Go With It and You’ll Grow With It

When my son greets me in the morning like this, “You look like you haven’t slept in days,” and then points out which eye is puffier, I know it’s been a week of creating. Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately. :)

sunflower acrylic on canvasAs a soloist, “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” is a song I’ve sung in many places for many years. This painting is called “Sparrow” and is founded on the passage in Matthew 10:31 where Jesus begins teaching with these words, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light…” He sums up this passage with, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
You will see two sparrows depicted here – one on the ground and one perched on the woman’s shoulder. The bodice of her dress has an overlay of sheet music and, of course, the song is, “His Eye Is On the Sparrow.”  {Sold}

Acrylics, hymn page, sparrow and girl on canvas

Le Poulet – “chicken” in French is soooo cute! I displayed her in a wire basket hanging on the side of my kitchen cabinet. I like out of the ordinary ways to display art and decor. {Sold}

Chicken art, Chicken in wire basket, Le Poulet

 

This verse is from the book of Psalms and is painted on a metal piece (11 x 27 x 1 – $49)

Ocean typography on metal

I’m thinking about using this sketch and others for a special project I have in mind. This is just a preliminary, rough sketch but gives you the idea. The necklace reads, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.The heart of her husband safely trusts her.”

Proverbs 31 Woman I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies lately: my BellaMella Canvas, sketch ideas for journal covers, typography (working on new {to me} materials – metal, wood, a contract job to organize an office, personalizing an existing fabric tote bag, and working on new music (learning lyrics, etc.). Perhaps I’ll share the bag make-over next week.

I almost forgot to show you the bird I painted on my kitchen wall this weekend. We’re planning to paint the walls in “Nurture” by Behr. It’s a pale blue/green with a gray tone. My kitchen gets a lot of light from a huge East facing window so I’m hoping this color works well in here. I’ll paint around the bird!

painted bird on wall

The “Today” canvas was a commissioned piece that should be arriving on it’s recipient’s doorstep in a few days. I’m doing another one – also commissioned – except with sunflowers. I enjoy the Mason jar additions to BellaMella Canvas.

Mason Jar Art, Typography, BellaMella Canvas“Faith, Hope, Love” is available for purchase – 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas – $45 includes shipping/handling.

Three Things Ball Jars

There are days, weeks even, when I don’t have the creative urge so when it hits, I have to go with it. Those are the times I get a lot of projects done and then I kind of burn out and crash for a while. The crash is usually when I cook more! So, there has not been a whole lot of cooking going on around here. I admit, when I’m in my creative zone, I lose track of time and forget about dinner until one of my men opens the fridge door and the pantry door then humbly says, “I’m hungry.”

Oops. Is it that time again? Didn’t we just eat breakfast?

I want to leave you with this. Are there days that you cry from frustration over lack? Lack of money, time, skill, talent, resources? I’ve had my tears over all of those, too. But here’s the thing, if there’s something you really want to do…I mean it’s in your heart to do it and you keep thinking about it…start with what you have. Start with the means, ability, resources you do have. Commit to learning all you can. Go forward with what you DO have and be patient in the growing stage.

Go with it! Grow with it! Amen? Amen.

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Unedited But Not Unplugged

Hi, today I’m writing unedited. What does that mean? I’m not really sure except to say, I’m just gonna write like I’m catching up with a friend. Not gonna stick to one topic. Not gonna think it through too much…just a little unedited chit chat.

