My Warped Sense of Humor...

Went with a friend to an exclusive art gallery in that features several mixed media artists. It. Was. Heavenly.

For fun, on the way down my friend and I arranged to have this picture snapped, at a Georgia rest stop. I sent it to The Preacher's phone...with only the word, "Oops" :

That was my best "Oh no. I got busted in 'da hood" face. It was the best this homegirl could manage. The Preacher knew the pic was a hoax. He knew right away that I was messin' with him. He failed to see the humor. Me?

I howled, giggled, guffawed, and chuckled my way all the way on to Atlanta, where I commenced to having yet more fun.

This is how I deal with stress. Thank you, Georgia State Police Department, for cooperating with Operation Recover Sheila's Sanity.

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My Granddaughter

Something tells me Homegirl didn't want her picture taken. She probably wanted her binkie. She's a binkie kinda girl, through and through. Her momma and daddy don't dare leave home without a stash of pacifiers.

Isn't she beautiful? This picture makes me smile, from way down deep inside.

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Latest Addition to the Art Studio... a beautiful chandelier, made by my daughter Hannah, over at Daughter By Design. She finds old-but-working light fixtures, and she blesses them with her eye for design, painting them, and adorning them with real crystals - either clear or of various colors. Then she sells them for a pretty penny. But this one, she made just for me...for my new art studio.

Gorgeous much?

 I knew you'd agree.  I think so, too.  Ignore the art journaling going on at the table (the beautiful leather bound book with the hand-edged watercolor papers, a gift from my other daughter, Sarah)... has been a rough couple of weeks, here at the cottage.  I'm emoting on paper.  I've heard it called "Praying In Color".  It's cheaper than therapy, healthier than meds, and much easier on all my friends.

I'll fill you in on whatever it is that is going on later....whenever I figure out what is going on.  This could be a good thing, or it could be a very bad thing.  Youngest children tend to give their parents a run for their money like that.

And the nest? may or may not be empty.  We shall see.

I know, right?  Pray for me, friends.  God, grant me the serenity.  Help me, Rhonda.  Jesus take the wheel...

...and I am so grateful for wild sons and stable daughters.  Both are a blessing - just in different ways.  One tends to be a happy sort of blessing, the other a blessing that deepens and strengthens you.

You know.  "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I say it again - by faith, before the outcome can even be seen:

Grace will accomplish what the law could never do.

Sold Before I Could Put It In The Shop...But!

The original sold before I could list it in my shop.  But!  But prints are available in my shop.

Also, this is now available:

 My new design, called the "66/1".  (66 books in the Bible...only 1 message, and the cross is the key to understanding that message!)  I'm so excited about this long, lean, ultra-creative design.  The necklace has been test driven by my daughter Hannah and I both, and we love it...and it gets compliments.  It is an unusual design...not for everyone.  But I don't pretend to design for everyone - just artsy, creative Jesus freaks.

Yeah.  Pretty much, that is my demographic.  We're a small demographic, but our destiny is world domination.  (Cue Handel's Messiah..."and He shall reign forever and everrrrrr!")

You think I'm kidding.

 I'm stinkin' proud of it.  So proud to be serving the King with my gifts and art and life and blog...and stuff and things.

Goodnight.  It is late.  Amen.

Can Anyone Say It Better Than The Grace-Man, Spurgeon??

(clipped from the devotional "Morning and Evening" by C.H. Spurgeon, that Prince of Preachers...)

September 18 — Morning

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. {#Ga 5:25} The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experiential theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which does not have as its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe to those who seek after the one without the other!

There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were “whitewashed sepulchres.” We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure.

Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself in it? He needs a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we wish to have comfort in the day of doubt.

But do not seek a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are equally full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. Oh Lord, give us today life within, and it will reveal itself to your glory.

My First True Abstract-And My Personal Interior Design Style

Above the sofa, is my first large canvas - 4 feet long - and my first abstract mixed media piece. I painted it "on commission" daughter Hannah asked me to paint a large abstract for her as a housewarming gift.  This is it, hanging in her new living room. (if you click on the image above, you can see it, slightly enlarged...)

I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I was also surprised at how difficult it was, yet at the same time, how fun it was to paint!

You can't see it, but I embedded an antique key onto the canvas...a gift from my neighbor Earl. I also stamped all the special dates that the McConnell household has experienced in its short history...their wedding day, Timothy's birthday, and the day they closed on this, their first house. You'd find them, hidden all around the canvas, if you could see it up close and in person. You'd also see vintage and antique book, hymnal, and wallpaper scraps in the background, giving this painting beautiful depth and texture. Heavy-bodied acrylics in shades of salmon, coral, orange, navy blue, turquoise, yellow, and slate gray were used, along with inks of black and yellow ochre.

I finished it off with daubs of white plaster, applied randomly with a palette knife.

Cannot wait to paint another, for my own living room, in calm, cool shades of orchid, eggplant, gray, misty blue, and putty colors....very Restoration Hardware.

As I renest, I have arrived at a very precise description of my personal style...I love Swedish/Gustavian flavors, but those words are too wide...too sweeping. I have long thought of how to describe the design I am going for - the quirky house-beauty
I see in my addled imagination.

Instead of merely "Swedish-Belgian-Gustavian" or "French Country", my style is precisely this: think Restoration Hardware meets Granny Chic.

I know. It has never been done. Y'all watch this...

...I am about to do it. I promise, over the upcoming months, to share photos. Leave it to me to pioneer a whole, new design aesthetic.

Now to give it a name...

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Soon To Be In My Shop

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Tour of My Art Studio!

Well, my daughter, her husband and our grandson have completely moved into their house...across the cul-de-sac from us.  The guest room/youngest son's room (when he is home from college) has been transferred over to what was Hannah and Justin's old bedroom, the grandson's nursery has become The Preacher's home office (finally...we both hear angels singing the Hallelujah chorus...after over two years of working from home, his home office is out of our bedroom)....

...and my art studio is up and functioning!

She's not completely finished...I will be tweaking for weeks, and my mood board/inspiration wall isn't up yet...but I am already painting in her, so I thought I'd take you on a tour...

When you walk through the door, this is what you see...

my art table, elevated, in the very center of the room...with a huge four foot long canvas, already started!  (I was itching to get in here and work!)

Over under (...over under??  Just roll with me, don't judge my grammar) the window you see... sewing cabinet...underneath, is storage, on top is a french bottle-drying rack used as storage for thread and my leather cuffs and vintage rings...for now.  Eventually, I want simple wall-mounted wooden pegs for my threads and things.

...the video production nook...

chalkboard ("He makes beautiful things..."), video production, and shelf - soon to be shelVES, plural.  When Hobby Lobby runs their next 50% off sale on these shelves I will get one more, to be mounted under this one.  Here, I store paints and inks and extra gesso and ribbons and fabric swatches and..and..and...

The other side of the desk/laptop/printer area, and more metal shelving for photo props, mixed media papers, laminator, paints, goodness...details I shan't bore you with.

Next, looking straight down, is the only thing (so far) I have purchased for this room.  (Everything else has been stashed here and there, throughout my bedroom and whole house, for months and years)

An antique Coca-Cola crate, purchased at Granny's Attic for 60% off, for a grand total of $9.

 (Granny's Attic is, sadly, moving to Clinton, TN, and selling off their store at a deep discount, so as not to have to move as much stuff...I weep, I weep, I weep.  This antique store has been minutes up the road from my house, for years and years. My checkbook rejoices...I weep.)

Crate sits atop a cool storage unit, on wheels, that spins around.  In it, I have my art reference books, my antique books and hymnals I use for my mixed media backgrounds, and my larger acrylic paint bottles.

...the art studio closet...fabrics are hung, my trade magazines stored, my tote that holds all my leather stamping supplies, my camera bag and boxes, my sewing box, and a hanging mannequin (for the tops I will someday be both designing, and upcycling from vintage, and selling in my shop!)  The hanging mannequin was a gift from a dear friend who believed in my business before it was a business, and before I believed in myself.  She knows who she is.

My daughter Hannah's old spice rack...she didn't want it anymore, and gave it to me.  I have utilized it for findings, beads, and the tiny hardware involved in jewelry making.  I have even left the stickers on it that say things like "celery seed", "cumin", "cinnamon", etc.  I absolutely LOVE them, and want them to stay.  It speaks to the repurposing that IS creativity and art and soulful living...

 bottle drying rack, threads, cuffs, rings, embroidery!

And so, before I shut the door on this space for a few hours, and actually go buy things like toilet paper and food (hey...creativity and art are my soul-food, but I can't do the "other thing" with them...) I leave you with a last, backwards glance...

So blessed.  I am just so blessed.

The best thing?  Seriously, the best thing?  It is this....

Through that window, as I paint, I have been watching my grandson play in his front yard, and I can easily see how my granddaughter is being held in her momma's arms...

...the sisters - my beautiful, identical twin daughters, both married to wise and Godly men -  are visiting with each other.  These things I can watch, as I see birds alight on branches, and hear the pond waterfall, directly under this window.  All these elements softly relax my whole being.

The tears have rolled down my face.  I am living a dream I have not earned and do not deserve.

The Grace of God is amazing.  I will speak of it my whole life long.

The New Art Studio

Took this shot yesterday. Then the Preacher got up this morning, repaired and repainted all the walls. Then he helped me move a sewing cabinet, desk, office chair, comfy video production chair and new backdrop; he moved shelves, my stool and my art table which he also elevated for me, up to countertop height.

Been working all day today, on filling up this room (it was a lot of work, but it wasn't hard to fill the entire room with tools, furniture, and supplies...things stashed all over this house have been long awaiting the day I could trick out my own art studio.)

I am so exhausted, there are no words.

I am so ecstatic and sloppy blessed, there are no words.

Pictures forthcoming tomorrow, dear friends. Can't wait to show you, in detail, my new creative space!

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"66/1" is Born (New Design)

Finally, the first version of my "66/1" design is birthed!  She's a necklace, instead of a cuff, which is a surprise even to me.  But she wanted to be a necklace, for her debut.

The first charm is hand stamped "66/1", as in "66 books in the Bible, 1 message".  The second charm is a cross, the last charm is a key.

"66 books in the Bible, 1 message, and the cross is the only key to understanding the message properly"... the truth behind the symbolism that is this piece of jewelry.  The word "GRACE" is hand stamped on the leather pendant - that one word encapsulates the one message of the sixty-six books of the Bible.

The pendant is finished in torn fabric, for a vintage, edgy-yet-feminine sort of look.  Comes with a long silver chain, can be simply slipped over your head, no fastening or unfastening necessary - which is my all time favorite length of necklace!

Available in my shop, as soon as I get the time to take better pictures!

Email me, if you wish to pre-order.  She'll be priced at $35, shipping and handling included in the lower 48 states!

Going Local

Four hours spent cutting paper backings, gluing them to canvases and frames, and hammering on hangers. Then, I had to make prints of my smaller paintings, and print samples of other larger paintings, as well as some of my photography.

A. Lot. Of. Work. And I'm still not done. My Restored Soul Poppy mixed media painting still has to be framed and finished out, and my business card attached to the back. So much detail.

But worth it. Looks like my art is going into a local boutique!

Wish me luck...I am so excited and grateful to my daughter Sarah for putting in a good word for me with the owner.