Monday, July 30, 2012

Feelin' Fuzzy

~ by Emily Cline ~

I'm having one of those fuzzy days. My mind is so far away.
I want to be with friends that aren't near me.
Friends I'm thinking about.
Friends I want to comfort.
Friends I miss.
Friends who hold so much space in my heart we are sisters.

Years ago, I didn't really know how to be a friend. To be honest, I felt different and isolated -- don't most of us? -- and only took care of myself. I was totally independent. I admire that in people now; it's something I'm not very good at anymore. Now I'm not dependent, but as I read in Orly Avineri's book, "One Artist Journal" (which I'll post about later) I'm feeling interdependent. She calls it "... a devotion to ... take care of our individual needs and the needs of others as far from us as they may be."

I will do the things I need to do to take care of myself today: eat healthy, have my juice, do some art, and do my (dreaded) exercise. But my desire to care for and be with my sisters is overwhelming.

I just feel fuzzy.

***What's next?***
Gather & Giggle! Join us Friday, August 24, from 7:30-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date. Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
We're joining the fabulous Etsy crew's suggestion in their nation-wide craft party! We'll make postcards with the "Wish You Were Here" theme!
Email for details: or at 

Also, you can see a couple photos of our handmade Travel Journals from our July Gather & Giggle *here*! Many thanks to Lisa Sonora Beam for the inspiration and to the ladies who came and played!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just a really Bad Idea

by Deborah

With all the fun events and amazing guest bloggers, you may not even have noticed that it's been pretty radio silent from Texas for the last month as I swam through piles of boxes and unpacked and unpacked and unpacked and accommodated workers and figured out where to put all these towels (why do I have so many towels?!!?!) and got a new driver's license and mailed change of address cards and found a day camp for the kids and ordered window treatments and restocked the pantry and had some family visit and washed all the box-dirty blankets and clothes and linens and did I mention the towels and bought a new refrigerator and tried to find a babysitter and had my car inspected and tackled to-do lists and reframed broken pictures and celebrated an anniversary and picked out ceiling fans and changed all my billing address information and attended a family wedding and a birthday party and tried to meet new people and figured out where to put the furniture and mirrors and pictures and took care of sick kids (thanks, day camp!) and went to the doctor and dealt with crippling exhaustion and nausea and grew a new baby.

tiny tip of the iceberg of one corner of my office

this is me trying to impress you with the neat version of a corner of my office

Putting together a new house while your husband starts a new job in a new town where you don't know anyone turns out to be a pretty big job.  And of course, here at Doodlebugheart, we like to share our stories, hoping that by doing so we can impart a little insight and wisdom.  So I would like to distill the exhausting, overwhelming, daunting past few weeks of my life into this little tidbit of wisdom for you:


As in, like, really.  Actually and truly.  Very hard.

You're welcome.

At the month mark, we are finally to the point where we only have that "Where the #%&*@$ is.....????!" experience  three or four times a day as opposed to three or four times a minute.  We know where our dishes are, can find most of the clothes, albeit probably in a pile on the floor of our closet, have hooked up our computers and phones, have appeased the kids with enough opened boxes of toys, and have the beds made.  So we can function, and very very very very very very very gradually I am working out systems for everything else, assigning and organizing and putting away.  It's slow and painful and annoying, but I feel like I finally have my head just above water.

And this is where the bad idea comes in. 

I can give you 25 very valid reasons this is a bad idea and particularly bad right now.  I don't really have any justifications for doing it.  Normally I am a very practical person, weighing the pros and cons and choosing with my logic over impulse and emotion whenever possible.  Instead, this time, I did this:

Meet Bad Idea, also known as Sadie

We got a puppy.  Because there is nothing better to introduce into our lives right now than chaos and sleepless nights and sharp puppy teeth and potty training and vet visits and constant supervision of children with a 10 week old Doberman puppy.

This, my friends, is the definition of a Bad Idea.

As we were driving to pick her up, I listed all the reasons this was a Bad Idea to my husband.  He listened carefully, added a few of his own, and nodded in agreement.

Granted, we had been talking about getting a dog for years, particularly a Doberman.  We had gone so far as to look on 3 different occasions in the past few years.  We had just never connected with any of the dogs we had seen.  And yes, we had promised the girls a puppy once we moved to Texas.  Like many little girls, they are both obssessed with puppies.  But did I mention we JUST MOVED and I'M PREGNANT and I HAVE TWO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 5 and PUPPIES and OMG THIS IS A BAD IDEA.

OMG Bad Idea but OMG she's so cute!

