Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Sister Act

Those Prim and Whimsy girls...Carolyn, a Jersey Girl and her sister Sara started working together in 1985.
Now 25 years later we've decided to stop doing local art/craft shows and sell exclusively on Etsy. So today I spent several hours getting the shoppe set up and tomorrow I'll start listing our Ghouls Jewels made exclusively for Halloween.
I spent a week doing the designs and my sister spent a day cutting them out of recycled wood from the inside of vintage cigar boxes. We're very into upcycled, recycled and repurposed items. And this wood has a distinct distressed appearance just perfect for the folk art designs I painted on them.
Tomorrow I'll be sure to add a link to the shoppe and post a few of my favorite necklaces. We're going to be working hard to promote this shoppe because at our age we don't want to get a job. After all women of a certain age need to keep working at what they do best!

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Here are the rest of the girls in the family. I wanted to keep sketching all night but the area where I was working only had lighting over the counters. The center table is under the skylight and it turned into night before I had a chance to stop playing. But tomorrow is another day. Hope you enjoy meeting the rest of the family.

While I was on a roll I decided to add some family members. So I grabbed that big ole white bristle brush again and some forest green paint to outline her. Hey...remember I said no rules were the rules in this game. This is really hard work breaking out of my mold!

Here's the sister. Dressed in her Sunday best. I used a bunch of flower punch outs that I'd been keeping in a drawer. Seemed that the smaller ones were perfect for her dress. I don't usually paint this big OR this bold. I'm loving this whole experiment. Can't wait to do more. But first I've got to finish up the rest of the family...see some of them below.

This is the first little baby that joined the family. I think she'll be holding a balloon or maybe a kite

These faces just keep appearing. How cute is she?

These little sweetums will be finished sometime this weekend. I am having so much fun 'just doing art'. I imagine though that as always I will be selling them because that's what I do. I can probably stop being a perfectionist but I doubt that I'll ever be happy making art for art's sake. I've made my living for almost 40 years as a professional artist...I really DON'T want to get a 'real' job..those are soul-sucking things!

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I've had a creative block that has refused to move. It's like my Muse went MIA and left me in a dark void. This has been going on for months and I've despaired all summer that she might never return to full time duty. I can't see the road ahead and I despair daily at my lack of creativity.

I knew how I wanted to paint but not how to go about quieting that voice in my head that has always said "it's not good enough, you're not good enough". So today I decided to unblock once and for all. But to go about it I needed to use supplies that didn't matter.

Messy but ready to be put to good use.

Bristol paper, paper palette, kids tempera paint, some big brushes.

Getting down with the paint. Gee, I think this might be fun!

I grabbed that big white bristle chinese sumi-e brush and quickly sketched a girl and cat.

I dug around for a folder of old handmade papers. Might as well put them to some use. I've been saving them for a 'special' piece...this is it!

Adding some collage elements

I've been adding crayons, paint and collage elements at this point. She's starting to speak to me!

Adding a piece of commercial scrapbook paper. My feet are getting tired of standing but this is really a lot of fun!

Papers added and background painted in. Sloppy but freeing. Cat needs some work.

I can't believe I did it. I've painted for years but I've never PAINTED this way before. No thought if it would be good enough to sell I was able to just paint and lose myself in the work. Tomorrow I'll show the whole family that decided to join her.

I haven't been this excited about my work in years. I painted freely, loosely and happily. Welcome home my dear Muse. Please don't ever take an extended vacation any time soon...PLEASE

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul

Watching any loved one grow older is always a saddening experience. This last weekend was hard for me. My Mom has been going to her ophthalmologist of 25 years for the last six weeks complaining of fogginess in her right eye. He reached the point last Monday where he said I don't know what's wrong, you'll have to see another doctor. On Tuesday I took her to her cardiologist who said "have you seen an eye doctor? You have an infection in your eye". No joke...we've been telling her we thought it had to be something more than an irritation. Cut to the chase. My sister is leaving for a short vacation and I'm left in charge of Mom so...I tell her to call the ophthalmologist and tell him that you need to see him again STAT!!! She calls, he passes her off to a younger doc in the practice who does a thorough exam and says her eyelid is infected as well as her cornea. Come in Saturday at 9 am. In we go, she sees the pediatric ophthalmologist because he's on call and he recognizes right away that she has eye margin disease. Which is apparently what kids get when they get foreign matter in their eyes. So Sat & Sun at 9 am we had a date with the pedi optho and now today we're back to the young associate who first recognized the problem.

