Tonight I Take the Stage

So most of us have seen The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson or have at least heard the term to understand what it is. I have a journal in a dresser drawer that holds a few of my Bucket List wishes. The rest are in my mind for long car rides to and from children’s sporting events.
Bucket List Item: Audition for Community Theatre……….Check
Get called back (wasn’t even on the list)……………. Check
As I broke the good news of being cast as the eldest sister in Close Ties by Elizabeth Diggs, everyone was shocked but happy for me. Well, almost everyone. The Husband was not impressed but it is important to remember he tolerates my venture into the Art world only in hopes of it being something that will one day contribute to the monthly income. This is the burden he carries as head of the house, the bottom dollar. Everyone’s shock came from the fact that I am a busy Mom of a total of 8 children. I am starting a business from home for my Art work, mostly reborn dolls for now, and I have never been involved or even hinted to friends that I was interested in becoming involved.
Last night during our final dress rehearsal I was thinking about my husband and I, vocationally over the course of our relationship. He has had the same job, the steady one, the backbone of our income. He has had side job ideas like lawn care, rebuilding cars, and a bait shop. Then there is me. Not the reliable income by any means. I was in college when we married, then was a correctional officer (a “where did that come from?” move), then factory work before finally starting in my degree field of teaching kindergarten. Only a few months into that and the universe threw us a curveball. I’ve been home with little ones ever since. I have so many ideas that go through my mind that it surprised me that a man like my husband can follow. In my defense, he was warned. I only have one tattoo and its meaning is that I’m sweet and unpredictable.
I was most excited to call and tell my Grandmother who has always enjoyed live performances. She thought I was calling to tell her I was pregnant again. Uh, NO, six kids in the house is enough. That night I got the script and as we did our first read thru I found words like dildo, hell, and asshole. My character was to say that D word in the first scene! So I put out feelers to my Aunt and Dad to see if Grandma would pass out. Last Friday, a week before the show, she called to give me love and apologize that she wouldn’t come. I accepted gracefully, hung up the phone, and cried.
This is the first time in my adult life I am doing something just for me. It feels AMAZING! I have never done any acting aside from my back-up dancer during the High School musical Oklahoma. I have learned about theatre and myself over the last 6 weeks of preparing. I wish I could let go and really become Anna. There is a shyness within me that holds me back from going complete Chris Farley. We are a small cast which is nice because it means I only have about a dozen people giving me advice instead of 30! I love feedback, it’s what helps me fine tune. It has been entertaining watching the different personalities of our motley crew, a truly refreshing change from my normal stay-at home life with small children. Someone told me after the birth of my second child, everyone will give you advice on how to raise kids, just smile politely and file it away because you never know when that tip may work for you someday even if not today. I have held that tip in every aspect of my life whether it be working at a factory, raising kids, or now, being an actress. Did I just say that? Well, it IS what I’m doing.
I find it ironic that a good portion of my role is about sister relationships. This of course makes me think of and miss my own sister. Six years now that she wrote the letter saying her religion would dissolve our sisterhood; Years of babies being born, loved ones being buried, ups and downs of one week to the next. Now this, my theatrical debut will be without my sister’s presence. However, our brother will be there. The man I love most in this world just past Husband.
My Thank you’s
Theatre
To the Terre Haute Community Theatre, where adults go to play, thank you for this opportunity! I’m waiting until after the show to ask why me.
The Cast: Jack Ciancone, Kendall Murphy, Pam Virpilio, Linda Green, Matt Schludecker, Mick Mack, and Mikaela Fish have all been so supportive and understanding of my learning curve. Thank you!
Sonni Crawford and Doug Lunn as our Director team has been the bomb! I have learned so much from both of you!
At Home
Amber Parker has been my greatest supporter from the beginning. Being back-up Mom on my rehearsal nights has made my load so much easier. I would have been driving girls to Mom or Brooke every night and these last couple weeks would have been awful without you! I am so proud of you for the changes you have made in the last year, I love you!
Husband, thank you for not complaining too much about all the housework I have got behind on, and thank you for giving me a head cold the week we open. Haha

My Bio!!
Jennifer Parker is debuting as Anna in CT’s Close Ties. A wife and mother of 8 she feels blessed to have a husband who provides for their large, blended family so she can pursue her love of being an Artist. She operates Jennifer Parker’s Art Shed from her home where she creates an eclectic array of original pieces. Jennifer also writes an online blog under the same name. The late David Bowie was quoted as saying he never saw himself as a Singer but as an Artist. Jennifer feels the same way; she auditioned for CT to open the door to performing as a way of expressing her inner creativity. It has proven to be a wonderful experience!
I dedicate the show too…..
John R Parker
There have been so many nights I drove home thinking of you and how you won’t be in the audience.
I am taking care of the boys as best I can, like I promised.
They miss you everyday.
And so do I.
Words for you, Dear Reader
Make a list of wild things, from when you were 9 years old that you daydreamed about: being an actress, a roller derby girl, a singer, an artist, whatever. Then look at your life and carve out time just for that daydream. I’m 37 and I just got started on my impossible dreams.
and

Little Leprechauns

I started the daunting task this morning of clearing and cleaning off our family computer desk. It sits by our entryway which means it easily becomes a catch all for everyone in the house! In the de-clutter process I looked at the huge stacks of teaching stuff from my brief career as an educator. I don’t see myself going back to education since I have started to pursue my artwork, so what to do with all this?

