Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Create Your Incredible Year

I've just printed up my copy of the 2013 Create Your Incredible Year workbook, planner & calendar!  I love it and think that it's going to be an incredible advantage for me this coming year!

It's a super popular & useful tool to help you plan out and create your most incredible year in life or business (or both - this years includes a business component - hooray!).

The Create Your Incredible Year workbook, planner and calendar has been in existence for four years, during which thousands of women have used it with the most amazing results. It’s been used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, giving them simple yet powerful tools and techniques to help them dream their biggest dreams and to actually MAKE THEM HAPPEN too.               

The 2013 Planners Are Here!!
Both workbooks are filled with dozens of pages of worksheets AND a printable calendar to help you dream, manifest, set your intentions, plan & grow your amazing year. Everything is illustrated in vibrant colors with lovely, uplifting drawings (they'll make you smile)… perfect for you to print out & get thoroughly inspired by!

I'll be using mine to help me get clarity on what I need 2013 to be. What I want to create during the coming twelve months (and my new year is going to be filled with new, positive changes!). And most importantly, I'll have help in knowing how to make those things happen.  It's going to be an evolutionary tool in the sense that it's going to help me evolve my life into more positive, prosperous spaces!

For more information on getting your own set of workbooks, the planner and the calendar, click Create Your Incredible Year

And, just to let you know, I am an affiliate as well so if you choose to join me in creating an incredible year for ourselves, I will earn a small percentage (and will be grateful for that as well!).  

Friday, November 23, 2012

I've Won!!

I am SO excited to learn that I've won Elizabeth's recent giveaway, posted here.  And I won, not one wonderful prize, but two.

Excited probably isn't the best description though - maybe over-the-top, jumping-up-and-down and wanting-to-dance happy would be closer, lol. 

I'd been sitting at my computer when I read Elizabeth's email and let out a very loud 'Woot' and then immediately had to get up and burn off some of that happy dance energy, singing 'I've won!  I've won!  Woohoo! I've won!'  My movements may be limited, but moving was the only way to deal with that level of energy. 

What, exactly, did I win?  The first was this beautiful pillow with it's colorful and whimsical art: 
A bicycle, bird, flower and hearts - what's not to love??  This is one pillow that I won't be sharing with my grandson.  I love him to pieces, but he's a toddler - and messy like most toddlers.  No messes on my new pillow, please!

The second is a place in the upcoming E-Course: Mixed Media-From an Original to Multiple products, which begins in early January!
With all of my focus having been on getting through several major flares (I've called them my A-Z flares because everything had massively amplified - pain and other symptoms from my fibromyalgia, arthritis, degenerative disc disease and feet), making huge lifestyle changes and finding ways to survive with a severe shortage of income, I haven't been making art.

I think that the New Year will see me in a new, healthier and more balanced place, and being in Elizabeth's course will definitely help to give me new incentive and motivation to bring art back into my life.  Woohoo!  I am SO ready!

You can find more information about the course by clicking the link above.  Maybe we'll be classmates!  Be sure to visit Elizabeth's shop, gallery and blog too!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A New Class - And A Giveaway

Are you interested in evolving your art into products to sell?  Multiple products?  Need some help with strategies, planning, pricing and selling?  Well, then I think I've found the perfect class for you!
Elizabeth Gonzalez spent twelve years in ceramics before falling in love with mixed media in 2009.  Her work adorns homes throughout this planet of ours!  The information on her newest class, Mixed Media: From An Original to Multiple Products can be found here and you can also visit her website where you'll find links to her gallery, blog and shop.

Oh, and please - check out her wonderful giveaway!  She's offering six different gifts/products and multiple ways to enter.

The giveaway is on her blog, so check it out and see the lovely things she's giving away.  I love her artwork...but there's also a chance to win a spot in her class.  But you need to hurry - the giveaway closes on November 20, 2012!

