Rethinking My Energy/Mindset When I start the Day

StressSymptoms-2I just posted this yesterday but it applied to me this morning. I got up and turned on my computer, went straight to the coffee pot, and the thought that “had” me was, “what am I supposed to DO this morning?” While waiting for the coffee to get done I started a different blog decided I should do a page in my altered book for that blog pushed my watercolors out of the way to my desk got out my collage supplies. . . . and . . . STOP! My to do’s were all running together in the normal crazy way it does in my mind.

At that moment I stepped back because it hit me that I would be more centered & calm if I started rethinking my mindset when I start the day. If I wake up in go mode then I’m going to burn out before lunch – which usually happens. I immediately did some deep breathing – first breath on the exhale release the past “stuff”, second breath on the exhale release upcoming “stuff”, and on the last breath exhale & focus in the moment. I go inside when I meditate and do a body scan (it takes practice to get used to calming the mind). Then I stretched and imagined my core energy going into the ground and then up through my head so I’m connected to Mother Earth and The Universe.

Now I’m ready to calmly make a page in my altered book. One thing at a time and if I keep checking in with myself I will know what the next step will be.

This morning I’m going to be doing a page about what seeds I want to plant in myself so they start to incubate and grow. Everything takes time and nurturing so I want to nurture trusting my intuition more. I reflected over 2015 and identified the things I did that brought me good energy.

  • What worked the past year was teaching my classes and going to the adult day center to do art with them.
  • Being in a gallery in Mineral Point worked to make connections to Shake Rag Alley and now I’m going to be teaching there.
  • I really like the group I know in Madison Art Guild so that is bringing me energy & inspiration.
  • Helping people and teaching at the bead store brings me energy because I’m helping others in their creative projects.
  • Doing art for me lifts me up and doesn’t stress me.
  • Painting for certain people who ask is fun, but not in mass quantities. Teaching art not selling art brings me the most joy.
  • I love blogging and it gives me a real sense of accomplishment.
  • Having a few close friends doesn’t overwhelm my system right now.
  • Recognizing that I have to run my creative show brought me energy & released tension.

The bottom line for me is teaching and blogging are what is good for me right now. Standing in my power and truth is something I will continue to work on being comfortable with. Using art as a tool for personal satisfaction is where I am comfortable. For 2016 I’m going to practice being in my comfort zone because that tells me where I should be. I know that my comfort zone ebbs & flows so it will move me along.

I don’t thing of a comfort zone as being bad – now if a person gets stuck (and that’s what we think of with a comfort zone) one isn’t really comfortable. We know deep down that something isn’t right and we need to move. A real comfort zone is more peaceful and fulfilling. When we feel out of sync or unsettled, then check to see if our comfort zone wants us to move or branch out. My comfort zone is my inner self or intuition. We need to be in our comfort and not be searching for something we don’t really want.

I am poem

The norm is to “brake out” of our comfort, but we need to do that only if we truly need to. We know when we have to move on because we’ll become uncomfortable, restless, drained, and even angry when we operate where we don’t really want to be. If I’m comfortable and peaceful then I’m staying here until I’m nudged  to move (or hit with a 2X4 most times).

Today’s page I’m working on will be identifying what seeds I want to plant now for 2016. More teaching, more listening, and making sure I can say “no” when I need to.  What seeds do you need to plant to make 2016 more creative & peaceful for you?

 

Why It’s Important to Rest, Relax, & Rejuvenate

color mood jDo we really take the time to understand why it’s important to rest and listen to our bodies?

Do you know just how stress & “doing” will effect your body? It took a pretty big health issue to really understand that being a perfectionist & a doer wasn’t something to be so proud of. Our society has shifted it’s respect to those who “can do it all” – especially women. We get to take care of everyone and maybe we might have a few minutes jammed into the end of the day when we can breath.

It’s time to take back our health and the power of setting boundaries! Saying “no” shouldn’t be something to feel guilty about (it’s really hard for me, but I’m getting better). There are some things you can plan before you have to say that “no” to someone/something:

  • Be real with yourself and understand your limits.  We don’t have an endless supply of energy and if we are always running on empty it’s only a matter of time before your body forces you to stop.
  • Make a list of “no” responses and keep it handy – especially when you’re on the phone. The best one is to buy yourself some time so you can check in with yourself to feel if you have it in you to do this. “I’ll get back with you after I check my calendar” gives you time to answer after you think.
  • Who the fuck cares if someone gets mad at you for saying “no”??!!! If they do get mad it’s because they have an issue not you. This is something else I have a problem with – guilt for saying no. We just have to let it go. We can’t be everything for everybody even if that’s what your old programming is telling you.
  • Your first responsibility is to yourself – YOU ARE WORTH IT! You are worthy of just as much love as you would give to someone else.