I hate to admit that I was getting rather annoyed hearing about her eye since the Dr. was basically telling her nothing was wrong. I even was harsh with her on the ride up telling her she was concentrating too much on that eye. When we sat down on Friday to see that new doctor I saw my Mom's hands shaking on her cane and realized she was afraid. Of me (wow, what a reversal) the doctor, and her own beliefs. I've been much more gentle and understanding finding that those big brown eyes, now dimmed by age, are infected. So now the aggressive treatment begins and hopefully the last reading she got of 20/400 will improve enough for her to once again be able to read. God Bless you Momma...I'm sorry for acting the brat once again!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It's been almost two months since I posted to this blog. I broke EVERY rule of blogging! The first being: NEVER GO MORE THAN TWO DAYS WITHOUT POSTING TO YOUR READERS. So an apology is needed to all of you followers. Forgive the lapse but this long HOT, HOT, HOT Jersey summer has just about done me in! The day after day of 90+ sunshine is debilitating to say the least and I truly had nothing to say that would have added to your life experience. During this time away I:

    Took Kelly Rae's e-course
    Honed my illustrative techniques
    Developed a new line of art work
    Colored and highlighted my hair
    And...oh yes...celebrated 39 years of marriage to the SAME guy!

So it's not like I wasn't busy but I simply had nothing to add to your reading pleasure until NOW. For those of you who are of an artistic bent, I invite you to join me over at my new ART ONLY blog. One of the most important things that was stressed in Kelly Rae's course was to have a place where a reader could watch your artistic progress and help yourself define your identity as a business person. I apparently set up this blog back in '06 when I was setting up this one and then promptly forgot about it. I stumbled across it quite by accident about two weeks ago and now will be posting there regularly as I develop my line of "Kitty and Cat" paintings.
So please venture over and follow me there as well. I'll be posting regularly to both but strictly my art will appear on that one. Enjoy the day ahead and be happy that you've been given one more day to experience this wonderful world we live in!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Finding the Sacred in the Ordinary

I have personal validation that I will never grow old! In gathering items for our three family yard sale, my sister and I combed my Mom's basement. In a box of 'garbage' I found this zip lock bag filled with 'useless' junk.

At the age of 61 I responded to that bag like an 8 yro on Christmas morning! I was so excited to open it up and see what was hiding in there. I have always been addicted to anything that can make a mark on paper. To some they are called pencils and pens but to me they are magic wands. Placing sacred lines on ordinary paper that then becomes art. So here are the results of what was hiding in that bag of useless junk.

Pens, pencils, erasers, fountain pens...Magic Wands!!

Notice the bottom one...a Bible Marker...when did you ever see one of those?

I totally LOVE nib pens and these holders are perfect for the dozens of nibs I already have!

The Esterbrooks will require some TLC but I've found a site for replacement nibs and ink sacs.

Far and away the best finds in my opinion are these marvelous vintage mechanical pencils! There are two Scripto brands for which I luckily have a box of vintage leads so these will be the "stars" of my future sketching...I'm in love...check out the logo on the best one!

I could go on and on about each of the pieces I found. They are sacred in my world and I know will add to the pleasure I find in sketching and drawing in the weeks and months ahead.
The next time you get ready to throw away some old 'junk' see if there is anything that can be re-purposed or salvaged and made sacred. In the ordinariness of our life there are pockets of the sacred that are often overlooked.
Just a last thought I wanted to share. Most of these were giveaways and are remnants of a Jersey Shore that no longer exists.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Turning Points

We all have those days when nostalgia rears up and hits us right between the eyes! Today it came to me while I was sorting through some old packing boxes that had been in my former studio. Back in the summer of 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in early July. From mid-July until my mastectomy on August 23rd I spent the time packing up my studio and labeling the boxes. I was lucky enough to have the studio in my Dad's former childhood home so I just left them in storage on a back porch and walked away to deal with cancer and all of its ramifications.
The home/studio has been rented since by my youngest nephew, then my daughter and now my eldest nephew and the boxes shifted around, re-packed, etc. I realized it was finally time to confront all of the memories and junk they contained. It's been an evolutionary process.
I've found art supplies from as long ago as the mid-70's packed away with inspirational books, household supplies and your basic every day junk! I just unpacked the very last box and it contained nothing but books. Books I obviously have read over the years but never put to use in my every day life. I guess I thought that just by owning them, my life would somehow change. Here's the list of what was hiding in that last box...or at least the ones I intend to keep:

  • Wishcraft~How to Get What you REALLY Want by Barbara Sher
  • Anatomy of the Spirit~The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss
  • In My Wildest Dreams~Living the Life You Long For by Gail Blanke
  • The Well of Creativity~Julia Cameron, et al
  • The Power of Your Other Hand~A course in channeling the inner wisdom of the right brain by Lucia Capacchione
  • Pricing & Promotion~A Guide for Craftspeople by Patrick McGuire
    and last but not least
  • Flatter your Figure~Transform your figure with the next garment you wear! by Jan Larkey

There were also a bunch of inspirational paperbacks with Wayne Dyer in the lead for the most popular author. And it suddenly struck me...I am no farther ahead, no closer to my goal, no happier, no richer, no thinner, no more knowledgeable than when I first bought those books.
I guess the old saying is true: If you always do what you've always done; then you'll always get what you've always gotten!
So with this posting I am turning a corner. I'm making a promise to myself and to you, my followers, that in the future these blog posts will be about helping YOU and not about trying to change myself. I am what I am and it's just going to have to be good enough for all of us! Kelly Rae's e-course is responsible for opening my eyes on that one!
So I'd like to hear suggestions from the peanut gallery on how I can help you. What would you like me to share information about? Is there anything that I've said that you'd like more information about (excluding my kids and husband :)? I'd like to be here for those of you who may have questions about getting started on your artistic career because the one thing I have never tried to change is my desire to grow as an artist. I have 40 years worth of knowledge on all types of media and experience with gallery and juried art shows. I'm a resource that is willing to be tapped so let the tap show begin.
With much love I remain your ever faithful, Carolyn, a Jersey Girl.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Authentic Self

For years I've been secretly hiding a desire to go back to batiking. I fought it because it's not a popular art form...at least not in the rarefied circles that I inhabit :) But I'm not talking about your Indonesian batik, I'm talking about the Americanized variety that uses crayons, dyes and cloth. I practiced it 35 years ago. Had my first art show 35 years ago. Sold my first batik for $35 dollars 35 years ago. So what am I really saying here? That I want to go back to that style from the mid-seventies? The big turquoise poppies and the red calla lilies? NO! Absolutely NO! Those days are long gone and along with them an inauthenticity that even I wasn't aware of at the time.

I learned how to do American batik from a local girl who made it big. Sara Eyestone - American Artist. If you google her there are over 85,000 hits that reference her and her work. In the seventies I was young and I idolized her. I tried to be her in fact. And I failed....miserably! Even admitting that I learned the art form from her is exposing more of myself than even I am comfortable with because in doing so I must expose how negatively she impacted my life. She was my idol and my mentor. In my naiveté I believed she was also my friend. But even though that relationship ended badly for me it opened up my absolute love for Art and for 12 years gave direction for my work. Even if that direction was not my own.

Now 35 years later I'm ready to pick up the beeswax and brushes again. But this time what will emerge will be the authentic self. The real Carolyn, a Jersey Girl. The 61 year old woman who has survived breast cancer with dignity and is ready to begin again on a path of creativity that is finally my own. Where will this journey take me? Hopefully back to myself. To the real me who is scared of failing but is willing to try again despite my fears. And who is willing to say to anyone who is willing to listen...fear is our biggest stumbling block. Once we can get past our fears (of rejection, of failure, of embarrassment) the opportunities for personal growth are huge!

So tomorrow, when I would ordinarily be in church, I am going to pick up those brushes and touch them to my homemade paper and begin again. Begin something I consider sacred...rediscovering who I really am without the fear and the need for an idol or a mentor. My journey of self-rediscovery may be a bumpy ride and I may fall off the horse more than once but I hope that as I share my fears, failures and triumphs that I'll inspire others to rediscover their own dreams.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kelly Rae Roberts and Taking Flight

For Mother's Day this year my children gave me an incredible present. An e-course that has changed my life! Kelly Rae's e-course (see the clicky button at the left side) has had a major impact on my life over the last few weeks. As has the results of my latest tests and scans...I'm FIVE years out from metastatic breast cancer and I'm loving life.

I wanted to share the letter that I posted on the group's page in it's entirety so here it is:

I haven't been keeping up with the comments OR the actual blog postings for the last two weeks. I actually got my 'money's worth' on day two!! I decided to shed my fears and take that leap. So I put away my need to 'be like everybody else' and make what is selling and to do what my heart has been urging me to do regardless of whether or not it will be financially worthwhile.

About a week into my internal dialog and constant sketching I've arrived almost full circle from where I started (media wise) but this time with my very OWN style, which was missing when I was doing this work 35 years ago. I'm going away on a personal retreat this weekend to further explore what has been sketched and journaled and I'm taking along all the weeks that I've missed reading here. It will add dimension and real world knowledge to my journey.

I've been in 'turtle' mode these last few weeks. It is what I do when I need to just shut down and listen to my heart. Most of the time my head interfered and told me that I couldn't 'afford' to do my own individual art and I HAD to follow the style that was popular and SELLING at that moment. If I were to think about it too long I might begin to regret all of those years doing inauthentic art. However, those other paths have brought me to where I am now with skill sets that are totally original. Skills I didn't have when I was involved in this particular media so long ago.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Kelly Rae. You are the one who handed me the key to unlock those secret desires that were lurking there. Now I feel enriched, authentic and happier (art wise) than I've been in the last 25 years!!!

And one final word from this Jersey Girl...during all of my mulling over of my life's work I had to go thru a series of scans and tests. Six years ago this month I found a soft round lump in my right breast. In July of '04 I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The first oncologist I consulted told me I had a very slim chance of surviving for more than 18 months. I immediately chanced oncologists and this past Monday I got the call I've been waiting for. I'm OFFICIALLY FIVE YEARS out from beast cancer and the future is VERY promising for leading a long, long life. A long life FINALLY doing what I know in my heart I was born to do and hopefully along the way sharing MY journey for those still struggling to put their foot on their own path.

