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.