Thursday, July 2, 2015

Facebook and Surprise Inspiration, 7.2.15's kind of a dirty word around here, lately.  I've written before about the many pros and cons of Facebook and my love/hate relationship with it definitely continues. I even recently tried to cut way back on "Facebooking" by starting a new page with just a few friends and family members. But, even with those changes, as of late, Facebook seems to be mostly "cons". There are just too many ways for things to be interpreted (or misinterpreted). So, in response, I deactivated the second Facebook account. The problem with that is, you have to have a personal page in order to manage a business page. And my Olive and Ash page is very important to me because it's a direct link to this space. And I'm not willing to let that go. I've said before that this blog began as a way to document my art work, but it evolved into more of an online journal of my general, everyday musings- sometimes on art, sometimes on life and sometimes both. I've come to find out that talking is only a way for me to muddle through ideas, problems and thoughts. Writing, for me, is much more constructive. It's actually extremely helpful to me. And I've always hoped that it might be helpful to others, even if it's just one person who may relate to what I have written on a particular day.  

So my very supportive, generous and kind daughter came up with a solution to my problem. She is allowing me to manage the page from her Facebook page. Can you imagine a child (albeit, she is my 31 year old child!) giving their mom their username and password?! I know! I am crazy lucky to have her. So, I will still be able to alert you to new blog posts and post updates on the Olive and Ash Facebook page. Yay!

Now, enough about the drama of Facebook and onto some new work that I started this week. In my last post, I shared some inspiration pieces that I found online (taken from my Pinterest board). But, much to my surprise, I was more recently inspired by my own work. (I know! haha! That never happens to me!) You may remember it from this post.

The perfect spot was found in the sales room at Blumenhof.

I made it for M., for Christmas, a couple of years ago. It has been hidden away in the winery office since then, as M. is not the decorator and didn't know where to hang it. Last week,  I suddenly had my mind set to find a perfect place for it.  When I pulled it out of the office and into the light, I was reminded of how proud I felt when I finished it. And how it incorporates all of the things that are important to me- fiber, painting, stitching and words. And how it's cool that it requires a light source from behind to be fully seen and appreciated. I have been struggling, lately, (as I'm sure you know from my last few posts) to be inspired.  I am constantly going from stitching, to painting, to stitching, to painting. Back and forth. Back and forth.  And I have always thought that combining the two would be my "thing", as I really don't see much of that type of work out there. I can't tell you how good it felt to see that piece again and have that light bulb go on in my mind. I immediately thought, "Why haven't I been doing this for the last couple of years? What led me off track?" I don't really have an answer for that except that we have had a lot going on the last couple of years, so I've been a little distracted. But, it really doesn't matter. Inspiration hits you when it's least expected. I should know that by now. And I'm running with this one. This past week, I've been  working on some sketches and plans I have for three different designs incorporating figure drawings. This one, Lost in Translation, began to take shape yesterday.

Machine piecing, marking and stitching have begun. More layers after that.

I'll save the others for another post, as I just realized how long this one has become! So, 'till next time- thank you for reading! Juli

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lately, 6.24.15

First of all, I apologize for the delay with this post, as I thought it would be finished Monday. Life happens and here it is on Wednesday! First of all, I'm making some changes to my social media and I'm going to try to attempt keeping this blog going without a Facebook page. If you'd like to continue being alerted about new posts, just sign up as a follower or, if not, just bookmark it and check back in from time to time. We'll see how this goes :)  In the meantime, here is my...


Making: painting, embroidering, sewing, refurbishing
A two hour challenge painting. I'm not super happy with it (brush strokes need to be much looser), but since I had a time limit, I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

Baby G's first birthday pillow (Peanut got one on his first birthday, too). It has a handle (which is barely visible here) and embroidered pockets (Ruben J's jean pockets) for small books, toys, etc.
Pocket detail (in progress).

I intended to paint this chair, but decided on making a cover instead. Since it's made of cedar, I wasn't sure about the paint sticking like it should.

