Be a Child

New Toys. 

I was fortunate enough to receive some very cool toys for Christmas. Never underestimate the value of toys to a grown-up.

One of the biggest challenges I find in gift giving is to find good toys. I need to entertain the nieces and nephews, ages 21 to 4, and of course, my husband. But this challenge is also a gift to me. I get to exercise my inner child, to remember what I would like. The kids need stocking stuffers and nice puzzles have gotten to be a staple, lovely carved wood or intricate wire. They cover the age range nicely. My husband is tougher. What to get for an engineer! But there are places like Edmund’s Scientific with some wonderful techie toys, so that’s getting easier.

I don’t usually buy toys for myself. But as an artist I’m constantly looking for new ways to expand and grow my art. This year I received some gifts that really make my heart sing. My inner child was thrilled with a beading loom. It’s not big or fancy but it’s full of potential. I had to sit down right away and create a simple bracelet. I’ve done some others with needle weaving but I really look forward to seeing how far this more simple method will go. You’ll be seeing things developed from this showing up with runes and metaphysical designs soon (I hope).

But the real treasure is something totally new that I’ve never tried before, a Sumi-e set, Oriental brush and ink painting. I’ve always loved this kind of work, almost anything of Oriental art. It’s going to take a lot of study and learning a whole new range of skills. I’ll show you some pictures as soon as I’ve had a chance to play with it. (Beading was more instant gratification.) But this is the most exciting thing about a new toy, no matter what your age. It’s the challenge that isn’t work, learning to do something different and enriching with no pressure.

So think about that next time you’re faced with the challenge of conjuring up your inner child. Think back to the fun of exploring something you didn’t know. Think about how cool it was to learn about finger-paints or Silly Putty. Let yourself be a child again and buying for children gets a lot easier!

Rainbows in the Snow

Winter rainbows 

So I’m thinking of how easy and hard it is to create anything.  Start with a simple idea and build with it.  That’s the path of life.  Everything seems simple enough, but twists and turns have a way of educating and inspiring me to do better, or at least more than I ever imagined.

I like the idea of winter rainbows.  Iridescent snowflakes and frost on the window.  I have new products in my shops and snow outside my window.  Here’s my first new listing for today.  Rainbow of votives

 I love the purity of the colors.  They’re like the snow, simple, elegant, and with their own power.

I also listed two new plates. Red Glass Offering Plate and Gold Glass Offering Plate 

Some time ago I was experimenting with weaving ribbon to make backgrounds.  It works well for quilts but I wanted to try it in decoupage.  This is one of those simple ideas that became really complex.  These started with the pieces of colored and white iridescent ribbon woven into a single piece.  Then I pinned it all down to a piece of plastic wrap so I could transfer it to the plate.  And it turned out to have no impact at all, blah in fact.  That’s when I got the idea to jazz them up a little so on went a border of glitter and a layer of tissue.

And they grew like snow drifts, gaining personality and impact as I worked with them.  I’m always amazed by the things I create after they’re finished.  When they leave my hands they take on a life of their own.  Perhaps completion generates synergy.  They become more than the sum of their parts.  The flow of life can do that, when every action I take sends a ripple.  Maybe it’s sharing a bit of beauty through my art and maybe it’s through just being nice to the lady behind the cash register.  This is starting to sound like a Christmas movie.  But I’m counting on this kind of synergy to lead my life somewhere I haven’t seen, around some bend in the path that will insprire and amaze me.

So I got to share these pretty things with you.  Pass it on.  Share something nice with someone today.  Maybe it’ll take your path someplace new and amazing!

Taking it Easy

Take it easy, to make it easy.

It’s snowing.  A lot.

I can either look at it as an obstacle to the flow of my life, including shoveling snow and cancelling appointments.  Or I can look at it as a really beautiful day to stay home, indoors, and make soup, and enjoy the security of my home.  No matter how I look at it, I can’t change the reality of knee-deep snow and more coming.

 

Have you ever thought about what it means to “take it hard”?  We usually apply it to death or some disaster or upheaval in our lives.  But it’s really about attitude.  It’s about judging an occurrence in reality and the emotional label you paste on it.  If you “take it hard” it’s a pain, a burden, even a disaster.  But oddly enough, and we almost never look at it this way, to “take it easy” is really the exact opposite.  It’s not about relaxing.  It’s about the judgment you put on an occurrence in reality and how you allow it to impact your life, the flow of your reality.

 

If I take it easy my life isn’t entirely screwed up by bad weather.  If I take it easy, the death of a loved one is a loss to me but a joyful release for them.  If I take it easy, I’m not sick and angry over something bad that’s happened.  I can look for alternatives.  If I take it easy, an obstacle becomes a challenge.  And a challenge is a gift to prove I can do better, find a way around.

 

No, of course it’s not easy, to learn to take it easy.  But if I take it easy today, then I get to go out and have some fun shoveling snow.  And the appointments can wait till we’re shoveled out.  And it’s not like I don’t have plenty to do at home today.  And I’ve just made my whole to-do list a whole lot easier.

Embrace the Energy of Reality

Embrace the hour,

Embrace the day,

Embrace the energy that makes easy my way.

 

I’m still working so hard I feel like I’m going around in circles.  But I’m also working on being very mindful of the energy of reality.  The only thing that matters, the only energy that exists, is right now, in this very moment.  The past is done and gone.  Worry about the future is just reaching into the unknown and bringing back failure.  This moment of reality holds the only energy I can use to create.  This moment is the only place I have to make a difference, to grow my life and focus energy on making my future what I want it to be. 

 

 

 

        The bowl is finished.  It may be spectacular.  It may be weird.  It took weeks in the studio because each row had to dry before I could apply the next one.  But I think it’s like all art and life.  You never know what has really been created till it’s released to go out into the world on its own.  Is that what living is all about?  That we don’t know the results of our actions until we take them and see them reflected in reality?

 

 

 

 

Use the energy that exists in the moment, since that’s the only place it exists, and believe that you’re creating something good.  That begins to sound like creating and building a life is all about intentions.  Do our intentions create our lives?!  Now there’s something to think about.

New Starts and an Open Heart

Each day is a new start
To embrace my world,
To open my heart.

Life is throwing some very tough things at me right now and I refuse to let it get me down. Focusing on the negative drains my energy and leaves me with no resources to deal with the obstacles life presents.

Positive affirmations and cognitive behavioral therapy are two ends of the spectrum of names to call what I’m doing. Mostly it’s a matter of turning things around, of seeing the world in a positive way. Or of letting go if there’s nothing I can do.

Turning obstacles into challenges is one of my biggest hurdles. I’m pretty techie but there are “challenges” in having three internet shops and a new blog that keep trying to overwhelm me. Instead of being reduced to tears, which is the easiest way out for me, I do what small things I can and don’t even look at the really big things. One of my small things is lerning “SEO”.  Six months ago I didn’t even know what it is. (I’m sure someone who knows more will object to my definition, but basically it’s a matter of describing what I put on the internet, the art in my shops and the subjects in this blog, in the terms that other people will use to search for them.) But by learning a little bit every week I’ve gotten pretty good, I hope. It’s all about taking baby steps and the big job gets done.

Positive affirmations are my mainstay. But they have a secret. While it’s great to repeat some wonderful and inspiring phrase, it has no power unless I feel it. It’s all about changing the feelings inside me so that I can really believe these cute little phrases I repeat. I’m programming my own mind to think about myself and my world differently by putting positive feeling and emotion into these thoughts. Simple repetition serves a purpose when I’m trying to block out something horrible, real or imagined, that’s running around in my brain. But when I really listen to what I’m saying, I start to feel the truth of it. I may not believe it yet but with focus and repetition it becomes real. It’s just as easy to dwell on what a wonderful person I am as to focus on what a slug I am.

Bottom line is that it’s more fun and there’s more energy in life by focusing on positive things. Things like, okay this is really tough but I’m doing my best and that’s pretty darn good. It may not be done at the end of the day but I know I did my best. And when I know I’m doing my best, I have more energy to keep trying. If I stop trying, if I just lay down and quit and say I can’t do this, then I’ll have nothing left. I might as well crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. If I keep working to convince myself that I’m a really good and talented person then I have a chance someone will agree with me. If I keep reaching out and offering my best to the world then just maybe, somehow, someday, the world will return the favor.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t… You’re right”  …Henry Ford 

So that’s what helps me get through the day. If this works for you or you have other constructive ideas, let me know. The more we share the more we grow!

Making Art and finding strength in Reality

I watched the dawn sky go from grey to pink and rose to orange. But when I went out to take a picture for you, the camera just didn’t capture it. It’s like making art. Sometimes a concept comes that seems so incredible and right and yet the colors and shapes and textures just won’t come together from the materials. I guess that’s why it’s so amazing when it does.

Evanescent, like cosmic energy. You know it’s there, you can feel it, be empowered by it. But when you try to grasp it, hold onto it or really characterize it…it’s gone.

I felt so alone this morning. Is that the burden and the blessing of each day, of each individual? The strength that resides only in this one moment of reality…

and this one…

and this one.

Strength comes from within. Alone.

I’m still working on decoupage.

I have this wonderful bowl.

And I had a basket full of pinecones that took a whole day to disassemble into individual petals.

They are the most amazing microcosm of texture!

So now I’m putting them together.

Pinecone petals under glass.

I’ll let you know how this all works out next time.

 

 

Balancing the Threads of Life

 Life is made of threads,

They weave and sew,

And sometimes they unravel…

But in the end, each life is a piece of work. 

That’s how I’m starting.  Like my first footsteps on the moon.  It’s what I want to talk about and share with you; all the things that weave into a life, all the threads and knots and beautiful ribbons and bows.

I’m so excited to finally have this blog up and running. 

full spectrum votives

new for my first blog post

 Its genesis arrives in the middle of a decoupage project in the studio. And I have some new and beautiful things to share. 

I delayed starting this project, like I always do with tasty things, so I could focus on just the work and the colors and designs.  So far I’m pleased.

I'm working on promotional ites...free gifts

the first test run of Qpins

Qpins…”they” say I need something for distinctive packaging and free promotional gifts.  Altered clothespins with my shop names and address decoupaged on one side, fabric on the other side.  Maybe fabric on both sides.  I’m thinking they’re a little ridiculous and just might work.

I’m always a little uncertain tho’ whether I’ll really like it all in the end.