Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SPT #5 {Personal History}

The blonde is my high school senior picture. Yikes!

Monday, January 30, 2006

What I'm thinking about...

So far so good on the week of reading deprivation for the Artist's Way. Ok, it's only been 2 days...but still! I've been pretty productive too. I've been cleaning a lot and moving things around. It feels like there's more space now, more energy to flow. I'm also working on a custom order of scrapbook layouts. Those are always so much fun.

When going through my things I found this wonderful little guy from a class I took by the one and only Tim Holtz at a scrapbook convention last summer. It's the cover of a little accordian book. It's wonderfully distressed and we used foam to make the picture and words pop, which is hard to tell on this picture. Tim Holtz is the king of all things distressed. I love his style and love that he is an altered book artist at heart. Check out his web site, he has lots of books and even some DVDs out now. Here's a tip from Tim himself:

"Create an antique burnt edge look with ink. No more running to the sink to put out a burning accent gone bad! By simply applying layers of ink to an accent, you can create a cool burnt edge look. Just ink the edges of your accent with a light brown ink and blend into center. Then apply walnut ink to the edges only. Apply black ink and blend into the center of the accent with an applicator. "

The other thing I'm thinking about is, I've just applied for a job for the first time in 3 years. Yikes!! I've been doing this stay-at-home-mommy thing for that long!?! I know that some people wouldn't mention it because it could "jinx" it. I feel that to announce your intentions, your hopes and dreams, helps make things happen. As I've mentioned before, I am a librarian. I worked in a couple of elementary school libraries before having my son. I finished up my Master's degree a month before he was born and haven't really used it yet. I noticed a job opening for a librarian position at a public area nearby that is 8 hours a week in the evenings. Perfect! I couldn't pass this up. So I've been working on the laundry list of application questions all day. Ok, I guess I did have to read for that:) Anyway, it's all done and sent off to cyberspace. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck! I'm a little apprehensive after being out of the field for so long, but excited at the same time to maybe have a little something that's just for me!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Artist's Way week #4

I had no idea what was on the horizon for me and my fellow Artist’s Way bloggers until I read Kat’s blog with a preview for this week. Week 4 talks about out with the old and in with the new.
"Shifts in taste and perception frequently accompany shifts in identity. One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers and belongings. "

Good, because I’ve been moving and weeding through things like crazy. Suddenly everything I look at just seems like it’s taking up space, and energy and I want it to leave…now! I haven’t been too extreme, but a bit of early spring cleaning is in order. I even listed some new, super inspiring, artsy books and zines on ebay if you’d like to take a look. They end soon! I’ll probably be listing more stuff as I continue to purge.

The shocker is that this week we are supposed to try reading deprivation!! That means find other things to do with our time instead of reading…like, maybe…creating! For you, my faithful blog readers, do not fear, I will still post…since technically that’s not reading. I just won’t be visiting all my favorite blogs and commenting. I’ll be back next week. Wish me luck:)

One day

So here we are...my day in a nutshell. It sure was fun documenting the "unseen" yesterday. I took over 150 pictures! I feel like it really captured the essence. I will now try to create something with these pictures. But for now I think it looks pretty cool in this grid:) If you click on it, you can see the pictures larger. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

Here comes the sun!

Winter is fading quickly here in Minnesota. This is what's left of the snow family. It's nearly 50 degrees here today. Unheard of for January 27th! The record of 47 was set in 1934. Looks like we may break that. Boy do I sound like a Minnesotan...always talking about the weather:) It sure has lightened my spirits, though. A little sun can sure brighten things up. It is only January, so the cold will be back soon enough.

In light of yesterdays post, I've been recording today moment by moment. Taking pictures and writing down thoughts and captions to create a layout of a day in the life. It's been really fun so far. I'll share the results soon. I did do some scrapbooking last night. I did this layout of my daughter with her homemade knit hat. I needed a little pink in my life!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

MamaSaysOm {Unseen}

I apologize in advance for trying to write poetry. I had no idea it would come out this way. I’ve been agonizing over the MamaSaysOm topic this week of unseen. After a day of ruminating, this is my expression.

Unseen are the highs and the lows
The suffering and the doubt
The daily struggle to pull off this thing called parenting
The fear at the pit of my stomach
The inability to communicate, the tantrums, the frustrations
Watching helplessly, wanting to scream myself
Unseen is the life blood flowing through this family
Unwilling to give up
This is the way things are now
Unseen is the hardest work I’ve ever done
Giving more of myself than I ever knew I had
Receiving in ways that were never expected
Unseen is the rawness of it all
Unseen is the woman I am becoming
Stronger than I could have ever known
More loving, more patient, more real
Unseen is the future
What will become of all this?
That remains to be seen.

I'm going to vow to make the unseen in my life a little more...well...seen. I've been reading all this on scrapbooking REAL life. Well, I'm going to walk the walk now and do an album that portrays our actual life...and not just the smiling happy pictures. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Warm fuzzies

Meet my new friend. I was out of sorts today and she sure cheered me up:) I think she's my muse. I've been waiting for her to show up again. She's rustic and shabby but cute. She looks a little confused by life. I love her fabric flower and who wouldn't love buttons for hair?!

Also, finding the book Scrapbooking Life's Little Moments by Rebecca Sower at Home Goods helped too! I'm all about capturing the little things these days.

I've been buying a lot of art/scrapbooking books lately. My faves are:
The Big Picture by Stacy Julian
A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking by Ali Edwards
Creative Collage for Scrapbooks by Kelly Angard

I want to buy Ribbonrie by Making Memories. Has anyone seen it? Is it good? I love ribbon, so I'd love to see what ideas it has.

Why is it that whenever I'm searching for answers in life I always turn to books?

Ten Top Trivia Tips about ArtsyMama!

  1. The risk of being struck by ArtsyMama is one occurence every 9,300 years.
  2. ArtsyMama can't sweat!
  3. Baby swans are called ArtsyMama!
  4. Marie Antoinette never said 'let them eat cake' - this is a mistranslation of 'let them eat ArtsyMama'!
  5. It can take ArtsyMama several days to move just through one tree!
  6. ArtsyMama is the oldest playable musical instrument in the world.
  7. In her entire life, ArtsyMama will produce only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
  8. ArtsyMama kept at the window will keep vampires at bay!
  9. Baskin Robbins once made ArtsyMama flavoured ice cream.
  10. Scientists have discovered that ArtsyMama can smell the presence of autism in children.
I am interested in - do tell me about
Thanks wannabe hippie for the inspiration. This was fun...and a little goofy. For #2, I'm quite the opposite. My son is autistic, so #10 is just strange...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Easy does it~ SPT #4 {Personal History}

I decided to also use this picture for Self Portrait Tuesday, since the theme is personal history and it couldn't be more fitting. It also has Chloe's hand in it, which has become a recurrence in my pictures:)

So here's my story. I was cruising along just great, creating ferociously and fearlessly every night. Then came along this weeks theme for Mixed Media Memoirs, over on melba's blog. The theme is "The Past that Lingers". My first idea was about how all the photographs I've taken in my life are links to my past. I thought how I wanted to stage the picture to go on my page and decided on having pictures surrounding me. As I started to get out old photographs, I was stopped in my tracks. I didn't want to look at them. It's not that they were full of bad memories, quite the opposite. I just felt like the past was the past and I had a strong reaction to bringing it back up...or lingering.

My hubby took the picture and I started to try to compose my page. Everything felt blocked, nothing looked right. Then suddenly it bled over into my other projects, I didn't want to do my morning pages, or write in my blog (gasp!). I wasn't sure what was happening, or why opening up that box of pictures of my past was making me so angry. Today I decided to read the chapter for the week in the Artist's Way. On the first page, Julia immediately begins talking about anger. "Anger is meant to be acted upon. It's not meant to be acted out....Anger is a tool, not a master....Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life." Good stuff. I also had doubts about doing art at all. Why bother? It's just a bunch of paper and glue. Wicked, I know! Cameron also talks about this, how an artist may start a piece and find that as they're almost done they suddenly find it pointless, not worth the effort. She said that this is a coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability. So I pressed on and continued to work on the piece.

Later that same day, as I was working, I came across this poem by Mary Oliver called "Dogfish". This is an excerpt. It resonated with me and I used it on my page:

I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country, I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was
for a little while.

I then journaled on the back of it how I felt making this page. So I finally finished the darn page and it can be seen here. I guess I'm ok with it. I'm ready to let it go.

At the end of the AW chapter, Julia talks aboout growth and how it's two steps forward and one step back. "Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Very often a week of insights will be followed by a week of sluggishness. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting." Easy does it! Be kind to yourself.

Art and Blogging {Christine "Swirly Girl" Miller}

Here is part III of my Art and Blogging interviews. The lovely "swirly girl" herself, Christine Miller.

AM: When did you start blogging?
SG: I kept a very sporadic journal for a couple of years, but can't say I officially started blogging until June 2005.

AM: What was your motivation?
SG: To re-connect with my audience. I had built a small "fan base" with my Swirly brand, but kept a low profile for a few years due to a lot of personal turmoil. When I realized it was still very important to me to inspire others I decided to start posting journal entries more regularly. The response has been lovely, and what is interesting is that many people who read my blog now had never even heard of Swirly before. I love this!

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
SG: Mostly women - other artists, bloggers, creative souls.

AM: Does your blog circulation matter to you?
SG: It actually does. One of my goals is to get another book published, and I know that if I have steady traffic on my website, it will help me create a stronger book proposal.

