Friday, September 24, 2010

Still here

Just a quickie post before I head out for another long training walk. I wanted to let everyone know that I'm still around and doing well. I just cant seem to get in the blogging groove enough to be consistent with it. I'm sorry for that.

I've been working hard in Suzi Blu's La Sirene class. This is the cover I made for my mermaid journal. I used various yarns to make seaweed and have crystals hidden in to give an occasional sparkle. I needed something to place to her side and I adore sea turtles so worked one in to the piece. I love how the background turned out with all the "bubbles and swirls". You can't really see them well in the picture, but they're there and they make me smile.

Sorry to cut this short, but I really want to get my 11 miles done before it gets to hot. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Adventures of a Pink Panther Bra

My friend Amy started something in Cleveland. She talked a fireman into posing for a photo wearing her bra. We later got another group of firemen to pose with both of us, and two of them were wearing our bras. I haven't gotten copies of those pics yet.
In Michigan, I designed and created a pink panther bra (our team is the Pink Panther Patrol) When I spotted a fireman on day two, I couldn't resist carrying on the tradition, and from there it blossomed.

Final count, 2 firemen (one is in a red medical shirt) 3 firemen/EMT's, a doctor, a policeman (he was the hardest to coerce), my walking partner for San Diego, and my sweet hubby!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love, Kindness and Compassion

I was on another Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure event this past weekend. I cannot express how meaningful these events are and how firmly I believe in what they support and do for the community and breast cancer research and detection.
On Saturday night, while we were dancing, this beautiful rainbow appeared over our camp. To me it was like a sign from all of those we have lost to breast cancer. I think they were trying to tell us how proud they are of what we're doing, and that even though they may not physically be with us, they continue to be with us on the 3-Day walk.
I had someone ask me how this past weekends event went and I honestly think it was my favorite one out of the 12 I have participated in over the years. Well, that got me wondering why. At first, I really wasn't sure why myself. I just knew I had a great time with my teammates, and the walkers. But that always is true. So what made this one stand out as my favorite? It surely wasn't the 90+ degrees and high humidity. It also wasn't due to no problems. We had a few bicycle repairs that were necessary throughout the weekend. So why? I think it was because last year was so overly emotional for me after losing my Grandfather the night before the event started, and these people, these teammates and walkers were a tremendous support system for me during that time. They showed me the true love and compassion that people have for each other. Some of the support came from people I'd never met before, and wouldn't have recognized if they were there this year. Some support touched me in a way I'll never forget. Being able to be back in this community, without the raw pain of loss, allowed me to recognize the love they had shared and then let me share that same love with others over this event. This community of people represents the very best in humankind. They are out there year round fundraising and training so that someday none of us will suffer another loss to cancer. They are there with smiles and laughter even though their feet are covered in blisters and each step is excrutiating. They are up at an ungodly hour so we can all have a hot breakfast to start our hard day off in a great way. They are massaging sweaty bodies to give someone a bit of relief. They are cleaning up after someone so they don't have to take those few extra steps after a long day of walking. They are making you laugh on every street corner. They, both walkers and crew, are everyday heros.
Our Michigan Route Safety Bicyclists have a tradition. We go out for breakfast away from camp on Saturday morning. This started as a fluke one year when we were passing a place known for their potato pancakes and we had some time before our designated spots to work. It continues because it allows us to reconnect with each other and also get to know our new members in a little bit quieter environment than the 3 day breakfast. While we were dining this year, we had the most amazing waitress. Before we were finished with our meal she came up and pointed out her vehicle. She asked us to please go out and each take a hat she had in the back. They were breast cancer ball hats with fiber optic lights in the ribbon. She just gave them to us! She was hoping to get off her shift in time to go out and cheer for the walkers, and giving us these hats was a way she could contribute to the event. She also offered to help us come up with some things to sell as fundraisers for next years event. She displayed the type of kindness one encounters throughout a 3 day event.
On Day 1, I stopped where a boy was passing out cups of lemonade. I thanked him for taking time out of his summer day to support the walkers and the adult that was with him told me that he knows the value of what we are doing. He has already lost his mother to this dreadful disease. He had to have been under 9 years old. I cried as I rode away from them.
I saw survivors in their yards with signs of thanks, I saw young and old passing out treats and cold water through the weekend. I saw almost an entire block in Dearborn with the best decorated lawns and sprinklers and people cheering. I saw a cheering station in Plymouth that was so crowded, I couldn't find my sister. I saw a walker who had just lost her Dad on Tuesday who was still walking.
I saw love, kindness and compassion everywhere! I hope that someday there will not be a need for the Breast Cancer walks, but until that day I will continue to participate in these events.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Have you ever been blown away by the amount of strength a person has within themselves?

