Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fly Away Home Butterflies...

It is with great sadness that I'm mailing in my butterflies for The Butterfly Project this weekend.  I have really enjoyed displaying them in my art space over the past year...but the time has come.  I'm going to miss these babies, but it's time to move on (and make some room for the little flat-screen TV my honey bought me for my space).  I don't watch that much TV, but look forward to being able to "multi-task" while watching my favorite shows.  I must admit to being addicted to one show...The Real Housewives Series.  My guilty pleasure.

So I bid you farewell beautiful butterflies.  Safe travels to your new home.  Nick and I plan to visit you when the time comes. 





 The last 2 are my 8 year old son's (Nick) submissions:

Bluebird of Happiness

Mary from Tin Can Tart is hosting an ATC swap over at Milliande entitled Bluebird of Happiness.  I had no idea what the Bluebird of Happiness was until Mary posted the lyrics from the song of the same name.

Wikipedia - Bluebird of Happiness

BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS
(Words by Edward Heyman and Harry Parr Davies / Music by Sandor Harmati)
Art Mooney & His Orchestra - 1948

(verse)
The beggar man and his mighty king are only diff'rent in name,
For they are treated just the same by fate.
Today a smile and tomorrow tears,
We're never sure what's in store,
So learn your lesson before too late, so

(refrain)
Be like I, hold your head up high,
Till you find a bluebird of happiness.
You will find greater peace of mind
Knowing there's a bluebird of happiness.
And when he sings to you,
Though you're deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through,
And so remember this, life is no abyss,
Somewhere there's a bluebird of happiness.

Life is sweet, tender and complete
When you find the bluebird of happiness.
You will find perfect peace of mind
When you find the bluebird of happiness.
Two hearts that beat as one,
'Neath a new found sun,
We are in a world that's just begun,
And you must sing his song, as you go along,
When you find the bluebird of happiness.

Here are my submissions for the swap.  I tried a new medium that I just learned called needle felting.  I love that the birds on the cards all turned out so different.  The last one being my favorite...perhaps it's because it was the last one I made and got a bit better at it with each bird.  I got so into it, once I finished the cards I also decided to make a bird.  Love my new birdie!  Super simple and super fun!  This will not be my last felting project...I'm sure of it!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

SoulCollage?

What the heck is SoulCollage?

I have found that there are 2 groups of people when you mention the word SoulCollage.  Those who have heard of it and know a lot about it (and might be in the process of developing their own deck) and those who have no idea what it is.

SoulCollage really is a mystery to many...so indulge me while I provide a very short explanation about the topic...

SoulCollage was developed by a brilliant woman named Seena Frost in the late 1980's.  It has since grown quite popular amongst Art Therapists and is slowly gaining popularity within the mental health community as a whole over the last few years. 

The basic premise of SoulCollage is to allow your inner self, or soul, to choose images from magazines...some say those images choose you.   Those images are then collaged and mounted on cards to eventually form a deck which is broken up into suits (community, companion, committee, council).  Basically you are creating a sort of personal Tarot deck to consult and do readings with...or as Seena puts it "a soul tending deck".

An individuals deck is a very personal matter since it represents people in one's life (community), personal energies (companions), inner parts of your personality/ego (committee) & spiritual companions (council).

I began creating my deck about a year ago, and it's pretty close to completion at 100+ cards.  Although I'm not sure it will ever be complete since humans are ever changing and evolving (hopefully).

Last fall I had the pleasure of training with Seena Frost in Santa Cruz, CA to become a SoulCollage workshop facilitator.  My interest wasn't really in becoming a facilitator, but rather learning everything from the woman herself.  It was an AMAZING weekend filled with card making, group readings & meditation. Here are some photos from the workshop:

The Gallery

 Part of my deck

 Me and a fellow workshop participant admiring Seena's Indra's Net.  All of the facilitators (from all over the world) sew a bead on Seena's net to simulate a sort of Indra's Net (whereby we are all connected).

Pointing to my bead on the net


View of the grounds
 The sweet and brilliant Seena Frost.  The most spiritual individual I have ever met.  It's calming just to be in her presence.  Someone gave her that handmade lei at the closing ceremony...she immediately put it on. 

Here is a slide show of my many cards.  Most of the cards in the slide show have titles and greater stories that I do not feel comfortable sharing here for obvious reasons.  Don't let the titles fool you...there's much more to each card than meets the eye!  Some are untitled because I'm still unsure what they represent.  I have an entire journal filled with readings about the "titled" cards.  The process of journaling about the cards was so liberating and cleansing!  In some cases, it was a "letting go" of sorts.  


