Memories, Hoarding and Inertia

July 31, 2017

My mind is stuffed full, like a closet
and everything inside is tied with thread.
Every time I cut one loose,
I feel like I’m falling apart.

studio3I think I figured out why I never go up in my studio/ workspace/ whatever you want to call it. I knew there was fear; I knew there was shame, but I didn’t exactly remember why (and I was afraid to remember) and I told myself I’d already worked it out previously and the fear was just a hang-over with no current basis in fact.

I was wrong. You wake up, you go to sleep…You wake up, you go to sleep…. My insight, clearness, awakeness is this fragile little thing that runs like hell as soon as the hand slaps the water (My friend says since I am Pisces, when the hand slaps the water I dive deep down). Down to the bottom, remembering the light on the surface of the water, making up stories and just trying to swim. Read the rest of this entry »


Creative Healing

July 24, 2017

sketches of my face showing different emotions. I was so disconnected emotionally that I could almost not bear to look at them.

This will be kind of long, because I have been away for so long, (again). I kept putting creative stuff on a back burner because… L.I.F.E. and day-to-day survival got kind of critical.

I had quit a horrible, soul-destroying job and was only working part-time until a full-time job became available.  I cut expenses to the bare minimum so I wouldn’t go into foreclosure. The small inheritance my husband had from when his dad passed had been supplementing our income and then, it too, dried up.  My car insurance was liability only, no collision coverage, and I got in a wreck (ironically, on my way to a non-profit to seek help paying my utility bills). No one was hurt, thankfully, but the passenger in the other car said that the look on my face would be etched in his memory forever. The car was totaled. I started taking the bus – an hour to and from work everyday. I eventually got a very demanding full-time position working at a Secure Residential Treatment Facility with adults with severe mental illnesses who had committed serious crimes (folks who in crueler, more ignorant days were referred to as “the criminally insane”).  Good work, but intense, exhausting ten-hour days.  Read the rest of this entry »

Art and survival

March 12, 2016

An artist friend I greatly admire, Judith Hoffman, recently posted a link to this blog post from artist Luann Udell – “Go Forth and Make Stuff”, on facebook and it was a timely reminder for me.

Over the past few years art has taken a back seat to coping/survival. However, what this article points out, and what I have been feeling deep inside lately, is that art is a critical part of my survival. Maybe it is a critical part of your survival, too.

GAC_little witch
“…you have a voice. You have just this one life to use it. And it’s NEVER TOO LATE to use it. Okay, you have a job, a real job or role, one that you like, or even love, or a care-taking role, or anything else you simply do or have. …you need the restoration, the sanity, the healing power you get by putting your own power out into the world, to support this other, vitally important work you do…”


Happy Holidays!!!

December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!!!. image from one of my favorite artists, Aya Kakeda

2014 summed up

December 12, 2014

a commissioned project for a "traditional" rabbit

a commissioned project for a “traditional” rabbit

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. As one of my client’s says: Life showed up. For those of you who supported me this year, mentally, spiritually, creatively and financially… I can’t begin to describe how much it meant. I felt really alone at times, but my friendships (and my pets) kept me going when things were bleakest. Its been pretty much a year of survival which has meant not a lot of creative output. I did get a commission to make a “traditional” bunny rabbit. It was fun and hopefully will be well-loved.

Silver Linings in 2013

March 5, 2014

needlefelted doll

Last year in March I started keeping track of all that I am grateful for on a free website called Art of Gratitude. It was very eye-opening and I am going to try for even more mindfulness of all that is good around me this year.  I am grateful to all of you who are taking the time to stop in here and hope that this might remind you to see all that is good in your world today, and that surrounds all of us, all day, every day …even on the “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” ones.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

I am grateful for my generous and compassionate heart
I am grateful for creative highs
I am grateful for loving and supportive people and animals in my life

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

I am grateful my car is fixed
I am grateful I have a job at a good place
I am grateful that I am loved

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

I am grateful I have enough money right now that I can rent a car to get  around.
I am grateful I got hired to do relief on-call at Columbia Care.
I am grateful that I will be out of my toxic work environment after Wednesday.

Monday, January 6th, 2014

I am grateful that a job opportunity at a school arose that would be perfect for me.
I am grateful I passed the paraeducator certification test.
I am grateful that I am trying my best in spite of wanting to shut down.

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

I am grateful to be leaving a toxic work environment.
I am grateful for being brave in spite of fear.
I am grateful for the frost sparkling under the morning sun as I left work this morning.

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

I am grateful that I have a job interview today.
I am grateful that I have interview clothes that fit and look nice.
I am grateful for new opportunities.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

I am grateful for the start of a new year.
I am grateful for the positive people who are in my life.
I am grateful for the beautiful sound of the chimes on my front porch. I love to hear the variations from tiny little notes when the wind is calm to raucous, but joyous cacophony when the wind is strong. A good metaphor for how to treat the winds of life.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

I am grateful I made it through 2013 relatively unscathed.
I am grateful for a relaxed, enjoyable Christmas with November and her pup, Lola.
I am grateful to have a home.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

I am grateful that I got over my fear and learned to love rats
I am grateful for the sweet rats I’ve had in my life
I’m grateful for the time I spent with my most special rat, Penelope

Monday, October 28th, 2013

I am grateful for bonus days of sunshine
I am grateful for knowing how to cook
I am grateful for being able to see

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

I am grateful for friends who watch out for me and want me to be happy.
I am grateful for working with people I like
I am grateful for opportunities for change

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

I am grateful that I have family
I am grateful that I have a job
I am grateful that my basic needs are met every day.

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

I am grateful that we still own a home
I am grateful I am alive and relatively healthy
I am grateful I have medicines available to me

Monday, October 7th, 2013

I am so grateful I’m not at work today. It has been total chaos.
I am grateful for my home and family
I am grateful for the wind chimes outside my front room. they always remind me to breathe and be calm.

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

I am grateful for Portland’s ever changing weather. Even tho it has been like winter for over a week, today it is back to the low 70’s!
I am grateful for making it home safely
I am grateful that the fix-a-flat worked (at least temporarily)

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I am grateful that my mom is still alive and that our relationship is so much better now
I am grateful for my relationship with my daughter and I hope it continues to grow
I am grateful for delicious Thai food from Baiyok in Portland, Oregon

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

I am grateful to have a car
I am grateful to have protection from the rain
I am grateful for people online that i have built relationships with

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

grateful that even though i feel like shit, I am alive
I am grateful for being creative and appreciating the creativity of others.
I am grateful for being creative and appreciating the creativity of others.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

I am grateful for sunbreaks at the end of a rainy day
I am grateful for the changing of the seasons
I am grateful to have friends

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

I am grateful that I found flowers cheap enough to buy a bouqet.
I am grateful for delicious produce and Dave’s Killer Bread
I am grateful I still have leftover pizza.

Friday, September 20th, 2013

I am grateful that I get such joy from making things
I am grateful for the use of my hands and arms
I am grateful that I can still see.

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I am grateful for the kind taxi driver who gave me a discounted fare because i work in a mental health field.
I am grateful for my co-worker giving me a ride home.
I am grateful to John for taking the dogs out to go to the bathroom cuz he knows i’m tired.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

I am grateful that I have enough money for a cab when my car isn’t working
I am grateful for Portland’s sun breaks
I am grateful for left-over pizza when I wake up hungry

Monday, September 16th, 2013

I am grateful that the weather has cooled down.
I am grateful to be alive even though i’m not feeling 100%
I am grateful for access to medicinal teas

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

I am grateful for being creative and appreciating the creativity of others.
I am grateful for small daily blessings – a snuggly black cat, dogs that eagerly wait for me to come home, a partner that cares how my day was.
I am grateful for all the toys and tools I own.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

I am grateful for the times i feel happy for no reason
I am grateful for the times I witness people being sweet to one another
I am grateful that I have crystals in my house that bounce rainbows throughout the house when the sun shines and remind me of the light and joy that is present in each moment.

