Shabby Miss Jenn

Monday, June 11, 2012

Birthday (Part One)

Had an incredible birthday weekend. My birthday this year fell on Friday. Mom and I had a driving lesson and then went to Pizza Delight as my meal was FREE. heehee  Then I came back to the farmhouse and my honey had made me an awesome tasty speghetti supper. The next day started off overcast but it was putting a damper on my birthday mood. My sister and her family were coming down to help with the celebrating.
My nieces making biscuit pizza......... you take Pilsbury Biscuits and flatten them right out. Squirt a drop of pizza sauce, add pepperoni and a slice of cheese. Gather the dough all up over top and then place in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes and voila....tasty!!!!
A few games of Scrabble got played which we always enjoy. (Notice the birthday tiaras? heehee)
That is me in the grey sweater, my sister in the middle and Mom in the orange shirt.

I am not a huge fan of cake per say. I mean I of course will eat it but I was in the mood for something different. So we opted to make our own banana splits in waffle bowls. OH YEAH!!!

The things you discover while renovating an old farmhouse

This old newspaper is stuck to the ceiling in our kitchen. It's way too fragile to attempt to take down and save. We found numerous smaller sections stuck here and there. It's in a difficult place to access so taking photos is tricky.

Friday, October 23, 1891

A few farms are listed for sale.....wish it has shown the price.
You can still read this local newspaper every week. We do sometimes snap up an issue if a headline has caught our attention while waiting in the grocery lineup. Maybe we need to pick up a few to add to the ceiling for those that might discover it years down the road to enjoy.

Wish He'd learn to Stuff

Over the last few days, I managed to draw, sew and cut out enough muslin pieces to end up making 20 new dolls that will be making their debut this coming week. I spent the evening sitting on the sofa and stuffing while watching a few different shows online. I'd turn the piece right side out and stuff stuff stuff. Once it was stuffed hard enough, I'd toss it over onto the loveseat next to me. I had quite the pile of arms, legs, and doll bodies happening. Went downstairs for a quick moment and when I made my way back to the sofa......this is what I found.

Tigger had climbed up onto the loveseat and was snoring in the midst of all the parts. Lumpy, bumpy and somehow the most comfortable spot in the house to take a catnap.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'm Fine

How many times have you asked someone how they are doing
 and heard the answer 
"I'm fine"?

Seen someone smiling, laughing and you've thought,
 wow, they sure are doing great.

Ever wonder if you're wrong?

I want to introduce you to someone. Someone who has been effecting me more then she'll ever know.
Her poetry haunts me. When I read her words, I feel emotionally drenched. 
Over the years I have read many books by too many different authors to keep track off. 
A very small number of people have been able to stop me in my tracks and 
make me just want to take a deep breath. 
My pulse races with the sheer raw emotion she places within her poetry.

An amazing thing about her.............. she is 13 years old.

 This is Kelsey.
She is the youngest daughter of one of my good friends. 

 She has a beautiful smile and infectious laugh.
She loves dying her hair and piercing her nose and lip.
She loves to draw.
She loves listening to music.
She loves to write poetry.

 She also suffers.
She is bullied at school every day.
She is shoved. 
She is pushed. 
She is called horrible names.

She is dealing with all of it with an amazing grace.

She created a video and placed it on YouTube.
It is so raw and emotional.
Her school had EVERY CLASS have to watch this video.

Thru her pain and torment, Kelsey is going to save someone's life.
She is going to have someone see her video and have that person
know that they are not alone in their torment.
She is going to open the eyes of so many people.
They are going to hear the words "I'm Fine" and now know
that person needs to be heard. 
Needs to feel loved.
Needs to feel compassion.
Needs to feel they are not alone.

Some of us go thru hard times because we also have been given the strength
and the ability to bring ourselves out of the darkness.
Out of the pain.
Out of the overbearing sorrow and rage.
To express these emotions thru our words.
Thru our artwork.
Not to get pity or be judged.
To open the eyes of those around us.
To shine light where needed most.
To be the voice for those not able to speak for themselves.

Here is Kelsey's video.
Watch it all the way thru.
Then think about the people around you.
Maybe it's you.