I can't say enough about the process of creating your own deck.  Not only was creating my deck cathartic, I refer to it and do readings from it from time to time.  The insight it has provided me has been just short of a miracle...and I really mean that... 

At a group reading at the workshop, something happened that still gives me goosebumps to think about.  We broke out into groups of 4.  Each participant was to randomly/blindly choose 4 cards out of their entire deck to do a reading with.  I swore I put the card representing my mother away since at times her passing (as I've mentioned numerous times) is just too painful to deal with.  Her card contains a picture of her and a penny (a story from childhood).  During the reading I began to turn my cards over one by one and the last card was my mothers.  As tears started to well up, I read from her card.  It was difficult, but what that card had to say was wonderful....

The next day as I was getting ready to depart, I opened my suitcase to pack (a suitcase that I rarely, if ever use)...and out popped something that hit the floor.  I thought it was a piece of hard candy or something and almost ignored it.  Looking down onto the dark carpet...it was a penny shining as bright as can be.

Truly a penny from heaven...a gift from my mom! 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Inside My Mind...

This last week has been a tough one for me.  As an extroverted individual, I often share a lot of myself with those close to me...this week, not so much.  I feel like I've just been living inside my mind.  That sounds silly, I know, but it's the only way I can explain the way I'm feeling.  For me, living inside my mind means not sharing of myself and my thoughts.  Just feeling blah and shutting down.

So...what's a creative person to do when all is not well...create and get it out there.  I think this art journal page says it all; although things appear rosey and beautiful on the outside...my mind has been feeling otherwise. 

It's rare for me to feel this way but when I do, I have a need to acknowledge it and move on! 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm the Luckiest Girl on Earth!

Everywhere I look in my art space is a piece of artwork made by some incredible artists (including my own son's artwork).  Not only is the work absolutely beautiful and genius, it's a constant source of inspiration for me. 

It's funny, when I look at each piece I can see in my mind some of the other work these artists have completed.  How lucky am I to have such vivid thoughts these days?  Being able to visualize all of this has really helped to open my mind to the world around me, beyond just the artwork hanging in my space...

The other day it struck me when I saw an ordinary white construction truck with mud dripping down the sides.  In the not so distant past, I would have seen the mud for what it is.  Ugly, brown mud.  Somehow my mind has been altered lately...now I also noticed the texture and pattern the mud made.  It then became a thing of beauty. 

Speaking of incredible artists...

You may recall from previous posts that I participated in a Day of the Dead Dotee Swap and a Matchbox Swap over at Milliande.  Well, yesterday I received my swaps direct from the hostess with the most-ess, Palma R.  (Italy).  These pieces have literally been all over the world...


Lynn K (UK),  Lois L. (US). & Denni M. (US)

I'm not sure who made the first one. That is still under investigation! 
Monika S. (Australia) & Julie P. (US)


I told you I'm the Luckiest Girl on Earth...at least in my own mind!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Creative Little Voodoo Man...

My son just never ceases to amaze me!

We have so much fun together, perhaps it's because we are very like minded (the good & and the bad, I'm afraid) especially when it comes to creativity.  The other day on the way to school he was so excited to tell me about his latest "creative" project because he knew I would be so proud of him.  The conversation went something like this.

"oh mom, you will be so proud of me"

"oh, why's that sweets?"

"because I made something really cool"

"oh yeah, what?"...this is where the conversation took a turn I was not expecting...at all!

"a voodoo doll"...I'm pretty superstitious so this answer freaked me out...but of course I couldn't show it.

"oh yeah, tell me about it"

"well, I saw these little voodoo dolls in a candy machine when I was out with daddy.  I tried my best to get a cool one and spent all my money after about 20 tries.  I ended up with these dumb little plastic ones instead of the fabric one I was hoping for so I decided to make one myself"...boy candy machines sure have changed since I was a kid!!

"that's cool baby, maybe we should name it something different though...like a dream doll or something...voodoo just sounds so evil"...I know, I was projecting my stuff on my kid!  I just couldn't let it go.

"good idea mama, I'll show you when I get home"

Here's his masterpieces...one for me and one for his dad.  Made from chopsticks, string he took out of an old baseball & electrical tape.  In order to make the shape of the head, he used paper and masking tape.  I'm really liking this voodoo doll...I mean dream doll. 
 

