Friday, September 27, 2013

A Work in Progress

I have been spending the last few weeks on a canvas for a special someone, I hope it turns out as I plan, because if it doesn't- I won't be giving it to her. I know- I shouldn't be so critical of my art, but I am, and that is just part of the perfectionist in me. Not that my art is perfect, by any means, but if I can't find peace with a piece of my art, then I don't feel it is finished.
Anywho- enough rambling- I will post some photos, and would love to have a little feedback on where to take this next. My ideas may not be materializing as I hoped, so could use some honest critique, on what is pleasing and what might look out of place. I "tampered" with the face some, and have come to a "happy place" with it, no- it is not intended to look like a real person, it is a character painting of an angel, so yes, it does take on some whimsical features. I tried to make her look like a more mature being, instead of a younger girl, which is where most of my girl faces end up, which was rather challenging to me, but I hope I have achieved that more mature look with her. Your thoughts?

These are the first two photos I took of her. Her chin/cheeks were a bit lopsided, so I rounded that out, her hair was a bit flat, so I added some shadowing for dimension. Her eyes were way too dark- so I lightened them up a bit, her nose- well, it looks like it was broken at some point- I think I have that fixed. LOL 
Here are the new photos:

Full view of the canvas, I think I fixed all the wonky features, and her orange neck- LOL 
Close-up of the face and neck- I know her neck looks long and lanky, but I kind of like that look.
Just a necklace? I will pierce the canvas, and run the chain in to the back, and secure it there. Just not sure if it is too much, or not?
Just earrings? Not sure if they look right or not. I don't want them to look like two pearls just stuck to the side of her head. 
Extreme closeup of the dimension of the earrings. This is where I worry they may be too much, but I do love texture, so maybe they are ok?
Necklace and earrings? Overkill, or OK? Again, I love the added texture to go with the texture of the wings, but I don't want to over do it. Would love to hear your thought! 
Thanks for checking out my blog :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Bit of Art (being swapped)

I have been dabbling in a bit of art lately, and just finished a project for a swap I am participating in for the group Paper Traders that I am a member of.
It was a one for one swap, and we were to contact our partner and get a general idea of style/type of the kind of journal they would like to receive. My partner is Shelly, and she was drawn to the Nick Bantock style. I have not ever made anything with his art as inspiration, but did a little research, and found most of his art is rather quirky, with few specific topic based projects, and found many of the elements he uses in his art are vintage travel elements, so I ran with that as I created this journal for Shelly.
I actually tried doing a process video for my YouTube channel, but it was not meant to be, as I started the video, my memory was full, so I stopped and tried adding another memory card, but discovered it was not compatible with my video cam, so brought out the other one, and got another 1/2 hour in, and the battery died- tried recording while charging, and that was not going to work. It had to charge by itself, so thought I would just switch to taking still shots as I went along, but learned as I was finishing up on the project, that I forgot to stop in between stages to snap photos, so it was a dismal failure.
The journal was to be made using a manilla envelope for the covers- folded in half, and using the closure flap as a front cover flap to close the journal with. I did play with the technique a bit before hand, so that I could be comfortable with sending out a quality product to my recipient, but wanted to add my own design to it a bit, so i made an inside pocket for both the covers.
I had used white envelopes for my trial journals, and so when I went to use the manilla colored one, I coated it with Gesso. It was not the look I was going for, so was kind of a waist of time, and ended up covering almost all of it with decorative papers, which made the covers way more sturdy anyway. I trimmed a 1/16 of an inch off the bottom of the envelope, and then lined the envelope with some scrapbook cardstock in a vintage map pattern, and then adhered it to the inside of the envelope to sturdy it up a bit. then folded in half, and added paper to both sides of the closure flap, and then cut two pieces of card to insert into the front and back covers once the journal was completely decorated.  Here are a few photos of how it turned out.
This is a photo showing the inside covers, you can see here on the right side, one of the pockets I created.

Here is a photo after the book was completed showing both the front cover pocket and the back cover pocket, where I made a 1/2 circle opening so that the card insert would be easily pulled out or put back in.
This is a photo of the finished journal all tied up and ready to go, I attached several glass beads to the binding to spice things up a bit.

