Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 109 -101 in 1001 Challenge

Wow I hadn't realized I had passed the hundred day mark.

To begin, dolls, I completed a Spirit doll and mailed it out for a swap. I have the pieces for a second one I just need to sew it. The comfort dolls are knitted but are still waiting for sewing as well. I pick up some air dry clay and will be making my next doll from it.

I did not complete 12 scarves but I did finish six so that is not bad. I have one other waiting completion though I am considering sewing it with a couple of other lengths in a similar weight to make a simple lap blanket. I knit a hat for the Professor which he seemed to appreciate, I have a second hat but I feel it needs a lining before I can give it to anyone, (it is pegged for GD1).

I have been working on a number of pages in my art journal, I completed the rage one well sorta it still needs something I'm just not sure what. I did an inner critic one, two that are just writing at this point, A couple of single page ones and I think two double page ones. One of these days I will photograph them and share them here, I hope.

No poetry, no finished books though I've begun several. Movies are complete. I have spent sometime downloading some of my favorite songs and while I haven't listened to them all I have found the required 101. I have begun prep of a book which I will be using to journal and collage about my favorites.

Before Christmas I had lost 13 lbs I think it is back again but I was pleased to even have that much success. For a number of years I have put losing weight at the top of my goal list but haven't made much progress with it. That I can say that I did achieve a thirteen pound reduction in weight and kept it there for a week or so is a great feeling. It will be even better when I take of 25 or 30 lbs and keep it off or several months. That is my 2012 goal. I figure if I make the goal small enough it will be easier to accomplish and I think 30 lbs in 40 weeks should be fairly simple. At least that is my hope.

I did do another couple of puzzles and I have colored severl pages in my coloring book.

I am trying to think what else I have accomplished since my last report but my mind is blank. All in all I would say I am making pretty good progress in a bit over three months

New Years Eve

As I hoped I will be all alone this year as the Old year becomes the New. It may seem strange to you but the fact is it will be the first time in my whole 51 years. The first time ever I have spent New Years without any company save my own. I am hoping that I will be able to be productive during this period. I need to re-evaluate a lot of things in my life which are just not comfortable, (correct).

Odd that choice of word but it is accurate. I am on a course that is headed nowhere and I need to correct it, I want to correct it. I want my silver and gold years to mean more than all the other years that have come before. The problem for me is that I am very much a spur of the moment person so following a plan doesn't work well for me. Yes I know about self-discipline I'm just not very good at it. Nor am I very good about following directions from someone else, I eventually begin to resent the person ordering me around even though I asked them for help. It is part of the problems between the professor and I, he is bossy and when I met him that is what I wanted but now it isn't and both of us have difficulty communicating especially when it is about feelings. Yes me, a woman, I have difficulty expressing my true emotions, surprise!

Maybe not so surprising given how my life has gone. But it is a barrier, a very big barrier. It is the one of the things I can point to and say this impedes my progress. Point to it, evaluate it but still stuck trying to get passed it. I think the motivation is there but perhaps not enough will power...

I have spent the last two weeks avoiding any serious thought. Avoiding it by burying myself in Cafe World and Solitare and TV and reading. Anything to keep from thinking serious thought or making any effort to write out plans for 2012. As my mother would say, What's the point, plans never work. At least that was her experience and mine too.

Yet I am driven to try. It is a deeply engrained habit here in the western world. Sometimes I wish I had been born in a poor country then I would not have a head full of so much nonsense regarding how life should be I'd be too concerned with survival of my body and any children I had that were still alive.

I often think about that or rather the Canadian version. Find some goverment land, and squat on it, make my living from nature without electricity or running water. No computers or any other things we take for granted here in the civilized part of the country. Do you know that most of the major cities in Canada are situated near one of the great lakes or an ocean. If you look at a map the major population density of our country is close to the US/ Canadian border, seldom more than a few hundred miles in fact.

