Day 338 – An un-Saturday, Saturday Apple

I was all ready to post a Saturday Apple.

In order to attempt to have a life that went beyond apple making, I instituted the “Saturday Apple.” These apples have often times been simpler images with almost no post. The decision to reel in my apple life on Saturdays may have saved not only my husband’s sanity but mine as well and I have come to look forward to them as much as I’m sure Doug has.

But today, after completing my apple I saw a post on Facebook about the risks of taking biologic medications. These are fairly frequent conversations – as they should be. Taking biologic medications are a serious decision to make and everyone has to decide for themselves what choice is best for them. I have people ask me about how I decided to start on them quite often since I speak on this blog about how effective they have been in my case. For me, it was a choice to do anything to stop the suffering I was in regardless of consequences. Luckily and fortunately – it has worked for me and I feel blessed everyday I’m better. If tomorrow it isn’t or I become ill – I will never regret that I have been given these last 5 years back.

What struck me about the question tonight that was so different than usual discussions was that a physician told this person that they would absolutely not prescribe them unless the patient insisted because of increased risk of getting cancer. Here is a report about this exact topic that came out a few months ago at the yearly EULAR conference. EULAR is the European League Against Rheumatism. The report shows no increased risk.



Yes, I was a bit stunned by this too.

I’ve decided to not pass judgement or write a commentary on this. I’ll just report what I heard. But what I would like to say is that there are risks to everything in life and most certainly in this crazy world bad things unfortunately happen all of the time. I choose to live for today and not worry for tomorrow – it is my personal decision – I’m not advocating my choices for anyone else. People unfortunately get cancer, we get AS, we have heart attacks and life is difficult – I’m stunned everyday by the tragedy and difficulties that people have to endure. I just don’t want people to suffer needlessly – for any reason. Naive and idealistic, I know but that is what I wish for as a person working to raise awareness of a painful and often times debilitating disease.

Until tomorrow.


Day 338 was created in watercolor, pastel, mesh origami “paper”, polka-dot paper, thread, ribbon, and a stick pin.

*** I encourage and appreciate debate – please feel free to comment and disagree. Our shared views only help one another and increase understanding of how difficult it is to live with a chronic illness.

Day 336 – Wild Things

Creativity takes courage. – Henri Matisse

I can’t do it.

I weighed all of the options, listened to all of your comments, support, and opinions (which were so wonderful!) and in the end, I’ve decided to keep with the rules I placed on this endeavor all of those days ago.

Perhaps this means I’m not as courageous as I thought. But… in the end, I’ve decided to listen to the same counsel that got me past day eight when I almost quit before I had really even begun. That night, my husband Doug and my friend Elizabeth were there for me; they didn’t let me quit.

I received an email from Elizabeth this morning and she said

If you are good with it, and it can make you be freer with the process, than go for it and enjoy yourself in the doing.  But if at the end of the month you start dissing yourself because you didn’t do what you said, and you are disappointed in you, then stay with the 5×5.

I read Elizabeth’s email to Doug we discussed the fact that if I don’t change the rules I won’t regret it because I will have completed exactly what I set out to do but if I do change the rules, it is possible that I will be disappointed. Which got me thinking about about regret and regret stinks. So, although I would adore to break out and go crazy and play and “break all of the rules” and go to the place my imagination would like to go – to go where the wild things are, I will instead turn towards home – to what I know, to a place of safety. I do think creativity takes courage – courage to break from convention, to explore but I do not want to regret my decision  and hopefully I will create courageously even if I’m taking a step that seems a bit less so.

AND… as Sabrina mentioned, I can break out at the same time I keep to the rules. So, look out for some extra apples this month!

Until tomorrow.


Day 336 was created in pen & ink and watercolor. Inspired by the children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

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 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.


Day 320 – Goodness Gracious

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred TwentyOh my goodness gracious.

I love to say that – maybe because it is so needed at times or maybe it is to counter balance the occasional cuss that slips out. It probably just makes me officially old but what pretty and polite way of saying… “seriously?”

Funny how the two words taken separately mean something so very different than the combo.

When you’ve had a “seriously?” kind of day – give it a try. If nothing else, you’ll get to giggle at yourself for giving it a go!

Until tomorrow.


Day 320 was created in acrylics.

Day 318 – How Does It Felt?

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred EighteenI bought the supplies to attempt my first ever felted art piece.

Two months ago!

Yup, I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire which might make you laugh considering that at this point making an apple everyday has become such a habit that when October rolls around I’m afraid I won’t adjust too well.

I can feel it already; my mind is preparing – separation anxiety perhaps? I’ll be looking around and behind me or thinking I’ve forgotten something when in fact it will just be the loss I’ll feel of not needing to do something that has become such a big part of me. I can feel the let-down building but I wouldn’t have expected it even a few weeks ago.

I expected to feel the way my pretty little felted apple image must have felt this afternoon when I stopped agitating the fibers over and over – relief! But what I’m really wondering is what happens next. I could predict the 365 days starting last October 1st – at least I could predict that I would accomplish the goal – I had to in order to prove something to myself. I needed to prove to myself that I wouldn’t stop despite a natural tendency to procrastination and a disease called spondylitis and that I could accomplish a large task that meant so much to me. That is how I felt at the beginning – it was because I had something to prove and in short order it wasn’t about me anymore, it became about not letting you all down. I hope to honor all of you with this project and this last year by finding the right next step. There are so many directions I can go – which way will it be?

I’ve become quite fond of all things apple – they will always be a part of me.

Until tomorrow.


Day 318 was created in wool fiber and felted together.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 47 days to The Big Apple Paint-A-Thon to raise money for AS Education!

2. Process Photo from today.

4. Apple Recipe of the Day – Apple Blueberry Chutney

3. “AS” the World Turns – The NASS (National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society) in the UK is looking for signatures – please sign the petition for better care for patients with AS.

4. Apple Update – New Apple Campus 2 to break ground in Cupertino, CA in 2015!

5. 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 and whatever strikes my fancy 🙂 Take a look at a sample and sign up!



Day 317 – Hang On Snoopy!

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred SeventeenIt was a difficult decision…

The Red Baron, Snoopy with the typewriter, I even considered the image of Snoopy hugging the heart and switching it for a red apple (that would have been cute) but in the end I went with classic Snoopy konked out on top of his now apple shaped dog house hanging on to the stem to keep from falling off the curved top! Doesn’t seem to have bother Woodstock one bit!

Snoopy and I are hanging on – heading down the home stretch.

Until tomorrow.


Day 317 was created in pen & ink and illustrator markers by Letraset.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 48 days to The Big Apple Paint-A-Thon to raise money for AS Education!

2. Apple Recipe of the Day – Apple-Bacon Pancakes with Cider Syrup

3. AS’er Blogger Maya – Loving With Chronic Illness. Maya is a truly gifted young lady, she wrote a poem about her brother that I adore and posted here on my brother Jason’s Birthday. Maya’s blog was voted Top Chronic Illness Blog of 2010 – boy did they get that right!

4. Art For Good Spotlight – Program for homeless men in Philly

5. 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 and whatever strikes my fancy 🙂



Day 316 – An Apple Carriage Awaits Midnight!

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred SixteenAbout a month ago I posed a question on my Facebook page asking people what their favorite fairy tale was because I was looking for ideas for The Daily Apple and I received some amazing suggestions. Initially I was thinking of doing a week of Fairy Tale Apples but I decided that I would go insane and good ideas might start to get blurred together so…

I will be doing a Friday Fairy Tale apple each Friday from now to the end of my year and I have been really wanting to do Cinderella’s Carriage as an apple instead of a pumpkin.

Doug says I should have made the carriage red or green or yellow even – I can’t win! But to me it was always going to be a golden apple carriage.

A few updates:

1. The Daily Apple will be coming in your emails again soon – I’m working on changing the service so I can get you better information.

2. The Apple-A-Thon plans are coming along. Please make sure to mark your calendars for September 29th & 30th and sign up under separately with the “Contact” tab to receive information specific to the event.

3. Send me your apple ideas! I’ve got another 50 days to go and ideas are greatly appreciated at this point. Feel free to be as creative as possible and don’t worry if you think I have already done your idea – I got an idea from someone the other day and it was awesome and I hadn’t done it yet!

4. If you haven’t joined my Facebook page – I post The Daily Apple there too as well as things about art and health. I’d love to have you *like* me.

5. You guys are all so fantastic – thank you for supporting me through this year.

Until tomorrow.


Day 316 was created in inks and watercolor – and gold metallic!

If you like this apple – you might also like these days too!  Day 29, Day45, and Day 127

Day 309 – Nolo Contendere

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred NineI am guilty of wanting to get something big to happen in the world of spondylitis awareness. It has been my whole mission and constant and full time work for over 10 months – many days working 10-12 hours much to the dismay of my husband and family. I have had a single mindedness and felt so driven that at times didn’t border on obsession – it has been an obsession.

I have been guilty of passionately wanting something so badly. I want for people to understand what AS means as much as they understand what diabetes or RA or Lupus means. I don’t want anyone to have to deal with the huge lack of understanding that exists. I believe that in sharing my project and my art and in sharing our stories while living a positive life in the face of the pain and illness, that we have a chance of going beyond our community – which is what I see is needed to raise awareness. We cannot have the world know about this disease if we only speak to those who know about it already.

I am guilty of wanting to help. I have made some wrong turns but, I have fulfilled my commitments – every day. All I can do is continue in the face of difficulty, work as tirelessly as I have, and believe in myself and my intentions and my heart. That is all I can do. So I will.

Until tomorrow.


Day 309 was created in mixed media – pen & ink, thread, acrylic, and watercolor.