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Just an Ordinary Day

Detail from an unfinished page
in my art journal.


Hello, friends!

Things have been busy here, and I feel that I am still settling in and working on establishing a bit of a routine. Recently I've been spending quite a bit of time at the library - only a few blocks away! The week before last I checked out seven fat college/altered art books! Here are some more things that I have been doing:
  • Reading this book. It was a random book I pulled off a shelf at the library, and I liked it so much I took it home with me. It is simply written but incredibly straight forward, offering quite a bit of practical, helpful, interesting advice on improving one's happiness.
  • Working on my very first one of these! I'm not sure when it will be finished yet, but I'm very excited about it!
  • Lots and lots of walking, college re-applications, and job searchings.
  • Figuring out what sorts of photos to take in this concrete jungle!
  • Thinking about this art contest.
  • Exploring, growing, and discovering in my art journal. The paint is thick, the pages textured, and my heart is very happy!
  • As you may have seen in my last post, I added quite a few more things to my Etsy shop! Perhaps your mama would like a journal (or some original photographs) for Mother's Day?
Oh, yes, and a big celebration on My Peacetree is coming soon. Can you guess what it is? There will be some exciting things happening that you won't want to miss - do stay tuned!

I hope your corner of the world is shining with beauty, and that you are happy, inspired, and full of love!

Etsy: Journals to Inspire



This weekend I put together quite a few journals in different sizes and colors. The paper is the very same as the art journal I'm now using - it's sturdy and colorful, ready for all sorts artful fun! Do go take a peek!

Blog Awards

A little while ago I was very graciously given two blog awards! Thank you so very much, Tammy and Romantic Heroine!


With the first, the Honest Scrap award, I must list ten honest and interesting things about myself, then pass it on to seven other bloggers. So, here goes:
  1. At the moment, my hair is the longest it has been since I was about eight.
  2. I used to really hate the color pink, but over the past few years I've been changing my mind. I still don't like certain shades of it, though.
  3. I am a vegetarian, but I don't have any problem with people who eat meat.
  4. One of my favorite authors is Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her way with words is simply breathtaking.
  5. It seems I look much younger than I am; I'm often asked if I'm in high school!
  6. If you give me something sugary, I will eat it til it's all gone. Really.
  7. When I go swimming in an outdoor pool, I will spent quite a bit of my time saving the bugs that fall into the water.
  8. Some of my favorite movies are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, and You Can't Take it With You. (I only saw the latter one time, but it was fantastic!)
  9. My favorite numbers are 9 and 23.. I have no idea why!
  10. I refuse to have an iPhone. It's not that I don't like them - it's that I know I'd be far too distracted with one and would have difficulty leaving it alone.
Whew. Interesting enough? That was harder than I expected! If you would like to know more about me, do go ask me some questions! I'm much better at answering them than I am at figuring out what about me might be interesting to you.


And this lovely, colorful
Sunshine Award - I am to pass it on to twelve people, but I just can't choose! If you'd like either this one or the one above, please feel free to post it on your blog and say that I've nominated you.

Happy Friday, dearies! What are you up to this weekend?

Try, Try Again

Though there are no rules in art journalling, one of most common pieces of advice you'll hear is "It is the process of creating, not the end result, that is important!" It is a great suggestion, to be sure, but one that is not easily followed.

All too often our vices stand in our way of enjoying our own art: perfectionism, envy (of others' work), self-doubt, and fear being some of the most common in my own experience. Overcoming these voices requires tremendous effort! It is so difficult and can sometimes be heartbreaking when we so badly want to be "good" but cannot accept ourselves or our art as it is. Have you experienced this?


Within the past month or two, I have realized that I have been viciously shushing my inner gremlins; my art journal style has been expanding, growing, and developing at an exhilarating and slightly frightening rate, my pages thick with paint and layering. I have out of nowhere become comfortable with experimentation and have let go of my expectations for the end result.

I do very much wish that I could share exactly what it is that has changed - that word, change, has been appearing here a lot recently, hasn't it?! - but I am not so enlightened. My only advice is this: Continue to create, again and again and again, even when you are not happy with what is being born out of your imagination and mind. Do not give up! Push through all those "bad" paintings and with time, perhaps rather suddenly and unexpectedly, things will change!

