Welcome to My World, Art & All

My long range goal is that you'll find INSPIRATION for your Soul, your Artful Endeavors, your Outlook on Our World, and Warm, Enduring Friendships. Welcome to my world.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Tell When You're Really Tired

One way for me is when I realize I forgot to proof read for typos before hitting the "Publish Post" button on my blog. "Exhibit A" is in my "Message In The Bottle" post just now. SURELY there's a way to get back in to that post and make it look like I really can spell! But heck if I can figure out how.

Apparently I need to simply get ready for bed and call it a day.
Ta-Ta for now.

Message in the Bottle (No, SB page!!)

If anyone looked at my "Go Green" Scrapbooking Art layout posted previously, their first inclination was probably that I was (in the picture) going for a "Vanna White" impersonation thing. Looking at the pic I can see how that could happen. It also makes me think of commercials on TV from my childhood, or even Lucy holding up the bottle of Vita-Veta-Vegamin before she got overloaded on the stuff. However, per the typed message hidden behind the picture (with the little half-circle pullout tab);

This ISN'T an endorsement of Granny Smith Apples. Frankly the only way I like these apples is baked. Red Delicious apples are my favorites, AND the msot nutritious of all the apples. I'm simply alluding here to all the many benefits of "Going Green".

As children, my borthers and I collected soda bottles thrown along the roads. We also collected newspapers from our neighborhood with the help of Mom and her late 50s station wagon. The bottles were turned in at the Rexall Drug Stroe for money to buy comics and candy. The newspapers were collected on a certain Saturday each month and taken to the Miami recycle center. The money was split between us, much of which was saved.

I started recycling early in my adult years. It's in my blood after all. Today I typically have, for one week's pickup, one bag of garbage in the bin and a recycle box with a few bottles and cans without their labels, and a newspaper or two. I've even drastically cut the use of paper towels and napkins by replacing with cloth ones.

Friends can't believe I have so little garbage each week! The truth is that when you decide to EAT HEALTHY, eat the FOODS DADDY GOD CREATED TO FEED OUR BODIES FOR MAXIMUM HEALTH, things like processed foods (and their cardboard wrappings) don't take up space in your pantry or freezer (and garbage bin), junk snacks (and their wrappings) can't be found in your home or garbage, and empty calorie sodas aren't taking up space in the frig to be "downed whenever" and then tossed out in the trash.

I am not at all a Fan of the "Politics of Gowing Green". And, I'm not a believer of the "Global Warming" crap. Too many people have cost a lot of others their jobs, in this country alone, with their demands to "save the planet", and they've made a heck of a lot of money in the process. "Going Green" is NOT POLITICS. It's an individual "Lifestyle Commitment", taking Personal Responsibility for one's self and actions.

I "Go Green" for the PERSONAL Health of it. In the process, I ccreate less waste to spoil my environment. And that's MY COMMITMENT.

Definitely a little sass (little???) in this layout.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Going Green: My Response

When it comes to my scrapbooking art I am not the "typical scrapbooker". My scrapbooks and wall frames do not have "Mom, Pop, Bud, & Sis", "Here we are at Thanksgiving", "It's Christmas Once Again At Our House", "Look, We're On VACATION", (I wish I COULD have a vacation), and all the various year after year subjects scrapbookers typically fill pages with. There's me, and my now 25 yr old Darling Daughter. Some holidays I am by myself, unless I have the good fortune of having an invite from a close friend. So, my scrapbooking art reflects UN-TYPICAL subjects, along with some typical Christmas or Thanksgiving layouts.

Such is the case with this piece. My friend, Bonnie Olson, took the pictures for my photo shoot last Fall (2009). Thank you, Girlfriend, for your help here. And I had been bagging the pieces (elements) I wanted to include. You see, I wanted to do a "Message" scrapbooking art layout. And this, dear reader, is the result.
OK, LOL, there are a number of "Recycled Elements" on here, purposely.
1) The netting is from a bag of Key Limes.
2) The Green Frame around the middle "go green circle" was the seal on the container of Buttermilk in the Frig.
3) The little Green "thingy" with the word "GO" on it was part of the packaging of one of those oil in the bottle with the reed sticking out air freshener things.
4) The Tan rectangle behind it and the tan "go green" circles were part of the outer packaging of the same air freshener thing.
5) I forget where I recycled the dark green ribbon from.
The scrapbook papers, brads, and chipboard letters, tag, and { } things have been sitting in my stash for, hmmmm, let's just say a good long while. And the "go green" rubber stamp I purchased for $1.00 because it obviously fits.

For scrapbookers in the readership, I used Tim Holtz Antique Linen Distress Ink on the papers, Shabby Shutters Distress Ink on the bottom tag, Shabby Shutters and Antique Linen Distress Crackle Paints on the chipboard and brads, and Stazon Black ink with the rubber stamp on the circle tags because the tan circles paper is slick.

My journaling is hidden behind the picture, with the little blue checked half-circle tag attached to pull it out. And THERE is the "rest of the message" of the layout.

Wanna know what it says? Tomorrow (I promise) I'll come back and share that!
Of course, you can always post a comment with your "guess" of what I might have written. LOL

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Pair of Pears

My favorite magazines these days are "Cloth,Paper,Scissors" and "Somerset Studio". And now I think I've added one more, "The Artist's Magazine". This one I just found and am learning some great art stuff. I really study my magazines as they inspire new ideas for me, teach, and set me on a road to more study in an area of interest. I'm still doing my scrapbooking art, and I do pick up a scrapbooking magazine every so often, however, I walked into this year wanting to really grow the artist inside that I'm becoming more and more fond of.

This year, 2010, started with my written down goal of developing my abilities with two different mediums: Colored Pencil/Watercolor Pencil and Fluid Acrylic Painting.(Hmmm, OK, I'm realizing that's three different mediums. Whatever.) By mid-April I honestly cannot tell you which I prefer more. Both mediums are so totally enjoyable for me to work with. I am finding out, however, just HOW MUCH I love painting!!

So, back to my mags. The March/April Somerset Studio has this wonderful "how-to" article by Pam Carriker http://pamcarriker.com/ about painting with PanPastels and special sponges (pgs 105-107). Her instructions and accompanying photos are very well written, teaching how to use this pastel medium to paint a picture of two pears. I just love the colors she used, then realized as I studied through her article that I have all those same colors on the rack of Golden Fluid Acrylics I am learning to paint with. That's when I challenged myself to paint her PanPastel Pears with my Fluid Acrylics. After a couple emails between us to clarify a couple things in the article, I set about working on my challenge.

The drawing pencil was ready to lightly sketch pears onto my canvas when I thought, "maybe I better do a couple drawings in my sketchbook first since I haven't drawn pears in a while". That was a good decision, as I realized the need to work on balanced proportions of the pears. After three pages of pears in my sketchbook the confidence had grown enough to allow my hand and pencil to move to the canvas. Aagh, I kept having to move the pears up on the canvas! Every time I thought I had the balance right, I'd walk away, come back, and the pears still seemed to be sitting too low. Thank goodness I was sketching very lightly. Finally, my little self was content with the placement, and the painting commenced. I spent all Friday afternoon/evening working on this 8" x 10" painting while on the retreat. Had to wait until I got home to write the verse on the painted canvas - the recommended pen was here in the studio. Once that was done I mixed up and layed down two layers of the Golden Encaustic Glaze recipe Chris Cozen has in her "Altered Surfaces" book (pg. 29), letting the canvas dry between each layer. Here is my finished painting.
After having done research online I added a list of food prices above my mother's January 24, 1933 birthday in the "window" to go along with the Bible verse the Lord had given me for this painting while I was drawing in my sketch book; Psalm 145:15.

