Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Projects I've Completed!

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I wanted to share some file folder pocket books I've made recently - it does seem that you love to see them when I make them, so I thought it was time to share some of the newer versions I've been playing with that are now completed...

You might remember this file folder book project I shared while in it was in process;

File Folder Pocket Book in process with papers chosen to make the signatures for the book...

A graphically colorful file folder that has been scored and folded to create four sections with pockets

Well, I'm happy to say that this book is now finished! Here are some sneak peeks of how it turned out in the end:

Book spine made with coordinating papers and glued into place alongside some red thread stitching...

Back cover with pocket stitched into place; some washi tape and a coordinating label add to the decoration...

I also completed another file folder pocket book using another graphically colorful folder and I made a journal tag to go with it. Here is a sneak peek for you to see:

Inside front cover of a recently completed file folder pocket book with coordinating journal tag tucked into the pocket

Inside back cover of book with coordinating label on tab stitched with coordinating thread; the signature paper is lined, graph and plain colored paper

Now, I have to confess that to create this particular book I broke my challenge to buy No New Art Supplies - I bought plain aqua colored paper to make up the signature in this book...but I only bought what I needed and I used it immediately!

I know I have a LOT of paper supplies, but I don't have everything and it seemed that this book would look great with the plain paper in a color that coordinated with the graphic design of the folder. Aqua is not a color I use regularly, but it was available at the local Kelly Paper store I finally went to investigate.

The location of the Kelly Paper store has been known to me for MANY years, but I had never gone until a few months ago. I was happy to recollect seeing aqua paper so I could include it in the making of this book. I also bought a sheet of red paper that will be used to make another version of this file folder pocket book...

The stash of graphically colorful file folders I came across, while cleaning and clearing my home, has three different graphic designs and there were three of each design, so working with the repeat of each design will afford me creative opportunities to explore variations on making more books!

Here is the other colorful design I'm working with to create a new file folder pocket book:

And here are a few peeks of this project in process:

Coordinating folder label decorating the inner cover of the file folder pocket book...

Coordinating scrapbook papers and return mail envelopes will make a great book spine!

This book is nearly complete and when it is, it will be listed in my Etsy shop for purchase, where you can find the other two books I completed!

It feels good to complete projects and completing projects means I can begin to play with new projects!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sharing A Creative Workshop Project

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I think I'm overdue for sharing some creative projects with you all and I think you will enjoy some peeks at this recent project that will be my next creative workshop...

First, I made up two sheets of collage paper:

Then I cut the sheets into triangles:

With the addition of some ribbon, I now have a decorative collage banner to hang in my home:

Collage Paper Banner - a fun and simple project for everyone!

I have the right number of banner flags to write the word "CREATE" onto it, though I am really enjoying how the banner looks as it is!

I've been wanting to play with the idea of making a paper collage banner and I finally did. I will be adding the word "CREATE" eventually, as a reminder of what I love to do and what I value...and since I love to share my creativity with others, this is going to be my next creative workshop!

If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can learn to make this Collage Paper Banner for your home or office. You can find all the details on my Upcoming Events page.

I'll be sharing other creative projects soon, so be sure to stay tuned!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Wish I Had A Cleaning Lady...

Do YOU wish you had a cleaning lady??  I've harbored a dream to have a cleaning lady for YEARS, but my place is such a mess right now, I'm not sure a cleaning lady would know where to begin...after all, if I'M not sure where to begin, how can I expect a cleaning lady to know where to begin??

I'm going to be daring and share with you the true state of my home at this point in time - it's pretty cluttered:

These pictures are of my living/dining area. The sewing room is another matter, which I will share another day...

This clutter is why I chose to to give myself the challenge to buy No New Art Supplies this year. I have SO MUCH in paper supplies and embellishment items, I have been unable to store them in an orderly way...and I have a feeling that working on multiple projects is not helping me stay organized, either.

In many ways, I feel embarrassed to share these pictures of my home. I've often believed that other women are able to keep a clean home, but I can't seem to. It feels like I'm missing the "clean house" gene!

But sometimes, I think that many busy women are not always able to keep a clean and tidy home at all times, I just can't see it because no one is sharing that.

And sometimes I think my clutter is a reaction to my family history - my grandmother maintained such a clean home, it could have been a layout for Better Homes and Gardens magazine, to the point that it was not a cozy welcoming home.

But then this wonderful message came to me from my dear Wise Woman recently, in response to a request for a testimonial of my workshop teaching:

I love going to her apartment because it is a work of art as well. The creativity she puts into each part of her place is so much fun. It is full of found objects which find a happy home as  decorative items with profound stories to tell . It's truly a work in progress - not static; not "keep your hands off".

Then I think of a quote from an artist friend:

"I can't help it if a woman and an ARTIST live in the same space!!"

I often feel pulled to keep a clean home because of the old "what will people think" mentality, but it's not always easy when I use nearly every room in my home as a creative studio.

And I want to have a cozy environment that is inviting for people to be in, not a "keep your hands off" home, like my grandmother had, because that kind of home is not a loving home...