And yes, it's been a long time since my last post, I know!  I promise an update soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Giveaway!

Woohoo!!  Gifts Of Compassion is having our second giveaway - a chance for you to win $20 in CASH!

I've been loving doing the social media management for a new project, which I wrote about in a previous post. Gifts Of Compassion speaks to me on so many different levels. My ability to be creative; to translate that creativity into healing energy; to be a part of something giving back and gifting the world with positive, uplifting words, art and connections. Being connected to other artists in a shared project and dream. To be able to facilitate connection and communication between you and the people in your life.  And to be able to earn a small income for the first time this year.  Oh, and the fun of handling the social media end of things, which is, after all, something outside of, yet connected to, my creativity.

Gifts of Compassion was birthed two months ago and, to celebrate, we're having a wonderful new giveaway!  You have a chance to win $20.00 cash - yes, cash!  Not a gift card; not product - but cash that you can use in whatever way you choose.

Simply go to our Etsy shop, explore our art cards, and make a purchase!  Our prices are very reasonable and range from $5.00 to $12.00.  We have ten artists represented (with an 11th being added soon!) so there's a wide range of styles, subjects and messages to choose from.  There will be art there that will speak to your heart!

Look over the graphic below for all the details.  And then hop over to the shop and enter the giveaway!!  It's open through July 31st...so get moving!  And, let your friends know too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gifts Of Compassion

Gifts of Compassion is a new project started by Sung-Hee Regina Hong, who was inspired to create something that would benefit the people whose stories she had featured on her blog The Beauty Of Sorrow .

The project, now in its beginnings, consists of an Etsy shop  featuring art created by those people – all of whom live with chronic illness, depression and/or disabilities or have healed while moving through major life challenges.  Our art has enabled us to move through our challenges with grace, gifting us with healing and keeping us connected to ourselves and the world around us.
It’s Regina’s dream; our dream; to be able to share those gifts, and facilitate them within you,  and to give each of you a simple, healing way to connect with the people in your life.
 It’s also our dream to nurture and build a form of income for ourselves.  For some of us, our challenges have affected our ability to have, and keep, mainstream employment.   This is especially true for me.  For others, it is part of who we are, to want to earn an income doing something we love so well; that we can put body, heart and soul into our work and offer it to you from our hearts.
There are currently 37 postcards available through Gifts Of Compassion, highlighting the work of seven very different artists, with five more artists being added in the very near future.  Each artist has a title, such as King of Sorrow or King of Lupus.  I’d like to introduce them here and if you click on their names, you’ll be able to read their stories on the Beauty Of Sorrow blog. 

Sung-Hee Regina Hong - King of Sorrow

"...a creative way of looking at pain, healing by sharing sorrow, and letting people know that they are not alone and that we are there for each other."

Jijo Jacob - King of Faith

Keri Colestock - King of Lyme Disease

"My art was my saving grace as staying home in bed was not an option."

Ady Almanza - King of Friendship

Nancy Baumiller - King of Woman/Women

"We have choices...and choosing to be happy is the greatest one! Self-love!"

Lainey Parker - King of Artistic Depression

"There are statistics that show a higher percentage of artists, writers, and other creative souls deal with depression more so than other types of people."

Cynthia Hanna - King of Fibromyalgia/Disabilities

"Art connects me with my intuition and provides me with a symbolic, visual language…a way to process whatever comes up, whether it’s joy, pain or any or the myriad things between. And sharing the process of learning, experimenting, healing is healing in itself…"

We invite you to watch the video (above), to visit the Gifts of Compassion shop, and to share both our art, our shop and our purpose with others - and of course, to purchase our healing, uplifting art for yourself and others in your lives.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doing the Happy Dance

I love visiting other peoples blogs. Making new discoveries, being inspired and awestruck at the things others create and lifting my spirit with color and creativity!  There is so much talent, beauty and simple awesomeness online.

And I'm always on the prowl for creative resources - especially those that fit my current budget, which is zero.  Yes, truly zero.  My creativity has been drastically curtailed, not because I've run out of materials, but because I dread the day that I do.

When I do find resources, it's time for a happy dance and a heart felt hallelujah!  Seriously, I wish I could tell each person that offers freebies just how much their generosity means to me; how much their thoughtfulness feeds my soul!

As just one example, today I was visiting April Cole's blog (you should definitely visit!). She's a wonderful artist and each week she features Friday's Lovely Links highlighting online discoveries that she's made.  And one of her links was for free chevron patterned papers.  Hooray!

When I clicked the link, I was taken to Mel Stampz and it truly was time for that happy dance, lol.  Not only did I find links for the chevron papers, but also thirty-nine (yes - 39!) other gorgeous papers.

And a wonderful page full of links to templates - tons of templates.  Moustaches, dress forms, animals, birds, tags - more than 100 separate items!
And to top it all off, she has tutorials!  I love her Ribbon Spool Box with hidden compartment

but there's so much more - including one that will teach you how to access and print the papers, collections, templates and printables that she has stored on her Flickr account!

So, my creative gypsies, join me in my happy dance! Have fun visiting, exploring and creating with all the generous, gorgeous gifts on this wonderful site!

If you have a site or blog of your own that includes freebies, I'd love to feature it here!  Or, if you know of someone else who offers them.  Just let me know in the comments and I'll be in touch.

Sharing on The Trendy Treehouse Share Wednesdays and
Whatever You Want Wednesday at Free Pretty Things For You
Check Me Out Saturday at I Am Only One Woman
Show Off Your Stuff Party at Fireflies and Jellybeans

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Creativity from the Couch

This is a project done while I was relegated to the couch during my recent extended flare up of fibromyalgia and pain.

One of the things that I dreaded about flare ups was that my ability and energy for creating would drastically drop or disappear altogether. I wanted and needed a way to work around that when it happened.

I decided to organize a few supplies that I could easily access, keep near me on the couch, and use on my roughest days. I repurposed several large styrofoam meat trays - the kind you get when you buy a family pack of meat.

They work perfectly, with enough room for a few supplies, and they stack and store well in my craft closet.

The project that you see in the photos here (except for the frames) was made using the supplies on one tray. On that tray, I stored pages from a vintage book and hymnal; homemade alcohol ink sprays, brads, several colors of acrylic paint, tissue paper and thin wire.
Using the book pages, I cut each shape out by hand and then colored them with the sprays (except for the tissue paper). I followed up with assembling each flower and butterfly individually. Each day, I stored whatever I had made in small ziploc bags; partly for organization and partly to keep them out of easy reach of my grandson, lol.

For this project, I painted the backgrounds in acrylic and then layered over that with tissue paper. I used the same tissue paper in both pictures. I arranged flowers and butterflies on the background and, once I was happy with the composition, I attached them to the background. I finished up by stamping a relevant quote or saying on each one.
I have these hanging on the wall above my desk, next to the bulletin board that I posted earlier. I smile every time I look at them!

Shared for Whatever You Want Wednesday at Free Pretty Things For You
Shared for Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal
Show Off Your Stuff Party at Fireflies and Jellybeans

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thank You Brené Brown

Brené recently had a post titled ‘The Worst Advice EVER’ that really hit home for me.  In her post, she writes about her take on a little piece of advice that I’m sure all of  us have heard at some point – ‘You can rest when you’re done!’  You can read her post here The Worst Advice Ever
Living with chronic illness and disabilities is an ongoing, daily and often, a moment-by-moment process of redefining my way of being in the world.  I’ve often been given advice along the lines of ‘You just have to try harder’; ‘You need to make more of an effort’ or the related ‘You’re not trying hard enough’  and ‘you can be sick when you’re done’.    Then there’s that two edged sword that some people try to bring into play, comparing my situation with someone elses.  ‘So-and-so has chronic illness too, but it doesn’t seem to stop her.  She never uses it as an excuse!’

