Another Christmas!

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It is hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone and it is even harder to believe that 2016 is coming to an end!  Our boys are becoming young men and the hubs and I are noticing our own signs of aging.  It sneaks up on you.  It really does.  Those things that you thought that “SOMEDAY” you would be or do…. those things that haven’t  happened yet?  Well, the time is now.

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I am realizing that “someday” is now and there is no sense in waiting for the future.  At the risk of sounding morbid, none of us knows what tomorrow holds.  So whatever it is that you want or feel as though you have wanted to do… DO IT NOW!  I’m not waiting anymore, if any of us have any doubts about this, look at the string of celebrity deaths that have occurred lately!  It’s shocking!  Some of these people in their 50’s, which, when you are in your 20’s seems old, I know, but it isn’t in all reality!

So you have a special dress you are waiting to wear?  I say get it out and wear it now, create an event!  Celebrate Monday, if nothing else comes to mind to celebrate. For me, I am pushing full steam ahead with my designs.  Any rejection is just going to make me push harder.  So all those textile companies out there, better watch for me, because I am coming.. whether you are ready or not!!!

The end of the year has been very busy for me.  It has been full of awesome surprises as well as some very big disappointments.  I am choosing to focus on the great things that have happened, and allow those icky disappointments to encourage me to try harder, create more and to also remind me that “nothing worthwhile comes easy.”

I participated in an Instagram Challenge in December.  It was an advent calendar instagram challenge.  The challenge was created by Four Corners Art Collective.  This group of talented designers created prompts for December 1st- December 21st.  It was loads of fun, and I am so grateful to all of them!

You can see all my renderings by clicking on my photo below, it will take you to my portfolio website.

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Doing this challenge was a great exercise!  You have to put your work out quickly and it needs to go out every day for 3 weeks.

On to another topic.  I made a quilt for my sister-in-law Sheri.  The last of the sister-in-laws to get the gift of a quilt for Christmas.  She’s been waiting.  Finally, her day came!

I went WAY off script with this one.  I let all the fabric do the work for me.  I chose bright solids and all the Cotton and Steel prints I had in my sewing room.  I used them all!

I used my Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut lots and lots of triangles! It really does make cutting go faster.

In the picture below, I was trying to figure out how to put these half square triangles together.  You can really see how the fabric is doing the work for me.

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In this picture below you can see the quilt assembled and nearly ready for quilting.

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I didn’t even start to think about what I was going to do for Sheri’s quilt until after Thanksgiving.  When I finally had some kind of idea, I was overtaken by a dark cloud of depression.  It usually comes on this time of year, when our days are shorter and there are a million things that need to be done before the holidays hit.   I pushed through though.  I would sew a little bit each day and luckily I finished up the binding on Christmas morning.  Just in time!

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Sheri’s finished quilt was created with many half square triangles and some solid 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares  as well.

Sheri has had a hard year, in 2016.  She had a huge family loss herself.  I hope she knows that this quilt, as with all quilts I have made are more than just a quilt,  it’s a hug as well!

Happy New Year to you all!

xxoo

Just When you Need It!

Sometimes something happens right when you REALLY need it!  I often talk about how being in the business of surface design is like a rollercoaster ride.  Many times this rollercoaster ride seems to have more nosedives than blastoffs!  Those nosedives?  They are usually provoked by that “evil little inner voice” that likes to compare my work to others and tell me “you’ll never amount to anything”.  Most days I can push this “voice” aside, not listen and not buy into it, but some days it gets hold of me and pulls me down that rabbit hole.  Ugh, if any of you have this issue, you know the place I am talking about. It’s a dark, ugly space where creative juices dry up and optimism is unheard of.  You know that song by Sam Phillips, “Where the Colors Don’t Go”? well, her lyrics explain it all.  Nothing grows there, especially color!

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So getting on with my story, and it’s a very good one!  Two weeks ago I did a little four question “e-mail interview” with a lovely woman named Rose that works with the “On The Surface” (SURTEX) E- Newsletter. You probably remember I exhibited at SURTEX 2016, last May.  This e-mail popped into my inbox (which usually I tend to delete even before reading because I think it may be junk from an on-line marketer trying to sell their services), but this time I opened and read it. Thank goodness I did.  This was JUST WHAT I NEEDED, JUST WHEN I NEEDED IT!