This is the finished journal flattened out, so the back cover is on the left and the front cover on the right, with the beads hanging on the binding. I used Gafer tape, to reinforce the folded edges, so the binding wouldn't tear out, or so the front flat would not tear off with use. I am thinking it is pretty strong and secure. :)
I hope Shelly likes it!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

OH BOY! Blogging without obligation

Well, I guess I will play the "blogging without obligation" card, LOL I have not blogged for almost 8 full months. That is awful. Not that I feel I owe anyone an explanation, but I have been so busy since the first of the year, I have neglected to update on my blog here, but have been keeping up to date on Facebook, so feel free to check that out, there is a link on the left sidebar. So here is a long wrap-up on what has been going on since January when I posted last.
In January, I had a health set-back, and really didn't know what was going on, but I had this extreme pain in my right foot. It started on the top of my foot, and then moved into my right ankle, and it got so bad that I was not even able to put weight on it. I babied it for a week or so, and it went away. Then, in March it came back with a vengeance. This time it was so bad that I couldn't even get from my bed to the bathroom without help. I was in excruciating pain, and my foot swelled so badly that I couldn't even bend my ankle. My foot was so swollen, that it looked like a big puffy balloon, and it took almost 2 1/2 weeks before I could get out of the house to get to the clinic and even then, I had to use a walker, and still need assistance walking. When I went to the clinic the Dr. told me I had Gout. I was shocked, because I had only heard of elderly people getting gout, and thought it was a circulation issue from age. WRONG! Gout is actually a form of arthritis, and is from an increase of Uric Acid in your blood, and most people who develop gout actually have it when they are younger, but many don't get symptoms, til they are older because it takes awhile for the uric acid crystals to build up in the blood and joints. Most people complain of pain and other symptoms in their big toe, but for those of us who have old injuries, can find that the crystals form there. I had an ankle reconstruction when I was younger, and so the Dr. feels that was the reason it was showing in my ankle, and not my big toe, and again, it is a form of arthritis, which usually is present in old injuries. So I have been medicated for Gout now for the past several months, but am still having symptoms pretty regularly, but they are not near as severe as it was back in the Spring, so we may be on the right track with the medication, but just not the right one, or the right dose- I will have that discussion with the Dr. next month when I go back in for a review.
As for other things that have been occurring in our family. Many of you know that my oldest daughter was a Senior in High School this past year, and if you have ever had a High School graduate, you will know that the amount of "things" that pop up and get put into your daily routine, is ridiculous. I don't remember being this chaotic when I was graduating, but maybe my mom would feel differently, as she was probably just as stressed out as I am now. Except for I was her fourth and last child to go through it, and Quincy is my first.
Also, Quincy has been suffering some very bizarre symptoms in the past year that didn't seem to be related in anyway, so we have been to and from the Dr. office for her so often, that I think she was getting sick and tired of being poked and prodded. In March, the Dr. sent her for an MRI, as a precaution and to rule out any possibility that she could have a Pituitary Adenoma. (Brain Tumor in the central part of her brain)
Come to find out, shock of all shocks, that she did in fact have a Brain Tumor, which was causing all the havoc we were trying to get an explanation for. So we were very scared, and totally unsure of what was going on, what was going to be for the future, and how this would be treated- would it be cancer? would she need brain surgery? would she still be able to graduate from High School? would she still be able to plan for College?
With a few more Dr. appointments, we were told, not to change any plans, and not to change any medications, food choices, no environment changes, and to try to keep her stress down. Really? How on Earth are you supposed to keep a 17 year old Senior in High School in all Honors and AP classes from stress, as she is 2 1/2 months from Graduation? We had to wait to see the specialist (Endocrinologist) til the end of June. That is a long time to wait when you have ZERO info and your mind is racing and you worry constantly about what is to come. Although, it was plenty of time for me to do a lot of research on the subject. The internet is an amazing thing, I tell ya! Come to find out there is only a 5% chance of it being cancerous, most of these types of tumors are treated with medication, and only 10% need to have surgery to remove the tumor, it shouldn't affect her knowledge capacity, except for symptoms, like migraines, fatigue, and distraction, and if she is not part of the 10% that needs surgery, unless it is Cushings Disease, she will still be able to attend college. So we just continued on as if nothing would be different.
At the End of May she graduated with HONORS and  we are so proud of her! It was a really long ceremony, and my back was screaming by the end of it, but we made it through. My sister, Beckie was even able to schedule her vacation during that week, so she was able to make it to see Q graduate. :)
When we went to the Dr. In June, we of course had a million test run, and many blood tests repeated to see where things had gone from when we had them done in March. Unfortunately, the test results were not positive. So, medications were adjusted, and more tests run, and, and, and....
When we returned to the Endocrinologist at the beginning of August, the test results showed her levels were all in the NORMAL range! We were so excited, and relieved, and ecstatic, and overwhelmed with positive feelings. We figured it would take many months to years for her to see some progress, but we noticed these changes so quickly, and believe it was God's blessing to her that she will be able to carry on as normal. Now, it doesn't mean the tumor is gone, but it means that with the proper medications, it will not be causing her adverse symptoms, and she should be able to still have children someday when she is older.
We just have to keep an eye on it, and she needs to have regular check-ups and possibly an MRI every year or so to make sure it is still in a manageable state. WHEW!!!
As for this past week or so, Quincy has been getting ready to leave for College- she will be moving into the dorm on Thursday the 22nd! We are down to less than a week. Our house is full of boxes and bins and things for her to take with her. She is anxious and excited. We are anxious and excited too, but mostly for her. She doesn't know if she will have a roommate or not. She applied for a single room, but when they sent her housing paperwork, she had a To Be Announced as her roommate, so she may, or may not have one, we will see on Thursday.
So- I will try to be more vigilant in posting on my blog here, but who knows- we will just have to see what life brings me in the future. I will try to post some pictures of Q, on her first day at the College, and hopefully she will keep posting on her blog as she has time when she is there, and you can follow her on her blog- link in the right sidebar.
Off for now, and hoping you all have a lovely day, and that your lives are full of blessings and priceless memories, I know I am truly blessed, and I love my family more than life itself!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A little wrap up of the goings on

Well can you believe I haven' t posted on my blog in 7 months!  That has to be an all time record for me. If you have been visiting and looking for new content, I apologize.  This past year was wrought with struggles for me personally, and obviously I didn't make the time to update my blog. As you can tell, I have been doing some digital scrapbooking in the last few years, and have not been concentrating on my art journaling. Not to say that I won't be sharing my journals with you again in the future, but for now I am concentrating on my health. One year ago this month, (January 2012) I was diagnosed with type2 diabetes. This was a big shock for me, I am not sure why I was so surprised, because I have been overweight my entire life, and have not been eating healthy or taking care of myself. I guess I figured because my cholesterol and blood pressure have never been in a watchful range that I had nothing to worry about. WRONG! I am lucky that it was caught fairly early and that there was a great chance that I could get it under control quite quickly if I worked really hard doing so.  I guess that is all the motivation I needed, because I immediately changed my diet and started taking better care of myself. The nurse that was helping me with education and support said to take it slow and just change a few things at a time, so not to totally fail, when I would have a setback. Well for me it was all or nothing, so I went great guns, and though my progress seems slow, I have managed to lose 42 pounds and have lowered my A1C from 7.9 down to 6.4. Which is in the acceptable range. I am by no means finished with my journey, but feel that I have made great progress, and have given myself that boost I needed to keep going.  2013 Is going to be an even better year, with more progress. I hope that I can continue to keep things in control as well as continue to lose all these extra pounds that I don't need to be carrying around, as well as hopefully finding a way to strengthen my back and improve my physical fitness. Hopefully I will be better about posting on my blog. I am not sure if it will be art related, health related, or posts about my kids, especially because Quincy is a senior this year and graduates in May, and then goes off to college this fall, but hopefully I will remember to post something :)  I might even post some photos of me. No promises, since I dispize photos of myself, but maybe some before, and during progress pictures? Definitely some pictures of my awesome family, and maybe some art if I feel like it.