Why Is It

No matter what size I am, I struggle to find clothes?

Because I’m having stomach trouble, I’ve lost another 25 pounds.  This brings me down to sizes I haven’t been in since high school, or even smaller.  Now, my weight fluctuates tremendously.  I can gain 30 pounds in a month for no apparent reason.  My closet holds clothes from a size 20 down to my current size, an 8 or a 6.  And at each size, I struggled to find clothes.

Is this a universal problem women have or is it just me?

I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my requirements.  I want something flattering, which fits correctly.  And doesn’t make me look like a hooker.  I mean, really people?  Is covering body parts beyond the capabilities of clothing designers?  Low rise jeans?  Unless you go commando, your underwear will show.  And shirts cut so low my bra shows.  Alot.  Like the top half of the cups.  What possible under garment can you wear beneath something like that?

Or the clothes are designed for 90 year old women.  Old fashioned, with no shape or style.

And painfully ugly.

Laurie and I spent several hours searching for tops to go with pants I bought on sale at the end of last summer.  (Laurie, graciously, changed the waistband on both the pants and skirt so they didn’t fall off me.  Since the pants are wide leg, they look fine.  The skirt change made no difference in the way it hangs.)  A couple observations:

  1. The colors this season are muddy.
  2. There are a lot of earth tones
  3. Mustard seems to be big this season
  4. The new stuff reminded us of the stuff from the eighties.  We both hated ’80’s fashion
  5. Even the clothes for younger women felt old-fashioned.  One dress in particular reminded me of a dress my grandma had, and wore, in her later years.

Maybe I’ve reached the age where current fashion trends don’t matter to me.  I just want clothes that are flattering for my figure, in colors and styles I like and that actually cover me.  This is probably a pipe dream.  Nevertheless, Laurie and I preserved.

Eventually we were successful.  I found a pair of “jeggings” which will work well beneath my longer, boho looking tops.  Second store was a bust.  Then we headed to a third store and found some tops.  And a couple beautiful dresses which fit like they were made for me, but not appropriate for Gary’s funeral.

Today’s project may be several bracelets to go with my outfit.  And probably some earrings too.

 

 

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Faux Flowers

I have received so many compliments on my flowers this year.  I think I mentioned I bought fake flowers from Dollar Tree and second-hand stores.  Then I filled my flower pots and large window box with them.  Very easy solution for anyone with health problems.  Or for anyone who kills every plant they touch.

Except for weeds, of course.

Gary Kroll

Personal post.  Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

 

My cousin, Gary Kroll, died a few days ago from cancer.  Gary had a tough life, but he was a kind and gentle soul.  And a hero.  The week before his death, he saved his neighbor’s life.  Gary looked after his elderly neighbor, walking her dog.  When he didn’t get an answer at her door, he entered her home. Gary found her unconscious on the floor.  Thanks to his quick action, her life was saved.

After my brother’s sudden death, it was Gary who really touched my heart.  His kindness and compassion meant so much to me.  He was, and remains, that one bright light in a very dark time.

Gary’s immediate family (my aunt and cousins) have decided to have a small memorial for him with no published obituary.  I cannot understand their decision.  Although he has lived in Florida for most of his adult life, he grew up here.  (I wanted to place an obituary myself, but Scott says it would cause problems in our family.)  So I am sharing here instead.

Gary Kroll was a good man with a good heart.   I loved him and will miss him.

Art Movement Challenge, August 2019

Pop Art Movement

One of my favorite art movements, Pop Art.  This movement was unlike the fine art produced at the time.  This movement uses images from popular culture, often exagerating a smaller part of the whole.  And by using common, everyday objects as subject matter, Pop Art closed the gap between what critics considered “high” and “low” art.  Some of the well known artists from this movement are Yayoi KusamaRoy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Our challenge this month is to create a piece of pop art.  A four foot Mallo Cup, a dinner plate sized bottle top, a mural or painting of any popular object you want.  Use whatever materials you like.  Have fun.  Create a whimisical art piece which speaks to you.

Mixed Media Challenge: August, 2019

This months challenge is to include paint in a mixed media art piece.

There are all sorts of options for adding paint to your art:

  1. Paint pours
  2. Acrylic paint
  3. Watercolors
  4. Pastels
  5. Gelatos

Any of these work well as a paint.  You can use paint as your base. Gesso is a primer, for example.  Or add at any point in your project.  You can combine different paints in one project.  Just remember the “fat over lean” rule.  This is actually the one hard and fast rule in art.  Water-soluble beneath acrylics, and acrylics beneath oils.  The “leanest” works beneath “fatter” but never the other way around.  The lean will peel off the fat.