I was a little startled by that when I looked at the map trying to figure out if I wanted to go North or back east. I considered the Praries but I spent a few weeks in Alberta and I missed the evergreens in my younger years so I decided against them unless I made the jump all the way to BC. South is very definitly out, I don't have a passport and here in Hamilton I am as close to the border as I want to get.

Something to come back to later. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you will have noticed the entries from the Crafters Devotional. Though I like them and have found them useful the book only covers 366 days and I do not like repeating myself, so what to do? I have a couple of other books that also have 366 days worth of things to do and a few 52 week ones as well. My problem as always is as useful as a plan is I get bored of doing the same thing every week or similar things anyway. The Devotional has allowed me to get back to crafting and yet... it is not right to share things from books without permission and even when I put it in my own words it is still a form of plagerism. The problem for me is that I seem to be creatively blocked, I need something to give me an idea, once I have an idea I can create something of my own based on it but I really, really need that input.

These days I have been playing a little with watercolor and collage. Oddly or maybe not so oddly I have not been able to share them. I am afraid that they would make no sense or just look like a big mess to others, also some of them are quite personal. I know other bloggers do not have difficulty sharing their personal pages but I do. It comes back to my trust issues I think. Irregardless I am doing stuff but I don't feel there is really any place for it here on the internet or any where else either except under lock and key in my home.

My original blog got trashed around mid September. I can not remember if I deleted it or if there were other issues, either way it was gone. When I started this on I decided that I would make it less about me and more about the things I make, unfortunatly if you look at the cloud to the right you will see the category Life is bigger that the others, that is because I just can't seem to stop putting my thoughts out there. It gives me a place to vent. It also gives me a place to present ideas, notions and feelings to others who might be where I was a few years ago. Feeling, lost and alone even in a crowd.

By sharing this I feel that I am contributing something and I can only hope that you the reader get some comfort or knowledge from it as well.

Happy New Year and I'll see you in 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

And now or rather tomorrow we begin the countdown to the end of the year. Yes this year the start of 2012 interests me far more than Christmas. In truth this year I would have gladly given up Christmas altogether. Christmas just holds too many memories. Oh they were really good Chrismases but with the passing of my father and more importantly his whole generation all the joy has drained from this celebration. I know that as the oldest member of my family I should make an effort but the spark just isn't there.

I wonder if there are others who feel the same angst this year. I am willing to bet any number of fifty somethings are also suffering the depression that is so heavy on me this year. Fifty something, remember when we thought thirty something was a big deal. How two decades change things :)

Is fifty the new thirty? For some of us perhaps, me I am living the life I should have lived in my twenties instead of spending my time raising two kids. Well sort of I don't have to work because of the fibro but it is still about learning to live alone, something I did not do until I was well into my thirties and then only for a few months.

Not good words for this most special of days but a peek into my mind and life at this point in my life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec 16, 2011

I have been pre-occupied for the last week or so with a number of life questions.

Perciptated by several changes in my life I have been asking myself what next. With 2012 coming within 15 days and all the talk surrounding it I have been forcrd to re-evaluate several of my core beleifs. That and having reached 51 I guess.

I moved upstairs in my building because I was looking for a way to make room for exercise and they are slightly bigger. With a few minor changes I can have a small exercise area in this room which would have been impossible in the room I was in.

Of course with the move upward also came a couple of different changes. First and foremost my neighbors on this floor are not as friendly as the ones downstairs which is a releif in one way and not so great in others. The other thing is that the landlord and I had our first disagreement. It is not a big thing but it may cause a few problems down the road since I basically live & die by my internet connection and that is what we argued about. I hope we will be able to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. I am sure we can though I am likely to make a lot of people angry with me.

After the argument my flight instinct when into high gear. I beleive I have persuaded my inner child that we have to stop running away and start making the best of the here and now. Certainly after a good nights sleep the urge seems to have gone back to it's usual level. Yes I always feel like I need to get away, go somewhere else as fast as I can when I am feeling upset about something. It is a pattern I have followed since I was about ten. I think it is high time to stop running and start making the best of where I am. My inner child disagrees of course, she still beleives that someday we will be able to out run our problems. Me on the other hand, well lets just say that I've reached the point where I am tired of trying to out run myself. I want to stop running and deal with them. I aman any where near my family with all of their issues getting too old to move every 12 monthslet alone every six as I have over the last couple of years.

I like it here and while I am not looking forward to winter I would still rather be here then near my family with all of their issues. At least here the only one I really have to answer to is myself. The professor and the others can give me advise but I choose what I am going to do. It is a nice feeling not being answerable to any one but myself. But you may say yo do not need to leave your family to achieve that level of independance it is yours by right. That may be right in your world but I have always put others before myself and my needs second to those who were closest to me. Here I do not have to do that, basically I can't do that because I am too far away to be of any help. I also don't have a lot of money so I can't provide financial support to my butterfly and my tweety when they ask or their children either.

I have supported my butterfly most of her 33 years and when she turned thirty I decided it was time to stop providing support. However I actually had to move a couple of hundred miles away from her to do it. My tweety is a hard working man with a lot of pride and he very seldom asks me for help so of course on those rare occasions he did ask I felt obligated to provide assistance, here and now I can't do that any more.

I should not have taken a break to eat, whatever I was thinking about is gone. I guess I worked through some of it though since I can't think of anything else.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dec 15, 2011

I feel like crying bt there are no tears. I am sad because I thought we had a deal and my landlord just pulled the rug out from under me so to speak. It's OK it is only $20 and I figured I'd have to pay it sooner or later. I was just hoping it would be later. I know it was my own fault becase I did not get the litter cleaned p in my old room. Mainly because I couldn't find the vacuum or my brush. Ok maybe that is a lame excuse but it will have to do since it is the literal truth.

I am tired but I only woke up a couple of hours ago. I know it is mainly because of the weather it has been raining for a few days now. The snow will come soon. SO tired... skip that. make something to eat and get on with the day. Sweet Jesus, take me away!. OK maybe not the best wish but if it would end all this pain I'll take it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday & Sunday are for Collaborate, Gather and Experiment

Basic Jewelry Making

This is not an area of real interest to me  how ever you may be. So this weekend perform a basic search for jewelry making and read all about it. If you decide to try your hand at it, share with us what you made and a tutorial if you like.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday is Artist Date Day

The Colors of Fashion

The winter season is not known for its great colours, though right now everything has a bit of sparkle to it which is nice.

Your assignment today should you choose to accept it is to go to the nearest ChapterIndigo or a similar book shop. Go to the magazine rack and choose 2 or 3 fashion magazines. Take them to a table and look through them. Grab a latte or something and start leafing through the magazines.

Rule 1: Just look!, no tearing and no need to buy

Rule 2: Make sure you have some paper and a pen

Rule 3: If something catches your eye make a note of it.

Rule 4: No pressure this is for fun!

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you get stuck:

a) what colour(s) pops up over and over again?
b) what colours don't you see?
c) what is your general impressionof the colour schemes? Bright & cheery? Dark and dreary?
d) what colours are often matched together?

A final note- as you go through the magazines please, please write down items, colours, words that catch your eye. They will make excellent fodder for a journal page or piece of art. Also if your mind is like mine words & ideas written down do a great job of jogging my mind when I'm stuck or just looking for a new piece to start.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday is Personal History

I haven't done this in a couple of years but here is another last minute gift idea for you.

Make a calendar for your family members that comemerates the year just past in words and images.

The premis is pretty basic, collect 12 or more photos that you have taken through out the year. Combine these with a calendar template, Microsoft Publisher has some really nice templates you can use. Add quotes or small bits of journaling. Once it is all togeather, transfer it to a USB key and take it to Office Depot or something similar to have then print out and bind. I am not sure the cost but I think it might be a bit over $10 for the printing and binding of each calendar. Alternativly you can print them out and bind them yourself. I only have a black and white printer but some of the calendars I have done look stunning when done in gray scale.

Using a Publisher template will also allow you to add birthdays and anniversaries to your calendar without much effort. Type it in once and it will appear on every one you print. This is my program of choice but there are others if you are anti-microsoft.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday is Collection, Stash & Materials

Quick paper embelishments

Because I am focused on making Christmas gifts this year without spending a bundle, I am always on the look out for ideas that will save me money. Todays tip is one of those.

You know how when you need a specific shape or design you don't have... you decide to head out to the craft store to find it. But you don't find it and you end up spending money on things for other projects. Well maybe you don't but I do!

Anyway this tip suggests that you look at what you already have. Cut shapes from those paper scraps, use your inks or paints to alter images you have to suit what you need. Don't hesitate to cut an image apart if you only want/need one small section. In other words use you imagination, tools and materials on hand to make your vision come true.

I love making Christmas cards or post cards from pieces of old Christmas cards and that is only the beginning. Have a paper with a repeated design on it. Cut out the design pieces and use them to embelish something else.

Can you think of other ways to use those left-over bits and pieces in your stash? Please share, I love new ideas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday is Recycle, Reuse, or Revive

Altering A Book

I got to thinking that Christmas is 19 days away and I still need a few gifts.

I am a regular at the local Value Village store and they often have items that can be altered quickly, given a new lease on life so to speak. My favorite section is the stationary mixed bags. I have gotten a lot of my blank journals from there.

Today though I was looking for something I could make into a Christmas gift. Then I spotted a bag with a couple of old address books in it. Ok this has possibilities.

I bought the bag and brought it home. One was blank and the other had a few names and addresses in it.

I started with the blank one. Now I had several ideas for this one swirling around in my head and was unsure which one I wanted to do. The first think I did was grab my Gesso and paint all of the pages white, you can use paint if you don't have Gesso. Once the pages were dry (I  did them in batches of 10, while the second 10 were drying I went to work on the first 10), then you can decorate them in anyway you choose. I wanted to give my sister something to lift her spirits. I searched online for quotes and poems that were full of warm fuzzies, Once I had found a few I wanted to use, I printed them out. I changed the font on a couple of them so that visually they were readable and decorative at the same time.

Next I cut them out and glued them to the pages of the telephone book. Once they were in place I grabed my sharpies and my watercolors and prettied up the pages.

The final item was to alter the cover. I decided to Gesso both the front and back covers, then using alpha stickers I put the title on the front. On the back I did that To & From stuff. Once the Gesso was dry I added some color, when that was dry I mod podged it to keep it shiny and to strengthen the pages.

Wa la instant cheering up for bad days. :) You can also turn them into a collection of service vouchers or an art gallery. Or any thing else you can think of that uses long, narrow pages.

The one with writing in it I treated with Gesso and made into a service book to give to my daughter, then I went looking for another one to do the same for my son.

The time required to complete one of these is one day because of the drying time required but if you use a hair dryer to dry the pages you can probably make one in less than 8 hours and if you are like me you can work on two at a time. While one is drying you are prepping or working in the other.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday is Journaling

Visual Journaling

I have talked often over the last few weeks about art journals and visual journaling. If you are like I was a couple of years ago this is interesting but you have no idea of what is involved. Also if you are like me the idea frightens you a bit. "Art? but I am not an artist, I can barely draw". If you keep a journal I am betting that though it mainly holds your thoughts & feelings in words, here and there I would find a poem or a doodle or even a shopping list, maybe you even glued in the ticket from that fabulous movie or play you saw . All of these are instances of visual journaling. If you don't do these things try them. They make your journal a much better record of your life than simple words can.