This skirt! It’s what I’m wearing today. Marshall’s – $7.99 Brand – Quicksilver – Check it out online! It’s called the Reef Point Maxi – can you believe the price on that website?

maxi skirt blueI‘ll let you in on a little secret. I’m working on losing a few pounds –  10 to be exact but 8 will do. So…I’m taming my appetite for a few things. Namely, chips. I could eat tortilla chips all day long! These help. I still get that crunch and desire for a chip but they’re not so addicting. Very good but not addicting. Only 3 ingredients: sweet potatoes, oil and salt -

sweet pot

My latest creative project is adding graphics to flour sack kitchen towels! Soooo cute. I’ve analyzed why I’m loving this right now: what’s NOT to love about fresh, white cotton towels, birds & bees & wreaths – yes!, easy project once you have all of the components. I’m just hoping the image does not blur or fade once washed. It’s not supposed to but…

flour sack towels

A local friend purchased one of my latest canvases. I really like this one and I’m glad a good friend liked it enough to say, “Hey, I want that one!” or words to that effect. :)

I originally called it, “the fragrance of love” but now that my friend Regina is getting it, I’ve changed the name to “Regina’s Roses.”

reginas roses framed

You know how you overdo one particular meal and then you don’t fix it for a long time because you got kind of tired of it? That’s my Mexican Chicken Soup. But I made it for dinner today for the first time in several months and it’s so delicioso. Whenever we want chicken, I bake a whole bird and use it for 2 – 3 meals. I also save that wonderful stock, strain it and use it as needed. If I don’t plan to use it, I freeze it. It’s so much more flavorful than chicken broth off the shelf.

My Mexican Chicken Soup is an old Southern Living recipe. The main ingredients are cooked, shredded chicken, stock, Rotel tomatoes, beans and whatever else you want to saute and add: onions, celery, peppers. Add chili powder, cumin and salt/pepper to your taste. I add a lot. Today I topped mine with cilantro and diced avocado. You can make it on the stove or in a Crock Pot. It’s very satisfying even without adding my beloved tortilla chips.

We had a couple pieces of Key Lime Pie left from the weekend. Normally that would be unheard of as it’s my favorite dessert but Sunday I determined no more sugar, chips, and a few other things that trigger my appetite to cross over to gluttony. Yep! That’s what an out of control appetite becomes – gluttony. So, I asked my husband and son to finish it up today so I don’t have to see the pie every time I open the refrigerator. Here’s one I made last year. I know. It’s beautiful. ;)

key lime pie

 

And on that note, I’m off to walk a few miles! I’ll probably add in some running too but here’s another thing. I’m in the middle of a blog series called, “Work It Out” and I’m re-assessing my workouts. Sometimes I feel my workout of the day overshadows everything else and I don’t fully plug in and enjoy my day until I’ve gotten my run in or my resistance workout done. And I’m not happy with that. I’m looking for a better approach that still calls for discipline in exercising my body but doesn’t feel like a burden on a lot of days. I don’t want to give more than an hour a day to official exercise yet I also don’t want to let it go more than a day or three. So, I’m thinking it all through and trying to figure out what will be a good plan for me in this season. In the fall I may change it all up again, but for now I need to do something different. I’m not even talking about different types of exercise although it may include that. I just want and need a different approach.

Hey, I’m outta here for now – off to Work It Out!

What are you up to lately? Any new recipes? Creative endeavors? Do tell.

 

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The Courage of Creativity

June brought a flow of creativity. I’ve been the best kind of busy lately and I’m so grateful for the inspiration. I don’t consider myself an artist – but a creative, yes.

Writing, cooking, re-arranging my spaces, dreaming ideas when I run, turning phrases over, re-purposing furniture, using dishtowels for a kitchen valance, and swiping paint on a canvas – it all comes from the same creative urging.

flower wall

I often feel that twinge of this is no good…I don’t know what I’m doing…how do I get this right?…why do I try? 

"Pink Hydrangeas in Blue Jar" - 8 x 10 $30 includes S/H

“Pink Hydrangeas in Blue Jar” – 8 x 10

Sometimes I wonder what people will think. Do I look silly? Is this really bad but I can’t see how bad it really is? Am I weird? Does it matter if I am? So what if I am. Everyone’s weird. 

Be Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful 11 x 14

Be Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful 11 x 14

Look around! Others are so much better at this. At least I’m trying! It brings me joy. I feel peaceful when I create. Sometimes I am afraid, too. I get tired. My eyes hurt. My back aches. But I’m living. Alive. 

