Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rising Water and Keeping My Eyes On the Prize

Today, I've got my spread for the DOCUMENTED LIFE art challenge of Acrylic Paint and the prompt of Cry Me A River.  Here's what I made:

"Let the waters rise and hide the tears I've cried for that bad man."

The words on the page are from this song (except I changed it from 'woman' to 'bad man') by Justin Townes Earl, "Let The Waters Rise" :

I just love him...he can do no wrong in my eyes!

I used acrylics on the sweeping/ombre  brush stoke bits and the tags, but watercolor for the eye and the leaky tears.

I am kinda excited about the eye because, while it's pretty simple, I think I got it to look a little more 3D than I usually YAY!  I love it when I notice that my hard work has started to pay off!

Along those lines...the 'hard work paying off' lines, I mean...I want to invite you over to check out my new blog endeavor, NOSTALGIC CAKE.  Before you freak out and start to panic, I'm still going to keep up with this blog (at least as well as I have been lately...which is not very unfortunately..I've been caught up in a little side project that I'm not quite ready to share just yet).

So, why start a new blog then?

 As you may know, I've had a big life change recently.  When that happened, basically all my stuff minus art supplies, clothes, and a few childhood memorabilia-type things stayed at the house while I...evacuated it.  It's worked out fine thus far, because I'm staying with my mom for the time being and she lets me use her stuff...horay!  But in a relatively short amount of time (6-10 months...ish), I'm going to have to find my own place to live.

You may have heard me mentioning *read complaining* about the fact that I am really having a hard time with this transition period I'm in.  I've been feeling uncomfortably unsettled and disordered...and I realized that I should be able to do something about it...and then I realized...of course I can do something about it.

A while back on this blog, I mentioned how I had bought three pieces of furniture (and my mom was going to refurbish them for me, so they were at her house and I actually have a desk and two dressers in addition to my clothes and art stuff).  I really love these pieces!  I mentioned that, one day, I'd like to have a home where no matter where I looked, my eyes would land on something that brought me that same kind of joy.  I want my house to declare who I am as a person...and I've realized that, even though I may not have the actual house yet, I can slowly start gathering the objects to fill it...and not just to fill it, but to make it into the place I dream about.

And so Nostalgic Cake was born...a place where I could keep tabs on my slowly growing inventory of joyfulness, and, of course, share it with the amazing friends who have been rooting for me all along!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

See How They Shine?

Today I've got a spread for my DOCUMENTED LIFE journal.  The art challenge was watercolors and the prompt was "It's water under the bridge."  

Here's what I made:

"All your dreams are on their way...
...see how they shine?"

The words are from the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and here's my favorite version, sung by Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple:

I love how this painting came out...not perfect...but still right.

I've been noticing that I add black outlines to a lot of my work, especially watercolors...I think of that as an illustrative style...many people do it...and I love how it looks!

But I've been noticing, especially recently, in old children's books, images like this:

I feel like this picture asks a lot of questions...why are the pigs wet?  Why are they sitting on top of that wood crate?  Who leaves a wood crate that close to a lake...that can't be good for the boards...   Why does the fish care...smug little jerk?  How did he manage to catch two pigs in the same net?  How does he plan to carry them home...look at his muscles...those pigs are almost as big as him...he better have leashes...  Why is his mustache growing upside down? (I actually think that might be an open mouth, not an upside down mustache, but once you see it, you can't un-see it..)

No black outlines...I've noticed this style before, but it wasn't until recently that I thought of it in relation to my art.  And I thought...HOW DO THEY BLOODY DO THAT?  

So this spread was my first attempt at making this non-outlined style of art...and my thoughts on this afterward are that either a) I need WAY much more patience in order to create those crisp lines without using black pen or b) there's some kind of special secret technique that makes this style a million times easier once you know it...

But, despite all that, I still like my painting...  I think that the imprecise edges in has make it look hazy and in a dream...which is (after I realized I couldn't get the crisp lines!) the effect I was going for.  :)

So, my b-day was a couple weeks ago (May 19 to be exact), and I got some awesome things from two of my beautiful friends:

First, from Boo, an awesome doodled cake card:

I love this!  I will always remember how Boo once told me she couldn't draw and how ever since then, she's been proving herself wrong! :)  I love it, Boo!

