The Universe loves me and I can prove it!

Hello you beautiful flowers, trees and climbing vines of the spirit realm!  My oh my but you are looking particularly gorgeous today!  Thank you for sharing your beauty with me!

I have just recently discovered an artist by the name of Joni Hutton Nickrent.  This woman does amazing and whimsical oil pastels that just speak to my heart.  Each and every one of her pieces are colorful and deep and so full of expression and joy.  I just had to share her with you because, well, how can you not share beauty and talent with people you love?  She is working on a series right now titled “Hat Trick Collection”.  These little cuties have completely entranced me.  Here is the first one I saw in this series.  (Thank God for the person who commented on Peachbutter’s Facebook page or I may never have seen these.) 

Ladybug Ladybug by Joni Hutton Nickrent

 Isn’t she beautiful and amazing?  Did I mention amazing?  Joni captures such sweet expressions in her work and the colors are breathtakingly beautiful to me.  She is also such a sweet person.  I sent her a message on Facebook and just told her that I love her work and asked what medium she uses.  She answered me right away and told me that she uses oil pastels with layers and layers of color.  If you want to take a look at her beautiful blog it is here Pop Art Minis.   I will warn you before you pop over though, take something to drink with you.  You will be there for a while.  I am not being paid or compensated in any way for this post.  In fact Joni doesn’t even know I’m blogging about her yet.  I am just simply IN LOVE with her work. 

Now, you would think that discovering an artist whose work speaks so deeply to me would be enough.  But you peeps know me and you know I am a bit greedy when it comes to art supplies.  As soon as Joni told me she used oil pastels I thought to myself, “Man I wish I had some of those!”  But alas, I’ve never worked with them so I had no such yummies in my supplies.  I made a mental note to purchase some later and moved on.

Today as I was looking for one of my old art journals I was digging through one of my craft trolleys and in the bottom drawer was a little yellow box with a sun on the label.  It didn’t look familiar to me so I pulled it from the bottom of the drawer to investigate further.  Well kids let me tell you, I almost fell out of my chair.  The little yellow box was holding 12 little oil pastels!  OH.MY.GOD!  Seriously Universe?  SCORE!  Thank you!  *insert silly girlish squeal here*  This is a box of oil pastels my mom bought me when we were in Maui in 2005.  I had totally and completely forgotten about them because I had never used them.

It’s just a little set of “junior artist” student quality pastels but oh how they sent my heart a flutter.  I couldn’t wait to try them.  I have been searching for a way to make some of my work deeper and richer in color and I wondered if I would be able to accomplish that with these.  So of course I had to give it a try. 

The first thing I did was draw an eye.  I’m really comfortable drawing eyes so it seemed like a good way to try out the pastels.  I fell instantly in love!  Ohhhh the way they blend!  Oh the depth of color!  And these are just student pastels with a very limited color palette.  I can only imagine what the professional set must be like to work with. 

Oil Pastel Eye

See the little squiggles up in the corner?  These pastels are just cut round tubes of color.  No point whatsoever.  I was trying to create a point but they are a bit too hard so I just decided to use the edge for my sharp lines.  Not as clean a line as I would like but not bad for a first attempt.

Next I played with a flower.  I was trying to go for a watercolor effect on this one.  It’s okay but I’m not really crazy about it.  It was a good learning experience though.  I found out that oil pastels don’t blend well on my sketch pad unless I have loaded it up heavily with them.

Oil Pastel Flower

Then I decided that it might be fun to draw a rose and then just lightly color it.  I was going for the antique color/sepia type look.  Here is the sketch in progress. 

Rose sketch in progress

I liked the rose but wanted to add a but as well.  I was also toying with the idea of a baby blue background at this point. 

Rose sketch completed

Now came the oil pastels.  I was anticipating a very pretty result.  I was actually kind of giddy about this.  It was funny because I haven’t felt giddy in a long time.

Rose sketch with oil pastel highlights

Soooooo, it didn’t turn out as I had expected.  I think it’s a combination of problems here.  First of all, I think the detail of the sketch was lost when I tried to add the color.  I think this is because oil pastels are heavy and not well suited for fine detailed work.  I also believe I would have been much happier with the end result on this if I had used colored pencils or even watercolor pencils.  Oh well, live and learn.  I had fun with it and learned a valuable lesson.  And after all, isn’t that what creative freedom is all about? 

