Friday, January 23, 2015

A Not-So-Great Week and Some Peeks at the PiP - My Accomplishment Journal Part I

Hello to one and all!
It's been a bit of an up-and-down week but I wanted to share some peeks at the Accomplishment Journal I finally managed to start putting together this week...

Materials for the cover of what will be my Accomplishment Journal...

In my previous post, I shared a glimpse of the materials that would go into the cover of my Accomplishment Journal, which you can see above. I was finally able to begin sewing my book cover this week, since I had some free time on my hands due to the cancellation of what was to be my first workshop of the new year...

My sewing machine on the table, threaded and ready for sewing my book cover...

Yes, my first workshop of 2015 was cancelled, HOWEVER, there was at least ONE STUDENT that registered for the workshop, so there was some interest in this first offering for the new teaching venue. It took much longer to get even one student to register for my workshops at the local community college before I finally got enough students to make up a whole class to teach...

Trims and embellishments are being sewn down to create a lovely cover I will enjoy looking at every day...

And I have to admit that while figuring out a date to teach I had a niggling feeling that January might have been too soon after the holiday season to teach a creative workshop...

The lining is attached to the cover with all trims sewn down and the manila card stock is cut to fit to add some stiffening to the book cover*

But I had some hopes that there just might be some folks itching to come out for some creative play in the new year...

Detail shot of the inner book lining of tea-dyed muslin

After all of the years of listening and watching as people 'tighten their belts' after the holiday season, I really should have known better than to schedule a creative workshop in January...

Detail shot of the lining and cover seam with all trims tucked in the sewn seam for a nice clean edge finish...

But I got swept up in the excitement of having a new venue to teach from and, of course, I wanted to start right away!

My Accomplishment Journal cover is now sewn and ready to be filled with paper pages to write on, but what papers to use?? Stay tuned...

Learning that my workshop had been cancelled was a bump in my week, but I took the time that would have been spent teaching and used it to finally begin sewing on the cover for what will be my Accomplishment Journal for 2015 and it made my day much better...

I was disappointed about the cancellation of course, but not totally surprised since my intuition had been telling me that holding a workshop in January really was too soon after the spending spree that is the holidays, but know I will know better in the future!

I made a bit of headway on the Accomplishment Journal as you can see from the photos above, but there was a small element that had gone missing - a little sprig of paper flowers I intend to tuck into the cream 'pocket' you can see on the cover flap above.

And that sprig of flowers is not the only thing that has gone missing in my home for other Projects in Process. It seems the fold over elastic for a recycled t-shirt skirt I hoped to complete before the end of 2014 also went missing...

I am now convinced that there is a gremlin in my home stealing my supplies to keep me from finishing my Projects in Process!!

I will be back to share more of my Accomplishment Journal as it progresses to completion and I will be sure to let you know if I catch that little gremlin and get my missing supplies back! ;)

I hope you enjoy a Fun Friday and weekend of creative adventures =)

* - This method of making a book cover comes from the online workshop 'Remains of the Day', taught by Mary Ann Moss

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My New Year So Far...

Happy New Year!

Okay, so it's 14 days into 2015, but if I have not encountered you since the old year, I'm entitled to say "Happy New Year"!

My dear boyfriend (aka Man Of The House, now that we live together!) thinks this is a silly thing, but that is how I am... ;)

Now, I don't know about YOU, but my new year so far has been quiet yet making an impact. Here is what's happened so far...

My special WOTY journal was created by Kristen Fairgrieve of Bag Lady Lulu - she makes great custom journals! If you are looking for a special one-of-a-kind journal, check her out and tell her The Creative Beast sent you =)

As the New Year commenced, I began to REALLY journal through my Word of the Year for 2015. Last year, I did NOT do any journaling for my word and 2014 was a horrible year of struggle and challenge. But I do have to say, I'm pretty sure using the word MONEY to guide me might have been too loaded a word to use, especially without having a plan for how it would guide me. Chalk it up to another Lesson Learned...

And the next time I think of using the word MONEY as a guiding word, you can bet I'll be journaling it before the year begins!

If you read my previous blog post, you'll know that my WOTY for 2015 is COMMUNITY and here are some lovely things that have happened since the New Year regarding my WOTY:

Two long standing blog buddies have begun to return to blogging this year! I have really missed their presence in 'Blogland', so it was a real treat to see them begin to blog again in 2015...

I signed up to participate in Jennifer Lee's Right Brain Business Plan Ecourse for 2015! I've followed the blog of Jennifer Lee since 2006 and I remember when her Right Brain Business Plan was a simple PDF download tutorial with an audio CD for the guided meditation and it cost all of $19.95!!

I did not buy her PDF at that time but I've watched this Right Brain Business Plan grow into an ecourse, then into a book, and now it is a way for people to learn how to coach other creative entrepreneurs to build their creative businesses in a way that is fun and non-intimidating. I am excited to be in a group of other creative entrepreneurs who are trying to build their own businesses too! It is a new COMMUNITY for 2015...

Also new for this year is a teaching venue in Westlake Village, called Banana Rose...

I responded to a call for instructors I saw online as one of the owners of Banana Rose was looking for more instructors to teach in the small studio in the back of their store. I made an inquiry and before you knew it emails were flying back and forth, and suddenly I was scheduled to teach my "I AM: A French Fold Book" workshop for this month!

During the holidays, I made a trip to meet with the owners and I met with the daughter of the mother-daughter team behind Banana Rose, along with meeting the 'store mascot', a King Charles Spaniel named Triscuit! You can see Triscuit in the photo used for their Facebook page and I'll link to it again so you can see just how cute Triscuit is!

The teaching space can host about 12 students at the most which is what I prefer for teaching venues. I am really excited about this venue and I look forward to my first teaching event, which will be next Tuesday!

I've been talking about making a new journal for myself for 2015 and it will be an Accomplishment Journal. During my trip to visit Banana Rose, I saw a little grab bag of embellishments that I came home with. I knew right away that I would be using it as a launching point for my Accomplishment Journal! After I brought it home, I began to find more materials to use for making my Accomplishment Journal:

There are more materials I've assembled for making my journal, which I've shared on my Facebook page, but what with all my WOTY journaling, and homework I have for the Right Brain Business Plan Ecourse, I have yet to make real progress on my journal, but it IS slowly coming together.

I also have a bit of an obsession with finding some values based card decks to use in my daily meditations or to use as a daily reflection practice...While I was journaling my WOTY, I came across an exercise of using card decks to draw for each month of the year, as a sort of 'oracle' for 2015. I have a few card decks of my own, including a tarot deck of lovely color pencil art:

I also made a card deck of pages from my first art journal made at my first Artful Journey Retreat. I couldn't really use it for the 'oracle' exercise of my WOTY journaling since, for me, it is meant to be a 'deck of cards' for keeping my large art journal in a small format:

My art journal pages turned into a deck of cards! Now I can carry with them in my purse to view whenever I want some visual inspiration...

The back of my cards has art from my secondary art book, made from cut pages of the larger art book. I love the look of the colors and script together!

Since doing this 'oracle' exercise, I'm obsessed with finding more card decks that are 'value based', instead of card decks that are meant for 'divining' the future.

I've found quite a few unique card decks I'm longing for, but one of the assignments for the business ecourse is to create some 'value cards'. I've seen a few cards made by fellow Right Brain entrepreneurs that are sparking my imagination to make a FULL DECK of 'value cards' that can be used for daily/weekly reflection or meditation...

You can bet that if I embark on creating such a deck, I'll share it here with YOU, so stay tuned to see what's next as 2015 begins with some creative ideas sparked!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kwanzaa Values, Word of the Year and a Story of Holiday Magic...

Hello dear friends,
It's been a wonderful holiday for me this year with a few surprises of holiday magic. I'm still reveling in it, and I deserve to after this year of struggle and challenge, but I've been looking forward to the new year of 2015 since participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge Reverb14, and even earlier since joining in August Moon14.

Following along with such thought-provoking prompts has helped me to discover a few things I need to make my new year a fruitful and rewarding one, but I've been wanting to return to the values of Kwanzaa since I skipped my usual annual post last year. I think that these extra values will help me to stay on track as I move through the year ahead.

So here is my year end post as I review these values and think of how I might incorporate them into the year ahead of 2015.

NOTE: This is a long post as I plan to include my Word of the Year for 2015 in this post, along with a little story of holiday magic, so cozy up with a cup of tea or coffee and let's begin!

The holiday of Kwanzaa was created for the African American community in 1965, which is the year I was born in! However, when I look at the values on which Kwanzaa is founded, I believe they are strong and positive ones that we all can find a way to use in our lives. To start with, here is a list of the values, or principles, behind the Kwanzaa holiday:

Self Determination
Collective Work & Responsibility
Cooperative Economics

From this list, I look at each principle and think of how I can incorporate each principle into my life as I move forward in the new year, and move forward as a creative artist...

The aspect of unity I want to focus on in 2015 is COMMUNITY, as I continue to build a community of kindred creative folks (or 'beasts'!) that can support me with what I need in my life at this time, which is laughter, kindness and generosity. I am excited that I have begun to create this artful community that I need and I look forward to finding more members as 2015 moves forward...

The aspect of self determination I'll focus on in 2015, of course, is creating for myself - creating a community of fellow artists and creating my career, which I've been working on but I feel it could use some fine tuning, so perhaps 'defining myself' might also come into play this year as I sort out what would work best for ME as I continue to search for a way of working and crafting a career that is a right fit for my needs...

