Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I am most grateful for:

my incredibly adoring Big Guy, who loves me and supports me endlessly

my waaaaaay too serious and intelligent and musically-gifted Alexander

my dimpled, ferociously kind and loving, hug and gray hair giving Maxwell

my fiercely independent, outside-of-the-box thinker, Oooops Baby Jaxon

my loyal and loving, anxious and barky, cuddly and stinky, baby girl Grace

my mother-in-law's fantastic stuffing and pumpkin pie

when my children fight over the last orange, banana or helping of beans

coffee when it hits my lips each morning

My Besties

Peanut Butter M & M's

the crocheted afghan that my Gram made for me that I use when I'm cold and missing her

a strong sense of faith that gets me through things that I never imagined I could endure, let alone survive

Will Ferrell

finding my bravery

glue guns

Fruity Pebbles

floating on a raft in a pool on a beautiful clear day

Bubbles, my 'puter

Modern Medicine

knowing that tomorrow will always be a new day

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do? What to do?

UGH! Huge dilemma... I have an opportunity to do a small local craft show that benefits my son's school. The entrance fee is cheap, cheap, cheap so I wouldn't be out a WHOLE lot of money if it didn't work out and I couldn't participate...

I've started to make these adorable little ornaments to offer
customers affordable and unique gift ideas or home decor.
 The problem is my damn body! I've been enduring a wicked flare for the last month or so. Some days I'm great and others are hell. I'm dealing with more pain than usual and it's really wrecking my plans! LOL I've got too much to do fun to be had! I haven't done a craft show in over six long years and I MISS IT! I miss having a one-on-one connection with my customers and the public. I miss the adrenaline rush of setting up my display and anticipating the day. I miss going over the checklist a million times... cash box and change? Glue, tape and scissors? Cute bags and packing material? Business cards and free candies and hand-outs?

I love to see how people react to my creations. I love the challenging
customers who say that they "could make it themselves". Killing people
with kindness and a sense of humor is FUN for me and God-willing,
I seem to easily rise to the occasion.

With this particular show, I am able to set up my booth the night before. My merchandise can't be displayed until the morning, but WOW! Setting up the night before would really break up the hard, physical labor for me. I could have all the difficult tasks done, go home, get to bed early, sleep well and start fresh the day of the show. Could it work? Will my body cooperate?

I am having so much fun using up all kinds of vintage finds that I've
been collecting hoarding over the years... light reflectors, floral picks with snowman
(like the one in this photo), wonderful old flocked ornaments that I'm dressing
up with shiny sequins and ribbons and bells, vintage garland and Santas...
you should SEE my studio with all of these chotchkies everywhere...
it looks like Santa's workshop!!! LOL

I guess this is what I should do... I should pay the entrance fee and register. If I can do it, I CAN DO IT! If I can't... all the fruits of my labor will NOT be lost. I will list all the fun "junque" that I've made in my Etsy Shop, right? But can I handle the disappointment if my body fails me? How could I turn it into a positive? Could I handle the anger and resentment of my diagnosis? You'd think that after four years of sharing my body with Multiple Sclerosis this should be getting easier. Most days it is... some days it's just not!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Girls and Pearls

I'm not much of a Woman's Libber. I love it when my Big Guy opens doors for me and it endears me when he helps me with my coat and purse. I appreciate the respect and that "little extra" love that it shows. I do however resent the roles that I am expected to play... Perfect Wifey-Poo, Mother of the Year, Domestic Goddess, etc. So when I found the quote by Lynn Hecht Schafran, "Why is it that men can be bastards and women must wear pearls and smile?" I knew it was perfect for my latest assemblage box.

I found an AWESOME source on Etsy for vintage wallpaper to use
in my artwork. I used gobs of girly embellishments on this diorama.

Hannah at Fondly Vintage has INCREDIBLE selections of vintage wallpaper and offers thee best customer service out there!

I played with paper clay for the first time and sculpted the tiny bone.
I also made the dog food out of a button and chopped up cork.
Too much fun!!!

You can find my latest piece of assemblage art dioramas at my Etsy shop, Michelle Loves Junque. I'm also adding Christmas items regularly. My home and studio are swamped with Christmas Crafting Chaos!!! LOL Here's a sneak peek at my Christmas Angel. She was a hoot to create. I giggled while putting her together. You can find her in my shop too!

She is almost 100% vintage materials! Aside from the bottle
brush tree that I aged and the glue and wire...

Here's another Christmas Goodie using recycled materials found at various thrift shops and garage sales!

Thrift store platter, Merry Christmas letters, vintage garland and
corsage and a wonderful Garage sale find... vintage chandelier crystals!
I've been a busy girl in the studio stocking Michelle Loves Junque with vintage finds that I've been hoarding since the house move. LOL It's awful. I find the coolest things and then I put them on a shelf. I need to be more diligent about putting them on my CYBER shelves!

Thanks for visiting. Have a great week Friends!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Mommy Insecurities

Listen, I don't want to be your BFF. I don't need to exchange recipes or shop together or giggle about our droopy boobs and over-burdened bladders. I only want my son to have a play date with your kids. I've left three messages over the last three weeks.

My super-eager son, who is smitten with your children/his classmates asks me EVERY day " when are the sisters coming to play?". My heart breaks. I sugar-coat my answer with tenderness and humor. "Oh Baby Boy! Their mom is SO busy, I'm sure she just forgot to call us back!" "Call her again Mom!" he encourages me with the same perseverance that I attempt to instill in him. Thoughts of being pegged as Phone Stalker Mom come to mind. I try to change the subject.

This waiting and wondering is STRESSING me out. My own insecurities seep into my brain like black slime, the SAME slime that plagued me as a teenager in this SAME small town. I know you were a cheerleader, popular and beautiful and I wasn't. You lived in one of the fancy houses up on the hill. I didn't live on the hill. I get it.

I like to think that I've evolved beyond this... but clearly, I haven't. This whole thing makes me feel really, really crappy. My greatest hopes for my sons are high self-esteems, positive thinking, limitless dreams and goals, bottomless hearts, creative wonder, and the ability to push past social barriers and stereotypes. This is what makes me tick as a mother. Could you try to overlook that my kitchen floor is sticky, that I'm overweight and out of shape and that I'm still not "popular"?

So here I sit and type. My heart races and I want to cry. Our kids attend the same school. There are less than 110 students! I am confident that I will be face to face with you too soon. I may have to hear your excuses if you're so inclined to even acknowledge my calls. The worst part... the VERY worst part... what should I tell my baby boy without breaking his spirit and his heart?

My Baby Boy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Creepies!

 Okay, I am a holiday decorating FREAK! Not going to try to hide it. It always gets my creative juices flowing, puts me in the mood and I have such a blast with it. It's really therapeutic for me! LOL Unfortunately, with my creative decorating mania, I've created quite the holiday buffs with my sons. As soon as the stores start putting out their holiday wares, my boys think it's time for me to do the same. And as ALL OF YOU KNOW... the stores do it WAAAAAAAY too early! LOL I am not a professional or trained decorator, just come from a long line of women who have a knack. The trick to success is to HAVE FUN. There are a couple of rules that I've learned along the way as far as balance... always use an odd number of "objects" in a vignette, vary the heights of objects, use items that can you can use over and over again for various holidays and seasons, even if something seems unconventional... USE IT. That's the stuff that will have "YOU" written all over it and make it personal. It's always a challenge to come up with holiday decorations and not spend a small fortune doing so. I often shop at dollar stores, Goodwill and Salvation Army type stores. And I ALWAYS hit up my favorite stores AFTER the holidays. You will save tons and tons of money, I promise! Then each year when you open up your various boxes of decorations, it will be a total surprise finding all of your cheapo treasures purchased from the previous year. I always buy my paper products for the next year that way too! So here is a peek inside my Witch's Dining Room/Apothecary.

The piano is all decked out with creepy cloth from the dollar store and my collection of  "witchy" things!
Close-up pic of a bird's nest with gumball eye "eggs" nestled inside old tarnished bed spring. I use these
springs at Christmas time for ornaments and pine boughs tucked inside, at Easter for more nests and eggs and even the Fourth of July for propping up flags.
Witch shoe, hat and old rusty spring with eyeball candy!
And her apothecary!!!
Creepy cloth from a dollar store with fake roaches entangled in it.
HUGE IMPACT for A DOLLAR a piece!!! I have these hanging EVERYWHERE!

Love my Matilda witch doll from Hallmark that I treated myself to many moons
ago! I used to get incredible coupons to use during my birthday month and
bought her for a song!!! Notice the pet spider in her lap? A little detail that tells a story!

All kinds of gross things to amuse the eye!

