Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm so scared...

...but not because it's Halloween night...

I'm scared that I will not be able to find another job...

I've written before about my current work situation and I've been looking for a better job, though I have been taking the time to locate something that is in alignment with who I am, as well as looking for something closer to home. But so far, nothing has panned out and it's scaring me...
  • I'm scared that the messages that are being implied in my current workplace ("artists are not welcome here", "you don't deserve better pay so we're cutting your pay", "you have to make do with inferior technology", "it's a terrible economy so there are NO jobs for you") are seeping into my subconscious...
  • I'm scared that not knowing how to use current technology/programs may be hurting my chances for a better job...
  • I'm scared that my subconscious is starting to believe that I don't deserve a higher level of pay for the work I do...
  • I'm scared that my subconscious is starting to believe that there are no jobs for someone as skilled and hardworking as I am...
I've discussed one of the biggest problems in this workplace with old co-workers who have managed to escape, which is a culture of RESISTANCE TO CHANGE. I fear this culture may be known in the larger world of non-profits locally and that it may be tainting me "by association"...

I know it may sound far-fetched but I just can't shake these ideas...

It's as though I'm surrounded by people (zombies?!) who have learned to accept that they deserve the treatment they are getting, but I am not and I try to fight it but I'm not heard.

It sounds like a horror movie, doesn't it?

Except it's what is happening in my life at this time...and it's rather horrific to be surrounded by people who ARE resistant to change, who quietly accept the treatment they are getting, and would rather complain about the treatment instead of taking some actions to make a CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. It's as if it's easier for them to accept the FEAR instead of to take charge of their own lives and they are trying to suck me into their world of complacency! EEEEK!

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Okay, I just needed to indulge that little bit of fear for a moment so I can now move forward...PSYCH!! ;)

Let's take a good look at all that I have done to get out of this work situation and into a better OPPORTUNITY - notice I didn't say "JOB"? That's because I know that OPPORTUNITY is a better word because I really don't know what may be coming my way that is INFINITELY BETTER than a "job" =-)

Here are the things I've done that will lead to the next Big Thing:

  • I started working with a great life coach
  • I started my blog
  • I've met amazing bloggers that are supportive in the work I do and I support the work they do as well
  • I attended an art retreat
  • I opened an etsy shop
  • I took an amazing e-course to help me with  my creative business
  • I've submitted artwork that landed one exhibit and two publications
  • I've submitted work for a contest and will use that submission to create a bigger project to help others
  • I'll be attending another art retreat
  • I'm planning on attending a training to do work that is in alignment with who I am and what I do
  • I opened another etsy shop to generate extra funds for my creative endeavors and share a legacy of creativity
  • I'm working on another project that I hope will help others to find a different kind of "ancestry" they can draw upon for inspiration...more about that soon...
  • I'm planning to take this awesome on-line workshop which comes in time for my birthday goal of making a big vision board for my personal new year - I think this project will be a great way to achieve that!

With a list like that, a better opportunity has just got to be around the corner for me. I am working toward CREATING OPPORTUNITIES instead of looking for a "job" because in this way, the sky is the limit!

Though a better job close to home with better pay won't be refused! ;)

What is YOUR list of accomplishments you can point to and say "Look at all that ACHIEVEMENT! I'm pretty awesome!"  - I'd love to hear about some of those achievements!

I hope you are having a fun and creative Halloween with more treats than tricks!!

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Remember: today is the last day to sign up for the knitting giveaway! You have until 5pm Pacific Standard Time...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dia De Los Muertos and Honoring Ancestors

Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is coming and I'm looking forward to celebrating this event later tonight* with a dear friend at Hollywood Forever...

This is an annual event in the Latino community, especially in Los Angeles, and it's a way for people to honor their ancestors. I've been honoring my family ancestors throughout this month by sharing stories of them and I've been honored to hear stories of your family ancestors that you have shared with me. Let me share a few images from past events so you can see how Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated at Hollywood Forever...

A calavera just hanging out for the festivities!

It's a fun day of festivities, performers and vendors, but the big attraction is the display of altars, also called "ofrendas", which are created to honor those who have passed from this world into the next world. Many of the altars are conceptual ones, but traditionally they are made with images of the deceased and surrounded by beloved tokens, personal items and favorite foods and beverages enjoyed when they were alive...

