Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dive In

I am luxuriating in the throws of a wonderful four day weekend.  Oh dear goodness, how completely intoxicating and fabulous it has been.  Revel in the glory with me, my darlings...

With very few interruptions, I have been arting like a maniac/addict, staying up till the wee hours of the morning and getting my fix.  So yay for that, right!?!  This morning I woke up and realized it was Saturday, with only one more day left till I have to go back to work, and immediately screamed a mental "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" and then a less mental/hushed whisper version (due to sleeping dog and husband...because you should let both sleeping dogs and sleeping husbands's the only way to get ANY peace...).  

I'm going to enjoy today and tomorrow, and then first thing Monday morning start my countdown to Christmas...because I have an entire week off work, thanks to strategic planning/day off using.  I had actually worked out two weeks of vacation using only a few days of vacation time, but the unplanned hospital stay earlier this year blew those plans out of the water.  Boo.Hiss.Hiss.  However, I am COMPLETELY thrilled to have (including the weekends) 9 days off of work while still getting paid!  I've only ever had one other job where I got paid vacation (when I was 19 and that was 11 years ago!) before this one, so I totally dance a jig every time I turn in for time off.  It's boss had to get used to that...I don't think she quite knew what to do the first time I asked for vacation...honestly she looked a little scared...because of my jig dancing...

I have been having a great time making art while watching "The Vicar of Dibley" on Netflix.  It's a pretty good show...I finished it in two days.  I love comedy + English people...hilarious.  If you like stuff like that, you should also watch "Black Books" (also a series that you can find on Netflix)...SO FUNNY!  Now that I've finished both of those shows, I've got to find a replacement show to watch while arting...I started watching "Kingdom", which is a series with my darling Stephen Fry (who I love beyond words...he's fantastic), but they lost me in the later season...without giving it away to blatantly: he should have stayed gone...  I might have to revisit it and see if it was just a slow spot, because I do enjoy Stephen Fry very much...I will give him a second chance.  But if that doesn't work out, I'll be on the lookout for a new funny show that features people with English accents...I will also take Irish, Scottish, Australian, and several other accents in lieu of English long as the show is funny...

So right, the art stuff...I have these two spiral bound journals...the first journals I ever bought for art...before I knew what I was doing.  Paper-wise, I mean...I still don't know what I'm doing in a lot of other things...  They've been with me for quite some time, and I've made it my goal to finish them completely.  I work in an obscene amount of journals and various other surfaces too...I think I talked about that before.  Anyway, despite the fact that I art it up everyday, I haven't finished a journal yet...not one single journal!  Instead, I keep starting out in new ones if I want to work in a journal and don't have a current one that's not busy drying...we will not talk about the number of journals/paper that I have sitting there waiting on me.  Let's just say I like to be prepared...and that if they ever stop making paper, I'll have enough for me, you and three other people...for the rest of our lives...and possibly the lives of any children you may have...CRAZY!

Anyway, I don't like the paper in these original art journals of mine, but I don't want to waste them, so I've made it my goal to use them up as quickly as I can while still maintaining my personal standards.  ...which means covering over some of the pages (where I was practicing calligraphy...very badly...) with paper or gesso or whatever and making some kind of art on them that I can be content with.  And since I'm running low on store bought gesso, it's also the perfect opportunity to try various homemade gesso recipes.  I'm multi-tasking big time!

So I give you one of the pages I've been working on during the artfest that has been the past few days:

"Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss." - F Scott Fitzgerald
So dive on in.
Can you see the calligraphy practice peaking through at the bottom?  

And, non-related to the art journal page...or related as an afterthought I guess I should's an awesome song to listen to (Dive In - Quarashi swear words in this song, so ignore the parental a rebel...) :

F. Scott certainly gave me something to think about when I found that quote of his:  "Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss."  Ugh...shut up with your accuracy...

All my life, I've played it safe and I've done the 'right' thing.  It hasn't worked out so well for me...aside from avoiding STDs and heroin...that's worked out well pretty well actually...  But apart from that, there's been so many opportunities I've missed...and they've turned into gigantic regrets.  And while I can't change the past, I can learn from it.

I've been thinking recently about how the technically 'right' thing...might not be the right thing for me.  And how, if you always play it safe, there are very slim chances that something amazing will happen.  You have to take a risk sometimes.

I'm a cautious over-analyzer.  I think I've heard my mom say "Don't do that, you'll get hurt" less than any other child in the history of ever.  Something in me already knew not to do potentially dangerous things, so I never even attempted them.  I've done the 'right' thing even when it was the absolute last thing I wanted to do.  But (aside from the STD/heroin thing), there hasn't been a great deal of reward coming my way.  I've played at happy for a long time without actually being happy.

I thought I was being content.  Being content is not a bad thing...because you'll never have perfect anything in this life...or not for long...  But I haven't been content.  I've been settling.  And that's somehow become very sad to me.  I have had a lot of 'worse' in my life.  You know, when you say "It could be worse"...well, I've had that 'worse'.  So when I say I settle with my current life, it's because I know it really could be much worse.  I've always thought about it that way.

But the truth is, it could be better.  I don't mean I could win the lottery and buy all the things I've ever wanted and live happily ever after and blah, blah, blah. (Although that would be nice...just saying...)  What I mean is that I could be happy.  Truly happy.  I could wake up in the morning, jump out of bed and be SO READY to start the day with a genuine smile on my face.

I don't want my life to be defined by missed opportunities ever again.

I feel a little like I am standing on the edge of a pool.  I've been watching other people swimming and splashing and having fun.  I've been dipping my toe in for a while...testing the water...being a little afraid that I might drown.  But I know how to swim...I know how to keep my head above water.  I'm tired of testing.  I'm ready to dive in.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


When I was a little girl, I used to get told quite often...especially by kids in school...that I looked like Wednesday Addams.