And then from my Pamikins, I got this assortment of goodies:
I can't wait to use all these goodies!

And a close-up:

These are Wallpaper samples!  I love that textured gold one all the way to the's my favorite one (although the rose one she used to make the card with is right up there too!)...I can't wait to make something special with it!

Thank you ladies for remembering me!  I love you both! <3<3<3

And lastly, I've got a picture of Frida...because I get fussed at if I don't! :)

Ain't she cute?!?

This is what Frida does when I go outside to smoke...sits and stares at me...I think my mom probably trained her to do this in order to add one more person to the list of guilt trippers nagging me to stop...

Then again, she does the same thing when I go to the bathroom (sits outside the door and waits for me), and no matter how much I get nagged about that, it's not gonna stop! (Haha!)

She does the same thing when I go to work in the morning as in the picture above...sits by the door and stares at me till I'm a little kid watching their parent leave for work.  Don't leave, Mom!  She doesn't sit there all day, but the fact that she waits till I start pulling down the road before she goes on about her business is more than a little heart melting...  

I am always a little uncomfortable with her displays of unconditional love, loyalty, and devotion...I don't quite know what to do with it and always feel more than a little unworthy of it!  And yet, despite that, she persists in her determined, sometimes belligerent, ways of showing me affection.  To the point where I've often wished that humans could see each other with dog eyes because I know it would end all the bad stuff that goes on in the world.  But, for now I will have to settle for Frida...always staring up at me with her loving goo goo eyes, loyal to me for reasons I can't understand.  

It is more than enough.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Like What You Like

Today I've got the "Treasure" prompt for JOURNAL 52 to share with you:
"I like what I like and that's that."

I love this spread...and the hippo bank that inspired it:

I tried to do this spread in the style of TRACEY FLETCHER KING.

I feel like I accomplished my goal pretty well...of course, you can tell it's mine because it's badly drawn! (Haha!)

I like that he's shrugging his shoulders...he doesn't know what's going on either!

Of course, one of the things I treasure is my Frida:

Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

She's such a doofus (you can tell from looking at her, can't you?), but I say that in the most loving way possible!  There are times when I want to throttle her (she was SO BAD on our walk the other day!) but then she does something goofy and all the misbehavior is forgotten in the giggle fits she causes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Enough Nerve

Today, I've got my spread for JOURNAL 52'S prompt "Collage Crazy":

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -J.K. Rowling

I can't even explain how much I love this spread!

Scrapbook paper base, followed by napkins, a wash of color, followed by gesso through a stencil and some glorious drippage!

Hubba hubba!

It's not my usual for sure, but I really love how this turned out!   SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!  SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!

Sigh.  Glorious!

I'm magically in love with this spread, and I love the sentiment behind it as well...the idea that the world is my oyster if I can only work up some nerve...or moxy if you will...I love that word...moxy.

I've worked on getting my moxy back since I've made my major life move...and one thing I did was to get a haircut:
Ugh.  Selfies.  But on the positive side, my hair is fabulous.

Considering the fact that my hair was halfway down my back when I got this cut, I'd say that more than a little moxy was required.  But I love it!

When I got my haircut, the lady (who my sister uses and recommended) said "You know, you just have the perfect attitude to pull this haircut off."  Which I took as a huge compliment, because to me, short hair takes confidence.  You don't have anything to hide shrink into when you're nervous.  You're just out there!  

So maybe my moxy wasn't entirely was just simmering quietely beneath the surface...waiting to be let loose on the world...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

En Garde, Your Majesty

Three spreads today.

The first one is in my DLP journal for the prompt MARK MAKING AS A FOCAL POINT/COMING INTO FOCUS.  Here's what I did:
"En garde."

For me, what this prompt brought into focus was the thought to guard my heart.  I've worked really hard to let myself be open and vulnerable, but there comes a point when one might go too far.  Too much of a good thing and all that.  I've realized I need to put a few walls back up.  It's important when one follows one's heart to take your brain as well.

Love those triangles.

