.I've long been a believer in the power of art as a means of emotional healing. I first wrote about this in the post entitled "8 Years in the Making" which you can read here. There is this almost magical experience in creating original art. From it's inception in your imagination to the completion of the finished piece, the transformative power of art can truly help to heal our inner hurts.
If you allow yourself to get lost in the process, it can bring you to a place of peaceful contemplation as you work with your hands, shaping, forming, creating.... There is such freedom in this creative space that opens your mind to new ideas and allows your spirit full expression. I often catch myself working through problems and past traumatic experiences while in the safety of this space. As an adult with significant ADD issues, art is the one thing powerful enough to completely captivate my mind and keep my full attention. Sometimes you have to get "lost" in order to be "found" if you get my meaning.
I was recently graced with the task of creating an unique sandbox table for a counselor in Cornelius who works with both children and adults. The name of her counseling service is Blue Stone Psychotherapy and I see her for both ADD and grief counseling. She has been greatly instrumental in helping me tame my ADD and in finding my way through the maze of grief that comes with being the parent of a lost child.
This sweet little sandbox table was made to resemble a slice of blue agate stone as a way of reflecting her company name. It now sits in her office, full of sand and small plastic animals for all her patients to enjoy. I like to think that it looks like an island in the midst of the sea.....A fitting vision since her office has often been that island of safety for me. I hope it brings inspiration and peace to all who sit in front of it.
Let your own form of art be a place of peace for you as well and a most sincere and heartfelt thank you to sweet Suzie for allowing me to spread my creative wings and take flight.
As we celebrate this national holiday called Labor Day, I am faced with the irony that this year it carries two deeply personal anniversaries for me. 30 years ago today was the date of the baby shower for my son Jarod. 9 years ago today was the date we lost him in a terrible accident. As a grieving parent, there are particular dates that bring with them a host of emotions. The anniversaries of the day your child's enters this world and the day they leave it are two of the most difficult.
I struggle daily with the warring sides of my mind. One side that is tasked with holding on to precious memories and the other grasping at how to let go of all that is beyond my control. Grief is a lifelong journey full of unexpected lessons. Today, in my small way of honoring my son, I decided to write about what I call "Intentional Grieving". It's something I've discovered along the way that others traveling this road might find helpful as well.
In the early days of loss, I fought to fill every moment of my day with activity in an attempt to drown out the pain. Each day I went from work to the gym for at least an hour long workout, headphones blaring music to avoid any quiet contemplation. From there it was home to make dinner, sweep and mop the floors compulsively, do laundry, shower and then straight to bed with the tv on. Any quiet time in my day would bring on the waves of pain I could not control and frankly, the act of weeping was utterly exhausting. I avoided it at all costs and believe me....not allowing myself to grieve in my own time cost me more than I realized. I was sleepwalking my way through life and missing out on all the meaningful things that were happening all around me. I was emotionally "checked-out" and as I look back now, I realize that I was not there for my daughter as I should have been. Our relationship has never been the same since. Where we were once so close, she was forced to learn to be independent of me and I just can't find a way back to what we once shared. There is still much love there but it is accompanied by a kind of distance through which I cannot fully reach her. In some way, it's as though I lost both of my children that day.
9 years later I finally understand that what you run from....controls you. You can't outrun grief. It's a part of your life now so you better get on with learning how to manage it somehow. "You've got to give the Devil his due", so to speak. The idea behind intentional grieving is to set aside time for yourself to let your feelings flow through you and to spend time "honoring the pain". A weird notion....no??? I set aside Jarod's birth and death dates as days to allow myself to sort of dwell on the memories, cry as much as I need to, write poems and whatever those feelings lead me to. You've got to occasionally let a little air out of the balloon or it will explode at the least convenient time. It's a simple concept but for me, it helps. I like to say that "a love that deep is worthy of that kind of grief".
So for today.....I will cry, write, plant some flowers and choose a spot in my yard to plant a tree in my son's memory. Am I all better now because of intentional grieving? No...not by a long shot but it's a tool that helps me to cope. I hope someone out there can find a little healing in this too.
I wear your memory wrapped tightly around me as a shroud;
The constancy of both its warmth and its pain are endlessly intertwined within the deepest folds of who I have become.
You were knitted in the depths of me, just below my heart.
I am in you, you are in me…..
An eternal truth neither time nor death can separate.
Just as birth brought you from within me,
So your death did place you back inside….
Back to that part of me where you will forever reside,
Just beneath my beating heart.
Written by his mom
Oh what fun we had yesterday at the Altered Books Class here at The Magic Shack!!! Glenise Ward of Stonebridge Lane is one of our favorite instructors who comes to share her own form of artistic magic with the students who flock to fill her classes. If you didn't make it to this class, be sure to contact Glenise via the link above to see when she will be teaching next. She never fails to inspire us with the creative use of old book covers and decorative papers and elements to design your own altered journals. I promised I would post a quick blog for all the ladies who attended on ways to use the inside pages of the book that are left after you remove the covers. I'm always saving ideas and especially love discovering new ways to recycle things into other useful items. Here are a few crafty ideas I've compiled that might inspire you too....
