Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just a quickie - more later!

Build your own flower garden - just for fun! Thanks to Astrid for the link!


1. My nice doctor and her staff
2. My nice, generous, extended family for giving Rexy such cute clothes
3. Sunshine
4. Coffee
5. Tulips

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A small note and then I'm off to the sick-bed...

Hmm...that title has nothing to with my husband and everything to do with how I'm feeling. Ugh. I keep thinking that the next day I'll feel better and then the next day comes and I feel worse. I'm tired of this cold/allergy combo.

This is a picture of a mixed media piece I have in my eBay store.

Just a quick gratitude list (I was delirious last night! Sorry for the novel!):

5 Things I'm Grateful For:

1. My electric teakettle
2. Hot Chocolate
3. My little girl's sense of humor
4. Her nice preschool teachers
5. My sister

Gratitude Journal #2

Isn't this a sweet picture? It's my mom and my grandmother. Incidentally the same picture of my grandmother that I used in the collage/painting a few posts down. It was taken near the end of WWII. My grandfather was a B17 pilot and my grandmother had to raise my mom mostly alone the first few years. She made all their clothes by hand - all of them! And she was a fashion plate...I still have some of the great Japanese silk brocade clothes that she made with fabric my grandfather brought home from Japan in the 50's. One of them is a light, metallic blue, swing coat and the other is a shift dress/short jacket combo in red. They're both very glamorous and Audrey Hepburn-ish.

All of which brings me to my Gratitude Journal. I forgot to do it earlier (the 2nd day - yikes!), so I've come back to do it now. Basically I posted the entry below, and then spent the rest of the day laying down. Luckily Phil came home early today so I was able to get some actual rest - not resting while being a jungle gym for a 3 year-old. But I digress (again). I will try not to make all my gratitude lists so lengthy, but of course the ones closer to my heart cause me to gush a little.

5 Things I am grateful for:

1. My maternal grandmother - she always encouraged me in all my artistic endeavors and set a great example for me. As an adult she took painting and floral design classes and, for her entire adult life (after the war) she belonged to a "study club." Each year the club would pick a topic and each month a different person would deliver a lecture on some aspect of it. Some topics spanned 2 years if necessary. At 79 years old my grandmother was researching at the library and nervously preparing her report on some geology topic! I see her curiosity in my daughter now, I think the strength of her curiosity is what keeps the autism from being more severe.

2. My paternal grandmother - when she was already a grandmother of 5 she finally left my grandfather (a nasty, cruel man) to forge her own way - unheard of for a woman of her age in 1967! She was a working woman in a time before "women's lib" and set an example for me of strength, fortitude, and independence ( and she was only 4'10"!). To supplement her income she made wedding dresses and toys (see, it's disgraceful that I don't sew). Despite her farm upbringing, I could always call her after 11pm and know that she would still be up reading one of her books - even into her 80's! She also taught me that the mind never loses its need to learn.

3. Chocolate - hey, they can't all be so serious! Chocolate is my friend, when I need it it is always there waiting for me on the grocery store shelf. (Okay! It's usually right there in my kitchen cupboard.)

4. Rain. I'm a northwest native, I love rain. I love the sound of it and the smell of it, and the taste of it and the look of it. I love the sound cars make as they rush by on the wet pavement. Rexy likes it, too. I taught her to say, "Hi, rain!" when she was younger and now she says, "It's raining!" delightedly - although sometimes it's not, but she looks hopeful.

5. Milk. Just because it's milk. It's like comfort food for me and for my sister. I can't imagine life without it.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Funny Haikus and stuff

This is just a quickie post. I got a newsletter from A Muse today and decided to go to the store owner's blog. I met her on my birthday when Phil and I wandered around the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle after I got my driver's license renewed. She was so sweet and helpful and I didn't buy a thing. If you're in the market for stamps, please check out her store.

Anyway, one of the links on her blog is for Threadbared and it is hilarious! Anyone that can post a haiku about Spring and panties and an ode in song to a crocheted vest (to the tune of Styx's Come Sail Away) in the same blog is allright by me!

The little planter pot above is my only find at the "bad" thriftstore next to JoAnn Fabrics. Isn't it cute? I had to make a run to the fabric store to get something for the Fabric Exchange Box at Ephemeral Notions (yahoo group). Why? Because I don't sew and I don't have any fabric here except felt. Since I took some fabric from the box, I needed my exchange. Why did I take fabric when I don't sew??? I'm not sure. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and the fabrics were so cute, and.....? Like I need another hobby! I'm telling myself I'm going to make an Art Doll one of these days...

Okay, let's get off our computers and go make something!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Gratitude and other stuff...

I listed an ATC/ACEO the other day - I had such fun making the sparkly wings and little polka dot flowers! It's called Lucky Stardust.I read some things I found interesting today: “It is now known by neuropsychologists that art, prayer and healing all come from the same source in the body. These activities are associated with similar brain wave patterns.”