You think about how they just keep doing, no matter how bad things are. Sometimes there isn't even the slightest whimper of complaint. Other times there are sobs of heart-wrenching sadness. But they just keep moving, living, loving.

This past weekend I was crewing the Cleveland Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure. The strength I witnessed in people was amazing. These women and men, both walkers and crew persevere through a very trying 3 days. They overcome emotional trauma and physical limitations as they are on this event. They walk through blisters that are sometimes larger than toes. They cheer until their voices are gone. They wake up at the butt-crack of dawn so that others may have a hearty breakfast. They pop blisters on sweaty feet so others may take a few more steps. They support someone else even when they are in need of support. They laugh, they cry, they hug, they yell-both in frustration and in joy, they cheer and they keep doing. No matter what.

I dont believe I have the strength that these people do, but I was able to be a part of their lives for the event. This year, a friend lost her loving husband to a very quick battle with cancer. She buried him on Thursday and showed up on Friday to walk 60 miles. As she walked, a heart-shaped blister formed on her foot. You never walk a 3 day alone, those you walk for are with you each step even if they have lost their fight. In her words, she was there because "It's important to me now more than ever" and "it was very therapeutic". She is in the 2nd picture of this post, flanked by 2 of her safety girls. She's a pillar of strength as I struggle through one of the more emotional moments I had on the event.

A teammate struggled with a kidney stone. Passing it in a dark porta-potty. He never uttered a complaint that I heard. I didn't even know he was struggling. Strength. He made a commitment and he followed through on that even though most people would have bowed out and gone home.

A walker still in chemo woke up sick every morning and her body ached even before the walk began because of those treatments pushed to walked on one painful step after another. When she could no longer continue for the day, her husband who had severe shin splints refused to give up because he was walking ALL 60 miles to support his wife who is in chemo. They met at the last pit stop of the day and journeyed into camp hand in hand. Strenth and love displayed in the finest manner.

Everyone who participates has a story. We all have our reasons why, and people we are there in honor of, or remembrance of. There are painful moments, yet we know that we are doing something that might someday help others avoid losing their loved ones. There are happy moments as friends laugh and play together. There are moments when you're not sure you can go on, yet there is always someone there to help you, to support you. Each person on the event is an inspiration. Each person involved shows you the very best in life. Each person is a pillar of strength and it was an honor to be with all of them this past weekend.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July, just a little delayed

It has been a very hot weekend here in Michigan. We spent Saturday celebrating my nephew's 15th birthday, Sunday was a fun outing with my Sis-in-law to shop Ann Arbor, and then today my hubby joined me for a 6 mile training walk that I turned into almost 8 miles by accident. Thankfully the walk was over before it got to the true heat of the day. It has been a pretty relaxing weekend considering everything and except for the firecrackers scaring my dog to the point of her hiding in the bathtub, its been very enjoyable.
Miss Suzi sent out a challenge I believe on Thursday to put together a patriotic Petit Girl and I've been working on mine in small bits here and there since then. I wasn't sure if I'd get her done. I missed the holiday, but the actual deadline was today so I did it! Suzi teaches the most amazing courses and I've been able to elevate the level of my drawings and painting to a new level thanks to her classes. She is amazingly supportive of her students and lots of fun as well. If you've never heard of her or her classes I encourage you to take a look. I'm sure you'll enjoy what you see at her site.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Nook's new home

I love the grafitti ipod cases that Violette shared in a tutorial a while back. I really didn't need an ipod cover but the project kept creeping back into my mind. I finally realized that I could modify it a bit and put it to good use as a cover for my Nook. I was lucky enough to receive the Nook as a Christmas gift and had been looking for a carrying case, but they've been slow to release accessories to it in the stores. They had covers available online, but I wanted to touch and feel before I selected. Anyways, I had some scraps left over from a white sheet I had cut apart and made into a skirt so I slathered a bunch of paint on top of that to form my base. I tried looking for a quote about books and reading that grabbed my attention, but I came up short. I was trying to figure out what it is I love about reading and this phrase popped into my mind and I chose to use it. "A good book lets your imagination grow." I love that I can get lost in a book. All my troubles and worries take a break and there is just the story. Its such a nice reprieve sometimes.
By the way, I absolutely love my Nook. It is lightweight, very easy on the eyes when reading, and the biggest plus, has gotten rid of the stacks and stacks of read books that I usually have lying around the house.
I wanted a soft lining to help protect the screen of the nook and I had some furry/fluffy fleece in my scraps that would not only be soft on the screen, but would also add a bit of padding to protect from bumps while traveling with the Nook. My sewing skills are pretty non existent as you can see my the uneven seems and the wonky angles. I'm gonna say that it all adds to the quirky charm of the piece. I just really don't get bothered by such things anymore. I added some painted flowers, some rhinestone flowers and butterflies, sewed on some velcor to clasp it shut for added security and trimmed the flap with some green bubble tassling I had laying around. It was fun to see that I made this entire thing without a trip to the store and I love this case much more than anything I could have purchased. Thanks Violette for the inspiration!

I did all the painting on this project outside at the patio table adjacent to my rose garden. It was that one week where the first blooms explode from all the bushes and its an amazing array of color and scent. It was so nice to create right next to natures masterpiece. (Fozzy was my little helper throughout the project)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where am I??

I've been to concerts. I've been playing. I've been rethinking a job that I've had for the better portion of 20 years. I've been a matron of honor. I've been a musician. I've been a friend. I've been rediscovering. I've been exploring both internally and externally. I've been fundraising. I've been successful. I've failed. I've laughed. I've cried. I've created. I've ripped apart. I've over-analyzed. I've brushed things off. I've fallen. I've picked myself up. I've been walking. I've been running. I've dyed my hair hot pink. I've been learning. I've been enjoying a slower pace this summer. I've been wishing. I've been praying. I've been looking for direction. I've been forging my own path. I've been living.
I'm sorry I've been away and thank you for checking up on me. I'm ok. Just haven't been focused enough to post. It seems to be a time of change for me. I fear change. I'm doing the best I can to find the positive in every change. It is scary, exciting, and unsettling all at the same time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

I am embarking on a great journey this year. I have decided to walk another Breast Cancer 3-Day, 60 mile event. I walked my first 3-Day in 2004, along side my Aunt Bev. It was a challenging event for me, but I did it with Bev's help in both the fundraising and the motivation to keep putting one blistered foot in front of the other. We both finished all 60 miles that year, and I wish I could put into words, the total experience of being a part of that walk. Amazing, incredible, powerful and significant just dont seem to explain what the event is like.
In 2005, I did my second 3-Day, participating as a crew member. My main reason for switching to a crew position was due to the fundraising requirement every walker must reach in order to participate. I couldn't walk away from the charity, but I also couldn't commit to that amount of fundraising after struggling to make my goal the first time. Over the last 6 years, I have participated in 10 events. This year, I will be doing 3. I am crewing in Cleveland and Michigan and walking with a friend in San Diego.
Last year, while I was on the Michigan 3-Day, my grandfather passed away. It was the hardest 3-Day I've ever done. it reminded me of the importance and value in every fundraising dollar raised. He was a victim of a different form of cancer, but I, like many people, feel that if we can find a cure for one cancer it will lead to advancements and cures for all the other forms. When I walked my first 3-Day, I was one of the lucky ones. I knew very few people who had suffered from breast cancer. The people I was aware of were all survivors and thriving. Since that time, I have met many people of all ages, race, and sex-- yes, men do get breast cancer--who have faced this disease. Some of them are survivors, but many of them are still in the middle of their battle, and sadly, some of them have lost their fight. Watching these people and the raw strength and determination they demonstrate while they fight the battle of their life is humbling. Their stories prove how vicious and unrelenting breast cancer can be. I walk for all of them and for all of us. So that the next time one of us finds a suspicious lump we may be a little less terrified. So that I never have to see another young mother wonder if she will get to see her little girl graduate from kindergarten. So that none of us ever loses a best friend, a mother, a sister or anyone else to this horrific disease. I walk because I can't walk away.
I am required to fundraise a minimum of $2,300 to walk in this event. As of today, I have raised over $1,400. I need your help in reaching my goal. I know that money is tight these days and I truly would not ask for your donation if I did not completely believe in the charity it will be supporting. Do you know 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life? That's a pretty startling percentage. That number all but guarantees that each of us will have a close experience with this horrific disease at some point in our life. Do you also know that every major advance in the fight against breast cancer in the last 27 years has been impacted by a Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant. It is stunning that this charity, something that started as a promise made between sisters, has come so far. It reminds us that with enough hard work we are all capable of reaching amazing goals and doing incredible things. Please be a part of this incredible event be donating toward my walk today. To make a donation, go here. If you don't want to donate online, you can download and print a donation form from that page that you can mail in with your donation. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone. If you have someone who you'd like to make your donation in memory of, or in honor of, please let me know and I will carry their name with me through my 60 mile journey.
As extra incentive for your donation, I will dye my hair hot pink shortly after reaching my goal. (Although it will be delayed until after my sister's May wedding if this were to happen quickly). I will keep my pink hair from that time until the end of the San Diego walk in mid November. That could mean half a year as a pink haired church organist! I admit that I'm a little hesitant to make this change, but it will be worth it if it brings in just one more donation. I figure that it will be a great way to strike up conversations about the 3-Day and allow me to raise awareness as I go through my everyday routine and my pre-walk training.
Thank you very much for helping me reach my goal. We can all make a difference and someday we will find a cure and live in a world without breast cancer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, and Mother Henna's heART exchange

I participated in Mother Henna's heART Christmas art exchange last month. I was paired up with Bev Baird for this fun endeavor. She was so thoughtful in sending me a watercolor she has painted that will match my teaching studio perfectly. I love it and hopefullyBev and I will continue to keep in touch by visiting each other's blogs. It was fun to meet her through this swap.
I struggled with what to send her way for a little while. You see, I got distracted.

I have signed up to walk the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure in 2010. This is a huge fundraising commitment. In order to participate, I need to raise $2,300. I feel very strongly about the importance of funding the fight for a cure. I also like the 3-day events because they raise breast cancer awareness as well as funds. Some of you may know I have been involved with the 3-day events since 2004 as both a walker and a crew member. When I walk in San Diego it will be my 13th event. I'm terrified at the prospect of raising so much money in Michigan with the state of our economy, but I am committed. I have done some brainstorming for fundraisers and have constructed a list of both tried and true things, and a few things I'm hoping will work. One of my brainstorms was to compile a cd of me performing Christmas music. I have 2 degree's in music and make my living playing and teaching music so this was something I thought this would be a wonderful way to share my talents and help me toward my fundraising. I did a quick investigation on what kind of copyright laws there are and a quick look through my many stacks of Christmas music. I found out I'd need a mechanical license to be copyright legit, and one of the publisher's who I have a bunch of music from had an online form to apply for the license. I quickly filled it out, just glancing through the music and thinking, "Well, that looks like it'd be nice." To my suprise, I got a reply back within hours telling me the fee that would be involved for my very limited production run and it seemed very reasonable so I started practicing. (Silly me had picked out some songs I'd never even played through before!) I bought a USB mic and set things up in my office so I could record at home on my beloved piano. Things were going slow, but they were progressing when disastor struck. The motherboard in my laptop quit working. Done, kaput, finite. Oh Crap!

My sis came to my rescue and loaned me her laptop for the rest of the recording process. Recording really is much harder than I thought, but I'm starting to get the hang of all the levels and tricks. Since it was already late November, I was on a very tight schedule. I wanted these out in time that people would buy them for this Christmas season. My stress level was pretty high but I kept working at it. When I needed a break from actually playing/recording the music I was working on liner notes and buying the blank cd's and labels.

I sat down one morning to design the cover art for the cd. I kept tossing around ideas that involved the pink ribbon, but nothing was sparking my interest enough to get to work. Then I was thinking about Christmas in general and the idea of a simple snowflake jumped in my head. It wouldn't leave so I pulled out my paints, made a pink, mottled backgroun with watercolors and then used acrylics and gel pens to make the actual snowflake. From there I scanned it, photoshopped my title and name and this is what it looks like.

I ended up making 2 volumes of music. Vol. I is a grouping of upbeat, faster music with some jazz added into the mix. Vol. II is full of soft, flowing "pretty" music. I have sold out of my Vol. II's and only have about 4 Vol. I's left. This fundraiser has been a wonderful start and I am now over half way to my goal! Not only that, I have recorded my first 2 CD's and gotten incredible feedback from people that have purchased them! What a great experience.
So, to make the connection to the start of this post, Bev received a copy of each CD for her gift in the exchange. It wasn't a typical art exchange item, but I sure put my heart and soul into making the gift. I received a nice email saying how much she enjoys them and that makes me very happy.
If you've never heard of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure I urge you to look into it. It is a life changing event.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Portable Art Journal Kit

I've been having a wonderful time in my new "Art Palace." While I have spent some time working on arranging things to where they are more conducive to accomplishing my projects with less hunting around, I have also been working in my Art Journal. I was skimming through the book "Journal Spilling" by Diana Trout and came across the concept of putting together a journaling kit with the bare basics so that everything truly required is within arms reach. I thought that was a great idea since I have the worst habit of starting something, deciding I need such and such, going to find it, getting distracted with something totally different and never really finishing my journal pages.

I had this old Whitman's chocolate tin lying around (somehow it survived the purging of stuff from the basement) and its just the right size. I base painted the sides of the tin, collaged the top with some awesome art paper I had laying around. I used chipboard/plastic letters I've been collecting to put "Art Journal Kit" on the front and then painted my name above it because I didn't like the open space at the top. I had a face I sketched Sunday while waiting for a bible class to begin laying nearby and I glued that on as well. I then added some rub and buff to soften the edges of the face. I went around all the lettering with black marker to help the words stand out from the busy background better. Its got glue sticks, pens, markers, pencils, scissors, some lace/ribbon scraps, gum wrappers, etc. inside. I can't say that I still dont reach for things outside of the kit while I'm journaling, but this has definetly helped me to get started without a 10 minute gathering of materials ordeal.

What tricks or pointers can you share with me to make art journaling more spontaneous? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Banner with a Gentle Reminder

I made this banner over the summer by cutting newspaper into diamond shapes, folding them over a length of string and Modge Podging the heck out of them. I meant to decorate and hang them shortly after making it but as it was, by the time the glue dried I was off in a different direction and didn't come back until today.

I've been reading McCabe's creative assignment and although I haven't decided if I want to commit to every assignment, reading about hanging something pretty inspired me to pull out the banner and finish it up. (Having the new art studio to work in, and hang it in also made me excited about this process.) I chose the phrase "Enjoy Today" because I need to remind myself to truly do that. At this point, I can recognize the beginning signs of a bout with depression. I am doing everything I know of to keep this attack at bay and then some, but truly, to "Enjoy Today" is something I struggle with even when my depression is at a "good" level. I let little things consume me with worry and and when I see a calendar full of committments I get very overwhelmed and anxious. I need to live in the moment and I'm trying. Its very frustrating to know these things and still have my mind succumb to being pulled down to the depths of despair. I guess we all have different demons we need to deal with in life and this is one of mine.

Sorry this is a bit of a downer post. I do hope that you were able to enjoy today and also to continue doing the same thing every day of your life. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Art Space

I went on a cleaning spree in our house that started in the fall and continued until I had gutted our attic and basement of stuff. I'm not sure what we were thinking when we moved into the house 13 years ago, but we seemed to have kept every box anything we'd ever bought. Our attic was full of them. (And plenty of other junk as well.) I spent 2 weeks cleaning and organizing that area and felt such a sense of order and happiness that I tackled the basement shortly after finishing the attic.
Our basement had furniture built in. No, not like a dining nook built into the walls, but old, yucky, uncomfortable upholstered furniture from the 1950's actually stuck down there because some previous owners changed the entry to the basement and it would not fit up the stairs to get taken out! We had a sofa, 2 chairs, a refridgerator, and a stove/oven stuck down there. Not to mention a shower stall that sat just underneat the live electric lines. (That has to be up to code, right?!) That's why we haven't done anything about the situation until now. I finally thought "Hey, that's alot of wasted space that I could really have fun using" so I developed a plan. My first plan was-hey it'd be fun to smash the furniture with a sledgehammer. So I found a sledgehammer, took aim at a chair, swung with all my might and the hammer bounced right off the damn chair. I returned the hammer to its spot and noticed my hubby's sawsall. New Plan!!
I actually had a blast cutting the furniture up and was able to even physically do almost all of the removal by myself. My hubby got in on the very tail end of the action by cutting the metal beams of the sofa and he hauled that out. With the furniture gone, I started putting my misc. craft things in totes and cleaning. I must have sparked something in my hubby because after he saw the space that getting rid of the furniture created and discussing putting in an art area down there I asked him if he could run an electric plug and a cable wire for me. He did so much more.
He and his dad worked on the space for about a month. They removed the cheap, damaged panelling and drywalled my 2 inner walls. Gave me about 10 electrical outlets, a cable line, and installed 3 times the lighting that was down there. (I'm still not sure how I got all of that after asking for so little!) My FIL also said he could build me some workbenches and asked me what I would desire in them. So, after a few discussions, I opened my Christmas gift from him and my MIL and found a picture of one of the completed benches. (There are actually 3 so I can change the configuration if I want to!) What a wonderful gift!!
I knew I wanted to store totes under 2 of the benches and I didn't want to see them so I decided I would hang fabric to cover them. That's where the color scheme originated. I looked for just the right fabric and found 2 I loved. One in oranges and pinks and the green/blue/purple combo you see. I bought all they had left and it worked out just about perfect. After selecting the fabric, I took it to the paint counter and had them mix me the blue and purple for the walls, and my favorite, the lime green for the floor paint. I thought my hubby's eyes were going to bulge out of his head when he came back and she had just popped the top after mixing and he saw the color! So after lots of cleaning and painting and arranging I now have an art workspace that I never imagined having. Its amazing! So here's what I got, Pic 1 is my awesome workspace. Its 18 feet long and hides a bunch of storage totes. Pic. 2 is "media control" so I can veg out if I want. Pic. 3 is my storage area. It still might undergo some tweaking to make it more appealing to look at daily, but its a great start. Pic. 4 is my "relaxation station" complete with our wine storage. (I gotta remember to move a corkscrew down there!) Pic. 5 shows the only section not done. I still need to paint the floor and organize that corner. The wine barrels will go there and also the smaller wine racks.
Thanks you so much for taking the time to stop by and read what I'm up to. I'm feeling very lucky right now and still just in shock that its all mine. Sometimes life gives you amazing things and this area for me is such a blessing.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...