Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

We have a tree in our front yard that I love, it’s a kukui tree. In the old days oil from its nuts was used for light. The leaves have an interesting shape and they are large giving a lot of shade. My husband gets annoyed with this tree because it’s messy. He constantly has to clean up the leaves and nuts. So every now and then when I get home (generally with thoughts of getting a good picture of the tree or using the leaves in some crafty way) I find he has gone and topped the tree. And I do mean top it! Not much left of the tree at all. I fuss at him but all he says is it’ll grow back – no worry!
Recently I’ve been searching for hearts in nature. I was inspired by an article I saw in a book. Now we have lots of leaves here that are heart shaped and I have managed to find a few more things but not that many. Imagine my surprise one day as I sat on our front porch have a cup of coffee. As I let my eyes feast on our yard and revel in the birds and butterflies I glanced at our kukui tree, now covered in leaves, and saw the heart. My husband hadn’t even been trying to create it, it just happened. It won’t last forever but I’m enjoying it for the moment and it got me thinking. I stressed and fussed each time he cut that tree not knowing that someday I would be blessed by a heart. (God sometimes gets out His pruning shears and gives us a good topping too! He’s trying to bring out His heart in us.)
I can think of a lot of other events in my life that seemed to be blessings in disguise. Once we were driving to church when my husband had such a severe headache come on all of a sudden that he had to pull over and let me drive. I grumbled because I wanted to get to there a little early in order to speak with our pastor. Now that wouldn’t happen. But as I drove down the freeway we came to a dead stop – there had been a multi-car, multi-lane accident that had it not been for the headache we would have been in the middle of it. And my husband’s headache was gone. Blessing in disguise!
What about the time I was up for a promotion. I was so excited and confidant because after the testing and interviews I was number 1 on the list. I had the job. But not so fast they gave it to one of the other workers. I was crushed and unsure of myself. Later I talked with the one who got the job and she told me how lucky I was because she had to be dishonest on a regular basis with her clients. That would never have worked for me, I would have been miserable. A secondary blessing was one of the requirements for the job was to have a valid driver’s license which I didn’t have at the time. I hadn’t driven for 15-20 years so I asked my sister-in-law to go with me and help me brush up on my driving skills. I didn’t want to risk being turned down for the job based on such a simple thing. I got my license and have been driving ever since. What a blessing to not have to rely on others to get around.
I have lots more instances of blessings in disguise but I’ll leave you with this last one. Now I live on the rainy side of the big island of Hawaii. We see a lot of rainbows but this particular day was different, one I’ll never forget. Passing showers, a pleasant drive into work, easy day. As I got out of my car there over my head was the biggest, most breathtaking, brilliant rainbow I have ever seen! It was stunning! My heart soared at the beauty of God’s creation and the wonder of His promises. I floated into work and began to tell everyone of this wondrous sight. Within an hour I received a heart rending phone call from my beloved daughter telling me about the situation she was in. As I began to pray for strength and help for my daughter I realized what God had already done. He knew of the coming phone call and had prepared me with that rainbow as a sign of His Love and grace and the promise that everything would be all right. He has never failed me yet.

So when you are counting your blessings don’t forget the ones in disguise!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ACEO - A First for Me

Photo of Spring Bird Aceo
Recently I introduced something new for me in my Etsy shop SaRoMaSa. ACEOs. For those of you already familiar with the term and concept you can skip down a ways or go straight to my shop. For the rest here’s just a little background on ACEOs.

ACEO stands for Artists Cards Editions and Originals. The only rule for them is their size 2 ½ by 3 ½ inches. Yes that’s right inches. Same size as sports cards that are avidly collected by sports enthusiasts. The ACEO has a similar purpose but rather than celebrating sports they celebrate the arts, all at an affordable price. Probably the most inexpensive way to collect art is to buy prints. This is very similar to buying regular size art. While the format of ACEOs is small the work that goes into it may consume as much time as a larger piece. I am still amazed at some of the detail in these small pieces of fine art. The type of art may be collage, fine art painting, photography, quilting, fiber arts, and anything in between.

Photo of Spring Butterfly AceoLooking at a blank 2 ½ by 3 ½ inch canvas my mind goes blank. It took a lot of courage to finally attempt to create a collaged ACEO. The first one got smeared right at the end of the process. I almost cried but instead cut out some more yellow tulips and pasted them over some of the first tulips. Not bad. (Although, I had planned on using those extra tulips on another project.) I then scanned in my ACEO and used PhotoShop to remove some more of the smears. Okay that looks better. I’ll keep the original partly because I like to keep all of my “firsts” and partly because it will remind me later that being flexible is one key to being successful. So this one is now being offered as a print.
The second one I made is really an ATC but I’m offering prints of it as an ACEO. ACEO’s were really born from Artists Trading Cards (ATC). ATCs have one more rule. They are never to be sold, only traded or exchanged, or given freely. The original was part of an ETSY team trade with the theme of Spring by BBEST and made its way to one of the members.

Photo of Ocean Wave Aceo

The other two prints currently in my shop are a reduced copy of an acrylic painting by my daughter Marilynn and a sewing collage. To see more of my daughter’s work visit Ladiesbydesign and click on Marilynn. She has a Flickr badge that showcases some of her work. While you are there I encourage you to spend some time reading her posts. Besides a visual artist she is an artist with words.
The sewing ACEO is a print of a collage I made to use as an invitation to a gathering of sewing friends. I have reduced it here to fit the size requirement.
I’m working on more collage pieces and more ACEOs (both original and prints) so stay tuned. As always I look forward to your comments.
Photo of Sewing Tools Aceo

Monday, March 30, 2009


Mr. Froggie photo from my Etsy shop Most of us have probably heard the platitudes: “Laughter is the best medicine.”; “Laughter is good for the soul” and others similar to these.
I’ve never given it a lot of thought but lately with prodding from my online friends and my daughter I’ve been considering things. Most of these prodding’s fall in the range of “tell us seven (or ten, or five) things about you that no one knows.
So I’ve been thinking and last night while trying to drift of to sleep it occurred to me “I like to make people laugh and I like to hear people laugh”. Now most of this laughter comes from telling on myself, or about something happening in my life, or just making merry about a difficult situation that’s been taken a little too seriously. It’s definitely not telling jokes cause I’m not much good at that!
I’m not sure where this comes from. My mother always told me I have a weird sense of humor. According to her I'm like her mother in the humor department. So I guess maybe I take after my Grandmother Clough. It’s true I find humor sometimes where others do not. For example I think it’s funny how I can get lost because I’m not paying attention to where I am or I decide to try a different route. Once when exiting a freeway I almost hit the guardrail because I wasn’t paying attention, I laughed but the passengers didn’t.

Or I could tell you about the time as a sophomore in high school when I put the entireBoy was I embarrassed pin from my Etsy shop varsity football team on the run. It was very embarrassing at the time but is now a funny memory with the passing of the years. Then there was the time I was setting up our computer training room for a workshop I was to present. Not my normal routine! I had turned on the laptops but couldn't figure out how to turn on the PC's (a task I do everyday at my desk but for the life of me I was so nervous I couldn't get it!). In a panic I was getting ready to call our regular trainer and confess to her when it finally dawned on me "Just push the power button on the CPU!" I told the trainer about my panic later and we both had a good laugh.

Once when my invalid mother was living with me we (the home aids and nurses who took care of her while I was at work) were surprised and happy that she was drinking a lot of water. Something she normally didn’t do, she hated our water. All of a sudden I started laughing because I realized what might have happened. You see I always made her cream of wheat or something similar to it for her breakfast and I always added a lot of cinnamon to it. That morning I think I might have grabbed the bottle of red pepper instead and that was why she was so thirsty. Of course we flushed her with a lot of water but she didn’t complain.
Mr. Froggie showing one of my moods at workThere are things that have happened that when told to my friends bring a smile, maybe a chuckle but which give me a real belly laugh. Even several months later when I think about it I want to break out in a loud, throw the head back laugh, but mostly I settle for a chuckle, a smile, or even a silent inside laugh. After all I wouldn’t want the other people on the bus to think I had lost it! And I certainly wouldn’t want to go into a long story explaining my laughter. Chances are they wouldn’t see what was so funny about it anyway.
My dad used to get us to laugh at the dinner table. I was raised with six brothers and we would all try and keep from even cracking a smile when dad started his fake laugh. He would start to laugh about nothing in Mr. Froggie always makes me laughparticular it was just his goal to get us to laugh. And he always succeeded. We kids would start out biting our lips, then the giggles would start and then before you knew it we were convulsed with side splitting laughter just from his infectious laugh. We loved it of course. I think we slept better on those nights. I know a good solid laugh will always help me sleep better.
Laughter is good for easing tension as long as it is either at something and not someone or with someone and not at someone. Maybe that’s why clowns are so beloved, they make up laugh with them or at least a good one does. Comedians too! Favorites of me and my dad’s were Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Bill Cosby, Carol Burnett and many others.
I’m considered by most to be a very serious person but I consider it a good day when I’ve made someone laugh!
Smile and the world smiles with you, put a little humor in someone’s world today, tickle their funny bone and you’ll feel better for it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Life's Treasures

To me one of the most important types of treasures are friends. Friends come in all styles and from all walks of life. Some start out as family and wind up as friends, some start as friends and then become the start of a family. Some start out during our school days and where once they were “bosom buddies”, “friends for ever”, they became disconnected or just lose track of each other. Some we meet in person, some through correspondence, others at least nowadays we met online. But wherever they come from and however long they last, a short time or a lifetime, friends can be real gems, something to treasure. A friend can cry with us or help us to sing when we really feel like crying. A friend can make us laugh and forget our cares and woes for a minute. A friend can drop a note at just the right time to encourage us. A friend can push us in the right direction even when it seems they are being harsh on us. I remember a good friend I had when I worked in San Francisco, she took me to lunch once when I was going through a very rough time in my life. As we sat talking I was blaming everyone and everything else for my lot in life. She made me face myself and accept the responsibility for my life. It was hard, I actually hated myself when she was finished but to this day I say she was used of God to make me look in the mirror and see what I had become and where I was headed. It was a direct result of that meeting that I turned my life around and gave my heart to God. A friend can be a treasure indeed.

Speaking of treasures – In my last post I mentioned treasuries on Etsy. I thought I would write a little about them. Etsy is an online marketplace for all things handmade, for supplies, and for vintage (20+) items. Whatever you might be looking for from pillows to original art to a gift for a co-worker or just a quirky fun object to brighten up your day, you’re sure to find it on Etsy.
One thing they let both buyers and sellers do is showcase the work of others. You select 16 items from the vast array of wares, 12 of them will be the main treasury and 4 will be alternates. Arrange then the way you like and then when the opportunity arises, type in your title and load up your selections. Others will come in and look at the items and leave comments. A treasury lasts for 2-3 days. They are so much fun to do and you get a “feel good” feeling for encouraging and promoting others. I've placed a couple of treasuries I have made in the past here in this post. Etsy uses some of these treasuries for their home page. Of course the frosting on the cake is to have your treasury make the front page. But even without that they are still a joy to make. The next best thing is to have someone put one of your items in their treasury!
Every time I start searching for items to put in a treasury I am amazed at the variety of items offered on Etsy.
To find the treasuries go to Etsy’s homepage, look on the left-hand side scroll down to the Explore box and you’ll find the word Treasury. Click on that and you’ll see a list of treasuries (333+) to choose from. Be prepared though you could lose track of time once you start viewing them!

Encouraging others – to me that’s what life is all about!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Almost White"

