Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SPT {All of Me}

Last week I admitted to being a bliker, now I must confess I'm also a biter. I don't bite my nails to the quick like I used to. Now I just bite off little hang nails and such. I've become more of a teeth grinder and many times I grind on my nails. Another unflattering habit. I also didn't realize how tense I look (and feel) when I'm biting at them until I took this picture. I guess that's another habit I should use Rhonna's 21 day challenge to break!

One moment, One life

This moment will never come again. There is an endless succession of unrepeatable events. To be alive is to be with them, to be part of them, to be unique and unrepeatable ourselves. But to do that we have to be present.
Finally getting around to posting the pages I made yesterday for day 7 of Rhonna's {21} day challenge. What a day! This page depicts some of those "unrepeatable" moments I had in my life yesterday. This is similar to the one day in my life photo montage I did here. My two year old got out of his crib for the first time. That was fun. Yikes!! So there's a picture of him sitting on his big boy bed. We'll see how that goes. His dr. doesn't think he's ready for a big bed since he's not communicating much yet. She suggested we put a "tent" on his crib to keep him in. Good luck! I also had a job interview for a public librarian position. I've been at home full-time with the kids for 3 years. It's a very part-time position in the evening. I took a picture of myself all dressed up in my new suit. I've never worn a suit before and boy did I feel on top of the world!! So it was a very long day and I tried to remain mindful amist all the stress. The challenge is really keeping me on track...lovin' that!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Take heed!

{Day Six}
Zazen brings us back to each moment. The moment is where our life takes place. If we miss the moment, we miss our life.
Zazen is to study the self.
Evening Gatha
Let me respectfully remind you,
life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken! Take heed! Do not squander your life!
{{I find this so motivating!}}

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Unlocking myself

Sometimes I feel guarded and closed off. I want to open myself to the possibilities.

This was a lot of fun to make. I was inspired to make the "metal page" by Karen Michel. She did a similar page in the book Alphabetica by Lynne Perrella. The book is photographs documenting a journal swap between many wonderful altered artists. It's similar to the book True Colors done several years ago. These books are so inspiring! The page is done with aluminum ventilation tape, a tracing wheel and india ink. Loved making it:) It was really hard to photograph, though. Couldn't get the lighting right so that you could see the quilted look. Also on the other page it's hard to see the window cut out of the paper behind the Buddha with a flower in it. You get the general idea.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Getting right down to it

{Day Four} As always, I turn to books to gather morsels of wisdom for the journey. But without doing the work, the words go right through me.

Today's theme in my art journal for Rhonna's 21 day challenge is EFFORT. I found yesterday that it wasn't about what I was thinking while I was sitting, it was about just putting in the effort, the good work of going for it. My first reaction when doing something new or going back to something long forgotten is to read about it. Look for answers in a book. In creating my meditation habit, I immediately wanted to grab all my favorite books on mindfulness and simplicity and devour them. This is fine and all, but what I really needed to be doing was sitting on the cushion...doing the work...or in this case doing nothing at all! So I did just that. No matter how short of time I have to meditate, I devote some time each day.

However, since I am a librarian, I feel obligated to give some book recommendations:) Here are some of my favorite books and authors on living the mindful life:

Anything by Thich Nhat Hanh~ my personal favorite is Being Peace

Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Wooden Bowl by Clark Strand

A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

Everyday Sacred, Plain and Simple and Stretching Lessons by Sue Bender

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Phenology and Watching

Rhonna's {21} challenge: Day 3

My entry for today says: Thoughts keep popping up over and over in my head. I try not to catch them. No need to indulge in them, but let them pass by, like clouds.

One great thing about meditating for me is that it really tends to open up my eyes to the world around me. Today I could almost feel the tiny fluttering of the essence of spring in the air. I opened up all the curtains and the blinds and let springs healing light in. Ahhhh!! I know, I'm in Minnesota...it's only February....and I know there are still weeks and weeks before spring arrives here. However, I just feel lighter today. It's like I can see the tiny glimpses of things coming back to life. I love that it's starting to get light earlier in the morning. When I'm up at 6 am with my little girl, it helps that dawn is just breaking.