Oh me, oh my....I do love a cute birdhouse and this would be perfect for a spring vignette! Simple folds and the addition of a bit of lace and paper trim and paper flowers are all it takes to create this uber-cutey!
Simple Simon folded paper tealight holders!! These ones are done in a Christmas theme but you could easily change out the ribbon and stars for a different seasonal effect!
What a perfectly simple tabletop vignette! By folding the pages in half lengthwise, then placing on a vintage tray with a bit of greenery, you've got a perfect way to display your favorite greeting cards, feathers, or maybe even a small glittered paper bird tucked into the pages for instant impact. It would be so cute with a little birds nest nestled at the base for spring! Gotta make one of these for my dining room!
Add a little glitter to this cutie or a bit of watercolor and you've got the bird to tuck into the book vignette above! So cute!
Lol! Need I say more????
Simply stack your coverless books and wrap with stamped muslin ribbon and lace, add decorative hang tags, glue on vintage buttons to the spine or glue a strip of burlap along the spine and stamp it with a saying you especially love and you've got instant vintage charm that you can use as risers on your bookshelves to display framed prints, decorative bottles, a small pot of greenery or seashells...the possibilities are endless!
I just had to add this sweet little paper pear! Go to this FB link for the quick instructions on this pretty little craft! She colored the edges with watercolors and it just brings it to life! I can see this on a shelf in the dining room, maybe sitting on a stack of ironstone plates (one of my favorite collections, by the way). I could go on for days with the many things you can make out of book pages but I think you get the idea! So the next time you find yourself trapped inside on a cold or rainy day, pull out those leftover book pages and whip up a quick craft...and then write about it in the journal you created in "Sweet Glenise's" Altered Books Class!!! Come back tomorrow and read about our upcoming class scheduled for Feb. 18th from 2pm-4pm here at the Magic Shack! I'll be teaching the first class in our Patina Series, entitled "Rusty Crusty". You'll learn 2 different techniques on painting ordinary items make them look like the rusted vintage lovelies we all covet but can't necessarily afford!
Altered Books Class - February 4th 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Glenise Ward of Stonebridge Lane is returning to The Magic Shack to take us to the "NEXT LEVEL" of journal making!!! If you missed her first class here in December, then now is your chance!! You will learn everything you need to create one-of-a-kind art journals using fun, creative mixed media techniques. We'll also be learning new ways to take your journal making to an all new level! Don't miss it!!
Class info - We'll create a journal, mini scrapbook, planner, smash book, etc. from a discarded book that we've deconstructed. As in our last class, we'll then fill that book with all sorts of yummy paper goodies! But for this class, we'll delve a little deeper by focusing more on embellishing the inside pages using junk mail, used envelopes, pockets, tuck spots, etc. And we'll do some pretty awesome things to the cover! We'll use a heat tool to do a little embossing and we'll work with a neat little tool that creates envelopes in any size you can imagine! Maybe we should call this class Altered Books 2.0! Cost is $45 per person and everything you need is included. You can pay Glenise via Paypal at email@example.com.
Faux Rust Painting Techniques
Join us here Feb. 18th from 2 pm-4 pm for the first class in a series of patina painting techniques! I'll be teaching this one so I hope you'll come out and have fun while you learn to take any item and give it the rusty, crusty finish we all love!! I'll be teaching 2 different techniques using different products to create a very realistic rust look. It's easier than you think to take something new and give it that age old patina! Cost is $35 and includes all materials. To sign up, just message me via the contact button above or message me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FarmgirlOutfitters/. Hope to see you here at The Magic Shack!
Ohhhhh.....I have been having so much fun creating inspiration boards for a family I hold dear to my heart. They recently purchased a beautiful brick home and are looking to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that fits their family's needs. It is currently suffering from a terminal case of "builder's beige" and for these creative folks, that is just not working. All the basic elements already exist: hardwood floors...check; open floorplan...check; high ceilings and spacious rooms...check; fireplace...check. Essentially what they have is the perfect blank canvas just waiting for them to paint their own style. I have the privilege of helping them discover just what that means for their family. Yay!!! I decided to start with the largest room, the living room, and curated 6 different design boards for them. We wanted to create some interest on the main wall behind the large leather sofa and update the fireplace. A new area rug and coffee table along with some great art will really round out this room.
Many of the elements remain the same in these boards but I wanted them to see the different areas rugs along with the planked wall they'll be installing on the main wall. The fireplace will be refaced and made to go all the way up to the ceiling instead of ending at the mantle. Several of the boards have 2 rugs featured because layering rugs is well....just fun! The color scheme will be warm and somewhat neutral with pops of gorgeous color in the artwork. This enables them to change up the look for different seasons by just changing up the pillows and accessories. So after they perused these boards for a while, here is the winner!!!
