Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crafting with ScotchBlue ™


Disclaimer: the following is a sponsored post for ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape.  I received free product in return for this post, but the opinions and creation are all my own. 

When Ali contacted me and asked me if I was interested in doing something with ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape, I said “Heck, yeah!” because I LOVE that stuff.
DL and I have been using ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape for EVAH!  Probably since the week after it was invented.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know this is our seventh house, and every house has meant painting.  Before 3M’s amazing product, I had to use a level and an artist’s brush and my life was hard.  When Ali contacted me, it would have been easy to paint one of the bazillion things around Brandywine that needs painting, but I wanted to do something fun.  Mainly because I’m old and I’ll take my fun where I can get it.

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I received two rolls of ScotchBlue ™ to use in my project, one just less than an inch, and one almost an inch and a half.  I wanted to use both sizes, so I poured myself a glass of wine and put on my thinking cap. (Wine is good for thinking.)

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I gathered my fun-making materials (you can see I have no allegiance to any craft paint company—although if one wants to “adopt” me, that would be fine) and carved out a spot at the kitchen table. (Two things not shown: assorted paintbrushes and scissors.)


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Then I ripped off about a foot of each of the sizes of tape.  I had to do this multiple times, as you can imagine after you see what I’ve done.


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I lightly painted the burlap canvas with gesso.  I didn’t worry about getting it completely covered, as it was going to be painted over.


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And the fun began! (After I poured a second glass of wine.)

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Inspired by my friend Bliss’ current projects, I decided that a mosaic would be fun.

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After I got done with the design using cut up pieces of tape, I took the two widths of ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape and did a rectangle background:


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(I made sure that the tape was adhered well, and I had NO problem with leakage. Which is more than I can say for times when I unexpectedly sneeze.)

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Then it was time to paint!  (After I poured another half-glass.)

First, I used an artist’s brush to put gray (only one shade, not fifty) in the channels between the pieces of tape, to represent the ‘grout.’
I let that dry overnight, then I pulled off the center pieces of tape and used black and brown for the center of the flower.

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Then it was on to the petals in yellow and gold.   At the end, I used greens for the background ‘tiles.’

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I think it turned out pretty cool!  Now I feel like I could do a table top in a similar style with ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape.  It pays to put on your thinking cap!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What I found appealing


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Raise your hand if you remember Laura Ashley dresses.

Keep your hand up if you had more than two or three in your closet.

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Extra points if you made a few yourself.

True confession:  I sewed the one above in two or three different fabrics, to wear when I was ‘just a little bit’ pregnant.

I sewed the short version of the one below for high school graduation:

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(Before you get nervous, these two things occurred 8 years apart.)

After I became a mom, I didn’t have time to sew, except for approximately 489 pairs of “jam” shorts for my son (not his real name) and gathered skirts that I added to the bottom of t-shirts for my daughter (not her real name).  She wore those over pants because she did not want anyone seeing her undies.  It was a look that said “my mom lets me choose my own clothes.”

What I’m finding appealing this week is that vintage Laura Ashley is making a comeback with young women.  While they won’t get the experience of shopping at the awesome little shops (Remember those?  My favorite was in Williamsburg), they can find Laura Ashley in vintage shops and Laura Ashley-inspired dresses on the runway. (No joke; I’ve seen them in the magazines!)

Would you try a puffed sleeve again?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The one where I lose a few more readers


I learned of the tragic death of Robin Williams the way a lot of you did: on social media.  My friend from college, Pete, posted the news while folks were still denying it—it obviously must be a hoax—but within minutes, the news was confirmed and it was all over face book.

And it was suicide.

Included with the stories was a statement that Williams had been depressed.

Of course.  Happy people don't usually take their own lives.
…and then they all came out of the woodwork.  ‘There’s no such thing as depression.’  ‘It’s a liberal problem.’ ‘I shook it off, so he could, too.’ ‘He couldn’t have been depressed; he had lots of money.’ ‘How could he do that to his kids?’ ‘He was selfish.’

Here’s what I will tell you about my experience with mental illness: (such a scary phrase, “mental illness.” No one wants to use it…no one wants to hear it.) 
It is real.
It is as real as any other chronic illness: diabetes, asthma, hemophilia…
…except we want to ignore it.  As if by acknowledging it, we make it more real, and we accept that it can happen to us or someone we love.  If a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, we tell our friends and they bring casseroles.  If a loved one is diagnosed with mental illness, we hide it…like Mrs. Rochester in the attic.
I have often talked about how I lost my mind when I went through menopause.  You thought I was joking.  When I said I poured myself into a bottle of gin and stayed there for an entire summer, you thought I was exaggerating.  But Depression is a cold-hearted bitch who drives with a wingman named Self-Loathing, and she wanted to take me for a ride.

In many respects, I was very fortunate.  My sweet DL continued to stay married to me, despite my erratic and self-destructive behavior.  I had a job I loved that forced me to step away from the bottle from 5 am-3:30 pm, at which time I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to twist the cap off a beer.  I had a doctor who listened to me and took my depression seriously.  She did not dismiss it as a symptom of menopause or as a case of “the blues.”  When I told her I was thinking about investing in a gas oven and pulling a Sylvia Plath, she was willing to write a script that began to help after two weeks.  I started to feel “normal”—and my husband said he was happy to get his old Kirby back.

