Sunday, April 29, 2012

fairy cakemother coming soon...

hi all!

what a week i have had.  culminating in a trip to the ER yesterday morning UGH!  it was actually a calculated visit on my part to save some time and worry.  in my late twenties i battled severe liver and gallbladder disease.  i spent more than three years in constant discomfort to massive nausea and pain so bad i would pass out - all while working, going to school and raising my boys by myself :P  in those three years i underwent monitoring tests every 3 months and my condition continued to deteriorate with traditional western medicine offering NOTHING that could help me.  then a friend took me to his accupuncturist - MIRACLES happened!  now, i did not believe in accupuncture at the time but i was desperate and scared.  i was heading for the liver transplant list.  i went to the accupuncturist 3 times a week for 6 months - he did the needle treatments and also taught me alot about my body - what to eat, herbal supplements to use, what to not eat and how to recognize my body's signals and adjust my behavior and diet accordingly if necessary.  my liver went back down to normal size and began functioning perfectly.  the nausea and pain stopped!  and it has been fine for more than 10 years.  until now.  it's back.  so i headed in to the ER and they got all of the preliminary tests out of the way - blood work, ultrasound, xrays and CT scan - NO gall stones, NO abnormally large liver or other organs, liver function is still in the normal range, etc.  which leaves my gallbladder.  it is not functioning again and i need to get a Hida Scan - HATE those and they HURT BADLY!  after that, gallbladder removal.  however i don't like the stories i read about life after removal - it does NOT sound like an improvement.  so i am hoping i can remember all the doc taught me and go back to that.  i would do accupuncture in a heartbeat but ins. doesn't cover that.  you know how everyone says obamacare is bad and we will no longer have control over our healthcare decisions?  well if you think you have control now you are kidding yourself.  SOOOO after you read my post i would love to hear from any of you who has experience with gallbladder removal or NOT removing it.  please leave me a comment!

afternoon/evening is the worst so i try to do things in the morning - one thing i am working on right now is my Suzi Blu Petite Dolls class - the best EVER!  ok i said that about dina wakely and dion dior too....anyway, i am working on a really fun one right now with a petite doll i drew based on my friend catherine and the apron i made for her when she became the master of cake decorating (see her pics here).

yummy yes????  you can see fairy cakemother in the upper left dancing in her apron with her magic spoon and also her castle.  i got lucky and spied that fabulous harlequin ribbon in hobby lobby friday HALF OFF!  now to figure out how i will put it all together!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

stamping with Twinks!

hi all!

soooo when we decided to have pezza i was very clear - we were only having ONE.  not TWO.  i spent 95% percent of my time referring fights with the boys when they were growing up.  so what am i referring now?  pezza and bubba kitten fighting over a cat toy.  yep.  a feathered cat toy.  feathers are bubba's favorite thing EVER.  his were mere nubs so when i was getting teeny kitten food and petsmart i also got him a collection of new feather toys.  and pezza picked out one on a stick and insisted it was for her.  i warned her bubba would try and steal it.  and he did.  really?  we're going to fight with the CAT over a toy???  sheesh!  never a dull moment...  today we are heading over to register her for kindergarten.  we only have half day kindergarten here which is freakin' ridiculous.  why even bother!  so i have one more year before full day school.  what WILL i do with myself?  (*hopefully keep my house cleaner for one...*)  my neighborhood has afternoon kindergarten which means my day is split in half - NOT convenient.  somehow the wealthiest county in america can't afford full day kindergarten...WTF??? 

i wanted to share more of the exercises i did in Dion's Mastering Twinks class and i even ended up with a journal page - WITH writing IN a journal book. i will admit the thought of doing things in a book seemed weird to me - i am messy!  but so far i actually like it - it's a little experimentation book.  one thing we worked on was stamping with Twinks which is probably the first thing i ever did with mine years ago when i first got them.

here are my experiments:

and look what happens when the light hits them!

how freakin' cool is that?
next i added in some detail work:

I am loving working with my pens and doodling but oh how i wish my hand wasn't so shaky!  i suspect it is the beginning of a condition called essential tremors that my dad has.

the trick was finding stamps that would work well - most of mine are line art types.  i tried another stamp out to:
not too bad...

next i decided to make a journal page:
i wasn't planning on actually writing on it but after it was done it seemed perfect for a few thoughts on the trees i planted this weekend. 

and the shimmery glow...
just a slight tilt towards the light and WOW!  never. gets. old!  this would look equally wonderful on a card or scrapbook page (boy do i need to get back to my scrapbooking...)

Monday, April 23, 2012

mastering twinks...

hi all!

well i did it.  i finally got my trees planted. :P yes it has been like a month or more that i have had them!  digging holes in our yard is about the same as digging holes in cement.  it SUCKS.  i dug every day last week and only got 1 1/2 holes done.  i finally gave in and paid my neighbor's kid (landscaper) to come finish with his buddy.  they had to get a heavy duty drill and extra large bit to loosen the dirt!  but they did it and i got them into the ground just in time to get 2 full days of steady rain - YAY free watering!  the high for saturday was 78 and today it is 41!!!  mother nature is on CRACK!  i refuse to get my winter coat back out.  REFUSE! 

have you got twinkling H2Os???  do you use them?  do you want them?  do you want to use them?  then you need to take the Mastering Twinks class by Dion Dior.  it is AMAZING!  and i have only done a portion of lesson 1!!!  i usually use my twinks to put in some sparkling base color on my images before coloring them with pencil or i may do a wet wash of color for a background.  Dion is a MASTER - with twinks and as an artist.  she also has a wonderful teaching ability.  for the exercises i needed to get my twinks super wet and gooey so while i was waiting i played with the kittens of course!  pics of them below.  then i wanted to test them out and see how good and gooey they were so i grabbed my mini sketchbook i was playing in last night:

i doodled some flowers while watching tv last night the way Christy Tomlinson teaches in her She Had Three Hearts workshop and i am really liking the technique - wish i was better at it but...
and i even WROTE something!  here is the other one:
fun stuff!  not ready to put it on a wall but perfect in a journal used to practice new techniques!  tune in tomorrow to see what else i did for class!!!

i got a pic of another of the kittens - this is Twizzler.  he has had an eye infection which we went to the vet for last week and i have been doing antibiotics BUT as you see they are not working well SO likely another trip to the vet.
this is the only boy and he is the momma's boy all the way.  he just loves to cuddle up on me.  when i go down to the studio him & taffy come running for me and climb all over me to get me to hold them.

of course pezza is always wanting down there but she only gets limited visits
and don't let that adorable face fool you - she is trouble!  last night daddy told her no for something and she was throwing a temper tantrum.  well daddy still said no so she told him he was "not registering her discontent" - really?  really?  she is FIVE y'all!  but hey look - she is wearing clothes!  the shirt is on backwards but "pick your battles" ya know?

Friday, April 20, 2012

21 secrets workshop - secret 2

hi peeps!

 i am sitting here trying to calmly type while pezza screams and writhes on the floor *sigh* some days are longer than others.  i would try to explain what is going on but it is SO non-sensical i am not sure i could...and to think i had such a fun day planned for us :P  daddy is out of town until saturday night and i am thinking lunch at my fave vietnamese restaurant is in order!  he doesn't like vietnamese food but i LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  it is so light and does not cause trouble for my tummy (yay liver and gallbladder disease :P)  wanna guess what causes all of my headaches?  stress.  hhmmmm i wonder where it comes from!  after lunch on to the mall - bare minerals store, claire's or icing for pezza, candy store, then rides on the little train and carousel before heading to my fave nursery for a few last plants i want for the planters.  of COURSE a trip through the starbucks drive thru on the way home!  OR we will just sit here and scream. truth is, she is a carbon copy of me - poor girl.  it's gonna be a rough road!

