figured that if I could doodle for 24 days I would really get the hang of it and it would become fun. 

I decided to put Craft-a-Doodle to the test.  Day 21, 22 and 23 off my 24 days are inspired by artists from the book.  The book is paper back which is perfect because you can open the page, and it will lay flat as you try the exercises.  Instructions are simple and to the point, which is what I need.  There are the intricate designs, the whimsical doodles, faces and just plain fun doodles.  The instructions include items needed, a getting inspired suggestion by some of the artists such as Jessie Oleson Moore, and detailed written and illustrated instructions.

I randomly opened the book each day and tried the instructions of an artist, no planning.  However my last day will be based on Dawn Devries Sokol.

Below is a photo of my work from day 21, inspired by Cori Dantini, day 22 inspired by Hanna Anderson and day 23 inspired by Jessie Oleson Moore.

I am so glad that I purchased this book.  I read it through completely and was inspired by everything I saw.  Put it on your wish list, save your pennies, ask for it for Christmas.....Just get it.  I am not a professional reviewer, just a fan who loves a good book.

Blog-a-long Day 3 Great Memories

Calamari, my favorite in Orvieto

Pasta with Black Truffle in Orvieto

Last mean in Orvieto

 Meatballs in Venice
 Lunch in Rome
Last meal in Italy

Last Summer I spent 13 days in Italy; 7 days in Orvieto attending an Art Retreat, 3 days in Venice and 3 days in Rome.  One of the members of our group, my good friend and travel buddy Maryann Villavert, had been traveling through Asia before she met us in Rome.  One of the great things she taught us was to take a picture of our food to  capture the memory of sharing a meal with friends.  I thought it was such a great idea.  I took me a while to remember to photograph the plate BEFORE I started eating.  I look at each meal and remember what we were doing, where we were and how it felt being there.

I am going to China in 46 days, I plan to take pictures of my meals, savor each moment, capture the feeling through my photographic eye.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Blog-a-long day 2 - Hay Fever

Six years ago I went on a life changing adventure.  I moved 2100 hundred miles by myself from Detroit, Michigan to Henderson, Nevada (about 10 miles from the Strip in Las Vegas).  It was a gutsy move I must admit, but one I do not regret.

I was born and raised in Detroit.  In fact I spent the first 57 years of my life there.  It was a good place to grow up.  Museums, the Detroit Zoo, Bell Isle Park in the middle of the City; dynamic shoreline on the river; watching the freighters sail up the River heading to Lake Huron on the trek toward Lake Michigan and Chicago.  My Father worked at Fort Wayne one of the few working Forts at the time.  It had been turned into the Army recruiting station, processing young men going into the armed forces for the state of Michigan.  My dad administered eye and hearing tests to many of my high school friends when they were drafted.

I went to Catholic school for 12 years.  My mother, ever the protective Momma Bear, ensured that her children went to private school and had the best education she could afford.

I raised two children in Detroit, both are college graduates and I am proud of them.  Worked for 33 years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and like any company it had its good and bad points, but it afforded me a good living and I was able to help my children through college.

There are a lot of trees and grass in Detroit.  We have a myriad of tree lined avenues; streets with beautifully manicured islands; parks in neighborhoods with majestic grass.  In fact many home owners take great pride in having the best manicured lawn on the block.  There are contests to determine who is the best.  It is also very humid in Detroit, well in the mid-west in general (excuse me, have to sneeze).

So how does this all relate to Hay Fever????? I have it, in fact I have a rare form of it.  I do not normally get itchy eyes, no, no, no.  I get a form of bronchitis with a cough that sounds like a mack truck is coming through.  For six years I have not had to suffer with this malady, sure my allergies act up from time to time, but is minor compared to Hay Fever. 

I have been home visiting my daughter for five weeks.  I was fine for the first three weeks and then like a bolt out of the blue----Friday, July 25th, the cough began.  Uh oh, where is my Sudafed?  Could not find it must have let it at home....It was all down hill after that.  Four days of the cough from hell, woke me up and everyone else too.  Felt tired and sluggish, then the sneezing started and runny nose with itchy eyes.  Today, Aug. 2nd, one week after this attack began, I am starting to feel human again.  Still sneezing but the cough has subsided, had a good nights sleep with no wheezing and I actually feel peppy.

I love to come home and visit during the summer because I do not travel to Michigan in the winter.  Did I mention the reason I moved? I DO NOT LIKE SNOW!!!!!  As I said, I love coming home to visit, last year I was home for three weeks and no hay fever.  This year it will be 5 and a half weeks by the time I leave next Wednesday - hay fever attack.  So what does that tell me dear reader?  Either do not stay any longer than 3 weeks OR do not forget my allergy medicine.  In fact I think I am going to buy some before I leave and put it in my room (did I tell you I have my own room at my daughters? Oh Yeah, grandma privileges), that's the ticket. 

Well, I am going to end this post because I feel another sneeze coming on.

Photo Friday

My attempt at Photo Art.  This is a Tomato that was getting old.  I liked the texture and decided to take a picture.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

What Does Blogging Mean to Me?

The Lagoon in Venice

I woke up this morning thinking about the journey I am about to take.  Participating in a 30 day Blogalong.  It seemed like such a great endeavor and I realized that I will have to put something in this space everyday for 30 days.  Hmmm, what did that mean?  Do I have enough to say? 

The more I thought about it the more I realized that this is another opportunity to make the most of my goal in 2013 to be more creative, to embrace yet another process and learn more about the process and me.

Each day when I rise, I read Scripture and for the past month The Daily Word.  They give me comfort and provide grounding and a serene start to the day.  I also get an inspirational email from Renaissance Unity in Warren, Michigan.  The prayer below was for today and after I prayed it I wondered how can I reach our to everyone through my art?  How can my life be a river, providing sustenance, peace, life to everyone I encounter on a daily basis.  How can my art, both through writing and painting or drawing, be a catalyst in that effort?

I plan to explore these questions during my 30 days of blogging.  In this way blogging will mean, at least to me, a way of working out questions I have about my life and it's purpose.

Dear God,

Whisper to me of Your great love for all beings and help me
spread that love everywhere on my journey.
Remind me to reach out to everyone and draw in the lonely.
May my life be more like a river and less like a reservoir.
So it is.

I invite you, dear reader, to come along for the journey and see if I really do find some answers. If something touches you or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment.

See you on the journey, Pilgrim