I found this very interesting because I have always noticed that when I am making a lot of art, some of my recurring health problems abate; specifically, and most obviously, my eczema. While I started being plagued with eczema for physical reasons – I was a bartender for 3 months in 1989-90 and washed my hands constantly as well as dipped them in bleach water to use the clean up cloths – I was never able to get rid of it entirely and now it pops up whenever I am stressed. Sometimes it emerges almost instantly during stressful situations – it’s very odd. Anyway, I put my theory to the test when I got married – I made a whole bunch of jewelry the week before so that I could get a manicure and pedicure and look good for the wedding – and it worked!

I think there is a lot we don’t know about the body and the mind-body connection. It seems clear to me that it’s not that some theories aren’t scientific; it’s that scientists haven’t yet discovered the science behind them. What do you think?

Another thing I read today: “Women, especially, often tend to succumb to the societal script that says that everyone else’s needs must come first…(when in fact,) a healthy family is a mutual collaboration with a commitment to the well-being of each individual, including mothers. In “Gift from the Sea,” Anne Morrow Lindbergh says, “Only when one is connected to one’s inner core, is one connected to others.”

I mention this because the article this came from was talking specifically about making art and finding the time to make art. I often feel guilty because the house falls into chaos when I am on a roll at the work table and I often just reluctantly jump up and make my daughter dinner and leave my husband to fend for himself. I find myself feeling defiant – you know that feeling when you think you’re kind of wrong but you really want everyone else to think you’re right? You know, “Don’t you dare question my priorities, I have a right to take time to do this!” But inside you’re really thinking, “Maybe I should rededicate to June Cleaver/Donna Reed type housekeeping and do this if there’s any time left over.” or “I’m just not trying hard enough.”

I guess I wish my Inner Core was a better housekeeper. Sigh…

On a brighter note, I listed some more doll parts the other day and they’re flying out the door! I always feel so accomplished when my eBay stuff sells. These little hands are incredible. The fingers are totally bendable! I’m so glad I kept a few out for myself to try, otherwise I’d be out of luck!

Ever since Rexy was sick I've been fighting the worst cold and/or allergies! I would think it's just a cold - considering the basic symptoms - but, every time I go out to the car it is covered in yellow pollen. I don't even know where it's coming from. Thankfully, though, her sickness has abated and we're left with just some light coughing at night. I want to thank everyone for their kind words and thoughts. They really meant a lot to me. Here's my girl:

Which brings me to something else I read today. Gratitude Journals. I love this idea. I thought I would use my blog as one. The idea is that each day you write down 5 things you are grateful for. I will try to have 5 things I'm grateful for on each post.

1. My sweet, funny daughter who runs to meet me when I pick her up at school

2. My sweet, funny husband who makes me feel cherished and loved

3. Kleenex (hey, I have a cold!)

4. Spring flowers - it's so amazing that things keep popping out of the ground when I'm sure they must have died

5. Art - it gives my life richness and helps remind me what is important and meaningful to me outside and inside of my roles in everyday life

Note: Everything I referenced here today came from articles in the inaugural e-zine from Go Make Art entitled "Transformation." It's $10, I wasn't sure if it was worth it until I realized how many notes I was taking! There's also a nice article in it by Claudine Helmuth about focal points in your art.

Another Rexy photo - I call this the "Art" pic! I was having fun playing with Photoshop Elements as you can see. I guess it doesn't look quite as manipulated as it is when you see it this small. She's wearing her Seattle Seahawks jersey (#8 Matt Hasselbeck - yes, I'm a closet football geek - not my husband!) and every time she sees the little Seahawk emblem she beams and says, "Touchdown!"
Happy Tuesday, everybody!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm too tired to be up, but here I am anyway.

Well I managed to get my 2 Design Team pieces uploaded and even uploaded a 3rd today! I used something from the Hands collage sheet to do one of my pages for Michelle's journal in the Cercles d'Ame project. This first and second pictures are a little banner made from the Hands collage sheet. The third picture is Michelle's journal page and it is called "Marriage." I'll get the 2 Design Team pieces on eBay sometime in the next few days.

Looooooooooooooooong story follows:

So, on to the drama of our lives...we had a little scare the other night. Rexy was chipper and happy and playing all day and then around 5pm she came up and asked to watch Sesame Street. Since we're on the afforementioned no-nap program I expect her to slow down around that time, so I wasn't worried. I popped an Elmo video in and went into the kitchen to do the dishes.

A few minutes later I went out to check on her and she was laying on the couch watching the movie. It sounds normal, but for her it's not. She's usually puttering around with her toys only giving the TV half her attention (unless it's Teletubbies - those guys are like baby meth), if that much. I noted that she was laying on the couch, but figured she must be tired - we'd played some serious baloon bounce earlier. I sat down next to her and she perked up and sang along with Elmo for a minute, so I felt she was okay. I went back to kitchen cleaning and again returned a little while later to check on her - still on the couch. Hmm...Back to the kitchen and then out a little bit later to check again. Now she was curled up on her side, but still sort of watching TV. Still, I'm a little concerned so I feel her face and she feels hot so I go looking for the Thermometer.

