Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Favorite Time of the Year

I love this time of year. There is something about the Christmas season that tends to bring out the best in people. You see more people smiling and sharing during this time more than any other time of the year. The Christmas music is another one of my favorite things. I LOVE listening to Christmas music while I do things around the house and in my art studio. The best part of all, though is watching the excitement in my girls. Just seeing how what may be simple things to us are just amazing to them. It is easy to remember the special parts of Christmas and the Reason why we have Christmas by watching them. They truly are inspiring, and they make everyone enjoy this time even more.

I do dread the day that they no longer believe in Santa. There are several reasons for this as well. The first is something that I used to never understand why my parents said this, but now being a parent myself I totally understand: I enjoy "being" Santa as much, if not more than how I loved it when I was a little girl that believed in Santa. The other reason, well let's just say I might be put on Santa's naughty list for this one: I use it as my weapon on the girls (shame on me). I have them believing that Santa is always watching and that he has special ways of watching them when they are at home through the Christmas trees in the house and their advent calendar, and that we have a conference call with Santa every night to talk about how good they have been each day. Believe me, they are on their very best of behavior for the month of December, and all I have to say is that he is watching and they quickly straighten up. I am sure one of these days that will come back to bite me when they realize that all of that is not true, but as for now, it helps! This is also the first year that I have pictures of them with Santa when at least one of them is not either terrified and crying, or trying to escape as quicly as possible, or both!

I have been able to spend more time in my art studio lately, and have several things to show pictures of, but for now, these are my two latest creations.

Several people have asked about what is going on with my possible leukemia, and to make it as short as possible, the doctors have determined that I do not have leukemia "....yet." What this means is that the tests and biopsies all came back showing that it is currently negative, but could turn to leukemia at any time. I have all of the things in my blood that apparently shows all of the signs of it, but aren't quite high enough to be considered leukemia just yet. We just have to hope and pray that it never turns into that, but as for now they have determined that I have advanced Lupus and Vasculitis. I go back this week to get the final results on all of that and to begin a treatment plan that will hopefullly, start getting me back on track to feel at least a little better.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Seeking Answers

You would think as much waiting for answers as we have had to do lately that I would be getting better at this waiting game, but I am starting to run out of patience. I know it takes a while to determine a serious diagnosis, but my gosh! this is ridiculous! Every time I turn around I am having to do another blood test, ct scan, and x-ray then waiting in between for answers and just news of more tests. I did have a bone marrow biopsy yesterday (ouch!), and we are hoping that this will finally give us some answers. They are telling me it should be some time Monday or Tuesday before we have any kind of preliminary results. I am anxious and scared, but also just ready for some sort of answer and treatment. I am at the point where all I want is to just figure this out so that I can get some form of treatment and to get on with my life. Anyways, as soon as I know something I will try to post it.

I am still on "house rest" so I am not really supposed to leave the house and get into public places besides going to the doctor, but sometimes I get cabin fever and have to get out a little. I am very weak however, and do have to rest a lot. I try to spend time in my studio when I feel like it, but it is getting to where I feel like it less and less now. I do have a couple pictures of some paintings that I have made that are in this post, and I have several other projects that I have ready to take pictures to upload, but have not had a chance yet.

On a much lighter note - aren't my two little trick-or-treaters adorable!? Ashlyn is a car hop, Megan is a soda pop girl, and Memphis was an angel for about 2 minutes until we just had to put on her light up t shirt!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Waiting and Hoping...

Once again, it's been a while since I have posted. I have had quite a bit going on since my last post, and mine and my family's lives right now are turned upside down. I have a lot of family and friends out there that would like to know how everything is going, and I was hoping to know more before I posted.