Photo of Almost White
It started out to be a white piece; it ended up almost white.
I’ve been trying to be creative every day following the Creative Every Day blog. One week Misty Mawn suggested working in one color a day. On one of those days the color given was white. To me that was the biggest challenge. An all white piece. Now those who know me or who have visited my online store Big Island Rose Designs know that I’m not afraid of color. Many of the treasuries I make on Etsy prove that point. But an all white piece – hmmmmmm. Going with my theme of "back to where I started from" I knew that it would be a collage. So I began the search for white items, textures, details from old magazines. After I had collected a supply I started laying them down on my canvas. Now nothing looked white-white. It wasn’t very exciting either but I continued. Almost White in progress
First a layer of torn text covered with a little gesso to tone the text down. Then I found some white paper heart doilies in my stash. Good. Next I arranged my “white” magazine pieces until I liked it. Still not exciting though. I knew I would add some buttons somewhere on the canvas so I played with them for awhile. I had another challenge with this piece, how to finish the edges. A quilt gave me the idea to cut squares of paper and wrap them around the edges. First I was going to do all text but then I spied some old sheet music damaged in places and decided to alternate words with music. Okay that works!
Some vintage white rickrack from my stash caught my eye. I added it to kind of accent the heart shape of the doily and mimic the doily’s edging. Searching the magazines some more I found a white daisy, perfect for the center of the heart but what about that yellow center. Definitely not white. I played with my buttons some more – maybe all around the heart or along the edges of the canvas. How about a big one to cover up that yellow center? All the time I could hear my former art instructor Joan Hill, “Rose, when you think you are done, always remove at least one thing, don’t overdue it.” Okay too many buttons and I really like the yellow center of the daisy – it makes the piece pop. So take away all but a few buttons and I’m done. Photo of Almost White
Only problem now is I like this piece so much I’m not sure if I’ll sell the original. I will definitely do prints of it. It would make a lovely card don’t you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back Where I Started From

When I was a little girl I enjoyed working at my workspace in our basement trying out different things experimenting with broken egg shells, cancelled stamps my Dad gave me, and any other odds and ends I could get my hands on. As the years passed I drifted away from my arts and crafts childhood and more and more into the world of business. Now,50 years later, I feel like I have come full swing again and am getting back into my first love, collage, taking ordinary and not so ordinary things and creating art. Collage has always been my constant companion whether I’m working with paper, fabric, found items, or fibers. Even when I think about working with people it’s always with the idea of showing them how to take simple things and make them into something beautiful. Isn’t that what our Creator does with us? He takes the broken pieces of our lives, mixes in those of others, adds some color, spices, or laughter and makes beautiful stories, beautiful lives.

My Dad received lots of mail from all over at his job and would bring the stamps home for me. I never realized that my Dad started me on the habit of collecting and reusing items that most would just throw in the garbage. My family would say that my habit has become uncontrollable as I have a hard time tossing out any thing, you just never know when it might be just the finishing touch for a project. Dad even saved all of my grade school report cards and gave them to me before he died. Now my mind is thinking about what treasures those are. Not the computer generated reports we get today but handwritten notes from my teachers. And then of course they all have my Dad’s signature on them too. Treasures indeed!

I truly believe that if we can capture the essence of who we are and what we want to be when we are children and build on that, we will be less likely to drift and stray into other areas. I think I lost a sense of who I am and who I wanted to be along the way. I dabbled a little in the realm of sewing and embroidery but never to the extent that I was consumed by it, as I was when I was a child. I recaptured some of that when I started taking fashion design classes as an adult but by then the business world was such a part of me that I had a hard time seeing my way back to my passion. Occasionally something would come along, like a quilt for someone special, or a chance to make the costumes for our church drama team, or a newsletter for our fashion club, that would pull me back to that early path. But the weeds had grown, and life had left little room for my art. Even when I finally had the opportunity to go back to college and take art and graphic design classes, I never fully found that path again. Funny too, because my instructors all encouraged me to try. One assignment given us was to make a stamp depicting the theme Go Forth and Create. I struggled with it, couldn’t really draw, wasn’t comfortable with the computer, I didn’t have a clue what to do. My instructor saw the struggle and I’m sure wasn’t expecting too much from me. But shortly before the assignment was due I had an “aha!” moment. I considered what I loved to do as a child; I would do a collage. The ideas began to flow and before I knew it I had done something that surprised me and my teacher. I wound up with a 10+ for that assignment and words from the instructor to follow my heart and do collage. Collage was just starting to become popular in the design and advertising world. Now 15 years later I look at all the wonderful collage work being done and wonder “What was I thinking?” And so I pick up the tools again, I work at it daily, slowly regaining what I had, adding to it new dimensions, trying once again to overcome my fear “Is it good enough?” “Will anyone like it?” “Have I waited to long?”