Monday, December 31, 2012

Out With The Old...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I have been writing and pondering as I worked through my Word Of The Year and Unravelling worksheets and I am ready to close out my old year with an eye toward the new one...

I am ready to celebrate myself WILDLY - to celebrate the disappointments I encountered, the challenges I faced and the new experiences I embraced. I enjoyed reflecting upon everything I have done in my life that has brought me to this place in time, (thanks Reverb12!) and it was wonderful to reconnect with my book binding instructor. I am proud of all the self-discovery work I did and I can tell you that it is continuing still!

I have found my word for 2013, though it has been a bit difficult letting go of my word for 2012 - Abundant Support. I truly experienced abundant support this year and it has been hard to let go of it, but I have realized that the Universe has ALWAYS provided abundant support throughout my life and I have come to realize that I will always have abundant support - I only need to remember that it is there when I need it.

I am definitely ready to close out this old year and to declare it OVER! I am nearly ready to face 2013, but I'd like to do some last reflections on a few principles...

I usually do a series of posts on Kwanzaa since it is a values based holiday that I enjoy reflecting on, but since I chose to work through 3 worksheets to close out my old year, I have just enough energy to do an overview to see what principles played a factor in 2012...

One candle is burned for each night of Kwanzaa until all 7 candles are burning


Unity
Self Determination
Collective Work & Responsibility
Cooperative Economics
Purpose
Creativity
Faith

Looking back on 2012, I would say the principles that had the most presence this year were, Self Determination, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

  • I was certainly determined to find ways to earn money using my creative skills (Yay Creativity!) and this gave me a great deal of Purpose in 2012
  • I had to draw upon Faith since I had no way of knowing whether my attempts of selling at vendor events would work or not; while they may not have been huge successes, they have sparked a desire to continue with vendor events
  • However, the principles of Cooperative Economics (to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together) and Collective Work & Responsibility (to build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together) did not play out as well as I'd hoped at some of these events, so I shall be going solo in 2013

I can tell you that with my Word Of The Year for 2013, there will be a LOT of Self-Determination (to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves), but more about that in the new year!

For now, I will spend this last day with my dear boyfriend as we make plans to ring in the new year quietly with a home cooked meal and a bit of bubbly to celebrate the new year ahead. Tomorrow I will be sure to share what my Word Of The Year will be in 2013 and how I plan to embrace this word...



In the meantime, I wish for you all a fabulous New Years Eve and I hope that 2013 brings you abundant possibilities!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My End of Year Journal!

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I hope you all enjoyed a lovely December 25 and that you are continuing to enjoy the remainder of this year...

I am now preparing to sit down and do some year-end journaling, so I can close out the year and begin to plan for the new year ahead. I do a series of worksheets at the end of the year now. I first began with the worksheets provided by Christine Kane, one that many people are aware of, in one form or another: Word Of The Year.

Then I found these worksheets at the Superhero blog written by Andrea Scher: Complete Your Year, which you can find on this webpage.

THEN, last year I found the Unravelling worksheet created by Susannah Conway, and there is a new one for the New Year: Unravelling 2013, which has more content than last years worksheets!

And lets not forget all the amazing prompts of Reverb12...

As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me! But I am really looking forward to it, especially since I now have a wonderful journal cover to keep all my writing in so I can refer to it throughout 2013...

handmade books

At the end of this blog post, I mentioned that I would be meeting with a vendor from a recent boutique event I participated in, and we met to discuss having a special journal made for me to keep all my year-end journaling in. Her name is Kristen and she is the owner of Bag Lady Lulu - she also has an Etsy shop of the same name.

handmade books

I was so excited to meet with Kristen and discuss having a special journal cover made for my year-end journaling! I brought some elements that I hoped she could incorporate into my journal, and she managed to add everything I brought, tying it all together in her own beautiful style:

handmade books

I told her about all the worksheets I use, and she was aware of Word Of The Year. She was intrigued when I told her about Reverb12 and Unravelling. I told her that though I had done a lot of journaling at the end of last year, I didn't really store the paperwork in an accessible place, so I had no way of knowing whether I was on track with my goals or not. After seeing Kristen's journal creations, I knew this would be the best way to keep my journaling in one lovely place that I could refer to as the year moves forward...


