“If I can make just one person smile today, it is a good day.”
No one can deny that the world in general is going through difficult times. These past nearly two years have been trying for many in the best scenario and devastating for others. Everyone is struggling whether they show it or not. Life is upside-down for most and in all probability will never return to what we used to view as ‘normal.’
There are days when even optimists like myself get discouraged. While I try to look on the positive side of things, it is sometimes hard to filter out the sadness around us. I think that is why I like being busy so much. It keeps my head in a positive direction and by doing ‘things’ and keeping active and engaged with different tasks, I don’t really have time to think about things that I can’t really do anything about other than worry.
I began to notice that when I was in between tasks and considered myself ‘caught up’ was the time when I was feeling most troubled. Perhaps it was because I had a bit more time to overthink things and allow my mind to wander into places that I didn’t want it to be.
I am grateful for the awareness of this, however. For with this realization, I feel more in control and I am able to make decisions to correct my thinking and do something positive about things. When I take a breath and really look at things, I see that there are plenty of things I could do to pull me back into my happy, positive little bubble. I am fortunate in that I have already surrounded myself with others who are positive and creative and and by the mere act of seeing what they are up to, I feel inspired to do things myself – be it directly or indirectly – to get back on track. It puts my focus in a positive direction and gives me purpose, and never seems to fail to turn things around for me.
This past week, I experienced a bit of what I just described. We had a tragedy in our small community that was quite upsetting, and I was feeling the pain from that. On top of that, I pretty much caught up with my orders. While that was a great thing, and I still had a LOT of things to do, it gave me a little too much time to ‘think’. I needed a positive distraction.
Enter Tracy Moreau.
Tracy is a friend and colleague of mine that I probably mentioned many times before here in my posts. I have been following her for years on Facebook and I love her beautiful and whimsical designs. Not only is she talented, but she is one of the most giving, sharing, and caring people that I know of. She is an example of kindness and compassion mixed in with a wicked sense of humor. I admire her so much!
Tracy offers a FREE “Live” painting class every Saturday afternoon on her YouTube channel: Tracy Moreau Design
She also has a new “Subscription Only” monthly club which is available for a nominal fee. The Subscription Club is available also on her YouTube channel and includes wonderful “extras” for members only, like exclusive patterns, video classes, and prompts and tips. It is well worth the money and because it is offered on a month-to-month basis, there is no long-term commitment. It is a great way to support her for all the wonderful work and time that she gives so freely to us all.
I began watching the Saturday “Live” events probably over a year ago. Tracy had chosen some of my surfaces for her project and I thought I would tune in to support her and to reciprocate for her support of me. Long story short, it became a habit with me and I have rarely missed a Saturday afternoon session since. I have made many new friends there and we have fun chatting away and visiting with each other. Although I don’t really paint along with the given project, I always seem to learn something from Tracy. She sure is an excellent teacher. I usually do other stuff like packing my own orders or my own drawings or painting while stopping frequently to type and join in the conversation and fun. It is a great way to spend my Saturday afternoons and I look forward to it every week. It has become my ‘socialization time’ each week when I could interact with people real-time. I always look forward to it and try to attend every week if I possibly can.
When I saw Tracy’s promo for this weeks’ project, I had a wonderful idea. She decided to paint a cute, fun, and quick Halloween design on a tote bag she had purchased from the dollar store. It was really adorable!
I had been gifted some small black canvas tote bags from a dear friend last year and I had just seen them in my ‘stash’ a couple of days before. While it is too late to paint them up for my dear granddaughter (who received her package from me on Friday), our next door neighbor, who is a childhood friend of my Keith’s, has two young daughters that (I hope!) would love them. Henry (his friend) was frequently bringing us samples from his garden this summer, saying they had more than they could ever eat. If you knew me, you know that I don’t do ‘growing stuff’ and while I love to cook, I just have never really had the time or energy to do lots of gardening. That being said, I really appreciated the bumper crop of samples that were given to us. I had sent some bread over to them before, but I thought painting these bright and cool bags would be a fun thing to do for the girls, as I often miss having my own little ones to fuss over.