What is knowledge if not shared? I know when I was in college, in the classroom, then a homeschool Mom I loved finding nuggets of teaching help on the web but it could be overwhelming. So in an effort to de-clutter my desk and maybe help out parents and teachers everywhere I will be posting, hopefully weekly, ideas I find worth a share.

Next Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day so how about some little songs and poems for the pre-school/ elementary kids?!

Catch Him if You Can

(The Muffin Man)

Oh, have you seen a leprechaun, A leprechaun, A leprechaun?

Oh have you seen a leprechaun, Who comes from Ireland?

Among the shamrocks he may hide, He may hide, he may hide,

Among the shamrocks he may hide,

So catch him if you can!

leprechaun

I’m an Irish Leprechaun

(I’m a Little Teapot)

I’m an Irish leprechaun,

Tiny and wee,

I hide in the forest,

Behind a tree,

If you ever catch me, you will see

A wish I’ll grant as quick as can be.

The Leprechauns are Marching

(No tune in mind, words a might creepy to me)

The leprechauns are marching

They’re marching down the hall,

They’re marching on the ceiling,

They’re marching on the wall.

They’re marching two by two,

and now it’s four by four,

You say you still can’t see them?

Move back! Here come some more!

The leprechauns are marching,

I think it’s three by three.

Just close your eyes and try now

To visualize with me.

Their merry little feet

Will never miss a beat.

They’re very tricky fellows.

Look out! They’re under the sheet!

wind

Never Mind, March

Never mind, March, we know

when you blow

you’re not really mad

or angry or bad;

You’re only blowing the winter away

to get the world ready for

April and May

Humpday Headway – Good Riddance 2015!

It’s been a good week considering it was our first Christmas without my father-in-law. My grief surprisingly stepped completely aside compared to Thanksgiving. Then I found myself feeling guilty because I was not in the throws of tears every five minutes.

I am not a funeral or wedding attender, nor wedding or baby shower goer. It’s just not my thing. I am more a sit and have a cup of tea or coffee with a handful of people. However, this year I went to a record four funerals, and missed two of friends who died too young! Yuck!

On a brighter note my Great niece was born and I am so in love with her!

So, in the mess of holidays, children being home, Husband being off work, and sugar crashes the Shed hasn’t received much attention but I did get a couple projects done which were pure learning experiences.

Here is a blanket I made my G. He is one I babysit. I am his Maymi/ Mimi.

This came about when I found the camo fleece in a remnant ben. It was an odd size so I cut it in half width wise. As you can tell I am an amateur seamstress. 20151216_122141.jpg

I also tend to sew and do crafts the same way I cook. I look at ingredients then make up as I go along. Maybe not the best approach when sewing. The brown material I think is like a jersey knit. It was very stretchy in every direction so every time I tried to sew it to the camo everything would move, thus the puckered look in several places.

So first I sewed a piece of the brown with some interfacing on it for structure, then pinned and sewed it to a larger piece of the brown. It got a few quilt-esk stitches then I folded and ironed the edges in before I stitched for a type of made-up binding.

What I learned

Stretchy fabric doesn’t make good quilting material for a novice.

My machine and I are lovers when we aren’t fighting. I am getting comfortable with my tension and stitches.

Ironing before stitching is priceless.

It may not be pretty but it has a great weight and is a wonderful addition to my G cuddles.

A Polymer First

My sixteen year old son looked at my attempt at Alice and said, “Uh, duh, hers wants a cookie.” No, she is not pretty and nothing I plan on selling to pay the rent! However, the Art Shed is a place to learn, create, and laugh.

What I Learned

Work faster, Polymer clay is a tough clay but if you hold it too long your hot thumb melts your work. (Her back on the second pic)

The clay can be baked more than once so I should have baked her apron on before trying to be a hair stylist.

She is about 3 inches tall, perhaps to gain experience it would be better to work on a bigger scale.

Keep the work surface clean! She ended up with lint looking stuff in a couple areas from my pajama pants. (I’m a classy worker)

Get Inspired

I love surfing though Instagram for photos of Art dolls and clay creatures. In doing this I found Sandra ArteagA. She has an Etsy shop at http://SandraArteagA.etsy.com

My Alice is sure not pretty but maybe one day I can have something as unique and pretty as Sandra makes. Or maybe I will own own of her originals. How cool would that be?!!

Humpday Headway #3

There she is Friends!!

