I painted my guitar!

I sanded her first.

Sanding my guitar #paintedguitar

It’s an amazing thing, really. It didn’t bother me that I might “mess her up.” I didn’t care. It was worth the risk. I felt pretty confident that the after would be better than the before.

You see,
I own two guitars … but I don’t play often.
Years ago, I committed to playing 15 minutes a day.
After spending about six months playing these few minutes a day,
I realized that I should stop working at something that I want to do
….. but don’t do well …….
and spend my time focusing on what do well.
I put my guitar down … for the time being.

My sweet worn neck #paintedguitar

A few years ago, I loaned her to a friend who
lovingly played her
faithfully
for enough time
that she became the best kind of worn.
As the Skin Horse told the Velveteen Rabbit,

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly … except to people who don’t understand.”

Yes. My guitar became realer when she lay in the hands of my friend, Travis
who played her often and played her well.
I’ll forever treasure those shallow trenches love made.

This is one of my favorite little snippets that he put on Instagram … playing my girl.

After I sanded, I traced her shape on a pieced together piece of paper.

Outlining #paintedguitar

#paintedguitar

I hung up that blank, empty outline
right there in my office/art area
where I could see it daily …
pondering what patterns might fill that fresh, clean space.

IMG_0532
My youngest – whom I shall now call Indie, rather than Joy, to honor the determined, independent spirit locked within that earthly body – teased me.

“Mom, You sanded down your guitar before you had any kind of idea what you would paint on it?” Why, yes. Yes, I did, thank you.

Sometimes, you have to courageously step out and create a beginning
before you have a vision of what the end will look like.

My favorite tissue paper #depoupage #paintedguitar

Then, one day it came.
The most pressing of the design came from a painting that I created a few years ago and remains one of my favorites because of the movement – and the subject.
Can you see it over behind the posable mannequin?
Leaves attached to undulating stems.

#pattern #paintedguitar
I taped and then painted off and on for an entire weekend
with my palette of autumn
leaving plenty of room for drying between layers.

#painted guitar

The little bit of tissue paper glued into place just below the sound hole is one of the few pieces I have left from a package of tissue paper I bought at least a decade (or two?) ago.

#paintedguitar #decoupage #tissuepaper

To think that I lavishly used it in presents that I GAVE AWAY …. unsettles my heart today. I love that paper. I love the design, the words, the dribbles, the color, the flowers …. and there are only a few square inches left. *sigh* So, I decoupaged it right upon my guitar so that I might have at least a sliver to enjoy for many, many years to come.

#paintedguitar #leaves #decoupage #foliage

This little shape is one of my favorites
so I built a stencil and used it to create many pieces
to decoupage onto the guitar.

When I finished my little stack of cut-paper leafed sticks,
I got teary.
Why they moved me, I don’t know.
But, they did and they do.
I think they’re stunning. #absolutlybeautiful

And there they will remain … glued into place
right beside Thomas Edison
who is quoted as saying
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
and
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

He is one of my heroes. He was a man who wasn’t afraid to fail …
and actually saw failure
as one step closer to success.
#sorefreshing #attitudegoals

#paintedguitar

#paintedguitar
The design above right to the left of the sound hole
is one of my favorites. I used something similar to it on my painted boots, as well.
I really love it!

BedStu hand painted boots

And on the neck, I added lyrics from the pen of Robert Lee Castleman
and sung by the haunting voice of Alison Krauss 
while accompanied by Union Station
in the song Gravity.
These words resonate with my soul … like no other line I’ve ever read
from a book,
within a poem
or in a song.
They read from the sound hole of the guitar
up the neck
because that is the direction that the emotion of the music moves … up, out and beyond.

“All the answers that I started with …. 
turned out questions in the end.” 

I have a much nicer guitar, but this inexpensive China-made Gremlin has been my favorite. I bought it at a yard sale across the street from my house in Valdosta for $40 … about 18 years ago. I think it’s more comfortable to play than my other instrument and I love the mellow, rich sound. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if changing the finish by layering on paint, paper and glue would change how it sounded, but I was willing to take the risk. I’ve come to truly understand that all these things we collect and love … are just things. So … why not? The potential for the joy it would bring far outweighed the risk of messing it up!

#paintedguitar

After sanding, gluing and painting, I coated the top with four or five layers of satin polyurethane ….

IMG_0816

and I love her.

After re-stringing came the big test; would she still sound yummy and rich?
Here, Indie plays just a little bit. Her sound is still the same; beautiful!

 

#paintedguitar

 

I am beyond pleased.

Makes Me Happy Monday : Pillow Talk

I have learned to love my weekends.
In fact, I look forward to  the weekend all.week.long.
My weekends are now about wonderful outdoor adventures
or house chores and projects  … the ones I want to do
rather than the kind that I need to do or have to do.
After becoming a single-mom who owned a home,
all the responsibility of every.thing fell upon my shoulders.
After my move in February of 2015,
it is such a relief to be in a much smaller home
with a landlord who keeps everything up and running.

