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Sunday, August 9, 2015

My last post on Allspice and Acrylics...

*spoiler alert* still blogging.  just on :)

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Marvelous Land of Oz

Hi Everyone - Happy Monday...

I'm exciting to announce that I will NOT be blogging at Allspice & Acrylics anymore.

But don't be sad - it's a good thing!

I started blogging in 2011 after my very first art show.  After my surgeries, it was the first time I was exposing myself and my heART to the outside world.  After the show was over I was so sad for all the spectators to leave, I slammed the door to my room and bawled my eyes out as soon as I got home.

Setting up this blog was a way I could still create and connect.  I'd share my work with friends and family - a small network, but my creations were having a second life and helping me reach others - and that was all that mattered.

So that was my blog.  Until my doctors told me to just STOP eating and drinking all at once to heal a fistula.  Right, no big deal, right?

So you'll see in the 2011 posts I start counting day 1, 2, 3, 80...yes it's pretty miserable to look back on, I know.  Poor sick artist girl dying for an ice cube.  Even I feel bad for me reading those.

I stopped blogging when I said "enough of this NPO, I'm going to eat and drink because I'm human and I can't take this anymore."  The fistula didn't heal but I felt human again, at least.

I restarted my blog last February when my (then) fiance suggested I get back into painting then.

There's a line in my one-woman show that says "Whatever I do, I tend to do obsessively..."

Anyway, I explain the whole inspiration for my blogging in my article for the amazing site Beyond Your Blog.  Let me get back to my point.

My site came just last year.  I realized that my art, my show, my story...I wanted to use what I've learned from my own beautiful detour to inspire other people. I want my passion for creativity to come together to show the power of the arts as a means of personal expression, of finding an anchor in the midst of uncertainty, and as a connection to the world.  

So I spent the entire day yesterday (refer back to the "obsessively" line) transferring all of my old blogs, articles from and everything else to my main site  I'll still be blogging, but on one domain.  I have bittersweet memories of Allspice and Acrylics - the Allspice came from my love of cooking  - ironically when I couldn't eat or drink, I became obsessed with preparing meals for my family, go figure.

This is a step towards my new future.  Hopefully sharing how this ten year ordeal has enhanced and deepened my life with greater meaning and a richer purpose.  

I've got a story to tell and hopefully a message that can really make people live differently - or at least see things differently.

And that's what I think creativity is.  Not just arts and crafts.  Creativity is a way of seeing the world.  It's how my world felt beautiful through 27 surgeries, setbacks, trials and disappointments.  I created joy through gratitude, love and connection.

You can too.

So follow me on my site - I'll be blogging over there, plus you can see everything else I've got going on - my one woman show, my writing, my, that part's mine.  But everything else, I share!

Subscribe to my newsletter, check a few posts, a gallery or two, watch some clips - come on, I'm a theatre geek, I like attention.  Sorry.  Just being honest.

Before I Go...

I don't mean to spend this entire post blabbing on about me.  BUT CHECK OUT AMYOES.COM ok I'm done, anyway, also check out...

It's been a crazy ride on Allspice and Acrylics. And I can't wait to keep traveling...

Check out my new site and definitely let me know what you think!

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Zahir

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This too shall pass - Gratitude for the blessings and the curses

Today I am feeling gratitude that all things pass.  
I'm looking back on my wedding day with fond memories, laughing as I think of me dancing around in that huge dress, and getting a wee bit sniffly as I think about saying our vows in front of all our friends and family.
I am so grateful all of this love has come into my life.  It's filled each moment with endless wonder and comfort.

 I'm also looking back at harder times that have passed.  I found this old blog post from May 2011.  After a surgery that didn't go as planned (surprise surprise) I ended up with several pesky fistulas that refused to close.  The doctors told me if I just "stopped eating and drinking" altogether - seriously - it would close.  And for how long?  "Until it closes."  
I obeyed, the good patient that I was.  It was more than difficult.

My fistulas never closed.

Eventually I got so fed up that I just started eating and drinking again.  Because I'm human, not a robot.  Having the fistulas was a sacrifice I was willing to have in exchange for my humanity.

It's amazing that these blog posts are the only real glimpse I have on that time for me.  This was day 55 of four months - just more months to add to the six of the past ten years without food or drink.

But hey, I'll stop my sob story now.  I just got back from my honeymoon and this was my dinner - no joke.

 The lesson?  THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!!


MAY 2011

This is so hard.  I am so hungry that I have to physically restrain myself from eating food.  Every minute feels like hours.  This is what I wrote to my doctor:

I just wanted to touch base with you for this upcoming week.  All week, I have had only two cups of Jello, which are four ounces each, and a quarter of a cup of soup broth.  My output has decreased for 80cc to probably less than 5cc per day.  Just enough to wet the gauze I have covering the site.  I should note that the stain on the gauze comes out red when I have red Jello.  I am starving and my hunger grows each and every day - truly miserable at this point.  If you thought it was okay, I was going to increase to have three Jellos per day.  What do you think of this, and are there any (if any) other increases you should make this week, or is this how much I should do until the fistula site dried up completely?  Thanks so much.  I eagerly await your reply.

