Friday, June 17, 2011


What a month!
Hang on....let me catch my breath! Whew!

Today, Moon Mama and the Hannimal are featured on Offbeat Mama!
That candy wrapper dress we created is making a name for itself, it seems.


LOVE this site!
And its sister sites--- Offbeat Home and Offbeat Bride
My kinda stuffs.

So...perhaps you've noticed that I haven't been blogging so much lately....
We've been SO crazy busy!
Sam graduated high school, moved out and went to work, and will be starting classes at UGA in the fall.
Hannah is moving on to high school in the fall.
We got a pair of bunnies, then had to give them away (alas! my allergies!)
Hannah went to Orlando with her dad and step-family last week.

Oh and ....
have I mentioned that I'm about to open my own space in Athens??
Ah yes! Finally!
The Moon Mama gets her own fantabulous space to create and offer healing in!

The amazing space across the hall from the Canadian's studios became available, and he has been running himself ragged renovating it for me.
It's an awesome space all on its own, oozing with character, but it did need a bit of work...extending walls all the way up to the ceiling, expanding the electrical and such. It has an outrageously high ceiling, with three arched windows (at least 8' tall!) overlooking the city. The building, smack-downtown Athens, is very old, and burned in the early 80's, so the space has charred beams and window trim, and original cracked plaster.
Those things I'll be leaving alone, but I'm planning to paint the drywall, finish the flooring and ..... I'm so excited...the Canadian is building me a loft with a HUGE storage area behind it!

Of course, I'll be posting photos of the progress, but it has been slow-going thus far (it is HOT down here! It must be 400* in there in the middle of the day! Ok, not really 400*, but you get the's HOT).

I'm so excited to have not only a space in which to create to my little heart's content, but in which to offer both Reiki and coaching sessions, but more about that later.

I hope to have my new site up very very soon, which is located at Over the Moon Creative Possibilities


Monday, May 9, 2011


The candy wrapper dress is done.
The dance is over.
She didn't wear the outfit I'd worked so diligently on, but that's ok; she looked beautiful anyway.

Did it hurt my feelings?
Enh.. little bit, but all along I'd realized this project was as much for me as for her.
So now I have this amazing dress, which I'll soon place on Etsy. It's all good.

In my rush to get this project completed, I'm afraid I did not remember to stop and photograph each step.
After the last photos posted here, I sewed the bodice to the skirt, and was very unhappy....the wrappers on the bodice just didn't "match" the ones on the skirt; they didn't belong together.
I also realized there was no way a ruffled flounce was going to be attached to this dress. I created the sleeves/flounces and saw that it looked more like armor than a ruffle!  Bleh!
At this point, I took the dress outside and hung it on the mimosa tree, spraying the entire creation with teal dye, letting it run and drip randomly. Awesome!
This not only filled in the "blank" spaces of fabric, but helped the wrappers to "blend" together better.

The flounces would've finished off the dress edges, and since that didn't pan out, I was faced with a new dilemma--- what to do with all those raw edges.
Enter the duct tape I'd purchased.
I trimmed the entire dress edge with hot pink duct tape. Ooooh----VERY unhappy!
It was far too bright and shiny compared to the dress itself!
I immediately added a teal tape edge over the pink.  Better, but still SO shiny!
Mod Podge to the rescue!
A coat of matte Mod Podge saved the day, dulling that tape just enough to more closely match the dress.

This was a wrap-style dress, and to cut down on bulk, I chose not to add a tie-belt, but instead used snaps at the waist.
This left the dress a little plain, so I used one of the sleeve flounces to create a large rosette by rolling, pleating and hand-stitching. When it looked like a flower, I stitched it to a large safety pin and attached it at the waist.

I wasn't happy with the way the skirt hung (and with a real live curvy human being inside, it had a gap at the bottom of the wrap overlay), so I created a petticoat from muslin and hot pink tulle.
The plain muslin begged to be hosed down with that teal dye from earlier, so out it went to the mimosa.
The way the dye dripped and puddled into the tulle was delicious!

