Saturday, August 22, 2020

Covid 19: The Daily Grind

How does one get through the unending trap we find ourselves in?

Reverse Painting on Plastic by Corrine Bayraktaroglu 

 With temperatures ranging from 100 to 118 degrees in Arizona we can't just go take a walk. We have none of the usual escapes from the heat because the theatres, libraries, museums, restaurants are closed. We no longer take road trips that require a night at a hotel. 
I wish I had the answer because we all have different needs and circumstances.

When I start feeling fed up what bounces around my head is 
"Keep Calm and Carry on" 
"keep a stiff upper lip and dust off whatever life has thrown you" 

Until next time
cheers and take care

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What Does Gratitude During A Pandemic Have to do With Art?

A lot for me because art has always been my refuge, my solace, my playground, my joy, my meditation. I'm so grateful for that and knowing that through thick and thin I can turn to art to see me through. If forced isolation and solitude makes us confront the essence of who we are then I’ve found that and am grateful for it.
Daily Sketchbook Doodles
There is a lot of medical research that supports creativity is helpful to your physical and mental well being.  Maria Cohut Ph.D wrote an article about it for the Medical News Today.
You don’t have to be rich to live an artful life, you just have to have intention and make a deliberate choice until it just become habit. I really love this article by 
Srinivas Rao that shares what it means to live an artful life. The author talks of embracing solitude and boy talk about having to do this during the isolation of a pandemic.

Grateful for: 
I won't list the obvious or ALL the things I'm grateful for but here is a wee few.
USPS that helps maintain delivery of my letters, my art postcards to friends and family, my art, my art supplies and so many other things.
Mobil Phone Camera to capture those small joys in life.
Paint Pens that don't stink and clog up. 
Jerry's Artorama less than 20 mins away and fab staff and hard core art supplies.
According to the American Heart Association it is important to cultivate gratitude as it helps improve your immune system. With that said I say Knit, Sew, Photograph, Bake, Garden, Dance, Write, Problem Solve, Woodwork, whatever it takes. 
Keep Well and Safe

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Art During the Time of Covid and Isolation

I suppose I could say I've had some practice becoming an isolated artist since moving to Arizona in 2018, but the isolation from covid, along with the political turmoil is something else. Having an online art tribe with the camaraderie and friendship that goes with that was a comfort that has now become compromised by all the painful distractions. So I find myself isolated in a way I never expected. 
 At the beginning of this pandemic I painted rocks every day with the innocent idea
 that within a few months I could start leaving them again in my fave cafes and places I visit. HAH! Most of them sit in a large box under my coffee table and now sadly I realize some of those cafes will more than likely not exist once this pandemic is over. The compelling need to paint rocks daily died, although I still do the odd one. 
 I don't seem to have the energy for large art commitments, BUT I have discovered the mesmerizing joy of pour painting. It doesn't really require a huge commitment other than exploring, pouring, dabbling.  NOTE: Of course if you are new to painting, wanting a large painting, plan to sell, or teach sure you will need a dedicated pour painting space, lots of paint, and time to learn about colour mixing etc.
 I'm just doing small pieces 
on postcards that get eventually get sent to friends. I never thought I could say I'd sit and enjoy watching paint dry lol! but as the paint settles and dries cells form and that is the part that is mesmerizing.

Link: Check out the great info about pour painting and creating cells from The Left Brained Artist.

Take care all

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Once a Cancer Patient, always a Cancer Patient

Even though I survived breast cancer the reality is that I'm STILL a cancer patient.  You are never out of the woods when you've had cancer. The fear of it still lurks deep in the forest and we may be at the edge or just outside of it but we always have to watch that forest. 
So I still have to take meds, still have to take and retake blood tests and still have a ct scan every six months (nodule on my lung) before I see my oncologist.
I was hoping I could delay it since we're in the middle of a pandemic. Err NOPE! So things are already stressful without the added worry of a pandemic and people who seem to think it's perfectly okay NOT to bother wearing a mask to the place I need to go to for my blood test (and seriously I have to wonder about the health aid at the lab not wearing one either). Thank goodness the oncologists and the radiologists are insisting patients wear masks.

"The ongoing horror of survivorship is a big, dirty secret.” I know exactly what this author is talking about in her article "Why Cancer Isn't Over After You're Cured" There is fear every oncology visit until you hear the words "you're good, all is clear".

Until then I have become the Queen of Distraction ♥

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

"Hand Embroidered Coronavirus Mask

"Futility Mask"

When I was still fairly new to America 42 years ago I bought an embroidery kit in Texas based on a 1700's sampler by a 12 year old called Sarah Salter. I was filled with innocent wonder at this new adventure in a  country I'd immigrated to. I adored the design and all that it represents to me, my future, hopes, and dreams, nature and the  meditative joy of embroidery. I decided to call this the "futility mask" ,not because wearing a functional mask is futile but because there is a desperate and futile effort to convince some people that coronavirus is not overblown , is not a hoax and  wearing a mask is not an attempt to destroy their liberties.

Note: When making a mask that you intend to be functional it's important to note that pin holes and needle holes will make it pretty useless (as in futile) that is unless you intend to incorporate a filter pocket and a nose wire.