I've sent a scan of the finished painting to Pam, thanking her for this awesome "lesson", to Chris Cozen for her great teaching of Golden products, and to Somerset Studio for being a great Art Inspiring Magazine. I had no idea it would be a lesson when I made the challenge to myself, but, I learned a lot artistically. Like, I would have never thought to use Paynes Grey as an 'underpainting' for the shadows. And, it was an "encouragement" spiritually that Daddy God always provides without ceasing.

The Ultimate Artist created us in HIS Image, so go do something creative. Whatever it is, it will warm your heart and bring joy to your soul. And that's a fact, Jack!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where I've Been

It's hard when I've done artwork that I want to share but I have to wait until its been published. It has to be treated like I'm moving it over to another burner to simmer. I haven't posted to my blog in a couple weeks, which could make a person think "she must not be doing anything". A wrong perception my absence might be giving out.

Actually I've been quite busy pursuing my "Art/Artist Journey", especially considering everything. I had another product review and artwork published last week at www.papercrafterscorner.com that has been well received. I did a lot of sketching last week in preparation for an acrylic painting that is now almost finished. The "Joy of Six" show at Tannery Row Gallery in Historic Buford, Ga was over on April 10, so the pieces for that show came home and are now on a Local Tour of sorts. Last week I got to meet Sean Hannity at a Book Signing, and that was fun. Then I also had to plan and pack for an extended Art/Scrapbooking Retreat weekend I went on. Got home last night and in true "Brenda Jean" fashion, I unpacked everything and put it all where it belongs. Today I am exhausted and have done next to nothing.

TanneryRowArtistColony.com sponsored their annual Plein Air Festival in Historic Burford this past Friday/Saturday, which I had planned to be a part of before the out of town retreat opportunity came up. Going down to Lake Jackson for four days though, I couldn't past that one up! The location, however, screamed out for some Plein Air painting on my part, so I spent a few hours Saturday having fun outdoors with my watercolor pencils.
If you go to www.ratcliffretreat.com you can see where we stayed, right on the lake. It's a beautiful place, and I did this picture sitting out in the back yard, facing the very brownish looking Lake Jackson. The house next door has this gorgeous area next to their boat ramp which I noticed Friday and just had to go capture with my watercolors. The sun flipped in and out from behind the clouds every few minutes, so I had to just do the best I could with the light.

I've gone swimming in the lake when I've visited here before, with my friends freaking out at the idea of swimming in water that looks like that (you can't see anything, Brenda!!). The water is way too cold from winter right now so I had to admire it from the shore. Would have LOVED being out on one of the many boats that passed by all weekend. One can't have everything though.

Anyways, I have more to share, but not today. Remember, do something creatively, seriously, because it truly warms your heart and gives joy to your soul.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It is finished, and woven artwork

I LOVE to write! And, to be in my studio working on artwork has got to be something akin to what's it's going to be like in Heaven. Then there's the 'take a product, see what I can do with it, and then write a Review about it' adventure. Sometimes when I am finished doing one or the other, or both together, my brain feels like it's been through a triathalon (Spelling 101: this word is NOT in my Webster's 33,000 most used words book here so am not sure I spelled it right. Maybe it's not a 'much used' word???)

Anyways, my brain felt like that TOTALLY when I finished the "Motion Six-ness" piece currently hanging at the Tannery Row Artist Colony/Gallery in Historic Buford, Ga. What a ride that was, exhausting but exhilarating when it was over. I turned around and wanted to do it again like any self-respecting person would. LOL

I'm kind of there again at the moment. I've played and played with the Tim Holtz Grungepaper, designed a number of Art projects with it, have more ideas swimming in my head, written a Review and submitted it and the projects to the editor/owner of www.papercrafterscorner.com for publication. No monetary gain from this one, however, it pushed me once more Artistically, AND one never knows what might be around the next corner. So I do for now what I can do.

In the meantime, I was at http://myrnawacknov.blogspot.com/2010/04/start.html "Creativity Journey" last week reading one of Myrna's posts. She is a fabulous artist and I am inspired by her work and her ability and willingness to experiment outside the box on a regular basis. In one of her posts followed by comments from several of us, the issue came up about what to do with paintings you do and then hate. I mentioned a technique I learned from some of my Artist friends at Tannery Row Artist Colony. You simply cut it up into strips, then use those strips to weave a painting.

Today, since I can't show my grungepaper artwork until it's been published, I thought I would share a different piece of artwork. Upon completion I took it up to show my Artist friends, and they loved it. There was no "I hate this" canvas in the studio here to cut up, so I used a wallpaper border piece, along with other papers, and cut them all up. And being the "I wanna try something a little bit different" person that I am, the strips were cut in different patterns and widths. Of course then I found that made the weaving a bit more challenging, LOL yeah more like a LOT more challenging, but I ended up liking the result. The choice of the dark blue mat really punches out the sunflowers. This is in a white 12x12 frame and looks lovely on my dining room wall.

Until next time, go find something creative to do. Doing so brings an tranquil peace to your soul, and joy to your heart.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lost and Found Leads to ART

OK, so this week I'm playing around with Tim Holtz's Grungepaper, putting it through various paces and designing with it in preparation for writing a Product Review for www.papercrafterscorner.com. I had this awesome idea for using it on a scrapbook layout and went to pull the TOOL out that I had in mind as part of the design.

I admit it, right here right now; PAPER is my nemesis! After 12+ years of scrapbook and card designing, there's tons in this little studio. And even though I've been actively giving more quality clean up/re-organizing time to change that, it still abounds. HOWEVER, when it comes to my tools, I'm very, very particular in obeying the rule my mother ingrained in us kids growing up; "a place for everything and everything in it's place". No Exceptions!

Imagine the horror then, when I went to pull out my set of these and they weren't where they were supposed to be!
Back in the day (late 1990s) when I first started scrapbooking, I bought and greatly used these Creative Memories decorative edge rulers. We didn't have all the "toys" with their bells and whistles that scrapbookers and paper artists have available today, and though I don't use these particular tools like I used to, when I want one of them, they need to be In Their Place! Fortunately I found them early yesterday afternoon, and the funny part was that they WERE where they were supposed to be. Rather than standing up in the storage case, they had fallen over and were laying in the bottom under other art making supplies. That discovery, made after hours of purging/re-organizing in here, made me want to sit back down to art making. So back to the Grungepaper.

I had a piece of this heavy grungepaper already torn and laying on my workstation. I decided to work it into a card since a longtime friend's birthday is coming up and I wanted to do something special in designing his card. My artist mind started whirling, and excitedly I pulled out watercolor paper, a fine ink drawing pen, water color pencils, artist paint brush, and a couple Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads. The torn GP would be inked and act as the Foreground of my painting. This is what I came up with. After drawing the picture with ink I laid colors in with the watercolor pencils and a wet brush. I'm very excited about this little painting which is the base for the Birthday Card. Another friend from our growing up in South Miami days sent us this old pic weeks ago that we all had fun reminiscing about. It's the old Lighthouse off Biscayne Bay, Miami, Fl.
I want to do a big drawing/painting of it, but for now it helped in doing this little picture as it's been way too long since I saw our beloved palm trees on the beach up close and in person. I will post the link when the finished card, other grungepaper art, and the review article are published. I'm on my way back to the grungepaper scrapbook layout now, however, I just couldn't keep from sharing my latest painting, even though this one is small.

