Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Oak Sleeps In The Acorn

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
James Allen

 Pursue your dreams.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mixed Media Paintings and the military home.

This sentiment is so true - "Where We Love Is Home"

The majority of military families move A LOT.  People who aren't military (we call them civilians) ask me all the time how I do it.  These two paintings are the formula of a successful military family... we make where ever we are in that moment our home.  There is a familiar saying - "Home Is Where The Army Sends Us"

The little houses in a row represent military housing.  I hadn't added the words when I took this picture.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't been completely satisfied at every single duty station.  I can think of only two out of nine or so different addresses (I lose track sometimes) that I didn't love.  I am not saying that I didn't like them - there is always something positive in each place and that is usually the great friendships that develop.  The first place we were only there for 6 months but our youngest was born during that time so it has wonderful and exhausting memories.  The second place had a lot of old memories connected with it.  It was a place for personal growth and we made fantastic friends.  I never forget the places we lived when Gene was deployed... talk about spiritual and personal growth.  I couldn't watch a single redeployment commercial during the Super Bowl this year without crying.  It gets me every time.


I will probably add a sentiment to help complete the thought/meaning.

These two paintings represent that feeling of the military home.  It's not about the house we are living in or the weather or the stores or the schools (all these things can help) but it is about the people we surround ourselves with.  I grew up in the same little town on a cattle farm.  We made a lot of memories and learned how to work hard but I have loved the adventures the Army has sent us on.  So, these paintings have special meaning to me.  One has already gone home to another military family.  They are sweet reminders of our way of life that might be a bit different from others but loved none the less.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reusing Spiral Notebooks



Are you at the part of the school year when you child comes home and tells you that she/he needs a new notebook the very next day, so you run to the grocery store and pay twice the normal amount for a sad little notebook?  No one wants to be the bad parent who sends their child to school without supplies.  And then do you repeat the exact same thing the next week?   I know I can't be the only one.  Right?!?!  Please tell me I'm right.


Do you have a stack of partially used spiral notebooks stashed away in a closet that came home from school at the end of the year?  Do you try to talk your little angel into using one of those old notebooks before you pawn your wedding ring (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit) to buy the overpriced notebook at the grocery store down the street?

Do you have a box of odd and end scrap booking supplies that you can't get rid of but you probably won't use?  Or, are you like me and buy scrap booking supplies but never scrapbook?

If you answered yes to these questions then grab your Mod Podge because I have the solution for you!

This little gem was the result of  "Mom!!!  I need a new Science notebook for school tomorrow!!"  I wasn't about to leave the house without my bra on and I wasn't putting on a bra to go get another stinkin' notebook. Don't judge... the sun was down and my jammies were on.  I checked the old notebook stash and remembered that when we moved I painstakingly dismantled all the old spiral notebooks so they could be recycled... but I found an survivor.  I located a vintage notebook from when my husband was in college about ten years ago.  JACKPOT!  Take a look at what we made with a paper bag, scrapbook supplies, and Mod Podge.  She loves it.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

steampunk/military messenger bag for the tomboy

We are still using those steampunk inspired pendants.  They were so much fun to make and I have set a few aside to use in my mixed media paintings.  I have so much "stuff"collected for paintings.  My previous post shows how we made them and then turned them into a banner Steampunk Banner.


Gigi is a tomboy.  She doesn't get why girls like to spend time fixing their hair, putting on make-up or worrying about accessories.  (I love all those things.)  I was so excited when I found out that her friends talked her into using a purse.  She refused to carry any type of bag that looked girly or pink or had flowers or had anything that indicated she could possible be a girly-girl.  I showed her a few of the Kavu bags, which are functional, durable, and fun.  I carry one.   She didn't really love any of them so off we went to look through my fabric scraps.


Gigi designed her own small messenger tote by using left over pieces of an Army uniform, chevron canvas, left over military patches and pins from her Dad's collection and some of her steampunk charms and pendants.  It turned out so cool.  Or should I say epic?  I can never keep up.   Now she's not walking around school with her pockets full of her phone, chapstick, pens and pencils, papers... her new steampunk/military inspired bag holds it all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Discover - steampunk banner

It started out as Christmas craft with the kids...





I found a ton of cute paper clay sculptures on Pinterest and decided it was a craft I would have to try.  During down time on Christmas break I brought out the paper clay and gathered the girls around the table for some mother-daughter craft time.  Greta didn't last long but Gigi and I stuck to it and decided to make steampunk inspired pendants... and a few birds.

We started by rolling and cutting out the clay into mostly squares.  I had some adorable little "cookie" cutters in the shapes of squares and circles that I bought when I picked up the paper clay.  I also had a bunch of steampunkish bits and pieces that Gigi and I found on a late night trip to Micheals Arts and Crafts, and when I say a bunch I mean more than I will ever use in a lifetime.  

We made our basic clay pendants and arranged the steampunk pieces into the clay.  After that was finished, we took a break for about... two weeks.  In our defense, the clay had to dry and we all know that crafts dry better when they are left on the kitchen counter and forgotten.  Just a note, very few of the steampunk embellishments stuck in the clay and most of them had to be glued to the pendants after they were painted.




Then one day while cleaning, I decided that was impossible to truly clean my kitchen unless I stopped what I was doing and painted the clay pendants.  Isn't that how all crafty people clean?  So, I transferred all the tiny little clay and metal pieces to my art studio and started smearing paint on them.  I literally used my fingers and smeared them with watered down black craft paint and then started rubbing them with a dab of different colored metallic craft paint.  I love the outcome.


 When Gigi got home from school I had to have her remind me where the different steampunk pieces went on which clay pendant and then we glued them in place and enjoyed our accomplishment.  We had a pile of pendants that we loved but didn't know what to do next.

A bolt of lightening struck and we decided to make a banner.  So after the completed pendants relaxed on my desk in my art studio for another handful of days, I came up with an idea for a banner.  It only took an afternoon to put together and now it proudly hangs in her room.  All the pendants on the banner are the ones that Gigi designed.  It is absolutely one of the coolest things we have made together.  

We still have pendants left over for other projects.  I have a purse that Gigi and I designed to show you next... which uses more of her steampunk pendants.







Friday, January 3, 2014

I'll miss you 2013




What a busy year that was filled with many changes and challenges.  Our biggest change was our move to Alabama in July.  It signified more than our typical military move, this move is the start of a new chapter in our lives.  We PCSed from Ft Leonard Wood Missouri.  It was the most difficult assignment we have encountered.  Normally, I find pride in my ability to make anyplace fun; however, the entire family didn't adapt well during the two years we were in MO.   I had to accept that some things don't change no matter how badly we want them to and things I wanted to stay the same, like our wonderful friends and neighbors, do change (and move).  I guess I learned to look for the positive. When we received our orders for Redstone Arsenal we were thrilled.  This was a place we always wanted to live.  We carefully chose a house to purchase in a school district we loved because we plan on staying until the girls graduate.  Gene is still in the Army but his retirement is coming up in about two years and we are looking forward to being settled.  It has been six months in our home and we still love it.

I found a new level of comfort and excitement with my art.  I embraced  painting and it has gone so well.  People seem to really enjoy my art work and the creative process calms my soul.  The rest of the time, well, I have been so disorganized (which is not like me).  That will change in 2014.




The girls have done well in their new schools.  Greta had her usual adjustment period but is doing great.  She enjoys singing lessons and made the choir at her school.  One of her biggest joys is living in a subdivision with a pool.  This kid is a fish and loves to swim laps just for fun.  This upcoming summer she is going to try out for a swim team.  It is exciting to live someplace that has these opportunities.  Gigi has continued with piano and continues to excel in academics.  If I just had a tiny bit of her smarts.  It is so fun watching her become her own young lady.  One of the biggest changes I have seen is her decision to step back from competitive softball.  Gigi still loves to play  but wants to play at a recreational level.  She has decided to focus on music and academics and is considering martial arts.  I have a tough time stepping back but at least Greta still holds my hand to cross the street. 

Gene enjoys his new position at work.  It is a secret so I don't  know much about what he does all day but I do know that he comes home with a sense of satisfaction.  He has the biggest changes to anticipate.  When I refer to our retirement I really mean that Gene will be retiring from the Army.  It will be a big change for him to not be a soldier and a big change for us to not be a military family.




I can't forget the pets.  They are such a big part of our lives.  We lost our sweet border collie Friday in April 2013 due to a seizure disorder.  That was heartbreaking but it also opened our hearts to adopting Maizy May Flower, a super shy Corgi/Sheba Inu mix.  May loves four people and gosh, we love her back.  Then after we got settled in Alabama we adopted August Blue.  He is an Australian Shepherd/Basset Hound mix and a bundle of energy.  I can't even begin to count the number of funny things he has done... or chewed.  Well, that's not true, I have a hard time forgetting all the costly things he has chewed up.  ha ha  Bandit is still hanging in there, despite all the changes.  He continues to follow around his favorite person, Greta.

So, here's to 2013.  It was good year with so many changes and challenges.  Welcome 2014, I am looking forward to the joys you will bring.  This year will be about living with purpose and finding our place.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Curtains, who needs them?

I wonder if this will be me by the end of summer?  I am thrilled that the empty lots are selling in our fabulous subdivision.  The lot beside our house and the lot behind our house have sold.  I can feel our property value increasing.
 
 
 
 
.However,  I must admit that I was a bit surprised to see this giant start to go up behind me.  The majority of houses on our street are for people with arthritic knees, just like me.  They are lovely single story homes.  There are a few two story houses mixed in, no problem.  All the houses are beautiful, just like this home will be.  It just feels odd to know that folks can look into my backyard.  However, they may be sorry for two simple reasons.  First, I don't care for blinds.  I like the sun to shine in.  As a result, I don't have curtains or blinds that cover the window.  All my curtains are for looks only.  I'm sure the neighbors have learned to look away.  Second, Gene takes the dogs out back in his skivvies late at night and early in the morning.  It makes me giggle just thinking about those poor people looking out their bedroom window in the morning, stretching, and enjoying the start of their day only to look down and BAM!  there's Gene on the back porch.  ha ha!!! I don't know, maybe he will start putting on a robe.
 


I have reminded myself that once spring arrives that I won't be able to see the house.  There is a beautiful mature tree already there and I planted apple trees in that corner.  Plus, it is a great excuse to continue to landscape - one of my favorite things to do.  Get the shovel ready Geno, I need some evergreens.

August has been guarding the yard.  He normally doesn't hang out in the yard but he is really enjoying being a guard pup.  Isn't he the cutest?  I wish I had a picture of him standing.  He is an Australian Shepherd and Basset Hound mix.  He has those adorable short turned in Basset legs.  It just makes me smile to look at him.

Lastly, I wish I had learned more in my Spanish classes.  The construction workers enjoy their day.  They are always joking and laughing... loudly.  I want to laugh with them.