Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Big Rush

On Christmas Eve, Broadside and I got together with a couple of friends that I only see about once a year.  As we were walking to meet them, Broadside asked me what I was carrying in my bag.  I said, "Gifts."   "Well, of course you have gifts for them.  What did I marry an elf?"  They were small gifts that I had made.  Chocolates and lip balms.   Our friends were touched.  I was thrilled to bring a bit of Christmas joy.
For years, I've been trying to figure out, what "gets into me" when it comes to gifts and giving. This time of year my energy seems to be at an amazing high and in high volume. This year, I've read several articles on studies that giving, especially making gifts, creates an adrenaline rush, that is the same rush folks get when they exercise.  This year, I've amped up my exercise and I was thinking of the theory.  I think there is a a correlation.
Making gifts is a process I truly enjoy. I love the process of finding the ideas, the materials (this year all local and/or upcyled.), I get to focus on the people while I'm making the gifts.  It really does give me a sense of calm and well being.   This also explains, perhaps, the after holiday drop in mood.   How I'm battling this feeling...well exercise!  Walking and Zumba!  Well, that and planning next Christmas, of course.  The articles also say that volunteering does the same thing.   I think it is the fact that we are engaged in a positive activity.  We are engaged in life.  We are engaged and giving of ourselves.  It is the ultimate in using our positive self to rid ourselves and the world of negativity.
So, this post is to all my friends, who get that look of overwhelm when I present them with the gifts I've made. You are supporting my well being and peace of mind.  It really is okay.  You are giving me so much, just by letting me make and give.

What do you think of this theory?  Makes sense to me.  Where do you like to give of yourself to give to others?
Until next week...create to feel great!

9 projects complete! 43 to go!    Happy New Year to you all!

A couple of the gifts I gave this year...wrist wallets.
Super great for on the go.  Runners, dancers, who ever.  Sweet!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And Then Appears The Perfect Christmastime!

Yes, dear reader/follower, yet another Christmas post.  Hang on or pass on by, it is the last one in Year 3 of this Campaign.  Well, maybe.   I can't say the same for the Wooti Dawg stories.

This time of year is filled with expectations. Packed to the rim. Stuffed into our hearts and minds like Santa stuffing his sack full of goodies (or us stuffing ourselves full of goodies).  Expectations are so delicate, they can get shattered so easily.  When I'm full of expectations on how things are going to go or the way things are, I usually wind up sadly disappointed and so out of the moment, it takes me a bit to get my self back into the flow.
So, I work to not deal in expectations.  Especially, this time of year.   There is so much wonderful stuff going on that if I step out of the moment, even for a moment, I miss it all.
This last Sunday, was my scheduled day to decorate Pirate Cookies.  See I plan and schedule so I can give up on expectations and be more in the moment.  It really is a fine dance here.  Anyway, I get a message from Wooti's mom that she is going to be in my neighborhood, maybe with Wooti.  My past behavior would have been, "Oh, I'm busy." (with decorating cookies...I know, give up a chance to see favorite people, just in order to get something off a "to do list". Who does that?)  Not wanting to take time out and stay on track.  Now with this commitment to being in the moment, I was thrilled to see my friend, excited, and very happy when both she and Wooti were standing at my front door.   It was the start to a perfect Christmas week!  As there is nothing better than spending time with these two loving and joyous beings.
As a side bar, Pirate cookies got their due, for those wondering.
I had no idea I was going to get to see Wooti and his mom.  I was planning on shipping their presents to them. The day before, I was baking pirate cookies and my oven decided that it wasn't in the plans.   Everything I touched burned.  I even had a pan of melted chocolate fly off the stove, spin around my head and land on the refrigerator door.  Talk about your magic Christmas moments.  I just hope Santa understands that I had to say those bad words.
In an effort to "shake it off", Broadside and I went for a walk.  We found ourselves in a neighborhood honky tonk bar (I live in Portland, Oregon- and in my neighborhood we have everything).  We were enjoying one of the best holiday drinks I've ever had, listening to a guy spontaneously singing Christmas Songs in the style of Hank Williams.  It brought back so many childhood memories of my dad. Those past moments were filled with some great stuff.  And the moment I was in, was being filled with great stuff.  I decided it was time to let go of the expectations for all my prefect Christmas plans and live in the moment. As all we ever have is now.
The next morning, I baked wonderful pirate cookies.   And had my visit with Wooti and his mama. (Who by the way, gave me a plate of the BEST, yes the BEST vegan cookies- enough to get me to turn vegan.)
And then appeared the perfect Christmastime!  It just keeps coming.  All week long.  It has been filled with the magic and delight of this wonderful time of year.  I know that I can take all this into every moment I experience in the coming year.   Now that is a gift.
Are you willing to give up expectations for a opportunity of some magical moments to come your way?
I wish a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Until next week...create to feel great.

8 projects complete 44 to go!

This week's project is an Advent Calendar.  It was made for a little girl in Serbia.   Her mom and I are swap partners.  I had so much fun designing this.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It Starts With Me

"The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life." 
The Dalai Lama
I really don't know if I can follow up this quote, but you know me I got something to say about it.  I do know it to be true and a great way to live my life.  I feel sometimes it is hardest to be compassionate towards ourselves.  Not self interested or self centered, but a true sense of compassion for who we are warts and all.  The practice of self compassion really does spill over to others.  It can't help it.  When we are feeling compassionate, the world does open up.
This is a great time of year to give compassion a try.  Not just in running out to the mall to get the biggest gift of all, but giving of yourself.  Your time. Your many talents. I say this a lot (mostly to remind myself) be open.  Be in the moment.  Be available to life.  Your life.  We can do this.  It starts with me.  For you starts with you.  Let's go!
How compassionate are you with you?  Are you willing to explore that idea and see what comes of it?
Until next week...create to feel great!
7 projects complete! 45 to go.
This week's project...paper flowers!   Made from dictionaries (old ones).  I haven't had a good glue gun project in months and months.  This filled the void.   Might make it on some of my packages this year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman
Any one who knows me, knows I love love love Christmas. (Even those of you who have followed this blog for a while might even know this about me.) I know I drive people nuts with my love of this holiday, I do my best to keep it in check, but sometimes I just can't.  Broadside has learned to just smile and let me go, as he knows there is really no stopping me.   I don't do a whole lot of decorating, I don't even have a Christmas tree of sorts anymore, as I really hate clean up and the taking down of holiday stuff.  Yet I love the energy of this time.   The cats look cleaner, brighter and fluffier to me.  There is a little something extra in the air.  I love the lights on houses and the possibility of a Santa sighting.  I can be talkative to the general public and wish them well, and they take it and actually, seem to like it.   I can craft craft craft like crazy and send it out into the world and people seem to take it and actually seem to like it.   Yeah there are more people out and doing craaaazzzzy stuff (where do they go the rest of the year?), traffic is more challenging, lines are longer (I hate standing in a line, nothing is worth it for the effects on my outlook.) and sometimes it can just be a hassle to move along this time of year.  Yet if you simply accept these as the way it is and not let it get to you, I know you will hear more laughter, more kind talk and sometime in the background you'll catch a the sounds of your favorite Christmas song.  You know the one, it is the one that the radio station never plays enough and you might have forgotten about it until you just now heard it.
Here's what else I love about this time of year, it is a time to reflect and dream for the new year.  Yes!   What do you want more of in the new year?  What do you want less of?  Write all that down and dream. Dream Big!  Because your life does depend on it.
So, what's your big dream? It's time to go after it?
Until next week create to feel great!   6 projects complete! 46 to go!
This week's project is a sweater for Wooti.  The Dog with the big dream!  It's almost been a year since his trials and challenges of living in Africa to his dream of the good life in America.  Yay!  Wooti effects everyone who knows about him.  He gets them to think out side of themselves, even if just for a second.  For me, Wooti is the symbol of not to give up.  Even losing a leg didn't stop him!  Go Wooti!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Amazing How Things Work

