Monday, November 28, 2011

Life in a Day

Being bed-bound after a recent wrist surgery, there's not much this one-handed artist can do... read, type slowly, eat, drink, sleep, and oh yes, watch movies. Trolling through Netflix, I happened upon a movie I didn't get to see in theaters (though I had really wanted to), but could watch instantly via Netflix: Life in a Day.

From 192 countries, 4500 hours of video was submitted for the project, a film about simply life in one day all over the world. Its mesmerizing, unforgettable, heart-wrenching, silly, gross, and poignant all over the place. You can watch it for free at:

See if it doesn't change what you think about your life in one day. It did for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gather and Giggle

The November Gather and Giggle was perhaps my favorite yet.  Emily led a short seminar on visual journaling, sharing her techniques, her wisdom, and her artistry with us.  After watching her put together a page, we all sat down and explored this technique for ourselves.  In between chocolate, laughter, and some spilled paint, we discovered some new ways to create.  Take a look:

Beautiful colors and movement

For Emily, creating is so easy she can do it with her eyes closed
Vibrant colors and generous swirls balanced by delicate layout, a reflection of it's creator

My personal piece, different from anything I'd done before

It is so satisfying to us to be building and encouraging this creative community of women.  Make sure you put Sunday, December 4 on your calendar, and don't miss one more opportunity to be a part of our Gather and Giggle!  Come join us. Come unfurl your art. Come unfurl your life.

And Happiest of Thanksgivings to all of you.  We are so very grateful for you, for your love, and support.  Thank you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What would you do if you had the time?

As "the season" begins, time flies: parties light up the nights, errands (over-)fill our days, priorities tumble. This year I pinky swear I will do my best to be as mindful as I can. 'Cuz as my 5 year old constantly reminds me, doing your best is all that you can do.
What do you have time for? Are you passing the time? Are you filling you time? 
What would you do if you had the time?
(photos by H. Andrew)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks on a Napkin

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving draws near, and I wanted to do a little special craft this year.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays:  gratitude, family, and feasts with lots of dessert--what's not to love?  Like most of you, I don't have a lot of extra time these days, so here is a quick and easy, kid-friendly, adorable and handmade way to add a little personality to your Thanksgiving table.

Here's what you'll need:

Simple, common crafting items

  • Glue (most will work, hot glue or glue stick being just fine)
  • Leaves (from your yard is ideal, but can use fabric leaves if you prefer)
  • Shipping tags with strings (different sizes and brands available at most office stores, Target, and Wal-Mart; examples here and here)
  • Construction paper/felt/cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Circle punch (optional, can also trace around a circular lid and cut out with scissors)
  • Sharpie or paint pen
For efficiency, figure out how many napkin rings you need total so you can cut out all the separate pieces you need at once, allowing you to assembly-line it all together. 

I started by tracing on the brown construction paper around a spool of thread and the lid to my glue stick to get two different sized circles.  Then I glued the smaller circle at the top of the larger one.  I Sharpied two eyes, cut a tiny triangle from the yellow paper and glued it on for a beak, and tore a strip of red leaf off and glued it into position by the beak for a wattle.

Not sure yet if it's a turkey or a snowman in need of a nosejob

Then arrange your leaves on the shipping tag.  (I found it looks best with a fan of three small overlapping leaves or one large one.)  Liberally glue in place.  This is the tail.  Glue the turkey circles onto the base of the leaves. 

At the bottom, write or stamp a sentiment:  "thanks" or "thanksgiving"  or "turkey day" or your guests names if you wish to use these as place cards.

If you want to replace the strings, use a thin pretty ribbon to dress things up, or twine to make it more rustic.  Then tie the ribbon/string around a rolled napkin, and--voila!-- your very cute and personal Thanksgiving napkin ring.
Feel free to let the glue dry before you take YOUR photo.
Want to make it a little more grownup?  Skip the turkey, just paste (or staple, to make it even quicker) a single leaf and the words at the bottom.

Happy Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for your love and support.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feathers and crystals

I popped back to Iowa couple weekends ago to celebrate my parents 50th (!) wedding anniversary. {Ever my inspiration}, my mom had created these little mobile hanging doodad thingys.

LOVE them. She found the feathers out walking around their serene, picturesque midwestern countryside. So simple, so beautiful. LOVE.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mmmmph, mmph, mmmphphmhpph

Important Tip of the Day:

Do not keep your tube of lip balm right next to your glue stick on your desk.

No reason.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kelly Kilmer: A Rock Star! (in the visual journaling, stamping, crafting world, of course)

I love Kelly Kilmer. She's a rock star!... in the visual journaling, stamping, crafting world, of course. I've never even met her, but oh!, how I admire her. She's an artist, a wife, a mom, a teacher, a visual journalist, and in *all that*, she still seems to stay grounded, even in all her glorious talented artistry. *sigh*
Check out her blog or take a class from her -- her "Prompt a Day" e-class changed my life! -- and you'll see why I gush. I heArt Kelly Kilmer!

Kelly Kilmer Artist and Instructor
(browse her blogs by clicking the link just above. Most recently, I love her blog about stamps and stamp sites: "Adding Stamps to the Class Pile".)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Hamsters in my Brain

I have many faults.  I will probably reveal most of them, consciously or not, over the course of this blog.  (Loquaciousness being a frontrunner.)  However, I have one particular quirk highlighted pretty often because it really annoys Emily and I do it every time we work together.

In our work sessions, we discuss things, agree on a course of action, and then set to work, separately.  For instance, last week I was organizing, printing, copying, and filing the paperwork for our trademarking process, and she was sending out emails on behalf of our business.  And as we sat next to each other, working independently on our different projects, I talked out loud.  To myself.  Under my breath, I basically narrated what I was doing.

"Let's see....I need to put this paper heeeeeere......and I need to make sure I make copies of this before I send it.....aaaaaanddd.....this can.......wait, where is......." and so on.

Understandably, this really really really irritates her.  First of all, it's awfully distracting since it's hard to tune out someone jabbering away right next to you.  Secondly, it's an excruciatingly mundane monologue to have to endure.

I try not to do it, but the truth is, it is much harder for me to work when I don't.  I am noticeably more efficient when I talk to myself.  I attempted to explain this to her.

"It's like my brain is a room full of hamsters."

Times a billion

She stared at me silently for a long moment before she shook her head, went back to her computer, and posted that on Facebook.

But it is.  When I have a long to-do list or lots of ideas, it feels like my brain is a giant room with hundreds of scurrying little rodents chaotically scampering in every different direction.  Each hamster is an idea, and if I mutter to myself what I am doing, it's as if that latches me onto a particular hamster and I can follow it around the room until the thought is finished.  Otherwise, one hamster crashes into another and I get distracted and forget which one I was following, and I end up starting 30 things without finishing anything.  Lots of frantic activity without any fruitful result.  The talking keeps me focused.

Emily was not impressed.

This is one of the reasons I love crafting.  It scoops up the hamsters in my brain and plops them all down into one of those exercise wheels where they scurry to their hearts content, running themselves breathless, and when they are done, I have some cool creation to show for it.  It's an incredible resource of ideas and energy when harnessed.  It's just hard to get them all in that little wheel.

Leave me alone, I'm crafting.

Thus, I mutter and narrate.  It organizes my hamsters.

So tell me:  what it is like inside your brain, and what do you do to focus?  And please, try not to step on any of my hamsters while you are here.