Saturday, November 28, 2009

I love it when a plan comes together...

So the few days since Thanksgiving have been busy here in the Queen of Arts Studio. And no, I did not hit the stores on Black Friday - at least not until 3:00pm when I was finally brave enough to venture out to Michaels to pick up some packaging stuff I needed for my Big Flock of Love Birdies. By then the somewhat scary and definitely super-hyped hoopla was pretty much over in Manchester, anyway.

My big order of birdies for my mom's office in Montreal, all thirty-five of them packaged up and looking so cute, is on its way to be delivered tomorrow. I am heading up for a whirlwind visit on my own this time.

Tomorrow, I visit with my sister Natalie in the late afternoon when I arrive. It is her official 40th BD tomorrow, but she has her big work Christmas party tonight and as she says, she will probably be a little partied out ! I am just popping in to give her her gift.

Then I am having supper with some wonderful friends, a sleep over at a girlfriend's new apartment and then the visit to my Mom's office with my wares on Monday lunch time.

Monday night, I will hang with my mom a little, and Tuesday morning before I head home, all the planets have aligned so that I will be having breakfast with another wonderful Blogland friend that I have never met in person even though she lives right there in my end of my home town.

Kim from The Bodhi Chicklet ordered a few birds from me too and it works out so well that I am heading up to Montreal and I can deliver them in person and get to spend a bit of time face to face with her just before I head back home on Tuesday morning! I love it when a plan comes together...

There a cheap segue to my most recent art journal page. I have to say, I am out of the flow when it comes to journaling right now. I feel the need to play but the schedule hasn't allowed for the play first, work second timetable that I like. It meant squeezing time in for play time whenever I could.

The results the other day didn't turn out quite a I would have liked. I played with a bunch of words that came out of an old Tarot card book to create an invented "story" phrase for the page. I liked that. I carved a new kitty cat stamp the other day which I also liked a lot, and the background was beautiful. When it came to the central figure of the page - I really didn't like this face - young man with long hair ? Ugly woman ? Bird creature ? Who is this weird looking person on my page ?

I kind of abandoned the page - not sure where it was going to go at all.
Then today, I finally had some time to play around a bit. I started looking for a new face for my being. The first one that jumped out of my big pile of images was this gorgeous Madonna looking figure - it comes from my packet from Judy Wise's Squam PlayBook Workshop I think.
I dropped it down over the face on the page....

and found out immediately that it had to go there !!! Check out the lines and how the size is just so perfect ! I grabbed the camera right after the moment happened to capture it falling int to place for you guys.

I trimmed the image just a little and glued it down. I then added a few lines with India ink to merge the two ...

and this is the page that I ended up with. Using the story phrase, my figure also got her name and her story.

She became the Embroideress of Dreams, a magical female creature who influences the details and flow of dreams so that they merge from the unconscious into your "real" life...

The kitty became the prince whose dreams had been embroidered by the Lady.

It is all kind of silly, but playful as I love journaling to be and came together as though some other voice was telling me what do put where, etc... I love it when that happens, when that plan just comes together...

Besides the squeezed in journal pages and the finishing of the flock, I also took the time yesterday to complete my three Christmas themed ATC decorations for my Canadian Chickie Swap . I can't show you the complete cards but I love how they turned out ! I got them in the mail today so my partner Nicolette should receive them in Edmonton quite soon. We are only opening them to share on the 23rd of December ! Here is a little peek :

Love those twinkling eyes !

So I am off until Tuesday night, sweet Friends. When I get back, I will have just a few days to get ready for my next exciting adventure...

I am having a little reunion with several of my Squamie friends from New Hampshire and Massachusetts here in my neck of the woods next Saturday, the 5th. We are getting together for an arty play afternoon of art journaling at Talk Paper Scissors. I am guiding some fun activites for the small gang of us. Afterwards, we are headed back to my house for Dinner, Vino and Fun ! A few people are even sleeping over ! How cool is that ? The only sad part is that my roomie and dear pal Carolyn won't be joining us for this get-together. She promised to come to the next one though !

It has been my dream to have a community of like minded ladies around me here in my NH home (ie : in my "real" life !) and I am open to doing all I can to make that happen. This is so exciting for me and the beginning of some beautiful friendship and fun times, I think ! Yay !

Okay...that was a long one ! Phew...Now I am off to enjoy the rest of the evening with the sweet Hubby. I will be back in touch on Tuesday when I get back ! Have a great start to the week, beautiful Ones and I hope you find some time to squeeze in some play time for yourself ! Big Love !

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It is Thanks Giving Time !

Tomorrow is Thanks Giving here in the US. David and I just finished saying how it doesn't feel like Thanksgiving very much this year. We are invited to his Dad's house and actually have very little prep to do for the holiday. It is his brother Richard's 50th birthday so we ordered a lovely big cake from the local bakery so I don't even have baking to do. I am not complaining - the slower pace is nice. But it feels different...

The whole holiday thing really has me thinking this year. Thinking about the what, why and how of what we celebrate. Not thinking about it in a Bah-humbug ! way - more like in a "How can I make this more meaningful ?" kind of way.

The answer so far ? I guess for me it is getting back to basics. We celebrate the holidays in order to spend time with those we love, to rejoice in what is good and to share the love we have for one another.

I am going to try and keep that in mind as I go through the preparation, the gift-buying, the planning, etc...and also on the days themselves. It is making me question each "act" that I usually would perform without so much thought, and definitely with more of a sense of urgency and stress.

This year, I hope to be a little mellower about the whole thing as I lower the expectations, examine what I really "need" to do and why I am doing it, and maybe let go of a few things or at least keep things a little more simple. It feels really good to do this - kind of like a gift to myself ! ;)

This way I can maybe get back to the basics of why we celebrate the holidays in the first place...coming together in love. Now that is definitely something worth simply celebrating !

I would like to wish all my friends celebrating Thanks Giving a wonderful day filled with memory making moments, love and laughter ! So much to be thankful for...

Cheers, Beautiful Ones !

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Focusing on what is Good and Strong...

So my wonderful Mom/Guru and I were having a chat about forgiveness this morning.

These are her words that ring in my head after our talk...

"Forgive yourself first."

"If you can't forgive yourself, what hope is there for the rest of the world ?"

Her words and the quote from John Ruskin inspired this journal page this morning :

"Do not think of your faults; still less of other's faults.

Look for what is good and strong and try to imitate it.

Your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes."

So the question is now how do you forgive yourself ?

Well, the answer is right there in the quote.

"Look for what is good and strong and try to imitate it."

So on this day, so close to Thanks Giving Day, I decided to look for what is good and strong in my Self and express my gratitude, my thanks, for those qualities. Focus on what is right, and you will get more of it, right ?

Here are a few things on my Good and Strong Kim List :

I am so grateful for the fact that I am learning to focus on what is right with me instead.

I am grateful for how I love with so much of this big heart.

I am grateful that I am always trying to do better.

I am grateful for my openness to see things differently or to take another point of view.

I am grateful for strength that pulled my Soul up out of some pretty dark places and brought it so far into the light.

I am grateful for me, the Child of Light that I am.

Forgive yourself.

Give hope to the rest of the world.

Have a beautiful Tuesday, my wonderful Good and Strong friends !

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Queen Meets a Life-Long Friend !

From the second she opened the door, saw the camera and laughed her head off...

Sherry when she opened the door - she said she felt like she had won the Publisher's Clearing House or something ! ;)

I knew it was the start of a perfect adventure !

Sherry came to visit me this weekend. She and her man drove from Toronto to Manchester on Friday. That took literally all day !

They got to the hotel at 8:30 at night, having left around 8:00 in the morning.
We met up on Saturday am when I went to the hotel to pick her up.
I have to say that it really felt like we already knew each other (which we did though we had never been in the same room before !), it was so comfortable !

The best thing was that we were instantly both just ourselves, which amazes me ! I think it is pretty rare to feel that way instantly with another person. But that is how it worked for us !

We headed out on the one hour drive to Topsfield, Mass to visit one of the coolest arts/crafts stores in the Universe - Absolutely Everything. It is the kind of store where you discover more and more stuff the longer you hang out there. Conversation flowed so easily - we are talkers, Sherry and I ! Once at the store, I think we spent about an hour and a half exploring and choosing treasures that had to come home with us.

Sherry and Me at AE - Queen Style !

Then came lunch (lots of deep heart talking going on there...),

then came a visit to Tar-Jay for Sherry - they don't have those in Canada yet !

All the while, we were old friends, sharing our stories, seeing one anothers hearts, cheering each other on for all the work we have done and how far we have both come. You know, just the talk that two really good friends have. It felt so good and it felt like Sherry had always been in my life.

Sherry and her husband Al came to my house for supper after a little down time at the hotel. I made it easy on me and did the spaghetti, garlic bread and salad thing as we were out all day. David had done a lot of extra helping to make our house look extra cozy when the sweet guests arrived, which was very appreciated.

