Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everyday Artists

A few days ago, I read a post by Sally G. who writes the most heartfelt, thought-provoking, beautiful posts you can imagine. She has a gift for weaving stories and pictures with her words. Her wisdom and raw honesty always touches me. Her blog is definitely worth checking out if you don't already know her and have a few minutes to spare.

Vision Boarding

Sally's post inspired me to create a Vision Board. Have you ever done this? My prior experience in vision boarding is limited to when I was planning my scraproom. So much of what I put into that Vision Board ultimately came into existence in my room. The color scheme. Specific pieces of furniture. The Universe does find a way.

This time I approached it without a specific vision in mind - more like a Vision Quest. I started with what I could scrounge up in the way of magazines, mostly rescued from the recycling bin - 1 copy each of Rachel Ray Everyday and Better Homes and Gardens, 2 copies of Seventeen (seriously can't wait for my daughter's subscription to expire - I hate everything about that magazine), a couple copies of Creating Keepsakes, and even one of my profession publications. I flipped through each magazine very quickly, not looking for anything specific. I simply tore out images, words, and phrases that caught my attention as I turned the pages. I found myself irresistibly drawn to images of nature, strong women, and especially butterflies. After I had gathered my words and images, I sat down to create my collage. I started with a beautiful patterned cardstock, figuring that the pattern would show wherever I didn't cover the paper with my clippings. Ha! I covered every inch of that paper.

Change is a comin'

When I was done, I was stunned by the results. Amazed at what my spirit had chosen and the messages that were so clearly conveyed in my collage. Clearly, change is a comin'. That is what butterflies signify to me and in this collage, I collected quite a few of them. Change because school is starting up, Summer is ending, routine is returning. Change because I know that I need to get serious about getting fit (more on that in another post - I have another Vision Board to create.) But most of all, change because I will focus on being creative again.

Creativity Deprivation

We all know that physically sleep deprivation causes fatigue, irritability, inability to focus and stay on task, confusion, and even breakdown of the immune system. I think Creativity Deprivation does the same thing to our spirit. And I am definitely suffering from Creativity Deprivation.

  •  I haven't created a scrapbook page since mid-July. I want to get back to Scrapbooking. I NEED to get back to scrapbooking!
  • I haven't created a Gratitude page since July 8th. I want to remember to have an attitude of gratitude. I NEED to get back to feeling gratitude for the everyday things in my life.
  • I haven't created an Art Journal page since the first of July. I want to get back to art journaling. I NEED to get back to expressing myself creatively!
The concept of Creativity Deprivation came to me on Sunday night when I was unable to sleep and my thoughts were just spinning around in circles. Then on Monday, I read this post from Sharyn.  Apparently she was feeling the same lack as me.  So I took the quiz at Psychologies Magazine and although my result was different from Sharyn's, I still found it to be very revealing:

You feel that creativity provides insight into your own being. In fact, it is like therapy for you, enabling you to get to know yourself better. You seem to be looking for a way into the mysteries of the subconscious. It’s not really self-expression you are seeking, but rather the tools of self-expression: discovering what your creation will reveal about yourself. Art helps you reflect on, analyse and expand your personality. You long to be creative, and it’s not just because you need to deal with your emotions. It’s the tension between contradictions, and the need to resolve doubt that drives you to be creative. Painting pictures, decorating rooms, arranging shells in the sand — these are all creative processes that allow your introspection to roam. You can trace your life through the different ways you have exercised your creativity. For you, art is there to make sense of life. You are more attracted to artistic activities
that demand reflection, planning and solitude, and the personal discoveries you make often provide answers for others, too.

As if my Vision Board and Sharyn's post weren't enough of a clue from the Universe that I needed to feed my Creative Soul, I also spent some time catching up on my Simple Abundance  reading. This passage from August 28 really resonated with me:

Everyday Artists

The other day a friend and I were talking about the difficulty that most of us have in grasping the concept that we are artists - that life is our canvas. ... I believe with all my heart that the ability to bring forth art from real life is a gift every woman possesses. Whether we choose to nurture this perfectly natural endowment is quite another matter.... Women are artists of the everyday. The world does not acknowledge or applaud everyday art, so we must. We are the keepers of a sacred truth. We must cherish this wisdom and pass it on to those we love....It takes a lifetime to create the work of art for which we were born: an authentic life. But it only takes five minutes to center yourself before you begin each new task today. Five minutes to give thanks for your personal gifts. Five minutes to offer your love, creative energies, and enormous talents to the person, idea, or project awaiting your attention. Say it aloud: I am a brilliant gifted artist of the everyday. My art is a blessing for me and mine.

I truly believe that women are artists of the everyday. I believe that each one of you, my dear bloggy friends, has a creative soul that comes alive to nurture those in your everyday life. Whether it is Sian's adorable knitting, Jacky's gorgeous card-making skills, Mel's famous recipes, Amy's fabulous photography and digi skills, or Karen's delectable design skills when it comes to making the perfect little gifties, we all have creativity in our souls that we put to work in the every day to better our lives and those around us.  And hey, if you are reading my blog and I didn't specifically mention you - have no fear! I know in my heart that you are creative too. Limitations on space and time kept me from going back to everyone's blogs to find a suitable link. 

So if you are here on my blog reading this post, go ahead, say it out loud - "I am a brilliant gifted artist of the everyday. My art is a blessing for me and mine." 

Now go forth and create. I'm sure there is a project somewhere calling my name. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

Do you hear that?  Listen..... That's right. Silence. Sweet Blessed Silence.

This morning dove has been keeping silent vigil over her nest for about
a week now.  Photo shot through the window screen in our bedroom.

It is 7 a.m. and I have the house to myself. Children and spouse off to school and work. This day has finally come. I have been counting down the days and hours, holding my breath, waiting for this moment to arrive. So blissfully sweet. So full of promise.  

After the most ridiculously crazy busy month I can remember in a long time, we are finally at a place where some semblance of order will be returned. Some degree of routine will be back. I will be able to bank on some "me time" that is not devoted to Mom as chauffeur and bank.  You think I jest?  Oh no.  I jest not.  This is my last two weeks in a nutshell:

8/13, 14, & 15 - visit Jay's Mother at RV park. Roughly 4-5 hours each day including drive time.
8/16 transport girls to Driver's Ed and shopping at Kohls - 5 hours
8/17 transport girls to Driver's Ed and shopping at Ross - 3 hours
8/18 Go to work for meeting; spend evening juggling girls to soccer practice and work and me to gym.
8/19 transport girls to Driver's Ed - 3.5 hours. Test passed.
8/20 call insurance company; double cost of auto insurance to add two newly minted drivers (Seriously, $2300 to add both girls with NO CARS). Take my car to shop for repairs.
8/21 take Sarah to Mall for back to school shopping. Rachel & Becca both working. Spend remainder of day helping Sarah organize and pack for college. Literally 12 hours.
8/22 while Jay & Rachel drive Sarah to college, take Becca shopping at Mall and Marshall's for back to school.
8/23 Dr. appt in a.m.; take Becca to work and Rachel shopping at Mall and Marshall's for back to school in p.m., pick up Becca on way home - 3.5 hours
8/24 take the girls to Rice's Market in the morning - 3.5 hours round trip
8/25 take girls to BJ's (Becca in desperate need of contact lenses) and Target for back to school shopping - 2 hours.
8/26 At office all day, meetings from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Rush home to take Becca to work. Make dinner. Take Rachel to salon for haircut. Drop her off to go pick up Becca from work. Take Becca to salon for hair cut. Another evening shot.
8/27 & 8/28 - I know my short-term memory is failing me. I can't even remember what I did for these two days. Um...laundry, house cleaning, oh yeah - MAJOR kitchen filing (paperwork since March - ugh), pay bills.
8/29 - take Rachel & Becca to Plato's closet for my final round of B2S shopping - 3.5 hours round trip. Grocery shopping; laundry; more house cleaning.

Realize this itinerary is what is happening while I am still trying to a) work, b) maintain my household, and c) get to the gym five days a week.  So I'm looking forward to a little slow down. Can you blame me? I'm tired of shopping. And I know three separate trips to the mall sounds like I have lost my mind. But my girls each shop very differently and have different expectations regarding my attention while shopping. Take my word for it when I tell you that I can NOT shop with them together. It just creates more problems than it solves.

My "me time" will not be granted immediately. I know that. The first two weeks of school the girls are off almost as many days as they are on thanks to Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah.  And the first few days are always insane with more homework for Mom than the girls, as every single teacher sends home their individual course requirements, class rules, yada yada yada and wants a parent signature that the materials have been reviewed. Honestly - what an immense waste of trees!  But I know that my time is coming. Two weeks from now, the routine will have begun to settle in. A rhythm will be established. I'll be able to breathe again. In the meantime, I'm just basking in the silence.

Sunrise in my backyard.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh My!

Okay, noticeably absent - I know. And if I rattled off the list of reasons why, I promise it would make your head spin.

Just popped in real quick to say that my "one more photo" was published over at Designer Digitals in their Friday Flickr Favorites post! I always get so stinking excited when anyone notices my work!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Idea Festival

Are you IN?  Big Idea Festival is a FREE two week class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. BPS is featuring 13 different instructors, over 13 days - each giving you three downloadable projects! That is 39 projects that you can do now or save for later - all for (did I mention this already...) FREE!  The Festival started yesterday, but you can register (click on the festival link above) right up to the 24th. And once you do, when you log-in to BPS and click on "my account"... The "Inside Access" comes up with a coupon code for 10% off all upcoming workshops!  So you can SAVE on your registration to "Picture Fall"!  (Wish I'd seen the coupon code before I registered!!!).

So, I missed out yesterday with all the running around, but I'm going to try to check out the projects for today (yesterday's projects are in the archives, so I can check them out later).  I really hope I can find/make time to do some of these ... my next few weeks are INSANE! But I'm feeling the need for some creativity.

Are you joining me??? Are you IN????

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One More Photo

I'll be spending all day today at a Seminar on "Records Retention and Destruction."  Sounds thrilling, no?  Since I won't have time to do a decent post, I thought I'd leave you with one last shore photo that I captured on our final night on the boardwalk.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Jay & I in Miami ~ June 2005   "I want to lay like this forever..."
I love this man. Today marks our 25th wedding anniversary. I have now spent more time with Jay than with any other person in my entire life. Together we have established careers, bought a house and made it a home, raised three beautiful daughters to teen and young adulthood, traveled, learned, and loved. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been for the past 25 years if he were not a part of it.  That's not to say it's all wine & roses - sometimes he drives me insane, and I'm sure I have that effect on him as well - probably more often than I'd care to admit.

But I love him. Truly. Madly. Deeply. (thank you Savage Garden) Fully. Without Reservation. More than I can put into words.

And I just want to tell the world that I would do it all over again - in a heartbeat.

Happy Anniversary Jay - I love you! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Report from the Shore

Seagull with Pioneer Woman "Vintage" Action
We arrived home around noon on Sunday and I honestly feel like I haven't stopped moving since then. Our schedules for the next two weeks are HECTIC (driving the girls to the "Behind the Wheel" portion of drivers ed - which started today - is a big part of it).  In the meantime, I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head that I want to blog about, but with limited time, I'm giving you a few highlights of topics that I need to get out of my head so I can concentrate on other things (like laundry). Speaking of which...

1. Laundry.  Since our arrival home I have been, as Sian so aptly put it, "communing with the laundry." Already completed - two loads of sheets, a load of bath towels, a load of beach towels, a load of whites, a large load of delicates, and a load of light colored shorts and capri pants. In progress - another load of sheets (in the dryer) and a load of darks (in the washer).  Still to go - a load of light colors, a load of bright colors, and a load of jean shorts. For those of you that lost count - it is TWELVE loads! Does it ever end? Silly question. I know it doesn't. And this is how the Universe gets even with me for having the audacity to take a vacation in the first place. :)

2. Bathing Suits. I may be the only person I know who spends an entire week at the beach and never once dons a swimsuit.  Yes, I am just that self-conscious about how I look in spandex. I did pay attention and saw women easily twice my size who appeared (at least outwardly) perfectly comfortable in suits that let it all hang out - some even in two piece numbers with exposed bellies. I actually envy those women the level of self-confidence that it must take to appear on a public beach attired in clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination. But honestly, the only ones on the beach who actually look GOOD in bikinis are the teen and twenty-something crowd with their toned abs and skinny legs. I spent the week in tank tops and capri pants and was quite happy with my choice. And quite thankful that I didn't see a single guy in a speedo! (Sorry men, but unless you are an olympic swimmer you have no business wearing one of those - ever.)
Becca (L), friend Kerry (C) and Rachel (R).

3. A Step Above Camping.  We have been privileged to have stayed in some very nice beach-front hotels and condos in past years. My eight years in the scrapbooking "biz" provided enough extra cash to do vacations in style. Between no longer having that extra income, the sorry state of the economy, and the expenses related to Sarah's college education, we no longer have that luxury. Last year we did the "stay-cation" thing. This year we did vacation on the cheap.

We rented a beach home that was three and a half blocks from the beach and six blocks from the boardwalk shops. Our home had three small bedrooms, one tiny bathroom, and an open living room, dining room, kitchen area. Small, but adequate. Well, almost. The living room only sat three and was the only room with a working television which was tiny. That took a bit of getting used to.  When you rent a beach home, you have to supply everything - your own bed linens, towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. There are NO amenities - no maid service, no pool, no fitness center, no concierge. You don't get clean towels every day. You have to make your own bed. We also ate at home for breakfast and lunch, so I did cooking and dishes too. And then when you leave, you have to clean the house for the next tenant - so my last day of vacation was spent scrubbing a bathroom, vacuuming, dusting, mopping - all in someone else's house! In a better economy, my idea of vacation involves being waited on and NOT doing any cleaning! But hey, I'll take what I can get. Besides, the house rental thing beats camping! You get to sleep in a real bed, and you have hot and cold running water and air conditioning. The advantage over a hotel is strictly in the pricing. We got a whole week at the beach for what we would have spent for four nights in a cheap motel.

4. Doing Nothing. Well, almost nothing. Forgetting the cooking, dishes, and house chores, I spent my days on the beach under a sun umbrella sitting on my ample backside. Like this:
Umbrellas on the beach.

We are all fair - me the most of all. So I really did stay in the shade the entire time. Just the walk from the house to the beach was enough to cause me to burn (even with SPF 70 sunscreen)! Luckily I kept it minimal. I enjoyed watching the waves and watching the people from the comfort of my beach chair.  Becca must have got an extra dose of the American Indian from her father's ancestry - she tans quite nicely.

And I got to READ - yes, a NOVEL! That is a pleasure I am largely forbidden at home because of my tendency to get lost in a book and not surface until I'm finished. But I managed to read both "The Lucky One" by  Nicholas Sparks (totally sappy and predictable, but I love his books) and then this one:

It was hard for me to get started because the author (being Swedish) set the action in Sweden which involved a lot of names and places that I couldn't begin to pronounce. And the use of words like "anon" that we here in America just don't use. So it was a bit like trying to read Shakespeare because of the language issue. But I did ultimately get into the story line and was quite surprised by how it all turned out. I am now hooked and will likely read the entire trilogy. I just ordered "The Girl Who Played With Fire" from Amazon.

We had great weather except for the two days when it was so windy the umbrellas wouldn't stay put. I got to completely relax. I got to take some nice photos and play with them in Photoshop. I got to read novels, eat Mack & Manco pizza (only available at the shore and worth the trip!), and indulge in a couple of ice cream splurges. I walked so much that my ankles hurt. I need new sneakers. I didn't gain any weight! Hurray to making as many healthy choices as I could. I tried to keep up with reading blogs, but didn't comment much (sorry guys) as I really didn't want to spend my vacation on the computer! When all is said and done, it was definitely worth the pile of laundry.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Glimpses 2

Dramatic early morning sky
The dunes are protected. Trying to preserve the ecosystem.
life boat
Love the beach patrol stands. So O.C.!
seagulls playing in the surf
algae covered rock
early morning on the beach


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sand (and pretty french pedicure)

Sun (as in, avoiding)