You can add paint to just about everything.  For example, you can soak cheesecloth in paint and add it to an art piece.  You can paint paper, wood, plaster, texture paste, and fabric.  You can dip, drip, spatter, drag, pounce, pour, roll and brush it on.  Create texture by adding paint through stencils, mixed with mediums like gel or texture paste, or use tools like a palette knife, wadded up paper, and sponges to apply.

Since painting is my first love, paint is something I’m very comfortable with.  I could probably give you hundreds of ways to use it in mixed media art.  But I just want to encourage you to play around with it.  Use what you have and see what you can come up with.  You’re truly only limited by your imagination!  Paint is, in my opinion, one of the most versatile mediums available.  Have fun exploring what paint can do for you this month.

Easy Peasy Bead Dangles

Have you ever had catastrophe spawn inspiration?  Welcome to my day…

I wear an apron in my work room.  It’s a wrap around type made from heavy denium with large pockets.  While getting some supplies from an upper shelf, I guess the pocket hooked on a box of stored beads.  Which, of course, tumbled off the shelf, taking the wire box and a couple other bead boxes with it.  Fortunately, most of the beads were in either ziplock bags or bead jars with lids.

Most, not all.

While cleaning up, I realized I have way to many beads and need to use them somehow.  Several of the things all over the floor were usable in art journaling.  Keys, flat backed pendants, findings, clasps, rhinestone trims, charms, and textured flat metal pieces.  Those I moved to my embellishment cart.

The beads, scattered over the rolls of colored wire brought to mind my earlier Boho Beads. But instead of using fabric and trim scraps, I just used a variety of beads.  Very simply treaded onto coordinating wire.  Some of the bead dangles have simple twisted wire ends, others have bead clusters finishing the ends.  All went together in minutes. They can be used as pendants, key chains, light pulls or bookmarks in an art journal.  In less than an hour I have half a small tote filled with them.  By combining large and small beads in different patterns, each one is unique and lovely.  I’m really pleased with the variety and beauty of these easy peasy bead dangles.  Give them a try and see what you think.

Woodchucks, Water and White Space

This morning I noticed a woodchuck behaving oddly in the yard across the road.  In case you are unfamilar with woodchucks, they are fairly large, vicious animals.  I have had multiple run-ins with these animals, which are very common around our area.  Truthfully, I’d rather be attacked by a dog than a woodchuck.  Because we have several families with small children around here, I let them know about the woodchuck.  Then I phoned the non-emergency number for the police.  I remained on the porch, watching the animal to make sure I always knew where it was.  They sent out a police officer to deal with the animal.

A word of warning:  if you see a wild animal behaving strangely, DO NOT APPROACH IT.  Certain animals like skunks, raccoons, opossums and woodchucks are NOCTURNAL.  If you see one out during the day, there’s something wrong with it.  Rabid, injured or sick in some way.  And when an animal is ill or injured they are very dangerous.  They will attack if you get to close.  Call animal control or the police.

Next is our water issue.  Our kitchen sink and dishwasher don’t drain.  This has been going on for three or four days.  Scott has tried to fix it, but is so far unsucessful.  Today I did the pioneer thing and washed all our dishes.  I boiled water, put it in a large tote with dish soap and bleach, then washed the dishes outside, rinsing with the hose.  It’s an unfortunate experience for someone suffering from constant nausia.  But all the dishes are clean and no one in this house had better use anything but paper plates and plastic silverware until the situation is corrected.  Otherwise I’m just going to pitch the dishes.  I am not washing them again.

On to the next thing.  Sometimes the white space left on envelopes, tags and ephemera can appear harsh or to bright in a project.  Here are a couple ideas to soften it up a bit.

  1. Stencil over the white space with a soft, coordinating color.
  2. Use a small puddle of watered down Gelatos, watercolors, pastels, watered down craft paints.  Dip, wipe or paint over the white space.
  3. Use spray inks.  Through stencils, doilies, or just misted over top of the white.
  4. Use coffee or tea in a spray bottle or with a brush.  Use wet tea bags rubbed over the area.
  5. Mix a watered down color with mod podge or gloopy glue and use as you collage, covering the white space.  It will be as dark as you mix it.
  6. Rub pastels over the white space and wipe off/in with a baby wipe.
  7. Spatter color over top with brush, loaded with paint and wacked with another brush.  Or use a stiff bristled brush and your finger.
  8. Drip watercolor, ink, or paint from edge of white space and tip.
  9. Use wax gels, rubbed into area with a paper towel
  10. Wad up paper, press into color and pounce over white area.  This can be done with a sponge, brush, and texture tools.

