December 24, 2008

Christmas is Upon Us

What a whirlwind it's been around here. The last two weeks I've been in intense training for my new pharmaceutical rep job and it really has worn me out in both body and mind. My mind is so full of medical terminology and Christmas responsibilities that I left the oven on all night after making my annual Christmas Sugar Cookies. This is not a complaint because getting this job truly is a gift. However, I do miss painting - I've not done much sense I started my job. But I know in time life will level out, and I will be able to incorporate the art and all the other fun crafts back into my life. And then, that will be a whole new discussion. Living a creative life, an artist's life while still working full time in a very non-artist field.
But I did manage to finish some things up. First and foremost the cupcake mittens and hat I made for my niece turned out fabulously. Now I just have to get her to keep them on. She loves chewing on the cherry. I just love making these little knits for her. I have a very small window of opportunity where she will willing wear the things I make.
I'm headed out the door - over the hills and through the woods - to my parent's home to celebrate Christmas.
I wish you all a fabulous, restful and happy Christmas!!! God bless.

December 16, 2008

Angel Band

Christmas holds so many different emotions. For the kids its full of excitement at every corner and just plain old fun. My memory of childhood Christmas' seems almost magical. Some point - probably around college Christmas became stressful - really stressful. I remember my freshman year of college - my first time living away from my family I got sick during finals. The barfing kind of sick where I was up all night over a toilet bowl or beside it even when there was nothing left inside of me, I kept on trying. It felt like my body was trying to rid me of my stomach itself. I'm sure that anything that wasn't fastened inside my body would have come out. (Yes a little too graphic for a nice watercolor blog I know) and my floor RA took me to the emergency room but found nothing - just stress.... hmmm what do I do with that? How do I fix that? So through the years, Christmas time probably has been the most stressful time of year for me and many others. I have no answers to solving this dilemma. I guess the painting does help. But I find I'm too busy to paint, to think, to be. I become Amy "Super Doer".
This Christmas I'm missing my grandpa. It's been nearly three years since he passed but I notice his absence more than I did right when he died. I painted this angel on the hymn we sang at his funeral "Angel Band". For so many Christmas is a blue and dark time. I hope that somewhere in the darkness you find a shimmering star. Just look... you will find it.

December 4, 2008

Christmas Cards -- FINISHED!!!!

Because I'm headed out of town, I've scurrying around St. Louis trying to get a big head start on all the Christmas things I like to do - gift buying, card sending, cookie making, and so on. So last night I finished making my Christmas cards. I would post them, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for those of my family and friends that read this blog. On my flight to California I'll write my notes and send them off. I was standing in line at Hobby Lobby talking to a teacher with 12 mini Christmas trees in her hand. She was telling me she's been teaching her students the different cultural influences on Christmas. Did you know that Christmas card started in England over 150 years ago? It's times like these I really miss going to school everyday. I mean, you can really learn so much. YAY for the teachers!!! Well, I have to tell you when I got home, I did a little web search and found out about the history of Christmas cards - very fascinating and I must say, I'm glad to carry this English Christmas tradition on - besides, we have a traditional English meal every year at Christmas.
But for those of you whom I have not met in person and would like a Christmas card from me, I would LOVE to send you one. Just e-mail me your address if you feel comfortable with that. My e-mail is I don't collect addresses, save them, sell them or anything like that. However, if you don't feel comfortable with that, I will e-mail you a copy of the card. I'm one of those people who LOVE receiving and sending mail so this is really fun for me.

December 3, 2008

Christmas Decorating

Outside it's snowing little tiny salt like bits of snow, but it's accumulating rather quickly. I'm glad I'm inside and mostly I'm glad to finally be finished with my Christmas decorating. Thought I would share a few pics of my cozy little apartment. I know it doesn't "seem" like much, but it takes me along time to get things out, clean them and then arrange them just so.
Over the years I've collected, been given and even have made some Christmas things that I really love. I made the plaid Christmas pillows that BabyKitty is posing in front of and many of the old looking cross stitch work you see here. I even painted the little wooden Santa and varnished him to look old. Now, I guess he is old as I've had him for nearly ten years.But one of my most favorite Christmas pieces is this little miniature manger scene I bought from a Filipino woman who made them at an art fair I went to many, many years ago. I'm just surprised I haven't lost any of the little pieces. And of course, the best Christmas decoration of all - Baby Kitty. She looks great with red and green and knows it.

December 1, 2008

Kids Painting

The weekend before Thanksgiving I was part of another Open House held at a friend's home here in St. Louis. I rushed and scurried to finish paintings, get my calenders together, mat pictures and price everything for this open house. My girlfriends did the same creating wreathes and Christmas trees to cover every flat surface and wall in the house. It was beautiful. Then for three days bunches of people - mostly women came and hung out, perused each room, drank some cider, ate cookies and eventually bought some of our handmade items. It was really lots of fun. This my wreath my very talented friend Krissy made. So on the last day, I promised to teach my friend's grandkids to watercolor paint - ages 8, 6 and 5. I do love teaching kids who WANT to paint. I give them simple instructions mostly on how to get the paint out of the brush by pressing the brush down gently to the bottom of the water bowl before dipping the brush in a different color. I let them watch me and then it's their turn. I let them use my artist grade paints, watercolor paper and good brushes. They're welcome to copy something I've already painted or I'll help them come up with an idea, but one thing I don't do is put my hand to their work of art. I want it to be all theirs and that's what makes it so special. I'm amazed at how well children do at painting - even if they do copy. But, it's never an "exact" copy. It's still theirs. But beyond that is their attitude and pride in creating something from just white paper. They have every reason to be proud. So I make sure we place their little works of art on mat board so they can be displayed in the best light possible. It's so fun and mostly I love to see how proud they are of what they made.

TAAA dahhhhh... A couple hours later after the kids were done and they went home to show their mom their paintings, two of my "adult" friends decided to create their own little Christmas painting. They knew what to do because they had watched me teach the little ones. What made me sad was just how they "judged" themselves and their work the entire time they were painting...

"I can't draw a straight line."

"My painting stinks."

"I can't do this..."

Like the children they were first time watercolor artists. But unlike the kids, fear of not doing it right, or perfect, or like mine showed in the art. This made me sad. Are we so worried about the outcome that we absolutely do not enjoy the process? Why can't we just see what we can do and who cares? After much begging, I ended up doing a sketch for each of them which they filled in with color. I talked one of my friends from throwing away her little watercolor paintings, convincing her she would like them later. Somewhere between 8 and 38 we just lose that ability to just give it a try and enjoy. See what happens. Then celebrate what you create. ALWAYS celebrate what you create.


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