Friday, July 30, 2010

Letting them fly.......

Okay, this is where the avian kingdom and I disagree.  Birds have this time worn little habit of hatching their eggs, raising up their chicks, and then pushing them out of the nest.  We romanticize the concept by saying the baby birds are encouraged to spread their wings and fly.  Hogwash I say!  Maybe home base in birdie world is a little small and consideration has to be given to making room for future additions to the family and maybe mama bird is tired of getting up at the crack of dawn to dig up worms to shove down her kids' throats.  In my opinion, however, that only suggests poor planning on the part of the adult bird in building such a small nest.  And furthermore, couldn't they put more effort into teaching the young how to collect their own food rather than just kicking them out?  The whole system needs to be revamped if you ask me.  It wouldn't matter so much how our winged friends conduct their business if the analogy of "letting them spread their wings and fly" wasn't applied to human families with such irritating regularity!

By now you may be wondering what I've had for breakfast and why I'm so hung up on avian behavior.  Well, I'll tell you.  My baby boy moved to Florida this morning to start medical school and I don't like it one bit!  No, I really don't............

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Necessity is the mother.......

I made some clay faces yesterday for the Prayer Boxes I'm creating.  When I got up this morning, it was with the intention of painting the faces a coppery/rusty color.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that my coppery/rusty paint had dried to a hard rock-like substance during the school year (a problem I have run across more than once).  What to do?  I can't keep running to the craft store to pick up supplies for a business that has yet to get off the ground!  I don't think it's a good thing when receipts for supplies far outweigh sales slips for products sold, is it?  Not having much business savvy, I do believe I have the order of things right.  Sales should outweigh purchases!  

Okay, back to my "face" problem.  I know that this isn't a new technique to serious painters, but it's new to me.  A couple of years ago, my husband had purchased a set of pigment bottles for me from Dick Blick's catalogue.  The pigments are called "Historical Pigment Kit" by Sinopik (it could be Sinopir, there is a big paint blob on the label).  I mixed the sienna pigment with the gel medium I was using (by Liquitex) and voila!  A beautiful rusty/coppery paint was created for my faces!  You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I received a really great hug from my son yesterday.  He is leaving for college in Florida on Friday and is experiencing some anxiety about the change.  My boys are great huggers, but life has turned them into adults who sometimes are too busy to hand them out.  As a result, the one I received last night was so very precious!  I'll carry it with me while he's gone and revisit it during the long winter months as I miss him terribly......

Here is a little excerpt I found years ago about hugs:

Hugging is good medicine.
It transfers energy and gives the person hugging an emotional boost.
You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth.
A hug makes people feel good because the skin is the largest organ we have and needs a great deal of care.
A hug can cover a lot of skin area and give the message that you care.
The nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can't give one without getting one!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oldie But Goodie

I found this poem in a pile of very old memorabilia it still holds true, especially in light of my last post :)

The Person in the Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you special for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that person has to say.

For it isn't your mother, your father, acquaintances in life
Whose judgement on you must pass.
The person whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.

It's the person to please, never mind all the rest
cause that person is with you clear to the end;
And you've passed your most dangerous and difficult test
If the one in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Little Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And say you are great with a sigh,
But the person in the glass says you are a bum
If you can't look that one straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
and get pats on the back as you pass;
But the final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the one in the glass.   Anonymous

Monday, July 19, 2010


leg·a·cy   /ˈlɛgəsi/ Show Spelled [leg-uh-see] Show IPA noun, plural -cies.

1. Law . a gift of property, esp. personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.

2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.

3. an applicant to or student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.

4. Obsolete . the office, function, or commission of a legate.

I've been thinking about the concept of  a "legacy" recently.  The name of my new business is Legacy Mixed Media and that decision has led me to an exploration of what "legacy" means to me.

When I looked up the definition this morning, I found that there were meanings I hadn't associated with the word such as number four; obsolete or an applicant.  The meaning I most closely relate to is the one expressed in number two as high-lighted above.

Being of an age where I and my peer group are beginning to lose loved ones, has sparked a real interest in the totality of life.  Let's face it, losing my mother had the effect of smacking me right in the face with my own mortality!  What? You mean people actually die? Lots of soul searching following that major event!

