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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Emotional Dam of Intermittent Fasting - Joy

As so many of you out there, I feel everything.  I feel so many sensations running through my body, my heart, my mind that some days I have to do “inventory” to understand what’s going on.  Since fasting, feeling has turned into healing.  Because I’m not filling my body with food, my feelings are not suppressed or “stuffed.”  The break from food allows my spirit, which is much stronger and healthier than my body, to become more present then my flesh and through the light of God, I can not only balance out, but rise to a higher degree of love and healing.  Sounds pretty new-age-ish, but it’s just a beautiful thing that comes with fasting. 

When I was a teenager and into my early twenties, this “gift” of feeling everything could be depilating.  After I was sexually abused, something vulnerable in me awoke and it seemed to attract dysfunctional men.  I couldn’t catch a break.  Either I didn’t believe I was worth more or the men I was attracting into my life had some sort of ability to read I was weak.  I didn’t have the self-esteem or strength to defend myself.  I started having panic attacks, painful periods of time when my heart couldn’t carry my hurt.  Rapid heartbeats, inability to breath, panting, crying, fainting – all in an attempt to maintain and hold myself together as my world was falling apart.  My mom was the only one who could pull me out of such experiences.  Her understanding, soft tone, encouragement, physical touch – it all helped me come back.  I had my last panic attack at the age of 26.  Thankfully, marrying my sweetheart was a strong influence of love and my body didn’t respond to stress anymore in the form of panic attacks.

I know so many girls and women have and have had panic attacks.  1 out of 3 of us have been sexually abused.  I want to find you, to find others and not just heal, but shine.

What was I feeling before I started intermittent fasting?  After all, I’d been married for over 17 years, had six children and lived a dream life. Yes, life was good, better than good and with all the love surrounding me, I’d worked through so many of my issues and feelings, but I still carried shame and regret.  With all that was on my plate, I couldn’t handle these emotions anymore.  Why was I still hiding from hurt?  Negativity?  Procrastination?  Unmet expectations?  I was suffocating.  Either they had to go, or I was going to break from the weight of it all.

While fasting, I have major breakthroughs specific to my emotional challenges, I mean life-changing ideas and experiences that placed me on a path to higher love and purpose.  Just a few weeks ago, I had an experience were I learned the amazing power of repentance.  I’ve known about repentance my entire life, but rarely acted on it.  The bigger truth of asking God every day to be forgiven of my sins has helped with me be more sympathetic to others, learn from my own mistakes and recognize the addictions I still have to break in my life.  Repentance lifts my emotional load and frees me from negativity.  Still, I’m stubborn.  Even with all I’m learning, I’ll forget or don’t make this task a priority some days.  The flesh is so stubborn. 

During my first 30-day fast (you can read about this experience in my memoir (Starving Girl), I had an experience one night.  I was driving one of my son’s home from basketball practice and I stopped to get something to eat.  I hadn’t broken my fast yet, so I had a prayer in the car, then went into Pei Wei for some lettuce wraps and edamame.  Once back in the car, I reached for the package of edamame.  I put that salty warm soybean pod in my mouth, bit it open and the flavor of the soybean electrified my palate.  Food is delicious, but after an 18 hour fast, food is explosive.  Those first few bites meant everything.  They provided the nourishment I needed and I was not only delighted, but so very grateful.  So very thankful was I, so amazing was the taste, with my sweet son in the back seat sharing all the fun things about his day, my car that worked every time I start it up, the love from my family, my clarity of thought, when I heard in my mind “Well, look at you.  You’re doing it.”   (This happens a lot to me.  The Spirit continues to give me so much encouragement.)

I was.  I was doing it.  Fasting was helping me tackle so many of my emotions, I was present, my health was improving, plus I was losing weight.  My heart almost burst, and suddenly, I thought of those awful panic attacks.  All those years ago when all hope seemed lost, how I would rather die than endure any more pain, how it was so difficult to breathe I would pass out. 

But, no, at this moment, breaking my fast with the wonderful food, this wasn’t a panic attack.  Yes, my heart beat was increasing, yes I felt like I might cry, yes, I was overcome, but what I was experiencing was my first a joy attack.

