Monday, December 14, 2015

Catching Up With Reverb15...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

Today I'm catching up with the previous FOUR prompts for Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for the Reverb prompts, as I am quite behind in my blogging!

Prompt 11: Of Atoms and Stories

For this prompt, Kat gives us this to muse upon:

Muriel Rukeyser once wrote: The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. And I could not agree more. Our stories are our own but, in sharing them, they become universal. And timeless. 

What stories touched you this year? Which stories of your own are you glad you shared?

An uplifting story that touched me this year was that of ballerina Misty Copeland being promoted to Prima Ballerina at American Ballet Theater. As a woman of color and dancer who began dance studies with a love of ballet, this story was an exciting one to watch unfold...of course, there has always been the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, both of which are African American dance companies, but to have an African American woman achieve the exalted position of Prima Ballerina in a primarily white dance company is truly breaking racial barriers and smashing concepts of what makes a 'perfect ballet body'.

As for stories of my own that I am glad I shared this year, I would have to say that sharing my frustration and exhaustion and burn out with an old friend was instrumental in my taking time away from all of my hard work, and it also helped me take the leap to join Mondo Beyondo, which has been EXTREMELY HELPFUL in regaining my TRUST in MAGIC and helping me gain better CLARITY that has helped me MANIFEST some dreams I've been holding close and dear and I plan to carry this intention well into the new year!


Prompt 12: The Alchemy of Fear

This Reverb15 prompt is a guest post from Alana Lawson, aka Wolf and Word:

Can you think of an instance in the past year where you have been successful at making fear useful? 

What fears do you hold about the year ahead? And how could you use the energy of those fears in a different way?

Where in the past year have I made fear USEFUL to me? I guess it would be in all the work and reaching out I've been doing to locate venues to teach from, only I've now come to the realization that teaching from my own studio might be the best-fit plan of all...

But this taps into my fears for the year ahead - that I will not be able to get my studio into a suitable and tidy state for teaching in, which leads to other fears that I will never be able to earn enough money to pay my bills with ease...

But I think I can use this fear to my advantage and maybe even transmute my fears into a motivated energy aimed at discarding all goods, supplies and items that no longer serve me or bring me joy in the thought of using said items for future creative projects. I am close to completely filling TWO 18 gallon tubs of fabrics, trims, paper, and various supplies to be given away through art groups and I am finally starting to see some pockets of spaciousness and areas of carpeting that had been previously covered with too much stuff...and seeing this clearing begin to really take form is getting me excited to reach the finish line!

Prompt 13: Shake It Off (yes, really!)

What are you going to shake off with fierceness before you enter the new year?

There is something about this prompt that feels so powerful, to be able to shake off that which no longer serves me or, as Ann Miller once sang, to 'shake it away'...

And if there was something to be shaken off, it would be the perpetual resentment I harbor toward people I wrote about here last year, resentment which hasn't quite lost its grip, much to my chagrin...

Interestingly, I received a message in my inbox yesterday, from Mindy Tsonas, who is providing some daily alchemy card wisdom for December (you can sign up here!) to help keep balance during the hectic holiday season and yesterday's card seems to connect to this prompt of 'shaking it off'...here is the alchemy card Mindy shared with us:


ENVY
Oh, the work of Envy.
We all feel it and experience it. The feeling of Envy is a compelling one. It's a double edged blade that tells the story of something we deeply desire and also something we fear.... our own not enough-ness. This is a powerful card that can push us into uncomfortable places, but it also can be a great teacher and provide lots of insight should we allow it. The trick is to listen to what your envy is telling you, what work it's bringing up for us as unfinished and present, and to not get consumed by the immediate, visceral response. 
The Envy card allows us to be in our jealous feelings without the fight or flight response. It give s us an extra beat to let the emotion of it move through. Otherwise unchecked, envy can lead to outward hostility and projecting our negative emotions onto other people. It is an emotion we must own and endeavor to understand. It is a root feeling that is much more about what we fear we lack, than it is about what someone else might possess.
Today, delve into working with this feeling with a bit of gentleness and a wide open heart. Take kindness and compassion along as companions, and know we all have imperfections and places that need shoring up. Find the flow in Envy so that it does not shut you down. Don't let it block you from knowing your truest self.

The idea of feeling ENVY or JEALOUSY is one that pops into my head often as I continue to rid myself of my resentment and anger toward the 'narcissistic energy suckers' that take up space on the fringe of my world. So if there is an underlying current of envy being felt here let me now share just what I do feel envy and jealous of:

The utter disregard for 'politeness' in getting what they want, and they do get what they want...I have witnessed some stunning displays of entitlement and arrogance, and the lengths of selfishness taken to get what they want has been appalling to witness, to say the least, and there is NEVER ANY APOLOGY for this behavior...EVER.

These 'energy suckers' want what they want and, by god, they will have it...and they will have it WITH NO CONSEQUENCES...

Some days I wonder what it must be like to feel so entitled to be able to act so selfishly for one's own ends, with complete disregard for putting out anyone else. Being able to get what you want when you want it is something I envy, no doubt about it...but I also see how empty these lives truly are and I can begin to see that these lengths of selfishness are but one way to cover the shallowness these people are harboring, the lack of inner self possession, lack of healthy self centered-ness, lack of peace, calm or serenity...

...the kind of peace, calm and serenity that I strive toward with my daily meditation rituals...self care rituals I know the narcissists can not be bothered with doing for themselves, after all, who needs to take of yourself when you can throw tantrums to get others to take care of you?

