Saturday, October 29, 2011

Imagination

I've been thinking a lot about the things I imagined as a little kid. First off, look how cute I was.
This is a photo OF a photo that my mother refuses to part with long enough for me to scan it.

I loved that kitty. Her name was Inky, and took her everywhere with me. She was super sweet, and never scratched me, even though I often carried her around the house cradled inside of my gold sequined Cindy Lauper shirt. I would have scratched me, even if I was awesome.

It seems like most of my favorite memories are of being on the road with my mom. I adored being in the car together, listening to the Beatles. We were together, and her big oaf of a boyfriend wasn't there. It was perfect. We'd go spend the day on the beach, or just ride around together, singing.

When we weren't singing "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" at the top of our lungs, I would keep myself busy by pretending I had a nature man that had to run alongside of our car. He couldn't touch anything man made, or he would die. He was kind of like a gnome, I guess. He was small, dressed in all brown and green and had a bushy white beard. Thankfully, he could jump incredibly far, because there wasn't a lot of green in some places on I-65 in Kentucky and Indiana, and we did a lot of driving there.

When it rained, I imagined that the little water droplets on the windows were alive. My passenger side window was like a giant petri dish swimming with life. I made up little voices in my head for some of the squiggly drops, and they were very interesting.

I loved to play library in my room, too, which was pretty normal, I guess. I'd pretend my stuffed animals were customers, my piggy bank was for late fees, and I had a little pink piggy-faced stamp that I would stamp the inside of all my books with, like I was checking them in and out. Oh, and I'd eat smarties and pretend I had a headache from working.

Anyhow, I was just thinking about the strange little things I'd make up as a kid. I have a big sister. She's nine years older than me, though, so she was only interested in my extermination at the time. I guess I was sort of like an only child in a lot of ways, so I was pretty used to keeping myself entertained. 

What weird little things did you pretend when you were a munchkin?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Snoodle's Tale

I don't know how many of you are Veggie Tales fans. I fell in love with them when I was in college. My best friend's little sisters watched them A LOT, and I had never heard of them. I figured they'd be corny, since they were for munchkins, but quickly went head over heals.

That being said, this is my absolute favorite Veggie Tale animation ever. It's a special Dr. Seuss episode about being special just the way you are, and dealing with others' judgement.

It's only thirteen minutes long, and totally worth the time. Grab a tissue. Even if you aren't a Christian, this is such a good message for all of us, and I think you're going to tear up.

You can thank me later. <3


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Staying Positive

Staying positive is normally not something I have any issue with, but this past year has been pretty trying. I know that I've got it good. Truly, I do. None of the things that I've been faced with have been seriously dangerous. I may have dealt with depression, poison ivy, steroid psychosis and Bell's palsy within a relatively short period of time, and they're not the most awesome things to experience, but they're also not the end of the world.

I'm going to keep praising God, being thankful for all that I have, and hope that this is over soon. Any prayers would be very much appreciated. <3

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quasimodo

I'm telling you what, folks. I just can't seem to get a break! I don't mean to sound whiny, as I know I've got it pretty darn good, but sheesh!

I woke up today to find the right side of my face unresponsive. I was scrunching my mess of curls, and singing "This Little Light of Mine" when I noticed I looked a bit like Elvis. The left side of my lip was kind of snarled up compared to the right. Then I tried to smile, and it was pitiful. Upon examination, the right side of my tongue and face were/are almost completely numb, and accompanied by a sharp pain in my jaw/temple.

After Sticking my tongue out at my husband, and reciting "She sells seashells by the seashore" a couple times, my husband and I were almost convinced that I hadn't suffered a stroke. I thought it was probably a pinched nerve in my already degenerating spine. Then my husband called my mother. She's an RN, and not one to allow her children off easy. She demanded we go to the ER to have things checked out.