As we making the final decision about whether to bring Sadie home into our family or not, my husband and I went over all the reasons again this was a Bad Idea.  Then he looked at me and said, "So are we doing this?"

I nodded yes.  "This is a bad idea, but it makes me very happy."

And it does.  She does.

I spend a lot of time screaming at her and my children to leave each other alone and chasing her as she runs off with my shoe or my bra or the chair pillow and cleaning up pee and poop.  It's a lot of work.

But it makes me really really happy.  I needed a little extra happiness.  And she gives it to me.  Sometimes choosing with your heart instead of your head isn't a Bad Idea at all.

She's mischief and sweetness wrapped up in a big cuddly ball of sharp puppy teeth.

I hope this week you will really listen with your heart and make a "bad decision" that makes you happy, even if it complicates things.  The best things in life are always the most work.  Let yourself make a bad decision in your painting, create a crazy dish, combine stupid materials, send an ugly card.  Allow your heart to let you know what you need, and just do it.

Hope you find your Sadie this week.  And hope that it is better housetrained than mine.

Monday, July 23, 2012


*Dear Reader,
I want to introduce you to artist, teacher, visual journalist, mother (of my future daughter-in-law), very good friend, and so much more, Heather Arndt. We met four years ago, when our now six year olds fell in love in preschool. 
At the time, she was opening Happy in Los Angeles, a beautiful store full of the most interesting, eclectic, modern, home/life/personal goods. She has her masters in art and is, like us, in transition. She comes here as a favor today; hopefully, there will be man more 'favors' to come in the future!
I give you: the amazing, the beautiful, the talented, Heather Arndt!

Decisions. Crossroads. Life choices.

I'm standing at the precipice of a great career change. A life change. In my heart I feel all of my experiences have led to this point.
As I look into creating the life I want for myself, I look at my resume of interests, pursuits and career paths.
Yogi. Artist. Designer. Entrepreneur.

I've read books on finding what you really want in life, designing your life, vision boards etc. 
I've been inspired by people, like my brother Ake, who has invented his own life career doing music promotion and light shows for bands, and he loves it. 
I especially am inspired by Ake, because what he is doing is so unique and hard to explain, yet he is clear on what it is and isn't, and focused on making it happen.

I, my self feel I am creating a unique career path that holds elements of all my past work, along with some new material and focusing it into a new direction. It's hard, and it's hard work.

I've journaled, asked and answered the tough questions. And I feel I have finally honed in, both aesthetically and conceptually, the life and career I want for myself.

So why does my husband want me to wait a year?

And will I?

Oh life and it's funny predicaments. After all this lead up of the last 2 years of really truly finding my calling. my voice. I'm designing my future and I love the look of it. I dial into the universe to launch, and I get a "please hold".

As I'm writing this, I've yet to decide what I will do. Go for it, against my husbands recommendation of waiting, or heed his concern and put off this life that I want to start as soon as possible?

A friend randomly sent me this meme as I was contemplating this post this morning. It may hold my answer. or it may just be another silly facebook quote. 
   ~Heather Arndt

***What's next?***
Gather & Giggle! Join us Friday, August 24, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date. Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
We're joining the fabulous Etsy crew's suggestion in their nation-wide craft party! We'll make postcards with the "Wish You Were Here" theme!
Email for details: or at 

Also, you can see a couple photos of our handmade Travel Journals from our July Gather & Giggle *here*! Many thanks to Lisa Sonora Beam for the inspiration and to the ladies who came and played!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hello, my name is Tracey Clem...

...and I am addicted to supplies.

Seriously, I am an absolute SUCKER for art/craft supplies. Paper, paint, tape, glue, pens, markers, stickers, rub-ons, stencils, stamps, ink. Oh man, Michael's sees me coming, and rubs it's greedy little paint-spattered hands together in glee knowing I'm about to drop some cash on a load of goodies. And don't get me started on Blicks, my local art supply store. Their acrylic paints are so yummy - and sneakily affordable. I have always been this way. Even long before I came to the world of art and crafting my mom and I could spend a glorious afternoon browsing office and school supplies - all those pens, papers, clips, tags...

Thankfully, I have a found a support group in Deb and Emily who share my supply struggles. Ok, we are actually more like enablers - there's something about buying supplies for someone else that makes it okay for you to have a few yourself. I mean just look at this gorgeous package of goodness that sweet Emily sent me for my birthday...


So in the spirit of luring you to the dark side, I thought I'd post a few new supplies that I'm loving right now...a few art store supplies and then a couple of fun finds outside from outside the craft aisle!

