Scattering Ashes - Part 2

Monday

Our brother, Terry knew he was about to die.

It was his choice to stop dialysis and allow for a peaceful, natural passing after years of being ravaged by diabetes and kidney failure. During the last few days of his life, he made it abundantly clear to us that he did not want a formal funeral or church service and that he wanted to be cremated with his ashes scattered in a specific bay that we were all familiar with. Out of respect for our big brother, his cremated remains were laid to rest into the sea on July 18th 2010.

It was a serene and sunny Sunday morning.

My sister, Bobbie read the following words (in part) from the lyrics of a Billy Joe Shaver song, "When Fallen Angels Fly" as my brother, Vic slowly released Terry's ashes into the water...Terry was a good guy but would be the first to say that he was "no angel", so the words just seemed appropriate...
"Terry, it's time for you now to relax into the arms of God.
Know that God saves His fallen angels
And their broken wings, he'll mend
All their sins will be forgiven.
All the saints will rejoice in heaven
When fallen angels fly.
Terry, We thank you for all that you have been to us.
We release you to God.
May your journey ahead be glorious and sweet."

Although I couldn't be there, our promise was kept to our big brother.
May he rest in peace.
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Family Drama Post Script; There's No Escaping It...
A few days later, we heard that one of Terry's ex-wives (there were a few) reportedly discounted his last wishes to our relatives. How nice it would have been if she could have just let it go. I can't help but think... were her comments meant to be hurtful or did she just feel empowered by them? Either way, they were unnecessary and inappropriate. 
__________________________________________________________

The Anatomy of My "Masterpiece"

Friday

2003 
Blank canvas
2005 
Paint and Brushes 
2007
Class in painting with acrylics 
2009
Arkansas Road Trip
2010
Masterpiece completed

I understand that seven years is but the flap of a gnats wing when talking "art" so I guess I'm ahead of the game.

My 'Masterpiece' was created out of necessity. Our expansive, dull and boring living room wall was getting to me and on the advice of the fabulous Traci Connell with Connell Interiors, I was encouraged to purchase a large piece of art to place on the afore-mentioned wall. That was eight years ago.
Finding a painting my sweet husband and I both liked, for a price we felt comfortable with, proved futile. After attending various art fairs and galleries, it suddenly dawned on me that I could paint my own masterpiece. If it wound up looking stupid, I had the choice between displaying it or not. No big whup.

My inspiration began with a photograph from our Arkansas Road Trip. It was taken in the Fall of 2009.

A blank canvas and glass of wine... 
An outline and a little color...
And now, the reveal...
 "Arkansas Autumn"
by moi.

Goodwill Beach Bags

Wednesday

One of my all-time favorite resale shops is Goodwill.

Yes, long gone are the days of stumbling upon a Louis Vuitton handbag for $3.50 or a pair of Gucci shoes in the bargain bin. I realize that Goodwill employees have become super savvy to European designer creations and snag those items up as soon as they hit the receiving dock. So it was not too surprising when I heard that Goodwill has taken their enterprise a step further and opened an 'upscale' store in Keller, Texas. It's called the "GW Boutique".

Is nothing sacred?

I guess not - as soon as I check it out, I'll let you know more.

In the meantime, I'm happy to frequent the 'old-fashioned' Goodwill. One of my favorite stores is located about 10 miles away in an industrial area of Dallas. It's a great place to find never-used surplus stuff that area factories donate.
A couple of years ago, on one of my many Goodwill visits, I found brand new brown canvas tote bags with black strap handles for fifty cents each! Unable to resist the lure of a bargain, I bought ten of them. Granted, they might not have been the cutest bags ever and were a far cry from 'designer' quality but they were well made and had both outside and inside pockets. The familiar stirrings of a future craft project was in the making...
As the proud owner of ten new canvas bags, the only question I had now for myself was... What was I going to do with them? I called my friend, Kim who I just knew could help and she was all over it.

