Ms. Ruin's Playthings

"The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates." -Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's been another wonderful year at Ms. Ruin's Playthings!  Unfortunately, I don't have any fun or awesome projects to show but I do want to take a moment to reflect on a few things about 2012.  I promise to keep it short!

"A girl knows her limits but a wise girl knows she has none." -Marilyn Monroe
Except maybe for scrapbooking.  I have said it over and over and over again...I am not a good scrapbooker.  I am standing my ground on this one.  Please don't ever make me scrapbook again.  Well, okay, that's a little drastic.  I MIGHT put together another scrapbook page or two in my lifetime but I don't plan on doing it anytime soon.  I think I need to stick to mini books and mixed media.  Let's all quit beating around the bush and be brutally honest, I suck at scrapbooking.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”  -Neil Gaiman
That which doesn't kill me continues to make me even stronger.  Seriously, I think I'm the strongest person alive at this point.  ;)  Kidding, kidding!  But it does amaze me how the human spirit still thrives in the face of adversity, in the face of defeat, in the face of criticism, in the face of rejection, etc.  I can't say that I've been eye to eye with all of those this year, but I've had some pretty significant feats that I managed to break through in 2012.  Surprisingly enough, they were mostly personal feats.  Things that I had to let go and get over and move on from.  We all have those...personal struggles if you will.  I tend to reach plateaus where I think I know myself and what I'm about and what will break me, what will make me content, what will propel me.  And then something happens --sometimes major, sometimes minor, but I learn more about myself.  I had a couple of those moments this year and one of them was allowing myself to show my vulnerabilities through my art work.  I sometimes have to ask myself, "Am I honest in my work?"  Yes.  I may not spell out every tear I cry (whether sorrowful or joyous) with the alphabet, but it doesn't mean that I didn't pour genuine emotion into my work.  Some will be able to decipher and read what I'm about without words, some will not.  And that's okay too.  I strive to tell my story --the good, the bad, and the not so pretty, without fear that I'm not going to fit in or live up to anyone's expectations.  Honestly, I don't give a crap about being proper and making it on design teams.  I will not fake it to make it.  I am thankful for the small design team I am on, because they know what I'm about and they embrace it.  I.will.not.fear.myself.  As I said earlier in the year, "Fear is not a crutch. Fear is menacing. It eats your insides and poisons the vessel that drives courage."  I don't think anyone was listening when I said that, but I did indeed say it on November 6, 2012.     

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  -Jane Goodall 
To my readers:  Thank you.  You have embraced every side of me, not just the pretty sides.  Some of you truly get me and some of you still don't know what to make of me but you still support me by coming back here and reading.  I love having a network of creative folks and I love browsing other blogs and finding little treasures.  I have made some amazing connections and friendships with other artists this year.  Thank you for allowing me to inspire and for inspiring me in return.  Some people have chosen not to be a part of my journey, their loss.  For those of you that choose to be a part of "this", I thank you deeply for believing in the things that I do. 

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt 
So what's next for Ms. Ruin and Ms. Ruin's Playthings?  Well, I'm still running Artsy Fartsy so the monthly swaps will continue starting in early January.  I hope to also expand my etsy shop by offering some original and not so original pieces of jewelry.  My photography is a whole other monster...I will delve into that at a later time.  As far as my mixed media, I want to be even more fearless than ever before!  I believe it to be possible.  I will leave you with this song by Kelly Clarkson.  It is currently my me, every side of me, including my dark side or get the heck out of the way!  You are standing in the way of someone who can appreciate this.  Here's to 2013 and all of blog entries that are yet to be written!  Happy New Year!   
“Like a diamond from black dust, it’s hard to know what can become if you give up.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We had a White Christmas!  What a beautiful, beautiful day filled with friendship, good food, and snow!  This is my very first year spending Christmas in Dallas --I typically travel to South Texas and spend it with my family.  I was a little bummed about it, naturally, but this day still turned out to be awesome sauce.
I slept in --had not done that in a very long time.  I hopped out of bed at 10am and wrapped a few gifts, made another frame in my craft room (I still have to post those) then I got ready for marathon cooking.  I know, I know what you're thinking..."you...cook?"  Yeah, me cook!  I was so very sick over Thanksgiving and didn't get to enjoy a turkey dinner so that's what we had for Christmas.  We smoked a turkey and I fixed all of the traditional sides and tried to keep it as healthy as possible.  Tried.  Of course my girlfriend showed up with a bundt cake and I maybe had two pieces of that.  Maybe. 
We then decided that we needed to fit some physical activity into our day so we went out and played in the snow!  It was so much fun except that my socks kept sliding off my heels and I spent half the time pulling them up or kicking my leg up in the air so that my girlfriend could fix my sock.  HAHAHA.  Sorry, I just seriously laughed outloud while recalling how silly we looked.
Anyway --I'm pretty tired.  Think I'll crawl into bed and play Sugar Crush.  It's a game I'm addicted too.  Oh yes!  I will leave you with a few photos of my furkid playing in the snow. 


