Find Joy In The Journey — Mixed Media Art

July 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm (Decorative Painting)

With a name like “Melodye Joy,” I’ve got to have joy… right???  To be honest, practicing JOY is harder some days than others, but I always start each day intending to be joyful.

I have had many people love me and support me throughout my journey with MS and TN.  I had a pile of cards and letters collecting dust.  I spent one afternoon going through all of the cards, cutting out special sayings, words, signatures and pictures and verses.

Inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts and Cotton Candy Girl’s workshop by Natasha May (which I took), I took a deep breath and made my first mixed media art piece.  I used Millie as my inspiration.  I used Heritage Mediums by David Jansen instead of Modge Podge or gesso.

I am so pleased with the results.  This is an extremely personal piece as I honor those who have helped me along my journey — You know who you are (if you look closely, your names will be on the piece).  May the Lord bless you for your encouragement to me.

My angel's wings are my Daddy and Momma

My angel’s wings are my Daddy and Momma

 

Darling DannyO, Amanda and Brent are Millie's head and neck

Darling DannyO, Amanda and Brent are Millie’s head and neck

 

The notes and verses and signatures as I laid them on the canvas

The notes and verses and signatures as I laid them on the canvas

I began to distress the background

I began to distress the background

Millie on tracing paper.

Millie on tracing paper.

Beginning the face...

Beginning the face…

 

I printed "Find Joy In the Journey"

I printed “Find Joy In the Journey”

Before the final distressing

Before the final distressing

 

The finished piece.

The finished piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mazie Pearl ~ “She loved. More than anything else, she loved.”

July 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm (Memories)

I honor my Grammy today — she died on the 24th of July, 2009 — by compiling a few thoughts her children and grandchildren shared at her funeral.  I had the privilege to read them. We laughed and cried together that day.  She lived life to the fullest and loved unconditionally.  These are just fragments of the precious memories stored in our minds and shared. If I wrote them all down, this would be the longest blog post on record.  My sister said it best (she quoted a line from a song…) “She loved.  More than anything else, she loved.”

Grammy was a cheerleader!  She also played basketball.

Grammy was a cheerleader! She also played basketball.

Grammy-6

The Savering Family

The Savering Family

“Grammy always used the same green/white striped box to wrap birthday presents in… once you opened the box, she wanted it back. She taught me how to tie my shoes by having me tie a shoelace around the arm of her wooden rocker.   We would read together almost everyday before school when I was still in elementary school.  She would read one half of the page, and I would read the other half.  Black Beauty, Where the Red Fern Grows.  You would often find random pics of babies/people on her picture wall that would have things written on them, like ‘this is what Eric looked like as a baby.’  Ruth and Billie Graham were also permanent fixtures on her picture well.  We called them Aunt Ruth and Uncle Billie.”

The kitchen never changed... except that the wall on the right filled up with pictures of people who looked like us -- to clarify, they were not pictures of us, but they looked like us!  :-)

The kitchen never changed… except that the wall on the right filled up with pictures of people who looked like us — to clarify, they were not pictures of us, but they looked like us! 🙂

Grammy's house was always full -- this was HYBA

Grammy’s house was always full — this was HYBA

“I have so many memories of Grammy, she was such an integral part of my life and the cloth of which I have been cut.  In her house were treasures of the past: a clock that chimed on every hour, an upstairs full of things in cubbyholes that I was given glimpses into now and again when I had a ‘need.’ The stale goodies were always split 20 ways like the loaves and fishes to be enough for everyone.  When I got older and would drive and visit her, she would listen to my problems and always say, ‘It will be OTAY.’  She would give me a full arm butt smack as I left.”

Sunday morning church -- whoever was there, went!

Sunday morning church — whoever was there, went!

“Grammy was always so patient and kind, I remember her sweet kisses on my forehead.  She would say that I was Grammy’s girl and always made me feel special.”

Grammy at Goodwill

Grammy at Goodwill

“I remember sitting with her in church and she would hand us dimes, nickels, or even pennies to put in the offering plate.  She would split a piece of gum up in as many pieces as there were grandchildren sitting with her and we each got a sliver.  When I was 14 or so I was singing in church and really messed up the song.  I went to the car and laid in the back seat until church was over.  After church Grammy said, ‘No one would ever know you made that mistake!’ If she knew… everyone knew!!”

The expanding family

The expanding family

“We used to sit for hours on her porch swing and just talk, and watch the birds come to her bird feeder.  She used to play board games with me all of the time.  We loved to play monopoly for days and days and kept it on the card table in the living room.  We played checkers at the table as we drank our sugar laden brown tea and I ate my toast that she made me and cut into 5 thin strips. “

And yet, more grandchildren

And yet, more grandchildren

“She was my best friend in high school. I visited her as much as I could. I didn’t fit in at school, and she would tell me that I was just in the ugly duckling stage and would someday grow to be a beautiful swan.  I would ask her about every year if I had hit the beautiful swan stage yet, and she would say, “Not yet, but you’re getting close!”  She would sit with me around the red-checker tablecloth donned kitchen table, pushing crumbs together with her index fingers as she talked. I find myself cleaning the table like this nowadays…”

Grammy assuming the "football stance pose" to get a good picture.  She usually cut our heads off!

Grammy assuming the “football stance pose” to get a good picture. She usually cut our heads off!

“It was a treat to have Carnation Instant Breakfast at Grammy’s house, since we didn’t buy it at ours.  One always had to remember to use only half of a package to make it last longer.  It was at Gram’s house that I learned to like the taste of Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia… it tasted like chalk!!  Grammy kept it cold in the door of the refrigerator.  I remember wanting to eat some even if I wasn’t sick!”

Sassy :-)

Sassy 🙂

“Going to visit Grammy was always such a fun adventure. I remember… rummaging through the toy box in the front room, reading the same Archie comic books and Mad Magazines over and over and over again, playing Mouse Trap and going to Camp Keystone with the cousins, eating Cheerios out of silver, scratchy bowls, being a bit afraid of the basement except when the uncles were all down there playing pool, swinging on the porch swing, feeling the icy cold air hit me when I sneaked up the attic steps to peek into the small closets, and listening to the adults laugh when I was supposed to be sleeping on the living room floor – especially when Aunt Betty Jo and Uncle Rick were there.  I also remember Grammy’s special way of giving comfort.  One time Aunt Bonnie gave me a home perm which, I am sorry to say, turned out very frizzy and wild.   Grammy tried to make me feel better by saying “your hair really doesn’t look too good, but you have such a pretty face.”  It truly was a joy and privilege to be one of Grammy’s grandchildren.”

Pappy and Grammy -- he was the love of her life!

Pappy and Grammy — he was the love of her life!

“Going to Grammy’s was always a treat, and I loved lunch time.  She ALWAYS made me Cream of Mushroom soup and butter toast, which she cut in 4 squares.  I remember when Brent was really sick as a baby and I went to stay overnight with Grammy and Pappy.  I slept on the couch but woke up frightened late at night.  She quietly hushed me then took station in Pappy’s chair.  She slept there the rest of the night.  Oo… Grammy always made me tea.  And I loved how she always said my name “Mandy.”

Fearless Grammy -- on DannyO's snowmobile

Fearless Grammy — on DannyO’s snowmobile

“Let us not forget the rotating wardrobe of funky polyester pantsuits that were so Grammy!!  I remember the one time I heard a cuss word (well sorta 🙂 )come out of Gram’s mouth.  She was so mad at me because I was mouthing off about something or complaining about something and she all of a sudden yelled, ‘Tough titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry!!!’ and I was shocked speechless…titty was the worst word I ever heard Grammy say in my entire life.”

Grammy and Bonnie

Grammy and Bonnie

“She gave the best kisses (kind of soft).  And she never said an unkind word about anybody.  She was concerned about all the neighbors, and was always running something to the Johnson’s, or down the hill to her friend (was it Margaret, I can’t remember).  She loved all animals.  You could say anything, and she would still love you.  She was as faithful to Sunday church as Papap was to fishing.  She loved Papap very much, even when he was grumpy.  She never forgot a birthday.  You never knew what was in the package, but whatever it was, was wrapped in unconditional love.”

“I remember going to Grammy’s before the prom when I was a sophomore.  She said I looked ‘hot!’”

Grumpy farmer picture!

Grumpy farmer picture!