Basically me as a child...besides the movie money...

Looking back, it was probably true.  I had a big forehead, and a similarly turned up nose, and large dark eyes...and unrelated to Wednesday, I wore my hair in pigtails pretty often...I had LONG hair...I was always sitting on it otherwise.  If I could find a picture of me as a kid, you'd see what I mean.  Not identical, but close enough for others to notice the similarity.

Possibly because of this, I developed a (not so) secret (anymore) love of Christina Ricci, the actress who played Wednesday in the Addams family movies.  I like that I have embraced something that was kind of scarring as a child.  

Sadly, I no longer look like Christina Ricci.  Although if she'd gain like a hundred pounds, maybe I would...come on, Christina, help a sister out!

Even though Christina and I have gone our separate ways looks-wise, my mild obsession with her hasn't changed.  

The picture above was the face inspiration for the spread I have to show you today:

Ta-da!  I considered leaving it like this, but it was just not bothered me.

"One of my main regrets in life is giving considerable thought to inconsiderate people." - Jarod Kintz
I really liked the quote (and feel like it related to how I've been feeling recently) and I thought it fit the expression on the girl's face, but it was so plain looking...

And I think the same was true of the was ok, but just needed a little more...oomph...

So here's what I did to the quote side. At first, I just tried to color in the spaces of the letters with my Inktense pencils, but that wasn't enough.  Then I doodled over that with a black fine tip marker...the black stuck out too much... So, I went over the letter part with a lime poster paint Sharpie, which was better, but it didn't show up that well, so I went over that in black Sharpie...and that was good enough to make me stop working on the lettering part.  I also added some doodles in the corners in Inktense pencil and red poster paint Sharpie...and went squiggly around the edges with that same red Sharpie.

I didn't do much to the girl, but the changes I did make made a big difference in my eyes. I used white paint pen to give her eyes some highlights...that's a little thing that makes a HUGE impact...I am willing myself to never forget eyeball highlights again...  I also used the same red poster paint Sharpie from the quote side and added it to her lips, which made her look much less pale and much more dimensional (I think so anyway...).  And I used the red sharpie in her hair and on the outline of her shirt sleeves...  Just those few little changes made me much happier with the end result.  

Oh, and on a side note, I totally swiped a broken date stamp from the trash at can see it in the bottom left corner of the girl's shoulder.  It actually said "Received" with the date underneath, but Regrets girl will probably be the only piece that gets the "Received" stamped on her, because it was too hard to hold it together...the date part is held together within the stamp, but the "received" kept falling off.  So sadly, it is sitting there all alone on my desk...waiting for me to accidentally knock it to the floor and lose it forever...  Ooh...unless I go right now and find something to glue it to...oh, yay!  Hooray for you brain, you figured it out!  OK...I'm off to rummage...  (maniacal laugh, MANIACAL LAUGH!!!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nona's Grandson...aka The Swedish Chef

As promised, I have done a picture of the 'grandson' of Strega Nona from yesterday.

Here's my Swedish Chef...despite the fact that I've realized he is Italian, I'm still going to call him the Swedish's my party, I can be contradictory if I want to (haha): 

Isn't he magnificent?  He's so fantastic that I actually have two of him!  I bought the first one a couple years ago, and my little sister saw another a few weeks later and got him for me because I loved the original so much!  You would think I have a thing for utensil holders, but really I just love the weirdness aspect...  He usually sits on my art desk and holds scissors...but I gave him a short vacation while I sketched.  Now it's back to work for him!

Here's my drawing of the Swedish Chef:

In my head, he has no utensil holes...neither did Strega Nona if you noticed...I think he has all the supplies for Nona to make spaghetti...even bread to go along with it.  I'm not entirely sure what the purplish red things in the front of the basket are...if you notice, that's the only thing that's actually in the basket of the utensil holder...I'm going to call them rutabagas...just because I like the word rutabaga...

And for those of you who have never seen the Swedish Chef, here he is, in all his glory:

Just for the record, watching this as an adult, I'm starting to think this is a little racist?  I don't know...I need the opinion of a Swedish person...  My husband is Norwegian, which is close, but no cigar...egads...that sounds racist too...  It's just a cavalcade of unintentional possible racism here today...  Now I feel horrible...

I'm gonna go ponder the idea of a beloved childhood friend potentially being a sack of stereotypes and cry into some Cocoa Pebbles...unless their secretly racist too...  My whole life has been a lie...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Strega Nona

I'm pretty sure I've told you before about my love of all things weird and random...  If not, I LOVE all things weird and random.

It's true, I will freak out for things other people might find hokey, dorky, or hideous.  I just adore that kind of thing.  

And at this point, I will introduce you to Strega Nona:

"Ciao, mi chiamo Strega Nona."

My mom got Strega Nona (who is a utensil holder) for me...and I love her so much!  (Both my mom and Strega Nona!)

I love Nona so much that I made a drawing of her:

I made my Nona a little chubbier, because grandmas should be chubby...especially this one.

The reason I'm calling her Strega Nona is because of one of my favorite books when I was a little kid.  

"Strega Nona" means 'Grandma witch'...but Nona is a nice witch.  She has a pot that cooks spaghetti all by itself when she tells it too!  That's why she had to be a little chubbier than the utensil holder...  If you liked spaghetti that much, and had a pot that cooked said spaghetti all by itself, you'd be chubby too...I mean, think about all those delicious carbs! 