We enjoyed a nice evening of food, wine and of course, talking...;)
And then they left, around 10:30 or so, as they hoped to make a early departure to drive back home the next morning.

I have to say, as soon as I realized she was going home, I missed her. It feels like she should be in my world daily, like we should be able to hit Tar-jay whenever, and like I should be able to call her and talk about whatever I want to celebrate or commiserate about on any given day...

Oh, wait !

Tar-jay may be kind of out of the question, but the rest of it ? No !

I know have a new Life-Long Friendship ! What a gift for both of us ! A friendship that includes love, laughter, mutual support and encouragement and great companionship. What more could you want from a friendship ? A few hundred miles and a day long drive won't stop the power of this one ! ;)

Thank you to my dear friend Sherry for taking the time, traveling the miles and making meeting me in person a priority in her life. It was a definite gift for me and I know it was the start of a beautiful thing....

(PS - I didn't take a lot of pictures but Sherry did take more which I am sure she will share. It is hard sometimes to stop and capture it as it is happening when you really want to just soak it all up !)
Happy Monday, Beautiful Ones ! I am happily hanging out in the studio today, filled up with inspiration, motivation and feeling good after my weekend friendship-fest ! Have a good one !

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Your task, should you choose to accept it...

For a dear friend...

and for myself...

and for anyone else that needs it...

Art journal page - "Find the Barriers"
November 18, 2009

Quote from Rumi
"Your task is not to seek love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it."

So yesterday was pretty restful which is what I needed. I am still way behind in terms of catching up with my peeps in Blogland but at least I am feeling a little more rested and a little more Kim-like after spending the late morning at play in the art journal, and the afternoon doing what these two precious Kitties were doing :

Azzy napping on the daybed...

Cosmo napping in his sunbeam basket...

Naps are good for what ails you.

Still feeling a little fragile but that seems to be the thing for many of my friends and family right now. Let's all try and be kind to ourselves, I say. You may not be able to count on life being kind to you or even on the people around you being nice, but with a little effort, we can at least count on ourselves !

Today is going to be about nesting a little and getting things ready for Sherry's visit. She and her man are coming for dinner on Sat. evening after Sherry and I spend out play day together.

Have you ever had someone you have never met for dinner ?

I haven't but I am looking forward to it. My main challenge is to keep things real and just be me. Not to notice all the little things that need fixing around the house or the dust on the base boards (I will keep the lights dim, I think ! ;)). I know Sherry sees my heart and I know that she will feel my welcome and that is what is important. (I keep on telling that to the Martha-wanna-be inside me over and over ! )

After the nesting time, at around 4:00pm, I am going on a little adventure. I met a young, talented artist at the craft fair last Saturday named Nick. He creates these amazing vessels out of carved cardboard - awesome ! Anyway, he contacted me on Sunday via email and asked to interview me for an assignment for his college writing class. They have to interview a stranger and he was intrigued by the Rock My World adventures and how I use my rocks to spread a little more love around. I thought it was such a brave thing to do to reach out like that ! I am very flattered and honored.

We are meeting at Barnes and Noble today so he can conduct his interview with the Rock Fairy. Pretty cool, eh ? I am sure she will be bringing him a little bag of love rocks to give out on his own adventures...

So spend some time today being really kind to your Self, beautiful Ones. We really do deserve it !

Rock On !

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Queen is so thankful for her friends !

So when I did my quick "simple things" post on Monday, I mentioned that the Famous Craft Fair was a bit of a bust. Thanks for all your sympathy and encouragement but it really wasn't that bad...

It was only a bust financially. I did learn a lot, made some good connections, and had a really nice time meeting people and of, course, sharing my Rock My World rocks. I got a lot of positive feedback about my display and my products which felt good.

The main obstacle was the weather. It was very raw and poured rained very heavily all day long ! That meant the attendance was way down, and in fact, many people didn't even make a single sale ! I did quite well compared to many but made only about enough to cover my costs and have enough left over for a craft store trip for myself to replenish my stores a bit !

I was disappointed with the turnout money wise but I am very satisfied with my own set up, the time and dedication I put into it all and what I have learned that can be applied to the next one ! The Queen Did Good !

Here's a few photos...

The table...

some birds, necklaces, Queen of Arts sign...

magnets, rocks, angels and soaps...

original art cards (love those !!!)

Me at the table...

