Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Welcome to a Colorful World

I want to share a piece of art with you that I just completed, but before I do I'd like to share the story behind it.  I hope you will bear with me, it will be a long story, but a special one.

Several years ago Mr. Flower Child and I sold our house in town so that we could move to a neighborhood where there would be other children for Flower Bud to play with.  So we settled in and shortly after I got a phone call from one of the neighbors.  A mutual friend had told her that we had sons about the same age and she wondered if we'd be interested in carpooling.  See, she had three children, all going to three different schools.  I said sure!  So they had us over for dinner for a meet and greet.  She had three wonderful children.  Her middle son was Flower Bud's age and they hit it off and became friends right away.  Her youngest child was her daughter who was just too pretty for words.  And then there was her oldest child, Zachary.  Zachary was a handsome boy, almost a clone of his father.  Zachary was very, very special.  See, Zachary was born with severe handicaps.  I could go into detail and tell you all the medical terms, but I think it would be best to tell you in terms you'd understand (besides, you know I can't remember all the medial terms).  Zachary was wheel-chaired bound, he could not walk, he could not talk, he could not see, he could not eat and received his sole nutrition through a feeding tube, he could not communicate at all.  I was astounded.  How in the world did they take care of this child!  It had to be so difficult!  Well, over the years as I got to know Zachary's mother better and I learned more of what all they had to do to take care of this special child I learned that it was indeed difficult, but I never once heard them complain.  Never.  Not once.  Even as Zachary continued to grow and became a teenager and his mother, who was very petite, would have to pick him up out of his chair by herself when no one was there to help, and get him into bed, or into the shower, her answer was to work out more so that she would be stronger and better able to lift him.  She never complained.  When he was sick and they couldn't figure out what was wrong because he couldn't talk and help them figure it out, all he could do was cry, she would become frustrated because she didn't know what to do to help him, but she never complained.  When he would spend weeks in the hospital, she would share her desire for him to get well and come home so that life could get back to "normal."  But she never complained.  Normal.  So many people take that word for granted, myself included.  I used to try to imagine how difficult it must be.  I think the best way to describe it would to be to imagine yourself taking care of a grown infant.  He grew like a normal (there's that word again) boy.  But I never heard any of them ever complain.  Ever.  Maybe it was because Zachary was a twin and the twin didn't make it so they realized how precious life is.  Whatever the reason I was always amazed at the grace with which they handled the situation.  I know I never could've handled it with such grace.  I would've probably complained to anyone who would have listened.  And instead of questioning her faith and God, it only made her faith stronger.  This family never complained and they never thought of Zachary as a burden, instead they thought of him as a gift.  We should all be so lucky.  God truly gave Zachary the perfect parents for him. 

Well, the years go by and Flower Bud and Zachary's younger brother start middle school.  My work schedule changed and we could no longer car pool.  Flower Bud and his friend no longer have classes together and they sort of drift apart.  They are still friends, but they rarely see each other.  Zachary's mother and I also drift apart.  I quit my job, she takes a job.  You know how it goes.  Life is busy and before you know it months have gone by and you haven't seen or spoken to one another. Then I get a phone call one day.  Zachary had gone to live with Jesus.  I felt like such a horrible friend, he had been in the hospital for such a long time and I had not even known.  I was not there for my friend when she needed help the most.  I know she has plenty of family and friends, but it still hurt my heart that I had not been there.

So today is the one year anniversary of Zachary's death.  For a year I have been trying to get something of Zachary's that Mr. Flower Child could use on one of the beautiful crosses he makes.  I wanted it to be a surprise so I couldn't just ask for something.  Finally, one of the ladies who helped take care of Zachary at school gave me a DVD that he used to love to listen to.  A Barney's Colorful World DVD.  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how to incorporate a DVD with a cross.  A Barney DVD at that.  Then yesterday it hit me.  (Dear Lord, why can't you give me my ideas like a week ahead of time!)  I have been studying a lot of mixed media art videos, especially Christy Tomlinson - luv her work!  Instead of a cross, I could do a mixed media canvas and incorporate the DVD!  This is what I came up with:

I wanted the DVD to sparkle so first I covered it in some glass powder that I had, but it wasn't quite enough bling so then I covered it in diamond dust.  I like the way it turned out.  I wanted to still be able to see the DVD below, but a more sparkly and muted version.  Oh, and I put a cute little button in the center where the hole is.  I cut pieces of paper and added them to kind of make it look like a star burst.  then I doodled and painted over the starburst.

I tore the front off the DVD cover and then doodled and painted over it so that it didn't look like I had just torn and pasted it on there (which is exactly what I had done... hmm...  do you ever wonder about yourself sometimes?)

