Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring [Paper] Flowers

So, here are long overdue pics of the spring window additions for Rodney Mitchell Salon in Hillsboro Village. There are other products featured in the window, so I needed to come up with something a little smaller in scale, bright and eye catching without cluttering the window.

I found inspiration in Martha Stewart's craft blog; she features artisans who do some really cool projects! After watching a couple flower making tutorials, I broke out the supplies. Lots of tissue paper, craft paper, florist tape, hot glue and dowel rods were used among other things. My favorite part was adding subtle color variations to the tissue paper by dipping it in a bleach and water mixture.

This was an all day project. Actually, it was a couple evenings and a long day project, but it was the perfect indoor project for the dreary spring weather we've been having. My assembly time was really  slow at first but I got faster as I established a technique. Unfortunately though, the faster I went the more frequently I burned myself with hot glue. Scalding hot glue + direct finger contact = blisters. Ouch. After "potting" them in 2 sky blue vases and delivering to their place in the window, I returned home to deal with the post flower creating carnage.

Yes, I am SUPER messy. This is my living room floor/ flower assembling station with Seamus watching from his spot on the couch. The tissue and craft paper cutting were the messiest part. Although, for some reason (whose name is Bella) I ended up with moss strewn about wildly, as well.


First a howling blizzard woke us,  
Then the rain came down to soak us,  
And now before the eye can focus -
Crocus.  ~Lilja Rogers

Friday, March 25, 2011


THIS is the coolest website. It's basically a brainstorm of sustainable creativity. You're going to love it. You're going to get inspired. You're going to obsess over projects. Or...I may be talking about myself a little.

Candy Chang's public installation "Before I Die, I Want To"  is currently featured on's home page with a link to her website . Go there. NOW.

I haven't scoured through all her work yet, but I am petty entranced with this project, so I'm sure I will. Chang states,  
"I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood into  giant chalkboard where residents can write on the wall and remember what is important to them in life. Before I Die transforms neglected spaces into constructive ones where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us."

Before I die I want to ....know that my life had a positive impact.

Before I die I want to an adventurous life.

Before I die I want to ....have let go of regret and guilt.

What about you?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Went Down to Georgia: Part Two

I talked with some of my fellow Tough Mudders last night, and when we were trying to describe the experience to other people- that weren't there- at first we said it was "intense", but that wasn't quite right. "Grueling" is what we came up with:
gru·el·ing also gru·el·ling  (gr-lng, grlng)
Physically or mentally demanding to the point of exhaustion: a grueling campaign.

"Intense" implies something extreme, but maybe a little more least to me. There were intense moments for sure- like jumping of the 20ft platform into ice cold water (they literally dumped ice in it) or right or dashing into a tangle of electric live wires.
The bigger challenge of this lay more in the duration and constant level of difficulty. I consider myself a pretty strong willed and athletic person, and this kicked my butt. I thought the run would be a piece of cake, but instead of flat/ semi-flat trails that I could fly through, it was all on mountain and dirt bike trails in the Georgia mountains that amounted to a roller coaster for runners. Some inclines were so sharp I grab had to grab tree trunks and pull myself up them. Some downhills were so steep runners just slid down them (or in a few unfortunate cases, fell and hurt their ankles). And that went on and on and on. The last several miles were also just flat out a surprise. The course maps we were given listed an 11 mile distance. As we passed mile 10's marker though, there was no end in site and multiple obstacles left to complete. I think that was the point that was the most difficult: being mentally prepared to finish, then realizing we're still miles away from the finish line.
The second to last obstacle was this platform jump. That icy water took my breath away, but also give me one last burst of energy. Just in time to bolt through the last obstacle, electrical wires, and hurl myself across the finish line.

I 'm so glad I had these ladies with me; I probably wouldn't still be smiling at the finish if it hadn't been for their comradeship. Even when I made a totally nonsensical statement in a moment of exhaustion, they just went with it and seemed totally supportive of my decision, although no one besides me actually knew what the heck I was talking about. I mean if someone said "No, I don't want to joggle anymore.", would you understand that means "We have to carry a log on our shoulders and I just want to stick with the one I already started to pick up even though someones trying to hand me a different one." No? Well, when I told Sarah E and Mary Taylor that in complete seriousness, they went with it. Then we laughed hysterically about it later, and laughter is one of my favorite ways to burst through the wall of physical and mental exhaustion.
Well done, ladies! And gents (The pic up top is of Cary rocking the monkey bars! he made it across- I did not.)! Was it extremely rough? Yes. Was it the hardest thing I've ever done? No. Will I do it again? Probably!
Me, Mary Taylor, Sarah E  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Georgia Tough Mudder

 OK, I'm alot slower posting about this than I thought I would be. I'll blame it on how sore I was after this race! I went to down to Georgia with some friends (not the devil) last weekend to run the Tough Mudder. WOW, did I underestimate how difficult it would really be. For one thing, it was seriously muddy-the entire time. The course was a  half marathon in the red clay mud with 18 obstacles sprinkled throughout.

 Obstacles involved scaling walls, climbing through drainage pipes, crawling under wires, carrying logs through the woods, monkey bars over mud pits, and more and more and more.

 Many of the obstacles involved a team effort. It wasn't as much an individual race as it was a group adventure. Only 71% of entrants actually finish; I'm proud to say my group ALL rocked it and came away relatively unscathed.

Here, we are
realizing we've gotten to the obstacle I was most afraid of, Electroshock Therapy". Yes, electric live wires that you have to run through. Some are only mildly charged, some have up to 10,000 volts. True story.
Being shocked was not as painful I as expected, more of a bizarre loss of physical control. My mind still knew to keep going, but when I was zapped by a strong wire towards the end I felt it shoot through my body and my muscles just locked up. When I explain it to people I realize it does seem strange that I paid a good bit of money and traveled 4 hours to experience this.
I feel this experience was epic enough for two posts, so stay tuned for part dos tomorrow!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Compassion Fatigue," an art show

At Saturday's art crawl, I attended the opening reception of "Compassion Fatigue", a themed art show at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. One of the most striking pieces there was this photograph by my friend,  Tasha French. The statement below explains it brilliantly. Hearing the process of it's making was pretty vivid, as well. I wish/hope you get to see this in person- it is so strong.


"In this work, Hindu mythology mixes with Christian imagery to explore the grace and destruction inherent in compassion fatigue. In the Hindu paradigm, Kali is both creator and destroyer. In her aspect as the destroyer, Kali is over taken by blood lust and begins to destroy the universe. Her destruction only ends when her consort Shiva throws himself on the ground in front of her. The supposedly slain body of Shiva brings Kali out of her frenzy. Kali is Shakti, the primordial universal life force which brings about liberation and salvation. Yet Kali in her dark aspect is a forbidden thing that haunts our boundary regions and cremation grounds.

Here, Kali (embodied by a woman who performs the roles of activist, chaplain, teacher and homeless outreach worker) is present in the midst of destruction, yet is not the cause of the destruction. She is the Christ bodhisattva; terrible to look upon because of the reality she embodies and reflects. Two hands, seemingly empty, hold the nothingness that is everything, that which she truly has to give, but is seldom recognized as enough in a world of material needs and desires. Another hand holds a bowl of both baptism and cremation ashes, representing the eternal cycle of salvation and destruction. Another hand holds a staff, the shepherd’s crosier, marking the seemingly futile watching and gathering of lambs that nonetheless are taken to slaughter. Everyone healed is eventually destroyed. Another hand, raised defiantly, clutches the holy palm branch of Passover; symbolic of the willingness to turn toward the city and embrace destruction. And finally, behold the Lamb of God, raised by the sixth arm, watching the goddess in the midst of destruction. This is the anguish of the human Christ, vessel of unending compassion whose slain corpse reminds us of the cost of true grace.

Her body carries the burdens of those she refuses to let go, one lambs head representative of a child who died in her arms, one lambs head she holds as a the head of a brother executed by the state, and one head, the head of a man whose charred body marked the very ground upon which she stands, the cremation ground of the destroyed Tent City: a holy, sanctified, terrible place where the world’s disinherited and unwanted found love and healing in equal proportions with beatings, mental illness and dis-ease. Behind the goddess and the cremation ground stretch the highways leading into and out of the city, yet all is utterly still in the eye of destruction.

The potential of unburdened resurrection lies before her, yet until she allows for the liberation from samsara; she remains, willingly, fixed within the destruction."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up and Robust Gonads

How was your weekend? Lovely, I hope. Let me do a bullet point summary of  the favorite bits of mine, because I know you were sitting there at your computer, on pins and needles waiting for me to publish such a thing. The wait is over:
  • Completed pieces and set up new window display at Rodney Mitchell Salon. Photos soon!
  • Finished a suspenseful, lyrical novel- A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.
  • Ran the furthest distance I've ever run in my life (17 miles) with 2 sweet friends that made the whole thing fun.
  • Enjoy the company and work of  fellow artists at the Downtown Art Crawl.
  • Went out with the Mr. on Friday evening.
  • Made some outdoor adventure plans for spring which may include caves and bodies of water.
  • Ate 2 1/2 cupcakes in 24 hours.
  • Read this article, felt thankful for my good health and things such as " a full pelt of fur", maintained brain volume, and muscle mass.*

*I felt like it would detract from the dramatic format of my bullet points to include these additional thoughts in the last bullet post, so here we are. I really wanted to share this article for two reasons. One, it includes the following sentence, "Their gonads were normal, as were their hearts. They could balance on narrow rods, the showoffs". Two, I certainly believe that physical health is tied to mental health. Exercise of all types brings such clarity, peace of mind, and strength to my life. It's a simple concept, I know, I think I've just gained a new appreciation for the impact physical activity- especially outdoors- on me in these winter months, when nothing else seems to give me any energy and then I read things like the article and learn it will  have an incredible impact even years down the road. May we all lead a life full of love, happiness, mitochondria and unshrinking testicles/ ovaries!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Would Like to Share This Award With My Husband

Well, OK, there is no award, but if  I were to receive one and hence deliver an acceptance speech I would definitely like to thank supportive spouses. Specifically, JON SHEARER.
For instance, when I do inexplicably weird things like compose a ditty to the tune of a Folger's commercial that goes something like this "The best part of waking up is Sarah in your butt." and then sing it to him when we're hanging out at home he manages to turn it into something endearing by posting this:

Jon Shearer

The best part of waking up, is Sarah......
Thursday at 3:00pm ·  · He also encourages me to go for my goals; even when some people think they are too much, kind of ridiculous, or just strange. As I get into marathon training and running clothes festoon the laundry area of our house like so much spandex decor and the alarm goes off at 5 am for early morning workouts- no complaints, just encouragement.
He even comes out to get togethers with my running group buddies and it occurred to me, that is an awesome thing which deserves a group of it's own!

Jeffrey really liked you guys' idea for the spousal support group :-))))
about an hour ago via iPhone ·  ·  · See Friendship
    • Sarah K Shearer Hahaha- they could be founding members of S.O.N.s (spouses of Nasties)
      about an hour ago · 
    • Sarah K Shearer Other option:
      H.O.E. (N)
      Husbands of East nasties
      about an hour ago ·  ·  1 person

I think he would definitely be a S.O.N, not a H.O.E. (n). Seriously though, his support and involvement in all my endeavors is something that carries me through creative slumps and challenging physical goals, and inspires me to always pursue my dreams.

    • Also, thank you Facebook, for providing a forum for all my social networking needs.