Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Invitation ...

I checked my email this morning to find the weekly letter from Still Forming had a very appealing announcement.

I wrote the following on Facebook:

Friends, there have been discussion and posts on my Facebook feed on the refugee crisis and what should or shouldn't be done. Early this week, I wanted to escape the polarization that's occurring and offer a series of reflections this Advent on love but I haven't been exactly successful in escaping the creation of more polarization on my Facebook feed. Christianne Squires (Still Forming) is offering a series of meditations on Jan Richardson's blessings (beautiful example here).

Here's what she says about them: "Jan's blessings are most poignant for the ways they meet us in the cracks and crevices of life, helping us find or notice the light in dark places. During a time when the world feels full of darkness, and in a season — Advent — when we are watching and waiting for the light to come, I cannot imagine a better gift than to let her remarkable blessings speak to our hearts and find our way forward."

The meditations are based on Jan Richardson's new book: Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons. 
It takes more than one voice, one heart to change hearts away from fear and toward love. If you would like to join in, Christianne has set up a private Facebook group here.
I am still going to blog about love and hope this Advent and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts too ... feel free to share them directly in the comments or link to your blog there.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hope for Peace

Since the attacks in Paris, I've been contemplating how to respond. I've reacted aplenty: with horror and sorrow, with concern for backlash at refugees, immigrants and Muslims. I've traded comments on Facebook, shared news stories, prayers and commentary like this one:

"ISIL is Weak" by Wahleed Aly (The Project, a news/comedy show in Australia).

I kept getting the nudge that there was more that I could do than this, more that I could bring to heal the hurt, anger and fear.

"Hope for Peace" is the beginning of that. It's closely based on a LifeBook 2015 lesson by Andrea Gomoll some weeks ago that I never got around to doing. 

Glass bead gel is awesome although you can't see the shimmer really in this photo. This art journal page expresses simply my heart in that moment: to hope for peace, to bring light and joy and transformation ...

Advent is almost upon us (it starts on the 30th). It is traditionally a time of expectant waiting, of preparing for the arrival of the Christ Child. I am going to be blogging about peace, love, light, joy and transformation, and my struggles to find the same. I figure by sharing struggles and learning to speak and live these things that maybe there will be more joy, more love, more peace and less and less fear of things we don't need to be afraid of.

To start with (because one has to start somewhere), I'll be referring to Ed Bacon's The 8 Habits of Love: Overcome Fear and Transform Your Life which came out a couple of years ago. I pulled it out from my massive to-read pile(s) and started reading it this week. I'll also be dipping into The Rule of Benedict and various other sources.

I am hoping this will be less a lecture (aka me musing to myself) and a conversation, so I invite you to share your thoughts too on how one can lead with love.

Friday, October 23, 2015

7 Ways to Get Jetlag (7QT)

#1. Watch a Sondheim musical on the plane. In my case Into The Woods. Earworms stay in your head for days. "Agony". "Hello Little Girl".  "It Takes Two of Us". Ahhh ah-a-ahh a-ahhh.... You're welcome.

#2. Don't take charge of your space. Like when the clanging water pipes continue to clang and you realize your neighbor is not taking an epic shower and the noise is there to stay. Don't wait until 1:00am the night before your flight to complain to the hotel's front desk.

#3. Pay attention to your husband. When you wake up and he complains he can't sleep, don't give into empathy and sit up with him, no matter how much you love him. You're in business class, you can lie flat, for Pete's sake.

#4. Take epic walks before your flight. So epic that the first walk has you limping and it makes you limp on day two because it feels like walking on knives. (Bonus if you can do this and not have plantar fasciitis.) Then delay taking medicine that will reduce the pain so you can sleep.

#5. Did I mention Sondheim? Ahhhhhhhhahhhhh ahhhh-ah-ahhhARGH.

#6. Be so exhausted by the time you get home, your half hour nap turns into over an hour long because neither one of you sets the alarm.

#7. Remember when you stopped writing romance novels? Night time is not when you write an entire novel outline set in Arthurian Britain. (Hey, it usually makes me fall asleep.)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

finding strength (LifeBook 2015)

I am experimenting with watermarks on the images in this post. Mainly because I don't want them passed off as somebody else's work.

So, the lesson last week in LifeBook was called "Finding Strength", presented by Donna Downey, and named after the stencil of hers that she used in the class. I was tempted to follow Tam's additional sketching instructions to create something similar, but in the end went in a completely different direction.

I thought to myself, what does "finding strength" mean to me...

It started with this sketch of a sweet face.

And then I thought I would put in shadows and a bit of color and saw what I did, freaked out and gessoed over it. (I should have taken a picture of it in all its hideousness.)

And sketched the face in again, a little bit different (the mouth is a little off-center I just noticed).

Also, in my art room I have a bit of an ant problem. Well, we're having a problem in the whole house, and large number of them have died in our freezer this morning. But in my art room its a few stray ants who seem to be interested in my water jar and seeing what else I have. The way they react to wet paint is really interesting. It's like they rear back and go "what on earth is that?!"

Proof -- an ant and its shadow
Here's the final. The rays of strength coming from her heart are tinted with iridescent violet paint from Golden. I should probably smudge some on her eyelids too but the iridescent doesn't photograph well.

LifeBook 2016 is opening registration soon. You can join in the blog hop party and maybe win yourself a free seat in next year's class.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

God's Love Stories ... July edition

Today I have mopped the kitchen and dining room floors including under the fridge because our dog recently died of kidney failure -- imagine oceans of pee. I am incredibly grateful to him that when he couldn't wait for us to get home from work, he went on the tile.

So yes, I'm mourning my 16 year old dog, who we had for about 10 years of his life. Adopted as an adult with his brother who died last year ...

This also might be a Sarah Bessey fan-post, because I have a large number of links from her blog. She writes really really good stuff, folks, if you don't follow her yet. It's probably way past time for me to buy her book...

Phew. Here are some other great blogs I've read recently:
And for Laughs:
  • F*ck That: A guided meditation that is seriously Not Safe For Work or Around Small Children (NSFWOASC). By Jason Headley on vimeo

Friday, July 10, 2015

Where Bloggers Create 2015

I am going to start out by saying, I could do with a serious purge of stuff. That said, I have so much because I've flitted from scrapbooking to 3D creations (birdhouses) to fabric creations to painting on canvas to art journaling.

It shows.

On the other hand, I've gone from working part-time to not working to working full-time, so I know there are projects I really want to get to. (Like the Madonna art display quilt from a swap I was in several years ago.)

I've taken a break from this blog party for the last couple of years, but if you want to see how my creative space has changed and developed (just in case you haven't seen enough creative spaces for one day!), you can see:

  • in 2009 in its barest of bones (I didn't participate in the blog party, but wanted to show in 2010 how my room, which is a small third bedroom, had looked before.)
  • in 2010 which is like a complete reveal with an additional post on my homemade hanky curtains
  • in 2011 after an overhaul of the closet (the doors fell off)
  • and in 2012, where I decided to show some "for real" pictures. I'll be doing so again today because I had no real chance to tidy up
Let's take a tour!

Above: paintings were done as part of several Suzi Blu classes. The ribbon holder makes a great canvas display. (It still has ribbon spools in it.)

Above: The white Shabby Chic bookcase is filled to the brim. Top shelf: pretties (china cup, piano player rolls, old photos, baby booties, etc). Second shelf: another canvas from a Suzi Blu class; hankies and buttons and other doo-dads are stored here, plus another pretty collaged canvas to hide some of the clutter. Third Shelf: Scrapbooks mostly. Bottom shelf: paper. This is all the commercial paper I have (this doesn't include the vintage stuff). As you can see I am really good about putting away. Not.

 Above: The closet space: You can still see hints of the papered wall before I put in another set of shelves (they're for shoes, technically) to hold: (top shelf) bookmaking supplies, art journals, sparkling H2O paints, stencils and my mother-in-law's hair in braids from when she was a girl. Yeah, you read that right. Don't know why I claimed them, but a use will come to me. I hope. The rest holds my childhood diaries, vintage photo albums and various Golden mediums. The visible glass top there is supposed to be pretty. But it needs a clean up. The chest of drawers contain old tablecloths (see the green tank? One of my unfinished projects is to cover it with doilies and make a lace top), fabric for a quilting project and so on.

Above: The very top of the closet. It has a box of my Psanky supplies (that I haven't touched in an age despite my best intentions), trophy parts that I rescued from a church cleanout, other containers, a styrofoam bust and a picnic basket that is actually for picnics.

Above: one of my art works in progress. I have fallen for writing icons. I do them in acrylic which is a modern take on the encaustics or egg tempera techniques.

Above: one of my newer purchases, one of those IKEA rolling carts. And in teal which is my new favorite color. It's pulled right by my table for easy reach of paints, washi tape and journaling bitses.

A view from above: my most commonly used supplies (not including washi tape which didn't fit): Golden fluid acrylics and a couple of tubes of heavy-body acrylics, a few Dylusion spray inks, prismacolor pencils, inktense pencils, there's an empty tin where my NeoColor II watercolor crayons go because I just got back from a trip and haven't put them back yet, inks, pens, watercolor pencils.

 Above: I have a lot of paper napkins for collaging. Send help.

Above: the jewelry cabinet stores markers, paperclips, doo-dads, and so on. As I was having a look I found an unopened package of white gel pens! Truly a treasure chest. And that's a vintage typewriter in its black case.

Above: I have a pink chest of drawers which holds photos, glue dots and other adhesives, ink pads, glitter, and some fabric. On top of that is the small metal card cabinet which holds fabric flowers, ribbon and lace, the blue suitcase holds vintagey papers and some fake flowers and as you can see there is more lace.

Above: small travel and art journals, tools, gold leaf, cards and envelopes, a future projects box and a current projects box that have been ignored for so long ... stamps, jewelry making supplies.

Above: Pretty pearls!

Above: and here is where those pretty pearls live. An IKEA cabinet. I have tried to keep the top as a pretty display area of pretty things (like glitter in glass salt and pepper shakers) but I see I didn't put away a purple bucket of that floral foam stuff. Ooh. That might work well on my latest art journal page....

Above: It contains large stencils, an insane number of Stampinton publications, the sewing basket I've had since I was a little girl (with some unfinished projects dating from the same, music, collaging supplies, books to alter, and so on and so forth.

Above: I made one of the shutters into a display board. (The other side also has something but its primary duty is to hold up the drop cloth so I don't make a mess using the big easel.)

OK, folks now it's time to Get Real. Below is a portion of the floor and is pretty true of the rest of the floor, alas. The beige book propped up in the middle is my latest art journal and it is huge! The biggest I've worked in. Off to the left of that is the box that holds my Life Book 2015 pages. (You can still sign up for this year long class -- the videos and pdfs are all downloadable!) There's also some music to be put away, a bag full of invitations that I plan to pull apart for the paper and some more stuff that just needs to be put away. You know how it goes.

Below is my "for real" art table. It has two in progress Life Book journal pages on it (from two different classes.) On the left is my traveling art journal kit, opened but not yet unpacked. New is an Ott-Lite because I found that the light in this room wasn't bright enough for the fine detail of icon painting. There's more paint, liquid watercolors, inks and glimmer mists at the back. Brushes, palette knives, etc, are in a rotating bucket on the right. And so on. I've lost my small pink scissors and honestly, it's no surprise.

So there we have it! This is where this particular blogger creates!

I am looking forward to seeing your spaces. Thanks for taking the time to have a look.

My Desert Cottage

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What I Learned in May, June, July ...

Which sounds like the lyrics of a song but here goes:

1) When you upgrade to OS 10.10.3 and PhotoShop Elements (6.0) crashes on trying to open jpg files to edit. What to do? Drag the files to the app icon and voila! Edit and save to your heart’s content.

2) Birthdays can last for more than one day. Sometimes up to two weeks! I have the cakes (and toasted marshmallow milkshake) to prove it!

3) I had to be shown how to use tumblr. My Computer Science degree is officially useless.

4) Texting during the Great Silence probably counts as breaking the silence. So does, I learned, reading and writing in your journal. One is supposed to be still as well as silent.

our room at Mt. Calvary monastery

5) Reading in a group "From Teilhard to Omega", a collection of essays edited by Ilia Delio. Teilhard was a Jesuit whose writings were banned but appear to have recently sprouted wings. The interesting thing I learned was that Teilhard's central theology is that all things move toward union with God. Our study leader (a Lutheran pastor) shared that we are moving toward the Garden of Eden, toward union with God.

What new things have you learned recently?