A Stitch in the Right Direction

Feeling a little bit better today. Hopefully, the antibiotics are kicking in full swing. I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics yesterday afternoon. I got some basic white cotton fabric, embroidery needles and thread, a hoop, and a book about embroidery and basic projects. I have been interested in trying some of the mixed media work I have seen in Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset Studios magazines I have read recently, so here is my chance. I didn’t spend a lot up front on supplies – we’ll see how it goes before making a bigger investment.

I’ve always done well with sewing, even though I haven’t done a lot of it. A couple of years ago, I made costumes for myself and my friend for Halloween. They were done by hand, no patterns (they were just basic dress and cape designs, I’m no guru) – but they held together, and I even won the top costume prize at the party! Probably more for the makeup and my hamming it up on stage – but I thought I looked pretty snazzy!

If things work out well, I may be asking for a machine for my birthday, but I haven’t even looked at prices. So, I have a feeling it will be more like I’ll be picking up my mom’s old machine next time we go to visit. We shall see. Either way, I’m excited about my new endeavor and I’ll post my progress as I go.


A Small String of Hope

Unfortunately, I have not stayed as healthy as I was hoping my new energy had been promising. I was in the hospital this week with 2 different severe ear infections in BOTH ears. I won’t go into the disgusting details, but I have both inner and outer ear infections in both ears, and can’t hear squat. The problem lies in the fact that the doctors can’t seem to get the infections out of my ears completely. That is mostly due to the fact that the medications interact with my epilepsy meds and I am allergic to penicillin, so the obvious choice is a no-go. Ugh.

Either way, I am home now and feeling better today. Hopefully this means that the antibiotic is working and not wreaking as much havoc on my liver as was feared. I’m trying to drink lots of water and keep a fairly healthy diet to help my immune system as best as I can. The ER docs said they think part of the issues with my ears are due to the fact that my body has been fighting various infections for so long now (over 3 months of serious illness) that it just can’t do it alone any more. So, I am trying to help myself by keeping a positive outlook, staying as healthy as possible, and working with the doctors as best as I can to get myself taken care of.

Last week was a real rough one, though. I was feeling very depressed and hopeless. I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired. It scares me to think that one of these illnesses can easily cause a relapse in another, and the stress/emotional toll from my epilepsy meds is really wearing on me. I finally opened up to Jason about my fears of the way my personality has changed and how scared I am that I won’t be able to find myself again.  My biggest fear is that I won’t be the same person I was before all of this happened to me and that the rage and depression will rule me forever. He was as wonderful as ever and really helped me come to grips with the fact that a lot of these fears and emotional issues really are the meds, and not me. I think the best thing he has said – second to “I love you and will always stand by you” – is that I will be a better person from all of this because I will always remember how I feel now and will be that much more thankful when I am happy and healthy again.

It may not seem like much, but I am hanging on to that small string of hope with all my might – and there’s no way I’m letting go.


My grandmother sent me a postcard with this poem on it a long time ago. It now holds a special place on my wall of inspiration – not only because of its meaning, but because it came from someone I hold so dear to my heart.


This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it – or use it for good.
But what I do today is important
I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes,
This day will be gone forever.
Leaving in its place
Something that I have traded for it.

I want it to be gain and not loss;
Good and not evil;
Success and not failure;
In order that I shall not regret
The price that I have paid for it.

– Author Unknown

Inspirational Links

I am feeling so much better today than I have in months! I have more energy, more inspiration, and more positive vibes than I have felt in a long, long time. I have been doing a lot of reading and portfolio browsing in the last couple of weeks to get a better feel of the pulse of the art world, if you will. I have been so inspired and rejuvenated by all of the wonderful art I am seeing! I’m doing a lot more sketching and exploring with my own artwork and can’t wait to start my first watercolor in… well, forever! I’m so happy that I’m starting to feel like myself again. I can feel myself getting interested in my new piece more and more each day – and that hasn’t happened in a long time. Giving myself the permission to be happy and to let my art grow has released so much pressure and negative energy from me. It may have taken me a month this new year to get things settled and to build up my courage, but this is just the beginning of better things to come.

I have been looking at some of my favorite artists:

And I have been reading some very interesting books and magazines:

I hope you can find some inspiration and positive energy from these artists and publications, too!


To B or not to B: A Cautionary Tale

Earlier this year, I was hospitalized due to not being able to control my epilepsy. Luckily for me, I don’t have grand mal seizures (the kind where you fall to the floor, shaking and convulsing). My seizures are much more mild (smacking my lips and scratching with my hand) and usually happen at night when I sleep. Long story short, I found out that the reason my medication was not controlling my seizures was due to the fact that I was gravely ill and needed to have my gall bladder removed ASAP. After my surgery (and 2 severe ear infections), I was finally on the mend. The doctors at the hospital had changed my epilepsy medicine and things were getting better, for the most part.

Until I started having wild mood swings.

Now, I’m not talking about getting irritated a lot. I’m talking about screaming at people, crying uncontrollably, and having vivid dreams/nightmares, so I wasn’t sleeping well and was constantly exhausted. I was no longer myself, and felt as though there was nothing I could do except watch myself spiral out of control. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I called my neurologist’s office and the nurse recommended taking a Vitamin B-6 supplement daily. This was not a strange request, as I have to take several vitamins due to what my medicine strips from my system. It helped get me back to some form of normalcy – but I was still on an emotional rollercoaster that just wouldn’t stop.

So, at my neurology appointment last week, I spoke about all of this at length with my neurologist. I also mentioned how tired and depressed I was and how my muscles kept knotting up and aching all the time. She asked how many vitamins adn other over the counter medicines I took daily and compared them to my blood work. Come to find out, I was overdosing on Vitamin B-6! The amount that I was (mistakenly) told to take was 50,000 times the daily dosage. Yes, fifty thousand. And the consequences could have been costly. Overdosage of B-6 can cause neuropathy and other side effects that can become permanent over an extended period of time.

By the time I left, my neurologist had given me a written plan to regulate my vitamins, as well as steps to get me transferred to a better medicine that not only has a mood stabilizer built into it, but is also an extended release capsule, so the medicine will stay at a more steady dose in my system and has much less severe side effects.

I’m already feeling better and my mood swings are starting to become more manageable. I still have my moments, but Jason is helping me through this and I am starting to see some light at the end of the dark medicinal tunnel I have been in for the last few months. My main reason for this post (for those of you who have stuck with me this far), is to help you realize that just because something is a vitamin doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Be sure to let your doctors know ALL the supplements you take – and remember, YOU are the best person to realize whether or not you are feeling “right” or not. Be safe AND healthy.

12 for ’12

Earlier today, I was reading some older blog posts from an artist I admire named Roz Fulcher and came across a rather novel idea that I decided to use for my plans in 2012. Her post was 10 for ’10.  Mine will be 12 for ’12. Twelve “resolutions” for 2012.

  1. Draw every day – no excuses.
  2. Stay positive! Keep a “glass half-full” mentality.
  3. Set goals and a timeline for my portfolio and meet all deadlines.
  4. Experiment with new media and techniques.
  5. Separate my self and my art – don’t let my art define my self-worth.
  6. Join Illustration Friday and stay committed to it every week.
  7. Stay active with my blog posting.
  8. Keep it a priority to work with doctors to fully regain my health.
  9. Take each day one day at a time – don’t sweat the small stuff.
  10. Explore business laws and steps to legally start our business.
  11. Show Jason the same level of support for his goals as he has been for me.
  12. Be kind to my ideas and, most of all, be kind to myself.

Introducing Her Royal Majesty, The Queen… of Excuses.

Jason and I have been talking a lot more frequently about the issues I have been stuggling with concerning my art and the steps I am going to take to overcome my self-doubt and reservations as an artist. I can sit here and go on and on about all of the reasons I have been frozen in my path to become a successful artist – the blame game, if you will. But all that I would be doing is cleverly disguising my trump card of self-doubt: The Excuse.

I am the Queen of Excuses. I never have enough time, supplies, inspiration, reference material. There is never a good enough spot to draw. I feel bad. There’s too many chores. I haven’t given Dexter enough attention. I haven’t scratched my butt 3 times, winked twice, and spit on the left side of the sidewalk at the exact lunar time. Trust me, I am the Queen.

I know I am a good artist. I know that I can succeed in my dreams to become a children’s book illustrator and author. The only problem is, I need to be able to REMEMBER that. So, this is my first official acknowledgement of my royal status… and my first step to dissolving my throne.


My name is Jennifer and I am a 32-year-old artist living in Central Florida with my boyfriend, Jason and our adorable Peek-A-Poo (half Pekingese, half Poodle) puppy, Dexter. This blog is for me to share my triumphs and successes in my life and my art – but also to voice my fears and concerns while I take the journey to start my art career on a full-time, professional basis.

I enjoy reading blogs about people’s lives, good and bad experiences alike. I hope that my blog can not only entertain others and introduce me to new friends and colleagues, but show others that they can achieve their dreams too.

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