Thursday, 28 February 2013

Colour This Quote

Colour This Quote over on Artists in Blogland has this quote this month:

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If we constantly look to the past, that's nostalgia.

If we waste our lives waiting for tomorrow, that's wishful thinking.

If we enjoy each day, that's living.

Choose to live.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Z is for Zeal + WOYWW

Made it! Z is for Zeal - the end of the A to Z of Me challenge. 

Zeal is defined as having great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. So what am I zealous about? Well, I love seeing people released into their gifting. People who are working in their 'sweet spot' just have something so appealing about them. You can listen to them talk about something that may not be at all in your area of interest, but they hold your interest anyway because of their passion.

I also love to see people released into their creativity. I remember one lady who came to a bookbinding evening that I was running. She told me that she didn't really know why she was there as she was not at all creative and everything she'd ever taken home from school her mother had put straight into the bin. At the end of the evening she went home with a finished hardbound book. Her face was shining. 

And that's the end of the challenge! It's been fun.

Now, what else is on my work-desk?

Let's see - here are the latest fabrics for shirts, a dress, a skirt, and some trousers. Also a pile of books I am looking through at the moment.

These are papers I'm making into a book for a friend.

This is my other desk at the end of the day. You can see the book block now sewn towards the right of the picture. On the left is a partially done journal page for the 'Colour This Quote' challenge on Artists in Blogland. 

I shall be linking this with WOYWW. Why not pop over and see what everyone else is up to?

Y is for Yes

So close to the end now on the A to Z of Me challenge! I'm glad I stayed the course even though some days it has been difficult to get a page done and I haven't liked what I produced very much. That's life.

Y is for yes.

I like this quote. It's one I've used in women's retreats to get across the point that there are many good things out there that we could give our time to, but are they the best thing? Time and energy are limited, and we need to spend them wisely. There are plenty of good things that it would be commendable to do, but we do them at the expense of doing the best thing, the thing we are made for.

What do you need to start saying 'no' to so that you can be the best you?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

X marks the spot

Not my favourite page for this challenge, but that's the way it goes. I liked the first layer, which you can't really see in this photo. It was gesso applied to the paper you peel off the back of sticky-back plastic that had been sprayed with water. I made a print of this on to the page and when it was dry put blue ink over the top. The red layer was acrylic paint that went through the same process as the gesso. The page needs more work but that will have to wait for another day.

X marks the spot. What does the future hold for you? Where do you see yourself in five years? Is your life how you expected it to be?

I have blogged on this topic recently on the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge. You can find that post here.

Have a great day.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Just wanted to share...

...this glorious sunset at the beach last night.

There are no filters on this. These were the actual colours we saw.


I liked this picture that I found in a magazine. It made me think about communication and how it doesn't always go the way we expect. As a clergy wife I've seen breakdowns in communication that needed to be rectified.

Communication can be so difficult. What is said is often not the same as what is heard. Somewhere between the mouth and the ears everything gets mangled.

The way we hear things has a lot to do with previous experience. For example, if we have been brought up with a lot of criticism, we hear it in even the most innocent of remarks where no criticism was meant. We extrapolate from what is said, read things between the lines that aren't there, and take things the wrong way. We are human.

So what can we do to minimise the confusion?

Be clear. Use simple language and make sure that the person you are talking with understands what you expect the outcome to be from your conversation.

Be concise. Don't say more than is necessary or try to give explanations. It's like when you apologise - you say you're sorry and leave it there. Don't try to justify what you did.

Listen with both ears. By this I mean that you should pay attention to what you hear and pause before you speak. That old saying about two ears and one mouth is a wise one.

Be prepared to draw a diagram if necessary. You might feel that everyone involved is on the same page but quite often that isn't so. This can be the case when you are making something. You talk to someone about what they want and when you do a mock-up it doesn't quite work in the way the client expected. Sometimes a diagram is useful.

And if there is still some miscommunication, say you're sorry, forgive, and move on.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Vision and Words

Almost there! V is for vision and W is for words on the A to Z of Me challenge. Some days it's been hard to get the page done and has felt relentless. Other times the page has come together easily, like the one below where I had two images already that fit well with the quote. Personally I would have liked to have the list of words beforehand so that I could be organised, but I guess the pressure is also good for me :)

So, vision. Being able to see beyond the wall. Not being hampered by what appears to be a dead-end. Being able to see those things that are not yet. 

And words. Are we always aware of how powerful our words can be? Some off-hand comment made in all innocence can be devastating to the hearer. How often have you had your joy stolen by a single comment? You know what I mean - you're all enthusiastic about something, some comment is made, and suddenly it's as if something died within us. The joy is stolen. 

Our words are powerful. We can be joy-stealers or dream-growers. 

What are you going to plant in someone else's life today?

Friday, 22 February 2013

U is for unique

Well, we are into the last week of the A to Z of Me challenge. U is for unique.

I finally got around to buying some modelling paste yesterday, so the stars here are done by pushing the paste through a stencil. I have been learning a lot more about stencils recently. I signed up for Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's stencil 101 course and Carolyn Dube's Use Your Words workshop. (Both are fun, still open for sign up, and *free*!) I'll be posting more about Use Your Words when the A to Z of Me is finished. If you want a sneak peek before then, visit my flickr photostream.

You are unique, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and there is no-one like you who will do the things you do in the way you do them. This is especially important for artists to remember. Your style is your own. Embrace it!

T is for Try

What or who encourages you to keep trying when things are difficult? What things stop you from trying?

I guess one of the biggest things that can stop you from trying is fear. What if I get it wrong? What if I can't do it? That's the point where Ray Bradbury's quote comes in. Don't think about trying something, just do it.  Tell yourself: 'I'm not going to try, I'm going to do.'

As to who encourages me - my husband is my biggest cheerleader. I have done so much more than I would have thought possible because he tells me I can do it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

S is for self-image

S is for self-image. The funny thing with this is that I was already working on the bottom page when the new word came through on the A to Z of Me challenge, so it's two for one today.

I find that now I am in my mid-forties I am much more confident in who I am. I am happy in my skin. I don't mind the white hairs and wrinkles - I've earned them! I am less concerned with what others think of me. I rely on what God thinks of me instead. When the day has been bad and I'm feeling down on myself, I can go to God and have my perspective put right. Yes, I'm a sinner and I fall down sometimes. But I'm also God's child and He loves me. He picks me up and dusts me off and sets me back on the right track. 

I'm not perfect yet, but I am in the process of being perfected. 

R is for responsibilities

Almost through with the A to Z of Me challenge. R is for responsibilities.

I take my responsibilities seriously. I always have, from early childhood. I remember being left in charge of my class whenever the teacher needed to leave the room. She would ask me to read to my classmates, knowing that I read well. I was about six at the time.

I see my main responsibilities as being the best wife and the best mother I can be. These are roles that only I can fulfil. I am the only wife my husband has and the only mother my daughter has. It is important that I take responsibility for those roles seriously.

I am responsible for my own growth. If I don't take responsibility for it, no-one else will.

I am responsible for my gifts and skills, to use them to build others up and encourage them.

So yes, I take responsibility seriously.

But hopefully I don't take myself too seriously.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Q is for qualities

An A to Z of Me challenge - Q is for qualities.

I recently blogged about something similar in the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge. You can read that here.

As a wife and mother, I would like to be like the Proverbs 31 woman - a woman whose husband can be proud of her; a caring, compassionate, and capable woman.

I'm working towards it.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Openness and Possibilities

Let's all share something about ourselves that no-one else knows. Who wants to go first?

No takers?

How surprising!

Openness is a keyhole we open that lets others see into our deepest self. An opening into the real you - the imperfect, fearful, embarrassed, vulnerable you. And allowing someone to put their eye to that keyhole and see in opens us to ridicule, embarrassment, being despised.

In the spirit of this post, let me share something with you. People usually appreciate openness. Not so long ago I was leading prayers at church. I was standing at the front, praying, and suddenly I was overcome with emotion. I broke down in tears and couldn't go on. I returned to my seat and passed the prayers off to my husband while I sat in my seat and sobbed. Now one of the things you need to understand is that I'm shy. I find it difficult to stand in front of crowds. I fear being ridiculed after being bullied at school. I was mortified that I had lost it in front of the congregation.

But you know something? Nobody laughed at me. In fact, everyone was kind and concerned for me. So I survived. Being vulnerable doesn't have to damage us.  But sometimes you have to open up first and show the way.


the butterfly in the caterpillar
the plant in the seed
the dreams in my heart

Saturday, 16 February 2013

N is for Nature

An A to Z of Me: N is for nature.

My nature is shy and introverted, sensitive, servant-hearted, and I cry easily. I am learning to live with who I am and understand myself. And I am working on those things that need to change. I don't think having a soft heart is a bad thing, but sometimes it gets in the way. Sometimes I need to squash my feelings and toughen up :) It doesn't mean I don't feel things, but to be able to control the emotion that goes with it so the tears don't get in the way.

But then sometimes the tears are necessary.

What's your nature?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

M is for Mindfulness

Mindfulness. What does that mean? 
For me it means treasuring up all those little moments that make your heart sing. 
Not letting things pass by unremarked where you could give praise.
Appreciating the small things. 

And here are some of those small things that I appreciate and that make me happy. My three postcards from the Artists in Blogland postcard swap have arrived! I love them. So thanks go out to Penelope Harris, Dawn Maurice, and Cathy Wilson who spent time making something beautiful just for me :)

L is for laughter

Just about halfway through An A to Z of Me challenge now. I used some of the tips from Carolyn Dube's *free* workshop Use Your Words - different fonts, different sizes, print and cursive, capitals and lower case, different colours and orientations. 