Beach bags for my sister's 50th Birthday Cruise.

All it took was a little craft paint and glitter, fabric and ribbon.




Voila! All 'cruisers' had their own personalized beach bag!

The beach bags turned out so well that I let my husband in on my plan to make matching visors for the guys who were also going on the cruise. Our conversation went sort of like this...

Him: (broadly smiling and appearing all eager) - "Are you going to make them all sparkly?"
Me:  (also smiling and equally as eager) - "Yeah!"
Him: (smugly) - "Don't."

Huh. He tells me that most guys don't really care to wear sparkly visors.

Their loss.

Cross Stitch

Sunday

It may take me a while but eventually I finish what I've started.

Case in point...

In my list of  Creative Endeavors, I chose to not list "Cross stitch" but then reconsidered. My first (and last) cross-stitch project really needed to be documented somewhere.

'Teddy Bear Parade' (see above) was started in 1980. It was a gift for my sweet nephew, Robert.

By the time his adorable little brother, Thomas came along in 1983 it was not quite finished so I thought it would make for a cute gift for both of them to hang in their room.

My final cross-stitch was made on this project, a mere nineteen years later in 1999. The thing is...I have no excuse. A lot of it was pre-stamped and colored.

At this point, I knew there was no way that I could look into the eyes of either of my grown nephews with a straight face while presenting them with 'Teddy Bear Parade' - I'm thinking they preferred girls.

Maybe I'll get started on working towards getting it stretched and framed for when one of them has a child of their own. But, at the rate I roll...

Stained Glass

Thursday

I love stained glass.

I think it may have something to do with being raised Catholic.

I, like so many of my peers were forced to attend weekly Sunday Mass as a child. The kicker was that Mass was delivered in Latin. I didn't speak Latin. I still don't. So, Latin services made for one bored and restless Catholic kid.

Giggling, playing, fighting and/or talking in church was considered a 'sin' and you didn't want be caught 'sinning' by any one of the "Sisters of St. Joseph". My two older brothers told me about how brutal the nuns could be and I took their word for it. My brothers were most definitely 'sinners' and had been known to be on the receiving end of Sister Mary Alexander's corporal punishment at one time or another.

So, I (being a "Good Catholic" girl) would spend my required time in church being mesmerized by the stained glass windows as I sat, kneeled and stood to the rhythm of Latin chants and prayers.
I was about ten years old when the Catholic Church took the giant leap forward and decided that it might be time to start delivering Mass in English when in English-speaking countries. Go figure. Unfortunately, by then my young mind had lost interest in what the church had to say but my soul remained 'hooked ' on stained glass.

About two years ago, I took a Stained Glass class.Here are a few of my 'creations'...




Photography

Wednesday

"A Registered Nurse, storyteller and wannabe artist. Always on the lookout for a creative outlet"

That is how I chose to describe myself in the "About Me" section of my blog. 

So, where does the "wannabe artist" part come in? I've written about all other aspects of my bio but have purposely chosen to omit my 'creative endeavors'. Maybe it's because my talent might be best described as somewhat "mediocre".

No worries though... I seriously doubt that you really care one way or the other, so in the interest of  documentation, please excuse me for inflicting my 'art' on you from time to time.

One of my first creative pursuits was "Photography". To me it seemed simple enough and didn't require a whole lot of stuff. But then I learned about F-Stops and apertures...

So much for manual photography.

Not possessing the required attention span to grasp the complexity of real photography, I decided that pointing and shooting with a decent digital camera would do just fine for me.






Then, I learned about all the things that can be done to my pictures using 'Adobe Photoshop'.

WooHoo!

Pictures could be made to look like paintings, poor lighting could be improved, red eyes removed, cropping was a snap, but most importantly... superimposing friends faces on other pictures was a breeze.
Granted, it's not the simplest software to figure out but if you have the time and like indoor activities, it can be a lot of fun.

Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...