Thursday, December 24, 2009

What I Really Want for Christmas...


a corner of my holiday decorated play-room - the first time I've decorated this room for the holidays and I love it!

begin the day with a walk in the quiet morning light
stretch my body, mind and soul with yoga
have a favorite breakfast in my favorite breakfast bowl
then spend time in my creative play-room doing the following:

  • work on a Completion Ritual for 2009, as wonderfully suggested by Andrea Scher of Superhero Journal
  • work on goals/resolutions for 2010, with help from Gretchen Rubin's fantastic tips at her blog The Happiness Project
  • work on a way to incorporate the values of Kwanzaa, a wonderful African-American celebration that begins on December 26 and lasts 7 days; I hope to incorporate those values all year!
  • work on my personal "Treasure Map", recommended to me by my own wonderful Life Coach, Pete Lee
  • create a 3-d 'tool kit' to go with my personal treasure map, mixed with elements of the "Happiness Kit" I read at the blog of The Craft Gypsy; it's a great 'happiness kit' - go check it out!
  • bake a quiche for my lunch-break - working on one's goals/resolutions for a whole year can make one hungry!
  • create an extra 'tool kit' to give a dear friend for a holiday gift - I'll be sharing the elements of the 'tool kit' here soon!
  • create a special house-warming gift for another good friend
  • have holiday movies/music playing throughout the day
  • watch my creative play-room transform, as the sun goes down, into a sacred space where magic is made...


what my play-room looks like at night with twinkle lights shining in the window...

  • conduct my recent nightly ritual of "Abundance Meditation", recommended by my coach Pete - it feels SO right to do this ritual in this space...

another corner of the play-room at night; an old wire dress form like the one my granny had...

  • close the day spending time with my very dear boyfriend, who has agreed to make my first "Retreat of Solitude" possible on this very special holiday...


Many, many thanks to the most understanding boyfriend a Creative Beast could ever have!




May you all have a wonderful holiday, however you choose to spend it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glitches gone...for now!

I was having the darnedest time accessing Blogger yesterday and I worried that the last Mercury Retrograde for 2009 might have arrived earlier than scheduled but I am able to access Blogger today - WHEW!

Many thanks to those of you who commented on my post regarding special gifts. I was particularly struck by Mel's comment on different cultures having different ways to decorate for the holidays so I'm very glad that I was able to show a glimpse of what a Mexican holiday can look like. Perhaps next year I'll divulge more about the Mexican culture at the holidays - unless I decide to do a French-themed holiday!

Holiday movies I like to watch...my very favorite is "The Bishops Wife" - Cary Grant is so dashing!

Some of my personal traditions for the holiday includes my Annual Movie Matinee with my dear Wise Woman, Janet. Janet is Jewish and does not celebrate Christmas, but she does love the time that the holiday allows for visiting friends she does not get to see often during the course of the year. Janet and I started our Annual Movie Matinee a few years back so I could show her favorite moments of my favorites movies. We start with delicious foods and there is always goat cheese since we share a love for it! Then we settle in as I show her favorite highlights or funny moments from some of my favorite movies. It is one of the things I look most forward to all year...


Another annual event that I look forward to is the Los Angeles Holiday Celebration. This amazing and FREE* event has taken place every Christmas Eve since 1959, making this year the 50th Celebration. I remember watching it at home as a little girl since it's simulcast on my favorite local public televison station, KCET. One year, I finally went in person since many friends (and a future boyfriend!) were performing in the Celtic Arts Center Choir and I wanted to lend my support. It is an amazing show of amazing and diverse talent that is a real treat to see live. In the past few years this fantastic event has been nationally telecast on PBS stations and KCET is planning a webcast for Christmas Eve! Do try to tune in if you can - you won't be sorry, I promise!


I love "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and my dear boyfriend bought me this gift knowing that - they actually skate to the tune "Christmas Time is Here" by Vince Gauraldi, a great jazz musician


I may be working on a new tradition regarding the new year coming which I may share soon, so stay tuned!



* - have I ever mentioned that FREE is my favorite 4-letter "F" word?!?!?? ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Technical Difficulties...

I seem to be experiencing strange technological glitches today but hope to have it solved in the next few days...

I do hope the last Mercury Retrograde for 2009 has not arrived early...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Special Gifts...

I thought I'd share some special gifts I've received from "Christmas Past"...
*** *** ***
One year, my friend Margarita made some really wonderful ornaments for me, with a Mexican flair; not surprising since she is also a Latina like me! She used images from 'loteria' playing cards and light weight tin to re-create the look of hammered silver which you can see on the angel tree topper below...this is what my "Mexican" holiday tree looks like this year.


this tree is currently in the office I work at...