I am sure that in my artistic journey there will be many more rough patches, but I know that I am somehow walking in the right direction towards real artistic freedom. Take a peek at three of my most recent spreads, done over a span of about three days. They are grungy, a dance of odd colors and spontaneity. To be honest, I'm not sure if I actually like them; but that is beside the point - I am (slowly) learning to accept the imperfect in both myself and my art. Woohoo!

Healing Words


I have been in this city for nearly two weeks. In that time I have felt myself change, somehow; the city distracts me from inward thinking and from quiet observation, and I feel rushed and busy. My thoughts have taken on similar qualities and I struggle to form a full, developed thought; my sentences are inarticulate and my vocabulary limited.

My photography and art have been affected by this move as well. Used to taking macros of the little nooks and crannies of a rural town, I am now challenged with cement, dirty streets, and tall, unforgiving buildings. Many of my art supplies are left behind in my old home, the essentials I brought with me tucked into a small corner of this new space; and the now limited possibilities leave me uninspired.

Moving is a challenge, yes - it requires quite a bit of rearranging and rediscovering and relearning. Do forgive me if you expect all of my posts to be about art and philosophy! My entire life is a great web, and each thing within it is connected by this string or that; art and philosophy will come soon, oh yes, but what I must sort out now is what is right in front of me, staring me in the face: Change.

Tell me, what in your life is affecting you - your Self, your art - right now?

***

Immediately after I finished writing this post late last night, I felt a release; I then worked for several hours in my art journal and felt my creativity and my inspiration returning. Words are powerful things, my dearies! Have a beautiful Sunday!

Swap: Theme a Day Journal



In February I wrote about a swap I had joined; last week, I received a package all the way from Nika in Slovenia! The effort and time she put into her journal is obvious and incredibly impressive. Each page is filled with her tiny, neat writing, collage bits, fold outs, envelopes, and beautiful drawings. I was touched with how much trust she put in me and how much of her life she shared with me.

I finished up my own journal and sent it off to Michigan on Friday. Working on a project that lasted two months was quite a challenge for me; I am always eager to start projects but never have the follow-through to see them to the end! (Is this a common artist symptom?) I'm not sure that I'll be trying such an extensive project again soon, but it was certainly a wonderful and enlightening experience!

If you want to try a similar swap, check out this one. Or, if you're new to Swap-Bot or want to try something different, browse their (extensive) list of upcoming swaps!

Handmade Treasures

For my birthday, I received some absolutely lovely things from Etsy. I have to say, I think that buying handmade things directly from 'everyday' artists around the world is just about the most incredible thing ever!

dangsworld

Aren't these bird hair clips sweet? They are a bit delicate and right now my hair is too long and heavy, so they sadly don't quite work at the moment. I might just figure out a different way to wear them because they're too pretty to leave sitting on a shelf! The shop is also selling lots of colorful vintage-style flower earrings which I'd like to get someday.

akkricket

These earring are so beautiful! They are made of found sea glass and are actually not at all heavy to wear. I find the color so calming; it reminds me of the sound of waves against the shore. You can visit the shop here.

This ring is one of my very favorite birthday gifts. To me, trees represent growth, wisdom, comfort, and quiet strength. To wear one on my finger reminds me to strive to each of these values - and it reminds me of my blog, too! It is made out of sterling silver and, I imagine, will last forever. The shop is full of beautiful jewelry - go buy your own tree ring or browse lots of other beautiful necklaces, rings, or bracelets!


I was thrilled so get these vintage art journal papers and ephemera in the mail from iHanna's Etsy shop! I must admit that I have a big girlcrush on her. I have been following her blog for a few years now; her creativity, philosophy, colorful images, exploration, and sweet nature inspired me to both start my own blog and to get the camera I am now completely in love with and couldn't do without!

She introduced me to art journaling and to hundreds (thousands!) of new amazing art and craft projects and techniques, and thanks to her, my list of "Things I Want to Try" is absolutely enormous. If you haven't yet, go visit her blog right this very second.

Have you found any wonderful Etsy goodness recently? My favorites list is growing by the day!

Home Sweet Home


Oh, to come to this blog space after a busy, emotional, intense week is like coming home after a long journey!

Thank you so, so much, sweet, kind readers for the birthday wishes and hopes and blessings; I can still feel the love surrounding me and holding me. Each message filled me with such happiness and comfort and with an overwhelming sense of love - I am so very grateful to all of you! What a lovely way to start off a new year.

My goodness, my beauties, what a lot I have to share with you. I do think that I shall split it all into a few separate posts, however; one can only take in so much at one time! I'd like to tell you some important news today, and later I want to share with you more of a swap I participated in and the Etsy goodies I got from my family for my birthday.