Always working on something.  In this case a surf board he carved out of wood and is painting in this photo


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Did Someone Say Beads? VINTAGE BEADS?

As I said in my last post (maybe not quite as emphatically as I'll say here)...I'm obsessed with beads!!  I said it.  Yes, I did and I feel cleansed now! 

At times it even amazes me just how much I love those sparkly little tidbits.  Throw in the "vintage" and I'm all out GA-GA! 

Proof of that reared itself during a recent trip to the local antique store where I picked up quite the haul of (mostly) vintage delicacies.  After speaking to the ladies that own the store (cause I'm just so shy!), I learned that the bead vendor once owned her own bead store and is now retiring and trying to unload her substantial stash at reasonable prices.  JACKPOT!

I must have spent over an hour perusing her large rounder of decadent beads!  I'm sure at one point I was smiling ear to ear with excitement.  Check out this impressive haul...


Weekly Book Review - Designer Bead Embroidery

Okay, okay, I admit it!  I've been a royal slacker when it comes to the Weekly Book Review and my Foodie Friday's posts.  I've been swamped with swaps, what can I say!?  But I'm back in the swing of things now, if only for a few days, with enough time and energy (geez is it only 5:47am!) to get back to the routine. 

Uhum...thanks for hearing my confessional...now on to the post!

If you've seen a lot of my work (even outside of my sewing pieces), I love to include beads.  Even just a tiny hint of beads!  I've just got a thing for them. They seem to add that bit of bling and dimension that completes a piece and gives it that extra somethin'-somethin'.  With that said, I wanted to find a go-to bead reference guide ...and I'm happy to say I found it!  Designer Bead Embroidery is a great addition to my....uhhhhh... growing creative library.  A couple of bookshelves worth to be exact...there, I said it!

Anyway, here's why.  Although packed with 150 bead patterns that I will probably never really use (shhh, because I don't really care for many of the patterns), I will use "parts" and a "mix & match" of the patterns and the techniques used to execute said patterns.  The book also includes a stitch library, various techniques and a section on types of beads.  For these reasons, I will give this book ☻☻☻☻☺.

If you ever get an itch to do some bead work, this is worth the investment...especially if you are a novice.  This book is written well and thoroughly explains all that you need to know about beading, outside of jewelry beading.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Our Art Angel

Anyone who is a member of Milliande's Art Community for Women can attest to the fact that it's a wonderful place...truly a community of like minded creative women.  As a thank you to Milliande for creating such a great place, one of the members is hosting a project whereby participants submit an art journal page thanking our wonderful founder. 

Here's my page...she really is an "Art Angel" and talented beyond words.  What an inspiration she is.  I don't think there is anything she CAN'T do creatively, and probably otherwise!


I told you I was a creative mad-woman this weekend.  3 pages in 2 days!  Let's hope the creative flow continues...I was just getting warmed up this weekend!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On a ROLL!

I don't know WHAT got into me this weekend, but I have been on a creative ROLL!  I have finished one piece after another, and for the most part, have been happy with the results.  Although I normally do work on art for the most part of every weekend, I'm generally not so fast in finishing my pieces.  I guess my creative muse is really looking after me this weekend!  I hope she stays a while...I'm really liking her!!!

Here's another Art Journal page for Nina's "It's Been A Slice" swap.  I had no idea where to start with this prompt because I've never been fond of that statement.  So I started with a funky cake to celebrate "Life".  My life to be exact.  After perusing through a vintage Van Gogh book for inspiration, words, something!...I found the 1,2,3 statements in the table of contents...and then I just kept going.

I think this page is very fitting of my life.  It's a fun page...just like my life...now. 


UPDATE:  It always makes me proud when one of my pieces is featured.  This morning I received an email that this art journal page is featured over at Milliande.  Yaaaaay!  Great start to the week. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Want to Lose Myself in Wax...again & again!

Sounds sorta kinky, but trust me, it's a great way to get burned.  BAD! 

Had a blast today experimenting with encaustic painting for Nina's Art Journal Swap.  The prompt for this swap is "I Want to Lose Myself in Your Song".  I had never tried painting with wax, but after today, I'm certain that I will be doing it A LOT more.  The richness that it adds to a piece is incredible.  I really like the way this page turned out, and more often than not, that's not the case.

Vintage ephemera, watercolors, acrylics, music notes stamped and embossed, feathers...oh yeah, and WAX.  Lots and lots of it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mothers...gotta love em!

As I said in my last post...no sooner does one project end, when another begins.