I was really touched when she presented me with this gift of ornaments. I went looking for other ornaments that are used in Mexico during the holidays so I could have a full "Mexican" holiday tree when I'm feeling that vibe. I live in Los Angeles so I made a drive to visit Olvera Street and located many miniature tin ornaments that are common in Mexico during the holidays and I thought miniature sombreros and pottery pieces would be a fun touch. I also located bright colored flowers made from corn husks, which are also common...

I love the detail on these ornaments - Margarita has a great eye!

The following year she and worked on making a batch of ornaments together and I gave away some of the ornaments as gifts. I will always treasure these beautiful ornaments Margarita made for me...

I just couldn't believe the amount of work and detail Margarita put into the ornaments - look at the beading!

*** *** ***
One year I received a candle gift from an individual* who will remain nameless. My boyfriend saw this gift I received and wasn't very impressed by it until we checked it out at his home later that evening since it's a candle that makes noise.

Imagine the two of us cuddled together on the sofa at the end of Christmas Day, in front of his little apartment fireplace and listening to...well, you really have to listen for yourself so I made a little video for you all...I hope the sound comes out okay!



video

My dear boyfriend was rather horrified by what came out of this candle and I was not the only person to receive this gift!! I keep this gift for the value of humor it brings every year - it really is a gift that keeps giving!!


What are some treasured gifts you've received in the past? What are some not-so-treasured gifts you've received?? I'd love to hear your stories!!!


Many thanks again to the participants of the Donation Giveaway! I may have to do another giveaway like that again soon!


* - To be fair the giver of the candle did redeem themselves the year they gave me this lovely 'holiday treasure chest'; I now house many special ornaments in this lovely chest...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Donation Winner!

Many thanks to the readers who left their favorite charities in my post where I offered to donate $20 to their favorite charity. I am donating on behalf of ANNA who left her favorite charity of the YWCA, East Cherry Hill location. Anna, please e-mail me with your last name since I will be making this donation in YOUR name!! You will find the e-mail in the side-bar of the blog =-)



I'm still having trouble getting into the spirit of the holidays but I was glad to see that ChunkyChooky has been writing about similar feelings - now I don't feel like I'm the only one!


I really liked her post about whether to tell her children about Santa or not. I know it can be a tricky thing and some people have been traumatized when they discover there is no actual "Santa Claus"!



What I find interesting is how the Giving Spirit of the season goes by the name of "Santa Claus" at this time of year, but goes by the name of "Charity" for the rest of the year, as if the Giving Spirit undergoes a gender transformation!! What is that about??!?!




Since it seems that giving has been making me feel better during this crazy time of year I'd like to share something I discovered...



I came across this fantastic e-book at the blog of Seth Godin, when reading at Brazen Careerist the other day. Both blogs can be very interesting and often provocative reading, but this FREE e-book is filled with great little essays. I haven't made my way through the whole collection but I really appreciated one of the essays from the man himself on the topic of Generosity, which you can find on page 5. But here is what I loved in the essay the most:




"Art can't happen without someone who seeks to make a difference.This is your art, it's what you do. You touch people or projects and change them for the better.

This year, you'll certainly find that the more you give the more you get."



I think this may be a resolution for the next year!


here's a favorite treat i love at this time year: hot chocolate! mugs from my personal collection

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday...

I will finally get my overlock sewing machine back TODAY!!! It took longer to repair than I wanted, but at least I will have it in time to make some clothing alterations for a possible holiday outfit...


I will also be getting my hair trimmed in time for my dear boyfriend's birthday which takes place tomorrow! Goodness, that reminds me I've got wrap those birthday gifts!!!


While I wrap gifts, remember that the deadline to submit your charity of choice here on the blog is December 13. Did I forget to mention that the donation will be made in your name??


Thanks so much to those who have already left comments here on the blog about organizations that mean something to you
! I hope I see a few more... =-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Humbug to Holiday Card Stress!

Sometimes I send holiday cards and sometimes I don't - but I always have some on stock so when I have the urge to send cards, I have them handy. And I try to have my cluttered little home decorated by the first weekend of December so I can at least enjoy it until January 1, when I sometimes 'break down the set', as folks in the entertainment field say. For me, though, there are two homes to be decorated: mine and my dear boyfriend's. Thankfully he has an awesome train-set to go around the tree! But really, I try to pace myself so I don't fall into the trap that it seems many people fall into at this time of year...


There are a few folks who are writing about this "most wonderful time of the year" and some of the stress that it brings. I really loved this post by Brene Brown - please go and read it now! Her book, "
I thought It was Just Me, But it Isn't" on guilt, shame and shame resiliency is one of the best books I bought and read this year and I highly encourage you to get yourself a copy!


I also appreciated this post from MagpieGirl since she talks about the things she stays focused on to keep the stress of the holiday season down to a minimum. I love it!



How do YOU deal with holiday cards and decorating at this time of year? Do you go for it all or pick and choose?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Humbug to Consumer Christmas!

