Rainy Day

Ahhhh…it is raining. We here at the Tindall home love the rain – especially after all this hot, humid, muggy weather. I never used to love rain until I met Chris, who REALLY loves it. There’s just something about it. All my senses seem to be heighted during and after a rainfall – all the smells seem more fragrant, all the colors seem brighter, that sort of thing. Its like the rain washes all the dust off everything and leaves it glistening. And since no one likes to be out in the rain, it is always so still, with the just the pleasant white noise of the drops saying "pitter patter, pitter patter" (except a lot faster than that). We like to get in our car and take a drive with Loreena McKennitt playing, and talk about our dreams and the things we love.

I’m sitting here at the computer with Ben on my lap and the cat at my feet. One thing I’m discovering about being a wife and a mom is how much demand is placed on my attention. In the last year I’ve gone from one person (husband), to three people (husband, baby, psycho-cat) needing me to pay attention to them. Someone always needs or wants something. Now I am not complaining at all, as I love the fact that I have three different personalities that love me and want to be around me and need things from me – some people don’t have anyone. I just find it interesting how different my life is – how I think, what I do, my priorities, even how I talk have all changed, and are all geared around the juggling of priorities: baby, husband, cat, self. I’m starting to believe that to be a wife and mom you need a degree in office coordination, time management, housekeeping, counseling, event planning, cooking, and multitasking to name a few. Not to mention a boat load of patience! Every day is an adventure. It is challenging at times, but I am taking such joy in my son. It is so important to have an attitude of joy, or you miss out on so much in life. I may be juggling 50 things at once, Ben may be sitting in my lap filling his pants, but when he look up at me and gives me his big toothless grin and a gurgly giggle, everything is perfect.

Trinkets and Treasures

Day number 2 in my first official week as full-time wife and mom and everything that goes along with that. We had a lovely day, full of feeding, playing, and cleaning. I don’t mean that to sound as sarcastic as it does in print – really, it was a very nice day. See, while caring for Ben, I am also attempting to tackle the unpacking from a month long road trip, plus finding homes for the fifty trillion wonderful gifts we received from a couple baby showers. Ben received all really nice thoughtful gifts, but then you get it all home and realize once you’ve cut off the tags, washed all the clothes, broken down the boxes, and saved all the ribbons, you have to then put all the stuff away, which of course means rearranging everything else to make homes for all the new stuff. A lot of work, but kind of fun too. I still think I’ve made a bigger mess than I’ve cleaned up, but I suppose it is always worse before it is better.

So what do I do when I have piles and piles of stuff accumulated on every possible surface? I hang a shelf. Then arrange pretty things on it. I find the whole house environment, as well as my day spent tackling it, is rather worthwhile when at the end of it you have something lovely to look at. My mother-in-law picked up this shelf at a garage sale for $5, then my mom refinished it. It is hanging in the kitchen right at eye level when you walk in the back door, and has a few of my treasures on it.

The top shelf has some of the Portmerion dishes I picked up from the factory where they make it in England, a place called Stoke-on-Trent (I’m sure I butchered the spelling). They have a shop full of "seconds," where if one little tendril of one little leaf isn’t perfectly straight, they mark it down considerably. They had some marked down even more with flaws that were more noticable – those they send to America, as they say we don’t know any better. And usually we don’t. Anyway, the second shelf has a few of my peach lustre Fire King cups and saucers. Don’t ask me where I picked up a liking for this set, but it struck my fancy about a year ago. I had a mind to pick up some black dishes then have a festive set to work with in the fall. The bottom shelf has three pink depression tumblers I got on sale at an antique store during our recent (well, only) trip to Fort Collins, CO. I don’t even collect Depression glass, but they were SO pretty on their shelf, they looked like they belonged on a cover of a magazine – like on a white wicker table and chair set out in the garden with a pitcher of pink lemonade with fresh mint inside. The cup and saucer is the Autumn pattern of Royal Daulton’s Brambly Hedge – the illustrations look just like Beatrix Potter, but I don’t think they’re related at all. I absolutely love it. This cup I found for $10 at the Goodwill, of all places. Then the covered glass dish thingy was a gift from my mom – I threw her a tea party last year for her birthday, where she and a bunch of her friends drove up and when antiquing for the day while I prepared their meal. She came home with this for me, which I typically keep full of some kind of candy.