Once again, I am on a quest to clean up my cluttered home, in the hopes that cleaning out the clutter will make room for good things to come into my life. Wish me luck!!

Do YOU wish you had a cleaning lady? What would you do with the time you spend cleaning if someone else was cleaning for you?  I'd love to hear your 'cleaning lady' dreams!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Fading 'August Moon'...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
The many prompts shared through August Moon, hosted by Kat and Meredith, have had me reflecting a lot these past few weeks. I shared some of these reflections here in this post, then in this post. I'd like to do a round up of the remaining prompts I did not get to write upon while the August Moon was moving in orbit - maybe these prompts will get you thinking too...

The prompt went like this:

"How have you treated yourself this year? Have you kept your intentions?"

I do not make New Year resolutions or intentions, but I do use the Word of The Year worksheets and some intentions do come out of them. One of my intentions is one that is a hold-over from last year - make a day trip to the city of Ventura by myself. Unless I count my hour long 'pit-stop' while driving home from this years Artful Journey Retreat as a 'day trip', this intention will have to be moved again to the next year, due to some much needed car repairs that I have yet to find the money to pay for...

As for how I've been treating myself, I continue to work with my wonderful life coach Pete, I've been having monthly meet-ups with a fellow creative and entrepreneur and I've begun to make time for reading fun books, all of which I consider to be good self care!

Seize the Season
The prompt for this day was:

"How do you intend to transition into the new season?"

Unfortunately, living in 'sunny California' there is really no such thing as 'season' here, since the weather is bright and warm for much of the year. This summer was quite mild and livable until this month of September - then the heat waves began!

So far, it just does not feel like 'Fall season' to me, which I actually like, as it means cooler weather is approaching. But I can think about how I'd like to make the transition, when it finally appears, so I would like to do some Fall Cleaning, instead of 'Spring cleaning'. There is a LOT I feel a need to clean/clear out of my home and out of my life, physically and emotionally. This might turn into a short series here on the blog, so stay tuned...

The prompt for this day of August Moon was:

"Sometimes we get too caught up with life's circumstances. Count the blessings you've had to be grateful for this year."

Yes, I know how easily and quickly we can get caught up with life, but since starting my nightly gratitude journal ritual, I know I always have something to be grateful for, each and every day. Here is a list of items that are thought of every day - 

My friends
My dear boyfriend
My fabulous life coach
Creative inspiration - I find it nearly every day!

...And other items I am grateful for - 
Libraries for borrowing books and dvds
Riding my bicycle
Having LOTS of art supplies to use (sometimes too many!)
Eggs - you can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on how you prepare them!

Items I SHOULD have my list -
my health
a place to live
a car to drive

Gratitude can be big or small. I've come to learn this through my gratitude journal!

Now THIS prompt stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it:

"What word did you choose as your traveling companion in 2013? How is it working for you? Where have the surprises been?"

I actually touched upon this prompt in this blog post, but I didn't really address the question 'where have the surprises been'...probably because I can't think of any surprises, at least not good ones! I guess the surprise is that I am doing the working, instead of my word working FOR me. In spite of adding CREATIVE to my word for the year, which was added in the hopes that work would feel more playful and effortless, it's been HARD work which has yet to pay off financially, in a real and consistent way.

Here is the prompt:

"Have you developed new yearnings so far this year? Let go of old ones?"

I have DEFINITELY got a new yearning - I yearn to MOVE! While there are some great benefits to my current home - financially affordable rent control apartment, nice views from some windows, 2 bedrooms with one as my sewing room, there are a LOT of problems with the environment,  landlady and neighbors and I know this is affecting me in negative ways, blocking me and keeping me from stepping into real abundance.

As for letting go of old yearnings, I'm not sure, but when I find one, I'll get back to you...

The prompt for this was:

"What once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity(ies) came your way so far?"

For this prompt, I can say having my workshop turn into a party event. I had hoped that more party events might come out of this opportunity, but I guess I just don't know how to market it properly...I can say that it was a fun event and it was great to make so many people feel so happy and empowered by the end of it. I would love to have more opportunities like this!

And finally at the end of all the prompts was the call to Wish on a Blue Moon and the call to Celebrate:

"If you had one wish – guaranteed to be fulfilled by the end of 2013 – what would it be?"

"Find a small way to celebrate all you have summoned and all you have leaned into and all that you manifested over the past ten days"

Okay, here it goes:

My one wish is...
...To be well paid for my creativity, with workshops I create, as well as goods I produce...and when I say to be 'well paid', I mean to be able to earn $42,000 a year OR MORE*, so I can move into a wonderful new home with a wonderful new environment and wonderful new neighbors...

I will celebrate by...
...Completing one of many jewelry projects that remain unfinished, that I can use as a talisman for all I have leaned into and manifested through these journal prompts...and I will be sure to share this project with you when it is FINALLY completed!

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
 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!

And many thanks to YOU, dear blog reader, for reading through these prompts. I hope they spark some reflection of your own that you can wish upon and celebrate!