Remember, do something creative every day. For sure, it is food for the soul, and brings joy to your heart.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Experimental Creativity

Does that title make sense????
Well, does or not, I've decided that, at least sometimes, the process of creating art is a lot like science lab experiments or space travel, exploring the universe. As artists, we have this idea pop into our head and it won't leave cause we start thinking about it, with these "what if" or "what would happen if I did..." questions. That's how New Techniques, New Processes come about, whether it's in Art, or another field. Or, for me, even when I walk into my kitchen (what I call my Culinary Studio) and start playing with ingredients for a new dish.

Back to the Art Studio though. For some good time I've been contemplating doing some batiking of fabric. I've held back though because of all the mess, vats of various color dyes, a pot of melted wax (which DOES have a cool smell, I think), ironing board and a hot dry iron, and three (3) kitties running around in this small house. My mind keeps seeing some kind of disaster fixin to happen, and I ask myself, "Self, do you REALLY wanna go there???"

So, as all this meandering has been continuously going on in my brain, the other day I had another "brainy idea". It was one of those "what if" moments. So I got out some Tim Holtz Distress Inks. Then found a piece of muslin and tore strips. Then started "playing". I could also say I was "experimenting", testing out some theories. Doesn't that sound so professional? What "mom voice" could really think it could scream "stop wasting time on that nonsense and get out here and make yourself useful", AND get away with it. Did anyone ever scream that to Louis Pastur or Thomas Edison or Booker T. Washington? And look what they contributed by Experimenting!

I'll stop ranting now :)
So, here's the first strips.
These 3 strips were done with Weathered Wood dye ink, very monochromatic.

Then I tried going with two colors
The bottom two strips I did with Spiced Marmalade and Brushed Corduroy dye inks. I want to do a bigger piece of this one. The top two pieces were worked with Weathered Wood and Brushed Corduroy, really grungy lookin'. I think Tim Holtz would be pleased!

This last set of three I did with the new T.H. Tumbled Glass dye ink and Faded Jeans dye ink. I really like the blue tones.

So, what do you think? I'd like some feedback, truly.
Creating and Experimenting is so much fun!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paper Beads, Classical Music, and a Blue Moon

a.k.a. "how I've spent my Sunday afternoon". How cute, that rhymes!!!
OK, seriously,
I'm dealing with some things. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was my studio trashed in a day. There's order/disorder in here after "stuff" piles up from doing one project, then another. So I have been spending quality time with my studio this month, working to create more order than disorder. This led to that, ie:
Bags of paper scraps!!! I FINALLY have all my paper scraps the way I want them - and no, not in the garbage! There's a big zip lok bag for each of these colors, blacks/greys,
brown/tans; pinks, purples, blues, greens, yellows, red/oranges. They are so cool. A good Paper Artist never throws away what can be used, and I hit my scraps whenever I need something small. Besides, I have some NEW IDEAS/PLANS for scraps.

This afternoon I've been cutting Making Memories scrapbook paper scraps into specific shaped scraps. These fun scraps were left over from a project I did last summer (2009) and I love the colors on them. Somehow the other day (I have no idea/don't remember) Paper Beads came into my conscious mind. And, having organized all my scraps, I knew I had another great idea fixin to burst forth. I also knew I'd get bored making only one kind of paper bead so I did a little online research to find interesting shapes.

Knowledge is power, and also since I knew it was 5:00 somewhere, I popped open an ice cold Blue Moon Beer (my daughter turned me on to this very light wheat beer last year), "invited" this guy to entertain me via the CD player (what a GREAT album - Vladimir Horowitz playing Chopin, Clementi, Liszt, Scarlatti, and others on piano!!)and commenced to rolling papers. Oh wait a minute, commenced to making paper beads. Here's some I did this afternoon. Aren't they just so cool!!?
I want to build up a stash of them to use in various art projects. For now, this was an awesome afternoon. There is a sign on the inside bathroom door at Tannery Row Artist Colony/Historic Buford where I spend a large part of most Thursdays, and the sign says "Go to your studio and make stuff!"

This afternoon I have fought - and won - another battle. I have given my Artist Self permission to come into my studio and "make stuff". Even though I "heard" the angry words of my mother telling me to "stop wasting time on such nonsense and get out here and make yourself useful" (heard repeatedly growing up) I stayed here, making my paper beads. And I told myself that I AM doing something useful artistically, after having done a few useful things around the house, because I'm going to have the beads I want to use in future art pieces. So, not only have I had a fun, relaxing afternoon, I've had another step in my recovery, embracing the Artist Daddy God created me to be. Let's hear it for progress! YEA!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do You Know This Guy????

OK, I realize that Christmas is 9 1/2 months away. And some will say, "Whoa, we just HAD Christmas a couple months ago".

Just chill a minute and work with me. "Hers" is having something of a crisis here. Here's why (a.k.a. Exhibit A) While she was out having a gay ol' time handing out candy canes and wishing Merry Christmas to the wee folk last December, THIS is what happened!! She met HIM!!!!! And I dare say, he looks right pleased in this picture!!!

And, he offered her a job no less, working with him this year! He even asked for her phone number, and, she gave it to him!!! Frankly, I think "The Big Guy" and "Hers" looked quite cute together. What do you think? A WHOLE LOT BETTER than this;
(a.k.a. Exhibit B) the (yeah, right!) "Santa" I met the year before at Stone Mountain!!! I mean, there's really NO comparison.

"Oh Santa. Santa. Santa can you hear me? Yo, beam me up, Santa!!"
Do I have to relocate to the North Pole or what?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Day (plus 2) after Art Show Opening

OK, I'm here, after telling a few folks I would be doing this. It took a couple days to recover (there's true, legitimate reasons why I'm on SSDisability) from Saturday's excitement, and getting the put off chore of cleaning the bathrooms finally done today (because the kitties refuse to learn), I can sit and "tell" you Saturday's story.

So, did you see the Friday Gwinnett Daily Post "Weekend" section? I was so very delighted that the cover was a picture of "The Barn", an awesome piece done for the show by my friend and resident artist at Tannery Row Artist Colony Judith Surowiec. The article, written by Deanna Allen, was a great write-up of what was coming on Saturday. And though she made no reference to her interview with me (ya never know what's going to be, or not be, included in the report) she referenced five different pieces of art in the show at the beginning of her article, and one of mine was in that group (referred to "A six of hearts playing card").
I thought THAT was kind of cool!

This "The Joy of 6" art show has 85 pieces of art for viewing (and for sale, btw). I was only one of 45 artists (over 20 are resident artists at TRAC; the rest were Guest Artists like me) and we were each allowed to enter up to two pieces of art. The show comprises three categories: Two-Dimensional (flat paintings), Three-Dimensional (sculpture, etc), and Mixed Media (what I work in). And, there was not two, but FOUR JUDGES from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. I heard, and had a couple of them tell me directly after the reception, they had a very hard time making their final decisions because there was/is so much great art in the show!