I used to be a naturalist, so I've always enjoyed the phenology of the changing seasons. I try to keep a record of when I see the first robin of spring, the "ice out" date of the lake down the street. It's fun to really notice the changing of the seasons. One of my favorite places to see maps of how spring sweeps (literally) across the land is at Journey North. Since this blog is viewed by people all over the world, I would love to hear about what you are all seeing out your kitchen window or on your daily walk (Karin). Please share in the comments section what's happening "in your neck of the woods."

So I actually sat in mediation last night...for the first time in way too long! I was in my bedroom while my little girl was having trouble sleeping in the room next door (she's teething). I couldn't believe how fast the thoughts were going through my mind. I tried to stay with my breath and just gently label each thought "thinking" and let it float by softly like a cloud. I could hardly keep up. I would return to the breath and before I even knew it, I realized my thoughts were racing again. I am so glad that I have this nudge from Rhonna (thank you!) to form a new habit. I need this. I need the stress relief, I need to get back to the roots of my practice, this is wonderful!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

21 Day Art Challenge

I've begun Rhonna's {21} day challenge.

It's about choosing a habit (good or bad) to change...develop...master....conquer in 21 days and document it in an art journal. The fun begins here!

I started my book and have the cover and the first few days done. My habit to develop is sitting zazen (meditation). I'd really like to get back in the daily habit again. I write that it begins with simply showing up. Sometimes that is the hardest part. The next step is to SIT and face whatever arises.
Seclude the mind, not the movements, remain living in the world of man. Lack a tree? Plant a sapling. Without a mountain? Look at a picture. Living amidst clamor I am not flustered; true meaning is found in this. Ch'iao-jan (734-c.792)

Art and Blogging {Ali Edwards and Elsie Flannigan}

I was thrilled to interview two leady scrapbook artists...Mizz Ali Edwards and Elsie Flannigan. They are both so inspirational! Here are their tag team answers...

AM: When did you start blogging?
AE: November 2004
EF: Last summer, or fall... i can't remember. lol!

AM: What was your motivation?
AE: I was inspired by Andrea Sher’s Superhero Journal
EF: To connect with people.

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
AE: I think mainly scrapbookers...and a few other artists :)...and some mamas of kids with autism...and my family
EF: Mostly scrapbookers, i think. and family and friends...

AM: Does your blog circulation matter to you?
AE: Not really...
EF: Not really. but i love reading the comments.

AM: Do you promote your blog?
AE: Not officially – I had an article in Creating Keepsakes that included an image from my blog (talking about how you can use the writing you do in a blog for scrapbook journaling), and I do post on other blogs.
EF: No.

AM: Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
AE: A few regularly: Keri Smith (Wish Jar Journal), Andrea Sher (Superhero Journal), Cathy Zielske, Donna Downey• Tons of others when I find the time.
EF: yes. Danielle Thompson's, Ali's, Rhonna's, Mary Grace's, Nia's, Loni's, Marie's... a few others... can't think...

AM: Has blogging changed your creative process at all? Are you inspired by other bloggers?
AE: I think it is making me a better writer. It makes me consistent (as much as possible :)). I am ABSOLUTELY inspired by other bloggers. They make me laugh and cry and wonder and dream and want to do so many things.
EF: Not really. Maybe Rhonna's. it is REALLY inspring. I mostly just read them to look at cool photos and see what my friends are up to... see some layouts maybe, photos of houses, i like home decorating.. stuff like that...

AM: Do you feel it’s expanded your audience? Made you more accessible?
AE: I do think it has expanded my audience – that is totally what I love about blogging. The linking from one place to another to another and another. You never know where you will end up, who you will meet, or who will come across your blog.
EF: Yes, totally. i get lots of e-mails from my blog and people like it because it is more personal and random than just my published stuff, i guess...

AM: Is there a down side to blogging?
AE: I really enjoy it – it has become a part of the process of sharing my life with others.
EF: I am not very private... so for me, not really. i think it is one more thing "to do" at times, but it is fun, so who cares??? :) :)

AM: Do you find inspiration online?
AE: Absolutely. All over the place. So many cool things to see and learn.
EF: Yes, but not as easily as in real life. i would rather just go out...

AM: Do you participate in any online communities? If so, which ones?
AE: I like to participate in Studio Friday and Self Portrait Tuesday when I have the chance. I also am on the design team at Two Peas In A Bucket (it has been awhile since I contributed due to my travel schedule and work load).
EF: 2Peas. LOVE IT!

