A Quench of Color


This time of year everything is bursting with color around the neighborhood. Here’s a look at my favorite spot, which is just down the road from my home. I think I’ve shown you this special place before, but each year it seems to look a little different, so here it is again…looking sort of the same, but never exactly the same.  Nature always delights.

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The reflection is so amazing it practically takes my breath away.  Everything about this place moves me.

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Trees glowing gold with sunshine…

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…and earth covered in shades of kumquats and cranberries.

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Seeing these vibrant colors somehow quenches a thirst, a thirst I didn’t even know I had.  Maybe I should include these refreshing shades of Fall in my next works?  And you, what colors have you been thirsting for these days?

 

 

 

 

 



Painted Paper Birds


For whatever reason birds have been on my brain lately.  So I decided to use them as my muse for some watercolor painting play.  I began by drawing a quick sketch.

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And then I colored in the birds with watercolor paint.  Next I added some stitching details using my sewing machine, and then I used scissors to cut out each bird shape.  The coloring and cutting part reminded me of how I used to play with paper dolls growing up.  I used to do this for hours…did you?

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Once the birdies were done I moved on to making a home for them…in this case it was in the form of a collage on canvas.

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This big birdie faces both the sun and her little loved one.

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Behind the birdie the days keep ticking by.

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But no matter how quickly time flies by, this birdie’s eyes are focused on the sun…and the bright spots in life.

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Each new day is a gift.  So “rise and shine”, and greet it with glee.  This thought keeps me grounded.  This thought keeps me grateful.

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A Tin and a Poem


A while ago I created this pretty little display using a coffee tin and some artificial blooms that I had around. I like surrounding myself with low maintenance things (no watering necessary).

Here’s a look at the tin.
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And here’s a poem that I wrote.

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To me, the idea of emerging requires a sort of letting go…a lightening of the load.  With a lighter load, it should be easier to emerge or take flight.  So I’ve been working on letting the little things go, a little at a time.  And it’s been working.  I feel lighter and more free…and this feels fantastic!

Wishing you all lighter, brighter days as well.

 



Letter Birdie and Bookmark


With the weather cooling down a bit I recently felt the itch to get my hands back into needle felting.  And in usual fashion, I started off by felting a little birdie.  There’s something very soothing about making something cute and familiar.  I like how the mind doesn’t have to think so much, and can freely wander in whichever way.

Here’s a look at the birdie that I made using Brook’s letter (from my previous post) for the wings.  The letter image was transferred onto cotton fabric using gel medium.

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Here’s the same birdie from another angle…

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…and here’s a close up.  You can see how fuzzy the face is and the word “soar” is highlighted with subtle sparkles.

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Below is a look at a bookmark that I made using Brook’s letter (also transferred onto cotton fabric).

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Underneath the bookmark you can see a portion of a bookmark sleeve sewn from parchment paper.

I specifically chose to cut out and to use this portion of Brook’s letter because in this part of the letter she talks about a very special moment that she had while at camp.  Brook was challenged with a very difficult and scary task: to climb a very high rock climbing wall with difficult angles and hard to reach hand holds. When it was her time to go, she was terrified (of heights, of falling, of failing in front of her peers).  But she forced herself to work through it and she didn’t give up.  It took her the entire day to complete the challenge and afterwards she was both thrilled and exhausted.  It was a hard lesson in perseverance and in building self confidence.  Anyway, I made this bookmark for Brook as a reminder to her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to.  Now whenever she feels doubt, she can see in her own words how she conquered her fears.

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Here’s a look at the top embellishment (pretty beaded dangles and a ribbon tail attached to bookmark with a safety pin).

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This fall I plan to spend more time creating.  Taking breaks throughout the summer left me feeling a little empty inside (I guess I missed my creativity time), so now it’s time to replenish.  For me, fall is a time of personal renewal, which is sort of contrary to what happens outside (with the lessening light and falling leaves).  As the outdoors sheds, I get a chance to grow more on the inside…it’s a more than fair trade off don’t you think?

 

 

 



Letters Home


Brook’s Summer camp ended about a month ago and we’ve been using these last couple of weeks to gently transition into the new school year. Letting go of Summer isn’t easy.

