Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eye Candy....

Seriously. This. Turns. Me. On.

These COLORS ignite my creative passion. Thanks to the Pages and Paint class, I've becoming more aware of the colors around me, and especially what resonates. I've never been a "pink" sort of girl but I love the muted tones of my "flamingo" tea cup. I've also not been a huge fan of yellow but that too is ch ch ch changing.

Our world is full of amazing color combinations. I was up at dawn this morning and hiked to the top of the hill. I often forget how beautiful this view is. Though we are in a very dry cycle, there is still plenty of green to be seen. A light spray of humidity rose above the canyon and not a trace of a breeze was present. It was just me, the three dogs and the sounds of a bob white. It was serene. I spied flaming reds and gorgeous orange hues from some bushes along the canyon rim and I also noticed a few turning leaves, which make me want to savor, collect and hold all these summer colors. I'm going out later today, armed with a camera and sketchbook. I'm going to do my best to make summer last as long as it can.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Something New

I'm in the second week of Sarah Ahearn Bellamare's Pages and Paint class and am learning so much about myself as an artist and a person. I'm joined my many crafty, talented women from all walks of life, nationally and internationally. It's so FUN to see how "art" comes through one's being, easily, effortlessly and joyously. I am loving the way everyone's style is unique and different and yet all tied through the common bond of creating! Two other common threads that the majority of us share are 1. not enough time and 2. fear of failure.

I may be talking about both of these in future blog posts. I've certainly battled such "mind blocks" myself. Time is something we all want/need more of it. The world does seem to be moving at an accelerated clip for sure. The pace has forced me to prioritize and get focused (some days are easier than others). I DO make time for art/creating EVERY DAY. I could almost call this an addiction but hey, I brush my teeth every day and I don't consider THAT an addiction! Even if I only have 10 or 15 minute blocks here and there, I do something creative, something that moves the ideas within my being to the outside world, even if I'm the only one that ever sees them!

Pictured above is something new that I've learned. I jumped the gun a little in preparation for a coming assignment but it was SO COOl to create that I wanted to share it! This is an image transfer and it will be used in my sketchbooks and paintings. I'm super excited that it turned out too, only a few FLOPS before I got it right. I'm sort of "that kind of learner" usually the first attempts are disasterous and then I get better as I roll along. I have all kinds of ideas for how I'll be using these and some of you lucky readers/friends may very well end up with these in the form of x-mas cards and gifts..oh yeah baby!!!!

Fear of not being good enough is also something many of us are working through right now. It is definitely intimidating to see such amazing, artistic work coming through this group. I'll confess, I had pangs of doubt and fell back into the "comparision trap" but I didn't stay there long. These ladies are also on a journey, they are just not on MY journey. I'm taking this class so that I can have the understanding, support, guidance and inspiration to dive more deeply into my creative rhythms. I'm not doing this as a career I'm doing simply because it is FUN and it FEELS REALLY GOOD to be working with my eyes, hands, heart, colors and creative rhythms.

I don't fully yet know who I am as an artist. I am observing some particular "styles" colors and image that really seem to be prevalent. Did you notice I have a thing for dirt roads and trees? Yeah, me too! <3

What is it that you make time for each day? What do you love to do SO much that you DO make time for it, even when there's no time to spare? Please share comments below, on fb or email me ;) I ALWAYS love to hear from you!

Happy Weekend!

Monday, July 16, 2012

@ 40

This is a birthday that I've had some mixed feelings about though what I've come up with is that it is just a number....

When asked a couple of weeks ago what I wanted to do for my birthday, I looked at Chad and said..."nothing!" And I meant it! We've had a crazy, full, busy schedule and I didn't see a way that we were going to fit in a birthday celebration on top of it all. However, I have a GREAT friend who wasn't about to listen to any of that!!! Ann and her hubby Bob showed up at the boys' baseball game and completely SHOCKED me (YES! you two got me GOOD!) From the sounds of it, Chad and Ann had been compiling plans for several weeks and with our ever-shifting and extremely full schedule there was not great time so they MADE it happen anyway! We enjoyed ordered mouth-watering ribs, brisket, salad, delicious beverages and hilarious conversation on the deck. Later we took in a colorful campfire, more laughs and created some "original" campfire songs! (Pretty sure these will NEVER be released!) The stealthy, creative planning paid off~ It was a most delightful, memorable surprise party! I am blessed with wonderful friends and family. To me, this is the greatest gift anyone can ever receive.

