Sunday, June 17, 2012

Starting up again slowly

So, it has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote to you about what was happening in my life and in my studio.  I dropped out of sight, leaving dust to accumulate in the studio and my beloved books, art supplies, and paper to sit in the storage closet.  I knew something was wrong, I just was not feeling the drive I would normally feel when contemplating new projects.  Feeling down, I just let life move on whilst I tried to catch up on sleep which never seemed to come.

Well, this past week, I found out what was brewing in my body when I woke up one morning to find my right eye running fluid with the white area a nasty shade of pink leaning to red.  Oh yeah, pink eye in all its glory.  Just to make the day even better, my sinuses decided to add to the symptoms and by late day, my left eye had joined the right one and I had a matched pair of running red eyes and I looked somewhat like the zombie from the other world.  Pretty, not so much!

I am looking much better today!  My eyes are returning to normal, but I am on high alert and ensuring that all hard surfaces are sterilized and that I keep my hands away from my eyes at all times.  I use paper toweling to wash my eyes, put a fresh towel on my pillow each night and just in general try to observe every rule of staying healthy.  I am sharing this with you for a reason.  When it became clear to me what was happening, I e-mailed friends advising them to be on the alert for pink eye.  The next day, one friend e-mailed back saying that he had woken up with one eye swollen shut and oozing clear fluids.  Well, on the bright side, he knew what had happened to him in his sleeping hours and was able to pick up the required meds on his way into work.  I am just saying, it is always good to be aware of what "bugs" are out there and ready to strike during any particular season.

The good news is that not only are my eyes looking and feeling better, I seem to have gotten a fresh look at how I need to proceed artistically - slowly, but with determination.  Quinn Mcdonald has written a wonderful book, Raw Art Journaling, which helps by giving you ideas on creating prompts to help you get your thoughts, dreams and such into a journal by using creative prompts and the use of art.  You do not need to be an artist to start journaling!  You just need to have a desire to put your ideas down on paper in some form, whether it be using paints, coloured pencils, cutting out words from books, magazines or other publications you have handy.

Quinn also writes a wonderful blog and somehow manages to put up a post every few days.  I am so impressed!  I struggle to write something that I hope gives you ideas of what I am trying to accomplish once a week.  To get a post up more often would have me struggling to find the words.  And maybe, that is where my problem comes from.  Maybe I need to focus on just putting marks on paper and let my inner artist out to play.  A few words to prompt a thought or idea would be the icing on the cake!  So, I need to set my sights on smaller pieces for the moment until I get my feet wet in the artistic waters again.  By the way, you really should sign up and read Quinn's words of encouragement.  Read up and sign up for her blog at:

In a blog this past week, Quinn met up with Tammy Garcia, another creative soul at the Great American Scrapbook Convention that was being held at Arlington, Texas.  Tammy told Quinn about something she called the ICAD Project --> Index Card a Day Project.  In this project, you use index cards to build up pages to put together for a journal.  Take one small card a day and decorate the border.  Tammy's idea is that a blank card even as small as an index card can be as much of a block to  someone as a 16" x 20" inch canvas or a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.  What do you draw on the paper or index card?  Tammy's idea of starting by decorating the border and corners of the cards and maybe come up with a colour theme for a series of cards.  Once you have the borders decorated, it will make it easier to come up with ideas on what to put in the center of each card.  This makes so much sense!  Quinn suggests putting your scrapbook ideas in place, use your coloured pencils, pens, markers, add some other paper accents and grab your paper punches.  Get your series of cards together and see where they take you artistically.  That is so what I need right now and I am eager to give this a try today!  Seriously, read Quinn's post, take a good look at her examples and ready, get set, get rocking a new look for a small journal of manageable proportions.  No intimidation!  No stressing!  Just simple doodling, making interesting marks and add some embellishments.  Then, you are so ready to write something interesting or provocative on your pages.  Whether you share your journals with others is up to you, but half the fun of journaling is sharing ideas with others working with the same medium. 

One of my nagging fears with journalingDonley and DeAnn Singh.  In this book, the authors encourage us to use anything to make marks on paper, try forming your letters in different ways.  Not to worry!  There are a lot of samples to give you some ideas and the letters are formed on grids so that you can duplicate these and learn how to work on each pen/marker stroke.  At last, I just might be able to come up with a style of lettering that means something and is personal to me.  I feel empowered at this point and think that making a small journal is doable over the next week.  I will not pressure myself to decide on a topic at this point, I plan to enjoy putting coloured strokes together to make interesting borders and perhaps even work a few stamps into the designs.  Once I get a supply of the index cards decorated, then I can progress into what words I want to add to the pages.  Hopefully, by next week, I will have a journal or two to share with you.  I am so hoping that this is what happens!

Meanwhile, yes, I am still deep into the kumihimo braiding and it appears this is going to be an all consuming form of art for me to work on and learn to work the braids into pieces of jewelry, bookmarks, lanyards and so on.  I am so hoping to be able to work on a bracelet with beads worked into the braids.  I know I need to be patient, but this is consuming me and even when my eyes were at their watery worst over the past few days, I still managed to braid for a few hours each day.  I am determined to make an amazing bracelet, but I will be patient and get my speed up on the braiding and then start working on the beading aspect.

I hope you are finding some time to be creative and pursue ideas that have been percolating in the back of your mind.  Take a chance!  Try something that you have always wanted to work on and go for it!  Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do this, just go for broke, put your supply kit together and find a quiet spot to work on your dream.  You just might surprise yourself.  I hope you take a look at Quinn's book "Raw Art Journaling" to get some amazing ideas and then let your creative juices get flowing with Marci's and DeAnn's book, "Hand Lettering."  I think you will forget your fears and be able to ignore that nagging voice in the back of your head that tells you that you cannot be creative.  Drown out the voice with some wonderful music and start making your marks, letters, your own creative way.  Just start with the borders and work your way inward when you feel ready.  It really is that easy!

Have a wonderful week!  Let me know what you are working on, I would so love to hear.  But, at the very least, make a start, even if it is a small one, but it will lead you forward.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A challenging week leads to another

So, last Sunday, I decided to run out and visit a craft supply shop and dropped a bit more cash than I had really budgeted to spend.  Sadly, that is not uncommon for me when in the midst of art nirvana and after getting back home, I decided to issue myself the ultimate challenge:  go the rest of the week without spending any money.  Right, we know where this is going, do we not?  Well, actually, we, the "royal we" not only managed to follow through, but it really was not as difficult as I thought it might be.

I was very frugal for years and years, never buying unless I could pay for something up front.  Whilst I would put a purchase on my credit card, I would then go to the bank and transfer funds to cover the statement within a day or two of the purchase.  Once I got a computer, I could transfer funds from the comfort of my home.  I did go off the tried and true path at one point and that caused me several years of hellish nightmares.  Mea culpa!  I did it to myself in order to preserve the image that all was well when that was really far from the truth.  My mobility was getting from a slight problem to moving into being a major issue and traveling to work was my nemesis.  Suffice it to say, through the help of a concerned sister, I managed to work my way to solvency and swore that I would never end up in such a position again.  And I definitely will not!

So, I put the brakes on my spending last week and aside from the scheduled payments that automatically go out of my operating account to pay the mortgage, condo fee and such, I am happy to say that I did not make any purchases through to and up until this very day.  I am not deep in despair at not going out and buying as I normally would and found the week a good time to use up what was in the fridge, items that were in the studio and so on.  Molly Cat had her requisite treat dish filled daily, but perhaps the treats were doled out a tad more carefully.  That is not a bad thing!  Both our girlish figures will thank us for being careful with treats and when we do indulge, we will enjoy them more.  At least that is my thought, Molly may not be quite as content with a simpler life, but she will survive, as will I.   

Thinking that the week would be a bit of a doze, I really did not set an agenda for myself and found that my mood was a bit off.  But, it was not the lack of spending, it was more the lack of going out and doing something or meeting up with a friend at the coffee kiosk.  So, in order to continue such a challenge, I would have to come up with some creative ways of socializing and motivate myself to spend more time in the studio.  I am still working on these two issues, it will take some time to work out the bugs and implement a plan of action.

Meanwhile, I did not purchase any books, resolving to read what is already in my personal library, either in physical presence or loaded on my e-reader.  I did not buy any goodies from the online art supply vendors that are my normal budgetary vices.  Not one thing was purchased.  I do feel that I accomplished something by challenging myself in this way.  I will look at items differently now and decide whether the purchase is emotionally driven or a true necessity.  How long this lull in purchasing will last will be determined by my resolve to eliminate unnecessary items and stick to putting only truly needed items in the shopping basket.

I am not going to eliminate my coffee kiosk visits too dramatically as that is my outing for the week in many cases.  Where I need to watch myself the most is when I am online looking at web shoppes.  Be very wary of purchases made after 11 p.m.!  I can attest to the fact that most of my online purchases are made late at night and my new plan is to make a note of what I want to buy, then go back in the light of day, preferably in the early afternoon and review what I was looking at and determine how much I really need those items.  Sound like a plan!  Now, I will have to see if I can hold myself to it.

So, how is your week playing out?  Are you ready to try the no spending challenge?  Let me know how you make out if you give it a try.  It really does make you look at your spending in an entirely different way and can help you recognize the signs of emotional spending.  Not pleasant to acknowledge, but it really is a wise person who can sit down and put a stop to it.  I wish you well if you give it a try and can give you some pointers if you contact me.  But, the first thing is to put your mind to it and put the credit card/debit card away in a safe place.  Meaning one that you have to work on to get into.  Eventually, you will hit your stride and not have to go to such lengths to avoid spending, I promise!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,  Rutheemac