Monday, July 25, 2011

Beadwork, necklaces, and pendants, oh my!

Depending where you are, I am posting this either very late on Sunday night or very early on Monday morning.  It has been another crazy week with me running around trying to squeeze in some time in the studio amongst the errands, appointments, shopping and general prep work necessary to make my flat ready for some friends to camp out in over the weekend whilst they get over their jet lag and ready themselves for a two week holiday.  My flat is just the start of their frolic and we have sat up late catching up on all the latest goings on in all our lives.  Molly Cat, not to be outdone, has provided comedic relief to the point that we have had tears streaming from our eyes at various times.  Truthfully, Molly was not the only cause for the tears.  It seems whenever friends drop by and we start reminiscing, we laugh until it hurts and the stories we tell no longer resemble what really happened so many years ago.  But, that is what old friends do.  We embellish our stories, adding a little extra oomph here and there.  Whilst there is no harm in what we are doing, I am sure anyone passing by the entry to my flat must wonder what was causing such mirth that they could hear a trio of ladies giggling like teenagers and then having the giggles escalate into deep belly laughs.  Laughter is good for the soul and if this be true, then our souls are in very good shape for the next few months.

I did find some time to putter in the studio here and there through the week.  Not the long periods that I usually enjoy, but rather an hour here and there.  I played with the beads that I made last week and managed to put together a necklace.  For a first effort, it is okay.  I am not totally satisfied with it and will likely take it apart and try again.  Perhaps I'll make some other beads to add to it for contrast.  I did work with some clay and made a pendant as a focal point.  Again, I really need to refine the process and try to make it a little less chunky, but still of sufficient substance so that it matches the weight of the beads that surrounds it.  I have put up a picture of the necklace as a whole and then a picture of the pendant.  It is not too clear, but the pendant has the outline of a Japanese geisha on it.  I think that I might try dry brushing either some gold or black acrylic paint on it to make the figure stand out more prominently.  I am not sure that I am satisfied with the size of the piece or if another figure might be more appropriate on the pendant.  Perhaps this week I will be able to experiment a little more and see what I might come up with and try a few other methods of producing a necklace that is a wearable piece of art.

I made two other pendants while I was playing with the clay.  One has the Chinese symbol for "joy" embossed on it while the other has the outline of some tree branches in bloom on it.  I hope to do some paint work on these two as well in order to make the designs stand out.  One of these will be the focal point of another necklace using the yellow beads which now have red threads wrapped around them.  I seem to be drawn to bright colours right now and adding contrasting colours that will jump out rather than blend in with the main colour of my handmade beads.  I am inclined to think that beads with less contrasting accents might prove to be more appealing.  I have to admit that I do like bright colours, but I do not really like to be the one wearing them.  Maybe with the right piece of jewelry, I could get past this and learn to enjoy something that leaps out to get the attention of others.  If I start with something smaller, like a brooch, I might be able to work my way up to a wild and wonderful collection of colours all on one strand encircling my throat.

A painting is in the works and I am still struggling to put to canvas what I see so clearly in my mind.  I have looked at countless pictures of capes and am trying to capture the luxurious folds and the way the cape would billow out when a breeze catches it just the right way.  Maybe I need to read a few novels set in the Victorian era or go to Middle Earth and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy to find what my muse is whispering in my ear.  I listen intently to what she is saying, but I just am not able to put her advice in the proper context.  I suspect that what I truly need is to devote my mind to what I am doing and not be listening for the kitchen timer to chime announcing that the tray of cookies is ready to come out of the oven.  I have done enough baking and I am determined that I will not bake any more cookies, brownies or squares until the next round of visitors is imminent.  I will get back to my painting later today since I am determined to capture the flowing cape and the feeling that seems to permeate the scene.  I want to say that the scene gives me the feeling of fear, a sense of loss or of searching for something.  This is so confusing for me to explain that I can see why I am unable to capture it on the canvas.  Until I understand what is happening, I am unlikely to be able to paint it and have the canvas tell the story.  So, I need to sit down quietly and tell myself the story and fully develop it in order to paint it realistically.  I hope that makes sense to you.  As confused as this description is of my attempts to paint a cape, some scenery and other elements, I am sure that anyone who paints will understand what it is that I am trying to say.  Until I can see and feel all the elements of "the story," I will not be able to depict them.

