Wednesday, November 26, 2008

100th Post !!! " Let Them Give Thanks !" Give-Away

Wow ! I started this blog in March of 2008 and I have reached the 100th post marker ! How cool is that ! It seems fitting that I reach this milestone on Thanksgiving Eve. My blog and my Blogland Friends are among the things I am very thankful for this year. I have found an outlet for my creative juices. I have found ways to spread some extra Queenly love around my world. I have found a community of artists and creative people who are encouraging and positive, as well as fun and inspiring. This blog has been a truely great experience for me so far and I am happy to celebrate it's 100th post in style !

So here's the give-away plan ! I will be giving away 1 item from my Queen of Arts Studio Etsy Shop !!

Any item that the winner chooses!

All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post, telling me one thing that you would like to receive from the shop and why.

David will pick a random name from the hat for me and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 1 st in post #101 ! Yay for give-aways !!!

I am looking forward to the next few days. Turkey, Thanks, talk, wine, etc ... at the Father-in-laws tomorrow. Then my buddy Suzanne is coming for a girlie weekend at my house ! Chick talk, some craft store shopping (not on Black Friday though!), and cozy friend time will be the order of the weekend ! Yippee ! Like I said, so much to be thankful for !

I wish you all lovely moments of joyous gratitude this Thanksgiving ! Cheers, my Friends !

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

99 Things I've Done and An Award for the Queen !

First things first, Serena at Dream with Fishes presented me with the following lovely award :
"This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY, nearness in space and time of relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."
How cool is that ? Thanks so much Serena !
I have decided to give the award to just one person who I think deserves this reward very much and that is Melissa at Wonderous Wild Wanderings. Her enthusiasm and true zest for life is totally contagious and she is a supportive and encouraging friend to me in Blogland ! Consider yourself awarded, Beautiful Girl !

So I have seen this list going around - I think I saw it first at Dawn's blog D'Blogala. It is a list of 100 things you may have done. You are supposed to highlight the one's that apply to you and then post it that way.

So as I started doing just that, the Ugly Queen came for a visit ! I started comparing myself to others (Thinking "What if I have less things highlighted than her ? Does that make me a loser ?"). I started looking for ways to stretch the truth to fit the list ("I have seen the edge of the Grand Canyon from the Hoover Dam, that counts, right ?" or "I stood in front of the Louvre, that's close to the Mona Lisa, that counts too, doesn't it ?")

Then I started to get mad ( "Who made this stupid list anyway ? Who cares if I have never been to Italy ?"). Usually I love making lists or telling random things about myself but this wasn't doing it for me. Something about comparing myself to this list felt icky - like it was more about what I hadn't done than what I had. I do enough of that one my own, maybe, putting myself down for what I haven't accomplished or what I missed out on. Been there, done that too damn often, thanks !

So to turn it around and in honor of my 99th post, I wrote a list of 99 Things I Have Done. I am proud of some of them. I am less than proud of others. Some of them just are random things. But you know what ? I did every one of them. Little old me! That's cool ! These 99 things are just a little reflection of my human experience. The act of writing then down was an interesting few moments with myself. I am still working out what the list has taught me or what it says about me. But it was definitely an interesting exercise to try, especially for all you list lovers out there ! Try it yourself if you are so inclined.


99. Looked down from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
98. Walked hand in hand with my man on the beach.
97. Fallen deeply in love.
96. Lost a parent - R.I.P., Daddy.
95. Read and entire book in one day - "Thorn Birds" at age 12.
94. Played with a Ouji board
93. Learned to read Tarot cards
92.Screamed until I threw up.
91. Watched meteor showers in the middle of the night.
90. Had a picnic in the snow.
89.Kissed a dolphin - twice !
88.Chose a puppy from a litter of 12.
87.Was on tv at least three times (age 6, age 28, age 41)
86.Won a Canoe Paddling contest
85. Took a shower in a waterfall
84.Threw my own birthday party (with presents!)
83.Wore Groucho Marx glasses at the Mall (not on Halloween !)
82. Saw "O"(Cirque du Soleil) in Vegas
81. Took 300 elementary school kids to see "Allegria" (Cirque du Soleil) in Montreal
80. Was honored to be a godmother three times
79. Stood in two states at the same time (Nevada and Arizona)
78. Visited a WWII Memorial in Dieppe, France.
77. Kissed an "older" man (I was thirty, he was 55).
76. Sold my artwork.
75. Won an award in High School
74.Broke my arm while skating.
73.Rescued an animal from an animal shelter.
72. Had a pet euthanized.
71. Let a bird eat from my hand.
70.Drove to the top of Mt. Washington, New England's Highest Peak.
69. Loved, really loved, a job.
68. Bought a brand new car.
67. Paid off student loans.
66. Bought a house.
65. Swam in turquoise water.
64.Ate periwinkles (fresh water snails )and loved then !
63. Ate chicken heart and gizzard soup, and loved it !
62. Had cafe au lait in a cafe in Paris
61.Had a car accident that totaled the car (no one was hurt, thank God !!!)
60. Learned to drive at 32.
59. Had appendicitis.
58.Took anti-depressants
57.Wore a tiara and a feather boa
56. Read all of the Harry Potter Series
55. Listened to all of the Harry Potter Series on Audio Books
54. Been really really scared but done it anyway
53.Taught people of all ages, from kindergarten to seniors
52.Been given diamonds by a man who loves me.
51. Been rocked in my mother's arms as an adult.
50. Danced like no one was watching.
49. Made a self portrait.
48. Told someone I hated them and really meant it.
47. Told someone I loved them and really meant it.
46. Done "it" in a public place.
45. Had my life saved by a friend.
44. Made a baby laugh.
43. Comforted someone after a nightmare.
42. Rocked a baby to sleep.
41. Was a nanny.
40. Was a maid of honor.
39. Sang Karaoke
38. Saw "Les Miserables" in both French and English
37. Dressed up and went to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
36. Jumped in the snow naked after a sauna.
35. Skinny dipped under a full moon.
34. Had a broken heart.
33. Trained a dog to do a new trick.
32. Had an unrequited love.
31. Slept outside under the stars.
30. Stayed up for 36 hours.
29. Had jet lag.
28. Had a panic attack.
27. Thought I was going to die.
26. Skipped down the road with a Grandparent ( I miss you Bubbie.)
25. Read the "Artist's Way" and did Morning Pages
24. Screamed under a train overpass as the train went by.
23. Lived without electricity in the city for days in January.
22. Remember exactly where I was on Sept. 11, 2001 as events unfolded...
21. Hosted a Christmas Gathering.
20. Hosted a Thanksgiving Gathering.
19. Fallen off a horse.
18. Broken a mirror.
17. Got a University degree.
16. Went back to school at 29.
15. Lost 20 pounds.
14. Sunbathed in the nude
13. Quit Smoking !!! Yay me - 4 months now !
12. Worn a wig just for fun.
11. Own a wand
10. Had a dream come true.
9. Went to a Justice of the Peace
8. Forgave someone who hurt you.
7. Grew a plant from a seed.
6. Walked in the rain without an umbrella and completely enjoyed it.
5. Ate a snowflake.
4. Jumped in a pile of leaves.
3. Felt beautiful.
2. Learned to ride a bike.
1. Felt completely happy.
Wow...I am pretty awesome ! ;-)
Happy Tuesday !
(Stayed tuned for my 100th Post - Think Giveaway !!!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am Grateful For Me !!!

Last week, Avital at Creativity Prompt encouraged us give thanks to ourselves. As she suggested, we are so quick to say what we are thankful for from others, from the universe, but how often to we show gratitude towards ourselves? The wild and wonderful Melissa posted something so very related to this last week as well, when she wrote about how not shining your light proudly and bright is really the same as lying to the world (based on some thoughts by Maya Angelou)... This, along with my own post about shining your light and the ideas of Marianne Williamson about the fear of our true potential, really made me think....

Why do we always wait for cheerleaders outside of us to cheer for us ? Why do we think what we do is good only when some else says it is ? Why is it bragging to say "I am freaking awesome !!!"? Does shining my light bright make yours less bright ? No, if anything, the light gets brighter when we shine together...How come we don't see this clearly all of the time ?

For me, it all comes down to loving myself. To believing I am worth loving.

I know I used to have that. I remember doing a Louise Hay exercise in my 30's where you had to list 100 things you loved about yourself. I remember sitting down and doing it without hesitation, and marveling at how easy it was to do that list.

It is a lot harder now...some days it is hard to get to more than 5...some days it is hard to get to 1...that makes me sad...but as a friend said to me recently, that woman is still in there somewhere...she just needs some loving and cheering to be willing to slowly come back out...loving and cheering from me, for me !

Here's a journal page celebrating me ! I am thankful for a lot of things about myself. The great thing about doing this page was that as I started writing things down, more and more things came to mind ! It felt so good to remember what is right with me !!!

As Mommy/Guru says "What is wrong with you is besides the point. What is right with you is the starting point !" Be your own cheerleader and leave me a comment telling me 5 things you love about yourself !!! As Melissa would say "Yay, you !!!" And as I would say, today anyway ;-), "Yay, Kimbo !!!"

Happy Monday !

(BTW : This is my 98th post ! 100 will be this week most likely - I am thinking about a giveaway !!! Stay tuned !!!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Holidays are Coming ! - New Stuff in the Etsy Shop

So I have some new stuff in the Queen of Arts Studio Etsy shop as of this morning. And guess what ? Everything new is under $10.00 ! Some great holiday gift ideas for teachers, work mates, gift exchanges or hostess gifts. I have also extended my opening special of free shipping on any of the bamboo tile necklaces until the end of the month.

I have put together some really cute sets of note cards using prints of my own original artwork :

(A Little Birdy Told Me - notecards in sets of 4)

(The Subject is Love - notecards in sets of 4)

There is also my fun and yummy smelling "Soaps with Sweaters" - Felted Exfoliating Glycerin Soaps

And last but certainly not least, I have decided to make my Rock My World rocks available in the shop. I will not be making any profit off of the rocks. I would love to be able to ship them out anywhere for free but I can't afford to do that right now. The price is set to cover my shipping and packaging costs. Several people have asked me to get some of the rocks so I am so happy to have them available !!! I love the idea of spreading the love adventure around !

(BTW - Lulu from my pink turtle sent me an email telling me that her friend Nadine in Paris received her Rock My World rock and proceeded to take it to the top of the Eiffel Tower and leave it there for the next person to find !!!!! The top of the Eiffel Tower ! My little old rock ! How Cool Is THAT ??? Blows me away !!!! Completely!!!)

So that's it for the advertising ! I am very proud of everything I put in there. I know how supportive and encouraging my blog pals can be. I appreciate that so very, very much !

Happy Friday ! I hope (the Eiffel tower!!!) you have a (Can you believe it ???) magnificient and (Kim's rocks - in Paris, France!) monumental weekend ! (gees !)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19 - A Day of Sharing Words

LK Ludwig at the Poetic Eye had the idea of making today A Day of Sharing Words. To know more, go here.

Today I choose to share these words with you. Read them slowly and let them in :

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Marianne Williamson : A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles )

About the words I chose to share :

Whenever I read these words, I feel a thrill rush through my soul. A thrill at the possibility of this truth. Don't hide that light. Shine that light. May we all shine on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GPP Street Team Crusade #25 - Properties of Gesso

What I love about Michelle's GPP Street Team Crusades is that she encourages us to stop and take the time.

Sometimes it is to take the time to just to play, or to learn a new technique. Or sometimes, to take the time to ponder some of life's questions. I think the talented Madame Ward's best talent is just that...she encourages us to take the time and then to share what we experience. How cool is that ? ;-)

So this month, Michelle encouraged us to take the time to play with the properties of gesso. I think I used gesso for the first time about two years ago when I was lucky enough to go on an art workshop to Puerto Vallarta Mexico at the Hacienda Mosaico. The week long workshop was called "The Ultimate Painted Page" and was taught by Anne Bagby and Lynne Perrella. It was an amazing experience and I learned so, so much about painted backgrounds for two fantastic pros ! Strangely enough, though I would definitely take that workshop with Anne and Lynne again in a heart beat, I don't think I would ever do it again in a tropical or exotic locale. I was so caught up with the wonderful workshop fun that I saw way too little of beautiful Puerto Vallarta !!! It was an experience of a life time though !

Anyhoo, back to the Crusade...

When I saw Michelle's challenge to us, I immediately got out my journal from the workshop. I realized that I didn't do many gesso techniques other than to prime my pages with some brush stroke texture. One thing I did discover was that gesso comes in a variety of colors - white, black and even gold ! Yes, gold ! One participant had a jar of it and shared it with everyone. I thought it was from Golden but when I searched for it on line, I found that it was probably from Daniel Smith Art Supplies where they have several different colors of gesso. The gold was beautiful - metallic in a subtle way but a great base for more earthy tones of paint and lovely with Golden Fluids or acrylic washes of color on top. I added that gesso to my Christmas list - it is definitely worth trying out again with a jar of my own !

Here's one of my journal pages from the workshop with it - it didn't photograph well enough to show it's richness but you can get the idea :

While I don't have the gold gesso (yet !!), I did recently invest in a jar ot the Golden Black Gesso and I love it so much !! It is smooth and rich and creamy and does a beautiful job with stamps too. Here are some sample of my gesso play from this weekend :

Black Gesso with hand carved rubber stamps (yea again for Michelle's Crusades). Gesso was applied on bottom layer - stamped and resist.

White gesso as first layer - scribbled with edge of credit card for added texture. Magenta and blue paint wash middle layer. Black gesso on top with brush and through sequin trim. Hard to see but another wash of gold and red on top layer

close up showing the credit card scrapes

White gesso bottom layer, stamped with puzzle piece to add texture. Blue and gold acrylic coat over top. Golden Fluid Magenta and water pooled on top and left to dry. I sanded the gesso resist areas with a little sand paper to get the shapes to stand out more.

Ist layer on a chipboard kids book I am covering for a Xmas-gift to be - white gesso with leaf hand carved stamp

White gesso with hand carved stamps along the edges (leaves) and applied with a brush on the rest of the page on 1st layer. Orange monoprints (I used to call it blob painting with my kids - ;-)). See how the gesso gave my blobs cool texture from underneath ? Reminds me of topography or something.

So here what playing with gesso this weekend taught me :

Gesso is so fantastic for adding texture and depth to a background and it does amazing things with paints too.

I learned that I am impatient when it comes to letting things dry and it is hard for me to leave things overnight. I also learned that gesso can be sped up with a heat gun but not too quickly as it bubbles and makes a mess when it melts. Great stuff just takes time, Kim ! Get over it !

I learned that while you can always make things work with the cheaper, everyday stuff you have around, there is also a reason why luxurious stuff is great once in a while too. I am worth the champagne of gesso every now and then !!!!

I love to take the time to just play. Thanks, Michelle, for the encouragement to take the time to do just that.

Now get playing, Crusaders !!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shine your light....

Here's a tune for me, for my beautiful friend Darlene and anyone else who needs the reminder. Don't hide your light under a bushel....Light up, light up !!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Journal Giveaway To Die For and A Happy Hump Day for the Queen !

(photo from Debra's blog - A Little Imagination and a Pile of Junk)

Go here and check out the beautiful hand made journal that Debra has to give away on her blog A Litte Imagination and a Pile of Junk. So very fine ! I want it to be mine ! (By posting this here, I get two chances to win ! Yay!)

Also, Lulu at my pink turtle TOTALLY ROCKED my world today with her post about what she did with the "Rock My World" rocks I sent to her. Talk about a Happy Hump Day !!! The project is now on two continents because of her ! Check it out here !

I hope you have the happiest of Hump Days !

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Blond has More Fun !

So usually I have photo posts of my favorite redhead, Miss Katie Cupcake :

(okay - had to slip one in - taken at my sister's place last weekend - Kate 6 1/2 months old)

But today I thought I would share some shots of my favorite blond, Miss Chica :

Today's trip to Hampton Beach, NH was all about Absolute Labrador Heaven ! The beach to run on, the ball to chase, and the waves to play in :

Oh yeah...and my favorite humans to splash on when it's time to shake !

I said, absolute Labrador Heaven !

There was a little time left over for some rockin'...

("Rock My World" rocks left on the shore wall - seaside love to share...)

David, Chica and I took the advice from one of my rocks on this Remembrance Day/Veteran's Day and decided to :

We did ourselves proud ! A truly beautiful day.

In some other exciting news, Sherry from Esprit d'Art included one of my necklaces in a Treasury on Etsy !!! Check it out here. My first treasury !!! Thanks for much for including me, Sherry !

Today, we should....

and be so very thankful for all we have.
November 11th - Remembrance Day (Canada)
Veteran's Day (US)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seven is a Swan a-Swimming and Three Bags Full (of Rocks)

So I have been feeling a lot like this :

(Art Journal page - "I got off the train at the wrong station, and I don't think they speak my language here."

I even tried speaking another language but still didn't get a response I recognized.

("Excuse me, Miss, where is the station ?")

Then I visited Karin's incredibly beautiful blog, BEYOND WORDS, and learned that I need to give some special tender love and care to my 7th Chakra, The Crown Chakra, symbolized by this beautiful creature :

Art Journal Page - "Viola was a visionary Queen."- 7th Chakra

I plan to spend the day working on giving myself some loving and on building some strength of vision, just like Viola is doing for her babies...