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I am grateful for the abundance of food choices we have in this country
My little black cat that comes running as soon as she sees the car pull in
I am grateful for the stamina I have to keep going in spite of obstacles and pain

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

I am grateful for the resources I have available to me.
I am grateful for knowledge.
I am grateful for any small amount of wisdom I gain

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I am grateful that humans live longer than they used to.
I am grateful for the good health i enjoy most of the time
I am grateful for a safe place to live

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

I am grateful to Sweetie for leaving us money that has helped us stay in our home.
I am grateful for health.
I am grateful for a job.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

I am grateful for my complex body that takes in air without my conscious intent and functions automatically on so many different levels.
I am grateful for the changes I have seen through learning mindfulness and meditation.
I am grateful to be alive and well.

Monday, May 27th, 2013

I am grateful for the rain that helps heal my outdoor plants and water my tree.
I am grateful for my home that protects me from the rain.
I am grateful for my children and grandchildren (and grand-dog)

Monday, May 6th, 2013

I am grateful for the healing power of water.
I am grateful for my animals.
I am grateful that I am not as sad today as I was yesterday.

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

I am grateful to myself for trying so hard to take better care of myself
I am grateful to myself for not giving up
I am grateful to myself for trying to be kind and gentle with myself and others.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

I am grateful to be alive
I am grateful to be relatively safe and healthy
I am grateful for sunshine.

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I am grateful that I reconnected with a therapist I knew from work. I always liked her and thought I’d like her as a friend, but it wasn’t possible at the time. Today she asked me to friend her on Facebook. We are both artists so it is a nice connection to have here.
Grateful for water, especially hot water that works its magic on my muscles
I am grateful for fast food. I hate it at times, but i have to admit that it makes life much easier.

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I am so grateful that my depression is somewhat under control. No more drowning in the black relentless cloud. My love and wishes for healing go out to all who still suffer.
I am so grateful that my little Franny dog didn’t die after she was accidentally poisoned by puncturing an albuterol cannister.
I am grateful that i live with someone who loves and understands me.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

I am so grateful for sun breaks. I never knew that term until I moved to Portland, Oregon.
I am grateful for the things my body can still do.
I am grateful for clean countertops.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

I am grateful for all that I have learned, and continue to learn from Pema Chodron.
I am grateful that my mom is still alive and is finding peace and happiness.
I am grateful for family bonds that stay strong in spite of distance.

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I am grateful for the little birds that come back each year and build their nest in the eaves of my garage. I love to watch them fly up with small brush to build their nests.
I am grateful for the delicious coconut-y valerian tea my daughter sent for my birthday. Grateful for her love and caring and how I am reminded of it each time I drink a cup.
I am grateful for my loving husband and my loving pets.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

I am grateful for having a computer.
I am grateful that I have the use of my arms
I am grateful for the sound of little dog paws.

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

I am grateful for my animals and the unconditional love they give
I am grateful for my health
I am grateful that my mom is still alive

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I am grateful for kindness in small interactions with people throughout the day
I am grateful for Mexican Mochas and all their delicious flavors and the jolt of caffeine.
I am grateful for having an osteopath who is approaches aligning the body with intuition and knowledge and can restore my body to pain-free

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

I am grateful for the time i spent with supportive, fun, engaging friends
I am grateful for people who spent time and energy to make my birthday special
I am grateful for my thoughtful, loving daughter who sent me a special “treasure chest” care package of little things she knew i’d like.

Friday, March 1st, 2013

I am grateful for my sweet animals
I am grateful for the little girl who looked at me so sweetly and said “I like your hair”.
I am grateful for my sweet, supportive, kind, smart and funny mate

sock bunny

DIY Toys

September 20, 2013


Brabbit – done with colored sharpies by Eileen McGarvey 2013


close-up of brabbit. sharpies on vinyl Eileen McGarvey, 2013

This is Brabbit. (He/She is a 5″ mini Qee: BuneeQ) Brabbit is my first attempt at DIY vinyl toy blanks. I used sharpies and just drew directly on the vinyl in the same style I doodle in. It was really fun to see my doodle style on something 3D!

5inch MiniQee DIY Bunee blank

5inch MiniQee DIY Bunee blank

My interest in toys in general, and certain artists like Gary Baseman, led me to explore the whole world of vinyl collectibles, especially the “blanks” that you draw or paint or collage on yourself.

Giant Robot Magazine

Giant Robot Magazine

Gary Baseman Vinyl

Gary Baseman Vinyl

I think I first saw something about them in Giant Robot. a magazine I used to read religiously until it folded. It had such a fresh perspective on creativity in lots of different areas that I am interested in, i.e. art, music, movies, books, toys, etc… AND it showed toys elevated into something beyond just little kids playthings. That being said, most of the vinyl I’ve seen is VERY forgettable and not at all appealing. There are about 10 artists who really take it to another level.

My next attempt will be Andrew Bell’s “The Giver”. I have some interesting ideas for how to interpret that idea and of course I love the stylized skull, tiny wings, pod-like shape AND the wild, long, slender and very moveable arms. Stay tuned…


yearly (cough, cough) update

September 14, 2013

angry rainbows in my head

Ha! Well, it seems like it usually works out that way, anyway… But, now that I have the WordPress app on my mobile devices *maybe* it will be more regular (like twice a year).

On the creative front:

  • been going to Drink-n-Draw Sunday nights at the Goodfoot Lounge  which has been restorative. I just love being around creative, intelligent people and I love having my creativity and intelligence appreciated. In most settings I’m in people just don’t really get why I do what I do and when I try to explain it, it just convinces them that I’m as weird as they originally thought I was, or maybe weirder.
  • Focus Generator, my friend Nanette Wylde’s, online creativity booster site is always a good jumpstart for me. Oddly, I am most attracted to writing poems there.
  • I am taking Pamela Hasting’s Hot Flash doll making class for the second time. I love Pamela’s energy and the safe space she creates for other makers in her classes. I would highly recommend any of her classes .
  • I am making dolls but I realized that I need to upgrade my craftsmanship and efficiency so I am working my way through a very good book, “Stuffed Animals from Concept to Construction” by Abby Partner Glassenberg, and making each project to continue my education. Most of the patterns are a liitle too mainstream for me, so I’ll probably be changing them up some. Once I have increased my skill set I will have a VERY special doll to show you!!! I am super excited to work on her and I will try and document my process in photos here.
  • I also participated in a doll exhibit at home bass, a fun place with a small gallery-ish space that is all about art, music and toys  and in a collaborative art project, “Playing with a Full Deck”, sponsored by Liz Cohn at gallery 6 pdx, a cool little gallery right next to home bass. It was exciting to see that one of the collaborative cards I worked on with fellow collaborators Marty Gordon and Liz Cohn: Angry Rainbows in My Head, actually sold!

Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public

November 17, 2012

Ok, lets just condense the
why-i-haven’t-been-here-in-a-year-or-so  into 
“i’m erratic” and move on,
because that is much less interesting than why I am here now.

I recently funded and participated in a Kickstarter art project, Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public, a project by “a girl in Salt Lake City“, that  is a really cool example of what I think of as Urban Art Intervention. Here’s how the Kickstarter campaign was presented:

This past summer, my best friend and I found ourselves crying in public for various reasons and in various places (multiple sidewalks, a gas station, an auto parts stores, a concrete bench outside a law building). We made total spectacles of ourselves.

People who cry in public force everyone to witness—it’s completely embarrassing and also sort of awesome. We want our essay to perform this kind of spectacle. The kind where complete strangers are pulled into another person’s intimate grief—just by sharing the public space.

So! We’re printing our essay over four 11 x 17 broadside posters and posting the edition of 350 (that’s 1400 posters!) in multiple cities—hopefully yours!

When you support the project, you’ll not only be helping out with printing costs, material costs and shipping costs—you’ll also become one of our project curators (or distributors). This means we’ll send you the broadside essay. You’ll choose 3 posters to display somewhere in public (on a top-secret designated day in November) and keep the fourth as a thank you prize.

Help us out. It’s going to be rad.

How could anyone resist that?! The hardest part was deciding where to put them up. Although part of me wanted to hang them in some really cool, trendy part of Portland or somewhere iconic, like Powell’s Bookstore, …the other part wanted them to be in my neighborhood and/or places where people might be ready to cry, because I see a lot of folks that I think might need to cry in public, and seeing this hanging up somewhere might just subliminally say, “Hey, its okay — we all do it”.

MAGDolls Hair Parlor, Portland, OR

So I chose the shop of my favorite hair genius, Michelle at MAGdolls because she gets a very diverse group of folks in her shop, some of whom seem very likely to cry in public, and if you did need to cry, Michelle’s shop would be a very safe place to do it. Although I have not yet cried there, when I’m feeling sad I like to change the shape and color of my hair.

Mt Scott Community Center

Then I thought about the places where I have actually cried in public and I realized that it was usually in places where i felt sort of anonymous, part of a large crowd of people where i didn’t particularly stand out, places with nooks and crannies i could dip into if the crying became too much to hide. I thought of Mt. Scott Community Center where I sometimes go to swim. Although I haven’t cried there yet, it is not inconceivable that this could happen and this would be the type of place I could do it in and not feel completely exposed. Looking at the picture just now I imagined the person putting up the lost pet poster and how they were probably crying while they did it. And even though the Community Center looks pretty ritzy, it is located in a park that used to be a druggie hangout, in my neighborhood in the somewhat blighted area of outer Southeast Portland called “Felony Flats”. What my friend refers to as living in “the Deep, Deep South”. There are most likely people with all sorts of reasons to cry in public here.

On my way out of the center, contemplating the third site, I spotted a lonely looking bus stop. I have done much public crying over the years on, or waiting for, public transportation. I realized I didn’t have any tape and then I had a brilliant idea. I would go to “I’ve Been Framed”, my favorite local art store, get tape, ask them to put a poster up there (because probably artists are a large “cry-in-public” demographic) and then put the fourth poster up with tape at the bus stop. I purchased my transparent duct tape (along with a cool new sketch book and some pens!) and headed for the bus stop. Sadly, when I got there and looked in my envelope there was only the cardboard piece to prevent bending. I’m not sure what happened to the last poster. If I find it somewhere I will drive straight to that bus stop.

I’ve Been Framed Art Store, Portland, Oregon

In the meantime, if you are at a bus stop and you need to cry–go ahead, we all do it sometimes.

Doing is Important

October 24, 2011

self care doll made in 3D dollmaking class

self care doll for myself.

I’ve been learning alot in my 3D doll class. And not just about making dolls. I am learning (again…and again…and again…) that doing is important. I think alot. I have brilliant ideas (well, according to me, lol). I start alot of things. But sometimes I think just thinking about things is enough. Its the fun part and very satisfying. But I am learning (again) that doing, while it may not be the instant gratification of ideas, teaches in a whole different way. It is like the difference between a quick, delicious but unsustaining snack and a deeply satisfying meal made with love and precision and mindfulness. Snacks have their place but they are not a substitute for meals!

It also teaches me about me and fear, persistence, frustration, etc… And getting to the other side.

I have been enjoying making selfcare dolls for me and J. It ties in to the previous class on Dollmaking as a Transformative Art

doll from 3d Dollmaking class

self care doll made for J (in process)

. Having a visual, tangible reminder of how I want to experience life and take care of myself is helpful. I get lost in my head sometimes.

I will try to post here on a more regular basis. until next time, I hope you are happy and creating and enjoying life.