Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs

My schedule has been wonky the past few months, so I've had almost zero photo or design time. This weekend, we took a day trip and explored a beautiful area that I'll be sharing about in the coming weeks, but today, I want to share behind the scenes of some patterns I created using what I call the discard photos - photos that aren't share worthy on their own, but sure make for some interesting patterns when I tinker with them.

This first photo was taken in Marshall Forest, the only forest in the US located within a city limit. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of the walking trails in the park is a "Braille trail" for the visually impaired.

This is the resulting pattern:

I liked the masculine feel of this pattern, so I used it for wrapping paper.

I had an idea for a project, so I was messing with these chains on some marble steps, trying to find a pattern or design that looked like the chains had been "broken" (under Tim's orders not to break his chains. Ha!)

The photo resulted in this interesting pattern:

I used it for wrapping paper and ribbon.

We were driving down a road Sunday afternoon, rounded a corner, and the sunlight focused on these pink flowers in such a way that they glowed. Because I was driving, I just went past it but the image was burned in my brain. We turned around and went back to take a photo, but by then the sun was no longer on the flowers so the photos are quite disappointing.

But I got these magical snowflakes as a pattern, so all is not lost!

The pattern was too fine for wrapping paper, but it made a beautiful ribbon:

I love being able to create art from photos that won't be used as art themselves. Makes me view everything in life with a different perspective.

Come visit my TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Proactive About Getting Healthy

I'm excited to announce that I am now on a new journey with my health and well-being. I have some exciting opportunities ahead of me, and I want to be able to keep up with all that's going on.

For many years, I struggled with chronic anemia that depleted my body of almost every nutrient. I've been in recovery from that anemia for about 18 months, and finally have the energy to become a "new" me! One step of that journey is being proactive about what I put into my body, focusing on healthy foods and lots of water. Today, I increase that action with Juice Plus and Tower Garden.

With Juice Plus, I can get the fruits and vegetables I need to rebuild and the Tower Garden helps me grow the foods I love most.

I'm still new to all of this, but very excited about finally taking action to get healthy again.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Suicide is Senseless

After reading of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide this morning, and Kate Spade’s suicide three days ago, I started a post on Facebook that read:

I hate suicide. It's senseless and stupid. Depression stinks. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a new day. People can and will help you, but you have to reach out. If you can't/won't talk to a friend or family member, seek out a counselor, or a pet, or a plant - just talk to them. Write letters to uncork yourself. Or call this hotline. You are loved. You have a purpose. How to get help: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Suicide is NOT the answer. For anyone.

I stopped my post with that, but continued to think about the whys of suicide, and realized I need to say more.

Life is not easy for any of us. We all have our own battles we face - some may be social (like bullying or loneliness, or the fame of celebrity), some may be financial (like extreme poverty, debt, or extreme wealth), some may be mental (like depression, intellect, or Type A personality), some may be physical (like disabilities, autoimmune disorders, disease, or gorgeous looks and extraordinary physique). Our battles are as unique as each individual in the midst of them. We deal with different pressures, different responsibilities in our lives, and we all handle them differently.

And that's okay.

But suicide is not the answer to any of the problems. None. Not one. For any battle.

There is hope. For you and for me.

I'd like to share a list of some of the battles I've encountered in my own life's journey. I won't share details to protect loved ones, but each one of the battles listed below have touched me and/or my children personally, many overlapping at the same time:

Verbal, Emotional, Mental Abuse
Divorce (as a Christian, to some Christians, this is the unpardonable sin. And remarriage compounds that.)
Mental illness
Transgender issues
Domestic Abuse
Child Abuse
Bipolar Disorder
Personality Disorders
Drug Addiction
Sexual Assault
Physical Assault
Verbal Assault
Reverse Racism (technically, they say there's no such thing. But there is.)
Cancer, cancer, cancer
Parkinson's Disease
Physical ailments
Judgment of others
And others I'm forgetting at the moment

Days, weeks, years of our lives have been taunted by darkness. A couple of times, the darkness was so deep, I wasn't sure we'd ever see light again.

Yet, I had Hope.

My Hope comes from God. A personal relationship with Jesus. Direction from the Holy Spirit.

My God is One in Three. Three in One. God, the Father, who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to die for us. Why would God want Jesus to die for us? So that we might spend eternity - FOREVER - in Heaven with Him. So that we could live FOREVER in God's presence. Our only other alternative is to live forever apart from God, apart from all others, in Hell. And that's definitely not a way to live.

I've referred to some of the things we've gone through in our lives as 'hell on earth' because they were so painful I could hardly bear them. I've been through hell on earth - I imagine many of you have been there, too. Why would we want to spend an eternity somewhere so painful? Especially when we don't have to. We have an option.

My Hope is Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection offers us all the opportunity - the option - to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. In the Bible, Heaven is described as a place where there is no more pain, no more tears, no more death, no mourning, no crying (Revelation 21:4).

My Hope is Jesus. Because I know Him - personally. I asked Him to be my Lord and my Savior. I live life on earth by His standards (although I've failed many times in this, I've asked Him to forgive me, and He has.) The greatest thing is - every single day is a new day with Jesus. If we screw up, or have a really bad day, or make mistakes, or hurt someone or be hurt by someone - tomorrow, we get the chance to do better. Tomorrow, we get the chance to make changes. Tomorrow, we get the chance to start over.

