Entries from: December 2007

A Timely Message

December 30th, 2007, Comments (25)

I was feeling all jittery tonight and some art making did help. I've named the piece, "A Timely Message" and it's about 9"x12" with collage, acrylic and ink on watercolor paper. I created spontaneously, grabbing collage items and building from there. Then I stared at the collage for awhile until I started to get an idea for an image and then it flowed from there. The message goes from the gut to the bird to the head and off into the world. I think of it like an illustration of intuition, inspiration, and instinct.

I'm super excited about Creative Every Day 2008!! The list of participants has been growing and there is a great group of bloggers, some I've known for a long time and some I've just met. Already the energy of this great group of creative souls is amazing!

A bit of cool synchronicity: When I was listening to podcasts yesterday, a new one popped up from CraftyPod that was about...being creative every day! No way! Yes way! In this case, it's an interview with Kirsty Hall, who in 2007 did a daily drawing on an envelope that she mailed to herself with a note inside. She plans on exhibiting the envelopes all together in 2008. The interview is quite timely and talks about some tips to maintaining a daily practice. It's a really fun interview, so do give it a listen and check out Kirsty's Diary Project!

The lovely Miss Lemen has a great message at the top of her most recent post, "Don't put off your happy life." Definitely a message worth remembering as I move into a year of living in the now! I also loved her list of "25 things she never gets tired of." Jen is always full of such wonderful ideas and positive energy! Here's my list, in no particular order:

1. synchronicity
2. my kitties
3. laughing
4. the hubster
5. making art
6. hot chocolate with whipped cream
7. soft, cozy blankets
8. sitting by the ocean, a river or lake at night
9. watching the stars
10. singing in the car
11. brunch
12. fresh sheets of blank, white paper
13. making babies smile
14. snuggling up with a good book
15. the smell of fall
16. summertime
17. Aveda shampure
18. getting fun things in the mail
19. the smell of clean towels and sheets
20.  bubble baths
21. browsing in book stores and libraries
22. doodling on any paper available
23. sleeping in with the hubster
24. seeing my family happy
25. drawing trees

And heh, I did a bunch of these things today! I slept in a bit with the hubster, spent some time browsing in a book store, sang in the car, laughed, had hot cocoa with whipped cream, I drew a tree and doodled on some blank pieces of paper, I made art, and snuggled up with the kitties under a soft blanket while reading (and finishing) a good book!! :-) Life is good!!


December 29th, 2007, Comments (13)

When synchronicities start falling in my lap wherever I turn, I know I'm on the right track. And everywhere I go I'm seeing things relating to "Now." I've been on a fun little run of the internet this morning and keep thinking, "oh, i must link to that and that and that!" But then it gets a little out of hand and I need to let go of trying to remember it all. I think if I did remember it all this post would be a tad too long. :-)

In a beautiful example of Julia Cameron's quote, "leap and the net will appear, " I received an amazing and generous offer in the comments of my last post, from Sarah of Today's Homemaker. Sarah has offered her services as a proofreader/copyeditor for my book! Thank you again, Sarah! And thank you to everyone for the chorus of "YES!" It means the world to me!

Above is something I did in my art journal this morning with pencil, colored pencil and pen. I'm going to use it for this week's Illustration Friday theme which is "soar." The theme seems to fit in so perfectly with all sorts of things coming up, such as the leaping rabbit in the post below and Marilyn's theme for 2008: "leap." The quote above is one that Patti left in the comments of the last post. I think it has to do with letting go of the baggage and restrictions we put on ourselves, so that the core of who we are is allowed to soar freely. The quote from Ginevee, an Australian aboriginal, says, "Inside each of us, there is a forgotten person." When I read it, I had this ghostly image in my head that needed to come out. I put that quote within the forgotten self who is being allowed to soar. Perhaps I'll do this drawing with paint at some point, but getting it out of my head is good for now.

While working on this image, I was listening to some podcasts and somehow ended up choosing an older podcast from Accidental Creative. This particular podcast is called "Moment" and it was so incredibly relevant to some of the things I've been talking about here, that I had to share. This may sound odd, but I actually listened to this podcast several times and I even took notes in my sketchbook! The podcast, by Todd Henry of Accidental Creative, is all about becoming "unbound" or how we can uncover and break down the artificial boundaries that limit our creativity. I wrote about something similar in my post on defining beliefs. And for many reasons this theme is particularly important to me right now. For one, one of my defining beliefs has been, "I'm not a writer." I could go on about where I came up with that belief, but it's really not that important. The important part is that it became part of my identity and I held onto it as a rule, when in reality it's an imaginary construct that is not serving me in any way, except to hold me back.

Henry shares a story from Neil Fiore's book, The Now Habit that illustrates really well how artificial boundaries can limit us. We are asked to imagine a board that is 1 foot wide and 30 feet long. Can you imagine walking on that board easily? Yes, it would be quite simple to do for most of us. Now, imagine that board is 100 feet in the air, balanced between two buildings. It would take the same skills to walk along that board, but we'd surely be terrified of falling. Just like moving the board high up in the air, our imagined boundaries keep us fearing the consequences instead of living in the moment and focusing on the actual skill it would take to do the job. My theme for the year is, "Now." So, if my boundaries keep me from living in the moment, that's just one more reason for me to unearth and release them. 

I also really liked what Henry had to say about "the break between aspiration and action." Here, he was speaking about how when people have big dreams that they aren't acting on, there is usually some artificial wall in the way (or the aspirations they have are actually those of other people.) This was certainly true with my dreams of writing a book. I had all sorts of belief systems set up that were blocking the way. And it's also true as Henry says, that each belief that you uncover leads to others which can be daunting, but also so very freeing to discover! I'm definitely feeling a lot more freedom in releasing some of my defining beliefs this year and I'm sure the continued freedom I find in 2008 will lead to wonderful places.

I also loved the part of the podcast that talked about how you must step outside your comfort zone and explore your curiosities because being stuck in old ways of doing things and/or feeling any tension around moving forward is usually a sign that some boundary is in place. All of this relates so much to being in the now, to being open and willing to play, to releasing the fear of failure, to being confident and yet humble. These are all lessons I'm trying to absorb.

I'll leave you with this poem I found online today by DW Bender. The poem, which went with the beautiful woodcut she created for this week's Illustration Friday, touched my heart:

tonight when dreaming
may I turn into a bird
nameless and homeless
in my solitary flight
I'll forget I have no wings

The Time is Now

December 27th, 2007, Comments (22)

I hope everyone had a wonderful week however you may have spent it! We bounced from one part of my family to the other which was a bit crazy-making, but fun nonetheless. Even though I was home for Christmas this year, we had the addition of the hubster and my brother's wife celebrating with us which made for a different dynamic. I loved having the hubster with me, but I felt myself grow very quiet. The hubster pointed it out last night and we talked about it. I'd been feeling a bit self-conscious and was assuming (never a good idea) certain judgments. I came to the conclusion that I need to let go of these assumptions and be proud of where I'm at. I also need to do a major overhaul on my goals this year.

I started working on one of my goals for the year last month. I'm writing a book on creativity. The hubster suggested I say it out loud as it helps to make it more real and helps to hold me accountable. I've been a bit quiet about this as I've always said that I'm not a writer. But clearly I write a lot as can be seen in the six years of blogging I've done. I encourage people all the time to say they're an artist when they create, so I'm writing and I suppose that makes me a writer which makes me all sorts of jittery to type. It's not my goal to be strictly a writer, but for a long time I have wanted to put together a book of creativity tips that I would write and illustrate. As anyone with big dreams may know, it's easy to put these things off for some better time, but as Patti writes about on 37 Days, we never know how much time we will be given. So, if we have dreams, it's best to begin. In response to Patti's post, I commented: 

I love the idea that living as if you only had a short time left doesn't necessarily mean tackling those big things like traveling to such and such place, but it more likely means to live each day full out, slowing down, enjoying it all and expressing what needs to be expressed. I think we all have so much inside us that wants to be expressed and we hold it back thinking it not worthy or thinking that we have plenty of time to get to that later, but how rich would our lives be if we spent at least a part of every day sharing what we have within us. And who knows what places it would lead us to if we did?

My intentions for the coming year include stepping out of that space of thinking "there's plenty of time to get to that later" and into the space of "the time is now."

I'm liking that for my theme for this year, "2008: The Time is Now." So, I've been working on my book. I started with a brainstorming session, then an outline and then I started to write in a very free flowing manner, not looking back to edit at this point, just getting words on the screen. And of course, the beautiful thing about working towards your dreams is that taking action and moving forward feels so good!

