Gratitude for All Things Creative

Lake grasses November

I feel gratitude for many things and especially for all the creative things in my life. There is gratitude for family and friends, being able to share time with them in special moments, in ordinary moments, in everyday moments. My grandson is such a joy and I treasure the big smile he always has for me. My family lights up my life. That is the most important thing in life, the people you love who love you back, and not just with words but with actions.

Gratitude for all things creative means that I have come full circle and am able to be spontaneous again and express my creativity in all the different ways that I seek to express myself. My art spirit is healed. I still have some fatigue, and some health problems, but things are getting better. Partly because I am learning to adjust to and accept my limitations, and to take better care of myself. Going full-tilt, nonstop like I used to do was never healthy and that took its toll. It is better to take time, to work mindfully, to go for walks, to take tea breaks, to eat healthy.

Sunrise anniversary quilt

I finished beading the Sunrise anniversary quilt for my son Joe and his wife Aurora. On Thanksgiving Day, I gave the wall hanging to them because I was so excited it was finished and couldn’t wait. The quilt was meant for their first anniversary, but I decided to add beads to the quilt, and beading takes a long time.  I found an assortment of beads that went well with the design at the bead shop at Nature’s Art Village in Montville, Connecticut. Although I have a very nice bead stash, I didn’t have quite the right beads for this project, so I brought a strip of muslin with small swatches of all of the fabrics attached and used that as a guide to choose beads. Beading is a meditational process for me and brings me great peace. I love beading and can spend many happy hours beading a small quilt.

Art journal spread emerging

Art journaling is very important to me. I have been watching some of my class videos (lifetime access online classes with Effy Wild are great) and I am following and participating in my art journaling online communities again. Art journaling is worldwide, but it is not like quilting, where there are quilters everywhere. The only place you can find a group of art journalers is online. Although I have not been art journaling weekly as I did before, I am enjoying the few pieces created recently and accept that I am creating space to bring art journaling back into my life. And it will come back, just like everything else has, and more. I just need to trust the process, and believe.

Hats crazy quilt

The November challenge for the Library Art Quilters was hats. I was not sure what I wanted to do and my first idea was to make a hat box with a hat to go inside of it. But that remained just an idea and didn’t make it to the drawing board. About two days before the meeting, I got a new idea. I did a google search for vintage hats and came up with some copyright free images to download. I chose the best four images, printed them out on one sheet of Printed Treasures Inkjet Printable Fabric, and cut them apart. Then I pulled out my bin of crazy quilt fabric and pieced four blocks on a muslin base. I used a Teflon pressing sheet so that the delicate fabrics wouldn’t scorch under the iron. I managed to get the blocks pieced and sewn together in time for the meeting. I plan on embellishing the small quilt  with crazy quilt embroidery stitches.

Wonky trees quilt

These wonky trees have been popping up all over the quilting internet and I just had to make some. There is a great tutorial on Diary of a Quilter’s blog  here. I am going to add some wonky stars and houses and I need to design some sort of layout to pull everything together. For now, I am enjoying the happiness that these trees bring. These are so much fun to make! No measuring, a few diagonal cuts, some sewing, and you have a little pine forest. I worked on these at a Wednesday sew-in at Lisa’s Clover Hill Quilt Shop. There are old friends and new friends at the weekly sew-ins and we always have a great time!

Book sale finds November

I am a member of the Friends of the Library and helped sort books into categories for the November book sale. There were some great treasures donated for the sale and I came home with a stack of books for about ten dollars. I have read the top two books in the stack and they were both really wonderful. The bottom half of the stack are children’s books for my grandson. He loves books, as I do. Books transport you to other worlds and enhance your life. It is so nice to have the time to read. Libraries are a treasure and I have been to five this month: Westport, Wallingford, Wethersfield, Portland, and East Hampton.

Finding Beauty in Simple Things

Think about holding a simple stone from the beach in the palm of your hand. Or some other ordinary object that holds meaning for you. What thoughts and feelings arise from contemplating such a simple object in this way? Can a stone or some other ordinary object become a touchstone for you? These are some ideas that are uncovered and come to light in Gunilla Norris’  simple yet profound book, Simple Ways.