Our Thermometer is crap. It says 97.7, which is exactly what it has said the last 4 times I've used it. I'm more concerned by her actions than her temp, though. She is a bundle of energy right up until we put her to bed. Always. Just then Phil gets home and Rexy doesn't jump up and say "Daddy's home!" like she usually does. She just lays there and looks at him until we prompt her to say "Hi." Which she does. So I give Phil the run-down and we agree that this behavior is so unusual that we're right to be concerned, but she's showing no overt signs of sickness so we figure we'll just keep an eye on her and maybe call the doctor in the morning.

Phil goes out to unload a truck full of stuff and I sit with Rexy. After just a few minutes she gets up on my lap and curls up. She never does this. She's autistic, long periods of cuddling just don't happen. If I get an extra long hug, I'm thrilled. She's coughing occasionally and kind of crying off and on. Suddenly, her eyes start to look dull and she gets even more lethargic. The change is so quick and so obvious that I get really alarmed. I grab the phone and call the doctor's answering service who connects me with the doctor at home. I love our doctor; She knows that I'm not a worrywart. I've never brought Rexy in and demanded antibiotics, I don't call with every little thing, I know the difference between a cold and something that can actually be treated. Rexy has never been so sick that she needed a doctor visit and she's never had any prescriptions. So when I said that something was wrong - our nice doctor believed me immediately.

Phil comes in just when I get the doctor on the phone and he can see immediately that Rexy is worse. She's practically asleep but she's insisting on laying full out on my lap with her head tipped back. When I try to move her she starts to cry. I'm worried she'll start coughing more in that position because she's congested. I manage to get her shifted to a more upright, sort of, position.

I'm holding her (my 39 inch tall girl) like a baby with her head in the crook of my arm and talking to the doctor. The next thing I know I look down and she's sound asleep, just knocked out - again, never happens. We've been putting her to bed still fully awake since she was about 4 months old. She's never fallen asleep anywhere but her bed or the car. Phil starts frantically calling her name trying to get her to open her eyes - which doesn't happen - while the doctor starts asking me about meningitis symptoms. I almost lost it, I was so worried, but managed to "man up" in just a few seconds. Mostly because I was able to answer all the meningitis questions with a "no." Still, the doctor recommended we go to the Children's Hospital emergency room.

So we rush her out to the car and onto the road. Of course we hit every red light in America and with all the stops and starts and bumpy Seattle roads she got sick in the car. Immediately we all felt better - this is way better than unresponsive unconsciousness. After she is examined, they threaten to give her a catheter so they can do a better diagnosis but - thankfully - decide against it. Instead they give her a magic pill that directly talks to the nausea centers of your brain and tells it it doesn't feel any nausea. they want to see how she is if she's not feeling nauseous. 30 minutes later, she's talking a mile a minute (95% of which we can't understand) and playing pretend with Babo and Pooh and Tigger - back to normal. Phew. The Emergency Room doctor laughed when he came back into the room and saw the huge difference. It was suddenly clear why we would be worried.

She's been sick-ish the last few days, but nothing like that first night. She woke up the next day completely her usual self. Last night (Wednesday) she had a weird allergy attack on her eyes and she kept rubbing them. She woke up and was crying in the middle of the night. Of course I was worried it was the same thing, but it wasn't. When I went in, her eyes were swollen a full inch below her lash line and so dark red she looked like she had two black eyes - gah! A cool washcloth helped and I managed to get her back to sleep after about 2 hours.

Man, I'm glad she's not sick all the time!

P.S. I realize that I mixed tenses and committed other grammar crimes, but I am too tired to go back and fix them. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ZNE Design Team art, part 1

After a lot of creative block, familial delays, and the usual avoidance, I have finally posted the first of two ZNE Design Team pieces on the Design Team Gallery. You can find ZNE original collage sheets here if you are interested in any of the images used in these pieces. I'll post the second piece later tonight - I have some finishing touches to put on it.

'Till then...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

You're not kidding, It's a Small World!

I finally posted some of the doll making parts I got at a fabulous church rummage sale a few weeks ago. I priced them at a buck apiece, I like them but I've got nowhere to store them. I'm going to try and put the remaining faces and the hands on either tonight or tomorrow.

Here's the link to our store:

Small World time...
So, last week the most unbelievable thing happened. Not only did Shelley, the friend who officiated our wedding who we haven't talked to in about 3 years, find me and contact me via this very blog - but my best friend from high school and I reconnected in the most "It's a Small World" way. ZNE put out a call to its members for people to apply to be on their inaugural Design Team. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen and I spent the next 3 days lurking about on the newly created discussion board just for Design Team members. I recognized a lot of names from ZNE and other eBay groups that I belong to. Finally I wrote up the requested "let me introduce" myself post and posted it around 2am. The next day I visited the board to see if anyone had responded. Well, there were a lot of kind notes welcoming me and then this:

"Ok, I have goose bumps, I am originally from the Seattle area, Federal Way, and my best friend in high school lived across the street from me and her name was Laurie Blau. If you are that Laurie this is too cool! I will be anxiously awaiting your reply!!!"

I am that Laurie!!! I couldn't believe it. Not only are we making art in the same medium, and not only do we belong to the same worldwide organization, but we were also both chosen to be on the Design Team - could anyone have predicted this??? We haven't seen each other in probably 22 years!

I may have to go buy a lottery ticket or something...