Category Archives: creating

Watercolor Beauty

The invitation to paint with watercolors came from my friend while we were away for our annual fall respite weekend. She had the paper, paints, brushes, and YouTube tutorial prepared. All I had to do was accept.

It took courage to say yes; to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

We sat side-by-side following the tutorial.

I love how our painting reflects our individual styles. We used the same materials and followed the same instructions, but our results were as different as we are!

Can you guess which painting is mine?

It is the one on the left!

I loved the opportunity to look up at a watercolor tutorial and try something new with my friend.

How will you step out of your comfort zone today? What might you say yes to? You are invited to consider. . .

Beauty from the Broken

The package arrived in my mailbox from Texas, courtesy of a friend who attended Brave Day, 2019, and knew that I would appreciate this gift. Tucked inside was a baggie filled with delicious truffles.

I was at the first Brave On event in 2017. It was a kind time of connecting with old friends, making new friends, and meeting virtual friends in person. I wrote about that weekend here. Subsequent years have not worked for me to attend, and I felt the missing of this one deeply.

Seeing a floral package filled my heart with excitement that quickly turned to apprehension when I lifted it from the mailbox, felt a shifting around in the envelope, and heard a clinking noise. Something inside was not where it was supposed to be, a broken-bone sensation, mail-style.

I tried to guess what it was.

Opening the package, I noticed bubble wrap that had shifted. Four loose pieces spilled out onto my bed followed by a bit of dust. Realizing it was the broken handle of a Brave On mug filled my heart with disappointment.

Another feeling sidled up ~ a familiar one. Hope. Possibility followed. Not wanting to give up easily, the wheels in my head began to turn.

Brush-on Gorilla Glue entered the scene. I carefully glued handle pieces together, resting them on my bathroom counter to dry. I re-attached the mended handle to the mug.

It dried nicely but didn’t look fabulous. The initial stages of repair never do. Chipped out pieces had turned to dust, unable to be salvaged. I needed a reinforcement. A covering of some sort.

Enter the beauty of technology and YouTube. A search for mug handle wrap revealed a tutorial using paracord. After a visit to Michael’s to pick some up, I watched this video to learn how to wrap the handle. I also learned to adjust YouTube videos to .25 speed to follow steps in slow motion.

I love the end result!

Friends, this is what I do. I help people take the broken parts of their story and examine them closely. Together we piece bits together, taking as much time as needed to assemble. Then we thoughtfully reimagine , recover, and reframe. The end result is a deep, unique, one-of-a-kind beauty.

Just like my new favorite mug.

Mirroring

While preparing celery to cut into sticks for an afternoon snack one day, I chopped off the end of the bunch with a satisfying slice of the knife. The rounded bottom piece with its protruding curved ends rested on the cutting board.

Preparing to toss it in the compost bin, I looked at the cut end and thought it was perfect for dipping into paint and stamping in my art journal.

So I did just that!

I painted shades of silver, green, pink, and purple on the cut end of the celery and stamped it on the pages. Then I closed the pages together and pressed. When I opened them, I had these pages that mirror each other.

I am not sure if this is finished, yet. For now I am enjoying the colors and shapes and knowing that I was inspired to create while fixing a snack for my kids in the kitchen.

Feel Free

I love the way these pages in my art journal capture what was going on during March when I created them. They moved me into April with confident excitement.

I was preparing to register my business name and get my business license. I was excited about creating something new that involved connection. The chairs around the fire pit capture that feeling.

My firstborn had invited her siblings for the weekend, so we met halfway and exchanged cars. That is where the feeling of freedom and the wine and cheese and charcuterie come into play. And also the knight.

Overall, these pages remind me of steps taken, one at a time, that continue to move me forward. Where are you experiencing movement and growth these days? What small step can you take today to look back on and say, I did it!

Feel Free to share in the comments!

Step by Step

March ends with a view from my art journal. It has helped me move through the month with kindness while taking steps towards a new thing coming in April.

These pages were created the Sunday before I took a big step that I will share about soon. They helped me remember to just do what is next.

A calm sea and sky in the background, steps leading up to a chair made from a birdcage, a door to go through, shadow and light, rolls of film, these images evoke a feeling of calm confidence.
Birdcages are the theme of this page. Some are open, repurposed, some have a bird in them still. Rolls of film line the top of the page and light shines down over all.

Here are the facing pages. I love how the door leads to what is on the other side.

Detailed post here.
Detailed post here.

Doing What’s Next

What’s next?

I have sat with this question for awhile now. Endings have left me wondering. People ask.

What’s next for you?

Next is tricky. Doing what’s next means different things in different seasons. I have been in a season where next has meant doing the next load of laundry, driving the next car pickup, having the next conversation.

I am still there in many ways.

Next has been nudging me. Speaking up. My mind was swirling with this when I opened my art journal recently and began arranging images to process my feelings about next.

These pages helped me to sort out and ground.