And so, with the start of another week, I am embarking on more challenges artistically.  I have changed the layout of my studio to allow me to move about with greater ease.  I no longer need to fear that I am going to trip on the flooring that was on top of the carpet.  I thought the leftover lino from the new kitchen floor would be the perfect way to save the carpet in the studio from the dripping paint and splashes of glue and other mediums.  However, the lino would not stay flat and I gave up trying to fasten it to the carpet with industrial strength duct tape.  I found that the plastic mats found in the office supply shop, allowing chairs to wheel about office cubicles freely, to be the perfect solution.  My carpet is protected, my chair is able to move safely from one area of the studio to another and I am not moving about the room fearing that I will trip and find myself on the floor looking into Molly Cat's worried face.  Falling is not something that I like to think about and I think that I have covered my bases and made the studio into a safe place.  Now, I need to work past the mental blocks that keep me from putting paint to canvas.  I hit these roadblocks every so often and just need to keep working on the painting that is stubbornly refusing to be painted.

I hope your week brings you some challenges artistically and I would love to hear about them and how you plan to go about working with them.  How do you get past your roadblocks?  What is it that causes your artistic engines to stall out?  I love a good story and would love to hear yours.  I will post your comments and tales of your battles in hopes of helping all of us find ways to move forward with our own artistic endeavours.  Your story might prove to be just the ticket to take us where we want to be.

Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Monday, July 18, 2011

A bit of Japan, some good music and . . .

Greetings on a lovely summery Sunday!

It has been another wonderfully busy week.  I am afraid that I have been spending far too much time in my studio and neglecting to do a few other things that really needed some attention.  However, I can happily report at this time that the refrigerator has been wiped out and a fresh assortment of fruit, vegetables, along with some other grocery items, have been purchased.  I tend to forget about shopping when I find myself immersed in artistic pursuits and consequently found that I needed to get my act in gear.  I have prepped a container of fresh vegetables so that I can grab a handful along with some hummus to snack on preventing me from gazing longingly at a container of ginger snaps that I like to indulge in with a cup of tea.  Feeling that I should strengthen my quest for healthy snacks, I also found a container of cranberry tea in my cart.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy sipping this beverage and so I am trying to quell my taste for diet colas with herbal teas in addition to the green and white teas that I enjoy.

It has been a week of discoveries for me.  Making beads from tissue paper and paper towels has been interesting.  I warn anyone planning to try this that it is a messy endeavour, but definitely worth the effort.  Planning ahead pays off in spades when you work with a messy medium and so I was pleased that I thought to cover my work table with waxed paper before dipping into the acrylic semi gloss medium that I used to hold the wrapped tissue that was being formed into beads.  By using the acrylic medium, it acted as a glue to hold the bead formation and also gave it a nice glossy look.  Once the beads had dried, I again used the medium to hold a contrasting colour of thread wrapped around the bead in place.  The tissue paper beads were definitely more delicate to construct since the paper wanted very much to stick to my fingers.  Patience prevailed and by wrapping the tissue around a drinking straw and cutting it so that a piece remained deep in the tissue, my bead held its shape and my fingers although still sticky, let go of the delicate formation.  Leaving the newly formed beads to dry overnight, I was able to go back to them and put the contrasting thread in place.  I have posted a couple of pictures of my home made beads off to the side of this post for you to check out.  These are not perfectly formed beads by any means.  These are rather rustic in appearance with their imperfections being part of their charm.  I will work to make these into necklaces and or bracelets over the next few days and let you see how these work out hopefully, by next Sunday.  I am also playing with clay to make some medallions to accent the paper bead necklaces.  More on that as they are baked, painted and some other little accents added to them.

What else have I been doing?  For some reason, I have been connecting with a lot of music over the past few days which in turn has been making me open up the acrylics and play with some ideas that keep rolling around the corridors of my brain.  Lord of the Rings and the music from the videos has been a reoccurring flash in my mind and I am trying to capture the graceful flow of a cape on a mysterious feminine figure in the night.  I wish I knew why these thoughts keep flowing through my head, but maybe it is best that I am not aware of what draws me to these darker places.  Sometimes when I find out why I am following a certain path on my journey, I lose my way and my muse abandons me in frustration.  I think the lesson in this is to follow my muse down pathways and allow ideas to form without needing the answer to the question "why" to hinder the progress of my journey.  I am still working on the flow of these paintings and will get pictures up as soon as the paintings progress a bit more.

I have also been wandering through online stores and have found a wonderful place called Omiyage at . Check out this shop for lovely Japanese paper, fabric, stationery, washi tape and so much more.  I find the prices for the items very reasonable and did I mention how tempting all the items are?  You will find yourself thinking of the many ways that you can use these lovelies and you might even want to pick up some bento boxes, origami paper, wonderful Japanese balloons and so on to have on hand as gifts for upcoming birthdays or other occasions.  The owners of this store also have a blog at which they update with news of new items in the shop and intriguing DIY projects that will have you involved in making some treasures of your own.  Make yourself a cup of tea and take some time to read through their blog posts and wander through the shop and immerse yourself in the joys of Japanese imported gifts and craft item necessities.  I promise you that the time you spend will be time that you will enjoy immensely.  Bookmark their blog/online store and visit often for updates!

So, at this point, I am making jewelry, making the beads for said jewelry, playing with making kanzashi flowers out of paper/fabric and then pulling out the paints to get some ideas transported to canvas.  All this makes for a busy studio and a messy one.  But, the mess is part of enjoying myself and so I am not upset by the sight of the chaos.  While I am not progressing at the pace that I would like to, I am learning a lot of new things and that knowledge is being put to good use.  I can see that the kanzashi are going to be part of my life for the next while as is the making of beads and jewelry.

Oh, yes, the exhibition piece is still in the process of development.  While I am actively working on a template, the actual submission will look quite different in the end.  I am finding that I need to vary the textures more on the paper in order to get the look that I am striving for and yet, I cannot say exactly what it is that I am trying to put down on paper.  That elusive quality is visible in my mind, but translating it onto the etchu hagaki is difficult.  I will find a way, it is just that until I finalize the actual elements of the scene, I cannot decide on what textures need to be tweaked or changed completely.  Again, the journey to finding the solutions is challenging, but very enjoyable.  How can I not enjoy a journey that involves working with Japanese paper and other art supplies that I would not normally find myself working with?  I love a challenge and I am loving the way the journey is unfolding right now.  The rapid change from one art form to another is keeping me on my toes and changing my perspective of each piece.  How can making beads change my thought process regarding painting the folds of a cloak?  I guess it would be in the attention to detail and the process of changing my mindset from all things Japanese to add a dash of the fantasy world of art along with a good selection of music to find myself deep into Lord of the Rings via Loreena McKennit and then work my way over to some brightly coloured beads made to the sounds of the Beach Boys.  Add in some REM, Enya and Sarah McLachlan, stir gently until well mixed, but do not shake lest something become detached and you can imagine how my mind is going into overdrive.

I hope your upcoming week takes you to a few countries or through a few mental journeys of your own.  Take the time to enjoy the tour and make a few notes, mental or otherwise, to pull you through the inevitable dry spells that come along when you least expect.  But, not to worry, even the worst dry spells come to an end if you allow yourself to be open to some new ideas coming to you when you least expect them.  You may find that you have too many pots bubbling away at the same time, but really, more projects on the go is definitely better than not having any.  I will hold that thought and endeavour to complete a few more of the current projects on the fly at this point.  That is the plan, but how it plays out is any one's guess.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Playing with paper . . .

Happy Sunday to all!

It's the start of another week and I have been playing with paper for the past week along with reading some art information books to help me work and develop my own method of making the paper do what I want it to do.  This has led to a few adventures on its own.  Who would have thought that making my own rice glue would be an adventure?  Well, it was!   But, truthfully, I did have a lot of fun making it and so I think this will become a part of my list of things to do twice a month.

