Brightfire Woman ™

Create. Believe. Become.

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Safe Journey

On October 9th I edited out the following section from that day’s post titled, ” I’m molting…” At the time, I knew and was dreading what was coming, but I felt to say it publicly was too much. The depression hit the next day when I woke up to the first anniversary of my father’s death, October 10, 2014. However, since I posted I have seen that many people online are communicating about Depression and SAD, especially on Facebook. So I decided to go back and read what I had censored.

Every so often I have to ask my self what do I believe. What beliefs do I hold? Why do I still hold them? And what in the end how will I have evolved? So not only am I going through my clothes, and pitching the raggedy for moving, I am asking myself, ” Do I want to take this interest, attitude or belief with me into my new life?” Changing where and how you will live in the world, even from one home to another, starts this check list running.

I am going to have a great deal of solitude and time on my hands and arriving right when my depression starts seasonally. I had hoped to avoid it, but it is what it is. So being an old crone of a bipolar, I know that means I need it tidy and to stay out of bed.

I need to take my anti-depressants and to force myself to get cleaned up and dressed every morning. To have an established routine and some projects to get lost in.

My sleep, cadence, my internal clock will get completely out of whack. I need sunlight and exercise and a dark environment about 5 hours sooner than most, so I fall asleep at a normal time.

I will have memory loss, confusion, aches and pains. I will be standing in the middle of the room wondering where I was headed several times a day? I will have days where I will lose the battle and shut down for 3 or 4 days rising for only what is necessary. Pets. Children. Bathroom. In all my life I never not won the war against depression.

This last year has been full of grief, loss and crying jags. So I am trying to be settled and well prepared that this year might be rougher than most.


The Old Guitarist Picasso Chicago

I did not get any of that done. I am not in my home. I have several more things to file. I did not beat the clock I am depressed. And yes it is rougher than most years. Until I went back and re-read what I kept on file, I was feeling really disappointed and critical of myself and judgmental about what I have yet to accomplish.

I am glad I saved it, it is good stuff. And yes, I do see that I have made a lot of progress on what I believe and the attitudes I want to take with me. Perhaps even glimmers of what my work and new life might end up being about. I was smart enough to know what was coming and to leave myself a good check list. Always the girl scout, be prepared.

For all those swimming off shore  who are finding themselves once again in the deep, safe journey and may you find a way to make the most of it!.

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On Board

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father’s passing.  Tomorrow I go in to sign the deed transfer with the attorney (my mother also passed recently and left me her mobile home) Following that I enter a lease with the mobile home park.

Events and major appointments make me a bit manic, as in, I can’t sleep and lose my appetite.  It is hard to focus and get things done, but I am doing it. I have a really bad headache tonight, but a year of stress will be ended at the end of the day tomorrow.  I have made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. I am just a slightly smaller version of myself, then when I started walking towards here.

I look a little, in my opinion, 20 years older and dried up.  You’ll have that. I am hoping to get well and strong from the fresh air, exercise and a simple diet (I know, sounds like Heidi, but trust me, I am more of a Pippi Longstocking).

Everyone has worried about me.  I am a deep griever. Tomorrow will finally free me to  focus on healing.  I am grateful and on board.

I am thinking at this point that rather than using either of the small bedrooms as a studio space that I will incorporate it into the main living area. I will gravitate there anyway, so why fight it? It would save me from dragging all the supplies and set-ups around.

The rooms are too small for being able to step back from your work. I would be constantly dragging wet canvases into the living room. The kitchen is separated by a bar from the living room. There is a vent fan above the stove and running water and coffee and the computer and well, all the comforts of home.


And my coolest brainstorm thus far is to use the magnetic chalk board how to for making an erasable 4’x 8′ sketch board to attach to the wall I can use magnetic clips for photos or smaller sketches and make notes right on it and work out palettes with chalk.  Paper is always something I hate to squander, so that would be really cool. At Dick Blicks a newsprint pad 24X36 50 sheets is currently $11.75 The panel runs $12.97… seems  It would stop me from making notes on the wall! I really use to do that and write on my clothes…my hand or a paper plate.

I have never really had a great memory, always been the absent mind professor type, instead of a Ginger or Mary Ann.  Well… actually I am more of a Gilligan.