This weekend embraced several projects.
I wanted SO BADLY to join in a MeetUp adventure
that involved kayaking on the Augusta Canal!
The weather was in the 70’s this weekend .. with cloudless skies. *swoons*
That would have been the perfect trip to close out the fall and start the winter.
But, my common-sense gene over ruled and I stayed home to finish projects.

Woven, appliqued, rag-strip Magpie pillow

One little project was finishing up the pillow that I mentioned last Monday. 
I would have finished it quicker, but I ended up making two runs to two stores
to secure a good match on thread that needed to hide the closure stitching.

Woven, appliqued, rag-strip Magpie pillow

I love how raw strips of different patterns look when they are woven together.
I’m all about loose ends, frayed edges and lots of pattern.
It’s so intricate and interesting!

Woven, appliqued, rag-strip Magpie pillow

This pillow fits perfectly in the sitting area in my bedroom …
and it makes so very happy.

What about you, my friend?
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Makes Me Happy Monday : Play

Do you play often? Do you play “well?”
I don’t really do either.
I have to make myself play.

In my head, I hear those voices that remind me
there are jobs to finish, things to do … tasks to complete.
Somehow … for some reason ….
washing the dishes is of more value than crafting a card,
vacuuming carries more weight than painting on canvas,
and working for an hourly wage is more valid
than crafting for a by-the-piece income.

So, I have to MAKE myself stop and play.
I have to MAKE myself exercise or paint or create.

I made time for that this weekend.
For several years, I have had an idea for a way to embellish a pillow.
The pillow was a cast off from Glory before she moved away.
She left two behind. I took the covers off and washed them … and I stalled.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out my scraps

Woven pillow embellishing - gathering fabrics

and quickly ironed and cut strips
then wove them together and pinned them in place.
Woven pillow embellishing - sewing into place

I used my machine to run back and forth to hold each strip in place.

Woven pillow embellishing

And now I’m in the process of pinning the finished woven mat onto the pillow.
I should be able to finish this project today or tomorrow.
And I’m just thrilled.

This will be one more unfinished project I can check off my List-of-things-I-have-wanted-to-create. It will be one more item I can pull off the to-craft pile. But, so much more than that, it will be one small investment in time spent well to make me happy. This project was an investment in my well-being. This is important … just as important as washing dishes, vacuuming or working for income.

I’ll post a follow-up, finished-product photo on Instagram later and add the link below.

Making time to play, craft and create makes me terribly happy.
What about you? What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Painted Boots – I’m ready for Fall!

Back a year and a half ago when Glory was downsizing and cleaning things out, she let me pull a wallet out of her Goodwill donation pile. I wanted to try my hand at painting patterns on leather.

Click over here and you can see the finished product on my Instagram feed.

I’ve been really pleased with how well the leather has held the paint …
sooooo … I wanted to try my hand at a pair of boots.

You can click over here to see this awesome pair of boots that I picked up back a few months ago. They’re Bedstu brand so they should last forever and a day. I bought them with the intention of following through on my paint challenge.

I wanted to show you these because I’m so excited!
BedStu handpainted boots

Like most of my pattern projects, I wanted a different pattern and color combination on each area.

BedStu handpainted boots

So, colors are similar but patterns don’t repeat anywhere.

BedStu handpainted boots BedStu handpainted boots

I love the little flowers that are hiding on the boot tongue. BedStu handpainted boots - detail

I think I’ll polish them often to protect the paint. I’m hoping they’ll hold up well!

BedStu handpainted boots

I’ve  made some major wardrobe changes this year and now only wear my browns and autumn colors in the fall and winter. Finishing these boots makes me look forward to the change from my black and white summer clothes to autumn!!


BedStu handpainted boots

I used basic acrylic paint like I use on painting any canvas. I applied the paint to a clean surface. And I just free-handed the patterns as I moved around the boots.

BedStu handpainted boots

I don’t mind telling you I’m pretty excited about these!

Have you ever tried painting on leather? Do you have any suggestions to offer?

Thanks for reading!

just be yourself

The last few years have been SO good for me. God has certainly taught me lesson upon lesson upon lesson.
One of the hardest to learn has been to be okay with being myself.

Lose the fear of being wrong. Just be yourself

To be myself means being okay with not being liked by everybody. I’ve always been a people-pleasing, people-loving people-person. For me, those things were inseparable. I loved because I needed to feel loved. I wanted people to know that I loved them because I needed people to let me know that they loved me.  I wanted to please others so they would not be reject me. My goodness … just writing those things exhausts me today. One of God’s lessons has been that everybody isn’t going to love you and that’s okay.  As odd as it sounds, He’s taught me to say “I don’t care.”  He has reminded me that He loved everybody, but He didn’t please everybody.

It WILL be okay

And since I am fearing rejection less, I am becoming more bold.
(*whispers* it’s so exciting ….. )

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful

So, when the time came to hang artwork at a local coffee shop for a second showing, I began to pull quotes from my folder at home and harvest them from quote sites and scan my pins on Pinterest …. until I had enough to fill a wall with artwork.

IMG_9290
I layered paper and paint and texture and tissue
and fiber and jute and sticks and rocks and stamps
and vintage penmanship … and created a whole wall of art
that felt more like adorned, creative notes to myself
hanging in a public showing.

i put it down. i did not want the burden of carrying it anymore.

Salvaged wood clock
I added some of my practical pieces from home like a clock I made a few years ago out of salvaged wood

A jewelry board made from an old chair

and a jewelry board that was made more recently from assorted old knobs and a vintage chair part.

As I have looked at all the pieces hanging, I see some things that are consistent. I’m finding the more that I create, the more similarities I see in my work. I work almost exclusively in autumn colors. My work is always layered in some fashion. And I use lots of pattern and texture.

I have recently had a realtor come to my home to discuss putting it on the market.
After spending some time chatting,
he pointed out that my house is “too brown.”
My fabulous first thought was, “No, it’s not. It’s perfect.”
Of course, he was speaking from a selling stand point,
and I knew that.
And I was responding with my heart.
I LOVE all the autumn in my home. I love my furniture, rugs and tablecloths.
I treasure my bedding, artwork and curtains.
I adore my artwork, practical creations and  clothes.
And when he said that my world was “too brown” ….
rather than thinking,
“Oh, no! Really? Well … I should add more color! What can I change?”…
I am proud to say that I comfortably knew,
“It IS brown, and it’s perfectly, wonderfully beautiful! I LOVE it!”
I knew in my heart that I couldn’t truly make any big changes (because of financial restrictions),
so I began to decide how we could get around the “too brown” thing.

So, if you’re out and about in Augusta
and you’d like to see some brown artwork (with other autumn colors thrown in),
feel free to stop by Inner Bean on Davis Road.  It’ll be hanging for a few more weeks.
Read the little notes that I wrote to myself and hung on their gracious walls.
And know that I’m pretty proud of how I’m finally becoming okay with just being me …
brown, layered, textured and intricate.
It’s a good thing.

Inner Bean Coffee Shop on Davis Road
I hope you’re finding that same boldness.
I hope that you’re comfortable in your own skin.
Some people seem to reach adulthood without struggling in this area.
I am not one of those people.
If you’re struggling, figure out why
and work to untangle those gnarly ties that keep you bound.
It takes a while to become free, but you can do it.
If I can do it, you can do it!
It’s a good thing to
                  ….  just be yourself.

Makes Me Happy Monday: My Art Space

It’s odd that I dislike clutter and messes …
yet my art space is FULL.
I utilize every inch of space so that all my collecting is contained.
My art space is a stark contrast to the rest of my home
where you’ll find few knick-knacks and dust catchers.

Our living room My art room is orderly with like-things grouped together:
scissors, paper, stamps, found objects, ephemera,
paint, frames, ribbon, fabric … and more.
And what would be my “open wall space” is an inspiration line
filled with magazine tear outs, memorabilia and collected scraps of paper.

My art table The more time I spend here,
the more I realize how much I need to create
and enjoy the rich rewards of its pleasure.

My art space I’ve often felt embarrassed by all my craft stuff … because it seemed like “too much” in the eyes of some.
But, having spent some time with other creatives like my friend, Elizabeth, who is a potter
and my friend Gina, who is a painter and shop owner,
I realize that my space looks like other artist’s spaces;  f.u.l.l, busy and wonderfully inspiring.

Art spaceThis is the first place I go in the morning. It’s where I watch TED videos while I make cards or work on some parts of the process in creating mixed media work. It’s where I am choosing to work through Danielle’s book The Desire Map.

Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

It is the room that dons my paper stair tiles.

My art desk
And it is where I feel most inspired.

My art space is a place that is specifically and distinctly mine
and it brings me great joy.
What about you?
Where do you feel most yourself?
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Chest of Drawers

I have a little set of drawers that I’ve used in my bedroom and later in my art space. It’s a perfect size for table-top storage and had six great little drawers.

But, it was plain light oak wood and I wanted to spruce it up.

So, I added doodling on the drawer ends. I used an old Stampin’ Up! stamp as a guide then filled in loosely with some paint.

Doodling on drawers
I decoupaged the inside of each drawer for interest.

Paper decoupage
I painted the entire outside of the chest with several coats and colors of paint.

But, it still seemed lackluster.

Adding paper to the front of each drawer pulled everything together.

