Now I know how writers feel. Sitting here, starting at a blank computer, wondering what to write...wondering if I should just try again later....wondering what the heck I'm even doing.
OK, let's take it from the top. Hi! I'm Jill. I live in historic Bucks County Pennsylvania. The history of Bucks County and appreciation of how it wants to preserve the past is what inspired my name, "Bucks County Folk Art". Like Bucks, I also love to preserve a little of the past. I do this by creating timeless folk art.
As I learn my way around the ins and outs of blogging, I hope to post pictures and inspire others with both my entries and my art. Right now, I'm a bit intimidated, but that'll soon pass and I'll look back on my first entries and shake my head at how "stiff" I sounded.
Now for some background: I grew up #5 of 7 children in Trenton, NJ. My mom stayed at home until I was 8 before getting a full-time job to help make ends meet; so I have many great memories of Mom being home. Dad, oh my poor father, worked 2 full-time jobs to support his family. He'd work all day, come home and TRY to sleep with 7 loud kids, and go to work at night. Other times, he'd work a full-time job with 2 part-time ones. Dad instilled a very hard work ethic in his children.
All my life, I wanted to be an artist, but unfortunately, reality has a way of hindering dreams. Instead of following my love, I chose the "safe" path, earning a Bachelors in Office Administration.
I took a couple basic art classes, but also found I hated it. I hated the pressure of creating something I wasn't inspired to do, just for a grade. Then there was my own lack of confidence, enhanced by one teacher who told me I should definitely go into the art world (Got an A in his class) and another teacher simultaneously telling me I had no business being an artist (I was failing his class). Art was the one real joy in my life and it was being sabotaged, so I decided to keep it as my own. In that sense, I don't regret my decision to play it safe.
Moving on....years of the corporate world left me feeling empty and unfulfilled. With the encouragement of my new husband, Ted, I went back to school and earned a master's in School Counseling. For 4 years I worked full-time while earning my master's at night, plus held 2 part-time positions. (Like father like daughter). By the time I graduated, I was as burned out as you could get, but thankfully, got a job right away as a counselor at our local high school. It was only offered part-time, but it worked out great because almost as if God placed it in our hands, we bought our first home....a tiny little stone cottage here in Bucks County. It was completely beat up and needed so much work, but we saw its potential. This is where my artist's eye really came in handy.
We worked on the house constantly for a year and built ourselves a cozy little place. In the meantime, Little Mary was born in April, 2003. Goodbye second income, hel-lo diapers! Next came Nicolai, 2 years later.
In June, I turned 40. Something happened - something WONDERFUL that completely transformed my life. I gave myself a birthday gift. I gave myself the gift of TIME. I decided that it was time for me to say NO to things so I could rediscover what I really wanted in my life.
In the meantime, my mom was diagnosed with Diabetes, sending me into 3 months of very hard research into this disease. As a precaution, I started following a Pre-Diabetic lifestyle. I dropped 20 pounds in 3 months and never felt healthier! Ted got me a treadmill and I also started practicing yoga and pilates. Feeling great physically, I decided it was time to integrate art back into my life.
9 months later: Physically - 20 pounds lighter. Mentally - 100 pounds lighter! Since putting myself on the "To Do" list, my priorities have changed. I now intentionally make time for myself and my art as it lifts my spirits and fills my soul. How sweet it is!