Do I need to mention the guilt I used to feel (and I admit I sometimes still do) at hearing those?  Yes, I think I do.  They are comments given by well-meaning friends, family and acquaintances.  People who really have no concept or understanding of what it is to be me; to live my life on a daily basis; or even to simply live with chronic illness and chronic pain.  Words that are meant lovingly and offered as a gift instead become judgment.  And those judgments have the power to create heartache, self-doubt and blame, hardship and yes, physical pain!

I ask you to keep in mind that, if I share something of what I’m experiencing, I am not making excuses.  I am not asking for or expecting your sympathy, your pity.  I am simply expressing a part of my reality.  I ask you also to remember that what I (or any of us!) experience each day, and how I experience it, is going to be different from everyone else – even those who share the same exact illness and disabilities.  Our coping mechanisms, our various boundaries, our tolerance levels, our experiences will ALL be different and defined by our individuality.

 I can only speak from my own experience; I can only validate myself.  ‘You can rest when you’re done’ has a totally different meaning within the context of my life.  For me, resting when I’m done means learning to honor myself by listening to my body’s cues.  It means finding my own stopping and starting points in everything that I do.  It means learning to live in the moment and also learning to be gentle with myself. 

How I wish that those were skills that I was able to learn BEFORE becoming ill…because I firmly believe that having those core skills would have helped me to avoid becoming ill to begin with. 

If you like the artwork that I'm showing here, I've made it available for you to print!  Just go to  Be Gentle With Yourself then right click and choose 'print'.  Let me know if you print it...this is the first time I've made something available for printing and I'd love to know!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Artist Trading Card Experiment

My daughter and I both participated in our first ATC swap last month, also making our very first ATC's.  It was a nice way to have Marta be involved, and with only three of us trading, it was a small enough project that I was able to complete it even while in the midst of a fibromyalgia flare up.  And small enough for Marta to be able to fit it into her busy schedule.  Working full-time, taking college courses and parenting a three year old don't leave a lot of time for other pursuits (can you tell I'm a proud Mama?).

This is one of a series of cards my friend Terri made with "Home is Where the Heart Is" as the theme. 
She started by lightly sanding and then applying acrylic paint as the foundation, followed by inking the background using gauze to daub on two different colors of Ranger paints.  She used paper from Heidi Grace that depicted a series of whimsical houses, cutting each house by hand.  To give each card a 3D effect, Terri added and outlined trees and painted the sun, following up by hand sewing beads and sequins to the background. 

I love the detail, layers and colors on these ATC's!

If you line up all three cards, it looks like an actual street of houses - as Terri says 'like we are neighbors, because I think of us as not only friends but as neighbors'.  

As special as the cards are, that sentence is even more so!

This next card was done by Marta.

The background was done using tissue paper and irridescent strips of paper.  The birds and hearts were cut by hand from scrapbooking paper and the legs were hand drawn, then 'adore' and 'happiness' stickers were applied before finishing up with a coat of gel medium.

Marta's second and third cards (not shown here) were done by coloring the background using liquid chalks, then applying black and white floral cutouts.  The cutouts were colored with artist markers and then the cards were finished using rubber stamps.

I didn't follow a theme for my cards, but this is the first one:
The background was first sprayed with homemade alcohol ink spray and then lightly coated with liquid chalk.  I used an East Indian motif from Dover and applied the image as a transfer (my first attempt at doing a transfer!), which I then colored with artist markers and outlined in black.  The words are handwritten. 

I'm happy with ALL of the results and very much enjoyed doing the ATC swap.  We're going to be doing another one for April, with the addition of one more person.  We're open to having more people participate, but the deadline is April 30th!

