Friday, December 31, 2010

Sixth Night of Kwanzaa - Creativity...For New Years Eve!!

Tonight is the sixth night of Kwanzaa when seven principles are celebrated and reflected upon. I have been celebrating each principle, one for each day of this African-American holiday, by making time to reflect on each principle and think of how I can incorporate them all in my life looking forward in 2011. Tonight, the sixth principle for reflection is one that is near and dear to my heart: Creativity (Kuumba)...



Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

There is something about the way this is phrased that brings to mind taking care of our Planet Earth...

One way I'd like to leave my Planet Earth more beautiful and beneficial is by using creativity in recycling old goods and giving them a new life in a new form. I do this when I make my t-shirt scarves and t-shirt skirts, not to mention the tote bag with the recycled t-shirt flower. I also recycle when I use old book pages for my collage work which keeps purchasing new craft paper to a minimum.

I do hope to make some of the projects from the book "re-bound", which my dear boyfriend gave me as a Christmas gift this year! This book has great ideas for recycling all sorts of things and I was very excited to see a project on using old gift cards for small books since there were some gift cards I had been holding onto for their graphic art and I nearly threw them away last week! WHEW! I'm SO glad I can re-purpose them now and I'll be sure to share that project when I begin to work on it...

What are some creative ways you can leave your community more beautiful and beneficial?

***   ***   ***

Now, I have not forgotten that tonight is also the last night of the first decade of the new millennium! Tomorrow begins a new decade in this new millennium and I just know that it's going to be an exciting year...especially since I have chosen a new word (or two!) to guide me in 2011:

Amazing Opportunities!

Yes, it's time to welcome amazing opportunities in art and creativity, amazing opportunities in employment, in meeting more artists and in travel as I usher in 2011...


Here's to Amazing Opportunities and may we all have a most Prosperous New Year in 2011!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fifth Night of Kwanzaa - Purpose...

I've been celebrating the African American holiday of Kwanzaa this week and tonight is the fifth of seven principles that are celebrated. I've been burning a candle for each night as I reflect on each principle for each night of this holiday and tonight, the fifth principle is Purpose (Nia)...


Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness

I know many of the principles of this holiday are written specifically for the African American community, but I feel that many of these principles can be utilized by all of us, especially as Artists, and Purpose is an important principle to consider...

It's important to know what our purpose is in creating the work we do. If we lose sight of that purpose, then we begin to falter in our work and lose momentum. Many artists are driven by their purpose to create for others and many artists are driven by their purpose to create for themselves - both ways of working are great as long as we know why we do what we do and keep with that purpose.


I also believe that "building and developing or community...to restore our people to their traditional greatness" is an important concept to consider for many of us as Artists.  During the Italian Renaissance, artists were revered and wealthy nobility were patrons to such artists as Michelangelo in support of his greatness. Sadly, there are few people who can patronize great artists today as they did during the Italian Renaissance, but I think it's time for us artists to reclaim our place of greatness in society...and hopefully create a society of patrons for ALL the arts.

One way I hope to contribute to building and developing our community is by finding ways to work with children and youth and to inspire a love of the arts, visual and performance. I hope to find a way to volunteer my skills to this end, which I think will help to build a strong community of more artists and I hope it will pave the way for the Arts to take their place of greatness in our culture once again.

What is your Purpose looking forward in 2011? What are some ways you can help to build and develop your community in your Life?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fourth Night of Kwanzaa - Cooperative Economics

Hello everyone! Thank you for your comments on my recent posts about Kwanzaa this week! I'm glad to know that many of you are intrigued to learn more about it...

I've always been fascinated by this holiday because of the focus on principles and I tend to be a person that is driven by values and meaningful purpose so when I first learned about this African American holiday, over a decade ago, it really spoke to me. This is the first year I have chosen to consciously reflect on the seven principles of Kwanzaa and I thought they could be applied to Artists as a community - thank you for joining along with this reflection!

Tonight is the fourth night of Kwanzaa and as I've done for the past three nights, I am burning a candle as I reflect on each principle and how I can incorporate it in my life for 2011. The fourth principle is Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa)...



Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.


One way I hope to incorporate this principle is by supporting my fellow artists, through sharing about their amazing work, participating in e-courses or by purchasing their artwork.

There are also people I know that are self-employed in different trades, such as my Tax Man and I am happy to support his business! Maybe you know someone who has chosen to be self-employed that you can support?

