Friday, March 30, 2012

to thine own self: part III create

Let me make one thing clear.

Creativity is not defined as the ability to design.  This is a fallacy that our society has imposed.

Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.

Every human is creative. Alas, it is part of what makes us human.  It is why we have the Golden Gate Bridge and the internet and Godiva cheesecake. Oh God bless the soul who created Godiva cheesecake!

You, sitting here, reading this! You are creative. And guess what. You should be using that creativity and I'll tell you why.

The creative energy that resides in each of us is not benign. It is energy and is has to go somewhere. Somebody figured that out a long time ago using their creativity. I think it was Newton maybe.

Epotential -> action

So you have this energy inside of you. And if it isn't being used it gets stored, like fat, in our cells. Often it will metastasize. Which isn't good. This means it mutates into something else. Something ugly. 

Just what it becomes is varied. Everyone is different. But the feeling that we all get from this mutant energy is the same. It feels like anxiety. Like listlessness. Like agitation.

Remember when you were a kid and you were stuck in the back seat on a long road trip and you were unable to get out and play? Remember how you would have an overwhelming urge to tease your sibling or annoy your parents? That's the feeling I'm talking about. 

People are happier when they are exercising their creativity. They are more content. Their self-esteem is higher. They are better people. Period.

Now, here is the last part of my personal happiness plan. Ready?

Be creative.

That's it. Create something. Anything. Today and tomorrow and every other day after that. 

And don't worry- I've heard all the excuses about no time, no money, no ideas. 

To hell with circumstances. Create opportunity.  Bruce Lee said that.

It's not easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Usually when I am working on a project I have to stop a billion times to change a diaper, get a snack, break up a fight, answer the phone or make a meal.  I can't afford to buy the top of the line supplies all the time. Sometimes I try and try and try to get something right until I am so frustrated I can hardly stand myself. It's not easy.

Sometimes you have to push boundaries. Think outside the box to make things work.

I recently saw a film that perfectly illustrates what it means to create opportunity. Here's a clip:

You were born to create. Fulfilling this potential will bring you joy. This I know for sure.

Start today. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the workshops: silver smithing

I met Canela Lemoine a couple of years ago at Spark. We had an instant connection because a) she lives in the town where my husband grew up and b) she is also a self-taught silversmith with a love for cowboy boots and embroidery.

The thing about Canela is she is hard core. You would never know this by meeting her. She is soft spoken and cheery. But the truth is she works hard. Really hard. Her business is absolutely booming right now and she does all the work by herself, by hand. With six kids and a husband still in school.

Like I said, hard core.

I haven't been doing a whole lot of silver smithing lately and Canela is one of a very small handful of people that I know will teach silver smithing better than I ever could.  She is passionate about her work. She likes sharing this passion. She is patient and practiced at teaching (six kids remember?).

Her class will rocks your socks. No doubt about it.

Students will be making a wide (10mm) band. Canela will be teaching stamping, texure, soldering and finishing. Everyone will leave with a beautiful, personalized ring.

During our lunch breaks, Canela and I will be happy to answer questions about starting an at home business and balance of work and family life. 

If you are considering taking the Prospector Workshops, don't wait to register. We can only accept a limited number of students.

Monday, March 26, 2012

frankie valentine turns two

He's a quirky little scrap of a kid. He likes Curious George and climbing and skate boards and airplanes. Always airplanes. He is rough and tough and incredibly soft and loving all at once. He whispers my name "A-pole" into my ear when I hold him in my arms.

His birth rocked our world. He is the best thing to happen to us that we thought we didn't want.

God is great.

Happy Birthday Henry. We love you to the moon and back.

Friday, March 23, 2012

to thine own self: part the second- the satisfaction cup theory

Happy Friday friends.

I meant to have this message up first thing this morning but, well life happened.

First off, a big thank you to all of you who have contacted me about my post "To Thine Own Self".  I have received more emails, facebook messages and phone calls about that post than anything else I have ever written.  All of you are thanking me for having written it, but the truth is, I need to be thanking you for all your feedback. It has been a long journey for me and it makes my heart sing that others can also benefit.

I wrote the basic bones of what I do in my life to stay the happiest possible.  There is more. I never intended to write "how to" guides on being happy. I feel like I am much more adept at writing about hot glue and paint, than self improvement. However, I also want to share the things that make my life better. I think we should all be a lot more forth coming with the things that could help other people.

So I'm writing today to share with you the theory of the "Satisfaction Cup".  My father came up with this theory some years ago. Our entire family has adopted it into our lives. It goes something like this:

Everyday you wake up with an empty cup to fill.  During the day, you will fill this cup with the things you do. Every person has a different recipe for what they need to fill their cups with in order to feel happy and satisfied by the end of the day. For example, I have learned that everyday, I need to have a few hours of productive work, a few hours of creativity, some quality time with my family, exercise, a little play and down time.  If I can fit all these things into my day, I go to bed tired and very happy.