I was doing the laundry while I was creating all of these things today.  As I was drying the final load I decided it might be fun to create todays J with oil pastels.  This J is totally and completely inspired by Joni’s work.  I just let go and drew in deep and rich tones and blended and smiled.  I felt like a little kid today.  You know, the one who sits in class with glue and crayons and glitter and is transported into some magical kingdom?  Yup, the was me today.  I was all over it. 

Oil Pastel J a day.

So thank you Universe for showing me how much you love me today.  Thank you for the beautiful people you continuously put in my life.  Thank you for surrounding me with beauty and life and love.  I am a happy girl today and I feel the power of God’s shining light warming me from the inside out. 

Thank you for visiting tonight.  I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.  You are deeply colorful, wonderfully beautiful and rich in the joy you bring to the world.  I’m so happy to know you are here.

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Die fear die!

Hello my galactic gladiators!  You look marvelous in your love armour!  Just sayin.

Tonight I wanted to share some things with you about my struggles with some fears.  You know, there are many different types of strength.  There is the physical strength that we as humans admire.  The stamina that we witness as athletes work through their pain in order to reach the finish line.  They are often rewarded with tangible things such as medals, trophies and even t-shirts when they finish a race. 

Then there is the strength of a soldier and that soldiers family.  ( I use soldier as a generic term here because this really applies to every branch of the military. )  The soldier has to overcome a fear that runs through their veins like electricity when they are in battle.  The family back home has to overcome this same sort of electrified fear every time they hear of a battle close to where their loved one is stationed.  There are thousands of people doing this on a daily basis and very few of them ever see a medal.  That doesn’t make their service or their strength any less meaningful.  And to any of you who are military or family of military, I just want to say thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There is the strength we see when someone is dealing with a terminal illness.  Often the person with the disease handles things much better than those around them.  These people look death right in the face and find the courage to live their lives to the fullest while they can.  This was the case with my family when my sister was dying of cancer. 

Then there is the everyday person like me.  I don’t have a spouse in service who I worry about every night before I sleep.  I am not dealing with any major medical issues.  And yet, I have fears.  I have a fear that I won’t be accepted because of my size.  I have fears about my age, my art, my business and whether or not I’m the absolute best mommy I can be to my dog Maddison. 

Today was really hard for me.  I was really missing my sister today.  I mean really missing her.  I spent the better part of the day trying to stop crying and wondering why it was so strong today.  My sister has been gone since 2004.  Most of the time, I’m okay.  Most of the time I remember her fondly and tell her I love her and move on with my day.  Then there are days like today that feel like I can’t quite catch my breath. 

I realized today that there are certain aspects of my life that I’m unhappy with.  Mainly I’m unhappy with myself because I let my fears stop me from living my life to the fullest sometimes.  Well you know what?  I’m SICK of it.  I read recently that we are all just one decision away from changing our lives.  Today I made a decision.  I’m not going to live in fear anymore.  I know I will still have fears but I refuse to let them stop me from living a full and happy life.  There  is a strength in allowing others to see your vulnerabilites.  This is why I’m sharing mine with you tonight. 

A friend who is on a forum I frequent said the other day, “I want memories, not regrets.”  That really hit home with me.  I love people.  I really do love them.  I try to live my life in such a way as to never intentionally hurt others.  Now it’s time for me to start giving myself that same love and respect.  I’ve decided that I’m pretty groovy and I deserve good things in life.  There will be no medals awared, but oh the rewards will be magnificent!

So if you are dealing with fears too then I invite you to join me in my new mantra.  Die fear die!  I have a passion for life and the courage to live it!  Blessings and love to you all.

Bird babies, solid perfume and friends.

Hello you cosmic unicycle riders!  How are things up there?  All is groovy I see.

I worked at the flower shop today for half a day.  It was one of those days that I had an opportunity to do a lot of thinking because it wasn’t very busy.  My mind was very active today and I had several new ideas for my art.  I also had some new ideas for some of my birds.  I put them away for a while because I was getting sort of obsessed with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them.  I think they are cute and funny and they make people smile.  It’s just that I was spending so much time concentrating on new patterns and new outfits for them that I kind of put other things on the back burner. 

Today I pulled them back out and smiled when I realized how many of them are so close to being finished.  I also giggled a bit when I opened the second box to see how many of them are waiting for their wings, tails and beaks.  Here are a couple of pics so you can see what I am talking about.

