Monday, January 31, 2011

My inchie is still in progess....and we welcome a new family member to our circle of love...(P.S. Finished my Inchie)

I will be working on my mirthful inchie when I finish this short has been an incredibly busy day both here at home and in the studio. I went into the studio for a clean and reorganize session in preperation for the sleet and ICE storm that is coming our way tonight. I wanted to prepare for the possibility of maybe having to work here tomorrow rather than go out into the treacherous situation on our ice covered roads. This is just the beginning of the storm's prediction ...then we are due to have a snowstorm move in and deliver more snowfall through Wednesday. February is arriving tomorrow and hopefully this realization in time also moves us closer to a break in the weather and the arrival of Spring. I am looking for the the length on the day...the trees and even the activity of my fine feathered friends. The starlings and bluebirds are active...and I have even caught a glimpse of one or two robins. The earth is stretching and I can hear the sounds and rumors of the change on the horizon.

Now for the first introduction...welcome to the family little Domino!!! Maya Rose and Sabrina Leigh and Hannah Marie have a new four legged brother and he is just Precious!!! They have found the perfect match and waited a very long time for their own puppy. Aunt Sherry found this cutie for them and he has a sister still awaiting adoption...and this little guy acts as if he has lived there the whole time. I hope you enjoy the photos. I need to go finish my >Mirthful" Inchie....joyful...gleeful...filled with laughter. Hey this is exactly how I see my girls when they are caring for their new charge. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

p.s. Domino was very sleepy ...but just did not want to miss any of the action! He is so Precious!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank you for all my blessings...Michael is due to go home....

I spoke to my brother Michael today and after numerous doctors evaluated his progress and the consensus was that he would be allowed to go home with some precautions and a new regiment of medications. His heart attack a few years back has left him with permanent damage and it is still a mystery what has been the cause of this very frightening event. Michael sounded good and very relieved to be going home to his family... Crystal has been nursing both Michael and their daughter Cameron who has been fighting a serious stomach virus. Now it is time for the schedule to settle down and everyone to get some much needed rest. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words over this past the big job is to keep Michael on the road to recovery and keep him from returning to work too soon.

Tonight I volunteered for our wonderful Midland theater as this sold out performance for Mr. Lyle Lovett and his friend John Hiatt.... for thirty years tomorrow...they met on the 31st of January and now create a unique acoustic performance.Lyle is a four-time Grammy winning songwriter, performer and singer who has broadened the American music scene. This kind gentleman is not exactly a big man...small in stature for such an incredible strong voice in his story telling. He combines elements of Country, Jazz, Texas Swing, Gospel and Blues. I have been following this man since the 1970's and he grows more talented and golden with each passing performance. John Hiatt plays alternative songs with acoustic guitars and the blend of their story telling gives this audience a totally unique experience each time they perform. They rehearse separately and come to the stage with their own selections and in the next two hours they play off and with each other. The performance is sprinkled with their Texas drawl and humor as they exchange stories and the audience sat spell bound ...the two hours went way too fast. I feel honored to have been in the presence of these great artists. I am tired now and need to get to bed. Monday is going to be a busy day. I am so grateful to have my brother back home and safe...God is good. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

p.s. Dr. Pattye Whisman a board member and Steven Krempansky the director of our beloved Midland Theater after the performance at The Works on Saturday. No one succeeds alone.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mystic Drums with Lauren from Toronto...and my grand babies!

My brother is still in the seems they cannot get or keep his blood pressure down and I feel for the poor nurses and caregivers. Michael thought he was and should be going home..unfortunately his caregivers are getting the wrong side of midnight when they are working with and for his own good. I know and understand how he is feeling and he should realize that he was and is in serious trouble until they doctors can discover and resolve this imbalance in his body. My brothers are a lot like my father in how they deal with a crisis...usually ill tempered and bad mannered. Please pray for my family and his wife and daughter Cameron...this has been the longest week of their lives. I am sending him white light of healing and regained serenity as soon as possible for every one's sake and sanity.