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I’m Molting…

Cicada molting animated-2

I “molt’ every Fall. I struggle with depression from Oct 1st to my birthday December 9th, where I become full of creative ideas and highly productive artistically, till gardening and yard work pull me outside.

Almost 20 years ago, I stumbled over a realization that whatever I was doing at the time I started cycling in October, became that season’s obsession. If I was reading or cleaning or watching TV that would be what I was on all winter. I found that I could also feel the cycle coming on, well enough to prepare and set up to be working on something productive, creative, positive.

Like many people, I can not afford to spend a lot on my projects, although their value to me is immeasurable. A good project can really keep me from sinking too deep into depression or becoming unable to function. So some years, might be one big project that can be tackled in steps and work for the whole season or several small unrelated projects. And it is important that the projects be real world and in the room with me. I need the benefit of movement and physical exertion and to live outside my head.


Lowes my pick for my cabinets

Lowes my pick for my cabinets

So, I was absolutely thrilled when I found these this 2 part remodel of a kitchen for under $600. I have failed at painting kitchen cabinets miserable in my 20’s, but the ideas in these videos are well illustrated and easy to understand.  The first video shows you how to paint the cabinets, make repairs to them. You will learn how to resurface your counter for the look and durability of a composite stone counter top.  I actually love composition stone, and it can be tinted any color that you like! Me? I am totally digging white for everything with it’s power to reflect natural light and to make a small area appear larger.

A triple bonus is in part 2, how to convert old blinds into Roman blinds. All the blinds in my new home are old and would welcome a face lift.   I also was very impressed with the ratcheting C clamp! And the confirmation that you can have materials cut to the size you need for the job, is the best news and a big plus for those that feel as iffy as I do about the circular saw!

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Wheels, Swivels and Chalkboards

The best way for me to deal with stress, chaos and life’s pressured nature these days, is to find something to think creatively about within whatever is the stressor or causing the chaos or pressure.

If you are like me, the moment you say, “I am not going to let this ruin my day by thinking about it!”, it becomes all you can think about.

Often I find when I am trying so hard to get something done or make it happen and I just can’t pull it, it was because it was not time or the wrong thing to do at the time. Later it came effortlessly, with ease and grace. So even knowing all that, the subconscious mind is a nit picker obsessive. So I started asking myself what bone could I give it to chew on, instead of my health?

Stress, chaos, and pressure, is arriving to a situation or event that you were not prepared for and were unable to foresee coming at you. Unexpected delays, losses, changes, hardship and suffering feel like being in limbo. When you can’t take action, it is like hitting a remote on that internal mental gnawing at the problem.

So since I can’t stop thinking about the situation or the event, I step back and look beyond it.  I look for something to focus those energies on that will hopeful let me arrive  better prepared and less stressed when things do start to pick up speed.  The best bone I have found to exchange for obsessing over what you can’t control  is something that helps with stress, clears chaos and makes you feel less pressured –ORDER!…  And a well developed creative project to sink your teeth into as a reward for getting to the other side of things all in one piece works well for me.

From time to time I have memory issues and when it is active clutter is not my friend. Nor was it my mother’s friend and  I will be moving into what was her home for 24 years. She always said, “Not enough Storage and small rooms was an issue.”

I have seen two good tips on dealing with clutter. One from an organizer, to have a junk drawer specifically for the odds and ends in every room. And from my mother, let your usage in a room define what goes in it. I don’t know how many other people go nuts packing stuff back to the room everyone else puts them, when the reality is that is not where you always end up using it. Mom kept her manicure tote in the kitchen cabinet, she liked to do her nails at the kitchen table. She liked to wash her hair at the kitchen sink, so she kept that stuff under the sink.

Where I think I maybe heading is organizers that are portable, free standing on wheels or swivels.

So, yes, I am still on organizers! And last night I found an awesome one! Have a look, it is awesome!

