Monday, February 20, 2017

Back to blogging

I am heading to Israel on March 1 and will be spending 5 1/2 weeks there.  In the past 3 years, I have been posting my adventures and my art on Facebook.  But it's time now to get back to blogging!  So the next few days I will be testing posting from my iPad and getting things set up and ready to go.

About 7 months ago, I decided to take watercolor painting lessons.  Mom was an amazing artist.  I will never paint like her and perhaps, I don't want to.  I have long thought I needed to find my own style and I also realize that a style can change and evolve over time.

For now, I have settled in on "scripture paintings".  A combination of watercolor with scriptures penned in them.  My first one was a bird soaring through the air and I still love it!

but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, they shall walk, and not faint.  Is 42:31 (which happens to be my life verse).

Today, I did a skyline of Jerusalem:

and you can see that I have penned Ps 122 6-9 around the top of the skyline.  

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, And prosperity within thy palaces.  I will now say, Peace be within thee.  For the sake of the house of Jehovah our God I will seek thy good.
I think those verses are so important to me right now.  God has promised that if we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and if we LOVE Jerusalem - we will prosper.  I have surely prospered time over time these past 12 years since I started traveling to Israel.  But I don't think I actually loved Jerusalem until 3 years ago.  I can hardly wait to return.....9 more days!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My upcycled life

When I was 10 years old, mom taught me how to sew.  I am so thankful for that skill!!!  In high school, we had a "sewing room" with an old kitchen cupboard.  Mom took the doors off and would purchase bolt ends of fabric and stack them in the cupboard.  The bottom drawers were full of patterns and she taught me how to take the sleeves from one pattern, the neckline from another, the skirt from another and design whatever I wanted.

A few years back, I bought a dress form.  But I have always hated how it looks with all the knobs and dials and split open parts.

One day at the thrift store, I found this long dress out of a very thin, black knit fabric and an idea was born.  Don't bother asking how I "see" these things, but I do!!!

And today was the day.....I made a cover for my dress form.  It turned out perfect!  No pattern (trust me, I searched the internet for a pattern like this!) - just a "vision" in my head.

It wasn't that hard.  I simply turned the dress inside out and put it over the dress form.  Then I pinned the seams, took it off, cut out around the pins and stitched it up.  The top cap was perhaps the most difficult, but again, I took fabric from a sleeve, laid it on top of the neck and traced an oval.  Then I pinned that into the neck, much like you would pin a sleeve into an armhole.

Now I can have it in my room and it's not quite the eyesore I thought it was!  An upcycled dress - total cost was $4.99.

My next project....I have this old sweater that I have always thought looked like "grandma's" so I'm going to alter it.  Again, I have the idea inside my head.....I just need a few days to turn it into that "vision".

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I haven't blogged in over a year - maybe it's time???  Lots has happened!  I spent a month in Israel with 2 sisters and a brother-in-law....what an incredible experience!  Yes...I rode a camel.....

and a donkey......walked on Temple Mount - this is the Eastern Gate:

we did a private archeology dig inside the West was an amazing time.

It's been a busy summer, creating new flower beds, planting more trees, watching everything grow in the yard.

And I've had plenty of art projects this past year.  Some of my favorites:

a friend gave me an old potty chair that I painted and turned into a planter in my garden

Made some doll dresses out of old hankies and aprons

had fun making this gorgeous banner

It's been a good year and my thoughts are that I will do a few more tutorials and hopefully get back into the swing of blogging.  But don't hold your breath!  The older I get, the faster life goes and some days I'm just too busy to do anything but play!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The back side of skyline drive

If you head up north 5th street and look over at the hogbacks, you can see this old road going up to the top.  Today was my day to hike it!!!

But let me warn's quite a hike just to the base of the road!

That little area between the 2 hogbacks is where I started.  No small climb.  :o)

And just a little farther up, you learn why this is not a "road" at all.  These are pretty rugged rocks, some steps are a foot high.

Imagine my surprise to find a cave along the "road".

And (drumroll please!) I actually made it to the top.  It only took me 45 minutes!!!  Now more drum rolls...I literally sang all the way to the top.  OK, you may not have understood a word of my huffing and puffing songs....but I did sing!  I only met one other hiker and I quit singing far enough away as to not disturb him.  LOL!  This is skyline drive looking back to the north

and this is looking to the south.

 This is looking out to the southeast.

And this is overlooking Canon City to the east.

When you are up on top and you are trying to find the back road, this is what it looks like.  I wouldn't know it was a road if I was looking for it!

When I got back down, I took this shot.  And yep, I sang all the way down.  No idea how far this is in actual miles....but for me, at the age of 62, it was a substantial hike.  I have not been able to do this due to my back pain, so today was a glorious day!  I love that I made this hike at least once in my life.  If you come to town, I'll be happy to go with you!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.  But I think even more than miracles, I believe in the amazing grace of God.

I was trying to remember when I first started having back pain.  Kerry's granddaughter was a baby.  They were at our house for dinner and I had to stop preparing the meal right in the middle of cooking as my back hurt so bad.  It felt like it was on fire.  I sat down and just cried.  Kerry, his daughter and his daughter-in-law all finished fixing the meal, but I was in so much pain, I couldn't even enjoy the evening.  And that over 10 years ago.

The pain has been off and on.  You get used to it.  My doctor quit prescribing pain meds with all the new changes in health care regulations.  She told me to make up "pain packs".  2 aspirin, 2 acetametephine, 2 ibuprofen  and take them every 4 hours.   I make up 100 packs at a time stuffing the pills into tiny little ziplock bags (jewelry bags) and keep them everywhere.

 I have heating pads in every single room in the house, in my car, at the scrapbook store.  On every bed.  I lived for my heating pads.

Gradually, the pain has just become a part of my life.  When it gets too bad, I quit what I'm doing and sit on a heating pad.  If you know me, you've probably sat with me.  An hour of cleaning, an hour on the heating pad.  An hour of gardening, 30 minutes on the heating pad.  Some days, it's 30 minutes of gardening and 2 hours on the heating pad.  I refused to have surgery.  I watched Kerry almost die during his spinal fusion surgery....I'll keep the pain.

So I went to Israel knowing that I would probably be in intense pain.  But I was determined to go and to do all the things I wanted to do.  Of course, the first moment I plugged the heating pad into the outlet (with my converter), it "popped" and that was the end of that!  LOL!!!  But I had taken plenty of pain packs and a few prescription pain pills that I had stashed away from my last prescription 2 years ago.

I also threw in my tens pack at the last moment.  I normally do to use it as I don't like the constant prickling feeling it gives.  Needless to say, while in Israel, I would get up every morning and put it on.  Put the gel pads right in the middle of my back and I usually needed to turn in on about an hour into the day.  It saved me.  Truly.  I used it all day long on my back, taking the pain packs as often as I could.

There were times I had to sit.  One day, while standing in line to go to the top of Temple Mount, the pain was so excruciating that I got sick to my stomach.

I prayed every day that God would heal my back.  I went to the Western Wall and touched it, prayed and expected "my" miracle.

Nothing happened.

Nothing.  The pain was still there.  In fact, it was probably worse than it had ever been.  Maybe because I was more aware of it than ever before.  Maybe because we were walking, hiking, doing more exercise than I normally do.  I would turn the tens pack up as high as I could tolerate it and the pain from that was at least a different kind of pain than what I felt in my back.  I sat when it got really bad.  I bought new shoes hoping that would help.

When you are taking 6 pain pills every 4 hours, you have to eat in order to keep from getting nauseated.  OK, I do.  So I ate.  Lots of pita bread.  And the pills did stay down for the most part.  I had moments of relief.....but mostly just severe pain.

I made it to the top of Temple Mount that day I got so sick.  I walked around the outside of the mount and prayed that Jehovah Jesus Messiah would see me.  That He would know I was there.  That he would take note of my request that I simply survive the pain and if it be His will, that He heal my back.


But I didn't give up.  I went to the wall twice that day and prayed.  I stood before Him and while I did not pray for my back to be healed, I prayed for His will to be done.

And I got up the next day and walked even more.  I flooded my system with water, loads of pita and humus.  A little chicken every now and then.  And pain packs every 4 hours.

On our last morning there, we got up at 5 am and walked to get in line to go up on top of Temple Mount.  I put my tens pack on.  I'd wait an hour before I turned it on.  This was my routine.

At 7:30, we entered Temple Mount and we walked the outside edges and I prayed again.  We left and met our tour guide who took us to Jericho that day.  About 10:30 am, I looked at my sister and said, "April, my back hasn't hurt yet."  I hadn't taken any tylenol.  I hadn't turned on the tens pack.  I was almost afraid to breathe!

At lunch, I commented again.  Still no pain.  Not even a hint of pain.  I just sat there and started praising Jehovah.  I sort of wanted to sing....but it was too early.  (Oh me of such little faith!)

We had a very long day that day.  We ended up getting to the airport 7 hours before our flight.  Then 15 hours sitting on the plane to LAX.  Then another 5 hour layover there, a 3 hour flight home, a 2 1/2 hour drive home from the airport.

No pain pack.  No tens pack.  I knew a miracle had happened.  I knew my back had been healed.  I knew God had seen me, He had heard me.  But I was cautious.  I told myself that even if it was only 48 house of no pain, that was a blessing.

And that's when I started to realize just how bad my back had been hurting.  When the pain leaves, you realize how severe it had been.  How limited I had been.  How much of my life I had been sitting on a heating pad.

That was 2 weeks ago.  I have moved furniture, lifted things I couldn't lift in the past, been hiking in the foothills near my home, been taking rather long walks....and still no pain.

A miracle happened to me while I was in Jerusalem.  I am singing.  Every single day.  Literally singing.  And praising His name.  And if I only get these 2 weeks without pain, it has been the biggest blessing in my life.  But I truly believe that my back has been healed.  He showed me His mercy.  He showered me yet again with His amazing grace.  He heard my prayers.  He took away my pain.

I have heating pads to give away.  :o)

And if you wonder why I post on FB about all my hiking....I will be walking, hiking, climbing stairs, gardening.....doing everything I can with a new vengeance, with a song in my heart, with my arms outstretched to Jehovah, praising Him every step of the way!!!

I believe in miracles.  One was given to me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pop-up bench cards extraordinaire.....

Today's class was on pop-ups.  We learned how to make our own pop-up cuts in paper, the basic construction of pop-ups and then used the Elizabeth Craft Designs bench pop-up die to make our cards.  Amazing results!  Patti Jo made this wonderful card (and once again, the photos just don't do it justice at all.)  The swan is cut in white micro glitter paper.  The tree is a die cut from Dreamweaver.  You can order any product through our local scrapbook store by calling them at 719-275-2526.

This is the front of her card using Graphic 45 paper that has unfortunately been discontinued.  Wouldn't you love to get a card like this and when you opened it up the bench just popped up to greet you?

Rhonda's card would be a complete, total surprise.  The front is just so simple and sweet....

but what a great, wonderful surprise when you open it up!  Who knew a white tree could be so stunning???  Now, want to know a secret?  She's used holly leaves for her flower petals.  Cut and folded - you wouldn't have guessed that if I hadn't told you!!!

And don't those deer look like they are a foot deep in the grass?  How'd she do that anyway???

Mary used some vintage 12xtwelve paper.  The company, sadly, is no longer in business.  But look at what she did to the flower behind the bench!  Cut and curled the petals.  Then hand cut out all the smaller daisies to surround her bench.

Again, the front of the card is so simply, you'd never guess what's inside.  What creativity!!!

Carolyn didn't finish her card, but I can hardly wait to see it.  Just incredibly amazing work - they are all such one-of-a-kind pieces of art.  I had so much fun teaching this class.  We're planning a great pop-up class for April, so check the store blog often!

Bobbie's strawberry bottle

Yesterday I taught an altered wine bottle class at Design U'r Memories here in town.  Just 1 student.  But I simply had to share her amazing creativity!

She used a pink Bailey's bottle.  She loves strawberries.  So she created this centerpiece by using a heart die, then cutting a daisy flower die in half and using a leftover scrap for a stem.  Is that not just amazing???

Rows of bling at the top covered the screw on top.  Circle dies cut and draped, then shaped around the neck of the bottle.  A bottom border die.  Lots of leaves to make a vine and the word Hope.

Lots of rhinestones and bling were added and I think the end result is simply stunning!

Amazing what you can do with a few little die cuts (in Amaco's pewter) and an empty bottle!  Wouldn't you love to have this sitting on your counter?  :o)

The artist is Bobbie Broman - a very talented neighbor and dear friend.  Always so much fun to be in the room when Bobbie is there!!!  Now you know why!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Create - a mirror from a recycled frame

It all started when I saw this frame at the thrifty store.  There was even a big chip out of a corner.  But it was half off of $1.99 - so I had to buy it!!!

Can you believe this is the end result?  And that I could almost imagine it like this when I saw it at the thrift store?    First thing I did was decoupage white burlap over the entire frame.  I have learned (finally) to wear plastic gloves when I work with mod podge!!  Sure makes the clean up quick!

The little paper bench is made by using the new Elizabeth Craft Designs garden bench.  It is meant to be a pop-up die cut, but if you cut it out just right, you can fold the arms and legs back and it makes a perfect 3D element.  I think a lot of crafters see a die only as it is meant to be used.  I really try to find other uses.  OK - the truth?  It's my excuse for buying more dies!  LOL!!!

Note the flowers on and under the bench.  Those were made by using 4-6 layers of these dies:
Flowers 1
Flowers 2
Bunch of Flowers 1
Bunch of Flowers 2
Curvy Vines

I cut some in card stock, some in mulberry paper, and some using shimmer sheets.  I totally forgot that I also used the Snowflakes die as a layering element of the flower.  You can see it in the pink shimmer sheets in the bottom flower in this next photo.  I used stickles crystal glitter on the leaves and stuck rhinestones down in the center of some of the flowers.

I like to use netting or mesh in my flowers.  I rolled the edges, pinched the centers, trying to give some dimension to most of the flowers.  Just fun to play with them!

I wanted to show how you can take the leaves right up the side of the bench, stick flowers down in the corner, up under the bottom...just do so much with this die.  I even covered part of the top of it with stickles glitter.

The word "create" at the bottom was a cream colored fabric stitched embellishment.  I layered a copic marker over it and then blended the color using a paper towel soaked in 91% rubbing alcohol.  Love how that turned out as well!

This frame is actually going to be used as a mirror at the scrapbook store so that when you come in and try on the jewelry that's for sale, your face will be framed in this!!!  But I couldn't get the mirror to photograph, so I used this painting.  My mom's mom in 1906, painted by my mom in 1997.  These two women taught me how to create!