Thursday, August 27, 2009

Identity - warning...gory reference from news

Identity in our modern world is a tricky thing. Our financial identity is vulnerable to theft with all the trails we leave behind via social security number and driver's license. And yet it can be so specific with DNA maps and all the scientific/medical indicators. I was aghast at recent news reports of a beautiful model's murder in the pacific northwest that told of her body having been butchered by her murderer removing her hands and teeth so that fingerprints and dental records would not identify her. One report said her ID was made based on her breast implants!

When our moderator/guide/leader, Robyn, posted the prompt for Chapter 2 of this week's The Artist's Way book group, right away I had a mental image of an object illustrative of my identity, but it's so hopelessly vintage/out of date/passe I couldn't even FIND an image on Yahoo Search to share with my written post. I guess it's too far back in time for a jpg file to exist, even in a nostalgic old-timer type website. So I guess I'll have to paint a word picture and still some of you young'uns won't even get it.

Soda pop used to come in bottles, real glass ones instead of those plastic bubbles ranging 16, 20 and 24 ounces and 1 or 2 liters or 12 ounce cans or now those short little squatty versions. There were vending machines for them in hardware and drug stores and outside gas stations and in the laundrymat with glass doors that you could view the bottles lying side by side by side, their tin caps with their product logos pointing at you as you approached. For a child it was fascinating to watch the bottles roll on their perfectly engineered tilt to replace themselves when one was pulled from it's dispenser slot behind the door. Always on the floor next to the vending machine would be 2 stacks of wooden cases - one for empties and one for refilling the machine - with 24 little squares separating the bottles to keep them from clanging together and chipping or breaking as they rode on the trucks that would transport them to all those machines. Usually the uppermost case would be a random mix of cola, diet cola, root beer, red pop, orange pop, creme soda, lemon lime, and maybe grape. That uppermost restock case is the very image of my identity...with its random mix of bottle shapes, colors and flavors.

I am part child, daughter, grand daughter, sister, niece, aunt, grandmother, friend, student, co-worker, team player, fan, performer, woman, wife, mother, writer, quilter, lover, housekeeper, gardener, empty nester, philanthropist, care giver, teacher, builder, citizen, cook, leader, follower, activist, seeker, believer, home body, wanderer and wonderer. 31 flavors - plus! (Oh, if only you could see the big self-righteous smirky grin that puts on my face to say. My ex once actually said I was merely 'vanilla'. How little did HE know!)

My afterthought images representing my identity have been my grandmother's old button box tin full of every color and size and shape buttons I could imagine and I remember just loving to dip my hands in and lift handfuls of them and just let them 'rain' back into the tin and equally randomly colorful and amazing was another tin full of embroidery flosses...neither of which do I have photos of except in my head. : (

I think I'll be playing Carole King's "TAPESTRY" in the studio today...

Monday, August 24, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #4

It's Tuesday again and that means TA-DA! Tuesday here in Studio Lakeside - a place to celebrate big and small steps in creative activity and expression in the past week.

Me? I'm pretty dry this week, honestly, unless you count ideas and inspirations being entertained amid and through distractions. I'm really looking forward to celebrating YOU and your progress and accomplishments today.

I have meditated and pondered spent my Monday attempting to rearrange furniture in my studio space and longingly wishing it were already done and I could just sit down and work - have fabrics and threads in hand, manipulating them with my fingers to find the combinations of color and shape that would SING. That in itself was a TA-DA of sorts because I hadn't felt that genuine desire in some time - where I could see colors and patterns rotating on the screen inside my head like colored glass falling kaleidoscopically into images of brilliance almost hypnotically. Like getting my mojo back. It was sobering to see dust thick on my fabric storage units, tools and books as I moved them about and wiped them off with a white terry cloth rag. I uncovered works in progress I'm ashamed to say I forgot and were abandoned for nearly two years. Simple projects with little to be done to have finished them...glad to have found them but debating with myself whether to finish or pursue the new inspirations bubbling up now.

How do you decide when you SHOULD abandon a project or are you so disciplined you keep at it 'til it's done?

A Spring Wallhanging

A Log Cabin Table Topper

A Fall Table Runner

...and a little touch of patriotism.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cause and Effect

The sun is shining and it will likely be another quite hot day here in the Sierra Foothills but for now the interior of the house still has a chill from the night air and my world is peaceful. Neighbors atop the adjoining hill are doing something noisy and though I don't see them when I sit outside the back slider door sipping my mug of coffee I hear the clang of metal tools I suppose being dropped as they strike the concrete of the driveway that surrounds the front and this side of their house. I can't help thinking without their concrete surround of driveway and parking space how much less noise there'd be and wondering why the city folk who move out to the country feel the need to carpet the outdoors with cement. I wonder sometimes if the propensity for earthquakes in this part of the country hasn't arisen simply because humans have cemented so much of the earth and sealed air holes where the earth just can't breathe anymore and thus builds up gases from inability to exhale and eventually erupts in tremors and shaking in an attempt to simply survive like someone with a pillow being held to their face would struggle to avoid suffocation.

My mind has been taking thought trips pondering all manner of such cause and effect. I've also wondered, for instance, if the seeming abundance of folks suffering disabling pain from fibromyalgia in our generation isn't in part caused by rapid changes in communication and the preponderance of cell phone use and satellite television and radio - if the wireless communication age with constant and consistent transmissions through air waves isn't penetrating bodies of sensitive humans and rattling nerves and cells and causing otherwise inexplicable pain and trauma. And if somehow that were able to be proven to be the case - would we stop using our conveniences to alleviate another's pain? I know that may sound crazy to some but I've thought about and considered X-rays and CAT scan technology and how researchers have been able to stimulate muscle and nerve response in those with paralysis with electrical stimulation. Many attempt to limit exposure to chemicals via diet with organics and so called pure diet and I'm certain that is beneficial, but consider for a moment the harm is that pervasive and simply floating through air we breathe and water and not something we can filter. Or perhaps we've unleashed spirit energy that is assaulting rather than nourishing us. Hmmmmm...

I'm stunned sometimes at the number of people I hear express inability to sleep when sleep ought to come easily just by virtue of the fact they've drained their bodies mental and physical energy for a day. Physically, logically they should naturally slumber peacefully and yet the trigger for restful, restorative unconsciousness won't fire. I, myself, have no trouble with THAT one - in fact find myself often slipping into unwanted 'naps' just by becoming still - as if there were unseen and unfelt IV injections permeating by osmosis or something in certain chair seats I come into contact with. It's aggravating to awaken and find time having thus slipped unproductively away from me.

It's almost impossible to ignore the refreshing feeling when I'm someplace where aromatherapy scents permeate though I have to admit having had thoughts judging their use as being self indulgent and a bit wacky in the past - like a fragrance can alter reality or lift and transorm a mood - yeah, right. Lately though I wonder if it's not genious to attempt to overide ill effects of other molecular and ionic components of the environment thusly. It's on my 'check it out' agenda to research for myself, today.

Over this past week I've been getting news from my family back home in Ohio regarding my mother and alarming changes in her condition that put her first in the hospital and then subsequently over the weekend in a nursing home. It's a tangled mess to try to sort out who needs attention. Mom has pneumonia, COPD, & carbon monoxide poisoning but is somewhere she can and will get care and have needs met but my bi-polar younger sister had just come 'home' to Mom's from a mental health facility having been weaned from poorly serving meds and transferred to some they hope will be in better balance and amid her 'recovery' our two brothers as well as Mom have been communicating to Sis that Mom's detoriation is Sis's 'fault' for stressing Mom's nerves and Sis feels like she's a burden and a drain and like some crap everyone's stepped into and just wants to wipe off their shoes. Sis called last Saturday in tears begging me to come be with her, support her. It breaks my heart and wrenches my soul to hear my little sister cry. She's gotten 'better' through the week but is overwhelmed by the prospect of preparing the house for Mom to come 'home'.

My mom has been a hoarder for years and the house is not negotiable to move through for anyone really, never mind potentially for someone coming back to it on oxygyen and needing a wheelchair for mobility. I'll be going to help get the house ready for Mom to come home and for a bit after she does, I hope and I gave my sister an idea/plan for preparing space for Mom's return - one she resisted at first but then after consideration agreed would be practical. What's shocking is last night she told me when I called to check on her that she'd run it by Mom as my 'plan' and Mom said it sounded like a good one. If I hadn't been sitting I would have fallen to the floor! I had to chuckle - Sis said Mom said we can do whatever she and I think would be an improvement but we can't paint her cabinets. ROFLOL Never let it be said she's got dementia too, I tell you! I couldn't believe she brought THAT one up - it's been YEARS since I once suggested to her that her kitchen could be 'perked up' by painting those cabinets! And I'd never have thought of attempting doing THAT on this trip home - but since she brought it up...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Sense of Safety

This week officially begins the 12 week journey of a group of bloggers I recently stumbled upon through book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. I had bought the book at the beginning of the year when purchasing another creativity guide and read much of it only without actually DOING the work of it. Somehow I'm thinking/hoping group participation will encourage follow through and commitment.