 Here is one altar honoring family ancestors - I love the way it's a "Theater of Life"...

Many of the altars are conceptual ones made to honor the passing of beloved pets or of celebrities, especially since Hollywood Forever is a cemetery that has a few celebrities buried here...

Rock On - an altar to honor great rock musicians, complete with instruments - maybe they'll come out to play! ;)

Dog Heaven - an altar celebrating canine friends who have left this world...

This altar was for the victims of the Avian Flu epidemic - those beautiful, singing winged creatures...

You can watch old silent films at this event and popcorn is provided - mmm, popcorn!

Hollywood Forever is a beautiful cemetery and my grandmothers ashes were spread here under a beautiful sculpture; we also honored the passing of my grandfather in the same area...

The sculpture where my Grandma Betty's ashes were scattered - she loved angels!

Dia De Los Muertos is a beautiful way to honor those who have passed from this world and into the next. It's a way to re-connect with the memories we have so we can keep them close to our hearts...

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Do you have a way you honor beloved family and friends who are no longer among us? How do you celebrate their memory and the life they lead? I'd love to hear about it!

Feliz a Dia De Los Muertos!!

There's still time to sign up for  the knitting themed giveaway I'm having - GO HERE to leave a comment and good luck!

* - if it doesn't rain, that is!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dancing, Spontaneity and Defining Moments...

I've been mentioning my history as a dancer this month and when I found some old photos of myself dancing I asked my dear boyfriend to scan them so I could share them with you...

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Artful Dancing with Spontaneous Abandon!
Many years ago I was taking a class of modern dance with an instructor named Sylvia H. Goulden* who was a dancer with an amazing local dance group called "FreeFlight Dancers". They would perform at the Brand Library in the art galleries and do improvisational dance to interpret selected pieces of the art on display. How awesome is that!!

They had stopped performing by the time I was studying dance with Sylvia but she would talk about the performances and I was thrilled to hear the stories...

The opportunity to do this type of dance came along when a special event was being held to honor one of Sylvia's art instructors who had passed away. His name was Alex Vilumsons and his artwork would be on display for a special retrospective exhibit and I was asked to join with a few dancers from FreeFlight Dancers to perform in the gallery with the beautiful artwork. Naturally, I said YES!

Dancing with Art - could anything be better??!?

One of the things I loved about this experience is that I had the opportunity to do improvisational dance, which is something I love - to make up dance movements in the moment. Working with the FreeFlight dancers was similar to the way Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the improv artists in "Blink" - you follow rules of engagement to create successful spontaneity. We would work with music and create some wonderful key moments to hit at specific times and leave room to create something fresh in the moment during the rest of the performance...

In the book "Blink", Mr. Gladwell wrote** of the improv artists that the biggest rule is to accept everything that happens to you to develop action. He also writes that many of us are very good at SUPPRESSING ACTION and this made me think of the struggle many of us face...

I think that the aspect of suppressing action (which is really another form of FEAR, in my belief) is why many of us artists struggle so much as we journey to become more fully ourselves. I'm not always good at accepting everything that happens to me, but maybe if I can remember that Life is a Dance, that I can choose to improvise in every moment, it may make life easier...and it may even lead to some really beautiful outcomes...

This was how we ended our performance. It looks like a living sculpture - totally improvised and absolutely breathtaking for our audience!

Defining moments...
I've been reading a great book titled "Throw Out Fifty Things" by Gail Blanke and in one chapter she talks about listing your "Defining Moments":

"A defining moment is when you found something in yourself you didn't know you had, or forgot you had, and pulled it out. And as a result, you changed an outcome from negative to positive"***

I've always considered this dance event to be one of the highlights in my dance 'career' and I can say it was a defining moment because it was juxtaposed with another event happening simultaneously:

My brother was moving out of our shared apartment and he did not tell me he was moving...****

After he left, I had two weeks to make a decision whether or not to find a roommate or to take on the task of paying rent on a two-bedroom rent-controlled apartment alone and I had to make the decision quickly...

I chose to go it alone and I've been improvising ever since!