StressSymptoms-2Stress hormones (cortisone) are a slow burn killer. It eats away at our body until we have a breakdown in some way. Really take a look at the photo and write down all the stuff that apply to you. Let this month be a wake up call before you have a physical/emotional/spiritual/mental breakdown. It will happen unless you stop. I feel so strongly about this since I had to go through cancer and I still have to practice checking in with my energy.

For your book in January:

  • Do the self care assessment.
  • Make a plan to take time for yourself
  • Write your retreat on the calendar and do exactly what you need.
  • Put your self care plan in your altered book.
  • Collage your perfect day.
  • Make a relaxing page spread of images that help to remind you to relax.
  • Write a page of affirmations to help you practice self compassion.
  • Do a body scan meditation. Get quite and “look” inside to see how your body feels. Use the body outline to draw what you find.  BODY (1 of 1)

Snow Day = Altered Book Day!

Altered Book for 2016 Year of Creative DiscoveryI had a client cancel their jewelry class with me today because of weather. That’s one reason why I love winter in Wisconsin because a snow day = altered book day!

I thought I’d share my process with you since you probably can’t come over today and play with me.

  • I get my coffee & some chill music for today (sometimes I blare hard rock!). The music I pick usually has a beat so I can dance while I’m decided what to do with my page. One of my body’s needs is to move (but not too much – aaarrrggg) so dancing while I’m in my home office is something that I love. I love stretching too – everybody should stretch each day.
  • I get my supplies all out in front of me with every tool in reach (scissors, glue stick, and scrap paper to glue on).
  • Take a minute to get grounded. Breath deep and let it go releasing your stress of the past. Breath deep and let it go releasing any thoughts of upcoming stuff. Breath deep and let it go while you focus just on this moment you are in. Tell yourself “I love you” (I know sometimes it’s hard, but by the end of this year you’ll be able to shout it if you practice!!)

I have already painted & did backgrounds on about 1/3 of the pages. I didn’t do all the pages yet, just some to get me started.

Altered Book 13 (1 of 1)Altered BookBasic Directions for Altered BookimageAltered Book Spread

 

 

 

 

I’ve done some pages with scrapbook paper that isn’t too busy with a pattern so I can journal on those pages. I’ve left just the paint scraping on some and then did some collage on others. I’ve left spaces for doodling and/or journaling on all the pages.

ABOUT COLLAGE:

stash of collage elementsBook Case with collage stuffBag of collage stuffHere’s my collection of collage elements that I have compiled over MANY years. I have a small set of plastic drawers, a large ziplock of magazine pictures, stickers, and then my book case of art books and the bottom is all magazines. I have mixed media, artist dolls, jewelry, yoga, fairie, and O magazines. I love collage and I can be a hoarder without taking up too much room (hee hee).

imageAltered Book SpreadAltered Book SpreadAltered Book Spread

 

 

 

 

  • When I start a collage page, I get a lot of my stash out and look through it. I pick out stuff that draws my attention. I don’t know why it’s jumped out at me yet, but I grab it and start a pile. I keep out my stash but set it to the side so I can focus on the images I’ve picked. I never know if I need a picture to go along with a page that’s not in my pile.
  • I always focus on one thing at a time and “listen” for that feeling in my gut – “Yes, that’s it” and then look for the next item that belongs on the page.
  • Your art is made with one decision at a time. You aren’t going to see the whole thing in your head and then pick out what you need.
  • I start with something that will be a focus on the page – medium size and put it on the page.
  • What would be a good background? Pick it out
  • What are other smaller pieces that fit? (either with subject matter, color, or feel) Pick those out.
  • Now I play around with the placement until I feel that “Yes”. Sometimes I add or subtract elements.
  • imageGlue them down. I use a scrap piece of paper to glue on so I can get all the edges without making a mess.

 

 

 

Altered Book Spread

Here’s a page for me to focus on self care. The heart & goddess went on first. Then the captions for me to journal about. I’ll leave this page until I get the urge to journal and then I’ll finish it.

I do my collage when I have a chunk of time so I can do several pages. That way I can doodle and journal when I don’t feel like getting out all my supplies.

I also go with my energy – if I feel like a big project (usually in the morning) I do it. In the evening I like to reflect, doodle, and bead. Get to know your energy cycles through the day – This might be a good idea to do a page charting your energy flow through out a full day.