A short while later, I was lead down a sterile hallway to room 21. The nurse in bright green scrubs told me that I was lucky not to be "drooling yet."I then waited with my husband for a nurse to come take my vitals. My face felt hot as I wondered, worrying what was wrong, and if/when I would start drooling.

The wonderfully kind doctor came in after a few visitors, did a quick checkup, and told me I had textbook Bell's palsy. For some reason, possibly a dormant virus, there's swelling around the nerve that controls the right side of my face, causing limited mobility. There's no proven cause. There's no proven cure. Catching it within the first three days of symptoms, and taking corticosteroids and antivirals, are thought to hurry it along. Swelling needs to go down, before there's any hope of normal muscle function returning.

Alas, I feel like Quasimodo. I can't blink my right eye, smile, whistle, make kissy noises at critters or curl my tongue. Nothing too vital, I guess. At least it isn't anything too painful. The jaw pain isn't so bad; more annoying than anything. Chances are, if this goes away, it will do so within a few weeks to months. I'm being positive, and willing it to go away quickly, as I would like my smile back soon.

It just seems like one thing after another sometimes, doesn't it? I can just picture the devil camping out on my doorstep, waiting to get me. Praying my way through trials and tribulations must really tick him off, which makes me kind of happy, but oy. No matter what I go through, I trust that God sees me through, making things as painless as possible. I am supremely thankful for that. <3


Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Only Sleeping

Sloth- original watercolor illustration available at Mad Shiny Shoppe!
Understandably so, I think I've lost my faithful few. You guys, I promise I'm going to keep the posts coming this time. I quit my depressing job, and am making art every single day. I'm over my poison ivy plague, as well as the horrid steroid psychosis. I think it's safe to say that I'm stable...as I ever was.

This is a new beginning for me. I know I've mentioned that a lot lately, and it sounds all hokey, but it's true, I tell you! Art commissions are rolling in, thanks be to God, and I'm working on establishing actual work hours. I have a tendency to sleep in, as I can be eerily similar to a sloth. Then I'm up until 3AM sewing, painting or writing. Not the best sleeping pattern, I know, so I'm trying to change that.

With all this work to do, and the support of my magnificent, marvelous Mr. T., I'm pretty darn content. I just hope art commissions keep a'coming, and my procrastination remains manageable. I'm participating in a craft show next month, and I've got to get to making some more wee wonderful things!

Just in case you're new here, and even if you're not, please feel free to check out my etsy shop! I create all manner of funky cuddly things, personalized cake toppers/keepsakes, pin back buttons, greeting cards, watercolor portraits, and YOU. JUST. NAME. IT.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Commissions!

I've been pretty busy during my little blogging hiatus, so I figured I'd share a few of the projects I've been working on. I absolutely adore commissions, because they always turn out to be such a challenge. I find myself missing the assignments I received in art school, so I always welcome a custom order.

This custom plush is a Harry Potter inspired Totoro for a friend's little girl's birthday.
This was supposed to be a guinea pig for a friend's baby shower. She's calling him Bear Pig. :)
Professor Lettuce here is a custom plush for an old friend performing in a peep show.
And these two lovely ladies are my oldest friend's two little sisters. Their mother commissioned me to paint them for her.
So, what have you been up to, folks?

Sweeter Than Bee Pollen

Watercolor illustration prints available by request at Mad Shiny Shoppe!
Earlier this year, I found myself feeling like someone came and wrenched every last drop of honey from my happy little hive. That someone was my now ex-boss, whom I often refer to as "She Who Must Not Be Named." With her verbal and emotional abuse, she was pretty much a nightmare, and that's coming from someone who can get along with just about anyone.

When I graduated college, I had no idea how to apply my studio art/art history degree. A friend's father offered me a job making art with homeless and at-risk youth, so I jumped on the opportunity. I absolutely loved that position, but funding was cut the next year. I was bumped into a couple neighboring positions, and just counted myself lucky to have a job.