Here's the story of Strega Nona, in case you missed it as a kid:

The best part is that I have another utensil holder that looks like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets...I am currently doing a little drawing of him to go with Nona.  All this time that I have had the other utensil holder, I thought he was the Swedish I know he's really Nona's grandson instead...he's a nice Italian man!  I should be done with my sketch of Nona's grandson pretty soon...and then I'll share him with you too!

Friday, November 22, 2013


There's so much repetition happening in my life right now.  Some good, some...less than good.  I am a repeat offender in regards to art, good music, obscene levels of milk drinking, being generally hilarious...purposefully or not, and collecting weird stuff that I don't really have room for but that's too cool to pass up.  That's all generally good stuff.  But I'm also a repeat offender for stinky stuff...cigarettes, junk food, staying up too late at night when I have to get up the next day (ending in the zombification of me during daylight hours) and of caring too much about people who will never care about me.

I've talked about that last one I said, I am a repeat offender and I know it.  I haven't been able to help it so far...once you get into a habit, it's easy to stay in it.  Maybe it's something everybody does at some point...loving someone who will never love you in return.  You know their feelings will never change, but it's like an feel powerless to resist the pull they have on you, despite the fact that the entire thing is one-sided...even when you finally see that it's one-sided, you still try to make them love you.  Relationships shouldn't work that way.  Real relationships don't work that way.  

Unfortunately for me, I am an expert at finding these one-sided love situations.  I've always been that way.  I find the person who will take and take and take because I'm willing to give.  I don't think that it's a bad thing to be willing to give, or to take a leap and hope that this time will be different from all the other times you've been let down.  Hope can be a terrible and dangerous thing sometimes.  But I want to love and be loved in return, and the only way to do that is to put your love out there.

Since I've been art journaling, which has pushed me to get in touch with how I really feel about things in my life, I've come to see that I don't have to keep letting people steal my love.  That's not a requirement of love at all.  Love is too valuable to be wasted on people who don't appreciate it.  The feeling that my love is too valuable to be wasted is new to me.  I mean, I've understood the concept, just not as it applied to me.  Now I think I'm beginning to understand.  You, me, whoever...we're all worth so much more than our desperate need for affection.  We have to love ourselves first, before we can expect anyone else to love us.  We have to have enough self-respect not to jump into things with both feet and not try to get back to shore when we realize we're swimming in leach infested waters.

So I've got that part down...the part where I know that I need to make a break.  The next step, I'm not so sure about.  Now that I've unleashed my emotions, I have a tendency to feel very...passionately...  Passionate love is what I've got...but the downfall is that I have the opposite problem too...  And the opposite of passionate love is passionate hate...actually, that's not true.  I really think that the opposite of passionate love is my eyes, having someone hate you is much better than having someone be indifferent toward you.  But I haven't learned how to be apathetic yet...I really don't know that I'm cruel enough to ever be apathetic toward a what I have to work with is passionate hate.  That's my solution for now.  

I know, I know...that's not a solution.  But it's what I have to let (or make) myself feel for now.  It's the only way to break the cycle of too much unhealthy love.  Therefore, if I happen to see a certain person and set my jaw, roll my eyes, or comment to a friend that I hate said-person's stupid face, it's only because at one point I loved too much.  I have to replace the love I felt and the pain of rejection with the feeling of general disgust toward the person I formerly cared for.  And if I fake it often enough, eventually it will become how I really feel.  And maybe at some point in the future, I will be wise enough to let that disgust fade into not caring at all.  

And that's the thought I had in mind when I made this journal page:

"Repetition creates a habit.  Repetition breaks a habit too."  -Melissa Ferrick

Here's a live version of the song that the words on the page are from:

If somebody has a better idea of how I can skip the feelings of hate and disgust and go right to not caring, I would love to hear it...I don't want to hate people, but I don't know any other way to make myself stop caring too much.  I've thought about trying to pity the aforementioned non-returners of know, because I am pretty awesome and they are missing out big time...but that's not worked out so well.  I really kind of want to hate them for now.  And that is a feeling...even if it's not a very nice one...and it is one of my goals to accept what I am feeling...  Can you tell I'm trying to justify my longing to hate?  ...really, I'd feel much better if I just got to throat punch the non-requiters...and then say, 'Now you know how I felt'...but I don't think violence is the answer...or, really, I just can't afford the lawsuits...  So, for now, until some better choice comes along, I'll be repeatedly telling myself that I am above punching people...but not above hating their stupid faces...and maybe eventually I'll break the habit of caring about people who don't care about me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Noteworthy...Or Not

All the way back in May, whilst buying comic books with my husband, I bought a little 4 x 6 notebook from Books-A-Million...because what I needed was one more new art journal... *averts eyes due to lie*  The reason I remember it was all the way back in May is because I did a bunch of sketches in it the day I got it...and ACTUALLY DATED THEM!  One of my goals is to be more diligent about dating my work...for purposes of noting I just think it looks cool...

Anyway, this little notebook has come to be my travel journal...because I carry it around in my purse and pull it out when I'm away from the house and bored.  So I thought I'd share what's going on in the book:

