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11  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: NSFW! Christian Bale rant pt. one on: March 27, 2009 05:38:48 PM
Hahaha!!!  Despair Inc has a shirt with that on it.  The audio of Christian Bale ranting was pretty much the most awesome audio ever.  I loved the part when he was all "LA DEE DAH, like this in the background."  And the part when he says "Ohhhhh, goooood for you.  And how was it?  I hope it was fucking good, because it's useless now, isn't it?".  This is a really great idea:)
12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Gift for a SIL in recovery on: March 27, 2009 01:56:32 PM
So, I've been thinking a lot about addiction lately. It's got a grip on almost every family, whether directly or indirectly, and my family is no exception. My brother's wife, my sister in law, has been struggling with addiction since before my brother ever knew her. She's currently in a long term inpatient rehab and while she's in a safe and supportive environment, I know that the struggle is never far away because it's within a person that the struggle takes place. Anyway, although at times I've felt angry and disappointed and upset with my sister in law, I still have the utmost compassion and empathy for her. I know she's put my brother and my niece and nephew through a lot, but I know that she's put herself through more. Also, I recently read a couple of books. First, I read "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction".  It was so many things. Heartbreaking, horrible, terrifying, disturbing, sad, enlightening, insightful, uplifting... I recommend it to all of you, but it's not something that everyone could read. The book is nonfiction and is written by David Sheff about his son, Nic Sheff. Nic is a recovering meth addict. Nic Sheff wrote the second book, which details his addiction from his own perspective. It's called "Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines" and wow.

It's everything that Beautiful Boy is and more. It's unbelievably painful in places. And so sad in others. I can't put into words how much this book had me by the throat as I was reading it. I found myself rooting for Nic to get well and stay well and after I read the book, I found his blog online and read the whole thing. This book is amazing, but be forewarned. It's an honest, gritty, and real look at life as an addict so there are some very graphic references--drug-related, sexual, and otherwise. Plus the language is pretty bad. All of it was necessary to capture this snapshot of his life, though.

I was thinking a lot about my sister in law before I read those books, but definitely a lot after reading them. So I did what I do. I made something for her. Basically, it all stemmed from this poem I found online. It's written by a lady named Lani Kent. She has a wonderful blog called Healing Expressions. Her entire site revolves around art that she makes for those recovering. The recovery can be from anything. Whether it's substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, an eating disorder...her art is very broad in scope and can encompass all of them. So, I found this poem and with her permission, I used it in the gift for my sister in law. The text for the poem is as follows:

Stained Glass
by Lani Kent

Shattered, distorted, painfully sharp
innocent colors scattered
around my still and grieving heart
pieces of a glass puzzle
lay in confusing disarray
whispering of shame...brokenness...dark hurt

I numbly stare in disbelief...
then anger...then deep sadness
beauty so carelessly scarred
each shining remnant reflects
a faint image once known to this child
naive perfection...pure design...a Master's touch

As the last of the sharpest fragments
fall near enough to cut
I must pause to honor
the small, welling voice within
release the anguish of her soul
the silence pierced...a screaming question..."Why?"

A new design awaits its birth
fresh tears need time to fall
upon the jagged crystal
perhaps to cleanse, refine...restore
beauty is to be found here
amidst what appears destroyed...useless...beyond repair

Where does one begin in the gathering
of a stained and shattered soul
one so weary and little and sad
Help me, Master of the fragile brilliance surrounding me
In your strength can we
lift each broken piece to the light...and mend...and heal

Copyright 2000 Lani Kent

It spoke to me. I mean, it really just reached out and grabbed me, much like those two books did. So, I decided to use a stained glass image that's interpreted in fabric form to show alongside the poem. Here are the finished pieces, side by side, which is how they're intended to be displayed:

The iris:

The poem:

Ignore all the weird looking bits on the pictures. Those are just reflections in the glass of the frame. It's really hard to take a picture of something in a frame.

The image I chose for the stained glass is an iris. I chose that flower because the meaning behind it is "strength, hope, wisdom, and valor". I think all of those things are good weapons in the arsenal of someone recovering. It was made by cutting out all the individual portions, fusing them to the background fabric, and then sewing down black bias tape to use as the "lead" part of the "stained glass". I like how it turned out and I think it looks really great all framed up. I found the image online.  There were a lot of patterns online for this type of thing, but none of them were downloadable.  They were all snail mail.  And, me being me, I didn't want to wait so I just muddled through as best I could.  The absolute hardest part was figuring out what order to lay the bias tape down.  The whole point is that you're supposed to put them all down so that the end of one strip is covered by the end of the next one.  In the whole thing, there is only one folded under end and that's the very last strip I laid down.  Figuring out the order was crazy hard.  I originally intended to embroider the poem, but it was too much text in too small a space and I couldn't find a lettering pattern that would fit the space allowed. So, instead, I had it printed on some really heavy good quality paper. I love how the two pieces look together.

I know that some of you reading this have felt the stranglehold of addiction, directly or indirectly. I wish all the best to anyone who is currently struggling with this in their family. There's this one part in David Sheff's book that just really stuck with me. It's when Nic has relapsed yet again and David has gone to the rehab that Nic is in to take part in a family therapy weekend. Nic and his mom and dad have to do group therapy with the other addicts and their families. Here's what David says about that:

Parents are suckers. I am a a sucker to contemplate opening to the idea of healing. And yet...Suddenly I recall when I prayed for Nic. I never planned to pray. I just looked back and realized I had been praying. What did I pray for? I never said Stop taking drugs. I never said Stay away from meth. I said, Please God heal Nic. I prayed, Please God heal Nic. Please God heal every ravaged person in this room, the dear ravaged people on this planet, these dear, wounded people. I look around at them. They are brave. They are here. However they got here, they are here. They are here and so there is a chance.

So, I told my sister in law that that's what I'm praying for for her. I'm praying that she will be healed-mind, body, and soul.
13  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Cupcake Attitude! on: March 07, 2009 07:55:38 AM
Hahahaha!!!  Those are great!!  My favorites are the "die sucker die" one and the "OMG what happened to your butt?" one.  I bought some of that Muffin Tops cereal for my kids recently and every time I get it out of the cabinet, I'm like "heehee...muffin tops".
14  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Re: Cool idea to brighten up your walls! on: March 07, 2009 06:45:52 AM

To the OP, this is a great idea!  And I can think of so many ways to use it!  P.S., I still use MS Paint sometimes too Grin
15  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Wunderkammer in a box (dead animals ahead!) on: March 07, 2009 06:34:59 AM
Dogrrl, I respect your opinion, but in looking back at the post, I think that there was ample warning that it might be something that you would not want to see. A page of statements like "no animals were harmed" and explanations about source of the animals, and the word "taxidermy" should have raised the alarm before you scrolled down and got to the photos. 

Not to mention that the title is "Wunderkammer in a box (dead animals ahead!)".   Roll Eyes 

Yes, those rats were bred for snake food, but I personally find your use for them offensive.  That is just my opinion.

I certainly appreciate your originality but do not want to see this, ever.

I'm thinking that, save for one of those MATURE CONTENT warning things, there's not much more in the way of warning that the OP could have given.  There's the subject line and then the next several sentences that are obvious disclaimers that something displeasing to an "animal lover" is coming up.  And, if someone doesn't read those or chooses to disregard them, then that seems more like the offended party's problem rather than any sort of lapse on the OPs part.  Besides which, I don't see how making art out of an already dead animal (that wasn't killed for the purposes of making the aforementioned art) is any different than feeding said already dead animal to another animal. 
16  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Wunderkammer in a box (dead animals ahead!) on: March 06, 2009 11:31:30 AM
I really admire the talent and hard work that went into this, but would you be offended if I said that it's totally gross? Grin  It kind of reminded me of this creepy park in the town where I live.  It's called Hidden Hollow.  We made the mistake of visiting one time when we first moved here.  Yeah, never again.  It's got a very Deliverance feel to it.  I told my husband "you know that they totally kill people here on the weekends".  Anyway, they had a sad and inhumane looking petting zoo and right next to it was a big glass-walled room with a huge sign that said "Hidden Hollow's Former Residents" and there were big taxidermied (not a word, I know) versions of most of the same kinds of animals they had walking around RIGHT NEXT to that room.  Shudder shudder.  Anyway, this reminded me of that.  I guess you were going for a high creep factor, though, right?  If not, I'm sorry if my babbling has been horribly offensive. Smiley
17  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 36 ENTRIES / Re: Standing on the Rooftops, Everybody Scream Your HEART OUT!! lostprophets on: March 05, 2009 01:37:28 PM
Oh man.  I'm heartbroken to hear so many people echo my sentiments.  I'd never wish this on anyone.  (well, maybe that one guy...ok, seriously, just kidding:)  All I can tell those of you who are dealing with this same thing is this.  I wish you every good thing in life and I hope you find that thing in yourself that makes you angry enough, distraught enough, hopeful enough to finally snap and say F*CK THIS!!! and do whatever it is that takes you to a better place in your life.  It took a lot for me to do it, despite the utter despair I felt every day.  I wish all of you the best.
18  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Re: Halter+purple jewel tone+ gold belt=pretty evening dress on: March 05, 2009 05:52:05 AM
In all seriousness I saw the thumbnail and thought "Foxy!" That's all that came to mind. I think it looks great. 

19  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 36 ENTRIES / Re: Standing on the Rooftops, Everybody Scream Your HEART OUT!! lostprophets on: March 05, 2009 04:28:12 AM
i've had personal struggles with depression and when i was reading what you said, it kind of explains how its a daily struggle to understand what im battling against, try to get out of bed and be normal, against the often overwhelming urge just to give up and let go completely. but the song is a great inspiration - sometimes we all need something to PUSH us into getting to our goal and remind us exactly why we're doing this! xx

Yes, exactly!  And, you know, the urge is overwhelming!  So overwhelming that sometimes I do give in.  But I just have to catch myself and stop giving in.  I've just had to see that this is part of it.  It's going to be part of it forever.  So, I'm really trying to not get too hung up when I do give in.  The insane self-flagellation that I go through every time is really counterproductive for me.

This is fantastic, really.  Shocked

I'm right alongside Le Mieux in saying that your portrayal is everything that you've said in your post, and it's all laid out so simply.

Great work, and I truely wish all the best to you!

Thank you so much!  I really appreciate the good wishes and the lovely comments:)

Wow! This is really inspirational! Your piece is gorgeous and I so admire your determination!

I can't wait to see what you do in celebration...when you finally meet your goal! I know your going to make it!

Thanks for the nice comments!  I actually already have a plan in mind.  When I'm all done and reach my goal weight, I plan on getting a huge rib tattoo done.  One that reaches from my armpit to my hipbone and covers half of my torso.  My husband's gonna design it for me:)  In another life (before we were married with kids, heh) he was apprenticing to be a tattoo artist and he's amazing at drawing flash.  I'm hoping that at that point I won't be paralyzed with embarrassment at taking my shirt off in front of a stranger.  Or my husband, for that matter Wink

You. Rock.

Your story is awesome and honest and inspiring. Your painting is fab.

I kinda want to hug you... is that weird  Wink

Awwww.  Not weird at all.  It made me feel warm and cozy, heehee.  And I'm generally not a very huggy person Grin

Awesome job!  And I love the song you chose!  Cheesy

Thanks!  I love it too.  It's awesome fun to play on Guitar Hero. 

Oh geez *tear* lol.  I'm in the exact same place.  I know exactly how you feel.  I have the same problem, (damn kid) but mine's only been four years.  We recently got back from vacation to Las Vegas with our friends and I couldn't even enjoy it like I wanted because of this.  Funny, huh. I think it's great that you did this, if for no other reason than for your self.  You're not alone.  Great song, by the way.

I'm sorry that you're also dealing with this really shitty mix of emotions.  It's no fun at all.  I think one of the only things that shines light into a really dark place is knowing that you're not alone.  So, thanks for that.  And I hope my story made you feel like you're not alone in this either.  Good luck to you.
20  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Re: AWESOME WALL LETTERS-----WITH TUTE!!! on: March 04, 2009 12:38:24 PM
I just used some of that foam mounting tape stuff.  The kind that's intended for posters?  It worked really well.  Have fun making your letters!
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