Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Girl and Her Dog

I have a dog. Lots of people have dogs. I take having a dog very seriously. I don't just own a dog, we made the conscious decision to add a member to the family. No matter how many times I've had to say goodbye to my beautiful little fur babies I always make the decision to add another to the family. Saying goodbye to a pet is every bit as hard as saying goodbye to a human family member. I've had to do it several times in my life and not a week goes by that I don't remember that amazing little spirit inside what was once my best friend in the whole wide world, but even though I know that I will face something heartbreaking someday I will never not have a dog. What would the world be without their enduring unconditional love? The house feels empty when there isn't 4 feet padding around.

My first dog of my very own, Gizzmo. This is the day I got him! He lived to be 16 years old and became not only my dog, but my little sisters as well.

Some people might remember Merlin J. Phineas Alberto. Big name for a little dog, but his personality matched that name. He has been gone almost 3 years, but not a day goes by I don't think of that little fur ball.

I can tell many stories of how each little fur baby has touched my heart, but I want to share a little story about the big one that has won me over.
Thora Anna
After Merlin left us I was devastated. Avinell was old enough to know he was gone and it was hard for her too. We waited several months before considering getting a dog again. It was painful to think about it, but I had the most overwhelming feeling that it was of utmost importance to make sure my child had a dog. She needed to know the love of a pet, the responsibility, the never ending companion ship. It became so important to me that I started to research. My husband had a beloved dog when he was growing up too, a German Short Haired Pointer. I've always had smaller dogs, but was open to anything.  During my research I looked at adoptable dogs and dogs from breeders. I understand some people aren't comfortable with purchasing a pet from a breeder, but I won't go into that aspect. All I will say is it was right for my family. We found the most amazing, loving, and caring breeders in the world! They not only took the time to educate me about a dog breed I was unfamiliar with, but have been right there with us every step of the way! Even putting up with my silly questions about minor skin rashes! They genuinely care for each and every puppy they share with the world and want them to have the best and give their best to each family.

 When we picked Thora up she was a tiny little brown pup and of course I was in love. She grew quickly and her bond with my husband was much stronger than her bond with me. She is a hunting dog by breed and because he takes her out to train and hunt of course she is his dog through and through. Thora enjoyed my pets and the fact that I would throw the toys, feed her and do all those dog owner type things, but she really only had eyes for her Dad. Then I started to see the relationship that was blossoming between this all legs silly girl and my two legged kiddo.
Blanket Fort! 
Avinell was two when we added Thora to our family. Their bond wasn't immediate because as a puppy Thora was very wild! Avinell was often intimidated of those long legs bounding around. Over the last year though as Thora has calmed out of her puppy stage and Avinell has grown up their bond has become so amazing. Thora has become the best friend I always wanted my little girl to have.
Thora craves attention from her sister! She will gladly race down the steps to kiss Avinell's face in the morning when I give her the command to "wake up sissy". Thora wanted to help when Sissy fell and bumped her head so she stayed on the couch with her while she recouped. 

This is a nightly routine. Snuggles until sleeping. Then Mom gets to move a sleeping child from under a sleeping dog! 

 Thora is her protector, her best friend, her sister. I resigned myself to being 3rd in the pack. You know what, that is perfectly fine with me. Seeing them together and how perfect it is I wouldn't have it any other way. Lately though I've been receiving a little more love and cuddles from that pup. I think we have come to an understanding. I love her for what she is and she thinks I'm pretty comfy.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fuck Cancer

Fuck cancer. This terrible disease has taken many from my family. It has taken many people I know. It has also not taken some super strong fighters. People who can endure anything. People who hold their head high and kick cancer's ass. Even if cancer took you that doesn't mean you weren't a fighter. Sometime it just gets the jump. So since I can't cure cancer I can fight it the best way I know how. With love and quilts.

I sat with my Grandpa through every chemo treatment, doctor appointment, and everything in between . I couldn't stop the disease. I couldn't stop him leaving us, but I could help someone else that has to go through the same shit. I decided to make a quilt to donate to the 2016 Bra's for a Cause auction. This local group donates countless hours to organizing events to raise money and awareness in my community. The best part is all the money stays local! No big wigs in suits getting a paycheck, just some really dedicated people trying to help out those in need. This group helps out with gas cards, paying bills, wonderful little care packages for those receiving chemo and so much more. So with them in mind I reached out to my quilting guru to help me design a quilt setting for some fabrics I had. She designed the perfect setting and I created 13 different pieced blocks from patterns I found mainly on Pinterest.

I called the quilt "Let the Love Shine" and donated it to the auction in memory of my Grandpa. The night of the auction I was filled with nerves. I wanted it to bring in as much money as possible to go to help people that have to kick cancer's ass. My Grandma came armed with a pocket full of money to try to buy it back. I secretly hoped she wouldn't have enough money. I wanted it to go for more than she could afford. I stood in tears as the bidding began and watched people bid away. In the end it went to a guy standing in the back for $725! I have never been so overjoyed. I don't know the guy who bought it, but I sure hope it is being loved and enjoyed. 

I also decided to celebrate the day my Grandpa passed by delivering 16 fleece kitty ear hats to that local cancer center. The staff their was so amazing in caring for my Grandpa and making sure the rest of us were alright too. I wanted to be able to brighten the day of someone that has to sit in one of those chairs waiting to get better. Maybe keep their head warm in the process. I was very hard to walk through those doors that day, but I did it and am super thankful that I did. I will be doing it again soon with another batch of fuzzy hats. 

Now another family member is fighting the fight. I can't make people better, but I can share my talents. I started working on a small wall hanging/table topper to donate to the benefit auction they will be holding on April 1st. Since I got to have a snow day this week I almost finished it! Just need quilted and binding and it will be ready to go. I sure hope it brings in a ton of money to help offset travel costs and such. Stay tuned for a finished photo of this little quilt! 

Share your talents, donate to a local organization when you can and remember Fuck cancer! 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fan Girl

I'm a geek. There I said it. I have always been. My fandoms have evolved, changed, morphed over time. Sometimes I fall back to the old loves, sometimes I move on and find something new to obsess over. I'm a geek and a crafter. When you put these 2 things together you tend to get a mass explosion of creative wonderfulness that lets you share your loves with the world. I enjoy making things that reflect my interests/obsessions. Sometimes I enjoy making things that reflect others interests too.

I LOVE EDGAR ALLAN POE. I have loved him since I was in 7th grade English and had my first taste of his macabre writing. I have made a few things in tribute to him, but not long ago I made what I consider my Poe masterpiece. A small collage quilt of his likeness. It was my first go at collage quilting. I have others planned, but as he was so time consuming I have yet to tackle my next subject.
 Little bits of fabric where glued onto a base sketch on muslin and then I used my machine to free motion thread sketch over that. It was so time consuming, but so worth it. Edgar now resides on my library wall along with other handmade and purchased pieces in his honor. 

 I also made a prayer candle for my E.A. Poe sanctuary. (and yes that is a real taxidermy Raven
 straight from England) 

Doctor Who is one of my other loves. I've made several things and have something pretty spectacular in the works. I can't wait to share, but alas it is not finished. I built this TARDIS from bits of paper cut on a friend's Cricut machine. Forty Five minutes of gluing tiny bits of paper! I gave it to a special friend and must make myself another. 

Making geeky cakes is fun too! My sister turned 16 and love Steven Universe. I made this giant 4 layer cake. Each layer was a different color to match a character along with the gems on the top made of candy. I'm not super familiar with the fandom, but with a little research it turned out super fun!
 Another fandom I don't know much about is Supernatural. I know a ton of people that adore it and will eventually immerse myself in it, but right now I got to much on my plate. That doesn't stop me from baking a rad license plate cake for a friend. With the help of a carpenter friend I made her a Devil's trap box for her prop obsession too.
I made a few Doctor Who zipper pouches and a Walking Dead tote bag for some friends as well. Sharing geeky gear is what makes me smile the most!
These are just a few of the geeky arts and crafts I've completed lately. They make me smile and remind me everyday why I am a maker. Now I'm off to work on something and enjoy my day. Why don't you create something today too? Geeky or not give it a go! Why Not! 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ride or Die

Things are shaping up for the showing at the gallery in South Dakota! I have 6 pieces framed and am hoping to get around 5 more done before they have to be delivered. This opportunity has brought me so much excitement and happiness, not to mention a little stress. I am so thankful for the chance to share my art with others! In the process of working towards so many big things I've realized just how important my friends are.

A great friend saved me by designing this business card for me!

I have a pretty small group of people I'd consider my friends and I'm alright with that. Of course we all have hundreds of Facebook friends we "catch up with" on a daily basis. Reading their status updates, looking at memes they have shared, maybe liking a photo of their kids, but these people aren't really our ride or dies. This phrase has taken on a very special and important meaning to me. A ride or die is a person that will be there until the end. Someone you talk to on a daily basis, even if it is just a silly exchange or a goofy snap chat. A person who is quick to shoot you a Why Not when you need it most. Someone who reminds you "you got this" even when you think you are so far from getting it. Lending an ear, cracking a joke, checking in, cheering you on. Those are the things we all need in a ride or die.

I am lucky to have my ride or dies. I am thankful I have found people who believe in me even when I'm doubting myself. I am grateful for each day of their friendship. These people make me a better person. Making sure I return all of the things they offer to me has become an important part of my day. Thinking of others instead of focusing on myself, even if I'm handling a lot at the moment, has helped me become more grounded. Some I don't speak to everyday, but I know at a moments notice they are there if I need them. I strive to be as good a friend in return.

Friends come and go. Things change, people change. Let's all take a minute to be thankful for the people that we have in our lives that make us who we are. Don't take for granted the people you cherish. Check in! Reach out! Don't think, "I'll do it tomorrow." Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Maybe they are a new friend, an old friend, or someone you want to be a friend. Don't hesitate. You will never know just how important someone is if you don't make the connection.

As I've waded through the stress of being back at my seasonal job, handling daily adult type chores, starting many new things, and keeping up my promise to myself to create I have my ride or dies to fall back on. Bounce ideas off of. Share a giggle. These are the most important things in life. So if I count you among my ride or dies know I am here. Near or far. Always. Never hesitate to reach out to me. Never question our friendship. You are my number one ride or die.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm an Artist

I am an artist. I have always been an artist. I consider myself an artist no matter how many pieces I've sold, places I've displayed, or fame I've achieved. Being an artist involves passion. I have that passion. It burns hot and sometimes over takes all other things. To me, that is what makes you an artist. Do you love what you create? Do you love the time you get to have creating? Does what you create make you/others feel something? Then you are an artist. Even if you never show another living human what you have created. I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Always making something. It makes my heart happy and my mind sing.

Landing on a medium has never been my forte. I love to try everything! Even if I fail at it at least I gave it a try! I know what I am strongest at and tend to migrate towards those types of things. Over the last four years as a parent I have yearned for things that don't require a billion supplies, long dry times, tons of heavy materials to drag around. I've transitioned from doll making to strictly quilting and occasional clothes for the kiddo. I haven't dabbled in paints for a long while because of the mess. A joy came to me 4 years ago as of February 2nd (Facebook informed me). I began to explore Zentangle. I used a book at first and then found a class taught by a certified teacher. I explored on Pinterest. All that is needed is a pen and paper! How perfect is that! It is a project I can work on and set aside at anytime to attend to the kiddo or whatever else needs my attention. I fell in love with the meditative pen strokes.
My very first tangle! 

Intergalactic Triptych 

I have been doing these pieces pretty consistently for the last 4 years, taking more classes when I can and exploring further on the internet. I have started experimenting with my own style in the last year. A pen obsession began! Gelly Roll pens look amazing on black paper and I started toying with them first. Then a couple weeks ago inspiration hit and I began tangling on hand painted galaxy back grounds and photos of the beautiful North Dakota landscape. I've come a long way!

I've had secret aspirations to show these pieces. Share them with the public. Thoughts started swirling about getting them into a gallery showing. My confidence was a bit shaky. The time involved with each piece varies, but is usually a considerable amount. Could I create enough pieces to accommodate a showing? I just put my mind to creating some each day for 2017. At least starting one somethings even if it wasn't completed. Maybe my dream would come true. 

Across the Universe

Then it happened. A message from a gallery owner on Instagram! It just so happens to be my favorite gallery in Rapid City, South Dakota! She complimented me on my art and asked if I would ever consider showing some in her gallery. I was stunned. I'm not even sure how to describe what I felt. Overwhelming is all I can think of. So tonight I sat down and took stock of what I have made to start framing pieces for my very first (showing at the gallery I volunteer at doesn't count) gallery showing! 
Selected pieces will be delivered to the gallery over spring break. If you are in the Rapid City area stop in to Shaviq Studio & Gallery (626 Saint Joseph St. Rapid City, SD) to see and purchase my works. Like the gallery on Facebook too. I am so over the moon that someone saw something in what I create to ask me to share my work. This is a huge life milestone for me. I am beyond proud of myself for daring to dream. 

Gallery Website:

My Instagram where I post all of my art:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Not!

Just before Christmas I was able to cross off something big from my "bucket list". It may seem silly to some, but all I wanted was to be in a room with a person I admire. I admire him for the things he has created, all the laughter he brings, his can do attitude, the way he creates what he wants knowing that someone out there will love it as much as he does. This man is Kevin Smith. Most think of him as the master teller of dick and fart jokes. The stoner who makes silly movies. I think of him as a creative genius and all around wonderful person.

This is us seconds after making it on the plane 
The husband and I made a journey to Denver that was fraught with peril. Bad things happened before we even started the journey. We braved awful winter weather to see a friend laid to rest. An unexpected and unwelcome start to a journey that was supposed to be full of joy and fun. Many tears were shed, hugs were given, and re connections made. Even though this terrible thing began the trip we were determined to make the most of it. Upon arriving at the airport and being told we were late and they wouldn't take our pre checked baggage we were in panic. A phone call to the angel of the trip who swooped in and snagged our luggage as we dashed through security and made it to our seats seconds before they closed the door. 

We arrived in Denver with the clothes on our backs and my purse! It was a fast trip through the airport with no baggage in tow. Luckily the angel was driving to Denver with our bags! 

The day came for us to see Kevin Smith live! With friends in tow we enjoyed a wonderful sushi dinner and it was time for the show. Our seats were amazing! The first show was a live recording of a podcast I listen to called Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. There they were my heroes since I was 13 years old and saw the movie Clerks. The local video store used to call me with new releases and I'll never forget the day they called and said they had a new movie in they thought i'd enjoy. I rode my bike downtown and it changed my life. With Clerks and a bag full of gummy worms I went home to watch a movie that shaped my thoughts on comedy. 

We had tickets to see the 2nd show as well. We were moved up closer to the stage! Kevin Smith was standing less than 10 feet in front of me, mic in hand. I wasn't brave enough to get up to ask him a question, and I knew he wouldn't have time to answer many. Sitting in that seat with my husband and friends around me my life changed for the better. He spoke of surrounding himself with "Why Not people". People who encourage, support, and help you accomplish all those silly dreams. Stop letting the why people make you feel like you don't have anything to contribute. As I looked over at the face of the person who has now become my biggest Why Not person I knew this was the beginning of something great. 

I have adopted Why Not! as my mantra for the year, and hopefully the rest of my life. Why Not try something new? I put an exclamation point behind it because it is a statement not a question. It just is. It is a way of life. Why Not work hard on the things you enjoy the most. Why Not think of new ways to create. Why Not spend time doing what you love. Why Not make those dreams come true. 

I have repeated this phrase to myself and have used it to encourage others. Why Not make something, Why Not try it, Why Not make yourself better, Why Not begin a new journey. Why Not has begot some pretty amazing things for me lately. Some opportunities I never dreamed possible. 

Try it! Tell yourself Why Not when you think of something new. Tell someone else Why Not when they come to you with a dream. Stop asking Why and start saying Why Not. See what happens.

Friday, February 17, 2017

It's Been A While

Ok so maybe a little more than "a while". More like 4 years! Where has the time gone? Well many places I guess. Time has been devoted to raising a little girl, creating much more art, volunteering, being a wife, working, trying to be a better human. You know the usual. Recently I wrote a piece to contribute to a new blog a friend started. I did it on a whim. The subject matter inspired me and I couldn't help, but sit down and tap something out. After it was posted I received overwhelming positive feedback to it! People were inspired! People were proud of me! People were asking why I don't do it more! Want to read what I wrote there hop on over to the blog and take a look.

I was inspired to once again dust off the blog and start posting! I won't bore you with a long story of the last 4 years. Instead how about a picture?

Remember that little 4 month old in the last blog post? She is now 4 years old! So grown up! In preschool and flourishing. Want to know something that makes me insanely proud other than the fact that I made her? She is an artist! I can't wait to share some of her art here along side my own. One day she will look back at these posts and know just how proud I really am of her. The kiddo is stubborn, smart, has a wonderful sense of humor (she is my kid for sure as she enjoys a good fart joke), talented, and kind. (I'm probably a bit biased.)

Sometimes she is a zombie. 

Sometimes I am her victim. Most days she is just a super bright eyed little girl. 

If you read the linked blog post up top you have figured out that I've went through a pretty big change too. Sometimes I'm a Timelord. Most days I'm just a Mom trying to be the best dang Mom I can be. 

For the next few posts I'll be catching people up on some milestone projects I've done over the last couple years. Maybe I'll share some musings if I get inspired. My mantra of 2017 is "Why Not". These 2 little words have become a very important aspect of my life over the last couple of months. Stay tuned to hear a little about "Why Not". 
If you want to browse some photos of what I've been up to find me on Instagram as Alwaysinspiredmomma. I've been posting my art and life daily there for the last several years. Lots to catch up on.