About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?

Friday, June 29, 2012

~ My Sunshine ~

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you likely have come to know that I dearly LOVE bright, bold, saturated COLOR!  It just makes me happy-giddy! 
It doesn't matter if it's in fabric, paint, paper or threads... and now inks and mists of all kinds!  I've been soooo intrigued with all the colored spray mists and inks I've seen on the market lately.  And now that I've used them for the first time on these art pieces, I've found I'm completely enamored with their playability: the layering possibilities, and their clear, bright palettes of color; some transparent, some more opaque.  So Exciting!
I took this phrase from a Max Lucado card I had!  I love it.  "God is For You!"  --- and painting with my fingers as painting tools.... ya gotta try it!  What a joyful ride of child-like experimentation!  Even when the spray goes awry, and sometimes, ya know,  it's a happy accident, and when it's not... it is just a great opportunity to mop up and get over it; paint it again --- Or NOT!
I'm so hooked!  And Excited!  {have I said that too much?!!}   I'm ready to blend, layer, and add more creative enhancements from my fabric scraps, to my  paper stash; using beautiful markers, pens, tissues, stickers, stencils and stamps... paints, inks, dyes and more.  {I'm sure you get the picture!}
It is full of boundless, limitless possibilities, and simply speaks to my love of all things 'mixed up' for a happy explosion of texture, color and the graphic! It comes together with doodle, graphic, words, color, texture and contrast, all combined into one fun, totally unexpected, and largely satisfying... way to CREATE. 

After the first piece I made, "She Believed She Could" - I went ruffling through all my scrapbooking supplies from over ten years ago, pulling out stickers, rub-ons, chipboard and pretty papers!
Excited to find that these supplies, and my sketchings, my 'practice pages' and color experiments in those books could come and play together in making this kind of art.
I used a silk organza flower from my stash, (I had used them to make my fabric pins), and had fun spraying it, and then adding white paint for accent.

I've been having problems seeing for awhile, especially lately, and was diagnosed yesterday by my eye dr that I have "early age" cataracts. Well!  Better early than late?!!!  I don't know... but it sure explains a few things.  Headaches, 'gummy' eyes, cloudy vision... putting my nose up to my sewing machine and books; computer screens... driving?!!  {just kidding about the driving part}  Although I was very surprised, I am really excited ~ and grateful ~ hopeful ~ about seeing better!

And I remember: "God is For You" regardless of any challenge{s} we are certain to face! 

He Is. Thank you Lord!
Please check out a couple of my favorite blogs and artists  and so many talented others as they share and link up with Sweet Jennifer at Studio JRU

Thursday, June 28, 2012

She Believed She Could ~

It's my first painting.  Make that "finger" painting, because that's what I used.  Just my fingers to spread the various types of paint; a few pens, spray inks, stamps, scrapbook paper, fabric flowers, and my black marker.

Inspired by a demo and technique featured by Christy Tomlinson's on her website.

After I saw her demo, I thought "I would love to do that!"
And so I did.

Because ~ I believed I could.

And soooo... I did!

It was soooo fun!
I was completely thrilled to use some of my {very} old scrapbooking supplies on this project.  I also had  canvases purchased a couple years ago, thinking I would use them for my art quilts...  but never got around to it.  I have to say I also purchased the June monthly kit from Christy's website, and I was pleasantly surprised; it came with a stamp, some Dylusions Spray Ink, (a product I've never used before - love love), rub-ons, and {more} scrapbooking paper, these cute brads, flowers and a stencil.  Yum~more fun art supplies!

I can't wait to do MORE!  

{Of course ~ I have lots more ideas for future projects which I've already begun in my sketchbook, and some other types of themes I can't wait to pursue}
EnJOY the possibilities!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Update on Rowan ~

Caring Bridge update from June 22 by Melissa, Round Three:

"We are so thankful to be starting round three on schedule! I had a wonderful surprise during round two, I came to the hospital at 630am to find out that Rowan's ANC (the number that basically tells us his immune system function) had jumped from in the 70s to 304! This was a huge jump up in a 24 hr period. After round one, Rowan's count recovery phase took two weeks longer than it should have and the doctors told us to expect that his count recovery would continue to get longer with each round. At that point we were unsure of how long Rowans treatment course would last, by adding extra weeks at the end of each cycle a four month treatment plan turns into six or eight very quickly. So, the news that Rowan's counts were recovering after round two was a great!