“Grammy loved all of us as individuals.  In her mind, we could do no wrong.  What a precious saint she is.  I always knew she loved me no matter what.  Even in my ugly duckling stage :). If you ever felt no one was in your corner, don’t be mistaken, Grammy prayed for us all.  I remember walking into her house and catching her praying.  She had her hands folded with her head resting on them.  Her mouth would be moving to the words of her prayer and her old worn bible would be laid open. She has prayed each of us through situations when we didn’t even realize it.”

Me (Melodye) and Grammy -- I loved her so much

Me (Melodye) and Grammy — I loved her so much

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The Road That Leads Home

July 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm (Musings...)

My precious Grammy died on July 24, 2009 at the age of 92.  She lived in Richland Woods, before her Alzheimer’s made it necessary to move her to a safer environment.  She was in the middle stages of that awful disease.  I’d go to see her at least once or twice a week.  She and I would watch Gaither Homecoming videos and sing along.  I brought her favorite snack, a vanilla milkshake.  We’d walk the long hallways.  At the end of the hallway on her floor there was a big window.  She’d look out of that window and say to me over and over again… “I think if I go down that road it will take me home.”

Grammy 1937 -- her senior year

Grammy — her senior year

“Home” to her was the Simmons farm where she grew up.  It didn’t matter that she was about 20 miles away from the farm, she was sure the road she saw would lead her home.  She never went home again, even though she and a few of her cronies broke out of the facility on two occasions!!!

The day my Aunt and Uncle had to take her to a more secure place, as I was standing there, weeping, she scootched over in the back seat and said, “Come on!!  We’re going for ice cream!!”  I wept the whole way home.

Grammy and me :-)

Grammy and me 🙂

A week or so ago, I had a conversation with one of my children.  This precious gift of mine was inconsolable because the road home seems so long.  Circumstances have made the path twisted, seemingly headed in the wrong direction.  I am blessed that both of my children are hard- working and able to make their way very successfully in this life, but being away from those who love you unconditionally can make some days long and lonely.

Stillness

Stillness

 

I encouraged by repeating over and over again…

“You are on your way home!”

“It won’t be long!!  You can make it home!!

“I believe in you!!”

“I love you!”

There's No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

 

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

~~Maya Angelou~~

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Finding Joy in the Journey

July 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm (Decorative Painting, Multiple Sclerosis, Sewing Projects, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I am having a trigeminal neuralgia attack.  If I could rip off the right side of my face, I’d be golden!!  Instead, I have taken four rounds of medicine and am thinking positively that this last round will kick-start pain relief.  I was going to sew and paint today but, with this amount of medicine in my body… hmmmm… inserting a zipper is out of the question and unless I am painting an abstract piece… So, I am writing in my blog.

My new MS medicine, Tecfidera, seems to be working.  I was able to wear heels to a funeral yesterday.  I will never give away my high heels, even if I just look at them sitting in my closet.   I am very blessed to have financial assistance to pay for my medicine.  It costs $4,550.00 for 60 pills each month!!  I only have to pay $10.00.

I want to share with you the two projects I am currently working on.  The first is a sundress designed by Gretchen Hirsch of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing.  I love the vintage vibe of this dress. I wanted a light, breezy look so I chose flocked cotton for the body of the dress and sweet polka dot cotton for the bodice contrast.  I have the main pieces of the dress and lining sewn together but I need to insert boning, a zipper and put everything together.

Butterick Pattern

Butterick Pattern

Finding Joy In The Journey-2

My second project is a mixed media piece I am calling “Finding Joy in the Journey.”  I was inspired by a book by Kelly Rae Roberts called “Taking Flight.”  I have received so many cards and letters over the last 22 years and have saved nearly every piece.  Last week I pulled them out and re-read all of them and cut out things that meant the most to me.  I actually have enough material to create four or five more pieces.  I honor those of you who inspire me.  YOU help me find my joy each day.

Finding Joy In The Journey-1

Finding Joy In The Journey-3

I am using Heritage mediums by David Jansen instead of Modge Podge or gesso.  I used his multi surface sealer (MSS) to affix the cards and messages to a 16×12 canvas. I need to distress the surface of the piece and plan to use extender (to make the paint more transparent).  I haven’t decided on a color palette yet.   I am drawing an angel, most likely Millie, and am going to paint her over the patchwork of encouraging notes, signatures and pictures.

