Saturday, March 30, 2013

Well folks, spent the last couple of weeks dealing with two flu type things and major pain from the change in weather and snow in our area.  I don't know if you know this, but I can tell you when a storm is coming days before it gets here!  What an irritating ability!  But, having the spine of a 90 year old when you're only 52 will do that to you!

So, I blogged last time about making the light box.  I have taken pictures within that  light box and I'm quite impressed.  I concentrated on the "white" background first, so that is what I have to show you right now.  Once I get completely over the stomach flu I have now, I'll take pictures with different backgrounds to show how something can be enhanced or even declined in the value of the view.

First I want to tell you that lighting was a disaster and I had to move the lighting around for several pictures, but I don't remember which ones!  I probably should write things down when they are happening!  Yep, I think that might be a great idea since I can't remember the details minutes later!

So here is a series of pictures taken, please let me know the "goods" and the "bads" that you may think of when seeing these pictures because I really would like to know before I post these on Etsy!

The first 3 are acrylic paints; The next set of 10 are wood burned, then painted; The last are acrylic paints on buckets (small buckets, but could be done on larger buckets as well and could be done for outside with outdoor or glossy paints).

Now all the pics seem to have a color appearing instead of just being white in the background, which wasn't there when I took the pics. I do think it may be a reflection of the colors of the pieces themselves interacting with the light applied to it.  Whatever it is, if I wanted a whiter look, I would have to find multiple ways of lighting up the box instead of just over the top to get rid of shadows that to me seemed light, but in the picture, appear darker. I could put a bulb coming in the sides of the box that were there as handles, even under the cloth if they don't get hot that is!  Don't want any fires!

I have others to take pictures of as well, but will also try other background colors to show how a little color behind and under the item can change the hue and the feeling about what is being seen. 

So that's it for today!
Have a great Easter & an awesome day! :)
LuAnn Marie

Friday, March 15, 2013

Light Box

I have been working on several things this past week and a half or so!  The art room is now just looking like a disaster instead of a major disaster, so that's taking shape! haha  And I have been working on creating a light box in which to take more professional looking photos for things I want to post on, 
my shop to sell my creations!  And no, I don't have any items listed right now, so wait until I get some pictures taken and items listed before you go there :)  BUT, when I tell you items are there, GO THERE and buy something!!! hehehe  So the light box is what I'd like to talk of today!

I have tried to take pictures over and over and over again with multitudes of different types of cameras and the pictures turn out to be distant and not clear as to what is painted on them.  I listed things on etsy and did not have great success but did try to blame it on the recession instead of my lack of picture taking skills and salesmanship! I am an avid online reader!  If I have a problem, I will search out help and look through hundreds of webpages before I find something that actually works.  I'm like a blood hound who won't give up!  This time, I didn't find one particular thing that worked for me, so I kind of made up my own!  :) hehe  So, if you are one who loves to do DIY projects, this will definitely be exciting for you!  It was very exciting for me to create! 

Step 1:  Find a box that is big enough for most of the things you need to take pictures of.  We can create a larger box later for the larger things we need to take pictures of, but I haven't yet worked those steps out yet, so that will come in the future!

The box I found was my kitty litter box!  No, not the box that actually had kitty litter in it, although I would imagine if you cleaned it out so no dust existed in it, you could use that if it were big enough! haha!  We buy Fresh Step clumping kitty litter that has two boxes contained in one big box!  So that's what I chose to make the light box out of.

Step 2:  Open the box so it lays flat. And Step 3:  Paint inside of the box with white paint.  This paint must be a flat paint, not gloss, and can be either indoor house paint or art paints of some kind. I used acrylic paint.

 Step 4:  The box has to have an open end on it which is how you will take the pictures.  This means you are going to have to cut off one of the flaps.  Save it though, because we're going to use it later!

Step 5:  Now we're going to cut the little flap on the other end off to get it out of the way!

Step 6:  It is time to tape this puppy up!  I'm using painter's masking tape because it is all I have in the house!  You could use a white duct tape which would most likely work better, but since I have to travel about 30 miles round trip to get some, I'm just going to use the blue tape!  Yes, I live in Hicksville, USA and have to drive far to get to a store!  Just make sure no tape goes onto the white paint.

Step 7:  Now slide the extra large flap you cut off over the the folded flaps that was the bottom of the box which looks yucky instead of smooth.  If you lay your box down, it will be the bottom of the box where your camera may sit if you're talented (I'm not, so I have to set it on the table hehe), or it can be the backdrop of your box if you set it up in a different direction, which I did here.