Swivel Storage Tower with mirror and chalkboard  “With so many functional built-ins, this handsome swivel cabinet tidies up clutter in the kitchen, home office, TV room, laundry room, craft room … anywhere you need organized storage. Price $249.00

Space-efficient, spinning organizer tucks into a corner.
– Space-saving bookshelf, storage bin, coat rack, photo display, message center and more all in one spinning cabinet
– 10 storage cubbies/shelves, 3 hooks, mirror, chalkboard, corkboard, dry-erase board and 6 photo slots
– With so many functional built-ins, it tidies up clutter in the kitchen, home office, TV room, laundry room, craft room…anywhere you could use organized storage
– Space efficient — tucks nicely in a corner
– Makes it easy to create a mini office in a bedroom or studio apartment

773199331629I love it!  But again, even though this is the highest priced storage product I have found, the reviews are again on things breaking and complaints of materials not being up to the job.  Fabulous design, but according to customers, cheaply made. I found cedar boards, which have a lovely color and wood grain very reasonable and they come in a fairly durable thickness, in 6″ and 12′ widths at 12′ and 16′ lengths.

Man Pantry

Man Pantry

It would be great wood for the Man Pantry in the 6 ” width to use it between refrigerator and wall. The 12″ would be a good size to make the tower, mind you, it would be smaller than theirs, but a nice size for incorporating most the features. The main attraction is that it swivels and I found a super durable swivel that holds up to 500 lbs. at Lowes, (I am liking Lowes) for a mere $6.97!  One side would attach to the tower and then you would build a base and attach the other side of the swivel to that.



I really like the chalkboard and I found a great video on making a chalkboard, that ups it to also being magnetic. and that really opens your mind up to…well, why, not a whole wall?  I also found some great magnetic hooks that could be used with it. For only $2.78 per hook, with great reviews as very strong!  These ideas could lend themselves very well as the backboard for the counter top.  At any rate, I could have the chalkboard incorporated into any design at any size relatively cheaply. It could be a huge sketch pad in my studio area or great to use magnets to post bills, invitations or appointment cards. Perhaps, baskets or bins even, if light weight.

It should be interesting what will come out of this.  If you can think it, you can build it. Building like cooking, is always better when you use the highest quality in ingredients you can find.  And, as I have noted in past posts, real wood seems to be the best way to go on most designs to alleviate breakage that seems a common complaint with ready made  products that will come to you unassembled in a box.  Why not considered picking quality materials to assemble?

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A Good Week of Brainstorming

4574102I have been on adding storage for a few posts now. First I found two videos on building a man pantry and exterior shelves in an existing pantry door.  Then I,  found some ready made alternatives at Lowes on line.

The same man pantry design, but with a complaint of instability. It has  no  drawer slide to connect it to the wall. And a negative review of wheels breaking the pressed wood bottom. Price $119.95

So, I now know, how to build what I want and understand the parts to it and assembly. I also see the costs, which seem one that will never fall apart verses, one, so conveniently available… that could fall apart during assembly and initial loading, according to one customer’s experience.

Premade now days is still just a box full of precut pieces for me to assemble. It removes the guy to cut it all for me, out of the process.

For my needs I would have to get some solid wood to reinforce the bottom and the two drawer slides to attach to the wall. And who knows what the wheels are made out of, or how big. So I might end up adding steel wheels. Sigh!

And then it hit me…the man pantry is basically a book case with drawer slides, a handle and wheels added!  And I  immediately went, “Mission Mart!”  Why not repurpose a bookcase or hutch top? Why just think about that small space between refrigerator and wall?

503600824589621_04678947If it was mobile and not attached to the wall to slide out,  I could hang the oil painting, I was working on the back and wheel it away, too.  And, Guess what?  I just happen to already own almost an identical book case to the one on the left. And I was planning on getting rid of it! Mine actually has a lot more shelves as I use two of them and when one met it’s demise, I added extra shelves from it to the one I kept. So I have already assembled what I need once, why not use it?

So that makes for a pretty good week of brainstorming for me. I also found away to add digital images to my oil paintings. In the video they are using a product called modge podge to seal it.  I think I could wait and work the transfer with oils and then seal it with the sealant I would use to seal the oils.

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It Pays to Keep Looking

Yesterday I post two videos of buildable added kitchen storage; one, of shelves built into an existing door, (which I still love) and one to build what I have learned is called a ‘man pantry’. It is slide out storage that works great on the wall side of a refrigerator. And the issue was on the build your own is I would need a guy to help me cut the pieces. Especially to cut out the center of the wood that is cut to the size of the existing door, as so many doors now days are hollow core and you need a solid core to handle the weight.

So I made another run at to see if I could find those solutions up for purchase… I did. Both at Lowes.

I am moving without a car with winter approaching.  The move is going to be enough to ask my guys for help with and this is an outside project (saw dust)and it is cold. I would have to save these till next summer and my need is now. If I don’t want to be walking to the store in the snow. I need to stock up.

I love this rack and even if I do decide to later date to do the pantry door shelving that is on the outside of the door, there will be no loss. I can put it somewhere else and it makes no changes in the existing door. I can put it on a wall or a door or both or inside any closet. It may be a great solution for art supplies too. And it is only $39.99.

4574102As for the man pantry, I did read a negative review, that the pressed wood on the bottom broke where the wheels attach. That could be, with that heads up, reinforced with a solid wood, before you put the wheels on. It would make it sit like an inch taller but that is not a problem. It also does not have the drawer slider that you attach to the wall on one side that the build your own video shows.  I could that add myself, if I conclude it was awkward or not stable enough.  Lowes has 2 pack draw slide that 22″ for $21.97. That would work well with the man pantry’s 23.5″.  The man pantry cost at Lowe’s is $119.95. No man required.  The man pantry also might be good art supplies in the small studio room, later date when I not in a rush of winter’s approach.

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Grateful Dead Dreams and Storage on the Brain

Hi there! I was surfing youtube this morning at 4:00 a.m. And yes, I am cheerful! I have sleep circadian disorder, which sounds dreadful, but I have had it probably since puberty, so I am pretty used to it.

Basically humans, being animals, have a biological clock set to fall asleep so many hours after sunset, most people it is about 11 p.m. and mine is about 4 hours, after that, at 3:00 a.m. no matter what kind of day I have had.

I sleep on average about 6 hours. But with all the excitement this week in knowing I am about to move into the home my mom left me, I have been awake till 5:00 a.m. and getting about 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night and dreaming profusely.

Dreaming has always felt like going somewhere else when I sleep. I have dreams that give me a heads up that something is about to happen.  And 9 times out of 10, when that something does happens, the dreams prepare me to understand and accept it. At times know the appropriate response to it.


Grateful Dead Dancing Bear

But that is not what it is like now, my dreams are almost psychedelic. So, no… I don’t feel rested,  It is more like I partied all might with the Grateful Dead and ate the mushrooms!

So I digress, back to this morning on Youtube. As I mentioned in an early post, I have been on the tiny houses lately, and I actually found a couple ideas I really liked to add storage. At first I questioned why I was still looking at them.  I will be moving into a 14X 70 mobile home which is 960 sq foot and hardly a tiny home. The biggest I have seen toted as tiny was a 700 sq foot apartment for a family of 4 and I have seen them as small as 78 sq ft for one person.

My dad lived in a camper for quite awhile and I always loved the built ins and often thought, just because you have space why waste it? I love open floor plans and lots of floor space that allows you to walk around in the dark, late at night without turning on lights.  My new neighbors clearly have normal sleep cadence and from caring for mom I know they get freaked if they see a light on in the middle of the night. So there is that and with bouts of vertigo I hate bumping into stuff, the walls are bad enough. I was told with it being a 3 bedroom and 1 and a 1 1/2 bath, that 6 people could live there.

Which totally boggles my mind I have lived for 24 years with 2,415 sq ft with 3 people! My mom’s biggest complaint as 1 person was not enough storage, and mind her things are all still there and will be until I feel like letting go.

Here are a couple videos of things on my list when I find a guy to cut the wood! LOL I like assembly and staining but I also like having thumbs!  If it is a handsaw and miter box I am cool to be unsupervised, but circular saws and I don’t get along. They are simply to heavy to control.

I have small pantry between kitchen and living room that, was originally a coat closet till my mom got ahold of it. The problem is the selves are like 18 inches deep and come up to the door, so it is not good for lots of things like canned goods and being able to see labels without taking out a dozen things to reach it. I think this would be really perfect to cut the shelves down and and use that depth to put shelves in the small door.

I also found the video for the slide out shelves by the refrigerator, that circulated on FaceBook awhile back, minus the great video of step by step. I have the perfect space for one, as mom had recently bought a new smaller frig.

I will be moving to a community that does not have taxis or buses, but does have stores in walking distance and there is a lovely bike path that goes right to them. So for ease I think a return to big shop twice a month would make that work for me and allow me independence. But that takes storage space and later date probably a freezer.

But these two ideas alone would make a major difference, don’t you think?


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