The idea of listing your defining moments is to look at those moments and draw upon them for strength so you can move forward in your life. I'll be working on my list and sharing it here from time to time. I'm sure you have defining moments where you turned a negative into a positive! We all have such moments and often forget about them...

What are YOUR defining moments? I'd love to hear about them!

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Be sure to stop by this blog post for your chance to win my knitting themed giveaway - I'll announce a winner on Monday!

Today is the last day to sign up for the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap - GO HERE to sign up and join the fun!

* - Sylvia was also a painter and a Wise Woman
** - Chapter 4, page 114
*** - Chapter 22, pg. 223
****  - this brother is now known among my friends as the "Evil Brother" and before you ask - he was 29 years old when he took this action. He was old enough to know better!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


3 days left of Blogtoberfest...can you believe it?!?

I'm excited to say that I have managed to stay on track with a blog post for every day and I still have a few blog posts yet to go that I hope you will enjoy, not to mention that I'll be hitting my 200th blog post in just two more posts after this festival is over - WOW!! I have something special in store for that post that has been ready to go for awhile, so stay tuned...

I have discovered at least three great blogs during this festival such as the combo of books and craft at The Crafty Librarian, the super cute fun happening at The Creative Adventures of Little Miss Pip and the awesome 101 Bird Tales. I'm hoping to make more time in the next few weeks to visit those of you who have left comments this month, such as Xena recently of JazyJae Creations, Weatherbee of Needle Pulling Thread and most particularly Willywagtail - I can relate to the healing power of creating as a 'tonic' to depression and I plan on writing about my personal experiences with depression in the future...

I mentioned at the beginning of the festival that there was a bit of a theme happening throughout the month - has anyone guessed what it could be?? ;)

In the meantime, I'm off to get ready for one of my favorite holidays and here's a hint to what's in store for last 3 days of Blogtoberfest:

Don't worry - she's a GOOD witch!

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REMEMBER: There's another giveaway happening and you can GO HERE to leave a comment for your chance to win it - the comments I've seen so far are wonderful! Good luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Giveaway!

Hello everyone! Thank you all so much for your comments on my postcard and on the concepts of empty space and stillness. It's great to know that many of you embrace the empty space and that you frame it as "Sacred Space" - that is a wonderful way to view it...

As I mentioned, I'm hosting another giveaway today and I hope you like the giveaway for this week. Once again, it's inspired by my Grandma Betty and the skills of craft she has passed on to me - KNITTING!
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My Grandma Betty taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old and she taught me using some of her metal needles. I learned to cast on and cast off, the knit stitch and the purl stitch and I learned how to decrease stitches but only in one direction! It wasn't until I took a fun class to learn to knit some mitts that I finally learned how to decrease stitches in BOTH directions! She also taught me to knit in the "continental method" which is not how many people have learned to knit, I've discovered...

I've been knitting off and on for many years and it's only been in the last few years, since taking that fun mitts class, that I have really blossomed as a knitter in my skills. I have even designed many of own mitt patterns, which you can see in this Blogtoberfest post from last year...I also knitted my Joy Doll from the follow along project in last years Blogtoberfest and you can see the finished results at this post - good thing I finally learned how to decrease in both directions or my doll would have looked a bit wonky! ;)

The Knitting Themed Giveaway Package!

I have put together a knitting themed giveaway package that includes books from my personal collection of craft books and needles used by my Grandma Betty, among other items. Here is what the winner will receive:

A classic knitting book by the "Grandmother of Knitting", Elizabeth Zimmerman "Knitting Without Tears"

A fun book on knitting scarves - there are a lot patterns in this one for beginner's to advanced practitioners!

A pair of Grandma Betty's knitting needles - the paint on the tips is a bit worn out but that's because they were so frequently used! I think these are size 10...

From my stash, a ball of mohair yarn in green, blue and plum colors - it will make a lovely scarf!

A pair of lavender mitts knitted by me!

To win this giveaway, here is what you need to do:
  • The giveaway is open to ALL blog readers, near and far!
  • Please submit your comment by Sunday, October 31 by 5pm Pacific Standard Time 
  • I will draw a winner at random and the winner will be announced on Monday November 1
  • Like the last giveaway, you will need to leave a comment about one of your family ancestors that you feel a kinship with, one that has bequeathed a special gift to you that you cherish
I'm looking forward to seeing your comments! Many of you shared some wonderful stories about your family ancestry and it's clear that you honor those memories and ancestors...Good luck!

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As I have mentioned before, there are a lot of craft supplies that have been uncovered at "The Old Homestead" and there were many knitting needles and tools. I actually like to work with wood needles so I plan on selling many of the fine gauge metal needles at my other etsy shop, Grandma Betty's Legacy. There will be some fun old knitting tools listed soon...take a moment to check out the shop!

I hope you are having an ART-FULL day of CREATIVITY!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Process of a Postcard...

I mentioned how I love the process of creating in my post of last week and thought I'd share the process of making one of my mail-art postcards with you today...
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It started with a few elements in a shade of purple/violet and I began to play with these elements to see how to arrange them...or to find out how they wanted to be arranged!

I found a vintage stamp in similar colors that I thought would look great, but the elements are not quite coming together for me here...

I like keeping the elements down to three items and I think I know of a way to fill some of what appears to be empty space here...

I think this works! What do you think??

I knew as I worked with this design there would inevitably be some "empty space" and that can be okay. It reminded me of a dance instructor who would tell me that there can be "movement in a still moment", meaning that while I may appear to standing still or holding a pose, I can still convey movement in that stillness...

I know sometimes empty space can be a bit frightening at times but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening, that there is no movement. Sometimes things need a little room to breathe!

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Have you ever noticed the power of stillness in your life? Have you noticed that a little empty space can work for you? I'd love to hear about it!

- There will be another giveaway here tomorrow so stay tuned for it!
- There's still time to sign up for the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap - go here to sign up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Today is the day I announce the winner of the sewing themed giveaway and may I say:


So many wonderful stories shared of creative and artistic family histories, many of them going back a few generations. Thank you all so much for participating! I'll be hosting another giveaway this Wednesday with a knitting theme so stay tuned...

With a little help from my dear boyfriend, a winner has been randomly chosen and here is the winner of the sewing themed giveaway:


Gill left a wonderful comment about an object that has been handed down to her from generations of cheese-makers:
I have cheesemakers in both sides of my family and while I don't make cheese I do have a cheese borer(not sure of the real name!) used to sample the cheese when it was maturing - just holding it connects me with my great grandparents!

It's great to have a "touchstone" that can connect you with your ancestors =-)

Gill, be sure to e-mail me your mailing address and I will be sending off the giveaway goodies this week.
 giveaway goodies to be mailed this week...
Many thanks to all of you that participated in the giveaway - you left really wonderful stories of family ancestors and it's clear that you honor those memories =-)
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In other news:
I'm participating in the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap II hosted by Artful Journey classmate and blog buddy Beth, who is also hosting a giveaway starting today. Stop by her blog and check out the postcard swap and giveaway!

I hope your having a fun and creative Monday!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Self Portrait Sunday...

I thought I'd do a simple post for today and return to the theme of "self portrait" that Tinniegirl hosted earlier this month.

 I like this page since it contains all the elements of being a seamstress and it's filled with cheery colors...

This page is a section from a larger page I created for my Chunky Funky Coffee Table Book at the Artful Journey retreat this year. The paper I worked with was larger than the actual book covers I used for my book, so when I cut down the pages the smaller sections were just as interesting as the larger pages, and sometimes more so. I'll be sharing the smaller book with you all soon and the cut down pages that were created from my large book...

The drawing for the sewing themed giveaway ends at 5pm Pacific Standard Time TODAY! Be sure to leave a comment HERE if you'd like to win - I'll announce the winner on Monday.

I hope you're having a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Planned or Spontaneous - revisited...

I thought I would return to the question of planned vs. spontaneous I brought up two weeks ago because it's a topic I discussed with a friend at the Seaside Games...

She is a beautiful harpist and singer and I offered to help her with her booth while she was performing on stage. We have had some great conversations about our hopes to launch our creative businesses. We were discussing the idea of planned vs.spontaneous art making since I had read the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and he wrote some interesting things about spontaneity that resonated with me...

The library copy of "Blink" I read this summer - hooray for libraries!

Mr. Gladwell was writing about the rules of engagement for improvisation (improv) artists and the fact that "spontaneity isn't random". It's a culmination of much rehearsal (or practice) and by following a set of rules that everyone agrees to. Essentially, you can create "the conditions for successful spontaneity"*.
My friend had to agree with this concept. She spoke of how some musicians can be very well trained and as a result have the ability to create work "spontaneously", in the spur of the moment. I talked about my training as a dancer and my ability to improvise dances because of that training and we both believe that training does help to foster spontaneity in creative work.

It seems that the comments I received reflect both planning and spontaneity in creating. Tinniegirl wrote:

"I sit it both camps with both blogging and art making. Sometimes I'm full of spontaneity with my writing and painting, but there's other times I have to be organised and plan to make things happen."

I can relate to that especially since I had to do some planning to insure that I had blog posts ready for my trip to Ventura knowing that I wouldn't have access or time to use a good computer.

Mel's response was also one I could relate to:

"Hmmm, interesting question. I nearly always think through my project or post in advance, so I guess it's planned - but then when I start creating or typing, it tends to evolve, making it spontaneous!"

As a seamstress, a lot of planning goes into creating a garment. A pattern must be first be drafted (unless you are using a store bought pattern, which does save time!) then the pattern must be cut which might entail some planning to get the most out of the fabric. Then the garment must be sewed together...not much room for spontaneity!

But when I work on collage, I may have an idea in mind as a starting point and then it may change as I play with the elements, making it more spontaneous and in-the-moment...

Kathryn's comment was great as it points out that some creative disciplines have more leeway for spontaneity than others:

"my drawings and paintings are almost always planned collages never. That's why the collages can be more fun at times. But for me it's the process..."

Ahhhh! there it is - what creating is really all about. The Process...

These are in the process of becoming...
...collage postcards like these...These will be listed in my etsy shop next week...

I have to say that I LOVE The Process because that is where the learning takes place, though it can often be difficult or frustrating but the finished results are rewarding and make it all worthwhile...

more postcards with a skirt theme - these were fun to make and I may make more!

I think the thing to remember is that practicing our art discipline is an important part of the Journey of creating that we must travel...

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I hope you are enjoying the process of your creativity today!

Remember there is a giveaway happening - go here to leave your comment! You have until 5pm Sunday October 24!

* - quote can be found on page 117

Friday, October 22, 2010

Full Moon Vision Board - October

My Artful Retreat classmate and blog buddy Louise Gale posted her vision board for this month and it looks fabulous! She also included some great and simple instructions for making them and mentioned plans for a future e-course on making vision boards. I can't wait to see that! It reminded me that I was a bit behind in creating my vision board for October...

I've been gathering materials for a few weeks and printing a few photos I've recently taken to use for my full moon vision board this month. Here it is:
Vision for the future: move to the city of Ventura!

If you haven't figured out by now, I do love visiting the city of Ventura and have been thinking how much I would love to live there. When I participated in the Vita Arts Center exhibit in March, I saw that there is a great arts community alive and growing in Ventura, especially since there is a new facility that was made for artists, The WAV...

Ventura is all of these things and close to the sea - ahhhh!

I have yet to actually see The WAV since my visits this year were defined by the art exhibit or the Seaside Games and time was limited, but I do hope to take a trip there in the future and see the facility. I have spent time in the Bell Arts Factory where Vita Arts Center is located and I love that the facility is filled with artists studios, space for classes that are offered monthly AND my favorite tea shop, Tea by the Sea, owned by my friend Cindy Yoshitomi.

I love Vita Arts Center and I look toward living in Ventura in less than 3 years - wish me luck!

I won't worry about how I will get to my "destination" of living in Ventura, but I've started on my road map to getting there and I will use this vision board to begin the process as the general "road map"...

I can envision my 'dream home just steps away from the beach' and not worry about how it will happen - thank you Universe!

Louise also mentioned that she has made large vision boards every January, which sounds like a great annual ritual. I think I will make a big vision board for my "personal new year" when my birthday takes place next month, instead of waiting for the usual "new year" in January. I think it will be a great practice!

Stop by Louise's blog to see her vision board and contact her about her upcoming e-course on making them! Ot try your hand on making one yourself - it's great fun!
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Some reminders:

I've got a giveaway going! Stop by this post to leave a comment - if you left a comment at this blog post* and want to be in the drawing, please leave a message at THIS POST so I can put your name on the list! Your family stories are so wonderful - keep them coming!! =-)

I've re-opened my Etsy shop! Stop by and take a peek - I'll be adding a few more items next week...

I've opened a separate Etsy shop "Grandma Betty's Legacy**" to sell things from my granny's closet from her sewing tools and fabrics to some of her wonderful accessories - she had a LOT of jewelry!
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I hope you're having a great day today!

* - the later blog post states the guidelines to leave your comment by 5pm Pacific Standard Time on Sunday October 24
** - many thanks to my friend Lisa who created a lovely and simple banner for this etsy shop!! It captures the heart of my Grandma Betty =-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Giveaway Update...

Hello everyone! I realized that I had forgotten a few details for the Sewing Themed Giveaway I'm having this week so here we go...

  • The giveaway is open to ALL blog readers, near and far!
  • Please submit your comment by Sunday, October 24 by 5pm Pacific Standard Time 
  • I will draw a winner at random and the winner will be announced on Monday October 25
  • Remember to leave a comment about one of your family ancestors that you feel a kinship with, one that has bequeathed a special gift to you that you cherish

Sewing Themed Giveaway with items from three generations of seamstresses =-)

In the meantime, let me share a few memories of my very first giveaway...

Last year, I held my first giveaway during Blogtoberfest and I have learned a LOT since that first giveaway. I stated that it was open to anyone near or far and I thought it would be pretty cool to have to send the package to someplace as exotic as Bora Bora*! I still think it would be pretty cool...

I did  not have many pictures of the actual giveaway items and I realize now that having as many images as possible is a big help to readers. This year, I spent some time doing "photo shoots" of the giveaways I've got planned for next week and into November, so stay tuned for those!

Now, I have to take moment to thank a very special and patient blog reader, who is also a blog buddy, Mel of "I Speak Melsh". She was the very first giveaway winner and it took awhile for me to send off the giveaway goodies since I wanted to make up a special bag for them and then it took awhile to get enough funds to send it off**!! She was wonderfully patient about it all and I thank her for that. Thank you Mel - you're AWESOME!!

That's it for today's post! I'm looking forward to seeing more comments - it's so fascinating to see the history of families and the common thread in them, isn't it??!?! You should all be proud of your family legacies!

Have a great and creative Thursday!

* - someone from Bora Bora could be reading my blog, you never know ;)
** - there were quite a few goodies in the giveaway that added up in terms of weight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Family History and A Giveaway...

Today, I am sharing a little family history to preface the giveaway...
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Great Grandma "Mom" Villalobos

My mother is a second generation Mexican American, born in the United States. Her father, my grandfather, was also born in the states, but his mother, my Great Grandmother, came to this country from Guadalajara, Mexico when when was a young woman...this is the same great grandmother I mentioned in an earlier post this month. I seem to have followed in her footsteps of being able to cut and sew garments without a pattern, though not as successfully as she could, apparently!

Other ways I seem to follow in her footsteps is that she was known to love dancing. I love dancing too and have even performed on stage, though not professionally. I'll write more about my dancing soon...

Everyone called her "Mom", because she refused to be called "grandma" and especially "great grandma"! Her hair was dyed black until the day she died, living beyond 80 years. She loved to watch Lucha Libre and believed that those wrestlers were really doing serious harm to each other and you couldn't convince her otherwise! I like to watch Lucha Vavoom when it comes to town and love watching the cartoon based on this cultural event, Mucha Lucha!

Two videos of the animated series and a set of action figures with the boxing ring given to me by a great friend!
Clockwise  from the top: The Headmistress, The Flea, Masked Dog, Ricochet and Buena Girl

My Great Grandmother was pretty amazing and it's clear that I did not fall far from the tree ;)

My Great Grandmother -  Cresencia De La Rosa with her brothers and sisters

Grandma Betty

As I have mentioned before, I learned my sewing skills from my mother's mother, Beatrice, usually called Betty by my grandfather, Alphonso Luevano.

Both of my grandparents have passed away and my mother and I are going through what I like to call "The Old Homestead", where they both lived for over 55 years. We have been cleaning out all the goods in my grandmothers sewing room and her bedroom where various gifts were tucked away waiting to be given or used.

I've received an amazing legacy of sewing skills from my Grandma Betty that has helped me to craft a life of creativity for decades. I don't feel that I need to keep everything she had stored away for future quilting and sewing projects and so I'm passing some along in this special giveaway...

The Giveaway - A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit Her!

This giveaway is a sewing themed package of goodies that includes items from my grandmothers sewing room and some items from my personal arsenal of goods. Here is the package:

 Sewing themed package of goodies!
A unique handbag from my collection with vintage images from the fifties - isn't this old dress pattern on the other side fun?!?
Three fabrics cut at 1/4 yard for small quilting or crafting projects from my grandma's closet of fabrics
a book from my personal collection of craft books - full of fun and simple projects!
this thimble was among my grandma's sewing tools but it belonged to my Great Grandmother until her passing - there are MANY thimbles Grandma Betty collected and I'm happy to pass some along =-)
One of a kind note card made by me from scraps of watercolor paper used by Grandma Betty and the envelope is made from pages of an old sewing book that had seen better days...

All you need to do to win this giveaway is to leave a comment about one of your family ancestors that you feel a kinship with, one that has bequeathed a special gift to you that you cherish...The giveaway winner will be announced by Monday October 25. Feel free to spread the word!

UPDATE: this giveaway is open to ALL blog readers, near and far!! =-)

Sewing themed giveaway of goodies from three generations of seamstresses!

Announcing a new etsy site for Grandma Betty's Legacy...

I will be opening a special etsy shop to sell the many things that belonged to my Grandma Betty, to pass them along to others who will cherish and use them. I feel that my Grandma Betty left me something far more valuable than any fabrics or knitting tools she left behind - the ability to create with my hands. Be sure to bookmark the link since the shop name is not part of the site. The shop should be open later this afternoon with a few items, such as small porcelain decor items, and some awesome accessories and other craft items. I plan on using all funds generated from the site to finance my creative endeavors, such as the Artful Journey Retreat next  February and training to be a Facilitator in SoulCollage!

Stay tuned for another giveaway coming next week!

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Okay - who are some of your ancestors that left you a legacy you are proud of? I can't wait to hear about them!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Tuesday...

...and though it has been raining lately, I've got fun rain boots to keep my feet rain on my parade here!

 Bright colored and patterned rain boots to make a rainy day more fun...

It's the Tuesday after receiving a fabulous gift in the mail from a wonderful blog buddy and amazing writer...

THANK YOU KAT!! This made my Monday so magical =-)

It's Tuesday before my giveaway...after learning that I won a giveaway...
THANK YOU KATHERYN!! I'll be in touch soon...

It's Tuesday and the next round of The Great Stitched Postcard Swap begins and with a wonderful theme... 

It's Tuesday and I've got to start on my vision board for the next full moon taking place this Friday...

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What are you doing this Tuesday? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thrift Shop Finds...

Hello everyone! Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my recycled t-shirt skirt! I will have to take a tip from Louise and find a way to get a picture of myself wearing my skirt and TWIRLING!! I do love to twirl, but what girl doesn't??!?! ;)

Also, thank you all for your excitement about my next journey into becoming a SoulCollage facilitator - I'll be sure to keep you posted as things develop...

Today, I thought I'd share some of my thrift shop finds from the weekend...

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As I mentioned on Saturday, I was out with an old co-worker to search for costumes for her children and we stopped at one of my favorite thrift shops, American Way Thrift Store. There is a LOT at this shop and I always find something in the housewares section that I can use for my creative play-space and I found a few items to bring back for home decor and a few accessories...

vintage neck scarf

The very first thing I found was this cute little neck scarf. I love the turquoise and orange mixed together on it and I've been getting into the combination of orange and turquoise together. I can't wait to wear it! Here's what I found looking through the housewares section...

pink floral bowl and small glass sherbet dish

I'm always looking for container items to use in my creative play-space that will fit the theme of "Sweets Shop" that I'm hoping to create. I found this bowl with pink flowers that will go with the pink color scheme I'm using and this darling little glass "sherbet dish" to use as a catch-all for tiny objects...

I had gone through the check out with these items while my friend went in search of a bathroom for her daughter and when we walked up the block to search for other shops for costume items, I saw this beauty in the window of the thrift store that I had missed during my quick scan...

tea or coffee carafe server and warmer

I once knew somebody who had used a carafe such as this as an aromatherapy tool by heating hot water with a candle beneath it and adding a few drops of essential oil in the water so it would fill the room with the fragrance. I thought it was a beautiful way to fill one's home with fragrance! My dear boyfriend suggested that I use teas since this is what the item is generally used for...I may try that once I find the correct instructions for using this beautiful item - it will certainly serve two purposes that way!

When I was making my second purchase, I forgot that everything was 30% off in the store and needed to find one other item to make up the $10 minimum I need to use a card for the purchase since I didn't have that much cash on hand. Luckily, there was something I found that helped...sunglasses!

The new sunglasses look great with the new scarf!

I had recently broken a pair of brown tinted sunglasses and when I found these, I was so happy to have found a replacement pair, not to mention finding such a beautiful carafe to use in my home.

I also discovered a great new clothing shop that I'm looking forward to visiting when my No Clothes Challenge is finished - I have missed buying clothes, whether new or used. However, I did get my dear boyfriend to come out and buy me a fun hoodie that I'll share later - I figured it would be okay for other people to buy me clothes during my challenge! ;)

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The weather today is a bit drab and wet but it will keep me indoors working on a project I've had in the works for awhile and I'm also getting ready to host a giveaway this week, starting on Wednesday so stay tuned!

I hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some things I've made...

I recently mentioned my No Clothes Challenge to an acquaintance* and she marveled that it is quite an accomplishment to buy NO CLOTHING FOR A WHOLE YEAR!! You know what? She is right...

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Going to thrift shops is one of my favorite ways to find clothing, as well as going to Target. Over the years I have seen my income dwindle so I could no longer afford to shop at another favorite place, The Gap, because over time, even the sale prices got too expensive for my budget. Sadly, it seems this was a great year to take the No Clothes Challenge since it's the year I had to take a pay-cut at work. I do see that I have an abundance of clothing to wear but I have to admit that I do miss shopping for's one of the ways I express myself creatively!

BTW, clothing was not all I gave up buying - I also added shoes, hats and handbags, the two latter of which are my favorite items to collect and wear. I also chose not to buy more fabric in the hopes that I would start using the fabrics I have piled in my creative play-space, but so far that hasn't worked out as I'd hoped...

Oh, and I tried to add yarn to the list and was pretty good about that - I only bought four separate skeins of yarn this year! Here's what I made with one of them:

I knitted this for last years Artful Journey retreat but it really wasn't cold enough to wear it!
I had asked another friend to be in charge of my requests for purchasing clothing because I thought I might buy some t-shirts to create a new t-shirt skirt but I haven't gotten around to that yet. I have a dream to create another t-shirt skirt similar to one I have made already but in shades of blue...

front view of skirt...
I actually made this skirt over two years ago and I love wearing it! In the tradition of my great-grandmother, I didn't use a pattern**, but I did use measurements to cut the pieces. 

back view of skirt...
I wanted to incorporate the graphics of the t-shirts I purchased to make this skirt and that got a bit tricky, but I managed!

detail of skirt back - a reminder that sometimes it's good to re-think what is happening in your life ;)

I did see a really cool recycled t-shirt dress on someone recently and I'd like to try my hand at that. I'm beginning to think that if I do buy something when the challenge is over, I will buy some t-shirts with fun and colorful graphics to try my hand at making a fun dress...

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Do you have any fun projects you'd like to tackle soon? I'd love to hear what they are!

PS: If you'd like to see other things I make, stop by my Etsy shop and take a look...more items will be added next week =-)

* - this is actually a woman I see annually at the Seaside Games and other Irish Fairs throughout the year. She is called "The Sweater Lady" because that is what she sells - lots of second-hand sweaters in wonderful wools with beautiful cables and the occasional cashmere on sale. She is a doll and I love seeing her...I also missed buying sweaters from her this year! =-(

** - I hope to share more about my great-grandmother soon...