Notice my use of different textures? The old "silver" adds bling and shine.The brown bottles whisper "Poison" even without spooky labels. The wooden bowl with the mossy rocks (also from the dollar store) conjure images of a witch hiding in the woods with her Black Magic.

I like to use cheap plastic mice and spiders tucked in here and there. If you show their tails and not their usually sloppily painted and unrealistic faces, you create a bit of mystery. After all, the animals wouldn't pose for you... they would scatter!!!

A close-up pic of the mossy rocks and more springs!

Notice the varying heights... and crooked candle!!! OOPS!

Again... dollar store "grow-your-own animals" that increase in size when you place them in water. I recycle food jars and add pebbles, pine needles, food coloring and coffee grounds for CREEP factor! When Halloween is over... dump the jars, rinse them out... let them dry then reuse the following year!

The brain, again is from the dollar store, placed on a bed of tissue paper "lettuce" and then topped with an upside down candle hurricane. The ear is eerily placed in an old salt cellar that I also use over and over again to tuck something cute and little into like sea shells. The teeth belong to my babies!!! LOL The Tooth Fairy has been a very busy girl for the last 19 years!!!

Maggots are placed in an old salt shaker. I found the cool old bottle for the
earthworms at my local Goodwill. I shop for these type of finds ALL YEAR and
NEVER pass up something really unusual. Speaking from experience, it WILL NOT be
 there if you change your mind and go back for it later. The worms are fishing lures.
They were quite expensive for my budget, but with all the money I saved on used items
and shopping at the Dollar Tree, I rationalized the purchase! LOL The label for the worms
came from the internet. You can find all kinds of free downloads if you look! Here are some
really neat labels!

Notice the black mouse tail???

My poor Shrunken Man! LOL You can buy six of these little skeletons for a dollar
 at the Dollar Tree. I used a lighter to melt his joints so that I could bend him into a sitting
position. The top of the jar is a rusty old biscuit cutter.

Notice I have the shrunken man propped up on a overturned silver bowl to give him the proper height.

The skeleton head was VERY expensive. He was $10 from Big Lots. (That's expensive for me!!!) I have
him on a silver egg plate that I use for different holidays all yearround. He's nestled into green moss with
bugs here and there. Oh, the mercury glass candle holder was also a HUGE splurge from Big Lots! $10!

For some humor I turned his gumball eye inward so he looks cross-eyed and silly.
Notice his other eye appears to have fallen out and landed in the moss below?
Another little story being told.
How can one girl have SO MUCH FUN at the dollar store!?!?!?!? LOL

I used an old wooden spool and round cooking racks to create varying heights.
Because they are covered up in the creepy cloth, you don't even think to look at what
the objects are stacked on. I use the wooden spool often in my decorating.

I hope you got a kick out of my super-cheap decorating ideas. For me, part of the
challenge is being able to AFFORD it do it. What fun is it if you feel guilty about the
money spent for decorations that will only enjoy for a short time each year?

Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where have I been?

It's been one of THOSE WEEKS! I haven't had one in a long time so I've conveniently forgotten how tremendous and awful they are and how they effect my WHOLE LIFE, including my Big Guy's and son's. I have Multiple Sclerosis and I'm flaring... BAD. I am dizzy and off-balance. I cling to walls to support myself. My head feels too heavy for my neck to support it and it feels like it could fall off, landing on the floor in a heavy thud beside me. I am constantly on a platform of great heights, fighting for balance, hovering over a long drop into the unknown. Any quick motion or slight breeze could send me reeling over the dangerous edge, but I remind myself that there is a chair underneath, saving me from a great fall. I have weird zaps that explode in my calves like the firing of a Fourth of July sparkler. Just as I could scream in agony... it dissipates and it's fizzles out. Relief. The tremors rip down my spine and send rhythmic bounces up and down. I look as if my entire upper body is nodding "Good Day". Clearly it is NOT a good day. I am plagued with extreme fatigue that can never be fully described. It is coma-like. The thought of walking the grueling ten miles to the bathroom down the hall is too overwhelming to contemplate. Do I really have to go THAT bad? I've endured two, very sick newborn babies. My first prince had Pyloric Stenosis and was slowly starving before being diagnosed and receiving needed surgery. My second prince had Impressive Reflux and was in tremendous pain. Neither newborn slept well. In Life's pissing contest of being tired, I can promise you that M.S. exhaustion isn't comparable.

So this week my blog was neglected. My classes fell behind. The laundry pile grew. My creative energy dulled. My husband had to pick up the slack. Kids needed to get their own snacks. My world was put on pause.

Now we get to play detective. Is my flaring of symptoms because of the recent weather changes? Is it because I haven't seen my beloved Chiropractor in awhile? Am I fighting an infection? My husband and I look for the clues to solve the puzzle... SOMETHING is going on inside my body. It's time to call the doctor with my vague list. He understands the disconnect that M.S. has caused between me and my body.

For now, my Big Guy and the boys, we push through. We still laugh and giggle. We sing. The three of them tip-toe around me because they know I am not strong right now. I think it scares them, my weakness. Most of the time, we quietly live with Multiple Sclerosis and it's no big deal. These are the times that it stares at us head on, taunting us with the "what ifs". Serious relapse? Wheelchair? Hospitalization? But again, for now, we push on through and do the best we can. So friends, bear with me... I'll pick up the pieces again soon. I promise.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Putting it out there...

Messages. Messages? Messages! Email, the answering machine, okay I'm old school... we STILL use a landline WITH an answering machine!!!, facebook, post-its, etc. We are bombarded with MESSAGES every minute of the awakened part of our day. Even subliminally, we see the messages. For me it's the pile of dishes and laundry confiscating my self-worth, whispering to me what a disaster I am. It's the jewelry tree on my dresser filled with beautiful bling that I never wear because I haven't lost enough weight, my hair needs cut and who really cares what I look like? The pile of the kids school work and papers send me messages that I should be more organized and that I should head over to Pinterest and find unique and wonderful ways to memorialize my kid's childhood. My self-talk, the messages that I send to myself, need to improve. I've got to re-write them. Instead I need to think BELIEVE that "We had a healthy dinner and ate together as a family last night."  Warm fuzzies!!! "Girl... put that necklace on with those sweatpants! You look FABULOUS whatever you wear!" and smile at myself in the mirror. As for all those papers, "Before long the boys will be grown and I will have NO IDEA what is going on in their lives. I will covet this connection I have with them for right now, piles and all!"

The recent artwork that I've been working on has taken a fun new twist for me. It's happy and bright and playful, filled with vintage toys and positive messages like "Dream Big" and "Enjoy Life Sip by Sip Not Gulp by Gulp" and "All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy". I am putting joy and good, clean fun out into the universe and I am finding myself engulfed in the process. The sanding, the painting, the cutting, the trimming, the gluing. Each step is infused with my well-wishes for the world. I dream of the new owner opening up their package filled with my art and smiling at it. It feels like MY ART is putting good into the world and hopefully negating maybe a tiny bit of those negative messages hanging out there, dragging us all down. It calms me and soothes me and makes me feel even more creative and more positive. My heart is opening and I'm learning to forgive myself a little more. Could my art do this for someone else? What a gift. For me. For them. It's a win/win. So today, I'm quieting the messages and being gentle with myself. I'm working hard and doing my best. I'm stopping to be grateful. I'm mindful of the messages I am sending MYSELF. For right now, at this moment, here with you, I am witty and fun and spunky and I am making you smile, because I'm smiling!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On Farting...

Despite growing up in a house with 3 brothers, I wasn't much of a tomboy. Sure, I'd play outside. I just didn't get dirty. Riding bikes? Make mine PINK please!  I was the oldest and only daughter and I liked girl things like earrings, Barbies and my Smaller Homes dollhouse. I was the Princess! I was allotted lovely little privileges like my own room with floral wallpaper of course! My bed linens and clothing were washed with Lavender Sachet fabric softener Yes! My mother washed my clothing and linens separate from the rest of the family members'. I never had to wear a hand-me-down prom dress. For the most part, I enjoyed my family status. I liked being a girl!

Here's where the problem lied... farting!  (Yes! I call it FARTING!) See, my dad, God love him... he was an avid farter, still is. He never held back. When it came to his digestive tract, my dad had gusto! Dad was a proud farter often basking in his "sweet smell of success".  My little brothers followed Dad's lead. As in any etiquette-driven  home (insert eye roll) I can lovingly recall many "farting parties" that took place between my Dad and brothers. They would giggle their asses off (no pun intended) while reveling in their flatulence. Good times. Good times. So watching all of this fun unfold before me, I was a little envious. Being the Princess and all, I couldn't partake in such indulgences. Or could I?

