Thursday, January 17, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Although I've been too busy to post, (and probably will be for a few more days) I am still continuing to work on my gratitude journal late at night. I will post the updates when I get a moment to breathe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 15

Today I'm thankful for my vision. For my ability to distinguish and appreciate line, form, shape, color, and light. For my eyes which are definitely my Daddy's. They are my sole beauty.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Artful_Losers

The group for artists who want to lose weight is off to a rollicking start! Such WONDERFUL and SUPPORTIVE women. We've vented, we've rambled, we've cheered and encouraged. Information is freely flowing, and the pounds are melting off. Today we started our first 10 pound challenge, and as each one of us hits our mark, the others will send small bits of handmade art, or ephemera for our stash. It's amazing how coming together as a group, we each feel stronger. I feel so focused. It's like an adrenaline rush. I have very high hopes indeed for this great group of creative, fabulous, passionate women!

Gratitude Journal Day 14

Today I am grateful for my job. For the opportunities it affords me, for the satisfaction and sense of fulfillment it gives me. For the income it provides and the daily challenges it charges me with.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 13

On this day, I am so eternally grateful to all the Soldiers out there who are fighting so that we may live free. These brave young men and women face down giants on a daily basis so that we may enjoy peace. They live in unbearable conditions so that we may have comfort. For all the Veterans who did all these things and more before now, and for all those who are fighting the war now, I am indebted. My life is one of comfort, ease and peace because of them. I pray for their safety, and for their families peace of mind while they are away. I am grateful.

Gratitude Journal Day 12

Today is so easy and simple... I am so very grateful for the Furbabies that have touched my life. With their total and unrestrained, unconditional love and affection, their warm slobbery kisses, their tricks and their soulful eyes they have made all of my days better. The adoration each time they greet me can cheer the sourest mood. Look at that sweet little thing! This is our current babydog, Sophie. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and a sweeter, gentler friend you'll never meet.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Paper Snowflakes and the Name Game

When I took down the very last of the holiday decorations I left these... It IS still winter in Ohio after all, and it seemed a bit empty without all the holiday excess we so lovingly cram in.

I was snooping around on some of my friends blog, and Andi had her name's meaning up on her blog. So of course it got me curious to see what they said about the name Kari...

What Kari Means
You are a seeker of knowledge, and you have learned many things in your life.You are also a keeper of knowledge - meaning you don't spill secrets or spread gossip. People sometimes think you're snobby or aloof, but you're just too deep in thought to pay attention to them. You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality. You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something. You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense. You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun. You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

Now Andi thought for hers some were true and some were not, but for mine-SPOOKY. My mother and husband could not have described me so perfectly-flaws and all!

If you want to take a peek at your name here's the link.

Gratitude Journal Day 11

Today, I am so grateful that God has chosen to bless me with the gift of creativity. He's given me the ability to see and appreciate things in unique ways. While this may make me "weird" to some, I revel in it. I am happy to march to my own drum. I am thrilled to be able to figure things out in ways others might overlook. I am grateful the Lord has also given me the passions and manual dexterity to follow though with my original ideas.

Gratitude Journal Day 10

Today, I am so grateful for my "relatively-speaking" clear mind. My ability to think things through rationally, and to puzzle things out. For the ability to read and understand, to learn, and to remember. During the darkest days of my chronic fatigue 10 years ago, I had those awful days where I didn't know anyone or anything. I'll never forget the terror. I see my grandparents struggle with their terrible short-term memory loss, and see how easy it is to lose patience with the situation. My heart aches for them and for my father who is coping with them. I am so grateful for my mind.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 9

Not much time to blog today, but I did want to keep to my commitment of writing everyday.

Today, I am so grateful for my Home. Not just the physical walls and roof, but all the word "home" entails. My husband and family, my roots, the house and the land. The comfortable place I land each night. The feeling of security and belonging it gives me. The physical closeness of family. The happiness that I feel pulling into the drive each night. The pond and the creek. The woods and the fields. The comfort.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 8

Wow! Eight days have gone by, and I truly feel up-lifted. I feel inspired to keep going. I feel as if good things are happening because of this attitude change. (Or, more likely, they always happened, and I took them for granted before.) I feel light and happy inside, although there are things I could be feeling stressed about, they are not really bothering me as much as they would have a week ago. Personally, I am a bit shocked. I didn't think this gratitude attitude would be such a big change. Apparently I was wrong. Counting blessings along with doing art everyday just for myself seems to be the magic endorphin button.

Today I find myself being grateful for those women who broke out of the "expected" roles for women, and made my life easier today. I appreciate not always having to be the snowplow. I appreciate the struggles they had, so it could be better for me. They made being strong look easy. I wonder if I could have stuck it out thru the same challenges they went through with grace. I'm not so sure I could. So I'm grateful that I don't have to.

Gratitude Journal Day 7

I am a creature who enjoys creature comforts. So today's entry is all about how many modern conveniences we have today that I so enjoy. I am so grateful we have these gadgets to make our lives easier and more pleasant. I've traveled all over the world, and lived in places without indoor plumbing, electricity, or autos, let alone microwaves and TVs. I am grateful for the time these give us in our daily lives. I'm so very very grateful that in my daily life does not take all day to gather enough food to feed my family one meal, or wood to keep us warm. I'm grateful that I have a phone I can pick up that will connect me with a modern Dr's office, pharmacy or clean hospital should I need. I appreciate the fact that my time, (although I grumble about being too busy) really is my own. I don't have to donate so much of my time to basic survival that I have nothing left for creativity, fun, worship, family and friends. I really love my computer, and how it has made the world a smaller, more accessible place. I love that I can float an idea out electronically and immediately connect with like-minded friends from all over the world!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Background Techniques

Many have been asking for an explaination of how I did the background techniques in my journal, so here goes:

These were sort of experiments for me. I started with a blank minisketch book, and gessoed all the pages. I didn't worry about smooth gesso, I sort of splotched it on thin in some areas thick in others. I then tore up an old map, an old romance novel, and some old black and white pattern scrapbook papers and gel medium-ed them down. I outlined the scraps with pencil. Then I put a thin coat of gesso on that layer.
Next, I took the cheapest of cheap squirt craft paint and smooshed it on with my fingers and an old paint-caked stiff brush. (sometimes I wiped back a bit with a baby wipe.) Sometimes I added a 2nd color. (I tried to apply paint from the edges in, leaving the centers sort of lighter.) That's it! EasyPeasy! I am currently developing a "class" on this using only junk mail. So far my 3 test classes loved it. Especially when I told them all they had to bring was 1 week's worth of junk mail. Oh- and I used paper grocery bags as the base paper (covered with gesso of course.)

Gratitude Journal Day 6

I am so grateful for the education I've been given. It has allowed me to become a grounded, well rounded person. It helps me to make decisions with clarity and assurance. It has allowed me to live a comfortable life and to find a wonderful husband. It has served to guide me, and to challenge me. It has allowed me to explore and grow. It has given me the opportunity to per sue my passions to the absolute fullest.

Artful Losers

Last night my cousin Laura came over, and we had a great time catching up and hanging out in the studio. She did a bit of work on a journal, and I piddled around sorting things and putting stuff away. It was sooo nice to have someone in there to talk to while I straightened a little. Still have tons of projects out in various stages of completion, but it is a little better. I can see patches of surface area now! I didn't make it to church, as I am still avoiding crowds of people due to the continuing hacking cough from bronchitis, so it was nice to see her.

Funny, she and I were discussing our goals to find increased happiness and help others to do the same this year. We are going to informally team up and see what happens. My Dad always told me the best way to get what you want out of life is to help enough others get what they want out of life. So that is what I want to do.

Many of you who know me know that my weight has been a battle for me ever since I was burned in the tractor accident in my college years. That forced inactivity, along with the 6 years down with chronic fatigue and severe asthma has taken it's toll. Well it's been 10 years since the chronic fatigue now, so it's time. This is the year I'm serious about getting all the extra off.

I've got a couple of friends I'm going to recruit as accountability partners. My idea is this, we each encourage each other, and keep each other inspired! I've started a yahoo group just for this purpose. Artful_Losers. Through constant positive reinforcement, and with an art incentive every now and then, I hope we can all achieve our goals. For example, every time one of us hits a smaller goal, say 10 lbs, the others can all send them a small piece of and made art, or a small bit of ephemera as a reward and celebration. Other challenges and tips will be freely shared as well. If you would like to join in, please e-mail me, and I'll send you a group invite to join. I freely admit that I started this group because I NEEDED it. I hope it will fill a need for you too! I have a dream of it being a totally non-judgemental, supportive and positive world we can escape to when we need a boost. A place for tips to be shared, and troubles to be shared as well. A place where we all know the same pain, and the same passion for art. This hopefully will be that place. I would also like it to be a place of positive strokes and incentive rewards. As accountability partners, we will each encourage the other, and keep each other inspired! With an art incentive every now and then, I hope we can all achieve our goals together. Other challenges and tips will be freely shared as well. What do you say? Would you like to play? I've got alot of hard work ahead of me, and having friends in the same boat along with me would make it so much easier.

Gratitude Journal Day 5

Basically in this entry, I am so grateful for all the opportunities I've had to travel. My Parents, Daddy in particular, has bestowed this gift upon me from an early age. He and I celebrated my 16th birthday in a thatch hut in the jungles of Belize with some Mayan and Ketchi Indian friends. 18th in the Mountains of Jamaica, and 21st on the Masai Maura of Kenya and Tanzania. Not only did this give me the opportunity to travel and absorb culture, but also to help my fellow man, as we were working on mission trips. I find it very soul satisfying, and enriching both to be of service, and to learn and explore other regions.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 4

Inspiration, and all the forms it comes to me in. I am so grateful for the people, things, places, and times that inspire me.

Times and eras, complete with their own costumes, backgrounds, props and attitudes- Renaissance, the 50’s, the 20’s, Elizabethan, The Ming Dynasty, The Romantic Era. Art Retreats … they all bring an immediate abundance of visual stimulation to mind.

Places that cause me to be so inspired that I HAVE to create. The Pacific and Caribbean, The Ohio Theatre, Rome, Franklin Park, the markets in Mexico, The Louvre, The Smokies, and many more all stimulate me when I feel blocked creatively. Here I feel creatively full to the point of bursting.

Things like a favorite paintbrush, gesso and gel medium, antique books, old rusty bits, handmade laces, beads, shells, buttons, pearl necklaces, velvet, paper pulp…who could resist their siren’s call?

The People. Too numerous to mention. Too many types of inspiration. Inspirational leadership. Inspirational guidance. Inspirational principles. Inspirational drive. Inspirational talent. I’m so grateful for what they have taught me over the years.

One of the people I have had an eye on for the last couple of years is my friend Angela. A busy working artist and designer, mother of 6, belly dancing beauty, has been a weekly inspiration to me. Pop over and visit her at I’m sure she’ll intrigue you too. She’s also bravely taken on this challenge with us.

Not staring at a blank page is very inspiring to me, so I've added a few shots of the backgrounds I've prepared, all ready to jot down the numerous things I have to be Thankful for.

Gratitude Challenge results so far...

Wow! I can't believe the things that have been happening as a result of the challenge so far... I have been getting phone calls and e-mails, and even a letter already from people who are taking the challenge, and who are enjoying it so far! Most are saying that they were at a "down" point in their life and are willing to make a change, and like the idea of having a camaraderie with others in the same boat. Some, like Christy, already make it a life habit, and like the idea of a more formal version of what they already do. Some are just experimenting. Whatever the reason you've popped in, welcome! Drop me a line! I'd love to link ya' so we can all be encouraged. Whether it's online, on scraps of paper, or in a formal journal, if you'd like to share, we'd like to, read. If it's too personal, that's fine too. Each of us are charting our own course. I just find it fun to bump into people along the path...

People have been asking what my journal looks like. Well- it's nothing special art-wise. It's the equivalent to doodling for me. (I am also challenging myself to use what I've already got laying around, not to buy anything new for this particular book, as I want to show gratitude for what I've already got...) I spent a couple hours just doing every page in a sort of carefree background, so the pages are not blank when I turn to them each day. (That free art-play was in and of itself enjoyable and relaxing-already increasing my happiness!) Then when I think of what I want to write about, I rummage around in my stash for a few minutes- again, extremely enjoyable, and put it in an envelope. Later that night while relaxing with the hubby-enjoyable, I put it all together. Happiness, and relaxation abounds!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Good things are beginning to spread!

As I've said previously, I really totally appreciate my art friends. They are so caring and supportive! Who was one of the first people to jump on board this Gratitude Challenge? A dear art friend of course! Jump over to Christy's blog and check out her great input into this challenge. She is so eloquent, and has some awesome insight on this matter. She has definitely improved and strengthened and stretched this challenge just by being herself!

Gratitude Journal Day 3

You know, I think it's working- this challenge. I realize it's only been 3 days, but somehow, knowing I have to write something down each day causes me to stop and think, "wow! that's something I could write on a future entry....". I seem to be feeling a bit more positive about things, as I want to be sure to have something to write in my journal. I also seem calmer. (Of course it could be because I assigned myself time to do a bit of art every day for this project, and because it's an "assignment" I don't feel guilty about spending the time doing it. And I don't feel guilty about the laundry piling up while I do it either!

Entry day 3:

I am so grateful for my friends and family. I am lucky to have a great family, great in-laws and a fabulous circle of friends. They enrich my life. Even with the quirks, it works for us. They support and strengthen me in ways I'm sure I don't even know. I've particularly been enjoying my online art friends these last couple of years. They have grown close and dear to my heart. They have challenged me, taught me, laughed with me and counseled me with immediate feedback and examples. I've swapped and shared and learned more than I could ever repay from them.

Here is a quick shot of the latest fatbook I hostessed with some of my online art friends. It was called the Senses of Christmas Fatbook. It contained music, fragrance of evergreens and cinnamon, lovely embossing, folded paper techniques, and fabrics for touching, recipes (with samples) for tasting along with the lovely feasts for the eyes! the second shot is the clear page I did, as I didn't want the sense of Beliving in the unseen forgotten!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Gratitude Journal Day 2

I am so grateful for my soul mate and best friend. My Love, my Life, my Prince Charming, my Playmate. My Life is so rich and full because of Mike. I am thankful for him hundreds of times over each and everyday. He so "gets" me. He is so smart and patient and even tempered and handsome and loving and tender. When I think of how much I love him, I think forever is not long enough.
He was even wonderful enough to take the icy picture outside for the banner at the top of the page, as I didn't want to go out in the cold! Yay Mike!

Gratitude Journal Day 1

I am grateful for an Awesome and forgiving God who allows us free will, and gives us the creativity and freedom to worship him and express ourselves each in our own unique way, with our own unique gifts and talents.

Happy New Year!

(A day late!) But I'm not going to worry about it, because one of my goals for this year is to strive to "go with the flow" a little more, enjoy what is a little more and worry about everything a little less.

I set several goals for myself this year, and am going to post a few challenges along the way to encourage myself along with my readers.

All of them are aimed at helping to feel more happy, and enjoy life in the moment. I don't want to someday look back and think, 'wow, I really had it good back then- why didn't I appreciate it at the time?'

The First Challenge this year: To keep a "Gratitude Journal" for the month of January.
While flipping thru 2 different magazines recently (Good Housekeeping and LHJ) I stumbled onto similar stories done about some tests conducted in 2007. Basically the tests said that people who wrote down something they were grateful for each day, felt happier with their lives
than those who didn't keep any sort of written record. They all came from similar backgrounds and were in similar social and economic circumstances, yet the ones who were tangibly reminded daily of something they were grateful for felt more fulfilled and satisfied with their life.

I found this profoundly interesting and thought it was a great way to improve my happiness quotient without a major life change! I've also read from many different sources that you must do something regularly for 21 days to become a habit. So I'm willing to give it a grand try. I've been working on an Art Journal of prepared backgrounds, so I can just grab it and journal away. With the backgrounds already prepared, it takes away that "blank-page" block, and puts the emphasis on the thought behind the words. I don't intend to spend long hours writing, as I'm more of a visual kind of gal, but even if I write a sentence or two, I intend to be faithful to keeping up with this challenge. (And if some interesting art happens along the way-more the better!!)

So I challenge you to play along with me, and see if we truly can be the navigators of our attitudes!