AM: Has blogging changed your creative process at all? Are you inspired by other bloggers?
SG: Absolutely. One of the nice bonuses of keeping up with my blog regularly is that it has improved my writing a great deal, and it is also giving me a lot of potential material for my book. I am inspired by other bloggers all the time.

AM: Is there a down side to blogging?
SG: It can be difficult to feel comfortable ignoring it. When I don't post for a few days, I feel kind of bad, but I try not to be obsessive about it. I do my best.

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
SG: Yes, I like being serious and thought-provoking some days and then funny other days.

AM: What is a typical day like for you?
SG: My day usually involves a wee bit of household stuff each day (cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast, laundry, etc.), but most of my time is spent in my studio wearing old, paint-covered jeans and t-shirts creating like a mad woman. (Lucky me!)

AM:Where do you usually create?
SG: In my studio in LA (it is at home)

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
SG: Only a little because I am kind of addicted to email.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

MamaSaysOm {Reflection}

I'm writing this at the 11th hour before a new theme starts for MamaSaysOm. I couldn't resist sharing this picture for the theme of "reflection". It was taken this past fall. I love his thoughtful nature.
 Posted by Picasa

An Ordinary Life

I got a hold of the book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It was so highly recommended by Julian Stacy in her book The Big Picture that I had to see what she was so inspired by. She's even going to offer a scrapbooking class using the book as a guide.

First, just check out Amy's web site for loads of fun! This woman is chock full of creative ideas, like how she left 150 books intentionally in public places for people to find and write back the story of where and when they found the book. Wouldn't it be fun to randomly leave cards with your blog address on it for people to find?! Then have them write a comment on your blog about where they are and how they found it.

The book is written in the style of an encyclopedia (hence the name). It's basically Rosenthal's "musings on moments in everyday life." I found that I was really inspired by this book too. Her writing style is witty and very easy to read...and savor. It's an intriguing way to categorize the bits and pieces of life. I like how she writes in a voice that explains things to someone that may be reading this in the (distant) future. The book is a time capsule of one "ordinary" life at one particular time in history. I admire that she sees her life as something worthwhile to write about. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's worth leaving a trace. Shouldn't we all. That reminds me of the NPR radio show This American Life.

Wouldn't it be fun to do a scrapbook album for each letter of the alphabet? Instead of having just written entries, have a layout for each entry under the particular letter! You could also scrapbook her idea of "Orientation Almanac", facts about American life at this moment in time. Or an album memoir of sorts "The Evolution of a Moment" taking snippets of your life from birth to present. Oh, if I just had more time....

I think I will do an alphabetized entry here in my blog to get things started. More to come..


ArtsyMama- I decided to write a blog in November of 2005. I'm not exactly sure what I was looking to do. Self indulgence some might say. I use it as a way to organize different facets of myself. I can keep track of books I'm reading, web sites I find, networking that I'm doing. I also want to put something out there that may actually be useful to someone else. Maybe even find a few like-minded souls. So I started and now I can't stop posting:) Ideas keep running around in my head since I now have a place to put them all down. We'll see where it takes me.

I love how on the web site there is an anagram for the title of the book. Let's try one for ArtsyMama....
A smart yam

Can anyone think of others?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Getting things done

Today has been about getting things done. Cleaning and wrapping up things for the week. I am reminded of a passage from the book The Art of Expecting that I once copied down in my journal.

The Zen of Getting Things Done

"You bring peace on Earth as you pad about, forever putting things away, clearing out the sink, picking up the toys, wiping the counter and mopping up the mess. Stop thinking of housework as a task-oriented venture. At the end of the day, you won't get a bonus for being the one who scrubbed the tub, swept under the bed, or put the groceries away. You will get a bonus only for remembering how lucky you are. The secret to surviving housework is to simply do it! Not postponing chores and not spending any mental energy equivocating, temporizing or stalling- is actually a lot more restful than worrying about what needs to be done. You breeze along, nonchalantly dispatching external and internal clutter as you go. Before long, you reach a zone of inner quietude where chasing dust bunnies can actually be as effortless as watching tv and eating bonbons!"

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Art and Blogging {Shimelle}

Here is part two of my Blogging and Art profiles. This interview is with the ever-creative Shimelle. She has a blog and a web site with all of her online classes. I have not taken one, but I've heard they are delightful.

AM: When did you start blogging?
S: I started my current blog in july 2003. Before that i had a strange little blog wherein i didn't talk at all about myself -- i just responded to random media concepts. i think that was the fall out of leaving university and feeling like i wasn't having enough intellectual conversations in my life. and though not a blog, i published my first website in 1995. i was seventeen, it featured a million blinking rainbows that i drew with a really rubbish mouse and was called {quite originally} shimelle's world.

