Saturday, February 13, 2016

Art as Therapy

Outside of folder

Inside of folder

Deli papers dressed up

Front cover

First 2 pages inside

Last 2 pages inside

Back cover
I posted one of the file folders the other day, but not the completed pages. So we are revisiting. If you want to make one of these mini albums, it is very easy: open up a manila file folder. Mark 3 inches up from the bottom edge, and score a fold line horizontally across the entire folder. Keeping the folder open, score vertical fold lines every 4.25 inches from left to right, NOT using the tabs to start your measurements or you will be off on the last portion. Measure from the straight, non-tab edge. When done with the scoring, fold along the lines. Reopen the folder, and either paint, stamp, stencil or spray ink to achieve the effect of the first folder in the above photographs. I adhere old book pages on the inside, and stapled the pockets in place when I folded up the bottom 3 inches to create those pockets.

For the second folder, I adhered old scrapbook papers lightly in place, then stitched in black thread around all edges. I added some small manila tags with stamped sayings for inspiration.

This project came to me in an email from Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine, and if you go to their website you can probably find the original instructions. I've also seen it on Pinterest.

The deli papers are going to become greeting cards. Julie Fei-Fen Balzar, here, has a video from this past week on her blog on how to do this. I really liked the way hers turned out, so decided I had to try it.

Have a great weekend. If you are in the Midwest, stay warm. It's freezing today.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


This is a River Birch tree that was planted on the south side of my home in October, 2010. I took this photo in February, 2011. We had just experienced an ice storm, and I thought for sure that the tree would not survive. How could it, when the branches were bent over from the weight of the ice? I took this photo through the living room window and screen.

I plan on posting a new photo of the same tree when spring buds appear. It is now large enough to shade my kitchen window, and attract song birds in the warmer months. This year I want to add a bird bath close to the tree.

Enjoy your day.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mom! Put down the phone!!!

Something was interesting out the bedroom windows yesterday morning. Perhaps a leaf was blowing in the wind. Or a car passed on a distant street. It really doesn't matter what it was. These two knuckleheads will wait until the bathroom door closes, and I start the water running in the shower. Then the howling commences.

Jake starts it. He has this soft, kind of pathetic howl that is actually quite pleasant. Gracie, being an Aussie, has the howl of a wolf. She throws her head back and lets it rip. Loud, full bodied, the howl of her ancestors. Every. Single. Morning.

My neighbors probably pray that I sell this house and move.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Happy Place

A mini album made from a file folder

Inside of album, before the pockets were folded upwards

Inspiration Wednesday with Donna Downey

The inclusion close-up

2nd page of spread
I get a daily email from Cloth Paper Scissors, a magazine full of creative ideas. About a month ago they had a short article on how to make a mini album for whatever you wanted to use it for, from a standard manila file folder. The sample intrigued me, so of course I had to pull out a file folder and do one. This involved using the sewing machine, which had not been used in over a year. Getting it ready took over an hour. I am not a sewer. Sewing machines and I only work well together when they are brand new, before I have had a chance to screw it up. But I made it. The papers you see on the front cover and inside are old scrapbook papers. I have enough of those to do thousands of projects. Really. Old scrapbookers never die. We just keep hoarding. Anyhow. It was fun and kept me occupied for an afternoon.

Last year I signed up for Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday series. Every other Wednesday she posts a spread in a journal, which you are to take as a spark to create. The above was the second project for 2016, and I am very happy with how it turned out. I used Golden light molding paste to add the texture, embedded old book pages, rusty stars, and a piece of musical ribbon. There is a glaze of Raw Umber over the entire project. Donna burned the edges of her journal pages in this project. I took the safe route, and just burned the edges of two embellishments I adhered to the inclusion.

Enjoy yourselves.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Jake. Just too, too sexy

I am not a clean artist.

Gracie, my nurse
January was an interesting month. I really thought I would write almost everyday, but that didn't happen for several reasons. The main one being pain.  The first 3 days after surgery, I sailed through a little too easy and over did the exercise portion. I was then down for the count for about 4 days straight.

The one thought that kept going through my brain was how easy this had all been. Breast cancer. Cut it out, done and done. And then the depression hit. Like a fist slamming me to the ground and letting up just a bit, then pushing down again. It was exhausting, depleting, and at times overwhelming. This lasted about 2 weeks. One day it departed and has yet to return. I have spoken to other surgery patients, other breast cancer survivors, and we have all experienced the same thing. My conclusion is (and I am not in the medical field, so please take this just as my opinion), that the anesthesia alters your body chemistry temporarily. Please note that the depression was not immediately following surgery. It started about 8 days afterwards.

Living alone did not help the depression. Having two demanding dogs did. I had to keep moving for them, and I truly think that is what helped pull me out of it. Gracie was very clinging to me during this period, so she sensed what was up, I'm sure. Jake is Jake. He is a dude. What can I say?

I am learning to pace myself a bit better. Overall, I think that is a very good thing. I will not hesitate to say "no" and mean it from this point forward. If an idea doesn't appeal to me, it's gone. The mentality of "taking one for the team?" Yeah, bite me. Not happening. It is time for the team to either stand up for themselves, or find another fall guy.

I spend some time everyday in the studio, hence the photo of an inked and painted left hand. Mess is good. Mess releases mental stress. Feels good. The dogs and I are back to the dog park almost everyday that the weather allows. Walking with them in the fresh air has done wonders. I so wish my back and legs would allow a real walk on a leash, but I don't think I'm there yet. I may never be able to do that again, so I take what I can at the dog park.

Thanks for stopping by. Be good to yourself.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Surgery Day

I miss my babies. Our family had our Christmas this past weekend, so they went to the pet sitter. She is keeping them for me until I feel strong enough to handle them this week. Not sure if this was a good idea. I could use a dog kiss right now.

I did not sleep well last night. Woke up at exactly midnight, so of course couldn't take anything to make me sleep. Was awake until 4 or so. Won't take much to knock me out for surgery, will it? I am not able to shut off my mind. It reels, going in circles about stupid shit from decades ago, or trying to predict what this year will hold. All of this is useless. I know that. You know that. But we've all been there, haven't we?

I am ready to get this cancer out of my body. I am ready to start this new portion of my life missing my left breast. Be gone. You betrayed me, so leave. Now.

Moving forward.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Wishing you positive energy

Dega, after opening his Christmas present from Gracie and Jake

Gracie, too exhausted to care

Jake, getting his nightly belly rub from me
Have a wonderful New Year. Have you made any resolutions?