Love God 11 x 14

Love God 11 x 14

I tap into the invisible kingdom when I create.

“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.” A.W. Tozer

I feel a creative communion with God. I ask for an increase in knowledge and skill. “After all”, I say, “You’re the Master Creator. How did you do it? Teach me about shadows and light, color, depth, detail. Show me how you do it.”

Listening. 

11 x 14

11 x 14

I feel inadequate. But still…something moves me to keep trying. Just do something. Make something. See things. Really see what’s around you. Shapes, colors, line.

My Beachy Wreath
Love is greatest
chalkboard

I slow. My sight lingers on things seen before yet not observed. Appreciate. Take it in. Write it down. Paint it on. Bake it. Move it. Frame it.

Take courage to create. It’s often the very thing you need to reveal the burden you carry. And not all burdens are burdensome. The donkey carried the burden of Christ on his back. Did the beast know the load he carried was replete with anointing? Do you?

So, really, what does it matter if no one else celebrates or appreciates or is all that crazy about your painted roses, your new recipe, your vintage, your phrases, your whatever it is you’ve created, crafted, or crocheted? Perhaps, the burden revealed is the purpose unveiled. And that, alone, is reason enough to create.

aqua piece b

The “before” was a china hutch with glass sliders. The “after” is a painted storage piece (bead board added) for me!

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

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Color Me Radiant Orchid

Flower Power Pin and LifeStone JewelryI was on my way to church Sunday morning and had my son, Avery, take a quick pic.

See those earrings? They are designed by the lovely and talented Edie Moore of Life Stone Jewelry. I asked Edie if she would design a pair of earrings for me in the Pantone Color of the year - radiant orchid.

Edie obliged with freshwater pearls!

photography by Edie

photography by Edie – Aren’t these lovely?!

Visit Edie’s Etsy shop. You’ll find lovely designs at a very affordable price point. Tell her I sent you!

On my lapel you’ll see my Flower Power Pin by BellaMella Crochets. That’s me!

I thought this multicolored yarn was perfect to incorporate a little bit of radiant orchid into my closet.

I apply a felt backing to all my Flower Power Pins. You can attach these to a lapel, a belt or a tote bag. I really enjoy hand made crafts and jewelry. Do you?

If you’d like your own handmade Flower Power Pin by BellaMella Crochets, you can order one for $15 which includes shipping. (I use Paypal.)

Have you seen the Pinterest Pantone Color of the Year board? Check it out here.

I think it will be fun and lighthearted to enjoy all the little (or big) ways you can incorporate radiant orchid or any shade of purply/pink into your life this year.

How about some of these?

For Your Nails

For Your Eyes Only

For Your Feet or Any of These!

For Your Home

For Your Stuff or This One or  This One! (only $10!)

Do you like to wear handcrafted items? How do you feel about “radiant orchid”?

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Weekend Wrap Up

“What I Did Over the Weekend”

Doesn’t that title remind you of 6th grade Language Arts when your first writing assignment was, “What I Did Over the Summer”?

Did I ever tell you I  used to teach 6th grade Language Arts? I also taught 8th grade Language Arts. I really loved those middle school students! They’re in that transition phase where the boys are more concerned with being funny than cool. The girls? Well, they’re about two years ahead of the boys emotionally (physically, too) and already checking out the high school boys. I loved them all.

I’m currently tutoring a few hours each week and I’m really enjoying it. Working one on one with a student is my favorite thing.

So, what did I do over the weekend?

  • picked out paint for the spare bedroom, my bedroom and bathroom

I went lighter. I chose a neutral – Behr’s “Swiss Coffee.” I like it. It feels very clean, fresh and makes the rooms look larger. It’s a neutral white without a discernible undertone of yellow, pink or gray. Here’s an article on the best off-white paint from Apartment Therapy.

