Well, Here I go again… After nearly 2 years since my last post, I am attempting a new start… Looking back at this blog, there are MANY times I tried to start anew… I struggled to keep doing something creative, but I had to let go of that idea for a while. My Lyme and the other infections I have along with it, took the creative part of my brain away (and even the part that could give me simple words for things like spoons or forks). It was scary to go into my studio and not have any idea what to do in there. I struggled with every day tasks, too, such as making simple meals and dreaded driving anywhere. I would forget what to do, or where I was. Super scary stuff… I finally decided that I’d just stop fighting things and concentrate on getting my health back. It doesn’t seem possible that I have been treating these infections for four years now. It has been a long road, and there have been a few more ups than downs in recent years. Last summer, I was actually able to play in my gardens more than I had in a LONG time. I was able to get almost all of the gardens tidied up before I “crashed” again. Life with chronic Lyme is a roller coaster ride with it’s ups and downs, and there have been too many downs in the past years. Many times I tend to cause my own crashes… after so long stuck on the couch barely able to move, when I start feeling better I just want to make up for lost time and do as much as I can… too much too fast, and I’m down again… so frustrating.
The beginning of 2017, I spent 3 months on a new treatment regimen that really knocked me flat. Treating these infections does that… Killing the bugs can make you sicker that the disease at times, but eventually things got better. By the time the Flower Tent opened, I was able to keep up fairly well when I needed to. Some days it’s really hard to will yourself along… By Summer, I was in the gardens more than I had been in a LONG time… I was thrilled to be able to work a couple hours at a time instead of the 15 minutes or less in past years between naps or rests (and to think I used to be able to work full time at the greenhouses and come home to spend many more hours quilting or creating my art to sell at shows on the weekends). I have found that feeling better can be a bit “dangerous”… I tend to want to catch up for lost time and end up doing too much, or doing “stupid stuff”… Last year among the “stupid stuff” was letting a lawn tractor I was on roll onto my leg, and late summer I threw out my back trying to lug rocks… I wanted a new stone path in the Lilac Garden… I’ve re-assessed that idea and will still have a path, but concrete stepping stones that will be formed in place, not stone from the old foundations around here.
The above photo shows the stones I moved around… I did get a few in place… just not too smart… The leg I smushed in lawn tractor incident is still not healed, nearly a year later… The tipsy old tractor is now gone, and I have a newer much more stable one to use now… I just wanted to get the tall grass mowed to keep the ticks at bay…
The Lilac Garden redo was my biggest accomplishment last Fall. The Lilacs and other shrubs were super overgrown and things really needed some attention. I got Ken to help with some chainsaw work on the Lilacs and the Ninebark shrub, and over a few weeks, got the weeds out, planted in some new baby trees, Hosta and other perennials, and got the whole area mulched with hay. Not the prettiest of sights in the photos above, but it should look pretty nice this summer and get even better incoming years.
While he isn’t very big, at less than an inch across his wing, this poor little butterfly helped to jump start my newest creative endeavor. Look at the color and texture of his wings! While vegging on the couch with the laptop, I began playing around with my flower photos and this butterfly photo in Photoshop. I did some designs for fabrics on the Spoonflower site, then I found that Spoonflower has themed challenges each week, and I decided to give one a try. The first theme that I decided to try was a Spanish Tiles theme… I could work with colors I like… I pulled bits and pieces of various flower photos for the colors and textures in my design. I began with one tile, then another, and I ended up with a number of tile type designs, then played with coordinating patterns.
My first challenge entry in a Spoonflower challenge! Can you see where the butterfly wing got used?? The blue and some black edges are from the butterfly. The color was bumped up a bit. The huge Dahlia flower is similar to the one I used for the deep rose pink areas. A photo of a diamond of succulents, a pink Zinnia, a Waterlily, and a daisy were also used. It was fun to see how I could cut areas out of my photos to use in my designs. Once I get proofs printed of my designs, anyone can purchase them from Spoonflower.
The photo above shows a bunch of the coordinating designs I came up with. These are all for sale on the site in my shop. AndrusGardens Spoonflower Shop I earn a commission on any of my designs that sell.
Since entering my first challenge, I have entered designs in 3 more challenges, and played with reproductions of some of my sunprints, too. It is fun to see my designs in print. I have also discovered that pattern design is used in much more than just fabrics, and I am exploring different online venues in which to sell my designs on gift items and home goods. I am also learning how to use different programs on the computer for creating designs. I have tons of flower photos I have taken over the years in my gardens, and now am finding new ways to use them in my designs.
I am not sure if my creative brain will keep returning, but it is super that I have found something that I can do even while I’m not feeling well. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep posting or not, but I am hopeful. I just need to learn not to overdo things or do “stupid stuff” when I do feel better… 😉