Beth over at Milliande is hosting a "Mothers" ATC Swap.  I'm guessing most of the participants will be using personal pictures of their mothers...for me, that just seems so intrusive right now.  Check back with me in a few years and I'm sure I'll feel differently...

I feel very guarded and protective over my mother these days...even just pictures of her.  I guess it all has to do with the fact that she was taken away from me, from us, in a very sudden and tragic way not even 2 years ago.  It still stings to think about it. I guess I should be proud to show off pictures of my mom...and I am, I just don't know how I feel about someone owning a picture of her.  Weird.

For the sake of this post, these are obviously not pictures of me and my mom or I'd really be aging gracefully!  I do however, have a soft spot for vintage photos and postcards so it was easy to find some images that fit this prompt. 


Had I made cards using an image of my mother, I'd have a ton to choose from.  Here's a few of my favorite vintage photos.  Such the cutie if I must say so myself.  I see a lot of her in my son - especially looking at the picture of her with her dog "Bootsie":






Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Signs of Summer!

No sooner does one art swap end, another begins.  This time Lauren over at Milliande is hosting a Twinchie (2" x 2" card) & ATC Swap entitled "watermelons". She chose this theme because the name of her business is "The Watermelon Workshop" and she wants to frame the cards and display them in her art studio.

For some reason I was REALLY inspired by this prompt and finished my submissions in record time.  Perhaps it's because I'm just itching for summer to begin!




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Girlfriends and a Who?

I love participating in art swaps.  It just makes it so fun to go to the mailbox and find art instead of a stack of bills...or should I say, in addition to a stack of dreaded bills!  2 swaps just finished at Milliande and here they are:

Owl ATC (Artist Trading Card) Swap hosted by Rachel from Australia:

Top Row:  Linda B (US). , Monika A. (Poland) & Ruth D. (US)
Bottom Row:  Rachel (Australia) our lovely hostess


My submission - 1 of 3

Girlfriends ATC Swap hosted by Lauren (US):

L to R:  Lois L. (US) & Kitty V. (Netherlands)

My submission.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

There's No Place Like Gnome!

I'm currently hosting a Dotee Gnome swap at Milliande.   To my surprise my Dotees were featured on the Milliande site today!  

I had the most challenging time trying to photo these guys, especially when I tried to capture their pictures hanging outside!  They just kept spinning and looking the other way.  Given their antics, I affectionately named them Larry, Curly & Moe. 


Larry, Curly & Moe


In progress - No beads yet



Starting to get all sparkly!

  
Moe


                                                                            Larry


Curly

Saturday, May 7, 2011

All Good (& Naughty) Things Must Come to an End!

As you may know, recently I hosted an ATC Swap over at Milliande entitled "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History"...my favorite quote of all time!  For those who know me well, the reason why it's my favorite quote is a no-brainer.  For those who don't know me well or at all...let's just say that I'm not a priss, or a prude...much to the contrary.  I was a little "nuts" when I was growing up but have since settled down. I'm sure I gave my parents every single grey hair they had.  As far as my son knows (and sees), I was/am a perfect angel.  Let's just keep it our little secret. 

Anyway...the deadline for the participants to get their cards to me was April 30th.  One set of cards just never made it.  As a result, Tasha gets the prize for the naughtiest girls, thus the Wanted sign.  Here's a recap of the swap:

Decorated and hand-made envelopes arrived almost daily from all over the world.  It was a pleasure going to my mailbox everyday.



These are the fabulous cards contained in the envelopes.  The subjects ranged from Georgia O'Keefe to Cleopatra.  You name it, these artists captured it!  Some of these cards are closed in the photo...and for good reason...after all this was a "Naughty Girl Swap". 






Wanted sign honoring Tasha's naughty girls.  Theory has it that they may be in Dublin, Ireland (since I live in Dublin, CA) or they may have detoured to Hollywood.  Maybe one day they might actually show up!


Over the last 2 days I've been addressing and decorating return envelopes for their journey out into the world.  Each participant will receive 2 new cards from different artists...and I made a card for each participant too as a thank you.


Oftentimes (though not required) participants will send little thank you gifts to the hostess for hosting the swap (in lieu of postage, the time involved, etc).  It's usually in the form of a wonderful handmade thank you card and/or art supplies and mixed media tid-bits.  The international participants in this swap sent coins for my son who is a coin collector, in addition to a ton of other sweet goodies. 




I had so much fun with this swap...I'm really sad to see it end!