Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Becoming Connected in 2016

As part of holding myself accountable to my Word of the Year each month I will be checking in...sharing how it's going. What's working and what's not. If there is one thing I have learned in the  years of blogging...writing about it helps me stay on track. 

My Word for 2016 is CONNECT. Here is how dictionary.com defines the word...

to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind:
to establish communication between; put in communication:
to have as an accompanying or associated feature:
to cause to be associated, as in a personal or business relationship:
to associate mentally or emotionally

The past few years I haven't done so well when it comes to making connections. I mean I do okay on-line...but face to face...not so much. I tend to be shy and I like to stay all safe and cozy in my Home. And when it comes to Connecting to my Father in Heaven...while it's so important to me, my Bible study has been anything but stellar. 

My other connections include my sweet husband, my mom and my kids. Each relationship could use a step up! 

And then there is my Health. Ugh. I have Hashimoto's and honestly I have ignored it for YEARS. My body has been screaming at me that something is just not right but I haven't made that Connection until now.

So here I am...in the last week of January and I must say...things are going pretty darn GOOD! Here is where I am today...

*I have joined a church, making new friends, reaching out and hey, I am now in charge of our Sunday morning breakfast/coffee bar!! It's awesome!

*My sweet husband and I have gone out on  a few dates...just us. We have laughed and acted like twenty year olds...it's just what I need!!

*I am seeking ways to improve my health based on my Hashimoto's Disease. It's gonna be a process but I have begun!

*My Mom and I are communicating better and I am more patient, giving and understanding. We are playing cards weekly and Connecting!!

Life is so good and I can FEEL myself becoming Connected again. It's been a wonderful journey and I look forward to February and welcome new friendships, new memories and new growth!

How is YOUR Word being implemented into your life?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Heartfelt Intentions

Whatever good things we build end up building us.

Eight Weeks ago we began our "Journey to the Heart" art journaling challenge. And today it comes to an end. What a WONDERFUL time we have had!! 

Listening, writing, painting, cutting, gluing our way to finding what's in our Hearts. Not only have I grown from my own experiences but seeing YOUR art work and reading YOUR stories in our Facebook group has been so inspiring! Thank so much for sharing!!

Your last assignment is to go back and look at your art...

the colors you chose...

the words and phrases you used.

Does there seem to be repeating shapes and symbols on each piece? For me it's arrows, hearts and circles.

Throughout our journey we have dug deep, made lists and maybe even tried a new technique or two.

Now it's time to create a "Master List"...a reference guide for when you are stumped what to do with your next blank page in your journals...jot down words you use/want to use...

*jot down words you use often/want to use more
*what are your favorite color combos
*what techniques do you LOVE and want to use more
*what seems to be the overall mood of your pages

Now take your journals and answer one more set of questions...be sure and share in our Mind.Body. Soul group!!

What Heartfelt Intentions do I want to fill 2016 with?

My list includes...

-entering DT calls
-participating in monthly mixed-media challenges
-trying new techniques and using up my stash
-exercising daily
-fill up on veggies and fruit

Anyone's life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit.

Girls you are ALL amazing!! Keep creating and sharing and digging deep in 2016. I can't wait to share another Challenge with you in a few weeks!!

Journey to the Heart

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Journey to the Heart: YOU CAN!

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.

This is our last week of Journey to the Heart. I know I said that last week...but I honestly didn't feel like their was any closure and anyway I promised you 7 weeks and since we took Christmas week off...this needs to happen!

If you missed last week go here to get our Challenge...creating a canvas to inspire you in 2016.

I Can...

Throughout the past 7 weeks we have tried to connect with our Hearts...what is TRULY inspiring to us...motivating us to wake up everyday. And while we may not be DOING those things...I hope by now you know you ARE strong and capable of living your life YOUR WAY! 

Remember it's not about having enough money or time or even energy. It's about taking baby steps, building on each of those steps...gaining momentum...until you wake up and go..."Oh WOW, I am doing it!"

I find myself in that situation...looking back on my creative life I used to set goals for myself to spend more time in the studio. The baby steps I took in 2015 have led up to me creating almost daily! In fact when I think about it now....creating has just become second nature to me. It's a habit...one that FILLS ME UP! My Heart is SO FULL!

In 2016 I have promised myself to get more movement into my life. By setting small goals for myself I find myself in the gym, meeting my daily step goals and choosing fruit and vegetables over sweet treats. It isn't perfect but I am seeing that every little thing I do DOES turn into the BIG thing I am going after!! Being healthy is in my Heart and I am determined to get there one teensy step at a time!

Our Challenge

Take the next few days and answer this prompt...

"I can and I will"

Make a list of all those things you CAN do and that you WILL do. For me it's all about pushing and stretching myself. I may not want to go to the gym when it's 5 degrees outside but CAN I? As long as I have a car that runs and I am not sick then YES I can. The true test is WILL I? If I answer that question with a YES...then I am on my way!  

Girls...to take what's in our Hearts and put it out into the world we MUST be willing to go outside our comfort zone and go for it!!

You CAN!!

I promise!

Once you create your list of statements  create a journal page to remind you that you ARE stronger than you think you are.

Enjoy this Challenge, girls...it's a powerful one!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Oh So Blue

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” 
― Rabindranath TagoreStray Birds

I am quite enjoying my 2016 so far...lots of creating going on in my studio and sharing not only in my Facebook group but this year I have committed to putting my work out there...and I have! It's a bit frightening but I figure it will stretch me and help me grow as an artist.

Speaking of growing...we have TWO more Challenges left in our Journey to the Heart Challenge. If you want to participate be sure and go here. Each lesson is there and ready for you to enjoy! 

Instead of posting our Challenge today (Monday) I will post it Tuesday and our last one on Friday. I also have a package of Happy Mail ready to mail to one of our participants...more details on that tomorrow:)

Today's post is to share my latest journal entry...

"Unwrap Peace"

I was inspired by Stamps and Stencils Blog Challenge this month..."Oh So Blue".

I LOVE this little girl...such a sweet grin on her face! She is the perfect reminder to Just Be.

Be sure and stop by their blog to check out all the amazing entries or to enter the Challenge for yourself!

See you back here Tuesday for our Journey to the Heart, girls!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mama, You Look GOOD in my Journal!

“Mother: the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.”
-Kahlil Gibran

Ever since I found the inspired world of Mixed-Media Art I have been fascinated with vintage images. I use them in nearly all of my work...in my art journals, on canvas and tags.

A page out of my Dylusions Journal

An index card from last summer

My favorite canvas starring Audrey Hepburn

My Favorite Image to Date!

This past Christmas my Mom gifted me with three photos from HER childhood. She thought I would enjoy using them in my art work! I was over the moon excited to incorporate meaningful images into my works of art....I LOVE the results!! Thanks so much Mom!!:)

I started page by swiping a few of my favorite colors down...lime green and bright orange. My sweet friend Sherry had given me this amazing elephant a few months ago and I was anxious to try it out!

Using Dylusions Spray Inks I used various colors including teal, green and pink. I loved the patterns within the elephant so much I decided to use those instead of the actual elephant shape for my page. I then took various other stencils including arrows, doilies and waves to add more beautiful depth.

My Mama grew up during the Depression and from what she has told me had very little. But just look at her smile!! She was full of light and JOY. And through the years she taught ME to be that way, too...no matter your circumstance! 

This saying was PERFECT to describe her...

I doodled using a white gel pen. I love how it looks!

I knew I wanted to add a few words to my page (something I always do)...selfless, resilient and sparkling seemed to be the ideal fit.

The star represents her shining smile through it all!

Here is the finished page...

My Mama...always shining, always counting her blessings, always looking her best. 
Yes, this is my favorite image in any of my work...I will be using it often!

Thanks so much for looking!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Journey to the Heart/Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody. - Charlotte Eriksson

This is our last week of "Journey to the Heart"....I can't believe 7 weeks has gone by so fast! The very best part of any Challenge for me is the amazing PEOPLE I meet...the art you all create and SHARE in our FB group is so inspiring!

Thank you for sharing your art and your hearts with me, girls!

Today's Challenge was so FUN for me!! Each year I create a New Year canvas...something I can hang in my studio (or bedroom, or kitchen...wherever you will see it the most) that inspires me to stay on the path...stick with my Big Dreams. Sometimes I incorporate my Word in the piece, sometimes I don't. It's a bit like a Dream Board but more generalized...here is my New Year canvas from 2015...

This cute chunky 6x6 canvas hung in my studio all year reminding me to love MY art...to go for it...to FLY!

As I thought about my canvas for this year I was inspired by an amazing group of ladies over at the Mixed-Media Monthly Challenge Blog. I first heard about them from a FB group celebrating the art of my favorite art journaler Dina Wakley. I would peek around their blog, admiring all of the gorgeous work I saw. A big part of me wanted to enter their challenges...but a big part of me was too scared. You know that Fear/Doubt Monster we all have telling us we are not good enough? Yeah, well I listened to him then...but I have promised myself in 2016 I am kicking him to the curb!