For those of you who don't know, my doctors seem to think that I have leukemia. They have been watching my blood work over the past few years, and my numbers keep climbing higher and higher. I have started showing a lot of symptoms of it, and they are running tons of tests on me. We just have to keep waiting and waiting for results, each time getting reports back that are pointing to leukemia. There is a small glimmer of hope that it could be something else related to medications that they have had me on, but not that likely because the numbers started climbing before those were given to me. More than likely, if I do have it, it will hopefully be the chronic kind and not the acute form. The "chronic" form of leukemia is easier to treat with a higher life expectancy rate, which is good. Not to fret, I am a survivor and have been through a lot of medical things the last few years, and I can handle whatever comes my way. That's what I have to keep telling myself. I have two beautiful girls, a wonderful husband, and an amazing family to live for and to fight for. We just keep holding on to that small glimmer of hope that it is something else.

During all of this, I don't know what we would have done without my parents. Like my Father-in-law said, "they are the angel wings" holding our family together right now. They stay with us during the week and do everything for me - cooking, cleaning, laundry, getting the girls to and from school, grocery shopping, etc. I have been confined to "house rest" meaning I can't do anything at all except rest and cannot leave the house except to go to the doctor so as not to put myself at risk for any form of infection. I don't know what we would do without them, and it is so hard and frustrating to me to have to let go of the reigns and let these two wonderful people who are twice my age handle everything for me. It is such an amazing act of love and selfless thing to do to give up their lives for me during this time. Hopefully we will know something for sure soon so that I can get on with my treatment and work on getting well. They just have to do every test possible so as to make an accurate diagnosis, and we just have to be patient. That's the hard part...I'm running out of patience. I want to find out what it is and get on with it. This waiting is hard...very hard.

On a lighter note, because of all of this I have been spending a lot of time in my studio, and have done quite a few pieces. I will be posting them as I get the pictures taken. It is interesting to step back and look at what I've done and how the current situation affects my work. It is much deeper than before, and you can see my form of expression without me even realizing at the time that I am doing it. I have always said that my art is my release, my therapy, and my form of expressing my deepest feelings, and this is definitely true right now. I'm so glad I can turn to it right now and to be able to forget about what's going on around me while I am in the "create mode." I have run into artist block several times, but am usually able to get past it by browsing through my books, magazines, and internet for inspiration. It doesn't take long before I am back in there creating.

I will try to keep everyone posted as much as possible through my blog, I know a lot of family and friends visit often to see if I have posted anything that I have learned, and I promise I will keep you updated as I get results back.

These are ATC's that I created for the "A Little Birdie Told Me" swap from one of my Yahoo ATC groups.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trying to Catch Up

Wow, I am having the hardest time catching up! As I mentioned before, I ended up getting really sick with severe bronchitis, and finally after 3 weeks, I am finally getting better. I am just trying to get my strength back while fighting this flare, and it has really put me behind on things - especially my blog. I have only painted just a few things during this time, and am so ready to get back into my studio! Since my last post, my girls have both started school - now my baby is in kindergarten! sniff..sniff... They have also started gymnastics. I decided it was time after I tried to show them a straight somersault, and I swear I heard every bone in my body crack! I just laid there for a while doing a system check - o.k. my toes move, now my legs move, etc. To sum it up - it's best to leave that stuff to the professionals to teach my girls. I officially think I am too old.
This is a picture of the girls on their first day of school. They looked so cute! Although, I'm not sure how much longer they are going to let me dress them alike. They let me occasionally, but it is getting fewer and farther between. The only thing different about what they were wearing, is that Ashlyn absolutely refuses to wear bows anymore. "First graders do NOT wear bows, Mommy!"

Here are a few paintings that I did manage to finish over the last couple of weeks. I have to explain how my very creative daughter had a part in the "Bird on a Tree" painting. The girls had been down at my parents for a few days. Both of them are extremely creative, and good little artists in their own right. They both are fully aware of how I am always on the lookout for something to put in my art. They love to help me look through old books for pages for backgrounds and looking at different ephemera. Well, while they were all supposed to be getting ready to leave to come back home, and Ashlyn slipped off and collected several pieces of the prettiest thin bark pieces for me to use in my art. She put them in a little gift sack and wrote my name on it. She managed to get in their car with it, and make it all the way home without anyone noticing her precious little gift. Everyone was just amazed when she presented it to me that she for one, was so sneaky about it, but mainly that she put that much creative thought into finding me something that I could use in my paintings. I was just so touched and amazed that she did this. So, the first painting I did after that, I incorporated into the bird painting. She is very pleased and just tickled pink that I used something that she found in my painting!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Big Journey

As promised here are the pictures of the large Journey painting I did. Luckily, the customers were very happy with it, and I have to admit it is probably my favorite painting that I have created so far. The pictures don't really show the true colors too good. They appear more blue but there is a lot of green, pink, and yellow as well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award!!