Though she had quite a few orders to fill, Kristen agreed to create my journal cover before the year was over - she was VERY kind to do it, but she is a VERY kind and lovely lady! I told her I would begin to cut the blank pages so I could begin the writing process, as the cover was being made.


I have been cutting blank pages, as well as lined pages, so I can add some artwork to my journal this year. One of the Reverb12 prompts asks about the "color of you" and creating a colorful page for this prompt is on my list!

I will meet with Kristen again so she can show me how to bind this journal, in the style she binds all her journals, with decorative ribbons.

When I met her to receive my beautiful journal cover, I mentioned that I believe I have found my Word Of The Year, and the adjective to define my word as I want to see it unfold in 2013. She had a wonderful suggestion that will be part of my WOTY, but I will wait to share it with you, when I have completed all the writing.

I will also be doing a summary of Kwanzaa this year - I usually write a blog post for each day of Kwanzaa, but having access to the internet on a daily basis has been unusually challenging this year, so this year will be a summary of each principle as it played out this year or didn't as the case may be...


I am SO EXCITED to have this gorgeous journal to work with! I'm so excited that I have already told Kristen that I will be ordering another journal to use for my daily gratitude journal, something I began in June and have kept up nearly every evening. I write out my list of gratitude before going to sleep - it's become a wonderful bedtime ritual for me! The journal I use for this is about to run out of pages, so I plan on ordering a special one from Kristen, one that will also be easily portable, since the one I currently work with does not travel with me when I am staying with my dear boyfriend. When the time comes to have the new journal made, I'll be sure to share it with you all...

I've got to run and start the process of closing out my old year and preparing for the new. I'll share all my findings with you soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Holiday Story Re-visited...


"Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind" 
- from the film "Miracle On 34th Street"
Hello Dear Blog Readers and a Happy Christmas to you, where ever you are today!
I shared this holiday story two years ago and I want to share it here again since the hero of this story sadly passed away this year...It is a story that, for me, illustrates creativity and it also illustrates that Christmas is indeed a state of mind...

***   ***   ***
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 hero of this story was my Uncle Al, who was quite an artist. He is the one who brought gifts for me and my brothers and it was he who created the wonderful letter from Santa complete with drawings of each animal that passed the news to Santa to let him know where we were on that Christmas day. He passed away this fall. He was highly creative, an amazing artist and a storyteller with a great sense of humor, descended from a long line of storytellers with a funny bone, my grandfather being the head storyteller.

I never did remember the small gifts he brought for us on that Christmas day, but I have kept the memory of the letter with me always, though the actual letter has been lost for some time...that letter has always been the gift I took and kept with me.

This story reminds me of the amazing legacy of cheerful giving, creativity, artistry and storytelling I have to draw upon and sustain me in my life, a legacy I hope to honor always.

 My Uncle Al - he kept his playful, funny and creative spirit always!

May we all honor the Spirit of Creative Giving, today and always...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Things I Love - "Holiday Humbug" Edition!

Hello Dear Blog Readers and Happy Holidays to you all!

It does feel as though this holiday season came up faster than I expected. I usually get the grumbles at this time of year, due to the commercialization of the season, but there are some things I do love that truly mark the season. I've been meaning to share these favorite things I love with you and since I have a moment to do so, I shall! But let me begin with the inspiration for this blog post...

I have been participating in Reverb12, hosted by my blog buddy Kat, and though I have not been journaling many of the prompts on my blog, one of the early Reverb12 prompts did have me thinking:


This prompt stopped me in my tracks. As I mentioned above, I often turn a bit Scrooge-y at this time of year, but this Reverb prompt helped me realize that I could embrace the things I love about this time of year and truly indulge in them to celebrate myself and what I DO love about the holiday season...here is my list of Things I Love during the holidays:


Movies:

I have been indulging in watching my favorite holiday movies over and over this season! I love watching "Scrooged", "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Carol" (1984), "Love, Actually", and "A Christmas Story", but above all, I love, love LOVE watching "The Bishop's Wife". My favorite scene is the skating scene - I was hoping to share this scene with you but it's not available to view on YouTube. However, this lovely scene of the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir singing is available to share with you and it is wonderful to watch how the hymn unfolds:


Doesn't the choir sound 'heavenly'??!? It is a musical highlight of "The Bishop's Wife", which leads me to my favorite music for the holidays...