Sometimes people are just not what you need them to be...they're just not good people when it comes to you.  They take advantage of kindness...they use you...

Like this spread, another for DOCUMENTED LIFE, says:

" hit me."
My custom element for this spread are sticky labels that I've used to wipe my left-over paints on since I've been here at moms...they are pretty nifty and an easy way to get some color on the page.

It suddenly hit me that being my friend is a privilege, not a right.  I don't have to stand for someone taking advantage of me or doing me wrong...I don't have to deal with that crap!

This spread for JOURNAL 52 sums it up nicely, I think:

"You rule your own life."

You rule your own life.  I rule mine.  You rule yours.  What an epiphany!

This was for the 'Cards' prompt, and I used a queen card as the base for this...the queen of hearts actually...hence the no arms.  But Queenie McArmless here reminds me that I have power over my heart and my life...I'm not lost to the whims of either.

It's up to each of us individually to decide what we are willing to deal with and what we are not...what we find acceptable and what we take exception to.  I don't get to tell you.  You don't get to tell me.  ...I mean, you can try, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and start humming and ignore you, so there! :)

Sometimes I am both amazed and frustrated by how long it takes me to really 'get' things.

I mean, I would never think of telling another person how they should live their life...and yet, it's taken me all this time to realize that they shouldn't be doing it to me either.  I would never intentionally take advantage of another person, and yet, it's only now that I see it's not fair for someone to do it to me...

At least I've finally learned it I suppose...I just hope that, if there are any more blazing epiphanies to be had, I'll be a quicker study in the future.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Weary Heart and A Perfect Place

Hi guys!  Today I've got 3 spreads to share with you from my Documented Life journal.

The first one is the last spread for February's Layers You Will Love theme, with the art challenge/prompt of USING AT LEAST FIVE LAYERS/GIVE ME A HIGH FIVE.  Here's what I made:

"A weary heart just needs a little touch."
-Justin Townes Earle

I got the words for this spread from this song, "Yuma" by Justin Townes Earle:

It's one of those songs where the Tom Waits quote fits perfectly: "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things."

The next spread is for the March theme Making Your Mark(Doodles and Mark Making) and the art challenge/prompt was AS A LAYER ELEMENT/SURVIVING THE ELEMENTS:

"I choose the rooms that I live in with care."
-Leonard Cohen

I got the lyrics on the page from a song by Leonard Cohen called "Tonight Will Be Fine".  Here's a hauntingly beautiful version by Teddy Thompson:

Sigh.  Glorious.

This is my perfect place.

So last post, I mentioned about the fact that I've been thinking of having my own space for a while...well, the house in the spread above is my perfect place...PERFECT!

You see, ever since my sister bought her house in Bristol (Tennessee...not the England-y one) several years ago, I have noticed this same glorious house every time I drive past it...and now that I live in Bristol, I find I drive past it quite a lot.  You can see the house HERE.  So not only is this my favorite house ever, which I love more than I can say for reasons I can't even name, this awesome house is for sale.  For sale for a price that is...not realistic for me in this lifetime...

But when I tell you that this house is my soul mate, you must believe is my PERFECT house.  Normally, I wouldn't be attracted to something so permanent...despite the fact that a house was bought while I was married.  I didn't want that house...or any house...

But this glorious house is different.  It calls my name.  I can see myself living in that house with Frida and going about my daily life with glee...  Having a huge studio on the top floor, having guest rooms galore, being able to take Frida down those front steps directly to a sidewalk for a quite neighborhood walk...a nice little fenced in back yard and even a separately fenced formal garden on one side of the house.  ...Old fashioned plants everywhere (at one point this place had well manicured landscaping, but now it's grown up a little) that are calling out to me to tend them...  *insert frantic and disappointed sobs here*

I have tried convincing myself to let it go...saying all the negatives and how unrealistic it is that I should ever get to live in that money, too much space for just one person (and one dog), who's going to clean it, too far from work, do you want to have to shovel that driveway/salt those steps, etc...

Which brings me to my last spread to share today, for the art challenge/prompt BORDERS/BORDERLINE FEELS LIKE I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND:

I felt very clever in how I made my border...hehe!  That clever feeling is a rarity and I'm enjoying it!

