Friday, January 11, 2013

Advent Windows, part 3 (the end)

the words on the pages from the rest of my altered book advent window pages for the month (i didn't get as far as making them art):

day 14: PERMIT


edged in a little closer to hear
noticed my fire

(seriously - that word was on there 3 times! on just the next page in the book! #secretmessage for sure)

day 15: INVITE

learn how to be
the big wide dare
paint a little.

day 16: SOAK

"We'll do that right now."
some paint and a little brush
good for melody, a tune or two
kind of dreamy-like chase

day 17: MOVE

this was another profound day for me. i immediately resisted the word when i drew it in the morning, as all i was wanting to do was sit and drink coffee, and my first thought when i saw it was "exercise, ew." but then i watched this video. and i got out joey's drums and tambourine and harmonica and started MOVE-ing! turned on a little gungor and danced and sang and beat that drum and played that harmonica. it was amazingly refreshing and i drew near in worship. the first song that played begins with the lyrics 

"my soul cries out, my soul cries out for you... 
these bones cry out, these dry bones cry for you - to live and MOVE" 
yes, please.

i carried the harmonica around with me all day, playing (delightfully horribly) along with the radio... i even demoed it for my sister in a store (which she did not appreciate, giving me the "put that thing away! i can't take you anywhere!" look - haha, sorry sis.)

and then, unbelievably, the next page in my book had harmonica-playing in it!?

had his new mouth harp
and began to play
{danced} side to side, listening
tried two or three times to pick up the tunes
sense the window

big shadows swinging along

and excerpts from days 18-31 (i didn't even get as far as labeling the pages with the day's word:

first gray light 
on a cold trail

firelight dreams uncorked

long silvery call

baying, fresh and strong

mighty lonesome and out of heart
shame, my own

the next day, wide and white (this was christmas eve, which amused me)

forlorn in the afternoon, facing you
morning razor-change toward somebody chasing them

i wish these days young

wind swept over me, lifted my head

yellowish eyes in the daylight

"on fear and God" 
(some more refining in the process of getting to the point of starting my new blog)
i didn't move
i looked at the rock again, a glance
more scared than ever
it came to me then how alone i was
fear, a cold ball
near it, i guard myself, but i never leap
solid rock,
my life,
tangled together and fighting in mid-air
the surface coming
i hit the water and was deep under

Thursday, January 10, 2013

advent windows, part 2

VOUS ÊTES MON CŒUR (you are my heart)

gungor has been my constant companion ever since i "discovered" them the day my son was born four months ago. what artistry, what truth. when i saw the word courage on this page, i remembered i'd heard the word for "heart" in french came from the same root, and then this song proceeded to play on repeat in my heart for days (not a bad thing, in this case ;)

day 7: PLAY

chase courage
a guitar she'd already been playing

this "found poem" actually initiated my thinking about bravery, which eventually led to starting my new blog, and being ever so brave.

the opposite page held scattered across it the words:

i found hope
in a wooden chest
loaded onto the wagon
looking mighty

(but i hate the way the page turned out, so you don't get to see it unless we are very dear friends in real life, and you beg)


this day was sweet. i felt like God was inviting me more into my identity, made art plans and played. most significantly, i began to dream up a little headpiece/crown lovely celebration of who i am in his eyes (which reminds me - i need to work on/finish/wear that thing! and whirl in it as my prudychick friend suggested, seeing the word on the page ;)
day 9: CREATE

the day i {heard} that my story needs to be told. that i need to write. let people see. share the beauty and the mess. another tiny step towards what became my new blog (and the story-coaching session i will be having tomorrow night with Elora!)

bound up
bucking just like a wild horse, down
nailed to the ground

the bloom caught
tore loose

protect, find
in the air like a bird in flight,
sail daylight

she woke out of her doze and took off
wind holding ground
finally able to talk
day 10: ACCEPT

this was another rich day for me. just deciding to ACCEPT {me} was a huge step, still in process. i also ACCEPTed an etsy package from turkey, holding a lovely crocheted peter pan collar :) also, stay tuned for a glimpse of all the things i'm ACCEPTing in the january art journaler prompts, all circling around ACCEPTance.

mighty soul melody
open filled lungs

day 11: READ

i was amazed. i opened a hundred-year-old book of collected poetry this day and found words that resonated on the first page i read! i had never been one for poetry. in my former life of uncreativity, i just couldn't handle the non-concrete nature of them. now i adore that very quality. writing them, reading them... i have found a new love. and after i made this page, i realized how much that doodle looks like a pregnant woman about to give birth... LOVE. i have just given birth to my second (likely last) child, and now i am giving new life, birth to my story. in the form of or art or writing or storytelling...
day 12: REMEMBER
i don't REMEMBER what happened, and why i have no proof of this day, but this word followed me around in my wallet for a week, and every time i saw it, i REMEMBERed to be present, engage with life and God and advent and promptings and love.

day 13: FLIRT

i had been dreading this day, but it ended up being one of the best.
i hung the mistletoe,
asked my 3-year-old out on a date, and went on one with my love, made googly-love-eyes at my 3-month-old... and received flowers and starbucks special delivery on my front porch midday (thanks to jason's special helper), and enjoyed little kisses from the creator in the form of lovely leaves and nature...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

advent windows, part 1

this december, i found myself longing to go deeper into advent this year, a longing to be pierced with christmas; to be fully aware and fully present to what the time held for my heart... so when i saw an eBook by the amazing mandy steward called "come thou long expected", i jumped on the opportunity! and i got even more than i bargained for. the journey was amazing, with daily "word" prompts for art journaling, combined with images and a few quotes each day... but the part that i didn't know i was getting myself into was the community... posting glimpses of our days on instagram (& now facebook, since i've joined "the art journaler" community officially), it was like we were walking together, affirming each other on the way. so good. so needed.

so my process involved altering a book and using the pages to "art journal". i'd read through and pick out a secret story just for my heart and where i was processing. this was my first time doing this daily, and i loved it. having this little ritual of choosing a word, opening myself to God in it as i began my day with a hot drink... i just might continue this forever.

 some favorite excerpts from my art journaling advent journey:
day 1: ASK
this first day, i found a growing awareness of my longings and my questions,
and that it is in the "not asking" that the "not receiving" comes
day 2: VISIT
day 3: BELIEVE
a day that i realized shame was a lie, despite what my soul often believes...
and the words on the page contained:

all at once, a broken wing
young hurt
day 4: SEARCH

found words on the page:

followed me
studying glassy eyes     inside
asked me my name

(and my answer was {sapphire}, a name given me by a lovely woman two years ago... so when i photographed the page, i did so with some tiny sapphires strewn across the page - a birthday gift to myself as i was looking to accept this name/identity)

also, as i was on my way to begin working on my journal page this day, i was driving toward the sunset, and had the distinct sense that i wanted to "chase the light", and when i came to the pages for the day, they were there:

chase light
day 5: EXPLORE; day 6: GIVE

it was amazing to me the difference between how my soul interpreted SEARCH and EXPLORE. i had them on two consecutive days, and SEARCH felt more stressful, shouldsy, like i'm failing if i haven't found it yet... whatever "it" is. SEARCHing implies that you know what you're looking for. then i got EXPLORE, and it felt like a {breath}. i felt free to wander, look around, find what i found, see what is... rather than try to force what is into the category of whatever it is i'm looking for... i spent this evening wandering around savers thrift store, EXPLORing colors and textures and patterns, which found their way into my journal page later

i love the words that found themselves in this final page

fresh sprawled
a lone woman

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


so i have discovered something about myself. when i fail, when another confronts me, when i cannot and believe i should be able to... i go immediately to that old enemy shame. i am learning to have the same grace for myself that my all-compassionate God (who knows my frame, that i am dust... Psalm 103) has. i do not fail his expectations, disappoint him. he is on my side, against my accusers that try to lure me back to shame and self-contempt. 
so, as an example of this cycle, i was sorting through pictures and realized that there were a few catalysts to what has been a fairly dry creative period the last couple of months.  it started with this skirt (here is its story). after the whole designing process, i discovered more stains on the back that were not feasibly coverable. so it got put on the "fail" pile.

followed immediately by this pair of shorts.

 i wanted a pair of those gathered shorts that are so cute, and thought, "hey, i can figure out how to make some, right?" so set out with this step-by-step documenting of the process...

 not bad shots, right? giving a close-up of what i mean by a "basting stitch", or whatever term this non-sewing-expert decides to use to describe the process ;) it all went basically as expected (though, of course, imperfectly, as i was in no way following a pattern - just kinda making stuff up as i went along). but then i tried them on at the end... and they were too tight. like, they cut off my circulation to my lower extremities, unless i let them sag a bit lower on my thighs tight... they were uncomfortable. exactly what this pregnant girl was NOT looking for. i still wore them a couple of times...

