Thursday, July 28, 2011

School Supplies Galore

This is my favorite time of the year!  I know, that's a title reserved for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but for me, Back-To-School is my time to :indulge." 
I know they aren't the most sophisticated supplies, but as a crafter, you will never find Crayola-quality markers for a penny at any other time of the year.  Nor brightly-colored copy paper (turquoise, red, green and yellow, yum!) or notebooks to keep ideas for projects in or to dismantle for an art journal. 

Nor is this time of year limited to crayons and notebooks: storage solutions are EVERYWHERE.  And they come in the best colors (pinks, blues and lime greens are my favorites.)  Magnetic "locker" mirrors, pencil cups and dry erase boards are all begging to be reincarnated into amazing Christmas presents.  And those pencil boxes...I have about 10, and I'm always swapping things in and out of them (one is labeled "Mommy's Box" and goes with me and my laptop all over the house.)  They're the perfect size for keeping cropped family photos, ephemera and other goodies all together for a specific project.  But I also use those 3-page protectors for the same thing!  I can paint a background, slip it into a page protector and think about what I may use it for while I'm doing house chores or driving back and forth to school.

So, whether you have kids or not, this is THE BEST time of year to shop for craft supplies!
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lessons Not Learned

First and foremost, I want to make an amusing observation.  I've entered contests all over the blog world, and on a lot of them, they list the title of the last post you made on your blog.  "Pom-poms are evil" was perhaps not the best title to introduce my blog to new readers, lol.

So, on to more palatable titles......

I'm at a crossroads in my life.  My birthday is coming up, my son is starting Kindergarten, I'm DUE a crossroads.  There has been some...unpleasantness I've been having to face this year, and I'm doing a lot of therapy, art journaling, thinking, reminiscing, etc.  

I was going through my "treasure chest" last night.  You have one too, right?  Cards from your husband, invitations to friends' weddings, movie tickets, that kind of stuff.  I happen to have an envelope full of my writing, some going back to middle school!  

Anyway, some papers made me cry (my grandmother died,) some were fond memories (emails between me and my husband when we first started dating,) and others, well, they helped put some recent events in my life into perspective.  And then..............  I found the MONSTER at the End of My Recollections.  (Reference to a Grover book there, sort of.  Sesame Street is on my mind for more than one reason right now.)

A back story to get to the current story: my first boyfriend, the serious kind, broke up with me when OJ was riding around in the White Bronco.  (I wonder if he remembers that too?)  I kinda "lost it," and ended up going to counseling a couple of times a week that summer.  The end result, the BREAKTHROUGH I had right before heading back to college, was that my feelings of abandonment weren't about the boyfriend, they were about my brothers and my father, all 3 of whom had willingly exited my life the year before.  WOW, I thought, it's a good thing I learned this NOW (16 years ago) so I can move on.  This way it won't be an issue with my husband or children!

And then I got married.  To a "man" (this is so cliche I can't even stand to admit it, you know what's coming, right?)  A man EXACTLY like my father.  We didn't last, I bet you're SHOCKED, right, didn't see that coming......  Ridiculous.  But, I thought, I realize NOW what I did wrong, how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

And I can honestly say that my marriage now is to a wonderful man, a supportive and involved and loving human being who is so different from any man in my birth family.  I mean, we have issues, we're normal people, neither of us thinks the other is perfect.  But he is pretty much the exact opposite of my father and brothers.  He'd never turn his back on me. I know this, he's shown me time and again. 

And now you're all caught up.  We're happily married, I've got the whole birthday/school thing happening, as well as the men in my family pulling out yet again....  And without warning, my old nemesis, the Monster named Abandonment walked in my subconscious.  Suddenly I'm PUSHING everyone away from me.  "They were gonna leave anyway," says the Monster.  And there's all kinds of whispered lies he's been feeding me the last few weeks.

And I realized last night: DAMN IT, I thought I was OVER this!  It's been 16 years!  By this time, the Monster could get a driver's license or go to prison for life if he killed someone.  I am absolutely FURIOUS at this fear showing up now--you have no idea how mad I was.  Mad enough that I didn't want it to give the Monster any credit for appearing in my Art Journal.  So, I picked up one of the other books I'd set aside to alter once mine was full.  A Sesame Street book.  With a horrible orange monster on the cover.  With stories inside about kittens, girls with my name, and even a story about abandonment.  

Can you believe it?  I had to just sit there and laugh for a few minutes. I like to think it was a few minutes that God laughed with me, that Our Creator KNEW weeks ago that I'd be grabbing that book in particular to turn into a RAGE journal, and so He left all these signs for me so I would be able to have a good chuckle at a very low moment, and remind me that He does have me in the palm of His hand.  That as bad as I feel and as bad as I have been acting, He still loves me, and He's given me a husband who does as well.