In the past few years I've definitely worked on keeping the Christmas Consumerism down to zero, when possible, since I tend to make gifts for my nearest and dearest, with the exception of my dear boyfriend due to the fact that he is a bit of a computer nerd and I know a techno gift is what will bring the most joy. I try to do any purchasing BEFORE Thanksgiving day and avoid shopping malls on Black Friday and participate instead in "Buy Nothing Day", though I actually made it more like 'Buy Nothing Weekend' this year - YAY! I also wait to make any online purchases until the day after Black Monday - I hate the idea of being part of the holiday statistics!! But I generally have most gifts ready for wrapping by the first week of December.

"The Spirit of Consumer Christmas" reappears every year...DANG!


Imagine my surprise when I discovered the book "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays". Written by economist Joel Waldfogel, he does get into some economic lingo but essentially discusses the waste (or dead-weight loss as he calls it) that buying presents can produce at this time of year; and he does so with a great sense of humor! It is a very eye-opening read and the most interesting take-away I got from this book is this fact:

If people had more money at their disposal, they would donate to charity MORE OFTEN

Which of course leads me to ask:

Why don't people fore-go gifts in lieu of donations made in the names of friends and family?



If I did have more money* for donations here is my list of charities of that I like and would donate to:

KCET - my local public television station; I don't have cable so this is what I watch when I'm not watching movies on DVD. It's intelligent and informative, there are great shows like "History Detectives", "Great Performances", "American Masters" and "Charlie Rose" for great late-night talk show. I love my KCET! (they also broadcast an amazing local holiday show, but I'll talk more about that soon..)

KCRW - my local radio station that has some of the coolest indie music going and they play my favorite radio show of all-time...

This American Life - great stories and great storytellers coming out of Chicago, which leads me to another charity from Chicago...

Inspiration Cafe
(now called Inspiration Corporation) - I love the story of how this non-profit serving homeless and jobless has grown out of a little red wagon to their own building, where they now have a culinary school to help people learn a trade that will get them work

And of course, my favorite arts organizations:
TEADA Productions, which I've mentioned here

Highways Performance Art Space and Gallery - this is the place where I got my start in creating performance art and met so many amazing artists


Now my question to you, dear readers is:

What charity would you donate to if you had more money and why?


Leave a comment about your favorite charity by midnight Pacific Time December 13 and I will choose one worthy cause to donate $20 to! I will announce the charity winner on December 18. I'm determined to turn 'Consumer Christmas' on it's head!!!


* - unfortunately, I'm working with a non-profit organization that depends on the state budget for money and if you are aware of what has been happening in the state of California and the budget issues happening here, well you get the idea!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Confession...

an effigy of "The Spirit of Consumer Christmas" I made and burned at a bonfire in November...



I admit it:

I'm a Scrooge at Christmas...



...but I think I'm actually the flip side of Scrooge because I love the decorations, the lights and the music. I love spending time with my very dearest friends and my dear wonderful boyfriend. I love most holiday movies. And I just can't live without viewing one of the many versions of "The Nutcracker" that I own, especially "The Hard Nut", choreographed by Mark Morris - it's so much fun to watch and a great spin on the classic versions.




But I do NOT love the CONSUMERISM that takes place during this time of the year =-(




WHEW! I'm feeling better now that I've gotten that off my chest...



There are a few other things I don't particularly like about this time of year, but I will not discuss them all at once. What I will do is write about certain aspects of this time of year that trouble me, ask for various view-points and then follow-up with what I DO like about this time year, in the hopes it will move me out of my yearly holiday funk*...



Is there something you don't particularly like about this time of the year? How would you change it if you could? I'd love to hear your thoughts!




This idea came about from reading at the blog of Pepper Stitches, who is writing down the things she is grateful for until she reaches 1000, in the hopes it will increase her happiness - I think it will =-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Grey Area...

I've been in a bit of limbo due to the onset of the holidays, stuck between the black and white of it all...experiencing the murky shades of grey in-between...




Maybe I'll move out of the black area if I decorate my home this weekend...???

Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I love - Tea By the Sea...

I've really gotten into tea and serving tea in the last few years and I have a great resource for buying it. It's a wonderful shop in Ventura County called "Tea By the Sea" and it's run by the very knowledgeable and generous Cindy Yoshitomi.

teapot and tea infused chocolate from Tea By the Sea; vintage teacups from my personal collection

A few years ago, my dear Wise Woman told me about her friend Cindy and the tea shop she runs so, on one of our visits to Ventura, my dear boyfriend and I went looking for the little shop. It's located in a building now called The Bell Arts Factory, which used to be a mattress company, but the building has been renovated into an arts complex and Cindy's shop is tucked into a hidden corner of the building. (I love that it's part of an arts complex!!)