Music:

I love listening to holiday music and of course "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my very favorite music album I love to listen to and it's the only holiday music album I DON'T pack away because I love listening to the jazz sounds of this wonderful album. I also love listening to fun music compilations like "The Coolest Christmas", "Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas", "The Hippest Holiday"*, "Hipster's Holiday" and "It's Christmas Time", a wonderful compilation of songs sung by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

I also love to listen to instrumental holiday music and of all the instrumentals, I love the music of The Nutcracker best of all. Since this is also music to a ballet I love watching, this holiday classic gets a special category of its own...

The Nutcracker - Music and Ballet:

Let me repeat this:

I LOVE THE NUTCRACKER!**

I love the recorded music and filmed stage productions of this beloved classic. I collected a few filmed versions of The Nutcracker, some of which have been lost when loaned out. The versions I still have are:

The Nutcracker by George Balanchine
The Nutcracker performed by The Bolshoi Ballet
The Hard Nut created by Mark Morris

I have to confess that I never really cared for the snowflake dance until I saw this version choreographed by Mark Morris. It is one of the most creative, inventive and fabulous of the snowflake dances I have seen in any production of the The Nutcracker, but you watch and decide for yourself:


You know, I love "The Nutcracker" so much that when I discovered a book that traces the history of this ballet from it's roots in Russia to it's new home in America and how it became a Christmas classic, I had to buy a copy! This book is called "Nutcracker Nation" and it's quite fascinating if you are at all interested in how The Nutcracker became the traditional classic it is today. This leads me to my favorite holiday stories...

Stories:

Some of my favorite stories that relate to the holiday season come from The Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which were finally put into a Christmas Treasury recently. I love reading through all the holiday seasons the Ingalls family share through the years...


Another favorite story is the beginning chapter of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I often read the opening chapters on Christmas Eve and continue to re-read this novel through the rest of the year =-)

What are some of YOUR favorite movies, music or stories that you love to return to at this time of year?


***   ***   ***

Now, Christmas is upon us and I'll continue to indulge in my favorite holiday movies, music and stories until the end of this year. I'll be working on my year-end worksheets and sharing my findings with you all before the year is over. I usually do some blog posts about Kwanzaa, because it's a values-based holiday that I enjoy, but since I need some time to do my year-end journaling, I may not be able to do a daily post each day for each Kwanzaa principle. I will try to do a general review, when I share the discoveries gleaned from the year-end worksheets, so be sure to stay tuned - maybe you'll follow along and discover ways that you can incorporate the principles of this African-American celebration in your life moving forward in the New Year!

"May the day be the bowl of cherriest
And to all, the Merriest!
" 
- "The Merriest" written by June Christy


* - this is a compilation I found at a Pottery Barn store one year, though I did find this link to purchase a copy on Amazon =-) 

** - one year I was actually part of a local dance studio production of "The Nutcracker", where I helped with the costumes, performed in the party scene and, of course, helped out the other dancers backstage...one day I will share some of the crazy stories that came out of that experience - it was a HOOT! ;)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some Projects in Process...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!

It does seem as if I have been doing a lot of work around this blog lately, from participating in boutique and vendor events to reflecting and thinking about the past year, as I prepare to move forward into the year ahead, but I have made time this week for some creative play with a few fun projects, that I think you might like to peek at...

I have been very behind on creating a giveaway item for a giveaway winner during Blogtoberfest but, luckily for me, the recipient has been very patient! I have made a lot of progress on her giveaway item this week, a special made-to-order party hat...

mixed media art
The base of the hat covered in off-white papers, which include a page from an old French paperback book

collage art
Can you see the French word for "abundance" in this shot? I hope to incorporate it in the final design...

I found this quote that relates to "inspirational", the word chosen by the winner of this party hat

The hat in process, surrounded by various elements that may or may not be used in the final design =-)

I have been gathering the elements for this party hat project for some time and now that I have begun to work on it, it has been great fun to watch it evolve and take shape. I would share more pictures of this project but I don't want the recipient of this party hat to see it all before it arrives on her doorstep!