My wild ideas where reigned in (or at least she tried) by my very prim and proper Mother (whom I've heard fart only ONCE in my 41 plus years of life). She would gently remind me that ladies don't "fart". We "fluffy" and we do it discreetly and privately. Um, WHAT?!?!?! I had a pioneer moment and thought "If they can do it... I CAN TOO". Was it the years of suppressing all of that fearless childhood energy? Had I not served myself well by being so "girly"?  From then on... I boldly and zestfully went where no princesses before me went... and I, like the men in my home, learned the joy of sharing a good "fluffy" once in awhile, giggling beside them.

As the years rolled on, I evolved a bit. By the time my husband found me in life, I had found my inner Princess again and was content to fulfill my civic duties with lady-like grace. I suppressed those "fluffies", indulging only in private. As for him, my Prince Charming, he practiced self-control and was a seemingly perfect gentleman until our SECOND date. Instead of horror or disgust, I was pleased with his wild and unabashed abandonment of social graces. Here before me was this handsome, funny, sweet and seemingly put together man who felt comfortable enough WITH ME to let go... to be himself, to relax, to feel non-judged. It took awhile but eventually I was brave enough and bestowed him with "fluffies" of my own, after all I didn't think that THAT was part of my dowry. Fifteen years later, it is still a match made in heaven and every once in awhile this QUEEN can be found giggling and partaking in farting parties with her three little princes.

Little Brothers!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Playing Inside

 It's a beautiful Saturday, cool and bright. Everyone is outside except me. I'm "playing" inside today. My studio is littered and layered with several projects going on all at once in different phases of completeness. There are the teeny tiny little porcelain animals that are patiently awaiting their new perches. The old wooden thread spools given to me by my Grandmother are painted and sanded in fun colors but still tacky with paint. There's the embellishments too!  Ahhhhhhhh... the embellishments! Tiny buttons and paper flowers, pearls and thee smallest rickrack I've ever laid eyes on are waiting for me to tinker and explore. The wooden cigar box will need another layer of happy red paint before I can sand it and stain it and line it with the vintage children's encyclopedia pages. I'm excited to FINALLY put it all together with the antique toys I bought at the auction almost a year ago. It's a delicious whirlwind of fun, contentment and whimsy. It's like a magical little realm in here today, in my studio. This is when my soul sings, my imagination does cartwheels and my body feels comfortable and at ease.  Life is Good!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Writer's Block?

I am sitting here and then I am pacing and then I am outside and then I am looking at the mess surrounding me and then I am back again sitting here. I am limitless in my day (or at least until 3:00 when the boy gets home from school) and yet I am stuck. The piles of laundry and the piles of dishes and the piles of bills are sucking up the energy and greatness inside of me. I want to paint. I have ideas spilling out of my head. I want to tear the papers and layer them and paint over them and swirl colors around them. I want to feel that desire with the brush in my hand, the need to spill forth with the smoothness and the textures and the brush strokes. My body aches for it. But I am in stagnant staleness. I am morphing or at least trying to and yet I can't seem to oompf it out of me. I'm not sure what it is holding on to me, holding me back and away from what I WANT to do. I feel jittery and anxious and irritable and so instead of balance between house and home and art and freedom, I am chained to my environment and self. I MUST get out of my head. I must break out of it. The mess... I can't find my space. I can't breath. I am trapped here. I want to swoosh it all away and look at a blank canvas around me and under my hands. The balance is off. My head is off. Every little thing I touch is a challenge. My head and body are not in sync. Does it start with a simple unloading of the dishes? What if I pick up the clothes strewn across the floors? What would happen if I clean off my work space? Will that be enough? Will one action result in more? What is the worst case scenario? What am I afraid of? What is wrong with me? Why can I not push through this? Am I terrified of the greatness that I know that I have? Do I secretly know that I can have it all? Am I holding myself back? Am I sabotaging myself? The excuses that I lay out in front of me are not so huge, are they? Could it be as simple as the itchy shirt I'm wearing nagging me into submission? If I take it off will my outlook change? Why do I just sit here? I am overwhelmed. There is an elephant in my head... a HUGE mental block. I can't even identify it or describe it. It just sits in there like an iceberg. Cold and lifeless as big as a hell freezing me into submission and stillness. What in the hell is IT??? All this deepness and vastness and blankness and yearning lying within arms reach and I just can't get there. Why can't I break free, expunge myself, rise above it? What is IT? I don't think it is a simple as a "to do" list. I think it's uglier and smellier. I think it's rotten and ugly. I don't want to touch on it or be around it, but it is RIGHT THERE. Identify. Identify. Identify. Zone in on. Destroy. Obliterate. Explosive annihilation. Self doubt? It feels more sinister, buried deeper. WTF Are these my whispers? They just don't feel right. What to do? What to do? Pray? Bless the house? Therapy? Clean? Nothing seems to fit into the pigeon hole. I MUST PUSH PAST. I MUST PUSH PAST.