Maybe with a little more contemplation on my feelings of envy and jealousy, I can get closer to finally shaking off the anger and resentment so I can one day look upon these people and feel absolutely NOTHING in their presence...I hope so.


Prompt 14: Transformation
This is a guest prompt from Lisa Sadikman who gives us the following prompt to ponder:

You wake up and the light through the window seems different, the air carries a chill or maybe a hint of warmer days. 

What has changed? You? The world? 

It can be a change that happened this past year or one you're looking toward in the time ahead. It can be a broad sweep obvious to all or a more subtle shift that only you know about. 

Tell us about transformation.

What changed is that I made a CHOICE to take a leap...

I took a leap to reach out despite my burned out, blocked and broke state of being and I reached out to strangers who would not remain strangers for long...

I took a leap to reclaim the inner magic I lost track of and I set an intention to invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into life...

And with this change to invite these values into my life, not only did I change myself, but the world shifted to meet my inner change...

And I can feel my 'dreaming big' and 'magic making' muscles begin to grow back. And I am glad I took a leap to make a CHOICE to reach out for HELP =)


Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reverb15 - Radical Acts of Love

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

Today is Day 10 of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Ten: Radical Acts of Love

We have a guest contributor for today's prompt and her name is Julia Inglis of 'Sacred Familiar', who creates some of the most amazing needle felted medicine dolls I've ever seen!

Here is the prompt given to us from Julia:

When we heal our spirits the ripples are felt from the highest branches to the deepest roots of our family trees. 

What radical act of love or non-conformity did you embrace this year? 

How did performing this alchemy affect your ancestors and what is the gold waiting to be shared with future relations?


Hmmmm, once again I'm feeling a bit stymied with this prompt, as it harks back to ancestors and to family trees...

But I do love the primary question of 'radical acts of love or non-conformity' that I may have embraced this year...

For anyone who has been reading at my blog for sometime now, you will understand that I have been 'committing an act of non-conformity' for over THREE years now, and that is to blaze my own trail, to utilize my skills and forge a creative career as a maker and instructor.

This has not been easy.

And this year in particular has been a difficult one, with some real challenges thrown into the mix in the past two months...

But each day I choose this 'radical act of self love', knowing it is the best choice FOR ME, as I finally begin to truly 'honor doing things in the way that works best for ME'...and 'doing things in the way that work best for ME' might now mean scrapping some things and starting from scratch, and blazing more trails, instead of walking well worn paths that are not bringing the results I wish to see.

This will not be easy.

But it will be easier knowing that working within 'established systems' is not going to work for me because I really don't like 'established systems'!

And not working within 'established systems' is also an act of 'non-conformity', something that was not really looked upon favorably as I was growing up...but then, who was raised to think as a non-conformist?!?

I really don't know how my radical acts of self love and non-conformity will affect my ancestors or future relations with anyone I may cross paths with in the future, but I'm beginning to see that the 'gold waiting to be shared with future relations' will be a strong sense of resilience, determination and confidence and I can only hope that these qualities I am cultivating by walking my own path will be an inspiration to anyone I may meet in the future.


Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reverb15 - Secret Ingredient

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Nine of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Nine: Secret Ingredient

Here is what Kat proposes for today's writing prompt:

As you may know, the theme of this year's Reverb reflective writing challenge is Alchemy. This was my word for 2015 but it has been so rich and evocative that I may just keep it for life.

Just the idea of Alchemy makes me curious. 

Like, what if you had to give someone a recipe for how to make a YOU?

What major ingredients would be required? What method would you recommend?


How would your je ne sais quoi be recreated?

Hmmm, what an interesting proposition, to figure out a recipe on how to make me, ME...

It brings to mind a conversation I once had with my dear Wise Woman:

ME: We need to have more Wise Women on this planet! (I have said this on more than one occasion!)

Wise Woman: I told my dear husband that you think we need more Wise Women in the world and he said that I should tell you that "if we have more Wise Women, we need to have more Dear Husbands to take care of them"!!

Which is to say that the very first ingredient to make another ME is to create a matching Dear Boyfriend to take care of my doppelganger! ;)

But if someone wanted to know what helps to make a Creative Beast, what would be needed..?

Here is my list of not-so-secret ingredients:

BOOKS, to start - good children's books, followed by some psychology and social studies, historical fiction and the occasional novel that includes vintage fashion or clothing in some way!

Add DANCE classes because a Creative Beast is a restless beast unless she learns various forms of dance to keep her moving when things get a little dull (which is RARELY!)

Throw in lots of ART: drawing, painting, some ceramics, some 3-D Design, some wood sculpture and LOTS of collage and mixed media, not to mention some traditional book binding skills...and some sewing skills...and some knitting skills...

Stir in lots of MUSIC which will do double duty by 1) soothing a savage (Creative!) Beast and 2) give the Creative Beast something to dance to...just about any kind of music will do - except maybe Country Western ;)

Sprinkle in the following FOODS, sparingly: potato chips; french fries; McDonald Big Macs; really good carnitas; AMAZING tamales*; sushi**; really good clam chowder***; tiramisu; chocolate cupcakes with homemade mocha icing; blood orange soda; Pepsi; hazelnut chocolate ice cream or hazelnut chocolate cookies; ANYTHING with lemon flavoring; ANYTHING flavored with pineapple; pepperoni, mushroom and black olive pizza; homemade mac & cheese...dang, now I'm getting hungry ;)

Add dollops of costume drama MOVIES, comedies and historical documentaries...