So that’s the story behind my shelf. I’m not sure that anyone really cares what each item on my shelf is or where it comes from, but it felt good to tell it anyway. I only arranged all that stuff on here because I thought it looked good, but as I got to writing about it, I realized each piece has a personal story and memory. I tend to not like decorations for the simple sake of decorations, I like them to mean something to me in some way. I didn’t think I was being that meaningful when I put the shelf together, but now that I think about it, there’s a lot of memories on there. Maybe that will inspire me in some way tomorrow when I start tackling the dishes with a sink whose hot water nozzle won’t turn off (if you can even get it on in the first place). Again. Sigh.

Chris says I need to blog

Chris says that I need to blog, so here I am blogging. The problem is that whenever I’m really hit with good thoughtful, interesting things to say (well, at least I hope they’d be interesting), I’m nowhere near a computer, and by the time I get back in the studio to write, I have either completely forgotten everything I so brilliantly thought of before, or I have so much to write about that I’m completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, so I don’t write anything at all. Adding a third complication to the mess, I just read the blogs of a couple of my bestest friends in the world, and although I had so much fun reading through all the entries (they are talented writers and gifted storytellers, which I am not), I am feeling not only forgetful and overwhelmed, but now also really boring. Yet here I am writing anyway, so I suppose that is a start.

This week I juggled work, a class and exam, unpacking and settling back in after a 9 day vacation, and packing up to move in one week – all in the midst of the afterglow effect from Artfest and Coupeville, of course. All very good things, but in happening all at once, it does feel a bit stressful. But just think, in one week from today, I’ll be in a new home of our very own (well, via a lease, at least) with a door that doesn’t open into a balcony or hallway, where all 4 walls (plus the ceiling and floor) are ours and shared with no one else. Instead of rush hour traffic and noisy neighbors, we’ll hear the distant sounds of the train, the mill, and the river. And I’ll have a studio – oh, I’ll have a real live art studio! With a sink. And a walk-in closet. Sigh.

Every time I sit down to write or do art, all I ever seem to have on the brain is the house, and I just keep reliving it in my brain, room to room. So, I apologize if this is like the 50th time I’ve mentioned all these details, but I’m just very very excited.

Well, the more I write, the less interesting this blog seems to be, so I’m chalking it up to having wrapped china and packed boxes for 10 hours today and then I’m putting myself to bed. Have a lovely Saturday evening, world.

Art Journaling on a Deserted Island

This week in my artistsjournals Yahoo! group, someone asked a couple of good questions: "If you were on a deserted island what journaling supplies would you have to have with you? Now could you answer this question with limiting yourself to just three items? How different do you think your journals would be if you didn’t have the outside contact and eye candy available to you?"

Assuming the journal itself is a given, my three favorite things would be a black drawing pen, like Pitt or Micron, a nice watercolor palette, and a set of prismacolor colored pencils. I would hope I also had a way of sharpening the pencils and a brush to paint with, so I suppose that’s five things instead of three, but those three mediums – watercolors, pen, and colored pencil – would make me happy on a deserted island.

I think most things in my life would be completely different if I wasn’t around other people to compare myself to and find new and creative ways to criticize myself and seem unworthy to do art. Actually, I did grow up in the middle of nowhere, and while there, I don’t ever remember having a problem sitting down to do art, deciding what to do, and knowing exactly what I had the ability to do. It was when I moved to the city that I started second-guessing myself. Not like it was the city’s fault, or that the city makes me feel insecure, but it can be both very encouraging and intimidating to be surrounded by so many talented and diverse people.

One thing about being in the middle of nowhere is that its just you and nature all around you, and you just don’t pay so much attention to what everyone else is doing – you just marvel at creation and digging your hands into the stuff of life, quite literally sometimes. Plus, you get to walk out of the shower in the morning, wrap your towel around you, and walk out accross the lawn to the street to get your mail if you wanted to, because no one is there to see you or care except for the trees and birds. How can you do thinks like that and NOT have great things to write and art about?! 🙂

So, without anyone to compare myself to, without deadlines to pressure me or hubbub of the world to complicate life, I’d like to think I’d do my best work. Hmmm….are there any available deserted islands anywhere????

Art, Ideas, & First Loves

I was reading over an old issue of Somerset Studio today during my lunch break at work. There’s really just something about those back issues that I love – they tend to have some really great articles that refer me back to more formal mixed media art, some that is much simpler, clean, less busy. This particular issue got me thinking of my first loves that I haven’t tapped into in quite a while, I guess because I’ve been too busy trying to be what everyone else is being. I love to read the wisdom and insight shared by the artists in these articles – they have truly thought things through, learned and grown. I was humbled by the artists in this issue, as I realized that I simply do not take the time to stretch and challenge myself anymore, because it won’t create things fast enough for me to feel like I’ve been successfully productive. I am tantalized by my first loves of colored pencil, handmade papers, simple sculptures of wood, paper, and light, oil paintings, and detail drawings. It has been too long since I’ve shared a project with them, and I miss it.

I definitely think way too hard about all the wrong things. Again, I don’t seem to stop long enough to allow myself to formulate my thoughts. I can never think of the right words for what I am trying to express, and I work way too hard to force meaning into what I’m doing. The meaning should be the starting point driving the project, not something I force feed in later. What can I introduce into my life to exercise these muscles again? Some of these things I may have already recently started, things I prayerfully chose to pursue or refrain from during the Lenten season – delving into those things that remind me of who I am and make me feel the most me. Slowing down, in general, would be good.

I wish I could take time to do art and journal every day. How do I focus without becoming legalistic with myself? I blossomed while at school, always did so well in each assignment, testing the limits and boundaries of each project given to us, finding ways to make the ideas mine. I think the main point here is that the original idea really wasn’t mine, so the scope was automatically narrowed down to considerably and I did not become overwhelmed by all the possibilities. It’s not like I can’t think of my own ideas, its that I can’t seem to manager them. Too bad they don’t teach us in school how handle our ideas ourselves, running with them instead of being run over by them. Can anyone relate to this?

Anyway, just some thoughts, stuff running through my brain this week. I’m feeling a big motivated to whip out that art journal again…

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl!


Early this morning (Wednesday, August 10), two of our dearest friends welcomed into the world their first child, a sweet little girl. She weighed 8 lb 4.6oz and measured 19 inches. Although born by emergency c-section, baby (as well as mom) is both doing very well.

We had the pleasure and the privilege to spend the first couple hours of labor with our friends late Tuesday night. Since we live closer to the hospital than they do, they came to wait out their early hours of labor at our place in case things progressed much faster than anticipated, as I believe is common among the women in the expectant mom's family. We have a quiet little courtyard nestled in the middle of our apartment complex – a pleasant little garden area in the middle of the bustling city, where we walked around and around the walkway, pausing only for brief contractions before proceeding down the path again and continuing our pleasant yet randomly funny conversation. It could have been any other normal night of laughter, stories, and memories shared in each others' company, except for the tension of excitement that I think we were all feeling.

By about 11:30 pm they were ready to move on to the hospital, so I enjoyed one last affectionate pat on the baby belly before we wished them well and settled down to a restless night of waiting for the call that would announce the new baby's arrival. It was very special for me to be able to enjoy that time with my friend during such a poignant moment in our lives. We were able to visit them that evening and hold E. She is so beautiful!  Another dear friend was there with her first baby girl, born just 5 months ago. So far we have all been through college, dating, first jobs, and marriage together, and now we are moving on to the wonderful new adventure of parenthood.  My friends say that Chris and I have to have twin boys so their girls can marry them and we'd all be family officially. Not sure THAT will be happening, but it is a nice idea. 🙂

Check out our friends' brand new website for a few photos: http://www.themoefamily.net/

Until next time, I am basking in the glow of babydom by proxy…..

P.S. Photo is of E at a couple months old, not newborn – I didn't know how to post photos until now. 🙂


Thoughts on life and my art

(Late night blabbing with myself) I think some of my work could be called…I don’t know, dare I say Shabby Chic? I don’t think that is the right term and seems kind of silly, but I am still exploring and figuring this all out, and this was a good starting point. The whole idea of taking the neglected, used, worn around the edges, seen-better-days things and giving them new life, new purpose, turning them into something beautiful is what I am so passionate about. I like to do that with people too. I think my art is a reflection of my compassion for the left-behind, hurt, lost, and neglected. I feel their pain as if it were my own, I just want to wrap my arms around them in a warm loving embrace and help them see themselves as God does – unique, loved, special, and designed with purpose. Art is my way of digging into the nitty gritty of life, not just living out an existence. Through texture, color, touching, smelling, seeing, reusing, recycling, and making glorious messes of all kinds, I can dive headfirst into this wonderful universe of emotion, people, places, food, thought, music, and experiences of all kinds. I love to live, and doing art helps me live. No, it is HOW I live.

God himself is a creative spirit – he created everything in heaven and earth, including us, and as we were made in his image, I guess the way I see it is that we were born to be creative too. The imagination and ingenuity of the human race never ceases to amaze me. Some may mistake my passion for a Pollyanna outlook that is not rooted in reality, but what kind of a reality do we have without our creativity? It is what brings color into an otherwise black and white world. We all make our choices in life – try as they might, people cannot cram us into a box based upon their judgments, we can only jump into it ourselves or allow ourselves to be pushed in. You choose what perspective you have about the world; as you sift through your various experiences, you decide what kind of attitude you will develop about life. For me (as the quote says) it is not a matter of my cup being half full or half empty, but being thankful that I have a cup. And that is why I am an artist.

Hmm…wow, this all kind of came out at once. Definitely something worth thinking more about! Raises such good questions…


The strangest thing in the world just happened to me. My husband made chocolate chip cookies. My husband is a computer nerd, he does not bake. He’s never made cookies in his life, yet he did, just now, oh a whim, all by himself. And they’re good…. So here I am, cramming my face with warm, melty chocolate chip cookies, downing ice cold milk by the gallon, trying to decide which stains on my hands are lickable melted chocolate and which are remnants of the BurntUmber paint I was just using, enjoying one of those very sweet married moments, the kind that are the first things you forget as soon as you’ve discovered the hard way in the middle of the night that he has forgotten to put the seat down. I’d like to remember and cherish these moments – both kinds of moments, I guess, because they’re all part of the funny little world we live in and this wonderfuly complex journey we’re on called Life.

"I’ve wrestled with reality for more than 35 years, and I’m happy to state that I’ve finally won out over it." Jimmy Stewart

Welcome Sweet Baby!


This morning at approximately 5:45 in the morning after 4 hours and 19 minutes of labor, D. F. E. was born to a couple of our lovely friends – 6lb 2oz, 18 1/2 inches long, brilliant blue eyes, mellow and sweet, with a fuzz of dark brown hair. It was an honor and delight to hold her just 12 hours after her entry into the world, and once again I am amazed at the incredible process God orchestrated for the creation of life. From micro-tiny pieces of our bodies comes this amazing living breathing little creature, beautiful and precious. It is so wonderful to me that when I think back on all the major life events I have experienced since leaving my home almost 10 years ago, I can look up and see the same sets of faces there through it all – my dear friends and my husband. How blessed I am indeed to have relationships like this in my life!

Anyway, enough with the mushy stuff – welcome, sweet baby!!