I was so very, very blessed to have Jessica there with me, and here we are doing our Vanna White impersonations by "a six of hearts playing card", actually entitled "1x6= Love Multiplied". A number of other special people came up to support me. Thank You - Bill, Joni, and Aleah, Linda and Anna, Beth, Tim and Lollie, Maria, and two of Jessica's friends (so very sorry I can't remember names). I can't say enough on how much it meant to have ya'll there!!!

A LOT of people attended this Opening/Reception! I'm reading a book by Anna Deavere Smith called "Letters to A Young Artist" (written actually for artists of any age in all the various art forms) and in one letter she talks about how an Art Show (or a play, music concert, etc) creates a community out of people who do not know each other, but are there to experience something together. And that is what we had last Saturday evening. The place was packed with lots of people, some known by various artists, others no one knew, but all there to experience together viewing this incredible art show (and all the food we made and served, LOL). I will tell you now, a new Chicken Hors d'oeuvre recipe I created for this show disappeared so fast, with the artists giving me thumbs up on it, it blew my mind.

So it's time to go fix dinner. More details and up close pics tomorrow. For now I'll leave you with another little peek of part of "Motion Sixness". In the meantime,
add doing something creative to your day (I'm fixin to go make Boneless Pork Loin Marsala over Jasmine Rice) because it truly blesses your soul, and gives joy to your heart! ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

T Minus 48 Hrs before My First Art Show

How am I feeling going into my first ever Art Gallery Show????
Well, the artwork is all completed. I delivered the pieces to the gallery on the appointed day, Tuesday, Feb. 16. The process was started today, hanging all the artwork thoughout the gallery. I'll find out this Saturday evening where my pieces have been hung.

A very unexpected but cool (I thought) thing happened during the process of delivering my art to the gallery. I was interviewed by a Reporter there to do a piece about this special Art Show!!!!! After having been introduced to her, including a bit about my "credentials", she asked permission to "ask you a few questions". Well, I didn't see any reason to say "No", so I said "OK'. Thus began an intensive interview, where I was asked also about my artwork, the process for creating my pieces, and I don't remember what all. I remember a fleeting thought of "wow, this is how the athelets must feel when they get interviewed just before or after a big game!". I don't think I stumbled over my words, but foretunately no cameras were on me. LOL

Anyways, Check out the Friday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post; Front Page of the Weekender section for the story about this Saturday's opening of the art show "THE JOY OF 6 - Celebrating 6 Years of Artistry" at the Tannery Row Artist Colony in Historic Buford, Ga.

As promised earlier in the week, here's a couple "sneak peaks" of my works.
This first one is a "sneak peak" of "1x6=Love Mulitiplied a.k.a. Diverse City".
There is a LOT of sympolism in this piece.
For all of the work involved, I had a LOT of fun putting this mixed media project together. I'll have to wait until Sunday to show you more of this 16" x 20" piece. But if you attend the reception on Saturday evening I can show you "up front and in person" the whole thing.
Each artist was allowed to create up to two pieces for this show, and each piece has to somehow reflect the number 6 (in celebration of the 6th anniversary of TRAC/gallery). My second piece involves six canvases painted individually almost to completion, then pulled together, identifying the juxtaposition of the whole and completing the project from there. This project was alot harder and really stretched me artistically. I am extremely pleased with the whole. Here's a "sneak peak" of one little section. I have to thank my dear friends Bill and Joni Morrill who helped me create the frame for this piece. Bill's handy "Table Saw" work cut the special shape/size needed for the finished piece. I love you guys!!

More later. I gotta go eat dinner and watch the Men's Long Program Iceskating/Olympics.

BTW - if you feel like making a comment anytime (and they are extremely welcome) all you have to do is click the comment place at the end of one of my posts, and you can do that. Cool, huh???

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Funny Little Valentine

I was in the studio here playing one night last week with my Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints, trying to relax and think about what I wanted to do on one of my projects for my upcoming First Ever Art Gallery Show. It has to be said, this is an awesome new step in my Artist Journey. When two of my artist friends asked me to be a "Guest Artist" at this show I gulped! One of them, Soonee, always calls me (with her adorable Korean accent) Brenda Jones. It's never just Brenda; always Brenda Jones.
She sat there repeating, "Brenda Jones, you can do this". Then Sabrina, my artist friend who is also with www.amigosforchrist.org chimed in with, "Absolutely, Brenda, you need to do this."

I've been blessed to have some of my Card Designs, scrapbook layouts, and altered art books published in hard copy magazines and e-zines. I am happiest here in my studio creating art. And, I want to paint more and pull different mediums that I love together. But, preparing for and being in an Art Gallery Show? Wow!

So, here I was playing, getting comfortable with some paints. Actually, you could call what I was doing "doodling with paint". That's what I call what I was doing. But, when it was time to call it quits for the evening, there was actually some "doodling" that I liked. And this is one of them, my Funny Little Valentine.
It actually wasn't funny at the time. In honesty, I started crying. And I guess that's all I'm gonna say about it for now. I really like the colors!
They're fun and cheery. I think I keep this "doodle".
Jess and I are going to have a Mother/Daughter Valentine Date next Wednesday night. It will be fun to spend time with her, and wind down from the pushing to get all the artwork finished and turned in to the gallery by Tuesday afternoon. For now, its back to the canvas that's almost complete. Yea!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day's A'comin????

Are we REALLY gonna have white stuff tomorrow?? Will there really be several inches of snow to play in and maybe even make a little snow man????

That white powdery stuff from the sky just doesn't show up much in this area (Atlanta). When it does make an appearance, we're like little kids. I mean we adults are even like little kids!!!!! I did a quick layout two yrs ago about the BIT of snow we had here.
It was meant to be a SIMPLE layout and when I look at it I can once again feel the snow flakes hitting my tongue. Of course I didn't end up keeping the layout quite so "simple". I did a LOT of paper tearing and layering, distressed the photo edges, and painted and/or stickled the metal snow flakes. Maybe I'll get to have some new pics tomorrow. We'll see if the weatherman is right.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Artist in Residence Working

Haven't written anything in a few (maybe a few more??) days, here nor on FB.
Last Friday evening I went with friends to a play downtown at Theatrical Outfit. It was the opening of a new one so we got the che Inexpensive tickets. Think the play was titled "Brownie Points", or Brownie something. Whatever. I didn't like it. One MORE play by them that's Racial in its theme. There was (being opening night and a new play) a "talk back" time after, and many in the audience were apologetic and ashamed of our White Race. The Anti-Defamation League members were obviously pleased. And this is all I have to say about that.

Saturday and Sunday were spent at the Heirloom Productions Stamp/Paper Arts Show. I got to meet face to face one of my new best friends. Here she is, (this is where you take a bow, Susan)
Susan is a LOT of fun, and I am so happy to call her my friend. She is the owner of www.PaperCraftersCorner.com, so you will just have to check her/it out. We had fun, and I had fun introducing her to different people connected with the show and all. Sunday I had a fabulous time working with Melissa Baldwin and her friend Valerie at Melissa's vendor booth, The Stamping Studio. It was like being back on stage as I spent the afternoon talking to/entertaining ladies as I walked them through making the adorable greeting card we had for them to make free of charge. Brenda Jean was just totally in her element there. The only bummer was that I got home and THEN remembered the camera in my purse. Rats! I have no picture of my wonderful day with M and V.
So, I'm back in the studio. Painting. Getting panicky. The opening reception of my first gallery show is SaturdaY, February 20, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Tannery Row Artist Colony. We artists have just a few more days to finish our works. Aaaaaaaawwwww!!
Here's a pic of one piece "in process".
Ho-Hum. I KNOW, right??!!! Well, it's the background. Now I've gotta lay in the foreground for the piece to "speak" and say what I want it to say.

P.S. Did I mention how much I LOVE Golden products? Have been doing "experiment boards" trying different things with grounds and gels before putting anything to canvas. However, today I did gesso over part of another piece I'm working on for the show so I could start that one over. Oh well. No one was standing here saying "you can't do that" (thankfully) so I did it. Big W!!! N E Ways, its back to the paint for now.

What creative thing are you working on or doing? Remember,
it soothes the soul, and brings joy to your heart.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Little Ethan

I am so very proud of my daughter, Jessica, in so many ways! She was/is my Special Gift from God and, in spite of the difficulties of her teen years, I would not trade being her Mom for anything in the world!!!

At age 19 Jessica got pregnant. She wasn't married, and the night she told me of her condition she was terrified. Yes, the "news" was something to make me shake with fear of the unknown, however, I was able to calm this precious child of mine. And I was able to have even more pride in her as she verbalized all her fears, all her thoughts, and let me know that she was not willing to have an abortion, even though friends had recommended it. And as she went through months and months of being so sick from her pregnancy, my daughter held firm to her commitment, her CHOICE to give this baby life. My heart is almost bursting with the sense of pride I still feel regarding her decision and commitment. She chose to go against what our culture says is quite OK. What courage on her part!

Her "step of courage" went further, from the beginning. Jess knew she was not ready to mother a child, and knew that I was not physically, nor financially able to grandmother (care for) a child. So that same night, her decision was made, and I committed to standing/walking with her through the process.

There's no way I can say it wasn't/isn't painful to give up my firstborn grandchild. Back then and today still, there are many tears. Jessica chose a wonderful couple to love and care for her baby, however, and every year we get a new Update Letter and Pictures of our little Ethan. I love him, and them, from afar and pray for Ethan and his adoptive family every day. And, it is such a fun/funny thing, getting the updates, because Ethan has the wonderful, happy personality of his birth mother.

I just finished this scrapbook layout with one of the pictures we got last Fall. Ethan, like his birth mother, is a real ham in front of the camera, and this pic plays his delicious personality up so well.

For the scrapbooking audience, I did this layout using only what's in my "stash" here. The papers and circle journal tag are Quik Quotes and I chalk inked the edges of most everything since I prefer that dimennsional look. Also, you may know that Making Memories re-introduced their metal letters/words at Winter CHA last week. Of course they're updated, and of course the ever popular "bling" is added to many of the new MM "metal offerings". However, those of us who have stashes of the original metal letters/words can give them the "new look" real easy. I dipped into my stash of Class A'Peel Sticker Bling Dots by Stampendous!, and Woo Hoo!!! We are right off the runway here with "Smile". So if you're a scrapbooker reading this, my challenge to you is to do a layout using only what you have on hand. And let me know how it comes out. I'd love to see it.

For all of you, what Creative Thing have you/ are you/ will you do today?
Remember, doing so truly nourishes the soul and brings joy to your heart.
Until next time,
Brenda J ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday night BUZZ in the Studio here

I know this might sound gross, however, I confess that at the moment (while typing) I'm eating Milk Chocolate Icing out of a can of Pillsbury Icing. A few yummy spoonfuls really satisfies the chocoalte craving, and I don't have the added calories of cake. (I hear you laughing, just fyi). So I'm fixin' to clean up a little mess from the just finished project, and thought I would (eat my chocolate) and share what's happenin' here.

I just finished putting this latest Journal Book, "Say It In Reds" together. One of my goals for this new year is to do more collage work, adding "Free Style Applique" into the mix. This piece is my first endeavour.

A piece of 12" x 12" piece of patterned paper was my substrate, on which I had already marked quidelines on how it would cover the front of the Composition Book and turn under to the inside. I did two "canvases" with this "red" theme as one book was completed last week and given to a close friend for her birthday. Red is her favorite color and with all the supplies I pulled to design with, it didn't make sense to do only one when I had enough to play and design two. I had a good time doing the collage, however, when I got to the sewing part, I had a BLAST! Maybe it was because I used to sew most of Jessica's and my clothes years ago. Working at the sewing machine on my collages was like coming home. On this collage I also added nail heads after doing the applique.

I'm real particular about the way I do my Books. Here's a pic of the inside front cover. I like my Books to look "finished" and be long lasting. The outside canvases are turned under to the inside and then covered so there are no "raw edges".

I do this on the front AND back cover, then I bind the spine, pulling it all together. I'm really pleased with the way this came out.

Musical entertainment in the studio tonight has been a fun, eclectic mix. I actually started with a CD of Jeff Foxworthy. He had me cryin', I was laughing so hard! Being a True Southerner, I fully relate to his stories and actually think we could be related! Then we went on to Spyro Gyra (awesome jazz), J. Geils Band (Love Stinks), and then the king, B.B.King. Yeah, baby, we're groovin' in here!!

You won't find music played on my blog though. Drives me batty when I go to a blog and the music I'm listenin' to gets interrupted with somebody's play list that starts up as soon as I arrive. Urg. Maybe there's a way to shut that off when I'm blog hoppin'. Because I find it annoying, I am opting out of blasting you with my "play list" here. So, you'll have to google tonight's entertainment.

Tomorrow I am bound and determined to do a scrapbook layout with an adorable pic of my grandson that we got. I am so very thankful that we get pictures and a written update the 1 time a yr that we do from his adoptive family. MK may come have a "scrapbooking play date" with me also tomorrow, so it should be a fun day of creating art.

Be sure to do your own "creative something". I promise, it's good for the soul and warms your heart. Till next time,
;) bj

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OttLites Rule!!

I made that comment a couple months ago, sitting around the table with a group of artist friends at Tannery Row in Buford, Ga. Much to my surprise, only one in a group of about 9 knew what I was talking about. Then last week my friend Joni was over and we were back here in the studio. She asked about the one at my work station, and what benefits there were to having it. I explained it all to her. Lo and behold, this week's JoAnn's Sale Paper has them on the front page, and my little brain decided it was time to "point 'em out" in my blog here.

Yes, the fact that JoAnn's has OTTLITES and accessories on sale 50% off IS a big deal, since they are kind of pricy at full retail. And, admittingly, I've had some people tell me that 50% off is still kind of high. I reply that this is one of those times, one of those products, where the "List of Benefits" outweighs the cost by a ton!! So, what's to claim as a benefit?

HIGH DEFINITION Natural Light - if you are working on any kind of art, or craft project, being able to truly see your colors as they really are makes all the difference in the world. The OTTLITE provides this High Definition Natural Light so that regardless of the room lighting overall, you will see TRUE COLORS with whatever medium you are working with. It's like being outside in natural light even though you're inside. Which also means, no Yellowed Hues like you get from regular lighting.
If you are blending paints, if you're coordinating fabrics, or scrapbook papers, if you're selecting beads for a project, whatever, under an OTTLITE the colors are crisp and clear, which makes for easier color choice work on your part.

