Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Poem for Christmas

I love this one - perfect for this time of year. Merry Christmas!

Sharon’s Christmas Prayer

She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.
She said

they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
they had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?

Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars.
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

by John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected, Allan, Texas, Argus Communications, 1977 * o

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give Us Courage

Give Us Courage

Give us courage, gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare us to our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter
that which is to come, that we be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates
of death, loyal and loving to one another.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

(Prayers Written At Vailima)
* o

Sunday, November 09, 2008

We interrupt this month......

Bladder infections suck - and that's pretty much all I have to say about that. I've been laid low with one for almost two weeks now. My energy is pretty zapped, and every day is a balance between what I must and have to get done vs what I would like to do. I know there are lots of people who struggle with that every single day because of some sort of chronic illness and so I will not go on and on about how crappy I feel. Suffice it to say I've been laid low, I'm getting behind on some things, and I'm really hoping to not enter the Christmas season holding as much fatigue as I did last year. Meanwhile I'm crossing the days off the calendar and panicking that Christmas IS coming! Yikes!

I need a time machine, please - anyone have one they can spare??? * o

Cats Rule, and Dogs Drool

As the dog barely manages to get a corner of rug, we know who rules the roost in this household :) * o

Monday, October 20, 2008

Non-Sucky Yoga Month

I (heart) Havi Brooks (and her duck Selma) and am a recently new fan of her work, especially her stuff on Dance of Shiva (which is something I've been doing for almost a month now and will post about some other time).

Havi's got a great promotion going on for the next couple of weeks, "Non-Sucky Yoga Month". Included in her "package thing" is Paul Grilley's Yin Yoga DVD and some awesome stuff from Havi to get you started and to get the most out of the DVD.

If you're looking for something new to kick up your yoga practice, or you're looking for something to get you started with yoga without a lot of "woo woo foo foo" stuff, check this offer out. It might just be what you are looking for.

And if not, check out Havi's blog anyway - good stuff there! * o

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Follow Barefoot - Hafiz

I Follow Barefoot

I long for You so much
I follow barefoot Your frozen tracks

That are high in the mountains
That I know are years old.

I long for You so much
I have even begun to travel
Where I have never been before.

Hafiz, there is no one in this world
Who is not looking for God.

Everyone is trudging along
With as much dignity, courage
And style

As they possibly

~ Hafiz ~ * o

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Could be a Really, Funky Mellow Post...

...because I just got back from yoga class and have had a hot, salty, lavender infused bath and I should be like all blissed out and in the zone, but mostly I'm fried and hoping I can post something that makes sense.

I'm feeling guilty because I'm kind of in a blog slump. A giant blog slump. I haven't been posting much lately. Not sure if it's because I'm too busy or just can't figure out what, if anything, to post. Mostly, I think it's just too many choices. When I have a spare moment that doesn't involve working for a living I have all these options. I can read, I can work on my courses (an art course, and a spirituality course - don't ask me why I had to take on two at the same time), I can journal, I can exercise, I can do some art.....etc, etc. The problem with choice overwhelm is that you end up choosing nothing.

I'm trying to be gentle with myself. I'm trying to take care of myself and not do overload. I really don't want to wind up the winter in the same state of exhaustion I was in last spring. It's all about balance right? Ya, most days it's balance, shmalance - right out the window. But I keep trying at it, and keep trying to mindful of what I choose to take on, and what I need to let go of. It's a process.

There are two nice things that happened to me today, that I needed to share.

One, I've been blessed today by a sprinkling of comments throughout my blog from a wonderful woman who is taking the same spirituality course as I am. She's taken the time to read my posts from the beginning, which made me realize I've been blogging for three years. Going back through some of those old posts has been a bit like finding an old journal - lots of things I had forgotten about. Thanks, S, for making my day brighter today!

Two, I had some really good comments from my art instructor about my last two assignments. Specifically, she mentioned that I should continue with pastels after the course is over because she thinks I have a "good feel for it". Cool.

If you have any suggestions for how to do balance, and not overload, I'd love to hear them.

image - Island, Jessie Lake, pastels, August 2008
* o

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kelly Rae's New Book

"My journey into artmaking happened mainly because I was inspired by the spirits and creativity of other artists. Without their ever knowing it, they inspired me to simply begin. To search for my own creative voice. To collage. To paint. To play." - Kelly Rae Roberts, "Taking Flight"

When Kelly Rae's book arrived Monday, and I flipped it open to the page with that above quote, I knew I was going to love this book. Because I could have written those words myself. Because artists like Kelly Rae continue to give, teach and inspire. "Taking Flight" is simply a beautiful book. Sumptious art, tender writing, well-laid out pages of instruction for projects you can do yourself. I dare you to read it and not be inspired to do something!

Go, buy one now - you owe it to your creative self! * o

Monday, September 01, 2008

She Dreams of Trees

Part Three in the Artist's Healing Journey

That night, she dreamt of trees. In the first dream, she was very angry. A beautiful tree was being hacked to pieces by an evil woman. She screamed at the woman over and over to stop and go away. The evil woman stood beside the tree, axe in hand, and gave her a jeering sneer of a smile. She yelled over and over to the woman to go away, while the woman just stood there. In the second dream, she awoke to look out her window and she saw a beautiful, healthy tree that rose up to the sky. Strong and tall and full of red berries. In the third and final dream, she was in a lovely, peaceful grotto. The grass was green and lush, and the grotto was surrounded by trees all ablaze in various autumn colors - oranges, yellow, reds and even some dark evergreens. She felt so content here - like she never wanted to leave. She awoke with that same peaceful feeling. She didn't know yet what these three dreams meant but she was sure she would figure that out on her journey.

(image - "She Dreams of Trees" - acryclics, watercolors and pastels - copyright 2008) * o

A Cup of Summer

Can I interest you in a cup of summer?

A few of our cherry tomatoes are finally starting to ripen although I doubt we will get many before the first fall frost hits.

There is nothing like the smell and taste of fresh tomatoes! * o

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Migration

(By Harriet Brown)

All fall you watched the geese fly south,
a soundless movie through the bedroom glass,
their long plain marvelous wings beating,
warm-blooded, creaturely, willing themselves
into their own features. Days after you stopped
speaking, you eyes stayed on that gray sky.
When there was nothing left to hope for,
still the last light in you lifted as they passed.

And now, of course, the geese
are coming back, flying in slow twos
and threes, in sure unbroken lines across
the spring bleached sky as if they know
for certain something that we don't.
I wonder if, wherever you are, you know it too.

The seasons are marked by the honking of geese in the sky. They are marked by other things too. A packed vehicle, an empty room, a quieter house. They return, but each return is different - and every leaving another step on the journey. * o

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quick and Easy Grunge

Easy Grunge Page

1) Start to clean off desk
2) Glue bits of notes, receipts, envelopes, post-its onto journal page - whatever is laying around on top of desk - cover page completely
3) Color background with watercolor crayons or ink pads
4) Decorate with Sharpies and watercolor crayons to your heart's content * o

Butterfly Woman - The Journey Continues

(you can read Part One of this journey here)

On a cool moonlit night in the garden, Luna Moth Fairy again appeared to Butterfly Woman. "It is time for you to leave this garden and set out on a journey - a journey of healing and adventure to discover yourself and your soul's true desires. It will be difficult, it will be scary and at time you will be quite lost. You will be traveling the Shadowlands of Your Soul. But at the end of the journey will be a great reward. You will have a helper along the way. Fox has decided to accompany you. She will not interfere but she will provide advice and wisdom as needed. She is quick and cunning. Not everyone you meet along the way will help you or can be trusted. You may need to rely on Fox's ability to discern. Now my child, pack up your things, take only what you need, and in the morning leave this garden." Then Butterfly Woman was left alone. Out of the corner of her eye she thought she caught a glimpse of Fox but she wasn't quite sure. She tucked her leather book she had received from Luna into her bag, along with a journal, a change of clothes, some food and a gold, heart-shaped locket. Then she sat down to pray and settle in for some sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day.

(image - collage with beeswax - @ 2008) * o

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What I could use today....

....some serious nappage......