Toss together with a few NAPS and BIKE RIDES and I believe we would get 'Souffle du Creative Beast'! ****

Would anyone care to try my recipe??!? ;)

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!


* - it is not easy to find AMAZING tamales, so I already eat these sparingly - I could actually eat them every day, I love tamales so much!
** - Sushi can be pricey, which is why I already eat this sparingly too - wish I could eat this more often!
*** - really good clam chowder can be surprisingly difficult to find in some restaurants, unless it is a seafood restaurant, like this one, which does, in fact, serve a really good clam chowder
**** - this translated to 'Breath of the Creative Beast', which I thought sounded great for a recipe to create me! ;)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Reverb15 - Alchemy & Serendipity

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Eight of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Eight: Alchemy & Serendipity

Today's prompt is a guest post from Jennifer Williams-Fields, who is also a participant in this year's #reverb15. You can learn more about her story and her book at her blog.

Here is the prompt Jennifer shares with us today:

While alchemy is the active process of creating something of value, serendipity is the passive path to finding an unexpected treasure. 

Looking back through 2015, what did you diligently try to create? 

What great thing did you just happen to find?

Many of you know that I have been working diligently, for over a year now, on launching my creative career with teaching my own workshops. It has been a real struggle with very little results to show for it and this eventually caused me being burned out, blocked and broke.

Rest is what I needed and I began to make a conscious choice to stop all work tasks and to begin the process of RESTING. I even recruited my mail art buddy, Cindy Mearns, to be my accountability buddy as I checked in with her to share what creative or restful actions I would be taking each day, instead of doing more work to launch my creative career and she was happy to hold me accountable and lend her encouragement and support!

I guess it might sound as if I was also diligently working at RESTING!

But while I was starting my 'regime of rest', I took the leap to join in Andrea Scher's online course, Mondo Beyondo, where I set my intention to 'Invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into my life' and that is when the serendipity began to fall into place, which I have already mentioned, but will re-list again here:
  • A free spot in the Inner Alchemy Card Deck course from a 'fairy godmother'
  • A 'fairy card reading' from a friend given to me out of the blue, yet setting a positive tone before my 50th birthday
  • A visit with a 'fellow dreamer' which turned into more of an 'intuitive business reading' with many insights on how I can move forward with my creative business, that doesn't require me to work so damn hard all the time!
  • Some opportunities falling into place
  • Free session with a wonderful and energetic life coach who showed me I can honor doing things in the way that works best for ME
  • Making some new connections that might result in a part time job and place for teaching my workshops
  • Another 'fairy godmother' gift being given to me
  • Finding 'Messages from the Universe' throughout the Mondo Beyondo course that were meant for me, particularly this message: "Everything is unfolding exactly as it should - YOU CAN REST"

I am still working on continuing with the rest, especially as the year winds down, but I am happy I took a leap to join Mondo Beyondo because it has really helped me to rebuild my 'dreaming big' muscles, as well as helping me tune in to my intuition, which has been slowly guiding me toward a few opportunities I might otherwise have missed...

I am slowly beginning to see Hope on the horizon =)

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Reverb15 - Ancestral Healings and Verdicts...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today I am playing catch up with two prompts of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for the writing prompts of this past weekend...


Day 6 Reverb15 Prompt: Ancestral Healings

This prompt is given to us by fellow Reverb participant, and now amazing contributor, Cindy Mearns, with whom I began a wonderful mail art correspondence after last years August Moon! I am SO EXCITED to see her contributing to this years Reverb 15!

So here is our prompt...

As each year progresses, we unknowingly gather many thoughts, beliefs, and patterns to us. In fact, what we are carrying may have been passed down to us from previous generations.  

Looking at the thoughts and patterns that may be holding you back from living the life you want, trace back through the generations of your family and see if your beliefs originated generations ago.  

In 2016, how can you bring healing to these patterns of thought that are holding you back?

...Honestly, I'm not sure how to work around this complex writing prompt...I began to write about my great grandmothers sewing skills, and the sewing skills passed along to me from my grandmother, but this is not getting to the heart of what is being asked...

However, I did speak to a friend today about how my grandmother was a 'gifted invalid' throughout my mothers childhood, giving the impression that she was not able to prepare meals or clean the home, tasks that were given to my mother and uncle while growing up - in fact, my grandmother had all her meals brought to her on a tray...oh, to live in such luxury!

You see, my grandmother had a lung removed due to tuberculosis, which took place during the early 1940's, and having only one lung to work with meant my grandmother 'couldn't get sick' since she only had one lung and catching a cold could be fatal...or that is what we were told growing up.

But once my uncle and mother were able to leave home, lo, and behold, my grandmother showed herself capable of cooking the meals and using a vacuum cleaner to clean what was her immaculate, spotless home, that my mother would joke looked like 'a layout from Better Homes & Gardens' for all its perfection...and my grandmother was also able to take a solo trip to Europe, long after my uncle and mother moved out of the 'old homestead'...that is a pretty big adventure for a person with only 'one lung'.

And did I mention that my grandmother was verbally abusive to my mother growing up?

I can tell you that my grandmother was not a 'fun' grandma when I was a child, and truth be told, learning to sew with my grandmother was an awful ordeal for me as my grandmother was critical, picky and had perfectionist tendencies.

Some days I marvel at the miracle that I bothered to keep sewing at all, even going so far as to enroll in a 2 year Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting program.

But what does this have to do what is holding me back from the living the life I want?

Oh yes...the idea of having the 'perfect home' - clean, uncluttered, perfect and pristine, which my grandmother lived for, became anathema for me, as it did for my mother.

My mother would always say how she preferred a home that 'looked lived in' to my grandmothers 'showcase home', and this has formed how my own living environment has been for a long time, with my creative studio taking this 'lived in look' to an extreme with too much clutter...



How to heal this 'pattern of PERFECTION vs. LIVED IN home environment'?

Lucky for me, this week I had a session with an energetic life coach who pointed out that living in a messy studio is NOT WORKING FOR ME and I need to HONOR this...and as an adult, I know that I don't need my studio to be a 'perfect studio', but I DO need a cleaner and tidier studio to MAKE ME HAPPY.

So I began to fill an 18 gallon tub with supplies and materials I no longer wish to keep in my studio...bit by bit, I hope to heal the old wounds of 'clutter as rebellion' toward my critical grandmother and clean out my studio into a place of calm, grounded serenity, that will MAKE ME HAPPY TO WORK IN...

As I continue to 'invite CLARITY, TRUST & MAGIC into my life', people are beginning to cross my path to help me with healing many old wounds. And this is a wonderful thing...

Day 7 Reverb15: The Verdict

The prompt from Kat is this:

In her seminal book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott offers the observation:
“The evidence is in, and you are the verdict.”

Regardless of where you live in this crazy beautiful world, I'm sure you'll agree it's been a BIG year.

Today, I want to acknowledge that you are here and I am here and we are here.

We're just... HERE.

That feels like a BIG DEAL.

And, that being said, I invite you to reflect on all that this evinces. What are you the verdict of?

(And if you have any doubt that you are a wonder to be celebrated, may I suggest you go back and look at your entry for Reverb15 Day 5?)


If I look back to my Reverb15 Post for Day 5, I stand as a verdict to the power of setting intentions...

As I made my intention to 'Invite CLARITY, TRUST & MAGIC into my life', slowly but surely, things have begun to fall into place in my life:
  • A free spot in the Inner Alchemy Card Deck course from a 'fairy godmother'
  • A 'fairy card reading' from a friend given to me out of the blue, yet setting a positive tone before my 50th birthday
  • A visit with a 'fellow dreamer' which turned into more of an 'intuitive business reading' with many insights on how I can move forward with my creative business, that doesn't require me to work so damn hard all the time!
  • Some opportunities falling into place
  • Free session with the aforementioned energetic life coach
  • Making some new connections that might result in a part time job and place for teaching my workshops
  • Another 'fairy godmother' gift being given to me - more about this soon!

Thanks to participating in Mondo Beyondo, I am finally learning how powerful intentions really are, how powerful it is to have goals, write lists and believe in magic, and I have learned that it is okay to honor doing things in a way that honors me and my needs...

This feels like a BIG DEAL!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Reverb15 - Show Us Your Selfie

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Five of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Five: Show Us Your Self(ie)!

Here is what Kat writes for todays prompt:

Go on, show us your selfie! You know you want to.

If you've been a part of Reverb before, you know that this is the bit where I invite you to share your favourite photo of yourself from the year (selfie or otherwise). 

For bonus points, give us a montage of the photos you have shared during each Reverb you’ve participated in. (Throwback Thursdays #tbt are also welcome!)

Hmmm...As I've already mentioned, this has not been the best year in my life, which results in very few photos of me, let alone any selfies.

However, I DID take a selfie shot of myself on Halloween this year...


I posted this shot on my Instagram account and at my Facebook page, as I was beginning to feel a little more upbeat about my life, despite one of two crises that began to unfold in my household.

Participating in Mondo Beyondo was helping me regain my 'dreaming big' muscles and I had received the gift of a free spot in Mindy Tsonas' Inner Alchemy Card workshop, so I was starting to feel better about things when I shot this photo...

Sadly, there has been a different crises unfolding in my household, which I can not share many details of at this time, but suffice to say that there was an unexpected death of a family member last month...

...And yet, I continue to 'invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into my life' each and every day when I write this affirmation in my little altered notebook and I'm happy to report that I have been visited yet again by my 'fairy godmother' who is making a big 50th birthday wish come true, so I have reason to smile these days, despite the loss and sadness hovering in my home.

Soon, I will share more of the happy news I received today, making this day a 'Good Friday'! But for now, I will share this years self(ie) with you all and hope that it will make you smile =)

And for fun, I'll share links to the previous selfies I've shared in Reverb12 and Reverb14 - hope you enjoy the old photos I share in those old posts!

Thank you for stopping my blog and reading today!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reverb15 - Replenishment

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Four of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Four: Replenishment

Today's guest prompt is given to us by fellow Reverb participant and writer Kathleen Jowitt who poses a thoughtful question for us:

As the year ends, and we look back at the joys, achievements and disappointments of the past twelve months, it's worth taking some time to recognise what our efforts have demanded of us and where our resources have been depleted.

Whether you have spent 2015 bringing some long-cherished project to fruition or simply trying to keep your head above water, it's likely that this has come at some cost to you.

How can you replenish your (physical, mental, spiritual and/or emotional) resources? What do you need most of all at this moment? 

How in the world did Kathleen know that I've been trying to keep my head above water this year, above the disappointments, challenges and struggles and, most recently, big losses in finances and family members...

2015 has not been the best of years and I have felt my personal resources depleted time and time again.

I realized how burned out I was by mid-summer and I began make a plan to replenish myself by stepping back from all the work I was doing that seemed to be going nowhere and I began to carve out some morning rituals that do help to replenish my spirit:
Some of these practices have fallen by the wayside due to the recent difficulties that have taken place in my household, but I always start my day with quiet breathing meditation and my exercises, followed by the inspirational reading and ending with my 5 minutes of journaling gratitude and setting intentions for a great day.

I really do miss my reading time and would like to build that back into my day, with reading time during the day and ending my day.

However, what I do need most at this time in my life, to replenish my spirit after the beating it has taken this year, is to carve out time for my annual Word of the Year reflection. As I now use more than one worksheet for finding my Word of the Year, along with worksheets to reflect on the challenges and highlights of 'the year that was', much of my year-end reflection now takes quite a few hours to work through, so scheduling specific time for all this journaling is a must.

And planning for special snacks and treats to nibble on while doing this deep reflection would be a good idea too!

I could also use the remaining weeks to simply do nothing but watch my favorite holiday movies, more than once if possible, accompanied with lots of buttered popcorn.

I could stand to add a daily nap into my day for the rest of this year.

And I need to acknowledge every day that it is okay for me to 'honor the way things work best for ME', and to follow through on that, however that looks.

Many thanks to Kathleen for posing this much needed question on replenishment so I can have CLARITY on what I need for the remainder of this year, and I can then set the intention to invite TRUST and MAGIC into my life to make my replenishment fall into place, with the possibility of a nice surprise, like a healing body massage!! ;)


Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reverb15 - La Luna

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

Today is Day Three of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Three: Lady Luna

When was the last time you stopped to look up at the moon? 

What did she have to say to you?

As a matter of fact, I stopped to look at La Luna last week, just before Thanksgiving Day. It was a cool night and La Luna was very nearly at her fullest and quite lovely to gaze upon. But then, she usually is...

I don't often hear any messages La Luna might have for me, but that could be because I am usually stopped in my tracks at her beauty.

But if La Luna did have a message for me, particularly these days, it might be this:

Calm
Cool
Serenity

I am reminded of a quote I once heard about the moon:

"As the sun rises, she will surrender the night, but she is always with him, even when he can not see her."

(Chow Yun-Fat as King Monkut in Anna and The King)


Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reverb15 - Surprises

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Two of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Two: Surprises

"What surprised you this year?"

What surprised me this year...was being given the gift of an online workshop I had been dreaming of taking since hearing of it from Ms. Kat McNally herself sometime last year...shall I share this story?

Kat McNally told me of the online course called Inner Alchemy Cards, hosted by Mindy Tsonas and this course is about creating your own oracle card deck based on the elements Air, Water, Earth...and the Earth Coven takes pace during the fall, just before my birthday and after seeing this online course, I KNEW I would have to join the Earth Coven to make an Earth deck before my 50th birthday took place this year, so I had time to figure out the funds to join the course...

...Except for the fact that I've been struggling to earn enough money to even pay just my personal bills, let alone having any extra money to use for joining creative workshops for my enjoyment and personal growth.

But I dreamed of joining the Earth Coven to make myself a special, personal deck of highly creative and intuitive cards in time for my big milestone 50th birthday.

Not long after taking the leap to join Mondo Beyondo to jumpstart my burned out spirit and recharge my 'dreaming big' muscles, I received a newsletter from Mindy announcing registration for the Earth Coven AND an opportunity to WIN A FREE SPOT in the Earth Coven!

There were other freebies being offered too, but all I wanted was a spot in that ecourse!

All I had to to was share the attached photo from the newsletter in my social media, using hashtags for Mindy to find me, and she would pick a winner within 10 days...well, I am not fond of bombarding my friends on Facebook (or Instagram or Twitter or...you get the picture!) with promotions, so I was a bit reluctant to use my social media for a contest to win a spot in an ecourse.

But I REALLY wanted to make that special deck of cards for my upcoming 50th birthday!!

AND I had just made the commitment in Mondo Beyondo to 'invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into my life', and I knew I had to honor that commitment, so I began to share my intention of CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC, with the hopes of gaining the free spot in the Earth Coven, the online course I had been dreaming of participating in ALL YEAR LONG...

In just 3 days, I received THREE EMAILS at each of my email addresses (yes, I have THREE EMAIL ADDRESSES, something I NEVER thought I'd do, but more about that another day) from Mindy informing me of the following:

Monica,

Someone special purchased this class for you as a gift! They wish to remain anonymous, but send you much joy and love on your journey - lucky girl!

Welcome to Earth Coven and to our FALL Inner Alchemy Circle! 


O.M.G...!

I looked at that message and looked at the message at each of my email addresses over and over, and then I wrote back to Mindy to confirm that this was REALLY TRUE, because I doubted this MAGIC for a full 24 hours...
 
This is how bad my BURNED OUT, BLOCKED AND BROKE state of mind was when this message came to me...you can see how I REALLY needed Mondo Beyondo to help me with my 'dreaming big' muscles at this point!
 
But it was true - a 'fairy godmother' gave me the gift of a spot in the Earth Coven, which meant that there was room for someone else to WIN the spot AND get the other free goodies that were part of the giveaway, items I really didn't need anyway...and I love the idea that there is 'enough pie to go around', so this gift meant there were TWO WINNERS, after all.
 
I recently shared this story with an old friend and she almost began to cry upon hearing it...some days, I still cry a little at my good fortune...or should I say at my CLARITY to TRUST in MAGIC again??

 
 Two cards from my deck-in-progress: Conjure and Ritual - Both are taking priority in my life these days!

This is how my mantra, affirmation and talisman have been working for me, since setting my intentions and this is just one of the surprises that have taken place since then...but more about those other surprises for another post, another day...
 
Thank you for stopping my blog and reading today!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Returning with Reverb15 - Lists & Prayers

My fellow Creative Beasts,

It has been 125 days since my last post...

There has been much struggle and challenge in that time, but there have also been sprinklings of hope.

Today, I return to blogging with #reverb15 and the theme of "ALCHEMY", which has been springing around me in the past month or so, especially when I took the leap (despite the fact that I was BURNED OUT, BLOCKED and BROKE!) to join in Mondo Beyondo to help me reconnect to my 'dreaming big' muscles...and todays Reverb15 prompt harks back to some lists I made at the start of Mondo Beyondo...

Prompt One: Lists and Prayers

What sorts of lists do you have on the go at the moment? What do they suggest you are praying for?

On this first day into #reverb15, let me share a few items from lists I made at the beginning of Mondo Beyondo, and let me state that the lists we were asked to make could be as outlandish or outrageous as we wanted:
  • Live near Nina Bagley and become her studio assistant!
  • Move to Portland, Oregon (a hotbed of creative community! or move to North Carolina (Nina Bagley lives here!)
  • Have my own creativity show on CREATE TV
  • Share my creativity and creative lifestyle approach with an enthusiastic audience and BE PAID to share my ideas
  • Create artful books and journals that are highly valued, prized and bought by appreciative customers and clients
  • Help adults reconnect to their innate creativity so they will incorporate it into their lives for more JOY in Life and positive self esteem...and BE PAID for this worthwhile work
  • Getting a FREE FIAT in a fun bright color!
  • Receive the gift of attending the very last Artful Journey Retreat by donations from friends who support me and the art work I create...

This is just a small sampling of the lists I created in the process of Mondo Beyondo and I have to say some of these items do seem a little far fetched, like moving to North Carolina to become Nina Bagley's studio assistant! Or getting a FREE FIAT to drive around town!!

But then again, why not??!?

However, if my lists are a form of 'praying', then it appears that I am 'praying' for the following:

  • Moving away from Los Angeles, and out of California altogether
  • Share my creativity in a supportive community
  • Share my love of creativity to inspire creativity in others...and be well paid for this worthwhile work

There have been some difficult challenges happening in my world and it has not been easy to hold onto these 'big dreams' or keep my 'dreaming big' muscles strong, but at the start of Mondo Beyondo, I set this intention:

I invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into my life

This has been my mantra, affirmation and talisman ever since...and in little ways, it has been working, but more about that for another post...


Thank you for stopping my blog and reading today!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Six Years Ago Today...

...A blog was born on July 29, 2009 and I called it "The Creative Beast"...

But just HOW did that name come about anyway? Well, my fellow creative beasts, let me tell you that story...
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One day, way back in the 90's, I was describing my weekend activities to a co-worker and I believe the list of activities was as follows:

Making patterns for costumes for a dance show...that I was also performing in
Sewing the final touches for a Renaissance Faire costume I would be wearing at the faire within a few weeks
Rehearsing a dance for the aforementioned dance show
Making some rag dolls to sell at a shop on consignment (this was BEFORE the internet really took off!)
Knitting a poncho - this was the first round of the knitted poncho trends
Sketching designs for one of my Fashion Design classes, which would then have to be made into a pattern, then sewn as an actual garment...

In the course of describing all of these activities, my co-worker interjected:

"Well! You are quite the CREATIVE BEAST, aren't you?!?"

When I heard those two words - CREATIVE BEAST - I knew this would be my nom de plume somehow, someway!

I drew this little character back in the 90's, with the idea I just might use it for a creative business! She has been 'professionally' colored in with help from my dear boyfriend, now called 'Man Of The House'


And so it came to be, six years ago today, that I used the name "The Creative Beast" when I created this blog to share my love of all things creative...

I have shared many creative adventures with you all here since that first blog post, so allow me to share some of the highlights as a retrospective of what's happened in my life since this blog began:

I participated in my first big blog event, Blogtoberfest, hosted by my first blog buddy and fellow Art Journey-er, Cathy aka 'Tinniegirl'

I attended my first ever art retreat called An Artful Journey, where I met MANY fellow 'creative beasts' and this would not be my last art retreat!

I had my first ever art exhibit with a project I had long wanted to create

I had my artwork published in TWO BOOKS written by Patti Digh, who I had recently discovered




I had my first ever teaching job with a troop of Girl Scouts


I got my creative workshops into my local community college to share my love of book arts and creativity...

And while I did manage to actually teach two workshops in the course of being on the roster for three sessions, unfortunately, I will no longer be teaching there due to 'clientele not showing interest in the workshops', but I've come to realize that the venue is not meant for me and what I have to offer...

***   ***   ***
So, I am continuing to search for ways to forge a creative career for myself and to find ways to share my love of creativity in ALL it's forms, from sewing and costumes, to doll making and fashion design, from coloring and collage, to book arts and baking!

I am so thankful for ALL the amazing creative beasts that have crossed my path and so thankful for all the folks that have left comments here at my humble little blog. I had no idea how my life would take form when I began this blog and it is has been an amazing, creative and art-FULL adventure, which I most certainly plan to continue for many more years to come!

As a matter of fact, I have signed up to participate in The Doodle Days of Summer, which begins in just TWO DAYS! Sign up SOON if you want to play along!

And I will be sharing my progress with this years round of August Moon, being hosted by Alana at Wolf and Word which begins on August 15 - there is still time to sign up to play along and generate some fabulous magic through journaling!

What ways do you use to celebrate YOUR creativity?? Gardening? Baking? Writing? Painting? There is more than one way to be CREATIVE so try them all and EMBRACE YOUR CREATIVE IMPULSE!

Friday, June 26, 2015

WHY This is NOT a Creative Slump...

Hello My Fellow Creative Beasts!
You might be wondering why I so adamant about not being in a creative slump in my last blog post. Today I will endeavor to explain myself...

One of the beastly aspects of art and creativity is that many people fall into what they consider a 'slump' or a 'creative block' and they generally view this in the negative, imagining all sorts of horrible things, such as the idea that their creativity is finished, they have no ideas to work on and will never have any creative ideas ever again...

Simple beaded necklace made to practice with beading wire before attempting a paid necklace repair job for an acquaintance...

But I also notice that this seems to happen most frequently among people who stopped being creative in their childhood/teens and are now reconnecting to that natural creative impulse; it might also happen among people who have limited their creative channels to just one outlet such as painting or drawing or sculpture...

I am here to tell you that this is all wrong headed thinking...

Gallery of washi tape covered match boxes, recently made after discovering the book "Washi Tape"

As someone who has always been creative, who has never stopped herself from any creative activity that popped into her highly active mind, this idea of 'creative blocks' or creative slumps' is not really any of those things, but I have learned that it IS a natural part of the creative cycle.

I've never really considered myself to have fallen into a 'creative slump' but this could be due to the fact that I engage in several creative activities, possibly more than the average crafter. Here is a list of activities I have engaged in, in one way or another, since childhood and I will attempt to list them in chronological order to the best of my ability:

drawing - doodling - coloring - sewing - knitting - jewelry making - dancing - costume design - creative writing - photography - pattern drafting - fashion design - fine art drawing - life drawing - collage art - book binding - clay sculpture - 3-dimensional design - wood work - performance art - altered books and art journals - needle felting - fabric dyeing

My list of creative pursuits is a long one indeed!

Now, I admit this is a long list of creative activities, and there are many that I practiced for a short time, such as the clay sculpture, and the wood work. But some have been with me since childhood, such as the sewing, knitting and the jewelry making...

And I believe that dabbling in so many creative activities has not only fed my creative curiosity, I feel that it adds to my confidence in my skills.

And this is the crucial issue with many creatives who make a return to embracing their creative impulses, after burying them for many years.

Returning to creative actions such as drawing or painting or sewing means rebuilding old unused muscles and it can take some time to feel secure in your skills, but until you feel secure in your own skills, you will doubt and deride your abilities, which will lead to quitting, which can then make you feel as though you are in a 'creative slump', which is really just 'fear of not being good enough'.

And ALL ARTISTS fall into this mode of thinking, including me, from time to time...

I just don't allow myself the feeling of 'not being good enough' for very long, since I have all kinds of evidence of how good much of my work is, due to practicing many of my skills for many years, some of them for decades. And I continue to practice many of my creative skills weekly if not daily, so this always adds to my "Identity Capital*" of being an Artist.

Evidence of my book making skills laid out on display - I take pride in what I create!

I don't think any of us ever really drop the feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, but with much practice, over time, we can learn to tame that little voice into a whisper as we add and grow in our skill sets.

And I would also say that if one has several creative channels to dip into, there can never really be a 'creative slump', though there can be a time of creative quiet, which is sometimes needed to let big ideas percolate as we prepare ourselves to bring them to fruition, but that is still not a 'slump', just a 'fallow time', which is a natural part of the cycle, just as it is for planting and harvesting.

I'm currently in a 'jewelry phase' of creativity right now - pink and sliver bead necklace made last week - these beads have been waiting to be used for over 5 years!

And so, I will leave you with these words of Julia Cameron, author of "The Artists Way Every Day",  a book of daily musings on creating art which I've been recently been reading and enjoying for daily art-full inspiration:
"Our creativity never leaves us. Sometimes, however, its surface appearance fades away. We become parched with longing for our work, but our sources of strength are now not our easy tricks. We are being humbled and opened for greater work to come through us, and that humility feels to us like humiliation, that opening-up feels like a gaping wound. We are deathly afraid that art has left us alone forever, that we will never see the beloveds face or feel its simple touch. 'I was such a fool,' we think. ; I took so much for granted.' And we did. But faced with out drought, we don't any longer, and this is the beginning of humility and honesty. It is the beginning of emptying ourselves so art can again pour through us."
***   ***   ***
How you will take time to build your creative identity capital this weekend?
 Feel free to share!


* - I have linked to the concept of "Identity Capital" discussed in this amazing TED Talk by Dr. Meg Jay, but I don't think that building 'identity capital' ends in one's twenties; I believe that building a solid structure of identity capital is a life-long journey and well worth it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

This is NOT a Creative Slump!

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts!
Once again time has slipped by me because, of course, LIFE is what happens when you're busy doing other things...and just what have those other things been, you might ask?

Well, I will tell you and be sure to read through to the end since I have included a bit of a 'tutorial' in this blog post!

Still "Tidying-Up"
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been embroiled in a HUGE cleaning, or rather, 'tidying-up' project in my home, which was sparked by discovering the book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up", by Marie Kondo. I haven't shared much of my process here on my blog, though I did share one day of starting to sort through the PAPER category at my Facebook page...but here is a peek at all the storage bins I've emptied since I began my 'tidying-up' process:

7 plastic or decorative paper storage bins are now emptied from my clothing closet since starting my 'tidying-up' process...they will be kept for use when I begin to tidy my studio in earnest!

I have been faithfully following the prescribed order of tidying-up and am getting a little stuck in the 'PAPER' category. This is not entirely surprising as many of the papers cluttering my home reside in my studio, which is the whole point of all my cleaning!

Wanting a 'Tidy' Studio Space
Last September, I participated in Seth Apter's Studio Table: The Reveal project, a blog hop that involved MANY artists sharing what their studio table REALLY looks like, to bust the myth of the 'picture perfect' studio space that is often promoted...now, while I received many wonderful comments about my studio space, and despite learning that many of us artists constantly feel that our studios are in a perpetual state of disarray, I also learned that what looks messy to ME, seems to be inspiring to others...

And yet...I am still dissatisfied with the state of my studio space and I KNOW I can do better:

Not much has changed in this messy studio since the 'Studio Table' blog post, though I can say I have recently found a few items I thought I'd lost!

And after reading Marie Kondo's book I am feeling more strongly than ever that I really do have TOO MUCH STUFF for TOO MANY PROJECTS...

However, by following the prescribed order of tidying up, it is helping me build my 'decision making skills', which will help me to more quickly and easily discard the materials and supplies I will no longer need or want, as I begin to hone in on the crafts I truly enjoy doing.

But all this tidying-up has kept me from spending much time blogging here, as this process is quite intense =\

But it has NOT kept me from engaging in some creative projects! Here is the latest craft project I've been CRAZY about lately - washi tape match boxes!

I recently found the book Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti at my local library and when I saw the idea to cover matchboxes in washi tape, I just HAD to try it out!

Washi Tape Covered Match Boxes Project
And here is a little step-by-step process for making these fun decorative boxes:

A matchbox holding some olive jade earrings and pendant necklace I made a few years ago...

To begin with, I have quite a few matchboxes which I often use for storing my jewelry, such as earrings or little necklaces. I always thought I would cover the boxes in decorative scrapbook papers to match the jewelry being stored inside but using washi tape is much faster since it's already got adhesive on it.

But the problem with washi tape is that it is often transparent and I want to see the color and pattern of the washi tape, so I found a way to remove the top layer of the paper on the box so I can have a plain surface to tape over...


It can be a little tricky, but using a straight pin, I locate the seam where the edges are glued together. Then I begin to slide the point of the pin into the corner edge of the top of the seam - you will discover that the cardboard has many thin layers making up the thickness of the box.

When I see I am slicing into the top layer of the label of the matchbox, I slowly slide the sharp pin along the edge, then slowly continue sliding the pin down the length of the box to remove the top layer of the box...NOTE: this step of the process can be tricky so be sure to take your time finding the layers of paper in the cardboard of the box and go slowly so you don't take out too much paper or the box will end up being a bit flimsy.


I'm now left with the craft paper surface to work on and add washi tape to...


I discovered that if I stack the tapes together, I can stand the box next to them to find out if the tapes are wide enough to cover the entire box - if not, I can add more tape or if there is too much tape, I can trim away the excess before I begin to add it to the box...and I keep the trimmings to use on another box later...or use for another craft project or journal page...

These three tapes were just wide enough to cover this matchbox!

I also discovered that a mere 4 inches of tape is needed to go around the box, with a little overlap to seal the seam.

And I began to cut little pieces of tape to use on the inner box to make a little 'drawer pull' for my boxes!!

Having the craft paper surface to work on often lends a bit of 'aging' color to the tapes being used, since the tapes tend to be transparent - this box turned out wonderfully and has a lovely vintage feel that goes nicely with the jewelry being stored in it:


Now I can tell what color earrings or necklace is in the box when I'm looking for something to pull my outfits together!

Needless to say, I've made quite a few of these little boxes - they are just too darn fun to make and I can't quite stop myself:

It's 'matchbox madness' around here!! ;)

IN OTHER NEWS:
Though I am not officially tidying-up in my studio just yet, I have had occasion to sort through some items due to category. As a result, a few items have surfaced, such as some file folder books I had made and finished last summer, but never got around to listing in my Etsy shop. Some of them were made from file folders with map graphics on them - I think they will make wonderful travel journals for some special summer trips!

File Folder Travel Journal is now listed in my Etsy shop...

A sheet of folded watercolor paper is a great way to paint a scene of a special location during your travels!


There are also a few other bright color file folder books that had been completed, but not listed - you can find them all listed in my Etsy shop. There are a few unfinished books I also uncovered, which I am working on, so be sure to check back in the shop for listings.

I have some fun, creative workshops I'll be teaching at my local community college - you can find the workshops with dates and times and registration links at THIS PAGE.

As for other creative projects, I have a few things 'simmering' at the moment, so be sure to stay tuned to see what they are and how they turn out! It's more fun experimentation and adventure so don't miss it =)


PS: I promise to be back soon - I won't let 3 weeks pass by without sharing what is 'simmering' around here lately!