Last week, I was cutting up vegetables for a stir fry with my very sharp chef knife, and I nicked the tip of my thumb.  It bled a bit, I put a bandage on it and carried on making my dinner.   I realized later the extent of the cut.  I could have use a stitch on it but I didn't I just kept and eye on it and nursed it myself.  As it started to heal, I got a real insight on the amazing power of our bodies.   New skin grew, and I almost have a new thumb tip.  I'm not writing this to be gross.  I'm talking about it because it got me to thinking.  If I can heal a physical wound, it goes to show that we are strong and can heal any hurt we suffer in this life.   We have to nurse ourselves  through the initial cut and pain, until the new grow starts. We have to allow time to take it's course and do the healthy behaviors that allow the healing, be it physical, mental or emotional.  A good support system is like a good bandage.  It protects us as we start to heal.  We don't need the bandage forever, as the wound get better, just like sometimes we won't need the high level of our support system, as we get stronger.  In fact, we can often then be in a place to be a "bandage" for some one else and their healing process.

Yes, I firmly believe we can heal anything in our lives and our world.  Not saying it is easy.  Not saying we will.  But we can. We can regenerate ourselves.

Is there something you would like to heal in your life?

Until next week...create to feel great!

6 projects complete!  46 to go!

This week's project is a lunch sack set.   Complete with a sandwich wrapper, snack bags and a lunch sack.  Here's a bigger for me.  I designed the patterns as well as doing the sewing!   So much fun!  Makes lunchtime fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankgivings Thoughts

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver ~
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  I wish for you that you are able to find your place in the family of things.
Until next week...create to feel great!

5 project complete. 47 to go

This week's project...a simple sweet journal cover.  More things to put birds on!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Here's Looking At You, Kid

This past Saturday, my friend Marilee and I attended an event call Braco (pronounced Brat-zoh) in America.  It was out at the airport Sheridan.   This is what is called a gazing event.   Braco is a man from Croatia who is known for channeling energy.  He doesn't call himself a healer and doesn't want to be worshiped.   For $8.00 he comes into the packed to capicity hotel event room (about 400 folks fit in the room) and gazes at everyone for five minutes.  He doesn't speak in public and he's in and out of the room quickly. 

Now I love whoo whoo stuff. I have my fair share of purple clothing, candles, chimes and a yoga mat.  Over the years I've attended psychic fairs, had my palm read and studied tarot cards.  I like this stuff, because I love information of any kind. 
And now, here comes Barco and the folks who claim he changed their lives, healed their illness and addictions, all by staring at them for five minutes at 8 bucks a pop.  Wow.  This was too good to be true.   I giggled as I read his website and the reports from folks who had attended his events.  I warned my friend, I just might get the church giggles, she said. "Whatever happens happens."  Okay. She had been warned.
We paid for two sessions, figured it was cheaper than a movie with popcorn.  I arrived early and walked around the lobby.  Some of the other attendees were in line for the next session, they didn't look like any different from the folks I'd waited in line with that morning at Starbucks.   I did notice the energy was calm and quiet. With an small vibe of expectation and hope.  It felt good.  Shortly after my friend met me, we were allowed to take our seats in the room.  It was packed!
Folks were shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip in the cheap hotel chairs.   A lovely blond lady came to the stage and talked a bit about Barco.  They showed portion of a video, that was on sale in the lobby. Then it was time for Barco.   If we could stand, we were asked to stand.  They started the New Age music and Barco entered.   It felt like he made eye contact with everyone in the room.  I later remarked that I thought he looked like a Christmas Elf in a white shirt and jeans.   All too soon, he left the room.  The blond woman allowed some folks in the crowd to speak to debrief (although they weren't brief) and that's when my friend got the church giggles with the guy sitting next to us.   Several folks around us, including myself started to giggle.  I guess this is a normal response, and happens all the time. Barco and his folks are okay with it.

After the second session, my friend and I went to the hotel bar.  We talked about the sessions. 
Here are my thoughts about Barco.   All he does for $8, is give folks permission.  Permission to feel whatever about themselves or others in a quiet, still, positive manner.  In his odd way Barco makes it okay to do whatever healing we have to do in this life.  The energy and message is positive  The blond woman encouraged folks to have an open heart towards ourselves and others. Not a bad message. I think we all want some sort of miracle in our lives. On some level, I think people start to "feel" that miracle while standing there in silience.  Just how often are we silent in our lives?
The experience cemented the bond I have with my good friend of many years.  We've shared a lot over the years.  And now we have experienced Barco together.

With all the negative messages we are bombard with everyday of our lives.  It was refreshing to have a positive message given to a group of people. It was cool that the message was given in silence.
Do I think or feel Barco is a healer?  I think we all have the power in us to be healers.  Heal ourselves and heal the world with positive thoughts, and actions.  Barco allows us to entertain all the possibilities.  It is even okay to be a giggly as little kids.

If I had only one negative thing to comment on about Barco, it would be the table full of swag.  The DVD's and the line of jewelry.  Sort of cheapened it, but I guess sometimes folks need to go shopping after an experience out of their comfort zone.  You can always pass on it.  Some folks need stuff for an anchor.
Even with that, I think it would be cool if everyone had that experience at least once, if only to tell the story and experience something totally different and out of a comfort zone.  

Thank you, Barco for one of the most fasinating afternoons I've ever experienced.  I got my value for my $16.00.   I'll be seeing you.

Until next week create to feel great!
4 projects complete. 48 to go.

Eight Sock Monkeys headed to Texas for the children who lost everything in the fires they had there this year.   It is part of Craft Hope Project. I hope they bring smiles and comfort to the kids.  They made me laugh as I sewed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Drama Queen

In his books, Ekhart Tolle asks the question, "Do you want peace or do you want the drama?"  I think most folks jump at saying "well, peace, of course." Then proceed to live with or create drama.  I know this, as a personal fact of my life of years past. I've been known to create my fair share of drama or be involved in it.  All the while saying. "I wish this would stop! I just want peace of mind."  Crazy making stuff this drama/peace question is for some.
For someone, like myself, who has lived with drama most of her life and years ago set out to eliminate the drama and seek peace, giving up the drama and it's creation is a tough task.  The creation of drama is comfortable and a known practice.  It's a fall back course of action. A place to visit when life gets boring or isn't quiet complicated enough.  After years of battling with drama, I realized this week, I've come to a place of calm and peace and routine in my life.  I liked.  Yet, I can hear the that little drama queen calling to me to come out and play. This week, I had a chance to look at this drama vs. peace idea.
I friend of mine asked me to describe drama and then to describe excitement.   Lightening bolt struck me. One of Oprah's "ah moments" flashed.  As I described these two words, I found great differences in them for me.