I had sort of dreaded turning 40 but now that it's here, it feels like the "pressure" is off. I can honestly say am comfortable with this age (no matter what those cards say! And yes, my "ass" really is that old!) As I watched this gorgeous sunset on the eve of "39", I realized that I am not nearly as concerned with making others happy as I am with making choices in right alignment with my truth. That may sound selfish but a wise woman once told me, there's no way to argue with TRUTH. If you are doing what is right for you, everything else falls in line. Being responsible AND caring for yourself means that you'll make choices based on your heart, not your head.

I wouldn't want to go back to the insecurities and indecisiveness I sported throughout my 20's. My 30's were very special to me, for this is when I really took up the quest of self-discovery. I am more confident in my skin and less worried how I appear to those outside of it. I'd rather tone, build and strengthen my creative skills and talents than workout, but hopefully I'll get motivated there too! (I would LOVE to be a morning person and enjoy consistent, focused exercise but right now, neither of those appeal to me at all!) I love fiercely, move boldly and know that I really have no frickin' idea what's coming next! I've stopped wondering and started enjoying, no matter where I'm at, no matter who I'm with.

I'm at an age where I can see clearly where I've been and I can also look down the road and have a sense of where I want to go. I know who I am, what I'm about and I have a few clues as to why I'm here! All the searching I did during previous decades has formed a wonderful platform of insight, awareness and deep appreciation. Through it all I hold my family and friends as the most important treasures in my life. I feel that I have been wonderfully blessed in this department. Love is reflected back to my in a myriad of ways and the more I allow, the more I receive.

I have some plans, ideas and goals for this decade. I have set my intentions and am coming into what feels like a grace-filled presence of mid-life. I've come far enough to see the lessons and I have a fair idea of how to navigate so that some of those lessons are not repeated! I'm young enough to keep trying, keep learning, keep studying and growing and old enough to know what really matters.

This is a new path for me and I'll continue to report where this road goes. I'd love to have you accompany me on this journey, sharing friendship, insights and humor along the way. Happy New Decade!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where the Road Goes

Whenever we start out on a venture, we really don't know where we'll end up do we? We certainly carry hopes and aspirations, dreams and visions but until we are fully within the experience, we simply can't know all that awaits us. And what lies within that inner "suitcase" is often a surprise, at least for me!

I've been in this body long enough to know that I typically start out on all journeys with a rush of anticipation and excitement. I see through brightly colored lenses and seldom acknowledge possible challenges, I'm just not wired that way. When the glitches and pitfalls begin to emerge, I do my best to take them in stride. I've been known to implode, whine, kick, scream, bawl, and vent if I sense it's too much, yet I've never REALLY had to go to a depth that I couldn't handle. I don't say that in a boastful manner, I say that because usually those obstacles bring me to a depth I didn't know I had (and often didn't want to know I had). I've been in some tough places, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I've wondered and questioned everything. I've doubted and wanted to just drop it all, run away and never look back, but I don't.

I have long worked with allowing ALL experiences in my life and releasing judgement of anything particular thing being good or bad. When I drop those labels there is an openness, a freedom and expansiveness that cannot be replicated within constriction. I'm leaning into that more and more. I'm following more of what makes my heart happy and less and less what I "need to do, have to do, should do". That too is liberating though it does come with some confidence building lessons.

When I start out on a new venture I'm always confident. And then there's the day, the event, the situation that arises and I implode. I panic, I get sick, I shut down, stop talking, retreat into the recesses of my own being and hole up. The rest of the world may not know this, only those closest to me do. I'm typically an outgoing, outspoken, confident "go-getter," fiercely determined to succeed, but not always. No, sometimes I'm really scared, self-conscious and fearful. Why? Its the truthful recognition of having a chance to walk down a road that before I retreated from. I may have taken a few steps in the right direction but when things got tough I sought safety and ran back the other way.