On Monday evening, I moved into my new home in a big, busy city. (You can see my new corner in the photo above.) It was quite a shock, to be honest; my hometown is a rural one and quiet, and I have never before lived in the midst of such tall buildings, honking cars, and rushing people. I am slowly growing used to the ever-constant hum of traffic and the energy of the city is something I very much enjoy. However, my internet situation is less than ideal and I am not quite sure yet how this will affect my blogging.

I will do my best to post regularly, but should I be more absent than usual on twitter, My Peacetree, or facebook, or late in responding to your comments, please know that it is not that I have given up on you. I, in fact, have been feeling rather disconnected from this lovely blogging community and am missing the love, encouragement, and self-discovery that happens everyday in the beautiful blogs I read. Things will work out, of this I am sure; but until then, I ask for your patience.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Twenty Two


Five years ago, I was a completely different person. I was in a dark, frightening place and felt extremely happy and unloved. I look back at that part of myself and want to give her a long, loving hug. "Things will work out beautifully," I'd tell her, "You keep holding on, keep your chin up, and you'll see!"

Today I can say that I have risen from despair and have discovered a beautiful, good world waiting for me. I love deeply, and I am loved in return. I know that self-love is deeply important and not at all selfish; I know that people are kind and that hope is a powerful thing. I know that I am beautiful and talented and that I have so much to give the world; I am learning that I needn't be apologetic for who I am, and that modesty is not denying your gifts, but being grateful for them and celebrating them without selfishness. I am learning that it is okay to be vulnerable and that it's okay to have and express feelings - the good and the bad alike.

Yesterday I looked through a journal written by my young sixteen year old self. She wanted to feel beautiful, talented, loved, appreciated; she wanted to be herself without fear of being judged and she wanted to find independence and freedom. I can say that, over time, I have come much closer to achieving each of these things. As I continue on this long journey called life, I hope to always strive to learn and grow, always working towards a better me and always loving the me I am in that moment.

Here's to three hundred and sixty five days filled with growth, adventure, trust, happiness, and love. Happy 22nd birthday, Self! I love you, I love you, I love you!

This Beautiful Life


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

Yesterday a friend and I
drove to Washington, D.C. The weather was a perfect sort of day for adventuring, filled with sunshine and endless blue sky! By the end of the day, I had snapped quite a few photos of the cherry blossoms, one of which you can see above. These trees are so lovely, romantic, and delicate; their petals fall like snowflakes in the slightest wind and drift ever-so-gently to the earth. It's magical to watch!

The newness of spring has not only brought the plant world to life, but many new human lives as well! In the past three weeks, two little ones in my little town have taken their first breaths, as well as the children of Goddess Leonie in Australia and Susannah Conway's dear sister in England; cJane and Stacy de la Rosa are becoming mamas again any day, and both Alex and Kelly Rae are expecting, due later this year. And, twenty two years ago this Tuesday, I made my entrance into the world. It's an amazing thing, being alive, isn't it? (Congratulations and much love to each of these new mamas and mamas-to-be!)

I wish you, my sweet readers, a beautiful weekend bursting with loveliness! Do make sure to go out and enjoy this beautiful world we live in - this moment, right now, is all we have. And this moment, right now, is an incredibly gorgeous one.

Much love,

Spirit of Youth


"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
-William Shakespeare

Welcome, sweet, sweet April! Welcome, blossoms, blue skies, sunshine, and new spring smells! Spring is truly an artist, isn't she? The colors appearing everywhere are sudden, astounding, magnificent, and breathtakingly beautiful! After a long, white winter, I am soaking up all of the life and vivid array of color, treasuring every moment of this lovely season.

We are already a fourth of the way through the year - can you believe it? It amazes me how quickly time passes. But think, now is the perfect time to remember all of your goals from the new year; harness the energy in this season to make a greater effort to achieve them! I intend to work harder on my resolutions this month, though I've been creating quite a bit recently.

The new word of the month is trust - what does this mean to you? If you have an art journal, perhaps you'd like to explore this theme in its pages, or perhaps you'd prefer to write in your regular journal. There are so many meanings to this word - how do you interpret it?

I wish you a month full of the most wonderful things, dear readers: beautiful happenings, spontaneous adventure, creative thought, and glorious sunshine! What else do you wish this month brings?

Much love to each and every one of you!

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