Drama seemed old, tired, stagnate,negative, old of my control. Almost dare I say, boring. It's full of hard feels, disappointment, junk and stuff to deal with, ill will, conflict and tension. A great way to experience drama is to keep rehashing the past.  The woulda, shouldva, couldvas love drama.

Excitement felt like creative options were open, forward movement is happening, it feels dazzling, endless and generous.  There is also a joy in excitement.  Like a kid on Christmas morning or her birthday or a day at the circus.  Excitement can come from anything and everything.  Like walking in the morning and seeing a hummingbird feeding on bush and waving "hi" to you or spending the afternoon painting with a good friend or sitting on the sofa and having a silky soft old lady cat jump up and purr in you lap.  Excitement is all this and millions things more.  I need to be totally in the moment to experience excitement.
So, now, I've come to realize that I can create excitement and know peace.  I think that's a cool concept to play with for the time.

 Now, do you want the drama or peace? How will you go about creating excitement in you life?

Until next week...create to feel great!
3 projects complete! 49 to go.

I put a bird on it!
This painted bowls and a painted Santa.   My good friend Marilee and I discovered Mimosa Studios.  We spent the afternoon painting ceramics.   We're going back.  It's fun to have a creative project that I didn't have to clean the mess up after wards.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Now What?

I hate to say this, but I've had what can only be called a "now what?" week.   I got caught in some vortex of strange energy and I've been working to get my way clear of it.

It started this week with Broadside deciding to help me with my home improvement list.  Nice, right? Yeah well.  His approach to these things is cranky at best and sometimes not completely thought out.   I'm thankful for the help, comes with a price, even when he offers to out of the blue to help.  In switching out the broken kitchen faucet, we blew a pipe that we knew was shaky at best.  We didn't have water for a day or so.  It was tense times around the homestead.  We still need to fix a drip.  Sigh.  At least we have running water and in abundance.

Then our home computers decided they didn't want to be connected to the internet.  What!  I need my laptop with internet connection to go about my day. Major.  I'm writing this from the office I work at, and I can not down load my photo of my project of the week.  Sigh.  At least I have work to do and a computer and a comfortable home to do it in.

There were other little things that made life an extra challenge.  Still.  In perspective, really really small.
I might be safe in saying here, that no one likes a "now what?" day or week.  Life sometimes comes at us pretty darn fast and we can't duck quick enough.  It is all in how we view anything and everything.

I have a bag of tricks to help me shift my perspective.  Sighing and taking a deep breath is one.  Going for a walk, however short, is another.  Crafting for a few minutes or whatever I can spare, always good.  Even organizing an area in my house for a short bit, will help me move to higher ground on the situation.

What are some of your tricks to help you shift your perspective?

Until next week...create to feel great!
2 projects complete.  50 to go!

My project of the week is a holiday apron.  I'm having trouble downloading photos from my office computer.
UPDATE!!!-  And here's the above described apron!
So, until I get my laptop back and connected, I can tell you, it is made from a vintage Santa print and vintage pattern.  It is really fun!   Check back here for a photo.  Sorry.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bless You!

My week off went by at the speed of light.  I'm excited to be back to my project of the week, and writing the blog posts.  
My week started off by the staff at my local Starbucks, presenting Broadside and I an envelope with certificates for a week's worth of free coffee drinks.  The staff decided that we were their customers of the week.  We earned this honor because we are so "cheery and funny everyday."  They look forward to seeing us.  We look forward to seeing them as well.  It is a great way to start our day.  It was wonderful to be acknowledged for being positive and funny.
The rest of my week was filled with crafting, coaching my amazing clients, lunches with friends and wonderful walks in the Autumn sun.  One of my friends said he didn't recognize me because I looked so happy and that has changed my entire being.  Wow!  The work I've been doing on myself over the last year is starting to show.
On one of my walks this week, I was hit with just how happy I am and the great life I'm creating. 
Might sound like bragging.  Okay.   I'm just taking stock of my reactions to what life is tossing at me.  My life is what I'm making of it.  I still have areas of work (thank goodness! I'd be dead if I didn't.), life is anything but perfect. I have challenges.
An effective trick I've learned and I'm using is to send a blessing to whatever is annoying me. Sending a blessing works with positive situations as well. The blessing can be for peace of mind or the person or for strength or for an answer to a question.  With the simple act of blessing I feel all the blessings that are in my life.  I can relax and move forward.  Blessings flow to and from me.  It is freeing.  It's working for me.
So, sending you blessing for whatever it is you want to have or change in your life. 
Bless you!  It isn't just for sneezes alone.  Also, don't forget to count your blessings as well.

My project is a cover for my little barbeque.  It sits on my newly painted and refreshed front porch.  I wanted to protect it from the elements and have it ready to go when I want to "que".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

That Was The Year That Was

This blog post marks Week 52 of Year 2 of The Campaign For Creativity To Banish Negativity.   52 completed projects, 52 blog posts.  Over 52 lessons,  ramblings, thoughts and reflects.  It's been a great year.  I feel like I've spent the year more turned inward towards.  Doing my own personal work and reflections.  I've learned a lot and accomplished a lot, not just projects.
I've challenged myself to learn new things.  Crafted new items. I've added card marker, wallet designer/maker and pet portrait painter to my growing list of crafts. I discovered Swap-bot.  An amazing and addictive site, that has helped me learn new crafts, gather inspiration and make some new friends.  I've discovered that crafting builds an important connection.  It brings us together in community.
I now call myself a writer. As I'm writing/creating something new everyday.   I'm working towards seeing something sold and published.  At very least entertain people. 
I was greatly disappointed in a crafting icon this year (that's right, Martha).  Yet I learned that I have and I am remarkable and that we all are.  The trick is to discover that in ourselves, instead of waiting for outside validation.
I think I created some magic and sprinkled it here and there as I went along my merry way.
I keep learning powerful lessons for the animals in my life.  Mickeygrrl has taught me to stop worrying and hovering, to allow life to unfold, and we can all heal ourselves, while growing stronger than we ever dreamed we could imagine.  Gus. He shows me the power of love everyday.  That the well love is drawn from is deep and full, and there is no harm in drawing from that well as much as we want.  It makes us strong and happy.  It is the essence of life, ours of the asking. As long as we act out of love, the well will not dry up. Also it is okay be goofy, make a fool of yourself and do things a cat isn't suspose to do. It only makes you cuter in the eyes of the world. This year was also marked by the meeting of the most remarkable dog from Africa, his name is Wooti.  In his wisdom he shows the world that a better life can be created and be had with love and trust. Wooti is the poster dawg for "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger" and I'll add- takes us to places beyond our wildest imaginings. These cats and dog are true Zen Masters and guide me on my journey.

I've learned that worry is as useless as jealousy.  They both create tension, stop us from moving forward and can make us ill.  Plus they aren't any fun.  Control is an illusion, the only thing we can control is our reactions to what life hands us.   I believe we can make lemonade from lemons or better yet lemoncello.
Personally, my attitude and outlook is more positive than ever. I work to spread my happy outlook out into the world.  Somedays are better than others, because through it all, I'm only human.  The cranky, depressed and angry moments are few and far between, and when they do come they flee as quickly as they have come.  I'm also discovering that it is way okay to take care of myself.  No guilt or "I'm not worth" feelings about doing that.
I really have to say, it was a fantastic year!  I'm so grateful for all the people who follow and read my weekly adventures. Thank you all! To all my friends new and old (or silver and gold) who support me, love me and challenge me to be a better person. Thank you, you know who you are and I hope you know how much I love you, cause I do!  Also, to my husband, Broadside who helps me create my happy fun life. Thank you!
And I know you know I love you!
As this year closes, I begin to think about what's ahead for me. What do I want to create?  The biggest question is- do I want to go another year? My gut tells me the 3rd year is where the challenge will really really be.  Finding the projects.  Blogging my insights. Reaching out to make this Campaign a force for shifting old crusty mindsets. Being the change I want to see in the world.  Giving people permission to be positive in the sea of negativity.

