Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Memories Box - Grief


My good friend’s husband passed away after 11 years of fighting lymphoma and leukemia.  This past year was terrible for both of them as they struggled to be positive and useful and loving.  I visited with her one afternoon and I listened as she told me how she will miss his presence, his humor, his wit and his nightly, “Good Night, Beautiful”.  She is, of course, glad he is no longer in pain and she has removed the reminders of that pain from the house.  We both know the reminders live within her and will fade with time as the good memories take over.  A doctor once told me that losing a loved one leaves a hole inside.  That hole can be likened to the hole in a doughnut.  The hole is there with healing around it.  
I opened my memory box to share some of the pain and some of the humor I remember so well from my husband’s dying.   My friend was concerned about getting the ashes to another state.  I shared the story of picking out the container for my husband’s ashes knowing he would not have selected any that I saw.  I finally spotted a cardboard cylinder with yellow tape with the words ‘TEMPORARY CONTAINER’.  That’s what I wanted!  When I went to pick it up, I was handed a cylinder printed with a rainbow and his name.  I cried and said, ‘No! That’s not what I selected.  That looks like a Libby’s fruit can!”  The manager quickly explained that the tape was under the label.  Yes, I took it off. 
I learned many things during that time in my life.  I learned the importance of listening, of quietly holding a hand, of giving a hug, of sharing myself.  I learned the value of not making judgments, of accepting where we are at a given time.  I learned that inviting Hospice into my home could save my sanity letting angels take over.  I’ve learned to manage the memories and open my heart to a new life and a new love.  Yes, it takes time and everyone’s time table is different. 
 My friends, who were extremely supportive, explained that since I was the first to go through experiencing Hospice, losing my husband and rebuilding my life, they would expect help when it came their turn.  That only seems fair. 
Perhaps this piece I wrote in 2007 will help someone going through the same experience.
The Grief Box

It’s there – all the time.  This multi-sided box, tumbling in my mind, sometimes invisible and sometimes so large there is nothing else.  It is sensitive to any temperature with clear panels that change size and color and opacity with an ever-revolving code that I cannot find and cannot control.  Pictures appear and trigger memories- some welcomed and some not, some long forgotten and some very sacred-never to be lost that feel like they are slipping away.  And yet I know they are captured.  But can I find the ones I want when I want them?

After five years of becoming very familiar this multi-sided container of mine, I know that it will never go away.  I will continue living as I learn to accept the place it occupies.  My box holds fragments of living and dying and it is mine.  I cannot give it away.  I cannot run far enough to lose it.  I learn to look at it, experience it, put it away and know that without warning it will pop-up to surprise me, annoy me, sadden me, and bring me joy. It is now part of me just like my ability to continue to love and greet each day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Making Transfers in Polymer Clay

Lace transfer in center of ornament
I did it!  I finally got the transfers to work!  Last Friday, I told you about the class I was taking on line (Heather Campbell and ‘Lady Luck Pendants’) and how I did not have the clay softener for the transfers.  If you missed that, please go back and read about how I decided to do Christmas Ornaments my way instead of making the ‘Lady Luck’ Pendants.  Also check out the other classes on this site: www.craftartedu.com  
Lace Photos Transfered to Unbaked Polymer Clay
 There doesn’t seem to be much sense in taking a class unless you try all the techniques.  This week I have all the ingredients and decided to follow the instructions for transfers!  Yes, putting the clay softener on the rolled out clay and placing the toner based lace designs face down on the clay with the softener between generally worked.  I had to really burnish the back of each design and as you can see from the photos some worked better than others.  I was able to go back over the images and burnish them several times before I removed the paper.  Sometimes the ink did not release no matter how long I left the image on the clay.  It’s good to gently lift the paper to see if the ink has transferred.  If not, lay it back down and burnish.
 Heather suggested using the combination of white and Sahara Fimo polymer clay.  Of course, last week I only had white so I used it.  The creamier blend looks a lot better especially when antiqued.   “Listen to the teacher” should become my mantra!  I need to try it her way and then go off on my own.  
Now that I know how to do these transfers, I have several ideas of how I can use the photos I’ve taken as a centerpieces for polymer jewelry.  So next Friday I will share my ‘raven in flight’! 
I’d love to hear about your experiences when making transfers in polymer clay.  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment.  That way we will all learn more!