So powerful was my joy.  I imagined a line on one end of the spectrum a panic attack and on the polar opposite end, a joy attack.  Oh, this was big. I needed my mom.  This was too much emotion.  I started deep breathing.  I couldn’t have a “joy attack.”  I was driving.  I couldn’t fall apart because I was “so happy.”  As wonderful as it was, I had to control this or my eyes would fill and become blurred with tears.  In my mind, I started talking to my mom.  I envisioned her holding me, but my love for her made my “joy attack” even stronger.  I had to block the image of my mom or at that moment, her love would overcome me. 

“Breath deep,” I said to myself.  “Everything’s fine.” 

If it hadn’t been so overwhelming, it would have been funny.  I mean really, who has a “joy attack” when eating edamame.  But, seriously, a clean physical palate means emotional and spiritual experiences finally have room in my life to manifest.

I did get a hold of my mom and she told me, “Tell your joy it can come in smaller doses or we can get together and you can invite it back while we are holding each other.”  My mom, she’s so awesome.  She validates everything in my life.  To her, I’m never weird.

Joy is an emotion I feel more and more. Swimming with ducks in Sedona 2016

If you have panic attacks, please know you can breathe and heal and overcome, but you have to feel.  You have to be validated by yourself.  Don’t be afraid.  It takes time and work.  Believe, hope, remember your worth and pray.  Let your spirit (also known as your soul) shine, God is there.  He will heal you.  I know He can and will.

Image found here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Finally Published - Starving Girl!

The counselor has been so supportive while I’ve been fasting and writing about my experience.  Where would I be without him?

When we were in Sedona in August, we spent some time writing down our goals.  I love doing this with him.   
“When are you going to publish your book?” he asked.
Oh, yeah, that little old thing!

Here I am in Sedona thrifting at Goodwill.

I wrote Starving Girl in 30 days and spent months editing it. 

There was a time, around the 5-month mark when I put the darn thing away.  I didn’t want anything to do with it.  Writing a memoir was hard, emotional, VULNERABLE!  I'd much rather be spending time with this little guy.

Crazy dog!

I loved fasting and I wrote about the ups and downs, the challenges and benefits, how I felt and managed 16-hours a day without food, but my experience was about so much more than fasting.  My mind was so clear and focused and writing became a necessary function.  Not only did writing helped the hours pass when I was hungry, but it allowed me to binge on my ideas.  These were personal ideas I’d never shared with anybody.  Fasting was not about food or dieting, but how my negative body image and food addiction hurt me.  I started asking questions about women and how we compare ourselves to all the perfect photo-shopped images the media presents to us.  Once I started down that path, I realized how sexual abuse played a huge role in my weight gain and how I had been running away from shame.  I learned how overeating affected my mood and my relationships.  Intermittent fasting was about hunger management and thinking of those who went without.  It was about learning to be grateful and living in the present, not the past or future.  My mind opened up in ways I’ve never experienced.  As I studied more about intermittent fasting, I realized this was not by mistake.  Increased brain function is one of the many benefits of fasting.

Leading scientists now believe that intermittent fasting is one of the key strategies for maximizing brain function. Click here to learn more.

According to neuroscientists, Fasting does good things for the brain, and this is evident by all of the beneficial neurochemical changes that happen in the brain when we fast. It also improves cognitive function, increases neurotrophic factors, increases stress resistance, and reduces inflammation.

Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and your brain responds to that challenge by adapting stress response pathways which help your brain cope with stress and risk for disease. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise. They both increase the production of protein in the brain (neurotrophic factors), which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses.  Click here to read more.

So, when I was writing about intermittent fasting and I had a clarity of mind like never before in which my thoughts were going a million miles a minute and I could articulate them in meaningful ways, this was not by mistake.  This was a major benefit of fasting.  I was remembering things, writing specific details, I didn’t get headaches like I had before intermittent fasting, I was remembering to pray every day, I could focus and meditate, research and brainstorm, I could go hours without the interruption of meals and snacks, I was focused and my writing became a channel of deep thought and healing. 

I came across this quote, and it affected me deeply. 

I could be vulnerable.  I could do it!   I was starving for more than food, I was starving to live my purpose.  I was starving to love, learn, heal, help, serve, give, dream and more.

I’ve read and edited Starving Girl countless times, but once the counselor and I set that goal to publish the book on my birthday September 24, I became determined to get the job done.  I wasn’t going to edit Starving Girl forever, like I’d been doing with my other books I’d written.  I was going to take that leap of faith, the plunge, put myself out there and whatever happened, I would be alright.  It was going to be finished by my birthday, and that was that. 

I met with my editor the evening of my birthday and she said we were close, but she had a few more suggestions.  I came home and worked through the night, into the next day and for the next week like crazy.  Everything was on hold.  The kids helped out more and encouraged me in the kindest ways.  My friends helped with the baby.  The counselor and I gave up date night, I didn’t exercise for the entire week, I don’t even know if I looked up, but a week later, it was ready.  One more final professional edit for typo’s, a new cover was finished and BAM! it was up. 

I’ve never been more determined.  By far, it's the best thing I’ve ever written.

If I wouldn’t have set that goal with my darling, I’m not sure if I would have ever published it.  Thank you to my honey for encouraging me.

Here we are in Telluride last week.  I love this man!

Book trailers are so much fun to make.  Here's mine.

 Starving Girl is available on Amazon and Kindle.  I’m working on the audio book as well. 

Thank you for all your support.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

You Just Never Know - ANWA Conference 2016

Two weeks ago, I attended the American Night Writers Association (ANWA) annual writer’s conference in Tempe, AZ.  Many of these women I’ve known for years and years and love them like sisters.  The president Deb Eaton is a world-class hugger and confidence builder.  Her talents and commitment have grown ANWA into a movement of writers who are changing the world.

I attended the first workshops of the morning, 
(This was one of my favorite quotes from the conference: You can not please everybody, you are not pizza.  Thank you Anika Arrington for your great class.)

and after visiting with several author friends, walked in late to lunch.  The room was packed, with several hundred people there.  I scanned the ballroom for an empty chair, but every seat was full.  Near the back of the room, I saw a few empty seats, but as I neared them noticed the table had a Reserved sign.  At the table were the New York Times best-selling authors, literary agents and publishing editors.  Since I am not any of those things, I continued looking for another seat.  Alas, I found another table with two empty seats and as I approached the table, I noticed it too had a Reserved sign, but it was too late.  One of the women at the table had grabbed my hand and offered me a chair.  I explained to her I was not assigned to sit at the reserved tables, but she insisted.  “We’re all here and you need a seat, so join us.”
I looked around the table and recognized many faces.  I introduced myself to the Patricia Nelson, the literary agent who’d been so kind to offer me a seat and got to know her.  My friend Aprilynne Pike was also seated next to me, so we caught up on how our kids are doing and her latest projects. 

I was good, better than good.  This was amazing, the event had already far exceeded my expectations.  My "You had me at hello" moment had happened.  I was on cloud nine.  Nothing could top this

Lunch was served, the energy in the room was exciting.  It was full of creativity and hard work.  Everybody in there had a dream and somewhere along the way, it was written down in a novel, nonfiction or memoir.  Writers really are the best group of people.  Gracious, educated, self-starters, they don’t give up, persistent, visionary, helpful, encouraging, understanding—really, I could go on and on.  These people are superstars. 

I had an appointment with a publisher who was in attendance at the conference, so I was just about to leave when the founder of ANWA, Marsha Ward was recognized for her 30 years of service. You see, it had been 30 years of ANWA and Marsha Ward is the founder.  Her story goes like this:

Over 30 years ago, she was looking to join a writers group.  She called the Mesa Public Library and asked if they offered such. They did, so Marsha attended.  Problem was, while listening to other writers works, she had to listen to explicit scenes and vulgar language.  As a Christian woman and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons), Marsha just couldn’t stomach it.  In her own words, she said “I felt like my ears might burn off.” 

She turned to God in prayer and felt impressed to start a writing group for Mormon women, where she would be surrounded by people who had the same high standards of clean language and G or PG-rated story-telling.  She put an ad in the local Mormon Newspaper called The Beehive and low and behold, my mom author Sarah Hinze saw the ad, called Marsha and asked if she could join.

At the time, the group was called Arizona Night Writers Association, but it has grown nationally, so Marsha changed to American Night Writers Association.  Why night?  Let’s face it, most women are either moms or working full-time, so the majority of our writing gets done when everyone is sleeping and the house is nice and quiet.

So, like I was saying I was just about to leave lunch early, when Marsha walked up on stage.  I’d known Marsha since I was a teenager, so I stayed in my seat to hear her keynote address.  In our group, she’s like the Maya Angelou.

Marsha and I

“I started ANWA with two people,” she said.  “Sarah Hinze and Peggy Hatch.”
I heard my mom’s name.  I knew my mom had been a member of ANWA every since I could remember, but I didn’t know she had been one of the first three members. 
“Sarah is on a mission in London, but her daughter Laura is here, Laura will you please stand up.”

Oh, at that moment did I miss my mom, but as I slowly stood up in the room full of people I love, I was overcome when they started clapping.  They were clapping for my mom because she had demonstrated faith and friendship.  She supported Marsha, encouraged her, believed that there were others who someday, might benefit from a writing group for Mormon women.  Because of Marsha, my mom had another writer to turn to, to receive feedback and encouragement.  Marsha played a huge role for my mom.  

My mom recently released the 15th Anniversary Edition of The Castaways: Real-life Accounts of Aborted Souls.  

My mom would have been thrilled to see Marsha honored, and humbled to be recognized as one of the founding members.  Peggy Shumway was also in attendance and the same applause and appreciation was shared for her.  Thank you, Peggy.

Wow, well that was amazing.  A room of people, the applause, feeling my mom's love, I mean, how many special opportunities can a girl have in a day.  I was set.  I'd probably used all my perfect moments for a while.  Maybe I'd have to get a traffic ticket on the way home to make up for it.

My mom and dad on one of their days off, in front of the building where The Da Vinci Code was filmed.

Afterwards, I did meet with that publisher.  She expressed interest in my manuscript Starving Girl, “This is something I’d be interested in acquiring,” she said and asked if I’d email it to her.   

For all the novels I’ve written, all the years I’ve stayed up night after night writing, this was the moment.  Finally, someone interested in reading, even publishing what I’ve written, but Starving Girl is my story.  It’s my memoir.  I need to maintain all the rights, but what beautiful validation that it’s worthy of a publishing contract. 

Well, it was almost too much.  Was I going to grow wings too?  I mean, I was just a girl, but it looked like about every positive experience that could happen to me had happened.  After all of this, I didn't deserve a birthday present or Christmas present, like ever!

The conference was a busy time and later I met James A. Owen, Michelle Wilson, Janette Rallison and J. Scott Savage.  There classes were amazing.  If you’re interested in joining ANWA, here’s the link

Starving Girl is in the last stages of review and formatting on Amazon’s CreateSpace.  

Here's the cover we are working on.

I’ve had the best team; two wonderful editors, BETA readers, cover design, layout, book formatting, proofreaders, technical support—seriously, this is so intense.  This is the moment.  With four unpublished YA novels under my belt and 7 years of blogging, I’m so thankful I kept up with writing, even when I felt discouraged.  If it was all for me to be prepared to write Starving Girl, it was worth it.  I’ll post a link as soon as everything is up on Amazon and Kindle.  

Celebrating with the kids this weekend.  They have been so supportive.  I could have never written this book without them.

Much love and gratitude.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I birthed a book.

9 months to the day of when I started this book, I have uploaded it to CreateSpace.
I gave birth to this book on its 9-month due date.

January 3 to October 3.
The irony is so perfect.

Considering I’ve been intermittent fasting for 9 months, let’s do a little comparison on how writing a book about my experience with intermittent fasting has been much like a pregnancy.

It was harder than I thought it would be, but so worth it.
It was all consuming.
In the early stages of intermittent fasting, there were times I felt like I had morning sickness.  Pivots of hunger still make me feel nauseous. 
I’ve been surrounded by people who support me.
I had to pick a name (book title).
I couldn’t have done this alone.
I prayed daily for God’s help, understanding and support.

So, here it is. 

Per my editor’s suggestion, I have a different cover. 
I love how it turned out.
You'll have to read it to understand the significance of the pinecone.  

Today and tomorrow are dedicated to one last proof-read, then it will launch. 

I posted today on facebook:

I will post the Amazon and Kindle link as soon as it is available.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Searching for Courage

Today I need courage and want to ask for those of you who know and love me to pray for me.

I've already had a small army of loved ones rally around me, who support this book Starving Girl.  
Among many things, I recognize food addiction, combat the negative body image and negative self-talk I've battled my entire life and learn to stop procrastinating.  I learned how the difficult decisions in my life have shaped my greatest potential and that big dreams are only possible if I live in the present.  All while I lose weight.  Amazing.

I know it's no mistake for my story to come out in a memoir about a 30-day intermittent fast. Fasting is a story all on its own, a most fascinating secret that has incredible mental and spiritual power.  What a pleasure to not only experience fasting, but to research and write about it.

Breaking my food addiction finally allowed for the clarity of mind that I needed. As I make the final edits, add the last minute changes and ideas, I am overcome with this epic journey.  So many of my life experiences manifested in this 30-day fast.  I wrote the book in 30 days and it's taken me almost 9 months to make sure it sings like a beautiful song.  I've cried and rejoiced, tried to hide only to finally be found.  

Now, I must find the courage for that next step, to let my words out in the universe and trust I did the best I could not only for myself and my family, but for God.  After all, He is the one who designed the fast.

When I first felt impressed to practice 16-18 hour daily fasts for 30-days, I thought it was impossible.  Still, I knew I had to do it.  Around day 12, I became angry.  Time seemed to stand still.  My hunger became a nagging beast and I couldn’t understand why I was putting myself through this.   It took 3 days, but around day 15, my emotions were finally set free.  Food could no longer keep them bottled up.  With that freedom, I took on a determination I’ve never experienced.  I finally had the faith in myself that I would finish my commitment of the 30-day fast.

But what happened on day 26, I never expected.

I started crying.  How could I give it up?  My daily communion with God?  All the self-discovery?  Finally learning to love my body?  Experiencing the incredible power of prayer?  It was so good.  Still, I knew my 30-day orientation was coming to an end. 

The last day of my 30-day fast, I wrote:

It was the last day of my fast and I’d had some anxiety about letting go.  I knew everything would be fine, but the process of evolving had been amazing.  It had been life-changing to peck away at my outer shell the way a chick breaks itself out of an egg.  It’s the “breaking out” that develops coordination, strengthens muscle and builds the type of confidence that screams “I know I can do this!”  I would miss my own hatching, the ceremony of peck, peck, pecking as I broke away fears, discouragement and hopelessness.  What I told myself I could never do, I’d accomplished.  What I thought impossible was possible.  How did I not know the greatest experiences in life came from doing hard things? 

My hunger took on a whole new meaning.  I wrote:

While juggling the tasks of motherhood, I spent the day writing.  I pushed away the sorrow, the knowing my orientation was finished; my days of growth and self-realization would never be the same.  My initial reaction to fasting was to shade my eyes and look away, but I was now staring into the brightness and glowing.  Stepping away from such enormous growth felt like a loss.  I couldn’t believe the miracles God shared in my life.  I wanted Him that big, that present.  I wanted Him like the feeling of starving. It was all-consuming, inescapable, and He was what I starved for now.

Thank you for praying for me.  I can already feel like I’m ready to spread my wings and fly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Every once in a while, I have to get tough

Yesterday was the epitome of motherhood. Right after I bathed the baby, he pooped on the floor before I could get his diaper on.  We ran out of milk.  We ran out of dog food.  I lost my headphones and spent most of the morning looking for them, only to find them stuffed underneath Mayer’s pillow.  I left on my morning run frustrated about how unorganized my home is.  Contention has grown wings around here, I think in part because we are staying up way too late at night.  No one is getting enough sleep, except the baby who decided to nap from 5:00pm to 7:30pm and had no plans of falling asleep for the night. 

Mr. Bubs

This type of scenario plays itself out every few weeks in our home.  Things build up.  We get lazy.  The house gets messy, until something sparks, momma-madness strikes and things get done, whether the kids like it or not.

It had to happen.  No Christian song could cure this fever.  I was in that mood, that mood all us mom’s get in when we say, “Something’s got to change.”  I needed rock.  I needed roll.  I needed PINK and thanks to youtube, I found her edited.

There’s something about Pink that toughens me up.  

When she’s in my corner, I find my inner-punk and spunk.  

I kick dysfunction to the curb. I recognize that hard work is the answer.  I feel the passion of pushing one’s self to the brink, believing in dreams and fighting for rock-hard abs. 

Ok, I’m not too sure about my abs, but seriously, watch this video and tell me this is not the toughest thing you’ve seen an artist do.

This video makes me cry every time.  I listened to her interview on Oprah about how she felt during this performance.  It's incredible.  

About a month ago, I went out on a run and had the fever that I needed to toughen up again.  I was overwhelmed.  I was losing my voice.  I was lost in tasks and mess.  I couldn’t keep up.  I had unfinished ideas I wasn’t sure I could fix.  I faced difficult goals and had life-changing dreams breathing down my neck. Was I going for it or not?  Did I believe in myself or not?  I needed to rise above the negative self-talk.  I turned on Pink and literally ran the best run of my life.  I just didn’t want to stop.  I listened to interviews about her life and how she never stops trying.  I was inspired by her love of motherhood and her spunky little daughter, Willow

Somedays, it’s K-love, other days, it has to be Pink! 

It was my birthday this weekend.  Thank you to everyone for all the love.

I had a goal on this day.  Did I reach it?  Did I get my manuscript published? 
No.  My editor and I had a long meeting and after some exciting suggestions on her part, I’ve decided to take one more week and get this thing right.  Her changes are so good and I will be working the next few days to get things updated. 

Today, today I turn on Pink and get to work.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My red-headed neighbor

One day, about six years ago, I met a red-headed girl named Kristin by my mailbox.  She had just moved into the home next door to me.
We visited for a few minutes, I remember laughing at one of her witty jokes and we’ve been friends ever since. 
I learned early on in life that a red-headed friend is a feisty gift to be cherished, even with the flames.
I love this girl.
(At the baby shower she had for me before Canyon was born.)

She is a giver, eager to share food (and she makes killer guacamole), but even more, she’s willing to share ideas, compliments and concerns.  I never get out of a conversation without honesty and wit. Spending time with her is never boring.

She is an artist, and always willing to put her art and heart into action.  I’ve seen her serve at church and with her family, but there have been times I've been one of her charity projects. 
She's prayed for me, served me, loved me.  

One night, she said she had a dream she built me a pallet wall, so the next day, she did.  

The banner, yep, a gift from her.  

She finishes my unfinished projects, like this clipboard wall art.  

And in her spare time, she built and installed these gorgeous barn wood shelves, "Because I thought you would like them," she said.

Demonstrations of her friendship are all over my home, like these large scrabble letters she made and hung.

What do you do with a friend like this?  How do you give back?

At this point, we are co-parenting our kids, with open doors between homes and kids running in and out through the day and night.  She launders my kid's clothes and I, hers.  She knows where my sock box is, pulling through it looking for her son’s socks and I know the spot under her porch bench where she leaves the items my kids have left behind. 

Our family photos are a combination of each others kids.  She shares hers and I share mine.

When I’m feeling gray, Kristin’s kitchen always has something homemade I can grab. 
I don’t take her for granted.  She’s my go-to when I’m flying high or crashing down.  She picks me up or keeps me up.  She’s seen me mad, I’ve seen her livid.  She’s seen me crushed, I’ve seen her bent. 

This girl has been there for me, through so much.  She’s never a judge, but she does have an opinion and she’s never afraid to share it, I think that comes with the red hair.

Last week, I had a flood in my house.  

For those of you who read my blog regularly, yes, this is the second time in just a few months that we've had some sort of water damage.  Here's the story.  The day before, the pool company came over to fix our pool pump and the system was not put back together properly. 

 Throughout the night, the pool motor pumped and dumped the water from our pool out into our yard and by morning, our living room had 2-3 inches of standing water. 

My first response was to text Kristin.

I gasped when I read her response. 
She shares, cooks, serves, cares, listens, inspires, but this? 
This time she’s gone too far. 
Willing to help clean up my flooded house? 
How did I get so blessed?
Now, I have another reason to love this girl.

She’s so there for me. 
My baby Canyon got into the flour during this scene.  Funny, baby.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Make Things - Furniture Make Overs

I love to make things. 

Specifically, I love using items in my art that would normally be thrown out.  

I use old wood, frames, fixtures, even discounted paint.  

I used wood from my dad's stock pile to restore this music cabinet.  I took out the speakers and replaced the panels with aged wood.  

This is still one of my most favorite pieces of all time.

It was a lot of work, but worth it.

I turn old mirrors into chalkboards.
You can read more about how I do this on an earlier post, by clicking here.

The french mirror/repurposed chalkboards sell very quickly. Many mirrors from dressers do not have professional hanging hooks because they attach to dressers.  These are usually the pieces I convert into chalkboards, because once I take the mirror out the frame is light-weight and I can add a hook for easy hanging. Every mirror I work with has a back panel.  I simply remove the mirror and back panel, paint the back panel with chalkboard paint and reattach it.  Other than nails, no other supplies are needed.

With a bit of imagination, chalkboard paint can be added to even the most unusual item.
Like this antique silver platter.

If professional hooks have been installed behind the mirror and I know my client can hang the mirror safely, I might add something special to make an old mirror look new. 

I love using the word LOVE when I make things.

I love using stencil patterns to make something ordinary stand out.

Want to see more chevron?  Click here for a piece I wrote about earlier.

I found this old piece of plank wood and added the chevron pattern with the midcentury swordfish I found at Goodwill.

This took some time to create, 

but I love how it turned out.

Midcentury exemplified.

This piece had wicker cabinets and wicker is so not back in style, so I took the wicker out and replaced the panels with old wood, then added the chevron pattern.

Ombre with stenciled arrows.

And if a piece is really lucky, I'll accentuate the natural wood and leave the top butcher block.

My clients really love this look.

So few things are made out of real wood anymore, it's nice to show it off if it's there.

One of my all time favorite pieces was this Bassett hutch.  I really worked with the color and pattern.  Funniest thing, when the counselor took this into the shop, he placed the top piece on upside down.

See the electrical cord for the lighting fixture.  Yeah, normally, that should not be on the bottom.  Sometimes men and detail do not go hand in hand, but my man's a keeper anyway.  
  This shows just how well it was put back together, that it didn't completely fall apart while upside down.

There she is in all her glory, right-side up.

Vintage bar painted in red oil gloss paint.  The oil paint went on like sticky marshmallow whip.  I wasn't sure if it would work out, but viola!  

After several days of letting this thing dry out, it was gorgeous.  This piece felt so sweet to run your fingers over.  

I shop Hobby Lobby and when fun items, hooks and knobs are half-price, I stock up.

I took a chance on this Thomasville hutch desk.  

I don't normally like to work on pieces with glass, but I fell in love with this style and those brass fixtures.

I guess I could be called an environmental artist. 
I'm just happy I'm no longer a starving artist!

There are so many items I don't get around to photographing, like my custom shelves and barn wood wall hooks.  You can find my original pieces at either Merchant Square in Chandler AZ, booth 73 or Antique Plaza in Mesa AZ, booth 52.