COOL LIGHT from the Lamp - I remember some years back I had a regular lamp light on my studio desk. It sat close to my work station trying to make the area brighter. I would get so hot; start "glowing", cause that's what we southern gals do. The hogs sweat; we simply "glow". I can tell you here that the more you "glow", the more uncomfortable you get. Things would get so uncomfortable working at my studio desk so as to be downright unbearable, like my clothes were all wet and stuff, and I would have to call it quits even though I really wasn't ready to do that. I had this same problem sitting under the lamp at my sewing machine. It makes things "not fun", and the "not fun" was even worse in the hot summer months (no central air in this house).

I finally took the plunge to get the first OTTLITE, a table top model for the studio work station. The OTTLITE is designed to produce "cool light", so it is not radiating heat down on you while you're working. I very much appreciate this feature!! It's one thing to have a "Private Summer" come along every now and again for a couple minutes. An extended experience is suitable only for a day at the beach or pool, clad only in a bathing suit.

Another big plus for the OTTLITE is that as a "cool" and "natural" light, it is much easier on your eyes, reducing or eliminating eye strain. My next OL purchase is going to be a floor model to put next to the LazyBoy chair in the living room, since that's where I sit when I crochet or do other needle work.

VARIOUS DESK & FLOOR STYLES - Um, yes, I did also add a floor model to put over my sewing machine desk. Then I purchased a little portable OTTLITE that I take to crops, which was one of the best tools I've ever added to the travel kit. Not all crop retreat lighting is of equal value, so better to have my little OL packed and find I don't need it than to leave it home without it. THAT will bring a definite "Oh No!", I guarentee you.

So, the OTTLITE people don't know I've written this little review here. I'm sure they wouldn't mind. But since I've been verbally sharing about this, and I saw them on sale again, I figured I might as well tell the world, well, whatever little part of the world might be reading any of my posts, anyway.

Until another time, do something creatively. It really does soothe the soul, and bring joy to your heart.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remembering My Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom!!! I Love You!!!
I would be saying that to her today as we celebrated her 77th birthday. Alas, writing about her is all I can do and since I now have a blog, it seems fitting that I should honor my mother's birth date in this way, regardless of how painful it is.

Margorie Vernell Pope was born in Monteverde, Fl on January 24, 1933, the only child of Vernell Leroy Pope and Doris Lenore Griffin. As the family was extremely poor, her baby bed was a discarded chicken wire corn crib (used to feed the pigs). She had one 10 yrs older-half sister, Ruby Marie Pope (whose mother had died in childbirth with younger brother Robert who died 3 days later) and from what I heard growing up, "baby sister" was a nuisance, especially when she wanted to follow teenage sister and a boyfriend around.

Here is a layout I did about 6 yrs ago with the one pic I have of my grandfather and grandmother, and pic of my mother at 1yr,2wks,2days old. Crazy quilts were popular during that time period, although I don't know if they had any. Nonetheless, I wanted to depict the period so I created a crazy quilt with vintage looking Making Memories papers and appropriate stitching.

I know next to nothing about my Grandmother Doris except that she/her family were from Illinois. I wonder all the time how she met my grandfather, since he/his family lived in Central Florida. I know my mother grew up, and also spent most of her adult years, wondering why her mother was so sick (all she remembered of her) and then died shortly after "Little Marjorie" turned 4 yrs old. It would be 30 yrs before she learned that her mother died of malignant brain cancer, this told her while her son, my younger brother laid dying of brain cancer (malignant we later learned).

A step-mother arrived (2nd for Marie) and severe abuse followed. At age 17 Mother took the offer of marriage to William Tobias Howze to get away from home (she told me the whole story many years later when I was 12 and she was fixing to get remarried). At 20 yrs old, fresh out of the Army, and wanting to be like his buddies (per his story to me in the mid/late 80's) he looked for 1st pretty girl who would say yes to his offer of marriage. I did this layout 6 yrs ago about their wedding day, and until 3 1/2 yrs ago I had (and wore until I lost it) the simple gold wedding band her Dad bought for her to wear because her new husband was too poor to buy her a ring. (Have to admit here I stopped scrapbooking the family story, what few pics I have, 6 yrs ago because it was all just too painful. I've yet to be able to go back).

Put two horribly abused kids together as man/wife and what do you get? Horribly abused children, that's what. My mother went from one frying pan to another with marriage to my birth father. I Praise the Lord for the good things in the midst of the bad. Most importantly, Mama came to know and accept Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord when I was around 5 yrs old. She had to start working outside the home 2 yrs later, and I remember her precious efforts to get herself and us 3 kids ready and fed for the work/school day, then before she left and we did the dishes and walked to school, she would sit down and do morning devotions with us. She loved us and tried to give love in spite of everything.

A second marriage was 'from the frying pan into the fire'. The physical (and other) abuse was horrible; mother and 3 children some how endured. Because of all the beatings my brothers (twin and younger) were terrified of our step-father, so that fateful Saturday I was the one who ran in and rescued my mother as he was strangling her to death. As he charged after me I either thought or actually said, "lay one hand on me and I'll kill you." We survived it though. Then Lance got sick, and Mama had to bury her youngest child.

I was almost 19 before I got to leave home. The Vietnam War was going on and my twin had joined the Air Force to avoid being drafted into the Army. It didn't keep him out of 'Nam, but it did keep him off the front lines. Before I left home, however, I'd taught my mother how to play the organ (she got it after Lance died) and how to crochet. Bless her heart, she had no confidence in herself, but I knew she could do these things if she would just have some patience. My mother, who thought she couldn't do anything, went on to gain real competence (tears here) in playing the organ, doing beautiful needlework (that was unfortunately lost to the family), learn to play (great team mate) Bridge and Pinuckle (sp??), develop friendships, get heavily involved with Women's Group, so much more. THIS was the same Mother who, when I was a Senior in HS, accepting an award that my mother had to stand with me while it was given, stood there (didn't have to say a thing!!)next to me shaking like a leaf blowing in heavy wind!!!

In my early 20's I would go visit my mother who then lived in Texas, where my step-father was transferred to. I loved my mother, and loved spending time with her. Sadly, there are no pictures of the fun things we did, just precious memories. Sometimes she would come to Atlanta to visit me, so I got to have several visits a year with her. Then she got sick. Sclerodermia Grade C; the worst kind. There was no cure back then and still today there is no cure. It is a horrible, painful, Arthritic Auto-Immune Disease that, at the worst level, litterly strangles the life out of someone, hardening not only their layers of skin but all the vital organs as well. Mama was given 2 - 5 yrs to live. I spent Christmas week with her, 1977. Ten weeks later, just after her 45th birthday she died.

I MISS my mother!!! I have spent more of my life without her than I got to spend with her. And, when I came across some pictures (4 yrs ago) that I'd taken during my last visit with her, to my horror there wasn't even one picture of me and my Mom.
I have repeatedly told people, close friends who are blessed to still have their Moms, and others, "regardless of how frustrated you get with your Mom sometimes, Praise God that you still have her. Enjoy her, Honor her, Learn from her, spend time with her, take care of her. She is a rich blessing in your life."

The two most important things I got from my mother, besides the knowing that she did love me and my brothers, was
1) In 1976 my mother drove-by herself-halfway across the U.S., first to my twin in S.C. (bypassing me in Atl to go 1st to her firstborn then back track here) to confess her sins, all the horrible abuse SHE metted out to each of us as children, and on her knees ask for forgiveness. Though I said "I forgive you" at the time, it wasn't until Mother's Day 1985 (7+ yrs after her death) that my heart truly forgave. She didn't know at the time that she was sick, but the courage of her actions and her total humbleness in coming to each of us has had a lasting effect on me. It taught me to (later when I became a Mom) always have the courage to admit my failings to my daughter, and ask for her forgiveness when I have wronged her in some way.
2) Mama handled her disease with dignity and grace. She fought to keep going, with a smile on her face, right up to the very end. I have fought the battle with a related disease for almost 18 yrs now. I Praise God for the advances in modern medicine that allow me to keep going and striving to live a full life. And I hope and pray that I am succeeding in my desire to emulate my Mom.

She waits for me, with both my brothers (both lost to maligant brain cancer)in our Heavenly Home. How I miss you, Mama, even now, after all this time. You lived, not long enough to meet your grandchildren, but long enough to make a difference. Here, so that others may know, I share your story; say again I love you, I miss you horribly, Happy Birthday Mama. I remember and charish you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For The Birds

Morning chore done: Clean out the nesting areas around the house because even though its only January, some of my birds are already giving signs of "decision making" for the upcoming season. And, since my "Petey the Stampin' Up Bird Punch" Review was published the other day on www.PaperCraftersCorner.com, I figured this is the perfect time to share one of my "Bird Stories" that I've written, along with a pic I took mid-December of one of my Male Bluebirds and Female Cardinals sharing the birdie bath out back. I hope you, the reader, enjoy my little story here.

My Birds are Little Pigs

I so enjoy my birds. They are very entertaining and fun to watch. Each one has their own variety of chirps, and even if I don’t actually see one of them, I know who’s “fussing” at the moment just by listening to them. They each have their own mannerisms as well, and sometimes one or another will decide to act up with a “territorial” attitude, and we have a little tiff on our hands.

Hmmm, I can hear your response, especially those of you who have been very close friends for a long, long number of years.

“Brenda, when did you get birds? Where do you keep them in that tiny house? And, what about the cats?!”

OK, here’s the story. I have this non-verbal agreement with my birds.
If you fly over my house and/or yard, you’re in open air space.
If you happen to make a quick pit stop in my yard, you’re just passing through.
If you happen to start showing up on any kind of regular basis anywhere in or around my yard, you’re a frequent visitor.
If you build a nest in one of my trees or on my back porch and settle in with a brood of your own, you’re MY bird.
If you’re a Bluebird couple, and you decide to call my bluebird box your home for a season, you’re MY bird. Hey, and thanks for leaving a filthy mess for me to clean up when you decide to move out.
And, if you eat from my bird feeder out back here, and take your baths in the water I’ve put in the birdbath close by, it’s obvious that I am financially supporting you. That’s right. You’re MY bird.

They say (whoever THEY are) that variety is the spice of life. That certainly is true with my birds. I have them from the tiny Hummingbirds who finally said “Adios” the beginning of October after an extended stay, all the way up to the redheaded woodpecker who loves peanuts. So I’m generous with the variety of food that I put out. I buy the bird food that has it all, something to make everyone happy. From the tiny little seeds that sprout almost immediately after they hit the ground, to sunflower seeds, raisins, red berries, to peanuts.

The little Finches, Wrens, Titmice, and Carolina Chickadees all gather around as soon as “Mom” puts another round of food on the table. They can get downright rowdy, as they elbow each other to see who can eat the most in the shortest amount of time. When the Cardinals step up to the plate, the little ones flutter and get a bit nervous. It’s when one of my Blue jays wants to try getting into the feeder rather than eating on the ground, the little ones jump quickly up onto a tree branch. The Jays, beautiful as they are with all their shades of blue, are quite clumsy and they rock the feeder like it’s out in rough seas. The little ones don’t like that. My Red headed Woodpecker though, he’s real creative, and has a lot of savvy at the feeder. He’ll clamp his feet to the edge, then hang almost at a 45-degree angle while he stretches his neck up to get his beak into the feeder. It’s so funny watching as he wades through the stuff, seed and such flying everywhere onto the ground until he finds a peanut. Then he takes the nut up to a tree branch where he can eat in a comfortable position before he comes back for more.

I do love my birds. They are just one more source of entertainment around here, and their songs of praise to their Creator are such a blessing to enjoy. It’s just that they’re pigs! They’ve made it clear that, if I’m game, they’re more than willing to eat me out of house and home. So I have my birds on a diet. Every third day, I’ll put a bunch more fresh food out. That means they have to eat every crumb before Mom gives them more. I’m just not willing to totally spoil these little “oinkers” around here.

Hey, can I claim them as dependents on my taxes in April??
Brenda Jones

Friday, January 15, 2010

New to my Toolbox here

This is the year I am fully committed to using my great (meaning both really cool AND lots of it) stash here in my studio to create my works of art. That includes scrapbook layouts. I got better about it last year, and am determined even more to "shop from my own store here" in creating layouts for myself and my daughter.
So, this year is even more into asking myself the "do I really need this?" question before spending the money to bring more supplies into this little studio.

What COULD get my money, however, is a tool that will enhance my creating in some way. And yesterday, I spent a bit of money and brought home a particular tool that has been unavailable in my area here for a while. Since I was in Buford (Ga) yesterday I figured why not run into the Michael's store, since I'm passing it anyway and assure myself they still don't have this back in stock. So, in I walked, heading straight to the scrapbooking section and lo and behold, there IT was hanging for purchase. Actually about 6 - 8 of "IT". Yeah baby I grabbed one and headed to the register!!!!

I'm talking about the Martha Stewart Scoring Board. This brand is certainly not the first one on the market. I have friends who own the Scor-It or the Scor-Pal. I have used both (don't own them) however I prefer the MS Scoring Board over the others. Here's why:
1) This is a 12x12 board with scoring lines marked every 1/8" across, meaning I don't have to move my paper around when I'm scoring, which makes the "multiple scoring lines" projects go faster.
2) There's a guide included so I can also scor/make custom envelopes for the many cards I design. I like that extra feature.
3) A little snap closed compartment is part of the board design so I won't loose my bone folder that comes with the board. I can loose something quicker than I can type "I just had _____; where'd it go???"
4) Being a good plastic, this board is much lighter in weight. I REALLY appreciate that. Will make it easier not only to work with here in the studio, but also in carrying elsewhere should I need to.
5) The price point on this is GREAT - Retail is $19.99. Michaels Arts/Crafts Stores are the only place to buy locally at this time, and this week they have MS products 30% off. Sometimes (like I thought I'd do yesterday, not knowing about the MS sale) you can get an even better deal with a 50% off coupon.

I'm glad I didn't buy the first scoring product to hit the market, not that I had the money to. I am excited about my new purchase, and by hanging back and playing with everyone else's toys I got to now have the perfect NEW tool for the toolbox in my studio here.

Have you added a new tool to your crafting/creating art arsonal, or are you thinking about any in particular? Do share; I'd love to know.
Until next time, do something creatively. It's so good for the soul, and brings such JOY to your heart.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Somehow I lost my uploaded image (haven't I made it clear that I'm learning here, LOL?) Gonna try this part again.

Learning Curve; Art is Easier

I did not grow up with computers, and that's a fact. I remember sitting in the office I worked in at Miami-Dade Jr. College, one year out of high school. The typing, office machines, and other such classes my mother forced me to take (in liew of the art classes I wanted to take)in HS paved the way for this first full-time job. The day one of the Dept. Heads came back from a convention and told us about the computers that he saw that would be able to do so much of what we laboriously did by hand, we all let out a collective "Oh NO!!", and saw our jobs disappearing before our eyes. We did NOT want those computers coming into our workplace. No Way!