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
AE: Yes. It has been a really good experience for me. I have connected with so many people on a variety of different levels and topics. The ones that tend to touch me the most are the ones from other parents of children with autism.
EF: Yes. i am ok with being real and showing my flaws. i think it is good.

AM: What is a typical day like for you?
AE: When I am home, I am a total homebody. Up around 7am. Fix breakfast for Simon and get him ready for school. Then work – scrapbooking, concepting, phone meetings, planning, packing, etc.
EF: um... doing assigments, working... going to the grocery store, playing with my dog... pretty normal.

AM: Where do you usually create?
AE: I have a studio space off our kitchen in a rec-room area. It works for now :).
EF: On my bed. AM: I thought this was fantastic!!!

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
AE: Sometimes it sure does. Sometimes I get lost in linking from site to site – and emailing can be one of my biggest weaknesses at times. Overall I love it and I think it totally has a place in what I do right now...it is all about balance :).
EF: Yes, sometimes.. but i try to just get off it and work!!! :)

I really enjoy doing these interviews and think that I will try to post them on Wednesday's. Time for some new questions, I think.....any ideas??

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mixed Media Memoirs {#6}

I'm posting again today, because the SPT picture of me blinking just bothers me. I'm trying to push it down a bit on my blog:) I also finished up on this weeks Mixed Media Memoirs. The theme is "the trajectory of my life changed..." I thought I'd share my process. Of course the first thing that jumped into my head for this topic is when I first gave birth. My life has never been the same since. When I really thought about it, I realized that my life changed when I went into labor. The rawness, the pain, the surrender, the euphoria, the unconditional love of motherhood, that all started with the contractions. I had an unmedicated birth with my son and it truly was a life-altering experience. For this piece I used scans of the record my husband wrote down as he timed my contractions, a "breathe" poem that I had written in my pregnancy journal, pictures of me in labor and my first glance at my little darling. I chose the flower paper and embellishments because I found the metaphor of a woman blooming into herself during birth very powerful. My life trajectory changed course again when my daughter was born a year and a half later, but it wasn't as dramatic of a shift as the first. I look forward to more changes in direction as I follow life's ever meandering path.

SPT {All of Me}

No, I’m not stoned or a Narcoleptic, as I may appear in this picture. I’m a blinker. I didn’t even try to blink in this picture, and of course I did anyway. I especially hate it when my eyes are kinda half closed, like in this one. I blink more times than not when someone takes a picture of me. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’ve ruined many a picture by being the one with my eyes closed. I’ve always been this way. I dreaded school picture day. I knew I was going to blink and sure enough 9 times out of 10, I did! I would be one of the few unlucky souls to have to get retakes every single year. So for the Self Portrait Tuesday theme of All of Me, I wanted to share this unfortunate habit that I have that makes me look so unattractive and one that I try not to beat myself up over too much. I’ve noticed recently that my daughter seems to blink in a lot of pictures. Poor girl!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Inspire me!

Navylane Studio and Misty Eyed Art have come up with Inspire Me Thursday: a weekly dose of inspiration to be creative, try new techniques and explore new mediums. Join in here!

This first weeks challenge is creating an ATC (Artist Trading Card). I haven't made one in a very long time. So many ATC's I've seen use vintage photos. I decided to do one using something recent.

Art and Blogging (Rice Freeman Zachary}

I saw Rice's Journal Skirts in the recent issue of Somerset Studio Magazine. I loved the idea and got online to see more of her wonderful art. She also has a blog Notes from the Voodoo Cafe. Lots of fun altered clothing info. I interviewed her on Art and Blogging.

AM: When did you start blogging?
RFZ: Just recently, like a couple months ago.

AM: What was your motivation?
RFZ: Susan Sorrell told me to.

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
RFZ: I have no idea. I like to think it's people who are interested in artwear. Oh, let's be honest: I like to imagine it's a whole legion of wildly creative people doing fabulously fun art who want to crown me their empress for life and then send me their lottery winnings in appreciation for my scintillating wit and humor.

AM: Do you use your blog as a social network?
RFZ: No. I hadn't ever thought of it that way. I think of it as a way to disseminate information and, maybe, make people laugh.

AM: Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
RFZ: There are some I've been to that are terrific, but I really don't have time to sit at the computer and do anything other than WORK. When I'm here, I'm almost always working. I don't have time to chat or surf or play games or watch movies. Staying in touch with the artists I know is about the extent of my e-mail fun. Well, work is a lot of fun, so I can't really say that!