With great anticipation, and a few (alot of) nervous jitters, I look forward to this new year and all the changes it will bring with it. There are sooooooo many things on my bucket list for 2017 that it can seem a little overwhelming, but I remind myself that is where growth begins....just outside our comfort zone. I love the poetry written by Victoria Erickson and this one speaks right to my heart...
I've been reviewing 2016, looking at what worked, what didn't. and charting a course for 2017. We held several barn sales, some were very successful and some less so, and I've learned alot! Growth is such a convoluted process and the decisions and plans you make as a business owner are both scary and exciting! I designed and built several pieces of furniture which was new for me and I LOVE IT! I plan to design more and imitate less in 2017, trusting that I will uncover a more authentic line that is specific to Farmgirl Outfitters. We'll have more art classes here at the Magic Shack since those have been such a huge success! Oh the plans I have....I simply cannot outline them all in just one post so I hope you will follow my blog this week as I begin to paint the picture for you of all that is to come. I'm talking about our milk paint line that is in development, 2 incredibly exciting remodeling projects that we will be sharing with you here on the blog, upcoming barn sale dates TBA, my soon to be open Etsy shop with an all new line of jewelry designed and created by yours truly, we're working on a lot of really amazing photo props/rentals for events and photographers and will be creating photo vignettes for photographers to hold mini-sessions here on the farm. Oh the list goes on and on. Lord, give me wings....
Due to the many requests for a repeat of this popular class, Leanna of Pep & Pop has agreed to return to the Magic Shack here at Farmgirl Outfitters on Jan. 14th, 2017 from 2 pm - 4 pm and teach Letters With Leanna again!! When we offered this class back in November, we filled the shack to full capacity so don't wait too long to get signed up! You can email Leanna directly at Leanna@pepnpop.com to register and she will send you a link to pay online, or you can make arrangements with her to pay via snailmail. Just remember that prompt payment secures your spot in this popular class. Cost is only $35 and includes all materials and a practice book to take home afterwards. Hot coffee and light refreshments will also be included. Come on out and join the fun here at our little art studio, "The Magic Shack", located on Farmgirl Outfitters farm. 345 Fairmount Road in Statesville. Hope to see you here!
Glenise Ward of Stone Bridge Lane will be here at Farmgirl Outfitters on Dec. 10th, 2016 from 9am-1pm teaching her Mixed Media Altered Journals class!!!! Come join us at the Magic Shack here on the farm for this amazingly creative class and create your own, one-of-a-kind journal or make one as a Christmas gift for someone special!! What better gift is there than something created by your own hands! Registration is $45 and includes all materials, snacks and beverages. You can pay via Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also pay cash the day of class. Message Glenise via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glenise.ward.5 or message me at Farmgirl Outfitters at https://www.facebook.com/FarmgirlOutfitters/ to sign up. Here is a little about Glenise's classes in her own words....
Altered Books - I'm a journaler. I'm a list-maker. I keep every receipt, note, or scrap of paper that crosses my path. I need a place to jot down my thoughts, my ideas, my plans. I'm a book lover. I love all things vintage.
If any of those statements apply to you, then you will love this class! We'll start with a discarded book. We will deconstruct it, keeping the best parts, and then turn it into a lovely, ring-bound creation filled with beautiful papers, stamped images, pockets, tags, etc. Use it as a journal, a scrapbook, a planner, whatever your heart desires.
Everything you need to complete your altered book will be provided. Plan to spend the day immersed in words, colors, textures, choices and creativity!
Farmgirl Outfitters is located in North Iredell at 345 Fairmount Road, Statesville NC 28625.
Meet Zach Frauenknecht of Woodmonkey Workshop!! He is one of our new vendors in our Holiday Barn Sale which is happening today and Sunday here at Farmgirl Outfitters! Zach builds custom furniture and upcycles vintage finds into really unique treasures! Make sure you stop by Zach's booth and take a look at all his handiwork!!!!
Welcome to one of our new vendors, Melissa Durham of Color Me Blue Designs, in our upcoming Holiday Barn Sale Event, Nov. 12th-13th here at Farmgirl Outfitters!! Melissa is a wonderfully talented mixed media artist and she will be sharing a booth with Cassandra Cushman so you'll want to get a good look at all the eye candy you're going to find in their booth!!! I for one, can't wait to see her pieces in person!! Woohoo!!! Make sure you stop in and see Melissa and Cassandra this weekend!! Here is a bit about Melissa in her own words...
"Melissa Durham is a mixed media artist who loves to create something for everyone for every season. She has her studio in North Carolina. She is also married to her best friend and has two beautiful daughters. God has given her a gift that she shares with others."
I love levi's and flannel shirts with the sleeves rolled up. I love every opportunity to create unique furniture whether it's simply a repaint or a custom build project.
345 Fairmount Road Statesville NC 28625
Interstate 77 to exit 59 go East on Tomlin Mill Road 8 tenths of a mile, turn right on Fairmount Road, We are 1 mile on the Right.