Hugs and love to you, Kelly Rae, and to all of these brave souls flying with us. I think that this (me) is what you planned this course to accomplish. And if I can finally be at peace with where I am going creatively then there is no reason why each and every one of you can not find your own life's journey...it's all about having the faith to take that first leap.

I'll be leaving in a few hours for some time alone. Hoping that all of you have a happy, creatively healthy weekend!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pay It Forward

Yesterday was Freebie Friday in my Digital Collage Diva shoppe on Etsy. I gave away 17 sheets and even got a few sales. Last evening my brother-in-law commented: "The problem with freebies it that they are viewed as having no value, think about it." His comment has value but as I said to him: "for me it was a win-win because I believe in PIF. And it WAS a great day. Not only did I get to Pay It Forward by giving something to someone without any expectation of monetary reward but I had a chance to make new friends and perhaps even some new customers.

One of my new clients sent this note to me: "Thank you for the free collage sheet! I love your sheets and want to purchase more! I believe in PIF too! What goes around comes around!" Her comment really hit home.

When I was younger I never understood that 'what goes around, comes around'...it wasn't until I was older and understood 'karma' that I got it! I've always tried to be kind to everyone but not everyone is kind no matter what you do for them. And though I'm not vindictive I've seen that 'karma's a b*tch' thing happen even though sometimes it takes a very long time.

Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

Nine years ago one of my husband's best clients (DH was an investment counselor) and a close church friend sued my husband. To do that this man had to be willing to lie about how badly my husband counseled him. Yes this man collected a substantial sum of money from my husband's insurance but the stress was overwhelming for both DH and myself. I was in the middle of my cancer treatments for breast cancer but I got on the phone to beg this friend not to sue us...that it would destroy my husband and I didn't know how I'd get through the rest of chemo with DH so depressed. This friend just laughed it off and I thought I'd 'won' him over. Two months later we got the letter that the suit had gone through. DH lost his license and his spirit was crushed. I was left to struggle through the rest of the cancer treatments without the support I needed.

Nothing happened to my ex-friend during the next few years. Life treated him well; he traveled, bought properties with his sons to 'flip', bought a new house and basically seemed to be living in luxury while we (now both unemployed) struggled to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Eighteen months ago I heard that this old 'friend' had been afflicted by some mysterious illness that had the doctors puzzled. He was treated for various ailments until six months ago they found the root cause of his ailment...pancreatic cancer. I haven't seen him for years and it doesn't please me at all that he is sick but 'karma' or perhaps his own guilty conscience had finally come around all these years later.

Even if I didn't believe in karma or 'what goes around, comes around' I couldn't treat another human being with such blatant cruelty. Especially if it were for personal financial gain. I'm not angelic so yes I do lose my temper once in awhile but never at the expense of someone else.

Perhaps because of breast cancer I'm more at peace with myself and the world around me. I do continue to struggle financially but am working on manifesting a positive financial environment for myself and my family. It's tough to do at times when it seems that 'bad' gets rewarded and while 'good' gets stuck. But if Paying It Forward once in awhile can bring a smile to someone's face while putting a smile on my own I'll continue to do so. It's not making me rich but it truly enriches my life!

Friday, June 11, 2010


FREE for ALL today only 3 - 6 pm EDT on the Digital Collage Diva. Just click on the title of this post and grab yourself a free collage sheet from the three dozen or so I have there. Then put it into a cart and be sure to confirm your order. BUT DO NOT PAY...I will get your order, mark you paid and send the collage sheet to your Etsy email addy. Of course if you see an extra one you just have to have you can buy it thru Paypal but that is totally optional. There are no strings to this offer other than YOU MUST LEAVE ME POSITIVE FEEDBACK for sending you your FREE collage sheet. Now how hard can that be?

Etsy is in a lull right now and rather than let these sheets sit for another month, I'd rather clear out the present inventory instead of paying Etsy ANOTHER 20 cents to list it higher up. So consider this a PIF (pay it forward) just for my Facebook and blog readers. If you want to tell a friend, that's fine with me. I just want my shop EMPTY by 6 pm so I can put it on vacation mode. Yes, I know it doesn't have to be empty to go on vacation but what's the point of that??? I'd rather you have FUN with some new jewelry inchies or magnet twinchies or ACEO backgrounds! Happy Creating!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What do you do when your work isn't selling on Etsy. I guess you could sit down and bemoan your fate or perhaps like me you decide to do a PIF. Pay It Forward is basically what the movie was about. Paying it forward to my Facebook friends and Blog fans by letting everyone have at the 41 listings that I paid 20 cents a piece for ...for FREE. This free for all is Friday from 3pm to 6pm EDT...mark it down.

If shipping was involved I wouldn't be able to afford to do this at the present time. But since these are digital works all I have to do is forward for free a digital file and let the person who 'bought it' enjoy it while getting it out of inventory and adding a positive feedback to my account.