Last night, I started working on this painting and stopped when the hubster asked for some snuggle time. I finished it up tonight and I'm just loving it. The rabbit feels like something out of a dream. I'm calling it "One Rabbit Night", it's about 10"x15" and was made with acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

I believe I've added everyone that has asked to be added to the "Creative Every Day 2008" participants list, so if you don't see your blog up there and you'd like it to be, let me know! I'm just returning to regular life after a busy time with family, so if I owe you an email, I hope to get to that very soon. Toodaloo for now!

Holiday Craziness

December 21st, 2007, Comments (18)

Things are certainly ramping up towards the holidays! I've been running around all day doing last minute shopping which totally burned me out. I ended up coming home, eating dinner and then crashing into a nap for 3 hours. Oy! I don't usually shop so last minute, but having to combine Christmas shopping with the hubster (who is an absolute down to the wire, last minute shopper), I had to compromise and do some things way later than I would like which meant dealing with the crazy crowds, traffic, parking lots, and lines. Not my cup o' tea. But it's done and I'm relieved. I just need to wrap some gifts tomorrow and we're good to go.

There's a bit of added stress this year as I've always had to split the holidays between my parents (who are divorced and happily remarried.) But now I also have to celebrate with the hubster's family too. And this splitting of holidays always seems to leave someone disappointed about something which makes me feel so bad! My brother is newly married also and also in a brand new job as a lawyer in NYC with crazy long hours, so he too is having to run all over the place. Maybe one year when we have our own house we'll make everyone come to us. Except that some family is allergic to our kitties. Arg. What can you do. I just need to let go of the unnecessary guilt and enjoy the time with my family. Next year will my my first Christmas away from my family (we'll celebrate with the hubster's family in NY) and that will be especially odd for me. I know it's kinda strange and sad for the hubster this year since he'll be spending the holiday with my family. But still we'll be going to NY after the holiday to do a 3rd Christmas with his parents and brother. Oy. So, he can't feel that bad about it. Yadda, yadda, yadda. There are worse things in the world than holiday scheduling. It'll be o.k..

Anyways! I've got two posts up at Create a Connection. One is a random list of linkaroos of everything from cool products I've seen online to podcasts I enjoy. And the second is an updated version of what I posted about Creative Every Day 2008, which can also now be seen here.

I'll be away half of next week, so if I don't get around to posting tomorrow I hope you have a wonderful holiday if you celebrate Christmas or Solstice or something else! And if you don't celebrate, I hope your weekend is filled with love and laughter too!

Abundance – Wellness Wednesday

December 19th, 2007, Comments (10)

I'm overwhelmed with abundance at the moment! I think in the past I got used to having low expectations in regards to every one and every thing. It was a way of protecting myself against getting hurt. This is one of those habits that goes way back and becomes a part of your identity even when it no longer serves you. As I mentioned earlier in my post about defining beliefs, I'm trying to let go of those old rules that I've made up. In a special twist, I was randomly assigned the essay "Bust Your Toast Rules" for Patti's 37 Days art card challenge, which takes a very amusing look at this very thing.

One of my old rules has been: expect little to nothing and then you're never disappointed. But you see, when you expect little to nothing, that's often what you get! And then what happens when I start getting all I ever wanted, but never dared to expect? I shrink away from it. I'm one of those people who gets embarrassed by praise, is shy opening gifts, gets uneasy around abundance. It's funny noticing this about myself. I want to shake it off like an old sweater and put on something sparkly instead. I'm not talking about money necessarily when I talk about abundance either. It can be in all forms, small and large.


Yesterday, I received a beautiful lotus vase to hold my pens as a gift in a fun swap with Karen at Zazazu. I totally love it! I also received on the same day my first copy of Body & Soul which I won in a drawing on Karen's blog!! Thank you, Karen! I gobbled it up last night on the couch! I also got some beautiful holiday cards from friends and family, an item for a surprise gift for the hubster and the latest issue of Art and Life. And today, today I'm goin shoppin for a new car. Eek! Oh my, power windows and locks, something I've been longing for after years of owning a very, very basic car! Wee!