AM: Is there a down side to blogging?
RFZ: I don't really have time to do it as often as I'd like. I'd like to provide more photos and inspiration to people who might be looking for it, and I just don't have time to do it like I'd like to.

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
RFZ: No. I think of it as a chance to be myself and tell people about the artwork and things I think they might find interesting. When I'm writing for someone else, I have to keep my personality out of the written word, so this is a chance for me to be me.

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
RFZ: No. The computer is a tool, not another thing like tv that numbs the brain and takes people away from Real Life. If I used it to waste time, I'd get rid of it or turn it off after the end of the work day (whenever that is). I have a real thing about TIME (as you can see) and the ways people waste time and don't take advantage of the opportunities to do the things they'd love to do. Discipline is a HUGE thing, esp. when you're self-employed, even more so as a free-lance writer who has to meet deadlines with no one there to say, "Hey, isn't it time to quit surfing the net and start working?"

I definitely want to try my hand at making one of these skirts!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mixed Media Memoirs {5th installment}

Ok, making this was seriously fun...wild, wacky and freeing! Just how I'd be if "I peeled back the layers". Check out more at Mixed Media Memoirs.

The words say:
If I peeled back the layers they would find...the sassy me, the me that's not self conscious to show my true colors. The experimental me that doesn't have to be perfect or put together. The me that knows that life is short. Have fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Art and Blogging {Mati Rose}

My wonderful BLOOMING print by Mati Rose came in the mail today. I already have it framed and on my wall shelf. I adore it!!!! Mati also participated in my Art and Blogging interview that I have been conducting. She is wonderful and so inspiring:)

AM: When did you start blogging?
MR: January 11, 2005.

AM: What was your motivation?
MR: My friend Stef had started a blog: http://www.stefanierenee.net/ I read hers and through hers started reading http://www.superherodesigns.com/journal/ and a whole new world opened up! As my drawing teacher Mark Eanes once said, "first you see the door to the room and then an entire mansion opens up". That is how I feel about my blog discoveries and growing in art.

AM: Who is your audience/readership?
MR: I’m not entirely sure! When I write I am mainly writing for myself to keep track of all the disparate pieces of my life and inspiration. The people
that comment are mostly other bloggers that I have linked on my sidebar, and I assume that is the main audience. Despite the fact that my family and best friend never comment, I know that they read because they make reference to it, and it is a good way to keep in touch?

AM: Does your blog circulation matter to you?
MR: I first answered no, straight up, but to be completely honest, I would like to make a living as an artist, so all publicity helps!

AM: Do you promote your blog?
MR: I think I inadvertently promote it when I participate in Illustration Friday and Self-Portrait Tuesday and comment on other blogs.

AM: Do you use your blog as a social network?
MR: I’m not entirely sure of this question. I do feel like I have made "friends" through this blog, many of which I had previously or since met in person (as listed on my sidebar of links): Amanda of Frenchtoastcake, Andrea of Superhero, Shash of Me Cozy, Meredith of Monstertown, Lisa Solomon, Penelope of famed Illustration Friday, Sean of Boku, Lolo, Christine of Maganda, Jeanine and Spring... I'm probably forgetting some! So, I change that, yes, I am inspired by the blogs and the real people and am social with them! Recently I met someone who recognized me from my blog and it was surprising and I felt like she knew so much about me, and I knew nothing of her and it
was fine, but I felt an itsy bit self-conscious. Like, am I more or less interesting in person?

AM: Do you read other blogs? Which ones?
MR: The ones I link.

AM: Has blogging changed your creative process at all? Are you inspired by other
MR: I am absolutely inspired by others and that is another reason why I started a blog so that I could participate in the inspiration dialogue.

AM: Is there a down side to blogging?
MR: I need to monitor my time. I get in that same liminal space that I get in when I paint where time disappears…

AM: Do you sell your work on your blog?
MR: I have a shop I recently started through etsy: http://www.blogger.com/www.suspectshoppe.etsy.com

AM: Do you find inspiration online?
MR: Oh my goodness, a resounding yes.

AM: Blogs can be very intimate; do you enjoy showing a different side of yourself?
MR: It’s a balance… there is always the fine line of TMI… too much information?