I've noticed that of the 14 sales I've had since I started the Digital Collage Diva, only 10 buyers have chosen to leave feedback. Since I'm so conscious of how important feedback is I'm always sure to immediately leave feedback when the item arrives in my mailbox or inbox. Not everyone is quite as prompt and if I ask them for feedback, many times I get a nasty reply. What's that all about??? I guess we live in a society that is so used to sitting behind a computer screen that the common courtesies of my childhood no longer exist.

That brings me to a quote that I kind of think is profound enough to be repeated here.
"The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand. The largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had. ~ Eric Schmidt"

There is a lot I have to say about the internet and the facelessness of it all but that will be for another time and blog post. For now, click on the title of this piece, pick out the collage sheet you like and tomorrow from 3pm to 6pm EDT put it in your cart but don't pay for it. I'll send it to you and mark you paid. But remember...the price is A POSITIVE FEEDBACK!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

An Inauthentic Life

I recently started an ecourse with Kelly Rae Roberts. Her suggestion was to journal about our fears as a way of removing the blocks to our authentic creative self. Before I even had a chance to read her inspiring words I journaled this post while on vacation in PA.
At 61, the whispers I've heard my whole life have turned to screams. All through life I've ignored their message because I've been in pursuit of money. Whatever I had to do to earn the dime, the quarter, the dollar, the hundreds of dollars at craft fairs, auctions, home shows, and yard sales. The money, always and in all ways it's been about the money.
First I had a father who wouldn't give me a dime that wasn't earned in some way. Then it was the husband who dragged me from one dream to another always depending on me to fill the gaps and stem the flow of cancellations, shut-offs and shortfalls with whatever art form I was involved with at the time. At no time could I afford to listen to those quiet whispers that told me to express myself creatively whether or not it brought in the money.
That's not to say that I haven't lived a creative life. I have most definitely been creative. For over 40 years I have found inspiration in many places and expressed it in a myriad of ways, all of which have brought me moderate fame and some money. BUT...all of the creativity that I have expressed has been 'borrowed' from someone else. At no time has it been authentic.
At no time has that little voice said "Oh yes, Carolyn, yes! This is what you were meant to do!" But wait...that little voice just whispered that's untrue. One time, oh yes, one time it was all about me. My authentic self was given free rein that summer of my 14th year when it was all about my love of sewing. I think of it as the summer of the Singer, the Barbie and Jake's Fabrics. Then, oh, then it was truly me being expressed through needle, thread and fiber. After that intense three months I continued on through high school with sewing and designing my own clothes. I've often wondered what might have happened when I told my parents I wanted to attend F.I.T. in NYC. What if they had said yes instead of an emphatic, NO! Would those whispers have become my authentic voice. Would I really have become the designer I longed to become? And now, 43 years later does it really matter?
I've done everything that others only dream of doing but it has always been me mimicking some other artist's work because it sold well and brought in the much needed money. But now when I listen closely the whispers still persist. Louder now because time is no longer a luxury. And they are saying ..."hurry, hurry...take the time to find your voice before it is silenced forever."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Offering FREE items NOT a BOGO-5/13 ONLY

Attention all Crafters of scrabble tile and soldered jewelry. TODAY ONLY (5/13) FROM 3 PM TO 6 PM...I will send you a FREE digital collage download of your favorite collage sheet from my Etsy shop just click on today's title.


The only cost is a positive feedback as soon as it is sent to you!!! I wanted to do this on the 1st but didn't have enough stock in the shoppe. So hop over to the Diva and get yours FREE. Just put it in your shopping cart and confirm BUT DON'T PAY...and I'll mark you paid and send the sheet to you asap. I'll also leave you glowing FEEDBACK as a bonus :)

ATC/ACEO artists...there's plenty of 2.5x3.5 sized background sheets for you!!! So help yourself to ONE but remember...don't pay...just purchase and I'll send it along to you asap in exchange for your positive feedback! This is my way of getting started on my Etsy adventure!!!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are You there God? It's me, Carolyn

The knocking on the door awhile ago was the mailman with a summons. We are in violation of Township laws requiring a pool that is clean and in good repair. I needed to talk to someone and it occurred to me there was no one to call. No close friends who could commiserate, no family who would have an answer because their answer isn't the same as mine...FILL IT IN!!! So I started to pray and it then occurred to me that God has been so busy with all the problems of the world, He couldn't possibly have been listening to my pleas. I'm not saying I don't believe. It was faith that got me through breast cancer and my husband's prostate cancer. It was God who brought me back into the fold that day on that cold operating table. But on the little things like lack of money to fix the house and yard and pay the bills and the health insurance and the broken down 16 yro car; He is mostly absent or at least isn't giving me a clue as to how to survive LIFE.

So here I am talking to you. You the people who happily or unhappily follow my sometimes blog posts. I need to vent and the cats aren't listening and neither is God, apparently. I don't usually cry but today the wellsprings have sprung and I can't seem to stem the flow. What do I do? How do I convince my family we can't repair the rips, tears and troubles of a 30 yro liner that long ago gave up the ghost. And that every year brings the neighbor's to their decks and backyard fences to complain. This time maybe the summons to appear in court and a fine may be enough to convince my DH and DS that the pool is NOT NEEDED anymore. I can see the backyard flat and smooth with no pool just lots and lots of dirt.

OK...thanks for listening...I'm going to go blow my nose and find out how much dirt it costs to fill in a huge, old, ugly, festering pool. I love you all for listening and maybe God will have the answer! At least He sent this quote my way earlier this morning: Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Collage Sheets

On a happier note I will be opening a new shop on Etsy and a new blog where I'll be giving away some great digital ephemera. The "Digital Collage Sheet Diva" should be up and running and offering giveaways and goodies within the next 10 days. I'll post a link once the groundwork is finished. I've been thinking of giving away digital collage items for awhile but was hesitant to start it here since this is mostly just ruminations of a burned out artiste and mother. Notice I think of myself as an artist first. I've always had my priorities straight...LOL Stay tuned for upcoming news on my new venture. In the meantime I'd love to hear any suggestions for things you'd like to be able to download for your scrapbooking and ACEO/ATC artwork.

Bridezilla-The Final Frontier

As my BFF's daughter's wedding draws closer there has been a flurry of activity from what I've come to think of as a family cult. My friend's daughter is an only marrying into a huge family of six children plus grands and nieces and nephews. Their line of thinking seems to be if you don't belong to "the family" then you don't belong at our wedding. I, along with my sister and her husband plus a few of my friend's other acquaintances have been uninvited. We strongly expressed our feelings on how rude and unfeeling it was to not include the mother of the bride in ANY part of the preceding. She usually finds out about things AFTER they've happened via Facebook.

While Facebook is a wonderful vehicle for maintaining and renewing friendships "the family" cult has used it as a way to harass and embarrass my friend in public. There is a special kind of wicked glee they seem to enjoy while talking about their trips to the bridal salon or meeting with the wedding planner. My BFF is a single mother whose husband recently married a 33 yro old new wife. The stepmother (just seven year's my BFF's daughter's senior) has been especially involved, inviting the whole bridal party to get dressed at her house while informing my friend that she is not invited to attend but a car can be sent for her if she needs a ride to the wedding and reception. When my friend broke down sobbing and reached out to her 'ex' she was informed that "who is paying for it anyway?". She told him that since he left her to raise their daughter since age 12 they probably have finally broken even in the 'money spent' department.

I could go on with all the trivial hurts directed at my friend but my part in this fiasco has come to an end. I won't be attending nor will my sister and since the four of us constituted almost half of the 10 people she was allowed to invite I'll just have to wait for the pictures folks. Oh...do you think she will get any copies of the wedding photos? Probably not which is why I was taking the Nikon D90 to be sure she had at least a few snaps to remember her daughter's wedding. I've told her not to worry...she can attend the next wedding because this marriage seems doomed from the start. Why else would the bride post to her FB page: I can't wait till this wedding is over. Sounds like a happy bride to me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bridezilla Revisited

I didn't think my BFF could ever feel any worse with the actions her daughter has been displaying during this time leading up to her wedding. I was dead wrong. Not only does the daughter continue to ignore her Mother (no Happy Easter greetings via phone, email or FB), (no Happy Birthday greetings last Wednesday when she turned 54) but now a new wrinkle has appeared in the fabric of my friend's rejection. That darling little bit*h has taken to informing the FB crowd about her daily activities re her wedding with commentary from her future MIL AND from her 34 yro stepmother!!!

This trio is acting about as mature as a group of pissy little high schoolers. All the 'nanner, nanner, boo, boo' that is going on and my friend is taking it right in the heart. And speaking of heart, my BFF has a heart condition that makes stress a definite thing to avoid. We're all frail humans in reality but when someones ticker ain't as strong as it could or should be, you'd think that any decent human being, especially one that you birthed and nursed at your breast would think about a world without a mother and perhaps decide to act with decency for a change.

That brings me to the question of...not only do you think this young woman is a brat, but does her action in any way portray a personality disorder? I'm of the belief that it does and I keep telling my BFF that the daughter really can't help acting as she does and that my friend should NOT expect to see a change in her behavior EVER. That said, does anyone have a thought on why a future mother-in-law would take such joy in hurting the mother of her son's future wife? And should the added actions of the young stepmother point to collusion between these social misfits?

I can feel my heart literally sink in my chest when my friend calls. I can hear the desolation in her comments even when she says she's ok with all that's happening. I know she's not but for the first time in our friendship I CAN NOT help change the situation to a more positive one. So all my followers are urged to weigh in on this because maybe if we could understand WHY these women are acting this way I could help my friend feel less like a human target or perhaps a better way to say it: less like an active voodoo doll! By the way, you DO NOT have to be a member of blogspot to post comments to this post. There is a section that allows you to do so anonymously. I usually discourage anonymous postings but in this case any and all help is needed!!! If there are any docs out there that have dealt with people showing this kind of quirky behavior please weigh in. If your comment is thought out and helpful I will definitely be willing to approve it!