I purchased the pattern from Tracy’s site Tracy Moreau Design, and found the pattern for the design on the front page. The direct link to it is here: https://tracymoreau.net/shop/ols/products/trick-or-treat-treat-bag-e-pattern While purchasing it, I noticed a note under the description that read, “Proceeds from the Sale of this Pattern Will Be donated to Our Local Food Bank ( The Need is greater than ever!)”
Now wasn’t that JUST LIKE Tracy??
Leave it to her to be doing something else so generous. In the “Live” class, she explained how her community came together and supported each other – especially in times of need. She is donating ALL the proceeds from the pattern sales to her community. (Go on! Go get one! You KNOW you need this pattern for your stash! 😉 )
No wonder I love her! ❤
While Tracy was using DecoArt Americana regular acrylic paint to paint her bag (since it was not a ‘wearable’ and unlikely to be washed over and over), I decided to use my DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint for the project.
You can see the full line of SoSoft paint on DecoArt’s website here: https://shop.decoart.com/decoart-sosoft (They also offer colors in METALLIC and GLITTER paints!)
The pattern comes with THREE variations on the design. I sized the line drawings using my printer settings to fit on the bags, and transferred the design on to them with white graphite paper:
Because I was painting on black,I thought the design would look brighter and more vibrant if I undercoated everything in white. Yes – this took a bit longer, but otherwise it would have not looked as pretty.
I only undercoated with one layer, as the little bit of variance in color would, I felt, give the final piece a bit more texture. I left very tiny unpainted spaces between the elements like the layers of the candy corn – this is one of the techniques I learned from Tracy. It helps to keep the shapes defined and also helps later on when we are shading the edges to make the pieces look more dimensional.
I tested the color over the undercoat and was really happy with the result.
The rest was easy.
I just blocked in the colors and chatted away with the others who were also watching the class. The afternoon passed quickly, and while the class finished up before I did, (I am a slow painter and I also was doing two projects) after Tracy was done, I put on some other painting classes on YouTube just to watch and listen while I painted. It was a lovely afternoon.
I think the bags came out beautiful!
I looked on Pinterest this morning and found a yummy-looking recipe for cinnamon caramel corn. I am thinking that may just be the ticket. I also may bake some shaped sugar cookies if I have the time and add some of them, too. One of the advantages of living in a close community is that you can still give stuff like that.
Today I feel much better about things. My mood is much lighter and I have several projects that I want to accomplish today. Those include baking, experimenting with some new products that I have, and perhaps beginning a new piece of ‘realistic artwork’ for my own pleasure. I have an idea of something I want to do. But you will have to return to see what that is.
I guess the moral of this post is that we truly do follow where we focus. These past months have been so difficult for so many. Everyone seems to have times of feeling isolated or low every now and then. But by finding something to make you feel productive and doing something that will bring some joy to someone else really gives us purpose and can turn our feelings of helplessness and sadness around.
We never know what those around us are experiencing internally. Feelings are personal to us all, and while some wear their hearts on their sleeve, others tend to be more like cats and hide what they are feeling much of the time. In either case, doing something positive for someone for just no reason will bring nothing but good. I believe that in my heart.
Until next time.
PS – If you are using Facebook for good instead of evil (as I am) and you are looking for inspiration for doing something fun that will make someone else smile, you can join Tracy’s Facebook Group: Random Acts of Kindness AYL (All Year Long). The group is filled with caring, wonderful creative souls of all levels and types, and in it, Tracy offers TONS of FREE patterns that you can use in so many ways to make a stranger (or a friend!) smile! It is just the inspiration you may need to spark some positive ideas and get you thinking in a good direction while making someone else happy too. How great is that? I hope to see you there! ❤