This is going to be a quick entry because I am rather sick right now from an upper respiratory infection. I will be posting either later today or tomorrow pictures of the large commissioned "Journey" piece! I completed it and the happy owners have received it, so I will be posting pics of that and our little trip to the Circus along with some pics of other works I have completed lately.

I was awarded the I LOVE YOUR BLOG AWARD by the very sweet and talented artist Lorri. I am so honored and am thankful that my blog is inspiring to others! So, I have the honors of choosing 7 blogs that I find inspiring and enjoy reading. It was hard to pick just 7 because there are so many talented people out there. goes (Oh yeah, I just had to pick 8 - there's no way I could get it down to 7) he he he:

Tonya at Collage Artistry
Heather at Audry Eclectic
Sue at Earthtone Studios
Fannie at Imagine Create Inspire
Lory at Weeping Wax Studio
Shonna at Twisted Figures
Sharron at All Norah's Art
Mare at Moon and Stars Studio

Be sure and check out these talented ladies' blogs. They are full of inspiration!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Busy Summer

I hope everyone is having a good summer! Ours has been very busy so far. I have had quite a lot of creative time because the girls have spent several days off an on with my parents, and I have been able to rest up a lot. This summer heat really is hard on my body. I was finally diagnosed with RA and Secondary Sjogren's (which is a form of Lupus) about two weeks ago, and found out that is why I don't tolerate the heat so well. I am definitely ready for some cooler weather! Anyways, I have created and traded several trading cards and have painted a few canvases. I will post a few now and more to come, I just don't want to give it all away in one entry. I am going to do my best to update my blog more often. Also for my creative time, I was commissioned to paint a large 22x28 inch canvas of my "Journey" painting! I have never painted on that large of a canvas, but I loved it! I plan on doing more. I'm not going to post the pictures of it yet though, before the person sees it first.

The girls and I met their Granny at the Dallas World Aquarium a few weeks ago, and we had a great time. I am really mad at myself though, because I brought my camera alright, but totally forgot to check the batteries, and of course, when I go to take the first picture - it was as dead as it could be. I was so mad! I missed so many great shots, and to top it all off, I have a great camera on my phone and didn't even think to use it! Oh well, I'm sure we will return many other times.

My next post, I will tell you about our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge a couple of weeks ago with some pictures, and also more pictures of ATC's and my latest paintings.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's Been A While

Wow! It has been quite a long time since my last post! It has been extremely busy around here lately and a lot going on. First, I had been working on giving my blog a face lift, which I am pretty much done for the moment. There are several other things I want to add and more link lists, but that will just have to be a work in progress. Two weeks ago was the last week of school (June 4) and that week was just a whirl wind! I felt like I was at the school just about as much as Ashlyn was. They had all kinds of programs and parties - it was a very busy week. On top of that, both of the girls got sick with sinus infections.

Every person in this house has been sick over the last couple of weeks. The girls had sinus infections, I have had a bad flare that I have been battling along with adjusting to some new medication that is making me extremely sick, and my poor husband got salmonella poisoning from the cafeteria in his office building. The girls have been at my parents almost 2 weeks, and I am really missing them! They will be back on Saturday thank goodness, and they came up for Father's Day, but went back for the 2nd week since my husband and I were so sick. They've been able to enjoy some good quality/spoiling time with Granna and Gramps, though.

My and Mom and Dad surprised us and had the girl's pictures taken for Father's Day. What a great surprise at that! I am so proud of these pictures - I think they are some of the best they have ever taken. Of course, it helps now that they are older and cooperate a lot better when taking pictures. In the past, it took at least two of us to attempt to control them, chase them down, make silly faces, etc. Now, it goes much more smoothly than before. I can't thank my parents enough for these pictures!