This e-mail was from a lovely person by the name of Rose Gilbert.  She had questions as to what I did last summer, how my summer inspired my creativity and about life after SURTEX.  At the time, I answered the questions attached some artwork, as they requested and sent it immediately back, thinking “this may end up being nothing, but who knows” and I totally forgot about it!!!!

A few days ago, to my surprise, and in a slump, a newsletter popped into my inbox from “On The Surface”, the e-newsletter from SURTEX.   I scanned through it, completely forgetting about the interview I did and all of a sudden I saw my face!  OMG!  I didn’t even read it, I handed my phone over to my husband and he started to read it to me!  To say that I was shocked, was an understatement.  I really did forget about it.  Rose made me sound so much more like an artist (and a grown-up) than I view myself to be!  Below you can read part of the SURTEX e-newsletter!

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When you head over to the SURTEX website, there doesn’t seem to be a place to access this particular newsletter.  You will find older newsletters there, but not this one for some reason.  I am not sure why, but I am sure many, many attendees and exhibitors received this e-newsletter edition in their mailbox, just as I did.

So I guess you can say I am on the upswing of the rollercoaster ride.  I know it won’t last forever, but I am going to enjoy this feeling for a little while before it’s time to experience the next dip.

Have a great week everyone!

Create Something!

 

Inspiration

Wowee, the last few months have flown by, but they also seemed to drag on.  I know, this doesn’t make sense, but this is how time has felt for me lately.  Time drags, when you are uninterested in anything, feel depressed and just not motivated.  Am I speaking anybody’s language here?  Time flies by when you head into a department store all decked out in holiday decorations in the middle of September. I forget what season I am in sometimes- (California weather can do that to a person) especially when retail messes with your head and you have to question if you slept months away in a Rip Van Winkle kind of way.   Today I was in a bookstore and they were playing holiday music it was disguised in a jazzy elevator tune, but it was definitely Christmas music!  Ugh!  Can we please do Halloween first?

I have been working on my fabric designs, and they are actually coming along.  It is exciting for me to be doing this, I wish I could share with you, but for now I need to keep these under wraps.  I can share with you however,  a class I discovered on Creativelive.  Taught by Bonnie Christine, a successful fabric designer.  The class is called Design Surface Patterns From Scratch.  It was/is so helpful.  I bought the class, and now I own it…So I can review it at anytime.  I highly recommend both Creativelive and this course.  Creativelive offers many other courses for artists…of all kinds.  Check it out!

The other course I am taking is The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which I found on the website Do What You Love for Life.

So this is where I have been.  Working on designs, sketching a lot and taking some on-line courses. I have been battling my depression along the way and trying to stay inspired even when I have pretty much given up on myself.  It’s hard to look at the future, when you aren’t feeling like you want one.  So..

A few weeks ago I went to the Catskills for a weekend workshop with my friend Heather Ross.  Also in attendance was the very talented Denyse Schmidt.  The dynamic duo welcomed 11 of us to a 1850’s Victorian Farmhouse, situated on 20 acres!

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Most of us brought projects to work on, I was to work on my design work with Heather.  She has been sort of mentoring me along the way.  I have to say though, there were two highlights to this weekend.  First was having the opportunity to spend more time with Anne Sullivan from Play-Crafts… I have met her before, but never really got to know her.

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Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan talk fabric design

Now I can say she is my friend.  We flew together both ways.. It made the whole traveling process for me so much easier!  The second highlight of the weekend, was searching for a dead animal in the basement with both Anne and Denyse Schmidt.

When I say basement, what I really mean is dungeon it was dark, smelly and scary.  There was a dead animal stench emanating from the bowels of the house.

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photo 1-58 Some of the gals that were sewing in the dining room could get whiffs of it every now and then.  So Denyse, Anne and I decided to take the matter into our own hands, and take care of the little bugger.  We found nothing.

I am sure there aren’t too many people who can say they went dead vermin hunting with Denyse Schmidt. 🙂 I can now take that off my bucket list!