When I was little, I loved to draw. I fancied myself as an artist. My Mama bought me an art set and I was so excited! I read the instructional books and practiced with the pencil and ink pen, but that was it. I didn't touch the paints. Nope, didn't even open a tube. The case was pretty and neat and I kept it that way. I opened it up and "played" with what I knew wouldn't make a mess. I had no idea where to begin so I didn't even try. I drew all kinds of pictures on the papers and with the pencil and practiced calligraphy but NOT ONCE did I touch those paints or brushes.

I've always been drawn to crafts, creating and writing. When I started scrapbooking I found a wonderful outlet for my journal, record keeping and creative vibrations but I never reached for that paint set. I've kept it with me since I was 10 years old. It's been in every home I've lived in, including my college dorm. The inks and paints are dry but I still have the case. I've had the urge to return to this road for sometime now. Gently inviting me to return here, take up the challenge and see what's within. It's not something I'll probably do "for a living". It has nothing to do with impressing anyone. It has everything to do with allowing my body/being this experience that seems so deeply ingrained in my cells. I'm returning to that early road.

I learned a HUGE lesson in college about facing fears, going back, relearning and redoing things correctly. I wasn't good at math. It took me seven times to pass the PPST so I could be a teacher. I had to go back and teach myself basic math. It didn't stick from 8th grade to up until I was a junior in college. I had one hell of a block and it was clear I wasn't going down any road until I STOPPED and faced it. I did. I took an entire semester off and studied like mad, studied until it made sense to ME. I arrived at the answers in non-traditional ways. I learned how my brained worked, how I was wired and most importantly I discovered that the only way to have an authentic experience is to TAKE THE ROAD and release worry of how it will all end up. It is the experience, not the destination that I most needed to focus on. The destination is great, but only secondary. And the final destination is the beginning of the next, continuous, winding road.

I'm ready to go down THIS road. I don't care where it takes me. I have a 10 year old artists that I've put on hold for a very long time. She's been patiently waiting to join hands with me and play in the paint. She's been with me this whole time, cheering as I got out "good dishes" for an ordinary meal, and wearing dress-up clothes even though I wasn't leaving the house, breaking out a special bottle of wine for an ordinary evening of sitting on the deck. She's silently witnessed me breaking through barriers of keeping things "nice and neat" knowing deep down that we both want to "go wild" with paint and............just see what happens when she gets to "run down that road". We'll both be a little surprised to find out I'm sure.

I don't know where this road goes. I know it won't end, it will simply offer a different type of scenery that what I've been used to.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I feel like......Johnny Appleseed

This summer has been a "bust" in terms of my garden. The only thing still growing are the tanks of potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes. The beans were lost with the early June weeds and last week something got out and snacked on the nice stand of sweet corn we had. I'm very sad about the corn, we had some really cool varieties planted and we all LOVE fresh corn out of the patch. In addition I was hoping for enough to freeze because we are running very low. By August we'll be out. I haven't bought sweet corn in 8+ years. I am now looking for some to buy.

*What did go right was something so totally unexpected that I nearly fainted when I realized it wasn't a weed! As sort of a lasy/smart @** act, I carelessly threw zinnia seeds into the green pots at the foot of our deck steps. (That's Marley at the top, saying "hello"!) My mom lovingly sends us seeds in the spring. I usually plant them in the garden but for some reason they've never taken off (not enough water, too many weeds, combination of who knows what?) Knowing that I wasn't going to shell out $50 for my favorite bright red geraniums, that I tried desperately to keep alive through the winter months, I thought I'd just look at empty planters. At least they wouldn't need to be watered... Remembering the pack of Mama's seeds, I thought, "What the heck! We'll throw some in these pots and see what happens." I forgot all about it, it's been a busy summer.

A few weeks ago I went to pull out weeds from them (don't ask my, it was purely an unconscious, programmed act) and realized they were not weeds, they looked like....F L O W E R S! Great Gasp! And then I forgot what kind they were?!?! Last week, Pryce was very excited to inform me that they had buds on them and sure enough, this week, they are blooming. It is one of those nice surprises that really makes me smile (especially after the roping steers, calves, or deer helped themselves to our corn).

This morning as I walked out to feed the goats and chickens, I had a fleeting and comical vision of myself as Johnny Appleseed, only with Zinnias, which are more colorful, easier and faster to grow. If they took any more time or effort, I'm quite sure they wouldn't be growing here.