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

There are differences between the South Rim and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon  that go beyond direction. 
The North Rim is lots less crowded, has higher elevation (8200 feet) with a spruce-fir forest, takes longer to get to and has fewer amenities. 
It is well worth the trip!  There are lots of hiking trails and spectacular scenic views with a different perspective.
We stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge in a charming cabin.  Dinner was delicious at the lodge and the sunset spell binding. 
Dawn found us dressed and ready to walk out to Bright Angel Point Trail. 
The weather changed mid morning bringing dark clouds, thunder and rain.  Pretty dramatic!
Today the forces of nature are at work slowly deepening and widening the Grand Canyon.  There is much information on the geology and history of this place at http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
And oh yes, it closes Oct. 15 due to the weather!

 

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Renaissance Christmas Ornaments

I signed up to take Heather Campbell’s class, “Lady Luck Pendants” through http://www.craftartedu.com/.  The ad for it looked so intriguing and I love the ornate look of her pendants.  It was worth the $25 cost of the class!  I selected left over clay in a variety of colors and gathered canes that blended with them. 
I pulled out sequins, crystals and bead caps.  By now my desk is piling up.  Did I mention that it was late evening and I really wanted to try these techniques right then!  Patience?  None!!
I read the tutorial again (I had watched the video earlier) and zeroed in on the transfer section.  The transfers needed to print on a toner printer.  We have that.  But I did not have images I wanted to transfer. Hmmm…
I take photographs and I have an album of lace photos that are black and white.  After selecting 8 images, I printed them on the correct printer.  What? no clay softener ?  I thought, “why not try Sculpey Bake and Bond”.  I bet that would work.  NOT!  Use the materials she suggests!  Big difference.  There was no transfer with the Bake and Bond.  Clay Softener would have to wait until the next day.
And if I wasn’t going to follow her directions exactly, I would just do my own thing.  I used her basic techniques minus the image transfers and the antiquing.  I'll get to those soon!
Here are my first 11 Renaissance Christmas Ornaments – each unique and oh so much fun to make.  I went to bed very late and was very happy.  Must be the Christmas thing!
Check out my creations on www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Memory Box is Overflowing

Ok!  I’m back!  My blogs will get back on schedule. In case you forgot, Tuesdays are nature and things important to me.  Fridays are usually about jewelry techniques and what I’m doing.
It is so nice to be home in Prescott AZ.  I’ve been to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stopped to see the Condors.  Then we went to Mexico to Rancho Esmeralda for training in locating and surveying birds.  Next I went to Kansas City to see family and last to Tucson for the fall Reptile Show. 
Each place I visited held special memories both past and present.  In Kansas City, I visited my brothers and their families.  Lots of memories revisited!  We reminisced about growing up and about our parents.  There are 5 ½ years between each of us three kids.  We talked about how each of us remembers and experienced our lives with the same parents.  And of course, our parents were in different stages of their life with each of us.  I find it fascinating that the same set of circumstances is perceived in such different ways.  If a family can’t see things the same way, no wonder governments with so many more people and issues are in turmoil and disarray.
My brothers’ birthdays are a month apart and it was very special to have a family dinner at Jasper’s (I highly recommend this Italian restaurant in Kansas City MO.)  Two years ago my younger brother had a terrible accident that left him with nonunion ribs.  I had never heard of them.  It seems that they are involved in less than 1% of all accidents and most people have never heard of them.  It’s when a rib is broken and is so far apart that it will never heal.  The rib tries to connect but cannot.  Imagine living with the pain of broken ribs for the rest of your life.  It was important for me to see how he is dealing with that pain on a daily basis.  I talk to him every day but that is not the same.  He is doing much better with pain management than he was a year ago.  As he told me, ‘It’s the same pain and it is always a minimum of ‘5’ on a scale of 1-10.”  My older brother just finished getting a knee replacement.  This dinner added lots of good family memories to my memory box. 
I visited my mother-in-law whom I had not seen in 2 years.  We talk on the phone often but again it is not the same as being there.  She is 92 years old and the only ‘parent’ I have left.  Her older son, Allen, and I were married 33 years before he died of a brain tumor.  I have known her since I was 13. 
She had fallen and was in a skilled nursing home recovering.  She is the one who said, with tears in her eyes, “Our memory box is over-flowing”.  That it is.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pictures from My Trip

Just back from traveling and here are a few of my recent favorite photos.
Swallowtail Butterfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly
Not settled down enough to share my travels but here is some some inspiration.  Talk about natural color and fall color trends!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Memories Box - Grief


My good friend’s husband passed away after 11 years of fighting lymphoma and leukemia.  This past year was terrible for both of them as they struggled to be positive and useful and loving.  I visited with her one afternoon and I listened as she told me how she will miss his presence, his humor, his wit and his nightly, “Good Night, Beautiful”.  She is, of course, glad he is no longer in pain and she has removed the reminders of that pain from the house.  We both know the reminders live within her and will fade with time as the good memories take over.  A doctor once told me that losing a loved one leaves a hole inside.  That hole can be likened to the hole in a doughnut.  The hole is there with healing around it.  
I opened my memory box to share some of the pain and some of the humor I remember so well from my husband’s dying.   My friend was concerned about getting the ashes to another state.  I shared the story of picking out the container for my husband’s ashes knowing he would not have selected any that I saw.  I finally spotted a cardboard cylinder with yellow tape with the words ‘TEMPORARY CONTAINER’.  That’s what I wanted!  When I went to pick it up, I was handed a cylinder printed with a rainbow and his name.  I cried and said, ‘No! That’s not what I selected.  That looks like a Libby’s fruit can!”  The manager quickly explained that the tape was under the label.  Yes, I took it off. 
I learned many things during that time in my life.  I learned the importance of listening, of quietly holding a hand, of giving a hug, of sharing myself.  I learned the value of not making judgments, of accepting where we are at a given time.  I learned that inviting Hospice into my home could save my sanity letting angels take over.  I’ve learned to manage the memories and open my heart to a new life and a new love.  Yes, it takes time and everyone’s time table is different. 
 My friends, who were extremely supportive, explained that since I was the first to go through experiencing Hospice, losing my husband and rebuilding my life, they would expect help when it came their turn.  That only seems fair. 
Perhaps this piece I wrote in 2007 will help someone going through the same experience.
The Grief Box

It’s there – all the time.  This multi-sided box, tumbling in my mind, sometimes invisible and sometimes so large there is nothing else.  It is sensitive to any temperature with clear panels that change size and color and opacity with an ever-revolving code that I cannot find and cannot control.  Pictures appear and trigger memories- some welcomed and some not, some long forgotten and some very sacred-never to be lost that feel like they are slipping away.  And yet I know they are captured.  But can I find the ones I want when I want them?

After five years of becoming very familiar this multi-sided container of mine, I know that it will never go away.  I will continue living as I learn to accept the place it occupies.  My box holds fragments of living and dying and it is mine.  I cannot give it away.  I cannot run far enough to lose it.  I learn to look at it, experience it, put it away and know that without warning it will pop-up to surprise me, annoy me, sadden me, and bring me joy. It is now part of me just like my ability to continue to love and greet each day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Making Transfers in Polymer Clay

Lace transfer in center of ornament
I did it!  I finally got the transfers to work!  Last Friday, I told you about the class I was taking on line (Heather Campbell and ‘Lady Luck Pendants’) and how I did not have the clay softener for the transfers.  If you missed that, please go back and read about how I decided to do Christmas Ornaments my way instead of making the ‘Lady Luck’ Pendants.  Also check out the other classes on this site: www.craftartedu.com  
Lace Photos Transfered to Unbaked Polymer Clay
 There doesn’t seem to be much sense in taking a class unless you try all the techniques.  This week I have all the ingredients and decided to follow the instructions for transfers!  Yes, putting the clay softener on the rolled out clay and placing the toner based lace designs face down on the clay with the softener between generally worked.  I had to really burnish the back of each design and as you can see from the photos some worked better than others.  I was able to go back over the images and burnish them several times before I removed the paper.  Sometimes the ink did not release no matter how long I left the image on the clay.  It’s good to gently lift the paper to see if the ink has transferred.  If not, lay it back down and burnish.
 Heather suggested using the combination of white and Sahara Fimo polymer clay.  Of course, last week I only had white so I used it.  The creamier blend looks a lot better especially when antiqued.   “Listen to the teacher” should become my mantra!  I need to try it her way and then go off on my own.  
Now that I know how to do these transfers, I have several ideas of how I can use the photos I’ve taken as a centerpieces for polymer jewelry.  So next Friday I will share my ‘raven in flight’! 
I’d love to hear about your experiences when making transfers in polymer clay.  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment.  That way we will all learn more!







