perhaps you should...

this may turn into a deep post.  it may not.  it may seem like a joke to some.  to others it may awaken something that has been dormant.

since the passing of my mother I have been working on my routine.  is that the right word?  routine as in - what did I do "before" mom was sick?  what did my life look like before I opened my journal and the first to - do was "mom"?

I have been reading - alot.  not so much novels per say but good juicy books full of good things and not so good things and things to think about.  some of the ones I have been through or are sitting on my nightstand are:

this I know by susannah conway

return to love by marianne williamson

untie the strong woman by clarrisa pinkola estes

tibetan sound healing by tenzin wangyal rimpoche

my most recent read is the secret of the shadow by debbie ford.  so I am reading away yesterday while waiting for the hair colour to cover the grey and I was gob smacked.  I was in the middle of a salon reading and wanted to scream "what the fuck?"  that was the first thing that came to mind and then it was more along the lines of "holy shit" and "absolutely true".  It felt as if debbie ford had jumped off the page and was holding my hand and having a conversation with me.  not a welcome conversation, but nonetheless stuff I should hear.  I mean I've heard it.  we've all heard it.  do we listen?  do we ignore it and carry on?  yeah, that one!  that's me!  I live in my story.  we all have a story.  we all have something that continues to show up in our life and keeps us from getting to the other side of our dreams.  it may not even be a dream but a goal.

fine I'll speak for myself since it is "me" that I am trying to find.  I've felt lost lately and according to many justifiably so with what I have just gone through.  except that I keep telling myself that I can't live in this story for much longer.  I am running out of time.  life is short - as I have seen countless times this year.  the time is, for certain - NOW!

the words that struck me in debbie's book as words that I could hear out loud were the ones that talked about our stories and how so many times we reach out to try to "fix" something in our lives.  we buy self help books, see healers, go on a diet, start meditating and so on when really all of this is kind of a band aid that yes will help heal the sore, but new sores will pop up.  it is beneath the surface that we shall go.

there are stories in this book that were - ya, done that!  I didn't succeed and therefore YOU were right along - I really am good for nothing.  we are so hell bent on being right and not having it all that we give up living the life of our dreams.  some of us start to use our excuses as truths.  we start to believe that what we are saying is actually true and a fact when in reality it couldn't be further from the truth.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense.  it is all still so fresh in my own mind.  I keep rereading the chapter on "reclaiming your power".  one of my favourite lines:

"even if you've been living inside the story that life has done it to you, when you can say, "I'm doing it to me," you will have the power to stop it or do it differently.  the voice of power says, "I'm doing it, I created it.  I'm responsible for it.  I can change it."

if you have read this book or are interested in reading it I would love to hear your thoughts on it.  I haven't even finished it cause I keep going back and rereading parts of it that spoke to me.

"I can change it" has been replaying through my mind.  which essentially means that "I have the power".  I like that.  for so long I felt so powerless when it came to mom and her illness and decisions that needed to be made.  plans that needed to be rearranged, cancelled or needed to remain still.

yesterday my stylist and I talked about dreams and plans and such.  often we talk about "getting away".  like "getting away" makes it all better or something.

I shared this with my husband the other day - "yeah, so we go away.  we lay on the beach for a week, soak up the sun and kick back and then we come back to all this bullshit".

it was hard for me to say that out loud and even harder still for me to write it, but it is my truth right now.  I want what is right here in front of me to be my "get away feeling".  

and as amy and I talked about building forts and beds covered in mounds of pillows and mattresses on the floor I started thinking about how things could change around here.  I can "change" IT.

round, round, we go...

I lead the program last night at our monthly calligraphic meeting.  this years theme is "26 letters" and I have taken that theme a bit further by adding "letters" or snail mail.  I have the honour of organizing the programs for the year with various ideas on how to decorate an envelope.  there will be a variety of instructors to come who will share their unique take on "letters" or "snail mail".  we are hoping that this will spread our art of lettering throughout the community and encourage members to spruce up their mailings.  with all the technology lately it seems like no one sends mail like we used to.  how wonderful would it be to find a lovely decorated envelope in your mailbox?  I wanted to share with you what I lead the members with last night.

I took some circle punches and created stencils to use.  then I locked myself in the studio with the stencils, pencil crayons and let my mind play with different ideas for circles.

the first idea I had was to draw a fine wavy line down the left hand side of the envelope.  pick a couple of colors and draw two more wavy lines.  then taking one of the circle stencils I used half of the circle to create a design.

remember spirograph?  that is what came to mind when I started layering the circles into a flower type shape.  you could add more circle flowers and stems too!

next I created a scallop border all around the edge of the envelope using half of the circle stencil and alternating colours.

the next idea was quite simple.  three circles on the left hand side of the envelope.  I used primary colours, but then thought it would be fun to create a "traffic light" design too.

how about polka dots all over the envelope?  you could do an assortment of colours and add some metallic touches here and there.

then I stopped to grab a cup of tea and saw the honeycomb pattern on the side of honey bottle.  hey!  so honeycomb pattern it is.

and my favourite thing is to create colour wheels.  I use them in my journals and art pieces quite a bit so I grabbed the big circle stencil and slid it around a bit to give it an imperfect look.  then just quickly drew the divisions and filled in the colours.  my sample went missing but here is a colour wheel I did in my journal awhile back.

now some of us like the more structured designs and so using the same idea as the wavy half circle I created half circle stripes.  

 and finally I thought how about using circles as outlines for the letters of the name of the person you are sending it to?  

 and for the lettering use your own printed letters and add circles!

with all these ideas in mind the members are encouraged to come up with some more ideas, decorate an envelope and send into the society for display at our next meeting.
go grab your circles, pencil crayons and play!  I would love to see what you come up with!

diy recycled gift bag

I love wrapping gifts up all fun and fancy, but let's be real.  most of the time the wrapping gets tossed out with the bathwater.  my solution to this is to recycle as much as possible.  yes, that ribbon on your package may be the very same ribbon that was on the gift you gave me - deal.  I thought I would share one of the ways I use those paper bags from take out or shopping trips.

I started with a bag that was a doggie bag from the latest birthday dinner.  I painted some gesso on to cover the logo and to have a good base to start with.

 did some doodling, scribbling and used stencil letters.

 added some paint.  colour!  circles!

 collage using old sheet music.  drew in the shape of a boat.

added some lettering "seek adventure everyday". tissue paper from anthropology purchase and ribbon from gifts gone by.

don't forget the other side!  I started with the same process as the front.

happy birthday!

this was a fun, quick project and I hope it encourages you to reuse for your next gift wrap!