Another way I hope to incorporate this principle is by creating some wonderful items to sell in my own Etsy shop. I've got so many ideas of wonderful things to make, I just don't know how I'll have enough Time to make them!


What are some ways you can incorporate the principle of Cooperative Economics in your life for 2011??

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Third Night of Kwanzaa - Collective Work and Responsibility...

    I have been celebrating Kwanzaa this week and tonight is the third night of Kwanzaa when seven principles are celebrated, one for each night of this African-American holiday. I have been burning a candle for each night of this holiday and reflecting on each principle. The third principle is Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima)...


    Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together. 

    This principle harks back to the first night of Unity since it focuses on COMMUNITY and the building and maintaining of a community and solving problems together does make for a stronger community...



    I have worked with many people in the past year to help solve problems or to help them figure out a way to move forward or to help them take some first steps into their creative future by using my experience and my skills I've acquired in Life. I do expect to continue doing this type of work in the name of "solving each others problems" and I'm hoping that I can acquire a scholarship to learn how to facilitate Soul Collage workshops in order to continue helping others...

    I also hope to do some collaborative work with other artists - I'm not sure how this will manifest, but I know it is something that I am hoping for in 2011...



    What are some ways you can incorporate Collective Work and Responsibility in your life for 2011??

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Second Night of Kwanzaa - Self-Determination...

    Tonight is the second night of Kwanzaa, when seven principles are celebrated, one for each night of this African-American holiday. I am lighting a candle for each night of Kwanzaa and reflecting on each principle and how I can incorporate it into my life in 2011. The second principle is Self-Determination (Kujichagulia)...


    Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. 

    This principle is so important - once we name a thing, it takes on a life of it's own, so imagine what happens when we name ourselves and define ourselves! it reminds me of a quote by Hillel:

    “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” 

    If we do not define or name ourselves, then others will do it for us...

    ...but it can't be just for ourselves, as the principle of Unity reminds us...


    ...also, if we are not naming who we are and what we want in our lives, what are we waiting for?


    Defining myself, naming myself, creating for myself and speaking for myself are skills I have been working on for many years, though I still have the occasional slip in naming certain things that I want for myself in my life. So here are some proclamations for 2011:

    I am an Artist that goes by the nom de plume "The Creative Beast" and I was given this name because I am a creative being in many forms:
    Dancer
    Writer
    Sewer/Seamstress
    Painter
    Mixed Media
    Storyteller

    I want to push my financial limits to their utmost in 2011 by earning more money than I could dare to dream of - apparently I have not been dreaming of very great financial success in the past few years!! ;)

    I want to help others find their creative voice and give support where it is needed...

    I want to create a home of comfort and welcome for the loved ones in my life...

    I want to surround myself with like-minded artists, who are enthusiastic about the work they create...


    What are some ways you could incorporate the value of Self-Determination in your life for 2011?

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    First Night of Kwanzaa - Unity

    Hello everyone! I do hope you had a most merry celebration for the Christmas holiday!

    I'm excited because tonight begins the celebration of Kwanzaa when seven principles are celebrated, one for each night of this African-American holiday. I'll be lighting a candle for each night, as is the custom, and I'm reflecting on each principle and how I can incorporate it in my life for 2011...

    I don't have a traditional kinara, but I thought this candle holder would be perfect, since it has seven spaces, one for each night of Kwanzaa...

    Tonight we start with the first principle of Unity (Umoja)...

    Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race


    This principle is an important factor in my life because my community of friends (whether near or far) is a crucial part of my life. I know I could not survive without this important community and the support they provide for me..

    However, this principle does not just focus on the immediate circle of people in ones' life - it asks us to consider community in the larger sense such as our nation and our race, which for me is simply the Human Race.

    Moving forward in 2011, I've thought of some ways to keep this principle of Unity in my life, whether locally or globally:
    • make time/space in my life for visiting friends more often
    • making time to send messages or gifts through the mail
    • contribute my skills, time or money toward a worthwhile cause

      What are some ways that you can incorporate more Unity in your life or in your community? 

      Friday, December 24, 2010

      A Holiday Story for Christmas Eve...

      You know, it seems to happen in the same way, each year for me...

      The "sell-ebrating" starts so early that it doesn't give me room to think about my own approach to the holidays and I start to get cranky and I lose any sense of joy around this time of year. Usually, there will be something that happens to help me let the Joy in...

      Recently, with the intention of trying to find some of that 'happy holiday spirit', I found a t-shirt for the holidays with an image of Old Saint Nick and the words "I Believe" emblazoned across it. I knew IMMEDIATELY that I had to have this t-shirt because I DO believe in the spirit of Santa Claus and here is why "I Believe"...

      This is the cutest image of St. Nick I've seen! No wonder I had to bring him home with me =-)
      ***   ***   ***

      A Christmas Without Gifts

      Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a family of five: a Father, a Mother, a Daughter, and two Sons. They lived in a duplex apartment until the day they were going to move into a home of their own.

      This move was going to take place during Christmas time and, unknown to the children of the family, there would be no presents for the holidays due to the expense of buying the new home. The Mother was very unhappy about this prospect and begged the Father to buy just a few little things for their children, but the Father insisted that there was no money for even the smallest of toys. There would not even be a tree for the holidays...

      The Mother cried to her Brother about all of this and he mysteriously said that something would work out - it was the season for miracles and Santa after all! The Mother was not so sure, but she certainly felt better having poured out her troubles to him.

      There was much packing of household items and clothing and the living room began to look a bit bare as preparations for the move took place, especially since there was no tree for Christmas and no presents to put beneath it if there had been one. The children however  were mostly concerned about how Santa would find them if they were in transit for moving to their new home and the Mother did not know how to answer them.

      On Christmas Eve, they were still in the old duplex and there was no tree and no sign of presents for anyone. The children were certain that there would be gifts by morning since they were still in their old home and Santa would have no trouble finding them. It didn't matter if there wasn't a tree - Santa would be able to visit just the same without a tree! The Mother put the children to bed with a heavy heart and she wondered how she would be able to explain why there were no gifts for Christmas morning.

      Early on Christmas morning, even before the children awoke, the phone rang and the Mother picked it up. On the other end a strange voice said:

      "Go look outside your front door!"

      The Mother went to the front door and opened it. On the front stoop, there was a bag of little toys, not anything grand but there were toys for each of the children. There was also a very special letter that was hand-written by Santa Claus for the children and the mother read it to them when they awoke...


      Dear children,
      I was working in my workshop with my many elves when I heard from Peter Penguin, who heard it from Sally Seal, who heard it from Wally Whale, who heard it from Flora Fish, who heard it from Cora Crab, who heard it from Sammy Seagull, who heard it from Billy Bird, who heard it from Cathy Cat, who heard it from David Dog, who heard it from Fanny Flea, who heard it from Martha Mouse who heard it from a little ant that lives in the crack of the floorboards of your home that you were moving to a wonderful new home and that you were worried that I might not be able to find you there.

      I want you to know that I will always know where to find you wherever you are. You could move to Timbuktu and I will still be able to find you and bring you your gifts! But I couldn't have done it with out a little help from Peter Penguin who told me that he heard it from Sally Seal, who heard it from Wally Whale, who heard it from Flora Fish, who heard it from Cora Crab, who heard it from Billy Bird, who heard it from Cathy Cat, who heard it from David Dog, who heard it from Fanny Flea, who heard it from Martha Mouse who heard it from the little ant that lives in the crack in the floorboard of your house.

      I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Jolly New Year and I look forward to visiting you in your new home next Christmas!

      From,
      Santa Claus

      Would you believe that Santa had drawn each and every animal that conveyed the news about the children to him! There was Peter Penguin and Sally Seal and Wally Whale and Flora Fish and all the others right down to the little ant that lived in the crack in the floorboard of the house! The children could not believe that they received gifts AND a special hand written letter from Old Saint Nick himself! In fact, they loved the letter even more than the gifts - after all, it's not every day that Santa Claus writes you a letter!

      Santa had not forgotten about them and there were gifts for Christmas after all...

      ***   ***   ***

      The only reason I have remembered that story is because, for a number of years afterward, we kept that hand written letter from "Santa" with all the little illustrations of all the animals that relayed the message of our impending move.

      Sadly, the letter has disappeared but my memory of that letter did not and my mother eventually told me some of the details about that particular Christmas - how my father insisted there was no money for presents or a tree that year and how she told her brother, my uncle, about it. My uncle was the one who called early that morning to have her look outside her door to find the toys and it was he who bought the little gifts for us and it was he who created that letter with illustrations for us to read that Christmas morning - you see, my Uncle had studied art at Otis College of Art and Design many years ago and was quite an artist...

      This story makes me think of how much creativity has been around me all my life and how much of it I have inherited from my family...

      This story makes me realize that I have always been provided for, in one way or another, whether through family, friends or the Universe at large...

      This story makes me appreciate that being provided for is such a blessing in my life since there are many children who are not so lucky in their lives - indeed, there are many adults who are not so lucky to have the blessing of getting what they need in their lives...

      This story makes me wonder if having the gift of creativity in one's life facilitates the blessing of provision? Or is there magic in creativity that helps us to see the possibility in our lives, thus manifesting what we need, just when we need it...

      This story makes me see that CREATIVITY is really MAGIC manifest and since Saint Nick is about the magic of giving that is why "I Believe" in Saint Nick...

       Dear Old Jolly Saint Nick - "I Believe" in you and what you represent...

      I hope you are enjoying the Magic of the holiday today, where ever you are...


      PS: Here is a wonderful story of  some "Santa's" making magic for families in need - Enjoy!
      PPS: My mother thinks she may still have a scrap of the original letter!! I'll be sure to share it with you all when I am able to... 

      Tuesday, December 21, 2010

      Tidbits for the Winter Solstice...

      Firstly, I want to thank you all for your responses to my last post - I had no idea I was hitting such a nerve with that post, but it is not so surprising either, when I really think about it...

      We all wear jewelry (men and women alike!) and since it is the closest thing we wear to our bodies it's not surprising that we forge bonds with these precious items. It seems that I am not the only one to have made many jewelry pieces into 'talismans' for strength or creativity or reminders of both. Your encouragement, sympathy and stories were so uplifting for me and I can not thank you enough to all of you that contacted me or left comments about my loss of jewelry and for sharing your own stories of loss. You folks are the BEST!

      With that, I think you'll be interested in what is replacing those earrings at this time...
      I'll be ringing in the New Year with these sparkling beauties...

      Lots of goodies have been arriving in my mailbox these past few weeks such as these special order earrings from CR Design Gallery at Etsy- a bit more sparkle than I usually wear, but they will work wonderfully with a necklace my dear boyfriend bought for me as we shopped for some holiday decor for his place.

      And then there were these three wonderful ornaments that arrived from participants of the Creative Color Challenge Ornament Swap...


      Here is how they look in my home right now...

      The burgundy ornament has two different patterns for each side!

      There have also been gifts arriving in my mail box for my dear boyfriend but I can't show those in case he's reading this post!!

      I went shopping at the local farmers market on a VERY rainy Sunday to pick up a few little items for others on my gift list and saw these beautiful flowers...

      I forget the name of these blooms, but the colors are right for this season... 
       
      I thought they looked beautiful with the raindrops making them appear to sparkle...

      I've been cleaning/clearing around my home as the Winter Solstice/Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse Convergence has approached and I am SO happy for the Winter Solstice because now the days will grow longer from today on out - YAY!!

      I've also been practicing a 40-day meditation recommended to me from my awesome life coach to release old crap and focus on better things so the meditiation for this evening will be powerful with this convergence taking place. I have also started a vision board in the hopes of harnessing the power of this universal convergence - here is the beginning so far...

      Symbols of joy and happiness for me - the Sun, Hearts and Flowers will provide a great backdrop

      I'm making plans to light candles for each night of Kwanzaa and reflect on each principle and how I can incorporate them into my daily life in 2011. I'm hoping to post about each principle for each day, so do stop by to see how it progresses...Kwanzaa begins December 26!

      And here is the list of classic 'Tidbits from my day'...

      Outside the window: it's raining lightly...

      I am wearing: a bright colored hoodie sweatshirt to brighten my spirits on this rainy day...

      I am hoping: for a sunny day and happy laughter on Christmas Day...

      I'm creating: a special post with a special story for the holidays (stay tuned!)...

      I'm listening to: "A Charlie Brown Christmas", my very favorite holiday music to listen to. I love it so much I often listen to it when it's not Christmas - YAY for Vince Guaraldi!!

      Plans for the rest of the week: taking time off from work to enjoy visiting friends from Thursday until the New Year!

      Grateful for: an amazing community of artists and friends, near and far, who know that to be an Artist, is to take a Journey that will lead you to the states of "Magic" and "Amazement", in spite of any obstacles in the Path...


      I hope you are enjoying this very special universal convergence of Winter Solstice, Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, where ever you are!

      Tuesday, December 14, 2010

      Missing pieces...

      I've lost a piece of meaningful jewelry...

      I'm still 'growing bolder' but no longer 'braver' since that earring is now MIA =-(


      It's the second piece I've lost this year and practically in the same location (work-related so I won't get into it)...

      The first piece to go missing was a pair of silver wings on a beautiful necklace made by this lovely lady just for readers of Kelly Rae Roberts blog. I managed to get a necklace and of course, I wore it to the retreat!

      But this summer, the wings went missing and I was beside myself...luckily, I was able to purchase a replacement pair but I've held back on putting them together with the rest of the necklace...

      As for the missing earring, I know I can remake it artfully, as I did for a different earring whose mate went missing (strangely during December just like this time!) and I will then have a lovely, mis-matched, renovated pair of earrings when I'm done (and I'll be sure to share them here), but there's something about losing these "meaningful pieces" in my work environment that gets to me...

      Needless to say, the irony/symbolism of these occurrences is not entirely lost on me!

      I also know that I do have BRAVERY, as well as CREATIVITY and STRENGTH within me and an earring is not necessary to having those strengths of character, but having the reminder was helpful in the workplace from time to time...it also makes me think it may be time for some new pieces of 'talisman' jewelry for 2011 to help me get through difficult days at the office...

      ***   ***   ***

      Do you have a special piece of jewelry or a talisman that you wear as a reminder to yourself of your strength/courage/creativity?? What is that piece of jewelry and what STRENGTH does it represent to you?

      Friday, December 10, 2010

      Lying low for Winter, Retrogrades and Holidays...

      Hello everyone and thank you all for your wonderful comments on the interview conducted by Eddie Bluelights of Clouds and Silvery Linings. I really had a blast doing it and Eddie has a great sense of humor! Thank you Eddie!

      ***   ***   ***

      I've been quiet this week as I've been dealing with challenges, releasing of old stuff (emotional and physical) and finding my way around the month of December, what with upcoming holidays and the Mercury Retrograde that began today. When I found this note about the month of December on the Alpha Life Trends website, it helped me see why I've been 'hiding out' these past few days:

      December contains many powerful aspects that will impact many areas of our life. Mercury, Mars and Pluto provide aspects that bring in information that prompts us into action which creates revisions in our goals, aspirations and plans. Mercury retrograde occurs from December 10th through December 30th, from 5 Capricorn back to 19 Sagittarius. We will revise our business and career decisions and directions as we review our goals and aspirations. We will feel the impact of the great amount of information that is also tossed into the month that precipitates a revision of our direction. Ultimately as Mercury turns direct on December 30th, we move into the New Year of 2011 with a revised plan that will be put into place on January 4th, as the Solar Eclipse opens new doors of opportunity.*

      * - underlining of key phrases by me...

      Those underlined phrases resonated with me as I do an over-view of what transpired this year in 2010 and what I want to manifest for 2011; the phrase "new doors of opportunity" is really calling to me!

      All of this reflection, change and clearing of old stuff can be overwhelming... and then there's the holidays....

      these poinsettias were found in my work neighborhood...

      ...the African American neighborhood known as Leimert Park...

      I have to be honest and say I'm not a big fan of the holiday season but bit by bit, over the past few years,  I have pieced together some reasons why...

      I'm not a very religious person but I do understand the PRINCIPLES of what December 25th should mean, but it seems that many here in Los Angeles care more about 'presents and partying' than any underlying "reason for the season" and that just doesn't do it for me...

      I've been considering celebrating a holiday that has a bit more meaning for ME - KWANZAA

      Kwanzaa is a holiday created by Bob Karenga in 1966 for the African American community to "give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."

      I am not African American, but I believe the VALUES that are celebrated for this holiday are ones we should all consider, especially as ARTISTS:
      • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
      • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
      • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
      • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
      • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
      • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
      • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

      Is it strange of me to celebrate this holiday? And yet, it has called to me for many years...if I do choose to celebrate this holiday and these values, I'll let you know how I celebrate - Kwanzaa begins on December 26...

      ***   ***   ***

      Of the VALUES listed above, which ones speak to you as an Artist? Are there any VALUES on this list you might consider working toward in 2011? I'd love to hear which ones are resonating for YOU!

      Sunday, December 5, 2010

      I've been roasted...

      ...and by "roasted" I mean that I have been interviewed for a blog!

      "I am being roasted by that gorgeous man Eddie Bluelights (who wishes he was an ice cream) at Clouds and Silvery Linings - see HERE"
      NOTE: that previous sentence was Eddie's direct quote and I am more than happy to post it!! ;)


      I met the gentlemanly and very hilarious roaster, Eddie Bluelights of Clouds and Silvery Linings, when I left a comment on his blog after his interview with Amelia Critchlow of 101 Bird Tales, a few weeks back. He then stopped by my blog and left a very nice and encouraging comment. He is quite engaging and has such a wonderful sense of humor that we sent a few messages back and forth and then he "popped the question":

      "Well, Monica, I really do think you would make an excellent subject for my Sunday Roast interview and I would be highly honoured if you featured. Oh go on, say Yes - LOL"

      I was very excited and I agreed to be 'roasted' for his blog...

      Eddie asks some great questions and when I told him that I am working on creating an interview template so I can interview creative kindred spirits for my own blog, he was nice enough to send along other questions he has used for other interviews. He is a very kind gentleman and allowed me to use one of my questions on him in exchange for his interview! I love that he is a connector - he loves to introduce his readers to other bloggers that he finds interesting. I think it's very creative...

      I think you'll enjoy Eddie's many interviews you can find in his archive - he interviews creative and interesting people, many of whom are wicked funny, just like Eddie!

      I do hope you'll stop by his blog and not just to read his interview with me - he really has a great list of interviews and you might discover someone new you'll find inspiring!

      Friday, December 3, 2010

      Ghosts of Christmas Past...

      I was reading at the blog of Louise Gale who is hosting a giveaway and to get the lovely goodies she's offering you need to leave a comment of a Christmas ornament that has great meaning for you or a favorite ornament. I thought to myself that I don't have a favorite Christmas ornament or any ornaments that have great meaning, but all of a sudden memories began to flood through my head so I thought I would begin to share some of those memories here...

      ***   ***   ***

      Heritage Ornaments... 
      A few years ago I received a wonderful gift from a dear friend, which I have written about before. She had made some beautiful holiday ornaments for me with a Mexican flavor, which is part of my cultural heritage. She used light tin to replicate the tin ornaments you can find in Mexico, and added images from a traditional Mexican game called Loteria. She also beaded the edges or added bright colored tinsel trim and some ornaments had miniature ribbon poinsettias, which is a flower that originates from Mexico and also Central America, where my father was born...

      These ornaments came at at time when I was was finding my own connection to my cultural heritage and they were so beautiful that I cried upon seeing them. Since then, I've collected miniature versions of Mexican tin ornaments, including a hammered tin angel for a tree topper and I love to decorate my little tree with these very special ornaments.

       a Loteria card, a game that originates from Mexico and is similar to Bingo

       My tin angel atop my little tree with miniature traditional tin and corn husk ornaments and miniature sombreros

      Poinsettias made of ribbon and corn husk - a flower that has been connected to the holiday since 16th Century Mexico


      My Mother's Christmas Decorating
      For a few years running, my mother took to decorating the front door for the holidays and she would wrap it as one giant present! I wish there were pictures of these amazing 'set pieces' to show you because that's just what they were...

      She would take a roll of beautiful gift wrap and find beautiful trimmings to go with it. Then she would take the front door down from the hinges to wrap the front portion of the door with the gift wrap paper, making sure not to block the peephole!

      She would wrap beautiful ribbon around the door and tied a large bow, sometimes adding many more bows to create a very full bow. She might add some small trims such as birds or gold painted branches and when she was finished, the door would be put back on the hinges for all to see. It was a lovely way to be greeted at our front door. My mother has been thinking of reclaiming this tradition and if she does, I'll be sure to get some pictures to share here.

      There is another memory of a Christmas holiday from my early childhood I've been remembering, but I'll share that story before Christmas. I can tell you that a great deal of creativity and storytelling was involved!

      ***   ***   ***

      I've been working on ornaments for Louise's Creative Color Ornament Swap as well as making ornament gifts for a few friends this holiday season. Here is what I've been creating:

      Christmas angels for the month of December

      I made these clothes pin ornaments using tissue gift paper and metallic ribbon - they are such fun to make! I may have to make a whole other set of them for my own tree...


      Do you have any special holiday ornaments that have special meaning for you? Did they come from a friend or family member? I'd love to hear your stories - you all have such amazing stories to share!

      Thursday, December 2, 2010

      DOH!

      It seems the links are not working properly for the Big Dreams, Small Wonders e-course badge I've posted earlier yesterday and I can't figure out how to get them working properly, even with reading through the instructions over and over...that's what I get for having my head in the clouds and dreaming away!! ;)

      Maybe it's a sign from the Universe...?

      I hope to have it working properly in the next day or two or I may just have to drop from that program altogether...

      In the meantime I want to shout out to Kathryn who left a great comment on that last post:

      I've been thinking of giving up the dream of a career in art too!!

      It's good to know I'm not alone =-)


      But I feel there must be some way to harness all my skills and experience into some form of creative endeavor that can bring in an income, isn't there??

       The art skirt that used to be my blog banner...it's great for art events!


      Does anyone out there have any ideas of how to harness my years of experience and skills into a creative endeavor? All ideas are most welcome!!

      Wednesday, December 1, 2010

      Dream, dream, dream...

      I've been a bit down lately and I'm not entirely sure why, though it's likely related to my work situation. So, I decided to take the day off today to get a few things done and maybe even get some cleaning and clearing done in my home...my home has been in a messy shambles since February when I was making my first drawing for Patti Digh's book (Four Word Self Help) and packing (too much it turned out!) for my first art retreat with Artful Journey...

       some of the things I took to Artful Journey in February 2010...

      These days, I manage to create in the mess, but it's getting to be too much and I've been dreaming of an uncluttered home and uncluttered creative play-space, but I've also been dreaming of moving from my humble abode as the neighborhood has really changed a lot in the last few years...

      Sadly, it all just feels like far away dreams since I don't have funds for moving or buying what's needed for better organization in my home. LA is a very expensive town and I'm very lucky to have been in a rent controlled apartment for many years; in fact, the low rent has afforded me the ability live alone and have the extra room for a creative play-space, clutter and all...

      sadly, my work table is even MORE cluttered than this these days...

      But I have been feeling the need for some big changes in my life and though there are some things that have occurred (art exhibit, artwork published, opening 2 different etsy shops), it doesn't feel like very much is actually happening.

      When I read the story of blog buddy Louise Gale about her upcoming move and how it happened, it brought some hope for me. Louise has managed to manifest some amazing things in her life, such as the ability to leave a day job and embark on a career as a full time artist, things I would love to do in my life as well. When she began to promote her upcoming e-course, it sounded great, so I signed up on the early bird special, as well as signing on as an affiliate, because I think this e-course is going to be amazing:


       I have an affiliate link on the sidebar!

      She is offering a great 4 week course in manifesting dreams and goals that begins January 3, 2011 and I can't wait for the New Year already...

      There is a workbook and planner, which is filled with her signature bright colored painting style. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the workbook and it's filled with some great prompts as well as lovely colorful art, which I might start working on in advance of the class. If you're interested in more information, you can click on the links and let Louise herself tell you about this class...

      ***   ***   ***
      I have to say that making the decision to join the affiliate program was interesting for me. I'm always happy to promote my blog buddies by linking to their posts and their projects but I never thought of it as a way to bring in some extra income, which is really much needed at this time in my life. Louise has put together a really great class and I can't wait to participate in it and, since she offered an affiliate program, I think this may be a way of the Universe telling me that there are many ways to bring in an income, besides a regular 9 - 5 job, and that it's time for me to start seeing those alternatives (opportunities?!) and start acting on them...


      What are some things you're dreaming of today? I'd love to hear about them!

      Tuesday, November 30, 2010

      Tidbits...

      I've done this type of post before and since things are bit busy in my neck of the woods, I thought I'd post another version...

      ***   ***   ***
      Outside the window: the sun is out, though the air is cold - Winter weather has finally arrived...

      I am wearing: brown and burgundy colors and a necklace I purchased from this Etsy seller during the summer; I'd love to purchase her newest version of it...

      I am hoping: for an amazing, fabulous opportunity that will bring the things that makes this Creative Beast happy: energetic people, fun, creativity and enough money to be comfortable, instead worrying as I've been doing lately...

      On my mind: how I'll be able to access the Big Dreams Small Wonders class hosted by Louise Gale I'm participating in next year in January; maybe the fabulous opportunity will help to solve that puzzle!
       
      I'm Creating: a mess in my home as I sort through everything to clean and clear my space for a fresh start in 2011...
       
      Plans for the rest of the week: getting gifts for my dear boyfriend who has a birthday in December, as well as Christmas; working on more pages and the covers for my dream journal; getting prepared for the holiday season ahead...
       
      Grateful for: quality time spent with my dear boyfriend during the previous holiday weekend; winning a blog giveaway HERE; getting some sales at my other etsy shop; getting my day planner for 2011 on sale HERE...
       
       
       bits and bobs of my Grandma Betty's tools and trims makes a lovely image...
       