 but now they have a huge oily-looking stain on them, and it's just not worth it to try to wear an uncomfortable, stained piece of clothing, no matter how much painstaking heart-and-hands-effort went into making them. but i noticed that i stopped making stuff after that. stopped altering and embellishing. stopped going to my studio in general...tried "pulling myself out of it" a few times, moving forward with my online art class painting projects...
some of the time alongside my joey (please excuse the nudity - it was his first day of potty training, and we let him run around naked for 3 days - he loved it... AND figured out how to go to the potty! ;)

but i hated every piece i was making. so i quit (again)

i haven't been painting (or even writing) for weeks now. but then, THEN. God reminded me of his grace.

i'm preparing for a project we'll be doing with my artsycrafty club this week, and we all had a worksheet to fill out, processing and meditating... and he reminded me. i am not a disappointment. i am his, and he loves when i risk stepping out toward him, toward freedom, toward creating, toward loving.
the project we're making is supposed to be a physical reminder of the life He has waiting for us to step into, and i pray it will be just that! i am not so good at talking myself out of the self-contempt. but if i remember how he sees me... with love as high as the sky (also psalm 103 - a favorite right now :)... i know He can work his grace into my heart, slowly but surely.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

i have been really drawn to all things blue and white lately, as you can see by some of my recent estate sale purchases...
 a couple weeks ago, i found this bright blue vintage pleated skirt, and lovely blue & white handmade linens, and bought them without a second glance (at 25-50 cents each, you can't really go wrong). i got them home and discovered stains. but i loved them so much! so i decided to work on patching over the stains on the skirt with one of the napkins, also stained, and then cover those stains with some lace, which also ended up being stained... some buttons were my final touch, and finally all the stains were hidden... but then my sewing machine stopped cooperating, and i gave up. here's how far i got:

 and below is that project this weekend. do you see the spiderweb attached to it???! yeah, that made me decide it was time to get back into the studio and create (coupled with the fact that jason took joey to his parents' house for the day ;)!
so i got back into my Misty Mawn Open Studio class, and started... painting!
 above: the underpainting; below: the final painting (amazing how much the same painting can morph into something so different! i'm actually not sure which i like better...)
 i have been doing this first week of assignments basically in order (on day 3 now, finally!). i think it's too much of one thing at a time, though, so after i finish week 1, i think i'm gonna go week-by-week. so i'm not writing (and you're not seeing) all poetry for forever, and then all portraits, etc. capiche?

and now for some more things i have been thankful for the last few weeks:

66. fever snuggles
67. people like elizabeth esther and sarah markley who share their stories and struggles online, making so many feel less alone.
68. photoshop, and the potential to learn so much more
69. acrylic paint
70. bright color
71. muted color
72. black and white
73. cardamom
74. fresh basil
75. the pairing of sweet and salty/savory: chicken & waffles, s'fa, salted caramel hot chocolate
76. TUMS
77. hearing the baby's heart beating strong

Thursday, June 14, 2012

estate sale spoils

 i got so many texts asking what treasures i found this weekend estate saling, i thought i'd better let you all have a glimpse...

this old propeller was my favorite find - how could you go wrong for a dollar??
sewing basket and all its contents
handmade afghan

 the inside and outside of a sweet little hand-crocheted clutch

another great find: hand-carved wooden block stamp (the guy who sold it to me for a dollar said it was from india in the 1920s and he thought it was to pattern wallpaper :)

beautiful napkin ring


prettiest little teacup and saucer i ever saw
 all those came to a grand total of $13!! i love estate sales. they are so much better than yard sales because they sell EVERYTHING. the junk most people wouldn't put out at a normal yard sale 'cause they figure no one would want it (but i do!! drawers full of rusty old tools and bolts?? yes, please!) AND the most precious beautiful stuff, too! at this estate sale, they were selling a vintage refrigerator (50s-70s?) that was upholstered in aqua, green, and gold fabric; and had a beer tap coming out of the side! the person who bought it (while i was deliberating) hauled it away for $12.50!!

i also scored a bunch of vintage clothes, which i plan to get posted for sale on my etsy site this summer (so i won't tell you how much i paid for them ;)... here's a little glimpse from my favorite angle to shoot clothes :)

p.s. there's an estate sale in whittier this weekend that's put on by my favorite (read: cheap) estate sale hosts... 13946 trumball st... come join me if you're in the area, and let's see what we can find!