She has many wonderful herb teas stored in glass jars and they look so beautiful. Each jar is labeled with the type of tea contained within and there are so many variations! Luckily, Cindy loves to share her extensive knowledge of the various teas and their healing properties and often will prepare some teas we may not have tasted before so we can gain an appreciation for them. This is how my boyfriend and I grew to love rooibos* teas.


One of the treats that I discovered were the tea infused chocolates she sells in her shop. A few years back, I gave some of these tasty delights to a few friends for Christmas, along with some vintage teacups and a few bags of tea that I thought each friend would like - they loved it!

mmmm, these tea infused chocolates are so yummy! the orange blossom is my favorite

On a recent trip to her shop, she told me that she had received a huge order for 35 pounds of tea and was puzzled by the amount of tea being ordered at one time. It turns out that it was an artist ordering tea for dyeing fabrics!! Cindy offers many herbal teas that can in fact be used for fabric dye, so if you're looking for a resource to by herbs for home dyeing, you may just want to check out her website and see all the offerings she has available, for craft or drinking. She has organic teas and tries to work with Fair Trade tea dealers as often as possible.

I love that she believes:

"...having TEA enhances the cre.a.tiv.i.tea of people
who desire to make the world a better place to live"


With someone like Cindy who believes that tea and 'cre.a.tiv.i.tea' can make the world a better place, it's no wonder I love tea over coffee!
;)


* - better known as 'bush tea' if you ever watched or read "The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency"!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks a LOT!!

Today is Thanksgiving Day and I just wanted to share a few things and say a few thank you's:


Many thanks to my dear boyfriend who has always been supportive of my creative endeavors, especially his offer to help me make a better banner for my blog!


Much gratitude to my wonderful Life Coach and fellow performance artist, Pete Lee, who really encouraged me to register for the Artful Journey Retreat, and encouraged me to start this blog, which has opened up so many doors...


Thank you Tinniegirl, for being open to friendship and encouraging me to participate in your Blogtoberfest - I've met so many wonderful bloggers, such as Curly Pops, I Speak Melsh, Cul*ti*vate and so many others!


Thank you new readers who have discovered my blog through Blogtoberfest and are part of my little 'Tribe of Creative Kindred Spirits' - I'm so glad you enjoy my blog enough to make it a regular read =-)


Thanks to the fun knitters and the owner at Stitch Cafe!! I love knitting with you all!


Thanks to all my wonderful friends, new and old who have been in my life - you've all made much joy in my life...



Now for some fun!

I have mentioned before my love of This American Life and I want to share some fun Thanksgiving/Turkey/Chicken themed episodes they have aired in the past:

This is the most recent episode they have been airing and the theme is more along the 'magical/supernatural' properties of fowl (Poultry Slam 2008)

This episode includes stories from my all-time favorite episode and a few I haven't heard yet, but I will likely rectify that this weekend! (Poultry Slam 2003)

This is an interesting episode with a story of Francois Mitterand's last meal (Poultry Slam 2001)

This is my all-time favorite episode with a great history about the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, an opera about Chicken Little and the relationship between two sisters and a duck puppet, which generated one of the funniest phrases I've heard: "Rev up the duck"!! (Poultry Slam 1999)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


*** *** *** *** ***


Goodness, tomorrow I begin my "No Clothes Challenge" - Wish me luck for the next year!

It's slowly dawning on me how difficult this might be since I have even cut out thrift shopping for clothes altogether...conversely, I am also seeing how many clothes I actually have and it really is quite a bit, though some goes into storage for winter or summer. Since I've been working on storing the summer goods I really see how much I have and I need a better system for organizing and storing.

Maybe I should start calling this the "Organized Clothes Challenge"?!?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Minor Calamity...

So I was working on my trusty overlock machine Saturday afternoon and when switching the threads to another color, it stopped working. The light was still on but when I put my "pedal to the metal", nothing happened, and I mean NOTHING - not a hum, or a splutter or a last gasp of operation!

I had to call information to locate a place I had taken my machine before and wanted to go to again in the hopes I could get a loaner, which this particular repair shop had provided in the past...

my dear trusty overlock machine is being diagnosed for location of disfunction =-(

I got to the shop and explained what happened with my little machine and the guy at the shop thought it could be any number of things that went wrong:
  • it could be the power cord, which I'm hoping for since it's the least expensive option
  • it could be the connection to the pedal, which is the next level of expense for repair
  • it could be the motor, unfortunately the highest level of expense, though not as likely since I didn't smell any smoke during operation
When the guy at the shop mentioned it could be a more than a few days if it turns out to be the motor or the foot pedal, I asked about getting a loaner since I do have much sewing to do, whether it's costumes or holiday gifts. That's when I was told they no longer have loaner machines - OH NO!!!!

I am REALLY hoping it will just be the power cord and the repair will be done in no time and I can have my trusty little overlock machine back by the weekend. In the meantime, I guess I'll have to work on knitting and paper crafts during the repair process...good thing I spread the creativity around!!

