The Shop is Open

I am excited to report I opened a shop on Etsy today. I hope you'll take a minute to visit there. Thank you and thanks for stopping by today.



I start my days early, partly by choice and partly out of necessity. I have been a migraineur for at least 35 yrs. I know from experience that I am not a person who can sleep in on the weekends. I have to stick to a schedule and rise at the same time or nearly the same time every morning to avoid getting these headaches which can then develop in to a migraine. My head is my own meteorologist in that I can tell it's going to rain or there will be a barometric shift before it happens because the pain in my head tells me so. For example, the last two days were very humid and partly cloudy. Bad for me. I had to take half of an imitrex to get through the work day. This morning I woke to rain. So far, I don't need to take anything because I already had dealt with the sudden shift in the weather last last two days. The other reason I get up early is because my dog, Buddy, has diabetes. Sometimes his blood sugar is out of whack and I like to avoid coming downstairs to the kitchen not finding a puddle of pee. The sooner I can get him out the door to do his business and give him his insulin, the better. So, rising in the morning is usually between 4:30 and 5am. Still, another reason I have always risen early is to write. I have always kept a diary since I was a teenager and kept it up in various ways, whether it be in nice, pretty,soft or hard bound books, both lined and unlined, as well as various spiral and composition notebooks. So, Morning Pages were written for years and years. Along the way, with certain people around me, for the protection of my privacy, and since my return to creating everyday, I have found myself incorporating both onto the same page. Writing lines on top of lines make it very difficult for anyone to read one's private thoughts, but also makes for interesting backgrounds for images on top. It also tickles me to see what I drew on a given day because what I drew or painted might very well be a representation of myself and what I was feeling on that morning. I have to be aware of the time in the morning. Actually, I have to be aware of the time all day long during the work week, because of what my job entails, but that's another story for another time. I sometimes change rooms where I write and then draw what I see around me. I started adding watercolor to my pages. I started adding one phrase, thought or word to the top of my page along with the date. I keep it simple. I guess this could be considered basic art journaling. I seem to be fixated on drawing faces. I wanted to make it my goal for this year, to be brave, to persevere. So, in doing this scribble, mad- pouring- out- of- words- on to- pages, even if it's writing, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I can whine, complain, vent, I am getting "stuff" out of my system. I am confronting my fears, telling my inner critic (or someone else) to shut up, spill my guts, and curse if I want to. I can set my goals, dream my dreams, wish upon my stars and keep them hanging there. That I have found if I do not write in the morning I feel like something's missing,something's not quite right, does not surprise me. It's kind of the same feeling I get when I do not do something creative everyday. I feel not quite me, not quite fulfilled, not quite at peace. And goodness, gracious, we need more peace in this world as well as the need to feel peaceful. On another note, yesterday I got a another cool piece of mail art from Sherry in Illinois. Thank you, Sherry! This has turned out to be a long post. I hadn't intended to be so long winded. Perhaps I am in the words of my very young son, thinking,"But, Mama. I just can't help it. I have something to say." I hope you have a peaceful weekend. Thanks for stopping by.


The Day After the Big One

I have been wanting to tell you for a long time, actually for fifteen days how my belly looks now after I bore two babies at once. How soft and smooshy- cushiony baby stretched it is. Just a brown naval and the mark where I bumped my belly with the teapot. 9/10/1991 ©jcb --------------------------------------------------------------------- Seriously, I did more than bump my belly with a teapot.I burned it one day. I was so big and it kept getting in the way. I worried about that all the way until the babies were born. Ok. Enough about babies. I have had enough of reliving that day. I have been saving tea bags. Drying them and then emptying the tea out. I then thought it would be cool to draw on them and since I am still drawing faces trying to develop my own style, some of them have landed on tea bags. They are very delicate. I have wondered about how they would hold up color on them. So far I have braved some pan pastel on one of them, and a bit of colored pencil and oil pastels on some others. I wonder if I might draw them in ink next instead of pencil. And ........ I got some cool really mail art from Karen at. Karen shares a wealth of neat ideas and "stuff" on her blog, not to mention, I think she's a pretty "neat" person. Thanks, Karen for this awesome card. Thanks for visiting.


The Big One

Twenty one years ago today I weighed 190 lbs, pregnant with my twin son and daughter. I didn't think it was too fair that I had been sleeping sitting up(listening to music on my cassette tape walkman) for three months as my husband snored on his back beside me. That morning I don't know what possessed me to forget and lean over, lean over my big belly and try to pick up a tape that had fallen on the floor. Next thing I knew there was water on the floor. Oooh, And guess what. It wasn't pee. Doctor was called. Get to the hospital. Duh! 190lb self went into a Nissan 300 ZX (doesn't every pregnant woman want to ride in this kind of car?) where at the hospital within two hours I was pronounced "dilated-those babies-are-coming," and whisked off down the hall and around the corner to labor and delivery, where I was greeted by a crowd of masked and gowned medical staff. With husband beside me( he did well and stayed on his feet) I delivered those babies without drugs or anesthesia. Was I crazy? Babies just came too fast. It was good. I was tired of housing two aliens. I wanted them out as much as they wanted to be out. Besides, someone was always kicking somebody and I felt it all. It was only a prereq of what was to come. I know I am not unlike other women who can say it was a day that I shall never forget. It's in our cells now. That feeling. I felt pretty beat up that day. I had been to war and come home and it was to mark the beginning of many days and years that I would feel beat up. It's been a long haul. So, Eliza and Marshall, this minister's daughter, is here today to say I am damn proud of you, of your accomplishments, of who you have become and are still becoming. Happy Birthday!! I love you>


Hurricane Bob

Twenty one years ago today I was pregnant with twins. I had been on bed rest for the entire month before they were born. I started my pregnancy at 110 lbs and went to 190.I had been sleeping sitting up at 5 mos. By the time I was ordered to bed rest, I had to pick my belly up in order to navigate and ambulate through doorways and around corners. I felt like a big weeble that could wobble but not could fall down. This was my journal entry on that day: Hurricane Bob is on its way to New England and Mikhail Gorbachev is ousted by his vice president and KGB according to new reports. Seems like a good day for babies to come, although I wish Aaron did not have to go to work today. I don't know if the news reports regarding the hurricane have made me feel especially anxious or if it's internal, physical changes I feel today. Anyway, I feel different. My two hurricanes did not show up that day but two days later. More will be revealed. Thanks for stopping by.



The theme over at The Sketchbook Challenge is Shelter. Shelter can mean a lot of different things. This is my take on it. One of the nice things about having a daughter who's about ready to turn 21 is that she keeps me up on all the latest things. Like this. And I get to play some more. Like this. I hope you are having peaceful, creative day. Thanks for visiting.


Blue Dishes

My cousin Liam, in Portland, Oregon, is an artist and a poet. He sent me some mail art from his recent art exhibit. I think that's pretty cool stuff. And I got this unique card from Tina from Mail me Some Art And speaking of mail art,I ought to make some art based on this story: Somewhere between six and seven years old, son asked me me out of the blue at the dinner table, "Mama. Do they have a heaven for angels? What happens to angels when they die?" And, "What kind of dishes do they have in heaven? When you die will you send us a postcard so you can tell us what heaven's like and what kind of dishes they have in heaven?"


A Hole in My Lip

One day I went to pick up nearly three year old son and daughter from the baby sitter. The babysitter said son had spilled juice all over his shirt. She asked him what had happened? Son said, " I have a hole in my lip." I have this pile of dried up, wrinkled, crackly, paint- splotched baby wipes that I've been accumulating for awhile. Often I have cut them up and used them in collage work. I decided I might use them more often if they weren't bunched up and wrinkled, so I ironed them last night while watching a movie on Netflix. How crazy is that? I had to chuckle. It took me back to my younger years when one of my Saturday morning chores was to iron all my father's handkerchiefs. How many handkerchiefs can one man use or need? I guess men didn't use Kleenex. I don't remember my mother using one but do remember the little balls of Kleenex tucked under a sweater sleeve. I seem to remember spending several hours ironing to get my allowance money. Anyway, I had to laugh at myself for doing this because I am not an "ironer" but they do look much better and they may find their way to some kind of substrate.


Across the Street

I am working on setting up shop on Etsy. I spent a good deal of time looking through my files on the computer trying to decide on a banner photo. I kind of got lost as I looked at all the art I've made over the past year. It was a good feeling. One of my folders I had marked In and Around the House, which translates to me that there was a reason, an artistic reason, I wanted to save a certain photo, whether it be for something I thought I wanted to sketch, or print to use with collage, or edit with Photoshop if my fairy godmother happened to stop in. I wanted to show you some photos (click on them. They look better.) I had taken and edited last year sometime in the spring or very early summer. I want to take you from the front steps of my house. Across my front lawn and across the street. If you zoom in you can see my neighbor's property on the right end of the picture with the wooden fence going straight across. I love old wooden fences almost as much as I do old cemeteries. I love the weathered look and to me they seem to possess a personality all their own. I probably took this picture because I wanted to sketch it. I really envisioned the fence looking like this. I got a kick out of rotating the fence and found it also could be a wooden walkway. Ok. So. I didn't rotate the fence but the picture of the fence. And when I changed it a bit more I got a wintry, dry feeling, but also a promise of spring with the leaf blades poking through. Here's the back yard beyond the fence. The second thing that has always drawn me to look at this backyard from across the street is the magical little house that sits beside the main house. It gives me a secret garden kind of feeling. Can't you imagine those window boxes overflowing with color? What a great place for an art studio. Wouldn't you agree? Thank you to my neighbor for allowing me to photograph this lovely space and to you, for stopping by letting me share this with you.


Not Nice, But Fun.

One day after work, I went to pick up my 18 mos old twin son and daughter from day care and one of the childcare workers hurried up to me and said, "You wouldn't believe what your daughter did to her brother today." She was grinning. "Your daughter went right up to her brother and pushed him down,and made him cry!" she said. (Oh, dear, I thought. What kind of monster daughter child did I produce?) The child care person continued. "I asked her if she thought that was a nice thing to do. Do you know what she said?" I couldn't wait to hear the answer. I asked her myself. "Miss Blah blah blah told me you pushed your brother down today." My daughter looked down at the floor. "Was that a nice thing to do?" I asked. She looked up at me with this half serious I'm sorry and half twinkle in her eye kind of expression, as if she'd already figured out bunches of stuff about the world and or her place in it, and said, "No. Mama. Not nice, but fun." I think I need to clean up my studio. It does resemble an obstacle course. All space is being utilized for something. I have too many somethings. I am working on too many somethings. The truth is I can't remember when I've had so much fun making so much mess. And life is too short not to make messes. When we allow ourselves to make messes we find out or remember what's important to us. We learn more about who we are, and who we are becoming. Ok. So you get the idea. I think I need to think about getting an easel. Working on large pieces gets a little tricky when it's on the floor leaning against the wall. Laying them down on the art table means for me getting on a ladder and leaning over. Either that or I might hang clear plastic tarp on one wall and figure out something to stand the canvas on. I showed you this piece some time ago. It has undergone some changes and will continue to do so. Today it looks like this. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by.


More Conversations About God

Yesterday I told you a story about my very young son asking if God had a last name. I had forgotten when I wrote the post that I had a journal I kept when my twin son and daughter were small, which housed first words and conversations that took place, and another one that marked special or noteworthy events in our lives. Here's another conversation, (initiated by them) on 4/13/1996. Kids are between 4 and 5 yrs old at this point in time. One of them said God was invisible. "Is that true, Mama?" "I don't know. I've never actually SEEN God, although I think God must be every where. In the grass, in the pretty spring days, in the changing of the seasons," I said. Son said,"Maybe he's in the refrigerator! Daughter said, "Maybe he's in our food, in my mouth and I'm swallowing him." Gotta love em. I may be sharing more stories like this with you as my kids are approaching their twenty first birthday. It's kind of note worthy. On my way to the kitchen this morning I was delighted to see one of the African violets blooming up a storm. I couldn't resist grabbing the camera. And here's one more page playing with the pan pastels. I hope you are having a good weekend. I am on vacation next week, although not going anywhere. Not being at work is the best vacation of all because I get to play. A lot. .


Does God Have a Last Name?

When my son learned to talk it seemed he never stopped talking. Not only was he a gifted talker, he was curious about everything. He questioned everything and everyone. I used to get notes sent home in the first grade that he was talking too much. He would often blurt out things, I guess, instead of raising his hand and waiting to be called to speak. His answer to me was, "I know, Mama. I can't help it. I have so much to say." At that age I pictured him when he was grown being in a profession where he would use his gift of talk. You know, maybe an actor,lawyer, minister, sales person. Years passed and his answer to me was ,"Mama. I don't want to be a suit." One day out of the blue, when he was about 4 yrs old he said, "Mama."( He always had a serious look on his face when he was about ready to ask a question.) "Mama. Does God have a last name?" Ooooh. This minister's daughter had to think of something to say very fast. And how could I possibly come up with a clever answer to this awesome question? I think I remember taking a few seconds to think, mumbled something like, "I dunno. I'm not sure.(duh) but I think it's Andy." "Andy?" he questioned ."Yes,I said. Andy." And then I started singing, "And he walks with me and he talks with me and............" which some people will know comes from an old hymn. I don't remember what his response to me was, but I felt glad I had given him an answer, silly as it may have been. On another note, I found one of those cheap, unfinished boxes at Ben Franklin or Michaels for about a dollar. My daughter has done some cleaning out of her drawers and gave me some boxes of jewelry that she no longer wanted. I painted the box and thought I might try to decorate the box with the jewelry. I have discovered the beauty of pan pastels although I'm not sure how I'm really supposed to be using them. Is there a right way or technique? I don't know right now, but I am loving them. I only have 5 colors but know eventually I will have to get more especially in the flesh tones to help me with faces. Here is what I have done with them so far. I already had some background stuff on a Moleskin page but didn't care for it- too busy, so started covering it up with gesso, more paint and then pan pastels. Thanks for visiting here.


A License

I work in the medical field. I deal with patients everyday, many are elderly. Many come to their appointments in motorized wheelchairs, double wide scooters, equipped with baskets and horns, speedometers, high polished chromes and rims, back up lights, leather seats....... lol. just kidding about the seats. But seriously, so many gadgets, amenities, that sometimes I have to ask them if they have a license to drive that thing. You see, I work in the eye clinic. And some of them ought not to be driving "that thing," because they really can't see well enough to parallel park outside the exam room door. They always crack up when I ask them but I also tell them I might think twice about riding with them, which cracks them up even more. I love these old folks. I hope I am as brave as they are if I make it to their age. I don't know what made me think of sharing this with you other than I saw a lot of vehicles in the hall way in the eye clinic today.**************************************************** And then there's my introduction to Virginia by way of New York. When I first moved here some years ago, I was living in my own apt and waiting tables full time paying back my college loans. One of my coworkers thought I was pretty cool coming from the north, also lived in the same complex I did, but she had family in another part of the state, often going home on the weekends. Once we struck up a conversation about how our weekends were. You know girl talk and she said, "I carried my brother to the movies this weekend." I looked at her and said, "Oh. I'm sorry. Was your brother hurt?" She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I asked again." Why did you carry your brother to the movies? Was his leg broken or did he sprain his ankle or something?" Again she looked at me and kind of blushed, like she thought I was teasing her, but at the same time seemed very annoyed that I kept asking. I had to know. I said, "Dale! What was wrong that you had to carry your brother to the movies?" I guess at that point I decided she was being a big sister and scooped up her little brother in her arms to see a Disney movie or something. I really thought I was missing something here and then it hit me. She was telling me she really did carry her brother to the movies but in her car. "Well!" I said. You carry a bag of groceries or a sack of potatoes or something but you do NOT carry your brother to the movies!!! You took, transported, drove but you did NOT CARRY HIM TO THE MOVIES. If you wanna hang with me you have to know this!!" She kind of grinned, blushed again and said, "I might could do that." **************************************************************** I shared with you that I've been practicing drawing faces for twenty minutes in the mornings in the van. They're all just out of my head and in a simple composition notebook. I figure (I sound like the one that carried her brother to the movies) after I fill it up, I might see some improvement. Here's a few morning's worth. Thanks for visiting. Please come again.