So here I am today...sharing our Challenge for Week 7 of "Journey to the Heart" that I am also going to share with the Mixed-Media Challenge Blog....GO me:)

Their theme for January is "Time Flies".

As I thought about this theme this saying popped in my head... "Time Flies So Why Don't We?" I mean each one of us is given the EXACT same 24 hours a day!

As I began putting my 8x11 canvas together I KNEW I had to use an image of Audrey Hepburn...she is just put together and cute! I added a butterfly wing to remind me to FLY...

Then added a wooden cut-out BELIEVE I painted with gold acrylic paint then rubbed black ink for depth. Birds are very symbolic to me and turn up in lots of my work...

I had this cute little guy forever! Once he was perching perfectly on my canvas I knew he needed something to further get my point across..."She sprouted wings" was exactly the ideal fit!

Audrey still looked bare to me so I thought about adding a crown yet didn't think a crown fit what I was trying to say...

Before I set out to add elements to my work I had spread out various different treasures on my work desk including a wooden birdcage...

As soon as I placed it on her head I KNEW it was meant for this piece!! I covered it in Mod Podge and poured dark golden sparkles all over it.

I am SO PLEASED with the results!! It is 100% ME and gives me a visual to look at daily to GO AFTER MY BIG DREAMS!!!

So girls...I want you to take all that you have worked on these past 7 weeks...your lists, your journal pages...your goals/Big Dreams and create a canvas. It can be a 6x6, 8x11, 11x14...whatever you have. No canvas? No worries....create in your journals. You can always take the page our and frame it to hang or place on a cork board.

If you would like to see how other artists interpreted this challenge or participate in it yourselves here is the link...

Go here

Friday, January 8, 2016

Journey to the Heart:Shake it Up/Do What it Takes to Listen

Never be afraid to try something newRemember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.” – Dave Barry

There are times when I just want to think.

 I don't want my mind cluttered. 

I don't want to worry about others...
I just want to think.

Yesterday was a day like that. I woke up with a Heart filled with anxiety and fear. Instead of seeing the bright side of everything I was only seeing the negative. From the clothes hanging in my closet (I have NOTHING to wear/I look fat in EVERYTHING) to my hair (I threatened to cut it all off....LOL) I was a big, ugly ball of negativity. 

One of my first mixed-media pieces. I create so differently now!

As I continued to spew pessimistic sarcasm throughout our home I suddenly stopped. What the HECK was I doing?? 

I went to the kitchen, made myself a healthy lunch and sat at the table. As I looked around at our clutter I could feel my heart tighten...I knew what I needed to do...

This may sound crazy to you but when I am so over the top unwilling to even crack a smile I know what I NEED...I need to put some of my favorite tunes on and CLEAN!


There are few things more rewarding to me than an orderly,  fresh-smelling home. And while I am sweeping, mopping and putting things away I am thinking. I am submersing myself and connecting to my Heart. It's one of the few times in my week when I don't check my phone, stop by the computer, sit down to watch a favorite show. 

I just clean.
And think.

I have had some of my best ideas while scrubbing the toilet!

What My Heart Told Me

During my Scrub Fest I heard my Heart tell me I need to bust out of a rut. It is the New Year after all and I have Big Dreams to Dream, goals to reach, blog posts to write! I thought about what NEW Challenges I have started and what practices I want to keep in 2016. There are quite a few...maybe almost too many...and yet this is the year I want Grow and CONNECT to people, to my art, to my body...to my Big Dreams. 

Today's Challenge

This weekend take a few hours to break out of your rut. Try something NEW...Find something NEW! Sometimes it's just fun to Google a new art technique or head over to YouTube and watch a few videos. Here are MY NEW Challenges for 2016...I am so excited to try them all!!

Here is what I am working on for their January Challenge...Time Flies.

His Kingdom Come
I have been a member of this faith-based group for a year but never participated in their challenges. My intention this year is to complete each monthly challenge and post on their site. Shonna is a wonderful leader! If you want to enrich your relationship with God I encourage you to check this out!

52 Card Pick Up

My cousin actually told me about this and I loved it! A fun and very easy challenge creating ATC's (I am using index cards) with their weekly prompts. Here is mine from last week...

I have ALWAYS loved lists so it's a natural for me to participate in the Reset Girl's Lister's Gotta List Challenge!!   Cori even has FREE downloads that fit perfectly in your planner or in an art journal. I am using a small journal for my lists...all I need is a pen or marker and I am good! Super simple and VERY do-able!!!