To cut a long story short, I stayed with that agency for six excruciating years, before I'd had too much of She Who Must Not Be Named's tormenting. I'm currently working as an artist/author from my humble home, and it's good great dripping with awesome. Quitting was terribly frightening, and things haven't exactly been perfect, but this new beginning is definitely sweet.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking, Pinky?

My beautiful big sister, and her handsome hubby, have just had the most beautiful baby...IN THE WORLD.

Friends, I'd like you to meet my niece, Claire Elizabeth.
She's just two weeks old, gorgeous and already planning for world domination.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Steroid Psychosis Is, Like, A Thing That Happens

Hiya, folks. I'm feeling the awkward, because I haven't blogged in such an incredibly long time. However, I'm feeling a little more myself lately, and I have something important I want to share with you.

Any of you gorgeous people ever heard of something called steroid psychosis? Just in case you haven't, and you get the occasional shot in the hiney when you're sick or have an allergic reaction, I want you to be aware of it.

My last post, for those of you smart enough not to read that depressing mess, was spent whining incessantly about my evil allergic reaction to poison ivy. Well, when I couldn't get in to see my family doctor, I went to a trusted walk-in clinic. I ended up going there twice, four days apart, and receiving two different steroid shots, as well as an oral prescription of prednisone.

When my allergic reaction continued, I was referred to a dermatologist. At that appointment I was informed that I wasn't given enough steroids to begin with, which is why my allergic reaction to the poison ivy came back with a vengeance. There I was given two HUGE shots of steroids, and told the dose would taper off over two weeks, and should definitely take care of my poison ivy rash. And it did just that.

I was super thankful that my rash started to fade, but something else remained. During the month that I was suffering that itchy rash, and receiving all those steroids, I'd become increasingly depressed, anxious, paranoid, and obsessive compulsive. Anything that happened outside of the ordinary was too much for me, and I decided that living was too difficult. I had no suicidal ideation, but I just didn't have the will to live. I cried all the time, and I just wasn't ME anymore. I feared that I'd never feel "normal" again, and was incredibly hopeless.

Well, through a lot of prayer, the support of family and friends, and a visit to my family doctor, I'm slowly getting back to me. My doctor listened patiently to my long story about the poison ivy, and how I'd become overly emotional, paranoid, panic ridden and more obsessive compulsive than I'd ever been in my entire life. She lovingly told me that I sounded like a bipolar patient, but that it was all because of the steroids. She said I was in hyper-drive, and, even though the steroids had been out of my system for weeks, I could continue to feel that way. She prescribed me some medication I was/am very wary of, but I trust her, and I seem to be getting better.

I'm not completely back to normal, but I'm getting there, and I've done some research I'd like to share. There's a lot of information out there on the interwebs, and some of it not so dependable, but this site was very enlightening for me. I believe this information to be reasonable, and helpful. Even a visit to my doctor didn't give me a name to what I was experiencing, and I think that it helps to label it.

What I've learned is that the corticosteroids I'd been paying to have pumped into me in order to suppress my immune system and decrease my allergic reaction, were also increasing the dopamine levels in my brain, which lead to mood swings, depression, increased ocd, paranoia and a panic attack that landed me in the ER thoroughly convinced I was having a heart attack. O.o I also learned that increased dopamine levels reduce the level of serotonin in your brain, which totally increases depression.

So please be careful when being prescribed any medication. Make sure to pay close attention to how you're reacting, both physically and mentally. Tell your significant other/family/friends what side effects to look for when you start taking anything. Corticosteroids can be a good thing, and I know a couple people with lupus that need them to get by day to day, but I will forever be afraid of them now.

Yeah, I had a lot of steroids pumped into me over a short period of time, but trusted medical professionals were the ones doing it, fully aware of how much I'd already had. No, I've never had such a reaction to one shot in the hiney. But I can tell you that I've had plenty of steroid shots in my life, and no one ever took the time to tell me what it could possibly do to me. Even if the chances are slim, I want to know what to watch out for, and I want you to as well. I certainly never want any of my loved ones to be in that 3% of the many steroid psychosis sufferers that commit suicide.