Making rice glue is something that I decided to do in order to save a bit of money.  Rice glue will not cause your papers to disintegrate, has a neutral base and by making it on your own, you save money and it adds to your knowledge base as an artist.  It does take some time to prepare, the recipe will vary from batch to batch depending on the rice you use and whether or not it is a humid day.  The basic recipe is one cup of basmati rice or sushi rice mixed with three cups of water.  Mix up this concoction in a pot, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and allow to bubble gently for about 45 minutes, checking on it frequently.  If you find that the water is being absorbed quickly, you will need to add another cup of water, keep stirring to keep this from sticking to the bottom of the pot and cover.  Keep an eye on the water absorption as I found that this water was also absorbed fairly quickly and I had to add another partial cup of water to the pot.  Basically, you are looking for the rice to absorb the water and lose its granular shape to the point where it looks like a pot of oatmeal or  cream of wheat.  Once you reach this point, it took an hour of cooking for me at a slow simmer.  At this point, you want to allow the contents of the pot to cool until it is safe to handle.

Once cooled, you need to blitz the rice mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender until you have most of the little rice bits broken down.  At this point, I put the mixture through a sieve to remove any granular bits hiding in the mash.  It takes time to get the brew to make its way through the sieve into a bowl.  I found that using the back of a spoon to push the contents down helped speed up the process.  Once you have all the glue through the first sieve, put it through a second one that has a finer mesh.  I will warn you that this does take patience and time, but it is well worth the effort.  Once this has been completed, keep the rice glue in a covered container in the fridge.  I have some plastic bottles that I purchased from an art store with a nozzle lid on them in which I keep the glue.  It makes for easy use and storage of this valuable commodity.  My batch made up about 3 cups of glue which will last me for a couple of weeks.  I suspect if you have a food processor, that blitzing the mixture in that would speed up the process and you might be able to skip putting the mixture through the second sieve.  But, my kitchen is not equipped with such a piece of equipment and I had to go about getting any rice residue out of the glue the old fashioned way.  Even so, I still encounter the occasional bit of rice, but can easily flick it out with a paint knife.

Once you have your glue made, you will need to store it in the refrigerator and bring it out ahead of time to allow it to come to room temperature before using it.  If the glue has become quite thick, just add a bit of water, mix it up and you are ready to proceed with all things artistic.

So, where did I head with my journey this week?  Well, I had purchased a book called Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland.  Kanzashi are fabric or paper floral decorations worn in the hair by geisha and their apprentices.  At this time, there are around 15 artisans who still make kanzashi using the traditional methods.  More and more people are taking an interest in this art form and are developing new methods to produce these amazing hair ornaments.  Regardless of the method that you use, it is a labour of love and will take time  to learn how to make the intricate folds and how to put them together to form the various flowers.  In this book, the author uses a thread and needle to sew the petals together rather than use rice glue, which makes the process move ahead a little more quickly.  But, somehow, I feel that I want to stay with the traditional ways and use the rice glue.  I would be extremely sad to have this art form die out from lack of interest and so I am hoping that a few of my readers will try to make a few kanzashi flowers to wear in their hair at a wedding or even to top off a birthday present.  I can even envision a bridal party with all the bridesmaids wearing these hair flowers to complement their gowns.  Word of warning:  this is something you would want to make well ahead of the wedding day due to the amount of time required to make them.  This is not something you want to try to do on the morning of the wedding.  Stress levels would rise quickly and the project would be abandoned quickly.

Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo.  Omiyage is the Japanese word for gift and the book if full of instructions for making little gifts for various occasions.  The author feels that by taking the time to hand sew little decorations that could be used for pin cushions, tiny potpourri holders and so on, that the person making the gift is putting a part of themselves into the gift which makes that gift more meaningful.  I love that thought and am browsing through the book for a challenge that I might be able to put together and feel proud to present to a friend on a day that is not a special occasion.  To me, giving a little something on such days makes the day more special and brings friends closer.  So, I hope to be picking up little scraps of fabric to render into some sweet little gifts.

On top of all this, I have been working on my submission for the September art exhibit using the etchu hagaki paper.  I had hoped that by wetting the paper, that I might be able to separate the layers and hopefully to be able to peel them back, making each layer of paper into a sequence of petals of a flower such as a peony.  I tried to do this with a few segments of a piece of the paper which I had cut into several pieces.  Although I could not separate the layers, I found that I could gently rub my fingers across the paper pulling fibres together and making a line of them across the sample.  I quite like the look of this and think that it will work into the final piece quite nicely.  So, that is something that I will carry forward to the final piece.

Using pieces of small canvas board, I am working on several designs to see how they work out and to gauge the amount of time required to finish an actual piece of this art.  I am researching through various books that I own to find out the look of a cherry tree branch, the flow and movement of a kimono whilst a women is walking through a court yard and other aspects of Japanese life.  The final piece of art will incorporate not just paint, but also a form of collage which I am finding to be very labour intensive, but so worth the effort.  I am totally enthralled with all things Japanese right now.  But, to be honest, I have been captivated by Japanese art all my life.  I am quite aware that my parents thought my love of all things Japanese was quite unusual and they could not understand where this love of art came from.  You have to realize that at that time, living in a small city, one did not encounter much if any of the Asian arts.  Computers were not a part of standard home equipment that allowed a curious student the ability to research and develop their way of creating similar pieces of work.  I spent hours at the local library trying to find an aspect of the art that I might be able to work on at home.  Such was not the case and it was not until many years later when I was bitten by the bug and took the time to research Japanese tea ceremonies, look at the use of flowers in ikebana and devote my spare time to all things with a Japanese theme.

Right now, I am working on making some beads and painting them, trying to make kanzashi flowers to make a few hair decorations as well as broaches to pin to my jackets and then trying to take scraps of paper to make a few little gifts from Omiyage.  It has not been a dull week!  So much to learn and just not enough hours in the day to work on perfecting my art.  I will learn to do these intricate pieces and show them to you when they are completed.  Right now, a sheet of paper toweling is drying before it is turned into paper beads for a necklace.  Another canvas is drying with embroidery floss forming the trunk and branch of a cherry tree that will have cherry blossoms abundantly showing their lovely blooms and perhaps a kimono clad lady walking by shielding her face from the sun with a dainty paper parasol.  So much to think about and to produce.

I am going to be pushing myself non stop this week and hope to make a nice display of jewelry, a few pictures and a journal or two using some of the prettiest Japanese paper for the cover.  All of these will use my stash of rice glue and so I suspect there will be another batch brewed up one evening soon.  This time, knowing how the glue behaves as it is pushed through the sieve, I will be sure to be a little more gentle so that I am not wiping splatters off of the refrigerator, cupboard doors and the ceiling.  I really put myself into my creations, but maybe using just a tad less energy might be prudent and save me a little cleaning time.

I hope your week was equally enjoyable!  Finding time to pursue something that interests you is not a waste of time as some of your family and or friends might suggest.  These moments that you give to yourself are so important in developing a part of the brain that has for far too long been ignored or thought to be of no value. That is so wrong and you do need to encourage that artistic part of you hidden under so many layers of acceptable work related duties.  Find that inner spirit and ask it what it really wants to do.  Listen with your heart to the answer and most importantly allow yourself those moments to dance, sing, paint or do whatever it is that truly makes you happy.  You deserve those moments and by taking advantage of them, you allow yourself to open yourself up to a whole new world where artistic expression is encouraged and appreciated.

I would love to hear where your muse takes you on those moments that you manage to escape the day to day rigors of life.  Drop me a line and I will post all comments as they come in.  You just might be the one to not only encourage, but inspire another reader to take a chance and do something just for the joy of it.  Now, that is a wonderful possibility just waiting there for you.  Go for it!

Sincerely,    Rutheemac

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Paper, rock, scissors . . .

Good Sunday to All!

It is another wonderful day and to my immense satisfaction, I woke up feeling inspired, a feeling that has eluded me for the past few weeks.  Do not misunderstand, while I always have a project on the drawing board, I did not have anything that I was mulling over or researching in order to see how to go about it.  I usually have a few projects that I am working on at the same time so that I can switch from one to the other just to give myself a little variation in how I approach the day.  When I find myself at a loss as to how to proceed or in need of inspiration, I know that I am not myself and my mood tends to cross over the blue line and right into a desperate mind block.  In other words, my inspiration packed its bags and bailed out, leaving an empty, forlorn shell of a person who needs some stimulation for the brain matter.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!

So, how does "paper, rock, scissors" relate to my quest for art inspiration?  That little game taught me to look for art inspiration in every thing that I do and that even the most insignificant piece of paper, clay or what have you can be turned into "art."  Art, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  While I drool over a sheet of off white paper, thinking of its possibilities, someone else might get similar shivers up their spine over a piece of fabric, dreaming of turning said piece into a stylish skirt or even something as simple as a tote bag.  We all look at things differently and that is what makes art so interesting in my eyes.  When I head out to do the shopping for the week, I consciously look for interesting colour combinations, different shapes/styles of jewelry and so much more.  I have a little notebook in my bag to jot down ideas as they come to me or even make note of an interesting hat, handbag or pair of shoes that I may have encountered whilst out to pick up salad greens.  You never know when inspiration might strike and lately, I need every bit of help that I can find.  For some reason, I have not been feeling those zen moments, those moments when I lose myself in my art.  My mind has been stuck on worrying about something that I really have no control over.  That is so foolish, but it happens to all of us and the feeling of spinning my wheels whilst remaining stuck in that one spot makes me anxious.  I have given myself a firm shake with a stern admonishment to move on and get back to what gives me joy and that is making art.

Thank goodness, my order of Japanese paper which contained the much sought after etchu hagaki sheets arrived mid week and brought my spirits that eluding feeling of joy along with the temptation to make something.  The paper is even more wonderful than I had imagined and I have cut one sheet into four pieces so that I can try different approaches to adding texture without wasting the precious commodity.  This paper is of a heavier weight than your normal paper.  The best way to describe it would be to say that it feels heavy as if you were holding a thin paperback book and that if you bent the sheet, it would crack in half.  The deckled edges and off white colour add to the visual interest.  While one side is smooth, the other side has a slight texture when one runs their fingertips across it.  Suffice it to say that I am intrigued with this paper and plan to use it mindfully over the next few weeks.  That is to say, I do not want to waste it so I will work out any intended subject matter on less expensive paper before transferring the image to this special paper.  My four little test pieces will be enjoyed today while I see if I can pull each layer apart to add dimension to a piece of artwork, try adding more texture with a special texture hammer, spray a segment with water to see if that allows for some interesting effects and perhaps do a test of watercolours versus acrylics or coloured inks just to see which would be best for adding colour to a desired image.  This should prove to be an interesting day if I can work through all these tests and document the results.

Along with this shipment of paper, I also decided to purchase a few other pieces of Japanese paper.  When I look at a catalogue of samples, my mind goes into overdrive and I pick up a few pieces of different patterns and varieties of paper.  In a way, it would have been best if I had not found out the joy of working with different papers, but my soul would be lacking a certain something had I not found such intrigue with these papers.  I purchased a few sheets of a lacquered paper which has a black background with a cherry red pattern embossed on it.  This paper is so lovely that I almost feel that cutting into it is a crime.  But, for the sake of art, I will get past this fear of cutting and try a sheet of it on a project idea that came to me whilst reading through a book looking for inspiration.  A few sheets of this precious commodity are destined to become covers for some journals that I hope to work on over the next month.

Creative Embellishments for Paper, Jewelry, Fabric and More written by Sherrill KahnSherrill encourages you to take chances and suggests different ways to use materials and develop your ideas into full blown pieces of art.  Reading through different chapters, I found my defining "aha" moment when I read that Sherrill keeps a piece of paper on the side of her work area and refers to it as her "serendipity paper."  This is a piece of paper (or fabric) that you use to do an initial image after inking your stamp.  Using this same piece of paper whilst working on a project can result in an equally interesting artwork since it contains all the colours that you have used on your actual art piece, but it has a totally different feel to it since you were not obsessing over the placement of stamped images or other ways of adding colour to your work.  This is a piece of test paper that often turns out to be equally if not more interesting than the piece of art you had in mind and captured on the intended canvas or paper.  Sherrill advises you not to discard this sample piece since it can be cut up and worked into collages or with a little conscious effort, turned into something you might want to frame up as a piece relating to your primary artwork.  In other words, no piece of paper is too small to use as a component in another type of art.