Some days I just wish I was my cat. * o

Girl's Night Out

Yesterday I had to travel to the city for an eye appointment and my "BFF" came along with me. She agreed to be my eyes after the appointment for the couple of hours it takes for my pupils to go back to normal after those hideous drops that dilate them. I ended up looking pretty funny after the drops too - one eye didn't get as much as the other, and so one pupil was waaayyy dilated! We browsed a couple of stores, laughing at how stoned I looked, had supper and went to see "Mamma Mia" on the big screen. The movie rocks! ABBA music, a Greek Island, great choreography, a cute and funny story and Pierce Brosnan - so who could ask for more? (OK, so Pierce can't really sing that great, but damn he looks good anyway) And if you don't like ABBA, then you'd probably not like this movie. I wore out my ABBA eight track when I was teen (if that sentence doesn't date me at all). Best part? Meryl Streep totally nails "The Winner Takes It All" - wow.

We laughed, we cried, we had a blast and we both wondered why we don't do these girlfriend outings more often. Sometimes, we just have to kick ourselves in the butt, and drag us out of our routines!

( can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life, see that girl, watch that scene....dig in the Dancing Queen!) * o

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh, those summer nights

We've been enjoying some fairly nice weather this August, the best night being last weekend. The temps were warm, the skies clear and the moon full. The perfect summer night. Made even better by the addition of a dozen or so of some of the the most awesome teens/young adults I know who hung out around our fire for a bit.

Oh summer nights......soon to be fall. I'm keenly aware of the passing of time and summer coming to a close. One more week and College Boy will be heading back to school. The days even now are starting to get shorter.

If I had seen the meteor shower a couple of weeks ago, I would have wished on the shooting stars for a longer summer. It seemed so long in coming and so quickly flown by. But nature knows these things are not to be. The seasons must change, the wheel must turn.

Do I sound a bit blue? Ya, I always hate the end of summer. * o

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Sort of Artsy Weekend

Not the best photo of it, but finally finished my first assemblage type piece this weekend. This one took me a while to do, from the time I salvaged the old weathered board until when I decided just what I was going to do with it. There's rusty things, and feathers, and mosaic tiles and polymer clay in this piece and generally I'm pleased with way it came together in the end.

The August long weekend has been fabulous weather wise, and I'm really glad I've had some down time and some play time to enjoy it. Would like some more play time, but with company in the house it's hard to manage that.

I've seen two bears, a doe with two fawns, and the cutest little not too shy bunny rabbit over the course of the weekend so you could say I've been enjoying some time communing with nature as well.

Tomorrow it's back to work and back to the routine. These are the summer days when you wish you had a time machine, just to stretch things out for a little while. * o

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Summer shall be known as....

"The Summer of the Skunk"....or..."One Skunky Summer". Yup, the dog got nailed again. Worse than the first time requiring three baths so far and several days of trying to get "that smell" out of the house. Seems our dog is a slow learner and has not yet learned to compute the equation - Black and White Striped Kitty Like Animal = Very, Very Bad Smell. Cats are just so much smarter.

On a Funnier Note

File this one under "Stupid Things People Say". Recently we acquired the lot next door, after our neighbour of twenty years tore down his old house and sold the property to us. He's moved on to bigger and better things, and while we miss him as a neighbour, we are definitely happy for him regarding the wonderful happenings in his life. And so our yard has gotten bigger, and John has been busy building a fence and putting in grass seed and now he has a lot more grass to cut. This being a small town, the usual rumor mill has been working full shifts with people speculating on just what will be done with "that property". Today I overheard the funniest conversation yet. I'm standing at my open livingroom window when I hear this couple outside the yard on the sidewalk.

Her: "Must be nice to just suddenly acquire a whole 'nother yard, eh?"

Him: "Ya, like they just took it right over." Pause. "Maybe they paid for it."

Ya think?????

Quick, somebody call the police. Apparently I'm a yard thief. * o

Monday, July 21, 2008


"I am fire and if you have doubts about that, bring your hands forth." - Rumi

(watercolor, ink and pastels)
* o

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And the Universe laughs...

So, remember yesterday's post? The "something wonderful will happen today"? Remember how I said that I knew that even with the wonderfuls would come the awfuls? You know, life is full of goods and bads?