In "Rock My World" News - I got Three Bags Full

So I am heading up to Montreal this weekend. Hard to believe but it has already been a month since my last visit. I have one little bag of Rock My World rocks for Andrea, my sweet and dear friend who was my first ever customer at the Queen of Arts Studio Etsy Shop ! She is an elementary school teacher and I know she will enjoy spreading the love around her school environment.

My mom also called and requested some more rocks. She is a receptionist and enjoys handing them out to the people she comes in contact with at work. My mom let me know that her friend/boss Shelly had put in a special request as well. Shelly really wanted some rocks, like a whole bag full - sixty or so, but she really insisted on paying me something for them.

So far I have not liked the idea of taking money for the rocks at all. The intention behind them is spreading the love and somehow putting a price tag on them didn't sit well with me. But since Shelly insisted, I have decided to go with the idea of donating any money I get from the sale of the Rock My World rocks to a cause that I feel could use some extra love.

For me, that goes back to my teaching roots. I know how hard teachers and students struggle to find money to fund interesting and worthwhile projects in their schools. That is why I have decided to contribute to the Once Upon A School Challenge, where the money I donate will go directly to funding a project designed by teachers and students together. Shelly and I will both be giving some extra love to a special classroom project !

Keep on Rocking Me Baby !

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's Thankfulness

("Hope" - collage piece from 2007)

I am thankful for friends who get me. (Jennifer at the Stumbly Diva is at the top of my list today - Thank you again for your post today.)

I am thankful that the love I put out there is spreading. (Check out some of the recent posts at happy luau to see what Olivia is doing with her Rock My World rocks. I am so grateful and feel so priviledged to have inspired her !)

I am thankful for a good cleansing cry (But the swollen eyes it leaves behind kind of suck ! No contacts for me today !)

I am thankful for the strength of my spirit, always rising upwards. (Wish the climb wasn't so high, but we are working on that. Right, Kimbo ?)

I am thankful for this forum where I can be the best me.

I am thankful that there is always hope...

What are you thankful for this Election Day Tuesday ?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Inspiration Prompt #24 - Lessons Learned from Unequalled Teachers

So I found this blog along my recent Blogland travels called "Creativity Prompt" which has some great ways to fulfill that urge within us to live a more creative life. What I like is that it includes creative inspiration in a couple of different forms - inspiration prompts like quotes, photos, and stories, journaling prompts to inspire writing or art journal pages , and creative prompts for projects which often include tutorials. A new place to play ! Yay !

So today's inspiration prompt encouraged us to think about unequalled teachers in our life and the lessons we learned from them. About a year back, I was teaching an art journal class and we played with this exact theme. Reading today's inspiration prompt made me go back in my journals and pull out the page I created for that class.

This page (a little scrapbook-y for my tastes but I still love the intention behind it !) was dedicated to my sweet, loving grandmother or Bubby as I called her. My grandmother was a Russian immigrant to Canada. She fled Russia with her husband and his brothers at the age of 18 (this photo of her was taken that year.) They spent the end of WWII running from bombs in fields across Europe, only to end up in a German work camp. My grandmother was a few months pregnant with my mom. The Americans came and freed the workers in the camp about a month after my mom was born. No doctors to help, just other women who had had babies of their own, to help my Bubby through the pain of childbirth.

My grandmother had many horror stories to tell. I asked her about them often, always unable to believe that this same woman was the one who had lived through all of that. The thing that always surprised me the most was how little anger or hate she had in her, towards any one. She had lived through unspeakably gross events in her life and yet she was the kindest, most loving and sweet person I knew. She was the best bubby a kid could have ! I remember how much we laughed and played together and I remember how whatever she cooked was always the best tasting thing on the planet. I remember from a very young age, lying in her arms, putting my face into her ample cleavage and deeply inhaling the sweet, dough-y, lovely smell of my Bubby.

The pages was called "Lessons At My Bubby's Breast"because of those memories. My grandmother passed away 15 years ago this month. I miss that unconditional love in my life so much some days ! Here is some of what she taught me :

Taking out this page just a day after Dia de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead is kind of fitting too, I guess. In the end, despite all the hardships she lived through, my grandmother's life was a celebration of family and good, big loving. Here's to you my sweet, sweet Bubby, my unequalled teacher in so many wonderful ways ! Let's go facaffee ! ;-)