Ok, so I wrote all the above yesterday, but when I went to take a picture of the vase, my camera had run out of batteries, so I put it in the charger and ran off to do errands and didn't get back to it til this morning. But I think, it's good timing for a Wellness Wednesday post with Christmas just around the corner and lots of gift giving and receiving on the horizon. Perhaps if you too have trouble receiving, you can take some time to prepare yourself and be ready to be open to abundance in all its forms. Right now abundance for me is being up early in a quiet apartment, freshly showered in a stunningly blue shirt, jeans, and socks my grandma gave me with a big orange cat snoring behind me, looking out my window at the bare criss-cross of branches, seeing the silhouettes of geese flying in formation, and feeling warm and cozy when it's so wintry outside.

Ah, and the art above is my art journal which I pull out on occasion and I hope to be using much more in the coming year for Creative Every Day 2008! I have the journal turned vertically here because I drew a large jellyfish across the two pages. The hubster thought it looked like something rather phallic in it's early stages which made me laugh, but hopefully it looks less like a body part and more like a jellyfish now. And if not, oh well! :-)

Hope your day is deliciously abundant.

Another Quickie!

December 18th, 2007, Comments (1)

I'm off on a little adventure, more on that later. But in the meantime, I wanted to let you know that I've written a post about my blogging story at Just Be Connected, where I'm the hostess this week! Let me tell you, it's not an easy task to write about 6 years of blogging without going on and on. Hopefully, I condensed it well enough.

Also, in case the gif image  for Creative Every Day 08 isn't working for you (I think some blogger users are having trouble with the gif format. Sorry about that!), here it is in jpg form.


Oh, and one more update: I'm working on the commenting issue with typepad. Hopefully, it will be resolved soon. It seems that my blog isn't updating quickly with changes I make to posts or comments made, so it may appear that your comment hasn't published, but it has, it's just taking a long time to show up. However, I am getting the comments right away by email. So, if it appears that your comment didn't go through, most likely it did. I'm sure it'll be fixed soon!

Update 12/19 : It's all fixed!

Creative Every Day 2008 Update

December 16th, 2007, Comments (21)

Howdy! Popping in tonight to share the badge I created for "Creative Every Day 2008" and the page that I made to explain the challenge. The description page can be reached through the list of pages in the sidebar or by clicking on the badge image which is also in the sidebar. I've also put up the list of those participating.

Again, this will be a very low pressure challenge with the goal of finding more creativity in our every day lives for the year 2008. Feel free to join in! If you're up for it, let me know in a comment or email.

A bunch of people have been having trouble with the comments here. Sorry about that! I guess for most people it doesn't look like the comments are going through, but they are. I put password protection back on, so hopefully that will help things!

Creating Does a Body Good

December 14th, 2007, Comments (13)

As hard as it can be to get started when feeling low-energy, it always does me good to get creating. I started this piece last night and finished it today. It's called "Firefly Hill" and it was done with acrylic and paper collaged on a 6"x12" gallery wrapped canvas. It was entirely spontaneous in how it came about although elements of it were floating around in my brain.

I'm on a yahoo email list for collage and although I haven't written anything on it yet, I do read it. Recently, someone was asking about personal imagery and how you find it. I think it finds you. It's the images that keep popping up unbidden that over time become your personal imagery. And things come in phases too with some imagery that seems to stay through it all. The woman holding a lantern or bucket full of light is a recurring image this year and trees are a constant. And beyond the actual imagery, without even trying everyone has their own style that comes through. No need to fight it. Although, sometimes I become fascinated by someone else's style and I wish I was more like this or that, but I've learned that it's great to experiment, but it's no use fighting what your style is. In fact, it's best to embrace it with open arms. Your style is your friend.

So glad I took some time to paint, it made me feel SO much better! Thanks for the love and support you've sent my way. I really appreciate it! Stay warm!

A Little Meme Action

December 13th, 2007, Comments (12)

I'll admit, I'm still feeling a little tender and teary, everything is making me cry tonight, oy! And yet, I've made the most of a night on my own with breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs and cocoa!) I danced around the kitchen in polar bear pajama bottoms. And watched some of my favorite shows with snuggly kitties keeping me company. Maddie is right, gray days pass and happier days are on the horizon. I'm not even unhappy, just blue. And I know it will pass. And in the meantime, I'll keep doing what I can to be healthy and happy. With the idea of some light-hearted fun in mind, how bout a meme? This one has been floating around the blogosphere and I saw it last at Kelly's. So, here goes.