As you can see, there are several ways to add some color to harsh, white space in a project.  It’s also a quick way to “dye” something without the mess of the dyeing process.  (You can probably tell I’ve spent quite a few days coffee and color dyeing paper and I’m sick of it.  This post came about because I ran out of dyed envelopes in the middle of a project.  I’ll tell you about that one later.)

Remember to use what you have available.  Sometimes I forget my painting supplies can be used in my art journaling too.  Or I simply forget what I have to work with if it’s not already on my work surface. Expand your creative possibilities by mixing things up a bit.  Just because my art journals are primarily vintage-feeling doesn’t mean I can’t add color to them with all sorts of different supplies.

 

 

 

Quick Solution for Lost

stainless steel pin to close Art Glitter Glue.

First, Art Glitter Glue does not have glitter in it.  It is a glue which dries clear with a very fine tip point.  A little goes a long way.  Once you add the metal point to the bottle, you’ll want to put the pin in the tip to prevent it drying out.  You can leave the bottle as is at that point.  No further covering is needed.

Because the pin is easy to lose, I decided to add a metal bead cone and beaded dangle to the pin so I could find it easily on my work table.  Here’s how I did this:

  1. I chose a Bead Cone which covered the ball on the end of the pin completely.  The ball touches the top of the metal point on the glue bottle without interference from the bead cone.
  2. I used a coordinating metal Eye Pin.
  3. Insert the eye pin into the cone.  Make a loop from the straight part of the pin on the outside of the cone.
  4. Add a Jump Ring
  5. Then I added a 1 1/4″ length of beaded chain, with a larger pendant on the end.
  6. Next I placed the cone upright, added a bit of E6000 glue inside.
  7. Then I put the stainless steel pin ball into the glue, making sure it was centered in the cone.
  8. Once completely dry, I slipped the pin into the fine tipped point on the glue bottle.

The beaded dangle is not so heavy as to tip the bottle over, but it’s large enough to easily locate on a messy desk top.  The links I included are similar products to what I used make mine.  Because I bought my jewelry stuff many years ago, I really have no idea where they came from. The pin dangle took minutes to put together, is useful and adds some fun bling to a supply which lives on my work desk.

And, as we know, I’m all about the bling.

Trims, Trims, and More Trims!

As I mentioned, I cut tags from cereal box chipboard.  11 of both the large and the small.  I’ve spent the last hour and a half wrapping them with smaller amounts of my trims.  Most tags hold two types, some three.  Then I moved onto rectangles, because my hands were shot cutting out the decorative tags.  I filled those too.  And two gallon sized ziplocks with the small bits and pieces.  I emptied one canvas tote, after rearranging what was left.

I had no idea I had that much trim.  You know how you always seem to gravitate to the same stuff?  Well that’s what I’ve been doing.  Mostly because the trims weren’t easily accessible in the canvas totes.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Now I have most on cards/tags in three boxes on my shelves.

Having all my art journal stuff within reach has been such a blessing.  No more having to climb over, search for and paw through countless totes to find what I want.  It’s all neatly arranged and within arms reach.  I know what I have (now that I organized the trims) and where to find it.  And in spite of having a lot less to work with (remember I also purged), I’m creating more stuff than I ever have before.

Organization, my friends.  It’s the way to go.

 

 

Templates

As we know, I’ve been making a lot of art journal add ins.  One thing I’ve found helpful is to make templates of my favorite projects.  This has proved invaluable when I want to make more at a later time.  I hate to measure and would much rather trace around a template.  Easy peasy.  At this point I have just under 50 templates from this marathon session.

Another valuable resource is a list of the projects, by whom and where I found it or if I designed the project myself, instructions and a materials list.  This sounds much more complicated than it is.  I just jot down enough information to refresh my memory when I see it in my sample book.  And usually I can just glance at whatever it is and know how I made it.  But I always want to give credit to the original artist, because that’s one thing I struggle to remember.  Did I come up with this or was it inspired by someone else’s work?

I’m currently cutting out cereal box chipboard into decorative tags.  Two sizes, large (4 x 6 1/2″) and small (2 3/4 x 4 1/2″).  My template is the larger size with the smaller one cut from the center.  Two in one.  These tags will hold smaller amounts of my trims.  I have a lot of some of them, so having the trims in smaller amounts will make them more accessible and easier to use.  I’ll store them in a plastic tote on my shelf.  While it’s hard on my hands, the results will be worth it.

You can make templates from file folders, cardstock, junk mail, gift cards, cardboard, plastic, anything you have on hand really.  The sturdier the material used the better it will hold up to repeated use.  I’ve had other templates for many years and I still use them.