Step 8:  Now, the inside can be used as is, but there may be a couple of slits that you can see through because of the way the box is made and the holes for carrying the box when it was a cat litter carrier, so we want to cover those up.  So here is a couple of ideas:

a.  You can either get white poster board and cut it to shape and have it a solid piece that goes around the box on the inside (you don't want the lines of different sheets of paper showing in your pictures. Sorry, no pictures of this because, again, I would have to drive to get poster board and I'm too lazy!).

b.  You could also get some cheese cloth and cut it so it drapes from the top of the box down to the bottom of the box (you probably would need six sheets cut if it is the thinner stuff I have and I kept it doubled so the slits wouldn't show through, and I put a couple of sheets on the bottom of the box as well.  You will want to take a few pictures of items to sell with this treatment on to make sure it doesn't wash out your item.  It gives a wispy or vapory look.  Check out the picture below.

c.  Keep the cheese cloth in place and use a scarf or a runner to change the look or bring out certain colors in the piece.

Step 9:  You have to come up with a way to light the box.  What I did was take an old lamp, broke the bottom off of it to use the cord and bulb socket.  Again, I did this because I had a lamp laying around that was so ugly that I knew I'd never use it again, but also, you guessed it, I didn't feel like driving to get an auto fixing light or something! haha!

I then had a wreath holder for when I sold wreaths at art fairs.  So I hooked the light on the wreath holder and put it above the box.  The light caused a bit of a shadow on the bottom, so I put a couple of layers of wax paper over the top of the box (don't have a picture of this, sorry, but do have one without the wax paper) and that seemed to calm the shadows down.

Ok, so this is a really sucky picture, but you get the point!  I read that you could put the wax paper around the light bulb, but it seemed a bit hot to me, so I chose not to do that and instead lay the layers of wax paper on top of the box instead. 

 So there you have it, my photo box!  I have a lot of pictures to take now, each may have a different background type!  It will be nice to have some pictures that look more professional and not like my cat was standing next to the item waiting to walk in front of the camera!  haha!  I hope this will inspire you to get creative and DIY some projects you thought you couldn't do!  :)

LuAnn Marie
(ignore the piles behind me!  Ok, so now you know, I'm a pile person! haha)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Art Room

Today is the day I'm going to begin to organize the art room.  What I've done so far:
1.  Listed all that needs to find a home or be done
2.  Breaking #1 into what needs to be done for each item listed
3.  Gathering organizing containers, labels, paper for a list for what is inside drawers
4.  Broke room into four sections

Now, today, I am going to break the art room down.  This is my favorite part, since I am a "pile person."  I will begin with one section of the art room by:
1.  Separate into piles to determine which items are on the shelves in section 1
2.  Lay a labeled paper on top of each pile as to what each item should get filed into
3.  Put each pile in containers
4.  If more than four items in a container, create a list of what will be in that container and put it in the container or if the container is big enough, post the list on the front outside of the container to see at a glance, what is inside that container or where to refile the item I'm using. 

You see, in number 4, the line of "post the list on the front outside of the container to see at a glance, what is inside that container or where to refile the item I'm using" is vital because when I take something out of a container and use it, I may not remember when I come to put it back, where I got the item from!  Short-term memory loss is not the end all of life, but it must be organized and clearly labeled to be productive.

Now, one thing I have not mentioned to date, is something that my husband's heart doctor told me a couple of months after getting out of the hospital from the Encephalitis, and that is, "you will have to find new ways to remember because most likely, your memory will fail you.  Since you have no insurance, you will have to do this yourself, so you need to find new ways to remember.  Write things down because it uses a different part of the brain.  Do puzzles, new projects that you've never attempted before and don't get frustrated, keep doing them until you remember because you will begin to build new pathways around the old pathways that have died."

I have followed his advice and what is interesting about what this doctor said, is that, at that time, we had not yet figured out that I had short-term memory loss.  So I began to write things I didn't remember after I began noticing that I was losing many things and realized I didn't have a "retrace my steps" memory. I also discovered that when I read a book where I need to remember what I'm reading, I write down the main points and I seem remember them or at least remember I wrote them and can look back.  When I read the Bible for a Bible study, I have to write the Bible verses I read for that study so I can remember.  During Bible study, I have to write anything I want to remember and I seem to remember them later.  So when I'm redoing the art room, making the lists of what is contained within a container, is for more than just having a list to see, but also helps me to remember what is in there.  So to all you with short-term memory loss, there is hope, you just have to find new ways to remember.  Now, if you're writing notes for your memory, make sure you get one notebook to write it in or one notebook per room to write it on, because writing on loose sheets of paper will cause a new problem,  losing the loose papers!  So use a notebook, or if you want to use loose sheets of paper, get a 3-hole punch and a 3-ring binder to put your notes in so you can find them later.  Keep the notebooks and the binders in the same place at all times, so you can find them.  And if you find yourself saying, "ahhhh, I'll remember this," then say to yourself, "NO YOU WON'T! NOW WRITE IT DOWN," because you WILL lose the item! hahaha!  I speak from experience and those are the words I now say out loud to myself several times a day! hahaha!