Here's to finding a few, sweet, simple surprises this week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ready, Set, Studio

Day Two of the Pages and Paint Workship begins today. I'm super excited for this venture. I've spent the ENTIRE month of June cleaning, clearing and preparing so that I would be able to fully dive into the experince. I knew this would be difficult if I was distracted by clutte r and disorganization....I met my goal of going through every room, every closet and every shelf (PHEW!) My main tasks now the daily duties of laundry, dishes, cooking prep and clean-up and just making sure everything gets put away so that I can just C R E 8 T E this month!!!

And here it is. I'm flashing this "neat n tidy" picture as a reminder of what it was like before I started this experince. My craft room has been cleaned and straightened in many times, the sad thing is, it hasn't been used to its full potential. This is a room I've dreamed of having for 18+ years. So many things have distracted me from it. It is on the lowest level and furtherst room away from the activity. That's both good and bad. Good because it will feel like I'm actually getting away from the chaos, bad because it's not nearly as accessible as my dining room table, where I do most of my cre8tive activities (you know, Mama/multitasker....stir the spaghetti, type a little, edit a picture, sketch a quick idea, unload the dishwasher...)

My main goal this month is to consciously dedicate time this month to actually be in my studio. My other "mission" is for this beautiful space to actully work as a studio and that will mean "cuyestomizing" it to my tastes...so a little tye-dye, peace signs, pictures of Subarus and mountains?!?!

I have a feeling as I explore this new aspect of my being, the space around me will change as well. It always does. What's on the outside is a reflection of what's on the inside. So I'm quite interested to see what's really "under the hood". What exactly as been hiding out under my skin and within my cells?!!?! Believe me, I'll be just as surprised as you!

I'll be posting pics of my progress and of course my reflections as they come through. If any of you would like to join me in cre8tive explorations this month...feel free to post your goals, progress and even pictures here on the blog, facebook or for the more timid peeps (I feel your pain!) Feel free to email me (You KNOW you have my total support and encouragement!) Go to the edge of the personal boundaries and start pushing....I'll be right there cheering you on! For someone that "gave up" on drawing and painting at the age of 10 this is a GIANT leap for me. Wheeeee, here we GO!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Know It's Good When....

I don't consider myself an "expert in the kitchen" by any means. In fact it has only been in the last 6 years or so that I've become comfortable, expanding my boundaries and trying foods/dishes that would have otherwise been only looked at as scanned through recipe books and mags.

I am not gracefull in the kitchen either. I've been known to start towels on fire and scorch counters. I've burned the hell out of my wrist. In the midst of any cooking creation, the kitchen looks like a bomb went off. There's no visible order or organization, try as I may to keep it neat.

There are a few meals that I cook with regularity. The predictability and ease are necessary during a week with two baseball games, golf night and rodeo practice. I am adamant about cleaning up leftovers and I very much dislike food waste. I do my best to cook around what I have in the pantry, so much to my childrens' dismay, we DO have food/dishes that are not their favorite. Those who have spent some time around my crew know of their complete distaste of soup. Soup of any kind is to them, "food of the devil". They seriously think I am trying to poison them when they see the big soup pot coming out of the bottom of the island. They instantly frown and voluntarily retreat to their rooms. They'd rather go hungry than eat soup. I don't get it. I love soup, their father does too. All of our friends and family love soup. What's not to love?!?! This is a mystery and one that I have yet to figure out.

I share this because my kids are my biggest "food critics". If they don't like something, they'll do little (at my house) to hide their absolute disgust. I'v made it clear that if they do this any anyone else's location...well we'll just say that I think they know what is expected of them (we're still working on the youngest one's bluntness.) I know what they like but I do not cook to their tastes. One doesn't like cheese, one will avoid ketchup at all costs, one changes her mind on a daily basis....it really would be impossible to please them all, all the time.

On Monday, I went on a cooking/baking marathon. I knew we'd be busy on Tuesday with Parker's birthday so I made the most of my time on Monday night.  The good were: Spinach Artichoke Dip, Magic Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Seafood Pea-Ista Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Angel Food Cake. The sweets went over well. The eggs are nearly eaten up (Pake's favorite) There's still plenty of salad (I think I'm the only one here that will eat crab meat). However, the cake is gone. How do you know a cake is REALLY GOOD? The answer: when you DON'T EVEN NEED FROSTING! I had strawberries and Cool-Whip ready to go on the cake for Parker's birthday, so I was utterly shocked when NONE of my offspring requested frosting! They gobbled down the cake and asked for seconds. I checked their temp (just kidding) and pondered this feat. If I made any other cake and didn't frost it, no one would touch it. They would have wondered was wrong! Pryce even mentioned how delicious it was....sans frosting. (Now THAT is impressive!)