Right now I am going to take a wee nap.  I can’t wait to share the finished pieces with you !!

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Finally Finished!!

July 5, 2013 at 10:58 am (Decorative Painting, Jewelry)

Like most artists, creative souls that we are, sometimes I just don’t finish a piece.  They lie around, collecting dust, in the corners of my art studio/exercise room, taking up too much of my limited space.  As I am crawling out of another hole, I have decided to undertake the very large task of finishing my decorative painting pieces, jewelry projects and sewing endeavors… except for my M.O.B. dress, which is too overwhelming right now (plus I need to lose about 15 more pounds for it to fit me).

I finished a leather necklace for Brent, which included two of his requested charms, a deer antler and acoustic guitar and one of his Momma’s… an angel wing.  I included this verse in the package:

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Psalms 91:11-12

It doesn’t matter how old your kiddos are, you still pray protection over them!!

Of course, as I usually do, I forgot to take a good picture of it with my camera.  I used my cell phone so excuse the poor results!!

Brent's charm necklace.  What you can't see is that instead of a clasp, I made two sliding knots, so he could adjust the length!

Brent’s charm necklace. What you cannot see is, that instead of a clasp, I made two sliding knots, so he can adjust the length!

I also finished three decorative painting pieces.  I don’t have a clue where to hang them, but they are D.O.N.E.

I love this color of blue!

I love this color of blue!

Rosemaling piece

Rosemaling piece

A French country piece

A French country piece

Close-up... :-)

Close-up… 🙂

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The Magic Mirror

July 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm (Musings...)

Hello!  I know I’ve been away for a long time.  Time and circumstances fought with my body and wrestled the last three months from me.  I’m on a new MS medicine, Tecfidera.  Hopefully I will stay in touch with you all.

This blog is directly inspired by a young mother I know, Tab, who is raising two little ones and blogs beautifully.  Her blog post, “An Open Letter to My Daughter About Her Body,” spoke to my soul.  I always told my daughter she was beautiful and could do anything she wanted to, but what harmed HER the most was how I talked about MY body.  If I am honest, I still struggle with body issues, always striving for something that is just out of reach… Alas, now age and illness have caught up with me and I need to figure out how to be content in my own skin.  Enough about me. 🙂

The Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror

When Amanda was home in April for a girls’ weekend – Mid’s Chocolate, Penn Gables Pizza and a Harry Potter movie marathon –she made an off-handed comment that really got me thinking.  She said, “You know, I’ve always loved the way I look in this mirror!”  “This” mirror is the looking glass that has hung in her bedroom since we moved into our house in 1985.  We bought the bedroom suite from JCPenneys – it was all the rage in 1985!!  The only thing that has changed in her room is the wall art and the size of the bed.  Because the mirror is so heavy, it has hung in the exact same spot for almost 30 years!

So what’s up with that particular mirror??  I don’t see anything special when I look in that mirror.  I see my lumps and bumps, wrinkles and gray hair.

My “ah-ha” moment came last week as I was writing Tab a note, thanking her (again) for her wonderful post.

Unbridled Joy

Unbridled Joy

Amanda’s mirror is magic to her, because that is where she looked at herself before she succumbed to society’s pressure, and reflected my self-hate towards my own body; before it mattered whether her hair was curly or straight, whether her smile looked funny or she was too fat or too thin.

Cheeky

Cheeky

She saw her reflection as a five-year-old when she loved to play with her dolls and was a princess and was always happy.  She looked at herself as a six-year-old when she was learning to read and could picture herself as the heroine of her very own book.  She was seven and wanted to be a singer, belting tunes with a hairbrush microphone and an attitude – all in front of that magic mirror.

Magic Mirror-4

BrentBen-8

When she was ten she started ballet lessons and danced in that tiny space between the dresser and her bed, and her reflection mirrored her movements.  When she looked at herself, she saw power, grace, courage… all those things that give us strength as we face the pressures of life.

Magic Mirror-6

Throughout her teenage years, although she struggled with body issues as most girls do, while she saw her current body reflected in that mirror, she felt the empowerment of her six-year-old self, her dancer self, lighter than air.  The singer.  The heroine.  The Princess.  That mirror still has the power to make her feel good about who she is and how she looks.

That’s why it’s magic!!

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