* - This amount may not seem like much to many of you, but to a single gal who has barely earned more than $30,000 a year on her own, this feels like wonderful abundance to me =-)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Thoughts Inspired by August Moon...

Hello Dear blog Readers,
There were many thoughtful prompts that came out of August Moon and I've been mulling them over. Though the prompts have come to an end, I want to share some of my thoughts on some of them...

The prompt for day 6 of August Moon was this:

"Where have the highlights and low points been for you so far in 2013?
Where are you now?"

It took me awhile to come to terms with the low point of this year for me, but the high point was easy to think of...and each one involved learning, which is a favorite pastime for me. Let me begin with my high point for the year so far - hands down, it was my time spent at the Artful Journey Retreat.

The High Point - Artful Journey
My time at the retreat this year was incredibly restorative this time around. I had requested my own room and this was a wonderful luxury to have. I awoke early each morning to participate in the morning yoga provided by a lovely spirit who provided a wonderful yoga ritual each morning before breakfast and classes. It was great to stretch my body before heading off to my workshop each day and it was lovely to have a room to myself to relax in each night before heading to the "land of nod". And of course learning from Albie Smith was fantastic, as well as making new friends and seeing old ones return to the beautiful Presentation Center.

As for the low point of my year, it was hard to face this one because it involved learning, which I love to do. However, this learning came very dear, in more ways than one, and it has been causing me some resentment, which I am trying hard to let go of...

The Low Point - Making Art That Sells
Participating in the online workshop, Making Art That Sells, was a very difficult and costly learning experience for me, which I have touched upon here, but I have kept a diplomatic face on my feelings about this experience. But after reading a post in the class Facebook group that this workshop was just a 'marketing tool for the creators' only fueled my resentment...so, in the interest of letting go of resentments, here are my feelings about my experience with this workshop:

To say that artists of all skill levels are welcome is great for inclusiveness, but seeing what the actual visual esthetic of the instructor really is and discovering that you will be unable to meet that esthetic because you don't have GRAPHIC DESIGN SKILLS is beyond discouraging and it made me realize very quickly that my work was not ever going to be a good fit. However, being 'taught' that a specific visual esthetic is what will sell in the marketplace, is not an encouraging message either.

To learn that you have paid out what amounts to nearly one months rent for what was a 'marketing tool' that someone else is financially benefiting from made me feel like a stupid dupe. That is not a nice feeling to have, no matter how much information I may have gained from this workshop. Paying money for what was essentially a marketing tool to promote the work/businesses of the creators involved, under the guise of a "talent search" (especially for someone who doesn't really need to 'search' for talent considering it arrives in their email box nearly everyday from hundreds of hopeful artists looking for representation) was a very bad financial move on my part and the amount of 'business' information I received just wasn't worth the price I paid for it. And frankly, promoting a 'talent search' as an online workshop is misguiding, in my opinion.

Having these feelings while in the midst of the workshop made me feel isolated (and feeling isolated is something I don't like*) because it appeared that I was the only student in the workshop having these negative feelings, and posting any 'negativity' was discouraged from the Facebook group. Yet, there were occasional posts with participants who were experiencing frustration and difficulties with the workshop, in a similar vein that I am sharing here, which helped alleviate the isolating and discouraging feelings I was having, but sadly, much of it was a little late for me.

Spending much of my time attempting to complete projects that would never fit the visual esthetic of the workshop may not have been the best use of my time. That time could have been better spent working on creating goods for my Etsy shop, or looking into creative work opportunities that would pay ME for my work, something I really should have been working toward.

Where am I now?
I've got a LOT of work ahead of me to let go of this resentment, but I will work on this so I can continue to move forward in my life...because being stuck in my resentment is not going to get me anywhere.

The prompt for day 6 ended in this way:

"How would you like your year to end?"

I would like to see my year end with MORE than enough funds to get me to next years Artful Journey retreat, with MORE than one creative work opportunity to earn me a good living and with MORE creative fun in the company of like minded artists.

Regarding online workshops, I am making a decision to stop doing them for awhile. I paid for 3 online workshops this year and signed on to participate in 2 other free workshops, and the only one I worked on in a consistent manner was the one I thought would help me make money, and that is the workshop that generated so much resentment.

This year, I did return to book binding workshops with my book binding instructor and really enjoyed being among other creatives working with my hands, so if I do any workshops in the future, they will be live/in-person workshops which is in alignment with my personal values of ART and COMMUNITY. And after reading this blog post from my fellow Artful Journey buddy Glenda, I may also make room for some creative swaps, since that also feeds into my need for COMMUNITY and would certainly add an element of FUN that I would like to end my year with.

Knowing some of my personal values has helped me to focus more on the things I value, which helps me create more joy in my life - I just need to remember to review them on a regular basis!

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!

* - One day, I may have to share my experience of being the only (isolated) employee in an office, while the other employees had the excuse of 'being out in the field' to avoid a long commute to said office...it might help me continue my quest to rid myself of long-standing resentments.