Now to give you some inspiration for those of you that still have little ones and would like to do something special for them.  I painted two toy boxes that my mother in-law gifted the boys for their 1 year old birthdays.

Here is Kenny’s toy box.

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Included on Kenny’s toy box were our pets at the time, Chloe, our yellow lab and Wooley and Poly-ester our cats.  Now, sadly they are all gone.  They did get boxes of their own, with ashes in them.  Sad face.

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Now here is William’s… His has more detail, since I thing I was a little more confident about painting on a toy box at this point.

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That’s all for now folks.  Have a lovely inspirational weekend!

For the love of Dave and many others…..

I am writing this post for all of those that I have known that are no longer with us.  My “East coast sister,” Tricia, is walking this Sunday in honor of her brother David whom she and her amazing family lost 15 years ago, to depression and its consequences.

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Tricia is participating in Philadelphia’s Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk.  She will be walking for Dave and a few other people we know and loved/love.  One person in particular, my son Kenny knew and  went to school with. We lost her recently, and Tricia offered to walk in her name as well.

This post has been a hard one to write, because I am going to share something with you that I am very open about, but haven’t shared on-line. It’s not a pretty side of me, but none the less, it is something I struggle with almost daily.

I have depression.

There I said it.  Look, the world is still on its axis and the sky isn’t falling.  I know, I know many of us do. Right? We don’t talk about it all the time and we don’t share those ugly little secrets with everyone, but I think it is high time we do. Let’s talk about “IT”. Okay?

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Me at 12 years of age.

This isn’t a dirty little secret, it is a health issue and it’s real.  It has been scientifically proven that “IT” is a chemical imbalance.  Just like high blood pressure and diabetes, medicines and therapies are prescribed.   Sometimes depression can be brought on from a significant event or trauma in your life… Sometimes, (and I think this one is the hardest), you can’t put your finger on it, you don’t know why you feel crappy. You just do, and it hurts. It is impossible to get out of bed, to eat, to read, to watch television to think about anything in the future, or even to think how the hell am I going to get myself out of this hell? It is HELL, HELL on earth – everything is dark, ugly, scary, things feel bad, even a hug from someone you love feels empty.  You know you will never feel happy again. The only way out (you think at the that very time) is the direction that too many people have taken.

This is where, I have been. Yes, I have been there, where I have tried to “off” myself. When I was in college, I took a whole bottle of Bayer aspirin. It was an easy decision for me at the time, I was young, I didn’t have kids or a husband to look after me and live for. I felt as though I was a burden, not pulling the grades I should be and doing my parents a huge disservice spending their hard-earned money on a loser like me. When my roommate found out I did this, I begged her not to call anybody. It worked out okay, because I paid the price, vomiting my guts out. I learned my lesson, sort-of.

“Burden” seems to be a big word with us that feel very low and depressed. In fact if you are around someone who uses this word as a description of themselves, I would watch them carefully and see if they may need to talk to someone.   Don’t be polite about it either, be forceful, because if you are dealing with a depressed person, a decision is something that can’t be made by them.

As a depressed person you feel like “an extra load of unhappy garbage” to your friends and family. You just want to disappear and you want people to just forget about you, because in your sick mind they will be waaaayyyyyy better off without you.

For those of you out there who haven’t experienced depression, and I hope there are many of you that haven’t, I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy.

I have been in and out of depression for as long as I can remember.  I know I had it when I was in college and I am pretty sure I had it as a youngster.  I can remember as a kid crying and feeling sad, for no apparent reason.

Depression runs in my family and is hereditary.

My mom lost her brother (Tim) to suicide.  I was around 10 when this happened.  I remember it was June 20th, the day before my sister’s birthday.  The story I was told was that my uncle didn’t want to go through another divorce.  Traggic, If only he would have stopped and thought about his kids and my mom (his sister) AND the scars he would leave them with.

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My dad painted the above painting.  It depicts a man with his head in his hands and crazy birds flying around him inside of a house.  My Uncle Tim saw this painting before he left us and said that the painting depicted exactly how he felt.  He just wanted to put his head in his hands and make it all stop.

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One of the last photo’s taken of me and my dog Pebble’s before moving to California

Depression reared its very ugly head, when I moved from Michigan to California.  It was an exciting time.  I had met the man of my dreams and I was moving to be with him.  It was a huge change for me though.  I left the safety and comfort of my parents arms to the arms of  my future husband.  To me, it felt like I was leaving my childhood behind and hopping right over into adulthood.

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I left my parents….

Things were different in Northern California.  I went from a very conservative household to a very liberal area.   The leaves on trees didn’t change much and there wasn’t any snow.  The people were different, things seemed “showy”.  As great as this all seems, when it isn’t something you are accustomed to, it makes you feel different as if you don’t belong.  Like you aren’t settled, you are only visiting and you have nowhere to call home.  I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, let alone my new surroundings.   Also, while this was all going on I was getting acquainted with Jim’s very large gregarious family.  It made me want to withdraw more, because they were all so happy and warm, and I just didn’t feel like that at the time.  I became more introverted.

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The above picture was taken, when I was just about diagnosed with double depression.  Jim put that crazy Rodney Reindeer on my head, hoping that would make me laugh.   You can see it had no effect.

I have been in therapy now, with the same wonderful doctor for… 23 years?  Something like that anyway.  I have taken medication now, for just about as long (cutting the meds during pregnancies and breast-feeding).

My husband and boys have saved my life, more times than I can even count.  When I am in one of my “episodes” of depression, Jim is always there to tell me “you are going to feel better, you just got to hang in there”.  All I need to do is picture the devastation, that I have seen first hand, way too many times to stop me from thinking of a wrong way out.  Families that you left behind, because as a depressed person, you felt you were “burdening” them, are now tormented by thoughts of “why didn’t I know?”, “why did she/he do this?”, “what could I have done differently?” and many, many other thoughts.  The fact of the matter is that now you, trying to unburden your family by doing the unthinkable, ARE NOW REALLY A BURDEN.  For the rest of their living lives, they will be missing you and in pain.

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This picture was taken at Jim’s brother’s wedding in Sonoma.  I remember feeling really bad. My therapy had started at this point.

Even after you get well and you find happiness, depression still can sneak into your life.

Jim and I were married in 1992 in Tiburon, Ca.  We had a reception following that my family attended, but my mom and dad wanted to have another reception at a later date in Michigan for us also, so that other family members could celebrate with us.

A few days after our Michigan reception, there was an incident of sorts, that I thought I could talk through with my sister and parents.  It didn’t regard me, but I was just trying to make peace in our household.   The situation escalated and no one was listening to me, (people not listening to me, I thought was always a problem) so I guess to get their attention  I pounded on the nearest surface and that just happened to be a glass storm door.  I was shouting “can everybody just stop yelling!” and hammered both my forearms through that glass severing 7 tendons and a nerve.

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Here I am a few days later in Michigan after surgery.  I look happy right?  My dad promised that things would change around the household.  It wasn’t his fault.  My sister and I have never been close,  she and I are like oil and water, we just don’t mix.  So to keep the peace we don’t talk or see each other when I visit my folks in Michigan.

Today, I am obviously still here. I struggle with depression as I said before on an almost daily basis.  There are a few things that help me get through.  Plenty of sleep, exercise, psychotherapy, medicine, prayer and surrounding myself with positive people.  If one of these lacks, I know what I need to do to fix it.  Those tools and steps are my sword and they empower me against this unwanted monster.

I hope my little tale, can help those of you out there that need help and those of you out there that just don’t understand depression and want your friend or loved one to “just snap out of it.” Now you know that it is not as easy as that.

Asking for help is easy, just do it.  Someone will listen.

1(800) 273-TALK (8255),

Take care of yourselves and think happy thoughts for Tricia- she and her family are so special to us here on the West coast.  Tomorrow, is another day she will do without her very missed brother David.

Here’s to Tricia and David:

“DAVE’S RUN”

This post is dedicated to my husband Jim, my “Superman“, who’s gotten me through some of my hardest days, has totally seen the bad and the ugly parts of me, but still  manages to love me despite it all.  I love you.