If you'd like to give and receive little pieces of art from the heart, let me know.  Group swaps will be between five to seven people, no matter how many participants there are!  Just leave a comment here with your contact info (your email address should be in this format to discourage spam, etc:  CreativeArtitude at hotmail dot com)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Angels, Angels Everywhere!

Do you believe in Angels?  I certainly do, and they've been appearing in my life and in my dreams more and more often since the beginning of the year.  When I heard about a new, upcoming course called Angels In My Studio, it just seemed to be perfectly synchronous with that.

Angels In My Studio is a five month long course that will allow you to connect more deeply with your angels, both in your everyday life AND in your creativity, while learning techniques to help you incorporate angelic energy and forms into your creations.  It's learning techniques, and so much more.

The list of instructors is amazing too!  Sheri Ann Ponzi, Chris Zydel, Susan Risse, Tracy Verdugo, Whitney Ferre, Anna Schuler, Claudia Olivos, KaePea, Kylie Pepyat-Fowler and Lori Franklin - all incredibly creative, talented women!

You can go to Angels In My Studio to find more information.  There are even a couple of introductory videos there.  I think you'll be intriqued and hope that you'll be joining us!

Yes, I'm going to be there, and I'm so excited that I'll be able to be a part of it!  Hooray!! I was notified on 3/18 (which happened to be my 55th birthday!) that I'd won a spot in the course via a giveaway on Susan Risse's blog.  What a beautiful, perfect, happy dance gift!!

There's good news for you too!  Sheri is having a giveaway for people who publish blog posts about Angels In My Studio.  Because I've already won a spot, Sheri has given me permission (if my blog post is chosen) to give two of you a chance to win a place in the course!

All you have to do is to leave a comment on this post by March 31st, telling me why you're excited about the course - and let your angels know that you want to be there!  Be sure to leave your contact information as well.  

If you post a link to this blog post on Facebook, mentioning Angels In My Studio, leave a separate comment letting me know and I'll enter your name twice!  If my blog post wins the giveaway, then I'll pull two names from those of you who've commented. 

Angels are all around us, all the time, in the very air we breathe.  
~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Antique/Ethnic Inspiration Board

After my Grandad passed, I was helping my mom clean out his storage shed.  I found two beautiful, antique picture frames.  I didn't have a clue what I would do with them; I just knew that I wanted them. 

I also had a wall tapestry, hand embroidered and purchased in India and given to me by my ex inlaws, 30 years ago, when they first came to the U.S. as refugees from Afghanistan.

I hadn't displayed the tapestry in years.  Not because I didn't like it, but perhaps because there were so many painful memories associated with it.  I never contemplated getting rid of it, yet it just sat among other things in my cedar chest; neatly tucked away and seldom looked at.

When I decided that I needed an inspiration/bulletin board, it just seemed natural to combine the two.  Who would have known?  One of the antique frames with a portion of the tapestry.  Antique married to ethnic, and I've always loved the bright colors and motifs in ethnic handcrafts.  A blending of generations and culture, even sorrow and joy.

The project itself became a way and a space for healing both the loss of my grandparents and some of the pain I still held from my marriage.  It gave me, first of all, an awareness that those parts existed deep within me as wounds still waiting to be healed.  And, it gave me a way to honor both the pain and the healing.

This is the finished project and it now holds a central space above my desk, next to an altered art vintage window frame.   I wasn't able to capture the vibrancy of the colors, but here it is:

Putting my inspiration board together was fairly simple.  I measured the back opening of the frame, then added two inches to each side and cut the tapestry to measure.  I cut a large piece of foam core board to fit the back of the frame.

With the fabric laying face down, I centered the foam core board on it.  Using a hot glue gun, I attached each edge separately, taking time to miter each corner and checking the tautness of the fabric before proceeding to the next side.

To insert the fabric panel into the frame I simply turned the frame over.  Using the glue gun, I attached one edge of the panel at a time, face down, being careful to keep the panel centered. 

