Art with Cause

Copyright notice: All original photographs, images, designs and text appearing in Art with Cause Blog are the property of J.Murray and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission from the Artist: Jessica J. Murray. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I am on a roll

While waiting patiently for measurements for Christmas gifts… I have found plenty to do with myself this past week!

Besides my day job – which tried to kill me this week!
Death by papercut!

And my side-shuffle.

I pulled out my winter clothes (actually it was a week and a half ago) just to discover that I must have stored them wrong as they ALL seem to have shrunk! (I could not possibly have gained weight!)  And many are in desperate need of repairs. And my boots seem to need repairs too!!!  I AM A MESS!!!

So I did what any normal American does – I wandered off to the stores.  I guess I haven’t been shopping for any clothing in a long time – because DAMN – those prices!!! I could NOT justify spending money on myself. Nope. Nope. Nope.

SO I came home and started/continued designing these Christmas gift ideas that are in my head – putting them on paper – measuring – making an example – working out the bugs…. Spending a little time in my fabric closet pulling fabric for these projects (the closet where my unfinished projects go to die – where I keep my extra trims, lace, and frillies – where I keep the fabric I haven’t gotten around to cutting up and sewing).

Pinstriped Pants
I came across some black pinstripe material – I can’t even remember what I bought it for – It’s been in there for at least 10 years.  There was a lot of it and it’s really nice so I never used it for any crafts. So I made a pair of pants. Harem style pants are back in, right?? Who cares – its clothes, which fit!

Brown Plaid Pants and Brown Knit Top
I also found some brown plaid that had been in there as long as the pinstripe – So a second pair of pants it is!   And the brown knit I got during last spring’s $1/yrd sale (when the price is too good to pass up – I fill this fabric closet even if I don’t know what I am going to make) – I made it into a shirt!

So – now I am sewing.

Back to these winter clothes - My favorite black tunic which is long enough to wear as a dress and perfect over leggings – it is too tight and ripped in a few places along seams.  SO I repaired the rips and cut the back – added a strip of lace and BAM! Look at that! I just had to go back to the fabric store and buy a black ribbon to sew along the collar and tie in a pretty bow at the top!
Lace insert in back of blouse


Until – I went to the fabric store (and forgot the ribbon).

BUT I did have a coupon and found this AMAZING flannel and the price was (again) too good to pass up - So I bought the rest of it.  It would be perfect for my work secret Santa gift.  Buy a great leather & wood closure and I am just within our price range. WOO-HOO!!! (I wish they had more and I could make more with it!)

Flannel poncho - Christmas Gift
But I want to keep it!!!!
Also found some feathers and stuff to finish my Stevie Nicks costume for an 80’s themed Christmas party I am going to in a couple of weeks. (They all will have BIG hair-Don’t care and Stevie and I will have BIG hat – how ‘bout dat!)
I may have also bought a couple more yards of lace that was $1.50 per yard. Lace is VERY pricey so when I find it on sale – I have to grab it! Don't judge me - I only spend $3.00 on it!

So I have some clothes that fit me - I have started Gifts and I have another project cut out and ready to go - that I have to get to work on…. See ya later!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What a week!!!

Monday –
Office – grocery store – typed all night while washing my winter linens (yes, it’s time for warmer bedding: flannel sheets, fluffy comforters, and throw blankets) then to bed early – thanks, time change for screwing with my sleep

Tuesday –
Office – voting – and… wait – what is this??? A serger to play with?! Why yes it is!!! A fun night of sewing straight lines to see what it can do! Oh, the ideas are endless!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Wait – hold on – had to get some typing done first. Ok – then serge away!!!)

Wednesday –
Office – and after work?? I want to play with the serger again – maybe actually make something. But my sewing machine is fixed so I should work on that skirt that has been sitting there for months next to my broken machine.   Ironing, pinning, sewing, repeat…. Bed

Thursday –
Office – came home made dinner and… my phone rang. Crying on the other end and we all know the feeling of being overwhelmed: “group project due and a few of the group members did not do their share – it will bring down my GPA, another class had given me 13 hours of drawing homework, a paper due, and, and, and… but I am in class right now and the teacher wants me to sculpt ‘fear’ and all I feel is fear of failing and it is paralyzing…” and not breathing as this long run-on sentence pours through my phone line. My favorite young artist is in the ladies room (snuck out of class) just to gain a little perspective.  I quickly broke it down to the task at hand and that the rest of it, we could take care of over the weekend. She is brilliant and creative – and has a tendency to bite off more than she can chew!

