13 July 2010

Another Set Back ...

Just wanted to update everyone! I know I had said that I would start interviewing in July and posting in August, but that just hasn't worked out. So many people that I want to interview are traveling (or otherwise busy) right now. And, to be honest, I'm having trouble getting motivated. Dealing with my mother's passing has been harder in some ways than I imagined it would be.

So, I hope to interview in August and start posting in September. Thanks so much for your patience and your continued support. I'll be back!

07 July 2010

Big News For My Blog!

Just a heads up to let you know that I'm getting a new website! My friend, Candy, is designing a more comprehensive web space for Mixed Grill Favorites. I have decided not to migrate this blog to the new space. Instead, I will just transfer it to a blogspot address and leave it here for posterity. I thought about taking it down completely, but there were a few posts that I didn't want to let go of. Besides, I may be starting a new chapter in my blog-life, but I can't forget my past!

I just set up wordpress. Super easy, with the help of tech support. It will provide the underlying structure of my new site. I'm really excited. I think you're going to like it.

If you following me here, I hope you will be kind enough to follow me to my new site. It will be not only more comprehensive, but better organized. I'll also be posting more often, too. Since I knew this was coming, I confess that I've been kind of lax in posting.

See ya at the new site!

02 July 2010

July Goals Meetup!

I have a lot to do in the next few months so I've decided to join the Goals Meetup to help keep me on track. Whenever I need to get a lot done in a short time, I make a detailed list, so the Meetup is a perfect fit for me.

You may notice that my list is very specific, with some projects broken down into steps. I know that isn't necessary for most people, but it really helps keep me focused and it helps me to plan my time more effectively. Besides, I really like crossing things off my list! It helps me feel accomplished and keep me feeling motivated!

Many thanks to Candy for introducing me to the Meetup. I've always been inspired by her lists and accomplishments. And thanks to Athena Dreams for putting this together each month.

I've got a lot to do this month (my personal to do list is even longer!), so I had better get to it. Wish me luck!

  1. Order inspiration cards
  2. Research snap setter
  3. Order snap setter
  4. Order chalks for clipboard
  5. Stamp images for clipboard
  6. Finish attaching base to canvas on bracelets
  7. Finish one bracelet
  8. Pictures for AFAC application
  9. Re-assemble Inspiration piece
  10. Design AFAC booth
  11. Respond to AFAC invite
  12. Color images for clipboard
  13. Pellon on base back (bracelets)
  14. Complete four collages
  15. Sew book signatures
  16. Design business cards
  17. Conduct three - four podcast interviews
  18. Finish art journal
  19. Edit two - three podcasts
  20. Assembled decorated clipboard
  21. Apply for sales tax number

27 June 2010

100 Day Reality Challenge

Because how we spend out days is, of course, how we spend our lives. -- Annie Dillard

That quote is a favorite of mine, but it often leaves me with an emotional OUCH! I need to make some changes.

In some ways, I'm extremely happy with my life, but in other ways, I'm a bit dissatisfied. On a day-to-day basis, my life is pretty good, but when I look at the big picture, I see that I'm not accomplishing much.

I do not want to get to the end of my life and find that I've wasted it by living comfortable and easy. I want excitement. I want to feel as though I'm living my life on purpose.

So, I have decided to join the 100 Day Reality Challenge. For 100 days, beginning today, I will consciously work toward creating the life of my dreams. I'm hoping to accomplish more, develop some new habits, and work through some of my resistance. I have some pretty ambitious goals and intentions, but I think I will see some good movement in my life. I've done the Challenge twice beofre and had some good temporary results; I'm hoping to create more permanent change in my life wiht this Challenge.

I'll occasionally post my thoughts and results, but the bulk of my posting will be on the Challenge Ning site. If you need to get a jump on creating the liffe of your dreams, you might consider creating a challenge of your own. You can start your 100 days any time!

24 June 2010


Thanks to everyone for the comments, the emails, the kind words, supportive thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them all. We've been home about a week, and I'm slowly regaining my footing. My sleep patterns are a little bit messed up, but that's not really surprising; my sleep patterns are very sensitive to stress.

One of the things that I brought home was my mother's crystal. She gave it to me a few years ago, but since I always flew back-and-forth there was no good way to get it to me. We flew to Arkansas, but I inherited my mother's car, so we drove back. That allowed me to bring home the crystal, some of my childhood books, my mother's sewing machine, and a few other things. I just started unpacking the crystal today. I don't have any memories of my parents using it, so unpacking isn't as difficult as baking a new cake recipe was a few nights ago.

