Friday, July 31, 2009

Paper Cowgirl Collaborative Memory Book

I vow to get caught up on all the wonderful things I've experienced over the last few summer months. While I guess I could get bogged down (or should I say "blogged" down?) with discouragement for not being able to keep up with all the things I want to write about, I guess instead I should just enjoy EXPERIENCING them!

One of the great things that happened at Paper Cowgirl at the end of June (the Altered Art / Mixed Media convention in Waxahachie, TX) was my great friend Alisa presented me with a...uh, well... I guess I don't really know the name for it. I call it a collaborative memory book (to henceforth be declared as CMB in my blog posting...if this is the wrong name for it, shoot me.) It really was a most thoughtful gift, as on multiple occasions I had seen such books when shopping together and had emphatically exclaimed, "Alisa! I want one of these! You HAVE to teach me how to make one!" She kept reasurring me that she would take care of me. Oh why did I ever doubt?!

In keeping with the Paper Cowgirl theme, she created this little memory book to which I could later add memorabilia and photos, reminiscient of our Paper Cowgirl experience together. It consisted of multiple pages of varying textures including: paper, chipboard, fabric, antique ledger paper and even BURLAP--now, that's how a girl gets her COWGIRL on. And, as a special tribute, she included photos of both a likeness of the Cackling Poultry With Guns and one of (my many) alter-egos, Pearl Hart.

For those of you who may not know me well, I've always been known as kind of a self-proclaimed renegade. I get that from my mother. While I didn't mean to necessarily become this way, I almost just naturally developed into the kind of "lady" who bucks the system. It's not really that I'm dishonest or a thief...that's where Pearl and I differ. However, I do tend toward the outspoken and strong-willed and am not well-versed in how should I say it...putting up with others' crap. Throughout the years as I've matured I've tried valiantly to learn to share my opinions in a more affable way; however, my miserable attempts at being demure and coy and all those other ill-conceived feminine characteristics have all but failed. Ergo, I wear my badge as Pearl Hart, proud member of the Cackling Poultry With Guns (Society for Displaced Women), otherwise known as the CPG gang.

I so value the time and effort Alisa put into this wonderful little keepsake. From the linen and lace envelope it came in, to the tiny little leather and brass buckle and keys, each detail was a treasure!

So, I've noticed that most people don't post pictures of EVERY page or EVERY little detail of the things they do or recieve. But I can't help it! I just SO love the little details. Not only that, I KNOW how much time (a surprising lot more than one might think) it takes to do something "little" like this, and that's why it's even more special to me. Maybe I'm a nerd, but I waited my whole life to have friends who really "get" this part of creative self. Not only do they "get" it, but they seem to embrace it.

Artists tend to understand the FEELINGS that accompany seeing life through different "eyes" than the more "logical" or less "emotional" kinds of people we coexist with. While I've spent 35 years trying in vain to "overcome" being a person who is full of FEELING and EMOTION (though I can't tell you how many, many times I've wept to have it be differnt), I am finally learning to accept that this IS who I am. God made me this way. Instead of trying to hide my emotions and feelings because others don't understand them or it makes me easier to bruise, I'm finding a community of people who are teaching me that it's okay to be me. It's not just OK. They CELEBRATE people like me. Everyone gets hurt sometimes, and none of us are perfect. But an artist's community seem to be more accepting of the ups and downs we feel and doesn't seem to be as hard on us when we get a little "over" emotional about something. They celebrate the passion and they try to be there for the sorrowful moments.

I don't know if this makes much sense to anyone else, and I am just learning it myself. But that's why I LOVE these little details. To me, each feathered stroke of the pigment ink to "antique" a page, and each special little cut with the "deckle" scissors is an expression of love and acceptance that fills my oh-so-emotional heart with thanksgiving.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Life-Changing Events

I had my hair professionally cut, colored, and styled for my birthday 2 years ago. Since then I've trimmed it a handful of times, but I had become disgusted with it. See, whereas most women would probably go out to get their "hair did" much more often, I struggle. There are so few good hairstyles known for those with my combination: naturally curly fine hair and round chubby faces. Cut too short...and you have an insta-fro. Too long, and it doesn't look any different. Most styles are geared toward those with straight hair. Ergo, I put off getting my hair done.

Welp, I was finally SO absolutely sick of it that I bit the bullet. I spent several weeks contemplating and psyching myself up for it (as well as many hours on the internet searching photos and doing virtual makeovers of myself). I finally came up with what looked like a cut that might work for me. I took it to a new stylist at the Jon Scott Salon in Frisco. After discussing my fears and ideas with Tina, I was reassured that this new style was going to work well for me. I threw caution to the wind and let her at it! I mean, at that point, I figured it couldn't be any worse than I felt my hair already looked anyway.

After coloring and highlighting my tresses, she whacked off more than 9 inches. Then with some snip snip snips, she was shortly finished (pun intended). A good shampoo and head massage later, I was ready for styling. She blew it out straight for me, but with the TX humidity that afternoon, the natural curl took over, causing the ends to curl up. Nonetheless, I liked the look and am SO pleased I took the plunge. It's totally manageable. I can straighten it, or just wash and go and both styles look great.

If anyone needs a new stylist, I'll hook you up with Tina. With my referral you'll get 20% off, too! Let's all get new cuts this summer!






Sunday, July 19, 2009

Red-Letter Day

Today was definitely a Red-Letter Day!

A new friend I made, Cara Weatherby, invited some gals out to her beautiful home in Burleson, TX (near Fort Worth). It was about an hour drive from my home in Frisco, and I struggled to achieve mind over mattress this morning. But, I'm so glad I won that struggle because I had a


time at Cara's! She is ever the gracious and welcoming hostess. I also got to meet her amazing daughter, Candy, a graphic artist (and uber-talented). I was surprised to find out Cara had a daughter Candy's age. When she introduced me, I thought they looked more like sisters! Both Cara and Candy were so warm and genuine; I couldn't help but feel immediately welcome and at home. That's that Southern Hospitality for ya.

I had met Cara a few months ago prior to the Paper Cowgirl Altered Arts Convention (PC) I attended last month in Waxahachie, TX. (Which I still have A LOT to blog about, but haven't gotten caught up yet!) A few of us had decided we wanted to meet other gals prior to the PC event we would all be attending. A few of us managed to meetup in one of my favorite areas, Downtown Historic McKinney square, for lunch at The Pantry and a quick stop into Smitten.

Donna Garcia, Alisa Noble, Marie Jenkins, Cheryl Bass, Nina Little, Cara Weatherby

Maybe it was because Nina, Donna, Alisa and I can be somewhat overwhelming as a group together, but Cara seemed fairly quite and reserved that day. It was so fun to be able to visit with her and her family in her home today and get to know her so much better! She is very lively and fun and has a great sense of humor. I SO enjoyed my time.

She invited us all out to an Altered Altoid Tin workshop. She had all the supplies and provided us with a lovely lunch. We spent the entire morning and early afternoon creating these precious little altered tins with a Mermaid theme. I had wanted to create an Altoid Altered Tin for quite some time, but my "to do" list just keeps growing, and I don't always get around to all the things I want to do! So, I was so excited for the invitation, as I knew it was something I was going to love doing. And I did. I also got to see another gal I had met briefly at PC, Gail, and met another tremendously nice lady, Marie. I just love the feeling of commaraderie because of our shared passion for creativity. The tins everyone created were all so unique, but beautiful. Cara is going to send the pictures she took of everyone's tins and I will update here. But for now, I'm just posting a few pics of the one I made. It was a great day!

My Altered Altoid Mermaid Tin

Closeup of the Left Side

Closeup of the Right Side

Just for Fun--In front of a Sommerset Magazine! Imagining my work on the COVER! :)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates...

Okay, so you know how Forrest Gump says, "Momma always says,

Life is like a box of never know whatchyer gonna get?"

Well, that is SO wonderfully and deliciously true. Just when you're going along minding your business and trying to cross off all the "To Do"s on the list, something totally unexpected and interesting happens that just makes life interesting and reminds you not to take things so seriously all the time!

Yesterday, I was on my way to Donna's new home, but I forgot her new house number. I knew it was on White St. (not the real street name), but couldn't remember the exact number. She said, "5208. It's the 3rd house from the end."

Donna was at her old house with the movers and couldn't be in two spots at once so she had asked if I would go over to the new house to wait for the gas guy. Sure, no problem, I could do that. She also mentioned I might want to bring a chair and a book since there's nothing there yet. So, I load up my folding lawn chair (you know, the pointy-legged UFO-unfolding type that comes out of the bag but you can't ever seem to get back INTO the bag?); my mammoth-sized 64oz. 7-11 Ultimate Gulp; a six-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper (because who knew how long I'd be there and I might've needed a refill); a bag with papers, bills, and various and sundry "to do" items for which I needed to make some phone calls; and a book.

After I got out of the car and reloaded myself with the necessary essentials, I waddled to the front door. It was then that I realized I did't know where I'd put the key Donna had given me. So, I painstakingly UNloaded all my stuff onto the porch, dug through the abyss of my purse for 5 minutes until I found the key (although I truly don't know how I lost it in the first place, as it was bread-wrapper tied to a roughly 3"x"6" discarded piece of cardboard from a new corkscrew opener. Apparently Donna was wise to my propensity to forget where I put things. To prevent me from losing her key, she had attached it to the only thing she currently had available. Incidentally, later once inside her new home, I noticed the only "unpacked" items there were a bottle of wine, 6 wine glasses, and of course the corkscrew.)

After the victorious 5 minute key treasure hunt in the glorious 97 degree Texas morning heat, I slipped in the key and turned the lock. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nadda. I tried turning, twisting, upside-downing, pulling, pushing and overall manhandling that key and door in any way I possibly could, all to no avail. I muttered to myself, "Great. The darn key doesn't work. Figures. Probably some idiot at Wal-mart doesn't know how to make a darn key copy!" Why I feel compelled to automatically disparage Wal-mart employees is beyond me. I really need to work on that...they're just everyday hard-workin' folks like the rest of us. So then I decided I was going to have to trek around to the backyard to see if the key would work in the backdoor.

After struggling to get through two child-safety gate latches, I finally got into the backyard. I was instantly impressed that Donna had already got her doghouses there, along with a nice patio set on the deck that appeared to be the future location of many outdoor girl's night gatherings! I saw two doors. I figured one was probably a door to the garage and the other to the house proper. I went to the garage door first, as it was closest, and tried my key. Again, no luck. "This is getting ridiculous," I thought. "Well, they say third time's a charm." Next I moved to the back door. Lo and behold! The key WORKED! Yippee!

My relief was shortlived, however, as two dogs immediately started barking and yipping at my legs--my uncovered, shorts-wearin' legs. "What the heck?", I thought, "These don't even look like Donna's dogs! And wow...she's already got her couches and TV entertainment center moved in!" Just then from around the corner, a lady came into the room wearing nothing but a t-shirt and panties and both of us nearly jumped. I stared at her and she stared at me, all while these fierce little chihuahuas were threatening unalterable damage to my legs and ankles!

Finally, coming to my senses, I said, "Hi. I'm Cheryl. Are you a friend of Donna's?" She looked at me like I was insane and replied, "No. Who are you?" "My friend Donna asked me to come to her house and wait for the gas guy. Is this 5208 White St.?" "Yes," she answered cautiously. "Is this the 3rd house from the end?" "Yes. This is my house. Why are you in here?", she demanded. She was beginning to appear not only confused, but angry, as well. Maybe she thought I was there to rob her or to kidnap her precious little pups--which I can assure you was the FARTHEST thing from my mind at that moment, or any other for that matter. "I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say. My friend Donna is moving into a home here and gave me this address. She said I was to use her key to go in and wait for the gas guy to come. The key didn't work on the door so I came around back to see if it worked in the back door which, as you can see, it did." Both of us marvelled at how odd that Donna's key opened HER back door! Finally, I apologized several times again and turned to leave.

This time, I went around the other side of the house (as it seemed it might be easier). That was yet another mistake. Not only did I step in dog crap (wearing flip flops...oooooooh!), but that side gate was locked and rocks were shoved against it to keep the dogs from escaping. So, I had to tromp all the way back through the back yard and around the other side of the house again to get my stuff on the front porch. Just as I began REloading all my junk upon myself, I saw the Atmos Energy van pulling away! I must've missed him while I was busy being eaten by chihuanas (I swear those dogs were a rare mixed breed of chihuahua and pirana). Loaded down with all my gear, I started "running" (and I use the term loosely) down the block waving my arms and shouting at the Atmos Energy guy to come back. Thankfully, he saw me and stopped.

Just then, the neighbor lady came out her front door (having donned a pair of shorts) and said, "Hey, sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. I was just shocked, especially since your key worked in my door" I said I completely understood, I would be, too, etc. etc. We both agreed, though, that perhaps she had left her back door unlocked and that's how the key had "worked". Then she said, "I was thinking, maybe it's supposed to be the house across the street. I've seen people cleaning over there, and it's been on the market for a few weeks." I figured I had nothing to lose at that point, so I crossed the street to try the corkscrew key. Bingo. Why couldn't I have just tried this keyhole to begin with?

I removed my odious flip flops and welcomed myself and Mr. Gas Guy into Donna's new home. After we got things straightened out and he went to do his business, I call Donna and say, "Hey, Donna? What's your new house number again?" She confidently replies, "5208." I wondered if I should tell her, or just let her meet the neighbor and chihuanasthe same way I had?

It was all just so unexepected, I couldn't do much else but laugh. Good thing I love chocolate!