AM: What is a typical day like for you?
MR: Every day is different. Today I got up and went to the coffee shop with my fiancé and read the paper, came home and updated my aforementioned shop,
answered e-mails, ate a banana, put some cds on random and opened some bills… now it is lunch! Usually I balance between class, creating in my
studio and work. I just quit my part-time waitressing job and am now
curating and embarking on my illustration career more intentionally!

AM: Where do you usually create?
MR: There is a wonderful studio connected to our apartment building with a group of artists called Compound 21. The garage in front is also being remodeled
to make better studios with skylights and a roof deck! It is dreamy, but has been many months of jack-hammering in the process.

AM: Do you find the computer has distracted you from your art?
MR: Yes and no. It is distracting when I use it as a tool to procrastinate. It is inspiring when I need my butt kicked, and see how creatively prolific other artists are and gush over all the cool things they are making and then I want to join their club!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fashion sense

While at the grocery store today, I thought about Melanie's Self Portrait Tuesday. She wrote about her lack of style since becoming a mother. While waiting in line, I picked up the latest issue of Elle magazine. I have also had a nagging feeling that my sense of style has gone by the wayside and been replaced by a much more drab, baggy, boring me. I thought I could use some pointers. What I found paging through this months issue was that it was chock full of inspiration for my scrapbooking! The color combinations, the textures, the playfulness provided endless inspriation for me to "lift" these concepts and use them on my scrapbook pages. I especially love the Cirque Du Soleil feature begninning here. You can click on the picture to see many more spreads. I think the $10 a year subscription price is going to be well worth the investment for inspiration and much less expensive than buying every $20 idea book that comes along. Maybe I can even revive my sense of style a titch:)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Meme's galore!

I was tagged by Katherine and Kara with two different versions of the 4’s meme. Hope this doesn't get too long.

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. 1 hr. photo clerk
2. Waste Management Intern
3. Naturalist
4. School library assistant

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Fight Club
2. Moulin Rouge
3. Amelie
4. Nightmare Before Christmas

Four places you have lived:
1. Twin Cities of Minnesota….that’s all!!

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Scrubs
2. Apprentice (both Martha and Donald)
3. The Daily Show
4. Family Guy

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Tuscany
2. Alaska
3. Norway
4. Cayman Islands

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Google
2. StarTribune.com
3. Different scrapbook web sites (Ali Edwards, Elsie and many more!)
4. Celebrity-babies.com

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Steak
2. Pizza
3. Crab sandwich
4. Sweet and sour chicken

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Il Chiostro in Italy
2. Sleeping
3. Eating and lounging at the little fajita shack on Cozumel
4. Paris (have never been there, but I would love to go!)

Four Wishes, Dreams, Desires:
1. Getting a book published or starting my own business (or both!)
2. Seeing my children grow up healthy and happy and compassionate
3. Live in another state for a period of time
4. Find my bliss in my work

Four Imaginary Lives:
1. Author
2. Boutique shop owner
3. Magazine contributor
4. Travel guide

Four things I should change:
1. Get more exercise
2. Stop grinding my teeth
3. Stop sweating the small stuff
4. Stop keeping things bottled up inside

Four people I admire:
1. My family- I admire my husband, my father, mother and sister so much. They are all so loving, caring and supportive and each have their own unique qualities and abilities that I admire.
2. There are so many artists out there expressing themselves in such inspiring ways. I admire their ability to take risks and be true to themselves.

Four things I like about the Artist’s Way:
1. The community keeps me supported and involved
2. Kat rocks!
3. Meeting up with other bloggers on the path and hearing their interpretations
4. Blogging about my journey

Four things I still hope to get out of the Artist’s Way
1. Better discipline to do the Morning Pages
2. Doing more Artist Dates
3. Continue to keep in touch with other bloggers
4. Release of my resistance

Happy Valentine's Day!

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
--over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~Mary Oliver

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sending my love...

Valentine's Day is coming up tomorrow. I always enjoyed decorating my box with crepe paper and getting cute little Valentine's stuffed in it in elementary school. Oh how I still love candy hearts! I found some great images on the web to share with you if you still need to make a Valentine for your sweetie...or whomever! Enjoy:)

Lisa Vollrath has a neat valentine freebie for each day of February. Check them out here.
Vintage Valentine ecards can be found here or you could use the images for other projects.
Lots more vintage Valentine clipart.
These Victorian Valentine's are fantastic! There are several pages of them.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Torino 2006

Let the games begin!! I just love the Olympics:) Anyone else watching? I love the music and the little montages they have at the beginning of each event, the human interest stories, the unusual sports that you don't watch outside of the Olympics, the home town heros, the underdogs, and the drama. Tonight is the first night I've really had a chance to really soak it in. I'm enjoying watching the "The Flying Tomato" and of course Bode Miller. However, the skating certainly won't be the same without Michelle Kwan. She's a legend.