My mother loved to cook, and loved for me to cook, too. We'd talk about any new recipes that I tried, and I often called her while I was cooking to ask a technique question. I even called her with questions that I could easily figure out the answer to, just to involve her in the process. She was always eager to hear about the taste test! Tuesday night, I made a new chocolate cake recipe. Then I made Cherokee Fry Bread. Then I made egg salad, a staple around our house. One reason I kept on cooking, one thing after another, was that I was on the verge of becoming overwhelmed with grief. When making the cake, I had a question that I would have loved to have asked my mother, but she wasn't there to call. It was a very sad moment for me, and I wasn't really prepared for it, so I just hauled out more ingredients and made something else! By the time I finished cooking and cleaning the kitchen, the intensity of the grief had lessened and I could better deal with it; if it hadn't, I'd probably still be in the kitchen, stirring up something!

I mentioned that I don't have any memories of my parents actually using the crystal. My dad bought it in the early 70s while he was in the Navy. For years, it sat on shelves in the closet. Many of the glasses still had the labels on them. John and I have decided that we will not just use them for "good" but we don't know when we will use them! There are Zombie glasses and martini glasses, champaign glasses and flutes, old fashioned glasses, cordial glasses and liquor glasses. There are brandy snifters and shot glasses. There are some glasses that I can't yet identify. I guess we'll have to start drinking more! LOL!

Thanks again for everyone's kind words and thoughts.

07 June 2010

Sad News

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter probably already know this, but I wanted to let the others know that my mother made her transition into the non-physical on Sunday afternoon. I so appreciate all the support, loving thoughts and prayers that have been sent on behalf of my mother and my family. I am so touched that people I don't know or haven't seen in years care that much. Thank you.

Because the next couple of weeks will be so hectic for me, I have decided to postpone the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast for awhile. I will spend July recording and will post the next interview in August.

Thanks again for everyone's concern and affection during this time. I'll see you in a couple of weeks!

04 June 2010

Revisiting Past Work -- Thoughts On My Process

I was recently asked to post a little bit about my process. I love this piece, even though it didn't get juried into the recent Multi-Media Mini Show, so I thought I'd talk a little bit about it.

This is basically four dress forms, painted and collaged, then sewn around. The dress forms are a mixture of vellum and transparencies. The stitching is strictly decorative; it doesn't do anything to hold the piece together. At each corner of each dress form, I used my crop-o-dile (love that tool!) to first punch holes, then set eyelets. I then used small nails to attach the forms to the blue background.

The blue background is simply plywood, cut to size on my recently acquired table saw. The the front is covered in GAC-100 and sandable gesso (both Golden's products). The blue is not paint, but Portfolio brand water-soluble oil pastels, put on pretty heavily and then smoothed out with a wet paintbrush. Once it was dry, the blue background was covered with Polymer Medium (Gloss). That background is glued to the larger black background, that was treated in the same manner.

I loved making this piece, because it was pretty different from what I usually do. I don't usually work on wood, but I really enjoyed the challenge of approaching a new substrate. I plan to do more pieces like this!

01 June 2010

8 Minute Cake -- YUMMY!

This is the humble beginnings of the totally delicious 8 Minute Cake. It's basically a standard cake mix, made according to package directions with a can of frosting dumped in the middle. Microwave for 8 minutes and you've got something amazing!

Mine was a little jiggly when I took it out of the oven, but it continued to cook for a few minutes. When you turn it out onto a sheet cake pan (or some other kind of pan), you have yummy, runny goodness. We used Butter Recipe Chocolate Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting. It kind of tasted like an Oreo!

For the complete, detailed, recipe -- visit The Funambulist Damsel. She includes lots of pictures and step-by-step directions.

Goals Meetup???

Each month, I read Candy Glendening's post about what she's accomplished art/business wise the month before, and what she hopes to accomplish for the current month. She is one busy lady! I admire, so much, what she is able to accomplish. I know, from personal experience, that the act of making a list can be sooo helpful. Whenever I have something I need to do -- Thanksgiving, company coming, etc. -- I make a list. A really detailed list. And it never fails to get me through what I'm facing.

So, I got to thinking ... I have some art goals that I periodically throw around to whoever is listening, but I rarely make an actual to-do list or give the goals time limits. And I rarely stay on track. Coincidence? I think not! I'm not ready, goal wise, to join the Goal Meetup that Candy participates in every month. Not today, anyway. I don't want to make some half-baked list just to be making one and then not have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from marking things off! Instead, I think I will spend the next few days pondering my immediate and longer term goals are, artwise, and what it will take from me to accomplish those goals.

July 1 starts the second half of the year, so it seems like a good time to join the Goals Meetup! I think I want to participate in Art on State Street this year, and that will require some planning and commitments on my part to have enough inventory to make it worthwhile. I'll need to plan a booth and display, price my items, get new business cards -- not to mention, MAKE ART!

What do you need to get done this month???

29 May 2010

Paper, paper, paper! Oh my!

Thursday, I made a whorl wind trip to Redlands to see Sex in the City 2. While I was in town, I stopped by Redlands Blueprint and bought some scrumptious handmade papers -- 14 pieces! I was a bit disappointed not to find any patterns (I was especially wanting some polka dots.), but I found plenty to buy as it is. I'm hoping to use them in collages that I am making for an art festival this fall. Most of these are mulberry type papers. The light blue and pink sheets in the second photo are so sheer and soft; they are almost like interfacing. I can't wait to see how these enhance my collages! I've got them all cut up into large pieces and in a 2-gallon storage bag, because I don't have any place to store flat sheets.

Because I couldn't find any patterned papers, I decided to make my own. So, I stopped at Smart and Final today and bought a package of deli wrap. I'm going to paint it and stamp on the background to create my own custom papers. I learned this technique in a class that I took from Kristy Christopherson at the Redlands Art Association. Because deli wrap is so thin and translucent, I'm expecting my final papers to melt into my work.

These are pieces of deli wrap with the first coat of paint. I used Golden Fluid Acrylics, Stewart Gill paints, and some paint leftover from the days when I demo'd for the now defunct Home Studio International (some products are still available from their parent company, US ART Quest.). As much as I generally love my Golden's, I have to say that the Stewart Gill paints performed the best on the deli wrap. It seemed to have a longer open time than the other two, and it went on more smoothly. With the Golden's and the HSI paint, I had to use copious amounts of Acrylic Glazing Liquid, but with the Stewart Gill, I didn't have to use ANY! I was amazed. I live in the Mojave Desert and as you might expect, the humidity is very low here, meaning that paint dries very quickly. Even without air conditioning or ceiling fans, straight paint often dries as soon as it hits the paper; blending is very difficult without the use of AGL.

Here's a little something I whipped up a few days ago. I love the concept -- and the background! If I were doing it over, I'd move the "reate" a little closer to the "C" and maybe glaze the "C" with the same Burnt Sienna that I used in the lower right hand corner. Whatever -- I had fun making it and I learned a couple of things to boot! All is well ...

22 May 2010

I'm Home!

First of all, thanks so much for all of your concern, support, and prayers on behalf of my mom and our family. They are all appreciated! Mother has been moved to a long-term acute care facility in my sister's city so that she can continue to get the medical care that she needs without being alone. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride for all of us, but I think they've settled into some kind of routine (my sister and my mom, with the help of one of mom's cousins and my sister's family), and I've been able to return home. I'll probably go back there during the summer to see Mom and give my sister a break. The doctors say Mom can recover from all she's been through, but we have no idea how long it will take or what it will look like.

I've been home almost two weeks. Sorry I'm just now posting, but it's taken me this long to recover from the sheer emotional and physical exhaustion and get my balance back. I'm just now settling back into some kind of routine. In fact, I'm spending a little time in my studio being creative tonight, for the first time in weeks! Oh, I've been in the studio, looking around or playing on the computer, but tonight was the first time I really even wanted to be creative! I've even dreamed -- literally! -- about making art, but just haven't found the energy to do it.

I went to Michael's and JoAnn this afternoon and bought a few new supplies, so I've got a little inspiration! I've got Pandora Radio playing in the background, a fountain drink on my desk and some chocolate. I'm ready to rock-n-roll! I've glued some background paper down and I'm letting it dry. I don't know if I'll start painting tonight, or wait until tomorrow, but at least I've made a start!

I've decided to start the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast back up in July. I'll record and edit during June, and start broadcasting again on Wednesday, 07 July, 2010. Let me know if there is anyone in particular you'd like me to interview and I'll be happy to approach them! Also, if you have any questions you'd like me to ask my guests, just leave a comment or email me and I'll be happy to work your question in to the next interview -- and give you credit, with a link back to your blog!

Thanks again for all your support. I'm eager get on with things!

17 April 2010

Out Of Touch

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be MIA for awhile. My mother had a major heart attack and bypass surgery. She also has an aortic aneurysm that needs to be dealt with in about 30 days. I'm in Arkansas for the time being and I don't have reliable internet access. I'll post when I can.

01 April 2010

New Podcast Up!

Just wanted to let you know that my exciting interview with Carmen Torbus is posted and ready to download or listen to. I had a great time talking to Carmen -- she's so enthusiastic and passionate about what she does.

I know I've been MIA for awhile -- Hubby and I have both had bad colds and some stuff going on in our personal lives that has kept me away from my blog. I'm getting over my cold now, so I'll be back soon. Thanks for hanging in there!

17 March 2010

New Podcast Is Up!