       Isn't it interesting to see how so many tidbits can create a pleasing whole?

      ***   ***   ***
       What are some things you're hoping or creating today? I'd love to hear about them =-)

      Friday, November 26, 2010

      My No Clothes Challenge Ends TODAY!

      It's official!

      My No Clothes Challenge ends TODAY!

      I did it - 365 days of going without any new or used clothes, hats, handbags and shoes...YAY!!

      As of today, I can run out and buy clothes, hats, handbags or shoes of any kind if I want!!
      Oh, wait...

      Actually, I can't because I no longer have any money for that due to the pay-cut from my job...

      ...but that didn't stop me from starting to keep my eyes open for a few new items ;)
      ***   ***   ***

      I feel ready for a bit of a newer look - maybe it's because I've turned 45 and I want a few new clothes to reflect the new things that have happened in my life since last year...though I will be honest and say that seeing those women at last week's brunch did put some ideas of looking a bit more fabulous into my head!

      I've felt this way before and I now realize that I may be feeling this way again because my work life is really lacking in some of the things that make this Creative Beast sing a happy tune - primarily, interaction with FUN PEOPLE!

      No wonder the words FUN and CREATIVE keep coming up in my vision boards for a new job/opportunity!

       
      I'm looking for some happy artistic people to be around...


       
      Yep, CREATIVE and FUN is the recurring theme around here...

      There's an old saying: 

      "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have"

      If I begin to dress in a more fun, creative and colorful style, will that bring some fun, creative and colorful opportunities my way with some fun, creative and colorful people for company??

      I'll let you know as I begin to search out some great new items to begin a fun and colorful look for the upcoming year...though, I can say I already have a few items that can be used for this new look - HATS:

      A cocktail hat I designed and made to show my Celtic spirit...
      can you believe this hat is made of PAPER?!? This colorful favorite was found at The Gap...
      a fun, pink pouf I knitted with chunky yarn...
      I love burgundy and this hat and hand bag are favorites for Fall and Winter...


      Do you use clothing to give yourself a lift of the spirits? Do you have any favorite items that bring some fun and joy to your day when you wear them? I'd love to know what they are!

      Wednesday, November 24, 2010

      Dreaming of Opportunities...and some Gratitude

      In a previous post I mentioned that many of the amazing things that have occurred in the past year were not things I ever dreamed of but opportunities I acted upon, which leads me to think that perhaps I should abandon the 'dream' of finding a better 'job' and focus instead on seeing the opportunities when they arise...

      When I posed the question on preferring dreams or opportunities, Kathryn left a  great response:
      "dreams to me, are just longings, yearning for something to happen...opportunities seem more action based, making solid plans and goals to achieve what we truly want for ourselves. I think we all need a bit of both"
      YES!! It reminds me of a quote I once saw and try to keep in mind often:

      Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity

      Those opportunities from last year were not planned for or dreamed of, but I was prepared enough to recognize the opportunities when they came my way and prepared enough to be able to create and act on them...

      a mash-up of vision board/journal page for November...

      I've been playing with some of the techniques presented in the Journal Your Dreams workshop that took place last week and created a vision board/journal page to represent my dreams of more opportunities to come my way -  just barely in time for making the Full Moon Vision Board time-line...

      "possibilities are blooming"...

      These new techniques have been great fun to play with and I'm getting more comfortable with the concept of 'journaling', as I move forward with these new techniques and I realize that it's okay to work in 'metaphors'...

      metaphorical money = financial abundance that will come with OPPORTUNITIES...

      I used to have play money to use but I couldn't find it in my home so I decided to create a "money metaphor" image for my page/board - I like how it turned out!!

      Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and I'm lucky to have a long holiday weekend. Unfortunately, I may not have much access to a computer so things may be a bit quiet here until next week. In the meantime, here is bit of what I'm thankful for:

       an "attitude of gratitude" to the Universe for providing future OPPORTUNITIES that will bring FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE =-)

      I'm grateful for my friends, blogging and otherwise, near and far...
      I'm grateful for my dear boyfriend...
      I'm grateful to have an amazing Life Coach in my life...
      I'm grateful to have the ability to create with my hands and to see the fruits of my labor...
      I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and food to eat...



      Do you have anything you're grateful for today? Is there someone you're grateful to have in your life? Why not tell them? You can have your own Attitude of Gratitude Day! =-)