Thursday, November 10, 2016

Creativity Through Adversity

Hi there, Crafty Neighbors!  I’m sure some of you are probably wondering what happened to me, and why there have been so few updates to my blog over the last few months.  Well, let me tell you…earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  To be specific, Tubular carcinoma, a form of invasive ductal carcinoma.  It’s meant a total upheaval of my daily routine, and I’ve just simply had to let a few things slide.  It’s even dampened my creativity, because I don’t have as much time to create, and because I’m often tired or just feeling blah and not in the mood.  But in the process of my treatments, I ran across something really crafty and inspiring that I wanted to share with you all.
What I’m about to share with you are some of the lovely therapeutic art projects done by cancer patients at the oncology center where I receive my daily radiation treatments.  I was awed by these pieces from the moment I saw them, and I wanted to share them with as many people as I could because I think they are a wonderful way to express some very mixed up, over the top emotions from both ends of the spectrum, and I think they could be a great idea for anyone going through something stressful or traumatic.
Here is the piece that started it all:

And here is the artist’s explanation for the piece:
“Through my breast cancer journey I prayed, journaled, exercised, and had an amazing support group that all helped get me through it.  From the very beginning, I had an idea to transfer my thoughts into a visual piece of artwork.  Initially, I had wanted to do a big canvas, but I just didn’t have the energy to paint on a large canvas, and when I felt good, I wanted to get out of the house.  My sister suggested that I fit each expression into it’s own individual painting, so that I would be able to draw it in small scale while I was horizontal on the sofa.
My ideas were sketched to scale into squares along with beautiful support cards that inspired the color scheme and the message.  The location of each image does not have any specific sequence,[sic] they are placed by color and design.  The words however do.  On top, they are what I was feeling when I started this whole process and through cancer I changed.  Yes, cancer changed me for the better!  The bottom words are what supported me and got me finally to a place of being grateful for cancer.  It taught me how to be still, appreciate what I have, love those around me, be patient, and be present for others.  Survivors have so much to share – struggles, triumphs and hopes – in all avenues of life.  This painting was a healing process for me – to cry, to laugh, to hope, to face challenges and see accomplishments.  “[It’s] all good.”  I also wanted to leave this painting to my daughters (Natalie 21, Darcy 15) as a legacy of my journey through breast cancer.
There are now other pieces in the collection, including one that surprised me.  As I was perusing the art one morning while I waited for my turn in radiation, I noticed a familiar face.  On closer inspection, I identified a travel agent friend of mine, whose wife had created one of the pieces while going through treatment for breast cancer in 2009. 

I hope these pieces bring as much joy and inspiration to you as they have to me.  I’m tempted to make a canvas of my own, but even more than that, I see many techniques that I want to bring to my art journal, my bible journal, and even my scrapbooks.  It just goes to show that there is inspiration and beauty to be found everywhere, even in adversity…and mostly when you least expect it!
Click on each picture to see a larger image.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More Fun with Friends

I just spent three days milling about the Great American Scrapbook Convention with Jennifer and Marion.  I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned them before, but they are sometimes volunteer “helpers” for various projects I’m working on, particularly my scrapbooking cruises.  This week they were helping me promote the cruises at the convention, which basically consists of a lot of shopping and a little bit of time passing out postcards and goodie bags.  I’m very grateful to have the help.  I could go pass out the cards on my own, but I hate to do things like that by myself.  It just seems to be easier when I have company.

I’m that way about a lot of things.  Just last night, we were discussing movies with friends and they were surprised when I mentioned that I won’t go to a movie by myself.  Apparently, a lot of people do, and they tell me they like it because they can really focus on the movie, but for me, a night at the movies is a social activity.  If I wanted to watch it by myself, I could just wait for it to come out on DVD.  I also don’t often drink alone or swim alone or eat in restaurants by myself.  I prefer to take a companion with me for business trips, to dinner seminars, and even to church.  I especially like to have friends with me when I crop.

Yes, I can sometimes get more done when I’m home alone working on an important project, but nine times out of ten, I forget to make the time to crop if I don’t have someone else here to make it a priority.  It’s just one of those indulgences that I find hard to justify when I have a lot of work to get done.   So yes, I prefer to have friends with me to crop, in many cases just so that I will be forced to sit down and craft.

What about you?  Do you do certain things with friends that you won’t do alone?  Do you prefer to crop with friends?  Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Watch Out for Convention “Deals”

I just wanted to keep this short and sweet to tell you about a little discovery I’ve made.  You see, I’ve learned that you can’t always trust the pricing at conventions.  I know…I know…we all go there expecting to lots of swag for very less than we would pay in a store or online.  But I’m here to tell you, that’s not always the case.  Take for instance these Craft D├ęcor brand Chalk Writer pens. 

I first discovered these pens at Scrapbook Expo in February.  They were included in a Make-n-take kit from Scrap That!  They were so popular after everyone used them in the make-n-take that they sold out of several colors.  I had planned to stock up on them, but kept talking myself out of it until it was too late.  So this year, I resolved to go buy at least a few.

Fast forward to Great American Scrapbook Convention this past weekend here in Arlington…. Scrap That! had the markers again, so I talked myself into buying a few. The only thing stopping me was that I didn’t know what color marker I had in my Scrapbook Expo kit, so I decided to wait until I could check for sure.  In the mean time, Jennifer wanted to stop at the Daiso store here in Carrollton to have a look around.  Lo and behold, what did I see?

Yep, you guessed it, a whole rack of the VERY SAME pens!  Only these were marked $1.50 instead of $3 each!  I bought up every color they had, spending $15 instead of twice that at the convention.  I saw several other items priced higher at the convention than online or in local stores, so it wasn’t just a one-time thing.  Now, I will grant you, not every item you find at convention is priced that way; you can get some really good deals.  Just be sure to check the pricing elsewhere before you commit or you might be spending more than you intended!