Sunday, January 31, 2010

Simple Abundance: Journaling Thoughts

Now we really getting into it! This past week, many more of the Simple Abundance tools were introduced: the Daily Dialogue, the Illustrated Discovery Journal, the Personal Treasure Map, the Golden Mirror Meditation. There is so much self-discovery to be done!

Of course, being me, I haven't started on ANY of these projects yet. BUT-- I'm ready. I have an art journal and a stash of magazines I've been saving for "someday when I work through that Simple Abundance book". I always have notebooks for written journals, whether I happen to be journaling or not. I like that the author says NOT to buy a beautiful, fancy journal because you'll want to make what you write perfect and profound-- she knows me very well! My journal will be a simple school composition book.

I haven't kept a written journal for the past couple of years now. I'm not sure why. I tend to wax and wane when it comes to journaling, and well, obviously I've had a dry patch. But I keep meaning to journal. So now the assignment is before me.

I have to say, I am NOT a morning journaler. Why? Because I am adamantly NOT a morning person. I can get up and get ready and function, but if I have a choice of an extra half hour to sleep or doing morning journal pages? Sleep is gonna win EVERY time.

I understand that morning pages help clear the mind and get one ready for the day. But I really like to journal at bedtime. I like to curl up in bed with my pen and paper before me and muse about my day, sort through the events. I am not a talkative person in the morning and I find that I don't have much to say in a journal that time of day, either. But at night I can write and write.

I've been thinking about the Illustrated Journal and Treasure map quite a bit, too. Last time I tried working through SA, I had a very difficult time with these to assignments and I've been wondering why that was. I think I have figured it out. I think I felt guilty! Guilty about dreaming and wishing and creating an abundant life for myself, even it it was only on paper.

Not this time around. Why not dream? Why not imagine and play? There's no harm in that and who knows what will come of it. I'm excited to see what my dreams really are. I think that I know-- but maybe I'll surprise myself. No guilt this time around.

Perhaps the last time I tried SA, I just wasn't ready for the journey and that's why I didn't get very far? Seems I am much more ready, this time around.

Other Simple Abundance bloggers:

Clay It Again
Spirit Essence Art
Adventuring Through Life
Curiosities 808

Feel free to join us!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feline Friday: Unladylike

A lady always keeps her knees together when sitting.

I don't believe Miss Manners would approve of TwoDot's delicacy in this situation at all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Chrysanthemum Cane

This simple cane technique has been on my polymer clay list of things to try for a long time now. I made my first cane following this tutorial, and because its close to Valentine's Day I used pink and purple clays left over from my color mixing experiment.

I love the look of this cane! I was very happy with how it turned out and now I can't wait to try making it with different color schemes. I think it would be gorgeous in true chrysanthemum colors-- yellows, oranges and golds. Needless to say, I'll be playing with this cane more in the future.

Now to USE the cane-- which calls for some practice in slicing very thin slices. A while ago, I watched a very good video I found somewhere online which showed how to slice tissue thin, even slices... but alas, alack, now I can't find it again. So I had to do my best from memory.

After I laid the slices on a solid background color of clay, I ran it through the pasta machine to create a smooth, solid sheet of the design and then cut out my shapes. The hearts have now been baked, hand sanded with 4 different grits of wet/dry sandpaper and buffed with felt using my rotary tool, so they are super smooth and shiny. Next up is to make them into necklaces and earrings.

What are you currently working on?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kuan Yin Mosaic Shrine & More

My newest ArtFire listing, and my Asian influence challenge piece for the PCSG--

I made this shrine as a piece that can sit on a tabletop or can be hung on a wall. Kuan Yin is a goddess I have always been drawn to, and I put quite a bit of thought into this shrine.

The words OM MANI PADME HUM form one of the many mantras that are associated with Kuan Yin. She is often depicted standing on a dragon, so I made sure to include a dragon tile in the mosaic. Often she is holding or standing on a lotus, so I included a lotus flower as well. She is a goddess of compassion, so there are 3 tiles with the Kanji characters for love, hope and faith in the mosaic and the character for peace is in the central collage.

Other Asian inspired items I've created that are available in my Etsy shop:

Chinese Calligraphy pendant necklace
with bronze and peacock colored accents.

Click on any of the pictures or links for more information!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Simple Abundance: Keeping a Gratitude Journal

This past week's daily readings in Simple Abundance focused on gratitude and our assignment was to start keeping a gratitude journal.

I've done a gratitude journal in the past and it really can be helpful. The last time I did it, I was dealing with a very severe depressive episode. If I could get out of bed, dress and feed myself, I was having a good day. I started keeping a journal that was basically a list of accomplishments and a list of things for which I was grateful each day.