Friday –
Office (see how my days always start?!) then errands – then… time to make good on my promise to show my favorite student how easily she can manage all of her tasks.  (I think she missed my studio!)

First drawing – only cried twice and was stressed and tight and doing a terrible job (sorry kiddo – but true!) So we scribbled. Ah, she warmed right up – got that angst out of her system. Went back to the drawing assignment and into…

finished skirt
Saturday –
Awake and ready to go.  …my favorite art student was here bright and early and finished her drawing at 2 pm. FABULOUS! In the meantime – I drew, I did my weekend chores, I sewed and finished the skirt, and I enjoyed hanging with my girl!  After she left to work on that paper, I began pulling out the supplies for Christmas projects! Yay!

Sunday –
This week just keeps getting better!!! Seriously! Morning coffee and my girl is back! 25 sketches – 5 quick drawings – working on sketches and ideas for the sculpture (and cuddle time with my dog). While I worked on creating and cutting out patterns. 

Took a break, then she came back and we went to visit a friend of mine who works with clay – pottery and mosaic art. She is fabulous, inspirational, calming, fun and such a lovely person! She helped my art student prepare her clay for her sculpture on fear and they rolled out slabs.  I couldn’t thank her enough!

Nothing beats finishing the week submerged in creativity! 

I hope you all had as creative of a week as I did!!! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Much to-do about changing seasons

Last week, I winterized my studio and rearranged and started another painting – I worked at the office – I typed at home – I relaxed a little – I cleaned up after my messy little dog (good thing he is so cute)
Plastic over 100 yr old windows

This weekend I FINALLY fixed my damn sewing machine – although it still protests with lightweight fabrics (so I researched a serger since that is technically what I should be using for lightweight fabrics). I also typed and worked and did some weekend chores and a little more winterizing (still more of that to be done). 

I am great at thinking about a million things at once (well, maybe not – but with my diagnoses of Asperger’s and ADD I guess there really isn’t anything I can do about it) so I think of a million things at once and CHRISTMAS is now on my mind!! Ya know, every year I work on costumes right up to Halloween (except this year as my machine was down) and then I realize it is November and I haven’t (again) started making Christmas gifts!!! So the mad dash must start!

“Homemade” Christmas
It all started years ago, when I was living on a much smaller budget and had a young child and would use the arts & craft supplies I had to make something small for people unless I found a gift for them at the store that cost less.  Over the years, people came to love my creative homemade gifts and even requested them.
So – I am thinking about Christmas and what am I going to make this year for each person on my list and what is my budget and how many orders can I accept during this time when my friends are suddenly also thinking about Christmas (could ya’ll think about it during the spring when my orders are lower? – lol).  And since my son left for college my studio has slowly expanded to take over the living room space and the living room furniture has slowing moved out of the house.  AND this weekend, it’s expanding again! Yep.  I always thought I would make my son’s room my sewing room when he left – but it seems I am just taking over the whole house (and he still has a room to come home to).  I am very unsure where I will put up a Christmas tree and my decorations since expanding the studio – but decor doesn’t matter as much as creating matters!

I am making my list
Checking it twice
It doesn’t matter
If naughty or nice.

And here is the twist
I’m checking it thrice
Does it really matter
                If I’m overnice?

What might be missed
If only checked twice
Measurements matter
                It must be precise!

So – making my bliss
Christmas is nice
Love and laughter
                And holiday spice!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hello - I have missed you all...

Dear readers.
I am sorry.
I can spend time sitting at my computer writing out my random thoughts and creativity – or I can spend my time being busy. And busy seems to be my preference. 
Ya see, if opportunity comes to make money – I choose making money. (I do have a college kid to support) I have had the most wonderful opportunity to work with a few professionals – creating forms (ah, the creative process – although many people do not consider it creative) and drafting paperwork.  I have learned a lot – and it makes me extra money. I cannot complain.  Also have the usual 9-to-5 at the office for the steady paycheck.
I have not abandoned art.  I have been working on a ton of new paintings – exploring personal concepts – none of which am I willing to share.  It seems when ideas are completely personal – my work quality suffers. And reworking it to the acceptable quality doesn’t seem necessary once the abstraction has left my head. It’s for me. It serves its purpose.
As for my Afrayed line – well, it’s doing well (kinda).  Made quite a few orders – but didn’t take pics as they were to be gifts and I didn’t want to post them until after they were given… but then didn’t get pics after either. Doh!!! THEN – I had sewing machine issues. Damn machine. I have taken it apart and reassembled a couple times without luck at repairing the problem.  Might be time for a new machine?
And it seems any free time I have, is spent on food, healthy eating and health related things.  (I should exercise more, clean the house more, do normal life tasks more, and… – but I do what I can)
Anyway… It only takes a few minutes to update you. I will keep trying to. It’s hard for me to do it all when I seem to be quite the workaholic.  Even right now: I should be winterizing my house, and it’s Saturday – so I should do my nails, weekend chores, laundry, and, and, and…
The dog is begging to be held – books are begging to be read – tea is begging to be sipped (where did I put my tea, anyway?) – art is inside my head begging to be released – sewing is begging to be done (again – damn that machine) – emails begging to be answered – money begging to be made….
So much to do – to create… signing off for now. I will try to stop back and be more entertaining soon.

Thanks for listing – lv ya! - J

Follow me on instagram - it seems to be the only social media I keep updated.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Love. People. Love.

I am amazed and saddened by how ignorant I can be.
I grew up surrounded by people. I raised my child to love people. PEOPLE. 
We never use the terms: Black, White, Foreigner, Hispanic, etc. The color of the skin, nationality, race, IQ, sexual orientation, the financial status, political affiliation or any other label was never used or considered. There is just no need. People are people. 
We are surrounded by many wonderful people of every race, with heritage from many nationalities with whom we have happily celebrated their cultures with them and they have celebrated mine with me. 
I was shocked and dismayed when there was hype and protest over President Obama – ‘our first “black” president’. He is a man. This is politics – we should call him a Democrat, not a black. I started to realize this nation was not as progressive as the small corner I live in. And why isn’t there hype and protest over our first “ORANGE” president?! Seriously – if we have to discuss colors?!?! 
As these labels start to fill the press, as the media and nation talk more and more about race being an issue along with heritage, IQ, sexual orientation, the financial status, political affiliation, I wonder when we time warped to the late 1930’s! 
Americans feel unsafe. It’s not safe to be female, it’s not safe to be male, it’s not safe to be white, it’s not safe to be black, and it’s not safe to look like a foreigner (whatever that might look like). Heck, it isn’t even safe to trust or even be the police – who are here to serve and PROTECT us. And we wonder why our children are abandoning labels and identifying without gender and crying out for a safe place. Let me explain it to you – they aren’t little fragile snowflakes, they are burning out with adrenal fatigue. We gave them a world where school shootings were common, a bag that had been forgotten in the hall or on the street by a busy person may very well be a bomb, and gave them a key to get back inside our home after school but out of fear of being sued told them they couldn’t have friends over while we weren’t there. Essentially they are a generation isolated and raised in fear. My parents had nuclear disaster drills, raise in fear on one thing, but they were not isolated with a computer (so that too much information could stream in without the maturity to filter it themselves) and raised in fear of everything. The scale of the fear we have given our children is much greater than fearing a bomb – these kids had to fear their classmates – while learning social skills and learning to make friends. Our adult fears and concerns have also influenced their perceptions of being safe. And currently, we are thinking about reintroducing nuclear bomb drills. When is enough madness, enough? 
Quite frankly – I too am a bit afraid. I cannot remember a time in my life I felt safe. I learned to be tough and wise so ‘safe’ wasn’t an issue. But, this isn’t the world I worked to create for my child. People are people, please see that – know that. Where is the love?! We have an issue of the human condition! Can we stop using labels and try to start fixing it? Can we love? Does anyone even know or remember what love is? If people felt safe, felt heard, felt loved – this would not have happened. 
Love. People. Love.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A day in my life meets a day in some journalist's life


And here is my pic from that day:

Some days you just can't get any privacy while painting in public! ;-)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SOON - New and exciting product line!

I am pleased to announce a new and exciting product line called...

(Yes, it is called Afrayed. Yes, I know... and I am not charging for the puns!) 

Artistic Accessories
ONE OF A KIND! - guaranteed 
(I am too lazy to make something twice!)
Original Artwork - that can be worn or used 
Environmentally Friendly - made from mostly up-cycled materials
Funds a Good Cause - Educations are expensive these days*
(*100% of the proceeds will be donated to a poor college kid) 
Free Puns - to everyone - yes, free! no purchase necessary
(I am afrayed they are more of a side effect than a free gift)

So I have been very busy - but what is new, right? I work the day job, the side job, teach art classes and making custom garments, accessories and the such. As the requests to make custom things have been dwindling, I thought it might be time to make things I like to make - to make ART. 

Then post them for sale. I intend to open an Etsy shop, possibly make a place to order direct from this site, and looking for other options as well. I have sketches of the items I am going to make and I am prepared. I'm afrayed I just have to finish the last thing in cue. (First come first served)
This is on the sewing machine now:
And I am afrayed to tell you what it will be!

What is with the name?? Well, you may have seen some of the accessories I have made and given as gifts for the holidays.  If not, here are a couple:

(Scarf and a small back-pack in pictures) 

I up-cycle old fabrics (clothing, scraps from old crafts, bedding, curtains, etc.) and many of the fabrics are worn out and frayed.  So I rip them, giving them a more frayed look. Then I sew them with the frayed edge exposed. I am afrayed there is a lot of fraying going on. The name just seemed to fit.

As always - I give a portion of my proceeds to a good cause: sometimes it is a charity and sometimes it is someone in need. Usually I pick what I am donating to at the beginning of the year and every sale for the year has a percentage of the proceeds donated.

This line will be different. For the next two years, 100% of the proceeds will go to the tuition, books and supplies for a college student (paying the school directly and not permitting unwise spending of the donated funds). He has a work-study, loans, and a job for the summers (and has been unable to find a job that he can work around his school and work-study schedule) but he has calculated out his potential earnings and knows he will not have enough money to complete his four years. Everyone needs a little help launching. I am Afrayed I must help him!

Besides - how much fun are the puns?! I am afrayed I can't stop!

"Fray is the New Fringe!" 

Also in the works - I am working on developing patterns for some of my original crocheted pieces that people have requested.  I just do not like making the same thing twice so I will sell the patterns so you can make them - yes, go learn to crochet! (Or have someone make it for you!)  

It is possible - only an idea right now - that patters for some of my other sewing projects or crafts might go on sale as well! So you can get crafty with me without waiting for me to announce a public class. (Especially since I have been terrible at remembering to post here when I have a public craft class - sorry about that.) 

So - Look at the TABS at the top - there is the tab for Afrayed. It is ready for me to finish a few projects and post.

As always, I am still accepting custom requests.
Thanks for following! I will try harder to keep you updated - I am afrayed I am just too busy sometimes! ;-)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Autism Awareness

Let's talk about #sesamestreet 's "first" autistic character, since it is #worldautismawarenessday

And let's have some fun with it! ;-)

The first is NOT Julia! 
It is Animal! (Disconnected, emotional outbursts, delayed language/non-verbal, repetitive behavior, put everything in his mouth, etc.)
The second is NOT Julia! It is Fozzie, with Asperger's Syndrome (underdeveloped social skills, problems expressing non-verbally, not emotio
nally accessible [has to be told when it's a sensitive situation], fixation on ritual, routine, and/or objects like his hat, unable to process outside of himself [appears self absorbed or to lack empathy], communicates differently [blurting out without thinking first], extraordinary cognitive/creative abilities, reliance on social patterns to define acceptable parameters, etc.)
Julia isn't even the 3rd Autistic muppet. Gonzo, Beeker, and so many more so signs of being on the neuroatypical spectrum.
But let's face it - when I was young autistic kids were just weird, isolated, and ignored... now they are celebrated and "new". I am glad strides have been made to understand, but I think the new understanding should not be at the emotional expense of our old favorite autistic muppets - just because they don't express emotions the same way, doesn't mean their little hearts aren't breaking. 

Stop ignoring my childhood heros! A-waka-waka-waka! Back then, if you were on the spectrum, but could almost fit in - you didn't tell people. And you still don't for fear of being overlooked for a job or promotion. 

I have Asperger's. I would know. 

Give it a 💙 if you know and love someone who is neuroatypical!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Shame on us

Today is a historic day. Lots of things happening - lots to discuss - lots of different points of view. Besides being discussed among ourselves, the children are watching and learning. 

Today has been documented for the history books. Our great-grandchildren will read and try to understand. Today the world watched - and they are talking too. Today our enemies watched - and like our children they have learned (& learned our greatest weakness from it).

Today was important. 

Today doesn't really matter if you like or voted for our new president - today was supposed to be about America. We've all heard the saying: united we stand and divided we fall. Sadly America is not united. Sadly a large group is throwing an embarrassing toddler styled temper tantrum. 

Today our future looks grim - not because of a man who holds the title "President" - but because as a nation we are an embarrassment to ourselves and self destructive. 


It was not the new president that did this. Today it was us.

One of the many news stories (for reference):
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