This week's interview is with Belinda Spiwak. Be sure to listen as she talks about balancing creativity with a busy lifestyle.

I forgot to announce last week's interview -- it was with Canadian artist and workshop leader, Andrea Schroeder. She had some interesting things to say about creativity and spirituality. 

12 March 2010

Humbling Expereince

Today, I saw my two pieces on the wall in the Redlands Art Association's Multi-Media Mini Show. It is a juried show. Out of almost 350 entries, about 100 pieces were selected to be a part of this exhibition. When I saw my work hanging with so many fabulous works of art, I was actually choked up. It was an amazing moment -- seeing my art on the wall, receiving the congratulations of my friends and fellow artists.

I just want to say "thank you" to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me on my artistic journey. I still have a long way to go, but I'm so pleased with the growth I've experienced over the past year. And it wouldn't have been possible without my friends and supporters. Thanks so very much!

09 March 2010

Mini-Show News!

I just got my mail a few minutes ago, when my husband got home from work. In it, were the results of the Mini-Show Juror Day. I'm pleased to announced that TWO of my pieces made it into the show -- Emerge and New Eyes.

If you live in the Redlands area, please stop by the Redlands Art Association sometime after Friday to see my work on display. The exhibit runs through April 8. The RAA Gallery is located at 215 East State Street, downtown. The phone number is 909-792-8435. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

06 March 2010

Mini-Show Submissions

I've been busy getting ready for the Redlands Art Association's 41st Annual Multi Media Mini Show. Take-in is tomorrow. I'll be going in the afternoon, dropping off my work, having lunch with a friend and then gaming and dinner with another friend. It should be a good day.

This show is a juried show, and the judge is a photographer, so I have no idea what kind of art she'll like. Some artists really like mixed-media collage, and some just don't get it. No telling which way she'll lean. And then, there's always the possibility that she'll like mixed-media work, but she won't like mine! Whatever! Art is so subjective; there's no way to predict what piece of work is going to resonate with another person. After all, there's plenty of "good art" that I don't particularly care for!

We are allowed to enter up to three pieces in the show. I'm going for all three to maximize my chances. Wish me luck!

These last two pictures are a little dark because I took them at 11:15 at night in lousy lighting, but I think you get the concept.

03 March 2010

Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast -- Kristy Christopherson

Just wanted to let you know that my recent interview with Kristy Christopherson is up on the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast blog, along with the show notes for this week's episode. I hope you enjoy listening! It was a pleasure to do my first interview with such a good friend and talented artist.

01 March 2010

Crescendoh is Live!

Just wanted to let you know that Jenny Doh's latest project is LIVE! It's a great website. I'm looking forward to watching it grow.

24 February 2010

Podcast Published!

The introductory episode of the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast has just been published! Check out the show blog to listen and comment!


23 February 2010

New Art

I didn't sleep well last night (okay, I didn't sleep at all!) so I spent my time listening to loud music, finishing up a couple of paintings, and writing. It was time well spent.

I started this piece over the week-end, while painting with my friend, Sandra. She took this picture while I was working. It's better than the picture I took this morning.

 I also started this piece over the week-end, and finished it in the middle of the night. I used Speedball Block Printing Ink for the word, and it worked amazingly well. I think I have a new favorite product! Next art supply order will definitely include some other colors.

And here's a piece I started last Monday at my painting group. It doesn't feel finished, but I'm not sure what to do to it next. I'm sure it will come to me as I continue to sit with it. It's not really this shiny.

I haven't forgotten about the color wheel art journal quilt I started a couple of weeks ago, I've just set it aside. The 41st annual Multi Media Mini Show is coming up soon at the Redlands Art Association Gallery and I've been working on/planning pieces for it. Its'a juried show, so there's no guarantee that what I enter will be accepted.

Yesterday, I started something completely out of my current skill set, which is always fun. I'm kind of stuck until I get to Home Depot and get some wood panel to work on -- and the necessary prep materials from Dick Blick. The wood panel may become a reality today (Actually, I'll need my father-in-law's help getting the panel cut to the right size. That will happen on Thursday.), but the prep materials won't be here for a couple of days. I need some vellum, too, which I'll get on Thursday from Collective Journey as there isn't a scrapbook supply store in Victorville or Barstow that I know of. Then, I need to go to Office Depot or some place that I can make photocopies on my own paper.

Curious? Stay tuned!

Becoming An Artist

I haven’t always been the artist that I am today – not that I’m that great or confident as an artist now!

Like most kids, I grew up with crayons in one hand and a coloring book in the other. My mother has often said that I would draw and color on anything that didn’t wiggle away from me. In fact, for several years she had a painting hanging behind the couch that had several blue crayon marks mimicking the movement of the river. Evidently, I was interested in making art even then!