So, L is for laughter. Laughter is healing and releasing. Don't you feel better when you've laughed so hard that you've cried? When life is so ridiculously hard or the stress is just so high a good laugh can put things back in perspective. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

WOYWW and K is for Kindness

First up, WOYWW. Here is one desk in all its messy glory :) There are materials at the back, journal page work for An A to Z of Me challenge on the left of the photo, and my daughter's page in progress at the bottom right. In the middle is a Chinese newspaper to be used for some background texture at a later date. 

And here are some close-ups:

journal page in progress - see the photo below for the finished page

Postcards received in the Artists in Blogland postcard swap. One more to come

And the journal page for K is for kindness. I love the quote for this - kindness truly is a universal language. I am trying to grow in it. 

As for being kind to myself, well, I think I manage it most of the time. Occasionally I'm hard on myself and have to learn to be realistic in my expectations. I guess that's coming with age :)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Award nominations!

Oh my goodness, I've been nominated for the Liebster Award! Thank you to BJ for thinking of me :)

About the Award 
This award was designed to be a blog award in the "pay it forward" fashion. Once you've been nominated, you award it to 5 blogs that you like that have fewer than 200 followers to encourage new visitors to visit these blogs.

Rules for Acceptance
Thanks the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog.
Post the award on your blog.
Give the award to 5 bloggers who you appreciate that have fewer than 200 followers.
Leave a comment on their blog letting them know you have given them this awesome award.

Pay It Forward
Here are the 5 blogs that I think are worth a visit.

Liz    Danielle     Kooky   Boo   Janet

P.S. I should add that this award is to promote blogs that you enjoy. There is no award ceremony or anything like that. If you've been nominated you can choose to join in the fun and send people to blogs you enjoy and that they might too. Or you can choose to ignore it. Have fun!

A book on love

Today I finally completed a book on love that I started a while ago. It's made from an old library book. The heart on the cover has sand mixed in to the paint as you might be able to see from the close-up below. 

family love
unrequited love
how do I love thee? 
my love is like a red, red rose
love at first sight
many waters cannot quench love (there is a cut-out on the right-hand
 page that shows through on the next layout)
'til death us do part
love of stuff
greater love... 
Song of Solomon
all hearts and flowers
true love
a many splendoured thing

Monday, 11 February 2013

J is for Journey

What fortuitous timing! An A to Z of Me has reached J is for journey, and Carolyn Dube's *free* workshop - Use Your Words - started with the word 'journey' as well. So this post is a twofer.

Journey. What does that conjure up?

For me there was the journey from one side of the world to the other with all the uprooting that that entailed. I'm not really one for travelling so that was a biggie for me.

There is also the journey of faith. I like the map fragment on this page because it shows two paths going the same way and intertwining. There are people we journey with like that. We are both going in the same direction but the path is slightly different. Of course, there are also people who start out in the same place as us, end up in the same place, but took a completely different route. And that is the fun of journeying. In faith we journey together with the whole Church, our paths crossing and relationships being built. Journeying together is important. When one falls, there is someone there to help them up. When one is in need there is someone there to supply what is lacking. We can advise from our own experience and learn from the journey of another.

Who are you journeying with?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

I is for Interests

An A to Z of Me: I is for Interests.

There were two options for this one: the interests I have in terms of hobbies, and the interests as in the Scripture verse. I chose the latter.

I think when you marry and when you become a parent you immediately have to start looking to the interests of others rather than your own. It comes through love. When you love someone you want the best for them even if it means giving up something. When children are small and money is tight there are times where you have to pay for new shoes so that book/new dress/meat for dinner has to wait. Choices have to be made that are sometimes costly to our own desires.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

G and H

OK, 2 for 1 today - G for goals and H for humour.

It's important to set goals otherwise how would we know how we are doing along the journey? It gives you a sense of achievement when you can tick the box or see the finishing line coming into sight. I set goals for 2013, one of which was to take more photographs. I'm definitely doing that and building up a stock of texture and colour photos for use in Photoshop and my foray into digital journalling. I'm having fun with it.

And humour. Well, I don't think I'd survive without a sense of humour. Where would we be if we couldn't laugh at life and all it throws at us? It's a safety valve, helping us to release tension, anxiety, worry, stress, and all those negative things that we might otherwise bottle up. Laugh every day - it's good for you :)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Be yourself

I like this quote. It is so true. So often we try to be like someone else, wanting their talents, their skills, their gifts. In doing that we neglect the skills, talents, and gifts that we have been blessed with. Instead we should celebrate who we are and endeavour to be the best we can be.

There is only one you.

Be the best one you can be instead of a hollow imitation of someone else.