This is a very quick sketch of Andy, my husband.  He is a lot better looking in real life...however, I have captured the essence of the look he was giving me at the time.  He makes this face a lot...I call it his "disapproving father" look...we don't have kids, so I get to be the sole recipient of this face...all the time...
The first five pictures were all done on the same day...
...where we went on an impromptu road trip...
...on accident, just like always.  I blindly get into the car, expecting to go to Books-a-Million for comic books and end up driving to South Carolina and back home by way of Knoxville...
...proving that 'every day IS a winding road',  the days I end up in the car with Andy are at least.  
I also use this book for remembering important things, like the phone number for Bluff City Diner, which makes the most delicious from-scratch desserts.  I call them almost every weekend to see if they've made Buckeye Brownie Cake...I will make a special trip for Buckeye Brownie's heaven in chocolate and peanut butter form.
There's also some lettering practice going on in the book...especially if I think of a really good phrase (like above) or if I hear some kind of awesome song lyrics that I want to remember.
Sometimes I draw people I work with when I'm on my lunch break.  This guy is a hipster cutie I work with...I accidentally made him have a weird look on his face, and I think he totally looks like he's thinking "Well, that's interesting..."
I also sketch ideas I have for at home art, like this picture.  I thought it would be really neat to have a picture where the wind was blowing leaves and one was really close to you, blocking things in the background...I really like the idea, I just need to figure out how to make it happen!
Having this book in my purse is a nice distraction from my day job...when I'm in a stinky mood, I can hit my car when I'm on my lunch or breaks and do a quick sketch to get me in a better state of really works most of the time!  ...but maybe not on this particular day...I still wanted to go home...
Can you tell I did this girl after watching Jane Davenport's Whimsical Faces video?  See those eyes?  Those are Jane eyes for sure...  
I like this girl and the song lyrics that she has beside her...I'm going to make a sit down fancy piece based on those lyrics someday...
I like this girl too...her face makes me super happy...and I like that phrase.  I saw it on Pinterest.  For the record, capricious means 'impulsive, unpredictable, changing suddenly for no reason'....I had to pull out the dictionary when I first saw the word...

I'd love to get good at  realistic fast sketches of people and things.  I'm practicing...nothing noteworthy yet.  Mostly the ones of people end up like the sketch of my husband in the first picture...a little menacing...   And the ones of things end up being skewed...  But I know I'll get better if I keep practicing...and I know I'll keep practicing because I'm obsessed.   

I'm also currently loving the thought of keeping an illustrated diary-type where I do (or attempt to do) realistic daily life drawings (with pen and ink and watercolor) and add diary style journaling to accompany it.  My art journals tend to be more 'whimsical' (egads, I hate that word...I don't know why...) and more broad spectrum emotion-y stuff and are mixed media.  So an illustrated journal would be a nice divergence from my normal journals...  Hmm...yeah, that's gonna happen...really soon...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Art for Anna

A while back...a long while friend Anna sent me a fabulous care package FULL of goodies.  I take pride in being really good at packing, but if I'm good at packing, Anna invented it...I have NO idea how she got so much stuff in that box.  It was a modern day miracle!

So because I am the worst procrastinator ever, it took me a long time to make a reciprocation package for her.  In my defense, I wasn't really procrastinating, I was just trying extra hard to make awesome things for her...I got inside my head a little bit and freaked out...that's the true story... *hangs head in shame*  I don't know why I have such a hard time making art FOR other people.  I don't have a hard time making art for must be my violent need for approval...  I just want to do a really good job so that they will still love me!

In addition to various bits...aka stuff to use in her own art (scrapbook paper, ephemera, etc.)'s what I sent to Anna:

Back side of a tag I made...I cut my own tag out of watercolor paper.  I have an insanely strong desire to go buy those fabulous manila shipping tags that other artists are using so ingeniously...but I am trying SO HARD to be good and not do it.  I have so much good stuff to use that I feel like I need to use a lot of what I have before I go get more.  I REALLY don't want to do that though...what I really want is to max out my credit cards for art supplies.  BUT I've done good to this point, and just cut my own tag.  A tag cut out of watercolor paper is stronger and better anyway (she said bitterly to herself).

Here's the front of the same tag as above.  I did a little collage from the already gone months of this year's calender.  I also used a Martha Stewart foil embossing kit I got on clearance (so long ago I can't even tell you when) and some tiny heart confetti that my sister gave me.  Collage is not my forte, but I love this and I hope Anna does too...I am a big fan of the various funky ribbons...

This is the main/big piece I made for Anna.  It's on canvas!  This is the best thing I've done to date on a canvas.  I don't know what the deal is with me and canvases, but we hate each other...SO MUCH!  But this canvas has me rethinking my canvas hatred...  I am super happy with how she turned out...especially her lip area...her lips make me so happy I could scream...AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!  I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT YOUR LIPS!!!   ...oh, and modeling paste hair is the way to go for me...modeling paste hair all the way...lovely texture that is even better in person (if I do say so humbly)

The non-Adam-looking Adam...

The last picture is the thing that held up all the other things.  I was trying to draw her a picture of Adam Levine, because she and my other friend Pamikins have the hots for him in the most ardent way...but I can't draw Adam Levine.  I know, I know...I always say anyone can draw anything, but I was wrong...Adam Levine is my personal exception to the rule.  I had to have drawn twenty versions of him, and not a single one came remotely close to looking like him.  On a side note, Adam Levine, despite Anna's and Pamikins' love for you and despite the fact that you have freckles (which are usually very endearing to me), you are now my nemesis.  

This sketch was the best one I did, despite the fact that it looks nothing like who it's supposed to look like, I ended up liking the sketch very much...the only sketch out of the multiple sketches I did that did not end up getting gesso poured over them/crumpled in anger and frustration then gesso erased.  This guy, I love though...I don't know what it is about him, but I loved him, and I almost didn't send him to Anna because I am a selfish heifer...but in the end, my love for Anna prevailed and I sent non-Adam-looking Adam to live with her.  

I hope Anna will like/can use the goodies in her care package...I hope I sent just the right kind of things to make her happy! know, cause I love her and stuff...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Can't Say It...

I'm feeling so productive today!  I've been working like a busy little bee on art every day this week...I feel like (fingers crossed) I've got my mojo back!  Hooray for mojo!!!  

I went through some of my paper scraps and said good-bye to the minuscule pieces I've hoarded...keeping small paper scraps is ok, but if you need a microscope to see them, it's probably ok to just toss them...

I also cleaned my studio desk...again...and did some reorganizing so that maybe it won't be such a terrible mess so quickly.    I have to fess up to being a bit of a person who piles.  There's not a HUGE amount of space in my I pile things.  This works because I do know where things are when they're in piles.  This doesn't work because the thing I need next is always at the bottom of a pile.  So I made a yard sale score a couple of weeks ago and got some little wire shelves to sit on my desk.  They are not fancy, but I think they'll's the same principle as piling except I don't have to move the stuff on top to get to the stuff underneath!  I finally put them to use (after procrastinating about cleaning for so long), so we'll see how it goes...

Here's my most recent work...I hate to say it, but I think that my mojo came back for the clean desk:

"I can't say it..."
 I'm sad that I can't get my phone to pick up the extreme awesomeness of the colors on this page!  In reality, the background is a beautiful teal, her hair is a nice grassy green, and her eyes are a deep sea blue...apparently I need to use some kind of app to make the red tones chill out...  But, just let me promise you, on my honor, that the true colors of this page thrill me to the core!

Have you ever felt that way?  Like you really want to say something, but you know you just can't?  Maybe you know it's not the right time, or maybe you question the other person's receptivity to what you want to say, or maybe you feel like it won't make any difference...but for whatever reason, your instincts tell you that you shouldn't go there...

Today, while sitting among my co-workers during interesting conversation occurred.  Whatever started the conversation, I do not know...but at some point during the conversation, I got told that I was blunt...which kind of made me laugh.  I've never thought of myself that way!  In my head, being blunt is a negative a person who shoves it in your face without giving a hoot about civility.  But the exact statement was "I wish my girlfriend was more like know, blunt..."  (First time anyone's ever wished for a girlfriend to be like me, I can assure you...haha) A discussion on my 'blunt' ways followed...apparently a lot of the guys I work with were waiting for the opportunity to talk about me to me...  It's weird to be involved in a conversation that you're the topic least it was for me...

I was informed that my bluntness is very much appreciated by the least the masses of my manly co-workers.  I guess I can understand how blunt could be a good thing, I just never looked at it that way.  I looked at it as 'blunt = rude'.  But apparently the group of co-workers look at it like 'blunt = honest'.  I'm pretty happy to be known as honest.  Part of the discussion about all things Sweets was that, while I'm honest, I'm also nice about it.  I guess that's true...I don't generally just smash the truth in people's faces if it's something I know they don't want to hear...I try not to anyway...

And then there was a point where the conversation turned to the age-old question: "Why can't women just tell you what they want?"  ...which makes me laugh...I don't know how I got to be the spokesperson for women everywhere...especially since I apparently (at least in the eyes of the dudes I work with) don't act like a 'normal woman'...  Which I pointed out.  But, being pressed into the position of womanly knowledge administrator, I did at least try to answer the question...with a multiple choice answer:  D) all of the above.

The answer to this question is so vast and different for each woman that it's hard to answer it in the confines of part of a half-hour lunch...

I think a lot of women (like me), learn at an early age that what they want 'doesn't matter'.  I grew up with an extremely domineering was his way and there was no other way.  After my dad was gone, I had to do a lot of things for the good of my family...again, it didn't matter what I wanted because there wasn't a choice.  And that's what you get used to...everyone else is more important than you, what you want doesn't matter, so why even mention it?  Somewhere along the way, I realized that what I want is important too...and I very gradually changed.  I got to the point where I would have rather been completely alone than to have to stay on the back burner for the rest of my life...  Not every woman comes to that realization...or they're not there yet.  That's not to say it's all ME! ME!ME! in my life now.  In a lot of things, I still don't say what I want...which leads to the second point.

Sometimes we don't say what we want because we really don't care either way.  This one is especially hard for my husband to understand.  Just because it's a big deal to him, it doesn't mean it's a big deal to me...  For instance choosing between cable and satellite...I don't give two flips about it.  But for him, it was this huge life altering decision.  It took me forever to get him to understand that I just didn't care!  I honestly thought it was idiotic for him to care so our almost 10 year marriage, we've had both...they're pretty much the same to me...a million channels and there's still nothing good on!  ...but I digress.  

I think another big reason we don't say what we want is that we want our significant other to pay attention.  We want to know they really listen to instead of saying what we want, we give them subtle clues that even Sherlock Holmes couldn't follow...just so we feel like they listen/pay attention/care.  But dudes have tiny caveman mean...brains that work differently than ours...they don't know what clues are!

Personally, I am annoyed by those girls...the extreme subtle hinters...because I hate to be subtly hinted to myself.  Just tell me already!  The subtle hinters are also the kind of girls who say things like "I hate it when I tell my boyfriend about a problem I'm having and all he does is try to fix it...I just want him to listen!"  Stupid girl, I smack your ignorant face!  If you want somebody to listen, tell your lady friends...most men are just programmed to want to fix things!  The difference is love vs. respect.  Women want to be when you tell a woman your problems, she thinks "I hear her problem, and I want her to know I understand how she feels so that she will know I care."  Men want to be respected...when you tell a man a problem, he thinks "I hear her problem and I will fix this for her...that will show her I care...and she will respect me for my manly problem solving abilities."  For the most part, women want to be heard/understood, men want solutions.  Of course, there are exceptions to the rules...I totally lean towards being a solutions kind of gal.  Don't get me wrong, empathy is nice, but I'd rather just know how to fix the problem.