So, what type of legacy did my mother leave behind? And more importantly, what legacy will I be leaving behind for my children?  Just before passing, I was alone with my mother and had the difficult task of letting her know that time was limited and the cancer was winning the battle.  In that moment, my mother kind of went into a zone and began describing her children to some invisible force in the room with us.  My mother was a brilliant, hard working, exacting, humorous opinionated individual. She taught her children a love of music, art, and reading.  Because of her example, we learned to be self-reliant and independent. We became leaders in our respective fields rather than followers.  She set high expectations for those around her and had no qualms about letting people know if they fell short of those expectations.  On that difficult day in my mom's hospital room, as she had her conversation with the unknown entity, I learned just how many ways I had failed to live up to what was expected of me.  Don't get me wrong, my mom loved me fiercely and would have died to defend me.  But did she respect me?  I'm not so sure.

Now in terms of a legacy, I guess this story can be looked at in two different ways.  We could say that my mom left a legacy of setting high expectations and being brutally honest when those expectations were not. We could also look at the story as a reflection back on me.  Perhaps my mother was letting me know in some weird way that the legacy I was forging for my own children was weak and needed to be strengthened.  I don't know which scenario is more significant and the fall-out from my mother's observations is a topic for another day.

I do know that there is nothing I can do at this point to change my mother's opinion of me.  What I can control and continue to build is the legacy I leave for my own children.  What will your legacy be?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


My friend Yvonne is getting married in August.  I made her invitations and was able to get them off in the mail this morning.  This isn't a first wedding and the guest list is small.  Yvonne wanted simple but elegant.  I think we delivered :) 

It always feels good to get a project done and out the door.  My need for a linear life is sometimes at odds with my creative side.  I currently have a cremains container in process, the invitations, and a baby keepsake box.  In addition, I have these cute little canvases I started  just because.  I'm excited to have commissioned work coming in, I just have to find my rhythm. I have all kinds of ideas in my head, things I'd like to accomplish.......:)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just who is my peer group?

I live in what I have always thought of as a fairly average community. Macomb can be characterized by middle class families, nice homes, lots of chain restaurants, and plenty of malls.  The traffic is always intense and the stores are always crowded.  This remains true even in light of today's economy.  Up until this summer, I thought I had a pretty good sense of where I live.

Something has changed, however, I am now looking at my community through the eyes of a retired person.  I look at the people I encounter during the day as my peers.  After all, we all belong to the club of folks able to hit the malls during the day and sip Starbucks at will. But I'm having a difficult time making it all fit.  For one thing, I have noticed that this community is full of senior citizens!  Nobody drives over 35 miles per hour during the day and stop signs, red lights, and yield signs are mere suggestions rather than rules.  I don't know what happens during rush hour.  The folks I am now aware of must scurry back to their homes by 4:00 PM.

As I continue to pursue my new identity as a retired person, I find it difficult to find my place.  Being on the young side for retirement, I'm unable to identify with the senior citizens who emerge between the hours of 9:00 and 4:00. I haven't trained myself to slow down yet and when in traffic have to keep repeating the mantra,"you have no schedule to follow!"  By the same token, harassed young moms carting around screaming children (and perhaps dreaming of the day when school resumes and they can experience some respite from parenting) seem light years away from my current reality. Is it possible I fall somewhere in between?  
I'm sure the answer will present itself over time.  When I start to fill my purse with sugar packets from the restaurant, or demand my free coffee from McDonald's,I'll know which direction I'm heading in.  Although, I do find myself talking to random strangers at Target these days............. 

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm crazy about vignettes!  I love to move things around in my home to create little inspirational scenes.  Living with three males, I sometimes wonder if they even notice the  little scenarios I try to create.  I often have to say, "hey, what do you think about the way I placed those items?"  I then get the "huh?" look and a generic, "very nice!"  It's okay, I don't necessarily do it for them.  To be honest, I really do it for myself! 