*** *** *** *** ***


In related news:

After dropping off my dear trusty overlock to the repair shop, my dear boyfriend and I made a trip to IKEA to look into the long dreamed of sewing table. Upon seeing it, I realized it may be longer in length than my current table and may actually mean some serious reconfiguring of the sewing room altogether if I bring this table into my workspace. I had not brought measurements of the current table with me, but my boyfriend made measurement notes so I can take them to the sewing room and begin the work of what will need to happen for this table to make it into the sewing room.


Good thing I've been working on this for the last two weeks, which has not been easy for this 'pack-rat', as Glitterbygrammie commented on my last post - boy, we pack-rats can spot each other a mile away!! Which is why I love how she hides her pack-rat tendencies from her husband! ;)



Here's hoping my overlock machine will be restored to operation and SOON!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sewing Room Update...

my sewing table before the clean-up and de-clutter began...

I've been meaning to give an update on how the clean-up in the sewing room went during my "4 days to 44" that I posted last week. I can say that by the end of Saturday, it was a bigger mess than I started but I knew that would happen so I tried not to stress about it too much and proceeded to spend the evening with my dear boyfriend, and then Sunday morning having breakfast with some good friends to celebrate my birthday. I did more work for a few hours on Sunday but the bulk of clearing the sewing table took place on Monday and here is how my sewing table now looks:

my trusty overlock machine

this Kenmore machine has been with me since the age of 11 and still going strong!

an IKEA storage item (thrifted!) now housing all the sewing implements that had cluttered the table before

It took quite a bit of 'elbow grease', but passing the time with Sex and the City playing on my MAC really helped the time go by! I was excited to have found a use for the IKEA storage unit since I originally bought it for rubber stamp storage and I had not utilized it yet so it made it's way into the sewing room to house all the necessary sewing implements that I like to keep near my sewing machine. I have plans to collage cover it and hope to do that soon!(I'll be sure to post pictures of that!)

As for my other work table it's not quite looking like this from last week, but it is a little cleaner.


I'll continue working on clearing this table during the weekend and next week...

I did take a picture of the closet in the workroom before the clearing commenced and here is what it looked like before the tornado* hit:


how can i make this closet look organized and pretty...is that possible??

I don't have any pictures of what the closet looks like now but this closet also got some clean-up but I would really love to make it look more organized and pretty, if such a thing is possible. During the cleaning, I went through the bins of fabric and made notes on what I currently have and hope to use during my "No Clothes Challenge". It was great to consolidate like fabrics together and clear out goods that I know I won't be using. I cleared a lot of items in the room and made space so when I get the new sewing table there will be room to assemble it - I hope! I also uncovered some holiday items I'd nearly forgotten about but I'm glad I found them! Be on the look-out for some pictures of the holiday items soon...

Now that the sewing table is cleared, my dear boyfriend is asking if we will be going to IKEA to get the long dreamed of sewing table soon, but for some reason I'm feeling hesitant to actually buy it. I'm not sure if it's not wanting to spend the money, though I set aside funds from costume work for this very table. Or maybe I want the room to look better before I bring a sparkling new item into the room...??




Have you been hesitant to move toward "The Long Dreamed Of" thing in your life? If so, what did you do to break through and claim that thing?? I'd love to hear what you did - maybe it will help me go out and get that new sewing table!!


* - did i really say 'tornado'? guess i now have those on the brain after admitting my secret desire to chase them !!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm A Winner! But aren't we all??


It seems that I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award** by Chrissy at Cul*ti*vate - can you believe it?!!?!

Now that I have been nominated, I am to do the following:


  1. thank the person who nominated me for this award (DONE!)
  2. copy the logo and place it on my blog (this will be the tricky part for my technologically challenged self! it may not show up here for a day or two...)
  3. link to the person who nominated you (also done!)
  4. name 7 things about me that people might find interesting (see below and let me know if they're interesting!)
  5. nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers (easy-peasy!)
  6. post links to the 7 blogs I nominate (done & done!)
  7. leave a comment on each blog letting them know they've been nominated...(also easy)
I can certainly think of 7 Kreativ Bloggers:

  1. Tinniegirl
  2. CurlyPops
  3. I Speak Melsh
  4. EmmStarr
  5. PepperStitches
  6. ChunkyChooky
  7. STARASHAN


Now for the 7 interesting things about me...hhmmmm, where to start?

