Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cord For Life Foundation

This post is totally off the subject of art, but I wanted to write about how I recently donated my newborn baby's umbilical cord blood.

I am a strong advocate for recycling. When I found out that I could "recycle" the cord blood after delivery I was eager to do so. During my pregnancy I read a magazine article about donating the baby's cord blood. After doing some research I decided not to save the blood for personal storage, but realized that someone else could have it and possibly use it to save a life. Most people don't know that pregnant women can donate this precious cord blood after delivery. It is such a simple and easy thing to do. It didn't cost me anything but a little time and preparation.

After contacting the Cord For Life Foundation about donating the blood, I signed and returned the paperwork. They "approved me"  and sent back a blood collection kit that I took with me to the hospital. My doctor collected the blood after delivery and the blood bank picked it up. I wish more people would do this. The Cord For Life Foundation was so happy with my donation that they invited me to their fundraiser last weekend to speak about my experience.

I hope that my cord blood goes to a family who can use it. I hope that more people will learn about it and take action to help others.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Fish Out of Water

 A Fish Out of Water is one of my favorite children's books. I have borrowed it several times from the library and nearly have it memorized. It is a cute story about a boy who buys a goldfish and feeds it too much. The fish grows and grows and the boy has to keep finding a new place to put him. Poor Otto!

I have a relatively new appreciation for fish; we have acquired two tanks in our home in the past 18 months and I love to watch the fish swim around. I love the soft sound of the water trickling through the house. The tanks are more beneficial than having a plain fountain of water to care for. They also conform to my need for feng shui in the house.

My latest mosaic is a goldfish swimming in the water. I enjoy creating garden stones because they work well outside and withstand the elements easily, and bring so much color and joy to my garden/ outdoor space.

The goldfish is orange and yellow with a big black eye. I like the way the lines of the fish complement his shape. I am really pleased with the way the blue glaze turned out on the textured bubble tiles. The glaze pools in the circles and breaks on the outer part to create depth.

On a personal note, I am nearing the end of my pregnancy. Here is a photo of how huge I have become! :) I will likely not be blogging for some time as I come closer to the delivery and care of the new baby. I hope to be back to my artwork as soon as possible.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Blue Cat

This year for Halloween my three-year-old daughter wanted to be a blue cat. I had been asking her for several months about what she wanted to be and she never wavered. I kept thinking she would change her mind about this costume but she never did. So by October first I had to do something about it. After searching on line for blue cat costumes and coming up empty, I decided to make one.

This past year I taught myself how to sew. It is a new concept to me, but something I have always wanted to learn. I learned to hand stitch as a kid but we never had a machine in the house. Sewing was not something my mother did, and my Nanny was too old to teach me. So that was that.  I had a broken machine sitting in my garage for some time and finally got it repaired, and found a friend to teach me a quick lesson. For months now I have been hemming pants and curtains and I felt ready to try my hand at the Blue Cat Costume.

I took Mia to the fabric store and let her choose the blue hues, and little by little... mistake by mistake, I got the thing put together. I bought pre-made cat ears and made  blue "slip covers" for them. Then traced one of her dresses and made my own pattern. Sewed on a furry tummy and furry sleeves and made a tail out of cardboard tubes and slip covered with fabric. She asked for bells on the end of the tail. Cute. The hardest part was figuring out the zipper. Apparently my machine is so old that nobody in the Orlando vicinity sells parts (I needed a zipper foot attachment). But I got it figured out with what I had, and bonded it with some fabric glue. Worked great.

I can't say the costume would stand the test of time if she wanted to play dress up... but Mia has some funny ideas about things. And apparently she only wanted to wear the costume for Halloween. I couldn't even get her to try it on for fittings before the big night. Had to bribe her once or twice. I am not a great seamstress, I definitely sew things the hard way. I am learning. And I feel really proud about teaching myself this skill. I find it to be really useful. However hard I worked on the costume, Mia resisted my use of the sewing machine. "I don't like that noise. Turn off that machine" she'd yell from the next room. Well too bad. It's for your costume. I don't care if the machine is from 1960 and sounds like a lawn mower. It works.

The funniest thing about this costume was my forgetfulness of taking a decent photo of her all dressed up. We went to a friend's house for Trick or Treat and in the midst of all the hustle bustle, we got 2 good photos of her, but neither was of the full costume. Duh! Anyhow, she looked adorable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yoga Studies

Ahh, the weather is finally turning here in Central Florida. A true breath of fresh air. It has gone from hot to lovely. I love the fall weather and the freedom it gives me after months of being locked indoors from the summer heat. The change in temperatures calls me outside to the porch studio and allows me to work in the moderate temperatures, rather than sweating it out to a near faint.

It has taken some time but I've finally been able to consistently carve out some creative time once again. My free time has dramatically changed over the past six months, and it has taken me time to adjust. My daughter's three-hour nap has been reduced to about one hour, thus allowing me less and less time to myself.

I have just finished three more mosaics for Full Circle Yoga and I am working on a fourth before delivering them to the studio. The first is the "OM" symbol, done in black and teal. It is a smaller piece, 12"x12", and I like the swirls that compliment the symbol. The second mosaic is a woman balancing in Tree Pose. This one is a little larger, about 12"x18". The third piece is a gift for the owner, her logo laid out on a garden stone.

Finally, I've come to accept that I'm not faithful to video recording the creation of my pieces. I have tried and failed. It's just too much work for me to set up and take down the camera and tripod each time I have a few minutes to work. I wish I could leave it set up and ready to record, but my outside studio just won't allow it. Maybe in another lifetime. Another studio.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busy Summer

I can hardly believe how my summer has gone by so quickly. The long hot days have been taken over by family emergencies and a recent pregnancy, both of which have left me little time for creative endeavors. I was away from home for nearly 6 weeks, and shortly after I returned, found out I was pregnant.

For anyone who has never experienced pregnancy, let me tell you... it's hard. It's exhausting. And just finding something to keep your stomach happy is a challenge as well. The little monster in my tummy decides what I can eat and what I cannot. S/he doesn't like chocolate, or citrus, or peaches. Or apparently black beans. We recently took a short vacation to St. Augustine where I ordered a bowl of black bean soup. I took one bean (not one bite - just one bean) and bee-lined it straight for the ladies room. Luckily there was no line for the stall, otherwise I would have chosen the sink for expressing the bean. Nobody needs to see that!

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I'm working on a piece for the yoga studio. It is a lady meditating... and coming along nicely (just very slowly) This time I'm recording a video of the mosaic process so people can see what goes into these pieces. I wish I had more time for mosaic lately, but this summer Florida heat is a killer. I dream of the cooler days yet to come.

Dragonfly Stone

My latest piece is another garden stone. It was made from both Italian glass and ceramic tiles. The glass was brought back to me from a friend who visited Italy in 2009. I have been saving it for a special piece. I made a boarder with green glass beads, and the rest of the tiles were handmade by me. The dragonfly wings are a purple/ brown glaze (same tiles I used in the Octopus mirror) and the body is purple. I like the combination of green and purple. I have a photo of this garden stone on my phone, but having trouble getting that connected to my computer here...  maybe I'll figure it out soon and can post it. Ugh

I decided to give this as a gift to my mother, for her front doorstep. The last garden stone I did is holding up quite well in the Florida heat, humidity and rain. I wasn't quite sure if it would break apart due to the outside elements, but I feel confident that I know what I'm doing.

Dragonflies are one of my favorite subjects to work with. Carefree. Delicate. And fun to watch.

Fly away little friend. Make a new happy home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Love; Sold

I recently sold one of my favorite pieces, the Love Mirror.  I give thanks to my friend Christine at Full Circle Yoga, who lets me use a part of her retail space as gallery space. It's always exciting to know that someone out there likes my work. I love all the little details that went into making this piece: the beads inside of the top hearts, different textures that make up the picture. I hope the new owner found a special place to hang it. Now I need to create a couple of new pieces for the yoga studio. What a way to find inspiration.