Monday, April 05, 2010


With my BFF's daughter getting married in May I've had an upclose and personal experience with what the country has come to call a Bridezilla. A rather unflattering term for a woman who thinks she's a princess and makes everyone around her unhappy while she plans her wedding. Usually she's driving her Mother nuts with all of her requests for help and demands for attention.

In the case of my BFF, however, she's been told she's not needed. To quote a recent email from daughter to mother: "Its my wedding, and things will happen how I want them to happen. Not how you want, or how anybody else thinks it should go. You complain I don't ask for help. Maybe because I do not need help. I am well aware what I need to do, how it needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. If I needed something, I told you BEFORE, I would ask.

So what's a mother to do? In the case of my BFF she's opted to step aside and let her daughter run her life and her wedding as she wants it to be. (I can't resist adding here that the daughter has not gotten anyone to perform the ceremony and as far as my BFF knows...hasn't ordered the rings yet). I have to give my friend credit because if it were me I'd want to b*tch slap my daughter right about now. But then my daughter still lives at home and her daughter moved in with her boyfriend 18 months ago...right next door to her future m-i-l. So guess who the daughter IS letting help plan the wedding. You already know the answer. The future m-i-l! At least that's what my BFF assumes because of all the chatter on FB by the m-i-l and those attending the wedding.

Now all of this begs the question. Is this young woman a Bridezilla or just a thoughtless and selfish BRAT? I'm going with the BRAT because I know for a fact that the mother (a single Mom) gave up everything to make her daughter's life as stress-free and comfortable as possible. My BFF chose NOT to teach in public school but to teach privately so her daughter could be enrolled in programs that would be beneficial for her. So now in her 50's my friend will never become tenured but as she says that was her choice and she won't blame her daughter for her decisions.

In closing her email to her mother the daughter wrote: "If you don't want to go to the wedding, then don't. I am completely done with the problems and drama that's happening. Its not making anything enjoyable and I am just not dealing with it anymore." Now that's what I call a wonderfully warm and loving end to any email to one's mother...NOT!! I find this all so incredibly distressing because my friend would give you her last dime if you asked. She's loved by children and animals alike because they recognize a good person when they see one. There's little hope that her daughter will ever 'come around' and ask her mother to share in her joy. But perhaps that's the crux of the whole problem...I don't think this young woman is at all joyful and maybe, just maybe she'll realize that before it's too late.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When will I know?

I hadn't intended to publish a post this evening but when I moderated a comment and had to come here anyway I thought...why not? It's a question I've never been able to answer for myself so perhaps someone else will know. It was written by me many years ago and has become just a tattered piece of paper that hung in my studio for years, and years. Taunting me with its profundity and yet enigmatic presence. So I ask my readers to answer this question:
When will I know I have enough, and what will I do then?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthcare Vote

I don't often respond to viral emails nor do I EVER post them to my blog. But this particular email struck me as being so true that it needed to be shared with everyone.

New Political Party.

Not Democrat, Not Republican, Not Independent.

It's called the "PISSED OFF PARTY" (or POP).

This party is dedicated to vote every incumbent out of office in the next elections.
If you're Democrat, vote Democrat. Just don't vote for the incumbent.
If you're Republican, vote Republican. Just don't vote for the incumbent.
We need to send a message to all politicians, that we're tired of their B.S.
If the country votes out all the incumbents, the new incoming politicians will get the message.
It's pretty simple. Nobody needs to change parties and lets face it, there's plenty of blame to spread around.
A few good politicians will lose their job but they probably have better retirement and insurance then 95% of the American public.

If you’re like me, you've had to struggle for the last 5 years. Some of you have lost your job and may be working in some other sector just to feed your family.
I guarantee you none of them will suffer like this country has.
If you like what’s going on and think this is a bad idea, ignore this.
But if you're fed up and think this is a good idea, then copy and paste this into an email and send it on.

An open message to every one of the 535 voting members of the Legislature:
It is now official. You have finally proven what we long suspected…you are all weak, ineffectual and self-indulgent. You do not listen to the wants or needs of your voting public. And we have had it!

We are tired of your infighting, special interests and lobbyist pals. You have all had years, decades even to fix our government and still all of the programs that are supposed to help the people are hopelessly broken. The rich get richer; the poor complain but are taken care of by your social programs. It is US, the U.S. middle class who is dying and your attempts to institute a health care system are helping no one who really needs it.

You, the politicians have health insurance coverage while in office and beyond. The poor have Medicaid, the old have Medicare while those who really need your help and usually are the ones who voted you into office are ignored.

Don’t pass a bill just to pass a bill. Take some responsibility and make it right the first time. Don’t pass it and then try and fix it. You’ve proven to the American Public that you can’t do it right the first or second time around for years. You can ignore us but come November a lot of us will be using the only weapon we have on hand. Our right (or left) index finger as we push the button TO VOTE YOU OUT!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TWITTER is dead

At least the twitter that I joined back in the day when the idea was young and we were all naive about social marketing and networking. It was a quick way to update friends and find out their plans for the day ahead or the upcoming weekend. Messages would fly back and forth all day long. Personal messages that said "I hear ya", "I'm with ya" "I'll give ya a call tonight"...Now I'm hard pressed to get anyone to respond to a question or even a comment to a fellow tweet. With tweetdeck, hoot suite, ping, mobile web, etc. everyone is busy twittering their doings without ever once having to actually go to the web and type in an answer and perhaps see that someone cares about what they've said.

What was once a way to connect in a friendly way is now a huge marketplace where everyone is trying desperately to get someone to buy their product, join their group, become a follower. I'd say 89% of Twitter devotees like it that way. They don't want to get personal; they can get out their advertising message; they can get you to where THEY want you to go with a link; and perhaps they can even get you to buy their product. But they don't have to make you their 'friend' and really care about YOU unless your money is green and coming their way.

Social networking is a huge market. Just look at the success of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. Everyone is out to make a buck and sometimes a fortune. Do I think that's wrong? Of course not! Everyone is entitled to make a living and the better living they can make for their family the better the family can live. I just miss the once personal touch of reaching out to a 'friend' and have him/her take a few moments to say hi, how's your day going? Now it's mostly a tweet moments later but usually with another link to a product or service!

I'm not saying that I haven't used Twitter and FaceBook to help move along my eBay and Etsy sales because I have. But I've never done JUST that. I always find a way to connect to at least a dozen people a day just to tell them what they posted helped or gave me a laugh or yes, I'll be praying that their dog/cat gets well quickly. For the most part they go unanswered or perhaps just unseen in that ever swiftly flowing stream of words. But sometimes a long time 'friend' will reply with a personal comment and those are the ones that make me feel the best. It means I'm not just another message in the stream but they remember who I am and think I'm worth 140 letters.

Maybe I'm taking Twitter and FB all too seriously. Maybe I shouldn't care if QuickJet's dog just died and he's heartbroken or that MollysMaid has a sick kid and what would be the best way to break up congestion. But I DO care about those things because you see...that's what Twitter was all about in its early days. Days that perhaps only I miss.

You bet I'll post a link to this on Twitter and you can rest assured that I hope it stirs up a bit of controversy. I hope it draws a few comments even if they are all negative, because that will mean that there is still hope. Hope that the REAL Twitter is still alive and there are still people willing to do more than post a link to an Etsy listing or a conference call without ever once stopping to say something personal. In the early part of last century it was called etiquette. In the nineties we called it netiquette; today I don't think we call it anything at all.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wild Gypsy Art: ACEO and ATC digital Collage Downloads on Etsy

Wild Gypsy Art: ACEO and ATC digital Collage Downloads on Etsy

ACEO and ATC digital Collage Downloads on Etsy

I've been very lax with posting during the last six months. Life has been spinning out of control and I don't like posting anything negative. My 30 yro daughter is moving back in and at the moment I am plagued with a bad case of hives. Don't think the two are related but who knows...LOL
I have FINALLY started doing what I absolutely love and that is offering a unique selection of printable ACEO and ATC backgrounds in PDF format for ease of printing. I'll be adding a jpeg alternative as well in the next 48 hours. If you're a collage artist and would like some unique, ready made backgrounds to spark your creativity, be sure to visit my shop. Just click on the title above and it will magically send you into ACEO background heaven!!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It's been a long time between posts but...

I've been re-thinking my artistic direction and when I do that I hunker down or 'turtle' as I tell my friends. I need to think about what I doing and where I am going. I find that this discourse with myself happens every 9 months or so. Kinda like a pregnancy and birthing or re-birthing as it were.

One of the things that has been much on my mind is copyright infringement. As I've moved further away from my painting and collaging and more into the digital world I find that each time I scan a Vintage photo or even right-click on the work of a grandmaster I ask myself if what I am doing is 'legal'. In today's age of right click & save, it seems that more and more people think it's OK to use the work of others in their own creations.

Needing to take a break from my ruminations I took a look at Twitter to see what some of my cyber friends were up to this New Year. One Tweet in particular caught my eye. Margot "Madge" Potter is someone who always has something to say that needs saying. I've followed her tweets for a long time and today I saw a link to her blog that put into words what I've been thinking about for weeks. Copyright infringement in all its derivations. Click on the title of this post to read what she has to say. I can't say it any better so I won't infringe on her post by saying more!

I've almost birthed what I think will be my new and hopefully lasting direction in 'art'. I was doing this work six months before my diagnosis of breast cancer and left it behind to physically feel the art in my hands. Art is healing and during the last six years it's what I've needed to do almost daily. Now I think I need to return to my photography and my digital collage. I'll post more when the labor pains have subsided and my Wild Gypsy Art shop on Etsy is fully stocked once again.