Peace, love, and flowers in Winter!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gender Reveal

We are ecstatic at the arrival of my friend's very first grandchild and it's a girl!  Ohhh, the things we will buy and make and the ways we will spoil her!  I don't know if I'll ever know the joy of motherhood and that makes me beyond sad.  But I'm also blessed to have people in my life that will let me share in the joy of raising a child...and then I can gladly hand the child back to them when they start whining and kicking.  Ugh.  Don't get me started on that one.  Anyway, for now --we celebrate! 
I just love, love, love, love, LOVE that wooden bunny by Maya Road.  :D  The flowers are really beautiful and nice to the touch.  Those are by The Paper Studio.
Thanks for looking!
Peace, love, and baby girls.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!  It's really starting to feel a lot like Christmas, isn't it?  This year I decided to scale back my gift giving.  I typically go all out but I'm going to be frank, I was kind of being a Scrooge the first few weeks of December.  Could it be that we have had unseasonably warm temperatures and I have to work every day but Christmas which means I'm not going home to see my folks?  I'm sure all of those had something to do with my mood.  But you know what --the day is approaching and I can either be sad or I can enjoy it with close friends here in Dallas, exchange a few gifts, and reflect on the birth of our Savior.  I go with the latter. 
I spoiled myself a little this Christmas and bought myself a Christmas/Early Birthday present. So what did I buy?????
A Nikon J1 in REDDDDD!  How sexy is she?  This baby is not a point and shoot but it's also not a DSLR.  It's somewhere in between and actually functions as a mirrorless camera.  I'm still learning how to operate it.  Heck, I'm still learning how to use my D90!  I'm not as technical as I'd like to be and my fellow photographers pick on me about this but I just let my heart guide me in the photographic process.   
Here are a few shots of a very dapper gentleman.  Isn't he cute?  What can I say, I think beards are sexy.
I finally found someone to sit in my little big chair!

I had to help him...he was stuck after putting just one leg up on the chair.  Mmmm hmmmm, I think someone needs a few sessions my trainer!

Awwwwe --too cute!  Don't worry, Santa...sometimes I sit in chairs and my feet don't touch the ground either.  :(

Ho, ho, ho!  Merry Christmas!
Peace, love, and vintage bearded men.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The Fountain of Mercy Ministries has chosen one of my prints to help raise funds during their annual Divine Mercy Conference.  I am so excited to be a part of their conference as I believe firmly in the work that they do help the community through faith and spiritual guidance.  This print in particular is very touching to so many.  Let me tell you the story behind these pudgy feet.   
“Merciful” by Sonia Hernandez Doneghue
This fine art print features a portion of a large monument that illustrates Jesus Christ with a group of small children. I was compelled to capture the feet of a kneeling child who looked up at his Savior with such love –a gracious gaze and admiration for Our Lord, one which comes without question. There is something very special about the way a child depicts Jesus Christ. As adults, we tend to think we know more than children, however we should pause, reflect, and relearn to love and trust in the Lord the way a merciful child does it so purely.

I'm on fire!

 -Lake Michigan via Chicago, Illinois
THIS is what I love to photograph.  THIS is what I'm good at. I very rarely advertise family portraits because although I don't mind taking photos for people when they seek me out, I want to be remembered for my visual art. Does that make sense?  THIS is what fuels me.  THIS is who I am.  THIS is Ms. Ruin. ::leaves heart on the floor:: ♥
::cough::  Now that I've got that out of my system.  Here are some other photographic highlights from my trip to The Windy City in October.  I still have a bunch more to sort through plus some really cool pics of a fantastic lighthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin on the banks of Lake Michigan.  Talk about brrrrrrrr!  For now, enjoy these...
The world famous Chicago Theater
Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier --yes, I did ride!
Lighthouse at Navy Pier on the banks of both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
Hillside, Illinois --the final resting place of Al Capone.
Lots of old and beautiful monuments in this gorgeous cemetery.
Does this one really need a caption?  Okay, fine.  This is Cloud Gate at Millenium Park.  Affectionately known as The Bean.  "Sonia, you gotta go see the bean!!"
I love this one.  Believe it or not, it's probably a favorite.  I'm strange that way.
Currently the tallest building in the world --Willis Tower.  Formerly knows as The Sears Tower.  Yes, went up to the very top of this one too.  Want to see those pics?  Stay tuned!
If you enjoyed these photos, don't forget that you can repin all of my work to your boards on Pinterest!  Happy Pinning.  :)

Black & White

I am moved by black and white photography and I’m sure you’ve heard me say before that things sometimes take on new life in black and white.  I believe it to be true.  I have also said that some of the best stories are told in black and white.  I don’t just see pictures –I see parables.  Some are evident; some are waiting to be told.  It excites me much.  And I do love sharing those stories through my visual art.  Gosh, if you could just open your heart to me for just a few minutes –to experience what I feel inside of me about the world around me…the way I see it through my physical lens, and through the constant snapping that is going on in my head when I don’t have camera in hand.  I wish I could let it out with words…sometimes it’s not possible.  I want to look you in the eye, I want you feel what I feel.  I don’t just want you to experience the story; I want you to be the story.  ::big smile::  Few get it…but I know I’m destined to strike a chord in the most unlikely people.  Just you wait…I’ll grip your soul when you least anticipate.  And I will thank YOU for letting yourself go in my world.  Life is too short to spend it building walls around the imagination.    
The above photo was taken on South Padre Island, Texas and is dedicated to my Tennessee Mama --Karen.  I'm convinced she needs to retire to a beach.  :)
Peace, love, and sand between the toes!    

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Verday Night

Oh oh!  She's painting!
I have been wishy washy about what I was going to get some people for Christmas.  Of course I would prefer that my gifts be handmade and although that's not the case for the majority of my presents, I did manage to start on a few handpainted projects.  So what have I been painting?  Picture frames!  Well, at least that's what I've decided to make out of them.  

I started out with ornate 5x7 frames made of wood.  I bought these at Michaels at 2 for $7.99.  Using a combination of the Verday Reactive Paints and Patina I was able to turn plain ol' wood frames into this...

Keep in mind that the paint is still drying and oxidizing so the color will continue to change over the next couple of days.  This is simply just an hour after applying the patina.  I may even go back and add some more paint and patina.  Why not?  :)

This round fram is actually made of resin.  I'm not sure exactly what i will do with this one.  I was thinking of making a center piece about friendship or maybe even adding a mirror to it?  I'm not crazy about the black but I hope that will soon turn orange as it oxidizes or I'm gonna have to repaint it in brass.  TBD! 

Here is a sneak peek of what the frame will look like when it's done.  Isn't it gorgeous????  This frame is also still oxidizing.  So I used a wooden ornate frame and a plain boxed picture frame.  I will use glue to adhere the wood frame to the picture frame and I will slide a photo from my gallery into it as well.  It doesn't get anymore Ms. Ruin than that!  I can't wait to give these to my special friends.  ::BIG SMILE::

As for the box above...this is not something that I made.  I bought this for myself at Hobby Lobby.  Isn't it just lovely?  I love all of the little cubbies!  This would also look fantastic in reactive paints but I really like the way it looks now.  I thought I wanted it for my craft room but I think this is going to look lovely in my bedroom in my house --when we move the entire master bedroom will be rustic and shades of white.  I want everyday to feel like a wedding day! 

I just love the way it opens screams "put pretty things inside of me, put pretty things inside of me!"  LOL.  Sometimes the littlest things make me so happy.
Peace, love, and wood (bwahaha)!

And this why I must return to work

I really need to get back to work.  I have resorted to doing things like baking.  Me?  Baking?  People enjoy doing that?  LOL.  I guess it was kind of fun although I wish we had baked something I would have actually eaten.  I'm the only baker that would never gain a pound because I'm not much for sweets.  But anyway...a friend and I decided that we were going to have a baking night for the holidays.  She had her heart set on making snowmen and I --well, I just wanted to decorate because I thought I was going to be awesome at it.  I wasn't.  I still think if I had the right tools I could have really succeeded however we are both amateurs so yeah.  These were some of my snowmen...
This was from our first batch.  Against my hesitation we used frosting as the icing...GROSS.  Plus these snowmen were too fat.  I wanted to just throw these in the garbage but my friend insisted that we keep them.  She even proceeded to give one to the neighbor as I stood in the kitchen nodding my head and saying..."don't, don't eat that."  Talk about diabetic shock!  In fact, my friend Sam works overnight as a photographer for CBS News and he was our test subject.  He said they were "good".  Liar!  I asked him to take the tray with him to work.  His response was "Are you kidding?!"  I knew it was time to change the icing recipe and take some lbs off our little guys.
So here they are with royal icing.  Much better!  Awwwe, he's so sad.  :(
This guy is a playa for sure!
This guy is from our first batch and clearly, he listens to Slayer.  Look at how evil he looks!
Something to be proud of!  These babies were my idea and they started out just plain ol' sugar cookies until I added my secret ingridient and now we had pink peppermint stick sugar cookies.  THEBOMB.COM.  We could sell these for sure!  The cookie dough alone was delicious.  So I packaged a bunch of these up for my friends.  They are going to be so blown away that I actually made these.  LOL. 
Anyway...will this girl bake again?  You just never know!  Stay tuned...
Peace, love, and baking!

Monday, December 10, 2012

God Bless Texas

A friend and I were joking when making lunch plans for Wednesday.  She said that she hopes we are not snowed in on Wednesday morning.  I told her not too would be 90 degrees by afternoon.  We laughed because Texas weather is indeed crazy.  Most regions of the country have persistent weather patterns with somewhat gradual changes.  Not in Texas!  LOL.
Case in point...we had gorgeous semi-warm weather at yesterday's photo shoot.  Today?  32 degrees and snow.  Yep.  But anyway...a big thank you to my beautiful friend Melissa and her family for working with me during my recent post op time.  I had a good time capturing their Christmas photos and talking little Sophie into smiling for the camera.  I'm always up for a challenge!  But I'm not gonna lie --these candid moments are my favorite.  :)
Peace, love, and holiday photos!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Time waits for no one

I am six days post-op and I've gotta tell you, I know exactly what they mean when they say that time waits for no one.  I might be down and out and unable to do the things I want to do at full capacity but things still need to get done and projects need to be met and appointments have to be filled, etc.
Restrictions?  What does that even mean?  It means that my medical professional expects that I am at home healing for a minimum of two weeks --that I am not overexerting myself in any way, shape or form.  However, what does restrictions mean to me?  Well, it means business as usual in all areas of my life --to the fullest of my ability and careful to air on the side of caution.  After all, I don't want to be limited for too long.  This is especially difficult for neat freaks like myself.  :|  But I'm managing.
Anyway!  The holidays are here.  Did you get that memo?  I can't believe it and as much as I want to break things off with the holidays (it's not you, it's me...this is moving too fast), business is good for Ms. Ruin's Playthings (Etsy) and Through These Eyes.  I have been filling orders left and right and shipping playthings and even some of my prints all over the country.  I am blessed that people are digging my art.  Thank you, thank you!  Photography is keeping me busy as well.  I had a shoot today, one tomorrow and then two more next week.  This is where I REALLY need to be taking it easy.  I am used to getting on the ground and bending and squatting in all sorts of angles to get my shots.  Well, that's a no-no in my healing process.  :(  Fortunately my clients have been so understanding and accommodating.  In fact, here is one of my cuter clients...a shot from today at Williams Park in University Park, Texas:
Allow me to switch gears now as we visit some loveliness.  Ms. Dee Dee hosted the vintage mum swap at Artsy Fartsy for the month of November.  I was a little apprehensive because I wasn't sure that I could truly pull it off.  I've made a mum or 50 in my life time (no, I'm not joking --my mother owned a business) however I was afraid I would screw up the vintage portion of the swap.  But I tackled my own insecurities and I've gotta tell ya, I kinda want to keep my mum.  LOL.  I know, I'm terrible.
Isn't it lovely?  I didn't add any glitter or my swap partner's name.  Instead I just added a few accents that I thought fit the common goal --some vintage buttons and embroidery, a star, a key, and a purple flower for a punch of color (plus I really love purple).  I wanted to add a whistle but I ran out of time. 
I think this is truly a "timeless" piece of work if I do say so myself.
Now, about the actual "mum" --well, errrr, flower.  I know it's absolutely beautiful, but this was sooooooooooo muuuuuuucccchhhh wooooooorrrrk.  However, I currently have lots of time since I am on medical leave.  So no problem!  Although not trivial at all, it is tedious in nature and will likely never do this again.  But this is what I did...
I bought a round styrofoam ball and cut it in half.  I then took this lovely trim by Maya Road and pinned it to the styrofoam.  I went round and round and round (off and on) for a day and a half.  I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty brutal.  But the end result was gratifying.  :)  I know that my swap partner will cherish it. 
Until next time...
Peace, love, and mums!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Looking at you through glass

Hello bloggers!  I recently had and opportunity to tour the Chihuly Exhibit in Dallas.  One word:  Wow.  Most of these pieces are larger than life and taller than I am at 5'3".  They are expressive, technical and wild.  Although the installations are viewable by day, I think you will gain a stout appreciation for the creative impulse of this artistic medium by night.  Here are some of the hilights as seen through my own looking glass...   

This is is Ms. Ruin's fav.  In fact, I think it should be named after me.  :D
Peace, love, and glass!