Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Finding Your OWN Style & June Challenge

Aim at nothing and you'll succeed. -Anonymous

May has been a whirlwind of activity...from cleaning our home, having a yard sale, celebrating a birthday and planting flowers...it seems like everyday is another new big adventure. This can be oh so good...but there are times I wish for a bit more down time to contemplate who I am, what I want and where I'm going. Do you ever get this way? Do you feel like your swimming in a big ole' lake and the harder you kick and flap your arms the more you sink?

I recently subscribed to the on-line magazine "The Phoenix Soul". Each month Amanda (the brilliant creator of the magazine) features a Word-themed zine with 60 pages of uplifting and soul-stirring essays, poems, prompts and more. Our Word for May is Vitality. If you are interested go here to purchase yours!

Vitality...I don't think I have felt that in years. Seriously...life has been overwhelming and incredibly draining the past 4 years. But you know Amanda (along with her very talented writers) could not have picked a better Word for me to focus on this month...they made me realize that THAT is exactly what's been missing in my life and I WANT some right now!

Vitality...capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence

Yep...I want to live a meaningful and purposeful existence...don't you?!

I have noticed in shift in my art...the way I go about it and the way I create it. It's quite exciting...for you see I am finally creating MY style. Not Flora style or Melody style or Sarah style...not the way all those amazing artists do in Art journaling magazine...no I am creating Leslie Style. It's opened a whole new world for me and inspired me beyond any blog post or challenge or magazine article has.

The other day I noticed my sweet daughter, Emma had written on an index card I have clipped on my desk...it's a quote I want to use on a canvas and I had written "Flora Bowley Style". My very wise daughter crossed that out and well...you can see what she changed it to....

That really hit me!! Why have I always tried to venture away from MY style and copy someone else's? Why do YOU?

Since the beginning of January I have really found my artistic groove and I am LOVING it!!!! 

No longer confined by the box I put myself in...I am creating FOR ME...using what I LOVE...words, bright colors and vintage images.

I am finding the more I create this way...the more creative I become! 

Here is my latest canvas featuring Audrey Hepburn, acrylic paints, spray inks, stencils, white gel pen, my favorite letter stencil, pearls and a bright orange butterfly I picked up at The Dollar Tree. 

"Keep seeking for the truth...everyday."

I love how it turned out so much that it now hangs in my studio:)

Girls...June 1st is just around the corner and it's TIME for a NEW Challenge! To go along with my newfound vitality I find myself putting more and more energy into my DREAMS...especially one...my DREAM of writing. Oh I have many more as I am sure YOU do!! The best way I know how to make our DREAMS a reality is to write them down...or better yet...ART JOURNAL them!! June is all about journaling our DREAMS into reality!
So excited for June's Challenge!! Be on the lookout for inspirational quotes, pages and other ideas to help YOU reach YOUR DREAMS!

**No need to sign up for our June Challenge
**Go to our Facebook page to share your Dream journal pages and find lots of inspiration
**NEW this month...Happy Mail Give Aways!! Anyone participating in the Challenge has a chance to win a very nice Happy Mail full of vintage photos, buttons, words, etc. from ME!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.P.S. I Love You

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paint Your Own Stickers

"Inspiration comes in a moment of no control."  -Andrea Kreuzhage

Sometimes (more often than not it seems) when I venture into my studio with every intention to create a beautiful, inspirational masterpiece...nothing comes. I sit and stare at my rainbow of paints, baskets of stamps and stencils, spray inks and vintage images...and...


It can be so frustrating. And yet during those times I do something. Painting backgrounds is one of my favorite things to do. So easy and organic. I can just let my mind roam free...relaxing, thinking, working whatever is on my mind out.

One day while doing this inspiration struck. I enjoy swapping happy mail with other artists and in one of my packages I had received hand painted label stickers...GENIUS! So I grabbed a pack I bought at the Dollar Tree and set out to make my own.

154 labels for a buck...how great is that? These were a bit small and next time I will get wider ones...but for this little experiment they were perfect.

I started by laying out a dozen label sheets and randomly painted turquoise and yellow on them.

I then selected a third favorite color and added.

After they dried the fun part began...stamping! I have so many stamps (and love them all!) but instead of taking time to choose which ones I would use...it was fun just picking the ones nearest to my workspace. I made sure to use Stazon Ink so they wouldn't smear.

Another photo...

The last step was taking my white Uni-Ball Signo and black Fude pens and adding words and doodles.

Next time I will use letter stamps, too.

My daughter's favorite color combo:)

Not only were these label stickers too fun to make but they have inspired me to keep trying new substrates to work on and have added to my Happy Mail stash!!

(If you would like to trade Happy Mail with me...let me know in the comments below. It's so fun!!)

Are you playing along with our Circle That Challenge in our FB group?? It's all about using circles in our art journals, ATC's, scrapbooks, index cards this month! If you haven't joined our FB group...you really should! It's a great way to connect with other artsy souls!! Go here so I can add YOU! 

Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else. -  Natalie Goldberg

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finding My Passion Again! (70 Day Commitment)

At my weigh in last week at Curves I didn't lose anything...that darn scale. I despise it! But if there is one thing I have learned in ALL my years of dieting...the scale should not be an indicator of your success. Now if I can just get myself to believe that:) So, yeah, no weight loss but boy oh boy am I excited about what I HAVE accomplished! I am finding my PASSION again!! I forgot how INCREDIBLE it feels to walk so fast that you have sweat dripping off your nose. To push yourself till you feel like there is no way you can keep going...but you do.

That's where I am today.

I'm on a roll...walking fast, pushing myself up hills, working out at Curves and then walking some more. I can FEEL my body getting stronger. I can FEEL my confidence level rising.

Tomorrow is another weigh-in day. I honestly don't know what that scale will say...but what I DO know is I wouldn't trade this feeling of being physically stronger for a drop on the scale. I know from past training when my fitness level increases I naturally start dropping the weight. There is no doubt I still need to clean up my diet. I am a work in progress...but today I see myself walking FORWARD rather than BACKWARD.

I am cool with that:)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

70 Days Committment: Watch out World

Find image here

For the past 30 days I have been trying to stay COMMITTed to my desire to lose weight and get back in shape. I started fresh each week only to fail miserably by the end of the week....
or so I thought.

Maybe I wasn't failing after all.
Maybe it just took me this long to
DECIDE how much
I TRULY want this.
That I am sick of feeling this way.

For those of you following along on my 70 Day COMMITment you may recall my words from last week...
Here's to a VERY GOOD week and a VERY GOOD report this Monday!!
When I wrote that I didn't know how good my report would be Monday (or in this case Wednesday)...but I was sure hoping that my COMMITment to a program would FINALLY take hold of me and I would have some success.

I can report that I have had a good week:)
I lost two pounds at my weigh-in Tuesday.
Total weight loss this spring as been 5 pounds.

I think what has finally got me to say...
I CAN do this is Valerie Bertinelli's book.

I know how that must sound..."Really a book written by movie star Valerie Bertinelli?! That's kind of shallow isn't it??"

It's not that I want to look like her (although she looks pretty fantastic!) 
or be a star like her
or rich and famous like her...

It's several other things...
in the book she is MY age...48.
To see someone that's my exact age 
lose weight and get in shape...really helped.

We also share the exact same relationship with food.
And hearing how she handled emotional 
issues with her teen son, Wolfie
WITHOUT eating REALLY helped me.

And the last really big idea that hit me like a ton of bricks was when 
she shares how her LIFE CHANGED. How doors began to open...
how she used to sit at home and eat and watch TV and feel sorry 
for herself BEFORE the weight loss...
but AFTER the weight loss her whole person changed.
She was confident in her own skin,
she smiled more...
walked tall and proud...
and doors began to open.

That's what REALLY got to me.

And so 
I lost 2 pounds this week.
I am going to walk 8,000 steps each day.
Go to Curves 3 times this week.
And plan my meals.

What does YOUR plan look like?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's on my Work Desk?

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."  -James Allen

It's been a few years since I participated in WOYWW...and boy have I missed it!! It's so fun seeing what all of you are doing and having a record of what I am working on:). So TODAY I start sharing again...thanks for looking!!

I just got back from being in Arizona and FINALLY got to go to Scraps of Love in Peoria. What a WONDERFUL, treasured filled store!! And my favorite part was all the Dina Wakley products they had:)

I ended up buying quite a few items including her latest stamps...are these not AMAZING??!!

This particular page was inspired by the Art to the 5th gals and their year long Documented Life Project. The theme was Water Under the Bridge...my take on this was I am saying GOODBYE to old habits and HELLO to new ones:)

Thanks for looking!! I will be by your Work Desk soon:)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My 70 Day Journey-Day One (again)

"Whatever you do...do with all your heart."  -Me

I spent a total of 45 hours in the car in the past 6 days. We made a road trip to Mesa, Arizona (our 4th in the past few months) and by now I know to take LOTS of reading material! Usually I pack art books and magazines but this trip I was inspired to pack just these...

Remember I am on this 70 Day journey...? And so far I have done a whole lot of nothing. Well, maybe lots of thinking and planning but nothing has really stuck. I am still finding myself stuck in old, bad habits and feeling yucky. While I was deciding which art magazines to bring I came across Fit to Live and Finding It. Two books I have intended to read...but had been putting off.

Well, let me tell you...I know now why I haven't read them before...I wasn't ready...or maybe it's because I am NOW ready! Whatever it is/was...these two books are now my bibles and I plan on re-reading them as often as needed!!

I read Fit to Live on the way to Mesa and just kept nodding my head up and down...this book is all about Toxic Belly Fat caused by STRESS!!!! THAT IS SO ME!!! EVERYTHING the author Pamela Peeke was sharing was ME to a TEE!! WOW!

Then Valerie Bertinelli's book Finding It was such a fun and fast read. I found myself relating to her and her weight issues page after page. She reminded me that with taking control of your life...whether it's weight or something else...doors begin to open and you begin LIVING once again. THAT IS WHAT I WANT...to begin LIVING my life!!

So today I am back at Day One. And that's ok. I feel like I have my head AND my heart working together now and the tools I need to stay on track.

Here's to a VERY GOOD week and a VERY GOOD report this Monday!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting personal today (My 70 Day Commitment)

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

WOW...so this right here just hit me over the head...HARD!

I am FULL of excuses...I am.

And it's sad.

It's why I am not losing weight.

It's why I feel yucky and my clothes keep getting tighter.

If you have read my blog for very long then you already know that I am a HUGE admirer of Brave Girl Melody Ross. No one else like her!! I have been reading her journey to wellness and her last post REALLY got me to thinking about my own life.

It's SO MUCH MORE than the weight people! I just plain don't feel good!!!

I don't.

I have Hashimoto's Disease  and it plain sucks. Yes it does. My body is literally attacking my thyroid so it doesn't function properly. UGH!.

So instead of feeling really good like I do here....

I feel yucky and old. I have terrible hot flashes, I can't sleep, fat clings to my tummy and thighs (but mostly my mid-section) and I have zero energy.

Makes me want to SCREAM!

And honestly I do it all to myself. 

I do.

I do not take care of me.

Or my disease.

So reading Melody's post last week REALLY hit home with me and I realized we had similar issues with our bodies and she had come to the realization that it was ALL UP TO HER. And if she TRULY loved herself enough she would TAKE CARE OF HERSELF.


Do I love myself enough?

I thought so.

But then yesterday it was Easter and we had dinner.

Well, I had LOTS of dinner.

SALT and SUGAR. Oh my so much SUGAR.

When you have Hashimoto's sugar is NOT the thing to eat.

Today I woke up at 4:40 AM.  All I could do was thing about how much I HATE my body. How I am NOT comfortable in my own skin. And how this time last year I had lost 15 pounds. I was remembering how AMAZING that felt. How light-hearted I was.

This photo was taken last April/May. I was 15 pounds lighter. I remember this night. It felt SO GOOD to put that outfit on...everything FIT. In fact my pants were so loose I could barely keep them on. I wore those same pants to to my father in laws visitation last week and they were so tight I couldn't button them all the way.


My favorite thing about this photo though is the FEELING I remember having. COMPLETE peace and acceptance of myself. Oh how I miss that.

But today...

TODAY is a NEW DAY. At leas that's what my dear, sweet husband says. As I got ready for the day I was nearly in tears sharing with him how BAD I feel about myself at this time. He hugged me and reassured me that TODAY is a NEW DAY. TODAY WE will be on this path together.

So I took a deep breath and decided that maybe he was right. Maybe today is a new day. Maybe...just like that Brave Girl saying above IT REALLY IS POSSIBLE.

I weighed myself, took my thyroid medication and promised to love myself today. I also am going to learn more my disease this week (I have had it nearly 8 years and really don't know that much about it!!)

When my daughter and I step on that plane to Paris I want to LOVE myself again. I want to be AT PEACE. 

I hope I can tell you in next week's post about how AWESOME my week was. About how I ate healthy and how after just one week I feel SO GOOD!!

I would LOVE to hear YOUR thoughts on weight loss...living healthy...and if you have a thyroid disease please share what works for you!!!
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