This goes back to the original point of "why can't women just say what they want?"...women want you to do things because you love them, which is emotional; men want you to do things because you respect them, which is more mental.  As a woman who now acknowledges her emotions, I've realized that I've started to put more of the 'why' of things into my choices...what will doing/not doing this make me feel...I'm learning to be more intuitive...there are a lot of grey areas with intuition.  As a woman who was resistant to emotions for most of her life, I also realize that many of my prior decisions were very are the facts, black and white, this is the answer.  I think that's the difference between men and women in this regard...we women want to explain ourselves...and sometimes we just don't manage to get back around to the point...and the point is all men are interested in.  If you don't believe that, think about foreplay and how men and women differ there...yeah, see told ya so... (Again, I acknowledge exceptions to the rule...hehehe)

Anyway, that was my interesting lunch time conversation.  Clearly men are desperate for advice...I mean, they're coming to me for it...CLEARLY DESPERATE!  In the end, all I could really tell them was to listen and pay attention...because that's what I would want...someone who cares enough to listen to what I say.  And so to be fair, my advice for ladies: be more direct.  If you really want something, just say it.  Don't be an an adult.  Those are my words of wisdom for today.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recovering Girl

Oh, my darling peoples, I don't know what I'd do without you.  Your kind words never fail to make me feel better.  I love you all for taking the time to leave comments, most especially when I'm feeling tender (like I have been lately).  Your good words are helping me get through my rough patches and I wish I could express just how much that means to me...much more than even a blabber mouth like me can say.

To be truthful, I'm still feeling tender.  Someone at work today asked if I was feeling ok because I was so pale.  I love my emotions (at last), but they seem to be taking a toll on me.  I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving because I'll get a four-day weekend...I'm so, so ready for a four-day weekend.  I plan to sleep...and possibly make homemade sugar cookies with colorful icing...and then eat all of said sugar cookies by myself...but I'm also lazy, so maybe just the sleep part will prevail.  Sleep and art...yeah, that sounds like a winner...

I made another page in my Gregg journal.  At first I thought it was another depressing one...but I was staring at it for a while this morning and decided that it's actually more encouraging than I first gave it credit for:

She's more than just an injured girl.

I realized that there are a lot of things in this spread that look hopeful to me...subconscious hope is happening.  I realized that I painted the background is my favorite color...I wouldn't put so much blatant green into something sad, because green is a happy color for me.  Then the flowers...stylized flowers in full bloom...another happy thing for me.  And even though the poor girl has some kind of brain injury, it's being treated.  She doesn't have some horrible, gaping wound (I don't know that I could draw a horrible, gaping wound...even if I wanted to...), she's starting to heal.

Looking at this recovering girl, I started thinking about all the things in my life I'm happy about.  I blame Deborah Weber for making me remember to be glad about good things...she's spending the month doing an abecedarium (which is a big word for an alphabetical list...I love big words...) on different aspects of gratitude.  You can read her blog HERE.  

While I mentally fight with myself about using the word "gratitude" (it's a long story), I have no qualms about taking the time to think about things in my life that I feel happy to experience.  Since I've felt so negative lately, I thought maybe it would be good to share a few of the positives too...gotta make sure to keep the balance, right?

Today's happy thoughts:

  • Sugar cookies with colorful icing...ok, delicious cookies in general...
  • which leads me to delicious food in general...Sunday, my husband and I made Oven Stew...I'm glad about Oven Stew...I'd be even more glad if there had been left-overs...but I digress...
  • Big, fancy words...
  • I'm glad to have art and other creative things in my life...that's an every single day glad thing for me.
  • I'm happy to have met wonderful and supportive people who share my love of creative things.
  • I'm glad to have the internet...which is really a creative tool for gives me inspiration from others, lets me find out how to do things (tutorials/patterns), lets me veg out when I need to...let's me share my art and my words with people who care about the same things...people who make me feel special...I really love the internet...
  • I'm glad to have four-day weekends...especially now that I have a job that actually pays me for them!
  • I'm really happy that some stranger left a really great dog at my house for no reason...Fusco (or as he is affectionately known now Fuss-butt) is too awesome...I'll never understand why they left him, but I'll always be happy that they did.
  • I'm happy about milk.  I don't know what it is with me recently, but I've been drinking milk like nobody's business.  I swear I could drink my weight in milk every day if I didn't restrain myself...right now I'm going through a gallon every two-three days.  I don't know why I want it so bad, but egads, am I happy about milk right now.
  • I'm happy I've felt truly loved by good people, in the past and currently.
  • I'm happy about music...that's another every day happy thing...
  • I'm glad I've got my's weird and random, completely fun and completely terrifying...(occasionally those two things at the same time!)...I like that I don't always think how other people think.

That's not the whole list, but it's a good start for sure...I guess another thing I should add to the list is that I'm happy I have so many things to be genuinely happy about....yes, I really am GENUINELY happy about milk right now!  Despite the fact that I'm tender and sad and angry, I can still see so many positives.  It's not all doom and gloom.  Sure there's some mushy stuff rolling around in my brain, but it's got a lot of competition from bright, shiny, fantastic things, little things and big things too.  

What about you?  What are you happy to have in your life today?

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I don't know what a psychotic break feels like...but I'm pretty sure I am having one.  I think the fact that I kind of giggled to myself as I wrote that means that it's probably true...but, hey, at least I can laugh about it, right?

I've told you before how I've basically denied all existence of my personal emotions for my entire life.  And then I discovered art journaling.  And all these emotions kind of poured out of me...or exploded out of me Mentos dropped in a bottle of coke...geyser style...

That was a total surprise for me.  I didn't know I had all that stuff locked up inside.  SO MUCH STUFF!  But it felt really great to get it out of my head.  I could feel the weight lifted off my was like I finally breathed out and it made me twenty pounds lighter!  It's been a huge relief.  I think I've been learning to handle it all in a pretty good way...especially since I've never done anything with emotional stuff besides try to suppress it.

But this week, and I think (without knowing it at the time) probably most of last month, aka Crap-tober, I've been having some new-to-me issues.  I've come to realize that, much like everything else in life, some emotions are cyclical.  We don't just feel them, acknowledge them, and move on from them.  Somethings you can do that with...but not everything.  Ugh.  I guess I shouldn't be so bewildered at this, but I am.  Actually, I'm a little shocked about the whole thing.  

I've been thinking a lot about my friend Leonard.  I miss him a lot.  I know I always will.  That's not new knowledge for me.  But these big circle emotions that I seem to be having right now...that's a different kettle of fish.  

I've dealt with the loss of him...carefully.  In a detailed way...maybe that's the right way to say it.  Each time something new came up, I've analyzed it...over-analysis is my specialty...I feel like I've let myself run the gamut of grief.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, ...been there, done that.  I've felt all these things so strongly.  I was...almost proud, I guess...of how I let myself go through all of those stages.  They overlapped, they repeated, they ebbed and flowed and overtook me.  It didn't happen quickly, but eventually I got to a point where I felt like I could breath again.  I thought that was acceptance.  I naively thought I was done with the worst of it.

I've been seeing that's not true.  I've put a spread in Gregg about how I feel:


"This feeling is happening again and again."

"Where does it end?  When does it ever get easier?  Does it ever stop?  Or does it only repeat, repeat, repeat?"

I'm learning that some feelings are big circles.  Like other things in life, they live, they grow weak, they become dormant, they emerge again.  Flowers, butterflies, the seasons...add emotions to the list.  

They aren't exactly the same feelings.  Or at least there are some new ones thrown in the mix.  I'm still sad, I'm still angry, I still don't want it to be true.  But I find that I'm also upset that my memories are fading.  Maybe that is some kind of self-defense mechanism.  We have to lose them, otherwise we'd go crazy...but I can't stand it.  I don't want to forget.

I think it's hard for me because I don't have anyone to talk to about how I feel.  I don't know anybody who I can be completely honest with about things...and someone who would understand how I feel.  I think dealing with suicide is different than dealing with other kinds of death.  Not harder, I don't want to say that, because death is always hard to deal with...but it is different.  

With suicide, you not only have to deal with the person being gone, you have to deal with the fact that they chose it.  He wasn't taken from me.  He wasn't stolen from me.  He made the choice and he left on purpose.  
And I blame myself.  In my head, I understand that it wasn't my fault.  But in my heart, I feel like it is.  I can't seem to find a way for my mind to overpower my heart in this matter.  Having to blame myself for not being able to see what was happening...for not being able to stop it from happening...that only adds to the pain of it all.  

I know that letting myself feel what I need to feel is good for me.  I know that talking about it is helping me.  I understand that I'm still learning too.  I know that I'll always miss my friend and that at least a part of me will always hold onto guilt and self-blame.  I know that I just have to learn to not let it overpower my life...maybe that's an ongoing process, not an end game.

I've lost someone I love very dearly.  I don't get him back.  I don't ever get to hear his voice or his laugh ever again.  He doesn't get to know what life had in store for him.  He doesn't get to know that things would have gotten better.  His life is stopped and  mine did too.  

I just want to say that there is ALWAYS another choice.  Talk to someone.  Life is not easy, but there's good to be had.  So long as you're living, you have the power to change your life.  There is always a different way out of a bad situation, and choosing death is not the answer to any problem.  I wish I had shown my friend how much he was loved.  I wish I could tell him I love him and let him know how much he meant to much he will always mean to me.  I don't get to tell him.  He doesn't get to hear it.  We don't get to have a life together now.  Don't take that away from yourself.  Don't take that away from all the people who love you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jane Girls

October was a bit of a bust for me, I must admit...  My creativity flew out the window to some warmer procrastinating parts over-took me...there were several downright frowny face days...days I just felt BLAH for no reason...or for no reason I want to fess up to...  Gross.

But now October is over, and I don't particularly want to spend November on the same path.  I therefore turn my back on this year's October and all it's crappy ways, and I won't dwell on it anymore.  So long stupid jerk-tober!

There are a few exceptions to the majority crapfest that was October for me.  I did get a little bit of art done, despite my muse's vacation.  I already shared some of it...not my usual style, that I guess somebody else's muse must have been visiting me that day.  But I do like it.

I am also almost done with my reciprocation care package for my friend Anna.  I won't share it until I am sure she's gotten it, but it won't be long now...just icing the cake at this point...

And one of the really good things that happened in October was that Cloth Paper Scissors had a sale on a lot of their online classes...and I got two.  I got one of Joanne Sharpe's Artful Lettering, which I need to look at more in depth so I can apply it...however, I really liked one of the ideas on the video and used it in the spread below.  And, the other one I got is Jane Davenport's The Whimsical Face, which made me super happy.  I really like Jane's style of faces, and this video is such a nice intro to faces in her style.  Whether you're not comfortable drawing faces yet, or you just want to try a different style of face (like me), this video is AWESOME!  Full disclosure, I got the videos for $5 each (because of the super sale), and I feel like this video would have been worth it even at full price.  Although, at full price, which is $30, I wouldn't have gotten it, because I am on spending lock-down, so I would never have known how awesome it is...but it's definitely nice to have in the arsenal of craftiness now that I do!  

This is my 3/4 face that I did along with the video:

...I think this girl is wearing a scrunchie...don't judge her too harshly...

I really appreciated Jane's instruction on how to achieve a decent looking 3/4 face...she made it really easy to understand and accomplish!  I find this gal's ear to be a bit weird (it just looks unfinished to me...also, like an elf ear...), and I'm not a fan of her hair or shirt...but the face is pretty happy-making!

One of the things I really found useful in the video (possibly my favorite tip) was that she encourages you do draw with colored pencils instead of graphite ones...among other reasons, because you can't erase colored pencil, so you don't get too fussy with your stays loose.  I like that, because I am an over-eraser if nothing this way makes me a little less of a, you can see the sketch lines in places.  I love seeing that in other people's work, so anything that helps me get them in mine is aces in my book!

This is a two page spread I did using the front facing portion (which encompasses the majority) of the video, and I also used one of Joanne Sharpe's techniques from her video for the lettering:

"And it bothers me that I care."

Close up of the left page:

There is a lot of stuff going on in the background, which I don't know that the camera picks up very well...specifically, that the background is sparkly...  Also, I was using my industrial strength heat gun to dry the paint...and it started to bubble...which I found to be super cool, so I purposefully heat-bubbled the entire background...I probably have paint fume poisoning now, but the resulting bubbles light up my life...

And here's the right page close up:

I am happy with this gals hair!  If you've read the blog for a while now, you know that hair almost always eludes me...but I really like what's going on with this gal's luscious locks!  And I love the color of her it egotistical to swoon over something you've done?  I'm swooning for the color, and technically, I didn't make the color, I just picked can we say no...I don't want to come off all snooty! 

On a side note, now that I've taken this class of Jane's, I am really wanting to take another one of her classes, Express Yourself, which is about drawing emotions...I REALLY want to take this class!  I am saving my pennies as we speak...hehehe.

In regards to the above spread, "And it bothers me that I care", the mushy brain stuff overflows.  It's probably due in part to crap-tober, but then again, maybe crap-tober was due to the mushy brain stuff coming up...the circle of pessimism.  You get two points if you just tried to sing "circle of pessimism" to that song from the Lion King...

I saw something the other day that kind of hit a raw nerve with me.  "In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek."  It's supposed to be a French proverb.  I don't know if this is what it's supposed to mean, but when I read it, I immediately thought it meant 'there's always one person who loves more'.  And I think that 99.9% of the time, that's a true least it seems that way in my life.  And it's a frustrating truth.

On one hand, the downside.  You give and give and rarely get anything in return. Not that you give with the idea of receiving, but if love were equal, both people would have the other person's interests at heart.  But it's not equal.  So if your thinking only of the other person...and they're thinking of themselves don't ever get your needs met.  And everyone deserves to receive the things they need.  It's hard enough to put yourself out there...and then to not have any kind of reaction to your effort, it hurts.  I'm tired of that kind of pain.  It makes me feel like nothing.  And I am not nothing.  I am a pretty decent person, as a matter of fact!

I said to someone once that all I wanted was to be appreciated.  And that hasn't changed.  I try hard to be a good person, to help people if I can, to be kind.  I try extremely hard to be the kind of person who is there for other people when they need me.  I don't think there are a great many people out in the world who honestly care about others, but I fight to be someone who does.  Because people deserve to have someone to care about them...all people do.  I just stop and question whether I have someone who does that for me in my daily life.  And even if I don't, I doubt that's the thing that bothers me.  That part I can deal with.  I just wonder if anyone notices that I truly care.  Does it matter?  Does anyone see it?  Has anyone ever said to themselves 'she doesn't have to be that way, but she is'?  I don't want glory or praise or whatever...I just want...acknowledgement, I know that I matter to know that I make the hard parts a little bit easier for someone.  I feel lucky enough to have people in the online art community who make me feel...seen...who make me feel missed when I'm not around.  That's a really nice feeling.  I just kind of wish I had more of that in my daily life sometimes.

The other side of that whole loving more thing, is how can it be bad?  Why should I feel sad that I'm willing to extend myself for others, even if they don't notice?  It's not hurting anything, is it?  Would I be able to look at myself in the mirror if I stopped putting myself out there?  (No, I wouldn't...I've was an epic fail.)  The world can be a hard place, so if I can soften the edges by sending out good things, why should I question the worth of that goodness?  It's as much as I can do, and that's all that you can ask of yourself.  It's enough to do the good we can do as individuals.  It's enough.

So, point of the spread, is that it bothers me that I care whether anyone notices my effort.  I feel like a whiny, self-involved jerk about the whole thing.  But it's how I feel.  I can't...or I won't anymore...just dismiss that feeling.  I am learning that it's important to accept how I feel, the good and the mushy.  I need to understand why I feel the way I do, instead of trying to repress/cover over/lie to myself/etc.  I've learned that if I just cover things over, they just rise to the surface again...usually in a more ugly and hateful way than the first time around.

If I can understand why I feel like I do, then I can move forward. I can say "Self, I see why you feel that way...but have you thought about it like this?"  ...I guess I can reason with myself.  Sometimes I can work out an answer.  Sometimes, I can't.  But just the fact that I see and accept my feelings has been helping me to feel better about what goes on in my's personal acknowledgement, I suppose.  I see myself.  Even if no one else does, I can finally see myself.  And that's a powerful thing.  And it's not a skill I've always possessed, so now that I am learning to do it, I feel so good about it!  I still have pity parties...we will call them most of last month...but being able to find my way out of it, that's priceless to me.

I know that I must not be the only person out there who feels this way...the world is a huge place and there's only so many feelings to go around.  So, I hope if you are feeling unnoticed, under-appreciated, or unloved, you will be able to see that, even if they never say it, there are people who notice you, there are people who appreciate what you do, and that there are people who love you.  But it's my sincere wish that, when you really need it, someone will whisper those good things in your ear and that you will believe them when they do.