Here's my plan.  Take a week off.  Celebrate my accomplishments.  Do some more reflection.  After my week off , start creating and hit the Campaign Trail for Year 3!  I hope you will join me.
How was your year? What did you create?
Keep creating to feel great!  See  you week after next. For the start of Year 3!
52 projects complete!  That is a wrap!

This week's project is a fabric flower necklace.  It's got a shabby chic vibe, made from vintage flower lace and rhinestones.  These necklaces are on trend this season, big in the crafting/beading world and a kick to make for little or no time and money.  I think it really makes a nice statement.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

Broadside and I were having our morning coffee at our local, last week, we were sitting outside and enjoying the day.  Next to us was a table of people, I over heard one of them say. "I'm over 60.  I'm not about to start learning anything new."  I know I heard only part of the conversation and out of context, but the comment struck me and made me a little sad.   I wanted to go over and talk to that table.  The person was so resolved and insistent.  I felt a little sad for them.     I was sitting having my coffee excited to start my day.  A day full of learning new things. About myself.  About my art.  About my creative process. Just learning how the day will unfold and what I would do with it was exciting.  I love learning.  Next week, I turn 55.  I can not imagine a day or even a moment in my day when I'm not learning something.  I guess I could say. "I'm 55.  I'm not about to STOP learning."  I think life long learning is the fountain of youth.  Nothing jazzes me more than learning a new skill or having an insight about life or learning something new about someone in my life.  It is energizing and life affirming. It is forward moving. It certainly is positive.

Over the past year, I've been learning how to make greeting cards.  I have my own style and yet I was getting bored with my designs.  Good old Google to the rescue.  I discovered this amazing techinque...Iris Folding.   So cool and easy.  I made a couple of cat themed cards.  There are hundreds of designs and ways to fold these cards.  I love the results.  I learned a new card making technique.
Three cheers for learning!

Do you think you will ever stop learning?  
Until next week...create to feel great!
51 projects complete!  1 to go!  Finish line in view!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How Annoying Is That?

Everyday I find that something will annoy me.  I'm not perfect.  I will say I'm good at allowing something to get to me or annoy me and then I can let it go.   I'm finding less and less things that annoy me, but I still get annoyed.  It's not the annoyance's fault.  It's mine, because I let it get to me and if I let to continue without doing anything about it, or I allow it to keep annoying, that really is my problem to fix. or in some case just drop.  Most things that annoy me are like little gnats flying around my face.  They are there for a second and I swat them away and I can move on. (I am writing metaphoricly here. I do find bugs flying around me and lighting on me annoying).   Sometimes I allow annoyances to mount up into one really huge annoying,  "I can't put my finger on where or how it started, but now I'm annoyed and it is messing me up" big ball of being annoyed. When I find myself in that mind set, I have then take time to break out each piece of what is annoying me and deal with it.   I'm finding that takes more time and effort (and is really annoying) than dealing with the annoyances as they appear.  
This week I had the opportunty to deal with a huge annoyance at the office I work at part-time.  It is a very small office that I'm proud of saying that I've managed for 14 years.  I work with two others who are very smart, all be it busy people.   Lunch, sometimes, is a big deal.  Sometimes, I will cook fresh food for them, because one can only eat some many Hot Pockets.   I clean up my cooking mess.   They eat lunch and toss dishes in the sink to sit for days.  Until I get so sick of looking at that mess, I do the dishes.   Then they sit in the drainer until, I decide no one else is going to deal with them, so I will.  I have longed for a small dish washer for years.   This week I found one.  My generous boss agreed.  The dishwasher arrived was set up and is doing it's job.  One annoyance gone.  A true relief.   Yet to brought around another issue.  That age old question that can plauge dish washer owners.  "Are these dishes clean or dirty?"  Oddly, my co-workers are really into to loading and unloading the dishwasher.  I pray that newness never wears off.   I knew creativity was needed to solve this issue.   Enter the Clean/Dirty dishwasher magnetic sign!  I created it so that it was funny and would make someone look no matter how many times they see it.  Yes, it is a little tacky, but my co-workers think it is funny.   My work is done, here.  Time to head off into the sunset for this week and cut off those annoying annoyances at the pass.
What do you allow into your life to annoy you?  What can you do to take care of that annoyance.
Until next week...create to feel great!

50 -yes 50 projects complete!!!! 2 to go!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How Was Your Day?

In her classic, "The Game Of Life And How To Play It", Florence Scovll Shinn, talks about how our thoughts and words not only effect our current life, but what we create in the future.   She tells the story of a man stuck doing work that made him miserable everyday.  Everyday he would come home from his work and while he ate dinner with his family, he would recount every miserable, negative detail of his day.  He did this everyday.  This effected his life in everyway, even the days he wasn't at work. Mrs Shinn suggested to him that he look at what he was doing to himself, with his evening recount of his day.  She challenged him to come home, enjoy his dinner with his family and not say anything about what happened at work that day.  She reports, with that simple, yet challenging step, his life was transformed.  He discovered that the work has that awful, but not the work he really wanted, and was able to create a better form of work for himself at a higher pay. Mrs. Shinn did most of her work in the 1920's and 1930s, I wonder how that advice would go over in this day and time?  We live in the "get it off your chest, don't stuff it" age.   I don't think Mrs. Shin was telling this person to just stuff his feelings, I think she was challenging him to look at his life and work in a more positive light.  I have talked about how I think words and what we talk about and how we talk about ourselves, our lives, and others, effects the present.   Mrs. Shinn wrote that it effects your future as well.  If we feel that the past is negative, the present is sure to be negative and the future will be just as negative.  Why is that?  Well, for one thing we are taking our negative selves everywhere we go.  Soon it is all we know.  What we focus on tends to be what we create in our lives.  Do we really need to give negativity a voice?  If we do, can we do it in a way that moves us or keeps us positive?  I'll be the first to say I love a good vent, yet I'll think before I vent.  If I can't move on and not get this a voice, then I'll vent and vent quickly.  Get over it and look at how I can get into a positive mind set.  Lately, I've discovered that by not venting, not giving voice to the negativity, that there really is no need, as I'm too busy in a positive present and good things coming to me in the future, turning positive thoughts into positive things.

Okay...time for a check in...Are you giving voice to negativity in your life?  Are you willing to take the "No Complain. No blame. No whining Challenge"?   Do for a week.  Note what happens in your life.

Until next week...create to feel great! 

49 projects complete! 3 to go!  Finish line is in sight! Wow!
This week's project I designed a pencil/journal case. There are pockets for pencils/crayons and a pocket to slip a sketch pad in.  Velcro closes it and I'm good to draw on the go!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If I Had A Hammer- A Tale Of A Thursday

This summer, I've been doing a ton of improvements on my house.  Lots of cleaning, painting and floor laying.  I know, Broadside and I own at least two hammers.  I can never find them.  Since they are considered "community property", I know the man I love takes these hammers out to use them and puts them back in hidden places.   This lack of being able to find a hammer was creating a point of frustration in me this week.  Thursday morning, I wanted to hang some decorative plates I had uncovered in the basement clean out.  No hammer was to be found.  I had some other errands to run that day, it made sense to just get another hammer, and put in my studio where I know I can always find it when I needed it.  Off I go on my morning errands.  I plan my trips carefully and I live in a neighborhood where I can do a loop to get the things I need.  First stop was my paint store, where I'm now a Preferred Customer. Yes, that's how much painting I've  been doing.  The people there are friendly and knowledgeable and really are artists when it comes to matching a paint color.  Next stop post office.  As I got back into my car, I noticed a bird had decided my car would look great with a huge spray of poop all over it.  This really looked like the job of more than one bird or bird artists at spraying a car with poop.  My favorite DIY car wash was just down the street, in the loop.  I had cash and coin.  I needed to add a stop to wash away the bird art.
I was wearing pants, that had only one small pocket and were loose fitting (this detail will be important to the story).  I got my quarters for the car wash and put them in the small pocket and attempted to also shove my key ring in there.  I began to wash my car, after about 6 minutes, I was getting the signal that I needed to add coins.  Not wanting to waste time, hurried to dig coins and car keys out of that small pocket.  I didn't want to lose my keys so I tucked part of the key ring into the waistband of the pants. I fed the car wash meter and went on my way cleaning my car. 
As I was finishing a guy with a sweet looking face, walked by the opening of the car stall.  He gave me the thumbs up and smiled.  I smiled and nodded.  I finished up with my car and tugged at my waist to get my car keys.  They were gone!  My heart leaped into my throat and I ran back to the place where I was plugging coins, ran through the car wash area, I looked under my car. Looked in my car and purse. The only person in that car wash was the guy who gave me the thumbs up.  I just knew he had found my keys and had taken them.  In my panic I ran through another parking lot looking for that guy.  I found him.  I asked him if he had seen my keys.  He said no and offered to help me look.  I said that was okay, I needed to call my husband.  As I walked back I heard the guy say, "You'll find your keys.  Nothing ever gets lost."  I saw his smile, as I went back to my car a dug out my cell phone to call Broadside and inform him of the stupid thing I'd done and to come help me.  As I waited in my car for rescue, I kept thinking, here are two of the things I fear the most- loosing my keys and asking others to help me out of an emergency situation.  I've got some work to do here. And do I really believe that nothing is ever lost.  What is lost can be found?
Broadside showed up and we combed the car wash.  We finally gave up.  With new keys in hand, and more errands to do, now making a set of keys, I rejoined my loop.  I sort of finished up my errands.  I had a headache thinking about where those keys might have gone, and how stupid and upset I had been that afternoon.  When I got home, I started hearing a rattle as I walked. It was coming from my pants.  I felt around, went to change them and found my keys!  They had slid down the leg and caught on a thread.  I was relieved, embarrassed and happy all rolled into one.  I instantly heard the guy at the car wash voice.  "Nothing is ever lost."  He was right.
That day I had to face and work with two really unfounded fears. And learned a lesson that nothing is ever lost.   So, as for lost keys, I now have extra sets and I've placed them where I can get them in case my keys go hiding again.   As for not asking people to help me.  I'm looking at that one.  And setting in place ways to get more comfortable with that idea.  It is mainly just realizing that folks don't mind helping.  I don't and do when I can.  Why is that different for others?
I think that guy with the happy round face was an angel. Nothing is ever lost, is a great concept.  I hear all the possibilities of life in that statement.   I'm grateful to that guy for those words.

What do you think about the statement - nothing is ever lost?

Until next week create to feel great!                                          
Oh, and P.S.  I never did buy that extra hammer. One of them is around the house somewhere.

48 projects complete 4 to go! (The last month!!!!)

The project of the week is a tote bag.  On it's way to a Swap-bot friend in Serbia.   It is unusual for me, because I'm working at getting comfortable with mixing prints (my friend wanted mixed prints.) and quilting aspects.  Maybe if I learned to quilt, I'd start getting comfortable with mixing prints.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mrs. Remington And The Temple Of Fear

Fear.  The word often strikes, well fear, into our very being.  It's a part of life.  Countless books, workshops, movies have been created around fear.  Over the years we've been told to, "Feel the fear and do it anyway", "Be Fearless", "No guts, no glory", "Face our fears" and to "Just Do It."  Oh, and that classics of classics, "We have nothing to fear but fear it's self." There are a million and one other platitudes on what to do with fear.   I'm guilty of using them.  I'm of letting fear get the better of me and paralyze me into in action.  I know fear is a very powerful force.  I think it is so powerful, that it would be nice if it just went away- didn't exist.  Yet it does. Until recently, I would get frustrated with it's existence.  What in the world am I suppose to do with my fear? Let it just get in my way and not doing anything?  Or if I am really suppose to "feel this fear and do it any way", aren't I just dragging this fear along with me hoping it will just go away, only to return?  So, what do I do with this fear?
Through all my years of reading and workshop/seminar attending, it wasn't until last week that I came to the conclusion that fear is an indicator of areas in my life I need to do the work.  If I'm afraid I won't have money.  Well, it is time to figure out how to make some more money.  If I'm afraid that I won't have energy or health or I'll get ill.  Time to look at how I can get healthier, obtain my energy and boost my immune system so I won't get ill.  If I'm afraid of the future.  Time to figure out what I can do in the present to build a stronger future.  Looking at fear in this light, makes it a gift. There is always going to be fear.  It isn't just going to walk away. Yet, why drag it aroung with you or worse, let it drag you down and keep you from living a rich full life?  Fear is the place to start digging for the treasure. By looking for all the treasure or the gifts, it de-fuses the fear, in a sense it goes away- at very least it isn't a parlazing powerful force. Oh, and since it is a fair re-gifting your fears.  By that I mean tossing your fears on others.  Your fears are your fears.  They are for you and you alone, they are your lovely gifts, for you to discover the treasures.  Or if you prefer, look at fear like an archeology dig.  You can put on your Indiana Jones hat and grab your whip and get to work on your very own adventure.
What fears are you wishing to "just go away"? Is it time for you to enter your Temple of Fear? Are you ready to go on your own archeology dig or open your gift?
Until next week create to feel great!

47 projects complete. 5 to go - no way- really?
This week's project is inspired from Japan...thise cute little (well they can be as big as you like) gift pouches.
They start out as square fabric pieces sewn togehter....corners turned down and casings made for drawstrings.  When pulled up...the look like cute little flowers!  So, cute!  I can't stop making them!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's An Inside Job

In last week's post I wrote about making the tough choices and making decisions.  That post was brought about by my comittment to myself and making changes in my life.   I'm proud to say I've been working very hard on my comittments, my health, my attitudes, my reactions to what life gives me.  It is a ton of work.  Well worth it, as I'm noticing some changes in my energy levels, my creative creations and my physical appearance.   With all this personal work came a restlessness with my home, my living environment.   I've been working on that as well.   The things I've tolerated for years, in my big old house, are now annoying and unacceptable.  It is like I'm becoming a better more evolved person, so why not live in a much better environment?  Oprah is fond of saying that our living enivronment is an outward expression of what is going on inwardly and on an emotional level.  I never gave much creedence to this, until lately.  Now, I'm seeing this.  So, as I work on myself inwardly, I'm also drawn to work on my living environment.
This is the "after".  I'm not very good at "before" photos.
I've been a one woman home improvement crew this summer.  I've cleaned my basement, painted and sealed my basement mud room, painted and decorated my upstairs bathroom, preped the front of my house for more painting I've cleared mountains of clutter and this week I laid flooring at the top of my stairs.  This project was critical for me.  Everyday for the past 16 years, I've really hated the look of this area of my house.  The preivous owners, did an awful job in this area.  Now it is open and fresh looking.  Talk about shifting my attitude.  Once I finished this job, I was dancing on the floor.  I felt like I had a new house.   This is my project of the week. Actually, all the work I'm doing on myself and my living environment is a project of a lifetime.  I don't think it will end, and least not for the forseeable future.

So, how is your envrionment- both inside you and where you are living? Is there termoil and clutter or are you feeling free and clear? 

Until next week...create to feel great!
46 projects complete! 6 to go!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Making The Tough Choices

"Did you ever have to make up your mind?
You pick up on one and leave the other one behind?
It's not often easy and not often kind.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?" ~ John B. Sebastian

That quote is one from one of my favorite songs, from my childhood.  I know they are talking about deciding about which girl to date or whatever, but  the words hold a lot of truth for other things as well.
At the beginning of this year, I made some very firm commitments to myself.  Not New Years' resolutions.  Firm commitments.  Meant on changing my life or how I was conducting it.  Stress reduction and it's effects on my health were on the top of the list.  I know a lot of folks make that commitment or desire less harmful stress in their lives, but I wanted to see what would happen if I really worked on stress reduction. Being a person who just loves to do and loves to do for others, I knew going into this that this would be a huge challenge for me.  I knew some elements of my life would have to go or at very least put on the back burner.  I knew that this change would take some real awareness.  I'd have to learn to say, "No."  And be okay with whatever came after that "no". Sounded easy enough, I guess.  I also thought that in the back of my mind, I could always "fudge" just a little here and there- look like I was holding to my commitment, but really not.  With that mind set, I started getting little "tests" of my resolve.  The people who are part of my life support group/system, were not about to let me get away with playing at this commitment.  This commitment, I has challenged me to my core being and on just about every level of my life.  I can honestly say I haven't been playing at it, I've been making the tough choices in order to keep this comittment.   I can say, I'm stronger, happier, more creative and my outlook on life is clear and clean.  Noone that I have had to say no to, so thinking less of me and tossing me out of their lives.  I still do a lot, but it's in a much more thoughtful manner. The things I am doing for others, is like a gift and not a "I have to do this."  I guess this is what setting boundaries is like.  The bigger piece here is that I'm allowing this new part of me the time to take root and grow in, what think, is health soil.
I've said no to things, some things I've really wanted to do, but knew that they also contained high levels of stress and maybe not the best idea for me.   I also struggled with the thought of letting people down and the dreaded thoughts of being a lazy self-centered good for nothing. (how's that for a negative mind set?)
Through these months, I've been thinking that there is nothing wrong or bad with taking care of myself.  It doesn't have to be such a struggle. Yet sometimes it just is.  At least the John B. Sebastian and The Lovin' Spoonful wrote their playful song to help all of us struggling to make the choices that seem right for our lives.
How are you with making and keeping commitments to yourself?  How do you feel when you say no to one thing and leave something behind?

Until next week...create to feel great!
45 projects complete! 7 to go!

This week's project...knit stitch markers.  Sort like jewelry for knitting.  Made with beads and jump rings.  Very cool. Once I got started making these I couldn't stop. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Floating My Cares Away

In my search and pursuit of the art of the saunder, I made an appointment for a new business called "Float On."  What Float On offers is a 90 minute float in an isolation tank.  I have been curious about these tanks for years.  I took them up on a Groupon offer.  I had no idea how amazing this experience would be.
First it wasn't anything like the movie Altered States. In fact, I think that movie gives people the really wrong idea of the benefits of a float.   The guys who run the service are funny and cool.  They are so mellow, in a way that I wish everyone, including myself could be.   They welcomed Broadside and I as we walked in.  They showed us around and let us chose our tank.   Once all instructions were given, I shut my door, showered and got into the tank.   I thought I'd hate the darkness, the calm, the quiet.  It took a bit to get use to the surroundings.  Before I knew it, I didn't know anything.  And soon some soft music was playing to signal me my time was up.  I guess I was in there for 90 minutes.   I showered, dressed and walked out into the lobby.  There was such a relaxed state of mind and body.   I cannot begin to describe it.  All I know is I will float again.   I slept so good last night.  This morning, I'm still in a very wonderful relax state.  Like better than a vacation.  My mind is clear and feels strong.   My skin feels fantastic.
The owners of this business are really doing a public service.  If stressed out, negative people could float, I can only imagine how great the world would be.   The owners really give back as well.  They believe everyone should have the opportunity to float, so if you have no money, a person can volunteer 4 hours and earn a float.  That is amazingly generous.
So, I don't like to plug or advertise, but the folk at Float On are doing their part to banish negativity and I really hope they grow and flurish.   If you live in the Portland area.  Do yourself a favor and book a 90 minute float at Float On.  I'd be surprised if you walked out of there feeling anything less than relaxed and happy.

Until next week...create to feel great!
44 projects complete  8 to go!

My project this week are some cute relaxing slippers.   It a mix of design that I've been working on for my new charity crafting donations to The Pink Slipper Project.   These are great because usually crotchet or knitted slipper are way too soft for me...these have a cute fabric covered sock liner for stability.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If You're Happy And You Know It...

I made the coolest discovery this week!  There is a society for happy people!  It is actually a secret society (shaking my head here saying What the what?).   This wonderfully fun society has declared the month of August as Happiness Happens Month.  That's a month worth celebrating!  They have set out three objectives to follow for the month (and really all the time).  They are:
1) Recognize and express happiness
2) Listen to others talk about their happiness
3) Don't rain on other people's parade

They operate from the stance that if you recognize and express even one little tiny tiny bit of happiness in your life, it will grow and grow into a huge huge whole lot of happiness.  It makes me giddy thinking about the possibilities.   It was my feeling when I started this Campaign that folks would peak a little bit into their creativity and pull something out that they could use to banish negativity from their lives.  If everyone did just the smallest of these steps...negativity would really have the huge place it does in the world and might even go away.  With negativity out of the way...Wow! we could do so much more in our lives and the lives of others.
So, the idea of taking the simple act of recognizing and expressing that you just might be even a tiny tiny bit happy and having that grow...that idea really appeals to me.  I've seen this idea take root and grow in my own life.
August seems like the prefect month to begin on this project (if you haven't already).  The days are bright and longer.   There are harvests from the fields coming in.  There are events everywhere (if you live in Portland, Oregon- you can't go to a park on a weekend without running into a production of a Shakespeare play).
There are a lot of things to look at to be happy about.   This group suggests taking the Happiness Challenge.  What we do is write down one moment from our day that was happy.  Only one small moment. One word or thought.  Write it down on a calendar.  In 30days it will be filled with happiness.  I love it!  Are you with me on this one?  I think it is time to proclaim that we are happy.  I know I am.  How about you?
Until next week...create to feel great!
43 projects complete 9 to go!
If you want to check out the Secret Society of Happy People they can be found at

Project of the week....Poochie Bags!   These are the cutest and sweetest and most fun bags to make.
They use fat quarters or fabric scraps and sew up so quick it is mind blowing!...great gift bags or lunch bags or Kindle bags or almost anything bag.
I made these two and now I can't stop making them...I'm thinking holiday themed bags for gift giving.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Coolest Person I Know

I like to think of myself as a person who looks at her life.  What is going on in it. What I want to create with it. I don't often dwell or live in the past.  I don't often hang on to the past.  Or at least I like to think I don't.  I do enjoy the thrill of a new insight into my inner workings.  I coach people to go after and embrace those insights about themselves that can get in their way or help them move forward.
Honestly, sometimes, I can be a bit of a smarty pants about myself and what I know about me and other things of life.  Many years ago...a college room mate told me that she thought that I thought I was pretty all that.  She thought I operated from the fact that I thought I was the coolest person in the world.  I'd never seen myself that way. I was just being me.  It was the first piece of feedback I can remember ever getting.  A part of me was embarrassed and a little ashamed of myself.  I took those words to heart and I shifted myself to fit some one's perception of me.  I closed off a part of myself.  Those words were pretty damaging to me.  I hid for years.  Instead of looking at the feedback that person gave me as feedback, and looking at the parts that might be annoying or less than favorable (if there was any), and using it to better myself, I closed down and hid. I spent my time hiding a major part of who I was and trying to figure out how people wanted me to act and be in their presence. I even went so far as to wrap and hide myself in a huge layer of body fat.  It wasn't until about five years ago, when I hit the age of 50 that I embraced what I call the "cool" side of me.  And looked at myself and asked, "Really?  What is so wrong with me thinking that I am the coolest person in the world?"  There is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing.  In fact I wish everyone in the world would also think of themselves as the coolest person in the world.  Now I'm not saying the most self-centered person in the world.  Or the most selfish person in the world.  I'm saying coolest. I'm talking about an image of being in the moment cool.  Confident in what I know about myself, my talents, my knowledge.  Knowing that I can use all that I am to benefit others.  It is an ease and easy going attitude that because I'm confident in me, I know I can handle life and what comes to me.  Being the coolest person you know...nothing wrong with that.  It's well...sort of cool.
Are you the coolest person you know?  If not, what can you do to take a step towards the cool.
Until next week...create to feel great!
42 projects complete 10 to go. (10! are you kidding? That's so cool- okay I'll stop with the cool)

This week's project is an up-cycle, I took and old with holes leather jacket and turned it into a wallet/small pocket book with coin purse.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Christmas In July

Christmas in July.  I've always thought was sort of funny.  I believe it was started by retailers to get folks thinking early.  When I worked in retail, I would do Christmas in July displays and get flack from customers for pushing Christmas on them.  For crafters and diy gifters, like myself, Christmas in July makes sense.  It is getting a head start. This year I felt like I wanted to do Christmas in July.  I'm here to announce that I have started my Christmas gift making.   In this, here's an odd puzzle.   How does one stay in the moment while planning for the future?  How do we stay present and not so focused on the future, so much so that all we can see in the future and how great we think it will be, while the present is neglected?  It is a mind twister.  On one hand we want to envision our future and take steps towards it.  While on the other hand, there is plenty o' stuff to deal with in the here and now.  Eventually, the future will be our here and now.   Anyone else, getting a headache trying to figure this one out?
In the movie Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman's character says that he never made a plan in his life.  I've often heard it said that if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit that target every time. Yikes!  This is complicated.
I like to think that one way to work through this puzzle is to view it like cooking a huge dinner. (Like a Christmas dinner)   There are things in the oven that are cooking away and don't need our attention right away (the future). There are pots on the back burners of the stove (future soon to be here) and there are pots on the front burners that need our attention.(the here and now).   Now we can't cook everything on the front burners all the time. We need those other burners and the oven to help us out.   As we move along and allow things to cook and develop in our lives, we sometimes move things around on our stove.  A smart cook checks on all the goings on the stove top and oven.   I think we can do that as well with our lives.  Like a great cooked meal, if we are smart and tend to the elements as needed, they will all come together and be wonderful.
So, as I'm working through Christmas in July, I'm in the moment working on a project and thinking about my relationship to the receiver of my gift, and when Christmas does roll around, I'll be able to enjoy that season, hopefully, with an ease and relaxed state of mind. For me, Christmas in July isn't just about getting a start on my gift making, I'm also using this mind set for other things in my life.  Working towards and bright and joyous future- not just at Christmas time but year around.
How will you use the ideas of Christmas in July to create a bright and joyous future for you right now.

Until next week...create to feel great!                          
41 projects complete 11 to go.

The project of the week...what else than painted Nutcrackers.  I stumbled upon these guys in a clearance bin.  I love Nutcrackers and have always wanted to paint I have two!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When The Game Changes

I often heard it said that the only thing in life that certain to happen is change.  If this is true, then why are there so many folks afraid of change?  Is it that change is viewed as the ultimate "I'm not in control here!" moment.  Or is there fear that we won't be able to handle the change. Or is it the fact that it shakes up our comfort.  And let's admit it...cats aren't the only creatures who love and seek out their comfort on a moment by moment bases.
Yet changing things up and creating positive changes in our own life is good.  It's still scary.  There are still the unknown elements that are out of our control. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable.  And yes there is that element of what if I try this or make this change and it doesn't work out for me?   So, do we stay afraid of change or embrace it and welcome it into our life?  I think we cannot help but in embrace it as a fact.  I mean really, when you look at change in a very basic form, we experience it everyday, even if we knowledge it our not.  When we wake up in the morning.  It's a new day.  That's change from the day before.  Even if you feel that the new day is more of the same it isn't.  That's what I like to call small scale change. A baby step for those who have trouble embracing change.  Try on the thought that every new day is a day for change in our lives.  No matter how small.  With a little daily practice, soon you'll discover your are getting comfortable the change, and maybe ready to create other- bigger- changes in your life. Just like the new day, change in our lives is forward moving.  Let's make it a positive forward movement.   Oh, and here's something for control freaks...getting comfortable with change and making and embracing change as part of your a great way to stay in control of you.  It also helps to know how to react when changes come at us that we don't like so much.
This week's project is sort of a toss back to when I was a kid.  Embroidered dishcloths with retro looking kitties.  In my weirdly wired mind, they symbolize how awesome change can be.