Like I said before, everyone is different. My best friend needs a lot of play in her day to feel satisfied. Another friend needs a little service to others to be happy.  You might need reading time or religious worship or lot of time to sit and do nothing. You must get real with yourself and figure out what it is you need to feel satisfied at the end of the day.

Keep in mind that there are days that vary. For instance, if you go on vacation, your day will be very different. Sundays at my house are different from other days of the week. The satisfaction cup is a general application to your everyday routine.

You will know at the end of the day if your cup isn't full. The feeling is unmistakable. You feel hungry. Maybe literally hungry, maybe figuratively hungry. If I find myself snacking late at night it is most often because my cup didn't get filled for the day. I'm not really hungry for food, I'm just trying to satisfy. Sometimes I do other things at the end of the day like waste time on the internet shopping or channel surf on t.v.  Most often the things we do when our cups hasn't been filled are negative and unproductive.  Sometimes they are even destructive, like picking fights with people or gossiping.

Yesterday I filled my cup to overflowing. I got up and got the kids bathed and dressed. Took The Boy to school and then took the two babies to the doctor for check-ups (work). After the doctor we went to TJMaxx and I shopped for a birthday gift (play). Then we went home and we had a picnic outside for lunch (quality family time). Then I ran on the treadmill and did sit-ups (exercise). I cycled the wash, did a little work on the computer, did a general pick-up through my house and baked a cake for Frankie's birthday party tomorrow (work). I took The Boy to scouts and then I spent some time creating party hats and favours for the party (creativity). We had dinner together and studied spelling words and then it was time for pajamas and bed and then a little veg time holding the babies and watching kids shows (down time). At this point I was absolutely exhausted and I ended up falling asleep instead of writing this post. But it didn't matter because my cup was already full and I was satisfied.

Not everyday is this busy or this productive. But if I can squeeze in just enough of everything I need to feel happy and satisfied, in the evening I know that my overall outlook on life will be healthy and upbeat.

Everyday you empty the contents of your satisfaction cup into your "Life Satisfaction Cup". If this cup isn't kept full, you will start to feel the effects. You will have a searching feeling. You will feel unsatisfied with the life you are living. You will tend to focus on the negative things instead of the things that make you happy.

So here's what you need to do: 

First, identify what it is you personally need in each day to feel happy and productive. Be honest. I wish I could say that giving service was one of the things I need. Alas, it is not. Think about how your long term goals play into this.

Second, check yourself throughout your day to make sure you are managing your time so that you will be able to get in all the things you need.

Third, know that everyday is different and be flexible.  If you work like a dog one day, you might not need much work in the days that follow to feel satisfied.

As I said before, happiness is not an absolute. There are so many factors that happen in our lives that play into how we feel emotionally. But the point is to work on those things that we can control.

Working toward happiness is always much better than the alternative.

Next Friday I will share with you the last aspect of my own person happiness plan. I hope you find these things as pertinent as you did the concepts in the first post.

Now carpe the diem out of today!

Sharing pics of Frankie Valentine's second birthday on Monday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the workshops: pop art panels

Thank you to all of you who have already signed up for Prospector Artisan Workshops!

We are so excited to meet everyone and spend a fun couple of days together.

I will be sharing a little more about each class for the next few Wednesdays. I decided to start with mine because I know that some people will look at these paintings and feel like they need to be able to draw to participate in this project. I'm here to tell you, I did not hand sketch any of these portraits. They were made using a process of transferring different aspects of the image to the canvas.

I am really excited about these projects. I am a big fan of Shepard Fairey. I think he is the Andy Warhol of today. I developed a way to immulate his style with my own artistic twist.

This class is going to get messy, just the way I like it.  Students will learn several different techniques for creating texture and "aging" their canvas.  We will lightly cover topics like color theory and composition. But mostly we will be getting the paint on the canvas and probably our hands too.

I want to do these portraits of all of my children. I am looking for just the right photo of each child that shows their personality.

I'm really hoping other people love this style of art as much as I do. It is fun and light-hearted and anyone can do it.


Help us spread the word? Grab our badge.

Secondsister Workshops

Monday, March 19, 2012

introducing: Prospector Artisan Workshops

If you have been a reader here for much time at all, you know I have a deep seated passion about using creativity.  I also have something inside me that pushes me to share this with others. 

I have been working on an idea now for some time. I wanted to put together some classes to introduce people to different mediums. I wanted to get people using their hands. Making things.  I wanted to inspire creativity.