Here is a really simple way to start:

As you go through your day keep those receips and paper cups that you collect through out the day. Take your camera with you and snap a picture of something that catches your eye. If an amazing quote or conversation crosses your path make a note of it on a sticky or what ever else is handy.

When you are about to do your nightly writing, grab a pair of scissors, all those bits and pieces that you collected and a glue stick. As you write about your day, glue in the bits that you gathered through out the day. If there is only one part that really resonates with you cut it out and just glue that piece.

When you are done writing and gluing, look at this page. Does it not give a better more complete view of your day than just writing did? If you agree than keep it in mind for future entries.

BTW you have just done a visual journaling page. See I told you it was simple!

Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 82 -101 in 1001 Challenge

I am not sure how I missed so many weeks but I`m back and I`m doing fairly well

I have finished the third Art Journaling book and selected the fourth.

I have begun to sew the comfort dolls togeather

I have made and sent away my first rag doll

I have been watching various videos nearly every day. My desktop gave up the ghost so I`m using a laptop. Not quite as nice as a wide screen monitir but not that bad

I have not added any more scarves to my collection as I have been working on Christmas presents, I`ll be getting back to them next week

Not much to show for two weeks but I guess it could be worse, I could still be where I was two weeks ago

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday & Sunday are for Collaborate, Gather and Experiment

Crochet

I do not crochet though I have tried it. I simply haven't been able to get from the starting single chain to the next row. I keep stumbling over that. Since it is one of my goals to crochet a lap blanket I decided this week end would be a good time to go exploring for some really simple and/or well explained tutorials on beginning to crochet. Here are a few of the ones I found:

How to Crochet for the Absolute Beginner- YouTube Video

Beginners Guide to Crochet- About.com

How to Crochet- Lion Brand Yarns

Learn to Crochet- HubPages

Google has lots more for you to check out, for now this will get you started. Grab that dusty crochet hook and some lion brand yarn and learn how to crochet this week-end. I have a doll to finish but after it is done I may even join you!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday is Artist Date Day

The Colors of Nature

I reckon that you are either just entering winter or in that time between spring and summer. For me it is beginning to get colder and winter will be here soon.

When someone speaks of the colors of spring I usually jump to the reds and oranges of Autumn or the pastels of Spring. I know Summer is full of color too but it is not one of my favorite seasons and neither is winter. In most descriptions of winter it is described as a black and white month or a gray one. While winter is stark there is much to be said for it as well. I live in a place where there are various kinds of evergreens so forest greens are part of my winter as are the browns of unexploded cat tails and golden brush grasses. In the snow there is a pale and beautiful rainbow of colors, they are just barly there but if you look you can see them tinting the snow. There are also all the colorful coats and other winter accessories that people wear.

For your artist date this week take a walk and pay attention to the colors all around you. Let them sink into you and lift your spirit. Take a few photos of the colors and patterns that especially capture your attention.  Enjoy the scenery!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec 1, 2011

And so the 12 th month has begun.I want to take a quick look at things I am grateful for today

We had snow here yesterday but it didn't stick.

I got up at 9 am and did not have a nap today.

Cooper my be big and old and white with a bit of black instead of the other way around but he is also for the most part a well behaved cat. And his fur is soft like angora

My landlord cares and works hard to keep the building clean and the residents well behaved (he is very choosy about who he lets in). I really appreciate that.

I think I'll stop there. I want to watch the next video (its about half done) then I want to sleep.

Thursday is Personal History

My Life As....

What is your life like? A dresser full of drawers all different sizes? A collection op poetry, images or clip-art? A mobile with many parts or a book with many chapters? A house with indoor and outdoor rooms? A climate map of different temperatures, growing seasons or weather zones? A garden with flowers and stones, sun and shade or dirt and weeds?

Create an artistic representation of your life. Use the metaphor exercise we did on Monday to help you with ideas for a piece of art that represents your life to you.