It was only then that I realized I hadn't remembered to take photos of the steps!
So I packed up the dress, the petticoat and a wig from my collection (don't you love the way it matches the dress?) and sent it all off to the studio with the Canadian to be photographed. His prissy little mannequin is just not the same as a real feminine body, but she'll do.

I love my dress, but now I have all these candy wrappers, and a million ideas....
I don't think this is over.....not yet.
All along I'd been contemplating a matching clutch and pumps.
And I'm in love with that petticoat....
No, I do not think this is over..... 
*maniacal laughter*

Thursday, April 14, 2011

As If...

I don't have enough to do right now.....
I've been playing around with photos too.
I'd love to hear what you think.
photo of Asia and background by Timothy Schildknecht, Fringe Collective Artistic Studios

Photo of Rebecca by Kim Little. Background by Ana Rasha
photo of Moon Mama by Timothy Schildknecht

Photo of Melody by Timothy Schildknecht. Background by Enchanted Stock

Photo of Melody by Timothy Schildknecht. Background by Elena Dudina

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Little More Crazy....

Just sharing the progress of the candy wrapper dress today----
The bodice back
Bodice fronts, also known as the "breast plates" 

A portion of the skirt

Bodice front, all sewn together
Bodice back, attached to front
Today I'm heading up to complete the flouncing---it's ready to Mod Podge the papers on--- then we'll be ready to start sewing all the parts together!
We've also acquired some hot pink and some teal Duck Tape, possibly for binding the edges (I don't think that hemming is a real possibility).

More later....stay tuned....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Just in Case Y'all Were Wondering.....

I feel certain that anyone who truly knows me, has no doubts about my sanity.....or lack thereof.
For those of you who weren't sure before, well.... Read on!

I'd been itching to dive in and thoroughly immerse myself in a huge creative project all winter; any medium would be just dandy.  The opportunity presented itself (more like an excuse) when the 14 year old told me there was a big end-of-junior-high semi-formal dance coming up this spring.

So her crazy Mama decided to pull out all the stops for this one.
Sewing, painting, Mod Podging, dyeing, duct taping, ironing candy wrappers. 
I'd tried to keep this a secret from her, but the candy-snarfing friends and family I'd solicited for donations let the cat out of the bag, and after numerous stories, I had to eventually admit it....

I was planning a dress for the Girlie made from candy wrappers.

Yep, you heard me right. A candy wrapper dress.

It's coming along nicely I think.
Here's the beginning---
The first three photos are the beginnings of the skirt, and the last photo is the bodice back.

Let me tell you....we thought we had this thing figured out, but not all candy wrappers are created equal!
They have varying degrees of waxiness (which we ironed out on newspaper), and none were the same size! I thought at least all of the Tootsie Pop papers would be identical, but no.
The size variations made patterning like we'd planned a wee bit more challenging.
We were left with gaps where the plain muslin fabric shows through.
The plan is to spray dye over the finished dress to fill in the gaps a bit; if it's still not just right, then we'll be sewing random papers over the gaps.

The Girlio has a great eye for color and pattern, and she's fairly handy with the Mod Podge too.
Each wrapper had to be 'Podged onto the fabric, then sewn in place once dry.
We found that all the ironing and handling had left the papers a little fragile, and we don't want the dye spray to ruin them, so we 'Podged over them lightly.

The next phase will be to put bodice and skirt together, then apply the candy papers to the flounce, which goes all the way around (it's a wrap dress...didn't want gathers or too much detail to complicate things).
AND concoct a large paper flower where the dress fastens at the waist.
It's possible that we'll trim the whole thing out with some teal or pink duct tape (love that stuff!), and create a fluffy crinoline for underneath.

And of course, we'll welcome any comments/suggestions/helpful hints that you may have!
This is a much larger and more complex project than even I had imagined!  But what fun....a crazy Mama/Girlie project!

In the Sky! It's a Bird; It's a Plane....No..Wait.... It's ALPHA GAL!

No, I promise, I have not become some sort of twisted dominant female super hero, but you are not gonna believe THIS ----> Gut Wrenching
 New post up on my other blog; this'll blow your mind.
Well, anyway..... it blew MY mind.... 
This creepy little bugger is a wood tick, or American dog tick

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kinda Ironic....

that I'm making a DreamWheel on the Full Snow Moon when it's 70 degrees outside, eh?

Love the glitter, don't you? Especially on Buddha's nipples ;)

I was having so much fun that my nephews decided they needed to get in on the action.

And here are their finished DreamWheels---
Logan, age 3  

Dawson, age 6

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Messy Valentines

So my friend Connie is having a Valentine Art Journal Love party through Friday over at Dirty Footprints Studio.
I haven't had time to do any art journaling this week, but I did take the time to create some fun Valentines for my Dearest Loves on Sunday. I thought I'd share them with y'all.

I have five kids.
Have I mentioned that before?
Five---count 'em---5.
Five kids.

And when Mama's an artist, it just wouldn't do to give them store-bought Valentines, no matter how lovely, or how thoughtful the sentiment.
Mama wouldn't do that anyway.
Mama rarely buys anything that she can make!

So for YOU, my Loves, I thought I'd share a quick little Valentine-Lovie tutorial, and show you all how I made five Valentines in a hurry (because Mama also does most everything by the seat of her pants.... oops!).

I started with some adorable little 4x6" canvas boards, some old book pages, a little sheet music and checkerboard paper, paints, bubble wrap, and good ol' Mod Podge (have I mentioned that my Secret Love is really Mod Podge ;) ??).

         Supplies for this project:

  • canvas boards
  • sheet music
  • black and white paper
  • old book pages
  • paint: red, yellow, white, black, metallic gold
  • Mod Podge
  • Harlequin (diamond) rubber stamp
  • old credit card
  • bubble wrap
  • assorted paint brushes
  • paper towels
  • water
  • Pitt Pen, black, optional

I slathered those canvases but good with Mod Podge, ripped up the book pages and plastered them onto the canvas using an old credit card to press out any bubbles and make sure everything adhered properly.
Then I dry-brushed red paint over them messily, followed by scraps of the sheet music and the black and white paper, again with the Mod Podge and the credit card.

The next phase---bubble wrap (gosh I love bubble wrap!).
First I used the bubble wrap and a little black paint sponged on randomly. 
When the black dried (and I'm extremely impatient, so I use a heat gun or a blow dryer to speed things up), I followed it with some white paint on bubble wrap.

No idea why this photo is sideways; it was correct when I loaded it :-/

Over the bubble-imprints, I slathered on a coat of yellow paint, on which I immediately dripped water.
I waited for a minute or so (I hate to wait! But this step doesn't work well if you try to rush it with a dryer), then blotted up the water and a great deal of the paint, until I was satisfied with the look of it. This step is tricky, and it sometimes has to be repeated.

And this photo is upside down....*sigh*

Here, I've used a bit of black paint on the edges, dragging it over the edge of the front a bit to "grunge it up" a little.
Next I used the gold metallic paint on the harlequin stamp to make random, partially-stamped images at the sides of the top and opposite bottom, again wiping off bits of the paint until I was happy (and you know what they say, if Mama ain't happy......).

The finished product---
For the finishing touch, I painted on a wonky red heart, highlighted a bit with the metallic gold.
The hearts seemed a bit flat to me, so I shadowed just a tiny bit on the right-hand sides with a black Pitt Pen.

Below is a variation for a daughter---
I added a layer of splattered blue paint after the yellow splatter, mostly wiped it off, then used purple and red for the heart.
I also used a touch of paper with French script instead of sheet music, and a scrap of pink paisley paper on the upper side edge. Looks a little more...ummm...girlified.

It Shouldn't Be So Difficult....

Not a great photo, but this is the Valentine I made for my daughter Bonnie

One would think as much as I've been through in my day, both emotionally and physically, that compassion would come easily for me.
But it doesn't always, and I spend a great deal of time feeling ashamed, and punishing myself, doubting my sincerity.

I know that I feel Love...not just mushy Valentine-type love, but 
real LOVE.

I truly wish that compassion was easier for me to express. Truly.

For those that are interested, the "other blog" I mentioned is now up and running! Visit Gut Wrenching here

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My New Blog Debuts!

Well, I did it!
It's not perfect (of course it's not perfect....I mean-- it's not exactly what I meant for it to be!), but if I keep waiting for my fingers to type exactly the right words, it ain't never gonna happen!

I feel such a need to share my journey through the hell of multiple chronic illnesses, including some deadly food allergies, in the hopes of helping someone else who is suffering as I have, at the very least providing them with some hope in the knowledge that they are not alone.

At Gut Wrenching I plan to share the ups and downs of this crazy, messy life, links to useful information, tips on resources, what has worked for me, and, of course, reaching my dream, my goal---HEALTH!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Double Dare You!

Wishful thinking... wont' be long; it's almost time!  Photo by Timothy Schildknecht                                                                                                                                                               

Every morning that I wake up and choose to do what's best for my body and spirit, choose to welcome change and growth no matter what that means, choose what's right in spite of what the world says, I feel like I'm living a tremendous dare.
It's frightening and exhilarating all in the same moment.

I've made several commitments to myself over the past few months, all leading toward better health in body and mind.
Have I made mis-steps along the way? Of course I have.
Have I felt my spirit lagging throughout these trials and changes? Most certainly.
But every day, I get up and start all over again.
In every moment, I try to choose what's best.

I wish to continue to dare to commit to this quest...every moment of every day.
Who's with me?

As many of you may know, I have suffered for years with several ailments, including lupus, multiple food allergies, diabetes, fibromyalgia and depression. The latest---strange digestive anomalies that have defied diagnoses.
Realizing that I had to take responsibility for my own healing, I've made many changes in diet and lifestyle, and have committed to 6 months with the lovely Kristi Skiles-Hyllen of Kitchen Witch Coaching
I'm in the process of setting up a second blog devoted to sharing useful information with others in similar circumstances, while documenting my progress.
Watch here for an announcement when it's ready to publish.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Whole Lotta Love

So I'm feeling a little frustrated today.
OK, a LOT frustrated! 
There's so much to get done, and it seems like everything is going of those days!

I finally decided that I can sit here, frustrated, and accomplish nothing.
OR..... I can spread a little love around and change it all!
I can make a few other folk feel happy and make myself feel all better, with a coupla clicks.
So why not?!

I think I'll give away some love by giving my sweet, sweet readers some Valentine gifties---

I think I'll start with a box of my homemade chocolate covered cherries for you to indulge in...
And then I'll give away a little velveteen pouch filled with love you can spread around your neighborhood....
 Then I'll throw out a mini-version of my Message in a Bottle, so you can share the love with your Love!

To clarify, this is three separate gifts, to three separate readers.
And all you gotta do is share some love with me here!
Your comments so often make my day...
You guys rock!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Weight of the World

 ~ Queen Bonnie ~
a page from the book I made for her
in honor of her college graduation last summer

It's Wishcasting Wednesday again, and our friend Jamie asks a pointed question--- What burden do you wish to put down?

Oh baby! Are you kidding??
There are so many!

I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders (as I'm sure many women do...don't you?), to the point that it manifested physically---
Carrying everyone else's burdens as well as my own, has left me with arthritis in my neck and shoulders, unexplained pain in my arms, and fibromyalgia pain over my entire body.

Of course, as a wife and a mother, I'm bound to carry a certain amount of responsibility for those that I love.
But there is a line between what's mine and what's theirs. I'm learning to recognize that line and step back from it, allowing them to take responsibility.

A natural consequence of learning to live more fully in the present is realizing that it's not necessary for me to hobble around, all stooped over with the crippling weight of all of my own worries and fears. 
More and more, each day, I'm learning to stand up straight, recognize and step into the power that belongs to me...that has always belonged to me. 
Funny how we forget, and become blind to that power that we all possess. 

I'm ready to lay it all down, stand upright and face the sun.
That's my wish for lay that burden down and move on, to hold the world in my hand instead of on my back.
another page from Bonnie's book, 
reminding her that she holds the world in the palm of her hand