Do you own a gun?
Hells No

What do you think of hot dogs?
I know they're gross, but I'll still eat them at Fenway Park. :-)

What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Water, tea, or (eek!) coca-cola!

Can you do push-ups?
Yes, the girly kind.

What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring and engagement ring together. Love them.

What is your secret weapon to lure the opposite sex?
Umm, secret weapon? I'm not so good at luring I'm afraid. Maybe that's my secret weapon!

Middle name?

Name three thoughts at this exact moment:

  1. Tabbers (my cat) is like a fuzzy heating blanket
  2. Tim Gunn is hilarious
  3. I'm looking forward to a snow storm!

What time did you wake up today?
8:30 a.m.

Current hate?
Hate is a strong word.  I strongly dislike the fact that my driveway is a big sheet of ice. 

Name three drinks you regularly drink:

  1. Lime seltzer
  2. Coke
  3. tea with honey

Do you own slippers?
Yes, and they rock!

What shirt are you wearing?
A big blue shirt with a white star on it (a hand-me-down) that makes me look a little like something out of a Dr. Seuss story.

Do you burn or tan?
I tan mostly, but I can burn if I get too much sun, which I usually don't.

Favorite color(s)?
Favorite color in general is blue, but I love reds/oranges in art and my interest in colors shift regularly.

Would you be a pirate?
Um, Johnny Depp dressed in pirate gear is oddly attractive, so if he was my partner in crime, I'd consider it.

What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas I suppose. I like the lights, the color, and the time with family.

What songs do you sing in the shower?
Anything and everything from musicals, to bad 80's tunes to current stuff.

What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
Ghosts under my bed, walking down the hallways, or in the open closet.

What’s in your pockets right now?
No pockets in my polar bear jammies.

Last thing that made you laugh?
Tim Gunn talking about 3 AM mistakes.

Best bed sheets as a child?
I don't have any strong memories of bed sheets, just vague bits about 70's colors. I remember the red and white polka-dot comforter that was sooooo soft.

Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I've had a few major surgeries, but no major injuries to speak of.

Are your parents still together?
No, they divorced 20 years ago and are happily remarried.

Do you wish on shooting stars?

What is your favorite book(s)?
So hard to pick! I loved "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, "Skinny Legs and All" by Tom Robbins among many, many others

What is your favorite candy?
Reese's peanut butter cups

How is the weather outside right now?
Dark. lol. Not sure. I know it's cold and getting ready to be stormy.

What was your first thought this morning when you woke up?
Gotta get up! Gotta get up!

Feel free to grab this meme for yourself!

Random Shades of Gray

December 12th, 2007, Comments (4)

Le sigh. The world feels heavy today. Achey and gray. I'm having trouble getting my energy up, which means little motivation to write or interact. But I haven't quite fallen off the face of the earth. No, I'm here. Here, stringing up twinkle lights decorated with handmade snowflakes (that the best friend taught me how to make) and the two little birds that sat on top of my wedding cake. Here, continuing to remove the astonishing amount of garbage in our apartment and enjoying the space it's creating. Here, working on my newsletter in Panera (which I think of as Pandora) with earphones on, occasionally glancing up to people-watch...a reindeer sweater, a cute plaid jacket, an adorable printed handbag. Here, listening to Ray LaMontagne which maybe isn't helping my energy level, it's mirroring my mood. Perhaps, I'll shift to Scissor Sisters for a boost. Oh, that's better.

This weekend was super social and for me that often leads to a recovery period. But I did have fun with guests at our place, a holiday party at a swanky apartment in the city, and a day of celebrating my dad's birthday with siblings. I do enjoy spending time with people in smaller doses and I'm actually craving some sort of community. I love and will continue to nurture the friendships and community I have here online, but I feel the need for some person-to-person interaction, like a small support group or something. I feel like this sort of group does best with some sort of focus, like a book or goal or something along those lines, but I'm kind of lost as to where to start. I'd even start a group on my own if I had a good plan in mind.

Random stuffs in the works, working on new Subway Stories pieces and also working on a book idea that I've had dancing around in my head for awhile which is very exciting for me. I think the Creative Every Day 2008 project will be great help in this process too. I'm learning that these things can be accomplished in many small steps. I know I've learned this a thousand times over, but sometimes these seemingly simple lessons often take ages to truly sink in.  Back to work for me!