Today my family shared a wonderful musical adventure with a young, challenging and very talented musician from Toronto, Canada. Lauren introduced global music and rhythms to a room of over 75 children in various ages with their extended families for over an hour in duration. One young friend happened to be celebrating her sixth birthday with a special birthday experience on the Orient Express complete with egg rolls and fortune cookies with a few very special friends!!! Sally brought her guests into the Works meeting room and every child participated in learning a percussion instrument and a large collaboration with a very energetic Lauren...the mystical drummer. As you can see in the photos we all shared a wonderful time and created a heart memory to cherish forever. Happy Birthday Sally!!! You are so loved!

My beloved children had a special pizza lunch and snack finger foods like sliced apples, peanut butter on celery sticks with raisins...we call them bugs on a log. Apple juice and carrots sticks with dip plus crackers and cookies. I know I was tired when they headed back home and Erin said the three babes were all asleep on the drive home. Ken put together my coffee stand/polished chrome rack together for a proper place to hold the coffee pot and hot pot for our teas and shared coffees when artists gather to share their process and their journeys. I enjoy working on Saturdays when I am alone in the studio...I find my self in a calm cocoon of serenity...a place to be still and just gather my thoughts and select the next steps for my journey. My young student that I was blessed to work with in summer 2009 Casey came in to share her paintings she has developed since our last meeting. I am terribly proud of her and shared some of my plans to 1) create a straight stitch lesson where we will create a funky pot holder and an apron ....2) and then we will design our own fabric to create a artsy purse or messenger bag. I am still working on the sewing machine to make the tension a little smoother but to be honest I do love working with those who are eager to explore the fiber arts at such an early age.

I am now realizing I will have to stretch my canvas for my commission... a special 12 inch by 30 inch canvas to build up my layers for my Hindu/English illustration and graphics of the affirmation..."return or come back successful" I know I want a gallery wrapped canvas so the frame will become just an extension in the design. I am tired tonight but for a great reason...Art truly saves lives and today I shared my passion with those that I love. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Poetic Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old

I am currently taking a class where we had to describe something we saw outside and we also had to create a poem about who we are. I have decided to post them here and would love to hear from you! Tell me what you think and maybe post your own poem or piece of writing! I will probably post other things I write, if they are any good. So without further ado, here they are:

The Sun: A Creative Writing Piece
The golden sun wraps me in a blanket of warmth.
It tastes like delicious honey that slowly melts to lemonade
as it hides behind a cloud.

“My Life Is”

by Vahni Kurra

My life is sunshine from the Indian sun
It is ocean spray from the beaches of Trinidad
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

My life is the smell of books encasing me
It is the gusty breath of wind that soothes
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

My life is the spices that tickle your tongue
It is the mystery of red curtains that hide and reveal the stage
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

My life is the plane ride that carries you to exotic lands
It is the soul of music that makes you sway and jiggle
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

My life is air-soft puppy fur
It is the swing set where we all used to play
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

My life is the one that sees the first breath of a new one
It is also the one that says a final goodbye
It is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close

I’ve done and seen so much, and know there’s more to come
I’m unprepared, but will always know
My life is so much together, and I’ll have it forever
As long as I hold it close
Thanks for reading, Ciao! :)

Thank you dear God for protecting my younger brother....

I have had my mortality in my face last night...first I learned that a dear man who lived for his family and his dedication to the arts died from an apparent heart attack after shoveling the snowfall from his driveway. I met with his wife and three children and shared how I was always touched by his patience and fairness for all involved in making board decisions. Then my sister called to inform me that my brother was in intensive care in the cardiac unit awaiting news if he had thrown a clot...had another heart attack... had a stroke... or needed a surgical procedure. My sister and brother were together with my sister-in-law during the intense day of numerous testing. He is still in the intensive care unit due to an elevated blood pressure and constant fluctuating levels that are in the dangerous levels with possible deadly consequences. I could not sleep and my mind would not shut off... my brother has worked hard his whole life and should now be close to enjoying his family and life in a slower lane in a few short years. I love my brother Michael and will continue to keep him and his family in my heart and my prayers.

"To live now, as human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." "The problem is our civil obedience." "Free thinkers are dangerous" These are some of my favorite quotes from a man I have followed and respected since my years at Kent State. Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, intellectual, political scientist, civil rights leader and firm believer that a WAR is never the answer. "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." His most famous book he has written is A People's History of the United States and you can hear activists and artists reading this text out loud at Yesterday was the first anniversary of his death and living his dream is the highest tribute I can give this man and I just wanted to sing his praises and invite others to investigate, maybe question the status quo, ask for further clarification of our nations global policy and become more aware of our choices we have available to make and vote for. I miss you Howard and your smile still radiates in my heart. I wish you Peace. "You can't be neutral on a moving train."

I am gathering some information on a possible art program where I will guide a preschool group of young artists in a journey of color exploration and creative play. The number of students could depend on their attendance with up to 15 students. I am very excited about this special honor to work with the future painters and artists and it will help me pay the rent for the month. I spoke briefly with the director this morning and I will put together a couple ideas and possibilities for our future session.

Tomorrow we are having a special performance of Mystic Drums at The Works from 1 to 2 pm... a special preview of the family evening performance at The Midland . I have invited the kids over for a break and global entertainment. I am hoping the weather will cooperate for a safe journey to is snowing once again tonight. I am working on the sewing machine that was donated by my dear friends Kathy and Tony...and today I had the straight stitch running smoothly and bought a few more bobbins to have on hand to work on a simple lessons plan for an artsy apron...complete with zebra, cafe Au lait design elements and a variety of accent fabrics. Have a great restful evening and remain safe and warm! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

and the young will lead the way....

Ken teaches a remarkable young woman who is wise beyond her young age...she is what we call an old soul and hopefully I will be able to ask her permission to share one of her poems on one of my posts. She is in the 7th grade and sees and feels her world around her with a maturity and sincerity that will often surpass those of us who may have a few years on her. I will make my request on her blog tonight and hopefully she will allow me to share her generous heart and soul.

I worked on a mixed media watercolor project that was inspired by Jean from "Bluebirds living in the meadow" posts where jean is sharing her teacher skills and setting up some excellent watercolor exercises for her followers to experiment and play their way through what often appears to be too difficult to find success. First I created a small watercolor paper with a wash of colors, layered my with matte medium, sprinkle my paper scrap confetti on the medium and finally printed a large assortment of heart stamps I have been collecting since the 1980's. The truth be known...I was playing colors and a acid free spritz of reds and silver. Now doesn't that sound like fun. After drying the experiment sheet I arranged my art stuff to take home for further "Play" at home.

I visited my Goodwill for my senior discount day and found all kinds of wonderful treasures for my studio and for inspirations for a few ideas I am collecting my design elements for already. I always have a great time at the "Will" and when I spend my few dollars I feel that I am helping a part of my community continue to live independent productive lives. I found the most beautiful teacup that I will share next Tuesday for my Tea for Tuesdays. I found a small child's antique apron to work into one of my "Women's Work" exhibit...a possible mixed media piece that will have text and photos layered on to the surface with a veil of mystery with antique laces. I also found some brand new long sleeve tees for my studio work ...for $2.99 before my discount! They had the original tags and labels so I feel as if I almost stole them....I love wearing great clothes from the Goodwill.

I went to refill my gas tank because the temperatures are dropping once again and when it is this cold I try to keep the little 14 year old car in tip top shape. I am going to work in my home studio space for a little bit of time tonight. I hope you enjoy the photos from today's visitors...the young man is Cooper who is in love with my stuffed teddy bear hat! Imagine and Live in peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tea for Tuesdays...mine was iced and in a paper cup...

I never did get the tax situation worked out so I wrote my check and mailed my sales tax to the Department of Taxation for the State of Ohio. I will be on the ball next time...this all just caught me off guard and when computers works or one knows how to work on the computer systems...then the computer can be my friend. Yesterday was not that beneficial to my spiritual well being... I am sure I allowed my blood pressure to rise too high too quickly.

My maintenance dear Justin figured out how my circuits were crossed and I was failing to receive proper power to allow my computer to renew, the small refrigerator to once again chill my water and juices and finally to power my beloved Ott light work lamp...light is so vital to making my small quilt stitches and adding my beaded embellishment. Oh the sweet simple things in little small blessings that make the day flow more smoothly.

A new friend Luanne Kaseman called and delivered some extra fabrics and scraps donations that I will be able to use with my young seamstresses Charlotte and Claire. We had a wonderful visit and I explained how I might be using her wonderful textural fabrics for beginning projects for my young students. I have included some of the samples plus she gave me some fusible batting that sounds as if it will be easier to incorporate into some simple shopping bags for carrying our art stuff. Luanne enjoyed hearing about the possibilities and I invited her to return after she gets moved and settled into her new home. Then a wonderful husband and wife came in and I met a wonderful artists/conservator who lives in Heath and she invited me to visit her studio she and her husband built about six years ago. Shirley Tisdale has a studio in her home called Artists Web Studio and has invited me to a bi-monthly meeting of fiber artists who share their passions through knitting, felting, quilting, and sewing. I look forward to being able to find the time to visit soon as the weather continues to improve...I am an optimist!

My young artist friend Kylie came in to eat her ice cream from Velvet Ice Creams in Utica, Ohio. She has decided I need to move closer to her house so when the weather gets icy and dangerous she will still be able to see me. We worked on a special Valentine card to get in the sweet honey do mood and plan for her valentine party at her preschool. We carefully chose the right punches, papers and ribbons and then selected a sherbet ink pad to stamp her specifically selected stamps. Each decision was precisely made and placement of each design element so that the next time we meet we will have the time to paint...yes it is time to paint :O)!

Priscilla stopped by with some bookmarks to use with small little readers ... to mark their place and progress as they learn to read. We have had opposite schedules lately and I truly miss her as we were able to work together previously ...Priscilla is a very talented artist in whatever whatever she attempts.... she works until she has made her perfection as humanly possible in her artist marks in her digital photography, watercolors, or acrylics. I am always hoping she will find a way to make time and money to make her work. We laughed that we both needed to get home soon so we were not in too much trouble.

I am really tired tonight. I went to Great Clips and had a woman work a few shaping lengths into my hair. Just getting a trim can lift ones spirits but tomorrow will be the real test...can I style my hair like my Theresa did? The trim was way overdue so after I condition my hair hopefully I will have a fresher style and shape.

I mailed my taxes to the Stare of Ohio Department of Taxation...the old fashioned way since I could not get through to a real human being. Hopefully they will receive graciously and help me ease the next payment if six months. I placed a Winslow Homer stamp on the envelope for good luck! Have a warm and gentle night under a well loved quilt for warmth. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

P.S. How do you like my new/used/recycled awning with WHISPERS AND ECHOES STUDIO? Pretty snazzy don't you think!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Did you was a deadline?

I had a visitor drop by who happens to be a great friend...thank you Vicki because I am feeling terribly brain damaged right now. I have the worst headache brought on by the state of Ohio. Today was the deadline for paying my state taxes for my Whispers and Echoes Studio. The state of Ohio has decided to make it easier for us now...right....NOT! I have been on the computer for over three almost 4 hours trying to make my payment...with no success. So I am a wee bit grumpy ...grouchy ...well I feel darn mean at this very moment. See I am not perfect and I do have my Irish temper roaring right this moment. I do have my Inchie for Monday completed and the word this week is maudlin... sentimental ...tearfully intoxicated....well you get the idea. I hope you like this process...I am already working on next week's theme. I hope your Monday went better than mine....I cannot complain because I did make it down the driveway and safely to the is downhill since then. I shoveled half of the driveway tires were burning rubber as I attempted to get back up the hill...can you get the picture? Actually the shoveling was therapeutic ...especially when I tried to work out the tax payment. Have a good evening...I am going to work on slow cloth stitches now and try in an hour to pay my taxes like a good little citizen....grrrr! Imagine Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The sun blessed us today and the shadows were so elegant on the snow blanketed hillside

Dear Anonymous....tell that young man I think of him almost everyday with a big smile on my face...he is sunshine to my heart. :O}

I have had a quiet day with doing mundane and yet surprisingly satisfying household chores like laundry and made an enormous pot of chili to warm our insides and tempt the warmth to stay inside us on these extreme days of frigid temperatures. Ken went out to gather a few supplies and bought another space heater to ease our chill in the man cave where we have our mutual computer set up. I transferred some images from Paris labels and Italian labels to incorporate into a mixed media 12 by 12 piece with photo transfer of my photo from our trip to Venice years ago. I have added some Italian tickets and receipts with a bit of vintage lace. I added acrylic medium on top of the additional colored pencils. I have to say I am enjoying this process even though I still have the "Fear" factor that holds me back...but working despite this hindrance seems to help me ease into other avenues. Hopefully this will help me pay the rent for February :O}!

The Stewart family of siblings are making some difficult decisions about Mom Stewart's future care. God Bless Vicki and Eric...they have given Mom total care and attention since before Christmas and their time to document the evidence and changes she is demonstrating. I am grateful that my Dad had the foresight to see the "what ifs" and make their plans with my brother Larry ...the kindest lawyer I know. When Dad died suddenly...and Mom had to learn to walk alone in her assisted living apartment many plans had already been laid...thank you Dad. I am still learning from you even today. Mom's Parkinson's disease continued to progress and the medical programs and staff were already in the ecumenical community with plans for her loving care with loving personnel and doctors. I am still wanting to call my mother every night...I miss her calm and empathetic voice listening with her heart and not passing judgment. Now if you ask her for an opinion she would gladly hand over her advice and know she will love you forever. I wear my mother's plain golden wedding ring on a chain and hold onto it as my special connection when I need reassurance from home. I know how difficult these family decisions can be and the more professional advice and legal guidance for the siblings...the easier path to follow in the future.

I have been getting the rest my body has needed ...the cold has a way of kicking me into a slower is painful to be outside but the roads are finally cleared and hopefully the sun will finish the job. I am moving art things into the car for tomorrow's return to the studio...I have really missed being there. may our weeks be blessed with sunshine and glorious discoveries! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A quiet frigid day inside....

I could not get warm today...the temperatures were in the single digits and the breeze kept the chill to the bone going all day. Ken worked on his school work and continued his reading to prepare for his next selection, a Newberry Award winning novel The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. She was a favorite writer of mine when I taught and I loved reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler to my students years ago. I slept under the quilts with my dog Rosie...the cold is taking a toll on my swollen glands make it hard to swallow foods and drinks.

I wish I had brought my big journal home from the studio but there was no real need to head outside in the cold cold day. I renewed and reviewed my copies of Somerset magazines and let the pages tell their stories once more. I reread my favorite German Poet Rilke's Book of Hours...Love poems to God. I am carrying a heavy heart lately with issues that develop late in our lives...weaker parents and proper placements...disappointments and betrayals... and just the life's mountains and valleys that we all experience as our families grow older and children move into their own lives. "your first word was light, and time began. Then for a long time you were silent." I am listening to this silence as I make my slow cloth stitches ...the slow movement of the needle pulling the threads through the cloth is comforting to my moment in time. Melancholy is my companion as the skies are velvety gray and I search for the light of renewing sunshine to create blues and grays shadows on the white snowy landscape...the fluffy deer roam quietly over the hill in search for nourishment and seem peaceful as they leave their prints in the snow.

I pray you are all warm and comfortable and know that this is a normal pattern of the January Wolf moon ...the beauty is is the quiet shimmers of moonlight on the snowbanks. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart