Day 335 – Rules? What Rules?

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.  Katharine Hepburn

I set some rules upon myself on Day One of Art Apple A Day. They were:

A 5” x 5” image – no other restrictions except that it could not be photographs or digital art. It had to be done by hand. My marks and hands interacting with the page.

There were two thoughts in my mind in regards to the above. One, I needed a small manageable size (anything much bigger would have become too much to continue to produce everyday) in hindsight I think 6″x6″ might have given me just a bit more freedom in the creative process but I was also thinking that you can buy a pre-made frame and mat with a 5″x5″ opening. The second thing I had in mind with this was that I had a vision of all 365 pieces lined up like calendar groupings in an eventual exhibit. Calendar days are square and with the art being square all of the apples could be framed and hung like the months they are a part of. I can see it – hopefully it will happen one day.

This “rule” has given the apples a certain continuity and added purpose but many days or nights when I went to create, I would feel an urge to do something far beyond the limits of these constraints. Sometimes creativity gets very overwhelming and the feeling to let that energy get out can take up a lot of energy in just the thinking about it. This is a feeling that I missed about myself for many years when I was so sick. I would try to force myself to create but it didn’t lead to art that felt good or I liked. It was interesting to observe this and extremely frustrating to experience it. Another aspect to my lack of creativity in those years was that I did not get excited by the colors. The use of vibrant color is what jazzes me when I create. For me to make art with a lack of color is a practice and exploration. Using bold beautiful color combinations is what naturally comes out of me. I was very sick for a number of years and the changes to me were huge. My vibrancy and joie de vivre were gone and along with that I could not see the colors. They were dull and muted and sparkle-less. Finally I found a doctor who believed me and worked with me until we found a diagnosis and a course of treatment that finally started to give me my life and self back. And one day thankfully I really believed that the colors returned in their full splendor – and with them so did I!

Tomorrow marks my last month of Apples. I’m feeling excitement and melancholy in extremes and with these emotions and reflections has come a decision about what I’d like to do for these last 30 days.

When I announced to my friends and family that I would be endeavoring on this project, many thought “she’s doing what?” And proceeded to place bets on my failure. I don’t blame anyone for that feeling. I doubted myself too but there was something in me that knew so deeply that I would accomplish what I set out to do. There have been two days in this process that I thought I might not make my daily apple. Day Eight – right at the beginning when it would have been so easy to walk away, thankfully Doug & Elizabeth encouraged me that night and I created “Spiraling Out of Control” – not very good but it honored where I was in my head that day and I got it done. And much more recently, Day 324. The emotions and exhaustion of the day seemed too much to create anything – I eeked one out and wrote about the feeling of that night a few days later on Day 326 – Brain Freeze. Those are the only two days I felt at a real risk of failing although Doug might have a different observation. I’m hoping that my last month is smooth sailing but to be honest, I know that it will be just as challenging so I’ve decided to break my self imposed rules and let my creativity take me anywhere it wants to go!

So tonight I post a 5″x5″ piece. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring when I can do whatever my heart desires! When I told Doug of my plan he said “noooooo!” Not quite the reaction I expected and then I explained why I want to do this and he understood a bit more. But because oh his strong reaction, I’ve decided to ask all of you.

What do you think? Should I do this or finish out the year as I laid out originally? You guys vote and I’ll do whatever you want because these apples are for you! Let me know what you think – and be honest!

Until tomorrow.


Day 335 was created in watercolor drips, collage apple made from a page out of my old dictionary, a piece of origami mesh, my little stamp letters. All stitched together on my $100 sewing machine!

Day 334 – Days Go By

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Thirty FourTo live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.  ~Emily Dickinson

Life just moved along today.

Nothing startling but good news, bad news. Laughter and tears. Thank you to my friends and family (both my family family, and my AS family) for sharing this ride with me.

I could not ask for more – you are all very important to me.

I keep having these moments of reflection about this past year. The days are going by so quickly right now and I have so much to process and figure out and wonder about what comes next!

Until tomorrow.


Day 334 was created in pastels

Day 333 – Comfort And Safety

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Thirty ThreeWhat gives you comfort?

Is it home? Food? Maybe it’s the sound of the ocean.

I find comfort in all of these things but for physical comfort I have a few items of clothing that will never be seen past the doors of my home. YES – they are that dreadful! I have a cardigan sweater that my Mom gave me – she didn’t like it… and thought I might be able to get some wear out of it. It is sinfully ugly. I have no idea what she was thinking but, it gives me comfort. Mostly because it came from my Mom so it is like being wrapped in her – talk about comfort. For me comfort equals my Mom. Because of this, it has become a safety sweater of sorts. I know I’m way too old for these things at 42 but honestly I don’t care one little bit. In fact, I’ll tell you more…

When I started having so much trouble with AS, a few years before my diagnosis actually, my ribcage stopped being able to handle sleeping on my side. The stiffness would build up as I slept and when I moved I would come brutally (truly) awake by the pain of moving. It was insanely intense so I had to learn to sleep on my back propped up with pillows. I did this for a very long time to help alleviate this issue a bit. But AS didn’t want me to ignore her so she took up in my ankles and did the same thing. Sleeping on my side – I got it in my sternum, sleeping on my back – my ankles. It was truly unbelievable.

But, I’ve digressed. The reason I brought up the side sleeping issue is that I’ve found even now with so much relief from my meds that it really helps to support my body in any position I sleep in. I use pillows under my knees and I sleep with a soft fluffy object that I cling to my chest. A brown bear shaped fluffy object. It really could have been something much more my station and age but it was given to me one year by my sweet hubby for Valentine’s Day and – it works. When I go on vacation a pillow takes the place but not well because that safety & comfort feeling isn’t there.

Comfort comes in so many shapes and forms. Some aren’t good for us but mostly they are!

What do you find comfort with?

Until tomorrow.


Day 333 was created with a scan of a summer dress I have. That’s being kind, it’s actually more like a muumuu. An Old Navy kind of muumuu but not flattering at all but I love it because – it gives me comfort. I scanned the fabric and used two different tones of the scan that I printed out and pieced together. I then painted the color in – the original dress fabric is very purple. Once I added some gold dots with a gold gel pen, I then stitched around the edges in a hot pink thread – a nod to the fact that the piece was inspired by my muumuu fabric!

Day 332 – You Are Beautiful

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Thirty TwoI think everyone should be told they’re beautiful until they believe it. – Unknown

I just finished watching a story on 60 Minutes about Gospel For Teens, a program in Harlem, NY. The program was started to make sure that gospel is taught to the next generation and doesn’t become a lost form – that is why it was started. Over time it has become something so much more.

It has become a way for these teens to find and build self confidence. The theme song that all students have to learn is called, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are anything less than beautiful.”

These amazing young people learn to stand up and sing their hearts out and shout to the rooftops that they are amazing, joyful, talented kids no matter the difficulties in their lives. Their personal stories were a great reminder that my difficulties seem small in comparison. When we become so focused on our own troubles we can tend to forget that there are always others worse off then us but that no matter anyone’s individual troubles, we all need to be reminded that we are all ok just as we are.  I just want to remind you to believe you are beautiful. Because, you most certainly are.

Until tomorrow.


Day 332 was created in acrylics, watercolor, and graphite.

Learn more about the Gospel For Teens Program.

Day 331 – Sounds of Saturday Morning

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Thirty OneThere was quite a symphony going on this morning while Doug and I were lazily waking up.

The Russian Olive Trees are starting to ripen; the birds are in celebration mode and woke happily to feast but that was a mere background beat. The dog was stirring, shaking her body awake and Bitty Kitty was chasing after the reflection that scooted across the floor as the sun came in through the window and hit the fan oscillating back and forth. Tagger was persistently voicing his disapproval of our sleeping in by meowing away that it was in fact time for breakfast. And, the crescendo (I can’t help it) was the alpacas next door mating.

Those were the sounds of our lazy Saturday morning – gotta love the country!

Until tomorrow.


Day 331 was created in fabric, mesh screen, gesso, graphite, thread, and acrylic paints.

Day 330 – The Princess and the… Apple?

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred ThirtyIt’s another Fairy Tale Friday!

I cannot believe how fast the days are flashing by right now. Didn’t we just have a Friday?

In the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, the princess has to prove she is who she says she is by recognizing that she is sleeping on a pea. The moral is not to judge a person by appearances since the princess shows up in the kingdom bedraggled and a complete non-princessy mess.

None of us should ever have to prove our value and substance. We are enough just as we are. Simple.

Until tomorrow.


Day 330 was created in pen & ink.


Day 329 – Pin Cushion

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Twenty NineInfusion day always feels a little like human pin cushion day!

My infusion nurses are awesome and my nurse today knows and empathizes like few could – you see, she too has AS.

I’ll be feeling great in no time – love my Remicade but it does knock me flat for a day or two so I’m going to cut my post a bit short tonight…

Until tomorrow.


Day 329 was created with a piece of 140lb water color paper (nice thick strong paper) a bit of beige metallic embroidery thread and lots of pin pricks!

***Added 8/26/2011 – I was so tired last night so I didn’t let you all know where the inspiration cam from for this apple but I want to make sure to link now. Here is the amazing work that inspired this apple. Her pieces are much more involved and intricate and I’d love to experiment with this technique more and learn how she does what she does!

Day 328 – Bead Me Up!

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Twenty EightBead me up Scotty…

Well, you know the rest. I definitely feel this way driving in city traffic, watching Jersey Shore (I may be one of the only people on the face of the planet who’s watched it only once), and when dealing with health insurance billing issues!

I continue to love making the fabric apples and I think I’ll do one more tomorrow although I go for my infusion tomorrow so we’ll see how much uumph I have tomorrow afternoon!

I created this piece and loved the simple graphic nature of the shapes but I felt it needed something more so I pulled out my beads thinking I’d put some around the edges and then the creative beast took over and decided that this apple had to have a seed bead in every juncture of the checkerboard fabric. Which took forever but I’m glad I followed through and did what I saw it needed regardless of the time it took. The hand sewing of putting the tiny beads on the apple was almost meditative and definitely relaxing but ambitious for the day before my infusion when my energy is waning.

I was thinking at one point when I was only half way through that if Captain Kirk had transported into my living room and seen what I was up to he would have undoubtedly uttered those famous words – “Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life down here!”

Until tomorrow.


Day 328 was created in fabric, seed beads, silky thread, and yellow fabric paint.

Day 327 – Love This Vintage

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Twenty SevenI’m a pack rat – I admit it and I could use a 12 step program.

I have a very difficult time throwing things out. I’m not a hoarder – I hate to buy things, but I collect everything. Yes, it is a fine line but I think it has to do with the artist in me. I might need that scrap of paper/found object/supply someday for my masterpiece (yet to be thought of or ever to happen.)

What would happen if I threw something out and it was the perfect “thing” to make my latest art piece exactly what it is meant to be?

Then what? Well, in reality… there is always something else. Always. But in my pack rat mind – I may need that paint color that has a smidgen left in its tube.


At least I know I have a problem. But! Look what I created with a vintage kitchen curtain I bought years ago and placed in my tubs of fabrics. Ha, Ha! I love this vintage – exactly the right year for this piece.

Until tomorrow.


Day 327 was created with – are you ready? With, a scrap of vintage fabric, a few pieces of “new” fabric, yellow silky thread, gesso (used to stencil on a handmade apple shape and border so that I could paint on top of the fabric), acrylic paints, metallic paint, and a touch of hot pink marker. I quilted the entire piece using – yes, a scrap of fleece instead of batting – in a checked pattern. Ah – life is good.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 38 days to The Big Apple Paint-A-Thon! – more details are coming together every day!

2. Process Photo of the Day – My big mess!

3. Apple Recipe of the Day –Apple Beet Carrot Juice

4. Check out the new and improved emails from – The Daily Apple! If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to receive apples in your inbox. The New Daily Apple will include information that I don’t post on my blog including art, health, and of course… apples!

Day 326 – Brain Freeze

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred Twenty SixI’m dealing with brain freeze!

Not the kind that you get from drinking a slurpee too quickly; the kind you get from having a chronic illness and for me it is an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. I hate it when this happens and I really can’t stand admitting it. I’d like to wish it away and tell you that it never happens to me. But it does happen, so let me try to explain what it’s like.

It usually comes with a flare (that is what we call a period of heightened symptoms) or towards the end of my cycle of biologic intravenous medications that I get on a monthly basis. My infusion are typically 4-5 weeks apart and most months I manage quite well but what is really interesting is that if I have extra stress especially of the emotional kind, the level of fatigue can cause me to feel this shutting down of my ability to think clearly and at times it can be especially strong. For those of you who follow along with my blog on a fairly consistent basis, you know that last week I had a shock of a friend passing away unexpectedly. Doug and I went to the services on Saturday and they were beautiful but of course very emotional and on the way home I felt “it” hit me – like a ton of bricks as the saying goes. I could feel the fatigue and “brain freeze” overcome me.

I knew we had a few stops to make on the way home and in years past when this state came over me I had an almost uncontrollable urge to just get home as quickly as possible but as the years have passed and these events have happened, I do know that I can push myself – and survive them. So, although I did say to Doug “can’t we do these later?” and told him how I was doing, he knows I’ll survive too and is extremely in tune with my illness and he said “let’s just get them done” and he was right. But, by the time we got home it was almost 6 pm and I had no apple and my brain freeze was so intense at that point that I knew if I didn’t just immediately come up with something, I was in the biggest danger I’d ever been in of missing my first apple in 324 days. I eked out an apple – that is truly how it felt – and I was actually feeling confused. You see, after I create my apple, my tasks don’t end. I need to do all of the technical things that go along with my blog and daily emails. The process has become almost second nature since I’ve done it so many times and on Saturday I didn’t write anything or add anything extra to The Daily Apple but I had to ask Doug to make sure I had posted them. That is how intense the mental fatigue felt – that although I could see that I had pressed publish on the blog and submit on the email system, I needed him to confirm it for me. That is a very scary and overwhelming feeling but as soon as I was able to shut down and stop thinking and recline my body, I started to slowly recover. And by slowly, I mean I’m still dealing with the current AS fatigue but I’m resting and doing the things necessary to lessen the effects. I also know that my infusion is in a few days and I know it will help me immensely.

I wanted to relay this to you all because I have a tendency to say that I’m fine and wonderful and everything is fabulous. I have a powerful positive psychology that works for me and keeps me going through difficult times but I need people to try to understand that although I receive an amazing medication that puts me back in the game of life at a level that allows me to work and create, as well as a wonderful support system, and a blessed glass half full approach to life, that I still get overcome with times when I cannot function. The pain and exhaustion of this disease rears its ugly head and I slow waaaayyy down. At these times, I adjust my normal routine because I have no choice but to get through until I can get enough rest or medication and most times both.

This brain freeze is really fatigue but its the way I feel it manifest the most in my body. I don’t like it but I’ll survive it and keep going and working to fulfill my dreams and hopes. If you have a friend who lives with a chronic illness please be kind when they tell you they are tired – that doesn’t even begin to explain it. We’ll do our best to bounce back – that’s what we want because we may have AS but it doesn’t have us!

Until tomorrow.


Day 326 was created on my sewing machine!

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 39 days to The Big Apple Paint-A-Thon! – more details are coming together every day!

2. Apple Recipe of the Day – Apple crepes with Calvados Butter

3. Check out the new and improved emails from – The Daily Apple! If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to receive apples in your inbox. The New Daily Apple will include information that I don’t post on my blog including art, health, and of course… apples!

4. New Guest Apples from Artists in Marguerite Jill Dye’s classes at the Killington Summerfest, Killington, Vermont.