Death makes brothers of us all

When I first thought of posting this, it was several weeks ago and I had just read about the loss of a friend from school, another friend I had met in the last couple of years and Facebook reminded me with their wonderful ‘on this day’ app that I had another friend commit suicide a few years ago. With the feeling of loss and inspiration, I was going to post these same thoughts then, but life continues to move forward, you follow it and some things get put off until another painful shot comes your way, reminding you of what you once started.

A couple days ago I was traveling with my kids across a few states that took me roughly 8 hours of driving, stops, and getting gas to finally reached my destination around 8 pm. Exhausted, I got on social media and started noticing similar posts only from my former high school classmates. Everyone was talking about him, asking for prayers, expressing disbelief, saddened for his children. It took up every other post in my news feed. Scrolling through the heartache and condolences, one post had a news article that said ‘fatal motorcycle wreck’. I clicked it, read it, saw the pictures that showed a motorcycle on its side and one empty boot laying in the middle of the road and as it closed the article and what happened, it ended with the name of the casualty. His name was Eric.

My stomach crumbled. He was in my graduating class. He was a father, son and brother. He was always kind to me and we were starting to catch back up on Facebook. Just the day before I commented on one of his posts to help encourage him.  And just like that, literally hours after that, he’s gone. And how, dear reader, how do you cope with that reality?

Death always brings questions. We always wonder why someone was taken, why they were so young, why now. We always feel better when we have the knowledge and reasoning behind certain events that occur. It makes us feel safer. And the reality is, we can’t know all of those answers. We can, though, trust that there is a higher power at work and is taking care of His ultimate plan. So in the case of trusting, what are we supposed to take away from death?

A small notion I have about people dying is for those of us who are in pain to remember the positive in their lives. That there is a reason we, the living, should be inspired by the dead in some way. We can look at the deceased and think about their qualities and adapt something from their lives into ours. Something that would help build us as better humans and bring us closer together. One bright aspect of death is that is does bring us all together. We cry on each other’s shoulders, hug family and friends we haven’t seen in ages, talk to those who we haven’t heard from, laugh about memories, console others, speak about the happier times in life and pay our respects to our brother that has passed from this life. On the final goodbyes that you say to them, be sure to thank them for however they impacted your life and live so that you are an inspiration when your time comes.

 

 

Do they even care it was Mothers Day?

Yesterday was mothers day and also one of my little ones birthday. We didn’t do too much considering we are still in transition for our move, but still  managed a few gifts, cupcakes, and a trip to the zoo playground. During each endeavor, I endured an astronomical amount of whining, sibling rivalry, and overall discontentment and all the while I was thinking, “it’s mothers day/ their sister’s birthday. Why of all days do they need to be this way?”

It got me thinking that maybe to my own kids, mothers day was undeserved to their own mother. Maybe they felt at the thought of mom being celebrated for today on their sister’s birthday was unfair or even, dare I say, pointless. After all, why only make it a big deal to celebrate mothers day one day of the year? Why not every Tuesday, or twice a month, or give her Saturday morning breakfast in bed? Why bother giving mom this one day of the year?

The obvious answer is because it is deserved. Moms go through an awful lot and often get a bad rap. We are judged by other moms and society, told what to do with every stage of motherhood, how to present ourselves and everything in between. So ONE day out of the year is not a lot to ask for, right? No it’s not. Here is the problem though. When someone that shows you unwavering love and support, the very least that can be done is giving them one day of happiness and relaxation. So why on earth didn’t my kids get that?

I laid down in my bed last night reflecting on the day. It started out well, they bought me candy and a card and made me some coffee. My mom made breakfast for us all and I cleaned up. Then sometime between that and saying happy birthday to my daughter, things went south. Older ones had fight after fight with an unlimited supply of back talk while the little ones just whined over everything. Per the birthday girls request, we went to the playground and I thought that this would help ease some tension. And I was so very wrong. We got home after and got ready for and went to church and came back for something quick to eat and a cupcake and went to bed.

Nothing unusual stood out. No one was really upset at anything particular and it really felt like one of those off days for the kids. Usually when that happens, I chalk it up as another day and sleep well at night. But because it was mothers day and a birthday, I felt that I deserved more than that. And that’s where I found the problem.

I spend day after day teaching my kids that if you love someone you should show them as much as possible. And as their mother, it’s important that we establish a relationship on trust, listening, communication and mutual respect. I teach them that love is a choice and an action and not just a feeling. So while they didn’t really focus on the day that was supposed to be dedicated to all moms or in our situation, me, I didn’t and shouldn’t feel unappreciated by my kids.

