Friday, April 29, 2011

Lady Gnome

Looks like my gnome found a friend.

(Sorry about the crappy cell phone picture.
Looks like I'm going to need to bring my camera to work!!)


I am going to be a little verbose today. So I thank all of you for putting up with me in advance.

I am bi-polar.

I was diagnosed in 1997, despite the fact that I think I've been this way most of my life. That year was particularly stressful for me and I had a genuine, lock-yourself-in-a-dorm-room-for-several-days-crying-without-seeming-end, break down. I had a lot going on in that point in my life and I had been pushed past my personal coping point.

I didn't know what was going to happen to me and if I hadn't had a friend there at that time that had gone through similar things, I would have been in a lot of trouble.

Thankfully, I was shown a community of people all going through their own personal struggles with mental illness. And I was able to find (a few years along the way) several community resources and support groups available to help people coping with and supporting patients with Bi-polar disorder.

Joining Depression-Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a peer-led Bi-Polar and Depression support group opened up my eyes to all the resources there really were for people with a mental health diagnosis. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) was a national organization who's purpose is to provide education, support and services for family friends and patients with mental illness.

Personally, the scariest part of mental illness for me, is not knowing what my options are. Not knowing where I can go if I feel things have gone too far. Not knowing if there are places for me to go, people to talk to in an emergency, or if there are places that can help my loved ones learn about what can be done to help me. And this is exactly what NAMI provides. Not only the resources, but the support and peace of mind for patients and those who care about us.

I personally know so many people who have benefited from the services they provide and am happy to support them however I can.

This year, I will be leading a team for the NAMI Walk, 2011, on June 4th. And I am so happy to support this charity that I have personally benefited from.

While I'd love to support this walk 100% on my own, I need help. If any are able, I would be thrilled for you to support me in supporting this amazing charity.

Thank you for your love, support and wishes!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Decided to do a quick little guy...and this is what popped out!!

I think he's rather suave!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do what you love!

I have lately been besieged by a love of painting! I've been thinking about painting all day! Seeing ideas and inspiration everywhere I look. I've been practicing every chance I get and obsessing over tutorials, techniques and tools.

I'm not a savant, or perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can't explain how happy it makes me.

I've been walking around town looking at the world differently and I love it so much. Trees and flowers in my eyes lately are shapes and colors and shading and light. It is kinda of refreshing to see the world with a new light, a new excitement and perspective.

And I can't encourage people enough to get out there and do something that totally switches up your perspective. That makes you see new colors and life with a new set of eyes.

Be it painting, singing, skydiving...getting out in the world and LIVING is really good for the soul.

So get your camera, or try a new craft...get out there and make your soul sing!

(And if you do, I'd love to hear about it here!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Do not adjust your monitors!

This was an experiment in painting with black and white.
I call it, "Bent, not Broken".

I really love Birch trees and wanted to paint them, but it wasn't until I was asked to sumit a piece in black & white for Oak Leaves that I decided to actually try and paint something with just black and white paints.

It's not my best work, but I do like it a lot!

I love practicing and learning more about the art.

I will be submitting it to Oak Leaves soon!!! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Another watercolor and ink. I painted the bare background first and then when it all dried, I did a freehand drawing on it and then filled it out with ink.

I really need to work on perspective and proportion. It still needs work, but I kinda like it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


More fun with watercolor today...and I learned that pre-wetting your paper really DOES help with watercolor painting. That and waiting for each layer to dry completely before adding more color.

I won't post the other stuff I mostly sucks. But I was rather fond of little birdie here.

Water color is challenging, but I really do love it!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Odin ATC

I was working on a replacement for an ATC I was making for the ADF Artisan's Guild ATC swaps.

My partner is a big fan of Odin, so I drew "Old One Eye" and added Geri and Freki on the right and his signature ravens on the left.

And on the outside is text from an old Norse book.

I hope he likes it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Paleo Experience - Month Two

....or... "Why Mac & Cheese never returns my calls."

As I have written before, going Paleo was something I was certain would never work for me. It seemed to work for J and he was pretty nuts about getting me to try it. I knew, however, this would be a challenge for me and I'd probably quit three weeks in. I had a love hate relationship with veggies and while I loved meat, any fish made me gag. I did not have high hopes for green beans and steak every night.

To be fair, J has done a really wonderful job of taking what I like and getting creative with it. I have to say, I wasn't sure how it would work. But we decided to keep us from getting burnt out, we'd give ourselves "free days", where we'd eat pretty much whatever...just as long as it wasn't in excess.