Above (top, left) is a picture of the “art shed.” Very little has really been done with her yet. Like I said before there was a lot of clutter. The shed was a good place to throw things to get them out of the way in the garage. We have a pole barn but until about three weeks ago I couldn’t store much in there because it wasn’t finished. Since then Husband has finished the trim and door so no more bird poo on all our extra possessions. Now that we have hit winter months I am a bit less enthusiastic about being in the actual shed even though we are having unusually high temps for our region.

So…other areas of organizing. The Attic (bottom, left) has been the center of what Husband calls my hoard. He rarely goes up there and when he does I usually get gripped at for a few minutes. This week I spent some time up there organizing fabric and notions. I was thrilled to see I have several projects with all the items ready for crafting. The picture on the right is a couple filing cabinets I got at a yard sale for $7 each. One drawer is mostly pattern and another is mostly fabric. The other two drawers however are patterns with fabric and notions ready for me to put them together! Yaaayyy!!!

Now …… Drumroll…….

This week’s completed project!!

A customer messaged me through my Etsy store. http://jenniferparkerart.etsy.com  She was asking if I could make a bulldog to look like her Mum’s dog for Christmas. She sent me photos of the dog and I made this little girl up. Once she saw the photos she was thrilled and went ahead and bought her. So she is now in route to a new home.

A few notes of the How-to kind

This kit was bought from http://bountifulbaby.com It is a Denise Pratt Princess Pug kit. I use Genesis Heat Set Paints and Costal Scents Powders. I layer Sienna Brown, Titanium White, Burnt Umber, and Mars Black to get her color where I want it. The paints have to be baked in the oven. I do 7 minutes at 265 degrees. Finished off with a matte sealer so the powders stay put.

Hump Day Head(under water)way

So the week before last I promised a recurring post to show the headway I make on my “studio.” Last week being Thanksgiving the kids were all out of school and the attempt to get to the computer failed.

When I got up this morning I was raring to go! I had a cup of coffee. Actually, I had a pot of coffee! It was Husband’s fault!! Last week we went Christmas shopping for the youngest girls but the first thing in the cart was a new coffee maker. It was the kind with a thermos pot instead of the glass pot. This meant the coffee stayed hot and fresh! It also meant I couldn’t actually see how much I had drank until He got up and wanted a cup. I went to pour and very little came out. No wonder I read that  Little Lama book in under 5 seconds! Made the kids giggle anyway.

I went from too much coffee to a Dr appointment that I walked out of after waiting an hour because he was delivering a baby. Visited my new great-niece at the hospital, brought her brother home with me. Took a nap with 3 toddlers. Got up to one cuddling but then crying because I could not understand what he was wanting. Carried wood in with the kids. Made dinner. Navigated bad behaviors. Helped the stubborn 14 year old with homework. Cried on the inside for not getting to come up for air. Got my Avon order so made my eyes look like Lady Gaga (it is American Horror Story night)

Now here I am listening to a 4 year old sing while typing and my great-nephew climbing up my lap. Ope the 16 year old just walked in from weights and wants cookies. Guess who’s getting another “make them yourself then!” lesson in cooking?!?

Maybe next Wednesday I can at least have my Christmas decorations off my sewing/painting table!

 

Tea with my Sister

A couple of lifetimes ago (yet I’m only 37) my sister and I would sit down and have tea together. I do not recall any of these dates being at my house. Her house was always more tidy than mine. She would boil some water to put in one of her tea pots. The tea pot would be sat on a tray next to two cups with saucers under them. Silver spoons would lay on the saucer, secured by the bottoms of the cups. Honey and lemon were sometimes added on a small plate to the side, or sugar perhaps. She was more honey while I was more sugar. Two or three different types of tea would accompany the array of items. We would talk about our parents, our brother, our children, the husbands, about God, people in our congregation, our childhood. We would laugh. We would snort, then laugh some more. We would yawn. We would have slowed conversation only long enough for one of us to remember a story we had started but not finished. Then we would usually laugh some more. We had jokes no one understood even though she was eight years older than me. She always had overstuffed couches. We both always sat with our legs tucked under us.

We do not have tea together anymore.

We are both still breathing. Sometimes the air burns my throat and I can’t swallow because we no longer have these mid afternoon sit downs.

2015-12-01-20.10.22.jpg.jpeg

Today she became a Grandma for the second time. We were in the same room but exchanged just barely more than formalities. There is little point. I have my beliefs and she has hers. We will have separate yet equally as important roles in the lives of her Grandchildren because the bond I have with my nephew has proven to be just as unbreakable as her bond with her son.

I suppose as a reader you are hoping this will be the beginning of a series of revealing stories or rants as to why there isn’t a relationship between us anymore, but alas, dear reader, even I do not have the answer to that. This is one of the parts of my heart I like to ignore because it feels too much hurt.

For now I do know I only have to wait about a year before I can have pretend tea with my beautiful, freshly hatched Great-niece!