I have to admit, that the lack of estrogen in my immediate environment is something that I will have to learn to deal with.  My life has always had a nice balance. As an elementary teacher, I was generally surrounded by female adults every day.  I was then able to come home and embrace the testosterone filled household I live in. Though my guys are all very supportive of my artistic pursuits, and are great about bringing me things to work with, one needs the company of females too! Retirement has definitely created an imbalance.  Must seek out female companionship!  It would be great if some of those females had an interest in the creative pursuits of life....just saying :)

One of those testosterone filled males brought me an old wood frame he found in a convenience store parking lot.  He said he knew it was something I would like.  The frame sat on my porch for a couple of months until one day I looked at it and thought, hmmmmm, I know what to do with that!  And thus, another vignette was born.......

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My Etsy shop is now up and running! Wow, that was a ton of work but well worth the effort.  The next task is to get the website up and running.  I definitely need technical assistance with that project.  The Etsy site nearly did me in. 
I am completely being pushed out of my comfort zone with all of this techno stuff but that's the stuff that new brain cells are made of, right?  I can certainly stand some new dendrites :) 

Our friend, Kim, owner and operator of the great People's Pierogi Collective down at Eastern Market in Detroit has promised to come to my rescue with the website. Check out her cool website at  If you live in the Detroit area, you have got to go down to taste her awesome pierogies on Saturday mornings. Yummm........

Friday, July 9, 2010

Different styles......

My son is very creative.  He doesn't spend much time drawing and he doesn't engage in other typical art mediums.  My son enjoys working with his hands.  He likes to build things and he likes to design things.  He is able to visualize a finished product simply by looking at the raw materials.  I can't do that!  I truly believe that mixed media and collage are the perfect categories for me because I can just jump into the fray without any idea of how things will turn out.  I don't like to measure or follow patterns. 

Example:  I immediately began to crochet an afghan three weeks ago on the day I retired.  It seemed like the thing to do.  As is my way, I didn't buy a pattern and I didn't measure.  One evening, after I had been madly crocheting for several days, my son asked me how big the afghan was going to be.  I said I had no clue and he then insisted on measuring what I had completed thus far.  The afghan was 14 feet wide!  Needless to say, my family has given me nothing but warm hearted grief over my monster afghan. 
My son measures and thinks things through when he builds something.  I recently asked him to build an elevated vegetable planter for the side of my house (the only patch of sun in my entire yard).  Within three hours, I had the most beautiful, perfect planter imaginable.  I'm so proud of him.  He's talented, loving, generous and accurate!  And you know what else?  He wants my monster afghan when it's completed because he appreciates my lack of planning........

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks........

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Technology!  It only took me the entire day, but I finally got an Etsy Shop set up.  I'm sure that someone with more tech savvy could have done it in a quarter of the time.  Anyway, it's done and it looks pretty cute :)  Now, I have to measure my pieces and load them into the shop.  That will take a couple of days.  After that, I figure out how to link everything to Facebook, Blogger, and my new Website.  The website.........oh dear heavens..that will take me a month of Sundays to figure out!  One step at a time, right?  Here is the cute banner that my hubby designed for the Etsy Shop: 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Time for a break.....

The Fourth of July....time to take a break from setting up the business and enjoy family and friends.  I love having the family over and we only have three weeks left with Trevor before he moves to Florida.  Just one more big change in my life this summer! 

As someone who reacts poorly to change, I have certainly assembled a number of them all at once.......  I've heard all of the inspirational sayings:  change is good, embrace change as it is the stuff life is made of, without change we can't grow or move forward blah, blah, blah!  I still find the concept scary, overwhelming in some cases, and darn nerve wracking.  That doesn't mean I don't meet changes head-on, after all, that's why God invented antacids, right?  Happy Fourth everyone, may you be surrounded by the warmth of loved ones :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The adventure continues....

I registered my business name as a domain today!  I have no idea how to design a website, but this is a first step.  I couldn't believe my luck in that nobody else had used Legacy Mixed Media for their website.  I hope to include a variety of interests on my website including tutorials, completed art to purchase, links to other artists, and helpful hints for encouraging budding artists to follow their muse.  If all goes well, I will link the site to my Etsy Shop to make materials available.  This is quite a reach for this 54 year old non-techy gal!  However, now that I'm retired, I have all the time in the world to figure it out!