Brightfire Woman ™

Create. Believe. Become.


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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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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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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Paint Better

Today I worked out park acceptance and lease with the mobile home park where my mother lived for 20 years. I will begin settling in October 1st or so.  There are not words to express the relief and joy at having finally brought things to an ending and a new beginning. And then I came home and drank way too much coffee, Good things excite me to damn near mania, anyway. I am bouncing off the walls.

My head is so full of ideas whirling around the wind off it could cause lift off!  Add to that my son helped me upload to my laptop photos that have been on it for like two years and It had beautiful family photos with my parents who passed in the last year. I just sat and let them all play as a slide show. I did not know how to do it. (Hey, I am honest.) It was so good to see their faces.

moms pictures 144

Dottie Hampton, my mom

I stopped by and checked on the home, when I paid the rent and was happy and instantly content. When the door swung open I could still smell my mother’s perfume.

I don’t know where a person is suppose to be with their grief, this amount of time, after a loved one’s passing.  Or how a person is suppose to carry themselves when they lose both parents, 2 months apart, at 90 and 89. I will be 59 this year and I just became an orphan. They were both absolutely the world to me from the moment I opened my eyes. I have been just getting out of bed each day and doing the best I can. But now I get to reassemble their belongs together with mine in the family home.

moms pictures 008

Gilbert Hampton, my dad

My parents sent me to art school.  The first thing I ever cast was a bronze bust of my father’s head, that he sat 200 hours for, while he healed from cancer surgery in 1975. I had a private room in Watterson Towers at ISU and I was 18. My mother and I both loved writing poetry and photographing. She was so supportive. They hung everything I painted, although some of it was pretty dreadful.  They would not let me remove it from the walls. My father told me if I didn’t like it — paint better.

My work has evolved figurative but also very abstract. I had even before buying my first oils, decided I wanted to work on portraiture and drawing. So it makes so much sense to me that before my memory fades that I capture the essence of being there in those moments with them.

And my gut tells me, that when the series is done, it will say something to me that I need to hear to heal. I will just let the work guide me to it. I may even be bad at the start but I will post anyway and own it. And paint better.

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Beginning to Wonder

Michael Labowicz – Keanu Star

I am beginning to wonder if the movie the Matrix, (yes, with Keanu Reeves) was much deeper than I thought. After years of social networking I feel the internet is all about publicly living a better life as a better person and an activist, of sorts, while my vertebras fuse from hunkering over a lap top posting: liking, following, commenting, playing games while ad after ad assails my brain.

I am directly wired and addicted to constant mental over stimulation. The results are not that I think more, but less. Social networking is activist, or rebel or mommy or grieving lonely person or political person…in a can.  We don’t have to think, we will know our meme when we see it.

We are fed daily more of what we already believe about ourselves and others, rather it is true or not, or harmful to our selves or others to believe that way. It is all pro and anti without middle ground or need for conversation. Social networking has become the vehicle to passing social propaganda. We either buy into it and repost or we become desensitized to seeing it.

So, when I think about making a new life, I wonder… can I have a better life? Can I be a better person? Or is that just part of the illusion?

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Hungry to Paint

It is driving me nuts that I don’t have my tower computer. It is out for repairs. It holds all my art programs and all the digital art I have made in since 08. I am now using a new lap top, that has nothing. So today I have defiled it with two new works in progress.

Besides desperate acts by a woman hungry to paint, you are looking at works created combining Kindle HD apps: Kalidoscope Drawing Pad, Sketch Guru -Handy Sketch Pad and Sketchbook Pro.

I am on this concept of making art the way I see things in my mind as 3 dimensional. It is an aspect of my dyslexia… that I rather enjoy. That walking around in what I imagine as form. They are not self portraits, but portraits of self.

The photos are pictures taken on my Kindle as a record of my mood swings.

When I get my tower up and going again, then the fun will begin. These will be completely reworked and if something good enough comes out I  may use them as a sketch for traditional oil paintings or attempt a transfer to canvas and go from there.

I just know I want to include the qualities of digital art into a traditional oil painting.  I chose oils for their translucency and radiance in layering.


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Brave and Bold

Fresh starts are emotional. You have to let go of what was, to have room for what will be. I will be downsizing not only in what I have in the home I have lived in for 24 years, but in all the things in my mother’s home of 20 years, too. And I have to work in studio and work areas and storage that previously existed in neither of our homes.

My mother and i are a lot a like, so there is a great deal that is sentimental to me in both homes. I have my art set-up and her sewing stuff and all our camera stuff.

It is spiritually mind boggling this weighing of attachment/detachment. We all have this mental list of beliefs that fall under, ” If I had I would.”  Well I am about to have…will I? It is usually time, money, space. Some call them excuses, others call them reasons, but whatever you call them they are wove from the beliefs we hold about ourselves. They are personalized to our value systems and tangled in our self-esteem.

It is also very challenging in what currently feels like utter chaos, to try to create the order and organization.  I know I need multiple work surfaces that multi purpose.

I have to admit I have always struggled back and forth between wanting to be bold and brave and wanting my home to look like I imagine normal peoples’ homes to be like.  Having kids does that.

But I don’t have kids. I have grown children… that turned out passionate and creative. I have grandchildren that sculpt and paint and write. So I have concluded, they don’t struggle with it, so why should I?  Probably growing up raised by a 50’s wife and mother. Function is more important to me. And closeness to water. And lighting. And ventilation.

I have a bad habit of  doing everything in my bedroom, because privacy and solitude is important to clear thinking for me. I won’t have to do that, I will be able to privacy and solitude through out my home. I have a need for everything to have a place, because if not, I spend hours daily looking for things I can’t find. Short term memory is the first thing to go when I am stressed or depressed.

In essence I am creating a haven of healing and peace.  All the things I have come to know I need to function well enough to live alone with mental illness.

If you can relate to this or have any tips leave a comment. Tell me how you came to find a happy balance. How do you organize your interests in your home? Is your workspaces for your interests separate room(s) or main area?