The results, I think, are beautiful.  I'm totally happy with my new inspiration board and love having it hanging above my desk!

I may use the rest of the tapestry fabric to make a cushion and covered armrests for my desk chair.  Maybe a protective mat for the top of my scanner. Or maybe you have an idea or inspiration for me?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mixed Media Paint Chip Canvas

I haven't created very much art lately.  I've been in the biggest, longest flare up of my fibromyalgia in more than five years and it's pretty much brought some things - like making art - to a standstill.
Creativity is so much a part of me though, that I've found ways to nurture it. The things that I've worked on have involved small projects that I can do while reclining; things that are easy to step away from when needed.  Some embellishments made from the pages of vintage books and hymnals.  My first attempt at ATC's.  A bit of beading.

In lieu of having more current art to share, I'd love to show you the mixed media canvas that I created for my daughter during the holidays.  The original idea was found here.

I started by coating a square canvas with gesso, then layering vintage ephemera over that.  To give it a more aged appearance, I used a wash of acrylic paint and water.
I measured the canvas and cut paint chips to fit.  I wanted to create a tile-like effect, so I allowed for space between each chip and laid them out until I had an arrangement that I liked.  Before securing the chips to the canvas with gel medium, I lightly stained their edges with fluid chalk in a medium brown to give an illusion of depth.  I followed up with a second wash of acrylic and water.
I wanted to paint cherry blossoms onto the 'tiles'.  My drawing skills aren't very strong, so I first drew the blossoms out on paper, then used the drawing as a guide for painting on the canvas, using the new markers that were a holiday gift from my kids.
I then added a 3D dragonfly embellishment to the lower right portion of the canvas and finished off with several layers of high gloss to give the look of shiny tile.

I was really happy with the results.  The paint chips really do look like tile!  I'm hoping to make a second canvas to go with the first so that my daughter has a matched set above her sofa.
Has anyone else found ways to use paint chips in their art or their craft projects?  If you have, I'd love for you to share!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Cards

Beautiful cards and Valentine's Day just seem to go hand in hand, so I decided to experiment in making some of my own cards.  I don't think I've made a card since 6th grade, lol! 

Since I've been dealing with several fibro flares and a whole lot of fibro fog and exhaustion, the cards turned out to be the perfect project.  One that I could pick up and put down how ever often was needed and allowed me to work in small increments.

I decided to use paper piecing in designing my cards.  I began by experimenting with drawings and templates and the templates were the most frustrating part of the process!  I found myself wondering if I was wasting my time; doubting whether the templates would work.  Do you ever experience a certain level of doubt when trying something new?

My daughter stopped by to visit about the time that the templates were completed, and she sat down with the templates and a selection of scrapbooking papers and glue.  I absolutely loved the results - which you can see here:

I was totally encouraged by her results, so I moved on to actually creating the cards.  I used two different designs - a cute little owl and a segmented, layered heart - and these were some of my results:

If you'd like to try your hand at card making, I'm including the templates for you.  Left click on the photo and choose 'print' and the template should print up full size.  I recommend printing on card stock.  If you have trouble printing the template, I can send it to you as an attachment if you provide your email address.

The templates are hand drawn, so there will be slight imperfections.  Don't let that worry you!  Any imperfections simply add to the charm and originality of your work.  The only place where acurracy really counts is in that cut down the center of the hearts.

I recommend cutting out multiples of each piece so that you can play with color combinations.  For the heart, each piece (with the exception of the largest heart) is cut in half and the pieces are combined for contrast.  The backgrounds are up to you.  I used either scrapbooking paper, mulberry paper or glitter paints, but go with your own imagination!

Feel free to reduce or enlarge the templates to use in ATC's, collage, etc.  The only thing I ask is that you give credit and/or link back to this post if you publish your work on the internet.  It would be wonderful, too, if you share a link to your results here in the comment section.  I'd love to see what you do with my templates!

Now, to decide who to send the cards too...