The aspect of this principle I would like to focus on in 2015, as I continue to build my creative community, is to find ways to help others discover their own creativity, find the common issues artists grapple with and find ways to solve those issues. I do hope that some of my workshops can help others with creativity and I hope to find ways to help fledgling artists overcome some of the issues we face as we all continue with our creative work.

The aspect of this principle I would like to focus on in 2015 is to find more creatives with Etsy shops and to shop from them. There are many Etsy vendors providing creative materials to work with, and a few wonderful vintage Etsy shops I've bought from in the past, and I hope to be able to earn more money in 2015 so I can continue to patronize some of these favorite shops, and maybe even a few local ones when I am able to discover them in my own neighborhood. I really want to support local businesses in 2015, however I can, when I am able to find them.

The aspect of this principle I want to focus on in 2015 is to keep on track with some of my goals for 2015, such as some of the things I'd like to do more of in terms of self care, or the accomplishment journal I plan to make and use to remind me of all that I manage to do as I continue to build my creative life.

The aspect of this principle seems pretty clear to me! However, I do want to focus some creativity just for me in 2015, in ways I have mentioned before, such as making myself a few new clothes or a few new pieces of jewelry, and after some of my baking adventures this year, it seems as though a little creativity in the kitchen is on deck for 2015!

The aspect of this principle I believe I need to work on in 2015 is to have more faith that things really do work out as they need to. It's not always easy to believe this when faced with a lack of money earnings, but sometimes magic can step in to fill the gap...let me share a little story of holiday magic to help illustrate this:

A Little Story of Holiday Magic!

In early December, I was out on an errand to find some plain boxes to decorate with my style of collage for a potential client who wanted me to collage the boxes that would be used as gifts with decorative glass objects included inside. Unfortunately, I was unable to find boxes in the sizes or thickness needed to pack the glass objects and insure no breakage during delivery.

I was unhappy at the prospect of losing a job that had the potential for some great pay, but on the way home I stopped at a favorite cafe I had not been able to visit since my move to my new home. While in the gift shop section of this cafe, I spied a fun 'piggy bank' and took a picture of it in the store, in case my dear boyfriend just might be able to buy it for a gift:

In truth, money has been pretty tight in this first year of our shared household together, but I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page anyway, knowing he would see it. I made mention of how cute I thought this 'birdy bank' was and how I'd love to have it to save my pennies for a trip to PARIS one of these days...

And my dear boyfriend did see this photo, along with a few other friends on Facebook - particularly an old friend who moved to Paris many years ago...

The next morning, after posting this 'birdy bank' photo, I found an email waiting for me - a gift certificate for the very shop that carries the 'birdy bank' with enough funds to cover the cost of this adorable bird!

And this wonderful gift certificate came from the old friend who lives in PARIS!!

She bought me the gift certificate to use to buy this very bird bank because she thought this bird was too cute and it had my name written all over it! She also told me I only need to save for airfare since she has a spare room in her home that I am MORE than welcome to stay in (with my dear boyfriend included in the invite!) and she provided the best times to come out to see Paris - fall and spring!

I made a call to the shop to insure it was still available and, after telling them the story of how I got the certificate, they got very excited at the story! They made a special online listing for me to buy my bird bank and placed it on hold in the shop so I could pick it up at my convenience and my sweet bird arrived home to be on display before the little holiday party we hosted for some good friends:

And in the end, the client that wanted collage art gift boxes used my creative skills to artfully gift wrap the glass gifts instead, and deliver them, with all tasks to be paid at the original sum that had been quoted for the original project, so I really didn't lose out on a creative job after all!

For a little while there, I lost FAITH that things would work out, but with a little holiday magic from an old friend, my FAITH in magic was restored and everything worked out wonderfully...

***   ***   ***

What sticks out for me in this story is how a member of my Facebook community came forward to give me a surprise gift, something that has been happening a lot since finding a few creative friends through the magic of August Moon. The idea of community has come up a LOT since my writings for August Moon, and they came up again during my writings for Reverb14.

It seems pretty clear now what my Word of the Year should be in 2015, and it is this:


A few years ago, I used 'abundant support' as my WOTY and it was hard to let go of this as a guiding principle. Abundant support can come from anywhere, which can be a wonderful thing, but I am feeling the need for a COMMUNITY of people that I can trust to provide support in the years ahead, and I know that I have the seeds of that COMMUNITY with the mail art friends I made this year. I'm sure that more folks will come my way as I begin to focus on building my COMMUNITY of Creative Beasts!

And I hope YOU will be a part of this wonderful new community!

Many thanks to each of you who stop by my blog to read and take inspiration from my creative adventures - I hope that you'll take time to say hello by email or to leave a comment on my Facebook Artist page. It would be great to say hello back to you =)

May the New Year bring Health, Happiness, and Creative Joy to YOU!