The first week's prompt from group leader, Miss Robyn, asks the question "What object represents a sense of safety to you?" I pondered that after reading her sentimentally moving tale of stars all day long today. Everything that came to mind for most of the day was rejected as truly representative after mulling for a time due to dual associations in my mind of the necessity of reliance or looking to the pondered object to signify safety strongly implying a lack of feeling safe and secure. Finally I hit upon lighthouses with their flashing beam signalling to boaters a clear path through the tides to safe harbor. Those structures housing beacons of light to steer by are a symbol that speaks of safety, but not being a sailor or navigator nor living somewhere coastal it seemed to lack authenticity to claim as my symbol of I thought some more.

Following Robyn's lead I went back further and further in my life experience to find something that has always said 'safe' to me and finally found in my oldest memories from early childhood, hands. When I was just in kindergarten we walked to and from school everyday (yes, I'm that old) and our school had a 'Safe Hands' program that prominently displayed an upraised hand poster in windows and on doors of homes along the walkers' route signifying to any child passing a place to run to where someone would always be home for help if they were being bullied or feared an approaching stranger or even if one felt lost or sick. I never had to make use of the shelter offered but it was a comfort to know it was available.

I remember feeling safe holding my parents' hands walking through big, crowded stores as a child. And holding my own kids' hands when crossing streets and walking through the BIG CITY in Chicago. The implication of protection of a date's hand at the small of my back entering a theater or restaurant. The anchor of a hand held negotiating slippery wet rocks through a stream while hiking.

When I first met my Dearest Darlin' he held my hand, clutched it actually, as if I were a helium balloon that might float away should he let go. He still holds my hand while driving, on the couch when we watch TV and I trust in my/our safety when I watch his hands on the steering wheel as we travel mountain roads.

When something's done by hand it's understood to be done with greater care and attention, safer - hand washed clothing, a hand washed car, hand painted, hand stamped at the post office. To leave something in someone else's hands is to bestow the greatest of trust and confidence.

I can't think of a thing that more aptly represents a sense of safety to me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #3

It's another TA-DA! Tuesday and I hope there's alot to Thumbs UP about this week for you.

I, myself have had more disappointments and challenges than TA-DAs this week to be honest.

The sculpture intended to be a focal point for the 'stage' adjoining the dance floor for my friend's 40th Bday party had too many technical difficulties to be placed as planned for the party. I was bummed.

1) I DID LEARN from the failure to launch that when I need structural/engineering assistance to call it in earlier and not to knock my head against the wall repeatedly in vain attempts to demonstrate finesse I don't possess. My technical advisor said it could have been done with some slight adaptations in components and a couple days' more time. Even our mistakes and miscalculations do end up adding bricks to the structure of a creative castle as long as we learn from them for better results next time. (pssssssst - remember this is the voice of a recovering perfectionist you're hearing)


2) the table centerpieces came off without a hitch and the tables looked lovely. No two were identical and here's a sampling of the two color ways used:

What kind of TA-DAs do you have from this past week?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Creative Distraction

How can I possibly be blogging???? I only have 48 hours to finish 60 hours of work yet (a conservative estimate based on how overwhelming 'the piles' before me look)before my friend's party decorations have to be placed and I hafta sleep, eat and make the house look halfway decent for Dearest Darlin', who's coming to be my 'date' for the party? But it's worse still...

I'm obsessed with a creative distraction too!

Hadn't been out of the house in nearly two weeks and another friend was going at noon yesterday to the town yarn shop for 'knitting class' and was willing to take me along. I have a credit in the shop and so I thought it would be a good thing for my soul to go see with Fall and Christmas speeding toward us if there be any good thing I could spend my credit on. Oh, LUSCIOUS! I very quickly realized I could have easily spent 5 times the credit I had coming to me! Good thing the shoes I wore weren't very comfy and I knew I was financially limited to only the credit I had coming or I could have gotten very self indulgent and totally whacked my financial future for a month or two. I disciplined myself, trying to make my $ credit go as far as possible, and only scanned the 'free with yarn purchase' patterns and finally grabbed three of those - all for felted projects not having ever felted anything, I thought I'd take advantage and learn something new.

I currently have UGLY throw pillows on my family room sofa, passed down from an old couch/love seat combo discarded years ago.

This free pattern got me thinking they might easily be transormed -

I hadn't ever worked with authentic/pure wool when knitting or crocheting and it's price was a shock to my frugal mindset but the synthetic stuff won't felt. So I explored the options and not being a pastel kind of gal (except for infant gifts) I chose this rich, earthy colored yarn -

Apologies for blurry yarn photos!

Who knew inside it would look like this -

And who would have predicted it would crochet up to this?

I'm a total convert to needling/hooking with genuine wool now and when my pal goes back to the yarn shop I think I'm going to ask her to get me one more ball of the variegated and some solid olive and/or cinnamon colored wool so I can make two pillows and make the backsides and the flaps in solid to contrast. Don'tcha just think that'd totally transform my couch???

Monday, August 10, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #2

Welcome to #2 of TA-DA! Tuesdays, here in Studio Lakeside. You're invited and encouraged to please take a moment and share a thing or two, or three from the past week in your creative living that has made you beam with pride and know in your soul that another brick was laid in the structure of your creative castle.

Around and about in blogland I've been reading of accomplishment and creative sparks fanned into flame and it's so inspiring to see building progress for so many. Makes me smile and tremendously encourages me because it assures me SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH IS POSSIBLE!

1) I have a perfectionist friend celebrating a big birthday this week and she and her husband are throwing a BIG shindig for the event, for which I've been asked to create centerpieces and a focal point decoration for the stage overlooking the dance floor. I was delighted when she stopped by with additional supplies and was generous with praise and approval for the in-progress work in my work room. (not fully 'there' quite yet - finishing touches yet to go but will post pics by Friday and then more next Tuesday after Saturday's party when the whole picture comes together)

2) I did a 2nd page for my mixed media creative journal and wasn't concerned it's less than perfect or discouraged because I haven't made it a daily effort. At one/week, if I have 52 pages next August I'll be quite satisfied. I'm having FUN with it!

Some of the supplies for my birthday party centerpieces came in a Michaels bag and as I looked at it I realized the letters on the bag would spell my name shuffled a bit and dropping the M and C. (grin)

3) The other day I remembered to 'write it down' before I lose it and wrote about deer play in my back yard and regretting not having my camera. I posted it to my blog here and also on a social site I sometimes post at. A gentleman who lives downstate and who I 'friended' because I admired his writing and photography left the following compliment: "and all this wonderful painting brushed in wordcolor would have been lost. great imagery! the camera would create a pretty image but you did art a service, thanks." MADE MY DAY! I may not be a painter like so many I admire so tremendously but someone who does a fine job himself thinks I produced a 'painting brushed in wordcolor'! THUMBS UP!

What are you celebrating from the past week?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Morning Delight

Delightful to see but why do I wonder why I've never been able to produce a garden with flowers and vegies here?

(of course no pictures because I'm an idiot who ought to have her camera welded around her neck!)

Scene - Cool, for the time of day and date on the calendar. Mid-morning. Still shady here on the westerly edge of the lake. I'm perched on an old counter stool set outside for breaks, sipping a last mug of coffee. I'm reading a bit in SARK's 'Prosperity Pie' (because I was looking the other day for 'Succulent Wild Woman' in my daughter's room and she took ALL the other SARK books back to college). In my peripheral vision over the edge of the book, two fawns leap across my view from the south to the north, followed momentarily by a third and I grin. (and silently curse not having my camera at the ready) Hardly a second goes by as I follow them out of sight to my left and one and then another comes right back followed by a doe and then the third little one. From the same direction the fawns first appeared on my right, comes another doe and the first two fawns stop in front of and to her side. Still grinning, I think to myself a mother's dialogue of Mama Doe #1 being glad her child has come home from play but irritated if those other two think they're gonna stay and hang out.

"You two can't stay here now. Go on home." I imagine her scoldingly say.

And I remember how I used to sit and watch the male and female mallards the first Spring I lived here strutting through the back edge of the property, peeking and poking at every clump of weed and grass growth, and imagine human conversation to their clucks and quacks as if they were a couple shopping for real estate as they scouted out a good nesting spot for egg-laying high enough from the water's edge so it wouldn't flood when the rains soon brought the level up. (You must think me crazy, but I SWEAR this must be how 'Bambi' and 'Winnie The Pook' were created!)

