Saying Farewell

I always knew the day would come that I would have to do the unthinkable.  As I watched you grow older and frail, I knew that our time together was coming to an end.

Tyler sleeping

You not being part of my life was unthinkable, so I did just that…Tried not to think about it until I could no longer deny the awful truth.  I knew your hyperthyroidism was taking it’s toll, but I had no idea that something far more sinister was stealing you away from me.

Tyler helping with my art

You were such a huge part of my daily life, and for 17 years, you have been one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.  I will never forget the day we first brought you home.  You were not the kitten I was originally sent photos of, the one that I was supposed to get.  

But when we got to your house, you literally chose us.  You were right there, trying to get our attention, and when I finally noticed you, that’s when I fell in love.  We were a perfect match.

Tyler in his younger days.

We’ve been together through so much, you and I.  You have been there for me during my best days and my worst.  You were there when we brought both of our beautiful baby girls home.  You tolerated all of the other animals we introduced into our home – the birds, the rats, the lizards and the dog.

Tyler and Zoey

It’s hard to imagine the rest of my days without you in them.  We shared a bond that was completely unbreakable, even now that you are gone, I still feel you here.

There are times I think I hear you sneeze or cough or think I feel you jump up on the bed.  I felt so bad for you as you had to suffer with all those sinus problems you had for so long and the toll that the hyperthyroidism was taking on you.  Why did you have to be the 1% of cats who was allergic to the medicine?  If only that would have been the worst of your problems, you would still be with me today.

Curious cat

Most people don’t understand the amount of grief one can feel when you lose a pet.  They say “It’s just a cat, you can get another one.”  You were more than just a cat, you were my best friend and there is a void in my life and an empty place where you once use to be that no other animal could ever fill.  

Tyler

I knew when this time came that it would hurt, but I never knew the extent of the grief and the depth of the pain.  I guess I’m lucky in a way, considering that this is the most devastating loss I’ve experienced in my life so far.  If it hurts to lose a cat this much, I can’t bear to think what it must be like to lose a child.  I don’t believe I could handle something like that and survive.  I’m in awe of those that do.

The day I had to take you to the vet and be faced with the awful choice of having to “put you to sleep” or letting you live a couple for months at the most, but be in pain, was the worst day imaginable.  On the outside, you still seemed fine, with plenty of life still left inside of you. This made it all the more difficult.  Would it have been easier if you were outwardly sick?  Perhaps, but I don’t think that matters in the end.

Those eyes

The x-ray told a more sinister story and presented a picture of something I had no idea was growing inside of you, something which took you away from me far sooner than I had expected.

17 years seems like a long time, but it wasn’t enough for me.  We made it through one more Christmas together and rang in one last New Year’s together, but I selfishly wanted more.  I wish we had more time, although it still wouldn’t be enough.

Tyler

Rest assured Tyler, there will never be another one like you.  You were truly one of a kind. I will never forget you and I am so happy that we found each other.   I wish you were still with me every second of every day.

You were fiercely loved.

My studio cat

 

 

Try, Try and Try Again

mixed media collage

Carefree

There are times when a piece comes together almost effortlessly on the first try.  This was not one of them.

I originally planned on creating an abstract floral piece that consisted of a very detailed mixed media background, along with a vase and flowers.  I worked for hours on the background and the vase come out just the way I wanted it to.

Unfortunately, the flowers did not. They were a disaster.  The loose style I was trying to obtain never quite came together.  I tried to fix the flowers, but I only ended up making them look even worse than they already did. I was at the point of no return.

As much as it killed me to do, I had to cover up everything with gesso and start from scratch.  Hours and hours of work, now gone.

Next, I decided to go in a different direction and try some sketchy watercolor type florals.  I just didn’t feel confident enough to try the same technique I had just failed at.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get this right either.  It was just not good. Although I was able to fix the flowers using stencils and acrylic paints, the leaves and stems were still awful.  I was thinking that I was going to have to start all over once again.

It was then that I remembered a vine stencil I had.  I pulled it out and decided to give it one last shot.  I’m glad I did because that stencil allowed me to save the piece.

I don’t think this will ever be one of my favorite creations, but I’m glad that I didn’t quit and that I was able to step back and take a moment and figure out a new direction.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to do this in our personal lives as well?  Sometimes, when things aren’t working out the way they should, whether it be a job, a relationship, a personal goal, etc., we tend to become emotional and just walk away.  We quit, we abandon, we sabotage.

I know I have done that so many times over the course of my life. I felt that it was easier to just walk away instead of digging in and doing the work that might have salvaged something and perhaps taken my life in a new direction.

I’m not saying that we should stay in toxic or abusive relationship.  That is never the case.  But I am saying that perhaps a friendship could be saved or deepened or a relationship with a child could be turned around if we just took a step back, took a deep breath and figured out what we need to do next instead of walking away.

So today, I’m going to choose to hang in there and do something difficult instead of giving up and walking away.  I know it won’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

 

Faux Leather Travelers Journals With a Twist

I was fortunate enough to be gifted some very nice faux leather fabric samples a while back.  At first I wasn’t sure what to do with them, until I came across a journal in a craft store that give me an idea of how to put them to use.  This is one of the first ones I made.

faux leather travelers journal

Journal Cover

I recently decided that it was time to make a few more.  After sewing the covers together, I decided that I wanted to do something besides a plain cover, so I decided to create some vignettes on each one.

Here is how they turned out.

faux leather travelers journals

Faux Leather Travelers Journals

faux leather travelers journals

Faux Leather Travelers Journals Spines

To say I love them is indeed an understatement!

Altered Book Cover

This is the start of the cover art for my next hand painted travelers journal made from an upcycled book.

Image transfer, collaged background

I started with creating background layers created from magazine text and gel medium.  After that layer, I repeated the process with colored images.  Next came the paint and stenciled image.

altered book travelers journal

Cover in Progress

altered book travelers journal

Front Cover

Once the outside cover is complete, it’s time to add signatures, pockets and envelopes.

Faux Leather Travelers Journal

A while ago, I received several smaller faux leather upholstery fabric samples.  During one of my many trips to my local craft store, I came upon a small travelers journal they were selling for $10.  It was made of really cheap plastic that mimicked leather and had two notebooks made from kraft paper and one folder also made from kraft paper.  All of these were held inside by very thin, cheap elastic.  I purchased it, took it home and made a much better version of it.

I really love the size.  It’s more compact than the other travelers journals I make.  I have this fabric in lots of other great colors, so I will definitely be making more just like it.