Saturday, August 12, 2017

"What's Up Buttercup?" or "How I Spent My Summer"

Can't believe it has been so long since I managed to get back here. My humble apologies, because I very much appreciate your visits and never mean to be away for so long. Where do I start???

Winter quietly turned into spring, spring passed quickly by, & summer was just about to start. The weather was getting lovely, & my thoughts were turning to the garden & filling our outdoor porches, front & back, with hanging plants, pots of beautiful flowers, wind chimes, & more. We (hubby & I) had just begun setting things up. We love being outside to enjoy watching the garden grow, rabbits running through the yard, lightening bugs at night, and, of course, I love painting outside during the daytime. I had even put an easel on the back porch overlooking the garden, hoping to spend more time painting out there. I usually paint my seashells or ocean inspired jewelry outside, but wanted to paint canvases "en plein air", outside, in open air, as the French Impressionists, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, etc., did. But, as they say, life happens while we are busy making plans. Around the same time, as usual, I had been working in my shops on Etsy & Society 6, and considering other ways to expand further. And then it happened.

Let me say up front, that I am not offering any medical advice, and nothing mentioned is meant to take the place of the advice of your family physician or specialist, etc. Every case or incidence is different. I can only tell you what happened to me, how it affected my work, how I have been dealing with it, and where I am at now.

The problem started in mid-June, or at least that was when I really became aware of it. It started off suddenly but quickly escalated into an incapacitating situation, partially, because we had no idea of what we were dealing with, and, unfortunately, neither did the doctors I had been seen. And yet, amazingly, it turned out to be something much more common than most of us realize. In the beginning, I had what I thought was a mosquito or bug bite on my back, near my spine. I had scratched it a couple times since it was so itchy and gave it no further thought. Then a twinge started on the left side of my abdomen one morning after my shower. I wondered if I had pulled a muscle or something. The next day, it was still there and gradually started getting worse, but with no other symptoms. In spite of the discomfort, I figured I could handle it and just kept trying to keep up with everything. Soon, it was accompanied by pressure inside and numbness on the outside. My left side felt inflamed from the rib cage down to my stomach. I saw my family doctor and told him what was happening, and that I had been under a lot of stress also. He examined me and the bug bite, found nothing else & sent me for blood work. Nothing showed up, except a UTI, surprisingly without the usual symptoms, so undetected possibly for two weeks. He gave me an antibiotic to clear up the infection and something for the pain, which he said may have resulted from the infection.

Days later, around midnight, my family took me to the ER because the pain was increasing. The usual blood work was done, and other than the initial infection, which was already clearing up, nothing else was found. My interpretation: Good news, you're healthy, bad news, you feel like you're dying. Once again, they gave me meds. High hopes, but unfortunately no help. I was now having severe burning from the back to the front and what I thought were stomach spasms. The spasms and severe burning would keep me awake all night. Sleeping on my back or side was almost impossible. I often got up when everyone was sleeping and went downstairs to literally pace the floor in the kitchen. I guess I hoped that I would exhaust myself and fall asleep afterward. My sweet little cat, Poey, kept me company, though I can't imagine what he was thinking as he stared at me. He is often referred to as "Nurse Poe" for the sweet attention he gives us when we aren't feeling well. Three days later, another ER trip. Examination, CT scan, more blood work, and nothing found. I told them the pain was also in my back along my spine near the bite I had noticed previously. They looked at the bite and said it had almost disappeared and saw nothing unusual about it. The pain also spread from my shoulder blade, down, on the left side. It felt like someone had hit me with a big board across my back. I was discharged with more meds.

The next day, help finally came.....in the form of a rash. As I was changing for bed, I couldn't help wondering what could be causing so much pain and yet be unidentifiable. As I glanced in the mirror....there it was. I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but I remember being happy that now I had another symptom, one that I hoped would lead to a diagnosis and cure. In a line around my waistline, there was a strip of red rash-like marks. As soon as I saw it, I thought, SHINGLES?! Yes, I had heard of them, but never thought of myself as someone who might get them. I had known that it is a virus that comes with the childhood disease, chicken pox, and can lie dormant for many years and maybe someday "wake up" again in a much more painful manner.

What I didn't know, was that almost anyone can catch them, at almost any age. (Even young college kids are vulnerable during exams, etc.) I found out that it is extremely important to seek help as soon as it is the rash is found, because medication must be started immediately to prevent permanent nerve damage. It is contagious, and although no one can catch shingles from someone else, it can spread chicken pox to those who have never had it. Of special concern are pregnant women, children, and the elderly. I learned that anything that compromises the immune system, such as an infection, stress, even our backs being out of alignment, etc., can leave us vulnerable to an outbreak. Apparently, I had all three, an undetected infection, more stress than usual, and a back that desperately needed chiropractic adjustment due to long hours at the desk. The combination, may have reactivated the"virus", which eventually made it impossible for me to work due to the severe back pain. Until the rash appeared, almost two weeks later, shingles were not suspected, since it is not often seen without a rash. After the diagnosis was made, I was started on an anti-viral drug & the proper meds for nerve pain, which I had previously thought were stomach spasms. Though I didn't have the rash as extensively as some, mostly single sores in a line around my side & front, I later found out that they were across my back as well, explaining some of the back pain, and that the "bug bite: on my back may have been the beginning. When I finally realized that the back pain had become worse than the rest, I called my chiropractor to see if he could help. He explained to me that the virus runs along the nerves, and the pain extends beyond the actual sores. This is why it spreads and is so intense. Pressure on the nerves from muscles out of adjustment can make things worse. With gradual adjustments, the pressure is taken off.

Do I still have pain? Yes, but nowhere near as much as I had initially, The chiropractic manipulations have definitely given me some relief, though I did not begin therapy till quite awhile after the outbreak. I waited for everything to heal first. Do I now sleep at night? Yes, and so does my cat, Poey. Can I work? Yes, gradually I am returning to my work and I am also trying to catch up a bit with my "lost summer". (Unable to sit at a desk, I posted pictures on Facebook from our garden & backyard areas for awhile.) Will I be getting vaccinated as soon as I can so I hopefully never get shingles again? For sure!!! And what happpened to the garden? Unable to work in it, it has become somewhat overgrown with grass along the edges, but so glad for the beautiful lavender, & sunflowers that came back by themselves, even unattended.

In summary, I know there are many who deal with pain all the time, and my heart goes out to you, now & even before this. My appreciation goes out for the doctors, nurses, chiropractors, & techs who work so hard to help us through our pains & problems. I am grateful for my family who patiently took such good care of me and anything that needed to be done. And as always, I am grateful for the prayers answered for guidance & endurance that carried me through this, as well as so many other things in my life....for sure.

Until next time....

Hope all is well in your little corner of the world,

Keri

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"My Black Friday-Cyber Monday 2016 Sale!"

A cold rain is falling outside. Just a few more degrees lower, and it could be snow or ice. Early evening, and it's already dark. Though it is technically late fall, not quite winter yet, it is obviously time to cozy up!

So, I wanted to share some of the warm, cozy goodies in my shop that are just waiting to snuggle you in super softness, as well as my Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale, which has already started.

I love these blankets! They are really so soft and warm!! Me & my kitty cat have already started to enjoy our favorite movies while wrapped in them! (Hubby has his own! :)

Here are a few available now.......


You can also find all kinds of pillow covers, some to add a beachy touch, or my New York pillow covers that are especially popular in the colder months......


And so much more! :)

More info on my Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale :)

30% off Art & Photography print
15% additional off In Stock Prints
15% off all Pillows, Tote Bags, Blankets, Tapestries, Mugs, etc.
15% off Ocean Art & Painted Seashells
Canvases, Giclees, & Sets are already reduced.

2016 Shipping Deadlines:
US. Dec 20
Canada/Europe Dec 8 Australia/EE Dec 1

Find me here :)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorWorkStudio

See you there!

Keri

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Autumn Returns & So Do I"

Hello! Autumn returns, and so do I. :)

Sorry, I disappeared for awhile there.  I admit to taking quite a bit of the summer off.  It was supposed to be a brief summer break to relax, paint, & take photos, but as life got hectic in so many unexpected ways, my "break" became extended, and there wasn't much time for the planned activities either! (I guess we all know how that happens. :)

Still, having said that, I'm back & ready to settle down to what I hope will be a quieter, more productive season of creating & sharing with you here, on facebook, Etsy, & Society 6. And...don't forget you can also find me on Pinterest! :)

Here's a peek at what I've been working on lately! This one is part of a series of prints, all cottage chic, country chic, shabby style variations to help you cozy up for fall.


Hope you'll follow along! <3

Keri

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorWorkStudio
https://society6.com/colorworkstudio
https://www.pinterest.com/CWSonEtsy/
https://www.facebook.com/ColorWorkStudio

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Hand Painted Seashells Inspired By Gems! "

As promised from my last post....here is the update on my new "Gemstone" Seashell Collection. (See previous post if you missed it!)

All the "gemstone" shells featured in my last post are now available on Etsy, with the exception of one,  "Aqua Gemstone", which has already sold. :)

"Aqua" was my first seashell painted to resemble an actual gemstone/mineral. (So much fun painting these!) The pale aqua was heavenly & the natural markings of the shell were quite lovely. Not easy to part with that one! But hopefully I will find more shells with the same characteristics to paint with that luscious soft aqua. :)


Group shot here of "Aqua" on the lower left, Topaz, on the lower right, & Sherry Topaz in the upper center.....


My newest hand painted seashell is "Turquoise".....


I LOVE Turquoise! Such a beautiful gemstone for earrings, necklaces, & rings!

The back of this seashell is painted a gorgeous gold with strokes of turquoise at the top & on each side....



Watch for new "gemmy's" coming soon!

To find the ones shown above & more, just follow the link to my Etsy shop below, & click on "Ocean Art/Seashells, Etc." or follow the second link to get there directly.


See you there!
Keri


https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorWorkStudio

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorWorkStudio?ref=hdr_shop_menu&section_id=8060852

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"My New Collection"

So, now let me tell you what happened......

I usually spend a lot of time at my desk, editing, posting, listing, etc.  So, I knew when I finally got a chance, I wanted more time in my studio to paint. The studio is quite large and has room for all of my work & our very friendly cat who checks in often to make sure I'm doing things right, and for a cuddle or two. In spite of the size and contents of my room, it is all reasonably tidy, maybe too tidy. I can seldom get away from the desk to do much else.

So, a few months ago, I took a little winter break, and I was able to get in the studio and paint on an almost daily basis. (Bliss! :)  I also found some time to catch up on some much needed "relax, do nothing, & watch some TV" time. 

One of my favorite shows to watch is the Weather Channel's "Prospectors".  While I don't climb to the top of Mt. Antero looking for rocks, & seriously couldn't if my life depended on it, I, too, am a rock hound! I just l-o-v-e watching them dig by hand or machine, deep into the earth (& sometimes, not so deeply), and pull out what looks to me like a piece of muddy rock. Then they hold it up, give it wipe, let the sun shine on it.....& there it is! 

Beautiful blue Aquamarine, deep, rich Topaz, lovely Sherry Topaz, amazingly green & turquoise Amazonite, awesome purple Fluorite, sparkling clear quartz, & more! And then I started to remember a collection I had almost forgotten about. My own rock collection!

For quite awhile, I had collected, oh so pretty, rocks.  Amethyst, quartz, geodes, & some I didn't even know the names of. One or two were smooth & tumbled, but most, my favorites, were just as nature had made them, some rough, some enhanced by faceting, clean & sparkling, but still closer to their natural forms. (I had even collected rocks in the past at the beach the waves had washed in.)

I loved them! This show had brought back memories & renewed my interest. So, of course, I had to dig them out! Not so hard, since they were in a dish in the studio. As I looked at each one, they were so beautiful!!

Naturally, the thought came to me, "How could I bring the beauty of the stones into my work?" I gave this quite a bit of thought for awhile. I started using them as props for my handpainted seashells. They added another touch of nature, enhanced the colors in the shells, & sometimes literally propped up the shells up so I could get a better photo of them. But, I wanted something more. I wanted to share these stones & the ones I had seen on "The Prospectors" in an even fuller way. I wasn't about to take up actual rock climbing, not many buried gemstones out my way. What could I do? I sketched a few crystals here & there. Played around with all sorts of ideas.....(some still to be shared!).  Maybe taking photos of the shells with the stones helped.  Somewhere in the process, it came to me!

I decided to see if I could paint my seashells like some of the beautiful stones I had seen & even owned! (insert excited squeal here! :) So, that sent me to my brushes & paints..... and my new "Gemstone Collection" was born! Each one will be shared both in my Etsy shop, on facebook, & here as they come out so you can see them up close & learn more about them!

Hopefully, you are as excited about them as I am! Okay, that may not be possible, but I do hope you like them...a lot! :)

My new "Gemstone Collection"....on seashells!

"Aqua"


"Sherry Topaz"


"Turquoise"

"Topaz"

Aren't they just "gemmy"?

Soon to be released on Etsy! :)
Keri

Please note: While all of my seashells are shown with actual minerals, they are not necessarily of the same type as the painted seashells. When it comes to props, I use whatever works! :)

Friday, April 8, 2016

"A Bit Of A Collector..."

I am a "bit of a collector", I guess.  I don't think I ever really planned it.


In the past, I have collected drawings & paintings of others, museum post cards, anything by Monet and the French & American Impressionists, art books, art calendars, stamps I thought were pretty cool, and state quarters, at least for awhile. I'm sure there were many other things as well.

I have a deep love and respect for nature. Its beauty catches my eye. I have to explore it, watch it, and when possible, without taking away from anything else that needs it more than I do....collect it. As an artist, photographer, and gardener, I guess that isn't too surprising.

In the park, I collect uninhabited bird nests (who can resist?), flower petals that have fallen, and acorns when they are abundant. I bring them home to the squirrels & occasional chipmunks in our backyard. Thankfully, my sweet, under-standing husband, patiently endures and even helps out.

At the beach, I collect endless photos, inspiration, and seashells to paint later. I watch the waves and birds for hours, pick up handfuls of sand, and marvel at the tiny grains and sparkling beauty as the sun shines on it. I love sea glass and collect it when I can.

I am an avid collector of beautiful memories.

I love anything that sparkles or shimmers, and, no doubt, would probably collect raindrops & snowflakes too, if it were possible. I have collected many, many things.

Years ago, I had also started a very special collection....one that I had almost forgotten about.

My next post will tell you all about it & introduce you to my new collection with photos :)

See you then!

Keri

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hello Again!!!

How can it be almost a year since I was here???! What can I say?  Life has been crazy busy....whose isn't, right?  Obviously, I'm not one of those women who can do it all.  Wish I was!  Though, I do really try my best.  So then, with heartfelt apologies, let me fill you in a bit on what's been happening.....

Last summer.....I have to admit when the good weather really comes, I have to spend as much time as possible outdoors: gardening, painting outdoors, taking endless photos of flowers, walking in the park, or taking long rides through the countryside.  I can often be seen at the local farmer's market, chatting with the locals, buying produce, & leaving with all the flowers I can carry & don't already grow at home. I even got to chat with the lady farmer who owns the field of flowers I ended up in (very happily), when I got lost on a photo shoot in the country a couple years ago. I shared a print or two with her later.  On occasion, I can also be seen snapping photos at the market.  My last photo shoot there in late autumn involved a "sphinx" cat in clothing! (He had a pretty nifty gray "mac" on his head, an orange t-shirt, & a pair of blue overalls. Honestly!) These cats are hairless and actually need to keep warm in cooler temperatures. Sorry, no "model" release to show those pics here. You'll just have to use your imagination.

Autumn was beautiful too, as usual. More walks, in the park, and though this photo was not taken last year, you get the idea of what I do when I bring my camera. Can't pass up gorgeous color, right?


Winter was amazingly mild! So, we kind of "sailed" through that with very little snow & not too much bitter cold.  Although I kept busy through the summer & autumn, too busy to take a real break, both with my shop on Etsy, my shop at Society 6, & I finally joined Pinterest as well! Pin, pin, re-pin...(Yes, it is addictive, but in a good way.) And, later, I did take a little winter "vacation".

So, here we are back to spring again, in spite of the fact that it is 32 degrees outside, & we have had some snow just yesterday. Very little.  But who wants to see snow on the forsythia trees in April?  Not me.

My next post here will be coming very soon, actually, in a day or so! I want to share something special with you, & it has to do with "what I did on my winter vacation".  I took some time to relax. I even "marathon" watched all the seasons I missed of my favorite TV comedy, "Big Bang Theory". I love it!! I laugh so much, the cat gives up, leaves my lap, & sits on a different chair! lol.

But I also spent time each day in my studio painting!

Join me here & on Facebook for the story & pics of what inspired me in my studio & and started my new collection, which I will be sharing with you!

So, good to see you again! :)

Keri

You can find me at the links below :)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorWorkStudio

https://society6.com/colorworkstudio

https://www.facebook.com/ColorWorkStudio/

https://www.pinterest.com/CWSonEtsy/