Since I love books (and book-making!) so much, I had to make some special holiday booklets, similar to booklets I've been making recently, but these booklets had a holiday theme...

handmade books

Instead of doing full collage covers, I thought I'd use a few simple rubber stamp images and some rubber stamps were used for the back covers also...

rubber stamp art

These booklets were inspired by holiday paper napkins and tissue papers I had in my gift wrapping supplies - I thought they would make wonderful pages for the booklets...


I have two booklets so far and one more is in process, but with a different cover. I may share that booklet later when it is complete, so you will see how it all looks when bound together...

book binding

There are a few other projects I've been working on, but I'll share those Projects in Process when I've had a chance to photograph them, so be sure to stay tuned!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reverb12 - The Path That Brought Me Here

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I've been enjoying time spent with my dear boyfriend before, during and after his birthday last week, though I've also been musing over the many prompts being posed by Kat (and guests!) of I Saw You Dancing, as she continues to host Reverb12 at her blog. There have been many thought-provoking prompts in the past two weeks and I've been meaning to share some of them here, but time has been getting away from me, of course, now that the whirl of the holidays is setting in...

However, I will write on this prompt for today - The Path That Brought Me Here

The prompts posed by guest blogger Bron aka Maxabella are:

"...I need to remember to look back at the winding path before I start walking.
My question is: what was the most important thing you learned in 2012?"

with the additional prompt from Kat:

"I would like to add: how does this learning shape the path going forward?"

Hmmm, I've been thinking a LOT about how I got to this place in time, especially in terms of my creative skills, skills I learned as a child from my grandmother, skills I continued to practice and hone beginning in my childhood throughout adulthood, skills I never stopped using...

I think of all the old sewing projects from rag dolls as a girl to clothes as a teenager, to fashion design and costume design as a young adult. I've thought of the successes and the ill-fitting mistakes!

A doll I made three years ago and shared here on my blog in it's early days...

I think of the ballet lessons I began at age 11 and the dance lessons I was able to continue with at my performing arts high school, when there was no more money to fund my dance lessons with my dearly beloved ballet teacher. I remember the performances and the many costumes I made for them.

I've thought of the art classes and the creative writing classes that I loved being in throughout high school, and in junior college - I remember and still have some of my writing assignments, with the A and B marks for my work, given to me by an encouraging and enthusiastic instructor. I think of that instructor often when I sit to write a blog post...

I think of how my performance skills come into play as I began to participate in boutique and vendor events to sell my creative goods, or my grandmother's vintage goods, and I realize that my writing skills often come into play as I share stories about my grandmother and my creativity, both being heavily intertwined.

Sewn t-shirt scarves and knitted mitts - both made with skills taught to me by my grandmother

And I think of how my creativity has nourished, empowered and healed me, at different times in my journey through Life...

Creativity has been the through-line in my life, creativity in various forms, some coming to prominence, some sitting on the back burner, some being a quick side trip that fueled and sparked other creative interests...

I've always valued creativity in my life - I will always value creativity, as well as learning new things, which I do when I take up a new creative endeavor!

And I am learning that I need creativity in my life to be happy and to thrive...This is what I will take with me into 2013 and beyond...

 2013 is a blank canvas with much creative potential!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reverb12 - Day 13 - Self Portrait...

Hello Dear Blog Readers! I am managing to join in on today's Reverb12 prompt of sharing a self portrait, or favorite picture taken of me. Today I'm sharing a silly self portrait I shot this summer...

While preparing to wind a skein of yarn into a ball, I thought how pretty it looked just as it was and I draped it around my neck, despite the heat of early summer! I really liked how the yarn looked around my neck and thought I would take a picture to commemorate the moment, since I would eventually be knitting this lovely yarn:


I have not yet knit up this yarn, so I may just wear the skein out in public like this at least once before I knit it!