My friend Suzanne came down for a few days and was sweet enough to spend the day with me at the high school cafeteria in spite of the s l o w-ness of the day. My hubby was our driver and made sure I had everything I needed to set up my table just how I wanted it which I so appreciated. All in all it was a good experience.

Suzanne and I spent some good friend time together, shopping, and hanging out and she just left this morning. Life is not always easy but when we relax into stuff and just take advantage of what is good in the present moment, it sure feels easier. I love my good old friend very much and I am very thankful for the friendship we share.

The rest of the day today is all about taking care of me. I am carrying around the tail end of a cold. I am exhausted from the go go go that is now gone, gone, gone and I need some time to rest up and feel well again for the next adventure....

Sherry is coming in THREE SLEEPS!

Yes, my dear friend who I have never met is coming down to visit me from Toronto. That is about a 10 hour drive, my friends ! Sherry was in fact the first person who ever commented on my blog when I started it two years ago, and we are in contact in Blogland or on Facebook everyday ! Sherry and I have developed a friendship based on the heart and understanding that means a great deal to me. I am thrilled that she felt the impulse to find a way for us to meet in person and that it is on its way to becoming a reality ! We talked on the phone on Monday and I can already tell that finding stuff to talk about will not be a problem ! ;)

On Saturday, Sherry and Kim will spend the day eye to eye and heart to heart and probably with something arty in our hands ! Yay ! Life is good and so full of sweet treasures when we open ourselves up for them.

And now I am off to get out my art journal and my paints, put on some music and get into a zone....I am missing it so much my fingers are itchy !

Have a happy Wednesday, Beautiful Ones ! And give your friends a big squeeze and remind them how much you love them !

Monday, November 16, 2009

Simple things on this Monday...

simple things

a cat's nose touching mine

the smell of my man's neck

the smell of fresh sheets

the crunch of an apple

a bottle of acrylic paint

india ink

anything green

a splash of raspberry red

a grapefruit cut in half, sections cut, and eaten with a small silver teaspoon

a rock with a word on it

a smile from a stranger

this moment....

(I have lots more to say about a craft fair where I made little money but got lots of life lessons, forgiveness for yourself and for others, and the sweet sweetness of friendship but I am finding the days too short and the focus on other things for now. I hope to catch up more with my pals and then get back to posting later this week. I so got caught up in the "simple things" that many of my friends were sharing today, having been inspired by christina. I love this idea and had to play along. Sending love and appreciation for the simple things...Happy Monday, beautiful Ones.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Changing Myself Up a Little !

Just a fast post to say "ARRRRRRGHHHH !"

I miss you guys ! I don't have much time to visit. I feel like Blogland is going on without me and I can't possibly catch up...

Can you tell I am a little stressed ?

Busily trying to get things finished for the CRAFT FAIR !!!

Thank God, it will be done on Saturday at 5:00 pm.

I am excited about it but man, it is a lot of work !

David has been great helping me whenever he can, with putting labels on things, packaging things up, and pricing stuff, not to mention putting up with the edgy Queen ! ;)

I am down to the final designing of the layout of my table today. Display ! I am a bit of a loony when it comes to placing things just right. That is great when working in a zen garden but not so great when you have a few short days and a teeny tiny budget to put out all your wares on a 6 foot long table ! Oh well...deep breaths and my great deBroin eye for detail will save the day, I think.

Not only do I miss posting and visiting and commenting in Blogland, but I am missing playing in my art journal big time ! This morning I did a piece because I just HAD TO ! All this crafty stuff is fine to make a few bucks but my soul is an artist's soul and it needed to speak today !

The page started with a painted background to which I added this figure from a mask made with a "praying" lady from an ad in a magazine.

Added some pieces of painted papers for the triangles, a flower shaped rubber stamp, some pen work with white Elmers Pen pens and black Indian Ink with a dip pen, and here is what I ended up with...(click to enlarge)

"Pray can change your life." - art journal page
November 11, 2009

I love the quote from Sam Shoemaker, the Episcopalian priest who help found Alcoholic Anonymous.

I love the idea of prayer changing you inside and out rather than giving all the power to some Being outside of ourselves.

In my mind, we are children of God and we have the power to change things for ourselves and our world.

Through prayer...

and through Love, sweet Love...

Taking the time to do the journal page is like taking the time to pray for me. I will admit that this was some rushed praying today, but I feel better for having taken that time and also for taking the time to share it with my community of artist souls. :)

I think it has changed me just enough to get through all the little details of the day a little more calmly and peacefully...

I promise to catch up with you all asap, beautiful Ones !

Big Wednesday Love!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Love Echoes...