Unless my immune system is completely compromised, and I pray it never will be, I'll just take my chances with whatever crud or allergic reaction I'm dealing with. Nothing I've ever needed a steroid shot for even remotely compares to the trauma I, my wonderful husband, family and friends have been dealing with since April.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Contact Dermatitis...I Think

I probably shouldn't be writing while I feel so awful. It's bound to be hopeless, and severely depressing, but on I go.

I've got an itchy rash. :( That alone makes me incredibly upset. I've never, until now, had anything like this. It all started as a little itchy bump on my left forearm. I thought it was a bug bite. I scratched it. Then I washed it, and put antibacterial salve and a bandage on it. Then I went to The Smokies with my husband to celebrate our 7 year anniversary, and scratch my arm about OFF.

Yeah, the seven year itch. I don't even think that's funny now.

No longer is this itchy red bumpy evilness only on my left arm. It's spread up the inside of my elbow a bit, all down my left ribs, and down a little further and around my back. *cries* It's itchy like mad, and red, bumpy and gross.

I've done all kinds of research as to what it could be, been to the doctor twice, am taking meds and waiting on a call from a dermatologist. I don't have insurance, so we'll see how that goes. I pray to God that this can be stopped, and soon.

If I came into contact with poison ivy/oak/whatever, it was almost three weeks ago now! I didn't get that first itchy bump until 6 days later, and then another week until this on my ribs came up, and it's still coming up! I didn't know allergic reactions worked like that - so delayed. Could I still be coming into contact with it, even after I've washed my clothing. I threw away my favorite Kermit shirt, because that's what I was wearing when the suspected poison attacked.

I've seen pictures of how bad it can be. I keep telling myself that I've not got it that bad, but the worst part is not knowing for sure. I didn't see a plant and think, "Hmm. Was that poison something-or-other I just rubbed myself past?" I've never had anything like this in 28 years of life, so I'm a bit upset. I don't know where it will keep spreading. I don't know if it'll stop, how bad it will get or if/when it will go away. I just feel completely helpless, depressed and itchy.

One of my best friends is getting married in 16 days, and I'm in the wedding. If this doesn't go away by then, I'll just die, or want to. So...I pray. I take my cold showers, prednisone (which makes me all kinds of weird feeling & gives me tummy troubles) and antihistamines, spread on the rubbing alcohol and caldryl and I cry.


If any of you pray, please do. I need help.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Solar Powered

Mr. T and I have been taking full advantage of this gorgeous weather, and I've been thoroughly annoying with my camera apps. ^_^
Mr. T
My trusty Daisy Cruiser
Stinky trees
I am solar powered, and so thankful for the sun.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Project Update!

A friend of mine is doing a safari theme in her grandson's room, and wanted me to come up with a waterdoodle for him. I was thrilled to find that the little man has taken a recent liking to Maurice Sendak's work, so I got to come up with a Wild Things inspired camera safari illustration. Squee!
I'm still in shock that I'm working on art full time. Maybe someday I'll find a stopping point on my to do list, so I can clean out my studio. It needs a major overhaul. One thing at a time...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Treasures

You guys aren't creepy stalkers, right? I mean, as far as I know, none of you have put too much effort into tracking me down in order to wear my skin. I'm not exactly the stealthiest blogger, so I'm sure you all know where I live. I tell you pretty much everything, so I figure you must be safe enough...

If someone wanted to kill me, they could most likely find me at home.* Working from the comfort of my own humble abode keeps my days pretty predictable, too. I wake up, drink massive quantities of water and open the windows. I set up my little work station, pet Kimchi Kitty and get to making art. I also manage to stalk people on facebook, check twitter, clean, and flail around my living room for extended periods of time in an attempt to burn calories.

I forgot my point.

Oh. I'm home a lot. So I'm making art all day, which is a dream come true, but I always manage to get distracted. While quickly visiting my online haunts, I end up spending way too much time on Etsy. I log in with the intention of checking my shop's activity, and posting a featured item to my shop's facebook page. Innocent enough, but I keep falling victim to Etsy Treasuries. I. Love. Making. Them. Aaaand I'm too obsessive compulsive to throw a collection together in a manner of minutes, as I assume other folks do. It takes me flippin' F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

So...I thought I'd share some of my time consuming etsy finds with you. The following items are directly linked to my heart. I would certainly not object were any of them to be shipped to my doorstep with a little note professing your undying/completely healthy love for me.
Tweed Patchwork? Yes, please!
I feel that these pins would magically tame my mess of curls.
I suppose I do consider myself lucky in love.
I'm Your Father
The Hunting Sparrow
I'd liked to know who doesn't need happy tiny buttons?
 I guess that's enough for now. I'll blather more another day.

* I am armed, and have no qualms about shooting an intruder's crotch off. Yes, off. Just in case any of you might be thinking about a Heather suit...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wading

I've been so swamped with art projects, which I could not be happier about, I haven't really had the time to post very much. Poor old Mimsy gets neglected a lot, but I'm working on documenting more.  I think keeping up with bloggy therapy is good for the soul.

For now, I think I'll make a list of art projects/commissions:

1. custom kid's book (written but not yet completely illustrated)

2. two watercolor portraits for bff's mom

3. custom illustration
sketch detail of custom illustration
4. more handmade plush creatures (like the ones in the pictures below) for a local shop
Sally Sugar Skull
Mumford T. Monster
Lola Love Bunny
O'Malley Ogling Owlie
Love Ninja - This little guy is sold already, but I can make more upon request.
5. keep up with my etsy shop
 
Now, if I can just keep myself prioritized...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Man Loves Chickens

How's it going, friends? Mr. T and I have been doing pretty well. We've been experiencing some changes lately. Some have been good, and some not so much, but we're dealing. Can't really complain.

I happily edited my employment status on the book of face last night. Self. Employed. I can't even begin to express how good it feels to be able to say that. Working from home definitely has its ups and downs, but the ups seem to be winning.

There are so many things that I wasn't able to do while working full time, little things like making  gifts for people. It's been years since I had the time and energy to make Mr. T a homemade valentine, so this year he got a little foxy fox card.
I cut out the pieces...
Colored them...
And then glued them together.
I also made him a felt plush chicken.
It's not as strange as it sounds. The man loves chickens.
I used to read posts about people quitting their day jobs, and I was so jealous. Pretending I was content worked for a while, but that hopelessly trapped feeling kept rearing its ugly head. I was so tired of begrudging other people their happiness, because I was too afraid to go looking for my own.

I am incredibly thankful that I'm able to focus on my artwork right now, and I hope I can keep it up.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Time Well Spent

It's been almost a week since I quit my job of five years, and I'm pretty happy with how I've been spending my time.

I can't remember the last time I was able to spend days in a row making art, and just enjoying life. Maybe that's a little dramatic. I know there are a million different ways to enjoy life in the ever day. As of late, my days had become somewhat of a soul suck. I'd come home with the intentions of being creative, but would end up crying all evening.

The first couple of days I cried a little, cleaned a little, and cried a little more. I've spent the last few days promoting my Etsy shop, working on commissions and just being thankful for the time to do it.

Behold!

"Boom Chicky Boom" card
"Ninja Love" card
"Nuts About You" card
Wee Hand-sewn Owl Plushies
My husband is being incredibly supportive about the whole "me not working" thing, because he's wonderful. However, unless my art sales become a lot more consistent, I'll have to get a job before too long. I'm just enjoying a little time off before it's necessary.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Can Anyone Walk on Water, If They Won't Get Their Butt Out the Boat?

Anybody out there? It's been a long time since I was in a sharing mood, and I feel as if I should apologize for that. I allowed blogging to become just another place that I couldn't speak my mind. I'm not proud of that, and am in the process of changing it.