Thus, Prospector Artisan Workshops was born. Why Prospector? Because finding what you really love, what makes you giddy and excited about life, sometimes takes a little exploration.  Sometimes you have to chip away for a while before you find gold. My goal is to make the chipping a whole lot of fun.

I am nervous and excited and more than anything, proud of the workshops we have to offer. They are diverse and relevant and most of all they are super great projects.  We will have four classes: letterpress, silversmithing, silk screening and pop art panels.

I hope you will consider joining me and the other Prospector teachers for a weekend of old school, hands-on arts and crafts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

easy paper basket tutorial

Ever need a last minute gift? Seriously. Who doesn't?  

I wish I was better about thinking ahead, but alas, I have very few brain cells functioning at this juncture.  

However,  I've got it covered with this little DIY.  This may be the easiest paper craft I've done all year.

It's just cut, sew and glue. Tada! Your done!

Here's what you need:
-Enough paper to cut six sides and one bottom from the pattern. Use at least 80lb paper for this project so it is sturdy. Most craft paper that is printed on both sides is heavy enough.
-sewing machine
-hot glue gun
-items to decorate your basket (optional)

Using the pattern, cut out six sides and one bottom.  You can enlarge or reduce the pattern to your liking. If you print it out full sized you will have roughly a 6" and 4 1/2" basket.

Start with two sides, line them up and sew them together with an eighth inch seam. Pay attention to what patterns you want on the outside of your basket. Wrong sides go together when you are sewing.  Keep adding sides until you have them all sewn together, then sew the first and last sides together so you have a circle.  Fit your bottom piece down into the basket. It may not go all the way to the bottom. That's okay. You can trim it to fit exactly where you want. Using your hot glue gun, run glue around the edges of the bottom to adhere it to the side of the basket. It may be too tight to get your gun down into the basket. Just drop the glue down in and use a dowel or something to get it where you want it. It doesn't matter if it looks good because it will be covered.

That's it. Your done! Embellish it if you wish. You could add a ribbon handle or other doodads. I think it would be cute to use scallop scissors to cut the top edges. I used Easter grass, but you could also use tissue paper to line your basket.

Then to the goodies! Oh my. The possibilities are endless. Something sweet!

And in case you are wondering...

The tall pink basket was made from The Girl's Paperie paper by Margie Romney-Aslett and my digital photo elemets come via Rhonna Designs

Want more fun DIY ideas? Check out:

click on image

Monday, March 12, 2012

a mother is a mother is a mother

I've been thinking about women.  I've been thinking about how throughout the world we are so different. We lead such different lives. And yet, we are fundamentally all the same.

Did you see the documentary called "Babies"? It illustrates this point beautifully.

If you are a mother, or even if you aren't a mother but someone who has loved a child more than yourself, you are part of the collective.

Your skin might be different. Your clothes might be different. Your religious beliefs might be different. But when all that is stripped away and you are left with only your soul, I think we will see that we are daughters of one God. Sisters.

I honestly believe that the love parents have for thier children is the strongest force on Earth.  It matters not if you live in Chicago or Peru or Russia. I wish that I had more oppurtunity to meet women from other walks of life that are crazy about their children the way I am crazy about mine.  Motherhood has a way of creating insant friendships.

Anyway, these are the things that have been on my mind.

Also, I'd like to add that the two babies at the beginning of the "Babies" trailer act exactly like my two babies. That fight plays out in my house everyday. Only the skin color is different.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

please watch.

I was going to post a fun DIY today.

But after I watched the following film, I couldn't.

I feel I have to open my mouth. As a mother. As an American. As a daughter of God. I cannot let this go.

It's thirty minutes. I know you are busy. Find the time. Please.

You all know I don't share my politics here. This isn't politics. This is life. This is children.

I tuck my children into bed each night assured that they are safe. Every mother should feel that way.

On April 20th, I will be out plastering Carlsbad with posters. Will you join me?

UPDATE: As this campaign grows and more people become aware, the critics are coming out in full force. Do your homework. Read the financials posted on the Invisible Children website. Read the articles that have been written criticizing this movement and then read the rebuttals written by the leaders of KONY2012.  This may seem like a trendy thing that will pass, but I think it is a chance to make a meaningful change. I am choosing to take action instead of spilling negative dogma into the world.

Monday, March 05, 2012

free download! sketchy digital frames

Happy Monday!

I have a free digital download for you today. I drew some funky little frames for you to add to your photos.  They are fun to use for photos on your blog, in digital scrapbooking and to make cards and wall art.

You can download the PNG file here:

Or- because I know you aren't all photoshop junkies like myself, and you'd rather just print them out, you can download the JPEG here:

Show me how you use these frames!

Please note: Not to sound all grumpy and such, but please, pretty please, only use this download for personal projects. If you would like to purchase a commercial license for this art, email me.