Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Morning Glories

So I came outside on the deck this morning to take some shots of the Soul Journal Process I am following and had to stop and stare at these beautiful Morning Glories. The photo makes them look electric blue but really they are the deepest, richest purple. Such a treat to see the seeds you planted in late April be full-bloom plants in the July sunshine.

Chica looks suitably impressed, doesn't she ?

Anyhoo, I am still following the Soul Journal fun that Sarah has been prompting us to do over at Caspiana. One thing about this great, free-form play is that it is EXTREMELY MESSY !

Check out my worktable. Yikes !!!!! :

The fun I am having following along is well worth the mess and the eventual clean-up ! The prompts Sarah is providing right now is what she calls "Collage Potpourri". It is a whole bunch of suggestions for adding layers into your journal pages. Her main instruction is that we do as many of the suggestions as possible yet never in the same order on any given page.

One fun lesson was "Magazine stencils" which making stencils and/or masks from figures of people cut out of magazines. They give a cool ghostly impression on the page when you use a make-up sponge to dab paint around the shapes. I also loved the effect of leaving watered down acrylic paint pooling and dripping on the page and letting it dry for a couple of hours.

Here are page 1 & 2 of my 6 pages of Collage Potpourri. I also included a couple of "sweet spots" shots I found on the page.

Pages 1 & 2

Sweet spot on page 1 - wine label ephermera, yellow adjective scribbles, drippy white paint

Sweet spot page 2 - pooling orange paint, magazine stencil, bought stencil of #2

I am really loving the process. It is sometimes hard to keep the critic or control freak in me away as I play but giving myself over to the process is really good for me right now ! It feels like each session I sit down to is a mini-vacation ! I highly recommend it for helping our soul !

Cheers !

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday's Three Beautiful Things

(Art Journal Page)

So it's Monday morning. The weekend was an ok one - a mixture of have-to's (I hate have-to's right now !!!) and want-to's (decided on as a couple which was good!). Today I am looking for focus ! I need to get back to creating stuff in the studio. I have a few commissions and a few gifts that need doing which is usually a motivation for me to get to work but this morning they are feeling like have-to's (like I said, hate those right now !) and not want to's. Feels like I am going to need a kick in the butt from somewhere to stop all the whining and just get down to it !

Consider yourself kicked in the butt, Kimbo !!!!

Just practicing a little TOUGH self-love this am !

Here are the three beautiful things today :

1. The "green" of everything is so spectacular today after all the crazy rains we have been having and it is sunny this morning ! Yippee !

2. My good friend and fantastic seamstress extraordinaire Lois is making me a dress for my friend Andrea's wedding coming up in August ! How lucky an I ? We used Meryl Streep's dress for her daughter's wedding in Mamma Mia as inspiration ! (Go see that movie !!! Extra beautiful !!!) A fitting today !

3. I miss my baby niece Katie Cupcake so much but I have my screen wallpaper set with a cropped version of this photo :

How can you not smile when looking at that face !

Hope your day is full of beauty !

"Get to work now, Kimbo !!!" ( a little more tough self-love for good measure !)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What I Am Doing on My Summer Vacation - It Ain't All Pretty !

Does this happen to you ? When you are having a hard time on the inside, your home reflects it ? You feel blue, so those huge dust bunnies in the corner seem comforting rather than annoying ? You run the dishwasher only because you have no forks left in the drawer ? The piles of clutter around the edges of the counters and tables are like the stupid bad thoughts that are cluttering up your brain ?

This is what has been happening around my house this summer. I have also noticed it on my blog - it has been feeling messy and uncared for like the rest of my world ! The good news is that I reached the bottom of my blues pit last week and I can feel myself heading slowly back upwards ! I am far from flying high but I surely do see that light and feel it warming me back into living ...

The bottom was pretty yucky to say the least !!! I hate that place ! I haven't been that low in a long, long time and was really hoping I never would be... but anyways.... You know how the only good thing about a headache is the relief you get when it finally goes away ? That is the same kind of relief I am feeling now. I am even well enough to start think about what lessons I learned from my voyage to the DARK PLACE, and what were the silver linings in the whole thing.
Here are a few of the the many lessons I learned :

Lesson 1 - You are so very loved. ( nice one, eh ?)

Lesson 2 - It is ok to grieve and in fact, it is necessary to feel that pain of loss before you can go back to working on being whole. Letting yourself feel it all takes courage but is the right way to do it ! (otherwise, it will get you eventually !!!! Beware !)

Lesson 3 - ABBA and Girlfriends (along with Hubbies from Heaven) can save lives ! (Go see Mamma Mia asap ! )

And the biggest SILVER LINING I have found so far is that I quit smoking.....
I mean I QUIT SMOKING !!!!
I know, I know, many of you will be so grossed out that I was still smoking..... I know, I know, I was really B A D !!! Whatever !!!!