Many thanks to Kat for this fun and playful Reverb12 prompt =-)

PS: though I know he doesn't really read my blog, I do wish my dear boyfriend many happy returns on his birthday - OOXX to my honey!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Emerging From A Respite...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
It has been a few days since my last blog post, which slipped by faster than I expected, but I've been enjoying this time to take a breather before the whirl of the holidays sets in...a respite, if you will:

res·pite  

/ˈrespət/
Noun
  1. A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.
  2. A short delay permitted before an unpleasant obligation is met or a punishment is carried out.
I have been doing quite a few boutique events which, while not altogether unpleasant, are quite a lot of preparation and work to do, so I thought a little time to rest before the onslaught of the holidays...which could be looked upon as the "unpleasant obligation" I have before me! ;)

I have spent time with my dear boyfriend and started some fun creative projects for MYSELF, which is a refreshing change of pace from the past few weeks. I will share some of these projects with you all soon, when I have photographed some of them!

I needed this break since I made the decision to participate in the Silverlake Art*Craft*Vintage Fair and of course, learned a few lessons along the way...

To begin: though I had already checked out this venue, I came from a different direction the first time. So, I got lost finding the venue coming from my home, in spite of having some directions from Mapquest to guide me, and I got to the venue a little later than I had planned...then my engine light went on as I was driving around lost!! Luckily I only had to wait in a line of vendors for about 20 minutes, managed to unload my car quickly and park it before my car did anything drastic like STALL in the middle of lot!

(You'll all be happy to know that my car started so I could get home and it turns out all I needed to do was tighten the gas cap! I love the service lady at my dealership where I take my car!!)

LESSON LEARNED:
It's always a good idea to make a trip to the venue beforehand (if possible!) to iron out challenges and avoid getting lost the day of the event!

Because this event was for craft AND vintage, I brought both in the hopes of clearing out some of my grandmother's goods from my home, and make some extra money as well. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough table space to host both, my book goods AND my vintage goods!! This meant that I couldn't display everything I brought with me, but I did make some sales and was able to bring out other goods as the day wore on...

LESSON LEARNED:
Have lots of table space to display ALL your goods on! It's not fun to have very little space for displaying your wares =-(

My display at a previous event - I had two of these little tables and it wasn't enough to display everything I brought...

I shared costs and space with an old friend who makes wire wrap jewelry at this event, though I began to have misgivings before the event took place. I should have listened to those misgivings:
  • She arrived before I did and got set up as I made it to the booth space - she was already set up in the middle of the space! I suggested we could both have more space by moving displays further back (we were placed near a wall which gave us lots of room), but she didn't want to do that, so I used the space along the side for my vintage goods and toward the back of the space for my handmade goods. Later, one of her friends came to visit and talked her into moving her table forward, so her set-up was now more prominently featured*
  • I would let her know I was leaving to use the bathrooms, or to take a quick look around at the other vendors (it was not a large venue), but I would return and my friend was nowhere to be seen, because she would leave to check out other vendors too!
  • She left in such a hurry, she left behind a large display item and I had to call her to pick it up because I wouldn't have room to bring it back for her in my car
LESSON LEARNED:
Sometimes, sharing costs with a friend is not as cost effective as you might think - I believe the Universe is sending me messages that it's time for me to do these vending events ON MY OWN!

I did bring some snacks but not a lot because I expected there would be a food truck as there had been when I had come to check out the venue the previous month, and I thought I could buy myself some lunch. Sadly, there was NO food truck and it was some walking distance to get to the Subway I could see across the street up the block. However, I didn't feel I could leave for such a long period of time to get food (see bullet #2 above!).

LESSON LEARNED:
Bring LOTS of snack foods in case there is no way to get food easily

I am happy to report that I DID make some money, though not as much as I'd hoped. I did sell a large dress form belonging to my grandmother and I sold a pair of my hand-knitted mitts, which I found encouraging. There were lots of interesting, wonderful crafty vendors, including this vendor who sold second hand books and also makes recycled journals. I'll share the blank journal I bought from her - I really liked the book used to make it!

I am taking time to think about participating in this venue again - it is a nice venue with many craft artisans and I think the venue has potential. I'll take time during the holidays before making a final decision and report back soon...

***   ***   ***
IN OTHER NEWS:
My dear boyfriend has his birthday this week and I am looking forward to celebrating with him. He does not have any ideas or plans for how he wants to celebrate, but it will be good to spend time with him after so many weekends at vendor events for the past few weeks.

I had a meeting with the lovely lady who makes fun and playful handmade journals and she is working on creating one for me to work in as I begin to dig in to the year-end worksheets I do at this time of year like Word Of The Year by Christine Kane and, lately, Unravelling by Susannah Conway, not to mention the Reverb12 prompts I am pondering. WHEW! It's going to be one PACKED journal when I'm done with it!

The rest of this week will be spent with my dear boyfriend, but I am squeezing in time to work on fun projects for myself, as well as ideas I hope to launch in the new year. I will share some of them in the weeks to come, so be sure to stay tuned!


* - though it was a problem in the beginning, it DID allow for stroller moms to move easily past my vintage goods and toward my handmade goods! =-)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The First of December - A Review

Hello Dear Blog Readers! I wanted to share how the first day of December turned out, since I shared my thoughts on the first prompt of #reverb12.

The last day of November was a hectic one, full of struggle, as I prepared for participating in a vendor event taking place at a scrapbook shop in Burbank. Since my last vendor experience had not yielded any sales, I had a bleak outlook for the day, but I decided to move forward, because you never really know what might happen...

My vendor table at Once Upon A Page for the holiday boutique - I had gift items, as well as book arts

In my last post, I wrote about how I wanted to start this month:

"I want to start this month relaxed and calm. I want to start this month with ample time to reflect on this year and all that has passed, to review the challenges and the triumphs, to release that which no longer serves me, to close out 2012 so I can begin planning how I want to approach 2013, to find my Word Of The Year that I can use as a talisman to guide me..."

Though the day before was hectic and full of struggles, I felt better after having dinner with my dear boyfriend and I got enough sleep so I could begin the day (and the month!) rested. I arrived early and decided to walk in the residential neighborhood near the shop and there were many homes decorated for the holidays that I was able to admire - this brought me some good cheer.

I met the vendors who made up the rest of the boutique and they were all kind and lovely ladies, full of creativity. One of them brought bananas and oranges that she shared with each of us - such a tasty treat! It was inspiring to be among them and to talk of how we were working on our creative businesses. I will share more about these creative ladies soon!

Though it turned out to be a bit rainy, I am happy to report that I made some money at this event! I made back my cost for the table fee and more, which made me very happy!

Recycled t-shirt scarves, knitted mitts and semi-precious stone jewelry made by me - having the other gift items was a good idea since some of them sold!

I also ran into a woman that I met at the Glendale Community College Flea Market in the summer. Her name is Lynn and when I first met her she shared a great deal of information with me regarding flea market events to sell my grandmothers vintage treasures at. I had run into her two weeks ago when I took a trip to check out the Silverlake Art Craft and Vintage Fair to see if it would be a good venue to sell at. Lynn once again shared lots of information with me about the Silverlake event and I plan on participating this Saturday. It has been great to keep running into Lynn - she is a kind lady and full of fun too!

All in all, the first of December was not as hectic as I anticipated and it yielded some great rewards through the meeting of many wonderful creative souls =-)

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IN OTHER NEWS:
I have been receiving the prompts for #reverb12 in my email box and since our hostess Kat is in a time-zone that is ahead of me, I have time to reflect on the prompts. It made me realize that I really would love to have a journal to use for this #reverb12 project, and to incorporate the other worksheets I use when I close out the old year. At the boutique, I met a creative woman who makes fun and fanciful journals and I am hoping she can create a special one for my use! I will be sure to share how this journal comes out...

In the meantime, I have also been thinking of doing a special year long challenge of my own making. I shared how I participated in a No Clothes Challenge three years ago...well, I am thinking that I may have to do a No Art Supplies Challenge!!

As I continue the arduous task of cleaning and clearing my space, I am realizing that I really do have A WHOLE LOT OF ART SUPPLIES, and fabric too, if I am honest. I have not been able to utilize much of what I have, yet I continue to buy more!! I do pass along many goods to my friend Jane of City Hearts, since she runs a sewing class, and I pass along goodies here on my blog, but I still have a LOT of creative goods to work with. I believe a ban on purchasing all supplies may be in order!

I will continue to ponder this idea and figure out some details, in case there is anyone who would like to join along this challenge with me, so be sure to stay tuned!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Starting December with #reverb12

Hello Dear Blog Readers!

You may have noticed a blog badge for Reverb12 in the sidebar. It's being hosted by my blog buddy Kat of I Saw You Dancing and I thought I'd attempt to follow along, especially when she suggested that I could simply ponder each day's prompt without writing about it on my blog. However, since Kat is in a different time-zone that is a whole day ahead of me, I thought I'd muse on this first prompt:

"How are you starting?"