Next is unknown, symbolized by stairs moving up into the shadows. What is up there? A rock at the bottom offers grounding while the stained glass effect is made by light shining through darker colors, like the dark purples and blues surrounding the stairs. A bouquet of flowers holds hope for the promise of growth.
The stained glass border continues on this page but stops as rising natural sunlight takes over. Now there is no filter. Inspired by the return of spring and “spring forward” bringing longer days, this page shows color and movement while still holding the tension of bare-limbed trees waiting to bud. A path is next to them. Where does it lead? While still early in the growing season, something is preparing to burst into bloom, symbolized by a giant tulip.
These facing pages hold the story of stepping out and up by faith. It is courageous to keep doing what is next. I love the flowing movement of the flowers, the bright sunshine, and the hope of a new thing coming.

There is something coming. Next is on the horizon. I am eager to share what it is in the near future. Stay tuned!

Clarity

This year I planned to art journal something weekly and write on the blog three times weekly. When I looked back over my goals and saw that intention, I realized that, unlike art journaling, the writing part was not happening.

I find that creating pages in my art journal helps to clarify what is going on inside, sometimes more than written words. These pages from the first week in March are no exception. I realized I was carrying a lot of fear over the next steps to take, which, in turn, was holding me back and keeping me bound.

These images spoke to me. The flowers, sunset, trees, city, words, all of them. The process of trusting my eye and gut brought focus to my mind and joy in the finished product.
Remembering that I wanted to write on the blog three times weekly this year led me to the reality that the only way it will happen is if I just do it. The typewriter, flowers, and words all joined together on this page to gently remind me of that.

These pages brought clarity. I love the way they came together and how they remind me to just keep writing and moving forward.

And also love.

February Art Journal Pages

One of my goals this year is to art journal something weekly. I did not think I was doing well with this until I looked back over these pages. I discovered that I created something each week this month.

I share them here to encourage you to do something, even if it does not seem like much. I feel at a standstill these days (maybe you will notice that in some of my work), but looking back I see movement that pushes me forward.

I wrote about this page here.
This was created after a strategic planning meeting day at Cross Keys Equine Therapy.
This is a Valentine’s themed page created with the gold heart from my box of candy and the card from my love.
This latest page gives me much to ponder, as I created it with images that spoke to me and am curious about how they all came together.

As February comes to a close and March steps up, I look forward to what is coming my way. I am not sure that that is, exactly, but that is part of the fun! What are you looking forward to, Dear Reader? Do share!

Stickerless Smile

All day I watched as I Voted posts filled my social media feeds. Friends shared selfies with circle or oval stickers pressed to their clothing. One picture showed Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter with stickers on their noses.

I planned to walk to my polling place and vote, but that did not happen. Morning rain cleared as I headed to the grocery store for much-needed provisions. Returning home I had less than an hour before another commitment that would continue past 7pm when the polls closed.

My daughter graciously unloaded and put away groceries as I drove to vote solo, a change from this year. I did not need any literature and quickly checked in, removing my ID from my wallet. Yearly pleasantries were exchanged with my favorite poll worker, as the man checking me in waited patiently then asked me to state my address.

I took the paper ballot and sat at a table behind a cardboard privacy shield. Looking over the ballot, I inhaled deeply. Voting always reminds me of how not right everything is. I colored the ovals of my choices and walked to the scanner, which was sporadically spitting ballots back for retrys.

It’s been doing that all day.

Waiting for my ballot to scan I noticed that the exit poll worker’s hands were conspicuously empty, and that no one was getting a sticker.

Wait! Are there no stickers?

We’re all out. Someone left to go get more.

Inside my head I heard, Noooo! I really want a sticker! Tears stung my eyes, cluing me to the fact that I was experiencing feelings that were probably not about the sticker. I refrained from repeating the other words springing to mind.

I feel disenfranchised!

That would have been making light of a serious scenario, comparing myself to someone who was actually deprived of the right to vote. Though, in hindsight it feels a completely appropriate initial response, because these days if you vote and don’t get a sticker or post a selfie on social media, did you really vote?

Outside the polling place, I told one of the workers who held an armload of sample ballots, They were out of stickers! How can I prove that I actually voted?

She felt my pain and mentioned that people had been taking selfies in front of the signs.

Which I did.

Returning home, I expressed disappointment to my daughter who offered comfort in the form of suggesting I create an I Voted sign out of M&Ms. Which I did.

I left to fulfill my evening obligation. My husband voted, and daughter accompanied.

They brought me a sticker, which I made into a page in my Art Journal.

I am thankful for thoughtfulness, the ability to vote, laughter, M&Ms, a fun daughter, a conscientious husband, for scraps of paper and cardboard tissue boxes with designs on them and glue.

I am also thankful for a space to share my stories and for people who care to read them.

Breathe

The base for this art Journal page was taken from a Real Simple magazine. I loved the paragraph about breathing and the image of roses.

I layered paint around the edges and then etched the swirls with a skewer. I marked where it felt right and left the rest blank.

I need this reminder often, and the process of creating this page was calming and provided opportunity to just breathe.