And if that wasn't enough.......just look what else He led me to:
Red Letter Words, and this in particular:
My eyes opened a little wider, and then, then Dear Reader, I saw this:

I cried.  And began to heal once again.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pom-Poms Are Evil

That there, ladies, is a LIE.  It is not "oh-so-easy;" it sucks.  And to top it all off, when I asked hubby to attach my pom-pom flower that I loved and had worked very hard to create, in my favorite colors even, he replied "What is it?" (this is where I gave him THAT look and he said "It's pretty, whatever it is." insert eye roll here)

One of the blogs I read everyday (I can't remember which, I get about 30 emailed to me) had a beautiful book page wreath up in her kitchen, and then found out her husband hated it.  He said it looked like a phone book.  I think her husband and mine are related somehow.....

Anyway, this is the honest truth about making pom-poms:
1. You need 8-10 FULL-SIZED sheets of tissue paper.  I tried cutting 2 sheets into fourths, and I cannot bring  myself to even photograph that monstrosity.  My poor little green and blue baby there is 4 sheets of 20" paper that I cut in half.
2. A useful tip: (I think I came up with this, but probably not) I used an alligator clip at the opposite end from where I was folding, so the pages stayed even together.
3. Make LARGE accordion folds, like 1.5" or even 2."
4. Crease each fold as if you were using a bone folder.  Seriously. 
5. Lastly, making your first one at 11pm at night after a long and difficult day is also something I advise against.  This is not a peaceful craft project. 

One more view, but a warning first: I attached my "happy little pom-pom" to my turquoise floor lamp I got last year for $5 during Wal-Mart's Back to School days (I'm hoping lime and turquoise things are still in fashion this year!)  Also, I've been painting today, so my brushes ended up in the picture too.

So, speaking of paintbrushes, I discovered something kind of awesome: I'm doing this FREE online art journal class provided by Strathmore called Visual Journal Series.  I'm loving it!  I have no art instruction in my background at all, so it's been a huge help!!  So many of my favorite Art Journalists are starting courses soon, but I feel like I don't know the basics, so I'm refusing to allow myself to give in to the temptation to pay $50 to just get confused and frustrated.

I think these classes are only available until August 1, so hurry on over there and get to listening.  Each class is about 20 minutes long, and there's also a worksheet with "homework" full of details they couldn't address in the video.  I made some backgrounds today:

Anyway, happy Sunday!  This is our last weekend before school starts.  I'm an absolute nervous wreck.  Did you ever see that movie where the cheerleader gets pregnant, and the other cheerleaders help her rob a bank?  Well, they disguise themselves as "Betty" dolls, and they name one of them "Mood Swing Betty."  The phrase stuck in my head.  I'm in total Mood-Swing Betty mode....  "Sugar & Spice" is the movie, thank you IMDB!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Week Without Complaining

I'll go into this topic further when I have more time.  But for now, I'm taking this challenge: A Week Without Complaining.  For more info, read this blog post, and even futher, check out 365Grateful and join in.

One of the things I've had on my mind lately is the loss of the optimism I had when I was in college.  I'm on a journey to reclaim the "good parts" of me that I feel like I've left behind (while in reality, they're still there, but smothered by worry, depression and hopelessness.)  I feel like my Art Journal is helping, and even trying to stop complaining so much leaves me more time to be/think/feel/act positive!

I'm finding inspiration in the strangest of places, where I wouldn't have imagined I'd get an idea.  Song lyrics, World of Warcraft, watching hubby play on the Wii......  I think it's a sign  that I'm on the right track.......
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kim's Distressing Ink

I spent this past weekend making my own "Distress Ink."  It's basically brown paint, black paint, and water.  Although another successful version had Coke in it too.....  It all started because I was painting and noticed how cool the water looked when I cleaned my brushes.  But I ruined the first version by having glitter show up.  Me and glitter don't really get along, yet I also can't seem to stay away from it.  And somehow the point of "distressing" something and then having it sparkle....  So I gave in and started again.

But it took like 10 hours for me too come up with the proper mix again.  And it was this weird thing of black ink for drawing on photo negatives that saved the day.  Which of course helped, being that it was black INK as in "Distress INK."  And yes, it's in my Vitamin Water bottle that would be impossible to mistake as anything else.  This pic was taken when I first began to "decorate" the bottle. 

16oz of ink is a very dangerous thing to have.........
See all the versions of distress there?  My hands are stained, and I had to completely trim my nails off, lol.
Luckily I'd gotten to make rags from hubby's torn up jeans.  Denim is awesome for absorption.
I love my Mod Podge :)

But I've also been very busy with my Art Journal.  This past weekend I bought a ton of new paint colors from Micheal's.  I haven't been inside an actual craft store in at least 2 years, so it was breath-taking!  But fun, and quite a bit like I imagine it is to have ADD.

Along the lines of ADD...I cannot seem to get organized at all.  I have too much of some methods, not enough of others, and a lot of things that just don't fit.  I've given up for now.

But that's ok too.  There are a lot of worse things that could happen.
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