Frankly, I found that after an initial drop of fifteen pounds, I was really eager to give it a serious try. I tried veggies I didn't like in new ways, I went and bought fish willingly from the supermarket. (Don't tell J, but it was delicious!) And I was really eliminating grains and other pesky carbs and unnecessary sugars of my own free will. So much so, that after our chosen "free days" I would feel ill, and hung over the next day. It made that little splurge not worth it and so we pretty much eliminated the free days entirely.

I will admit It has really taken a lot of self control not to grab a dollar menu french fry or a cherry pie at the grocery store. They are?/were my comfort foods. I had emotional attachment to macaroni and got comfort from ice cream. And it was a dysfunctional relationship. They didn't love me back, in fact, they tried to kill me.

I never wanted to be one of those preachy "fad diet" kind of people. I usually find them annoying and a little too obsessed with whatever thing they were into. But I think I am officially that woman. Now in four months, I've lost twenty three pounds. That breaks down to about six pounds a month and around one and a half a week. However, in that time, I've not just lost weight. My body composition is drastically shifting. Parts of me that were stretched taut with fat are now seeming to melt away. My energy is unbelievably high and I have a new found understanding of what my body wants and needs.

When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I crave an orange, I get one. When I'm full, I stop eating. I know these all seem like very obvious actions. However, when you're addicted to food, like I am, those things require an almost herculean effort to do. When food means love, or comfort, or memories of a time after school at grandma's, putting down the dish and fork are really challenging. But for the first time, I'm losing weight without counting anything and without feeling deprived and hungry all the time. I really feel fortunate.

And what I've found out, is that when something works...something changes your life and everything you thought about your body and relationship with want to tell everyone. It's funny, now, that despite only losing 23 lbs, I want to tell everyone that this is changing my life. My obsession and ultimately dysfunctional relationship with food was killing me. My blood pressure and triglycerides were slowly filling my arteries with fat. Since starting this new lifestyle, I am completely off high blood pressure meds and have been given a clean bill of health, aside from the weight I'm still lugging around.

Let me reiterate...I have lowered my blood pressure completely by changing my diet. That, in and of itself, makes me want to tell everyone I know. I want them to benefit from the same vitality I've been feeling. To know that being tired all the time isn't normal, no matter what your size is. This is what our bodies need and I want everyone to feel great too. Which means I'm certainly a fan girl.

The more J gets into the actual paleo community, the more he forces me to listen to hours of podcasts from community experts who seem to make the science and physiology of it all so simple. Our bodies are meant to process meat and berries and vegetables. It's that simple. By throwing sugars and other foodstuffs that our body converts into sugars, we're poisoning ourselves slowly.

For more well-informed sources, you can feel free to visit several of the leading paleo blogs, Mark's Daily Apple, or Every Day Paleo, or Nerd Fitness for the actual science behind why this lifestyle not only works, but is good for anyone, not just folks looking to lose weight.

Also, here's a pretty concise video on how your body breaks down grains.

But all in all, after fully committing to the lifestyle for two full months...the drastic changes are pretty fantastic!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How does this happen?

I fully intend to journal and keep progress of every step of my Paleo Challenge and Wedding...but then the actuality of the things I'm doing get in the way and I just don't get around to it.

So, I shall endeavor to try to discuss the most recent goings-on. That said, we are now officially (runs to check thirty-eight days from nuptials. I have a dress...Joe has a tux and the wedding party is coming along. We have met with J's mom and discussed menus for the reception and cocktail hour and it sounds delicious!

We met with Rev. Dangler and discussed the ceremony which should be sweet, but not too long, but still representative of our faith. The reception, I hope will be great food and a great party!!!

Don't get me wrong, I am stressing over every detail...I am just getting past each checkpoint and feeling better the more I can enjoy the process. That being said, the R.S.V.P. cards are coming back and that makes it so much more real!

During this time, I've also gotten into Paleo eating and taking care of myself. Getting used to eating mostly animal protein and veggies really has been a shock initially. It's no secret I was addicted to not just carbs, but pretty much anything that was terrible for my body.

Changing your attitude about how you want to live your life takes a lot of dedication. At first I only did it because it seemed to work well for J. But really coming around to what my body needs and not what I think will make my life feel happier at that moment has really taken a bit to wrap my brain around.

That being as it is, I wanted to keep photographic evidence of my progress. Oddly enough, when it came time to find "before" and "current" pictures, there were not many pictures of me before. I hate getting my picture taken and this is why.

January 12th, 2011 (23 lbs lighter) April 6th, 2011

So it's not terribly drastic yet, but I know I feel better!!!

I will write more later!!!

See you all soon!