I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Thoughts

So ends the weekend...it has NOT been a restful one. Too much to do and not enough time to do a few things I really wanted to do...except the little tissue holder, and I did have fun at a bridal shower this afternoon. They did it the "old fashioned" way...let the BRIDE open her own gifts! I loved it...I'm not too much on the hostesses opening the gifts and others browsing around. Call me frumpy but as a bride, I LOVED seeing what I got and from whom. I enjoyed being able to ooh and ahhh and say a personal thank you. I know, I know...move on, sister.

On another note...there was much tissue paper thrown away at the shower...oh, would I have loved getting my hands on it! Some really pretty patterns...oh, well. I think I may need professional counseling on the tissue paper hangup I have. (lol...friends.)

I have enjoyed a few quiet minutes of looking at other blogs. Such great ideas and such nice people may be found on these blogs. I really would like to thank those who are so kind to share their creativity and ideas with others. Debbie at DebbieDoo's is hosting a Newbie Link Party and I hope you will attend. The button is on the right side with her picture! Just click on it and see all the new blogs on the block!

Monday is nipping at our heels...let's don't "wish" our life away by gazing toward Friday. The month of LOVE begins this week...maybe we could focus on that instead. Remember: "the greatest of these is love." I'll be putting on some fun posts this week...until then,

Blessings and LOVE to each of you,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ahchoooooooo! Tissue Holder Tutorial

There is nothing as mundane as Kleenex...HOWEVER, when you need one, there is nothing quite as dutiful and tidy. I don't know the inventor of the "tissue" but I bet his family is one happy group!! Below is my finished tissue cover ...below that is the picture of the "frumpy before cover."

I don't have a large vanity in my bathroom, but too much clutter can accumulate quickly and I am always on the lookout for ways to make it tidier. I use a square tissue holder and it was a bit frumpy. It matched my McCarty and Peters Pottery, but it was just so so.

Above you will see the original box. I painted it to match the pottery. A metal box would scratch my counter top, therefore, a lighter box was needed. So began the tissue holder search quest. Finally after weeks of looking, I decided to order a paper mache box and make my own. When it arrived I bought scrapbook paper and no matter what I bought, nothing looked promising...until one day I was in Wal Mart buying tissue and I spied this box full of kleenex!

I loved the clean cheerful lines and the only thing wrong was that it was a box and not a cover FOR the box. So as soon as I used all the tissues, I carefully cut it apart and my plan was set in motion.

First I gathered my supplies: scissors, Gesso, box cover, paint and you know....MOD PODGE!! I kept the box for color reference and photocopied several copies of the sides of the box.

Paint selection was more difficult. The exact color I was aiming for matched my pottery and it's a weird combination of brown, blue and green. I bought 5 new bottles of acrylic paint to do the Matching Part of the process.

Before mixing paint, I used Gesso to cover the brown box and give the paint some tooth on which to hold. It took two coats of Gesso.

Above are some of the colors I used to come up with the secret color! I had to use Blending Gel to give the acrylic paint longer drying time. The mixing and matching took quite awhile, but I finally managed to hit it close enough.

I started with two colors and mixed in the others until I was satisfied. The entire process from start to finish took about 3 hours. Below is the finished product. I cut out and used some of the photocopied images, painted shadows and finished the whole thing with MOD PODGE. It looks really cute in the bathroom and I am very happy with it...if I get tired of it...I'll just paint over it and do something different!

Inspiration is everywhere...even on the tissue aisle at Wal Mart!! AND McDonald's...several years ago I was about to throw away a paper cup that McDonald's used at Christmas for their drinks. Just as I was tossing, I caught myself and pulled the cup back to see the most precious silhouette of a little boy and girl.

I brought the cup right in, scrubbed it, dried it, cut it down the seam and filed it away. Someday I'd use it. I needed a small picture to display at Christmas one year, and so out came the cup and below is the result.

(Sorry about the reflection on the glass). I had the picture enlarged on a copier, traced it onto cream paper and pen and inked the silhouette. Reminds me of my grandchildren!

I am linking to Saturday Nite Special's party, please, grab the button on the right and join us.

Blessings and Joy to you,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog and Art!

Having children in a house brings so much life to the place. Our grandson recently spent the night with us, and I tell you what, it was just like adding lights to the Christmas tree! He will be 14 years old in a few days and I thought I'd do a "twofer" (that's two for one) blog in his honor.

One part of the blog is about him and one is about an art piece I did of him. So you are really getting your money's worth today...lol.

We are privileged to be the grandparents of two grandchildren. I have already introduced you to Gracie in several posts....so today I'd like you to know Ryan.

We were, like most prospective grandparents, eager for his arrival. We'd been calling him by name for months and felt like we knew him when he came. The morning after he arrived we received an urgent and fearful call from his father telling us that something was wrong, and we were to hurry to the hospital. I'll never forget that ride...me, babbling like a fool and hubster, not saying a word. We were nervous, uncertain what the problem was, terrified that we'd lose the little boy we'd welcomed just a few hours before. Joy melted into a puddle of confusion and fear.

For nine days we took turns going into the neonatal intensive care unit. All those tubes, all that machinery and the little person lying under the "french fry" lamp caused my heart to just plain droop. But whenever we'd come to his bedside, touch or talk to him all his monitors went up...his heart would race and so would ours. My mother brought a little lamb stuffed toy that played "Jesus Loves Me" and we'd wind it up and talk to him and tears would flow. We prayed, visited and did all we could...doctors wouldn't give much encouragement...Ryan had a stroke at birth, and we weren't certain of the outcome.

He came home, still hooked up to monitors, but he was home...a hurdle had been crossed. At about two and a half years of age...he was definitively diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Both right arm and leg were paralyzed. We'd wait and see what other hurdles would have to be crossed.

A picture for every month of his first year. We were blessed by his sunny disposition and delight in everybody and everything.

Ryan helping in my flower garden. Funny, how once again, adults see "little" things from a child's viewpoint.

None of the men in the family (including Ryan) were too fired up with this outfit...but all the women thought it was precious...this was the last one like it.

Long story short: today he is a strapping teenager... he's had to overcome a lot...he loves sports and attends a school where he plays basketball and baseball.

In the summer he has played tennis, golf and swims...all without the use of his paralyzed right leg and arm. Other problems have surfaced along the way, but he's a trooper..."he keeps on keeping on." If he can't play a sport or doesn't get a chance to play when on the team, we've encouraged him to be an encourager to others who do play.

My family certainly is NOT perfect. We've had bumps along life's highway, but one of the greatest blessings God has given us is our grandchildren. When he was little, I used to tell Ryan that if I were allowed to go to "The Grandson Store" and pick out a grandson from all the other little boys in the whole world, I'd search and search until I found him. He's the perfect pick for me...no other boy...just him! We are privileged to be his grandparents. We never imagined such joy.

Thank you, Ryan, for being you and for trying so hard and for not giving up. Happy Birthday! We love you "to the moon and back" and always will!

Part II: The "Encourager" Art piece for Ryan's room.

The artwork I made for Ryan's room encourages him to be a faithful encourager of others. After taking photos of him, I removed the color and used Photoshop to add charcoal to the picture. I Mod Podged scrapbook papers and letters to the canvas and presented it to him to match a new comforter I bought him for his bed.

Let me close by saying that no matter what obstacles you may face with your child or your grandchildren, God is faithful. He gives you grace to face each day, and He will restore the years the locust have eaten...KEEP THE FAITH!!!

Linking to Polish the Stars Party & Boogieboard Cottage this week, come join us!

Blessings and Joy to You,

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Have The Answer to Blurry Blog Headers!!

Oh, WOW! I finally got my blog header in focus... I happened upon a number of people experiencing the same agony I was having...so here is the link that did the trick after about 14 hours of trying different things! Whoever "SouthernSpeakers" is....THANK YOU!!


I also had to use a new host site...Imageshack. It worked just like a charm the first time I followed their tutorial!! I've been so busy trying to figure this out and attending grandson's basketball games that I haven't posted in several days, but I'll have one up and going tomorrow!

Hope you tried that Ravioli recipe from my last post...it is so easy and so delicious. I used the frozen cheese and spinach ravioli from Wal Mart...it was pricey but great. It has a sauce that comes with it and I just stirred it into the additional spaghetti sauce. I cooked the ravioli pasta first and then added spaghetti sauce to my dish, covered it with ravioli, more sauce and more ravioli...topped with the three blend cheese and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes until the cheese was bubbly. Deeeelicious...try it...you'll like it!