Like I’ve stated, we are in the middle of a move and it took me a couple weeks to pack, but they helped. We were trying to say byes to all of our friends and drive all over town day after day, through their tears, there wasn’t a single complaint. Some mornings they wake up before me and fed themselves and each other and I got a cup of tea or coffee. They ask me how I am feeling or let me take a nap without being loud. They do their chores through grumbling, but they do get done. They say sorry when they mess up. They hug me for no reason. They help with the baby if I am on the phone. They offer to help with dinner. They play games with each other. They take care of the dogs. They do their school work with minimal complaints.

I could list so much more but the point of listing at all was to show that although they may not have taken mothers day as serious as I would’ve liked, they take loving me and helping in the house pretty serious day to day. They of course still have moments throughout the days where they are grumpy or mouthy, but I can count on them to regularly get it together and make the day work for themselves and the rest of the family.

So when I went through the happenings of yesterday and then thought about how they are normally, I decided to chalk it up as an off day once again and went to sleep. And I am glad I did, this morning they woke up or were woken up, ate breakfast and started school with zero complaint and with good moods. Three hours later, the 3 that are still finishing up school for the school year are done and helping out with lunch.

Happy belated mothers day maybe?

 

Book reviews starting!

Something I truly believe in order to becoming a better writer, is to read as much as you can. Reading different genres can really help you figure out what it is you really like and what you could really like writing about. Reading books from different authors can also help you find a writing style that inspires you to develop the right tone for your book/blog. I would even go as far as saying reading books written poorly or on an amateur level, can also help you develop better writing skills. It plays into that concept of ‘learn from someone else’s mistakes’.

So, I decided to start posting book reviews because I want to give myself accountability with keeping up with my reading and in turn, my writing. So often I find myself starting a new book or audio book and it takes me a lot longer to finish it than it should. Instead, I’ll start watching TV or scrolling through social media, basically just wasting time instead of using it to the best of my advantage. Of course, every now and then its perfectly fine to veg on the nonsense and turn your brain off for a while, but ‘every now and then’ so easily becomes ‘far too often’ and then it gets difficult to get back on track. I can look back and recall more times I just turned off my brain more than I did something to intrigue it, and frankly, I am sick of it.

I have found that for me, reading feeds into my creative side as well as relaxes me. Conjuring up images in my head from well written works, really inspire me to create something new or to use it as inspiration for my next piece of art or writing. Also, I am so that person that needs transition time between finishing a book and the real world!

My book reviews will be as objective as possible. Personally, I love reading book reviews that explain how well the story developed, if the characters were relatable, was the story face paced, etc. I plan on following that path and making sure to give honest reviews that will help you decide if it will be your next read. (Or if you’re like me, you’ll buy it and forget about it for a few months to a few years……)

If you have any recommendations for me, feel free to tell me about them! I love exploring and discussing new books with others!

 

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Fan Fiction- The Huntsman Winter’s War and Rapunzel

“Don’t forget I made you who you are.”

Freya remembered her sister saying this before and still hadn’t understood what she meant. As she held out her right hand little snowflakes cooly danced around her palm while she stood puzzled on Revena’s words.

“Have you lost your mind?” Revena says to Freya in disgust and annoyance at her sister’s silence.

“What did you do? How did you do this to me?” Freya asks softly as she turns to her sister. Revena turns her heel and walks back towards her mirror, her safe haven.

“What did you do?” Freya calls out impatient.

“I don’t have to answer to you.” Revena replies unable to turn towards her sister. But upon Freya’s rapid footsteps and heavy words she turns to meet her face just as Freya is behind her.

“Oh but you do. You said it yourself, you are a thing between this world and the mirror and I released you and you are now bound to me. I command you,” Her cold hands now grip on Revena’s face causing her skin to slowly transform to metallic gold of the mirror she came from.

“mirror mirror on the wall…”

Freya’s mind is filled with the vision of her sister’s memories on that terrible night. Revena’s thoughts show Freya how she manipulated the Duke by controlling his mind and setting fire to the room in which his and Freya’s daughter slept. Upon seeing this Freya releases her hands from Revena’s face in pain. She has been shown the truth of her sister’s manipulation.

Revena takes a moment to recover and realizes her sister has not seen the whole truth before letting go and didn’t see Revena’s thoughts on the entire night.