You see that cool girl with the snazzy hair and shades, rocking her fancy dress and sweet tea while she waters unseen flowers?  Oh yeah, that's me...

"For once in your life, dream big."

All my life, I've been a realist...feet planted to the ground...ambition was not in my vocabulary...why dream about something that will never happen...pessimistic.

But, you know what, that's boring.  

What does it hurt if I have my big dream?  What's wrong with having a crazy goal that you'll probably never achieve?  Who's gonna tell me I can't think about what I want?

I've never been an ambitious person, because I was always taught that ambition was not for me...I had other things to worry was enough to have the bare minimum in life and be grateful for it.

But nobody gets to tell me that anymore.

I can save money.  I can have as much space as I want; it's not too much!  I'll clean it and keep it clean.  I've driven farther for work before.  I'll shovel the driveway and salt the steps the few times it snows.  I don't need to worry.  I'd be fine.

So if I want to dream of my perfect house and slowly, slowly, slowly work towards it, I will.

In fact, I'm going to go do some dreaming right now...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Inspired By Watermelon and Not Cleaning

Today I've got weeks 12-14 of JOURNAL 52 to share with you.

Week 12's prompt was INSPIRATION BOARD and here's what I made:

Having a space of my own has been on my mind A LOT lately...I'll explain more in an upcoming post...but I used my inspiration board spread to remind me how I would want my own space to feel: vintage, but colorful and fun.  I started out with the painting on the left page, which was cut from a catalog (I LOVE that painting!), and the image of the lady with her eyes closed (also on the left page)...I've used her more than once, and I think she's so adorable!

Then there's week 13's prompt, which was SPRING CLEAN:

This was not the most thrilling of prompts for me, due to a natural aversion to cleaning...but I like how that broom ended up turning out!
"Sometimes you just have to sweep the whole darn mess under the rug!"
Lately, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by various sundry thoughts...a whole lot of thinking, planning, and dreaming of what the future might hold, what might happen, and how to deal with it if it was getting to be too much!  This spread is to remind me that I don't have to figure everything out all at once.  If I need to, I can "sweep it under the rug" for a will still be there, to deal with in the future, but not so in-my-face.  It's giving myself permission to say 'I will cross that bridge when I get there'.

And finally, for week 14's prompt, SWEET TREATS, I made this spread:

I have been luckily enthralled with fruit two times this week...fruits that actually taste like what they're supposed to taste like!  The first was a watermelon that was gloriously juicy and delicious and so documented.  And the second was a strawberry that was so good I could have cried from one of the plants we planted in mom's back yard.  Seriously, it was the best strawberry I've had in MANY, MANY years!  I'm waiting for the others to get ripe so I can go steal them off the vines... :)

I've got some more stuff ready to share with you, just need to take the pictures, but it should be coming soon!  Until then, I'll be in the strawberry patch waiting to swipe the next ripe berries...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Coloring Books and Gray Areas

Today I've got two spreads to share with you.


"Whether we color outside of them, blur them, or draw our own, it would probably be wise to keep in mind that every once in a while, they're there for a really, really good reason."  I love, love, LOVE that stamp set!

And then there's this one, for WEEK 11'S "JUST WRITE" PROMPT:

"I just wish I could remember how not to hate the gray areas and the ever-present in-betweens."

My spreads look as blah as I feel...  I don't know what happened.  I must be overly tired.  Sometimes when I'm sleep deprived, I get these super creepy thoughts that I can't shake, and it makes me get a sick stomach...that's what happened last night.  

When I was younger, I did not mind the unsettled, slightly chaotic feelings of things changing.  

The older I get though, the more I hate that feeling of waiting to see what happens...I wish I could fast-forward through it and get to the settled part a little more quickly.

But I don't want to be like that...wishing huge chunks of my life away because of the small discomfort of shifting around.  I want to remember how those times are exciting because anything could happen...not the current pessimistic view that causes me to doubt that anything good will come of it all.  

