Wednesday, January 20, 2010

house, etsy, workshops (in that order)

It's time for me to come out of the proverbial closet about one of my passions - really, not kidding here. I love love love clipping images out of magazines, and I love love love sharing the art of collage with anyone who's interested. I wonder how many images I have - probably not a million, but I can't be absolutely sure about that.
Our house will officially be "on the market" on Wednesday, February 10th.
And it's time for a new deadline (why "dead"?) - let's call it a new lifeline. I will be launching my etsy shoppe on Wednesday, April 7th at 10 a.m. CST. It will be filled with collage images and kits, vintage ephemera, and original artwork!
I'm also anxious to give myself a lifeline for my collage-workshop-plan, but can't do this until we know more about the sale of our home. Hope you'll stay tuned! xo

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now you know (that I can paint a triangle)

In the interest of keeping it real, this is as far as I've gotten on my painting - whose deadline was Sunday. I'm just a bit stumped because I have this huge quote that I'm going to use to fill in the sky, so I'm realizing my other plans (ferns, flowers, maybe a bird) might put it over the top busy-body-wise. And I was always thinking there would be a sun, but now my kiddos think there should only be clouds (rather Ben and Jerry wouldn't you say?).

Hmmmm...I'll give it an hour tonight and set a new deadline. xo

P.S. Tell me you've checked out craft hope at lovely!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank you Dr. King

The kids and I did this meditation today to reach out to the people (and for my kids, the children specifically) of Haiti. Even if meditation feels a little hokey to you, I would recommend trying it. Here's how we do it:

I have my kids bring a favorite pillow and get comfortable anywhere in the room (it's an audio meditation, so you only need to be able to listen). Then I give them a little coaching about how to pray (we pray, you could "send love" "send compassion" "send hope" etc.) if the meditation gets boring. This is usually something as simple as, "Please help the children in Haiti not be hungry..." or "Thank you for all the doctors and nurses in Haiti, please help them do their jobs..."

Then I start the meditation (it's less than 10 minutes long). When it's finished, I sit quietly until someone talks...then a minute or two of talking takes place - not too much - and we return to our regularly scheduled day. My kids have said they feel peaceful, that they think of more people than just people from Haiti, that they think about Jesse James, that they imagine the yellow light is a star, that they're bored, that they feel warmth...the whole gamut. I don't define it or expand on it - they just say what they will.

When I think of Dr. King, I always imagine him engaged - fully engaged. That's why I picked the picture above - there's no crowd, he's not preaching, but you can tell he's connected, he's reaching. And this is what I think this meditation can do for our kids - it can teach them the importance of staying engaged, even when they may feel completely powerless to a situation in their community, or a devastation thousands of miles away.

It can help teach them empathy, it might lead to daydreams about how to make the world better, it might empower them, and in too-many-to-mention ways, it just may help them walk in the world as people who desire to make a difference. xo

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Go away! Don't leave!

Finally, our freezing days have left us, and with the leaving, came the melting.

Of the snow.

Devastating! After weeks (actually days that feel like weeks) of temperatures right around, um, eight degrees, the weather broke. And the kids were all over it - savoring every last speck of snow and outside time they could claim.

We complained, complained, complained, complained, freezing, freezing, freezing.

And now we're waiting for it to snow again!
Happy Weekend! xo

Friday, January 15, 2010

An even better list

I haven't disappeared...I'm actually painting which feels so terrific! My goal is to have this current little project done this weekend, so pictures are coming.

In the meantime, the chicken posted this much more comprehensive list about how to help in Haiti. And I also found this great meditation that I'm doing with my kids - that link soon too. xo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Praying for Haiti

I have to be honest. I can hardly watch or read about the devastation in Haiti. It's too horrible, and (of course) I'm not even living in it. I have friends who are very up-t0-date on the latest developments, the increased death tolls, etc., and I'm just relying on them to keep me posted.

May we all pray.

The above photo is from Tobago - which is not Haiti, but a neighboring island. We were fortunate enough to visit there last year. One of the stories I did read (before I decided I couldn't do it anymore) was about how the Trinidadian people were gathering food to send as well as provisions and money. It's a modern day version of the woman at the temple who gives a half a penny. Beautiful. And hopeful. The island is very poor, and the people are so generous.

Here's where you can give, if you can.

Donations can be made to the general International Response Fund online at or by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).

To designate the donation to a specific disaster, such as the Haitian Earthquake, mail it to: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's make a journal

Today is a "Kylemamaday." These are precious and numbered. He's home two days a week from now until May - then full day school for the next 12 years. As he so often likes to do, Kyle spelled out the morning mandates: "Let's each do whatever art we want, as long as it doesn't mean we're on the computer." (He's not allowed on the computer...message received Ky.) So I'm making a new journal, and following the very fun and very simple tutorial on Teesha Moore's youtube post. And Kyle is doing some drawing with a bamboo pen and some white ink - something we learned from the amazing Geninne.

Do you see his orange, triangular ruler behind him? He got that out after I took out my journal-making supplies (see first pic). Heart. Melt.
A lovely indoor thing to do on a freezing freezing Friday morning! Hope you enjoy your weekend! xo

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I just like saying, "Hip Mountain Mama"!

I love love love the One Small Change project happening over at Hip Mountain Mama. Check it out! Between now and Earth Day in April, people world wide are committing to make one small change each month to encourage sustainability and green living. We already know what our warm-weather goals will be (stay tuned - participants are supposed to post at the beginning of each month), but coming up with a goal when it's freezing outside it a bit more of a challenge.

This is what our family is going to do. For the month of January, we are going to cut down on our big plastic trash bag use. We've made great strides in the "stop buying plastic/never use plastic shopping bags" department, but that big trashcan in our kitchen still constantly has a plastic bag in it. Tonight we will talk about how to accomplish this goal as a family, and throughout the month, I will do an internet search looking for some kind of re-usable, large trash bags. (Any suggestions? Am I missing a really obvious solution here?) I'll post what I discover.

That's our plan and we're sticking to it. Join us! And tell your friends!

One small change. xo

p.s. I stumbled upon the above while cleaning my to-be-deserved art room. This is a page from the April/May 2006 issue of Body + Soul magazine. The very first "thought" is "Living in tune with nature is an invitation to live creatively." Love that.

Fluff & Release

Just so I don't sound like a total lazybones, I do want to clarify that I am working really really hard to get our house ready to sell. It feeds me creatively to a degree, because there is staging, and purging (cleansing) and prioritizing. But alas, not a lot to show.

In life in general though, I am more and more aware of my fluffing - of those moments when I'm walking around straightening rather than creating. That's when it's not ok - when the time is there and the going for it isn't.

And when the fluffing turns into hoarding, well that's also tricky. I mean, if we're really honest, the words "mixed media artist" and "compulsive hoarder" really go almost perfectly hand-in-hand. (Not to be insensitive to people struggling with hoarding...not at all...)

But have you read Where Women Create? The amount of accumulation in those studios is glorious (to me and many many others) and horrifying (to my husband and many many others) So to be a mixed media artist trying to simplify, well, that's almost a contradiction in terms. But I digress.

What I need to work on is parting with art supplies that I cherish and then just. can't. use. I have collage materials that I just keep....forever. They're treasures really, but they're not being treasured if they're not used. And I know this, I do. But improvements need to be made.

Like the vintage Lotto cards (set of 12) and numbered pieces that I have. I bought them for a song at a tag sale, and then viola, they sit. Why? Because I don't want to use them up too quickly. Hello? What does that even mean? Journaling supplies that don't get used because then they'll be used.


THIS is the 2010 work that lies ahead of me. I'll keep you posted. xo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Claiming It

I've decided to post pictures of my dreamy, undeserved art space. Dreamy, because it is in fact dreamy, and undeserved, because I do not use it/honor it/celebrate it. Challenging thing to acknowledge when I yearned for a creative space like this for years and years and years. The truth is, I like to piddle or "fluff" if you will - I like to spend hours getting things ready, and then not actually dive into the project I was getting ready for. I know, I know...many call this procrastination. I haven't put my finger on what it is for me though.
What I do know is that I'm getting better everyday at recognizing what I need to do, and making the time to do it. Sometimes when I talk about this challenge, I sound like a huge martyr, but it's not martyrdom at all. I think it is a great big personal weakness to be able to verbalize what I want my life to look like, but to not do the work to make it happen. And I can very legitimately claim kids, family life, dirty house, unwalked dog, under-exercised batoot. I can. And if I did, we'd have a martyr issue going on here, but it's not those things. It's very resoundingly something else - maybe fear, although I don't think that's quite it either.
But this is my year. This is my year to not just be "all talk". This is my year to figure some things out - to simplify so that the discerning is a little bit more manageable, and a lot more fun. So please look at these photos of my art space (it's in the corner of our third floor which is also our family room). The last two pics are actually my closet of supplies. Take a good long look, because aside from this blog post, I'm hoping this scene will never been seen again (except of course when I'm up to my eyeballs in a project).

This is my year to let things go. And to grab on tight to what matters. I'll break down what that means over time, I will. xo

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Second post of the year (or, the art of selling a house)

I am not ready for my first post of the year - I've set the stage to make my goals, think about all things external and internal to work on, fill out my new calendar (still on paper, told you I was a dinosaur), but I just haven't done it yet. So let's call this my second post of the year.

So my biggest goal for this blog is that it be a record of my creative stretching - that sums it up really. But I'm also going to write about our family's decision to downsize. We're going to try to sell our house, which is lovely and historic and big (to us) in a real estate market that is stagnant. So while my stretching will hopefully include etsy, collage, journaling, etc., I also will need to write about painting unfinished spaces in our house (like we did tonight), craigslist, trying to stage a big house knowing we're trying to downsize and be less wasteful. And we're moving to a smaller house, so how hypocritical is that? Buying more to sell big, and then having too much to move little.... hmmmmm....confusing....

And my wonderings...I will try not to ramble, but I love love love to ramble. Take tonight for instance. Tonight, we painted all these little spaces in every room that needed to be painted or touched up. It took a few hours, but we did it together and quite honestly, it was a pleasure to do it and get it done. WHY oh why do we do this when we sell a house and not a second before? We like to nest, we want our kids to be proud of their home, there's no self-esteem issues secretly manifesting themselves in unfinished paint jobs. Sigh. It's a fact of life for us (we're selling our 4th home in 12 years...the above paragraph has been true in all four homes). And that needs to change. (And there's a wondering...and, a rambling!)

Creative goals and home goals, with some wonderings - and hopefully plenty of creative goodness overlapping between the three. And Everyday. Art. Even if sometimes calling it "art" is a stretch in and of itself.

I'll post goals tomorrow - in my first post of the year...hee hee. Be well. Stay warm! xo