The better you know yourself, the better your creativity will flow. If you know what you love to do, you won’t waste time on the “I should s”. This is the reason I’m combining self awareness with creativity – they go hand in hand.

Now for the phrases & words –

Altered Book spread 2 miracles in 1

phrase for altered bookI was drawn to the “2 miracles in 1” part of this add.   Again, I don’t know why yet, but I went with my gut. I tried it out on several pages before I tried at the top of this one.

I’m interested to see how this pages turns out because I don’t know what the miracles are yet!

 

 

 

 

Words from a magazine for altered book pageAltered Book Page spread with doodlesI tried several pages before “Where Good Times Reside” landed on my doodle page with mystery & imagination on it. That’s perfect for me because that’s where my good times do reside – in the mystery of life and my creative imagination.

"What I Know For Sure" will be a page I journal on
“What I Know For Sure” will be a page I journal on
Between the Lines is always interesting to explore
Between the Lines is always interesting to explore
I'm going to put the 8 Parts of self care here to remind myself
I’m going to put the 8 Parts of self care here to remind myself

 

This page scare me

This page makes me uncomfortable because there are more times when I don’t feel pretty. I need to readjust my perspective and focus about how I am pretty. I really like the transformation means renewal, but it doesn’t sit well with me – for a good reason. I am led to explore more with these 2 pages.

 

That’s how I work – 1 step at a time, do what I have the energy for, and play until I get a reaction inside me. Always check in with yourself when you have a deep reaction with anything – that means there’s a cave of mystery for you to explore. Sometimes it’s scary but I’ve always found a beautiful crystal room of inner wisdom & understanding after navigating the scary cave spiders.

 

 

 

On Your Creative/Self Care Retreat

warm fuzzies altered book pageToday I’ll give you suggestion for what you can do on your creative/self care retreat! The night before start getting ready by organizing what you’ll need and take deep breathes if you start hearing that part of us that doesn’t want to stop. I know that I will hear a recording from the past that says, “you’re lazy if you sit down. What are you doing? You should be. . . . ” Those recordings come from a part of us that is trying to protect us in some way. Maybe we got in trouble because we didn’t do something or we just were fed the recordings that were learned by another person in our life.

It has taken YEARS of practice for me to comfort that part of me that “needs” to be doing and/or “needs” to be my partsperfect. I acknowledge that little voice and send it love & comfort. I have grieved with this part of me who can never feel “good enough”. As you go deeper inside you, you’ll find these little parts of yourself that are scared and need love. We’ll go deeper into loving all the parts of ourselves in February, but for now, start practicing listening to those scared little voices that sound negative and give yourself love.

Now that you have your stuff together, you’ve comforted the parts of you that are nervous about doing something they aren’t used to, say a prayer of gratitude, get a good night sleep.

Altered book spread Start your retreat with a guided meditation to get you grounded and relaxed. Meditation does take practice because we aren’t used to relaxing in our society. I started with recordings of meditations and now I can go quickly into meditation. When you start you’ll get a TON of thoughts randomly because you’re brain is on overload and is actually trying to dump thoughts. Acknowledge the thoughts but don’t focus on them and continue the conversation in your head – just see them flying away. Your brain is a muscle that has been conditioned to always be pumping & flexing. It’s very important to let it relax often. Here’s a link to a 10 minute guided meditation on YouTube.

Now check in with your body – “look” inward and feel what’s going on inside you. Start from the top of your head and make your way down to your toes. How do you feel? What parts of you need attention, relaxing, or more movement? Where there any images that you “saw” inside you or floating outside you? These are symbols of what’s going on inside you and they want to be noticed. It’s usually the parts of us we ignore. When I do a body scan, there’s one part of me I always check on. I have a rage doll looking part of me that is under my rib cage and it is the part of me I run over when I’m too busy. Sometimes it’s totally flat and other times it can sit up. This part of me is the touch stone I use to regulate my activity. I’ve been so used to just doing that I’ve almost destroyed this part of me so I’m now sensitive to my energy level output.

You can journal about what you feel & see or use collage to make a page that symbolizes what your body tells you.

On this retreat DO EXACTLY WHAT WILL NOURISH YOU! Keep it simple, slow, and relaxing. Make retreating a sacred ritual for yourself. You matter, you deserve rest, and you need to replenish.

bits & piecesHere are some other elements that can be used on a retreat: Do the things that your spirit says “yes” to and the ones that scare you a little!