How do I get back to feeling like life was an adventure to be had, not a punishment to be endured?  I don't always feel like that...not always...but when I do, it seems to want to stick with me and cast a fog over everything.  And then there I am again, wishing away pieces of time...a bitter cycle.

Oh well.  I know from experience that, as quickly as it came on, the haze of depressing thoughts will lift away again, leaving me with a brighter sky and a little more hope.  Until then, I will just muddle through as good as I can.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Orange and black and white

Today I've got my spread for week 9 of JOURNAL 52, where the prompt was "Artistic Restraint" (using only one color, plus black and white, and one shape).  I love what I ended up with!  Here's what I made:

Oh yeah...  *sigh of super happiness*

I know that I had said 2015 would be the year of the non-face pages for me, but I did say I might throw one or two in throughout the year if it was the prompt or felt right to do so...

I chose orange as my one color, only because it's the one color I don't use very often at all...and chose circles as my one shape.  As I was adding those shades and tints of orange, I realized I had no idea where I was going with this piece...I thought I had arted myself into a corner.

But once I finished the page and sat back and looked at it, I was immediately reminded of a dear childhood friend of mine, Arlene, who's favorite color was orange.  Once I thought of that, I couldn't shake it...and so I went to work sketching out a face on my page.  Still using only orange and tinting/shading it with white/black, I worked on skin tone and making her look more dimensional.

For my friend Arlene, wherever life may have taken her...

My lady doesn't really look like my friend did, but she does call her to mind.  Instead of an afro like the lady above, Arlene's hair had these amazing spiral curls that stuck out with a grand amount of volume from her beautiful face...they were so energetic and spunky...I loved them and was always so jealous of them...I can't tell you how bad I wanted my own hair to have those exact curls.  Ninety percent of the time, Arlene...did not love them...she wanted boring, straight hair like mine...which was pure crazy in my opinion...  That's how it always seems to go, you want the opposite of what you have...that's everybody I guess...we weren't special in that.

I haven't seen Arlene in a million years...not since before I got married...11 or 12 years, maybe...I lost track of her over time...growing up takes its toll and we forget what's really important.

But I still think of her when I see the color orange or smell Clinique "Happy" perfume.  She was hilarious and extremely talented...the most naturally talented artist I've ever personally met, with the possible exception of my sister Marian.  She was one of those people that people couldn't help but like...she could have a comfortable conversation with anybody.  She was beautiful inside and out, and I've never seen a person who exuded confidence in the same way as she did: quietly and humbly, but without a doubt that it was there.  I often wish, even now, that I knew how to do the same.

This is my favorite piece that I've done in quite a while.  For the fact that the lady came out of my head, with no reference photo...for the fact that I only used one color plus black and white to bring her into existence...and for the fact that it calls to mind a good person who I had forgotten for a time.

Arlene, wherever you are, you're still on my mind and I miss you and love you.  I hope life has been as kind to you as you always were to me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Smell of Dirt

Today I've got the prompt for week 8 of JOURNAL 52, "Aromatherapy":

"I smell the dirt and the grass and all these glorious green things growing."

Head on, I'm not a fan of this's just...'meh'...

But when you look at it from a different angle, it becomes much more interesting...

I love the texture on the flowers especially!

Hubba hubba!

Isn't that the way it goes...a little change in perspective makes everything better...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Cover up and Feel Alive

Today I've got my spread for the DOCUMENTED LIFE prompt from February 14 to share with you.  The theme for February was "Layers You Will Love", the art challenge was "Cover Up Good Stuff", and the journal prompt was "Going Undercover".

Here's what I made:

"The hardest thing you will ever have to do is to let yourself feel alive."

I got the words for today's spread from this song "Time to Leave" by Melissa Ferrick:

I used lyrics from this song in another spread recently, but these ones are so good, I figured it'd be alright...

Do you see the theme in the images?

When I thought about the prompt "Going Undercover", images of people shrinking back into themselves came to mind...of people hiding...all kinds of negative connotations.

For me, this spread is about the things that hold us back from being "alive"...from being our true selves.