In Sherrill's book, she has a section on making pieces of paper into beads which will lead you into making a bracelet, necklace or pin for your lapel.  Think of all the little pieces of paper you have stashed in a box because you do not want to waste them and toss them into the waste bin.  I cannot allow myself to throw away pieces of interesting paper and now I have another way to use them besides working them into a collage.  The piece of red and black lacquered paper just might find itself transformed into an interesting necklace to wear along with a little black dress that I broke down and purchased.  The possibilities for using these scraps of paper are countless and my fingers are itching to get my apron on and get messy.  The list of supplies required are minimal and I have an assortment of jewelry findings that will help finish off the necklace giving it a more polished look.  Hopefully, by my next post on July 10, I just might have a few pieces of jewelry to show you as well as a few other things that I hope to work on through the week.

So, this the map to the journey I am currently enjoying.  It has taken a lot of brainstorming and quiet contemplation to reach this point and then to decide which pathway I should travel.  But, at least I feel that I have once again found my muse who encourages me to try different things.  That is a good feeling!  However, my muse has also persuaded me that a trip to the art shop along with a stroll through the office supply superstore is in order and long overdue.  It feels good to blame my muse for the little shopping spree that I anticipate will take place on Wednesday.  I promise to be good and not purchase anything that I do not need.  I can justify going into the office supply shop since it has a photocopying machine for the public to use and I do want to get copies of a pattern so that I can work out different colour combinations on less expensive paper before committing to working on the "good stuff."  This little trip will only be for a few hours, but will result in days of inspiration and ideas.  I think that is a fair trade off and truthfully, just looking at some things will give me a jump off point for an artistic adventure without any actual purchase.  I'm so looking forward to this little trip as it has been far too long since I actually went into either shop. 

I hope your week holds the promise of something you enjoy pursuing.  I think the lesson I have learned from this latest period of the blues is that I need to find pleasure and inspiration in the everyday encounters that I so often discount, thinking them too mundane to hold any artistic promise.  Before yesterday, I would never have thought that I could transform a piece of interesting paper into wearable art.  And that is the joy of my journey, making the ordinary into something totally different from what it was destined to be.

I would love to hear about how you handle those moments when inspiration has evaporated and you feel like you might never find your muse again.  Do you head out to an art gallery, sign up for a class in a different art form, or do you go for a walk through a garden?  Everyone handles these bleak periods differently and maybe by sharing our thoughts on this, we might help each other by seeing something different that we might want to try the next time our minds go blank.  I will post everyone' s comments as I receive them and hopefully this will help another through a rough spell.  We all get them and it is nothing that you feel you have to hide.

Here is to a week full of inspiration and the time to work along with it!

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

P.S.  Inspiration comes in so many different forms.  Some of us "create" through paint, collage or cooking.  If you like to cook, need some inspiration for weekly menus along with the recipes and shopping list, do yourself a big favour and head over to .  Julie Anne a.k.a. Jewels, is a personal chef who is committed to helping everyone get dinner on the table without losing their cool after a hectic day. The recipes are wonderful, healthy and if you become a member, you can join in the chatter taking place in the forum.  You will meet the nicest people on this site and Jewels helps not only with her recipes, but also with her blog where she shares tips, wonderful stories of her life through food related memories and so much more.  Check out her web site and you will find the most down to earth lady who can relate to the problems of getting meals on the table, but even better, has the solution to the problem.  With her help and by doing some prep work for a few hours on a weekend morning, you will have a week's worth of dinners cooked and in the refrigerator/freezer ready for the week ahead.  While it may sound daunting, with a little practice, you will have the PCA approach mastered in no time.  Jewels changes the weekly menu on Wednesdays so you can get your shopping list done ahead, do your shopping and be ready to have some fun in the kitchen.  Get the family involved and help your them learn some much needed life skills that will help them make healthy choices when your teens venture out of the nest and have to cook for themselves.  Instead of relying on take outs for their meals, your family will learn that making a meal is so much more economical, healthier and great time spent together.  Jewels will help you make meal time into a great time for the entire family to reconnect after a busy day. That alone is worth the prep time!