  • Something inspiring (book, museum, Ted Talks, etc)
  • Something creative
  • Something colorful
  • Something nourishing (good food – cooked greens & root veggies, massage, hot shower, bubble bath)
  • Something grounding (get out in nature, actually touch a tree, go to a green house)
  • Something mindful (focus only what you’re doing right now)
  • Some movement (stretching, dancing, walking – keep it low intensity)

Go over your self care assignment and come up with a regular plan that is simple. Make your creative discovery simple & accessible so you can do it easily.

Check in with your body & your gut regularly to feel if you’re doing exactly what you need.

Take a nap or stay in bed all day.

Work in your altered book. Prompts to use: Your perfect day, favorite color, what brings me calm/peace, use the self care wheel on one page and make a plan for yourself on the opposite page, what you want to unlearn, favorite books, songs, etc, 7 adventures I want to go on, have less/do more, what I know/believe, favorite quotes, affirmations, insights and lessons I’ve learned.

Go out and get inspired at a museum, gallery, art supply store, book store, library, an inside garden if it’s cold outside, any place that will fill your soul with goodness.

Get a massage. If you don’t have a lot of time & your muscles need something, go to the mall masseuses – tell them not to dig too deep (those guys are strong).

Take a hot shower and use the massage setting for your shoulders & neck. Use good smelling soap or a shower bomb for aroma therapy.

A bubble bath in the middle of the day.

Have some wine & cheese with some great music.

Unplug everything.

Be silent.

Write in your journal, poetry, or a short story.

Go to a new age book store and browse.

Go to an energy healer to get your chakras aligned and old emotional energy cleared. Make sure the person you see has been practicing for a long time & it’s a passion for them. Be somewhat care of Reiki because there are so many people practicing that the energy has become clouded.

Take a walk and get into nature.

Go to a zoo or museum. If you need more fun in your life go to a children’s museum and play. Go to a toy store and just think about what you played with as a kid.

Go to a movie by yourself.

Watch how to videos on YouTube to get ideas on your altered book or any subject about creativity.

Watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday programs – they will uplift you and inspire you. You can find stuff on her website or on demand.

cardsIf you have oracle cards get the out & play. I love my oracle cards!

Do the self care mad libs

Look over the 2016 Creative Discovery board I created on Pintrest for more ideas and creative techniques. There are a lot of ideas so go through them slowly.

 

Have fun on your time of self care and do what you need! May you be blessed with a feeling of warm comfort!

January – Time for a Retreat! Getting Ready

reasonsJanuary is a great month to let yourself rejuvenate from the holidays and retreat for self care for the upcoming year. It’s easy to do up here in Wisconsin because it’s hard to get out with the cold & snow (well, usually). I use this month for reflection, art projects, and relaxing with my fuzzy socks.

For the Year of Creative Discovery, this is a great time to start your altered book and decide what your focus will be for the next year. We’ve worked on prepping your book so you can work on it this month. You can get your book ready as you retreat. YES – IT’S TIME FOR A CREATIVE SELF CARE RETREAT!

I try to do one retreat in January to get myself mentally, physically, and spiritually recharged. January is one of my favorite months and I look forward to it – now you can too!

A self-care creative retreat will help you refocus while being creative. This is all about you and you will decide what’s it’s going to look like. I’ll give you my suggestions so you have something to work with but the main purpose is that you spend time outside your normal routine doing only things that will nourish you.

HouseBefore you take your retreat:

  • Schedule it on your calendar! Take as much time as you can (at least 4-5 hours).
  • Take some time to get quiet and listen to what you need. Try writing in a journal for 5-10 minutes without stopping or really thinking about what you’re writing.
  • Take the Wellness_Assessment to see any areas where you need more self care.
  • Download the Self Care File I made for permission slip, ideas, and photos for your altered book.
  • Set a focus or intention for your retreat based on what you need and give yourself permission to take the time you need.  A good question to answer for your intention is – How do I want to feel after my retreat? What do you really need – rest, a fun outing, time with friends, work in your altered book, physical pampering, or being out in nature? Going into your retreat with a basic plan will help you stay focused on your needs & following through with your retreat.
  • Get any supplies you need ready so you don’t spend time looking for stuff. Create a self care basket with pampering & art supplies.
  • basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a list

 

 

Taking the time to get ready for your retreat gets you in the mood for taking time away. Self care is serious stuff in a fun & creative way. Sometimes it takes practice taking time for yourself, but it is essential for living your truth.

The next post will give you more ideas for your retreat day.