And so the Universe laughed and tonight - my dog just got nailed by a skunk. Right outside the open livingroom window. Yes folks, we are smothered in Eau de Pepe LePew right now. And said dog, a lab, is ironically afraid of water. Bathing him to get rid of the smell was a job and a half for College Boy. The dog will be sleeping in the porch tonight.

I think I still hear the Universe chuckling......something wonderful this way smells.... :) * o

Monday, July 14, 2008

Something Wonderful

Last week I started an experiment. It came about from something I read (and don't ask me where I read it because I can't remember if it was in a book, a magazine or on someone's blog - I read too much and remember too little). Anyway, the gist of what I read was that when you wake up in the morning start your day off thinking something wonderful is going to happen today, instead of thinking about all the ick things you have to do that you don't want to do. Then be open to receive whatever wonderful thing comes your way. So, I thought I'd give it a shot. I start the morning off saying to myself "something wonderful is going to happen today." Amazing what a shift in perception that gives you.

You see, for every day that I have said that, something wonderful has happened. Now, these are not big miraculous happenings. And most of them would have occurred whether I said, "something wonderful is going to happen today" or not. (I'm pretty sure my husband was going to give me flowers for our anniversary anyway, and that package in the mail was going to arrive one day....) Nor am I so superstitious as to believe that if I don't say "something wonderful is going to happen today" all sorts of weird and awful things will happen. Life is full of good and bad moments and I'm pretty sure there are going to be bad days. Nope, the shift has come in my attitude to those "something wonderfuls". By opening myself to the possibility of receiving them, I become AWARE of them. They pop into my day, and I think "hello, something wonderful" and I'm happy. It's all in what you dwell on isn't it? Good moments or bad moments? Something wonderfuls or something awfuls? I'm kind of liking this experiment, this opening up to the little, good things that make up my life.

Join me? Something wonderful is going to happen today.......I guarantee it.

* o

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Been fooling around with pastels today and created this mandala on black cardstock paper. The colors are a little bit brighter than how they show up in this scan.

Last night we lit a fire in the pit and I threw an Altoids tin in it to experiment with altering it. Turned out good, now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with it. Lately, I have so many projects I want to try out but when I get into the shed to create, I can't decide what to start on! Then there's this whole energy problem I've been having - too drained during the week to do anything but get myself to work and that's it. I guess if I try to look on the bright side it would be that I'll never have a shortage of "creative projects" to work on!

So much art out little time :) * o

Happy Anniversary!

23 years.....two kids...a cat and dog...a home...numerous ups and downs...friends and family that have come and gone...we're still here - here's to the best part of my life! * o

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I spent my birthday....

yesterday at this gorgeous place, with my "bestest" friend. We were attending a watercolor workshop, taught by Biljana Baker a local artist. It was a gorgeous day as you can tell by the photos and so much fun. Learned lots I didn't know about how to use watercolors, some brush techniques, and using masking fluid to create a resist. Biljana is an amazing artist with a wonderful warm personality - you could tell she was enjoying herself. I really love when someone who is teaching you is also passionate about what they are doing. That enthusiasm just overflows to the students! Add a gorgeous location with tons of atmosphere, and overall it was a pretty good day. Later that night we relaxed around the fire pit at my place with friends and family. Everyone surprised me this year with artsy presents - brushes, markers, stamps, a mosaic stepping stone kit, a heron sculpture.....I was totally spoiled. High School Boy, home for the weekend, made the birthday cake which was yummy! And there was plenty of sunshine, something so desperately needed around here.

(photos - Quebec Lodge where the workshop was held, the awesome view from the lodge, Lynn and me) * o

Friday, July 04, 2008

Butterfly Woman

The story of Butterfly Woman

Butterfly Woman was born a small caterpillar in a rather nondescript garden. She had an uneventful childhood in the garden, going to school with the other caterpillars learning how to avoid becoming a bird’s tasty lunch. She entered her teen years a shy, awkward caterpillar with a few close friends. She worked in the garden, always looking up and dreaming of one day flying around the garden just like the birds and bees. Deep down inside she knew the caterpillars could change, that transformation was possible, but she didn’t know how to do it and she was afraid. So she continued to live and work in the garden, and to read about other caterpillars who had transformed into butterflies. She learned that some caterpillars transformed by “thinking” themselves into butterflies. Others prayed and tried to live good lives. Some tried to eat only certain foods and exercise regularly at certain times. Butterfly Woman became so confused – there were so many ways to transform and so much advice out there she just didn’t know what to do. She felt so lost and lonely. One autumn night in the garden, while looking up at the stars, she fell into a deep, deep sleep. The darkness seemed to close in around her, and she slept longer and deeper. She dreamed of blue summer skies, and flowers, and floating. Then her dreams became dark and scary. Caterpillars, slugs and dark beetles taunted her and poked her. “You’ll never be good enough to be a butterfly” they hissed. And, “you have to do it our way, you’ll never get it right”. They pushed her down winding paths with confusing signs that pointed here and there. “This is the way.” “No! Go here.” “Don’t do this!” Butterfly Woman grew weaker and began to cry. Then she saw a pale, luminescent green light coming towards here. The light grew brighter and stronger, and as it got closer, she saw that it was coming from a beautiful Luna Moth Fairy. The Luna Moth Fairy hugged her, and wiped her tears away. “There, there little one. All you need to remember is that you are loved and you are love. That is all there is to know”, whispered the Luna Moth Fairy as she handed Butterfly Woman a tiny, beautiful, leather-bound book. “All you need to know is in here.” Luna Moth Fairy left her, and Butterfly Woman opened the book. On the first page, in beautiful scrolled letters was written, “This above all, to thine own self be true”. Butterfly Woman felt her self growing strong, and her heart so full of love that she thought she would burst. She stretched her arms out against the darkness and pushed it away with all her might. She awoke to beautiful, sunny morning in the garden. She felt cold and damp, but the sun’s light quickly warmed her. She looked at herself and gasped. Where once had been a plain, dumpy caterpillar in green dress, she was now wearing a beautiful yellow gown. A tingling came from her back and as she twisted her neck to look over her shoulder she saw the most beautiful pair of orange and black wings. Wings! She had wings! Beside her on the ground she spotted the little book the Luna Moth Fairy had given her. So this was more than just a dream, she thought. Lifting her face to the sky, and stretching out her wings she soared up over the garden. She couldn’t believe how beautiful it really was, and how tiny compared to everything she could see from her new vantage point in the sky. And so began her journey to explore this world, armed with the book the Luna Moth Fairy had given her, and the knowledge that she was loved and was love, and could do anything she set her mind to.

(Butterly Woman is the heroine I have created as part of The Artist's Healing Journey) * o

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'Shor is quiet round these parts.....

Dropped High School Boy off at camp yesterday, where he will be volunteering for the next couple of a weeks. Doesn't seem like all that long ago when we dropped him off for his first time at camp. His first ever week away from home. We worried that he wouldn't like it, or would be homesick. Instead he took to it like a duck to water and has been going every summer since with the exception of one. He strolls confidently across the field this boy-man - he shaves now, has a girlfriend, and a social network that spans 100 Km. Always off to new adventures. I'm glad that both my sons have way more confidence than I did at their age. I'm glad they are tackling the world with gusto, and I am an immensely proud mom of the two fine young men they are turning out to be. * o

Monday, June 30, 2008 my email this morning...

Today's poem offering from the Panhala list speaks volumes to me right now:

In the Middle

of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail is a metronome, 3/4 time. We'll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.

~ Barbara Crooker ~

photo: bumblebee - beside the deck this morning
* o

The Last Day of June

It's 9:30 in the morning and I am sitting out on the deck, eating my breakfast, still in my jammies, enjoying the cool morning air, the sunshine, the birds singing - totally awesome after all the rain. I love that I have until Wednesday off from work. I love that I have been sleeping in, being creative, and following the rhythms of my own time.

It's mid-morning and I'm making another cup of tea. I am content, and lazy, and still not dressed for the day and I don't care. It's the end of June and it has taken me long enough to get here.

photo - blue sky and my beloved oak tree doing it's own form of sun salutation
* o

Saturday, June 28, 2008

If this is must be raining...

Lately, it pretty much rains every day. Great for the trees and the grass, both of which are lush and green. Not so great for headaches, and moods, and trying to get outdoors and enjoy the long summer days. I'm starting to feel like the fungus on the willow chair..... * o

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Trying to Slow Down

This is a collage I created that was inspired by my experience walking the labyrinth last month. I finally finished it last weekend. The labyrinth has tiny snails along the path, which is made of chunky wool. The outside of the labyrinth is made of tiny polished rocks. The woman is doing "Tree Pose" - a yoga asana.

I keep trying to remind myself of this image - to slow down, to be grounded like the tree. It seems like I just fly through my days and weeks, and lately I have had very little energy to do more than just go to work and then crash on my couch in the evenings. Maybe my body is trying to force me to "slow down"? I've certainly been giving up a lot of things, and thinking about just where and how I want to spend my time. Slowing down, in this culture, is not an easy task. * o

Creating a Journal - Part Two

The front cover. I like the feel of this journal - it's a good size, and the envelopes make a nice thick paper to work with! * o

Creating a Journal

I started collecting envelopes a while back because I wanted to try making a journal from them. Thought this would be a good time to try it out for the "Healing Journey" course. This journal has three signatures of 6 envelopes each. * o

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Journaling Courses coming up

My friend Zura is offering her "Fun Art Journaling" course again - starting June 30th. This is a great course for both beginners and experienced journalers. Three months of lessons, tips, and a yahoo group to help support you along the way. I learned a lot about art journaling from taking Zura's courses, and she really gives you a wealth of materials to work with. You can read about it and sign up here.

Also starting June 30th - Lani Gerity's "The Artist's Healing Journey". This is a 12-week course using the heroine's journey - an exploration of renewal and healing using art. You can read about it here.

I've signed up for the Healing Journey course and am looking forward to working on that soon. Today, I'm going to start working on making a journal just for this course. If I get it finished this weekend, I'll post pics.

image - spirit fruits - pen, ink and pastel - @2008

* o

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Art vs Craft

The other night I was at a local women’s business dinner when the subject of conversation turned to artists and a possible informal meeting of people interested in art in the community. The conversation was piquing my interest and curiosity and had grabbed the attention of a woman seating at my table who happens to be an artist specializing in carving and sculpture. The Artist mentioned that she would really like to see some sort of art guild formed in the area. Up to this point in the evening I had been enjoying my conversation with The Artist, but this is where I left my comfort zone and naively inquired “would you consider amateur artists part of the guild?” (Me thinking amateur as in not exhibited, not formally trained, etc.). So began a discussion on “art” vs. “crafts” and “artist” vs “artisan” and how one had to be careful in distinguishing the two. This is when my inner critic chose to show up, sit comfortably on my shoulder and begin the process of deflating my energy balloon by insidiously whispering “you are not an artist” and “you are not in the same league as the Big Kids” followed by hissing in a Gollum like voice “you do Crraaaffftttsss………”. Mr. Inner Critic carries a heavy weight and while he whispered, I nodded politely and began detaching myself from the conversation.

I carried Mr. Inner Critic’s weight home with me, my balloon now completely deflated and dragging along behind me as I pondered the evening. And then I gave Mr. Inner Critic the slap upside the head he deserved.

You see, I might not be a Big Kid artist, but then I’m not trying to be one either. The argument about what makes a “real artist” is the same argument in the writing circles about what makes you a “real writer”. Is it training? Is it how much you sell? Are you a writer if you self-publish? What about if your writing is only published online and you haven’t been paid for it? Professional vs amateur? These arguments, I suppose, have validity for those trying to make a living from their art. And don’t get me wrong, I love and admire the Big Kid artists and writers. Nothing moves me more than a well written novel or inspires me like a beautiful painting. I am in awe and envy of some of the work I see out there, and I try to support and learn from these artists as much as I can. I am not judging The Artist for her views on what constitutes art and an art guild is an awesome way to get the work of the many talented artists in the area out there for people to see. I just happen to believe that there’s a place in this world for all the artists, writers, artisans, crafters, journalers, bloggers, etc. It’s all good.

No, my dialogue with Mr. Inner Critic, my own personal art monster, gave me a chance to define what it is that I’m really passionate about and what art means to me. When I grow up, I want to be an “Inner Child midwife”. I want people to get back in touch with that child that loved to play with paints and crayons and got lost in the act of creating and not in competition or trying to impress. I love doing journal and art journal workshops and watching people transform themselves from “I can’t write, I’m not really any good at this” to total excitement about what they can do with their creativity. I love squishing people’s art monsters and Inner Critics. When I go out into my little cottage studio to create, whether it’s collage or clay or paint or write, I’m getting in touch with the creative essence of the Divine. It’s my form of prayer. Art is a sacred tool, an inner healer. There are days when the act of creating is more important than the finished product, and whether or not it constitutes art is not important. This is a process of self-transformation, not a competition with another artist. I think no matter what you are, it’s important to know what gives you joy and to stand firm in that no matter what the outside world thinks.

Call me a crafter, an artisan, an amateur, whatever. They’re just labels. But, if your inner child is longing to get out and play, call me. We’ll have some fun in the cottage – no art monsters allowed.

- photo, art journal page "Believe" @2008 * o

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Inner Sanctuary

The inside of the cottage - where I go to restore, to create, to get away. My little sanctuary. * o

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life in a Northern Town

One of the things I enjoy about living in a Very Small Town, is we can do things you can't in a big city. Like last night, which just happened to be one of the nicest evenings we've had yet this spring (finally!). We lit our first fire of the season in our outdoor pit, and sat around with CollegeBoy who is home for the summer, and just generally enjoyed the warm sunshine, the evening birds singing and the conversation. High School Boy even graced us with his presence for a little bit. Then, as the evening light turned dusky and the coals were just right, we roasted wienies for a late snack and went inside to enjoy a movie. Life doesn't get much better than that. * o

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm not bitchy...I'm just releasing

At the end of the yoga session last night, my awesome yoga instructor tells us "you've released a lot here tonight, notice that over the next couple days - how your body has released. You may even feel bitchy, but you're not really, you're just releasing".

I want a t-shirt that says "I'm not bitchy, I'm just releasing"............ * o

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who the Heck Stole Spring?

Woke this morning to a cold, windy, wet and flurry-ing type of day - bleck! When is it going to warm up and be spring???

At least I had a creative and relaxing weekend. Spent some time working on my art course, and also playing with polymer clay and doing some collages. Worked part of the time at the kitchen table and the rest of the time in the cottage. It is so wonderful to be out there again, in my own space. Restores my sanity.

There are a lot of artists blogs and books that are fueling my creativity these days. Thought I'd share a few of them here:

  • Mixed Media Mosiacs - Laurie Mika - I'm not only a fan of Laurie's work, showcased throughout, but I love how well the techniques are photographed and how clear the instructions are, something a beginner like myself can truly appreciate.
  • Making Connections - Susan Lenart Kazmer - I didn't even know what a "cold join" was until I got this book. Beautifully photographed and one of those books you pick up just to flip through the pictures and admire the work.
Magazines I Must Have
  • Art and Life -
  • Cloth, Paper, Scissors
  • Somerset Studio
Artists Who Inspire, Challenge and just generally Make Me Envious
Great websites for art and supplies
Books ordered and soon to be drooled over
  • Secrets of Rusty Things - Michael de Meng
  • Taking Flight - Kelly Rae Roberts

* o

Friday, May 09, 2008

I Heart The Weepies

Stumbled upon a reference to The Weepies while surfing blogs today.

Currently listening to the new album, Hideaway, available on iTunes.

LOVE IT! * o

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The snail reminding me to slow down, and stay close to center.

The tree, reminding me to stay grounded. * o

Standing.....ready to go in

Despite an onslaught of wet weather I managed to walk the labyrinth three times over the weekend. Each time, it took until I reached center to unwind my mind. The twists, the turns, getting closer to center and then further away were physical metaphors of my life's journey and my spiritual one. Sometimes, I felt like I'd never get to the center. Once, I got to center quickly and then walking out it seemed to take forever.

At center, I felt grounded and peaceful. I wanted to spend a long time in the center, but there was always a time issue or a weather issue and I felt like I needed to leave. Again, much like my life - I want to spend more time centered by there is always something else needing to be done, someplace else I need to go to.

Around me the birds sang, the squirrels squawked and the trees rustled. I found the most beautiful snails along the path - beige/brown shells that spiraled and wound themselves tight to center. They were probably out enjoying the damp bark of the path and the wet weather because on the last morning, when it was drier, I didn't see any.

Grounded and strengthened. God is good. * o

The Labyrinth

* o

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Her Dreams Are Brewing

When I was talking with my spiritual director this weekend, I was going on about how I have all these things I want to do creatively and spiritually and that I was unsure of what I was supposed to be doing and what direction I wanted to head in next.

She encouraged me to recognize that I was in an "in-between" place at the moment, a transition, and to be comfortable in this place. To rest in my creativity.

And then she said she had this image of a large pot, or cauldron. Mixing it all together and brewing up what's next.

This weekend, I will be walking the labyrinth and wondering what it is that I will bring in and what I will choose to take out.

Mixed-media acrylic - "Her Dreams Are Brewing" - Apr 2008 * o

Dancing Labyrinth Spirit Dolls

Created these with polymer clay, to honor my upcoming labyrinth retreat this weekend, hosted by the Sisters of St. John.

I'm excited about getting to walk a labyrinth again, and just spending some time with the Sisters - something I've been looking forward to for a long time.

Hopefully, I'll have some pictures to share when I get back. The weather forecast is calling for rain (ugh). * o

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spirit Box

* o

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It is Finished

My collage for the Nouwen course.

I am the prodigal daughter and the elder daughter, journeying home to the Father's welcoming embrace. * o

Playing with Clay

Spent the afternoon playing with some Sculpey clay, making faces and tiles for future projects. It was a lot of fun.

We've had a quiet weekend, John and I. Oldest son not home from college yet, and youngest one off spending a weekend in a VeryBigCity across the border. It's the quietest the house will be for a few months now.

Spent a little bit of time in the cottage yesterday, straightening things around in hopes of soon working out there again once the weather warms up. Spring is coming, albeit slowly. Too early yet to move my paints out there, but soon I should be able to start doing some work in there. I can't wait to have my own space again! * o

Monday, April 14, 2008

Note Cards and Collages

Got my note cards completed this weekend for the Artella Note Card swap. This was a fun and easy project to participate in. Just have to pop my cards in the mail tomorrow and wait for my swap cards to arrive!

Also spent the better part of the weekend working on my collage for my final project for the Henri Nouwen course. I've decided to work with Nouwen's book, "The Return of the Prodigal Son" based on his reflections on Rembrandt's painting and the parable. There was so much in that book that spoke to me and had me examining how I've been the prodigal and how I've been the elder and what it means to be the "Beloved" - the child welcomed home. (Speaking of the spiritual home here, of course ).

Here's a sneak peak at the collage in progress. I'll post the final piece when it is complete.

* o

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Song

She sings a new song,

gives lift to a new dance,

notes inscribed on her heart,

give hope another chance.

* o

Monday, March 31, 2008

Little bits of the end of March

Take the whole kit
with the caboodle
Experience life
don't deplore it
Shake hands with time
don't kill it
Open a lookout
Dance on a brink
Run with your wildfire
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut

~ James Broughton ~

(Little Sermons of the Big Joy)

I got totally inspired for the above collage from Kelly Rae Roberts article in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors issue. Actually I got inspired by a lot of things and I have no idea why I never thought to check it out before!

Got Teesha Moore's latest Art & Life issue today in the mail so I'll be pouring over that the next few days. Such a visual feast and it always makes me want to grab my journal, paint and play. (....There's a little piece of Teesha in the above collage...)

April will find me busy trying to complete my integration project for my Henri Nouwen course. I've been immersed in Nouwen's writings for two months now and have enjoyed every moment of it. My final project is going to be a collage, but I won't post the details until it is complete (surprise!). There is so much flying around in my head for it right now, I hope it translates OK from head to canvass.

Currently listening to Susan Lincoln's "Mother Heart" CD - beautiful.

Waiting for spring.....
* o

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Clowning Around Newsletter

My friend Zura is putting out a weekly newsletter called "Clowning Around", on the subject of journaling and art journaling.

You can read about it at Zura's website and sign up for it here.

When you sign up, you'll receive a free"Journal Prompt Cards" e-book, full of great journal prompts and tips. * o

Friday, March 21, 2008


* o