Semi complete birds

Almost there!

Still waiting

Waiting on completion.

 I’m going to make some of these into cake toppers.  I’m also going to be revealing a new line of birds in about a month or so.  I’m still working out the details for selling them. 

I also wanted to show y’all the solid perfume I told you about yesterday.  I’m also working on a different container for these.  You know me, I can’t do anything without changing it up a bit.  LOL!  A wonderful friend told me this week that I do things with a “flair”.  That made me smile because honestly, I don’t do that on purpose.  This little tin has a plastic insert that holds the solid perfume.  It’s the perfect size for the purse or pocket.  I also like these because if you are traveling, you can take it with you on the plane.  I’m thinking of making some sets of these.  I think it would be cool to be able to have several scents and not have to worry about space or any travel restrictions.

Solid Perfume

Solid Perfume TinSolid Perfume Tin Opened

Solid Perfume Tin Open

Open Tin of Solid Perfume

This scent is a very light and clean with just a touch of spice.  It’s really a lovely scent. 

I had lunch today with a friend.  We talked about changes and how life is too short to live it in fear and worry.  I’m so glad that I am surrounded by so many loving and wonderful friends.  I’m also grateful for the opportunities to be a good friend.  It’s all about balance and the give and take in life.  I am working very hard at becoming better in all areas of my life.  It feels good to have people who love me , and it’s good to have those friends who cheer me on as I reach my goals and dreams. 

I hope that I am a cheerleader and encourager to you as well.  You are divine and delicious and you deserve all good things in life!  Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to give away some love this week!  It always comes back bigger and better to you than it was when you sent it out.  How cool is that?!  🙂  Pay it forward baby!

You are more.

I heard a song while I was sitting in the drive through at my bank today.  The lyrics are beautiful and it touched me so deeply that I cried.  I didn’t even care who saw me.  The song is titled You are More by Tenth Avenue North.  If you haven’t heard it, I highly encourage you to toddle on over to You Tube and check it out.  Here are the lyrics. 

There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you too

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

God has really been showing me his love this week.  I’m so grateful for this.  I hope your day was most magnificent.  I hope you are feeling the love today too.  Sweet dreams you fantastic creature of love and life!

The rumours of my demise are false.

Hello my little sweet peaches!  I know you all must think that I had fallen off the face of the earth!  A solid week without a single post!  I suppose I should explain.  I could make all sorts of excuses, but the fact is, this past week simply overwhelmed me. 

They sent my mom home from the rehab center.  I’m getting ready to leave here in a few minutes to drive down to Fla. to visit with her and fill her freezer with food so she doesn’t have to worry about that.  I also worked every day at the flower shop for a co-worker who has been on a well deserved vacation.  Several of these days were ten hours which left me no time after taking care of the wonder dog, laundry, lunches, are and soap making. 

I know that I’ve grown though because I didn’t give up on the blog or the J a day.  In fact, I’ve still been making my J’s but I haven’t had time to write or post about them.  So, be expecting at least one and probably a couple of very pic heavy posts when I return home!  The old me would have just walked away from this project because “I failed”.  The new me realizes that life throws us curveballs sometimes that we simply have no control over.  The best I can do is give it my best and not quit.  So the J a day project is still in full swing.  I have to forgive myself and move on.  Still want to come with me?  I hope so!

Thank you for all of the comments, facebook messages and emails you sent this week.  Honestly, you have no idea how much I needed them.  I am sending out mega universal hugs to you all for that!  (((((((((((HUGS))))))))))  Thank you so very very much!  Have a great weekend.  Remember that you are the picture of magnificence and beauty in this world and get out there and shake your cosmic groove thing!

There is comfort in consistency.

Hello you rad rainbow surfer!  How is your most spectacular self today?  Things are good here in Atlanta.  The sun was out today and it was pretty hot.  I had lunch with a friend and then came home to make some soap.  I realized that I didn’t have enough distilled water to make soap so I had to run back to the store.  As I was driving I was thinking about how much I love my life.  I was thinking about how I have certain routines and that I find a bit of comfort in that. 

I returned home, distilled water in hand and got a phone call.  After the call I got busy.  There is something so soothing to me about making soap.  It sounds a bit crazy because making handmade soap requires working with lye.  If people tell you that you can make soap without lye, you have my permission to laugh at them.  You can’t.  Nope.  It can’t be done.  Anyway, I get lost in the process.  I love watching the soap batter come to trace.  I love adding the scent and I love molding the soap.  I love coloring the soap and I will often spend as much time planning a soaps design as I spend on the recipe itself. 

This is consistent with the joy I feel when I’m creating art.  For me it’s all about the process and seeing how close to the idea I have in my head that I can come too in reality.  Sometimes it’s very close and sometimes I end up on a totally different track.  What never changes is how happy it makes me to create. 

Tonight’s J is titled “J119 All balled up J”.  I named it this because I was just going for a different look around the J and it sort of resembles a ball of yarn to me.  This is a little 2 inch x 2 inch square.  I like the colors.  This next week is going to be very challenging for me because I won’t have a day off for six days straight.  I will be making a J everyday though.  I’m committed!  WOOT!

J119 All balled up J

 And just to make you smile tonight, a picture of Maddison the wonderdog with her toy.  She is so sassy!  I love her to pieces.  🙂

Sassy Wonderdog

 Be kind to yourself.  Find your joy.  Follow your bliss and love, love love!

Happy Days Are A Choice

Hello you gigabytes of perfection!  Tonight we are getting back on track with the blog posts and the J’s.  Hooray for the J!  🙂

It’s funny how this silly little project has turned into something very important to me.  I actually missed posting and creating my J’s each night.  I still owe you guys some more J’s but I decided to pick up where I left off and follow the dog and cat theme.  Tonight’s J is titled J118 Kitty J.  This is the yin to the yang of the greyhound J from last week. 

J118 Kitty J

 Tonight when I talked to my mom I told her how sorry I was that she was so uncomfortable and had to go through all of this therapy now.  She said to me, “Well we have to look at the bright side of things”.  I realized that she is exactly right.  We have to make the choice each day to be happy, joyous and free.  We have to make the choice each day to see the positive and the beautiful in life.  One thing that I’ve learned is that we will find what we are looking for.  So if we are looking for a happy day then we will find it.  If we are looking for the beauty and goodness in others, we will see that too.  It also works the other way.  Today I choose happy.  Today I choose joy.  Today I choose to see the beauty and value of those around me.  And today I choose to believe that nothing but wonderful awaits me tomorrow!  You are surrounded by love and loving people.  I hope you see each and every one of them tomorrow and I hope they see you.  I’m so grateful for you all.  Thank you for choosing to be in my life and visit my world often.  🙂

 

Let the funshine in!

Hello you absolute picture of perfection!  It’s good to see you again!  Tonight it’s raining and I’m heading to be early.  It’s mothers day weekend and I’m working at the flower shop all week.  I truly LOVE this job.  It’s not fulltime but it’s a joy when I’m there.  Tonight’s J is titled “J117 Greyhound J”.  It was originally going to be titled Brown Hound J but the colors I got when I mixed my copic markers were more grey so I went with it.  Cause you know, that’s just how I roll.  *grins*  I had so much fun today.  I hope you did too.  I plan on having more fun tomorrow.  Are you planning on fun?  Don’t just wait for it to happen, make it happen.  Love, hugs and smooches till next time.  You are completely and totally awesome! 

J117 Greyhound J

Greatness requires attention.

Hello you spiritual lightning bugs!  Tonight I want to share some things with you that have been on my mind lately.  As many of you know, I’ve been doing a good bit of work not only on my art, but also on myself.  I’ve been studying and reading and trying to practice what I preach.  The last part isn’t really that hard most of the time for me.  I mean I love people automatically so it’s rarely a challenge for me.  Once in a blue moon someone comes along who challenges me in this area though.  Today was one of those days.

As I walked into the drug store to buy some dish soap, there was a woman sitting on the sidewalk.  I noticed she was surrounded by stuffed animals and other dirty toys.  It was obvious that she was on some kind of drug or she was mentally ill.  As I approached the door she went into a rant about parking spaces and cigarettes and birds stealing her butts.  I smiled and walked inside.  As I was checking out she entered the store.  She was very loud in her expression of disdain at the world.  She also reaked.  I had to gather all of my composure as she stood next to me and spoke in gibberish for several minutes.  I spoke to her and asked her if she needed anything.  She simply responded with “The birds keep stealing my butts!”  She then went outside and began walking along the grass median between the store and the street.  I noticed as I got into my car that I was struggling with my feelings.  On the one hand, I felt very sorry for her.  On the other hand, I wanted somebody to do something with her.  Take her somewhere where she could get some help.  But who?  Where?  

As I pulled out of my parking spot I looked over at her things that she had lined up by the wall of the store.   I put on my brakes and looked closer.  She had two of everything.  The things that stood out to me were the two little plastic dolls high heel shoes and then the two grape purple monkeys.  There was a method to this womans madness.  Whatever else was going on inside her mind, she was able to line up two of everything that she owned.  Just before pulling off I heard her say to this bird, “You keep singing.  Greatness requires attention.”   Then she was off on another gibberish rant.

As I drove home, I thought about this.  Greatness DOES require attention.  This is true for art, cooking, writing, sports, computer games and even love.  I read a quote recently that said, “We spend so much time looking for the perfect lover, when we should be creating the perfect love.”   This is what I am trying to create in my life and the lives of others.  I believe the perfect love is the love that we are able to give to others without expectation of reciprocation.  That’s the hard part sometimes.  It’s also the most rewarding when we are able to pull it off.  I am finding that the more I practice it, the more attention I pay to it, the easier it becomes.  It’s very satisfying and always leaves me wanting more.  And sometimes, my reminders come from the most unlikely places.

Today I checked my P.O. box and my friend Gaby had sent me a huge bag of stamps from all over the world.  THANK YOU GABY!  *HUGS*  She put a note in with them that said, “Go nuts!”  That made me giggle.  I have so many ideas in my head for how I want to use these.  And of course I had to create a J out of them.  This J simply flowed out of me tonight.  It was easy and natural and it made me smile because I had already decided what I was going to blog about tonight when I found the LOVE stamp.  That synched it.  Tonight’s J is titled “J116 Journey of Love Stamp J”.  I just love the way it turned out. 

J116 Journey of Love Stamp J

 I hope you like this piece.  I feel very connected to it.  I would love to hear any of your stories about how you’ve either been loved or been able to love someone unexpectedly.  Feel free to share here.  I really enjoy the dialogue and I learn so much from you all.  Thank you again for being the loving beings that you are.  Thank you for sending out positive energy into the universe.  I feel it.  I need it and I love it!

Pink Monkey’s and Green Gecko’s

Hello my fellow people lovers!  I hope you’ve had a most delicious and fabulous weekend.  Mine was quite interesting.  I’ve been working on a series of dancing pigs for my website.  None of them are finished yet but they are all in the works.  While I was researching dancing and dancers I ran across so many different images.  I decided to paint a couple of these idea’s as J’s for the St. Jude’s project.  This first picture is the pink monkey J from yesterday.  She doesn’t seem too upset with me that she had to wait for the camera batteries to charge.  I painted her pink just because I love pink and I think it would be cool if we had pink monkeys in the world.  Since we don’t, I just added one to mine.  hehe

J113 Pink Monkey J

 I need a name for this little girl.  If you leave a comment with a name and I pick that name I will send you a free solid perfume of your choice.  🙂  Who wants to play? 

This second pic is of the green gecko I painted today.  I love him.  I used to include little blue gecko’s in most of my paintings.  I’m not really sure when or why I stopped doing that.  It was fun and often they were very difficult to spot in my larger works.  Perhaps I should begin to include them again.  I named this lil guy Grayson.  I think he’s pretty groovy.

J114 Grayson Gecko J

 I can’t believe that we’re coming up on the 125 J’s mark already!  It seems like just yesterday I began this project.  I’ve decided that I’m going to do another giveaway to celebrate.  I will be posting the giveaway with J125 so stay tuned!  I’m going to do they same thing I did last time to pick the winner.  All those who leave comments the week after the giveaway announcement will have their name put into a hat.  The winner will be drawn and posted here.  I hope y’all will all participate again.  I had so much fun with the last one and it makes me smile to know that my work goes to live with people who read my blog and follow my art.  Y’all ROCK by the way.  Just sayin. 

Tomorrow I will be posting some pics of some of the solid cologne I’ve been working on.  I’m having so much fun making them and the two new mens scents are seriously drool worthy!  NOM!  Have a wonderful night and don’t forget to hug your most magnificent self before sleep.  Thank you for blessing me with your visits and your emails.  I don’t know how I got to lucky to have all of you in my life but I’ll take it!