If you'd like to have a taste, here are the directions.
No frosting is included. We do not use the stuff (kidding again!)

*this is adapated for KitchenAid mixers:
1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 &1/2 cups sugar, divided
1& 1/2 cups egg whites, about 12-15
1 &1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 &1/2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix flour and 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl.

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Gradually turn to Speed 6 and whip for 30-60 seconds, or until egg whites are frothy.

Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Turn to Speed 8 and whip 2 to 2 /2 minutes, or until whites are almost stiff but not dry. Try to Speed 2. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix about 1 mintue. Stop and scrape bowl.

Remove bowl from mixer. Spoon flour-sugar mixutre, one fourth at a time over egg whites. Fold in gently with spatula, just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10" tube pan. With knife, gently cut through batter to remove large air bubbles. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cracks very dry. Immediately invert cake onto funnel or soft drink bottle. Cool completely. Remove from pan.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wave Runners

Life's twists and turns always amaze me. Sometimes I have to just sit back and smile at the brilliant orchestration that happens in my life.

For example, I grew up near the Niobrara River. My childhood was spent splashing in those waters. We visited it year round; summer was my favorite because I could cool off but fall ran a very close second with the gorgeous display of leaves shifting colors. As I got older, I visited the river less frequently though I would return in the summers as much as I could. I would always leave determined to buy my own kayak and continue to the adventure closer to home, though this never "stuck". I'd get busy and forget about it.

I love the water and sun, (thus my "silly dolphin tattoo"). And though I'd often thought of having a kayak and hitting the waves, it never really seemed to pan out. This spring Chad forwarded me an email from Menards. I thought it was something to do with our on-going (enternal) home improvement but this was not the case. They were selling kayaks. I bought two. I didn't hesitate nor did I stop to consider if this was a good purchase! There were there, the opportunity arose and I took it. I really had no idea how we'd transport them or where we'd go, let alone how many times we'd actually use them. Rodeos and kayaks typically don't go together.  Now mind you, my boys have never been in kayaks and so they had no idea what treat they were in for! One evening on the little Wellfleet lake, and they were hooked. So hooked in fact, I didn't get much time on the water.

This past week, Chad noticed that Alco had kayaks on sale. I bought one of the remaining two left. We spent Saturday evening and the majority of Sunday on the water~it was glorious! Pake prefers to use his to fish but Parker and I head for the wakes of nearby boats. There's something deeply freeing about being so near the water and feeling your own muscles being the reason why the vessel is moving forward. (Yes, I'm feeling it today and yes, it WILL improve my golf swing, I'm sure of this....at least that is what I am telling myself today!)

Why would this simple activity bring up that smile I mentioned eariler.....because truly, I wasn't looking for this. I didn't expect, didn't plan on it and certainly didn't try to "make it happen."

Some events and situations in my life are intentional. Some things I identify, focus on and work toward. I set the intention, gather information, collect my resources, visualize the end result and take daily, consious steps to make it happen.

Other events seem to arise, triggered from an unconsious aspect, deep within my body and being. I have wanted a kayak for a long, long time. I didn't figure I'd have the energy, time or even equipment to make that a possibility. Sure it was something I dreamed up but at the time I was dreaming I was driving a VW Beetle!
I never gave up on having a kayak and being able to ride the waves, it just wasn't something I put a lot of effort or time into manifesting.

Apparently though it was meant to be and it was on the energetic backburner until all the dynamics were in supportive for this vision to become reality.  Cool enough, I'll take it! It just makes me smile because I have to wonder what else is "cooking". I kind of like the excitement and wonder involved in the observation.

Hopefully there's a trip to Ireland somewhere waiting to come out.....

In the meantime, we have a birthday to celebrate and Independence Day to ring in. I have a feeling we'll be doing this with the water element. Time to ride the waves......Happy JULY!