Before letting go completely, I thought I’d show you a project that I just finished using Brook’s letters from camp. She has been going to the same camp for seven years now and every year our only communication from her is through letters. You can imagine how important these letters are to us. When we get one in the mail, Bill and I wait to read each letter together (confession: sometimes I can’t wait for Bill so I sneak a peak, but I mostly wait). It takes a lot for me to be this patient.

Here’s a look at the originals (one is a letter and one is a birthday card).
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And here’s a look at what I made with them.

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I made these house shaped ornaments using white sponges (purchased from Whole Foods) as the base.

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I used a portion of Brook’s letter to make this one.

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And I used a portion of her handmade birthday card to make this one.  Inside the card Brook included a photo of the two of us along with some loving words (which I’ve saved for a possible future project).  The house base is covered with the letter envelope (inside of envelope showing) along with a small strip cut from the card.  I wanted to highlight the letter “M” for Mom, and I added the number 45 to represent my 45th birthday.

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Here’s a closer look at both.

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And of course I had to include the date on the backs.

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If you’d like to make something similar, please keep in mind that I made color photocopies of Brook’s letter and card, and I also shrunk the size.  While at the copy machine I made a couple of inverted image copies to be used as gel medium image transfers. I hope to get to these next week and will post the project details if they turn out any good.

BTW, I’m planning to hang the two houses on our Christmas tree.  I’ve already been thinking about making Christmas ornaments.  So I guess saying goodbye to Summer isn’t so hard after all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Hearts, Hugs and Sunshine


With Summer coming to a close, this is the perfect time for me to share a beach finds project with you. If you’re like me, you have a collection of carefully selected beach beauties on hand.  Here’s a look at what you can create with them.

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Here’s a close look at one that’s focused around a heart.

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And this one has a heart in it also.

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This next one looks like a heart to me too.  Although it’s missing part of the top curve, my eye and mind sees it as complete.

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Very often I like to include details that look like visual hugs…I think this adds a cozy feel.  Below are some examples of what I mean.

Wire wrapped rock.

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Circle around a shell.

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Wire wrapped around “cherish” stick and string wrapped around a reed with a feather sticking out.

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And here’s a closer look at my favorite example of a visual hug (sunshine yellow thread wrapped around a feather seen on the right hand side of the canvas), which I did while thinking of my Bill and Brook.

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I feel grateful that no matter where I am or what season it happens to be, I’m always surrounded by sunshine, as long as I’m around (or even when I’m just thinking of) my Bill and Brook. They are my light, my joy…my sunshine.  As we move into the direction of shorter days, may the brilliant, beautiful light of your loved ones fill you with peace and joy as well.

If you’d like to know more about the artwork shown above, please refer to my article in the current issue of Somerset Studio.  And of course, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the making process…I’m always happy to help.

As a side note, it seems that my blog had been hacked and I think it hasn’t been functioning properly since the beginning of Summer.  However, it’s all been fixed (thanks to Bill) so if you’re a subscriber, or you like to just drop by occasionally, you’ll be able to do so more easily again.

 

 



Everything Outside


It turns out that this summer has been all about everything outside (for me).  This means that I haven’t been at home much, so I haven’t been doing much artwork or blog posting.  However, I’ve written a couple of articles which I’ll share when the time comes, but for now here’s a look at some of the inspiration that I’ve come across.

Starting off with the light in Quebec City at dusk…

…and into the night (this is some kind of outdoor game in a park near the Frontenac). The Quebecois are so cool.

And speaking of cool, while in Montreal we were very happily surprised to find that our visit coincided with their Jazz Festival.  I felt lucky to be surrounded by so much music and fun energy.

In New York City, Bill and I enjoyed some interesting sky views…

…of water towers during the day (seen from our hotel)…

…and building towers at night.

One night after dinner in Chinatown we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  This moonlit walk was romantic and magical and I’ll remember it always.

Outside of the city there were a few trips to Maine, where I drank in the luscious color…

…of farm fresh fruit…

…and sunny, yellow flowers.

There were also sunny, yellow flowers in the Berkshires (at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA).  BTW, this weekend workshop with Deepak Chopra was life changing for me.  I’ve been meditating daily ever since and so far the experience has been amazing.  Deepening my awareness will undoubtedly affect my everyday life as well as my creative life.

I’m currently still enjoying these last days of summer.  Brook is back from camp (she came home last Saturday) and I would like to have some more fun with her before she goes back to school after Labor Day.  In the meantime, I hope that you’ll all continue to enjoy everything outside also.  Summer’s definitely for sticking our heads out the window to take it all in…all the way in…deeply, and in total awareness.



