Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some Thoughts During This August (Blue) Moon

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I've been following along with "August Moon", a series of thoughtful prompts hosted by one of my blog buddies, Kat who blogs at I Saw You Dancing, and some of the recent prompts got me to thinking, which I want to share with you.

AUGUST MOON DAY 8 - LETTING GO
The prompt for day 8 of August Moon was this:

"What are three things you would like to let go of before the year is out? See if you can list three physical things and three emotional ones."

I can think of quite a few things I want to let go of before the year is out. Here is my list of things I want to let go of, physical, emotional or otherwise:

Let go of the clutter in my life

I want very much to let go of the clutter in my home/studio space. I know it is blocking me in so many ways from physical to emotional and this clutter no longer feels good nor does it serve me, but I am having SUCH a hard time doing the physical work to de-clutter and it feels like I'm not making any headway whatsoever. This clutter has been adding to my recent feelings of discouragement...

Let go of unnecessary clothes

My personal clothes closet is really not over packed and I know this because I've seen some pretty packed clothes closets in my day! However, I have been feeling that I may have more clothes than are necessary these days especially since I have not had a daily office job that necessitated a daily outfit. In fact, since I do much of my work from home these days, I've been realizing that I don't even need many of the clothes I've been holding onto, and this goes for the shoes I've been keeping that have not been worn in over two years. These could certainly go to a thrift shop for others to get some use and wear from, instead of languishing in my closet...this is not easy since I do love clothes and often make my own, but I am willing to work to let go of unneeded garments!

Let go of my vintage Etsy shop

I've been feeling the need to close down my vintage Etsy shop, where I sold many of my grandmothers wonderful treasures to fellow vintage aficionados, but I have not felt like taking the time to photograph or list any of the remaining items. Though continuing with my vintage shop could bring in much needed extra funds, I have felt the need to let go of this endeavor to make room in my life for focusing on my own hand crafted goods Etsy shop, to use the time to create more goods to photograph, list and sell...

Let go of my money fears

This is a big one, especially in the face of some hard realities. I have been working toward a creative career because my efforts at finding a 'day job' were going nowhere, and this was before getting laid off from my last job. Nothing has come out of any jobs I have applied for and nothing has panned out so far with my creative career efforts, in any real tangible way. I have been starting to feel very real fears that I will never be able to earn money again, in the face of the current economic landscape. I have always been resourceful and managed what little money I have always earned, but currently, things are financially tighter than I have ever experienced and this really scares me. I need to let go of my money fears or I will have trouble moving forward in any real way and I need to force myself to remember that I have ALWAYS found paid work to earn my living, one way or another...

Let go of my anger and resentment

Yes, Dear Blog Readers, I harbor anger and resentment! I am not immune to these feelings and, sadly, being born under the sign of SCORPIO, I tend to hang onto these feelings for many, many years, than is necessary. I have been working very hard at releasing these feelings and it has been SO DAMN HARD, especially when people in my life behave in ways that re-trigger my anger/resentment, or trigger old resentments from long ago. But I know that releasing these feelings will help to clear emotional space that can allow good things to come into my life and I really need good things to come into my life right now...

Let go of my feelings of unworthiness

I work very hard to keep the feeling of unworthiness at bay, but sometimes it creeps in, and does so in insidious ways...like my cluttered home...like my efforts at a creative career not working out (that I can see so far!)...like seeing people around me living in ways that seem so effortless, with little work involved. These things start to add up and I start to feel as though there is something wrong with ME, because I don't have a perfectly clean home, I don't have a 'real' job that earns me $50,000, I don't live in a very very very fine house with two dogs in the yard, I don't own a brand new environmentally sound automobile and I'm not skinny - all of which I feel surrounded by daily. It is often hard to hang onto my sense of self in this kind of environment and making art often helps keep the unworthiness at bay, since I draw much of my sense of self from being creative...and this leads me to the prompt for Day 9 of August Moon:

AUGUST MOON DAY 9 - GOALS
"What do you need to prioritize to end the year on a high note?"