Check out these gorgeous India Inks from Dr. Ph. Martin! They come in a small bottle with a dropper and I can't stop drawing with the dropper and splattering my pages with the ink.


I'm also addicted to the Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watersoluable crayons. They are so supremely smooshable, smearable, blendable and paintable. And portable!! Throw them in your bag with some paper and a waterbrush, and you are set!


Now, how about a few supplies from Staples! I picked up these shipping tags for about $6 for a pack of 100. They are great for a small, quick project and are so fun to staple, tape or sew onto a larger project.


I also picked up this pack of different sized alphabet stencils - great for spraying ink through!


Then I couldn't pass up these Portfolio Oil Pastels - 24 colors for only $10! They are similar to the Caran d'Ache in function - smooshable, smearable, paintable - but much more affordable. If you want to try out a watersoluable crayon, these are a great place to start.


And finally, my favorite find, check out this amazing tape! It is actually drywall joint tape from Lowe's. For about $7 you get 100 feet of self-adhesive tape that looks like punchinella. You can use the tape, which is white, AND the backing that you peel off, which is brown. I have to give credit to Donna Downey for this one. I have been following her blog recently and she frequently uses this tape in her art journal.

And here's a quick page I did with some of these supplies!


What are your favorite supplies - both traditional and non-traditional?


Monday, July 16, 2012

Giving and Winning: Randel Plowman

     ~by Emily Cline
A few years ago, I found A Collage a Day artist Randel Plowman. Not sure how I got there; I'm not known for my web-searching prowess. But lucky me: my life and my art has been richer ever since!
My first Randel Plowman purchase!
First I fell in love with his collages. Simple, easy, and complex. Every day on his blog A Collage A Day, he makes a collage every day, posts them, and sells them for $25-$75 each.

I e-introduced myself and soon swooned for his accessible friendly open generosity. He shared with me his vendors, supply lists, and gave me tons of support -- he didn't even know me! I have electronically followed him ever since -- he recently went back to school in Wisconsin to get his MBA.

Now he's also written a book "The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired" published by the (also) very generous and accessible Sterling Publishing.

In the pretty, clever, oh-so-informative pages, he includes his tools, tips on how to get started and stay inspired, AND 50 Creativity Exercises, AND copyright-free images -- at no extra charge! But like the Ginsu Knives, that's not all!
Randel's basic tools for getting started.
One of fifty creative prompts!

Pages of free images!
He he also did a give-away:  one simply left a comment to be entered. As with all my Randel Plowman dealings go, I won! And, in true form, I won not only his book, but also a beautiful, framed print.
My framed prize -- from Randel himself!
I'm lucky. Lucky to have found Randel Plowman!

***UPDATE from RANDEL's BLOG: 7/19/2012

"To celebrate the second printing of The Collage Workbook we're offering up to you a very special giveaway.

One very lucky person will not only win a copy of The Collage Workbook, and a copy of Masters: Collage, but also a signed, matted, and framed original 8" x 8" collage by Randel Plowman, complete with documentation. This is a seriously fabulous prize.

How can you enter for a chance to win? Leave a comment on this blog by 9 pm EST on Thursday, July 26. Any comment will do, but why don't you tell us whether or not you already collage or would simply like to give it a try. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday, July 26.

Find out more about The Collage Workbook at:
Thanks and good luck!"***


***What's next?***
Gather & Giggle! Join us Friday, August 24, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date. Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
We're joining the fabulous Etsy crew's suggestion in their nation-wide craft party! We'll make postcards with the "Wish You Were Here" theme!
Email for details: or at 

Also, you can see a couple photos of our handmade Travel Journals from our July Gather & Giggle *here*! Many thanks to Lisa Sonora Beam for the inspiration and to the ladies who came and played!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Patience is a Virtue (sigh...)

I am not the world's most patient person...just ask my kids. I want it done now! Immediately! Instantly! Yesterday! I'm not so good at lines, in traffic, in limbo. It's miserable!

But this week I have been strongly reminded that the end result isn't nearly as important as the process of getting there. It's like yoga...the real work is done in holding poses, even when they're uncomfortable, and breathing. (Hmmm, which is probably why I am a kickboxing person...not a yoga person).

This idea of process over product touches almost every area of our lives...if we let it. It's true in my faith, where true transformation happens in the trusting, not in demanding an answer now. It's true in parenting, where the effects of disciplining, instructing, protecting, nurturing and encouraging aren't truly seen for years (decades??). It's true of any creative pursuit, where the days, weeks, months, years of putting pen to paper, paint to canvas, fingers to instrument, voice to song, feet to floor, create the artist you want to be. None of it happens overnight. The thing I need to learn is to be grateful for that.