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Anyone Else Having Blog Pic Problems?

Oh, my sweet readers!! I have been re-designing...like re-decorating the blog since 6 a.m.! I had so much I wanted to post today...Again, Blogger issues!! I thought it was my camera, then Picasa...but now I read where it's Blogger! I hope they fix it quickly and hope my new "header" pictures will be much clearer soon. If I ever get it fixed, I don't think I have the courage to ever try to re-do the header again!! Happy Saturday...oh, yes...I have a really good recipe for you to try:

Easy Ravioli
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
2 bags of frozen cheese ravioli
1 bag of Italian Three Blend cheese
Layer, beginning with the sauce, ending with the cheese. Bake until ravioli is done...read instructions on bag!

Don't know the name but it surely was delicious Wednesday night at church Family Night Dinner. (I found frozen Cheese and Spinach Ravioli at Wal Mart. Haven't located the JUST cheese one. I'll let you know or better, YOU let me know!)

Blessings & Joy to you,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love Is In The Air...Mixed Media Valentine

This post is being linked to DebbieDoo's newbie linky party! Grab the button on the right to join us. All bloggers with under 100 followers or less OR a blogger who has been blogging for 6 months or less are linked. Great way to see new kids, er, blogs on the block!! Come join us!

I know I am a little early, but I happen to think that Valentine's Day is (next to Christmas & Easter) one of the greatest holidays we celebrate! True lasting love is a precious gift, and one that is experienced in many different forms...Husband & wife, Mother & child, Siblings, Grandparents, Friends...I believe that deep within, all human beings desire to love and to be loved. Love requires lots of work...not every once in a while, but everyday. So let's turn our hearts to making our homes warm and inviting to all who enter! To see more Mod Podging go here.

I began this mixed media art by using pages from a 1949 science book on animals and a calculus book. I MOD PODGED the pages to a canvas and let them dry completely.

With acrylic paints, I painted the tree's form. And with my Cricut, I cut out 2 3/4" black scrapbook paper hearts and MP'd them on.

I added 2 1/2 inch parchment paper hearts and 2 inch red paper hearts with MP. I also cut out the word LOVE and attached to the right bottom corner.

Some hearts received tan polka dots and some got black ones...I LOVE polka dots.

Now for aging...I am very good at aging...I do it personally everyday...so I know how to age with the best of them...I use Tim Holtz's Vintage Photo Distressing Ink ( his Tea Dye ink is very good, too...it's more subtle). Picture is "aged" below. The pages had a certain amount of aging already...the book was born the same year I was...hmmmm.

I needed a bird and a few flourishes, so the Cricut was put into use again. The bird's message is part of I Corinthians 13:13.."And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I made a small hole in the "message" and tied it with black thread. The bow is held in place by MP...(I believe the Mod Podge company should sponsor my blog.) I added a tiny bird on one of the branches and spaced the flourishes throughout the tree branches. B&W houndstooth paper was cut into leaves and there you have it!

At the present time, the art is displayed in the library with some very old poetry books.
I think love is just grand, don't you?

PS: I MUST give my Father credit for helping me with my posting "incapabilities". I think I will do a tutorial on speeding up your uploads. I changed my resolution from 300 dpi to 72 dpi!! Thanks, Daddy!

I'm linking to The Shabby Chic Cottage and Design It Chic (Boost My Blog) and Boogieboard Cottage this week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Master Bedroom MakeOver

What possessed me to post this today? I've been working on it since 5 a.m. and have just gotten to the "posting" part....Anyhooo, I am notorious for changing things, rooms, colors, accessories in and outside my home. HOWEVER, when I finally get it right, I am satisfied and I rarely change it again...for several years.

Thus, began the saga of the master bedroom makeover. It wasn't going to be anything but a duvet cover at first. Then it sort of snowballed...you DO understand, don't you? Below is the before picture I snapped at some odd time.I have no idea why my husband's red shirt is in the chair (except he used to use that chair as a second closet...but NO more!!)

There were two of those chairs, one in each corner. I owned them for over 40 years. It was time for a change. I had paid too much for the HEAVY comforter and velvet bedskirt and I had determined that I'd use the comforter to fill the duvet. Everything looked grandmotherly...well, since I AM a grandmother...let's change that to great grandmotherly.

