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, December 31, 2017

And the old year froze to death in the depths of winter

Yes - let 2017 freeze to death.  The temperature here has been minus double digits Fahrenheit (Although, today's high should be three degrees Fahrenheit!! HEAT WAVE!!!) SO COLD!!!

So let the reflections begin! - Nah, just kidding! I am not going to lull you to sleep today by waxing any more poetic than I already have! Maybe another day for reflections and resolutions.

Let me update you on the things I have made for Christmas gifts...
Well - er... um...  I still didn't get pics of many things and I still have a few more to give so they will have to wait.
But here is the top I made for Auntie.

Christmas was magical this year!!! Starting with the Christmas miracle of my son decorating for Christmas!
Then the joy of having friends who are like family over for Christmas Eve
Picture of food since everyone was a tad camera shy
Yes, food on my studio table!
I didn't even use a tablecloth or put away my machines!
These people love me and my mess just the way I am!

AND I received such wonderful gifts this year!!!! I wish I had pics of each of them!!! However - I super special thank you:
To the Krugers for 17 canvases!!!!
To Jane for the fabulous teapot that has kept me very warm these last few frozen nights! 
To my Cousin for the Rum,
To Di and kids for the Moscow Mules (however my son has run off with the copper cups!),
To my boss for cool organizer boxes with my initial on it,
To My Auntie for FABULOUS alpaca socks which she made!!!
To my son's grandmother for a snowman candle holder.

I am truly blessed!!!

and my doggo who loves sock monkeys and opening gifts... really it's the cutest thing! Gives me such joy to give him gifts!!! Whenever he sees a gift bag, he wants to pull the paper out of it and then looks inside for a sock monkey and if he sees one he will pull it out and if he doesn't see one he looks at me all disappointed!
Of course, he received sock monkeys! and he could not have been happier with his new blanket!

I am also very sad that my sister in Berlin has not received her gift yet (tracking said it has been in Germany since December 18th). So, my German followers (which is probably just my sister) if you see this:
...on someone in Germany - Please ask them if they are related to me. If they say "no" - then, rip it from them and deliver it to my sister! teehee

NOW...
I am off to celebrate the birth of a new year!!! I am holding optimism in my heart with prayers for peace, love, prosperity, and joy!  Let this new year bring all that your hearts may need and a little extra so you can bless others!

I'll see you all next year - until then, do something creative!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Last Tuesday I began the Hannukah Celebration
"Happy Hanukah- from my studio,
where my work has paused for a moment of
reflection, thankfulness, and celebration."

No, I am not Jewish - but many of my friends are and we like to celebrate things together (or apart) 
What a wonderful eight days! :-)


I began wrapping Christmas gifts...

Then sent some of my creations all over the world (but the one to Germany which was supposed to be there by the 18th, hasn't arrived!)
At the United States Post Office - Visiting Santa's helpers. 

Then back to work on making gifts
And more gifts...

And I don't have a picture - But I retrieved my son from college!
It's nice to have the noise and activity back in the house!

AND I didn't forget to take breaks to be jolly with good people and good food!
(side note: they were great about bringing us another drink every time ours emptied, but they were terrible at taking the empty glasses away!)

AND after enjoying my Saturday getting my son and celebrating... 
back to work...
 Making...
Creating...
 Sewing...

HOLD UP!  We need FOOD!!!
 Is that junk food??? 
It was worth the photographic proof! lol


Then I installed lights in the bottom shelf and the small middle shelf of my built-in cabinet.  I am not sure why but it gives off a greenish glow in the photo (but not in real life).  All four shelves are painted the same color purple.  
 Anyway - I thought they needed some light after I put up the groovy sign I got for Christmas
My china cabinet is slowly turning into a BAR! 

Yesterday, my son brought the medium tree down from the attic.
So - tonight I wrapped some more gifts (many I cannot post yet and many I forgot to get pictures of) while he put up the lights and brought down some decorations. 
This year isn't overly decorated, totally extra, kind of Christmas I enjoy creating 
and it's not the over the top "WOW" reaction I love getting
And it's not the magic wonderland, sweep you away to some other place special feeling
 - but it's not turning out too bad either.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tis the busy season!!!

Oh where, oh where have I been?! 
Such a good question! I am so glad you asked!

One day I was in my studio creating...
when suddenly the over whelming urge happened - to make Victorian hats...
Next thing ya know I have made, and made, and made 
then find myself in the middle of a Victorian Stroll!

**But I am supposed to be making Christmas - like a little elf!**
Damn distractions! 

 Like this any-which-way scarf - or a few of them! Or like this...
Or like this...
 Or this..
 Or this...
 or... 
WAIT!  That hat is not for Christmas!!!! That is a Stevie Nicks Inspired Hat!!! 
Perfect for that 80's Themed Christmas Party! 

Of Course I pulled together a Stevie Nicks inspired costume to go with it!

* * *
And Just like the magic of Christmas: I start in my Studio - get transported to the Victorian age for a stroll - then back to my studio just to be transported again to a raging party in the 1980s!!! 

So forgive me if I haven't been at my desk typing away about it all. I might be feeling jet lagged from all the time travel! 
I have 50% of my gifts done - not all posted on here of course! And I have 10 that I seem to be trying to make all at the same time! And I have 5 that I am really struggling with ideas of what to make.  Making everyone a gift is tough - I don't know how those elves do it every year?!?! 

So - until the next time I sit down for a couple minutes... do something creative!!! - J


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I really need to speed up my game here.

Having 4 days off from my day job – I thought I would have more things done. I was sadly mistaken.  

It didn’t help that I took on some extra work on my side shuffle and I made 2 thanksgiving meals (one on Thursday with just the sides as my cousin made the bird and stuffing) and the second with a turkey breast (not enough people for a whole bird) and all the trimmings.  AND of course way too much time socializing – however, I wouldn’t change that for the world. And all the time thinking about all that I am grateful for - and sharing with those I am grateful to have in my life - stop me before I get too sappy! 

I have also had to clean the house 3 times this week and run the dishwasher 3 times!!!! AND washing the bedding twice and… and… and… Why do holidays always mean more cleaning!?!?

So now it is Sunday - Time to check in with you all and I feel I have not done enough!

I finished an order I had from last spring – THE FABRIC FROM HELL!!! This folks is the fabric that made me have to take apart my old sewing machine a few times! (and took me all summer to repair!)  My serger was like: This fabric – it’s no trouble! BAM!


So then – a friend asked if I knew how to make Star Wars Scarves – I guess he doesn’t remember my geek scarves from 2015!!!  He offered to buy one – then laid out his ideas.  Sadly, I do not take direction well.
And I had to run to the fabric store this week – happened to be a door buster day – happen to be a sale on licensed fabric – and a sale on plaid flannel then this happened:
This is 3 views of the same scarf (with wookie fur!) ;-)
Which sparked the great debate on if Wookie fur looks to girlie - Maybe the scarf does because of the way I wrapped it around my dress form?  Maybe not, hence the middle view of this? I don't know.

And then these happened:
 
and yes - all of my scarves still have cell-phone pockets

Front - open
Oh and I also made this poncho thingy as a Christmas gift for my girl.  She likes the idea and wants one – but she also hesitates because she prefers clothing and sweaters that give her some shape.  So I added a black silky belt - can be worn with the front open (but still belted to give shape) or with the front closed. It will be perfect for the cold rooms in the art department!! Just toss on over whatever she is wearing (since it is usually black) and voila – Comfy, Warm, and Stylish!

Front - closed

Back view
See - not much. Only 6 things this week.  If I am to be done by Christmas, then I need to step up my game!!!! 


Oh – I also hit a very good black-Friday sale on pre-stretched/framed canvases – linen (18x24) for only $6 each! Woo-hoo!!! (I bought the entire stock that the store had!)  
So it might also be time to do some of this, too!

 - till next time, my friends.  Do something creative today and every day!

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


I AM ON A ROLL!

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!

Popular Posts