Here are some neat Olympic web sites:
NBC Olympics site

Sports Illustrated
Olympics for Kids

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Putting myself back together

It sounds so cliche, but I feel like I'm in so many different pieces right now and I just don't seem to be able to put myself back together. I'm so scattered and worn and I've even fallen off the Artist Way bandwagon (gasp!). I can't seem to get back on. I've just let things slide.

Michelle had this quote on her blog the other day and it got to the core of what I'm feeling lately. Sorry to reprint it in its entirety from her blog, but it's too good not to.

Life is messy. We are juggling our balls of grocery lists and birthday cards to send, e-mails to write and appointments to reschedule, keeping them moving in the air. We are all carrying so many things in our life, and inside ourselves. Often it feels there is no place to put them down. Where do you place the questions you carry? The sadness and the epiphanies? The quite worries? Where can you put down the truth, as messy and new and raw as it sometimes feels? Where are your colors? I believe we must create what we most need to find...We have to make room for our life in progress...Trust the mess and the not knowing. This is the real part, the most interesting part...As women we must be heard along the way. We must share how it really feels, what we know but cant place. We must take a deep breath and let go....Trust the mess. Trust yourself. Leave ripples. (Sabrina Ward Harrison, The True and the Questions)

Oh boy does it get messy sometimes! We say things we don't mean to say or come across as something other than our authentic selves. I went scrapbooking with a friend last night. I was thrilled to get my entire All in One Day album done of all the pictures I took in a single day the other week. However, we got into a venting session with each other and afterward I just felt bad about it. I don't like airing out my dirty laundry. It makes me feel vulnerable and self absorbed. I need more places to put these things. I find myself needing to create every night now after the kids are to bed, just because I have so much to get out.

This week I will try to get back to the Artist's Way. I find myself a mess since I've left. So why do I continue to ignore it??

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The sweetest thing...

The sweetest, most memorable thing happened today. My little guy told me he loved me!!! He has very few words and has never put multiple words together, so this is HUGE!! And of course it felt wonderful:) I was standing in the kitchen and he hugged my knees, so I bent down to hug him and gave him a big squeeze and said, "I love you bean" and he said fairly clearly "I wuv you". The tears came, of course, and I hugged and kissed him to no end. He said it again. It's gestures like this that make all the worry and work of motherhood soooooo worth it!! He said it right after I snapped this adorable pic of him and his sister reading together. How sweet it is.....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I am ready...

This weeks topic for Mixed Media Memoirs is "I am ready to stop avoiding..." Here is what I came up with.

The picture of the woman is from a pregnancy mixed media journal that I kept. That was certainly a time of my life that I took really good care of myself. It seems like then after the kids are born all the focus is on them and I started to do less for myself. I included a little journaling tag where I wrote about taking care of everyone else's needs and making excuses to not get my own "luxury" needs met.

So my avoidance looks something like this: I always feel like I'm too tired to exercise or wonder when would I have time to go to the pool to do laps? My excuse for not sleeping more is that I don't have the option, since Chloe wakes up several times a night still and that interrupts my sleep. I also don't want to go to bed earlier since the evening time is the only ME time I have! I don't eat better, because I feel like it would be too much work. Sad excuse. I also "pamper" myself with tasty, but fattening foods as a pick-me-up. How bad is that!?! Finally, I do feel that I live a spiritual life, but really need to get back into doing the practice...zazen (sitting meditation). I find that the thought of meditating again scares me. Not sure why...

If you'd like to see other MMM projects, check them out here.

ABC's of life

I got this idea from Michelle, thought it looked like fun!

ABC's of life...
Words to remind myself to live by.