I've worked for the same nonprofit for over five years, and I've been unhappy with my working situation for around two of those.

If any of my faithful few are still out there, you may recall me blogging about landing a better paying job, giving my notice and leaving in 2009. You might also remember me spending one day on the new job, before crawling back to what I knew. What you won't remember are all of the feelings I never expressed, because I knew my boss read my blog.

Well, I went back to the old nonprofit job thinking I hadn't had it so bad after all. My paycheck wasn't a hefty one, but I was doing something good there. Believing if I just did my job to the best of my ability, I could put up with my boss not respecting me. I also thought I could handle snide remarks and nasty jokes at my expense, and rude comments about others...

I realize now that I have spent about three of the past five years just waiting. I've been waiting for something to change for me. Finally, I realized that I had to be that change. I've learned that we can't expect the constants around us to vary. We have to be the variables.

So...I quit my job last week. Live and learn, right? I'm taking a little time off, before I start looking for something else, and am not-so-secretly hoping that my artwork will make me a rich woman.

In the meantime...
Nothing but blue skies from now on. ^_^

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Year End Survey

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? Went whitewater rafting and kayaking.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?  I've never been one for new year's resolutions, but I did set the goal of illustrating a children's book in 2010. Turns out I made the deal to illustrate another person's children's book in 2010, and I'm illustrating it this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope, but they're all pregnant now. My sister, my best friend and her little sister. It's a conspiracy to make me want to have a baby, but it won't work.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? None this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? The means to work from home. I want to make enough money via art to quit my day job. I don't wanna be rich. I just want to get by doing what I love.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The entire year has been pretty memorable. I made new friends, got reacquainted with old ones, and my husband and I went on lots of adventures.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? It's a toss up between making an illustration deal, and surviving going down a river in a boat by myself.

9. What was your biggest failure? I quit my current job for one that paid more. I thought I'd like it, but ended up freaking out, and quitting to come back to this one. I hate that it happened at all.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I have a weaselly immune system, so I get tonsillitis a lot, but I wouldn't call that illness. I also found out the panic attacks I've been having all my life aren't panic attacks at all, but a severely erratic heartbeat.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My Kimchi Kitty's life. He was dying, but we were able to pay the vet to find out what was the matter, and save him. ♥


12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mother in law.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My sister in law. Her decisions for herself make my heart hurt.

14. Where did most of your money go? Into having a home, and vehicles to drive to work.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Seeing Andrew Bird and St. Vincent in concert.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2010? "Too Afraid to Love You" by The Black Keys, and "Friends" by Band of Skulls.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? Happier! ^_^ Fatter. :( Richer-just not monetarily.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Changing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With friends and family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010? I've been in love for the last 11 years. Wow.


22. What was your favorite TV program? True Blood. It's my dirty secret, and I often hide my eyes.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don't hate anyone. I just prefer not to think of some people.

24. What was the best book you read? A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? The Black Keys' new album.


26. What did you want and get? My kitchen remodel. 
 

27. What did you want and not get? All my debts paid, but we're working on it.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? True Grit.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28 in 2010, and I can't remember what I did. I'm sure it was wonderful, though. My husband always does something sweet.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having such an awkward relationship with my dad, but I think it's getting better...

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Cute and comfy.

32. What kept you sane? God. My husband. Art. Music. In that order.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I pretty much always fancy... 

Johnny Depp...
image credit


Russell Crowe...
image credit
and Sam Worthington.
image credit
 34. What political issue stirred you the most? I hate politics. Let's not talk about it, m'kay?

35. Who did you miss? My dad.

36. Who was the best new person you met? All my new friends are pretty amazing, if you ask me.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010. The same lesson I learn everyday- God is love.


38. What do you want to happen in 2011? 2011 will be the year of paying off credit cards & such. The year of FREEDOM!

Thanks to the lovely Melanie for this survey.