This morning I imagined the does were sisters and Mama Doe #1 was none too pleased that Mama Doe #2 might be considering pawning off her twins when she had places to go and things to do and one was enough to handle. And about the time I get that far in my fantasy deer dialogue from where Mama Doe #1 had come comes a third doe and two more little fawns! (Mama Doe #1 ALREADY had company and her company's two were anxiously awaiting the return of her 1 as playmate)

Three does and 5, f-i-v-e little fawns. WOW! (Now the language of my mental cursing is getting even more foul at not having my camera ready to point and shoot!) I want so badly to get up and grab the camera, but I'm certain my movement and the sound of the sliding screen door will spook them so I just sit still and watch. And grin some more.

And I'm grinning still as I type this out to share. GOSH, IT FEELS SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! When was the last time you found yourself unabashedly grinning at something just plain delightful?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

411? Anybody out there know...

...better than I do for sure what kind of berry bush this might be? The closest identification I can seem to feel rather confident in from online photos would be the Oregon Grape.

And further, if in fact it is Oregon Grape, the fruit is supposed to be able to be used for making a natural lavendar/purple dye and the inner bark and roots supposedly makes a bright yellow dye. If I'm accurate in ID it will be a race to get the 'fruit' before birds descend upon it. I've never been aware of this bush producing fruit before (in fact, had Dearest Darlin' cut the entire bush down 3 years or so ago to where I thought/hoped the big wide-spread thing would NOT recover to block my lake view).

It's really pretty amusing that when your soul kicks into a particular gear there can utterly be NO END to ideas and inspirations flying at you! Now my wild, creative heart is curious what it would be like to make natural dye and CREATE totally one of a kind fabric to PLAY with. I've absolutely never been even curious about dying my own fabric before! But, I would also very much appreciate references to any blogs or websites known to you of anyone who gives tips/instruction/advice for making natural dyes from plants. Are there supply lists, etc? Thanks much in advance for sharing any info you might have.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Avoidance/Procrastination by Another Name

Today I'm creating - - - - - PILES!

That's my psuedonym/alternate label I'm choosing to asign for the too-familiar perfectionist tactic of avoidance/procrastination I'm recognizing as I sort and stack materials for projects I have to get done before the 2d Saturday from now. I've even resorted to my long favored drink/drug of choice - rearranging furniture, when what I need to deal with are boxes, papers, ribbon, wire, sheets and the tools I'll need to turn all this 'stuff' into objects of beauty, preferably breathtaking beauty for 40th birthday party decorations (centerpieces for the banquet and seating tables and a faux version of a stunning french sculpture focal point for the stage adjoining the dance floor). But, the two chairs on the 'library' wall of the family room REALLY do look much cozier with a smaller table/chest between them so two folks sitting there would almost touch knees instead of 6+ feet between them! And the rustic 6 foot long sofa table I had between them REALLY is 'JUST RIGHT' behind the sofa now!

I think anxiety must be exponentially multiplied when a currently recovering perfectionist attempts to do 'work' for another dyed in the wool perfectionist. I was flattered and deeply honored when my dear friend asked my help in preparing for her big 4-0 birthday, in large part due to the fact that I know what a perfectionist she is and therefor her asking me is in fact quite the compliment. I know her desire is for something out of the ordinary and it means something to her to have it done with 'love' in it, rather than buying assembly line manufactured/packaged goods, even though she could well afford to do that considering the spare no expense attitude evidenced thus far in the supplies she's hauled in. Would you ever think of gift wrapping with scrapbook papers????

------wishing I had company for coffee and a chat or it'd be lovely to have a dinner and a movie date for Julie & Julia.

Monday, August 3, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #1

Each Tuesday here in Studio Lakeside shall henceforth be known as TA-DA! Tuesday, noting some of the little things to celebrate doing in the prior week.

This previous week:

1) I remembered one morning to put my camera 'round my neck like jewelry before I stepped outside and was rewarded with the opportunity at this shot of a doe I'd awakened from her 'bed' the other side of the grill outside the garage door. NOT the greatest quality but(i was going to say practice makes perfect, instead) I have faith I'll remember more frequently (maybe next time I can get her to pose. GRINS)and with frequency I will improve my skill as a photographer. Hoping, in fact, to catch a shot of the older doe with her fawns before their spots are gone.