Fast forward ??? years and here I am on the one in my Art Studio, typing away. Facing the other direction in my studio I create art. Turn around and I can scan it in to a folder on my hard drive, and send it anywhere via the internet. Incredible.
It takes me, however, way longer to figure out how to do something new on the computer than when I'm coming up with a new design with my artwork. So, even though it took way too long to figure it out, I at least now have a "Welcome" note on my blog, and even (finally) figured out how to start a list of blogs/people that inspire me. That's it for today with this machine. I'm done. All the frustration will disappear with a glass of wine and curried chicken for dinner.

I'll close with sharing a Artsy scrapbook layout I actually did this time last year. I pulled it out the other day as part of reflecting on this last year. Unlike trying to figure out how to do anything on this computer, the artistic design flowed freely and easily. I started with raw elements (ie; naked chipboard letters, a very plain piece of 12x12 paper for the base, etc) and using distressing tools, acrylic stamps, stamping ink, various paints/laquers, papers/vellum and a die cut, etc, I created the ART to help "speak" the message.

I hope I succeeded this last year in my various efforts to create a legacy that lasts, with and for my daughter, all the wonderful friends the Lord has seen fit to bless me with, and unknown people who came across my path, or I came across theirs. And I hope and pray to continue this journey, because after all, it is the most important of anything I can do.

Until next time, be creative in some way. It feeds the soul and adds joy to life.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

All Things Artsy

Well, week 1 of the new year/new decade is already coming to a close. It's freezing around here, colder than normal for Atlanta area, and the bit of snow that came down Thursday night is still decorating our little town. I do like looking at it as long as I don't have to deal with ice patches on the roads. Then I freak out.

Finished my first assignment for Paper Crafters' Corner last night and got all the artwork done and pics scanned in, and New Product Review written and all sent to the editor late (really, really late) last night. Ha. I didn't have to be anywhere today so I knew I could pull a late nighter in getting the computer work done and sleep in this morning.

It really is so much fun to open a box and find the new products to "play" with. I liken it to going to a car dealership and taking a new car out for a spin to see how it handles. The box arrived this past Tuesday, late afternoon, and I had just a few days to test out the products, create some projects, write my reviews and submit everything. Whew! But deadlines can be a fun thing.

I can't post any of the specifics right now, however, everything should be web published in the next few days from what I understand. So stay tuned here, and at PaperCraftersCorner.com

Tonight's a "chillaxing night", then back to the design work for some Thanksgiving and Christmas projects. Yeah I know. The holidays are over. Project Designers, however, have to work ahead. So the Christmas holidays aren't over around here until I say their over. LOL

Dinner calls. And, this coming week I also have to figure out how to really do some things here on this blog. It's all so new to me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

More question legality of Senate healthcare bill (OneNewsNow.com)

Hmmm, I wonder if my (Georgia) State Attorney General will join this fight.
More question legality of Senate healthcare bill (OneNewsNow.com)

UGA, Football, Bowl games, Etc

After having heard something that really disturbed me, last night I did some google searching and learned that Athens-Clarke Co, Ga is NOT in the Top 5 poorest counties in the U.S. It's not even in the Top 100, although four other Ga. counties are. I didn't have time to check and see where the Athens-Clarke Co School System ranked nationally.

Nonetheless, I have to admit that I was stunned to learn about all the Tent Cities within the county. A friend of mine goes to school at UGA (Athens, Ga) and she was telling me about the tent cities up there, also all the Projects. She lives 2 blocks from one of the projects. As her focus is on going into teaching, she's also had opportunities to observe in a number of public school classrooms so she was also telling me about the "student demographics". Sad, very sad.

But why was I so stunned?! I know why. I've not been over to Athens, Ga, however, I've watched many a UGA football game on TV over the years. And I've heard about the town UGA calls home. Don't know if they do it ALL the time (cause I don't watch every game) however, I've seen games where they "show and tell" about the city of Athens and the UGA campus. Georgous ornate and stately homes, wealth, historical landmarks, and an incredible university campus all shown to the world to make one awesome and incredible "wow" statement. Who knew that such opulence takes up a place on the map that, I now know, includes vast numbers of homeless, and people who have formed "cities" within the city as they survive life in tents.

Football is King, as illustrated by all the Bowl games that have been available to watch and enjoy just in the last few days. However, I started wondering. Is there as much focus on helping those who are hurting, those who are homeless, those whe are forced to do without, as is the amount of focus on Foodball? A TON of money is poured out before the king-Football. I don't even want to think about how much money has been poured out all over the country just these last few days for the purpose of king Football. Schools shelled out money for their teams to go play in some bowl somewhere. People who could afford it traveled to go watch their teams. Others went to resturants for Bowl parties, or like me stayed home watching the games on TV. Airlines, Hotels, Resturants, etc all made money off the Bowl games.

Meanwhile, in Athens, Ga and elsewhere too many people struggle to keep warm. Their focus is not on king Football. Having done a lot of tent camping as a child, I know it's not warm. I remember laying on top of layers of cold, crunchy newspapers that was supposed to block out some of the cold, while laying underneath scratchy army blankets, trying to get warm enough to sleep. I can't imagine enduring that as a way of life. My inquiring mind is wanting to know, is there as much focus, as much money poured out to help those on the streets and in the tents as there is for king-football. You know all the WWJD stuff that's been around for some years now? I remember having to ask somebody, "what's WWJD"? What Would Jesus Do. "Oh, I get it". The last few days I've been wondering, What Would Jesus THINK?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Sunday of 2010

Thank you Hannah, for helping me start this yesterday! You are so very sweet to get me started on this "new venture". I finally realized very late last night what my blog addy is so that I can share it/invite my friends.

Am very short on time at this minute as I have to finish getting ready for church services. I want to come back later this evening and write about something I learned yesterday regarding Clarke Co/Athens, Ga and share how it relates in my mind to UGA Bulldog football.
And, hopefully put up the experimental art (well mine anyway) that Hannah and I had a blast working on together yesterday afternoon.

Day One of a New Adventure

So, here I am with a blog. Finally. After how many yrs of how many pp telling me I should have one? I was excited earlier when Hannah helped me set this up. Now I'm overwhelmed. I'm not even sure what my blog addy is so I could tell my friends I've started a blog. I'm "biting onto a computer here". I'm not a big fan of computers! Why am I doing this???

Well, I finally joined FB, however, one is quite limited to what one is able to write. I write something up, hit the "post to my wall" and get the message, "you are allowed 420 characters and you have xxx number". Oops. Edit down to stay in bounds. Oh my gosh; that rhymes.

There is so very much to say, so very much to write about. My Art; successes/challenges/fun experiences as I grow and expand into the Artist I was created to be. My view of the world; what I've seen and the politics that go with it. Then there's life lessons. Golly bum, for years and years different pp have said, "Brenda, you really should write a book. Your life experiences and testimony would be great encouragement to so many hurting people". How many times have I heard, "you are such an encouragement to me." More times than I can count over the years.

I certainly can't handle several different blogs to cover all these different areas. Right now I'm gonna be doing good to figure all this out and develop this new thing. I hope I'll succeed and that this will grow in a way that brings joy, smiles, encouragement, and fun to others, and glory to my Lord Jesus Christ at the same time. For now, I've stuck my toe in, so here goes.