Well, it's off to the organizing races!  Hope you all have one awesome day!
LuAnn Marie

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Day of Joy

I don't know about all of you, but I have days when I feel so down, I don't think I can function and then I have days that are so filled with joy, I can hardly speak. I have had a couple of those types of days last week, and I want to share them with you! (And no, I'm not bipolar!).

A few days ago, (not really sure of what day it was), I had the down day.  I felt so defeated that day and just didn't think I would be able to function at all.  That day I felt like I would never be able to accomplish anything, my memory was so horribly bad that day which made me start telling myself how worthless I was, and, I don't know if I told you this or not, but I have spine issues due to degenerative disk disease and that was flared up as well.  What did I do that day?  I began self-bashing, which you might have detected above, then I stopped myself, and began to talk out loud, cry and yell, to the Lord about what I was feeling.  He already knows what's in my thoughts anyway, so I figured I might as well say it out loud!  I told him, beginning at age three, how my life had been struggle after struggle after struggle after struggle.  I told him how it feels to have to go through these struggles over and over again and how it makes me feel like I don't even matter in the big scheme of things because I have never found relief from these struggles.  My thoughts and my talking went through my entire life of struggles, negatives, people who were just plain nasty to me and then moved to all my failures.

I don't know why, but on my worst days, so many times, I bury myself in my misery and my thoughts turn to all I'm not able to do.  Most of those days, I don't think of talking (some call it praying) to the Lord about it!  How silly of me! haha!  But this day, I just started and about 4 hours later, I was done venting.  Then I apologized to the Lord for my anger, my doubt and my fears and let him know that I have every confidence that all things in my life, whether good or bad, come from him and are part of his divine plan WHICH in the end will always work out to the good in my life because I love the Lord.

Sunday morning, I woke up sicker than a dog!  I had a cold/flu that was way to bad to even attempt going to church.  Of course, being a human, the first thought that came into my head was, "really?  I prayed to you and this is how it turns out?"  Then I silenced those thoughts and again apologized for my doubts.  My husband came into the kitchen and couldn't hear my voice (because I had no voice due to the flu) and said, "Well, looks like its Ed Young day today!"  Ed Young is a preacher on Daystar at 11am central time who has a great sense of humor! :)  Love listening to him.  

So, my hubby turned on Daystar on our ROKU system (we dumped cable and satellite and got this) and soon, messages from God, directly to me, began to pour out of that TV!  All of them were on fear and doubt.  I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me because the words coming out of the four preachers (A man with the last name of Morris...can't remember what show or his first name, sorry, then Dr. Charles Stanley, then Dr. Stanley's son Andy Stanley and then Ed Young,) spoke on sentences that were directly out of my yelling session with the Lord! I could not believe what I was hearing!  They spoke on fear and doubt which was exactly what I was going through, fearing I would never measure up to what God expected of me and doubt that the Lord even cared about me or anything I do.

Later, I went to read a book I'm reading so I can teach a Bible study on prayer and guess what, the same thing happened!  The words I was reading had to do with doubting the Lord when we pray and being based in fear.  I was dumb-founded!  But God's message was coming through loud and clear!  He loves me so much that he didn't strike me down with lightning for getting upset and venting, he instead spoke to me through ministries he has set in motion, to let me know he heard me, he understands, he loves me and here's how to proceed!  Now I don't know if you get this or not, but God knew far head of time that I would have this series of bad days and what I would say to him, so that he could work in those preachers to gear them toward the exact words I spoke to him in my prayer!  I don't know if that blows your mind, but it surely blows mine!

Then, today, I was all over the place because I didn't follow my own advice and write a list today! (naughty me!)  So I was in the attic, I was digging through projects I want to do, I was getting roller bags to put different types of art supplies in so it would be easier to transport them from the storage room to the kitchen where my art desk is, then it was time for lunch.  I always try to look for a Joyce Meyers recording or a Beth Moore thing online to listen to during lunch to revive my spiritual sense and guess what today's message was on when I got to Joyce Meyers' website!  It was  "Fear and Doubt - Part 1."  Yup!  If I listen, God speaks.  If I'm stubborn and don't listen, I don't hear him! hahaha!

My amazement of God hearing me and speaking to me brought my thoughts out of the negatives and into songs  that started to flow through my head from the past from when I was a traveling singer.  I began to sing these songs over and over and over again.  My cats came up and sang with me or rubbed against me meowing.  I was then so filled with joy I thought I might burst and felt I couldn't even speak of the incredible joy I felt.  What I saw in these messages and the music that came to mind was that the Lord loves me so much that he listened and then responded.  I know, many will say it was coincidence, but I know it wasn't because this type of thing happens to me a lot!

So, today, are you feeling down?  Are you feeling unloved, worthless, like you don't matter?  There is a God who loves you and he knows your pain, your limitations and your sadness! He knows your insecurities and how you hide things with emotions so others can't see your insecurities.  Let him know how you're feeling and then over the next few days, pay attention to the things that come your way, because he will speak to you through them!  It doesn't matter how severe your issues are, he's got your back!  He will turn things around to good!  You  might have to wait a while to see that, maybe years, but you will see!

I know this is out of my norm of writing, but it was part of the spiritual nurturing I talked of in another blog and thought I'd let you know how sometimes, things just aren't so great, but I still get through them with the Big One up there, who hears me when I'm troubled and then helps me out with those troubles!  :)

Have an awesome rest of the day!
LuAnn Marie

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Dis"ability is an Excuse not Reality!

Saturdays are days of cleaning and attempts at organization!  I just crack myself up when I type or say the word or derivatives of the word "organize."  A vision of me hearing that word or saying that word is one of me standing at the door of the room I am to organize in, staring blankly into space.  That term is one that is so far from the glue that holds me together that I can't even say this with enough impact!

I'd like to share what happens after the blank stare occurs.  I told you of the memory loss due to the Encephalitis, now I will tell you of what happens when entering into a room, aisle, showroom, etc., with many many things in it or laid out.  My eyes look at what's there, and my brain doesn't comprehend what I'm seeing.  This is another result from having had Encephalitis.  I can see there are multiple things there, but I have no visual cues telling me, "this is many bottles of paint on the shelf."  What my brain tells me is, "blurrrrrrrrrr...can't tell you what I see."  It takes anywhere from five minutes to fifteen minutes to understand what is there and most of the time, I have to pick something up to help me see one item up close.

Let me tell you, that when this happens when I go to Walmart, Copps, Shopko, Walgreens, Piggly Wiggly, etc., anywhere there are aisles of things, it feels like an impossible task to find what is on my list.  The physical feelings are nauseau, severe circular headache within the middle of my forehead, and a blank look comes over my face as I have been told by my husband and my daughter.  I was later told by a doctor that this is not something to take lightly and that when this happens, I need to turn off the stimuli by closing my eyes because this actually could lead to my brain shutting down completely.

So, organizing a room, a bookcase, a shelf or going shopping are extremely difficult tasks for me.  Now, some might say, "Well, you should just not do these things anymore and stay away from things like that!"  To those people I say, "You don't know me very well do you?  I am an overcomer!  I am one who will NOT allow something to stop me from doing something I need to do, something I have to do or something I love to do!" 

"Dis"ability comes from giving up due to limitations.  I don't have a disability because I don't give up or let these things stop me.  What I do is trouble shoot, make lists, break tasks down into steps and I give my mind time to focus in and understand what is there!  If I have to close my eyes, I do so, even in the middle of the store and people may think I'm crazy! haha!

So today I want to say to you, if I can function with the limitations I have, what is it that is stopping you from doing what you need to accomplish?  Break it down, put it into steps, give yourself a reward after accomplishing things, so that you won't be saying down the road, "I look back at my life, and what do I have to show for it" or saying, "My disability took away my life."  It is us who take away the progression and success of our lives.  We may encounter new limitations, but it is not those limitations that take us down, it our own limited thinking.  So get up and go today!  Start that project on paper, work it into workable steps, and find success!

Have a completely awesome Saturday folks!
LuAnn Marie

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feeling Ooky

Today is March 1st and...well...I'm feeling ooky!  Sore throat, earache, probably should rest for the day.  Resting doesn't mean I can't do anything artistic today.  So many times when we're not feeling well, we plant ourselves down in front of the television and watch mindless hours of useless T.V. shows.  Maybe it's time to rethink what feeling ooky can do for you!

I have not sat down and drawn for a long time!  There are many things that I could create on a day like today.  The list is a good one!
    1.  Scrapbook Pics:  Roses; Cartoon eyes, faces, ears; Rivers with strong shore line; Stars of all sizes; Bunnies & other cute animals, etc.
    2.  Faces, eyes and lips 
    3.  Old family pictures of relatives from way back in black & white picture days to preserve them from years of ware.
    4.  Cut out flower shapes from egg cartons to create roses, tulips, etc to paint and put together for inexpensive but beautiful bouquets or flower arrangements.

The important thing to remember is that it doesn't take much energy to sit with a drawing pad, creating projects that can be used later in scrapbooking, for presents, the first part of creating other craft items such as the egg carton flowers.  We all have to get our creative on in the midst of feeling ooky!  Let's get our creative on! :)

Hope you have a wonderful and creative day!
LuAnn Marie