AM: What was your motivation?
S: i was looking for a place to talk. i was in a career shift, a social shift, a place where i needed to make a lot of decisions and didn't feel i had the personal space to think aloud. so i typed instead.

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
S: it started with a core group of online friends that i have known since about 94-95. then there are basically two groups of people that became part of the loop after that: people i know (or have known) in real life (including a few old school friends and probably my mother) and artsy types who i've come in contact with via collage, art journaling or scrapbooking.

AM: Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
S: yep. i read all the blogs on my livejournal 'friends' list - which is a bunch, including friends and artists. and i read the ones linked on my blog. and some others. basically i have a big folder and once every day or so, i click 'display in tabs' and i check in on everyone.

AM: Has blogging changed your creative process at all? Are you inspired by other bloggers?
S: good art posted anywhere can be inspiring, so of course i have been inspired by blogs. sometimes in art & design, sometimes just how someone says something and it clicks in my head. blogging hasn't changed m y creative process -- it's just given me more inner monologue. i write ten blog posts a day in my head - i just never type them out. i need one of those t-shirts that says 'i'm blogging this'.

AM: Do you feel it’s expanded your audience? Made you more accessible?
S: if accessible means 'seen as human. with flaws.', then yes.

AM: Is there a down side to blogging?
S: the downside to blogging is the same as the downside to all written media: we read things how *we* would say them. so i hear *your* words in *my* voice. that means sometimes our messages become muddled. i have great disappointment with myself when i am unclear and this happens from time to time.

AM: Do you find inspiration online?
S: inspiration is everywhere. it just depends on my mood. but yes, i have a folder full of bookmarks that make me snap out of a funk and get me itching to make stuff.

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
S: i don't intentionally mean to show a different side. what you see is what you get. from my point of view, anyway. but then again, i have never been known for keeping of many secrets.

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
S: yes. sometimes i resent that, sometimes i don't. my biggest change was when i moved into this apartment and had no printer. i had been a 50/50 girl with writing by hand and printing things out. i haven't used a computer to do anything but print photographs in two and a half years now and that really defined my style. at first i thought it would just affect my scrapbook style, but it carried over into everything i created before i had noticed. so that's how i try to avoid the distraction. i never want to have a computer that lived permanently in my studio. i need to draw lines and kick it out of the room!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happiness is...

This was originally done in my morning pages for the Artist's Way group I'm a part of online (see more here). I thought it was a fun exercise to share and would encourage others to make such a list.

20 things I enjoy doing (when was the last time?):

1. sleeping through the night (over a year ago…yikes!)
2. walking, especially in the woods…by myself (don’t even remember)
3. gardening (really gardening..vegetables and all, summer 2002)
4. black and white photography-ok, I convert some of my pictures to b&w, but I’m talking black and white film with a SLR camera (don’t remember)
5. painting (last month)
6. traveling (to Arizona, Nov. 2004)
7. snorkeling (in Cozumel, Dec. 2002)
8. sewing (last month)
9. playing with a dog (not since Toby…Oct. 2003)
10. taking a class (grad school, 2003)
11. sitting in coffee shops to hide out and write (WAY too long ago!)
12. hiking (Alaska, 2001)
13. meditating (last week)
14. swimming (last summer, 2005)
15. taking a road trip (Michigan, 2004)
16. visiting Laura in California (2003..I must get out there again soon)
17. working..did I really say I enjoyed that!?! I miss it at times (been SAHM since 2003...best job ever!)
18. having a day or night out with friends (cropping with Tammy and Laura, Dec. 2005)
19. experiencing art--in museums, on the street, in books, magazines..(every day!!)
20. reading a really engaging book (this week)

La vie en rose

It's the dead of winter here in Minnesota, so I'm getting out my happy, colorful decor to liven things up. I have this fun little vase that is in need of some flowers. I was thinking of the whimsy, homemade variety. I've had it out for a couple of weeks now just waiting for the right inspiration. It came in many forms. I was paging through my Feb. issue of Memory Makers magazine and found this goregous bouquet of paper flowers by Danielle Thompson. Who, by the way, is my current fave scrapbooker. I just love her style!!! Check her 2Peas gallery out here. WOW...is all I can say! So I'm definitely going to have to give this a go. With all the paper scraps I have, I could fill my entire bedroom with flowers:) Then yesterday the latest issue of Country Home magazine came in the mail. They had a bouquet of lovely little roses, made of rolled fabric! Another idea I came across was in Martha Stewart Kids magazine. It's easy, bright crepe paper flowers. How fun! Here are some huge ones, and a lovely bouquet of roses. These will certainly keep me busy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

SPT #3 {Personal History}

This is a picture of me (in the foreground) when I took a trip to Italy by myself at the age of twenty. I went to Tuscany, stayed with an amazing group of people and took a photography class with Harvey Stein. It was a truly remarkable trip for me. I felt so strong and independent and came back a different person. I raved about the class I had taken to my sister. She then decided to go a couple of years later and met her husband there! My parents went a few years later. We all had unbelievable experiences. Il Chiostro is certainly a part of my personal and family history.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy 50th post!!!

Can you believe it, 50 posts already!? I just started this blog on Nov. 29th. I've been blogging like a mad woman. Hope you're enjoying it. I know I am:)

Today I leave you with the 2Peas meme for this week. It's an exercise from Julia Cameron's The Sound of Paper.

The artist soul thrives on adventure. Many adventures require that we muster the courage to be a beginner. List five things you would love to do, if you didn't have to do them perfectly.

1. If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I'd try to sew my own clothes.

2. If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I'd try to start my own business.

3. If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I'd try acting.

4. If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I'd try submitting my work to be published.

5. If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I'd try surfing.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

This is me....a work in progress

I'm working on an art journal page for melba's new Mixed Media Memoirs. I love this new project of hers. Check it out here! Her first theme is "This is Me" so I thought this picture was perfect to begin with! If your wondering what my son is doing, he's actually doing sign language to the tv:)

Hope you had a nice weekend. My hubby and I saw the movie "Fun with Dick and Jane" today. Nothing big, just a funny, light movie. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon. I just went to Target and bought a blender with a food processor attachment. I plan to start making my own baby food for Chloe. I'm psyched!! I'm not sure why I wasn't doing it before. Anyone have any good recipes and or tips?!

UPDATE: I finished my page, you can see it here!
I used a page (scanned) from my journal, a picture from SPT on my blog, the picture I have above and Elsie's fab fonts found here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Artist's Way {inspirations}

I thought I'd better get going on my inspiration to share with the Artist's Way group. There has been so much inspiring me lately. So many wonderful bloggers out there, so many great books I've been reading. One thing that I've always been inspired by is textiles. Sounds weird, but the colors, patterns and textures really gets my creative juices flowing.

Today I did my Artist's Date at Anthropologie. Shopping doesn't count, you say? I didn't buy a thing, but just wandered around admiring the "euro-apartment style" clothing and household items that I love so much. Nothing beats their colors, textures, aromas... the whole vibe I just love. Their velvety purses are to die for, their bedding looks heavenly, love the quirky kitchen towels and aprons! When is the last time you wore and apron?! Anyway, I came home totally inspired...and of course wanted to re-decorate my entire house!

The picture above is of my grandmothers silk paisley throw. It's something I've always treasured. I am constantly inspired by the fabrics that I come in contact with. I love to express myself through fabric; in my home, on my clothing, through my art. Colors can really set a mood, and textures can trigger emotions. I love to go to estate sales. The textiles can be so telling. I love looking at old handmade quilts, and rummage through piles of vintage fabrics and sewing notions. Truly the fabric of life.

Kind of a funny sidenote, my daughters little hand seems to get into all my pictures. It's kind of like a "where's Waldo?" but more like "where's Chloe?" Hehe.

New toys!

Here's a layout I did last night of little Chloe pulling herself up. It's a different style for me, much more clean lines and simple. I still think maybe it needs a little something. I wanted to try a few new things. I used Picasa to change the pictures to black and white. You can do TONS of fun adjustments with Picasa..and it's free! I also used fonts that I found at scrapvillage. I played around with that a long time and decided to use this one called "calvin and hobbes". I've never used my computer for scrapbooking before, besides to print out pictures. I've always used letter stickers, rub ons, or my own handwriting. I feel like these new found tools are adding a whole new dimension and endless possibilities for my scrapbooking! I also enjoyed used my favorite foofala "thrift store" paper and new Daisy D's attic heirlooms die cut flower. These are fabulous! Oh yea, I also bought a square punch yesterday and made a neat little collage with my Christmas cards and pictures inspired by Ali. It was so easy. I have lots more, so I think I'll do a few more layouts. Let the fun begin!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 13, 2006

Chenille Fever

Isn't this cake just the cutest? I got it on ebay from Emily over at crazycakes.biz. Check out her web site. She's got the most adorable chenille cakes, cupcakes and tea sets. I actually bought it for my daughters first birthday, which isn't until April. I just love chenille. It's so soft and cuddly, so old fashioned and just perfect for a child....or an adult. I love my chenille bed spread! I even use chenille in my scrapbooking for pockets or photo corners. I "age" it first with coffee, tea or walnut ink.

I'd love to make some chenille animals or pillows. I found this web site with everything you could ever want made with chenille. It also has some facinating history. Did you know that chenille is French for "caterpillar"?

Check out this chenille-looking crafty goodie from Miss Dots web site. Fun little project!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Art and Blogging {Lesley Riley}

I happened to come across an interesting post about "bloggers block" and 10 killer post ideas recently. I was intrigued by #4. the interview, although I didn't think too much of it at the time. Then in my morning pages for the Artist's Way group this idea came to light and I followed through with it. I'm new to blogging so I've been very busy navigating the blogging community and figuring out where I "fit in". I've found a lot of kindred spirits and noticed that a lot of artists (amateur and professional) have blogs. I wanted to explore the idea of ART and BLOGGING, so I brainstormed some questions and emailed them to some of my favorite artists. Low and behold I got some responses! I'm always amazed at how accessible and receptive people are online. So every now and then I will feature an "interview" with a fellow blogging artist. Today, it's with none other than mixed media artist, Lesley Riley!! She has a brand new blog in addition to her web site.

AM: When did you start blogging?
LR: Right before Christmas. I had been home from teaching for over a month, and found some extra time on my hands, so I jumped in.

AM: What was your motivation?
LR: Nina Bagley and I had been talking about it since April. We decided together to start one after we found a couple of blogs we really loved.

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
LR: Who ever knows, but I think it is other artists and quilters. I have links from my website and a lot of other artist's blogs.

AM: Do you use your blog as a social network?
LR: No, it's just a place for me to share my thoughts.

AM: Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
LR: Yes, a few. My favorites are: http://artjournaler.typepad.com/pomegranatesandpaper/

AM: Has blogging changed your creative process at all? Are you inspired by other bloggers?
LR: I am inspired by a few things I see on other blogs, mostly talk about some exciting new work they have found. One such link has led me in a new direction.

AM: Do you find inspiration online?
LR: Definitely, which is good, because it sends me into the studio.

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
LR: Yes, exactly. I have written 2 books and contribute to Cloth Paper Scissors as the Arts Editor, but I want to write things that are not how-to. My blog gives me that chance.

AM: What is a typical day like for you?
LR: Get up at 6:40 to get my daughter off to school, come down to my computer, IM with my best friend to kick off the day and get us inspired. And depending on the work load, either do appraisals, or make art. On the art side, that also includes a t lot writing. I just finishing my 2nd book.

AM: Where do you usually create?
LR: My bedroom is in my studio, so I am either there or here in front of the computer working on images.

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
LR: Yes & no. It has allowed me to create the art I do which is very image driven. Yet when I am doing "art" on the computer, it never feels like art and I am anxious to get hands-on in the studio. I do think though, that I waste a lot of time on here, but it's also my "down" time, a way of relaxation - almost like sitting down with a book, because let's face it, if you are on the computer you are doing a lot of reading.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh my gosh, have you guys been to blogthings.com? It's loaded with funny little quizzes and stuff to put on your blog. I particularly like "you know you're from......when......". Too funny! Something light for hump day:) Be well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I know you’re out there. If you’re reading this and you don’t usually comment, now is your time to be heard. Just say hi!

Ok, if you need something to write about I'd love to know your answer to this question
What is your idea of the perfect creative day?

For those of you participating in Blogging the Artist's Way this could be inspiration for your Artist's Date. Some of my most memorable creative days include doing an intensive meditation retreat or sesshin, where I actually did absolutely nothing, just sat...all day. It felt creative because I was clearing the palate, letting go! Another was a day at a scrapbook convention. I get so revved up, inspired to spill my life onto the page. I would love to attend a CKU event someday. It would be a dream come true for me and the ultimate creative day to take a workshop at Valley Ridge with LK Ludwig.

Self Portrait Tuesday {Personal History}

my daughter~myself
@ 8 months

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hello there!

I just noticed that Sharon posted a link to this blog on her blog. Thanks so much, Sharon. I figured I should have something for all of you textile artists coming to visit. Just today at the library I picked up Lesley Riley's new book Quilted Memories. Click on the title for a fabulous interview with Lesley on HeartsART radio. You can listen online. Also check out her web site and new blog! This book is just yummy!!! Lesley is awe inspiring. She includes lots of her fabulous work, plus tips on design, color, and style. I think I may have to buy this one. The pictures are amazing! Makes me want to run out to the fabric store. The other book I got is Jan Bode Smiley's The Art of Fabric Books. This book goes into detail about making fabric books, pockets, envelopes, you name it! It's filled with lots of ideas and techniques. It includes some projects similar to the altered fabric book I made for my son when he was an infant. You can see lots more if you follow the link to MY ART on the side bar. Thanks for visiting!

The Artist's Way Journey

The Artist's Way group has begun! I was tempted to share the mind blowing poem by Mary Oliver called The Journey. It's certainly one of my favorite poems ever. Then there it was, on Kat's web site, propelling us off into this journey together. A group with a common focus, on expanding our creativity. So I will start off my journey with another favorite poem of mine. This one by the lovely Naomi Shihab Nye

Come with Me
A journey can lead
east and west, from
north to south, up, down,
over, under, in between,
and next to.
A journey can last
a minute, an hour, a year,
a month, a lifetime.
A journey might be slow
or fast or both.
A journey might be shining.
One journey could remind you
of another one.
Are you sliding?
Stumbling? Floating?
Maybe it all depends
on your point of view.

I wasn't sure when I was going to be able to do the morning pages. A requirement for the Artist's Way:) I have a feeling it may change each day. With a 2 year old and a 9 month old and their nap, eating, playing schedules to contend with, my "free" time if fleeting. However the time has found itself the last few days. Flowing onto the paper just as my wee ones awake from their slumber and are not ready to get out of bed yet, this morning I wrote as my baby played on the floor and my son slept in. I was interrupted by a diaper change, husband leaving for work and feeding breakfast, but they were completed. After writing them I feel so much lighter, like I'm purging from the inside. I also have been re-evaluating my outside environment. Last night I went through every box in our basement and consolidated, marked for sale or put in bags to give away. I moved my craft stuff into my new found craft room (aka laundry room). I'm feeling a lightness of being today!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Big Picture- Dive in!

Just catching up on things after a busy, fun day. The morning was filled with swimming lessons and preparing for my hubby's side of the family to come over for a holiday/birthday gathering for my sister-in-law.

I got my copy of Stacy Julian's new book The Big Picture last night. Our local scrapbook store, Artsy Tartsy , had been out of it, but they just got a few more copies in. I had read about it in some scrapbookers blogs and they were pretty excited about it. There's also a very cool web site on it with free downloads, classes, a newsletter and more. I have been exposed to so much great new scrapbooking stuff lately. There is so much depth to this hobby and the community involved in it. I feel like I've just begun:)

I grew up taking a lot of pictures and always kept a journal, but never combined the two until I had kids. For the last few years I've been participating a lot in the altered art community online. I'm in several yahoo groups and did some swaps and round robins which were a lot of fun. I did mixed media art, lots of visual/art journals, fabric altered books and other fun stuff. I was greatly inspired by the artists in the True Colors collaboration. Then one day my sister and I were talking and she said that she had seen people doing art similar to what I do and selling it on ebay. I started out doing paper bag books. They are still one of my favorite things to make. Then I did some mini albums and decided over the summer to try selling some premade 12x12" layouts. I was happy with the money I was making. It basically supported my "habit" and I'd use it to go buy more scrapbooking supplies. I now have several very loyal customers who I do lots of custom work for and still sell on ebay when I get ahead on my orders.

Back to the book....I curled up with it last night and really enjoyed it. She certainly does look at the BIG picture, taking every day life, all of it, as scrapbooking material. The book is full of TONS of great layouts and ideas. Stacy doesn't scrapbook chronologically, she has many different albums constantly going on, such as: "photos I love", "family celebrations", "just because", to name a few. I woke up this morning with visions of scrapbook albums dancing in my head. I thought about how fun it would be to do an album about fashion. Sometimes seeing a certain style or outfit in a magazine can be very inspiring for me. The colors, the textures just draw me in. I'm also in love with the clothes and home decor at anthropologie.

After reading this book my goals are to:
*journal on my pages more, a LOT more
* do a "month in the life" album or more as a way to chart Lowell's progress and celebrate his successes
*do some daily life pages- this is such a unique time in my life as a SAHM to two very young children there's so much going on all the time!

I was just checking out Ali Edwards blog and she has a link to her album class she's teaching at CKU in March. It's called "A Week in the Life" and is exactly what Stacy is talking about in her book. She even has a couple of PDF files here and here that you should be sure and check out. If you can't make it to Chicago, it gives you lots of food for thought to do it on your own. So cool!!!

I love this quote from the book:
Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences-the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Thursday, January 05, 2006

MamaSaysOm- {Uberlist}

"The goal isn't to accomplish every single item, or to judge myself by the amount I am able to accomplish, rather to remind myself that there are small things I can do on a regular basis to nourish my spirit and soul."

Get over it!!

I drew this picture in a journal many, many years ago. Since it's how I'm feeling today, I thought I'd throw it out there. My kids are driving me absolutely looney! My son is perfectly fine when someone else is around besides me and when he's watching his Baby Einstein videos. Otherwise he's a crying mess. I don't think I've mentioned before that my two year old son has been diagnosed with "educational autism". Since it was done through the school district, they couldn't give him a medical diagnosis and I feel like he's too young to have that testing done. Anyway, he's now seeing a speech teacher, autism specialist and other special ed. teachers. He attends a toddler class and gets home visits every week to help. These services all started about three months ago. He has been progressing, except that he is transforming into a boy that I'm not sure that I know (or always like). It's probably all part of the process, but he is going through some crazy emotions and behaviors lately. I know I just need to be patient.

Before a few months ago he had no way of communicating that he wanted something. He is now grabbing my hand and pulling me around, which is a great step. However, he doesn't point or use any words to tell me what he wants. So he completely freaks out and whines...all the time. His tantrums have gotten very intense. Of course when my parents come over to visit or take care of him he's just great. At least that gives them a positive experience and they'll take him more often. Today, for instance, he woke up from nap and when we went downstairs he started completely going nuts. I had absolutely no idea why. Nothing would console him, so I threw him in front of a video. There he stands with a big smile on his face, just fine. Ahhhhhh!!!!

I hesitate to be this personal on my blog, but sometimes a girl has got to vent! Maybe some of you have been there and have gotten through it. Please tell me I will too:) Ok, I know I will!! My artsy craftsy projects are an outlet for all of this pent up emotion. I'm working on my theme for the year for Swirly Girls 52 Figments project. I think it's going to be let go! ....or maybe it should be GET OVER IT as Ali said on her blog today! She says she "likes reminders....things that tell me to chill out, that everything is going to be fine, essentially to get over whatever it is that I am stessing or fretting about at the moment." Thanks so much for that:)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Slowing down

Kinda funny, I have so many thoughts running through my head just as I was about to sit down and write about slowing down.

Now that the holidays are over, my sister and her family have gone home to sunny southern California and the grey Minnesota winter is settling in, we're getting back into the routine of todder classes, swimming lessons and the like. I had a morning at home this morning with just my little one while grandpa took Bean off to class and over to their house to play. Why haven't we thought of this earlier?! Having a morning "off" (a term used loosely to mean with only ONE child:) was great. I got out my slow cooker and poured a bunch of veggies, meat and sauce in and it's now beginning to smell wonderfully yummy in here. Does anyone know of any great slow cooker recipes? This thing is a god send. I just throw it all in and viola! dinner will be on the table at 6pm and I don't have to worry about cooking during that "volatile" time of the afternoon when the littles are at their worst. I'm lovin' that!

Another random thought is that I found yet another groovy creative activity to get involved in. Ok, my plate is getting pretty full... but this is too much fun to pass up! On Swirly Girls blog she talks about her 52 Figments project. "52 weeks, 52 questions, 52 creations, 52 opportunities to think outside the box, make something up, ponder your most outlandish dreams and have some fun. " Curious? Go check it out!!

Finally, I never got around to doing last weeks MamaSaysOm post on spirit, so I leave you with this picture. I feel like my daughter exudes spirit!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

SPT #1 {Personal History}

This month's Self Portrait Tuesday challenge is personal history. The first thing that pops into my mind are my journals. I've had many, many of them over the years. They are literally my personal *her*story. After looking through many of them I realized that I didn't have many pictures of myself in them, so I found this one and went with it. I'm pretty much obsessed with journals; writing in them, looking at other peoples, reading about them. I'm completely facinated with the notion of "leaving a mark," sharing ones life story. Here are a few of my favorite books that either are journals or are about journaling:

Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal by Alexandra Johnson (click on title for chapter excerpt)
Journey into Motherhood by Leslie Kirk Campbell
The Creative Journal for Parents by Lucia Capacchione
The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year by Louise Erdrich
A Year in the Life by Sheila Bender
A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman
ANY book by Sabrina Ward Harrison
The Journey is the Destination by Dan Eldon

Monday, January 02, 2006

Creative Retrospective 2005

Inspired by Hanna's blog entry, here are a few projects of 2005: What about 2006? Well, I'm starting out with a bang, joining "Blogging the Artist's Way" a group of bloggers organized by Kat's Paws to work through Julia Cameron's book The Artists Way. If you're feeling creatively blocked, or even if you're not, come join us...we're just getting started! Here's to a creative and adventurous 2006! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Weird and wacky me!


Hope your new year is starting off bright! I guess my first post of 2006 is going to be a little different. Tenika tagged me (thanks!), so I am supposed to list 5 weird things about myself and then "tag" 5 other people to do the same. And then post on their blog that they have been "tagged."

Here goes....
1. One of my favorite movies ever is Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk (the author of the book) rocks!

2. Several years ago my husband and I took a tragedy tour. We visited the site of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, stood on the grassy knoll in Dallas, went through Waco, TX (but were afraid to ask where the branch dividian once stood) and drove through the parking lot taking pictures of the Correctional Facility in Portage, Wis when Jeffery Dahmer was there. Taking pictures was NOT such a good idea!!!

3. I'm Buddhist. Being a white, suburban Midwest mommy in the land of Lutherans, that is certainly not the norm.

4. I am almost ashamed to say, I read the celebrity-babies blog daily.

5. Lastly, this seems to be fairly uncommon these days, and some people actually consider it "weird". I had my first baby without any pain medication. Yeah..ouch!

Ok, now I tag Michelle, Elsie, Ali, Amy, twistedsoda, acumamakiki...ok, I'm tagging more than five....elizabeth, chris, Lia and shankari you're it too! Why not shake it up a bit, right?!