David and I and Chica made the trip up North this weekend. It was a few days filled with sweet, sweet moments. You know the kind that just keep playing over and over in your mind and fill your heart with joy at being alive, and loved and loving ?

Love echoes you could call them...

Like witnessing the first snow of the season (way up North in La Conception, Quebec!)

No rush down here in Manchester, Momma Nature !

Or noticing that lilac leaves look a lot like hearts!

And feeling the love that happens between two hearts, in this case mine...

and his...

Or moments where you snuggle and hug and kiss and play with angels like this

in spite of runny noses, and coughs and media hyped up germs...

And get close to those you love,

the ones facing big changes and going through rough times...

or the ones in celebration,

like sisters turing 40 and getting blown away by the surprise !

Colorful celebrations

with many warm wishes,

a few tears of joy,

and of course, the loads of laughter !

Yes, I had myself a big dose of

love echoes this weekend...

and they are still ringing in my heart today...

Had a great weekend ! Attended my sister Natalie's 40th Surprise Birthday Bash on Friday, thrown by her best friend, Cindy, and her Man, Dave (Nat's Dave!). It was a sweet blast with lots of family and friends !(her actual birthday is November 29th)

Spent Sat. with my sister Kristina and her hubby John and Thomas and Kate (all of who have been feeling icky and under the weather but were not too bad when Uncle David and Auntie Kimmy spent the day there !)

Spent Sunday Brunch at my beautiful friend Andrea's house with her hubby James, and my gorgeous Darlene friend and her two boys. Yummy food and lovely chatting time.

David and I got home late last night...Monday has me feeling a little draggy and with tons of odds and ends to do...

But it is all good...

as I have all those sweet moments,

those love echoes...

to get me through...

Happy Monday, Beautiful Ones !

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet You at the Deli Counter...

(Art journal page - "It happened at the deli counter")
(November 2, 2009)
So there has been a story in my head since Monday morning. This is what happened. I had a nice exchange with a lady in the produce section of the grocery store. I don't remember what I said, but I know I spoke first - probably something about the beautiful day outside or the condition of the produce or something. She gave me a smile and a nod of agreement and we both continued on our way.

(Bottom half of journal page tells the story...)

Then we met again in line at the deli counter. She was ordering turkey breast. The deli guy offered her a piece of the turkey to try. She took the piece of limp beige in between her fingers to check the thickness, told the guy it was fine and then proceeded to check in her purse for somewhere to put the turkey, grimacing big as she did. I caught her eye and laughed ! "No way do you want to eat that piece of turkey right now !" I said. She laughed too, and replied "I like turkey but it is a little early for me !" (It was about 9:30 am).

A moment or two later, she asked me a question - "Are you new to the area ?" Startled, I replied, "No, I have lived here for almost 10 years....Why ?". "Well," she said "You are just so nice!"

I have to say that I have found this town to be a hard one to be a Big Heart Walking in at times. People are close-knit, clique-ish I guess you could say. Oh, they can be friendly if you make the first move but rarely does the level on friendliness go beyond really common courtesy.

So this lady's comment gels with what I kind of know about where I live already, but at the same time, what she said has been ringing in my head all week. It made me very sad on one hand, pretty proud on the other, and it also made me hopeful in my heart.

Sad that we have lost the common action of showing kindness, connection and friendliness to our fellow women and men; so much so that when one person acts that way, it comes as a surprise to another.

(Top half of journal page - spread the love !)

Proud because I have been living my life this was for a while now, showing kindness and love whenever I can, and worrying so much less about what people think or being rejected or getting embarrassed if I get ignored. I do it because I have learned that when I spread the love, even just a little, I get rewarded with wonderful exchanges with people I would normally never have connected with. I have also learned that life is too damn short to worry about looking stupid !

Finally, this little exchange at the deli counter one Monday morning has made my heart hopeful because for that moment, there were two more people connecting and sharing the present moment and spreading the love. And if we cool, somewhat distant Manchesterites can do it, so can you !

"The best portion of a good man's life - his nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love." - Wordsworth

"A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses."
- A Chinese Proverb

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."- Mother Teresa

Plant kindness and gather love. - Unknown

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair., but manifestations of strength and resolution." - Kahlil Gibran

(Busy getting stuff ready for a weekend away. I am leaving tomorrow and will be back Monday. Only one week until the craft fair and I still have lots to do. Next week is going to be a busy one ! I hope your weekend is filled with love and kindness and just the right amount of silly fun too !Big Love, beautiful Ones !)