Sunday, August 17, 2014

Find Your Blessings Amidst Life's Storms

This week we've been dealing with great sadness as we deal with a death in the family. My mind has been racing with so many thoughts, but as with any grief, there is always that one moment where you grasp onto something hopeful—so you don't lose yourself to grief.

For me, it was the reminder that we only have one chance to live the life we've dreamed and there's no time to waste.

I have always been somewhat of a loner. I used to dream of huge family gatherings and large circles of friends. But as I got older, and hopefully wiser, I realized that the few I have are to be treasured and cherished and not tossed aside when the going gets rough, or the depression sets in, or life takes us in different directions. For true friendships will survive all of life's changes and those are the ones of real value in this world... not large circles of people.

I have always been about family first, and being available when needed, and that has not made it easy to build a career in this world but looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I LOVED LOVED LOVED my time at home with the kids... and truth-be-told, there are days I wish we could go back to those times when they looked up to, admired, and/or needed mommy. But I am also very proud of the young adults they've become because they have good souls... souls anyone would be blessed to get to know.

I have always been a one-man woman. In all the years I have been married, I have never looked at another man and wondered, "What if?" I may look at think, "That guy's cute or handsome" and sometimes, I may think, "I wish my husband could be a little more like that" but when it comes right down to it, I am very blessed to be married to the man I have. He is kind and generous to a fault, he works hard to give the best he has to his family, and I trust him completely. He is my safe haven.

And I am so glad that I survived not one, but two, very deep depressions in my lifetime and have come out the other side. I cannot tell you what it's like to live in darkness, as you fight every moment to see and feel the light, or what it's like to struggle through bitterness and anger and sadness and great anxiety in hopes of finding just enough forgiveness and love and laughter and strength to give the ones you treasure a reason to stick around. All I can tell you is that finding a reason to fight is the key to surpass any darkness life throws your way.

If I could encourage you to do one thing for yourself, it would be this: Take the time to live a purposeful life. Spend a little time every day working towards fulfilling your dreams, and most importantly, CHERISH every day that you have with the people you love most in the world... your beautiful family and circle of friends.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Paper Painting Collage Tips

I have long admired artists who can take everyday objects and turn them into stunning works of art, especially paper collage painters! But I've never actually tried my hand at it, until this week and can I just say that I am in paper painting heaven?!

For years, I have painted textured papers and used them for little greeting cards and hand stitched artwork, but I always thought... there is so much more I could do with them if I would just allow myself the possibility of messing them up!

So this week, I took a couple of my favorite papers and cut them down into 5x7, 4x4, and 2x2 squares... just to "mess them up". Then a few days later, after the anxiety and regret wore off, I tackled my very first paper painting collage!

A few things I learned during this process were:

1. Don't cut small pieces because you may need the larger pieces... so rip as you go, instead.

2. The more texture you add to your paper, the harder it is to rip... so be patient or use less texture.

3. Keep your premixed colors nearby... you'll need them for an under painting and to blend, as necessary.

4. Look for a heavier weight paper, cardboard, wood block, or canvas for your substrate... they're less likely to tear as you work and they hold up better.

5. After you paint your paper background for your paper painting, allow it to dry, then stack some heavy books on top for a few days to flatten the paper... a buckling backdrop doesn't look attractive.

6. Draw your image on a separate paper, then create a template to trace onto your painted background.

7. Choose a good glue, something that doesn't dry too quickly... so you can move pieces around if necessary.

8. Use a pencil to sketch out your design so you can erase anything that doesn't get covered.

9. Seal the painting. I like to use a matte finish, but you can use a glossy finish if the piece warrants.

10. Most importantly, relax and have fun!

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