2. I had the idea for TA-DA! TUESDAY and didn't allow fear to knock it down, learned how to get a Mr. Linky and invited some bloggers I admire to help kick it off.

3. I began to re-possess the spare bedroom intended to be rented earlier in the year for my 'studio'. Resuming active quilting and other creative expression is faith opening a door long closed for me.

Have you taken 2 or 3 steps in what Connie at Dirty Footprints Studio would call your CREATIVE JUICY! LIFE?

TA -DA Tuesday

Thumb's Up,
It's TA -DA! Tuesday

I think 'list' is a dirty word (it IS one of the 4-letter variety). It long ago became forever ensconced in MY brain as it's obvious acronym:
Limit Imposed Scheduled Task
(I tend to rebel limits, impositions, scheduling & tedious tasks) Therefore, I don't make lists, nor do I EVER encourage another to do so. They get lost & then, whaddya do? EXCEPT I learned from Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios the incredible value of CELEBRATION so, each Tuesday I'll list here 2-3 accomplishments from the prior week. I invite you to share yours as well.

Magazine Mania Monday

My long time most irresistible indulgence has been magazines - cottage country decorating, gardening, quilting and occassional forays into environmental and women's issues publications. I knew after a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG forced separation from a readily available source of such indulgence I was in for trouble when I walked inside Borders Book Store in the River Park shopping area of Fresno, CA last weekend. I tried to 'sneak' unseen by my sweetheart who'd squeezed this side trip for me into the route of necessary errands that day so I could pick up book club selections I was too impatient to wait for shipping from Amazon and couldn't find in the more economical used book store. There were multiple aisles of magazine racks, the ones I yearned to pick up and touch and flutter the pages of were not in the center where I might have been able to disappear for a time, but on the outside - right in the middle - in plain sight. Sweetie is well aware of my weakness evidenced by large overflow in huge baskets in my bedroom and bathroom and has caught on to my 'subtle' choice of longer checkout lines at the supermarket and can always find me when I get 'lost' in the store. I really was just 'looking' for 'Where Women Create', thinking I may like a subscription but won't subscribe to any unless I've been able to first see inside, even though I've heard a ton of good stuff about it. But it wasn't to be found, unfortunately.

HOWEVER, for the last week or so of my sobriety out of the grip of perfectionism I've been so JAZZED and encouraged keeping company with this premier edition of:

Art Quilting Studio I FOUND among the magazines at Borders Book Store and just HAD to bring home with me.

I LOVE books and treasure many but there's a fresh factor in magazines, I find. No disrespect intended to the religious - but it's kind of like going to church and getting a fresh message amongst the ritual. Slightly different, often more than the last time to my expanding creative soul. Or like take out food satisfies an eager appetite when it just can't wait for the time to collect/buy, prepare the ingredients of an elaborate meal.

BEAUTY! INSPIRATION! And in AQS - BONUS! SCORE! - some of the featured quilt artists and at least one of the writers BLOG too!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

OPEN! OPEN! OPEN! - This is IT!

And here we go:

Day after day,
hour after hour,
I peruse and pore through fabulous blogs I've come into direct contact with via the reason I started a blogger blog in the first place - two successive participations in THE NEXT CHAPTER book blogging group hosted by Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios.
From other book bloggers pages I've bounced 'round and found blogs they love and blogs THEY love and so on and so on. You know how it goes.

I didn't 'invest' much in the blogging process/culture, content to merely float along pretty anonymously just to get the benefit of the book club-iness in the group. A recent upgrade to a MUCH newer home PC system and the necessity to learn a new thing or two to fully take part in the most recent book and I'm no longer content as I was when I would reasonably tell myself I was doing the best I could with what I had to work with before. So today I begin a new blog intended to authentically represent who I AM here in blogland. And with it, a mixed media art journal inspired in part by some of those I've seen shared in my blogland travels. And who, you might ask, am I?

My name is Sheila and I am a recovering perfectionist. I've been sober for 8 days. In my 8 days of sobriety I've become aware of so much perfectionism has stolen from my life and I'm here to take it allllllllllll back! Starting with writing, quilting, all manner of creativite expression, and a home that exhibits hospitality, mercy and grace. I will be vulnerable - the header photo is my own photography. And I will exercise faith, not fear and start by rejuvenating and beginning to use my 'studio' space. It's been neglected and abused a LOOOOOOOONG time!