Kat writes:

How are you starting this last month of 2012?
Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...
... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

I can tell you that right now, I am not starting this last month of December on a good note...


Overall, I have to say, that I feel frazzled and frustrated. I felt it keenly yesterday as I was attempting to make up some new gift goods to sell at a boutique happening today. I was stiff in my body, stressed in my mind and frustrated in my creative life, which made me feel low in spirits by the evening.

Luckily, my dear boyfriend took me out for dinner and that made my heart glad =-)

My dear boyfriend* found this site and turned us into South Park characters - FUN!

I want to start this month relaxed and calm. I want to start this month with ample time to reflect on this year and all that has passed, to review the challenges and the triumphs, to release that which no longer serves me, to close out 2012 so I can begin planning how I want to approach 2013, to find my Word Of The Year that I can use as a talisman to guide me...

This first day of December will be a hectic one, but tomorrow is Sunday, a day of rest and relaxation, a day to spend in the company of my dear boyfriend, enjoying each others company regardless of wherever we go or whatever we do.

Today may not be the ideal start to this month, but tomorrow is my chance to "begin again" and to begin in a way that makes me happy in my heart: with my dear boyfriend! =-)

* - Don't let him know I told you this, but his hair does look like that, usually in the mornings!! ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!

QUESTION:
How do you get to Carnegie Hall???

ANSWER:
Practice, practice, PRACTICE!

I was hoping to list some of the new stab stitch books I made to sell last week, but when I began to take photographs, I noticed something wasn't quite right with the binding on the books:

One of the new stab stitch books (incorrectly!) made by yours truly...

I realized that I had not sewn the spines on them correctly! They were missing the over stitch that makes the binding look like a blanket stitch, like the binding on my first stab stitch book:

5 over stitches on the book spine to match the straight stitches that make up a proper stab stitch binding

It seems that I bound every book I cut this way!

...sigh...

I realized I would have to re-do every binding on every book I cut - the large ones and the small ones. It was a slight inconvenience, but it gave me a chance to do the bindings with threads I really wanted to use the first time around. I made a quick trip to my local Joann's to find some chunky embroidery threads I wanted to use for bindings that would match the papers I used. I wasn't able to find a charcoal thread that I used for the black floral covered book, but I found a lovely cream shade that looks much better:



I also found some natural colored hemp twine that I'm adding to my growing collection of book binding threads. I'm looking forward to using the hemp twine soon!

Since I had to spend time unbinding and rebinding the books, I have yet to properly photograph them to list on Etsy...but I took a quick group shot so you can get an idea of what the books look like:

A peek at the recent batch of stab stitch books I made, all using the same thread binding for uniformity

I can definitely say they are looking much better now that they are all properly bound...



LESSON LEARNED:
I need to practice a new technique more than three times to insure its really in my head...and my hands!

Three little stab stitch books I made for practicing the new technique - guess I should have made more practice books!! ;)

In other news, I'm debating whether to participate in another boutique event. The cost is not very high and it's being held in a scrapbook store, which might be a better audience for my book arts.

If I do this boutique, I would have an opportunity to speak with the owner about teaching book binding workshops in her store, and she would be able to see my work while at the boutique so this would be the main objective. The second objective would be to sell enough goods to cover the booth fee this time around!

Sadly, my dear boyfriend pointed out that I have yet to make any money with my book arts, since I have not yet made any money at the previous events, with the exception of the summer event. I had to point out that I have only participated in three events and one of them was no cost for the space - I did make a few sales at that one, despite the awful heat!

I thought I would be able to make a few sales with my collage covered notebooks, but maybe I'm wrong in thinking that people want a journal for a gift during the holidays??

If I decide to participate in the boutique, I'll be sure to have a few other gift items on hand, made by me of course, like some jewelry, or some scarves!

If I do the boutique*, I'll let you know how it turned out, so stay tuned!


* - I do know that there is already a list of vendors for this event, so if you're in the area, stop by and check it out at Once Upon A Page in Burbank CA - I can tell you that it is a GREAT scrapbook store with lots of wonderful papers!