  1. I have an affinity for the snake, probably due to the fact I was born in the Year of the Snake, and it's also one of 3 animal symbols for Scorpio
  2. I LOVE hats and handbags! Shoes, not so much, though a friend recently told me I have pretty cool shoes
  3. I was never a big fan of the color RED*, but I have found myself ever increasingly drawn to it in the last few years - a co-worker stated that I was surrounded by PASSION and I think that may be why I wear it lately =-)
  4. I've jumped off a 40 foot pole into...NOTHING!! Okay, I was strapped and cabled within an inch of my life, wore a helmet and had a team of experts to insure I would not plummet to my death and this was for a crazy work retreat! However, it was a really cool experience and now I want to try the "trapeze school" being held at the Santa Monica Pier!
  5. I love watching little fluffy dogs walk away 'cuz i just LOVE how their little rear ends twitch!! SO CUTE!!
  6. Like Chrissy, I too have a fear of large bodies of water but it's a general fear of the immensity of so much water, so I don't go into the ocean for fear of being swallowed up
  7. I have a secret desire to be a Tornado Chaser!!

I can't believe I've actually won a blog award and I've only been blogging for not quite four months!! Of course, I'm not surprised that Chrissy has won the award and she has also been blogging for a few months, but she took the plunge to BEGIN blogging and that is what REALLY makes her a winner. I'm so proud of her for taking that plunge to begin to blog about her creativity because she is really making the effort to HONOR her creativity and put it out there into the world, which is exactly what all of the nominees I have listed are doing every time they post about their work, their lives and what they are PASSIONATE about.


Which is why I say "aren't we all winners?"





* - the reds i'm drawn to are the dark shades like crimson, but i really, really love burgundy

** - many thanks to Chrissy for giving me some tips on getting the award onto my blog!!! YAY!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today, I Am Born...

Some Stats:
Born at UCLA Hospital, Los Angeles California
November 17, 1965 at 5:55 am
Western Astrology: Scorpio
Eastern Astrology: Year of the Snake


can you believe i was this cute once?? ;)

A Creative Beast is born!!

Today is my personal New Year and what a year it has been. Many trials and many joys occurred in the last year; here's a quick run-down:
  • have worked with amazing Life Coach, Pete Lee for just over a year
  • began a plan to find a new job that is more fulfilling
  • began to formulate ideas for creating my own job - one that does not yet exist!
  • dreamed of starting my own blog
  • bought book "Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts - charmed and inspired by her journey
  • dreamed of attending an art retreat
  • began a test blog to learn some basics of the Blogger system
  • registered for An Artful Journey Retreat and got space in Kelly Rae Roberts class!!
  • Launched "The Creative Beast" blog - this was BIG!!
  • "met" Tinniegirl/Cathy through the Artful Journey online group
  • pitched workshop/class ideas to owner of local knitting shop - met with enthusiasm!
  • Participated in first Blogtoberfest, with encouragement from Tinniegirl
  • Submitted resume/portfolio to production company and craft magazines for potential creative jobs
  • 'met' more amazing artists through Blogtoberfest
  • working on creating curriculum for future classes at knitting shop and other locations
  • looking forward to Artful Journey in 2010
  • working on creating organized and beautiful workroom worthy of a Creative Beast!
And that's the short list!!


Looking forward into the next year, I have been considering taking the challenge posed by Rachelle Mee-Chapman at her blog, Magpie-Girl. Go ahead and read this post about it and then this other post, then come back to hear my personal plan. Go on, I'll wait! ;)


Have you read her posts on "A Year Without Clothes"? Great! So here is my plan for participating...


Challenge:
A year without clothes, new, on sale or used!

  • I will use this challenge as a way to get the creative fashion juices flowing and use fabrics in my stash to make the clothes I dreamed of when I bought those fabrics
  • I will utilize the many, many clothes residing in my closets and work room by embellishing them to give them new life or renovating the items i've found at thrift shops that are still waiting for renovation
  • I will use those projects to create tutorials to share with like-minded folks who have an interest in STYLE over fashion and like wearing unique garments, especially ones they have made for themselves
  • I hope to inspire others to join in this challenge throughout the next year


I just love Rachelle's project and I love that she encourages everyone to play along and make their own rules as they go. I will certainly utilize the idea of having 'coupons/passes' to allow me to buy certain things as the year progresses. I will have a friend hold those coupons for me so I have someone to be accountable to for using them, but will list them on this blog so you all know what I'm up to and will help me stay on track for this challenge.

I will begin this challenge on Black Friday, a day before Buy Nothing Day(US), since I usually celebrate Buy Nothing Day(UK) on that day.



I know this is going to be a big challenge for me in the next year but I'm ready to take it on. Will you lend support and encouragement on this journey? Would you like to join me? Let me know what you think!

PS: "Thank You" to some of you who have sent advance wishes for my birthday - they have been truly wonderful and heartwarming =-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Four Days to 44!

In four days I will turn 44 years old - WOW!! I could not imagine what the 40th decade would look like when I was a young girl and now all I can think is: this is pretty cool, this gaining life experience thing...



I love to use my birthday as a personal 'New Year', a time to reflect on the past year and look toward the next year of aging, gaining life experience, wisdom and knowledge. This past year has been one of difficult growing pains but also of much personal expansion and pushing of personal boundaries, such as starting this blog.