  • painted my first rooster – a commissioned piece

Rooster Psalm 90:14

  • painted another version of the “Southern Cuisine” canvas (also a commissioned piece)

Southern Cuisine canvasand

  • crocheted “spa cloths”

white spa clothsA friend gave me some white cotton yarn and I thought it would be pretty to crochet “spa cloths” for my bathroom. The one on the bottom is in single crochet and the other in double crochet. I would recommend using the double crochet stitch as it goes much quicker but is still a tight enough weave for a bath cloth. Here’s a simple pattern for the single crochet cloth.

See that little sample of shower gel? It’s Jo Malone. I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared with you my FAVORITE FRAGRANCES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. A few years ago I mentioned to my husband that I would like to try a Jo Malone fragrance. And what did I open on Christmas day but a bottle of “Lime Basil and Mandarin” cologne and “Grapefruit” body creme? Another year he surprised me with “Pomegranate Noir” cologne and body creme. Last year my surprise gift was “English Pear and Freesia” body creme. This past Christmas I was surprised with a “Pomegranate” candle. I keep it in my bathroom. Even without burning it, I can smell its fragrance – intoxicating and romantic.

My favorite scents are citrus and herbal but I have to say the “English Pear and Freesia” is heavenly! The “Pomegranate Noir” is lovely, too, though a heavier and more sophisticated scent. It’s perfect for the colder seasons or date night! But just for “every day,” give me orange blossom or lime basil! It’s definitely a splurge to purchase a Jo Malone scent but it’s worth it because the  scents are pure and very long lasting. When you make a purchase at the store or online you also get a few samples to enjoy.

I did some other things over the weekend as well as the above. I cooked meals, worked out, went to church, watched Downton Abbey (love the dialogue and the costumes and the interiors) and kept Sabbath.

What did you do?

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The Bottom Line

More Creative Ideas

My son asked for a mug cozy embellished with an octopus. He didn’t actually use the word “embellish” however! I told him I didn’t think I could do that but he had confidence in me and in searching online for something else I lucked up on an octopus pattern. I made it late one night and surprised him with it. Here’s the link to the octopus pattern.

mug cozy with octopus

I can’t wait to make more of these flowers! It was a bit challenging but worth it. Once I got the hang of the “petals” I was fine. This is a free pattern download. You can find it here. Unless you already know how to make the petals, you will need to actually download the pattern.

Crochet flower pin - neutral/brownAnother one! I played fast and loose with the second one. You can see I made the stitches bigger. This one took half the time as the first one but that was mostly because I had the pattern figured out.

Purple flower on bag I had made a couple of hearts of different sizes and later when reading my Bible I realized I could make a heart book mark. I knew it had mostly likely been done before so I googled it to see the best way to make a “ribbon.” This was fun and fairly quick, again – once I could visualize how the stitches were going to form a heart shape. Remember crocheting is very new to me and the learning process is just that – a process! Why is it that “process” always equals time and discomfort!

hearts book marker I made another one to give a friend with a thank you card for a very kind deed she did for  me.

pink mint heart bookmarker

Now for an idea that doesn’t involve a crochet hook.

I like to use dishware in unexpected ways – ways not originally intended for their purpose. For example, I use a relish tray in the bathroom to hold ponytail holders, bobby pins, tweezers, etc. Next to my stove a tall ceramic vase holds my cooking utensils.

Last month when I was clearing out some boxes with old dishes I came across a china teapot. It must have belonged to my mother although I don’t remember her ever using it. There were no other pieces that went with it and I thought I might list it for sale. However, I also thought I might find an unconventional use for  it. I did!

A few days ago I was checking out the succulents at Home Depot and purchased a couple. One of them fit perfectly in the teapot. But what to do with the teapot lid?

An idea struck.

Every morning I drink coffee from my Keurig but this means as my coffee goes from hot to warm, there is no simply pouring some from the carafe into the cup as a warm up.

Enter the teapot lid.