And this was his response:
My preference at this point is to achieve a completely dry, closed fistula before advancing your oral  intake further. Although I do not know that increasing the jello to three times per day will have any negative effect, I caution you that any increase may well increase the fistula drainage and prevent closure. You have to balance your need to satisfy your hunger, your need to keep your sanity, and your need to close the fistula. Not any easy balancing act. Let me know what you decide.
I am so disappointed, I don't even know what to say.  I am just going to try to take it day by day, because I really want this fistula to close.
What I tell myself every day.
Saw some cute puppies at the mall which made me smile.
 Then I smelled my amazing deep dish pizza which made me cry.
 Very uninspired and hungry, I started a piece called "Match Your Heartbeat to the Heartbeat of the Universe."
 Then I played with some iron-on transfer paper.
We are going to a lot of malls to pass the time.
I did an abstract background in preparation for another inchies piece.  It's a project I can lose myself in that is very time-consuming, and I can do a little bit every day, so it's a good thing to do right now.

I found this adorable chocolate box and thought it would be the perfect shadow box for some three-dimensional inchies!
Some more abstract backgrounds...

 Match Your Heartbeat to the Heartbeat of the Universe
The girl is playing the triangle and the earth is playing the drums.
 I started this piece too.

Wish me luck.  This is one of the hardest times in my life I've had for a long time.  I don't want a colostomy so I'm willing to do whatever it takes, but gosh this is impossible.

Today, be grateful for where you are.  Things might not be perfectly how you'd like them to be, but be grateful for how far you've come.

Everything passes.  So don't forget to live it up every passing moment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

DIY Essential Oils: Inspired, Creative Pampering!
Good morning folks - have you been keeping up with my August Art Challenge? Sign up at to join in the fun - I'll be sending you some tips every week. It's never too late, too hard, too much, or too HOT to start creating! There's nothing very challenging about it - except the challenge to see things differently :)
You can see last week's newsletter here.  Next week's has the official lowdown :)
But you might not feel like creating a doodle or drawing to hang on the fridge today. How about some DIY pampering instead?
 Admittedly, this is not my area of expertise - although I'll take a nice foot rub any day. But I would like to introduce you to an expert on the subject - Breanna over at Brea Getting Fit! I've lent her some of my own ideas which you can check out on her blog...
Make Your Own Inchies!
Find Your Creative Side :)
So I'll hand the "mic" over to Brea now - take it away, crazy oil lady! :)
As Amy and I were talking, she let it slip that she’d never really dabbled in essential oils. Which prompted some indignation on my part. How on earth has someone I consider a friend not heard of essential oils?

How does this happen? My husband refers to me as the “crazy oil lady”. I like to think that it’s with fondness...though I’m not entirely convinced. The thing is, he’s right! Essential oils are a slight obsession of mine.

Perhaps because I’ve seen and felt what they can do for myself, my family, and my friends, and mostly because they actually save me money. You read that right. Using essential oils (which can seem like a hefty investment) has actually saved me money in the 2 years that I’ve been using them.
Wait. How is that possible? I don’t use the oils that you see on the shelf at Whole Foods (and I sincerely hope you don’t either-those scare me!), because there really isn’t a regulating body for essential oils. In fact, in order to label an oil “100% pure”, it only has to contain 5% actual oil. FIVE.PERCENT.

This is why I like knowing where my oils come from, how they’re processed, and that they come with a guarantee.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. You’re probably wondering why (and how) these oils can possibly save my money. Well, for starters, I make my own face wash. I also use them to make my own laundry soap, dish soap, and more.
I also no longer have to buy candles (which my husband usually ended up being allergic they were a huge waste of money!), air fresheners, or bug repellant. I make my own. I even made my own sunscreen.

Before you write me off as totally crazy, hear me out: most of the products that you use already rely on essential oils as one of their ingredients. But you can’t possibly know where these oils are sourced, or if they’re pure. This is why I make my own stuff, y’all.

So today, in the spirit of sharing my oily craziness, I’m going to share one of my favorite things to make in the summertime: a foot scrub. Because, let’s face it: we wear a lot of sandals (or no shoes at all) when it’s hot.

Peppermint Lemon Foot Scrub

  • 1 cup epsom salts
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Grab a glass mason jar to mix your foot scrub.

Gently melting your coconut oil. You don’t want it super hot. Once it’s melted, stir in your honey until combined, then add in your essential oils.

Because we’re using a citrus oil, make sure that your coconut oil/honey combo is not hot, as this will negate the properties of the lemon oil.

Finally, add in your epsom salts and stir to combine. Seal your jar, and let it sit for a few hours to make sure everything is well combined.

When you’re ready to use your scrub, grab a small scoop and, while sitting apply to your feet, paying close attention to any rough spots. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry.

Store your scrub in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.  

Be warned: your feet may tingle a bit-that’s part of the fun. The peppermint is very invigorating, and the lemon helps to stave off odor.


Thanks Brea!

Well, I've got a new project to start and honey to pick up at the store - I think I might have found a new hobby!  Do you have an essential oil recipe or recommendation?  Send it along!

And be sure to visit Brea over at her blog for some more great tips :)

Brea Gunn is the beauty and the brains behind BreaGettingFit. She is a hard-working, fun-loving mom, wife, and entrepreneur, who writes about the things that interest her: parenting, family, natural living, healthy habits, and more. Brea is currently working on her personal trainer certification, and is taking nutrition classes so she can help herself and her fans. She loves to sing and dance, though not in public. You can catch up with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Before I Go...

“Do your thing and don't care if they like it.” 
― Tina FeyBossypants