It was difficult at first, especially because my lists were very short and basic. Sometimes it was hard to come up with even 5 things for the day. But slowly my lists got longer, my accomplishments bigger. I could see that I was making progress. I could look back and see that little, good things were happening in my life. Keeping that journal was very helpful to my healing.

So now, many years later, I'm beginning a new gratitude journal, already filling up with good, everyday things that I appreciate. I keep my little journal on my bedside table and write my gratitude list before I go to sleep at night.

Its interesting how this exercise already is making me more aware of all the little gems in my life-- maybe things I've noticed before, but never consciously appreciated. Thoughts like, "Oh, I love warm showers," or "Flannel sheets are so soft and cozy," or "New books smell so good," pop into my head and now I pay attention. Its like these little thoughts of appreciation have been given a voice. They become a little points of positive focus throughout the day.

I'm sure I'll have down days where the best I can come up with is the basics-- food, shelter, health. But I think these will be few and far between. Something has changed within me over the years and I've learned-- and am still learning-- to appreciate the little every day gifts my life has to offer. And the more I practice, the better I will get at it.

Other Simple Abundance bloggers:

Clay It Again
Spirit Essence Art
Adventuring Through Life
Curiosities 808

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WIP Wednesday: PCSG Challenge Pieces & Parts

Mixing colors & creating faux jade.

Making the faux jade mosaic tiles.

Designing little lotus flowers.

Sculpting a face that will represent the goddess Kuan Yin.

Putting together the center collage pieces.

And those are just a few of the steps I've done in creating my item for the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild's Asian challenge for this month.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Simple Abundance Sunday

Its been a week and a half since my Simple Abundance journey started. Thus far, for me, the messages I'm picking up from the daily readings are carpe diem and gratitude. Am I living each day? Living in the here and now? What makes me happy?

I've been well aware for a long time that I have difficulty living in the here and now. Living with regrets of past situations, living with anxiety and "what if's" of possible future events. But I also know that since I found a creative outlet with polymer clay, I've been living much more in the here and now. More, I think, than I ever have before in my life. What makes me happy? Being creative. What helps me to live each day? Being creative. What keeps me focused and centered? Being creative.

I feel like I've found one of the answers to life's great questions. And I am eternally grateful. I thought I might have more to share after the first 10 days, but I find that this is where I'm at right now. Simple. Sweet. Succinct.

More Simple Abundance stories from these fellow journeyers:

Clay It Again
Spirit Essence Art
Adventuring Through Life

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Adoption Day Moose!

On January 6th of 2001, our sweet, shy kitty Moose joined our family! He was a long and leggy teenage kitty at the time, but already quite a big boy-- hence his name, which was given to him by his rescue shelter foster-family.

Moose wishes you a happy new year.

Hard to believe its been only 9 years since we adopted him. Feels like he's always been part of the family. Happy Adoption Day, Moose-man! We love you!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tarot for 2010

Got together with my Ya-Ya sistahs on Sunday and we figured out our year card for 2010 and then did our reading for the new year. This year I used the Pearls of Wisdom deck to do my reading.

The top card is my card for this year. Its found by adding your birth month and day with the current year. So for me: 6+2+2010=2018 --> 2+0+1+8 = 11 (Justice). So the theme for this year for me will be balance, integrity, seeing both sides before making decisions, natural consequences, negotiation, compromise, resolution.

There are 13 more cards in the spread-- one for each moon cycle in the year. I've found this spread works best for me as a year spread; at each new moon I review my card so that I am aware of the theme for that moon cycle and what might be influencing me as the moon waxes and wanes.

1st moon- 5 of wands
2nd moon- The Hanged Man (12)
3rd moon- King of Wands
4th moon- Queen of Wands
5th moon- King of Swords
6th moon- 8 of wands
7th moon- 6 of wands
8th moon- 5 of pentacles
9th moon- The Emperor (4)
10th moon- Knight of Cups
11th moon- Wheel of Fortune (10)
12th moon- The Hermit (9)
13th moon- 2 of wands

Lots of energy, creativity and action in my year with all those wands, especially in the first half. I'm very excited to see that. The second half is a bit of a jumble-- to me it indicates some family oriented things happening, starting with the 5 of pentacles (sorrow, challenges, hard times). I think all will be well, though, because that card is surrounded by 6 of wands (victory, celebration) and the Emperor (stability, foundation).

Since the Pearls of Wisdom deck is so full and rich with color and symbolism, more than any other deck I've used in the past, I did mostly an intuitive reading for the upcoming year. Only time will tell if my intuition was correct!

Friday, January 1, 2010

1st Project of the New Year

I've been wanting a place to keep little notes, pictures and other items that spark my creativity, so here's the beginning of it:

I got an unfinished 11 x 17 inch sized corkboard and now I'm staining the trim. Once it's done it will hang right in front of my desk and become my "inspiration board." I have already begun to collect items to put on it.

More pics once my board is hung and filled with inspiration!