ANYWAY, on to MUCH funner things - my projects to share from the second workshop i did in the 21 Secrets workshop - Wisdom Circles by Dion Dior.  Dion is fabulously talented and i love every single thing i have seen of hers.  first we drew some mandalas:
one on white
and on black
the black is totally fun!  i used souffle pens - LOVE

next we add color - those will be posted on the Luminarte blog next week and more here as i get more done.  it is SO addicting!  i encourage you all to read Dion's recent post about them and check out her incredible blog!

perhaps vietnamese lunch will have to happen on another day when she is in school.  anyone wanna be my lunch date?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

pretty paper packaging...

hi all!

i think we might be having a bit of spring instead of full fledged summer finally.  cool and rainy - just what my gardens need!  my allergies, however, total mess this morning.  no headache tho *knocks on wood* - that's all i need is to jinx myself right?!

my little kittens are growing well BUT i have to call the vet again today.  two of them have an eye stuck closed with goop, one is sounding very rattly/congested, AND one cries constantly and his belly is very round and hard compared to the others.  poor little baby things.  they are SO freakin cute though.  the runt, taffy, is fearless and scrappy.  she doesn't walk she RUNS.  and she is also super fond of belly rubs.  when i sit down she runs over and rolls on her back for belly rubbing.  Skittle is the only one not sick at all and she is super shy AND the biggest.  when i hold her she is super cuddly too.  Candy, the momma, is still a bit trailer trash but she does clean them a bit once in awhile.  i have been trying to get good pics but they hardly ever hold still so everything is blurry :P  i will post two at the end of this post.

while we were away last weekend our neighbor and her 8 year old daughter took care of everyone so i wanted to make the daughter a little thank you gift:

The card is also for the following challenges:

Pezza colored the image (from A Day for Daisies - just love her style).  Nothing on this project is new or just released - feels good to use some of the goodies that have piled up!  the image and sentiment are both popped up using 3M foam tape.

now how cute is this little bag?!?!  it is from My Time Made Easy and is actually a little backpack but i left off the straps.  i love love love that i have a non cartridge based cutter in addition to my cricut - mine is a black cat.  if you already have a cricut do you need another cutter?  absolutely!  that way i can buy the template as an SVG file, import it into Make the Cut and cut it out in a snap!  of COURSE i filled it with some Hello Kitty goodies!  and then a bit of cash in the front pocket!

and for those of you who want to see the kittens here are two of them:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

i am blessed...

hi all!

well today is my meeting with a school psychologist about pezza.  last night we had to fill out a super long questionnaire type thingy about her.  the questions were SO bizarre and alot of them totally irrelevent.  not to mention not properly put together.  i took MANY MANY statistics classes in school - it is one of my most favorite topics - and i rarely come across a properly composed poll or questionnaire.  anyway, we filled it all out and her teacher filled out one as well.  after this meeting we will have a final meeting with a group of folks from the school to decide if she is going to require an IEP in school to help her (and them) manage next year when she goes to kindergarten.

in other news...i still have openings in my classes in May in Baltimore!  you can see all the details on the Workshops page.  they will be lots of fun!  in fact the whole weekend getaway will be lots of fun!  i am also hosting a Pinterest Party on the friday night before the workshops at the retreat hotel.  you can get full details on The Outlawz page!

i also have a little project to share with you:
this page was lots of fun to do!

i started by misting my blank journal page with ink - no it's not Dylusions.  i don't have any of those yet.  i just did what i have always done and mixed half water and half adirondack dye reinkers in a mini mister and misted away.

next i doodled away along the bottom border - not bad for having just begun attempting to doodle.  i added some flowers too.  then included some prima flowers for a bit of dimension.  glittered skittles in the center of course!