Voila! It fits perfectly over my coffee cups. Plus it’s pretty.

teapot with plant and lid for coffee cupI’ve been reading through the book of Romans and was inspired to a paint a new canvas. The day I was painting it my friend Peggy posted this on facebook:

“It’s easy to rejoice and celebrate when we see a profound miracle or a tremendous answer to our prayers. But let’s never forget that God is always governing His plan and graciously allowing all things to work together for our good. We continue to believe, give thanks and rejoice always in our loving Lord because He is and forever will be worthy.”

~ Peggy Morris

 

To which I replied, “We live Romans 8:28.” It is true. It is our BOTTOM LINE so to speak.

Our family has had to conclude that even in the loss of our Andrew and in the grief that never truly goes away, God’s promise that ALL things work together for our good is true. In some mysterious, yet to be fully understood way, God works ALL things for our good. That includes for Andrew’s good, too. That does not mean we don’t long for him and shed tears on nearly a daily basis. I cried today because I miss him so much. Today I saw a boy in the distance. He was riding his bike and wearing a hooded sweatshirt. There was something about his  hair color and his expression that held my gaze as he approached the intersection where I was stopped at a traffic light. He must have been riding his bike home from school. I watched as he stopped and got off his bike to wait for the crossing guard. My solace came in thinking how Andrew can ride and skate all over Heaven with no fear of traffic. With no fear of anything.

All Things Romans 8 28 pm“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.

 

Day 23 of 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers and Warren Myers includes this praise based on Romans 8:28:

“I worship before You, my King and my God. I’m grateful that You command victories for  Your people…and that ‘all things are Your servants.’ You’re a God who acts on behalf of the one who puts his hope in You. Thank You that You are at work to answer my prayers in Your good way and time.”

 

And on Day 24, it reads:

“Thank You, my loving and sovereign God, that my failures and mistakes are part of the ‘all things’ You work together for good…as well as my tensions and stresses, my hostile and anxious feelings, my regrets, my trips into shame and self-blame – and the specific things that trigger them. I praise You that ‘all things,’ including these, can contribute to my spiritual growth and my experience of You.”

Amen.

{If you are interested in purchasing the “Romans 8:28″ canvas, click here for ordering info.}

 

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The Creative Gene

I suffered a creativity slump for awhile there.

SUFFERED.

How’s that for dramatic?

Last week I was talking to my younger brother and elaborating on why I NEED to be creative.

His response?

“We must have the same gene.”

My younger brother crafts beautiful objects from wood. He made my kitchen cabinets. He made my daughter a gorgeous wooden guitar stand. He understands my NEED to be creative. Yep, same gene.

My older brother is a GIFTED musician. He plays the saxophone and has traveled with a band for years. His blood type contains musical notes. He’s happy, happy, happy when he’s blowing his horn.

Yep, same gene.

I explained to my brother that when I don’t have the time to create or when I am overly stressed and have zero creative inspiration, I feel “off.” I do not thrive. I am not happy, happy, happy. In short, I SUFFER.

The good news is my schedule has lightened up and so has my level of negative stress.

Thus, my creative gene kicked back in and I’ve been creating all over the place! Here are a few of my latest creative endeavors.

I made these for a friend. It's a surprise for her!  Dish Cloth & Mug Cozy

I made these for a friend. It’s a surprise for her!
Dish Cloth & Mug Cozy

 

This canvas is called "Southern Cuisine" and is my BellaMella Canvas. A friend commissioned this piece with specific dishes she enjoys.

This canvas is called “Southern Cuisine” and is my BellaMella Canvas. A friend commissioned this piece with specific dishes she enjoys.

This is my first try at a Mason jar cozy. My glass blender carafe met with an unfortunate accident. I use a Mason jar in its place. Blend and go! But it's cold...so it needed a sweater. Voila!
This is my first try at a Mason jar cozy. My glass blender carafe met with an unfortunate accident. I use a Mason jar in its place. Blend and go! But it’s cold…so it needed a sweater. Voila!

This picture shows the bottom of the cozy. You start with a ring.
This picture shows the bottom of the cozy. You start with a ring.

I have a few more “creative gene” ideas to show you. One involves a china teapot that I almost listed for sale. That is, until that “gene” kicked in again. I’ll be back with those later so check back!

In the meantime, below is the link to the pattern for the Mason Jar Cozy.
I’m a beginner when it comes to crochet and was a bit confused by “Round 3″ until I realized it would read better this way:

Rounds 3-11: DC in each stitch.

Let me know if you give the Mason Jar Cozy a whirl!

Mason Jar Cozy from Sew Chatty

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Let’s Have a Cup of Coffee and a Chat!

Elaine is hosting a give away of my 11 x 14 canvas, “Peace, Be Still.” You can enter here. October 25th at noon is the cut off for entry.

Peace Be Still framedCome sit with me a while and let’s have a cup of morning coffee together and just catch up, shall we?

So, how have you been? Anything new in your life? I’d enjoy hearing all about it.

Is it  just me or does it seem that yesterday was August? September was a blur and October is nearly over. How did that happen?

As you may have noticed from my past few posts, I’ve been moving in a new direction. My mornings seem hardly to have begun when it’s bedtime again! I really don’t like bedtime. Weird, huh. I feel like I have too much to do to sleep. Earlier this week I heard a neurologist say when we sleep our brain’s lymphatic system “scrubs our brains” or something to that effect. Anyway, we need good sleep to stay healthy; I already knew that but it did motivate me to discipline myself better to get in the bed. I don’t have a problem getting up. In fact, I rarely oversleep or even “sleep in.” I feel like I’m wasting daylight!

With my responsibilities as Women’s Ministry Coordinator at my church and working my BellaMella Canvas biz, it’s a good day when I’ve planned early enough to prepare dinner! LIfe’s just gotten very full lately. Fortunately I have a couple of go-to dinner ideas that  make great left overs: roasted chicken and roast beef.

I like to get the Purdue brand chicken that is already seasoned and in a cooking bag. Sometimes I put it in the slow cooker (in the bag) on high for 6 hours. It’s delicious.  I strain the chicken stock and use that to make my brown rice. Add a vegetable and you’re golden! If I don’t start early enough to use the slow cooker, I just  put the chicken on a roasting pan in the oven and follow the directions for timing and temp. Leftovers make chicken enchiladas, chicken salad and/or bbq chicken pizza.

My other standby is a roast in the crockpot. I’ve posted my recipe for chipotle roast on my blog in the past. I don’t always use chipotles but if  I have them in the pantry I do. One thing I always do is season and sear the roast (all sides) before putting it in the slow cooker. It’s an extra step but I think it makes a difference. Leftovers make great sandwiches or beef stroganoff or beef enchiladas.

Well, if you were actually having coffee with me, I’d probably ask you what your favorite coffee is. Do you have a Keurig? If so, what brand and flavor do you prefer? I like Paul Newman’s “Newman’s Own Organics Special Blend Extra Bold.” I add half and half to mine – no sugar or sweetener.  Do you choose a seasonal coffee? It’s still so hot here that the pumpkin flavors don’t sound quite right yet. Give me another week or so on that. 

Fill me in on at least one new thing or tell me what kind of coffee you’re drinking these days!

BellaMella Canvas

I ship out of state every week so if you see something you like, let me know. I use Paypal.

"Psalm 92:4" 8 x10 {$25 including s&h}

“Psalm 92:4″
8 x10
{$25 including s&h}

He Set Me Free outside

“He Set Me Free”
11 x 14
{35 including s&h}

"I Can" 11 x 14 {$34 including s&h}

“I Can”
11 x 14
{$34 including s&h}

“Songbirdies”

"Songbirdies" Made from hymn pages with a twine loop for hanging  {Sold in sets of 5 for $5 including postage}

“Songbirdies”
Made from hymn pages with a twine loop for hanging
{Sold in sets of 5 for $5 including postage}

 

"Songbirdies" can be added to your everyday decor of a touch of whimsy!

“Songbirdies” can be added to your everyday decor for a touch of whimsy!

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