"Quiet down Sweet Child. All will be okay. Don't take this on. I am here with you."

I need to comfort her, that lost baby girl inside. She is capable and strong but she is so God damn fragile and she won't trust me. Why won't she come to me? Why can't I hold her?

Randomness. Clarity? Insanity? Thoughts expelled like vomit from a monster. It makes too much sense when I read it back. Writer's block?

Baby Me

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Premiere Night Kids!

Tonight is that special night! It rolls around every Fall when the nights grow cooler and darker earlier, the night that I look forward to all summer when our lives have grown unstructured and chaotic. Premiere night on TV!!! I love the evenings when The Big Guy and I can snuggle on the couch or curl up in our bed together. Yeah, sure, we should probably be reading a book, reviewing  work or maybe even making love. But we are too stressed and exhausted to think... numb from the motions and emotions of the day. During the Fall/Winter months, when the shows are back in full swing, we can escape... easily and cheaply, just the two of us. We can giggle and laugh and have something to talk about that doesn't involve a schedule conflict, a Mobile Therapist, homework, or the latest outburst. Our family plays by different rules. The natural ebb and flow of  daily biorhythms don't pertain to us. We live life on the edge, a constant state of awareness and heightened alert. We try to predict moments several minutes before they come or we and them will suffer. And tonight... the night I was so looking forward to will not happen. The Big Guy and I will not get under our big comforter and I will not lay in the crook of his arm with my head on his chest and feel his leg against mine. We won't laugh together tonight. We slacked and didn't stay on top of things and the evening got away and so the tantrums are full swing. Homework was hidden to avoid it. Discovered too late in the evening for a pleasant experience. It's not dyslexia. It's Aspergers. 7th grade math might as well be written in Chinese. He can't plow through 25 problems without a fit. It's too much. Mental note... IEP Review... see if we/they/he can shorten assignments. Hopefully I will remember...

No rest for the weary...

Heavy sigh...

Maybe tomorrow. Thank God for the DVR.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I like JUNK!

I like love junk! I love buttons, old toys, dolls, rusty nuts & bolts, rocks, tarnished silverware, china, old cooking utensils, suitcases, fabrics, homemade wooden boxes, sea shells, jewelry, etc. I hope you get where I'm coming from. I LOVE IT ALL!

When I pick up something that's caught my eye, I try to imagine who owned it first. What did they look like? I can almost feel the young woman who choosing her silverware pattern to match her china or the beloved grandmother who used the sifter to make a favorite chocolate cake batter. I'm not sure if it's a weird E.S.P. kinda thing or simply my extraordinary imagination but here's a link to an article that I found VERY interesting regarding previously owned items

For the most part, I find it soothing and comforting to bring second-hand items into my home. It teaches my kids that something does not have to be fresh-out-of the-box or pristine to be loved and valuable and purposeful. It also gives character and history to our otherwise lacking new home.

The old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure" has saved my butt many times when rescuing garbage from the side of the road. It's how I maintain dignity and respect when The Big Guy and my boys give me eye rolls and heavy sighs when I INSIST on turning the car around to inspect a roadside item with the simple letters F-R-E-E taped onto it. But what makes something trash vs. treasure? Is it as easy as "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?

A very dear friend of mine was tickled when she inherited something very similar to this monkey (see pic) from her grandfather. A monkey playing golf??? It's brazenly displayed in her dining room in her beautiful Victorian home. REALLY? Really? Anyone else would think she lost her mind, but I know what this monkey means to her and I get it.

This is one of my favorite pieces of junk junque. My grandparents had this in their home while I was a little girl. I remember admiring it and thinking that it would be PERFECT for my Barbie dolls! My grandmother gave it to me when I moved into my first apartment. I sobbed when it accidently fell and broke. Many years later I found an identical one on ebay. I scarfed it up and proudly display it on my desk as a gently reminder of my childhood with my grandparents whom I miss terribly.