Monday, April 16, 2012


hi all!

i can NOT believe i am THIS freakin hot in the middle of APRIL!  ree-donk-ulous!  i had to put my hair up.  in april!  sheesh!  pezza is out in the sprinkler in the backyard!

we did our first trip of the season in the camper this weekend - wow was i out of practice!  the drive up went smoother than usual.  on the way i asked hubby if he had put the turquoise box in the truck from his garage...nope.  so, pit stop for toiletries and the eggs i forgot.   arrived just before dark which makes set up FAR easier.  after set up we realized i also forgot ALL of the towels AND the pillows.  AND we had no hot water.  BUT we were determined to have a good trip and we all went to bed happy.  and then made a trip to target and home depot first thing the next morning!

the rv park we went to was outside of Lancaster PA - amish country.  i fell in LOVE with the area - i am slightly obsessed with farms.  i desperately want an old house with a huge barn and other out buildings but these farms!  HUGE i mean HUGE farms with gigantic barns and three silos.  what the heck do you put in 3 silos???  love love love it!  we spent saturday in strasburg at the railway - so so cool.  if you live in this area and you haven't been there you should go.  they restore antique steam engines and run them along with antique rail cars.  we toured the humongous workshop with all sorts of engines being restored and Thomas the tank engine was even in there for his annual maintenance so pezza got to take a picture with him and even go inside the cab!  we road a mini steam engine as well as a full sized one.  then we went around the railroad museum - AWESOME.  tons of model railroads set up and lots to play with - pezza was in heaven!  i'll have a few pics at the end of this post.

i do have a project to share with you:

i made this to hang in our foyer

bienvenue means welcome.  it is done on a piece of MDF with some wood trim - both from home depot.  the wood trim is painted with gesso and then Silks.  i did a few different things for the background papers.  before i cut the left side into thirds i stamped it with a fleur de lis stamp from the Just Rite Bon Voyage set i got from terri at stamps alive.  then i cut it into thirds and stamped again with a fleur de lis stamp from La Blanche using versamark and frantage aged copper embossing enamel and shabby white embossing enamel - LOVE the whole frantage line!

on the right side i started with some beautiful paper from Creative Imaginations.  i added some fleur de lis images using a creative imaginations existencil and more Silks like I used on the wood trim.  i added more frantage to the bottom corner and then adhered all 4 pieces to the MDF and hid the seams with some copper german scrap - great stuff!

I cut the large fleur de lis out of a cereal box using a sizzix die.  i painted over it with gesso, stamped it with my exclusive cobblestone background stamp and let it dry.  then i added two colors of Luminarte Primary Elements mixed with gum arabic and water.  it accentuates the stamped texture and of course adds gorgeous shimmer.  to make it stand out i traced around the edges a few times with a black pen.  i printed the words from my computer - so easy!

and now a pic of pezza and thomas - i will be editing the rest and posting a few more later this week! cool is THAT?!

Monday, April 9, 2012

21 secrets - secret 1...

hi all!

i hope everyone had a nice easter weekend!  i am currently chewing on some sort of nasty egg carton gum that pezza has been insisting i chew for so long i finally gave in.... the joys of motherhood huh?

i have been debating on whether or not i wanted to sign up for the 21 secrets mixed media/art journal playground workshops through dirty footprints and i finally took the plunge.  after having finished only my first one i am so glad i did!  i started with Dina Wakley's Intuitive Layers class.  we had to work in layers with NO PLAN WHATSOEVER in mind!  AHHHH panic!  i have LOADS of trouble loosening up but it is something i have really been wanting to work on so i can get peace and happiness from my art rather than stress! hhahhaha!

it was a bumpy road i must say but if i began feeling stressed or "un" free i walked away for awhile.  in the end i made 2 pieces and i LOVE them AND the feeling of stretching myself creatively in a way that was not stress inducing!  here is piece 1:
 and here is piece 2:
this is mostly acrylic paint but also inktense black pencil and luminarte radiant rain mists.  i did some painting, some stenciling, some mono-printing (oh how i love mono-printing and i NEVER thought i would!), misted book page pieces collaged on, journaling - what fun!  the only thing i would change next time is that i would add the book page pieces earlier in the process so they got a bit more "buried" in the layers...