 

January is Rest Relax & Rejuvenate to Start Your Year of Creative Discovery

Meditation RocksJanuary – Rest, Relax, & Rejuvenate

“A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, do something totally different and unexpected without any prior planning.”
Franklin Gillette, The Secrets of Concentration and Mental Rejuvenation

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.      Thich Nhat Hanh

YEAH! It’s almost January and the start of your (and my) year of creative discovery!! I’m pretty excited to share with you my journey unearthing my authentic self & my truth through expanding my creativity. I am more at peace with who I am now than I was 10 years ago when I was forced to redefine my life. It’s been in the difficult experiences that I have learned more about who I really am and just how strong and wise I am if I follow my priorities.

No matter where we are in life, we can always learn more about who we are through quiet times, creativity, journaling, and following our hearts. My hope is that you will be more in love with yourself, learn what brings you energy (and what doesn’t) so you can follow the path that makes you happy, and to be able to say “no” to the stuff that drains you.

It was in an altered book, 10 years ago, that I started my journey which has led me to the best years of my life. Working creatively with collage enabled me to connect with my higher self and gave me the courage to break my habit of people pleasing. Now that I have practiced getting quiet through meditation and really learning to listen to my gut/heart, I find that I am more open to wonders of what the universe have in store for me. I see the magic, appreciate the wonderful people that walk across my path, and am able to learn from the discomforts I face.

I will help with the themes that impacted me and the creative techniques I have learned along the way, but I want you to to dig into your truth and follow your intuition for the lessons you need to be whole. If there is something that sparks a reaction – either a “yes” or “that scares me” – follow those because that’s where the juicy goodness is for you.

This is your journey to expand your both your creativity and your intuition to get to the good stuff – the real you!

BeforeIn January we will start the year by relaxing and using our natural bio-rhythms to “hibernate”. We need down time so your first lesson in self care is to fight the desire to always be going and just relax.

On some pages of your altered book (or get a journal) start a practice of journaling. It’s really simple – just sit and write. Don’t think too much, set a timer for 5 – 15 mins, and write in a stream of consciousness. You’ll be amaze at what your inner you brings out. You’ll learn a lot about what makes you happy, the issues that distress you, and your dreams. Use the quotes, themes, or prompts as a starting point. If you do this right when you get out of bed it helps to drain the crap out before you start your day. -If there’s a strong reaction in you right now then this is something you need to do. Look into it more with books, a workshop, or on line.

This month we will retreat and in the next couple of blogs I’ll give you more details. Focus on doing collage in your journal – make pages that are filled with relaxing elements. Gather pictures of your favorite things that help you get calm and feel cozy. Do your book with a warm cup of tea and fuzzy socks. Journal about the activities that restore your energy. Go to a book store and just wander around. Get comfortable listening to what you want to do for yourself – write them down & do them. Take care of yourself in luxurious ways this month. Be uncomfortable with the amount of time and pampering you give yourself this month. Revive your spirit, relax your body, and rejuvenate your creativity in your altered book.

Peace

 

 

 

Sometimes Art isn’t About Making Money

You Can FlyThis is one of my favorite altered book spreads. “You know that dream where you can fly? It’s not a dream” and Define Yourself.

Today I’m going to define what brings me energy as an artist and it isn’t about making money!!

Once you are declared/recognized as a person who makes art, a lot of the time there comes the question. . .  “Do you sell your art?” or “Wow, you could make a lot of money with this”. I have to admit this grates me to the core. I know that it is a form of compliment and I am very grateful that when people see my jewelry they are giving me their appreciation of what I can do with beads.

Beaded SunriseI’ll let you in on a secret – I do art because I love it and it brings me joy, relaxation, meditation, insights, challenges for my brain, and beautiful colors/textures. It’s my exploration & experiments. I do not actually feel the need to sell any of my work.

Here’s my confession – I get sucked into societies “shoulds” and I’m driven to try to sell every piece I make. I have spent a year trying to make pieces for a gallery and create classes for my income. I found myself worn out, frustrated, and defeated. I could not conform to the goal I forced upon myself. If I checked in with my down deep self – she would tell me it’s not about selling. That’s not the way for you.

Did I listen? No.

There are wonderful artists who’s path is an income with their work and I admire their path. It just isn’t mine. I have to honor my path as well and do art ONLY because it makes me happy. I will not close the door of trading my stuff for money, but I am not going to pursue a path that isn’t mine and try to force it.