Today is DAY 6 of my non-smoking life. The first three days were the easiest. My motivation ? Fear of dying ! I honestly felt that if I smoked for one more day, I was going to die. I have felt that before and somehow ignored it, believe it or not! But this time, it just clicked. That is what my ex-smoker friends told me would happen. When you are ready, it will just click. Didn't believe them then but I guess I do now. I told my doctor I quit and she was as excited as can-be ! She even clapped her hands like a little girl. She also said I should yell it from the roof tops - both to be proud of myself and to reinforce my commitment to the change. So I yelled it out , already..... I think Friday was the hardest day so far - I was alone a lot, and I was feeling better emotionally, and the cravings were intense but I made it through with lots of Smart Water, a couple of lollipops and a few phone calls to the Hubby when I was feeling weak. YAY ! KIMBO !!!!

And now back to our regularily scheduled programming :
So needless to say, there hasn't been a whole lot of creation going on the the Queen of Arts studio for the last little while. I did start following the art journal prompts from Sarah at Caspiana (see previous post) which has been about all I could handle. I liked having some one else guide me for a while... I have gotten as far as Day 12 where Sarah encouraged us to create our "house" and our "neighorhood" in a two-page spread in our journals. I actually love, love love, how mine turned out ! My house is by the sea, with like-minded and much loved neighbors living close by. My House is bright, beautiful, colorful and full of whimsy - just like me....the real me... the me I am re-discovering again now that I am back from the DARK PLACE..... welcome home, Kimbo, welcome home.....

"My house is a very very very fine house..."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Look Up !

"Look up !!" my Mom reminded me again today.
Do you have someone in your life that you trust so completely with your heart that you can tell them anything, really anything, and know you are safe ? I do.... How lucky am I, right ???? How lucky are we, really. My mom and I, that is. I like to call the relationship I have with my mom the Phoenix, you know born again out of the fire. We had our scary rough time, so long ago now really, but the place we are in now feels like we are among the pioneers on the mother/daughter relationship frontier. We are open and honest yet protective of each other. She teaches me, I teach her, I cheer her on, she cheers me on and yet there is always that underlying "Mommy... ?"" Yes, Baby ...?" cozy comforting thing that goes on the the background that is so essential and so very healing for us both ! Ah, Mommy, I love you very, very much...

This Tuesday's Three Beautiful Things are dedicated to my beautiful Mother, Nadeja, and all the love she brings to the world :
1. - a heart open to the possibilities

2. - all the weather vanes I noticed for the first time on Manchester roof tops when I looked up on my walk this morning ! I need to go back and do a photo shoot of them soon !

3. - the courage I found to look up today ! Hope you have it too... the view sure is nice !

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Finds

So there have been a lot of ups and downs in this Queen's life these days. The downs were the extremely sad news about a friend of the Hubby's who was killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday. He was 40 years old and the father to triplet 11 year olds. I also have a friend who is bravely battling cancer who I spent some time with last week. This, along with the re-surfacing of my own issues with panic attacks and the deep down blues, has made life challenging, to say the least... It just feels like the world is a scary, sad place sometimes....

The upside has been the wonderful tender love and care that I have been getting from some dear dear friends and love ones. That is what it must be all about, I think, holding on tight to what is good and celebrating it whenever possible. So in the midst of the crappy stuff, I lift my half-filled cup to my pals who make life beautiful and worthwhile !

While on the look out for good things this weekend, I made some fun finds. My friend Sonia and I hit a flea market in Hollis, NH on Sunday. We didn't buy much but here is the crazy piece that had to come home with me :

This cobalt blue glass hand was mine as soon as I saw it ! The red $5.00 sticker is still on it. Of course I had to play with the seller and ask "You gonna give me a hand ?" when buying it. Good for a little laugh anyway...When I told the Hubby about my day's activities, I said "You will never guess what I bought at the flea market today !" He didn't guess... he wasn't as excited about the blue hand as I was but he was fine when I said it was going in the studio....

Another find was out there in Blogland. I discovered the wonderful blog of Sarah Whitmire at Caspiana. She has started a project called Soul Journaling and gives guided art journaling prompts everyday. I love the activities she has has us do in our journals. They are directed yet open ended at the same time. With the scatterbrained feelings I am having right now (Hubby call it "Etch-a-Sketch Brain"!), it has felt so good to have someone else set the tasks and just dive into the process. It took me all weekend to catch up as I think Sarah is now on Page 8 of the journal but we are completely welcome to start anywhere and to take our time. This is the page I like the best so far :

Sarah prompted us to create a page with our Soul Armor, what we would need to nourish and protect our artist's soul and what we would like to surround ourselves with more of in our creative process. She also provided links to copyright free images of medieval armor to use in our pages if we wanted to. I like how this page turned out. The first word that came to me was "Self-Love" - that piece of armor is covering my heart and I think it is the one piece that needs the most reinforcing right now...

I will share some bits and pieces from this Soul Journaling journey but also feel kind of protective about it, like it should be just for me for the most part... part of getting myself to a better place....

To end off for today's post, here are my Monday's Three Beautiful Things (it was hard to find these today but here goes...) :

- my blue cobalt hand sitting on the bay window in the studio

- grilled mushrooms, onions and zucchini on the BBQ was yummy at supper

- gave the Hubby a nice back rub after work - it was nice to be there for him for a change

Hope your day is filled with beautiful things !

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Imagine winning this ?!!!