Even so, there was something standing between me and my destiny to create… my other brother!

Richard had an artistic talent that was absolutely amazing. He could draw anything with an exactness that was enviable. Compared to him, I had no talent or natural inclination. As you might expect, he got most (all) of the attention and nurturance in this area. He was even given private art lessons until he reached the age that art wasn’t “cool” anymore. My native abilities – whatever they might have been – were not particularly encouraged. No one discouraged me or told me that my art was sub par, but no one specifically encouraged me to draw or paint either.

Somehow, my little child-self interpreted the lack of affirmation as a statement about my lack of talent. By the time I was in the fourth grade – how old was I? Nine? Ten? – I was already self-conscious about art. By the time I was 14, I tearfully begged my way out of art class completely.

I was eventually encouraged to find a craft that suited me, however; I think that saved me, creatively. I can remember being in my 20s and going to the local craft store with my mother each Saturday, when the store gave free demonstrations to encouraged their customers to try new things.  I tried my hand at sculpting friendly plastic lapel pins and decorating wicker baskets with cut-out fabric flowers. I covered my own window shades and stenciled flowers in my bedroom. I tried my hand at bead embroidery and I learned to crochet, cross-stitch, and tie near-perfect Colonial knots for candlewicking.

My mother and the craft store employees weren’t the only ones encouraging me. When I wanted shelves in my bedroom closet, my dad taught me how to use his table saw and helped me design exactly what suited me. He trusted me with his power tools, giving me confidence to work with my hands.

All of that encouragement to my creativity helped me eventually find my way back to art. When the time came that I needed a visual way of expressing myself – I’ve written all my life – I started out making, then designing, jewelry. From there, I dabbled in textile work. I eventually combined fabric with paper and then paper with paint.

I’d like to say that I’ve come full circle, but I’m still intimidated by a pencil and a blank piece of paper. I’ve made a couple of decent drawings over the years – good enough to keep encouraging me – but I simply don’t enjoy the process. I have to wonder, though, how much of it is truly a lack of enjoyment and how much of it is my long-seated lack of confidence?

It took a long time – and a lot of encouragement from people I respected – before I could call myself an artist, but now I do. I make art regularly. I’ve learned that what makes me an artist is not the quality of my creations, but rather my need to create. I’m very processed oriented, and not surprisingly, a Jill-of-all-trades.

And my brother? He’s a boilermaker who does contract work with oil refineries. I’m not even sure if he doodles while he’s on the phone  …

15 February 2010

Big Announcement!

I know I've been teasing you with posts, tweets, and Facebook updates about a big announcement coming to my blog. The time has finally come!

Beginning Wednesday, 24 February, I will be hosting the Mixed Grill Favorites Podcast! Each week I will talk with a different creative person in hopes of learning more about their art, their processes, and their creative lifestyle. The first interview episode -- with Kristy Christopherson -- will be posted on Wednesday, 03 March.

Other upcoming guests include Belinda Spiwak, Andrea Schroeder, Carmen Torbus and Richard Freund. I'm so excited that these amazing artists have agreed to be a part of my new venture!

The podcast will have its own website, but show notes will also be posted on this blog. There will even be a listener comment line! You will be welcome to call in with your comments, questions, suggestions and ideas. The phone number is 214-615-6505 ext 4283.

12 February 2010

My Word For 2010

A few years ago I discovered blogger Christine Kane. She was writing about a different way to approach the New Year and all the destined-to-be-broken resolutions that often accompany it. I haven’t made resolutions in years – maybe decades! – but I can’t help but look at a birthday as a time to start new things, to reevaluate my goals and desires, and to contemplate those things I’d like to change.

The first year that I read Christine’s essay, I chose a word – GRATITUDE. Last year, I didn’t even think of the process, although I like the idea. This year, I ran across Christine’s blog again and have been thinking about my word for 2010 for several weeks now.

The first word that came to mind was EMERGE, inspired by an essay by Karen Wallace, who actually chose it as her word for 2009. EMERGE felt good and right as I sat with it. This coming year, I hope to more fully EMERGE into my own life and out of the shadows I’ve been living in for so long. I have big plans for expressing myself more vividly in my life.

I don’t want to change so much as I want to be fully present in my life. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with my life and who I am. I have a great marriage, a good family, some really wonderful friends – and of course, The Kitties Two, who bring so much joy into my life.

Although I briefly considered other words (THRIVE and AUTHENTICITY) I am most comfortable with the idea that what I want is to EMERGE. I sometimes feel as though it's all right there, just waiting for me to show up.

This year, I will.

What’s your word for 2010?

11 February 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Thanks to my hubby, two of my best girl friends (Tammy and Sandra -- neither of who have a web presence), and bunches of Facebook friends, I had a really great birthday today. There was lots of laughter and love in the air today; those days are always my favorites! I got a few really cool prezzies, too!

Since my birthday comes so soon after the holidays, it always seems like New Years to me. This is the time that I take stock and make plans. This is when I look back over what I've accomplished in the past year and set goals for the upcoming one.

Instead of making resolutions, a lot of people choose a word for the year. I did that a couple of years ago, and it felt much better than making a list of things to accomplish -- goals that I never manage to realize. I've chosen my word for 2010; I'll share it with you tomorrow!

09 February 2010

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

I hinted in an earlier post that I had a project in the works that would impact Mixed Grill Favorites. I'm still not ready to talk about the details, but I will be making an official announcement about this mystery project on Monday, 15 February, 2010 -- less than a week away! Come back then to get the scoop!

06 February 2010

Project Continued

I got my watercolors in the mail yesterday! I hurried home and spread out all my supplies on my desk, then choked! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not really all that familiar with watercolors, so I froze when it came time to get started. It took me several minutes before I found the nerve to start.Oh, I knew that you take the paint and add water to make juicy color, but when it came to mixing colors, I had no idea what colors were good for that (I know from working with acrylic paints that not all reds, for example, mix the same) -- or even how to begin mixing. Well, I still don't know much about working with watercolors, but I know a little more now. I think I'll be able to approach my new paints with a tad less fear, a bit more confidence.

I do have to confess, though -- I didn't mix all the colors. I did use a few out of the tube, because I just couldn't get the color I was looking for!

Here are the color swatches I've made so far. I still have a few more to make, then it's off to the next step -- journaling on the swatches. That may take a few days, because I'm not thrilled with my own handwriting. I know I'll put this step off!

05 February 2010

New Project!

I've been reading the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors since it first came out, however many years ago. I've learned a lot and been inspired more times than I can count. The January/February issue is just as exciting as past issues have been. In fact, just a few nights ago I had trouble falling asleep because my mind was so busy with possibilities! I should have gotten up and gone to the studio, as many of my night thoughts were lost with the dawning of a new day.

One of the most exciting projects was Diana Trout's article about making a mixed-media "color wheel journal quilt". The idea is to paint rectangles with colors that correspond to those on a color wheel. Add some journaling and some other painted squares to coordinate with the background swatches, then sew it all together. Simple and delightful to look at. It's featured on the cover of the magazine; here's a peak at it.

So, I bought a big sheet of watercolor paper a couple of days ago and ordered some inexpensive watercolors off of eBay (I have some watercolors, but it seems I don't have good mixing colors). Today, I cut the paper into 4" x 6" rectangles. That's all I can do until I get my paints. They should be here Saturday or Monday, I believe. I don't normally paint with watercolors, so this will be an interesting project for me, process wise.

I'll let you know how it progresses. Wish me luck!

30 January 2010

Apologies ...

I owe you an apology ...

I have a few followers, a few more loyal readers, and the occasional random visitor. I appreciate all of you, and yet, I don't treat you with the respect that you deserve. I don't blog on a regular basis, and recently, I haven't even been very good at acknowledging comments the way I should.

First of all, I want to let you all know that I really appreciate all of you who read/commented on my post about B'Orange. Your companionship and compassion are comforting. 

Secondly, thanks for hanging in there with me through my hit-and-miss blogging. You'll be happy to know that I've been taking stock and have recommitted myself to my blog. I recently purchased Tara Gentile's (of scoutie girl) ebook "52 Weeks of Blogging Your Passion" -- a book dedicated to helping creative bloggers stay on point with their blogs. I'll be working through it over the upcoming year, so I expect that this blog will grow into a regular source of information about me, my art, my process and my life.

One of the first exercises Tara has us do is create a mission statement for our blog and share it with our readers. I hesitated on this exercise at first, not sure that I wanted to be that formal. Then, I decided that I'd wasted my money on the book if I wasn't going to do even the first exercise! So, after much thought and editing, here's my mission statement for Mixed Grill Favorites:

Mixed Grill Favorites is devoted to sharing my journey as I continuely grow, evolve, and mature as an artist and writer. Sharing my creative processes so that others can gain greater understanding of my art and writing, and of their own creativity, brings me joy. My website is a way to connect with other artists and writers -- and lovers of art and the written word -- so that I can find inspiration and share it with others!

Lastly, I'm working on some other creative projects that will support this blog. I'm working on a comprehensive website to house my blog and showcase my art. That should be ready by late spring. I have another project that I'm very excited about -- but not ready to share details about! It should be ready by mid-March. I'll write more about it as the time for its unveiling approaches. I think you'll be as excited as I am!

Thanks again for hanging in there! You are appreciated!

20 January 2010

I WON! -- Again!

Earlier this evening, I got an email from Lisa at Happy Place Creations telling me that I won the giveaway for the Amish fiction book The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This is the second giveaway I've won in recent weeks!


18 January 2010

Book Giveaway!

Happy Place Creations is giving away a copy of the new book, The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It has absolutely nothing to do with art, but it does highlight another interest in mine, the Amish religion/lifestyle. I've been fascinated with the Amish since I was a child and we used to pass Amish buggies on the highway on our way to Springfield, MO. Reading a Nancy Drew mystery (The Witch Tree Symbol) at about the same age that took place in Pennsylvania and featured the Amish was just fuel for my fire.

I don't read much fiction these days, but I'll sure be checking this one out. Maybe you will too ...

14 January 2010

Bjorn B’Orange … 01 April, 2003 – 14 January, 2010 … Rest In Peace

B'Orange, taken in September.

A few weeks ago as John and I were driving down The Cajon Pass on our way to visit his parents, I had the most amazing experience. We were riding each with our hand on the other’s leg. I looked to the right, out the car window, and saw the sun shining brilliantly on the snow covered mountains in the distance. In front of the mountains were the deep green foothills. The sky was bright and clear. In that transcendental moment, I realized that while there were many things I wanted, I had everything I needed. An overwhelming feeling of contentment washed over me as I thought, “This is it. This moment is my life” and I was appreciative of all that I had.

What I had in that moment was an adoring (and adorable) husband, people I love who love me, gorgeous scenery, and, although they were not physically with me, what John and I affectionately refer to as The Kitties Three – Frankie, B’Orange, and Nana – the almost celestial beings that help make our happy marriage into a happy family.

Today, at about 10:00 AM, after B’Orange’s short – but brave – fight with full renal failure, The Kitties Three became The Kitties Two. A few hours earlier, we had made the difficult decision to have him put to sleep so that he would suffer no more.

B’Orange was born, appropriately, on April Fool’s Day in (I think) 2003, the same year Frankie came to live with us. Born in John’s closet, he was one of four kittens. None of his littermates made it to adulthood. In fact, I don’t think any of them even made it to adolescence. We think their mother was a carrier for Feline Leukemia, and that she passed it on to all but B’Orange, so he was our miracle-baby.  

He was a kitten like any other kitten – into everything. As he matured, he didn’t grow much. At his heaviest, he weighed about eight pounds. A tiny thing, really, by cat standards. Both Nana (who is two or three years younger than him) and Frankie are much bigger than he was. But what he lacked in body mass, he made up for in personality. All of our cats have had distinct personalities, but B’Orange was something special. His expressive little face and eyes always let you know what he was thinking. He had his own likes and dislikes, his own preferences. He didn’t, for example, like to be pointed at. 

He loved John and I in a way that most cats don’t seem to love their people; he was almost dog-like in his affection. While Frankie and Nana are very independent and do what they like, B’Orange would actually come when called most of the time (we even nicknamed him “B-Dog” because of his canine-like characteristics). Hell, he wasn’t usually very far away from us. When we lived in our apartment, he was content to curl up on the computer monitor while John and I sat at our desks. He would curl up on my chest when we were watching TV or a DVD. He even went through a spell of running to the couch when he heard the whirr of the DVD player. He slept on my chest at night, or more recently, snuggled up between John and I, purring loudly until he fell asleep.

And he had the most distinct purr I’ve ever heard in a cat. Not just loud and rumblely, but when he was especially happy and content, he would almost coo like a pigeon. We called it his bird-purr.

Monday, I saw that B-Dog had trouble jumping from the dining room table to the kitchen island, a jump he usually made. I had previously noticed that he’d lost a little bit of weight, but I had attributed it to the disruption in his family life (John had been gone out of town for several days, and I was out of town myself a couple of days earlier). When he had trouble jumping up on my lap later that evening, I decided to take him to the vet as soon as I could get him there. 

Tuesday, we were at the vet’s office before noon, but it was too late. His blood work indicated that he was in Full Renal Failure. Wednesday, I left him at the vet’s office all day for treatment. When I picked him up Wednesday afternoon, he seemed perkier. He even ate that evening and drank a little bit. He climbed up on my chest as we lie in bed and talked. He purred and purred that special cooing of his and we let our love flow to each other. 

Within the hour, he was significantly weaker. By midnight, he was slipping in and out of consciousness. We laid together, for hours, with me whispering to him and gently stroking his long, soft fur. He would occasionally reach one of his little paws out toward me, as though to stroke me back. B’Orange was supposed to be at the vet’s office at 9:00 this morning for a second day of treatment. Instead, he was put to sleep.

I was there with him, stroking him and talking to him, as the doctor gave him the injection. He was so weak that he was gone in a flash. I stayed with him for several minutes and then went home. Even with The Kitties Two here, the house seems empty. If B’Orange were here, he’d be climbing over the laptop, stepping on the keys, fooffing me with his shaggy tail at every opportunity. We’d be getting ready to paint and he’d be in the middle of that, too. He’s had paint on his feet more than once!

Frankie is sitting at my feet, looking at me with curiosity and Nana is asleep on the back of the couch. One of my babies is gone, and my husband is 1,100 miles away on this lonely night. And yet, when I say to myself, “This is it. This moment is my life” I still feel contentment underneath all of the sorrow. 

My chest physically hurts from the pain of losing this dear kitty-soul too soon, but I feel privileged to have had him in my life at all. My own life has been so enriched by the joy that he brought me, every single day. He’ll never climb up on my shoulder again, like a parrot might, or bite his brother on the butt, but he leaves me so many happy memories and much love in my heavy heart. 

Our beloved B-Dog, taken Tuesday night.

B'Orange and Frankie, taken Wednesday evening.

06 January 2010

One Thing ...

I got these questions off of Carmen Torbus' website; she got them from a friend. They were very thought-provoking and fun to answer. Why don't you take a stab at them, too?

1. If you were only allowed to have 1 Intention for 2010, what would it be & why? Like Carmen, who answered these questions before me, I have so many dreams and aspirations for the coming year, that this question is a really difficult one for me.

My one intention, I suppose, is my desire to emerge out of the shadows of my life and to live fully and openly. I don’t have a big desire for change, but I do have a desire to be more present in my own life and with those around me. A good friend recently sent me a quote from Braveheart: “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” I don’t want that to be my fate, although I’m afraid it has been for far too long. I’ve lived on the sidelines as my life just passed me by. NO MORE! I ran across a great sentiment on someone else’s blog: “The dance of life requires practice daily.” I intend to dance more often …

2. If you were only allowed to have 1 Goal for 2010, what would it be & how can you achieve it? I have lots of goals for 2010, but almost all of them relate to one thing in some way: my creativity. I am truly happiest when I’m painting or writing, so I intend to do both of those more often. I’m not sure how good I am at either one, but both activities bring me joy. Martha Graham says, “Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” So, if I could only have one goal for 2010, it would be to practice my arts.

3. If you had to do 1 New Thing in 2010, what would it be? Will you commit to it now? I’m intrigued by the way the question is worded … “If you had to do 1 New Thing …” I’m coming from the place of I get to do new things, every year! But, if I had to limit it to 1 New Thing, I think I’d start a podcast. I’ve done radio in the past and really enjoyed it. I enjoy talking about art and creativity. I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people, so it seems like a natural next step for me. I still have lots of planning to do before I begin, but I’m slowly working on that. So, yes, I will commit to this now – By the end of 2010, I’ll be doing a regular podcast.

4. If you had to get rid of 1 Thing in 2010, what would it be & why? This one is easy; fear is a major source of dissatisfaction for me, and it’s all internal. Some of it is natural, but some of it borders on being ridiculous to me. Our house was broken into a few months ago, and I occasionally feel a bit of mild anxiety about coming home after I’ve been gone for awhile. That, I think, is natural. But I’m also afraid of my creativity, and that’s less understandable. Aside from my husband, my creativity is what I love most in my life, and yet, sometimes I’m afraid to get started. I’m afraid to try new things, to experiment, to wonder what will happen if I do this, or that. I’m afraid of failure, and I’m afraid of successes that can’t be repeated. Fear is the thing I’d most like to get rid of, because it keeps me from sitting down and doing the work that I believe in so strongly.

5. What have you achieved in 2009? List it all! I’m looking forward to an absolutely incredible year, but 2009 was not all it could have been. My husband and I moved into a new house, in a new town. That one event has taken so much of my emotional energy this year. I’ve been hospitalized twice, for unrelated illnesses. That, too, has taken a great deal of my enthusiasm. On the bright side, though, I took online classes from Julie Prichard and Carmen Torbus, and learned a great deal. I’ve painted more and written more than I have for the past few years. I’ve made some great connections with some truly lovely people and reconnected with some old friends from high school. I’ve set up a studio in our new home, so that creativity is more convenient for me.

Considering at things less tangible (and therefore, easier to overlook), I have grown and matured in 2009. I have learned the value of appreciation and gratitude in my life. I have learned that I like structure, and am working to ease myself in that direction. I have recognized some of my dreams and have begin putting plans in place to realize those dreams.

All-in-all, 2009 may not have been my finest hour, but I’m still excited about 2010!

Thanks to Carmen for posting this on her website. I really enjoyed answering these questions for myself.