There is much I want to accomplish in the next four days before my actual birthday and the biggest goal is to declutter my workroom/studio/creative space...as you can see here, I've got my work cut out for me:



my current sewing table with the trusty Kenmore and the overlock; the cover stitch is hiding

I've been wanting a new sewing table for my workroom for some time, not to mention a tidy and functional space to work in for sewing, collage, and jewelry making...the knitting generally takes place in front of the TV...

Not much room for creating here!

It's time for a beautiful, organized and functional workspace for this Creative Beast and I'm hoping to get the two main tables relatively cleared so I might be able to get the new sewing table I've been pining about for over a year. I know I will really need it because I've been thinking of setting a special challenge for myself in my 'new year' which I will post about next week and I hope that many of you will help me stay on track for that challenge and maybe even join in..? Stay tuned for details!



But here are some general plans for this "4 days to 44" weekend:
  • I plan on finishing a t-shirt scarf so I can finally mail off the Giveaway package of goodies - sorry it's taking a while Mel! (BTW: love your 'Pink Christmas!)
  • I'll spend some time with my dear boyfriend during the weekend and the big B-day
  • I'll squeeze in some knitting of, what else? MITTS!!
  • Visiting some dear friends I used to work with for breakfast

And heed the advice of Pete, my Life Coach, to "Celebrate Myself Wildly"!

In the meantime, I plan on seeing some performance art buddies strut their stuff tonight, which I think is a good way to start my weekend off!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Poem/Prose...

Last night I had the opportunity of working with a lovely dancer and performance art friend, Shyamala Moorty, since she has been conducting a class in movement and spoken word with TEADA Productions which I've mentioned here before.

I was inspired to work with some text I've worked with before but also liked a phrase I created when I worked on the challenge set by EmmStarr for her end of Blogtoberfest giveaway and posted here a few days ago. Here is the new poem/prose:



Pioneers of Creativity -

AWAKE!

Bring forth your courage
Your expressions of Beauty will
Inspire the World
and shed Light on
Laughter



It was great to work with my body to create movement for the words and string it all together. It was a small class with two other lovely ladies, one of whom I had worked with in a workshop a few years back. They also produced some really beautiful and powerful work last night. It was so invigorating to be with women creating with words and movement!

The last class will be next week and I will continue to work on this piece at that time, but I like what I managed to create in just an hour and a half. I will have Shyamala make a little video of the work and I might just post it here...maybe!!

Or maybe I will continue to work on it and present it at a later time...stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Shifting...

I've been at a bit of a loss on what to blog about lately since I have been 'shifting', as I mentioned in a previous post.

Being an artist is tough. I live in a society that doesn't really value art - if it did, we would still have art as curriculum in the schools. This is why I have been "underground" so to speak, but after discovering the world of art blogs, I knew I would eventually join the community and make my voice heard among the many brave and artful souls that I have followed for the last few years.


I read Tinniegirl's recent post and I know how she feels because I've been there. And I also know that it does pass, those dark feelings...

I love that she states "You are the one creating this struggle" because it is something I have been working with lately after seeing Wayne Dyers movie "The Shift". We do sometimes create our own struggle and I know because I've been working my way out of the struggle to leave a job that is not fulfilling. I struggle with creating a life that is more meaningful to me, that allows me to create and to share creation and creativity with other like-minded people, but I often fall into the "infinite abyss"* when it seems as if nothing is really happening. I heard once:

"Pain is the distance between where we are and where we WANT to be"

(source unknown)


and I instinctually felt that this is the pain I find myself in. Artists have a unique way of seeing what is possible in the world and when the reality of what surrounds us fall short of the beauty we KNOW this world can be, it is painful and disappointing. But at the same time, the fact that we CAN see potential, beauty and the possibilities of an amazing future can be our saving grace and is the North Star** we can use to guide us on our artful or creative journeys.

Sometimes we just need to take time for ourselves to sift out what is really unhappiness or what is a period of contemplation of growth that may be taking place or has already taken place. I know this 'shifting' work that I am in process with comes with 'growing pains' of doubt, uncertainty and unknowing of the outcome. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful Life Coach who is on this journey with me, who has encouraged me to move from being 'underground' to being in the light and let my voice be heard.

I am also fortunate to have 'met' so many wonderful artists and creators through my blog and I applaud you all for your valiant energy to continue walking the path of creation and artistry - you all inspire me everyday!



