Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s & Art Journaling

We will open the book.  It’s pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.  ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce


I’ve altered the front cover of a sketch pad as I plan to join Balzer Designs' art journal challenge this year …because I have so much time:); I’m already journaling & oftentimes throwing in some mixed media, so it seemed like a natural progression.  For the back cover, I just sloppy painted teal & ivory & added a rub on stamp.


As for New Year’s, this year I ask you to consider an alternative to resolutions that focus on something you feel you need to improve.  Many of us harp on ideas of self-improvement, as if where we are isn’t good enough.  Instead, write your top ten, or top 50, or whatever is comfortable about what is good about you and your life today & how you can take joy in what you have.  Have a very Happy New Year!

Wherever you are is always the right place.  There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place.  ~ Julia Cameron

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.  ~Marianne Williamson

(shameless plug ~ Winter Solace starts this coming up weekend, on 1/9/11; Hope to “see” you there!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas Miracle ~ Happy Birthday Desi

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.  Pablo Casals 


23 years ago, my oldest daughter was born.  I won’t tell the detailed story here as I did in my book, Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey.  I will say this story is my own Christmas miracle.  A child born with a fatal congenital defect, every hour a precious gift; every moment that I was allowed to stroke her skin a blessing as she lay in a neonatal crib with IV’s, chest tubes, respirator & ventilator keeping her alive.  As you can see from the pictures, she is healthy & thriving after an experimental surgery @ the University of Virginia saved her life.  She arrived full circle, graduating this past May from UVA.


This time of year is a double celebration for our family and I’m ever thankful for this blessing. 

Happy Birthday Baby!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Solace



I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.  Albert Einstein

  For the first time in many days, I’m in solitude.  I love my family, of course, and miss them when they are gone.  However, moments of solitude are like ice cold water on a hot, humid day.  I need this space to re-charge my batteries.  I am exhausted and looking forward to leading Winter Solace in January.  I often work the exercises& share my responses when I teach this course & this workshop is a gentle, inner retreat that I so need after the rush of the holidays; a time of inner reflection and hibernation. I hope you’ll consider joining me on this peaceful journey.

As far as what I’ve been up to besides the obvious…I decided this year to focus more on meaning and a homemade Christmas (not entirely, my youngest already experienced the “sack with a pocket” as we called it when I tried to make her pj’s last year!).   However, we have enjoyed some of our crafts this year like this simple centerpiece (bonus – I got to play with a glue gun!):


I found an interesting article about the History of the Christmas Tree

I also played with making scented, holiday soaps ~ “fail” as my oldest daughter would say.  And the homemade chocolate body scrub was disgusting…not in smell, & it does work but I couldn’t imagine giving it to someone because of the way it looks.  So, these fun jars (bought at the dollar store along with the jewels & snowflakes, ribbon half-price at the dollar store & coffee scoops two for $1) were filled with candies instead:


I made some ATC’s as prayer cards with verses &/or hymns on the back and put them in small drawstring pouches:


A closer look (images from Graphics Fairy)


I also made my own Christmas cards this year but forgot to take pictures.  Instead of the usual framed picture of my girls for the grandparents, I played with mixed media (sorry, light reflected off the glass so the pictures aren’t great):



And I’ve been making journal totes, with several more to go:





Finally, what’s the holiday season without a party or two (ps – love picnik for photos, I’m “winterized”):


In case I don’t get back or visit for awhile, I wish you all a blessed season in whatever way you celebrate.

(note to self ~ start earlier next year!)

Monday, December 6, 2010



Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith.  Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Henry Miller

I thought this quote fitting for the season but also in terms of creativity ~ belief itself can transform an idea or desire into reality.  A year ago my only outlets were reading, writing and teaching.  I dabbled sporadically in scrapbooking and had never sewn or painted (not counting pre-school fingerpaints or the 4th grade “jean short purse” that busted at the seams the first day I carried it!).  This year I’m using mixed media for homemade cards and framed pictures, altering journals and sewing journal totes for gifts and using ATC’s as a basis for “prayer” card sets for some family members.  So what happened in the 40+ years between painting pictures for my mom and the adult mindset that I am not an artist…  a loss of wonder as negative messages sank in (you can’t do that).  I have no idea exactly where those messages came from but I (& I’m sure others) internalized the thought that only those with “real” talent can write a story or create a piece of art.  However, I reached a point where the stories had to be written and once I gained confidence in that arena, a snowball effect took place and I became more about the process instead of the end result.  The process focus does not allow space for negative self-talk; instead it allows for room to grow.

Begin paying attention to that negative voice inside, make a list of those self-defeating messages you give yourself and then re-frame them in a way that empowers you.

{I’m participating in Gothic Arches challenge this week ~ I’ve been wanting to for awhile.  This blog offers a free downloadable PDF with the history of Gothic Arches & several tutorials as well as resources for using arches in your mixed-media.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear Santa


My favorite holiday season has arrived.  Although it is certainly commercialized, the decorations, music, baking etc. still represent the magic of the season for me.  This year, I am trying to get back to basics in offering more homemade gifts and wanted to share a few links I’ve come across:

Fave Crafts

Shabby Art Boutique

Just Sew Sassy

I plan on sharing some of the finished products along the way ~ no peeking mom:)  I also plan to come visit my blog friends more as soon as time allows ~ sorry I haven’t been by!

As you begin your holiday preparations, allow some time for reflection.  Write your own “Dear Santa” letter and explore what this season really means to you and how you hope to capture and celebrate that spirit.