As you go through your weekend, I encourage you to look for the places where you're impatient in your life, and see if there is a bit of process there that you can embrace (even with gritted teeth). And if you're in the area, join us in Larchmont to Gather & Giggle on Sunday afternoon, where we can explore and discuss the process of art and life together.

Until next time...
~Tracey Clem
***What's next?***

Gather & Giggle! Come to Larchmont Sunday, July 15 from 2:00-5:00 for our monthly crafting date; $10 at the door. We'll make our own travel journals!

Tracey Clem! Our guest blogger, The Fabulous Tracey Clem has her own blog, too! She's sharing her life, her art, and her family in a beautiful way. Check her out and give her our love. We heArt Tracey Clem!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Travel Journal with Lisa Sonora Beam: Proof From a Groupie

   ~by Emily Cline
It's no secret I heArt Lisa Sonora Beam. I do. I really do. From the moment I latched onto her book "The Creative Entrepreneur", I was a big fan. Then I attended her Creative Entrepreneuer ReTreat in Puerto Vallarta and became an official inspired, awe-mazed, loyal art-junkie groupie.

Lisa is on a short "homesick for the US" tour right now, teaching a couple of workshops while she stocks up on art supplies for her new studio in Oaxaca, Mexico, and last weekend, Heather Arndt of Happy Los Angeles hosted her Crafting the Visual Memoir: Artful Traveler Journals one-day workshop. I'm still processing it all and didn't get very far on Saturday, but lemme show you what I put together so far:
This is my cover: the center b & w photo by Heather Arndt opens up to offer a peek at a gorgeous gardenia.
We folded colored 8 1/2 x 11" paper in half, then added in pretty paper that we "cut" with rulers. Color palettes appeared on their own.
I added stamps and tapes (thanks for the pretty tape share, Heather!)
This spread's right-hand page is made up of three separate tabs. The left-hand side has a dots and spray marks from a paint pen I quickly demo-ed.
We tore pictures from magazines and cataloges.
I taped in a business card from a tattoo parlor -- not just because it was interesting, but because I am obsessed with getting another tattoo.
I added washi tape (bordering the tree and raven?/crow? silhouette) and pasted in one of my man's old subway tickets.
Lisa demonstrated how to paint our own paper with old credit cards (pink). I layered the front of a stationary notecard (white) from my mom on top.
We talked about how difficult it can be to use -- let alone look at! -- photos of ourselves, and Lisa showed us how to fall in love with them by glueing them down, putting masking tape on top (I forgot to here), then painting on, over, and around it, and finally writing and scratching words and doodles on top. I love the photo now!
We chose our favorite image(s) and wrote down descriptive words about the image(s) to mark where we are in our life's journey. (I'm "repainting my life, while fun, demanding little beings vie for my attention", and I'm to "keep my wisdom about me!")

It was a great class, over way too quickly, but as a fervent LSB groupie, I know she will be in New York for a Doodlebugheart workshop soon! We'll keep you posted!

***What's next?***

Gather & Giggle! Come to Larchmont Sunday, July 15 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date, $10 at the door. We'll make our own little travel journals!
RSVP at:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Come Away With Me

"Come Away with Me", Nora Jones' enchanting ballad that was popular around 2002, was my man and my wedding song. It's what we did, who we are; how we wrap up in our own world.

We're back in time this past week, back in Los Angeles, staying in our now rentable house, filling countless holes, priming over the darkest purple, green and reds, staining doors, climbing ladders, bumping knees, choosing tile and boards, wiping away cobwebs, writing checks to clean up the mess.
the former koi pond

But we're also going down memory lane... remembering when we first married, when we bought our tear-down house that beyond all reason, we fell trulymadlydeeply in love with. We're remembering when we got our enormous abby-normal Anatolian Shepard Stella Blue, and neighbors we loved, and glimpsing our son and his first 4 years on earth. It's heart wrenching, surprising, melancholic, funny.

We've also been visited by the usual gang -- birds, barking coyotes, hopping deer, and now even screech owls have joined up. We are a motley crew:  dusty, dirty, stinky, and happy. Come away with me, we sang. This was our world.
our son's little deck chair
best place in the world to take a nap


***What's next?***

Time to Gather & Giggle! Come to Larchmont Sunday, July 15 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date, $10 at the door.
RSVP at: