Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Day and a New Post (With a few new Obsessions as well)

Hello All! I've been away for a while again and have been waiting for the right time to post again. This morning I woke up and really felt like it was time. A year ago that would have meant booting up the laptop, downloading my photos, and grabbing a cup of coffee. This morning, on a whim, I decided to see what I could do with my ipad and wireless keyboard and so within seconds of downloading the blogger app for ios onto the ipad I was up and running on this post. I LOVE THAT!
Why I am supposed to post this morning? I'm not sure but I do have a ton of stuff to share with you.
It's been a while! First, Obsession Number one! I am now on my sixth piece of Alabama Chanin inspired hand embellished clothing. I started drooling over designer Natalie Chanin's work back when her first book came out. But it wasn't until her latest, Alabama Studio Sewing and Design came out, and my Mother-In-Law became interested as well, that I actually attempted any of her work. My MIL did all the hard set up work that comes with any new project. She figured out how to cut the stencils, how to paint the fabric in your kitchen, what paints and brushes work best, and even adjusted a couple of the patterns. THEN, she walked me through some basic dressmaking skills. For instance, the arrow that's on a pattern piece IS important! I thought it was just a hint as to which direction to place the pattern piece on the fabric. My MIL showed me how to use it to measure against the edge of the fabric to ensure the grain of the fabric is perfectly lined up so that the dress hangs nice. I started this dress last July and finished it right before Christmas. I also made a couple of bolero's, a skirt, a couple of shirts, and am working on a long skirt now. It's perfect for picking up and setting down whenever I have a little bit of time.

Thrift Store Finds Painted with Chalk Pain
Next, Obsession Number two! I admit I have fallen hard for Annie Sloan's line of Chalk Paints. This one was my own mother's fault. She took a craftsy class last fall about upcycling furniture and started encouraging me to try painting some pieces with her. I had heard so much about Annie's paints that it wasn't too hard to convince me to give them a try- one thrift store chair later and I was hooked. It's another down time sort of activity. And it's quick. A small table or chair takes just a few hours. The colors are beautiful and the finish is gorgeous and I'd highly recommend you give them a try. I'll tell you more about that later.
The other extra time user up for me has been my volunteer work for the arts ministry, Art 2 Heart. I'm on the leadership team and it has been such a gift from God to pair me with this group of women. I'm part of a team there and love the companionship and sense of purpose we all share. Being an artist is lonely business sometimes and if you're somewhat introverted like I am, with a light deprivation sensitivity it's  easy to crawl into a shell in October only to emerge in April or May. This year I struggled, it was so so grey and spring took so so long here in MN. BUT being involved with my sisters at Art 2 Heart, bible study, and my family all really kept me from completely cocooning.
The June Ladies' Night at Art 2 Heart
I think the biggest reason I took a break from blogging wasn't that I was occupied elsewhere, or struggling with my moods, or had new hobbies, or new relationships to explore, but because my life has really changed and I wanted to have the opportunity to step back and see what was really important to me. Who I have become. Who God has led me to become, in the last couple of years. When I first began this journey I was a frustrated new mom struggling to find myself in that new role. Then I was a scrapbooker, a knitter, and then a wire and fabric fanatic. I was taking chances in a big way for the first time in my life, I had my first magazine submissions, my first magazine publications, my first audacious thought about writing a book, and then a couple of years after, my first book was published. I thought that was the end all be all but realized that it wasn't. There was more but I needed to discover what that was. What comes next? The world says make a big deal of your self, promote yourself, market yourself, at the expense of privacy. And it didn't feel right. I really believe that it's God and the Holy Spirit working in me that has led me here. So how to give Him the glory?
So I've stepped back from it all, done some searching, some reading, some writing, kept up with my magazine submissions, and my volunteer work but not much else. Now, months later I really feel like I'm on much firmer ground. 
prototype ideas for Art 2 Heart
This post was an update post. What I'm obsessing about, what I've been creating, what I've been struggling
 with; it's not my favorite kind of post. I like teaching and inspiring and sharing, but sometimes, I just want you to know what's going on. What's real and authentic. So will I continue with the blogging? I think so- especially now that it works into my day a little more conveniently then it did before. And especially now that I feel I have a voice again that's authentically me. It's just taken me a little while. Thanks for your patience!!!! 

UPDATE: 9:23pm So the oh so convenient ipad/google+ way of blogging that I thought was going to work so well ended up with my deleting several hundred photos. Some of which were on this blog so please bear with me the next couple of days while I update.