Are you going down a road of forcing your life? I’m just going to let that hang there.

cropped-chair-back.jpgLife is our canvas and only we can create the art that is our life. We create all the time in how we live our life. What kind of painting are you creating right now? Is it bright colors you put on with a smile and light touch? Is it an angry piece that has slashes of paint thrown on out of frustration? Or is it gray/monotone with a mechanical zombie on it (looking at a cell phone of course)?

This year’s blog series came to be when I was meditating over a 3 day period when my boyfriend goes off hunting to bring us lean, clean meat for the freezer. I use this as a time of reflection & meditation and on Halloween, I found myself writing out this whole concept. I was instantly transported into a bright and shinny world that flowed with ease. Oh, what a vacation from what I had been living! Something that was mine and I could share it with other women who just might feel the same way!!!

The best part is that I just want to do because it makes me happy and I don’t want to exclude anyone due to money. I know that if I do what I’m suppose to do without holding back I will be provided for. I am now satisfied with working part time and teaching jewelry classes at the wonderful bead store where I work! A shout out to Madison Bead Company!!!

In conclusion, my path is not to make a living selling my art. I am here to make art because I love it and help others gain the confidence to find their inner art because it makes them happy. I will continue to create my life with my truth and I invite you to give it a try too!

The Start of My Altered Book – Explained

Altered Book SpreadHere’s the start of my altered book so I can explain what I did & why. Most of the why is because I felt like it. I do a lot of my art by the way I feel instead of thinking out the process too much. I’m not a planner I just do stuff.

This helps a lot with the perfectionist in me. When it comes to my art I see everything that could be better and I compare my stuff with other people’s fantastic art. It has taken effort, practice, and learning to be compassionate with myself to just accept what I do and love it. I’m a lot better at loving what I do now because I’ve practiced telling myself that what I do is perfect for me. It takes time but you’ll get better!

I’d love it if with this altered book, you’d practice going with your gut & practicing self compassion. Loving what you make takes you closer to loving yourself and vice versa. This is your private love story to yourself – go deep and fall head over heels in love with the most important person in your life: YOU!

My most favorite technique is collage so I’m going to have a lot my my pages with a background, collage, and then some writing. The above picture is the title page that I wanted to keep so I just used colored pencils and I’ll doodle more. I dug in my stash of collage elements and the two hearts felt right to me (this book is all about love) so I glued those down. I used stickers with definitions of some of my favorite words to add. Watercolor pencils around the outside to make everything pink. This is the first time I’ve really used pink.

imageimageAltered Book 18 (1 of 1)Altered Book 13 (1 of 1)I used scrapbook paper in a lot of backgrounds – it’s fast and easy. Use a liquid glue and scrape a thin layer on the paper – get all the edges. Place it in your book. I have a large scrap paper that I do my gluing on. I’m using a lighter background that isn’t very “busy”. I got a pad of scrapbook paper on sale that I used for the above pages. You just want an interesting background with your first layer on the page.

imageimageAltered Book 4 (1 of 1)When I used the gesso, there were pages that I wanted to cover all the text. In the first photo I wanted to save the title & quote so I gessoed around that spot. When you’re looking at the pages, you can do a found word poem. Circle words or phrases that resonate with you and then cover the text around it.

Altered Book 2016Here’s an example of one of my found word poems. Pick words from all over the page. You can doodle lines or arrows connecting the words in the order you want.

 

 

 

Basic Directions for Altered BookimageAltered Book 14 (1 of 1)Altered Book 15 (1 of 1)Scrape painting! OMG I love doing this! The first photo is scraped paint right on the page without gesso so you can see the text. The second photo is with a layer of gesso & then paint. It’s more opaque. I used iridescent paint on this page – you can use glitter paint or glue too (the glitter doesn’t get every where). The next two photos are gesso with a stencil. Lay a stencil on the page and use a pallet knife to scrape the gesso over the stencil. Let that dry and paint on top.

For the background pages, I randomly pick pages and do what I feel like. One morning I did the gesso on pages & let that dry. The next morning I did paint scraping on the gesso & plain pages. If I wanted to save some of the text I painted (or collaged) around it. This is a “grab & go” project. Check in with yourself and feel what you want to do. I would love it if you were able to identify that desire in yourself easily when this book is done. Your gut is your compass for your truth & right path. 

Altered BookimageimageimageimageI do a lot of collage. I’ve collected images from magazines (Somerset Studios, Cloth Paper Scissors, art magazines, O, National Geographic, comic books, and picture books). I go through a magazine and rip out the photos & words that interest me – don’t think when you do this. Let your inner self guide you because she has a message for you that you may not understand just yet. I think of my collages as oracle cards – after I do one then I sit back and meditate on what I’m suppose learn about myself. There is mystery here and sometimes the answers are just out of reach but you know there’s a deeper something for you. Rest in your mystery and know that some part of you came out and expressed itself. We understand symbols & images better than words so go back to your pages and see what else is there.

collage directionsHere’s a simple how to for collage. Background that is a more “simple” pattern, Middle ground images (1 -3), and Accents that are smaller.

You can use the rule of thirds for a page layout.

rule of thirds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Don’t worry about what you get done – we’ll be in this book for a year. If you finish one and do another great but this is not about finishing – it’s about the time you spend with yourself while you’re doing the book.
  • Get some pages started when you have bigger blocks of time so when you have a few minutes you can pick up your book and doodle to relax from the day.
  • I still have a lot of pages with nothing done to them so I have work space for later.
  • DO follow your creative desire and create whatever you want. If a theme or a prompt brings up strong emotions then dig deeper. If you aren’t feeling inspired or neutral you don’t have to pursue that prompt.
  • DO follow your energy. If you are out of steam, rest and relax. I’ve found if I’m just not feeling it and try to do art it becomes frustrating.
  • DO create when you want to celebrate or rant your negative crap out. Expressing your emotions helps you process them. You’ll find you have a different relationship with your feelings when you get them out & look at them.
  • DON’T force yourself. Leave your “I should” at the door with your creativity. If you follow your desires here, it will be easier to follow your heart in other areas of your life. This is your safe zone to practice trying on your personal truth. It takes a lot of bravery to be fully who you are.
  • DON’T judge your work. Practice focusing on the parts you like first and compliment yourself. If there is a part that you aren’t at peace with, then it’s just asking you to spend more time with it. Try more layers or 1 more color. Cover a part of a page with collage if you really don’t like it or gesso over it. When I’m not comfortable with one of my pieces (and I’m not until it’s done) then I just do more with it. When it’s done I have a knowing down deep and I’m satisfied. It took me many years to be in tune with my work so don’t get frustrated if you can’t “feel” stuff (or identify what it means) when you begin.
  • REMEMBER it’s the process not the product.

Get Creative Even with a Time Crunch

Altered BookEven when you don’t have a whole afternoon for diving into your altered book, you can get creative even with a time crunch. By doing your pages in stages you can slowly build your altered book. We have a whole year to play so calm yourself when you feel the pressure of producing (that’s for the outside world).

This is your creative “me” time for fun & relaxing. No stress, no pressure, and no perfection. As we uncover our personal truths that years of kicking them under “I shoulds” there will be emotions we will feel. Try your best to be compassionate with yourself and forgive what you may think are your downfalls. Give yourself the gift of being truthful – grieve the loss and celebrate your triumphs.

Use an art journal or your altered book if you’re following the year of creative discovery.

 

When you have big chunks of time:

  • Do backgrounds
  • Get messy
  • Get out all your supplies
  • Do some paintings in your book (keep a hair dryer handy for drying)
  • Make it special with a cup of tea/glass of wine, great music, and a candle/incense.
  • Do some pages & then take a nap
  • Make an image/idea library in a 3 ring binder. Put all the images in here that peak your interest.
  • Cut out pictures & words from magazines

When you have one hour:

  • Collage background/large pieces on your page
  • If you have water soluble crayons or pan watercolors do an abstract on a page
  • Paint a tree
  • Rip up images for their color and make a landscape
  • Practice meditating for 5 – 10 min, looking inside you for any symbols that come up. Paint or draw what you see or use the body outline to draw on.
  • Doodle a mandala or any design in a circle. Play some soothing calm music as you draw.
  • Start an image transfer (directions will be posted)
  • Add a thin layer of gesso on a printed picture of yourself and decorate/paint it.

color mood gcolor mood iWhen you have 1/2 hour:

  • Get ideas from the Pintrest board if you’re tired or need a break.
  • Collage
  • Organize your supplies and put your favorites in a large baggie for easy use.
  • Cut out images
  • Think about prompts/themes and your truth.
  • Journal your thoughts without really thinking too hard & don’t stop until 1/2 hr is done.
  • Plan a page and use sticky notes to remember what you want to do
  • Write a poem
  • Doodle
  • Power nap/meditate
  • Get outside & walk around the block

Altered BookWhen you have 15 minutes:

  • Breathe
  • Check in with how your body feels
  • Stretch – bend over, twist your body, move your neck, do some wall push-ups, and stand in a superhero stance for 5 mins.
  • Pintrest
  • Doodle
  • Hug yourself & tell yourself how cool you are
  • Listen to your inner self/higher self and find out what you want to do
  • Dance to your favorite song
  • Imagine your perfect spot/house/garden, etc

 

The Themes for Each Month of the 2016 Year of Creative Discovery

Map of monthly blog themesEach month in the 2016 Year of Creative Discovery there will be a theme with prompts & projects for that theme. I thought I’d give you the low down on the year so you know what’s coming up. The list is incomplete for right now – I haven’t got concrete ideas for Oct – Dec yet.

Being creative is actually just being able to problem solve in ways that work for you. With art there is the problem of a blank page and how do I make something that I like. Self awareness comes as we ask ourselves what we really want out of life. For me, my creativity flows so much better now that I am getting clearer on my personal truth. That’s why I’m joining the two together – because it works better together. That is the essence of using art as a therapeutic tool. Art as a tool in your life.

January – Rest, Relax, & Rejuvinate

“A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, do something totally different and unexpected without any prior planning.”
Franklin Gillette, The Secrets of Concentration and Mental Rejuvenation

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.

Projects: A mini retreat
Creative Focus: Collage
Explore: Crafting questions for yourself, what do you want from your retreat, what low grade stress does to your body & soul, putting yourself first (now there’s a sticky concept)
February – How do I love ME, let me count the ways
“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
“Our soul is like a soft and gentle flower, it needs to be nurtured, cared for, tended to, with sufficient sunlight, fresh air and freedom to bloom into its most precious and beautiful form. This, my friend, is self-love.”
Miya Yamanouchi, Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women
Projects: write a love letter to yourself, artist outing, and personal shrine
Creative focus: Doodling (on your collages)
Explore: Love all your parts, looking inward & seeing the symbols, you are enough
March – Trusting my gut
“I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.”
“Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy. The differences between people lie in their use of these senses; most people don’t know anything about the inner senses while a few people rely on them just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably even more.”
C. JoyBell C.
Projects: Look & feel inside/meditation, body scan
Creative focus: What’s my style
Explore: What bring me energy, your internal compass & intuition
April – The Rules I’ve Lived by – Until now
“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass
“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.”
Banksy, Wall and Piece
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso
Projects: Mask, Stop Doing List, Journaling Purge
Creative focus: writing
Explore: Negative self talk, people pleasing, my story – the past
May – My Journey
We have stories to tell, stories that provide wisdom about the journey of life. What more have we to give one another than our ‘truth’ about our human adventure as honestly and as openly as we know how?  – Rabbi Saul Rubin

“You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.”
Joss Whedon

“All I wanted was to live a life where I could be me, and be okay with that. I had no need for material possessions, money or even close friends with me on my journey. I never understood people very well anyway, and they never seemed to understand me very well either. All I wanted was my art and the chance to be the creator of my own world, my own reality. I wanted the open road and new beginnings every day.”
Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps

Projects: Maps

Creative Focus: Making Maps

Explore: How your present emotional triggers relate to the past. Be in the present moment but understand where you’ve been.

 

June – My Passion is:        My Purpose is:

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

“Free yourself from the complexities and drama of your life. Simplify. Look within. Within ourselves we all have the gifts and talents we need to fulfill the purpose we’ve been blessed with.”

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Projects: Vision Page

Creative Focus: fold out pages & pockets in your altered book

Explore: Finding your purpose and/or what brings you energy

 

July – Your Shadow Side

“I embrace my shadow self. Shadows give depth and dimension to my life. I believe in embracing my duality, in learning to let darkness and light, peacefully co-exist, as illumination.”
Jaeda DeWalt

“Every pain, addiction, anguish, longing, depression, anger or fear is an orphaned part of us seeking joy,
some disowned shadow wanting to return to the light and home of ourselves.” ― Jacob Nordby

“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to life in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.”  ― Debbie Ford
Projects: TBA
Creative Focus: TBA
Explore: How fear & doubt manifest and not being afraid of your shadow
August – What do I Want to Learn
Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life. ~Henry L. Doherty
Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself. ~Vilfredo Pareto
The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. ~Mortimer Adler
Projects: Ted Talks and Podcasts
Creative Focus: Stencils
Explore: Lists and goals
September – When Life Throws Us a Curve Ball
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

Projects: TBA
Creative Focus: TBA
Explore: TBA
October – Keep Calm
November – Being thankful for who I am
December – Reflection
I will update the themes when I do a little more research or find that there is something our group wants to do.