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


One Word, Begin Now, Write Now

New Year’s Day 2019 lake

After many days of holiday celebrations with family members, I spent a quiet New Years at home, with my journals, and my books, and Netflix. The words “one word, begin now, write now” encapsulate where I am at this exact  moment in time. I have been reaching back into the past and looking forward to the future, in an effort to collapse time and bring everything together into one cohesive whole in the present. It is not easy to do, and I ask myself, where have I been (and how can I reframe the difficult passages in a more positive light), and where am I going  ( I don’t really know, but I am restless and feel incredible transformational shifts happening inside).

It is almost as if the sky has ripped open before me and this amazing and blinding light has surrounded  me and shown me all of the grace and beauty of the person who lives  inside of me, that person  who hides from the world and the insensitivity of others. I am very humble and unassuming, so it is a bit daunting to see myself in this magnificent way. In my Life Book art community, Tam  echoes the sentiments that nurture us: you are worthy, you are enough, you are are loved, you are strong, you are whole, you are healing, you are a beautiful being.

One word 2019 hope

My one word for 2019 is hope. I have been choosing a word to guide me through the coming year since 2010, so this is my tenth year. Previous  blog posts about my one word choices can be seen here. It was very easy to choose a word this year, as I am hopeful about a lot of things happening in my life… a new (my first) grandchild, more time with family, slow improvements in my health, renewed creativity, more writing, deepening of new friendships, renewal of old friendships, strengthening  of my boundaries, and letting go of everything that no longer serves me.

Begin now card

I love card decks. I have a half dozen purchased oracle decks and I have created 5 mixed media altered playing card decks of my own. This morning I pulled this card from the Denise Linn Sacred Traveler Oracle Card deck. The artwork in the deck is exquisite. The Begin Now card is so relevant for me and refers to the Lao Tzu quote “ A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” How appropriate for me as I have been doing a lot of thinking and planning but have been unable to take that first step.

Unraveling 2019 page

I have been journaling in my Unravel Your Year 2019 workbook, an annual free offering from the amazing Susannah Conway, her website is here. I am also taking her Blogging from the Heart e-course right now and reading her book, This I Know, Notes on Unraveling the Heart. I was unable to face doing this end of year journal  last year with what was going on in my life, but I am embracing it this year. There are a lot of things in this 60 page journal that I can’t share, hence the blurred text. By the way, this is what a page of text looks like for me without my reading glasses.

I would like to be brave and share one workbook writing prompt entry. How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself?

My life has been quieter and more laid back. I have been more introspective and choosy about how I spend my time and who I spend it with. I have been practicing mindfulness. I have been knitting a lot and really enjoying it. I am learning to trust B. and feel more comfortable with him. I have learned that I am strong, courageous, gentle, caring. I am becoming a good writer. I am open to new possibilities. I am happy and content.