I found this rhinestone angel wing applique at Hobby Lobby.  At first I was worried it was a little too glitzy, but I think it works great with the diamond dust on the DVD.

I stamped some crosses on there because my friend loves crosses and also to add some texture.  Oh, and all of those book pages you see - well, they are pages from a little new testament bible that I found somewhere that was falling apart.

I added this rub-off on the side that says "singin' & dancin'" because once before when Zachary was very sick and looked like he wasn't going to pull through his mother and I talked about how she would feel if he went to live with Jesus.  She said that she would be soooooo happy for him because not only would he be going to live with our Lord, but he would finally be able to run and dance and sing!  Hopefully this will help her picture him singin' and dancin'!

Is it the most beautiful piece of art you've ever seen? Well, no, but hopefully it will be beautiful to her, and I'm hoping it will make her smile and let the memories color her world. 



At the funeral a friend of the family read a poem that had been given to Zachary's mother shortly after he was born.  I'd love to share it with you:

Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ms. Pat's Vanity

There is the sweetest lady that lives in my town.  Her name is Pat Lee and she heads up an adoption agency called Children of the World (actually I believe she started it, and a really good blogger would probably get all her facts together before she starts writing, but we established a while back that I'm not a very good blogger so needless to say I didn't get all my facts together before I started writing).  I do know that it is a wonderful organization and has helped many families, well, become families.  Not only has she helped others adopt children, she has adopted a gazillion herself (okay, not really a gazillion, but several) in addition to her biological children. I'm a big fan of adoption, my only sister is adopted.  (See my parents weren't supposed to be able to have babies, I'm kinda like a miracle baby - ha!  There's more to the story, apparently I was conceived in a special way, but when my momma tries to tell me the story I just can't listen.  I told her to tell my my husband in case I ever needed to know for medical reasons, but if she didn't mind I'd rather not have that image in my head - yuck!)  (Yeah, I know TMI, but I thought you might find it interesting, most people do!  You have to remember this was waaaaay back in the 60's before all of today's fertility technology.)

Well, I digress (again- imagine that!) so back to Ms. Pat. Well, she called me a while back and said she had this piece of furniture she wanted me to paint for her. So I go over to her house and she has the cutest antique vanity:

We discuss a few options (one of which being white suggested by one of her daughters whom I love dearly, but she likes for EVERYTHING to be white - get the picture??? although sometimes she does take a walk on the wild side and do gray).  Now it would have been pretty white, but Ms. Pat is not a "white wall kinda gal" if you get my drift.  In fact, she's quite the opposite, and several times she says "I like color" so I finally say "do you want me to do something really colorful?" and she says "yes" and then she says those magic words that make my heart go pitter-pat double time:  "just do WHATEVER YOU WANT!"  Oh yeah, I'm on cloud nine!  a cute piece of furniture to do any way I want in COLOR!  and she hands me this pillow that has all the colors she wants:

Well, I couldn't wait to get started!!!  Here are some photos of what I came up with.  Keep in mind that this is not the finished product, but I wanted you to see it before I took the next step.

Cute, huh!  (sorry I forgot the photo of the ends with the diamonds that took me two days to figure out - who knew math was involved in painting furniture?)  Well, after I did all this painting, then I got out the sander.  Yep, I said sander!  I have had so many people ask me how I can sand something after I put that much work into it.  Well, so I can get it to look like this:

To be honest, the sanding is my favorite part!  Especially on older pieces.  I love to see all the layers hidden away underneath the top coat of paint.  For instance, when I started sanding this piece yellow started coming through, who knew there was yellow underneath the coral???  Now get ready for lots of close-ups!  I'm sorry there are so many, but there are so many different parts it was the only way to show you all of it.

I had so much fun with this!!  I seldom get to do something fun and and colorful like this because most people want their things to be neutral, which I understand perfectly.  Most of my own furniture is neutral.  I mean who can afford to go out and buy new furniture every time you want to change your color scheme???  And there is nothing wrong with a neutral color scheme, it can be so soothing, relaxed and elegant at the same time.  But every once in a while it is nice to be able to step out of the box and do something totally off-the-wall.

Now I gotta go call Ms. Pat and tell her its ready.  I sure hope she meant it when she said she liked color...  (and poor Emily is going to hate it!  lol!  I'll have to paint something white for her!  lol!)


Partying at:

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Tuesday's Treasures
Transformation Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
POWW 110: A Furniture Link Party
Simply Creations Link Party
Power of Paint Party
Transformation Thursday
Frugalicious Fridays
Power of Pinterest
Furniture Feature Friday
Saturday Night Special
Creatively Tuesday
Super Sweet Saturday

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cute Burlap Runner

I helped someone make a burlap runner the other day and it turned out so cute I thought I'd share it with you guys!  It was super easy and required NO sewing because I do NOT sew!  I know, I know, people can't believe I don't sew since I do so many other crafty things, but to be honest I think my mamma created a phobia for me.  See, my mamma is a fabulous seamstress so I've never had to sew because I always had her to do it for me, but the real problem is all those stories she used to tell me when I was a little girl about how she used to run her finger under the needle when she worked in the sewing room.  Yep, she would be sewing so fast she'd sew right over her finger.  Gee, can't imagine why I've never wanted to learn how to sew, can you?  Now, I have to admit, lately there have been many times I've thought I'd like to learn how, but then I think about running my finger under the needle and that's the end of that.  Plus, Mr. Flower Child likes to remind me that I don't have time to do all the things I want to do now so I really don't need to add to it now do I???  Well, I digress, so let's get back on track so I can tell you how I made this:

You will need to a strip of burlap cut the length of your table.  You can either have it hang over like this one, or cut it shorter so it doesn't hang over the side.  You will need some pretty ribbon, I found this at Hobby Lobby, and some fabric glue.

Cut the ribbon in strips the width of your burlap.  In this instance I cut 5 strips for each end, but you could do less (or more, unlike most people who say less is more, I like to say more is better! - you gotta remember I'm a southern girl who grew up in the 80's - big hair, more hairspray, more make-up, I think you get the picture).

After you cut the strip of ribbon, turn it over and apply the glue on the backside:

Glue each strip in place, overlapping slightly:

Once I had the strips glued in place and it had dried I trimmed the edges and that's all there is to it and you end up with this super cute table runner!



Tuesday's Treasures

Monday, October 1, 2012

Zebra Print Vanity

Last week I had the pleasure of working on this fun project!  (BTW, there is a VERY large square mirror that attaches to the back of this, I hope y'all will forgive me for not taking the time to attach it just to turn around and take it off again.  Just use your imagination!)

When the owner dropped it off it looked like this:

She said it was for her daughter who is 12 and she just wanted it to be black.  Yep, black.  Just plain ol' black.  *sigh*  so much potential...  So I say "okay, but are you sure she wouldn't like just a little sumthin' to jazz it up a bit?" The reply was "well, maybe you could paint the inside of the drawers a different color." *sigh*  Not one to give up, I say "well, okay, but maybe you could just ask her if just maybe she'd like just a little stenciling, maybe a silver damask over the black????"  (inside I'm begging please, please let me do something fun with this piece!!!) Do you guys know how hard it is sometimes to paint for others?  I was painting the coolest chairs the other day, the owner wanted them white.  Yep, white.  Just plain ol' white. *sigh*  I mean they do own the piece after all, so I have to do what they want, but sometimes I just want to get down on my knees and beg them to let me do something off-the-wall fun, especially when you have a piece like this that has fun written all over it!  So I get the call back, she had asked her daughter and bless her sweet little heart, the only thing she could think of that she would like was a zebra print. "Zebra?" I ask. "Yes, Zebra" she says. *sigh*  Zebra, the only thing I had not thought of.  The only thing I had never done.  My heart sank. Zebra??? for real??? why, oh why had I done this to myself???  Well.hell. (sorry, folks, but that was what I was thinking).  Why couldn't I be talented like Lucy over at Lucy Designs or that other cool chick over at All Things Work Together, or Heather at Lucky Peach Designs or Karin at Art is Beauty or Mary at Mollicart? Then I remembered I had seen a zebra print stencil at Hobby Lobby, my heart SMILES!  "Yes!"  I tell her ('cause she is still on the phone and has no idea that I am secretly cussing myself for bringing this hell upon myself!)  Thank God for Hobby Lobby!    So here we go:

A little tone-on-tone zebra action. 

Now, could I have done it free-hand if I'd had to?  Well, thankfully, the world will never know!  But, I guess I could have pulled it off, actually I knew it in the beginning, but I also know how OCD I am and there is no telling how many weeks it would have taken me and they would've probably carted me off to the freak-a-zoid floor at the hospital because I had driven myself crazy over it.  I like the way it turned out, and more importantly, so did the client and her daughter.  

When I finished the zebra print on the top and along the sides I asked it if would be okay if I painted the drawers a different color because I felt like the zebra would be a little much over the whole thing.  Luckily they said I could paint them hot pink!  Yaaaayyy!!  and I did paint the inside of the drawers a different color.

I also painted the feet silver just to add a little punch.

I painted the legs of the little stool black and distressed them, and painted the feet silver.  The owner is having the cute little seat recovered.

Tomorrow its back to plain ol' white, but I do have a couple of other fun projects coming up and I can't wait.  One is going to be really off-wall, full of color fun!