Cheers All and Keep Safe


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Easy Christmas Crafts on a Budget

Yep! Pretty simple eh! Of course if you don't have spare cholla skeletons laying around, just use a twig or branch.
Note: Miss Diba is my granddaughter who is under three and was so happy to collect pine cones and then see what happened to them.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

How To Make a Giant Papier Mâché Saguaro

One of the things I love about living in the Sonoran Desert are the magnificent saguaros. I thought it would be fun to have a fake Saguaro to decorate for Christmas instead of a Christmas Tree.  Alas I couldn't find any online that didn't cost an arm or a leg or were just not suitable.  In my online hunt though I came across a blog that had instructions to make one, Pillar Box Blue. So I'm giving credit where credit is due for the wonderful inspiration by Claire Armstrong.   We didn't end up following the same directions; hey I'm married to an engineer and he came up with a different core structure using plumbing pipes and joints. TIP: make sure to glue the joints together. 

We covered with chicken wire and then wrapped with shipping plastic wrap we had left over from our move here. Using plastic wrap helped to make the surface smooth enough to glue on strips of news print. Our next problem was how to get the vertical ridges. Again Mr. Engineer came up with a solution and we used air
filters which look perfect. So we could have skipped the newsprint paper mache step and just put the filter straight over the wire and plastic wrap. I used fishing wire to stitch the filter edges together. Next stage was to glue on torn
strips of packing paper.
TIP: Torn edges blended in much better than cut or straight edges.
Once that was done it was just a matter of painting it.
6ft Papier-mâché Saguaro
One thing we didn't do was anchor the sagauaro in a bucket with plaster of paris. We found using a large basket and loo rolls for the center pole and packing it around the sides with paper towel rolls made it very lightweight but stable. Once I have the sagauaro in the house we will put stones around it to hide the paper towel rolls.

  It’s been a fun project to do together and trying to figure out each step and how to get the effect we wanted. It ended up costing around $100 for all the supplies, which doesn't make it a easy peasy cheapy project. Long term though I think we are going to enjoy our Saguaro.

plumbing pipes/joints
chicken wire
Gallon Elmers Glue
Paint Brushes
cling wrap
packing paper
air filters (5 22"x 25"x 1")
Spray paint

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Textile Exhibit at The Winds in Yellow Springs, Ohio

To my dear friends I so wish I was there helping hang the show and seeing all your cheery faces at the reception. I’m honored to be included - thank you 😊  

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Living Life as a Work of Art

You'll find me hanging out on the Instagram link below :)
Jafabrit Instagram
 I  pretty much post daily artwork, art mischief, our adventures exploring Arizona, road trips, eyebombing, faces in things, and issues relating to proaging, celebrating life, loving nature, healthy living, loving creating, being a cancer survivor, and being a nana.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Using Paint Pens and Creating Magic

Well not quite magic but close enough :) I've been meaning to paint this old wood table for a year since we moved to 
Arizona. It was painted brown and rather ugly, so out came the paint pens (posca and ZIG Posterman). The design is loosely based on an ancient Turkish ceramic plate. 
I was a wee bit out of my comfort zone with some of the colours but it was worth it don't you think?
Turkish style painted table 
 I hope you are inspired.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hiking in the Southwest :Tom's Thumb Trail in Scottsdale

 We are lightweights when it comes to hiking, but still we are on the trails twice a week during the winter months in Arizona.
 I have a fear of heights and going along a narrow trail, climbing over boulders, or on a ridge is a true test of fortitude. This along with fear of tripping and local critters makes for a wary slow hiker. We usually hike between 2 to 4 hours and I've got to the stage when I know just how much water I need to carry depending where, and length of hike.
Trail up to Tom's Thumb Peak

One of our recent hikes was Tom's Thumb Trail at McDowell in Scottsdale and while we didn't do the whole loop we did hike up to Tom's Thumb. It took us 2 hours to climb 2,500 feet and 2 miles to reach the top. Talk about a cardio workout and I had to take a lot of breaks to slow my heart rate down and catch my breath. According to their website this is an extremely challenging trail and I am glad to see that as I was feeling like a wimp the whole way up BUT I did it, YES!!! 
The scenery was breathtaking!


  1. The trailhead has bathrooms, but NO WATER so take plenty water.
  2. Wear good hiking shoes because while the trail is well maintained it is steep with loose gravel.
  3. I really recommend hiking sticks. Here is a list of 10 benefits of trekking poles.
  4. Wear a hat and use a sunblock
  5. Take along an energy bar and some fruit.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Corrine's Hodge Podge Soup with Bone Broth

  A collection of miscellaneous things 
The Base
Whenever we have chicken I save the bones/scraps in a large ziploc bag along with a bit celery,carrot, half onion, slice of lemon peel and then freeze. When I need to make chicken broth I toss the lot into a pot with a bit salt and pepper and cover with plenty water and boil gently for several hours. Unlike this recipe I don't use vinegar, but check it out for directions for the novice or the bone broth elites ;)

HodgePodge Soup
Medium pan of chicken broth
Two chopped baby bok choy
Half cup cooked chicken pieces
 cup sliced mushrooms
teaspoon sesame oil
Half cup noodles

Fry mushrooms in sesame oil
Throw everything into pot of broth and boil until noodles are done.
Sprinkle with chopped celery and serve

That's it, simple and very tasty. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

She Cuts with Scissors

And it's been fun trying to figure out where to cut because my current creative experiment with craft felt is like a jigsaw puzzle. As with a lot of my work one creative adventure leads to  new interpretations.
 It started with a painted stone portrait, which led to photographing it on a magazine fashion page collage, which led to putting the photo through a fun filter, which then led to the current incarnation with felt cut pieces.