Queen Anne’s Lace of Hearts


About a week ago Bill and I went out for pizza.  While Bill went into the restaurant to pick up our pie, I stayed outside to enjoy this beautiful view of Queen Anne’s Lace (hard to believe that something so serene could be seen at the side of the road).  Usually, we just whiz by in our cars so scenes like this are easy to miss.

Upon closer look I saw lady-like umbrellas of white lace, with random punctuations of tight green buds (I always think of potential whenever I see buds).

And then upon even closer inspection of the lace blooms I saw tiny white hearts.

This wonderful discovery prompted me to look up the meaning of Queen Anne’s Lace.  And the most interesting thing that I found was that this plant represents sanctuary.  To take this meaning further, I like to see it as:

Our world is full of hearts, and each heart is full of love.
May our hearts be the sanctuary, from which all love blooms.

As you move about your everyday, have you been seeing or experiencing signs of love also?  Or perhaps you’ve been spreading it…like a seed.  If so, I hope it grows and multiplies into a field of infinite beauty.



More of and Less of…with Light


Today I turn 45…what I consider to be the mid-point of my life.  And I feel immensely grateful to have reached this milestone…sure, with some bruises and scratches (both inside and out), but overall I’m well…and still breathing.  It’s so good to be alive.

Yesterday morning I woke up thinking about the things that I want to do going forward, in order to live a richer and more meaningful life.  This list includes things that I want more of as well as the things that I want less of.  For me, making changes in both ways (doing more of and less of) will lead me closer to sustaining personal fulfillment.  And I would like nothing more than to radiate this sense of peace and happiness out into the world…in the form of light and love, and perhaps through the things that I create, whether it be in the form of actual art projects or through photos and words.  This is what I intend, and this is what I hope my blog will also convey.

Okay, to my list, which looks like this:

More of:

  • deep breathing, meditation and yoga
  • non-judgement
  • widening my comfort zone
  • deepening awareness
  • community service

Less of:

  • worrying about what’s next
  • mindless eating and overall consumption
  • unhealthy relationships

I’m sure that if I think more about this subject, I could come up with many more things to add to my lists.  However, sometimes it’s good to not over think things.  I wonder, what things might you include on your lists?

Beginning August 5, Oprah and Deepak Chopra are offering a free 21-day guided meditation focusing on relationships. I’ll definitely be doing this and if you’re interested, more details can be found here.

BTW, for my birthday each year Bill helps me with designing a new blog banner.  My birthday is the anniversary of my blog, which I started four years ago.  Throughout these years I have enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet so many of you.  I feel that there have been some real connections made.  And I am thankful for the good energy that you bring and leave behind at my blog.  Please know that your comments and emails are so sincerely received.  Thank you.  Thank you for the encouragement and light.

See light, feel light, give light…be light.



Growing Forward and Together


Bill and I had an easy-relaxed and joyful time together in NYC last weekend.  On the way to the city, we decided to only do new things together in New York on this trip…although this wasn’t very easy since we have some favorite old spots that we like to visit.  Anyway, the reason why I came up with this idea to only do new things is because I wanted to create new memories for us.  I wanted to focus on looking forward rather than looking back.  Luckily Bill agreed so we went with the new plan to experience a new New York together…and it was perfect!

Something not so perfect though was that for a couple of weeks before our anniversary, Bill and I were off.  It seemed we were out of sync.  Life was rolling along and we were kind of tumbling along with it…and it felt terrible to be so out of tune with my Bill.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often between us, but when it does, sometimes the disturbance lingers way longer than I’d like it to.

With these thoughts in mind I made Bill an anniversary gift using this shell that we found together at the beach this past Father’s Day.

Here’s a look at what the outside looks like after I altered it.

And here’s a look at the message that I wrote for the inside.

The message is about what happens in life…

…and it’s about how I want Bill and I to evolve and grow.

And speaking of growing and togetherness, Bill and I will be going to the Kripalu center this weekend to attend a Deepak Chopra gathering. For years I’ve been a big fan of Deepak Chopra and I’m excited for this opportunity to see him in person, but most of all I’m excited that I’ll get a chance to share this experience with Bill.

Wishing you growing togetherness also…may you be in harmony.