Drinking: Still stuck on Starbuck's Flat White, and now, peach and ginger green tea.Yum!

Eating: Still staying away from processed foods and foods with too many ingredients and/or "mystery" ingredients. And I still feel great!

Watching: Cake- Jennifer Aniston was amazing, but the movie was pretty much a downer. Don't watch it if you're depressed!

Reading: Finished the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up". The author seems pretty obsessive about being organized (which I can't relate to- at all!) but she has good tips. And I was really motivated to clean up/clean out when I finished reading it.

Listening to: some classics- Danny's Song by Loggins and Messina and Carolina in My Mind by James Taylor

Thinking about: How fast the summer is flying by.

Laughing at: Peanut at the bowling alley for the first time. His phrase for the day- "oh, gosh!"

Disliking: our lawn maintenance people weed-whacking my brand new peony bush! So mad!

Loving:  All of us piling into a pick-up truck (don't worry, it was just on the cemetery road!) and heading to the cemetery to release Baby G's first birthday balloons. And the picture, below. I'm so glad to have captured that exact moment when everyone was looking up at the same time.

As far as studio news, I'm very slow to start this summer (which I hate), but I've been inspired lately by some painted fiber pieces with lots of layers. And since experimenting with mediums is on my summer list, that's what I'll be working on next. Hopefully something good will come from experimenting and playing and not being too hard on myself.

Here are some examples of my inspiration pieces:
Jette Clover
Artist information here

spirit cloth Jude Hill
Artist information here

And finally, my very best wishes go out to my niece and her husband, as they had their itsy bitsy ( 5 lb. 9 oz.!) new little girl yesterday. She is our newest family member, their first baby, our family's first little girl in a long while (16 years!) and another little Baby G! And she is the cutest little thing :)

Have a great week!  Juli

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Making a list, 6.6.15

No, Christmas is not on my mind yet. I just think I need a(nother) list. I can't remember the last time my mind felt this "jumbled". I think I've had so many plans in mind for my summer break, that I just can't get my head around any of them at this point. I honestly feel like I have some sort of attention issue. And I don't really like that. Today, I found myself going from laundry, to cleaning the garage, to working on a stitching project, to reading a book, to planting flowers- all within a couple of hours. And I'm not even exaggerating! So enough of that nonsense....I'm going to make that list. I wrote about this a couple of summers ago (you can read about that here) and it really does help. As I've gotten older, I have become much more routine oriented. When I was younger, just the word "routine" made me cringe. To me, "routine" coincided with being old and crotchety. It was definitely the opposite of "free-spirit", which had always been the way I thought of myself. But now, I need it. As much as I like having a break from lesson planning, getting up early and dealing with teenagers every day, I also enjoy the routine of it all. Without the routine, I get to sleep later, but when I wake up, I feel aimless and my mind drifts from one thing to another. Yep, a list is definitely what this wandering mind needs. So, I'll write my daily list in this cute little notebook (one left over from the last time I wrote about making a summer list)  and I'll be on track from here on out and this summer will be my most productive one yet. The power of positive affirmations, right?!

Well, enough about lists. I'll update on how well the list is working, as more blog time is on the list :)  For now, I'll leave you with my "lately" (and there has been a LOT, lately!). Oh, and just a warning: PICTURE OVERLOAD AHEAD.

Making: I have three projects in the works that have to be finished by mid June, so expect updates on those. And my daily paintings will pick back up tomorrow. (Thanks to M. for always reminding me how important that is.)
A glimpse of project #1.

Drinking: Still stuck on Starbucks Decaf Flat White with coconut milk (It's way too easy to hop in the car and go to Starbucks now!)

Eating: A lot more. Yay! My test results came back and I have no dairy or wheat sensitivity but I am sensitive to corn, clams (of all things!) and a few other things, including MSG. So I have been avoiding gluten and dairy for several years now and replacing it with corn based products and this whole time I've had a sensitivity to corn! No wonder I wasn't getting better. I will say that I have felt SO much better eating the clean, whole foods for the last couple of months, though. So, even though I know I can have certain foods now, I'm still going stick to the "no processed" or "less than five ingredients" foods. But, will I have pizza with cheese and a slice of pie every so often? You bet I will!!

The first piece of REAL pizza I've had in several years. REAL cheese and REAL crust. Imo's. SO GOOD!

Watching: The videos from my son and daughter-in-law's rehearsal dinner and wedding. On the emotional scale of 1-10, I feel like I've been at 11+ for the last few weeks.  I go from missing my boy (so much!), to being so happy for him and his wife, to feeling so sad that his dad isn't here to witness this, and so on and so on, many times, over the course of each day. Wow.

Reading: Catching up on some books that I've had for a while- Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and just starting The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Yoga for Life: a Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom

Listening to: Beautiful Boy by John Lennon- can't stop listening.

Thinking about: All of the time and effort my new daughter-in-law and her family put into this wedding. It was beyond beautiful and I'm so grateful to them for giving my son a day that he will never forget.

The bride and groom, Jamey and Alicia (aka Eddie and Falicia) dancing up a storm at the reception

A gift from my daughter-in-law. I love this :)

A gift from my son.

My boys with their girls.

These two are more like sister and brother than cousins. By the way, she will be giving us another Baby G in June :)

Eddie and Sister visiting with some long-time friends.

Peanut, dancing up a storm with two of his MawMaws.

Beautiful cake and beautiful couple.

My mother's rose. Perfect white rose.
Ruben J was a significant part of the ceremony.
M with his Brooklyn girl and her boyfriend, who were home for the wedding.

Laughing at: Myself, for backing into my son's girlfriend's car the morning of the wedding. It was so stupid that I have to laugh at myself. And I'm glad his sweet girlfriend laughed about it, too.

Disliking: Myself, for backing into my son's girlfriend's car!

Loving; My bonus kids-son (in-law) and daughter (in-law) and Little Man's girl. I couldn't have asked for kids who are so easy to be around and who feel like they have always been a part of our family. I'm so lucky. And M's kids- I don't see them often enough, but have such a fun time with them when I do see them.

And a few random photos that I just felt like sharing:

My boy- the Carhartt model! So proud!

And our other set of "boys". Love them to pieces!

Have a great weekend!  Juli

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lately...please excuse my absence!, 5.7.15

Yeah, I've been gone for a while. Still living in Wentzville and still working in Washington, but absent from this space. A lot has been going on around here. Between pre-wedding events, pre-wedding shopping, art show, the end of the school year and just regular life "stuff", there hasn't been much time to blog or make things. I'm really looking forward to summer break so I can focus on those things. But, in the meantime, here's what's been going on lately:

Making: oh, my...nothing! And my hands are itching to make something- anything!

Drinking: Green tea, red wine, the occasional cup of coffee and more water than I ever really want to drink.

Eating:  A low sugar, elimination diet. SO MUCH FUN! (Not!) All healthy, whole food- no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no preservatives- per doctor's orders, as she is still trying to figure out my digestive problem and lower my blood sugar (yep, got that from my mom and my uncle- thanks, guys!) Anywho, I'm getting more used to it, but it's very time consuming because I have to prepare almost everything I eat. Eating out and/or ordering in is really difficult.

Watching: We caved and had cable re-installed, so we've been enjoying Bill Maher and Anthony Bourdain again. (And the occasional Hallmark movie or episode of the Waltons :)  Shhhh...don't tell M.!)

Reading: More blogs! Shocker, I know.

Listening to: Some new songs recommended by Little Man -  Sam Smith, Ernie Halter and Ben Rector. And, I recently came across Jason Mraz's 93 Million Miles and it's my new fave. 

 I was considering this as Eddie's and my Mother/Son dance song, but in the end, I couldn't give up on Simple Man :)

Thinking about: Always my kids, but especially lately, as I've been watching our old home videos. Man, I miss them. I get choked up just typing that :(

Laughing at: The old home videos!These are three of the most animated, happy kids. They were/are so much fun.

Disliking: I honestly can't think of one thing that I'm disliking right now. Well, maybe disrespectful students. Yeah, I'll go with that.

Loving: Hearing M. say "You'll always be my girl." Wow. Even a 49 year old "girl" loves hearing that :)

Have a great week!  Juli

Friday, April 17, 2015

Procrastination (and a Giveaway!), 4.6.15

Procrastinating. I'm really good at that, in case you're wondering. Yes, I've been doing it all of my life. It's really how I roll, for the most part.  I think about something for a looonngg time before I act on it. For example, before I went back to school, I thought about it for about two years. Then I attended for a year. Then I quit for 7 years. Then I went back for a year.  Then I quit for 6 months.Then I went back and actually finished my degree. Then, out of school for a year, I decided to go back to school for a teaching certificate and another degree. (Needless to say, I'm pretty much FINISHED with the school gig!) But, even though it took a while, after all that, I pretty much have my dream job. And, since taking all of those art classes to get that dream job, I now have another dream job. Making things. Painting things, sewing things, crafting things etc. I procrastinated about getting serious about that, too, until I finally got up enough nerve to open my Olive and Ash shop in January of 2012. Since the very beginning, though, I've envisioned it being not only a place where people can shop, but also a place where people can learn- by offering workshops, classes, lessons, tutorials, etc. But, again, I've procrastinated on that second part. (Remember? That's how I roll! Story of my life- ask my parents and my kids!) But, now I feel like the time has come to get on with it. I know it's the next step if  I want Olive and Ash to end up being everything I have envisioned since the beginning. Hopefully it will continue to grow enough over the years to be my retirement "career" when the time comes. (Ten years and 9 months, but who's counting?!)

So, I really need some help from you. Basically, I'm wanting to know what kind of  tutorials, classes, workshops, etc. people might be interested in. A few of my thoughts:

*semi-private (2-3 kids ) painting or craft lessons in my home
* paint and wine nights (super trendy right now and I have the perfect place!)
*workshops for adults or kids in my home (small groups) or an alternate location (for larger groups- location yet to be determined).

(And, I  have names picked out for whatever the venue ends up being- Olive and Ash Studio-GO! and Olive and Ash- OPEN STUDIO.)  :-)

I know there are many more ideas that I haven't thought of , so I'm hoping that you'll  leave a comment with your ideas here on the blog or on the Olive and Ash Facebook page. And, if you could spread the word by sharing the Facebook post with the link to this blog post, it would be nice to get as much feedback as possible.

And, the best part... for your time and trouble... a giveaway! For each comment or "Share" your name will be entered into a drawing for my Left-Handed Apples painting. (Please be sure to let me know that you shared!)

Thank you so much!   Juli

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lately, 4.10.15


Making: custom onesies and Easter baskets, no time to paint lately :(
Drinking: organic, unsweetened cranberry juice (don't worry, I add Truvia, otherwise it's too sour to drink!)
Watching: a really disturbing documentary about Rich Hill, Mo, called Rich Hill. I couldn't even watch the whole thing. Sad, but eye opening. And I'm in the middle of a Friends marathon on Netflix (to counteract  the effects of the depressing documentary).
Reading: just blogs lately, here are some of my recent favorites: Sedwick Studio, Unspeakable Visions and 3191 Miles Apart
Listening to: Sam Smith's Lay Me Down
Thinking about: the future of Olive and Ash Studio ( a blog post about this is in the works-stay tuned!)
Laughing at: Peanut thinking that PawPaw M. said "pickles" when he really said "ankles".So cute. And his pickles are on his back, you know :)
Disliking: Feeling like crap after having to purposely eat gluten and dairy last weekend for some tests I had run. Oh, my! Nothing like having a stomach ache for four days straight.
Loving: the thought of those above mentioned tests revealing some answers- finally.

Have a great weekend :)   Juli