November 17, 2013

Some All New Kicks

Just a quick post to say that I still exist, and I've got a couple big new online projects in the works. I'll be sure to post here about the new road I'm taking and how you can follow me on this new journey when all is revealed. Thanks for stopping by Sweetheartville, friends.

January 11, 2013

Feminist Friday: She's 13

She's 13

I wanted to share a mixed media painting I finished a little bit ago entitled "She's 13". I created this piece for Oklahomans Against The Trafficking of Humans to help raise awareness of the growing problem of human trafficking and modern slavery. Sadly, the average age a girl is recruited into commercial sexual exploitation here in the U. S. is 12 to 13. At twelve and thirteen, I was still playing with Barbies, exploring the outdoors, and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. What were you doing at that age?

She's 13 detail

I really enjoyed the process with this piece, and I'd like to do more mixed media paintings in the future. It took me quite a while to decide how to tackle such an awful subject, artistically, but in the end I decided to lean toward the symbolic. Here is how I described the piece:
"The trappings of a normal, happy pre-adolescent girl’s life lie torn and ruined under layers of darkness and filth. What should be a time of carefree innocence before the onslaught of normal teenage pressures and changes has instead become a nightmare of sexual exploitation and bondage. Thirteen pairs of young girls’ legs wearing women’s high heels symbolize child victims of sexual slavery being forced into adult situations far beyond their years. These girls have become disconnected body parts, bought and sold for the pleasure and profit of adults. A tarnished gold “Dearest Daughter” seal meant for a funeral spray reminds the viewer that each of these girls is someone’s daughter and serves as a metaphor for the death of their innocence and childhood. This piece aims to impress upon the viewer how very young 13 is."

January 5, 2013

Birthday Stillness and a Radio Debut

dining room abstract

Today I turn 33. This morning, I received a call from my 81 year old grandmother offering to take my children for the afternoon and promising a casserole so I wouldn't have to cook dinner on my birthday. Really, just in case you don't know, that is the most appreciated sort of gift you could possibly give to a work-at-home mother of young children; the gift of time. Time to just be, just to breathe and think without being responsible for some other little person's every physical and emotional need. Time to make an extra special birthday coffee drink with real whipped cream and enjoy it before it's cold. Time to listen to a new album all the way through with no interruptions. Time to stare at a blank, intimidating sketchbook and wonder how to get started. Time to just be still.

birthday heirlooms

And as the icing on the birthday cake, she passed down this beautiful celluloid topped vanity jar, a 1930's hair comb with rhinestones, and hand-painted Bakelite bracelet, all of which she'd owned since childhood. Treasures for sure.

hi fi

And in other recent news, (which will be old news if you follow me on Instagram or like Welcome Little Stranger on Facebook) a childhood dream of mine came true on Thursday evening. I heard my own voice, singing, on the actual freaking radio when The Spy FM in Oklahoma City played our song "The Governor's Ball" on The Oklahoma Rock Show. That was a ginormous thrill, and hopefully, a sign of great things to come in 2013. Hope it's off to a wonderful start for you as well!

January 2, 2013

So Fresh, So Clean

Hello, 2013, and a Happy New Year to all! This time of year is one of my favorites. Besides the start of another year on the calendar, the first week of January is when I turn another year older, so it especially feels like a fresh, clean slate in my hands, the most perfect, hopeful time for a planner and list maker such as myself. This year I'm looking at my goals with a fresh perspective thanks to a book I've just finished reading.

refuse to choose

While I do value personal growth, I've never been much for any books that could be comfortably shelved in the "Self-Help" section of the bookstore. Maybe it stems from the working class notion that life is hard and you just deal with it, or maybe it was just a bias of youth, but those kinds of books have always seemed so New Age-y and self-absorbed to me. But several weeks ago, and I don't even remember where or how, I stumbled upon a reference to Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher. One look at those customer reviews and an excerpt from the book, and I knew I had found my people. I love books, but I rarely buy them for myself. It seems so extravagant a luxury when money is so tight and the library is free, but I ordered this one without hesitation. It sounds dramatic, but I just knew this book was going to change my life. And it has, if in no other way than finally identifying myself as a "Scanner" has assured me that I'm not alone and re-colored my view of myself. I'm not a sidetracked loser, hopeless dabbler or a Jack-of-all-trades because I have so many interests, passions, and talents. The trail of diverse (and often unfinished) projects and accomplishments in my wake is not evidence of failure or a lack of discipline, but instead the work of a creative mind not content to follow just one path--a Renaissance person. I can't tell you the number of times that I've bemoaned my lack of one singular, passionate focus in life. "But, I love art! And music! And embroidery and sewing and making things with my hands! And self-sufficiency! And cooking and baking! And vintage stuff! And history! And writing! And blogging! And graphic design! And hair and beauty! And feminism and women's issues! And homeschooling my children! And camping! And foraging for wild foods! And taking photos!" I could go on, but you get the idea. I'm just so damn excited about and interested in so many things. And because I'm pulled in so many directions, I end up feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, and unfocused. It has affected my self-esteem, and it has certainly affected my blogging (or lack thereof). All the blogging advice out there tells you that you must have a theme, or at least a somewhat narrowed focus, but that has been next to impossible for me. What is the underlying theme of all of my interests and passions? I know creativity is huge for me and underlies nearly everything I do, as well as appreciation for and love of the past. But how do I weave all of these varied and sometimes disparate interests into one blog package that anyone but my mom wants to read? And how do I focus on one or two things long enough to actually accomplish anything? I still don't have those answers, but I am on track to figuring out who I am, and it's only taken me (nearly) 33 years to get here!

the creation of beauty is art

2012 was not a particularly bad year for me, but it ended on a bit of a rough note with some new challenges and a health scare. For 48 hours, I was faced with the very real worry that my body was failing me. And besides the gut-wrenching fear that I might not get to raise my babies or spend a lifetime with my soul mate, do you know what pained me the most? Not that I wouldn't get to travel, to see amazing technological advances, or finally learn to fold a fitted sheet properly, but that I wouldn't get to make all the art that lives inside my head and heart. Over the last few years, I have been slowly growing more comfortable with the idea of identifying myself as an artist. I am more sure than ever that I want and really need to make art and live an even more creative life. So that is high on my list of priorities for this year. I have purchased a large sketchbook which will double as a sketchbook (duh!) and my "Scanner's Daybook" as suggested by Sher in Refuse To Choose!. Basically, the daybook is a place to record each and every idea we Scanners have throughout the course of a day or week or month. No matter how crazy an idea or how unlikely we are to ever follow through with it, getting all of these ideas out of our heads and on paper for safe keeping means we can return to them someday, or at the very least have a really great time letting our imaginations run wild for a little while. Most importantly, and this is what really resonated with me, it teaches us to value our ideas and the way our multifaceted brains work. I have discarded so many ideas with the excuse that it's not realistic, not possible, I don't have enough time, I already have a million unfinished projects, that would be cool to try if I had another lifetime, and on and on. Valuing all my crazy ideas means valuing myself and the particular way that I'm wired instead of beating myself up for my lack of focus and discipline. I'm also vowing to be better at sharing all these things I love and do with the world, rather than trying to edit myself down to less than a full picture of me. In no particular order, here is my list of my priorities for 2013:
making art of all kinds
keeping a sketchbook of ideas
focus on The Beauty Saloon and other print on demand business goals
more homeschooling projects
more reading with my girls
taking better care of myself
blogging more frequently
Anything else I accomplish is just gravy. So, that is where my head is on this second day of a new year. I hope 2013 is full of wonderful things for all of us. Have you made any resolutions or set any goals for this year?

December 24, 2012

Happy and Merry

happy holidays ivy
ruby merry everything

Hello, friends. Here's hoping this Christmas Eve finds you well and happy, whatever your holiday of choice. We've been watching every Christmas movie Netflix has to offer, making gifts and candy and cookies. Makin' memories. Hope you are too!

elf and cookies

December 13, 2012

A 1959 Smorgasbord

Have you ever? I mean do you ever, er, shall I put this...Smorgasbord? I've always been curious about the traditional Swedish buffet spread. It's a word I toss around pretty frequently to describe any assortment of vittles, though I've never been quite sure exactly what a Smorgasbord consisted of besides probable mass quantities of pickled fishes. Not too long ago, I was flipping through some of my old magazines when I came across an article on the traditional Scandinavian meal in the December 1959 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

1959 smorgasbord

Turns out there's more to it than just a wintry all-you-can-eat free for all. There are actually three different courses requiring three separate trips to the buffet table. I totally called the pickled fish thing though. And this being the 1950's, you just knew there was going to be some tomato aspic thrown in there.

1959 smorgasbord

And now I know! I've actually become quite interested in Swedish traditions as of late. My heritage is Swedish on my father's side of the family, (hence my fair skin and blue eyes) but I've never known a thing about the culture past the aforementioned pickled fish and dala horses.

My good friend Heather of Audrey Eclectic has fallen in love with Scandinavian culture and through her excitement I've learned so much about my family's heritage. Today's post is part of her St. Lucia Blog Procession so if you're interested in Swedish or Scandinavian culture in general, head over there today (or use the doohickey below) for a joyride through Blogland in honor of St. Lucia. Heather has even started a new blog devoted entirely to Scandinavian goodness called Scandinavian Folk. Check it out!

And hello to any new friends who have visited me by way of the St. Lucia Procession. Nice to meet you!

November 6, 2012

A Vital Force


"With the ballot in her hand woman becomes a vital force--declaring her will for herself." -Susan B. Anthony