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31 March 2010

Blossoming Treetops


The original plan was for me to move into my new home today, but the looming deadlines for college transfer applications have forced me to be patient enough to wait a few more days (and determined to get it all done as soon as I can manage).

Today has been an achingly beautiful day - the sky is clear blue, the sun bright, and the air warm. I managed to sneak out for a little walk to capture some of spring's loveliness; I'd be so disappointed if I missed out on all the wonderful changes going on around me! I hope to spend some time outdoors in the next weeks doing silly fun things like drawing on the sidewalk, blowing bubbles, and maybe even this!

Your comments on my last few posts have been so lovely and encouraging to read. Thank you so very much, each one of you, for your kindness. It means so much!

Much love,


PS. Oh, my! I just had a sudden realization that tomorrow is April!! Where oh where has the time gone?! How is it possible that I am approaching another birthday and my blog is already nearly one?

29 March 2010

Happy Thoughts

My head has been buzzing recently and my muscles have been tense. There are so many details to attend to, things to plan and to pack, so many things left unfinished and so much yet to be started - and pressure is mounting to get it all done soon, soon, soon! Has your Monday been similar, my dearests?

I am taking a break from all this hurry and busyness - will you join me? Here, take my hand, and we'll go for a walk together.

Imagine yourself in the still of the early morning. Sunbeams are stretching across the cold ground and the shadows are being chased away by laughing light. Breathe in - fill your chest with chilly air! Smell the warming earth; hear the birds welcoming the day.

via space_cadet00.

We'll walk through fields of lavender, inhaling its gentle, enveloping aroma. Run your hands over its blossoms - how soft it is!

via mexist.

Life has its ups and its downs, its twists and its turns; people change and time passes, but always, always will I be here for you. Take a breath, love. Everything will turn out beautifully. Promise.

28 March 2010

Image Transfers, Part 2

Yesterday I shared Part One in the tutorial about image transfers. Today I'll show you the next steps - almost finished!


Step four: Use plain water to wet the back of the paper and begin rubbing your finger in small circles. Add more water if needed - though be careful not to use too much and soak the page underneath!


Step five: Soon the paper will begin to clump into little rolls; if it doesn't, use more pressure and try a little more water. The image should start appearing - this is my favorite part!


Step six: Continue to rub the entire image, including the edges, until the whole image is revealed. Voila! Your first transfer is complete.

I've found out a few things through trial and error while practicing these. Firstly - and perhaps this is more obvious to you than it was to me! - if you do this over watercolor or other water-soluble material, the color will wash away when you rub the paper away from your transfer!

Secondly, note that color in images will be opaque, but your background will show through whatever is white or very light in your image. Black and white images are particularly interesting and fun to play with.

And lastly, if you don't rub all of the paper from the back of the image, you'll end up with a sort of foggy, half hidden image (see the example below - the right side has been completely rubbed away and the left has not). I really love how the obscured text looks; it adds texture and depth and one isn't distracted by the writing.


I do hope that this has been helpful - do let me know how it goes and if you discover anything new along the way! Have fun, lovelies!

27 March 2010

Image Transfers, Part 1

If you are looking for this week's Saturday Challenge, please read this blog post.

Hello, dearies!

I've only done a few tutorials on My Peacetree so far, but I'd love to do more. Would you help me out? If you're curious about any techniques or projects I've written about - or any that I haven't - please let me know! I lose a bit of objectivity going down my own artistic path, and am not sure which things could be helpful, inspiring, or interesting to you on your own journey. I'll try to be more conscious of sharing my discoveries and experiments - especially with art journaling - here with you in the future.

I was asked to do a tutorial on image transfers and - tada! - today's the day!

Before I ever tried it, I for some reason expected that image transfers would be difficult to do. In fact, they're incredibly simple and terribly addicting! There are many ways to do them, though so far I've only experimented with using gel medium. (If you don't have gel medium, no need to worry - apparently you can use plain glue, too.) Eventually I'd like to experiment with different kinds of adhesives and see what happens!

But for now - on to the tutorial! (It will be split into two parts as a single post would be far, far too long! I'll post the second half tomorrow.)


What you need:
  • an image to transfer - I've used newspaper and magazine clippings so far; I know that photocopies work well, too. Keep in mind that whatever you are going to transfer will be mirrored (and words will be backwards) with you are finished.
  • a brush - I've been using ¢39 foam brush as its wide surface spreads the gel medium easily and evenly, but you can use any kind of brush or even your fingers if you'd like.
  • gel medium or other adhesive - I found this on clearance at Dick Blick's. Check your local craft store or experiment with plain glue like Elmer's or another adhesive!

Step one: Thickly coat the face of the image you want to transfer with the gel medium. Make sure that it covers the entire image and lies evenly across the surface, reaching all the way to the edge of the paper.


Step two: Flip the image face down so that the gel medium lies against the surface you want to transfer the image to. (Here, I'm transferring the image to a page in my art journal that is already painted with acrylics; this isn't necessary and you can transfer it to just about any kind of plain or prepared paper - I've even tried fabric with fantastic results!)

Gently smooth the back of the image, making sure that all air bubbles are out and that every part of the gel medium is in contact with the receiving paper.


Step three: Let the gel medium dry completely - if you don't, the transfer won't work. But if you're impatient like me, you can use a blow drier to help speed up the process.

How are you doing so far? Here's where I'll stop for today - check in tomorrow for part two! And do please let me know in the meantime if you need anything clarified or have any questions.

Go to Part Two.

25 March 2010

'Start the Revolution with Me'

"Start the Revolution with Me"
Click image to view in full size.

My goodness, I've been posting quite a bit, haven't I? I wonder if it's all this nervous energy that I have been feeling recently. I'm moving within the week (!) - and as a result of all the newness that is to come, I've felt that I have been completely saturated with change. I am always thinking of it, feeling it, and dreaming of it. Exciting and terrifying and a little bittersweet.

I created this journal spread late last night - most of my creative ideas are born in the wee hours of the morning! This page started out messy, uncomfortable, unpleasing, and frustrating. It ended up being one of my favorite pages thus far. As I watched it transform, I thought to myself, "If anyone were to ask me who I was, I would point to this page. 'This is who I am,' I'd say, 'This is how I think, what I feel!'" I am not sure if I feel the same way about it now, but I'm thrilled to be on the right track.

Over the past week I've felt that my artistic style has been in full development, and finally I can see some of myself in my pages. When I began this journal - you can see all of the pages here - I was emulating other artists' work that I admired. Now, I am beginning to do my own thing: messy, layered, busy, experimental, unrestrained. This sudden understanding is a wonderful thing and I hope to maintain it, develop it, and nurture it as best I can.

I hope that today finds you completely full of you! Shine, my lovelies! Be happy and be full of the most beautiful kind of thoughts!

Much love,

24 March 2010

The Furry One


Let me introduce you to my sweet Lily cat. She likes warm laps, eating cold things, Lucky Charm marshmallows, being carried, smelling one's breath, sleeping under blankets, and the sound of running water. She sleeps with her face buried in her paws, and does not like cheese or salmon. She has an enormous, happy, loud purr. She is sweet and gentle and loving and snuggly, and she is loved tremendously.

Do you have any furry friends who keep you company, no matter what?

23 March 2010

Etsy Store, the Second



Today I created a new
Etsy store in which to sell my photography! You can go take a peek at www.MyPeacetreePrints.etsy.com - do let me know what you think! If you have a suggestion for which photographs I should sell (you can browse all of my photographs here) or any improvements to make within the shop, I'd very much appreciate the feedback.

You can find my other store for handmade goodness here.

Much love to you all!

22 March 2010

The Handmade Writer


A woman named Amy Spencer wrote me yesterday about her new e-course Handmade Writer. Amy is an author, experienced workshop leader, and crafter and The Handmade Writer is a course for those who wish to explore their own writing and who want to expand it creatively. I know that many of my readers are interested in both crafts and writing, and thought that this course might be of interest to some of you!

This is what Amy wrote about it:

"Rather than focusing on any particular style of writing or for any particular type of writer, this course is about exploring the world and looking for inspiration around you. It is designed to encourage people to take their writing a bit more seriously and find motivation to fit it into their lives."

"I will encourage students to gather material from every source imaginable and use the fabric of their lives to tell extraordinary stories."

It sounds deliciously tempting! The course starts on 12th April and runs for 6 weeks. It uses a private online community space as a virtual writing workshop - you will be given regular exercises and prompts each week, and will be able to give and receive feedback and support on your writing. If you're interested, you can go to the Handmade Writer website and read more about it - there are lots of questions answered and further explanation of what to expect. You can also sign up there.

21 March 2010

Spring and Sewing


I have for a long time been thinking that the first day of Spring was on the twenty-first of March, when it was actually on the twentieth! This is my very favorite month - I love the new growth, the reawakened life, and the colors, smells, and sounds! I celebrated today by talking a walk to the park and spending some time outdoors writing in my journal. I wish each of you a beautiful, happy Spring!

A few days ago I found a sweet little sewing machine at a thrift store for seven dollars. What a deal! After reading about iHanna's experiments with sewn paper, I've been wanting to try my own paper collage. The sewing machine I bought is loud and pretty basic and would probably be terrible for sewing fabric - but it's perfect for what I'd like to do with it!


I got a few odd and ends - clippings from magazines, candy wrappers, stickers, and leftover paper - and sewed them all onto some orange construction paper, making an impromptu collage. My intent was to test the machine to make sure that it worked properly (it does), but I'm very happy with the results and am hoping to do lots more sewing soon!


As a side note, I must admit that I do feel a strange need to name my machine. I've never been one to name inanimate objects (stuffed animals and dolls being the exception), but I'm sure that this one needs a name. If you have any good ideas, please let me know!

20 March 2010

Peek-a-Boo

If you are looking for this week's Saturday Challenge, please read this blog post.

In my corner of the world it is deliciously warm and sunny, and from my window I can see yellow daffodils swaying in the breeze. What a lovely Saturday afternoon!

19 March 2010

Friday

Image via Ravi Vora.

Hello, my sweets!

How are you today? Have you breathed in deeply, closed your eyes, and remembered just how lucky you are to be alive? Have you celebrated the sun and budding flowers and blue skies and swaying tree branches? Listen to the birds singing - how happy they are! - and wiggle your toes; stretch your arms and jump for joy. Spin and dance, laugh. Love. Be radiant and daring and silly and brave; share kindness and beauty; be wonderful, captivating, gorgeous you!

Love you lots,


PS. The friend-of-the-family's baby took her very first breath early this morning and she and her mother are doing well. No name as of yet. Thanks so much for your good wishes!

17 March 2010

Sweet Nothings



Today I got out my paints and my paintbrushes. When it comes to art journalling, I seem to have such a great deal of trouble starting - but once I begin, I enjoy it enormously and am so proud of myself when I finish! Many artists whose blogs I read seem so comfortable with their art journals, creating and experimenting and playing continually, sharing their secrets and their dreams day after day; I am amazed and do wish I were so driven. Hopefully it will come with time, but perhaps my inability to keep up one project continuously is simply the way that I am.

I did my very first image transfers today! (An image transfer is any of a number of different ways to transfer an image to a piece of art.) I've always wanted to try - they add such dimension to a page - and I finally took the leap. I began taking pictures for a tutorial, but halfway through I got too excited and forgot the camera completely! Later, perhaps. The first photo above is the spread before a transfer was added and the second is after I finished the spread. Which do you like better? I can't quite decide, but I'm terribly happy with myself for giving it a shot anyway and not worrying about how the end product would look. That's the key to art journalling, you know, dearests.

I've been thinking quite a bit recently about all sorts of things, such as who I am and what I stand for; what I want to accomplish in this life of mine; Spring and all its loveliness; the future - tomorrow, and next week, a year, five years from now; my goals and plans and hopes; what it means to be a brave, confident, and sure woman; what happiness is and how to live it; and about the natural ebbs and flows of creativity and inspiration. If I can manage to put my thoughts into words understandably, I will share them with you in later posts.

A young friend of the family is in the early stages of labor with her first child. She is insisting on having a completely natural birth - at home, with no midwife or doula, refusing any advice from experienced mothers - and I'd like to ask for you to keep her and her baby in your thoughts and in your hearts. Thank you so very much!

Have a beautiful afternoon, my sweets ~

16 March 2010

Simple Things

Last night I was reading through some of my earliest posts. Simple and sweet and filled with positivity, they exude just the kind of happy, hopeful, peaceful atmosphere I had hoped to create in this space. Recently I have felt uncomfortable here, somehow; I feel that a few of my posts are forced, and I am unhappy when I post words which don't feel quite right. Have you noticed, or is this something only I can see?

My friend Kendra wrote a
blog post a few days ago to which I strongly relate. I feel that my writing has become obligatory and trivial, and that this space has changed from what it was meant to be. I so long for this blog to be filled with light and love, a place for all of us to gather and celebrate and share and create!

Yesterday I wrote about change, and today I want to act on my words and try a few new things here that perhaps will have positive effect on myself and My Peacetree. Firstly, I will no longer be writing Saturday Challenges. To be honest, I am a last-minute sort of gal and have been a bit stressed to come up with something worthy each week! I hope that this will alleviate some of the discomfort I have been experiencing. Not to worry, though; I am considering several new things to take the Challenges' place, and perhaps I will post a Challenge now and then should I think of a really good one.

Secondly, I would like to try a little experiment, and will be turning comments off for a bit. I appreciate every single one of your comments, sweet readers, I really do; but I fear that the love you show me has gone to my head and I feel the need to be in a quiet space for a short while. [EDIT] Comments have been turned on once again!

Thank you to each of you for your support and love and understanding! You are such good, kind, selfless individuals and I so very much appreciate having you beside me for this journey.

15 March 2010

Leap of Faith


Change is a funny thing. It is constant, it is inevitable, and you'd think that every one of us would have become accustomed to it long ago - yet somehow it still takes us by surprise and often knocks us out of our comfort zones. Spring, the epitome of change, is just a week away. From the dead winter ground bursts life; the grays and browns of the sleeping world explode into color and song and movement! This season is a true blue miracle - one that has occurred year after year for as long as humanity can remember.

At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to take more risks. This is because I have realised that I am not nearly as comfortable with change as I once thought. Perhaps it is part of growing older or perhaps it is due to the risk-free life I have been living recently, but I have been choosing comfort and monotony instead of chance and possibility. And I have been very unhappy.

Here I take the first brave step and announce to you: within the next few weeks I will, with luck, be living in a new home in a new city. Everything will be different: new friends, new experiences, new things to see, and new things to do. I have so many things to prepare and plan and put together before I begin this new life, and I admittedly have no idea where to begin.

So here I am, standing at the brink of something Grand and New and Exciting. From here, the future looks simultaneously thrilling and terrifying - just as it should, I suppose! With every risk taken, there is the possibility of failure; however, things may turn out far better than one could have ever imagined! It is a gamble, but one that is essential to living a full, happy life. Will you join me? We'll take hands, close our eyes, breathe deeply, and...

13 March 2010

An Odd Sort of Post

One of my favorite photos from Boyfriend's visit - his hands
as we waited for our food at a diner.

Often, when I return to the internet after the sweet busyness of seeing my Lovely, I return unsure of who I am. I stare at the "new post" page, willing something original and deep and meaningful to arise and type itself out eloquently into the blank space awaiting me. My fingers are still; I can't quite remember where I left off and I am unsure about what I should write next. I stumble just the littlest bit, and get a glimpse of my blogger self as I stand back up.

Today, I made cupcakes, a craving brought about by Brandi's tweet. I ate one, and it was delicious, and it made me feel better. I considered painting my fingernails. I watched Lost and crocheted some granny squares. I listened to the rain outside, thought about Spring, and uploaded more photos to Flickr.

There are many posts I would like to write someday: reviews on art books I own, great links I have found, old projects that I haven't yet shared, new crafts I'd like to try, tips on how to organize blog posts, news from my life, changes in season and weather, excitements and disappointments, observations and ponderings and discoveries. But for the moment, I'm content with living this weekend slowly - being right here, right now, just as I am. I am breathing in and out and being gentle with myself, loving deeply, and telling myself that it is okay to go slowly.

It is so very important to remember to give yourself a hug once in a while - how about right now, my sweets? And while you're at it, give yourself a hug from me, too!

Much love to you all,

Saturday Challenge #40


Dear Friends,

Boyfriend has flown home and so I return to my ordinary life. We had an absolutely wonderful time together, filled with sweet surprises and laughter and adventures and the loveliest of things. Thank you so very much for all your good wishes for us! I now have many blogs to catch up on and comments to read - please be patient as I respond to all the kindnesses you left me!

Halfway through Dear One's visit, the cold greyness of winter retreated and beautiful warm sunny weather took its place; buds of flowers appeared after most of the snow melted; blue cloudless skies smiled from high above. I can feel - smell - see Spring! Today, I challenge you to find and to celebrate the coming season. Go on a walk and see what has changed since your last visit; photograph buds and birds and new greenery; do an art journal page on the subject; try some seasonal crafts, like this or this!

If you are in a part of the world where Spring will not appear for some time, or even is long gone, do share! I love to hear where my readers are from, and how life is different for each one of us.

08 March 2010

New York, New York

Oh, how lovely our trip to NYC was! The day was simply beautiful - warm and sunny, one of those first wonderful days of spring - filled with meandering and adventure, the city full of so many different kinds of people and hundreds of things to steal our attention.

As promised, I took many photos! Tall skyscrapers, busy streets, deep blue skies, a found flower, travelers and tourists, and many perhaps unnoticed corners of New York fill my camera. See some of my favorite photos below.

My sweet Boyfriend leaves in just a few short days, and so I am soaking up every moment I can with him - regular blog posting will return soon!








06 March 2010

Disappearing Act

View from a booth at the local diner, taken earlier this week.

Friends,

As you read this, I am off gallivanting around the wondrous New York City with my dear Boy. (Photos to follow soon, I promise.) Please excuse my absence - and the lack of Saturday Challenge - today! Do read my previous Saturday posts here and have a truly lovely weekend.

Love to you all!

03 March 2010

One Stitch at a Time


If you are like me, containers and baskets are tremendously useful, holding all the bits and bobs collected over weeks and months and years. Last week, I had a spark of inspiration and soon had new addition to my room. After separating wool into long strips, I crocheted it as I would yarn and - tada! - a woolen basket was created, ready to hold just about anything! (Read Emily's post for more inspiration on making simple baskets at home.)

I have been on a crocheting streak recently. After discovering this blog, I taught myself - with a bit of a struggle - how to make a granny square and have a few finished found-yarn squares floating around already. I'd love to snuggle into a blanket that I created entirely with my own hands, but as I am a person who loves starting things (and isn't so thrilled about finishing them), this may be a project that takes a while to complete!

In my Etsy shop - which will be in Vacation Mode until the twelfth of March - there is a cheerful blue and yellow pencil case. Other things on my list of Things to Crochet are plushies like this and this, and a hat like this! Tell me, lovelies, what things have you been working on or dreaming about recently?

01 March 2010

In Like a Lion


It's March! Hooray, hooray! Only twenty days until it is officially Spring, friends!

We are soon headed into my very favorite part of the year. The days begin to get longer and warmer, birds sing loudly and cheerfully while all manner of creature scurry about and celebrate life, and the trees begin to reawaken. Oh, how happy I am in Spring! The promise of endless blue skies and sparkling golden sunshine, rich brown earth and budding flowers, rhythmic rains and hills covered in green - soon the world will come alive once more, bursting into color so vivid it is difficult to believe its reality.

This month's word is presence. Be present in the changing of the seasons; be present in the life that is teeming around you; be present in your own life - in each wonderful moment and each happy second; be present in your art and your writing and your friendships and your choices!

Spring! Isn't the anticipation of all that is to come simply thrilling?

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