Paper on drawer fronts

Waiting for everything to dry well seemed to take forever.

Drawers drying
But, eventually I was able to put the knobs back on the drawers and then reassemble everything.

The completed project

The thing that I’m learning
as I move through these days
is that
truly
doing what I love (creating)
gives me energy and motivation.
When I find myself stuck and overwhelmed
or exhausted from doing “daily life,”
sitting down to do something creative refreshes my day
and gives me enthusiasm to return to the “required” life stuff.

So, today, as we come to the close of a busy week of preparation and celebration,
I encourage you to take a little bit of time for yourself.
Figure out what gives you energy and refreshes your spirit
and do that.
Paint, sew, knit, write, sing, play an instrument or bake ….
only you know what creative activity really feeds your soul.
Figure out what that activity might be and do that.
It’s not selfish …  it’s self-care.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Doodling on the edges of drawers

My Magpie Christmas Tree Skirt

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to make a Christmas tree skirt.
But, every year, I end up throwing a red table-cloth around the base of our tree
and thinking I’ll get around to it during the proverbial “next year.”

Since my machine and fabric are now so handy and oft used,
one afternoon a week or two ago, I decided to see if I couldn’t throw together a skirt
for this year!

In the same vein as many of my recent projects
that are “Magpie-put-together” with lots of collected fabrics
(like the kleenex box cover, the sewing machine cover and my jacket embellishment)
I wanted to use multiple fabric patterns to make this a little more interesting. Christmas Tree Skirt pattern

I drew a quick circle
and folded it in “paper snowflake cutting” style.
I needed 12 identical pieces plus one more for an overlap closure.

I began cutting fabric pieces knowing I wanted a little overlap at the back. So, I cut thirteen triangles.

Then I just started knitting those babies together with straight and zigzag stitches.

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design

Oh my goodness! This took NO time … because I was intentional in trying to use a little speed (which is totally contrary to my nature).

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design

I added a little extra fabric – a collar, if you will, around the neck for extra durability.  I made sure to overlap every join to give it some strength.

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design

I added a few touches here and there to embellish …
with little squares, a tiny doily and buttons.

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design

Here she is in her full glory! She’s perfect for our eclectic home!

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design
I think I’ll try a multi-patterned stocking for myself next. I’m the only one without a stocking this year.

Christmas Tree Skirt - in a Magpie design

As our weekend nears, I encourage you to find something to do with your time that will invigorate and energize you. I’m finding the more I create, the more I WANT to create. I am enjoying it SO much. It gives me so much energy and brings me such joy. What does the same for you? I encourage you to figure that out … and carve out time to DO it. It’s NOT selfish, it’s self-care!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Magpie Jacket

I have had this denim jacket for several years. I’m pretty sure I picked it up at Goodwill … so … it probably cost me around $5.00.  The other day, I thought how nice it would be if I added a little more pattern to it (like my kleenex box cover,  bird cage jacket  and sewing machine cover). So, I pulled out my bits-and-pieces box of fabric and began cutting out squares and rectangles.

Laying out fabric squares/rectangles

I layered these pieces of varying fabric patterns over the muted paisley pattern of the existing fabric and added some buttons and a few tiny doilies.
Magpie jacket

Along the shoulder line, I added a line of fabric, as well. I picked this fabric up at a yard sale and it has been SO MUCH FUN!

Back view of my magpie jacket

It unravels in a beautiful way. So, I ran a 1/4″ piece of upholstery fabric along the middle with a nice zig-zag stripe. This should keep it from unraveling completely, but allows it to fray deep.
My fray-stop techniqueI added a merpy little face at the back left just for fun. She looks quirky and fun. She’ll be at eye-level for small children. I’m sure they’ll probably notice her silly face … which makes me giggle. We all need to see silly faces a little more often!

A merpy little face on the back of the jacket. <3

And this may very well be my favorite square. I adore this little button. It’s rough and tumble with a little texture and a little curve. I just think it’s completely fun, nestled there in that fabric hole.

Maybe my favorite square on the whole jacket? Love that little button.

The cuffs are trimmed just like the base of the jacket … with lots of different fabric patterns.  These fabric pieces are all edged to allow some fraying but not TOO much. I want them to age well and settle into a comfortable, tattered look.

My magpie jacket

I think it took me about two to three hours to choose, cut, place and sew this embellishment project. But, it was so much fun to create … the time just flew by.

A full row of texture and pattern. *swoon

Which of course, brings me to my hope for you. What makes time fly for you? What do you LOVE to do? What is that thing that makes your spirit soar and your face light up? What brings you great joy and satisfaction? I hope you’re able to find time to do THAT a little bit this weekend. And if you can, find a way to gift that for the holidays. Use your talent … your gift … to bless others! It will increase the value of your gift and the joy you will find in giving it.

Have a beautiful weekend, friends.