Once the mirror revealed to Revena that her sister’s daughter would soon become the fairest in the land, she knew she had to get rid of her. While a small part of her wished she didn’t have to, she still knew what she desired more than family- to be the fairest of all.

The next day she wrote a letter and had it delivered to her sister. It was signed from the Duke and it told Freya to meet him in secret in the royal garden so that he, Freya and their new born daughter could be together forever and start a new life as a family. When Freya read this letter, her heart became full and she impatiently waited the entire day to leave the castle to meet her true love.

Meanwhile, Revena had found the Duke and took control of his mind. She made him want to set fire to his daughter’s room in the castle. Not knowing, he followed orders, taking a torch from the halls and walked towards his daughters room. Revena followed closely by to keep the hold on his mind strong.

He walked to the tower and entered the child’s room and walked slowly around the edge of the room, carefully lighting everything a blaze. The sudden heat arose the baby girl and she began to cry. The Duke turned towards the sound and Revena also stepped closer to take a look at the girl. She continued to cry louder and louder, Revena looked at the Duke and had him lower the torch inside the crib. The small infant seeing this bright light and feeling the raging heat, let out a yell and a flash of light shot from her body, knocking the Duke back and causing him to drop the torch. Revena had covered her face in time of the flash and looked once again at the baby. She was unscathed and her hair was glowing. Revena reached in to touch the infant only to be burned at the finger tips.

Castle nurses and guards quickly rushed into the room, grabbed a hold of the Duke, a nurse grabbed hold of the daughter and another pulled Revena out. Revena started coughing immediately and told them that the Duke had done this while she was trying to save the girl. Everyone started putting the fire out as quickly as they could.

Revena called to the nurse holding the baby, “take her to the abandon woods and find the cottage where the Dame Gothel resides. Leave her there and tell no one she has survived.” The nurse began to protest when Revena grabbed her face hard and stared into her eyes. With her mind weakened and under the control of the queen, she obeyed orders and took her at once to the cottage.

Dame Gothel lived alone and was a terrible old woman, she never trusted Revena but once the nurse maid dropped off the baby, a crow quickly followed holding a small scroll in its claws:

This child poses great threat to her majesty, queen Revena. She is to be dealt with immediately or the both of you shall suffer death. Take caution, the child is said to posses magical properties for her blood line consists of many sorceresses. Send word of her fate to the queen in two days time and you will be greatly rewarded.

Gothel looked at the sleeping child and lifted her slowly to her. She walked outside to the back of her cottage past her garden. She laid the babe down  next to the rampion flower. The scent woke the child and she began to speak soft sounds at the flower. Gothel reached in her apron pocket and took out a dagger. Her heart began to beat hard and loud and her breath became rapid. She knealt at the baby and lifted the dagger high over her head, never looking away from the child. The baby felt a sense of danger and began to panic and cry. The little one looked at Gothel just as she was bringing the blade down. Another light shot from the baby’s body and Gothel was thrown back to the ground.

Startled, she clawed at the ground to move her aching body away from the child. She sat staring at the crying girl and decided to leave the dagger on the ground. Slowly she crept back to the babe and looked at her face. A soft glow emited from her hair and gently Gothel reached out to stroke her hair. Once her old and delicate hand touch the soft warmth of the baby’s hair, her skin became brighter and younger and she started to feel energized. She looked at the rest of her body and felt all of her skin and even her hair becoming youthful once again. Amazed and shocked, she stared at the baby who had her hand reaching out towards the closest rampion flower. Gothel picked it and handed it to her and the baby smiled softly.

Gothel then scooped up the child, flower in hand, and walked back to her cottage. Inside, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Looking years younger and seeing every cut, scar and bruise she once had minutes before, were all healed.

Knowing the queen was expecting the death of this child, she gathered supplies in her home and all of her belongings and prepared to leave her cottage. She was heading to the abandoned tower, that laid outside of the queen’s kingdom behind the highest waterfall in the land. She quickly wrote a note out to the queen that read,

The child is no longer alive in your kingdom and I no longer reside in your kingdom either. I shall not do any more of your dark bidding and I will be where you or your dirty crows can’t ever find me.

As soon as she stepped out of her cottage, the crow that delivered the scroll waited on the gate of her fence. Aggravated, Gothel shoved her note at the crow and it let out a loud screech, the crow took it and flew away towards the castle. With the horse and small cart loaded, Gothel gathered the baby and took one last look at the cottage before settling into the cart. The horse began to trot off, pulling the two of them along. The baby still held the rampion flower in her hand and Gothel smiled at her and cradled her closer to her.

“I will grow you a garden of rampion and I shall call you Rapunzel.”

………….

I hope you guys enjoyed this! I like writing fan fiction and decided to share this with you all. I’ve always been nervous about sharing my fan fiction, or sharing it actually, but I thought why not! Let me know what you think and if you want more!! I posted a watercolor painting of Rapunzel on my channel, if you haven’t already be sure to check it and other videos out!

If you want to see some fan fiction art of the Hunger Games, check out this video I put on my channel!

Fan art or ‘OC’?

As an artist, I sometimes face the dilemma or coming up with an original character (aka OC) or drawing some fan art. I enjoy both very much and mostly I come across this issue whenever there is an event to table. There are advantages to both for sure but when it comes down to it, it needs to be a reflection of my particular style art.

There pros to fan art:

  • Capitalizing on what’s popular in the entertainment world right now, can be quite lucrative. Make an original art piece of a famous character or singer and make prints of it so you can sell it at a lower price therefore having a better chance of making more off of it.
  • You don’t have to brainstorm backgrounds of the character, outfits, hairstyles, human traits, etc. Its already done for you.
  • You can really show off your portrait skills this way. Can you replicate a phot really well and add a bit of your own style to it? Drawing fan art can really show off your ability to capture a likeness from a photo which can get you commission work in the future.
  • You can develop your style without worrying too much the actual character design. While you still have to pay attention to proportions and likeness, you can get a little more headspace to apply to technique and execution of the picture in your own style. Its a really good reference practice also to study color, poses, clothing wrinkles, etc.
  • You can share your own interest in what you like through fan art. If you like certain shows or music and want to really share that with your fans (which fans do like to know more about the people they admire) then you can be more open with them. You can meet others that share a similar interest

Cons to fan art:

  • Copyright. That’s a given. You have to worry about copyrighted material and turning it into fan art. This is frustrating to say in the least but I have watched a few conferences from speakers at Comic Con about this subject and they have said (I am paraphrasing) Fan art is an expression of love for these characters. While you can’t make millions and do mass publication of these characters, doing some fan art and making a little bit of money will not land you in jail or with a big fine. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all companies and copyrighted materials. And like a lot of things in life, there are loop holes. Can I set up a table in a smaller art fair with only fan art prints and get arrested? Maybe not. But if you open up a shop in a big city and sell your fan art paintings and make thousands of dollars every month from them, you’ll be found most likely. And I am not a legal advisor, but as someone who has sold fan art before, you do need to be careful.
  • Limits imagination for your own original work. This is more of a “it could happen” vice a “this will happen” instance. I.E. if you love a certain franchise and start drawing all the characters from it over and over, you could get stuck in that world. It could hinder your from developing new and original characters (if you are trying to make more originals) There is a chance it could influence your own original characters by using ideas from the fan art you are drawing, which honestly, would be so awesome if that happened!
  • Limited clientele. If you only like super heroes for fan art, then you are mostly going to get people that like super heroes purchasing your things. That’s not a bad thing but it does limit on purchases.
  • The competition is fierce. Not only are you competing against others that are doing this same fan art, but you are competing against manufactured products made by the bigger companies that have copyright on these characters. And when you capitalize on something that is popular, you are competing against a lot of other products. And while your fan art piece may be wonderful and awesome, it won’t have the advertising and mass production of the store products.

Pros to OC:

  • Its your own character. You make this all your own and you have the chance too truly express yourself and your style
  • You can draw inspiration from  multiple places or other characters to really fit your style
  • People can really see what kind of art work you like to draw and what to expect from you which can lead to a fan base of your own artwork

Cons to OC:

  • While we all want to have completely and totally original and cool ideas, you still are pulling technique and style from somewhere. So while you are still making your own art work it can have similarities to someone else’s artwork and may get questioned on it authenticity.
  • This depends on your style, but if you go for a more realistic look to your characters and less cartoon like style, you’ll need to rely on references which can be a pain if you can’t find the exact pose you are looking for. You could always take the pics of yourself also, something I have resorted to a lot of the time.

 

While there are many of reasons to both and all side of this, these are the main ones I wanted to focus on now just to share the wisdom and help anyone that may have this similar struggle. And you have anything to add to either list, be sure to comment with them below.

I would also like to take time to introduce my new shop ono Storenvy! I have set a list in my menu but I have hyperlinked it here also to save you some time. The feature image of the mermaid for this post is my first product I have posted! I am so excited to finally start a shop and hopefully get my art out there! Please check it out and check often for new items that will be available!

Consider becoming a patron on my Patreon page! You can select a rewards tier that best suits you or you can simply donate once a month and show your amazing support that way! You can find new prints and stickers there every month and at a cheaper price than you can find in my shop!

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So….yeah

Remember in my last post when I said something to the effect of “hey, I took a break but now I’m back every Saturday” yada yada yada..?  Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t post last Saturday and it is very late in the evening on a Tuesday now when I finally started to write this one. And I will admit, I felt so angry at myself for not posting on Saturday even though I had every intention of doing so. So what happened? And more importantly, why would I even be upset about it?

Well last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday and we had a small party for her and a couple friends. It really wasn’t anything major and everyone had fun and there was great conversation. (Bonus, the house still looked clean when everyone left!) After the kids went to sleep I pulled out my laptop and started blogging about the day and how great it was. It really started out as a great post that was full of emotion, reflection and motherhood. I wrote about half of it and decided to step away to get myself something to drink and that’s when my husband showed me some houses (we are moving soon). Of course we jumped in that rabbit hole and looked at so many houses and I completely forgot I even wrote anything.

The next morning, I realized I didn’t post anything and thought ‘no big deal, a post a day late is fine with me’. But Sunday somehow became one thing after another and yet again I forgot to not just finish the post, but I forgot half of what I was going to write. So I went to bed yet again remembering that I still didn’t post.

Yesterday and today, I worked on commissions. Almost entirely for both days. I went to a friend’s house because she was also working on orders so we had our kids play together so we could work. And work we did. I’m done with a crochet doll that takes forever and was able to work on some individual sketches. But it wasn’t until tonight that I forced myself to sit and finish the blog post. Well, I started a new one technically.

So there are the reasons, so why am I mad? It’s not like I wasn’t doing anything or that I just sat around for three days not caring. So there really isn’t a reason, right? Well, I hold myself to a standard with only a few things in my life. And keeping up with my creative outlets is one of them. I like blogging a lot. It helps me write, even when I haven’t written anything in my novel. I do expect myself to sit for an hour and write once a week about something because it’s not an unrealistic goal. But I also live a lifestyle that has a husband, 5 children, 2 dogs, homeschooling, working from home and  being a housewife. Sometimes those goals are easily over shadowed and even though I  feel great about staying on top of my proprietors, I still get upset when I don’t accomplish those personal goals. It’s so easy to lose yourself in taking care of others all the time. Seeing someone’s gratitude and appreciation for your hard work is a wonderful feeling and is something to be happy about. But when you set goals for yourself, to improve yourself or your own ability, and then don’t have the time to meet that goal, it can feel frustrating and a bit of a let down. But something I have learned and striving to remember, is that its not a failure. Its not a set back. Its a pause. I can pick up things relatively back up where they once were, may not be easy, but its reasonable and perfectly okay. When the time comes, and I can get my goals completed, I like to take a bit of time to appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

So if you can relate, then high five, because it’s nice to know we aren’t alone!

 

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And I am back

So last week, if you noticed, I took it off from blogging. We are currently in the middle of a move and there is so much I had to get done that I had to focus my time and energy into what needed to be done. It was worth it and I am glad to be back on the blog, especially since I have an announcement to make!

If you haven’t noticed (or if you have) I have changed my blog headline to ‘artist and creator of handmade inspirations’ from ‘an illustrator with a few stories to tell’. Recently I was talking to one of my best friends and my husband and they both told me that I should expand my art into all things creative. I like to make art pieces but I also do other crafts such as sewing, crocheting, origami, etc. I really enjoy being creative in lots of different ways, so instead of limiting myself to just one way medium, I will start including all arts and crafts projects I make and also start having them for sale.

So while this is a brief post, its informative and fun! I will post things that are for sale in my shop tab so be sure to keep up that and check back frequently to see what’s new! I also post a lot on my Instagram which shares over to my Twitter and Facebook also, so follow me on anyone of those and you will also see progress photos and posts on new items! I am still on YouTube and Patreon also, although because of the moving process, I won’t be uploading new videos every week, but I will have new prints and stickers every month on Patreon! You can always check those out because those prints are at a special price for my monthly patrons and will only have limited quantities for sale in my shop!

Featured image is the March Patreon print and stickers!