Please pass this video on so that it may help someone 
who is sitting in their darkness
 to finally see a glimmer of hope and light today. are an amazing soul and thru the darkest of your hours, 
you are a beacon of hope, even when you don't know you shine. 
You have made a difference in someone's life,I just know it. 
You have a spirit about you that many only dream about having. 
You are doing incredible things with your life and will continue to do so.
I told you that someday I would be paying good money to hear you 
standing on a stage reading your poetry and I mean it. You have an incredible gift 
and I hope that you always continue to share your words.
My dream for you is to someday make those words 
more about happiness, love and joy of living 
and let the sorrow and bullying finally be over for you.


Friday, May 11, 2012

I Will Show You Mine {if you show me yours}

Fun link up today over at Jeanne Oliver.
She posted her makeup that she uses and I thought it was a cool concept for a blog post too.
So I scooped all my goodies and raced down to the kitchen table as it really is the biggest window for natural light. The skies are dark and gloomy today so taking photos was going to be a wee bit tricky.

 Now I don't wear make up every day. Some days are just too busy and crazy with everything else happening to even attempt to put eyeliner on without blinding myself. I will admit that when I do slow my day down enough to apply makeup, I somehow feel better about myself.

I do start every morning out using this though and I love the way it makes my skin feel and look. My parents gave it to me this last Christmas. Olay Pro X
It is a 2-speed facial cleansing brush that you use with the exfoliating cleanser creme. A little goes a long way as I have been using the little tube shown since January. The large tube I also got will most likely last the rest of my life.

      Next I apply Olay Total Effects Smoothing Serum. It goes across my whole face lightly with a bit more added in trouble areas like the frown lines on my forehead and crows feet . I use this a few times a week. The Nivea Creme is something I use daily. I apply in the morning and after I wash my face at night.

Bare Escentuals Mineral Makeup

My best friend Danielle came for a visit and brought me this. I was blown away by just how simple it was to apply and what a difference it made to my look. No more circus clown pancake makeup. This just floats on your skin and you look natural. I use the foundation powder; the blush in either a bronze color or glee soft pink (depending on my mood) and then apply the veil powder over everything to softly mask it all in place. I always get comments on my skin and makeup being "soft" which I love. I have large pores in areas of my face and none of this stuff clogs or causes me any issues.

When it comes to eye makeup, I'm a bit less fussy. The colors usually attract me first. Then I check the price and if its hypo-allergenic. I wear dark color eyeliner but I have sticks as well as liquid. Everything from a few dollars to $32 from a friend. My mascara is always black and always waterproof. I wear Burt's Bee in Fig on my lips almost 95% of the time but also own Rhubarb and Peony.
I also have a small pair of tweezers now due to that pesky chin hair that started appearing just after I turned 40. (Why do we never see the chin hair until it's long enough to attach a bead or bow to it?)

At the moment as well,my perfume of choice is Roots Source Red Tea

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Art of Wild Abandonment Blog Hop

Quite a number of us have been taking this incredible mixed media workshop "The Art of Wild Abandonment" by Christy Tomlinson and Junelle Jacobsen. Since so many of us also happen to blog, we thought it would be great fun to do a blog hop and talk about the course.

If you are following the Art of Wild Abandonment Bloghop, you have probably came here from Angie Ibbott Blom After you have read my post don’t forget to follow the bloghop onto Kay Boespflug . If you haven’t yet started the bloghop, why not join in the fun by visiting and learning all about it”

Thanks to taking this incredible workshop I am now addicted to using these.
Ever seen them before??
They are Caran d'Ache Neocolorll Artist's Crayons

 "Neocolor II crayons are softer than colored pencils, yet denser than children's wax crayons, and extremely responsive to a wet brush. Wet and dry techniques can be combined in the same drawing. Because of their strong pigmentation, light colors cover dark colors and


It's like watercolor painting with more control. I am in love.

The array of colors to chose from is wonderful. I opted to buy the "40 pk" and can tell already that I will have to be getting a few more colors. I may have to bite the bullet and just get one of every color they offer. They make me feel like a little kid again sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table, coloring with my box of crayons and watching the page come to life with each stroke of new color.

 The quince bush out from in my yard started blooming this week and I raced out with my camera to capture a few photos. I plan on sitting down the next week or so and sketching it onto watercolor paper that I just picked up. Then I'll be applying the Neocolor II and once again watching the page come to life with each stroke of new color.

 Enjoy the blog hop!

Tracy Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Photography Backdrop

I know many of you out there have been like me and looked at a photo taken of someone/something and are so lucky to have "that" as their backdrop for the photo. I myself have always been drawn to the pictures taken with the chippy paint wall paper behind people. Have caught myself thinking how lucky they were to find a home with such great old walls to be able to take photographs against. Have often dreamed how incredible it would be to be able to have such a textured wall behind my primitive folkart dolls to really showcase them.
 I have always been so jealous......until now!

Just today I was shown a world I had no idea about.


They are vinyl backdrops for when you take photographs!!!
Their backdrops are printed using the latest (state of the art) technology. The artwork is very high quality, so it can scale properly. The vinyl backdrops are waterproof, glare free and roll out flat.

This is the one I ordered and I can hardly contain my excitement over it. It is the perfect background to take the photos of my prim dolls. My photos will have the look and feel that I have been dreaming about and yet I won't have to worry about the cat licking toxic flaked paint from the livingroom floor. My cat is crazy.....he'd be licking.

I ordered off Etsy and she was INCREDIBLE to work with. She answered all my questions very quickly and without rolling her eyes at me for asking silly questions.

She also has a Facebook Fan Page that you should make sure to check out.
She does giveaways and such. I *liked* her FB page right away and have my fingers crossed to win another incredible backdrop. I would just flip out with joy!

I'm going to spend the evening sketching some new prim dolls to create, with using this backdrop behind them in mind.

Tracy Cedara Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru The Attic Door 2

My Creative Muse likes her music LOUD


My home is never fully quiet. I'm not talking children fighting or hearing traffic backed up in the street. (Well for one thing, I don't have children and I live on a very rural back country road.) I'm talking about how music is always playing from some corner of the farmhouse. We have stacks of cds that over the years, have been purchased. Some still have their covers. A few are laying in special cases we had to buy so they won't be scratched too much and become useless. Many are downloaded tunes that we play thru the speaker system on my laptop. Some evenings it's video after video being streamed thru Youtube.

I listen to a wide array of music. Each style speaks to a different part of my creative muse. Some music I can sit back and sketch in my notebooks. Not really focused and yet my pencil lead skims across paper like skates on a frozen pond.
Other times my sewing machine pedal is smoking, that needle is slamming thru fabric and you can't even keep up with the drum beats slamming in the background.

Do you create with music floating around you like creative mist soaking into your skin?

Here is a small sampling of what my muse has been creating to the last little while.

Leeroy Stagger

The Wailin'Jennys

And many afternoons I have had the cd "In Your Dreams" by Stevie Nicks playing in a continuous loop for hours

Happy Listening!
Tracy Cedara Dunn of Thru The Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Selling Local (Part two)

Spent part of yesterday afternoon, setting up my primitive folkart doll display in Complete Fabrication. It had been raining steady but the sun peeked out just before I went to town. I took it as a good sign of things to come

I brought along four of my vintage apple crates to display the dolls on. Debbie shifted a few things around and gave me space just in front of one of their store front windows. The prim dolls are just to your left when you come into the shop and fully catch your attention.

A quick paper sign until I can create a smaller one that tells about my dolls. (While running errands, I had to purchase more ink for my printer and a small canvas board.) She loved the idea. I also brought a stack of my business postcards that folks can pick up and take home with them. It has all my contact information

My photo album showcasing some of my past creations is also with the display for folks to flip thru. Debbie was turning pages and just kept repeating..."really? You made ALL of these. WOW"

Here are a few photographs of the primitive folkart dolls that I brought in. I hope my local customers will stop in and check them out. They told me that I can restock the display as often as I wished. I was to bring in as many creations as I want. I am just giddy with excitement over this new adventure.

I'm spending the day SEWING and planning my next trip back to the store.
Hope to see you soon.

Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru The Attic Door 2

Selling Primitive FolkArt Dolls Local

We all know how it starts. You are flipping thru the hundreds few piles of fabric already in your stash and nothing is jumping out at you. Since you are going to be in town later that day, you begin to think maybe you'll swing by the local fabric store.

Mom and I were running errands and because I had mentioned a certian doll concept I had springing to life in my head, she reminded me about the local fabric store, Complete Fabrication. We park the car, grab our purses and head down the street.

It's just a small shop on the main downtown street of Digby. I've been to it numerous times to buy fabric for the primitive folkart dolls that I create. The ladies that run it are friendly and so helpful. Always made for a great stop and fabric buying experience.

So I am wandering around the shop, piling bolts of fabric into my arms. Mom is looking at the beautiful quilts displayed in the shop. We are carrying on a casual conversation with the woman working that day, Debbie.

She asks me what I'm going to be making with the fabric I've been picking out. I tell her that I create primitive folkart dolls and I swear I may have heard her swoon. She begins to tell me how much she loves the look of primitive dolls and that she owns a number of them. Mom jumps into the conversation, as any incredible mother would do and starts gushing about my dolls. I nervously laugh and start to play it down a wee bit. Then this voice in my heads says.....JUST ASK. JUST SAY IT OUTLOUD.

Before I knew it, I was saying my prim dolls would make a wonderful accent display with all of their fabric.


It was like time froze still for me.
What was I doing?
My mouth went instantly dry and I may have seen stars ; like those cartoons from when I was 7; when something got hit over their head with a mallet.

Except instead of laughing at me like I might be crazy, Debbie looked me right in the eye and said I WAS RIGHT!!!!!

We started hashing out the details of what needed to be our next step.

Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

Monday, April 23, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace

Took this snapshot of  Queen Anne's Lace from last season and then played with my filters on the computer :)

Old Apple Tree

On the trek back to the farmhouse from the picnic in the woods.....I took a moment to snap this photo of the old apple tree in the field. Many early mornings we have seen the deer waken from spending the evening sleeping underneath it.

Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

Picnic #1

Sunday Afternoon Picnic

This week is going to be nothing but rain, rain and more rain. So yesterday afternoon, the clouds were forming but nothing was falling just yet. He was down in our woods doing some much needed clearing of deadfalls. I packed out little picnic backpack full of some lunch goodies and headed down to join him.

We had purchased the backpack just the day before. It came with everything you need for a 2 person picnic...including the waterproof blanket (maybe should have taken that as a sign). I didn't even take everything out of the plastic wrap.

Tigger Kitty of course came for the walk into the woods. He loves it! We had been walking for quite a while and then he heard Andy say something to me.....ran right towards Andy! haha

Tigger raced around the wood path climbing all the trees and just playing. He's so much fun to watch.

I generally stay clear of hotdogs.....but nothing is quite as yummy as one roasted on a stick over an open fire. Mmmm Mmmmm good!
Then it started to really cloud over and get dark. Before we knew it....POURING RAIN!
So we shoved everything quickly back into the backpack and Tigger and I headed back to the house. He stayed down to make sure the fires were solidly out.
It was a perfect first picnic of many more to come for us I'm sure :)

Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

How Jeanne Oliver Changed My Life

I have talked about my addiction to online workshops before. I live in a very rural part of Nova Scotia so finding courses and workshops covering what I'm interested in learning; happens 99% of the time, someplace online.

One of the courses I am taking part in at the moment asked us to write a special letter.
A "paradigm shift letter of thanks".

For those that may not know; a paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. A transformation, almost a metamorphosis of thoughts. It doesn't just happen, but rather this shift occurs because it is driven by agents of change.

The objective behind this letter was to reflect upon people who had a significant influence on our lives and had caused us to shift our values and beliefs in some form . Contact that someone who had caused such a shift, to thank them for it. Some of the other members were posting how they were going to take a few days and figure out their moments and to fathom which person they were meant to write about.

I on the other hand, finished reading the assignment and knew at that exact moment, my letter would be written to Jeanne Oliver.

It started simple enough for me. I was taking a workshop and another was mentioned that was coming up.(It really is how I stumble across almost all I've taken part in). I opened up another tab on my computer and typed in her information. 

                                             (photo source)

I started reading her blog. I was enchanted by the way she took photographs of her items. The way she wrote flowed so easily and went so well with my morning ritual of blog hopping while drinking my daily two coffees before 6am. Before I knew it, I had read every post in the blog. She created and sold different items then I was usually attracted to but they still somehow spoke to me. I looked at how she had captured their essence with her camera. How each photo told a whole story to you in one glance.

I signed up for the workshop she would be hosting. Not sure if her style would be something I would be able to convey in my own work but also knowing I couldn't let that hold me back. The course was Creatively Made........and it changed my life. It was the beginnings of my many shifts.

The course was 4 weeks long and had videos each week to watch. A discussion board and Facebook page. Supplies were bought and techniques were shown. Pretty much exactly like any of the other workshops I had taken in the past.

Somehow.....I sensed something different in this one. Something was changing for me.Within moments of finishing the first video, I started to shift inside. I found myself watching Jeanne in the videos and REALLY taking in her words. She was not just talking into a camera and giving a step by step on how to modpodge onto something. She was sharing. She was telling things from a personal outlook. She was giving of her heart and what she truly believed in.
Jeanne was showing each of us how to accept the gifts given to us and to help us grow them. She was showing each of us that our art and creativity was really an extension of ourselves and how we were supposed to be within our lives.

I am not a religious person in my own life. Jeanne's faith comes across strongly but not in a "this is how you should be" way. She awoke something in me that I didn't even know I was missing. The way she spoke of our creativity being a "gift" for us to nurture and then share with others. My faith and understanding of why I have always been drawn to being creative became unobstructed from the invisible ropes that had tied it down. She took away the knots of self-doubt and fear that had been holding me back from my true self. She expanded my perception and helped me turn fear into empowerment.

Many times during the length of that course, I caught myself thinking along the lines of "what would Jeanne say she'd do" or "how would Jeanne look thru her lens" or "Jeanne would probably say this about how to paint this concept". I was writing in my journals more. Ideas were flooding my mind at all hours of the night and day. 

I felt like I had been awoke after a slumber of a thousand years.

I was creatively inspired in so many ways. My sewing altered. My painting shifted. The way I wrote in my journals was different. I was beginning to feel ALIVE about my life and creative journey again. I hadn't seen how much I was missing it. I hadn't seen how deep I had fallen into a creative rut and had no color to my life anymore. She showed me that I had to have the courage to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the birthplace of real creativity. That if you look deep within yourself, you will find truth. She showed us how to own our beauty and honor our gifts.

Those shifts then began showing up in little every day happens of my life. I was making changes in many different aspects of my life. I took some deep breathes and eliminated some negative aspects that had been holding me back. Anytime that I felt self-doubt in a choice I was about to make, I would close my eyes and see Jeanne. She was telling me that I WAS A GIFT. That the real me had to be shared. People around me saw change. They made comments about how wonderful it was to hear me laugh or see me smile again.

I thought to myself how incredible it would be to shift this new way of thinking into making my business be what I had really always dreamed it could grow and be.

I swear it is like Jeanne hears you whisper when you wish such dreams onto the first star of the night.

I am now taking her 2nd online workshop Building a Creatively Made BusinessE-Course
She has once again given more of her heart and soul into this course. She is sharing information that is just striking so many cords within me. I open my eyes each morning and smile. (I know....who does that?!) As I am bustling around the kitchen making coffee and gathering my lunch stuff, my mind is racing with the steps that I am going to put forth that day for my business and for myself.

I was, I'm sure, really supposed to write this letter then mail it off for her to read in the quiet of her own home. She caused such a profound shift in my way of thinking of myself, my creativity and now my business......that I wanted to write this letter for all to see.

Jeanne.....I am well aware that I have rambled away here but truth be known.....words can't fully express how you have come into my life and changed it for the better. I thank you from the depth of my soul for opening my eyes to everything around me again.
You are the real gift I have in my life now.

 Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Building a Creatively Made Business

                                                (photo source)

Could not be any more excited about taking this course.
Everyone has questions when running a business.
Not everyone is lucky enough to find a mentor.
She is going to share so many wonderful tips and tricks to running a business.
Videos and chats.
A group to chatter and ask questions.
I know I'm going to learn so much incredible information from her that will really help me grow my business in a direction and path that I want to see it on.

I have already been blessed by the depth of her heart and soul when teaching. (I took Jeanne's first workshop). She opened my eyes when I didn't even know they were closed. As soon as this workshop was announced, I pounced on it.


The course starts THIS MONDAY.......... go sign up!!!!!!!

What makes your heart flutter?

                                               (photo source)

Sat at my sewing table last night and looked at all the pieces of paper that I've been busy sketching doll pattern parts upon; doll concepts and doodles......thinking about the nasty "copiers" that many designer friends are dealing with (once again) and wondered if it was worth it? Should I invest my time and energy into creating? Should I attempt to fuel the fire of my website/blog again after letting it settle so long in the dust of a creative rut?
I've not been a victim of copying in a long time but I do still remember the sting and pain. The anger. The frustration.The sadness.
I started gathering my papers up and something SNAPPED.

What was I doing?
I am meant to create.

It's a driving force in who I am and how I express myself.
Someone may come along and copy me.
Someone may come along and hurt me that way.
I sat down and brought it to life.
I blended fabrics. I blended paints.
I blended MYSELF into EACH PIECE.

I hope those being effected by this tornado of emotions right now land safely and remember they are surrounded by love and respect. If they choose to continue or stop, it shall be respected of course. That is their path to follow.

My path is to create