Is there one little tiny change you could make in  your life that might result in bring you more joy and lightness?
Until next week...create to feel great!
40 projects complete!!!  12 to go (the not so dirty dozen!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So I Think I Can Dance

"Human Beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intone in the distance by an invisible player."~ Albert Einstein
My summer, so far, has been centered around more lessons about being in the moment and how to move forward in that moment.  Anytime to work on those lessons is a good time, for me summer seems to avail it's self to the lessons and provides many a classroom.   In my "studies", I came across the above quote from Mr. Einstein.  It inspired me to look at the question of "how to be in the moment?"  as a dance.  A dance that can and will change it's tempo. The dance idea feels more creative to me.  It was also inspired by my brother-in-law Douglas, who was a very gifted and creative designer in his own time.  Sadly, he passed away all too soon and way to young from a long illness.  Doug would call me on Sundays to ask me what I was creating?  We would talk for about an hour, mostly about design. Sometimes about life and events.  As he got closer to passing, we would sometimes talk about what he was feeling and going through.  During one of our last conversations, we talked about the challenge I have staying in the moment.  He joked and said with a word of caution for me.  "Oh, don't wait to start dying to figure that one out.   Because that's all I can do right now is be in the moment.  It's a wonderful dance. I wish I'd started it sooner."  
"A dance?" I asked.  "What sort of dance?"
"A Strauss Waltz for me. The tempo is wonderful and the perfect pace."
The Blue Danbue was played at his memorial.
This week was so much about me to doing this "I'm in the moment dance", by Friday, I had no projcet of the week! I had lost track of time! I had a couple of ideas.  I made a couple of attempts and everything failed.  I was forcing and pushing to complete something.  It felt odd and out of step.  I kept thinking that maybe I didn't need a project.  I certainly did my share of creating this week, but really nothing new.  This morning, I discovered that I was stepping into the moment, and not brining the fun to my project of the week idea. I decided to clear my mind and dance a bit around my studio (I tried a waltz and some salsa with Gus).  Sure enough...I was ready to create some fun.   I painted a little wooden bird house for Mickeygurrl's bird garden.  I also put together her Bird Table- a wooden bird feeding station.  
I'm thinking being in the moment and bringing the fun equals a magic time.  This week it did for me.

What tempo is your "I'm in the moment" dance?   So,do you think you can dance?
Until next week...create to feel great.
39 projects complete  13 to go.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cosmic Dumpster

I have lived in this great old house for over 16 years. I have 16 years of memories, projects and gatherings in this house. It was a fixer upper when we moved in.   16 years later, it's still a fixer upper.  We moved in and got busy with life. That life didn't involve a lot of fixing up.  A lot of stuff got moved into our basement 16 years ago and got added to. We both held on to the most ridiculous stuff.  Thinking it made us unique and quirky. Last spring, our basement flooded. It actually, had been taking on a little bit of water here and there over the years. This spring's flood was 2 inches, and just enough water to create mushy moldy boxes of stuff.  Enough was enough, it was becoming an energy drain.   It was musty, dirty and packed with junk making it a real challenge to not only see what we had, but move around in there. I hated to go down to the basement. Time to do something about this.   I think most of my friends were tired of hearing me talk about my dirty moldy basement. It wasn't so bad that I lived in fear of the Hoarders TV show crew showing but at my door, but left for 16 more years or less, they would have had a show down there.   I knew this was going to be a big messy project.   I approached it like that.
I looked at my calendar and scheduled the time.  Ordered the 20 yard drop box dumpster (yes it's big), gathered up supplies- hazmat suit, gloves, goggles, face masks.  
This week was the week!  I was woken up early on July 5th from the dumpster company saying they were on their way.  Once the dumpster was dropped of in my drive way, I suited up and got to tossing.
The dumpster quickly filled up, I made great progress.  On day 3, I got hit with this huge wave of emotion.
It was overwhelming.  Sadness and anger swelled up in me.  I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, as I'm not one to hold on to things, once I decided they need to go.   I stopped for the day and took a long hot bath.  With the dumpster almost 2/3 full and my basement really empty, why was I so angry and sad?
I just allowed myself to feel without attachment to why or how I got here.  I was just there.
The next morning a very good friend of mine came over to help me.  She loves this sort of project and I needed the support to finish up.  And we did finish up!  The basement now looks great.
In that sea of moldy mushy boxes, I found one box that contained several antique plates, I had forgotten I had.  They were oddly not touched by mold, they had not aged.  I was happy to see them.  These items will be brought upstairs and displayed, as they are were important treasures.  They deserve to see the light of day after all these years.
I sat on my porch this afternoon and looked at all the stuff in that dumpster.  It was massively beautiful.  All the colors. All the odd mix of stuff in my past.  It occurred to me that I had held on to all that junk from my past, hoping I could make sense of my odd past one day. At some point, I felt I needed all that junk.  I was allowing that junk to help define me. I now feel like keeping all that stuff from the past did nothing, but hold me back. It sat there and got moldy.  Serving no one and doing no one any good.  It certainly didn't bring me joy.  It was source of frustration.  It become an excuse for not moving forward. As extreme as this sounds, it felt like I all I deserved in life was moldy basement. I feel like I took a huge step forward not only in my basement but for me.
My sadness and anger gave way to joy and liberation.  My current life is still a very colorful mix, but it is forward moving and not growing mold.  Much healthier.  I didn't expect the intense insights, I got from cleaning out a dirty basement.  I'm so glad I took the time to this.   I sure you it will not get filled up. I'm enjoying the empty space to move around in.
Are there items, attitudes or mindsets from your past that you are holding on to?  Are they serving to bring you joy in the present? Or are they just sitting there taking up space in your life or worse yet sitting there just getting moldy?  Are you willing to let them go?
I'm counting this as a project of the week...  As it really was a project and I had so many insights.
So, 37 projects complete 15 to go!
Sorry no photos this week.  It would be too shocking!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Say You Want A Revolution

I love the 4th of July.  Every year, I'm glad that the founders of our country, sat in wool coats in a hot stuffy room and pounded out the details that laid the foundation for our country.  Some folks  might say, these men did this to protect their own interests.  All were rich men.  All had land and holdings to protect.  I'm still not ready to dismiss what they did because they were a bunch of rich white guys sitting around in a room fighting to protect their holdings and attempting to get away from paying taxes to a King.   These men all had their baggage and junk.  They weren't angels.  Yet they were smart and educated men, taking a stance for what they believed in and protecting what they had built.  They were doing some risky stuff in that room.  I find all their stories to be an inspiration.  The 4th of July for me is to celebrate all that came out of that room in 1776.  Sometimes we have to take a chance and do something different- shake things up to change things up.
I'm simplifying things a bit here when I talk of the founders.   I do this to get my thoughts going.  To get the core of the story and get the inspiration.  I think what would have happened if they had said, "I'll pass on this opportunity. It's too risky.  I'll be uncomfortable.  I don't like the others involved in this process."  And a hundred other excuses- that I'm sure some used.   Just sit there, not doing anything and getting more and more angry at the oppression that England was heaping on them.
I'm glad those men took the chances they took.  I respect any one who takes a chance and moves towards a direction that is not just in their own self interest, but just might benefit others.  Anger and frustration can be a strong motivator.  It can also eat us alive.  Again, it what we do with this anger and frustration that matters.
I started this Campaign out of anger and frustration.  Angry and frustrated with myself that I wasn't doing anything about the negativity I saw in me and the world.  For me it wasn't good enough to just be angry and frustrated. I had to do something anything.   Now I'm not under any delusion that my little Campaign is shaking the world on a grand scale.  All I can count for is me, my attitudes and reactions.  I'm happy to report that it has and is changing me everyday.  I'm happier and freer feeling overall everyday, since embark on this Campaign.  I'm certain more tapped into my creative and the effects it has on me and my world. It has revolutionized my world.
Is there something you've done in your life that you feel has revolutionized you?  How would you like to revolutionize your life as it is right now?
Happy Independence Day!                                                                 
Until next week...create to feel great!
36 projects complete!  16 to go!

This week's project are some nice red, white and blue crocheted dishcloths.   I've crocheted for years and years (I don't love crochet as much as knitting, but I love it's speed), but I've never made a dishcloth.  Guess it was time!