On the left hand page, there's the girl who's constantly looking to someone else for the answers.  Then there's the girl who's always looking back on the past with regret (although I do love that artwork, she looks so melancholy).  And at the bottom, the girl who's always longing for what she can't have (Christina's World by Andrew of my absolute favorite pieces ever).  On the right page, there's the girl who's constantly finding something else to do so that she can ignore what needs to be done.  And then the little girl hiding herself away because she's afraid.  And lastly, there's the girl in the swing...she's got it all figured out: to be exactly who and what she wants to be.

I think sometimes we (or I) make things harder than they have to be...we over-complicate what should be simple.  Like the song alludes to, it takes time and making up our own mind to see things clearly.  

It's not should be, but it's not.  

For me, I think that's why it takes us being...not brave (or not only brave)...but fed be so sick of something that it's literally a knee-jerk reaction to have to make it change.  And then the challenge is to not let those nagging doubts or bad habits creep back in and push us back into our little holes.

We only get one go round in this life...I don't want to spend any more time shrinking back or covering up.  I am working on being the girl on the swing, boldly being whatever it comes to my mind to be.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mindy Inspired and Frida for Mo

I thought you might like to see a process post's kinda been a while since I've done one.

This spread is for my Documented Life journal for the Art Challenge "When Not To Stop" and the prompt "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough! (Ooh)" and is the first in the February (yep, that far behind!) theme of "Layers You Will Love"

I have to admit that layering does not come very naturally to tends to require drying time...and that, in turn, requires patience...which is not my forte...  

I think that's why I always turn to a MINDY LACEFIELD inspired girl when I am prompted to do layers.   She talks about how her art is inspired by child-like freedom...doing what feels right, even though it may be technically 'wrong' not waiting for that first layer to dry before you add more...that's right up my alley!  And here's what happened:

I started out with Aquamarkers on an un-gessoed page...added a crap ton of water to try to get them to blend...which didn't really happen, as you can see...FINE THEN, BE THAT WAY!
Instead of waiting for it to dry, I started spreading on some acrylic paint with a pallet knife over the sopping wet Aquamarker.
It looked a little flat, so I decided to add more paint, still with the pallet knife, but this time with the sharp edge instead of the broad, spreading way I had done previously...much better now, I think...more interesting to look at...more energetic...
Next, I challenged myself to paint the girl solely with my fingers.  I started out with the basic shape of the girl in a neutral color.
I started defining areas of her face and body with a few more layers of paint... 
I kept having issues with her nose shape and there are several boring pictures I left out that were just me getting aggravated at noses in general....
I finally picked one and went with it...more colors, shading and highlights at this point...
I evened her out and gave her some pearls because she has that slightly sad introspective annoyed look on her face...
"I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate - it's apathy.  It's not giving a damn."
-Lou Buscaglia

Sometimes I have a quote in mind before I start.  Other times, like for this spread, one will present itself after the fact...the art will tell me what it is my heart's brain was trying to say and I can find the just-right quote pretty easily. 

I hope you liked the step-by-step mom says this girl is kinda scary looking, but she does have some harsh things to say, so she couldn't be all cutesy-froo-froo...she's lived a hard life this gal...she's jaded and bitter...  But admitting there's a problem is the first step towards solving it, and this little lady knows something's not quite right...

And now, for my sweet friend Twinkletoes, here's a couple pictures of Frida:

I caught her on my bed...she's never been on it before, and she doesn't know if she's allowed...she is literally not moving anything except her eyes (waiting to see if I'm going to fuss at her!)...for so long I decided to grab my camera and snap a picture...
Once I snapped the first pic, I started laughing at just how long she had stayed so still...and that's when I got this's the "Yay! She laughed, I'm not in trouble!" picture....
I just had her to the vet the other weekend, and she'd gained 12 pounds in a month!  She was a fluffy 41 pounds (at 4 months old).  She's such a gentle giant though...her brother, which is my sister's dog, is 54 pounds at the same age...and a maniac in my opinion...
I'll have to try to get some pics from where I take Frida walking at, Steele Creek's really pretty and serene and there's a lake and's awesome!

And, on that note, I'm off to get ready for a super speedy way because I've only got about 10 minutes before I have to go...five minute shower for me today!  But I got the important things done, and that's what counts, right? :)