Passing Fancies

When it comes to creative pursuits, I am an ALL-IN kind of gal. I never develop a mild interest in any new hobby; it’s always a full-on, all-consuming passion. A decade ago I was ALL-IN to cross-stitch, which prompted me to purchase every color of DMC embroidery thread, a bookcase full of patterns and instruction manuals and several different kinds of frames.

Next I was ALL-IN to polymer clay. I have an equally substantial library of books on that subject, along with a toaster oven and pasta maker dedicated to clay, boxes of molds and cutters and, of course, many pounds of little clay packets in a rainbow of colors.

Somewhere along the line I was ALL-IN to painting little plaster Christmas houses. It’s fair to say mine is not a holiday village; it’s a metropolis.

There was my stained-glass mosaic period. Now THAT was a damned expensive hobby, as it involved ordering 25 lb boxes of powdered cement, not to mention plates of glass.


One of my last stained-glass projects, a series of stepping stones of my dead cats.

For a while I was ALL-IN to rubber stamping. You’ll find a section of my basement occupied by plastic boxes of stamps, neatly organized by theme. Also inks, embossing tinsels, rollers, stencils, embossers and papers of various weights and textures.

More recently I got ALL-IN to cake decorating. You should see my vast collection of pans, decorating tips and bags, spatulas (spatulae?), boxes of fondant and a cupboard full of flavorings.


Lamb cake. Just one of the many cake molds I’ve collected and allowed to gather dust.

You will have noticed the pattern here. I have spent an absurd amount of money on craft supplies. I also have a regrettably short attention span. After a few months (or sometimes even less; I fell out of love with knitting the very day I got my deluxe knitting machine in the mail), I stow all my new gear in some crowded corner and embrace the Next!Big!Thing!

About a year ago now I took my first acrylic painting class, one of those community ed things where you paint the same thing as the instructor at the front of the room. LANDSCAPEAlthough I found the surrealistic landscape we created a bit bizarre, I was instantly ALL IN to painting. There following the customary shopping spree: canvases, easels, brushes of every size and shape, instruction books, color-matching reference guides and paints, paints, paints!

I began to specialize in painting pets – mostly dead ones. (Not their corpses; memorial photos of them in their prime.) I painted a couple of the dogs I pet-sat while they were alive; a coworker’s friend’s cat; a few more canines.


Actress Barbara Niven with my painting of her recently deceased pet, Bammer. Despite her pained expression, she declared herself pleased with my gift.

My artistic frenzy reached its peak when I painted the cat of a celebrity I’d been following on Twitter. I actually got a nice thank-you video from her in response.


I took a brief, ill-considered detour into landscapes and portraiture (this is a picture of the Beldons from the TV show “Cedar Cove,” outside their bed and breakfast.


Neighbor dog Cody, the project that finally broke me of my painting obsession.

This past weekend I completed a painting of Cody, the dog next door. It was like pulling teeth. I would have thrown the canvas in a snowbank if my mother hadn’t goaded me to finish it (the neighbor was expecting it). By the time I made the last tiny brush stroke of his fur, I knew my painting period was over. Don’t bother trying to commission me for your dead animal; as is my custom, I’ve moved from ALL IN to ALL DONE.

What’s next? Well, I’ve been teaching myself to make animated .gif sets of celebrity crushes. That seems like a worthwhile use of my time. Trouble is, my old laptop has a hard time running the high-end graphics programs I need to use. Guess I’d better head on over to Amazon to see what they’ve got available in super-fast laptops. My tax refund will be coming through any day now …


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