Dana at Old Red Barn Co. is giving away this magnificient quilt ! How could any one give it away ?! It is so very lovely ! Imagine snuggling up in this beautiful thing on the porch watching the night stars ... or when the dreaded season (winter..blah!) returns, cozy under your oh so girlie quit watching Grey's Anatomy or House or some other silly t.v. show ? I want to win this ! You can enter too. Just visit and leave a comment for Dana by July22. Good luck to us all ! (But I want to win !!!!)

Thursday's Three Beautiful Things

Today's three beautiful things :

- A Yellow Lab in the lake! Ain't my Chica beautiful !

- Two goddesses floating in the pool , celebrating friendship

- My first Orange Rose of the summer

It was hard to stop at three today, which is a really, really good thing.

Hope your day is full of beauty !

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday's Beautiful Things

David and I by the big "pool" - the Gulf of Mexico, St.Pete's Beach, Florida

This is what was beautiful to me today :

-me and he smooching in the pool

- our kitty cat sleeping in a heart shape

- the electric blue of this gorgeous summer sky

Hope your day is full of beauty !

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday's Three Beautiful Things

HOPE - collage from 2007

Three beautiful things

- A man's tears

- A good friend's ear and shoulder, even if it is only over the phone

- A bluejay's sqeekyclothesline call in the morning

Hope your day is full of beauty...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Three Beautiful Things

Detail of my first ever collage - made 7 years ago out of a 15X20 canvas
and a pile of magazines.
So I have decided to do a mini post everyday (or so) listing three beautiful things that have touched me each day. A gratitude journal of sorts, inspired by what inspired Hanna at iHanna's Creative Space.
Here are my three beautiful things for today :
- the bowl of nectarines and blueberries with a little milk that I had for breakfast - Summer in a bowl !
- the excitement and joy in my mother's voice this morning when she told of her weekend with her new beau (She's 62 and he's 65, they dated when she was a teenager, and have reconnected after 45 years or so. It's never too late for love !)
- this video that Susan Tuttle had a link to at Ilka's Attic. It is so beautiful ! This is how I dance in my head.
Hope your day is full of beauty

Friday, July 11, 2008

Digging for the Courage

The creative prompt of the week at InspireMeThursday is "Healing". Melanie included some "Healing" quotes and the first one that struck me was this one from Tori Amos - "Healing takes courage. We all have courage even if we have to dig a little to find it."
I created this page in my art journal, portraying my own "Big Dig", looking for courage to heal myself. Some people in my life think I am courageous, many of them tell me I am strong, stronger that I think I am. Some days, I feel like I am in that hole, digging away, looking for the courage to change, to rise up, to heal. Others, I am the "Tiny Bird with a Big Song" on the top of the world, singing my song with my whole heart. I think that is the thing aboout happens a little bit at a time, not always as quickly as we wish it would. And it does take courage...ah well, maybe in the next shovel full...

(original "Tiny Bird with a Big Song" - collage from 2007)
Cheers and happy Friday !

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Home Again

Latest art journal page - "My heart is always looking for it's home.

It has forgotten that home is where the heart is."

So I am home again after what seems like a long, long time. I had a great time in Montreal and the beautiful Laurentians, visiting with family and friends. While I was there enjoying all that social time, I was missing the Hubby and he was missing me, big time. What is so wonderful about him is that he knows my strong ties to "home" and always makes me feel completely free to go for a "peeps fix". At the same time, it is hard to leave him and our "home" life behind. I also really, really, really miss my bed ! My bed is the best bed in the universe ! The best part of coming home is being in my man's arms and the second best thing is sleeping in my sweet, cozy, comfy bed ! Yes, David, it really is in that order !!! ;-)

One of the many highlights of my trip was some bonding time with this angel :

Baby Kate - 2 and a half months and oh so gorgeous !

Kate is my sister Kristina's baby. She was born on Earth Day, and I know she will be (already is !!!) a gift to this world in so many ways ! Kristina and John (Kate's Dada), have asked David and I to be her godparents, which makes me feel so very honored. I mean, just look at her !

Check out this mega-smile !

Katie-Cupcake fell under the spell that all babies held by me do - the magic of Kim's Pillows. Somehow, as soon as a baby is in my arms and nestled against those boobs, it is inevitable...they sleep....

Auntie Kim's Pillows - Heaven for both of us !

I had many more very special moments while I was away. I got to be part of my other sweet niece's big event - 17 year old Jessica's High School Graduation Ball. I followed my sister Natalie's beautiful girl throughout the day's preparations and saw her off in the limo with her 7 friends as she headed out to celebrate (safely, thank God !) the end of that phase of her life and the beginning of the new. I am gathering the pictures and momentos of the event to make her a special memory album as my graduation gift to her. Here's a few :

The sophisticated Princess ! So beautiful !

Proud Auntie

The proud Momma - a knock out herself !

So many fun things happened while I was away... I guess there would need to be a few more posts if I wanted to cover it all. We shall see. For now I am home, settling back in to the rhythm of summer, work in the studio and my sweet, sweet married life. All that with a renewed energy that comes for truly embracing life's moments with the one's you love ! Ain't life grand?