While they've been gone, I have had some time to create and try to get my studio in order. I still have a lot to go on getting the room organized. I never thought it would be this difficult trying to figure out how I want everything set up. This is mostly my fault because I am a perfectionist and over-thinker when it comes to these sorts of things. One of the pieces I did was "Create." I guess I thought it would help to have some words of inspiration on the wall!

I met a wonderful new online artist friend named Tonya Ashe. She saw my "Bliss" piece and asked if she could buy it. I couldn't believe it! Someone wanted to buy one of my paintings and just happened to find it by looking through my Flicker pictures. Once she and I got to talking through email, we realized that we eerily have a lot in common. She asked me if I made and traded ATC's. I had always admired them, but never had tried to do it myself mostly because I didn't know how to start trading once I did make some. Well, when I told her this, she gave me all kinds of information on these amazing little pieces of art and told me exactly how to go about making and trading them. So, I decided to try to make a few and just see what happens, and low and behold - I had people wanting to trade immediately, and all but 1 traded by the evening on the afternoon that I posted them. The four that you see above are the ones I traded. I can't wait to get the ones that I traded these for! I am so gracious to Tonya for leading me into this fun new way of creating my art. I am totally hooked! If you haven't tried it - I certainly suggest it. What an awesome thing to not only share your artwork with someone, but to get some back in return from amazing artists all around the world!

Well, I am off to bed. I just realized what time it is and I am getting blurry eyed looking at the computer. Have a good evening/morning. I will try to keep up now that things are slowing down a bit and post more often!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Updating My Blog

Hi everyone! I am in the process of updating my blog with a new layout and some new elements. If you notice things look different and things disappearing and reappearing, just bare with me - I should have it all finished hopefully by tomorrow!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Princess and her Castle - Oh, and a Field Trip

My latest painting that my daughter specifically requested and named "The Princess and Her Castle." She said she had to have red hair, but brown eyes like her. Ashlyn loves red hair and has been saying that she wishes she had red hair, but she likes her brown eyes because they are "just like Daddy's." My girls are my biggest fans, no matter what I draw or paint, they think it's a masterpiece!

I finished the painting today while still recovering from the field trip with Ashlyn's Kindergarten class yesterday. Oh my, have things have changed! I used to think my parents sounded like such old fogies when they would say things like that, but now I'm the old fogy. It was all I could do to keep up. Myself and one other Mom were the only 2 parents from their class of 25 kids. All kindergarten classes from their school went to the ASI Gym and then to the park for lunch and play time. They put all of us parents to work at the gym helping to run the obstacle courses for a few hundred kindergarteners. I was wiped after that part, but then we had to go to the park! It was hot, and the kids were tired, and surprisingly not to disappointed when told that they wouldn't get to stay to long since it was so hot - that was until the teachers discovered the bus drivers all left without telling anyone! They got them back, and I was so glad just to get in my car with air conditioning and go home!! I will say that I was a little disappointed because I had to work the whole time and wasn't able to take hardly any pictures. I was able to snap just a couple that didn't turn out to well between groups in our course. The kids really had a wonderful time, and I know Ashlyn was more than ready to go to bed last night - I think it was just us "old fogies" that were the ones really wiped out! I am very thankful, though, that I am fortunate enough to be able to do these types of things with my girls.

I think I am off to bed, so everyone have a good holiday weekend if I don't post again in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Artwork for the Home

I recently decided that I wanted to redo our home in "Old World" kind of rustic/Tuscan/antique like if that's even a style. Basically, warm earth tone colors and pictures similar to the one above. I purchased some ironwork for the walls, and then after pricing some paintings for the walls, I decided they were just way to expensive right now, and why not try my hand at painting some. Besides, not only will they (hopefully) turn out the way I would like them to look, they would also have more sentimental meaning since I created them. I was pleasantly surprised with my first shot at it. I painted this 11x14 painting that I finished this week. It turned into a project that took way longer than I expected, but I am pleased with it.

I have had this picture up on Flicker for a week now, and have not had a chance to write about it on my blog. Week before last was teacher appreciation week. The students were sent home with a list of things their teacher likes, and one of the things Mrs. Payton said she collected was pins. So, Ashlyn and I decided to maker her one out of PMC Silver Clay. I had her draw a picture of herself, and we transferred (carved) it into the silver. I then took one of Ashlyn's hearts that she has drawn and cut out around it, textured the edges, and then attached a pin to the back after I fired and polished it. It turned out to be a really unique and well loved gift! I wrapped it all pretty, and ready to go, and 10 minutes before we needed to leave for school, I realized I had not taken a picture of it. So, I had to unwrap it and snap a couple of quick pictures. Hence, the reason for the poor quality of this photo. It really doesn't do it justice. At least I remembered before giving it to Mrs. Payton : )

I have been working on my blog lately trying to spruce it up a little. I am hoping to have my new additions ready to add within the next week or so. I decided it needed sprucing up as well along with my house!

I now have to go police my house that is full of 5 and 6 year old girls right now! Take care!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tag You're It!!

I have been tagged by the amazing artist, Shonna Bucaroff (!!

The rules of the game are as follows:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your entry.

OMG! This is what I get for typing this thing up at 5:30 am! Thank you, Shonna, for pointing out my absent mind and forgetting to list the 6 things about myself! Here goes:

1. I am a self proclaimed coke aholic - coca cola that is! I love to get a bottled coke, put it in the freezer and get it good and slushy!

2. I started painting with oils when I was about 3 years old. My Dad is an artist, and I always painted with him.

3. I won "best in show" in our local science and craft fair for a soft pastels painting I did when I was in the 3rd grade.

4. My favorite color is blue. It always seems to turn up in my art some how. Rarely does a piece that I create not have blue in it some where.

5. I LOVE "Pink Lady" apples!

6. I am maxed out on the stress level when I whip out the Ben and Jerry's "Karmel Sutra" - believe me,it cures all ills!

I am adding an extra one! 7. I am very forgetful at 5:30am!

O.K. So here goes - I have tagged the following 6 ladies whose work I absolutely admire!

1. Heather






Have a good day!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy "Smothers" Day

For all you Moms out there - Happy Mother's Day!! If you are fortunate enough to still have your Mother like I am, please be sure and tell her you love her. It's important every day, but especially today!

For my Mom - Happy Mother's Day - I love you very much!! This painting I made for you, Mom, after you saw some of the others that I had done and really liked them, I decided to paint you one based on some of the things I heard you say you liked about the other ones. I didn't realize until I uploaded it that the picture looks a little blown out, but the actual painting is full of rich color!

This is the first year that I was not greeted with "Happy Smother's Day!" from my girls. Now that they are both 5 and 6, they said it correctly this morning, and I have to admit, it made me a little sad. Although I am enjoying watching them grow and mature every day, little things like this remind me just exactly how fast they are growing. I didn't realize how I would get that little twinge of sadness when they both said "Happy Mother's Day!" and not "Happy Smother's Day!" - they are growing just way to fast. It still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about them saying it either way, though.

To you Mom - once again, I love you and thank you for all that you do. Through every thing the last few years with my health, and just becoming a Mom myself, I couldn't have done it without you. You give yourself 100% without ever asking for anything in return. To me, that is the epitome of what a Mother is and should be. All those times you would give everything to us and not anything for yourself, I never could understand that. Now that I am a Mom, I understand fully and it makes me appreciate what you did and continue to do even more now than ever. Thank you.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mommy Sick Day

It's not often that Mommy's actually get a sick day. Unfortunately, I have come down with a throat infection, and my mono is active again - so basically, I have the "icks." My Mom was gracious enough to take the girls and give me a full sick day, actually a full sick weekend to try to get some much needed rest. Mommies aren't supposed to get sick, and when we do, it is hard on everyone in the family! I don't know what I would do without my parents to help me out when these flares hit me like this. I am definitely blessed! It's my girls, though, that come out ahead on the whole deal. They get to go to Granna and Gramp's house and get spoiled absolutely rotten!

I did take advantage of some of my free time and finished up a few projects that I have been working on and paintings that needed finishing. One of them is my picture from my "All About Faces" class with Paulette Insall. This was the last week for the class and I can't believe it has already been six weeks! I learned a lot from her and am so glad I took the class. I love learning new things, and my background is mostly landscape and still life painting, so painting human faces was a whole new world to me that I was quite intimidated by in the beginning. Now, I feel like I have overcome a "little fear" and learned a lot of new techniques that I can use for my paintings.
I am going to hang out on the couch this evening, watch T.V. with my hubby and just relax!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Collective Artwerx Design Team!

It has officially been announced that I am a member of the creative design team for Collective Artwerx! Be sure to stop by and have a look around Tracy's shop. She has lots of great things to choose from.

Not much going on around here. We are having a pretty relaxed weekend just hanging out and taking it easy.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Journey

Well, I have already done what I told myself that I wouldn't, and that's neglect my blog. It has been rather busy around here and my blog has kind of taken a back seat. I'm back on track now, so hopefully I can keep up better.

A lot has happened since my last post - let's see...I have been very busy with my online painting class "All About Faces" with Paulette Insall, I registered my baby for Kindergarten, I have been chosen as a member of the design team at Collective Artwerx, and oh yeah - turned 35.

Probably the most exciting thing that has happened was being chosen as a member of the design team for Tracy Webster's online store Collective Artwerx. I am so excited about this new venture! I saw her posting that she was looking for people to be on her design team. I almost didn't do it thinking that I probably wouldn't get chosen, but I did! I just decided to go for it and it paid off! I cannot wait to get to start designing for her. This is a new creative challenge for me and something that I have dreamed of doing at some point. I just realized that I had to just go for it, put myself out there and see what happens. I am honored to have been chosen for this.

On a much more sad note - I turned 35! The dreaded birthday arrived April 10 way too soon! I have dreaded this one for a long time thinking that it sounded so old! The worst part of it all though, and the worst present ever...I had to sign my baby up for kindergarten that day! What a sad day it was for me because it was hard enough signing my oldest one up for school last year, but now my youngest just makes me realize even more that they grow up way to quickly. I don't know where the time has gone. It seems like all of the sudden they are little girls and not babies anymore!

I did make a revelation to myself, however, regarding my being the big 3 - 5. It hit me that I am now in my mid 30's cruising full speed ahead to 40! Unfortunately, I feel almost robbed of my early 30's. I have had so many health issues that have taken over my life since I was 30, that it all seems like one big giant blur when I look back. I had an emergency hysterectomy two weeks before my 31st birthday, and from that point on, my body has protested immensely! Since then I have been through so many doctors, tests, and health problems that it has been a rough few years. They are still trying to determine a definite diagnosis, but as of now they say I have Sjogren's disease (a form of lupus), severe arthritis, chronic fatigue, chronic mono, fibromyalgia, and a skin disease that they are not sure if it is psoriasis or dermatomyositis. Basically it is all auto immune and it all tends to run together, so making a specific diagnosis is hard to do. All of this gradually started while I was in the hospital recovering from the hysterectomy. To make a very long story short, I realized that I am finally at terms and peace with the way my life is now. So what if I have health issues - I just have to learn to live with them and to adjust my life accordingly. I refuse to let it "rob" me of any more of my life as much as I possibly can. What is important is my family and children who depend on me to be there regardless. I can't succumb to it, and have gotten really good at adjusting my life to everything day by day. I have realized that I will have days or even weeks where I am in a flare and don't feel well, but at least I am still breathing - it could be worse! Anyways....I don't like to talk about my health issues much, so this was another obstacle to overcome and that is facing it and I feel like I have finally done that. Our 30's are supposed to be some of the best years of our lives anyways, right?!

The bluebonnets here in Texas have really been blooming lately. A couple of weekends ago, my parents came up to visit and we stopped on our way back from lunch and snapped a few pics in a beautiful patch of them. It's funny around this time of year, at least some where along the road, you will more than likely see people taking pictures of their little ones in the bluebonnets.