With suicide, there is no tomorrow.

Jesus is there for you - today and tomorrow and forever. I know - without one shadow of a doubt - that I will live eternally with Him.

Why? Because He loves me.

He loves you, too. More than you can ever hope, dream, or imagine anyone here on earth could love you.

Jesus is my Hope. Jesus gets me through all the pain, all the loneliness, all the sorrow, all the mistakes, all the failures, all the stupidity and idiocy that this life tries to throw at me.

Sometimes I do need help. I've sought counseling in the past, and am currently seeing a counselor. Sometimes we need help to process all the pain and sorrows in our lives. Sometimes just having an outsider listen to us talk for awhile helps us work through the emotions, the anxiety, the stress, the past/present/future of our lives.

It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to need help. It's okay to be helped.

It's NOT okay to commit suicide. Suicide is not the answer.

You have options. Many, many options.

Talk to someone. Reach out. You are worthy. I promise.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Meet the Artist: Vickie Emms

Today, I'm happy to introduce a new artist friend, Vickie Emms.

Vickie, what type of art do you create?

I offer my own photography for sale on POD websites on products they offer. 

I am  a member of Redbubble and Zazzle where I have 4 stores, one of which
is totally my photography, called DiamondW_Photography.

I also create designs from elements I purchase on the internet from commercial use sites and add them to products on either of two of my stores on Zazzle, one of which is DiamondWillowDesigns and the other is a niche store of totally Plaids/Tartans, which originate from Scotland and offers products with those plaids on them on dozens of products in ThePlaidShop. 

This is a magnet offered on Zazzle from a photo of a Scarlet Macaw taken in Mexico.

A favorite design from Zazzle would be tartan pillows from The Plaid Shop.

How did you get started creating this particular type of art?

Photography has always been my love and just making photos for sale wasn't satisfying enough.  I started designing wedding invitations, shower invitations, wrapping paper and greeting cards, plus hundreds of other items that were fun to do.  After buying Photoshop CS5, the products just became a natural to me.  I love seeing end results, and specially sales!   

Tell us the story behind ONE of your favorite creations.

One of the highlights of my photography travel was visiting Alaska in 2009.  This is the most popular photo from that trip. 

On the Way to Haines Alaska

Explore Vickie's shops at: 

Zazzle: Diamond Willow
Zazzle: The Plaid Shop

About the Artist:

Vickie was born in Scotland in June, 1945. She is married,  and is a mother of three grown daughters and has 7 beautiful grandchildren. As well, Vickie and her husband Fred have 8 foster grandchildren, who are no different to them as their own. 

She lives in Manitoba, Canada, one of the prairie provinces. Most of her scenery is from those areas, although she lives close to the eastern lakes area of the province called the Canadian Shield and visits and camps in her favorite parks often. She LOVES the Canadian Rocky Mountains and travels almost every summer to Alberta to camp and photograph those beautiful icons.

She and her husband have been married 50 wonderful years, and travel quite a bit, usually within Canada and the United States.  So you will see a mixed bag of shots from both countries.  They have caught the travel bug the last couple of winters and have visited the Bahamas, Cancun, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and a couple of trips to Las Vegas.

She loves photography, camping, traveling, crafts, flower gardening and music.  She has been taking photographs most of her life, upgrading to the newest cameras as they came on the market.  Now with digital, she is having the time of her life.  She's had photos published in Canadian Wildlife, a magazine by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.   She has had photos published in Our Canada and More Our Canada and in the August/September issue of 2018 another is being published of a Cedar Waxwing eating Mountain Ash berries. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Journal Entry

My journal entry yesterday took on a life of its own, so I decided to share parts of it here.

Since last fall, I've been bouncing from one project to another, trying to settle in
somewhere useful and productive. With family challenges we had in the fall, then dealing with my own grief and depression issues from that in the following months, I found myself drifting, yet unable to know how to stop it.

For the past week, I've been reading Matt Tommey's book, Created to Thrive. His first chapters have intrigued me so much, I've been exploring webinars he offers, and reading his website to learn more about him.

[See my post Ponderings: Mindset to understand why I felt the need to do that.]

Matt's words and his ministry resonate deeply with me. I'm eager to continue his book and will give a full review when I'm done. 

But yesterday, I started a new page in my journal that reads:

The blank page to the left represents time.

Time spent, but not wasted.

A time of learning.
A time of resting in His promises.
A time of growing.
A time of healing.
A time of serving.
A time of leaning into Jesus with my whole being.
A time of seeking.
A time of observing.
A time of questioning.
A time of thinking.
A time of lack.
A time of testing. Testing myself. Testing others. Being tested.
A time of creating.
A time of flailing.
A time of want.
A time of need.
A time of restoration.

Not until I typed the words above that I had handwritten in my journal did the connection to Ecclesiastes dawn on me.

Now is the time to take that next step. To settle in to what I feel God has called me to do, and to do it with all my heart and with all my might until He calls me elsewhere.

Recent Posts:

Ponderings: Mindset
Entrepreneur Encounters: Jennifer Guter
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Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips

From the TMP blog:

Marketing Memos: Matt Patterson
5 Reasons to Hire a Book Publisher
Latest Release: A Sincere Heart by Phee Paradise
Looking for a Narrator for Your Audiobook or Video?

Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at

Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.