* - "infinite abyss" used in the movie "Garden State" - great movie about learning that depression and unhappiness are part of the Human Experience

** - "North Star" used in the book "Reviving Ophelia" by Mary Pipher - used as a metaphor for the guide/goal to help you steer your own boat/stay on your own path

Monday, November 9, 2009

Poem for EmmStarr (M*)

Over at the blog Emmstarr (M*), a giveaway was being conducted on the last day of Blogtoberfest 2009, which was rather challenging, but I thought it was a great writing exercise. I was not lucky enough to win the adorable tea cosy prize, but I thought I would share my little prose/poem here:


the seamstress sat under the tree to take her fresh cup of tea
and soon after fell asleep...

where she was inspired by dreams of the pioneers of creativity who fed
their souls with craft and sang as angels...

as she awoke, she still heard the song and it was a bird in a branch above



You can check out the amazing winning story here. Thanks to Emmstarr for such a fun word challenge!
I hope she considers another one in the future...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shifting...

It's been quite a day already and not necessarily a good one but luckily there are a few things that have made it MUCH better:

I saw this
post at the blog of future classmate in the Artful Journey Retreat, Chrissy at Cul*ti*vate and it was great to see her honoring herself and her need to create - way to go Chrissy!! I also noticed in the comments that Tinniegirl will be moving forward with her painting as well and going beyond the "ugly stage" to something I'm sure will be wonderful - YAY!

My wonderful Life Coach, Pete, sent this
posting to me and I really needed to read it after the morning I had!! I can't wait to look into the other postings on this blog.

I was also listening to this
audio book on the way to work this morning as some follow-up to the movie "The Shift" which I saw last week with my dear knitting buddy and fellow artist, Jane, who has been kind enough to loan me her copy - thanks Jane!

"The Shift" was quite a film to watch and if you have a chance to see it, you should. You might be able to
locate a screening near you or possibly host one. One storyline in particular will be of interest to many artist/crafters out there - it's the story of a wife/mother who has forgotten the artist part of herself in the busy hub-bub of being a wife and mother but begins to remember that part of herself and attempts to reclaim the artist within her.

I know that many of you out there can probably relate. I know I've seen many people close off parts of themselves and it's sad to witness. I can't say that I have done this since I have always managed to create, whether sewing costumes as a career or simply creating my dolls and gifts over the years, but I have ALWAYS created and I could not ever imagine stopping this part of myself because it's like breathing to me...but watching that storyline made me think of the many artists whose blogs I follow and I think many of them would appreciate this movie. I know they would certainly appreciate that the 'wife/mother' character makes a decision to reclaim this integral part of herself.

It can be hard to make that choice and harder still to keep making that choice everyday, to choose to honor those parts of yourself. It takes a great deal of strength, not to mention a few friends and loved ones who can cherish that part of you and support and encourage you. Making the shift to honor yourself can sometimes be painful, and I know because I have been feeling this pain as I move forward and share myself with the artful blogging world, but I know it is well worth the fight.

So to all of you, I will give these words of Emile Zola as a "mantra" on your journey:

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, as an artist, will answer you: I came to live out loud."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One year ago, on this day...

One year ago on this day, America made history by electing it's first African-American president, Barack Obama...


I LOVE how self-possessed he is in this moment before the Inauguration Ceremony...

The self assurance this man possesses is nothing short of phenomenal - it takes a bit of life experience to get to this place, my friends, but as we see, it can be done!

A moment in History...


The moment the announcement was made that Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States of America was quite a moment and in January I took the day off to watch the Inauguration Ceremony and witness History continue to unfold. It was a long journey from 2004...

**** ***** ***** ***** *****

In 2004, when George Bush won his second term as president, I was beside myself and simply had to create something to express my deep felt disappointment. Here is what I created:



collage 'flag' with hand-written background & photocopied textiles as paper


This piece would alternately be titled: "A New Flag for A New America" or "A Better Flag for A Better America", depending on my mood with the state of the nation. The hand-written background contains ideals of what the colors of the flag represent for me:

Red is for Courage - White is for Compassion - Blue is for Truth
Red is for Passion - White is for Purity - Blue is for Honesty
Red is for Love - White is for Innocence - Blue is for Integrity

detail of hand-written section

After the election of Barack Obama I finally knew the title of the piece would be "A Better Flag for a Better America". I believe this country has all the elements to be a great nation that our Founding Fathers would be truly proud of if they were alive today.




Now, this was not the first time I used art to make a"political statement". Way back in the mists of time there a strange fellow who tried to run for president of this country and I thought he was quite deluded in his thinking so this is what I created for him:



"Rebel Without a Clue" By "The Creative Beast"


Does anyone even remember this man? His name is Ross Perot and who knows where he is today!

It can not be overlooked that this country experienced a BIG shift when Barack Obama was elected to the presidency and I just couldn't let the day pass without taking a moment to celebrate this 'anniversary' in the history of America and re-live some of the moments. Thank you for reading my moment of nostalgia!


I did not note the sources of the photos since they were collected in January and I did not think I would share them publicly but I can say that many were pulled from Associated Press, Getty Images and the New York Times. If anyone can correct the sources, please let me know and I will ba happy to do so!