Our drs now attribute Rowan's slow count recovery in round one to his extremely heavy tumor burden which basically means that he just had so much cancer everywhere. Another surprise was on our way at the end of round two. Most drs would have had us stay at the hospital until Rowan's ANC was firmly established above 500. The dr that was, on that day is a firm believer that being home is good medicine. Within hours we had discharge orders for Rowan! The discharge scramble began and we packed up the hospital while our wonderful great falls office manager found us 98 dollar tickets each to fly home. Our dr cleared us to fly commercially but the germ factor on the Airplane was very stressful. We scoured our seats with Sanitary wipes and watched anxiously for anyone who looked even a little bit sniffly. We also had a few TSA run ins with people wanting to pat Rowan down or open his sanitary medical supplies to bomb test them. All I can say is no one touched Rowan and no one was arrested but it was not pretty! All in all I think next time I would take the 14 hour drive with three kids.

Regardless, in a few hours we were looking out our home window at our beloved Highwood Mountains. It was paradise to be home. The mountains are green and lush and bursting with wild flowers. Thanks to our wonderful friends in Highwood, our crops look strong and healthy. The next week was spent soaking up each other as a family and treasuring time with friends. Every second is a priceless flashbulb memory. Rowan loved being home. He crawled Around the house like crazy following his sisters around. He started "talking" a lot more and cruising around furniture. He even put a little bit of chubbiness on his legs.

The week flew by. As I was packing to come back to the hospital I kept seeing the faces of friends we had seen and heard their words of encouragement in my mind. I carried those words and images with me as I held a crying Rowan (who had been fasting for six hours before his spinal procedure) as we walked back though the hospital doors. I heard your words of encouragement posted on caring bridge over and over in my head. All of your love and encouragement overflows in hugs to rowan, strength for these long days and love and patience for my girls.
I only wish we could show you all how much we appreciate you and how much you are helping us though this.

Rowan has had some vomiting with round three but so far we are keeping it at bay with a lot of heavy hitting anti-nausea drugs. He really is doing quite well so far. Round three is called intensification because he receives a much higher dose of two chemotherapy drugs. Our main concern right now is his g-tube site. It is very red and drs are concerned that it may be infected which could be very serious as Rowan's blood cell counts will be plummeting in the next few days. There is a chance it is just severely irritated and we are praying that is the case.

We found out today that Rowan has zero blasts in his bone marrow!!!!! He does have cells that are still carrying the inversion 16 marker but that is expected at this point.

We have been hoping to run into a couple that we has become friends with on the floor. Their little three year old was admitted about the same time as rowan and we have enjoyed their company and loved their little one. We got the tragic news today that little Riley passed away while we were home in Highwood. We saw them everyday on the floor and it seems so empty without hearing Riley going down to the playroom. We are grieving for them constantly. It is very hard to think of Riley not being next door to us and knowing that she is gone.

Life on the seven floor is so fragile, Rileys death touches so close to home that it is hard to process. It's so funny that even though we saw Riley's parents everyday we never knew their last names. We do know that we love them and we are praying for them."
From My Sketchbook

Monday, June 25, 2012

Roly Poly Collies ~

Well, I have nothing to report on in the quilting-sewing-creating arena lately.  So here is are a few pics of the pups from a week ago...and the race is on!  Love those happy faces!
 Ears a'flyin'! Georgia can turn on a dime.
 Forget the duck --- I'll just bite you!
 Tumblin' and rollin' ~
 Pouncin' and bouncin'!    "Bonsai!"
  Bitin' and adodgin'!
 Forget that duck -- let's go topsy turvy!
 Most evenings... we enjoy the antics of these two pups, who chase, herd, and tag each other constantly!
Looks alot like flag football ~ Collie style.  Or make that frisbee football.  Whatever ~ it's definitely fun for the whole family!  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Not Just Peonies ~

A friend brought peony blossoms to our Church Services  a week ago, last Sunday, and offered them to me afterwards!  

Aren't they lovely?    And those buds I cut off on Friday, and they are now blooming as well ~ another lesson... and I hope you'll read on ...
I couldn't wait to get them home and start taking pictures!
I love the light streaming through the petals, and the bright pink tones.  And that gorgeous white-pink delicate edge of each petal.
I'm sure y'all out there won't be surprised to read that I can be entertained for hours, just taking pictures...  studying the light ...
Look at that gorgeous texture!  Those pretty, lovely lines of curly edges, and all the shadows of light and dark ...

Softly scented, velvet petals.   Larger-than-life blooms. 
A sweet aroma, for sure.  A sensory delight of color, fragrance, light and touch.

I woke up with a headache Saturday morning.  And no medicine made it better.  And I let it make me very cranky ---  this is not what I wanted my weekend to be!  I couldn't hardly see straight, and, we missed a wonderful outdoor wedding and party with our friends and community, too.  Although I woke on Sunday morning with just a bit of it's lingering effects, I am happy to say this headache is on it's way out the door.  

Unfortunately, my crankiness was not a very sweet aroma yesterday.  The peony pictures reminded me that even in the midst of not feeling well, I have the opportunity to be the sweet fragrance of Christ. {2 Cor 2:14-17} of the New Living Translation, which I re-read today, and in part:  "... our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God..."

I pray to be a sweet fragrance~
Joining "Think on These Things"


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flashback ~ Montana Treasure

My first 'art' quilt.
  A time to challenge myself. 
To do something 'entirely my own.'  Scary thought! I was fearful. Knew I needed to 'get beyond' ... of wondering whether I could do anything beyond just following a pattern.  Don't get me wrong... I love patterns!  I love books --- love the artsy styles and hard work of all the wonderful, talented people who do inspire us so we can make them our own, in whatever way appeals to us.
But I wanted to start from 'scratch'  --- to look at a piece of fabric as a blank canvas upon which I would embellish, quilt, and let it evolve... and see where the journey led.
I began by playing with a few leftover pieces of patchwork; some strips that were cut into triangles, that intrigued me when I started playing, and placing them on this piece of commercial batik fabric.  When I did, something surprising happened; they prompted me to think about mountains and more.  Unplanned inspiration.  And  "Montana" was born. 
So after that... it seemed I knew the inspiration, but what do next?  I wanted to do foiling.  But had not a clue as to how to achieve it on fabric.  This was before I discovered Jones Tones glue/foiling products.  The silver metal foil is real silver leaf (seen below).  Not meant for fabric!  But I didn't know that.  So I applied the glue.  It soaked in to the fabric, and the leafing wouldn't stick!  But I kept at it.  I re-applied the glue.  Eventually, it began to get tackier, and although the leaf material didn't stick as I had planned and intended, the unpredictable result was so much BETTER than I had anticipated!!  It cracked and pulled apart... an exciting result and revelation in my eyes.
Let me say at this point, I remember working on this piece every evening, for most of the summer months.  A couple hours every evening... which involved alot of thinking, more than the actual quilting-couching-sewing in many ways.
I knew I wanted to do some bobbin play.  And I decided I just needed to start 'blind.'  By that I mean I began stitching from the backside of this piece, with thick thread wound in my loosened bobbin, and did 'random placement' stitching, not allowing myself to have expectations, or to plan exact placement.  

And... much to my surprise, when I turned the quilt around, even though I found I was stressed out and intimidated by doing it that way, I found a big beautiful surprise of happiness in the unplanned threadplay. I liked it.  I liked it ~ ALOT! And that gave me the confidence, to keep going... to pursue and allow ~ to enjoy and be free.

Further!  And further... wondering each time I did something different... metallic threads, painstiks... if I had pushed it beyond 'exciting' and into the mentality of "I've ruined it now."  Not a fun thought - but real.  I think that's true for many of us. We're so afraid of 'ruining a good thing.'  And too often, that's a trap.
And I found when I kept going, turning it back and forth from front to back, playing with the empty spaces... that those were great surprises which revealed further inspiration!  And one thing led to another... like leftover bits of a silk flower ribbon (above picture, lower left in a green and purple/red flower ribbon).   Slowly, my inspiration became 'all things I love about Montana' as I thought about the landscapes of wheat fields, prairies, mountains, rivers, and treasure.  Gold and silver which is what helped give this state it's nickname "The Treasure State." This visualization helped me in my stitching and application of other embellishment factors.

The last thing I did was to top it off with beading; always the very last thing I do on a quilt.  It is all done by machine, (without a foot and just a bare needle) with the exception of the large turquoise one in the center, right of the photo below.  And a big red teardrop shaped button (in the very first photo above).  Then I knew I was done.  The space was filled.  I had a happy, satisfied, thump in my heart. Mission accomplished.

And before I knew it, I had a piece that was unexpectedly Big Sky.  Treasure State.  And inspired by all that I love about this state ~ and more.

Wide-open plains.  
Majestic Mountains.  
Roaring rivers. 

Go Beyond. 
Be free.
Forget expectations.  
Just Be. 

God is waaaaaaay bigger~than the Montana Sky!

Joining Studio JRU! 
and The Rusted Chain 

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