So tell me... what's your favorite piece of junk and why? Send me a picture. I don't care if it's crappy quality or from your phone. Be brave and put it out there for all of us to see!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So, um, yeah... I got my NOSE PIERCED!

Let's draw you a picture... I was a brown-noser of life. You could eat off of my kitchen floor. I was a people-pleaser. I was a rule-follower. I didn't take risks and I certainly didn't leave the house without my make-up on. 

Then this really shitty wonderful thing happened! After waking up from a nap with half of my body numb and tingly, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

It took a long, LONG time but I slowly found meaning and purpose again. Things looked very different though. The vacuuming was overlooked, the kids clothes didn't always match and you couldn't walk across the kitchen floor in socks anymore (because you'd stick to it LOL). I went out of the house un-showered and homework didn't always get done but it was all okay. It was okay because we made it through. We believed that we would endure and then we did!

And then I did something so OFF THE WALL crazy! I broke all those damn rules and I excused myself from playing it safe and I got my nose pierced.  It was ridiculous and absurd and it was freeing and it was self-defining and it was crazy and it was fun. And YES, it hurt like a bitch. And YES, your boogers stick to it.

This was the first piece of art I created almost a year after I was diagnosed. The ink faded so it's difficult to make out the "RENEW" that is hand-stamped across the top. FYI... very important to use archival quality ink pads in art projects. LOL

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

She Appeared

I woke up this morning with enthusiasm that I shouldn't have had so early in the day. After yesterday, I was surprised I could get out of bed. Yesterday's material in "Flying Lessons" was hardcore. It brought out a very hurtful and negative experience that I had to push through. I arrived on the other side of the pain worn out and limp. I had to go to bed. My Big Guy had to pick up the slack with the boys last night while I was in and out of a deep sleep. I am certain that my brain was working overtime rewiring the negative event and making it okay. My brain is a forgiving thing. It has lesions on it and it still works beautifully. The Dirty Bitch (Multiple Sclerosis) has taught me what a vast, intense and loving and forgiving brain that I have. I am grateful.

After the monotony of the daily lunch making, I settled into my computer afraid to see what the assignments would be for today. Please not another day yesterday! I can't do it. Maybe Kelly Rae knew that she had to go easy on us after such an intense first lesson because by the grace of God... It was a positive and happy video. Gnawing in my mind was the voice leftover from yesterday playing over and over in my head.... Paint. Paint. Paint.

You see, I don't paint really. I don't put a brush to canvas and PAINT. I paint objects. I paint furniture and thread spools and old boards. I decoupage and stencil. I don't paint on canvas. So this crazy voice in my head was blasphemy, hog-wash. But I have always had this longing to just pick up the brush and DO IT. So... what do I do with this voice? The voice that is telling me to ignore the laundry and the dishes. The voice that is telling me that Candy Crunch Saga (my online game addiction/HUGE time waster) is out of the question today. I can't tell you why, what or how. But I yanked out one of the cheap canvases I had on hand. I bought them thinking I was going to "try it out" one day. I pulled out my box of 1/2 dried up acrylics. I was compelled to JUST FUCKING DO IT. (Don't mean to offend anyone with the Eff Bombs.) I was almost in a trance. Before I could think, I had the canvas covered in paint. I kinda remembered a tutorial that Kelly Rae had shared in a book. I was following what I remembered. My damn Gesso was all dried up. I never even opened it up. Never used it once. I had to improvise. I just had to DO IT.

I pulled out bits of scrap paper and just kept going, whispering to myself along the way to just trust in the process. I had to do this. It was almost like an out of body experience. I've never, EVER felt quite like this before.

Hour after hour. Layer after layer. Sanding. Painting. Ripping. Rubbing.

The words came easily, but have since changed.

Throughout the day I realized that every scrapbook class, each rubber stamped card I've made, all the sanding of furniture, it had all lead me to this moment. I had some skills that were making me brave enough to do this.

 I was terrified to touch the face. Maybe I will leave it white and empty and open? I can't do a face. I've never done a face before. I ignored the face all day. But then I couldn't anymore.

I learned today that a painting speaks to you before it's even finished. It guides you. It's layered. It's a process. It unfolds. 

She appeared from the end of my paint brush. She stared back at me, happy and content. I did this. My hands started shaking and I was so emotional. I had to quit. I had to gather myself and settle.