The process began. I was staying with my wall color...Dried Grass....Wal Mart...love IT! (The green behind the fabric is a file folder, NOT Dried Grass!)

Now, this is Dried Grass (above). This color matches ANY color! I promise!

Carpet would have to stay...too new. Finally after an exhaustive search, I found a duvet on Overstock. It was ridiculously inexpensive, but I have been soooo pleased with it. It's heavy, really nice material. Shams and cover totaled out at around $40! (That 2.95 for shipping is the greatest!) Found some really nice taupe and black material for extra shams at Hancock's..that's it above and it was heavy and woven so it can be used on either side...I chose the light side. THE duvet ad is pictured above the fabric. I also found another fabric piece that was on sale 40% off, so I got enough just to do some throw pillows...$21 a yard is a tad over my budget..ha. (See side pillows below.) I covered old pillows that already had black cording around the edge.

Pattern mix above. Shams of reversible material at top; matching shams from duvet; $21 a yd material on either side and middle pillow matches the lining of my dresser lamp shades!

Now, what to do about those chairs...after some real fast talking, I got the hubster to consent to getting a new one....that's right ONE. The room had too much furniture and I couldn't breathe.

SIDENOTE: Uploading pictures is the only thing about blogging that I don't like. It takes me forever. I don't know if it's my computer or what, but I have time to put on make up in between uploads..drives me over the edge.

I found the chair at Haverty's. Good price, linen weave, neutral and no little skirt around the bottom. Clean lines and look were what I was going for. (Uploading...putting on eyeliner...) Pictured below are my new drapes. I lived here for 17 years without any...it was time...I paid my dues. They are lined and are a little darker than the wall color. I hung them 12 inches from the top of the doors and let them puddle just a tiny bit. I'm not too much into the BIG puddle look.

After 5 anxious days, the duvet arrived! (See August 4, 2010 post on that experience. Look under labels on the right...duvet cover. Title: How To Wrestle An Alligator) It was perfect, once I tamed it and got the other comforter into it.

Now on to accessorizing.

Left side of bed...silhouette is by artist Betty McCool, a wonderful southern artist, milkglass container was a gift from my son, McCarty June birds from my grandchildren! The silhouette was the subject of an Early American Life magazine article. I had a new mat cut but I was very fortunate to be able to purchase the original Mrs. McCool used for the article. See below.

Right side of bed. (I just realized something, I can upload and keep typing at the same time! Oh, happy day! )

I cut these silhouettes of my grandchildren years ago. I took their pictures in front of a window, printed them out, traced them onto silhouette paper, cut and viola! Frames from flea market.

I love my old books and use them everywhere! Some were my grandmother's. They add depth and character to everyday items.

Now for a quick tour of the finished product. The dresser and chair area are pictured below. Found the little stool at the flea market and recovered it with a remnant of black and taupe polka dot. Added a small pillow and "mink" throw.

The table beside the chair is an antique purchase from years ago. The white bird container is a gift from my son and the paperweight is the first ever given to me. My mother saw it and started my collection!

The front view of the dresser. I found the two silk flower embroidered pictures at the flea market. The lampshades are taupe on top and underneath have black velvet flowers. The flowers only show up when the lamps are lit. I love it...Ross's for $4 each!!!

As you can see, I love details, details, details...those lampshades really rocked my decorating world!

I know what you are thinking, " I am very traditional"...but I also enjoy modern clean lines. So, yes, I do have all this bedroom furniture, but no, I don't think it's too much. The room handles it well. Losing the extra chair and bringing in smaller pieces here and there helped reduce the
visual noise. Plus, I taught summer school one summer to buy this furniture. It's staying.

View of the chest of drawers.

I purchased this twig cone and filled it right up! One of my students provided me with the peacock feathers from a peacock owned by his grandfather.

Picture of completed dresser side of room.

Below is Final shot (whew)...poor old Blogger uploader probably has to take a nap after this boatload of photos! Anyway, this is my little nest and I love it. Comfy, clean and the wall color changes with the time of day. I love a paint that does that!

I am linking to: Boogieboard Cottage, Metamorphosis Monday, Shabby Nest, Decor Chick and Polish the Stars parties...click on the buttons to the right.