But my story is NOT typical.  Most folks who battle depression have a lengthy battle—not one that is easily won.  They battle longer and harder than I did.  Self-Loathing calls in his step-brother, Addiction, and things get messy.  I was able to win the battle before it got bloody. Don't get me wrong...I have to be on the alert, because Depression might try to come back to beat on me again, and I try to be pro-active. I watch my intake of adult beverages. (Despite the persona I project in this blog, I’m pretty much a lightweight.  One and done, unless it’s a special occasion.)  I do not take any prescribed medications that have any possibility I may become dependent (the PA who tried to prescribe Oxycodone for my shoulder?  He got an EARFUL!) and I exercise almost every day.  These things won’t keep my illness from coming back, but they can’t hurt.

My depression is not a big beast, and she didn’t dig the hole deep enough to keep me in.  I knew immediately that I was in trouble, I knew I needed help, and I wasn’t scared to get it, making my scramble out rather quick and painless.  Again…not typical.  I am seeing a lot of conversation on social media regarding depression, and some of it is incredibly productive.  People are sharing their stories, and folks who have famously battled the bitch and her co-conspirators have told of their experiences.  Almost singularly, they say that they are lucky.  They admit that this time, they were lucky.  That they had enough light to see a way out.  Next time?  Maybe not.  Think of it this way—if you are the person who, after learning that a friend who had a long, painful, debilitating illness finally passes away, you say, “He’s in a better place now…” or “It’s a blessing…” then think twice before you judge someone who can’t live with debilitating pain anymore and chooses to take action.

So, I hope that before folks post something insensitive about depression or addiction, they look at it a different way.  Think about it as you would any “acceptable” disease—a disease that no one is locking in the attic.  And be thankful that this time, it wasn’t you or someone you love.





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday


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When my kids were little, we called these “spider blankets.”

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What do you call them?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tour of Fine Blogs


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So the question is: why am I on it?

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Because girls just wanna have fun, and blogging is fun for me.

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So when Bliss (one of my oldest—not in age, but in time—blogging friends) asked if I wanted to join the tour, of course I said yes because tours are fun!
(You know Bliss, don’t you?  She is currently addicted to mosaicking, if that’s a verb.)


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I am answering the same questions that everyone else is answering, so here goes:

1. What are you working on right now?

In truth, I am not working on anything except a painting that I have promised to have ready for a show.  However, Marlon my floor man is working on my guest room floor. After Marlon finishes, I will put the clothes back in the closet, put the furniture back, hang the new curtains and vintage paintings, and make the bed look nice. At which point I will take pictures and you can see the finished product!  (One room done, 10 to go.) DL is working on more industrial furniture, which is why I hired Marlon.

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2.  How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Here’s where I think this gets a little muddy.  I’m not sure to what “work” this question is referring.  If it’s referring to making or re-making furniture, then my stuff isn’t a lot different than most of the other painted furniture out there.  DL’s stuff is different, because he buys entire factories full of crap  stuff that he slowly, because he has a full-time job  turns into really neat furniture.  If this question is referring to my blog, then yes, I think my blog is different.  Mainly because I am.  Different.  As in, “Oh, her.  She’s a little different.  Bless her heart.”

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3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I can’t really answer that.  I will say that I HAVE to.  I have to have a creative outlet, or I cannot function.  I went into teaching because (at the time) it was a career where I had the freedom to create.  That is no longer the case. 

So, instead of pouring my creative energies into my teaching, I now pour them into all kinds of shenanigans activities.  I was fortunate as a child to have parents who were very creative in many ways, and I am now fortunate enough to have a husband who puts up with it.

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Folks who like to read my blog have found it, and they are great followers and a lot of fun to engage with, via comments.  I hope they have as much fun reading this blog as I have writing it!  (And my peeps seem to enjoy the Downton commentaries.)

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4. How does your writing/creative process work?

I’m not sure I have a ‘process.’ I write down ideas when I have them, either typing them into my phone or writing them down in a little notebook I carry.  Then, when I want to make something or write something, I have ideas!  (More ideas than I will ever use, if you want to know the truth.)  Also, Pinterest.  Pinterest is the debbil.  But mostly, it's just stream-of-consciousness when I write, which can be awkward, and many times I forget to go back and edit before I post.  Which is NOT good writing, but hey!  I'm busy!

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Mucho thanks to Bliss Ranch for inviting me to participate!  I am tagging Eliesa, and you will love checking out her kitchen remodel!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What I found appealing…in Georgia!


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I was going to do this as a Walkabout Wednesday last month, but…

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…it turns out that nine year-old girls aren’t all that thrilled to walk around a little town, looking at houses.  So we walked around the “fun part” of Thomasville, which does have some really cool houses, if you go with someone who wants to walk.

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These pictures are from a very cute shop in downtown Thomasville, called Firefly.  If I had a shop?  I’d want it to be like this one!

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Thanks, Kik, for taking me out on the town!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

If it's Back-to-School time,

Then it must mean clothes!!

First of all, I am not really obsessed with clothes (any more).
It's harder to be obsessed when trendy clothing sizes stop at 6. That being said...

Back to school clothes used to follow along the same lines: a plaid dress.
Not this plaid dress:


But this plaid dress: