Friday, April 17, 2015

The Last Two Posts for April Moon...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
I have been participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon 15. Even though these are the last two days and prompts of April Moon, you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so at whatever pace you choose! You can still find all the details and sign up HERE...
 
There are only two prompts left for April Moon and I will now share my thoughts on these final prompts:

DAY 14:
 
"LUCK is what happens when PREPARATION meets OPPORTUNITY" - Seneca

I continue to prepare for the opportunities that lie ahead and insure that I will be ready to recognize them as opportunities when they cross my path by having an open mind and open heart...it often means living in uncertainty, but such is Life, isn't it?

 
DAY 15:

To have more fabulously creative opportunites cross my path
To pass along my sewing knowledge to enthusiastic students
To share my love of creativity, book making and art making to yet more enthusiastic students
To earn a good income with my teaching that will allow me to travel to visit my creative friends near and far
To teach at an art retreat in another state, near a beach or near a forest
To have a colorful and well organized creative studio that inspires all who see or enter it, including ME
To be able to read every morning for breakfast in the loveliness of our garden patio
To have a FIAT car and to travel to Paris in the next two years...and finally...

I wish to have a wonderful 50th birthday in November!

 
Many thanks to Kat McNally and to Alana Lawson for hosting this wonderful writing challenge!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Catching Up With April Moon...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts!

I have been participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon 15 and you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so. You will find all the details and sign up HERE.

It's been awhile since I've posted because I have been SO BUSY, but the April Moon prompts are SO GOOD, I really want to write with these prompts! Since I'm now a bit behind on my April Moon journaling, I will be playing with them a little bit, as some of them dovetail into each other...so without further ado, here are my writings for the following prompts, slightly out of order:

DAY 9:  

I immediately feel my body tense up whenever I hear YOU come up in conversation, because it means that I will have to hear yet one more story of your selfishness, manipulation or idiocy and having to hear such stories only means that once again, I am being held hostage to YOUR self-centered crap...if only the people who continue talking about YOU in my presence could understand that all they are doing is reinforcing my experience (and opinion) of YOU and YOUR foolish, immature behavior, which I have long resented.

I am working VERY HARD hard to release this resentment in my life, which is why...

DAY 11:

...which is why I am trying not to talk about YOU anymore, especially as it gives YOU more air time than YOU really deserve, for all your selfishness and manipulation and idiocy. YOU are welcome to hold others hostage to your self-centeredness, but I'm tired of hearing about it, tired of being held captive to it, and tired of being resentful about it because, frankly, YOU do not deserve so much attention, especially on MY time, on MY blog, with MY community - you get more than your fair share of air time elsewhere, with more than enough 'captive audiences' (the operative word being CAPTIVE!) so you don't deserve my community! And my community most certainly does NOT deserve to be held captive to such a person as you...

Enough! I'm DONE!

DAY 10:

...I feel a great many things depending upon the time of day, or day of the week, I enter the kitchen:

FRUSTRATED...
about dirty dishes that have piled up
HUNGRY...
for my lunch, which I will prepare
TRANQUIL...
as I clean up in preparation for my dear Man of the House to begin cooking a lovely Sunday dinner for us
HAPPY...
to see a clean kitchen first thing in the morning, when it's actually clean first thing in the morning!
INSPIRED...
to bake some cookies or cupcakes or pound cake, which I don't bake because of the work it takes =P

DAY 12:

I am watering before the sun begins to beat down upon the blooms on our ledge, while our little solar fountain is running to keep me company. The hummingbirds are also keeping me company as I move from watering to sweeping our little garden patio space, which is blooming with more flower varieties then last year (including a cherry tomato plant!)...




How I love hearing our little solar powered water fountain as I tidy up our little garden patio!




How I love watching and hearing the hummingbirds come to visit our little feeder!

Tending to our little garden patio each morning is the BEST part of my day, because it means that I will be enjoying the view of our little garden patio for the REST of my day!

DAY 13:
 
Have enough money to travel to PARIS...
Be in a position to move to Northern California or Portland, Oregon...
Teach at an art retreat in another state, like North Carolina*...
Live in a house, instead of an apartment...
Own and drive a FIAT...
Read all the books that are growing in my library list...
Stop buying BOOKS altogether...
Be someone who knows a lot about plants and flowers, like a GARDENER...
Get tired of taking photographs of FLOWERS...
Be a decent cook...
Take the time to create botanical watercolor paintings...
Bake another pound cake...
Bake more cupcakes...
Bake my old go-to chocolate chip cookies again...

And I wonder if I will ever get tired of eating cake, cupcakes or cookies??!?


 * - North Carolina has been coming up around me a LOT lately, and my favorite jewelry and book artist, Nina Bagley, lives in NC, so it would be great to be in NC!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 7 and Day 8 of April Moon

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

I am participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon 15 and you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so. You will find all the details and sign up HERE.

And today, there are TWO writing prompts, since  my day got away from me to write on Day 7...

DAY 7:


While it's not exactly the FIRST thing I think of when I wake in the morning, I DO use it as 'my happy place' when trying to fall back asleep in the wee morning hours, as well as when I officially go to sleep......and it's been on mind a LOT since I recently heard about the line-up of instructors for not ONE but TWO retreats coming in 2016!

The Presentation Center located in Los Gatos, home of An Artful Journey Retreat!

How the dining hall looks as the sun is setting at dinner time and fellow artists are gathering to break bread - this scene ALWAYS feels welcoming as I approach the dining hall for dinner. Is it any wonder I love to use this as 'my happy place' to relax myself??!?


Day 8:


The first thing that came to mind with this prompt is a blog post I wrote about my collection of scissors and shears, my 'Tools of the Trade' for all the sewing I do...


Personally, I wouldn't call this a 'collection' though it certainly appears that way. I did NOT set out to 'collect' so many scissors and shears because I like collecting them, and isn't that how a collection works?

I wound up with this many scissors and shears by accident, for the most part...

Many were bought during my training as a Pattern Drafter in Fashion Design...

Some were bought for art-full workshops...

Some were bought strictly for paper cutting and such scissors don't always need a pointed end...

Some, like my snips, were repeatedly bought when I thought I lost them, only to find them hiding in my big tool bag...

Some were bought becuase I like the look of them, such as the 'embroidery' scissors, and they can cut into tiny areas that large scissors can't always reach...

Some were bought for specialty work, such as the scallop and pinking shears, only to be doubled when I came across my grandmother's scallop and pinking shears and brought them home with me...

No, my scissors and shears are not an 'intentional' collection, as my hats and handbags are collected, with an eye for color and shape, as are the many trays I collect for their look and function, or my collection of nearly every Prismacolor colored pencil ever made that I began to collect when I was just 13, discovering that the wonderful look and texture of those color pencils was MUCH BETTER than the drug store color pencils ever were!

But I have to admit that all my scissors and shears DO make a collection and, I suppose, it's an interesting collection at that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 6 of April Moon

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

I am participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon 15 and you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so. You will find all the details and sign up HERE.

And now for today's writing prompt...


Thunder storms are pretty rare where I live, in the Los Angeles area, but there was once a thunder storm that came so close to my home, it felt as though the lightening had hit the corner of my block...

Loud, grumbling thunder was sounding loud and clear, accompanied by bright cracks of lightening, but neither the thunder nor lightening had brought any rain with it.

I had been counting the space between each sound of thunder and the bright blaze of lightening that followed and, strangely enough, the spaces between the thunder and the lightening was actually getting shorter and shorter, closer and closer, until finally...

BLAZE!

CRACK!!

EARTH SHAKE!!!

The lightening seemed to hit the corner intersection that was a mere 20 feet away from my home!

The lightening was SO BRIGHT it fully illuminated the living room as I sat out the passing storm...

The thunder was SO LOUD it sounded like the sky cracked open and it was SO STRONG that it made the ground shake as if it were an earthquake...

...and just like that, it all passed away, with no damage done, except the lasting impression of the true power of Nature...


...Maybe this brush with Nature is where I got my secret desire to be a storm chaser!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 5 of April Moon

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
I am participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon 15 and you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so. You will find all the details and sign up HERE.

And now for today's writing prompt...


BOOKS...

I am ALWAYS inspired by something I read in a BOOK, from biographies to personal development, from entrepreneurship to craft books, I always learn something in just about any book that crosses my path (including BOOKS ABOUT MAKING BOOKS!) and I always find something that inspires me...

Here is a list of a few books that inspire me, one way or another, that I return to often:

The Alienist by Caleb Carr - a wonderful novel about the burgeoning sciences of Psychiatry and Forensics used in profiling a 'serial killer' at the turn of the 20th century. It may be hard to believe today, but these sciences were not taken seriously when they were first put into action. This novel includes the historical figure of Theodore Roosevelt before he became president. 

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp - a great book that shows you how you can cultivate the creative habit in your life, and it really IS a habit you can cultivate for yourself. I think I'm due for a re-read of this wonderful book.

Making a Living Without a Job - an acquaintance told me about this book, which I immediately borrowed from the library. I am currently re-borrowing this book again as it's filled with great personal development exercises. As the author often points out in her monthly newsletter "Joyfully Jobless", "The best personal development program you can ever have is being an entrepreneur", and I am learning how true this is.

Alabama Stitch Book - as a professional seamstress and costumer, I do not buy many sewing books, as they are primarily aimed at the craft market or beginning sewer, but this book is full of wonderful ideas for recycling t-shirts into wonderful and wearable garments, and as anyone who has been following my blog long enough will know, recycled t-shirt skirts and recycled t-shirt scarves are things I LOVE to make! It is also filled with wonderful stories that are an homage to the sewers of yesteryear.

500 Handmade Books - a wonderful compendium of the many marvelous artists who create art books today and there is MUCH visual inspiration (500 art-FULL books to look at!) for anyone interested in book arts. NOTE: I do not own this book, but I borrow it from library when I am in need of some visual inspiration for book art ideas!

Good Mail Day - I first learned of mail art when I took an art class back in the mid 90's and I became fascinated by the concept of creating and sending art BY MAIL - I even participated in a few mail art exhibits! When I discovered this book, I knew I had to have it. It is very informative about the history of mail art and how to join mail art lists to give and receive mail art, along with lots of visual inspiration and instructions for making your own mail art.

Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh - I love this book, and not just because I have my artwork in it! I discovered Patti Digh between 2006 - 2007 and became a big fan of her writing and her blog. Her writing is such a soothing and healing balm for the soul. This book is a quick and easy read and it is as uplifting as her other books.

And here are a few other books I love to read over and over and over again:


I've just noticed that the three books above are written by women! Coincidence?? I think NOT, when I realize that most of the books I've listed are written by women as well...and yes, George Eliot was a WOMAN named Mary Ann Evans who took a male pen name to have her work published and taken seriously by the public.

Do YOU get inspired by BOOKS? If so, which books do you return to again and again? I am always on the lookout for new books to read or buy, so please share some of your own favorites with me!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 4 of April Moon

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day 4 of Kat McNally's writing challenge, April Moon and you are invited to join and play along however you are moved to do so. You will find the details and sign up HERE.

Now for today's writing prompt...

The Last Time I Felt Completely Relaxed...was last week when the free 'Feel Good Yoga' sessions returned to my local library.

These weekly yoga sessions have become a part of my self care program after a few short weeks, so when the sessions stopped for spring break, I was disappointed, despite using that time for much needed rest and relaxation as I healed from some emotional work and a sinus attack.

The first session of the yoga series resumed last week and it felt wonderful to know I would be spending an hour working on 'feeling good', gently stretching my muscles and focusing on my well-being...

The class began with focused breathing which was so relaxing I feared I might fall asleep as I often do during slow, quiet moments in energy work or meditation practice, but, for a change, I felt relaxed AND alert to my breathing and my body. It was good to be feeling so much better with my sinuses no longer blocked, the rest and relaxation I had been doing to fight off burnout was certainly paying off and I could feel the yoga as an extension of the self care I've been engaging in.

By the end of the session, I felt restored to myself and now I can't wait for this week's session!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 2 & Day 3 of April Moon 15

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
I am participating in Kat McNally's AprilMoon15 writing challenge for the next few weeks, as a way to continue my current process of cleaning and clearing the emotional AND physical clutter in my life to allow MORE goodness into my life. There is still time to join in and receive the daily writing prompts in your email by signing up HERE.

Now onto the last two prompts that came my way...

Day 2 - Knowing what I know now, I would tell my 10-years-ago self:

My Dear Creative Beast,
There will be a few people about to cross your path that will cause you some grief. I know you may not want to believe it when you meet them, because:

1) you will ALWAYS give people the benefit of the doubt, until they prove out your gut instincts, and

2) some of these people in question are consummate actors and VERY GOOD at keeping up appearances for longer than most people, but they will eventually bear out the whisperings of your gut instincts for the disreputable and untrustworthy people they really are

I know that even while you are on the verge of turning 40, you still question your instincts, but I am here to tell you that you really must learn to trust them more. I know it will be nearly 10 more years before you truly begin to realize and know this for yourself, but your instincts are simply your inner Wise Woman pointing you in the direction you need to go and warning you about people who care not for your best interests because they are too selfish to do so...

And as for those awful people in question, whom we will call "Troublemaker with Spineless Sidekick", "Spoiled Bitch and The Vile Crone"*, just try to keep in mind that the troubles these characters cause (and they really are characters due to the DRAMA they create around them!) do not have to be trouble for YOU, if you simply think of all of them as characters in the Theatre of Life and you are merely a member in the audience who can walk away for a primp in the bathroom before the real fun of intermission comes along...and intermission is where the fun happens because THAT is when you get to eat some tasty snacks and mingle with friends and like-minded people who can laugh at the ridiculously silly characters in the Theatre of Life, those sad characters who seem to NEVER learn their Life's Lessons and are doomed to repeat their pathetic patterns over and over and over and over and over and...

But YOU, my dear Creative Beast, are far too smart to repeat your patterns over and over, excepting the problem of reliving the hurts these ridiculous people will cause you. Please do not indulge this habit as it will rob you of time and energy that is always better spent elsewhere, on things and people that matter most to YOU. Those ridiculous characters of DRAMA are only meant to serve as examples on how NOT to be in the world and you are very good at learning to be strong and powerful from the silly characters who are neither strong nor powerful, though they do pretend at it.

I know you might not be able to take this in, despite being a very smart gal, but I only want to warn you about what is to come so you can utilize your time and energy for better things, like honing in on your creative skills, yes even more than you already do, as it will always provide much joy-full benefit to you and it will also prime you to share what you love with others later on down the road...and there are a few wonderful things that you will give birth to in the years ahead!

Day 3 - Giving birth doesn't have to be literal. So far in my life I have birthed:

What a wonderful prompt this is, as it gives me a chance to look back at the MANY things I have birthed in my creative life. There are so many opportunities that have come my way, but I will share just a few highlights**:

What have you birthed recently, my fellow Creative Beasts?

* - As we all know every character deserves a good title and isn't it interesting how the 'bad guys' always seem to work in pairs?! ;)

** - This prompt is a great one to use as I ready myself to finally begin work on my own "Of The Heart" heirloom treasure book to celebrate my upcoming 50th birthday - Be sure to check out this lovely online workshop SOON as it is currently 50% off the original price!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 1 of April Moon 15

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts!
Due to the time zoning, I will be a bit behind in my posts for #AprilMoon15, so I hope you will all bear with me.

Today's prompt is one I know I needed. I've mentioned doing a LOT of emotional work in the past weeks, as a way to release old toxic energies from my system. I believe the first prompt for #AprilMoon15 is meant to continue a healing process for me, a healing that is much needed...

PLEASE NOTE - this post is rather long so be sure you are settled in with a cup of your favorite beverage before you begin:

Revisiting Old Memories
I have written about my awful office job (numerous times it seems!) here on my blog and here are some of the posts if you care to fill in on ALL the gory details:
The red flags started popping up within the first 6 months I worked at this organization, but I didn't see them for what they were - indications of a highly dysfunctional workplace. I was so excited to be working for a non-profit that I thought was doing good, I couldn't see 'the forest for the trees'.

Being fully burned out on my work situation, the move to a new location that meant a longer drive in traffic for me just added to my misery, along with the realization that many of my coworkers wouldn't be showing up at the office either, leaving me pretty isolated from human contact, despite another department working in a different building of 'the compound', as I began to call the workplace. My contact with these other coworkers occurred during trips to the bathroom or run-ins in the lunchroom. Because the departments were separated into different buildings, with the need for a passkey to enter them, dropping by for 'visits' was discouraged.

For over two years I had been looking for a better workplace but after the economic collapse, there were few jobs to be found, which only added to my frustration at my situation. There were days when I would be screaming at the work overload and isolation, but due to the separate buildings and the well insulated walls, no one really heard me. I'm pretty sure I damaged my vocal chords with all the screaming I did.

My hopes of ever sounding like Ella Fitzgerald singing will never happen now!

It's been said that:
"any man, or woman for that matter, can endure anything as long as there is an end point in sight"*

But I began to despair of EVER seeing a light at the end of this tunnel...

Until the day I got the news that I would be laid off from the horrible job and I would be released from the toxic work environment!

I alluded to this wonderful news in this blog post, then I came clean about this glorious news in this blog post. But here is the kicker:

Because I was told in advance of everyone else in my department, I could not reveal any of this news to any of my coworkers...and this is how it came about:

The program director I was now working for rarely came to the new office and made excuses that she was 'needed out in the field'. But she came to the office on this particular day in February to give me a work assignment that she could not give me by phone or email.

This is the day I was informed that the program I was working for would now be permanently shut down as of June 30, 2011...

...and I would have to write up the notification letter and help arrange the big department meeting that would inform all the department employees of the impending lay-off!

The program director I was working with had been at the organization for over 10 years. I could see that this news was truly devastating for her...

...which made it all the harder for me to keep the smile off my face and to keep myself from dancing with JOY!!


And, now I was FREE to begin planning a new life for myself...which I did almost IMMEDIATELY!

Now I would have a new life that would no longer include a toxic work environment or stressful drive in traffic every day.

Now each day at the toxic office was one day closer to my FREEDOM and the endless possibilities that would now be available to me.

Now I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and it was brilliant.


* - I've tried to locate the source of this quote, but have not been able to find it. I can only say that it crossed my path to provide some relief during a time of great need...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Moon 2015 is on the Horizon...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Things in my neck of the woods have been a bit of a slog for the month of March, what with all the emotional work I've been doing and the sinus attack I had as a result of it (as I mentioned in my last blog post), so I am glad to see April make its entrance...especially as April Moon is on the horizon with journaling prompts to get some magical mojo going, and I can ALWAYS use some magical mojo in my life:

A new altar I recently created in my studio space to honor my "Inner Book Artist" - it sits atop my wood book press and mini-book press...

For any of you who are curious, April Moon is a reflective writing challenge hosted by a dear blog buddy, Kat McNally, who blogs at I Saw You Dancing. I participated in this challenge last year, and have been playing along with nearly all of Kat's writing challenges since #Reverb12 and lots of juicy stuff happens during these writing challenges, I can tell you!

I have mentioned here that I have never really been much of a written journal keeper in my life, even though I have a habit of collecting blank journals. Here is a peek at a small portion of my blank journal collection, which I shared a few years ago...and I still have yet to use any of these journals, despite how cute they all are!


Because I'm not much of a diarist, I often look at this blog as my way of journaling about my life, particularly my creative life and projects. Though I do create art journals of my own, they mostly focus on making art, they are not about recording my thoughts and feelings or my dreams and goals...


...though it is fair to say that many of my art journal pages contain some element of myself in them, such as this journal spread made at an Orly Avineri workshop.

Since writing this post from last years #Reverb14, I think I am finally beginning to see the benefit of writing out my feelings so they don't have to stay bottled up in my head, and especially in my heart. And I find that my feelings are finally starting to release themselves as I continue to vent the various layers as they unfold...not to mention some of the magic and serendipity that happens when I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and I share some of the desires I have in my heart, when prompted to do so.

So of course, I am now looking forward to playing along with this years #AprilMoon15 writing challenge. I can't wait to see what juicy prompts are in store and I look forward to making some magic happen when I share my thoughts and feelings, my dreams and goals with all of you here...

I do hope you will join along with us, however you choose to play along! Stop by Kat's blog to learn more and sign up to receive the writing prompts in your email each day. The magic begins this Saturday, April 4, so be sure to sign up SOON so you don't miss out on any of the prompts.

I hope to see you play along!