things i learned:
  1. dina wakley ROCKS
  2. i {heart} mono - printing
  3. i need better white paint
  4. i CAN journal
  5. i CAN be free-er in my art
i really wanted pezza to join in but she just could not let go of the end thought and be free.  i was sad because at one time she could do that but somehow she became end result focused :(  i will have to work on that.......

instead she wanted to just paint with momma:

her piece is a work in progress but i think it is adorable already!

finally a shout out to the new babies

the one in front is twizzler and the little girl in back is taffy, the runt.  they are still incredibly wobbly which makes it tough to get a clear picture.  of course they do the cutest things when i do NOT have my camera handy :P  i am not down there all the time but i am thinking our momma is a bit on the trashy side.  i have yet to ever see her cleaning them and when she is out of the box eating if they cry she growls at them like "Hey! Shut the eff up!"  hysterical!  perhaps when pezza is at school today i will have a chance to sit down there longer and see if she does any cleaning.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

happy easter!

hi all!

well no races last night - BOO!  maybe next time. we don't have much planned for easter - lunch with the in-laws.  other than that i hope to work in the yard - my veggie garden is almost completely in!

i wanted to post this little fun wall plaque i made for easter:

i had so much fun with this one - i always like my own stuff but i have to be honest - this may be one of my most fave things i have made yet!  and best of all...

***for those of you coming to my mixed media class in baltimore in may - this is one of the techniques we will learn!*** 

not the actual paper piecings - that part is easy.  the foundation is what we will work on.  then YOU will choose what you want to do on top - paper piecing, stamped and colored image, photo, just words....

i have discovered a new love - MDF - medium density fiberboard.  that's what i used here and what we will use in class for one of the projects.

of course, my background is Luminarte Primary Elements mixed with gum arabic and water - i never get tired of that GLOW!  The paper piecings used here are mostly from Treasure Box Designs except for the frame - it is from My Scrap Chick.  i cut it all out using my black cat cougar - an amazing little machine that makes cutting all of this out SO EASY!

Friday, April 6, 2012

how does your garden GLOW...

hi all!

fun family fun time yesterday!  hubby got the day off and the 3 of us headed in to DC to the Museum of Natural History - my fave of all the smithsonians.  really it's just the gem and mineral exhibit - i swear i could spend HOURS in there.  for pezza there were several highlights on the way to the museum.  first we got to stop at daddy's office so he could turn in some paperwork.  she has been wanting to see it for YEARS.  next up - the Metro (subway).  she LOVES riding the metro.  my boys did too.  before we lived here i brought them on their first trip out here and they wanted to ride the metro all day instead of seeing the monuments and museums :P  of course the goal is to standup without holding on and not fall down.  the museum was REALLY crowded - i don't usually go on holidays.  but overall a good trip.  they have a live butterfly exhibit now where you walk in and there are tons of butterflies flying all over - one hitchhiked on the back of pezza's leg the whole time we were in there.

of course the huge crowds made for some interesting people watching and a few bizarre run ins - god how i do love DC!  almost as full of strange characters as the French Quarter is!  tonight we are off to watch some drag racing - pezza is beyond excited to see some racing in real life!

i have a fun project to show you today from my art journal pages:

 I struggled through some incredibly difficult years as a teen and young adult and the poem this line comes from was taped to my wall for many years.  it was a critical concept for me to learn.

i started by covering my page completely with black gesso.  then i painted the flowers on using Luminarte Silks acrylic glazes.  I wanted to see how they looked on black.  i LOVE how the shimmery-ness of them makes them positively GLOW!

i freehanded the flowers - i was actually really surprised with myself.  apparently i doodle much better with a paintbrush than pencil :P  Once the Silks were dry I added some dots with my white sharpie paint pen - love that thing!

i printed my wording on my computer.

i encourage you to check out the Silks - amazing!