Wednesday, November 07, 2012

VerDay Nicho

I have to admit: I had a huge bout of Wine Flu. It hit me last Thursday night when I had only 2 glasses of wine. After not eating all day. 2 GLASSES!!! I will mention Oldest Son thought it a folly to fill each glass almost to the brim and I happily accepted the challenge. Because, you know, I am the Adult, I have something to prove!!!

And today, almost a week later, I am barely able to eat adult food. My coffee intake has been reduced to a few sips and any broth related product makes me drool. I refuse to admit it's because I'm getting older. I claim that it's my delicate southern heritage surfacing.

And Oldest Son better be laying low. He single-handedly (because yes, I HAD to drink that wine otherwise it would have been alcohol abuse of a great chardonnay!) took away one of my favorite past times. Not to mention one of my go-to parenting tools.

But I digress.... I looked around my art area for something to paint and ver-day and my eyes landed on this little nicho. I love to collect these little gems. I think all of my life I have loved boxes and went through a HUGE chunk of my teenage years collecting tiny boxes of all kinds. I rarely put anything in them but I think it was the thought of a special little space right there, just waiting for that treasure.

Anyway, I saw this little one on my wall and knew that it had to be ver-dayed.

I neglected to take the minutia step-by-step photos I normally do. BUT, take your little nicho and decide how you want it to look. I was a little hesitant to go all out and drown it in paint, so I grabbed a small brush and highlighted the detail of the face. I used copper paint on the flowers and the piece on the top. The vines and leaves were painted with bronze paint. Two coats, thoroughly dried. I flooded that little thing with as much patina spray as I could. Then I waited!

Ok, so it's looking good. Still, I wanted more detail, more depth. Using my x-acto knife, I etched the deep parts. The 'ditches' of the rays of the center piece and some of the flowers were cleared of the paint. Then, I went back with a tiny brush, a little diluted black acrylic paint and darkened those places.

When that had dried, I went back with copper paint and a brush and dry brushed the high points of the flowers and the rays. I dipped my brush in a little paint, swiped it on a piece of paper to get most of the paint off, then lightly brushed where I wanted the copper to show up. Just a bit.

I decorated the inside of the nicho with patterned paper, german scrap, and a little piece of art I made. Of course, you can put whatever you like inside and since the holidays are coming up, this technique would be perfect decorated with a family member's photo inside or even a holiday collage for an ornament exchange.

Thank you TENseconds studio for letting me share some of my art! I truly enjoyed using your metal paints and VerDay and will keep them at the forefront of my tools for creating art!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Ver-day Mint Tin Shrine

Ok, friends! Here's one of my fave projects to make--mint tin shrines!!!
TENseconds Studio paints and ver-day patina made it so much fun to put together in that I didn't have to wait for the tin to become rusty and crusty and colorful! An added plus is that I used stamps from my friend Carrie's company, Paper Wings Productions.

Click on the first image and follow the tutorial. Let me know how you decorated the inside of your tin!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

A very Ver-day book cover

Another tutorial! This time, I've used TSS metal paints to enhance a book cover I've made by hand. Please click on the first image, then either click on the image to proceed or use the right/down arrow.

A Ver-day tutorial with TENseconds studio metal paints

Megan asked that I be on the TSS design team and I couldn't have been happier. I've written several tutorials using their new metal paints with ver-day. I originally wrote them in power point and subsequently have learned how to post them here. However, you can read the tutorial by clicking on the first slide and then proceed by clicking on the photo or using the right arrow on your keyboard.
I hope you enjoy these tutorials as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

she was here only for a short time...

Little Miss Molly. What a dear sweet spirit, this one.

Her Sunday began harshly--a dangerous encounter with a car left her on the side of the road, in shock, but alive. She arrived very subdued and didn't even cry out when the blood soaked bandage was unwound from her tail. She had road rash all over, from nose to toes and the white of her fur was so dirty it looked grey. But the tail... no skin, no fur, just muscle and bone... and she purred when petted... oh my poor baby, to purr after all of this. Amputation was the only choice and within minutes the surgery was over.

Immediately I offered to foster her--how could I not? She was a hero to me to have survived something so awful without crying and she was also someone I wanted to know. Plus, she looked so much like my girl Stella that I just couldn't resist!

When I first brought her home, I put her in my bathroom complete with a litter box and food. It's a comfy size and I've started other fosters in this way. I came and went and never forced her to acknowledge me by grabbing her or holding her. After several days, I opened the door to the bedroom so she could expand her territory. Stella had been wondering who exactly I had brought home this time and now she could see for herself. Of course, Stella ignored the baby and pretended she didn't even exist. The baby explored the bedroom and found that under the bed lived a great many treasures. Old toys from kittens past entertained her and the noise drew Stella even nearer.

Interestingly, Stella was never aggressive towards the baby. I was surprised at her immediate nurturing of the baby. Within two weeks they were chasing and playing--at night. To say they were fast friends is an understatement. One morning while I brushed my teeth, Stella was there watching and Molly came up and sat beside her. Stella began licking Molly's head, then shoulders, then back. I stood and watched in awe, toothpaste dribbling down my chin.

The best part was waking up in the middle of the night with Stella and Molly laying so close to me, Stella licking Molly and Molly purring. She has the loudest purr I've ever heard. Eventually, Stella would tire of the baby moving in on her territory (me) and leave in a huff, and Molly would move ever closer to me, paw touching my cheek.

Molly's arrived at her new home, complete with 3 kids to love her. No kitten could ask for more. Stella called for her for half an hour after Molly left and then settled into following my every move for another hour.

She had the best we had to offer. Stella and I are still in mourning. I have no idea for how long, but we'll do our best to make Molly proud! Fostering is tough!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Way back in April, after I planted a handful of tomato plants hoping for some kind of return, we happened upon this lone fellow.

Not too long after we discovered him, we were fascinated. We would look forward to the mornings and run out to the garden just to check on him, to make sure he survived the brutal night time. In the heat of the day we researched about exactly who this guy was. We knew he was a tomato hornworm (turns out, around these parts, he's a tobacco hornworm) and that when he reaches some magic point in his development, he will journey to the dark underground and continue his development process. Then he would dig from his underground tomb, hatch from his brown papery mummy-wrap, and become a beautiful hummingbird moth.

Many years ago, I would write stories to friends. I made sure the stories were just 1000 words knowing that many of my friends worked and had just a few minutes to read whatever I wrote. I was pregnant with my 3rd child and a stay at home mom and worked part time with children. But I was outside every day, not matter what. This was long before I began blogging. I consciously decided to write these vignettes for one year, to the day. A year in the life on our 1/2 acre of land. I ended up with a 250 page manuscript that sits on my shelf today... maybe some day it will become more than a file folder on a shelf. But it chronicled a year of life in my front yard that I don't think everyone has time to notice.

One story I remember as I look at this photo--the first year my garden was new, I grew lots of tomato plants. I was so proud of them--even though it's a raised bed, the plants grow well over my head which allowed a great viewing perspective. And the hornworms came, not one, not two, but many. And I was excited. Who has ever been lucky enough to watch these guys live and grow? In the mornings I would water the gardens and there they all would be, near the tops of the plants, head and first few feet leaning just a bit backward, curled like an emerging fern frond. At that moment, in the early morning light, they were in prayer, heads bowed, hands folded. And at that moment my garden monks prayers were lifting, rising with the warming air, to the skies and beyond.

Friday, January 06, 2012

It's 2012--wow

(Lillie dancing beneath the christmas snowflakes.)

The beginning of another new year brings out the best in people. In stores, everyone's still being polite and sometimes even smiling. Traffic isn't any worse than it used to be and school is back in. The kids are still a tiny bit excited about going just because they're still sharing tales about the holiday break.

I'll give 2011 a pretty solid "C". The ending didn't go as well as I had hoped although the first half was great! We returned from Rhode Island in August, a week before school started. Not long after, exercising almost every day while we were away and continuing to do so after we got back, my ankle began to ache. Two trips to the doctor, several xrays and an MRI showed a stress fracture. That bought me 8 weeks in a movement restrictive boot. Yeah me.


Several weeks later, Niles broke his hand hitting Forrest (and to be honest, Forrest was taking up for me when Niles was becoming mouthy in the car.) The xray was pretty awesome (I remember the date--Nov 1, Dia de los Muertos!) and the surgery to fix it went very quickly (never mind that the doctor looked all of 18!). We looked quite the couple, his arm casted and my foot booted!

In October, Brent and I renewed our vows in the Catholic church. It was a long time coming (20 years!). We had a small intimate ceremony with a few of our close friends. The little chapel where we had it was built back in the 1800's by German settlers. The magic is that all of the interior painting was done by hand. Lots of stencils were used for borders and entire accent walls. I've spent many hours looking at those walls wondering who did the painting and how long it took them. Arched stained glass windows fill both side of the narrow chapel so in the daytime it glows inside and at night the windows glow from the lights within. The rough rock walls were quarried nearby and I wonder about the men who gathered and selected the place where the chapel now stands. There is a larger church nearby to house the growing parish community but this little one has my heart. It was the perfect place for us to renew our vows; Brent in his new cowboy boots and me walking in barefooted.

The weeks up to mid-November were some of the hardest I've lived in awhile. The first year without a parent is hard, emotionally. I had many low days, nights of crying and one particular night of hysterical crying and yelling for daddy to come back. But I made it through (and so did the family!). We had a small graveside ceremony with Pastor Mike and went home the proud owners of 3 ostrich eggs thanks to the ostriches in the pasture beside the cemetery. (Don't worry, they were infertile!!)

(girl cardinal)

Almost a week to the day, Brent returned home from a business trip in Michigan where he was able to spend time with his parents. He sent photos of snow covered lawns and trees--he was in his winter element! He had only been back here at home a few hours when we received a call that his father had passed. The parents were in their favorite chairs, Lee watching the news and Irene reading a book. She noticed he hadn't answered her question and when she looked up she knew he was gone.
We rushed to Michigan for a whirlwind viewing, rosary, and funeral. It was great to see the family all in one place, but tragic all in the same breath.

(curve billed thrasher)

Three days after we returned someone walked into the back door, took our TV and my laptop, and left. We normally don't lock the back door because of our 3 fierce guard dogs, but it was cold and had been raining so the pack had taken refuse in the garage where their beds and space heater kept them warm and dry. We were lucky in that they took what they wanted and left, not bothering to look around and see what else they missed. Oh, it was 6am on a weekday morning. We were all asleep upstairs. Not so funny but funny all the same--the kitten and I heard something downstairs at that time. It sounded like Maggie and Jemima were rumbling around. What the noise turned out to be was the thief taking all of the plugs out of the back of the tv. The xbox, AppleTV, dvd player and cable were all unhooked--yet not taken! And my laptop. My 3 year old macbook, with all of my stories and most importantly, all of my photos. ALL of my photos. And all of my music. I did back up my laptop on an external hard drive, but, that was in the spring.


So photos of our vow renewal and trip up north are gone. And I keep wondering why doesn't someone just return it--all you have to do is turn it on and see whose it is. I also keep putting out to the Universe to please make the person who has it just leave it in the mailbox. I don't care--I just want it back.

While we all are going through tv withdrawal (I'm close to going to Wal-mart during prime time and watching theirs!!) but somehow we're all coping. There are plenty of laptops and a personal dvd player to entertain everyone. Still, I am missing my shows--Top Chef, all of the Bravo Housewives, Hoarders, Intervention, Teen Moms, and of course, Texas Storage Wars!!!

So all of the photos here on out begin at Christmas... and 2012 WILL be a great year.
(my critters)

Update: By the way, I have been incredibly grateful in that all 3 kids have been around for all of this. Forrest is currently living in Austin and comes and goes but during all of the chaos, he was home. I don't really consider myself especially mother hen-ish, but I do find myself counting babies when things get rough..... we have had great moments this last year and I counted my blessings as they happened. I love the man Forrest is--he's witty, sharp, very smart, and can channel his granddad in mere seconds, making me laugh uncontrollably. He's also thoughtful and imaginative... I often look at him and wonder where he came from. I remember him at 5, and in middle school.... not as an adult. And I find myself missing his company--often. We're not official empty-nesters (we still have years until that happens) but I subconsciously know that one of my chicks is elsewhere, all of the time. And I do what I can to keep him safe from here.

And I know photos are just photos and a computer is just a material possession and that memories are for always. Being a visual person, photos are pinpoints of my memories--a shorthand of events I've experienced. Proof positive that it was indeed an experience and not a dream... everything is fine and as it should be. I take it as a sign to be more aware, to see more deeply and not rely on my camera to take the notes. Let's see how long that positive mental status stays!!!