I need to prioritize being creative JUST FOR ME, even if only for 10 minutes a day. Being creative, working with my hands, has ALWAYS been a HUGE source of self worth for me and I need this touchstone to keep the feelings of unworthiness at bay, until they disappear altogether...if they ever really disappear!
I need to prioritize my time and my energy in ways that will bring me opportunities to use my skill sets in ways that benefit others, not just myself. I do not yet know how this will all work out, but I have a start: volunteering my many skills to help out a great local non-profit arts organization.

I also know that prioritizing my energy will mean spending less time in the company of people who do not add positively to my life. This may mean spending less time in the company of old friendships forged under different circumstances than I am now living in, spending less time with people who have become fearful or negative, people who fear the unknown, or people who are afraid to take personal responsibility for their own lives. I feel myself growing out of these old behaviors and being around people who are still immersed in such behaviors no longer resonates for me.

I have definitely been feeling the rumblings of forging new friendships and alliances that are in alignment with my values and I look forward to seeing how this takes shape in the weeks/months to come.


These are the things that have come to mind from these August Moon prompts for me. What have you begun to ponder reading these prompts and my musings of them? I'd love to hear about them...


Many thanks to Kat and Meredith for hosting this wonderful event that celebrates the magic of a Blue Moon. Stop by their blogs to say hello or join the fun here - these prompts are definitely worth pondering!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Completely Discouraged...

...that is how I am feeling these days, Dear Blog Readers...

...along with tired, frustrated and angry...because my Word of the Year is not working out how I had hoped...

If this little dolly was not being used by a dear friend for her own frustration, she would be getting a lot of shaking from ME!

No one ever said it is an easy thing to be a Creative Beast and of course that is why BEAST is part of my name!

But one would think, after my many efforts, something would gel into a decent money making venture for CREATIVE WORK...(maybe I should have chosen a different Word of the Year*!)

Then I think that maybe I am doing too many things...
Or maybe I am not focusing on the right things...
Or maybe I am not creating good enough things for people to be interested in...

And this leads to me thinking:

Why keep going?
Why bother?
Who cares, except for me?

Yet, if I care, is it enough for me??

And if caring about it is enough for me, this leads me to other questions:

I care enough to continue but should I continue sharing this journey?
Does it matter if I share this journey?
Will anyone learn from my journey?
Does sharing my journey help at least ONE PERSON?

Because if sharing the highs and lows of my creative journey DOES help at least one person, then it is worth it to continue sharing my creative journey...

But sharing my creative journey is more than just sharing the fun, creative projects...

Sharing the hard and frustrating parts is actually MORE IMPORTANT, because it seems that very few people share what goes on 'behind the curtain', and this always feels disingenuous to me.

Perhaps if I look back to remind myself of my personal values:

BOOKS - ART - FRIENDS/COMMUNITY

...then maybe these values might provide a clue for what to do next...


Dear Blog Reader - what do YOU do when you are feeling discouraged about things in your Life? Do you do something creative? Do you go walk in Nature? Do you write about it? I'd love to hear about your coping strategies for the discouraging times in your life and I'm sure other readers would like to hear them too =-)


UPDATE: I have added the tag "#August Moon13" since I've come to realize that this post was inspired by this prompt from the August Moon project hosted by Kat and Meredith...

* - While "work" is the word that came to me, I hoped that "CREATIVE WORK" might be a better way to frame it, in the hopes it would come in an 'effortless' manner...but that has yet to happen!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This and That...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I am having trouble thinking of what to share with you today, though not for lack of projects I am working on! So I think I will share a little bit of this and a little bit of that with you today...

Good Little Things...
I have been a long time reader of Rachelle Mee-Chapman at Magpie Girl and, lately, I have been receiving many posts on friendship that I have found to be helpful and inspiring. This current project Rachelle is doing is inspiring me to send along my own 'friendship notes' to my close friends and artful/blog buddies...

This hand made card is for my dear Wise Woman, who sent me a truly wonderful testimonial of me and my work and how it has impacted her over the years...

Due to the inspiration of Magpie Girl's friendship project, I am getting inspired to create some new mail art postcards, note cards and envelopes and maybe even returning to this theme for some postcards - "SKIRT":

A series of postcards made around the theme of the 'skirt' - it is a fun theme to play with!

I have been making time to just sit and read for 30, 45 or even 60 minutes in my day and right now I am dividing my time between re-reading favorite children's books or some books I have borrowed from the Little Free Library that is just a few blocks from my home - I really love my Little Free Library!

Where I sit for my reading break - my burgundy cozy chair, with an ottoman for kicking up my feet..

Challenging Little Things...
I am having trouble with one of my sewing machines - sadly, it's the machine that has some decorative stitches on it, which I've been using on a few book projects lately. Luckily, I still have my very old sewing machine, but it only does a straight stitch these days. I am hoping I will be able to raise/earn some funds to get my machine repaired, or it will be awhile before I can continue to make any more fun file folder pocket books...

The book that began to show signs of my machine not functioning properly - this just needs some signatures to be completed and those can be hand sewn...

I am struggling with my cluttered studio/home space and this is a big challenge since I am also working on some new creative workshops that are scheduled to take place in my humble abode starting in September! I fear that I may very well be someone who actually likes clutter for my actively creative brain, but I also fear that a messy home might put off students...what's a creative beast to do about this conflict??

I try and try to clean off this table, but it never seems to last very long...

I am struggling with my need for like-minded people, in terms of entrepreneurship. I would love to have a few new friends with small businesses so I can have someone to bounce ideas off of or to discuss challenges with and it would be nice to know they were local...

What are some little things that are bringing you joy? What are some little challenges burning in the back of your mind? I'd love to hear your good news or your challenging news - it helps remind us we are in all in this together!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My "Scrapodex" Project

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Today, I am excited to share a project I have been wanting to do for over a year, one that was inspired by one of my fellow art journal buddies from Orly Avineri's art journal workshops...

Brian's Rolodex Art Cards
I met Brian, blogger at A Paper Bear, while taking Orly's art journal workshops. I love Brian's style of art making - it is visually rich and highly textured...

At one of the workshops, he invited some of us to make some Rolodex cards for his vintage Rolodex card holder, which was an idea he saw at this blog. I was excited to be invited to play along and I made a few art cards for his collection...then I immediately began searching for a vintage Rolodex holder of my own!

I passed along this search to a friends husband, who does a LOT of thrift shopping and flea marketing, more often than I do, if you can believe it! About a month ago, he sent me a message with a photo letting me know he found a vintage Rolodex card holder...for a mere $2!!!

My very own vintage Rolodex business card holder, now my ScrapOdex Project of artful cards!

I couldn't tell from the photo that was sent, just what size this Rolodex card holder was. When visiting with my friend, she gave me the card holder and I realized it was the large business card size - 3" x 5", considerably bigger than the cards I worked with for Brian's project...


During my own search for a vintage Rolodex card holder, I found and bought a batch of blank cards - smaller cards which don't fit into my new holder...


However, the bigger cards means there is more room for more art to be made on them!!


My "ScrapOdex" Art Card Project
Now that I own a vintage Rolodex card holder, I have been inviting some of my art buddies to make a few artful cards for my very own "Scrapodex" art card project and many of them are playing along!

What I've been doing is this: I mail them a card or two, along with some artful envelopes as a gift for participating, and a self addressed, stamped mail art envelope so they can mail back the art cards easily:

Cards to make art on and mail art envelopes - a fun packet to get for making art cards, don't you think?!

When they mail back the art cards, I will send along a mail art postcard as a gift of thanks for playing along!

Some mail art postcards I've made and sold or sent...

I also found some great ScrapOdex groups and boards on Pinterest, (which I recently joined) chock full of art card inspiration! I now have a board of ScrapOdex card ideas to work with, when I have some time to make my own 'ScrapOdex' cards...

...But if YOU would like to make some ScrapOdex cards for my collection, contact me! I'd love to receive some special mail art made by YOU!

However, if you are overseas, I won't be able send you a STAMPED envelope for return mailing since I don't have a way to buy foreign postage here in the US, but you will still receive some mail art envelopes and a mail art postcard upon completion!

Other Projects in Process
The reason I have not yet made any cards for my own 'ScrapOdex' project is because I have been in the midst of making some file folder pocket books, not to mention working on TWO journals based on the Mary Ann Moss online workshop "Remains of the Day Shabby Scraps Journal" and both of them are just about ready to have the signatures bound into the spine of my journal covers, which you can see HERE and HERE. I hope to share that with you all VERY soon, so be sure to stay tuned!!

And enjoy a creatively fulfilling weekend! 

PS: One of my favorite book binding authors, Jeannine Stein, linked to my file folder books on her blog! She creates some creatively fantastic books and hosts workshops around town. I hope to meet her one day =-)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Quick Quilt Project...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I hope you enjoyed a weekend filled with creativity! I know I did...

My First Machine Quilt Project!
I actually made a small quilt project this weekend, with the help of some wonderful ladies at Baron's Fabrics. Here is how it all came about...

All supplies were provided for this project, which was part of a demo for some high tech embroidery sewing machines...

I have known about this fabric shop for MANY years, but never went to see it, knowing it was full of high end fabrics, which I don't work with enough to warrant spending so much money on. However, I thought I would take a peek to see if it might yield some opportunities for teaching some of my creative workshop ideas...

Piecing together the elements of my quilt project -  a small wall hanging!

Sadly, the shop is closing down it's fabric section but it IS keeping the machine sales and workshops. I looked at the many high tech sewing machines and began to think about how some of the new decorative stitching or embroidery machines could add another level to my book making, such as this lovely butterfly used for a book cover:

An embroidered butterfly is adorning my quilt project...

One of the women began to talk to me about these fantastic machines and she asked one of the sales people to demo one of the larger embroidery machines...it turns out, I was speaking with the owner of the store!

Cotton batting is added to give the quilt design some 'loft', or puffiness ;)

The back of my quilt project which shows the quilt stitching, done by sewing machine, not by hand (aka "the old fashioned way")

Of course, I spoke with her about my sewing skills, my work in costumes and my book making and creative workshops...

A quick way to sew quilt binding onto a quilt using the sewing machine...

She became interested in seeing what I do, so she invited me to join her upcoming machine demo class, which involved making the quilt project...

The quilt binding uses the 'stitch-in-the-ditch' technique on the front of the quilt...

She asked me to bring some of my workshop projects to share with her and she also offered that I could participate in this demo workshop for FREE!!!

A decorative stitch was used for this 'stitch-in-the-ditch' technique to make a pretty finish...

I couldn't believe my luck!!

I brought a few book making projects that involve sewing paper, and I wore a favorite t-shirt skirt I've made*, which the women LOVED seeing and I think a few would love to learn to make their own version of my skirt!

Using the high tech machines opened my eyes to many possibilities, like creating my own crystal embellishment designs:

A sunburst crystal design shines in my quilt project...

I had a lot of fun being with other creative ladies and I had fun learning more about these amazing high tech sewing machines. I was almost embarrassed to share what sewing machines I use in my work, because they are so old and low tech - I felt like an 'old timer' despite being one of the youngest people in this workshop/demo!!

I got to speak with the owner briefly about some of my creative workshop ideas and she gave me some great information about the age range of her students and what they look for in creative projects. She invited me to come up with some curriculum ideas and meet with her again in a few weeks...

My finished quilt wall hanging with embroidery, button holes and crystal embellishments...

I sure do hope this becomes a great teaching opportunity, but if it doesn't, I still had an opportunity to learn about some of the latest developments in sewing machines. I may have to find a way to own one so I can add new layers to my book making work, and my general sewing projects as well.

In the meantime, I'll be sharing a different project later this week, that involves a little mail art, so be sure to stay tuned!


* - I've actually seen my skirt pinned on quite a few boards at Pinterest; methinks it's time to create a workshop for folks to learn how to make their own skirt!!! ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Silly Photo and Bracelet Ideas...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Today I am sharing a silly photograph of me taken at the recent Costume College event from the past weekend...


My dear boyfriend shot this while we were viewing the amazing historical and fantasy costumes on display in the exhibit room, which is open to the public, as well as the vendor room.

I searched for the vendor I bought from last year - a brass colored bracelet chain base that I recently used to complete a vintage button bracelet for myself:

My bracelet in process - I played with several configurations before deciding upon this one

To Buy or Not To Buy...
I know I am in the middle of my Buy No New Art Supplies Challenge, but after seeing the various bracelets I could make if I'd had more bracelet chain bases, I decided to buy just 3 more chains to work with to complete some of these (or other!) designs:




When they are complete, I will list them in my Etsy shop for anyone who would like to own such a lovely bracelet!

If you would like to own one of these bracelets, be sure to stay tuned!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Giveaway Winner and ANOTHER File Folder Book!

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Many thanks to you all for your wonderful comments about my creative take on the File Folder Journal/Book projects I have been working on lately. I've been having a LOT of fun playing with this book form, especially since it's also a recycling project, using some old materials in a new way.

In the past week I've been working a few other file folder journal/books and you will see some photos of this project in process, but I'm pretty sure you all want to know who the winner of the giveaway is!

Giveaway Winner
The winner of the giveaway is SETH...

...who is none other than Seth Apter - author, maker of art books/art journals, amazing mixed media artist and writer at his blog The Altered Page!!

Congratulations Seth! YOU win a specially made file folder journal/book made by yours truly! I will be contacting you so we can start the process of making your very own file folder book...

Oh my...I am going to be making a special file folder book for this awesome artist...I am feeling a bit nervous, but I think this will be a really fun project to create for Seth  =-)

Now, I'm sure all of you would like to see peeks at the other file folder journal/books I've been working on last week, but first, a few thoughts about this creative project and the name of it...

A Book By Any Other Name...
This file folder journal/book project, from an issue of ClothPaperScissors magazine is a lot of fun to play with, but I'm not sure it should be called a 'journal', since the original project does not include pages for writing or 'journaling'...

My file folder 'book' with signatures of paper for writing, to-do lists or drawing...

The original project DOES, however, have pockets, which is something that drew me to this project aside from the re-purposing aspect of it. I love tags, pockets, envelopes and hiding places in artful books - they are like 'toys' for me!

I added some signatures for my project, which makes it more of a 'book' or a 'journal', but the pockets are really fun and I think this project should actually be called a "Pocket Book"!

Pocket with inspiration for a tag - a paint chip of color...

From now on, I will call my version of this project a "pocket book"...and I was working on some more 'pocket books' last week...

More "File Folder Pocket Books"
I've been doing some cleaning and clearing around my home and I found a batch of file folders I forgot I had - all of them COLORFUL and PATTERNED!!


Needless to say, these were begging to be made into some 'pocket books' so I started the process of folding them into shape...



Some embellishment will be added to the cover, somehow...

And finding some paper for signatures...


Though the patterns of these file folders are pretty colorful, I might still add some extra embellishment - maybe rubber stamps or some collage elements. I may even sell them in my Etsy shop when they are complete!

Signatures ready for stitching into the spine - a 'pocket book' in the making!

Whatever I decide to add to these 'pocket books', you can be sure it will be shared here, so stay tuned for further developments!