Books February 2019

I love books and the worlds that they open up and transport you to. I love seeing words flowing down a page… in my journals, in print, and online. Although there is nothing like holding a book in your hand.  From an early age I was always a voracious reader and as a child I treasured family trips to the library with my parents. To this day I am fascinated by wandering through the rows of books on the bookshelves at the library, and  I have my own small library on IKEA bookshelves in my art studio,

I have been reading an interesting art book that my children gave me for Christmas. It is called Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop by  Serena Barton. She presents mixed media techniques for embracing imperfection and celebrating happy accidents. In the sidebars in the book she has various haiku quotes, and this inspired me to gather haiku quotes online and make another altered card deck.

Haiku cherries blossom

I love making themed card decks and have made about 6 now. I start with an ordinary deck of playing cards from the dollar store or pharmacy. I gather quotes, words, phrases, or affirmations. Then I add paper, paint, glue, and whatever resonates with me at the moment. These haiku cards were made from previously painted gelli  plate papers, glue stick, some 70lb paper (I bought a ream from a paper supply store), a pigma pen, and a brayer. To paint directly on the cards, you need to coat them with gesso first so that the paint will stick to the cards.

Haiku cards set 3x4

I am taking Book of Days 2019, a year long art journaling class hosted by Effy Wild. I enjoy taking classes with Effy and she provides great jumping off points of inspiration for me. This is my January spread and it features my one word for 2019, hope. I blogged about my one word in January. Hope represents renewal and growth for me in the coming year.

Book of Days January 2019


Renew – One Word for 2018

One word 2018 renew

Happy New Year! I have chosen the word renew for my one word for 2018. I have been choosing a word at the new year to guide me through the coming year for 9 years now, when I first heard about this on Ali Edward’s blog in 2010. My previous words were 2017-believe, 2016-open, 2015-love, 2014-trust, 2013-grow, 2012-be, 2011-focus, and 2010-create. These words can all be found in an altered card deck that I made about 3 years ago. It is a nice practice to choose a word for the coming year… it is kind of like lighting a candle and setting an intention for the new year.

Renew has several meanings listed in the dictionary:
– To make new, fresh, or strong again
– To make new spiritually
– To begin again
– To restore to existence
– To make extensive changes in
All of these meanings have significance for me as I seek renewal, better health, and more balance in my life. Renewal for me means yoga, exercise, a healthier diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Part of this means learning to say no to things that would overextend me. I need time to myself to just be. This also means saying yes to things that would be good for me.

I have been reading a lot lately and wanted to share the pile of books on my coffee table that I am enjoying. I am pretty much a nonfiction reader and I like to read inspirational books from the writer’s viewpoint and see how other people experience their world. Books expose you to new ideas and help you to transcend and transform your life to something better. I have some books on my iPad but there is something magical about a book that you can hold in your hands.

Dec 2017 books

I have slowly begun art journaling again after a long hiatus. This has been somewhat tentative at first and has been happening at my coffee table with an art-to-go tote bag. I have a small art studio downstairs which is combined with a home office, library, and quilting/sewing studio. I have not been working on my art or quilting down there at all and my intention is to spend some time art journaling in the studio so that I can paint and get messy. I am doing 3 year-long art journal prompts/workshops this year… Wanderlust 2018, Journal52 2018,and Documented Life 2018. I did this art journaling page last week to celebrate that I am going to Squam Art Workshops in June which I am very excited about! I sent in my deposit and registration forms this week and also put in for vacation time at work.

Squam art journal

I have been doing a lot of crocheting the past 6 months as it is easy and portable. Knitting and crocheting are very meditational processes and crocheting was very comforting for me when I was going through medical treatments and not feeling very well. Here is my Sunday shawl that I recently completed. I found the pattern on Ravelry which is like the Facebook for knitters and crocheters. I am looking forward to renewal and growth in the new year!

Sunday shawl