Girls, the bottom line is this...if your Heart is telling you to be creative...then BE CREATIVE. I found mixed-media art 8 years ago...and even thought I DID create...it wasn't much when I look back. I thought about it, I made plans to do it...but I always put something ahead of MY TIME. In the past 2 years I rarely make excuses for my art time...I just DO IT! And this year I am SUPER EXCITED about these challenges...they will hold me accountable to my ART! When we create we become more creative...it's TRUE!!

So take time...find a new challenge to shake it up a bit. Listen to your Heart...scrub a toilet...do whatever it takes to HEAR those Heart Whispers. It will be so worth it!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Journey to the Heart:Just Be and See What Happens

“I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel."
(Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1953)” 

One of the best ways I know to get to the Heart of my Heart is to spend time by myself. Not only is it a time of peace and relaxation but also one of restoration. A time to reflect, to dream, to contemplate on our life. Today's challenge will help you in those ways while having lots of fun, too!

Today's Challenge 

Let's face it...we don't always have time to finish a project. We may go into our studio's, our bedrooms, our kitchen tables...with every intention of working on a project from start to finish. But through the years I have learned that for me, I work best when I have several different projects going at once. And there are many times when I feel creative but don't necessarily want to work on anything tedious like journaling or even putting pages together...I simply want to get messy and let go.

That's where today's Challenge comes from...that idea of just SIMPLY being in your space, favorite tunes on (or not) paint brush in hand....creating.

Circles were make using a shish-ka-bob wooden stick.

We are going to have FUN creating backgrounds in our journals. I have at least three journals going at all times...so on my background days I gesso, paint, stamp at least 2 pages in each book.

Don't you just LOVE all that texture?! It looks so old and beat up! Again I used the shish-ka-bob wooden stick to scrape shapes into the gesso before it dries.

Before you get started you will need....

gesso (if you don't use already you are missing out! Gesso adds strength to your pages and allows lots           of texture!!!)
acrylic paint (just pick a few favorite colors)
paint brushes (various sizes)
plastic fork
pipe cleaners
bottle caps
palette knife
spray ink
alcohol ink
wooden shish-ka-bob picks or toothpicks
old credit card or motel keys (to spread the gesso and add marks)
*anything else that adds texture!

My process is like this...

cover page in gesso using old credit card/motel key
take wooden stick to make marks (circles, lines, zig-zags)
stamp into the gesso with my favorite word or shape stamps

For this page I applied the gesso on thick then stamped Beautiful You into it while still wet.

Before applying gesso to this page I sprayed blue Dylusions ink to page (one squirt) then poured gesso on top of that. Next I took an old motel key and spread the gesso through the ink. I really like how the gesso turned a light blue. Then I stamped into it with a diamond foam stamp (look at top left). I also wrote a few words in the gesso with wooden pick. The orange stencil was already sprayed on page before I started.

Not sure what I will end up doing with this page but I like it!

This page was a mess up at first. But after looking at it awhile I realized it had potential.  I stamped gold acrylic onto the page using an old foam stamp of mine.

During the creating of these backgrounds I let my mind wander. I thought about my goals, ways to better implement them AND I came up with a Big Dream Goal that had been stirring in my heart but I had been too busy to hear!! AMAZING what can happen when you just let go....

Other Things

Last week one of our Face Book girls asked what the best way was to use her new vintage images she received for Christmas. She said they were just too pretty to cut up/use. Kassity this post is for you and anyone else that LOVES vintage images like I do!! I hope these ideas inspire you to start creating!

I bought these LOVELY cards at my local Hobby Lobby...they are from Tim Holtz  I was just like Kassity and could not use them. They are very think first of all, like a card AND the fact I could see myself using them again again...I just couldn't bring myself to use them! So I took the cards that really spoke to me, taped them lightly to a piece of copy paper and made copies...that way I can re-use them over and over!

Here are a few pages to show you what I did with them....You will notice I usually cut the girl out of the background...

And my fave girl...

You can embellish them, color their outfits with water color, add crowns, words...so many uses!!

I use vintage girls in almost all of my art and have found some gorgeous photos! This next set is from Reminscince Magazine. I was fortunate to find dozens of them at a yard sale...all for under a DOLLAR! I took the images I loved, cut them out, put on copy paper and re-use them in everything!

Here are some pages...
 This little peanut reminds me to live with JOY!

How cook is that she just happens to be holding a heart?:)

I also use images from the internet. This one is a girl I found from Woodstock.

There are SOOO many ways you can incorporate these girls into your art! I hope you have enjoyed!!