Always know that things will change. Don't get too caught up in the way they are now- it may not be the same tomorrow.
Believe in yourself and others. It's very motivating and just feels good!
Count your blessings. There are so many!
Don't linger on the negative, the worrisome, the energy-zapping stressful parts of life.
Entice your creativity by surrounding yourself with things you love.
Friends- gotta have em', they keep you real.
Giggle as much as possible. It's a life saver.
Happiness is what we choose it to be.
Inspire others and the world is a better place.
Juggle all the demands in life with your best foot forward.
Keep a sense of your old self, where you came from, no matter how different your life is now.
Motherhood is nothing you ever expected
Nothing can prepare you for it and nothing is better:)
Open your mind...and leave it that way!
People will always be smarter, prettier, and have better behaved kids, that doesn't matter. Be the best you.
Quiet time is always a good thing.
Relaxation is as important as keeping busy.
Start each day anew!
Trust yourself.
Understand that it will be ok.
Volunteer your time, your self, your skills.
Wish upon a star...it can't hurt!
eXperience life to the fullest!
Your life is your own, live it how you want.
Zealousness can be a beautiful thing.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

New loot!

Gosh, I feel like I've been MIA because I missed a few days of blogging:) I've been busy buying gluten free/casein free foods and getting Lowell going on his new diet. It's going well so far. He's actually eating better than he did before!

Last night I took a much needed breather and scrapbooked with a friend for several hours. I worked on this cute little First Year pocket book mini album. It has been the most popular album that I sell. The pockets from kids clothing are a nice touch:)

I was very excited to get back checking blogs today since the 4th week of the Artist's Way has ended, hence we can read again!! I knew that the Craft and Hobby Association winter show was held in Las Vegas this past weekend and was excited to see what new products were released from my favorite scrapbook companies. Ali has lots of the latest dish and pics on her blog. One thing I've been waiting for that are now posted on their web site is the new paper lines from Basic Grey. So here ya go! The color me silly line is wonderfully whimsy, bright and cheery. Hang 10 is a very, very cool, masculine looking line. I'm absolutely adoring the baby girl line. All I can say about the urban couture line is.. wow!! I cannot wait to see these in the stores:) I was also super excited to see that Claudine Hellmuth now has a line of scrapbooking papers. Can this get any better? I have always admired her altered art work. If you were ever into paper dolls, this Poppet line is a must!! As always, lots to look forward to seeing (and buying!). Projects are already brewing in my mind. What a great pick-me-up!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I will continue....

I went to a speaker last night at the Autism Society of Minnesota about adapting a gluten and casein free diet for people with Autism. It was very compelling and also earth shattering for me. We are still trying to come to terms with the "A" word around here. It's been a very difficult road already and we've just gotten started.

There is evidence to prove that some children with Autism have some gatrointestional problems that prevent them from digesting gluten and casein properly and that contributes to the Autistic behavior. Some people have found that by cutting out these items from thier diet, it can reduce some of their Autistic tendencies. There is some very compelling evidence showing this link. The earth shattering part of it is that you have to completely cut out gluten (found in wheat, oats, barley, malt and rye) and dairy (all dairy!). That's no small feat! The good news is there seems to be a lot of products on the market to make this possible.

The meeting itself reminded me of the movie Fight Club. A room full of people with a common thread- parents of children with Autism. Was I really a part of this group now...or will this dream end? The emotion in the room was palpable. The tears of joy hearing about how a child had such a positive reaction to the diet. The glassy-eyed stare of information overload.

So we're starting with baby steps for Lowell. Over the next few weeks we are eliminating dairy and gluten from his diet. We'll then see what changes we see. I've heard to really access the impact, after a bit, re-introduce a wheat or dairy product and look for a behavioral reaction. Interesting stuff. So this is another part of this journey for us and we'll see how it works.

So today has been a day of meloncholy about how different Lowell's life may really be. How much effort this is going to take, by all of us. I try to tell myself, "He's just Autistic..it could be so much worse." But just Autistic, doesn't quite cut it yet. I haven't wrapped my arms around that.

I will continue to try to make peace with it. I will continue to make art as a way to express myself and keep me strong. I will continue to hug my son endlessly and thank him for all the lessons he has already taught me. I will continue to be energized by my daughters bright eyes and contagious smile. We will continue...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Again, I find myself...

The theme for this weeks Mixed Media Memoirs is "Again, I find myself." I had fun with this one. I couldn't decide on just one statement, so I made a bunch of tags that went in this large pocket layout. If you'd like to know what the tags say, check it out here. Of course little Chloe's hand mysteriously showed up in it too:)