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

There are differences between the South Rim and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon  that go beyond direction. 
The North Rim is lots less crowded, has higher elevation (8200 feet) with a spruce-fir forest, takes longer to get to and has fewer amenities. 
It is well worth the trip!  There are lots of hiking trails and spectacular scenic views with a different perspective.
We stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge in a charming cabin.  Dinner was delicious at the lodge and the sunset spell binding. 
Dawn found us dressed and ready to walk out to Bright Angel Point Trail. 
The weather changed mid morning bringing dark clouds, thunder and rain.  Pretty dramatic!
Today the forces of nature are at work slowly deepening and widening the Grand Canyon.  There is much information on the geology and history of this place at http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
And oh yes, it closes Oct. 15 due to the weather!

 

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Renaissance Christmas Ornaments

I signed up to take Heather Campbell’s class, “Lady Luck Pendants” through http://www.craftartedu.com/.  The ad for it looked so intriguing and I love the ornate look of her pendants.  It was worth the $25 cost of the class!  I selected left over clay in a variety of colors and gathered canes that blended with them. 
I pulled out sequins, crystals and bead caps.  By now my desk is piling up.  Did I mention that it was late evening and I really wanted to try these techniques right then!  Patience?  None!!
I read the tutorial again (I had watched the video earlier) and zeroed in on the transfer section.  The transfers needed to print on a toner printer.  We have that.  But I did not have images I wanted to transfer. Hmmm…
I take photographs and I have an album of lace photos that are black and white.  After selecting 8 images, I printed them on the correct printer.  What? no clay softener ?  I thought, “why not try Sculpey Bake and Bond”.  I bet that would work.  NOT!  Use the materials she suggests!  Big difference.  There was no transfer with the Bake and Bond.  Clay Softener would have to wait until the next day.
And if I wasn’t going to follow her directions exactly, I would just do my own thing.  I used her basic techniques minus the image transfers and the antiquing.  I'll get to those soon!
Here are my first 11 Renaissance Christmas Ornaments – each unique and oh so much fun to make.  I went to bed very late and was very happy.  Must be the Christmas thing!
Check out my creations on www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Memory Box is Overflowing

Ok!  I’m back!  My blogs will get back on schedule. In case you forgot, Tuesdays are nature and things important to me.  Fridays are usually about jewelry techniques and what I’m doing.
It is so nice to be home in Prescott AZ.  I’ve been to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stopped to see the Condors.  Then we went to Mexico to Rancho Esmeralda for training in locating and surveying birds.  Next I went to Kansas City to see family and last to Tucson for the fall Reptile Show. 
Each place I visited held special memories both past and present.  In Kansas City, I visited my brothers and their families.  Lots of memories revisited!  We reminisced about growing up and about our parents.  There are 5 ½ years between each of us three kids.  We talked about how each of us remembers and experienced our lives with the same parents.  And of course, our parents were in different stages of their life with each of us.  I find it fascinating that the same set of circumstances is perceived in such different ways.  If a family can’t see things the same way, no wonder governments with so many more people and issues are in turmoil and disarray.
My brothers’ birthdays are a month apart and it was very special to have a family dinner at Jasper’s (I highly recommend this Italian restaurant in Kansas City MO.)  Two years ago my younger brother had a terrible accident that left him with nonunion ribs.  I had never heard of them.  It seems that they are involved in less than 1% of all accidents and most people have never heard of them.  It’s when a rib is broken and is so far apart that it will never heal.  The rib tries to connect but cannot.  Imagine living with the pain of broken ribs for the rest of your life.  It was important for me to see how he is dealing with that pain on a daily basis.  I talk to him every day but that is not the same.  He is doing much better with pain management than he was a year ago.  As he told me, ‘It’s the same pain and it is always a minimum of ‘5’ on a scale of 1-10.”  My older brother just finished getting a knee replacement.  This dinner added lots of good family memories to my memory box. 
I visited my mother-in-law whom I had not seen in 2 years.  We talk on the phone often but again it is not the same as being there.  She is 92 years old and the only ‘parent’ I have left.  Her older son, Allen, and I were married 33 years before he died of a brain tumor.  I have known her since I was 13. 
She had fallen and was in a skilled nursing home recovering.  She is the one who said, with tears in her eyes, “Our memory box is over-flowing”.  That it is.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pictures from My Trip

Just back from traveling and here are a few of my recent favorite photos.
Swallowtail Butterfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly
Not settled down enough to share my travels but here is some some inspiration.  Talk about natural color and fall color trends!