<![CDATA[Heartstrings and Lovely Things <3 - Blog]]>Sat, 12 Mar 2016 20:26:35 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[highlights of 2015 ]]>Wed, 06 Jan 2016 06:13:38 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/highlights-of-2015As 2016 begins, I wanted to use this writing prompt from Danielle LaPorte to reflect on the last year. While I've struggled with some health issues and heightened anxiety and doubt in the last year, it's also brought about increased gratitude and bravery.
I've learned important lessons in forgiveness (myself and others) and taken bold risks in my creative journey.

My Highlights
  • Hawaii - snorkeling at my favorite beach and breakfast with an old friend
  • Kelly Rae Roberts classes - mantras and angel wings
  • ​Brene Brown Daring Way retreat with G - it's many lessons in vulnerability/shame and my new soulful friends
  • Flora Bowley workshop - all of it, every magical and challenging bit of it
  • New job - working part-time, risk, putting that queer theory degree to werk, safe zone trainings, beautiful office
  • Ashland x 2 - Shakespeare theatre fest and my first and second rafting trips ever
  • Thanksgiving and Xmas with the Es
  • No cancer and other health successes!
  • PAINTING, creativity as my meditation practice, painting as my soul work, painting faces for the first time, mixed media exploration, big abstract painting, more painting and even more painting, sharing this journey, sold my first paintings and print
  • The summer of "work" with M and her kiddos - heart talks and kiddo bonding
  • Concerts galore - Ingrid Michaelson, Madonna, Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, Josh Ritter, Damien Rice, Dave Matthews Band, Gregory Alan Isakov, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, The Weepies, The Devil Makes Three, Trampled By Turtles, and probably more that I'm forgetting.
  • Arizona - my dearest friends and all their littles
  • ​Edgefield Anniversary - surprise suite!
  • Adventurer day with my loves - a hard day made memorable
  • Spring Break in Missoula
  • Camping with the boys
  • Tubing with my river guide
  • Gays marriage - social media explodes with love and the rally downtown. "We're not done"
  • Palm Springs - wedding weekend fun times
  • DMB with the Montana crew - surviving the cold and the broken air mattress for the best night of music and dancing
  • Vday at the Grand Lodge and the best news from L & P on the drive home
  • Pride party, the Big Gay Boat Ride, and recovery day
  • Bruno is mellowing out, which means more cuddles and more snores (my favorite sound in the world)
  • Lulu's excited greeting of running circles, side sitting, spooning
  • Wine Tasting and mini beach trips
  • The everyday with my love, my rock, my constant supporter - morning drives, movies, games, talks, cries, laughs. All of it.

It's in looking at my list and reflecting on the highlights that I remember all the good stuff. There's been a lot of good stuff and I'm fortunate to be on this journey. My themes remain constant:
  1. Creativity in so many forms
  2. Travel and exploration
  3. My sweet little family
  4. Connection and relationships
  5. Music/dance
I've also been ruminating on my new word or intention for the next year and I keep coming back to the same word: Allow.
Permission Granted.

I'm giving myself 
permission in the coming year to evolve and grow without having a set course in mind, to follow my heart's desires, to say yes, to see myself as an artist, to see where that knowing takes me, to feel the feels, to be vulnerable, and to focus on the themes that resonate with me. 
<![CDATA[allow]]>Tue, 08 Dec 2015 01:51:33 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/allowI seem to have a pattern.  The first day or two or three of mark making is enjoyable, but I keep getting stuck in the middle.  Damn that middle.  Not just stuck for a few minutes, but stuck for hours or days.  Staring, stewing, frustrated.  The exact opposite of what I'm supposed to be doing in brave and intuitive painting.  My type-A-ness in overdrive.  

It seems to be part of my process where halfway through, in the ugly stages, I want to throw the painting across the room.  Then, I allow myself to let go, give in, give up some of the painting, and make bold moves.  

​And just like that, it's fun again, the paint flows, my body moves easily, the music is usually loud, and I don't want to stop.  Yesterday that meant ten hours of painting and sore feet.    
Just 95 paintings to go.  Here's some (poorly lit) photos of how this one evolved... 
<![CDATA[Evolution of a Painting]]>Fri, 04 Dec 2015 03:47:00 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/evolution-of-a-paintingGiven that I work best when I have time to create in long stretches, I've looked at my calendar for the next month and blocked off paint days.  I'm so excited about these days.  They will be dedicated to nothing but painting - no meetings, lunch dates, appointments, checking work email, etc.  Today was the first, and with everything going on in the world, it was much needed.  

​I woke up heartbroken and I needed a day free from the news and social media.  I retreated to my happy place, I was in a groove, I didn't sit for 8 hours, and if Jayden hadn't called and reminded me, I wouldn't have remembered to eat.  

This was the first painting I started at the Bloom True Workshop and here's where it began.  Paint drips, blindfolded finger painting, experimental mark making, and a lot of black paint.   
I loved these colors right away.  I probably loved them too much, because I was afraid to cover them up.  During the workshop, I consulted with Flora who said I had to let that go.  Noted.  Fear begone!
With more mark making, circles galore, and added color, this painting moved to the ugly stage.  U.G.L.Y., you aint got no alibi, you ugly, yeah, you ugly.  I could hardly look at it at this point and didn't touch if for the last two days of the retreat.  
After bringing it home, I spent a week looking at it and finally decided light was the way to go. 
It came together today, as I was moving slower, making deliberate moves, and starting to see it as a whole. 
Many transformations, countless hours, lots of dancing, and a few swear words later - this painting is finished!  97 paintings to go... 
<![CDATA[Bloom True¬†]]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 04:59:50 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/bloom-trueI just spent four days participating in my first art retreat with Flora Bowley called Bloom True.  I want to write about it now before I slip back into my normal life and the fiery glow dissipates.  

Last year I participated in my first retreat ever, a Brene Brown Daring Way retreat, with my friend Gina.  I never wrote about in detail and I really wish I would have documented more.  Both were life changing, which sounds so cliche, but its so true.  

​Like the Daring Way retreat, I went in feeling terrified and vulnerable and left feeling forever grateful for the incredibly transformative experience.  Right now, I'm a couple days out, thirsting for more, raw with emotion, open to possibility, and embracing connection.  
I started following Flora's work 79 weeks ago to be exact.  I know, because I found her book (the same time I got Kelly Rae Robert's book) at the library, took it with me with to the beach, devoured it, and posted about it on instagram.  I had gone to the library in search of art inspiration books while I was taking Brene Brown's art journaling class.  

This shit is all connected.  Seriously.  

I can look back and see the connections, this trajectory of artistic awakening happening simultaneously with my path towards more whole hearted living.  Or maybe because of each other?   Who knows, but it's happening and it's awesome and scary and confusing and makes so much sense.  

I know I signed up for this retreat the same week that I quit my full-time job (that I've had for the last ten years) and accepted a part-time gig.  That feels connected, too.         
This was more than an art retreat.  

​It was a total mind, body, and soul experience.  Flora (and her amazing team) curate a long weekend of magic that goes beyond painting.  There's so much to savor - the welcome meditation exercise, the stunning studio space in industrial Portland, gift bags full of goodies, delicious food (platters of gorgeous treats from LoveShovel and catered meals from local restaurants), optional morning yoga with Lynx, gifted mini paintings from Flora, live music from a local musician, a pop-up tea shop, an extended wine and pizza painting night, and Pearl the therapy dog.    
And then there's the painting. Flora's lessons in brave and intuitive painting, her live painting demos (which I could watch all day), the guided art prompts, the helpful tips and tricks, the gracious feedback, the art business q&a, and her openness and encouraging support.  

It was rad.  All of it.  


Big magic.

​(Actually, I'm reading that book right now, but I'll save those thoughts for another day.)  She's so talented and I'm thankful she shares these gifts with others. 
Vulnerability is hard.  

That's not to say I didn't struggle.  I ended day two with a meltdown, frustrated beyond belief, convinced I'd wasted my time and money, and questioning whether I wanted to return.  

Looking back, it's hard to believe I felt this way.  The third day I had major breakthroughs, overcame the fear, and worked it out.

​By the fourth day, I knew it was worth every penny and valued the process.    
This is my finished painting.  I learned so much about mark making, color, depth, bold moves, and layering.  Oh, the layers!  So many layers of paint here.  I had a couple folks offer to buy it before it was even done and several more since it's completion.  That's shocking and terrifying, but mostly, it's awesome and exciting and encouraging.  

​I came home, rearranged my craft room, and created a painting studio space.  Flora encouraged us to create 100 paintings and practice practice practice.  

So 99 more paintings to go.  
<![CDATA[zipper face]]>Thu, 29 Oct 2015 14:28:10 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/zipper-faceGiven that it's October, I decided to create a Halloween themed layout using my costume from last year.  I usually spend weeks planning, but last year I waited until the last minute.  (And I did that again this year!)  After watching some youtube makeup tutorials for zipper faces, I made this, and was surprised that it turned out better than I expected.  My mother-in-law says she can't even look at this photo, because it's too gruesome. 
For this month's Scrap Our Stash challenge, you're given this sketch for inspiration and instructed to dig into you stash and incorporate a metal component, I used red safety pins attached via brads to create a banner.  You can't tell, but I appreciate that they actually move and sway when you move the layout.  Happy Halloween and happy crafting!
Detail shots!  For the background, I dyed modeling past in red and added it with a stencil, along with some red ink drips.  I also used the red ink to dye white thicker alphas.  You can also tell I'm really into messy pen outlines lately.  
<![CDATA[spirit wings]]>Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:15:36 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/spirit-wingsA few months ago, after taking Kelly Rae Robert's mantra painting course, I decided to try my hand at painting faces.  I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it and they turned out better than I anticipated.  Shortly thereafter, Kelly announced an angel painting class.  The timing was unreal and I signed up right away.  In this first painting, she teaches how to use oil pastels, which I'd never used and I'm looking forward to experimenting with more.  
  Here's a couple progress photos, which show the evolution of this painting.  
Also, here's a painting I created a couple months ago, which I never shared and want to document here.  I'm curious how my work will evolve through the next six months of this course as I incorporate my style with Kelly's techniques.  
<![CDATA[wine nose]]>Fri, 16 Oct 2015 18:50:32 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/wine-noseWine bottle replacing my nose and a play on the word wino. Get it?  I thought this photo and caption were so funny and I couldn't wait to make this a scrapbook layout.  This was one of the first nights of summer, spent with friends on a patio, drinking wine and playing games.  Now that fall is in full force, I'm really going to miss those warm summer nights.  
This was created as a Design Team Layout for Scrap Our Stash's October Challenge.  As for the word INKS, I used the following: ink, numbers, KI Memories (glitter dots), and staples.
Now for the close-ups...
<![CDATA[love this journey]]>Sun, 11 Oct 2015 23:55:11 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/love-this-journeyBefore my focus turned to designing for teams, I used to enjoying creating layouts and combining as many challenges as possible. I was looking forward to this ScraptoberFest Challenge, which does just that, and it came together quickly.  I changed the sketch to use one photo instead of two, I regularly use washi tape, and the palette has some of my favorite colors. All of that made it this challenge even easier! 
I designed my page for the Scrap Our Stash reveal.  If you create a layout, combining all (4) challenges on one layout and link it up to each participating blog, you will be eligible for a chance to win the ScraptoberFest BONUS prize. 
Now here's some close-ups of this layout...
<![CDATA[all grown up]]>Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:46:59 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/all-grown-upAnd just like that, I've totally lost all creative inspiration.  I finally have some time to make stuff and I feel stuck.  I keep walking into my craft room, looking around, and walking right back out.  I haven't painted in over a month and I hurriedly scrapped this Scrap Our Stash DT layout last week with little motivation.  Thankfully, I'm starting an online painting class with Kelly Rae Roberts in October and I have a painting/yoga retreat with Flora Bowley in November.  I've been eagerly awaiting both and I hope it jumpstarts my creative energy.
The second September challenge for Scrap Our Stash includes the following sketch and instructions to use 3 or more school supplies in your layout.  I made a pretty straight forward layout and I incorporated stars, staples, paper clip, lined paper, and tape.  
<![CDATA[happy day]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:00:04 GMThttp://www.heartstringsandlovelythings.com/blog/happy-day1I'm sharing my design team layout for this month's Scrap Our Stash challenge.  I've been traveling a lot and had so little time to scrap or paint.  I whipped this one out quickly in-between trips.  I am missing this creative release in a big way and can't wait to get back into my craft room.  I have so many quilting, scrapping, and painting ideas swirling around in my brain.  
I scrapped a set of selfie photos from my trip to Hawaii in May. I used spray inks applied with a paint brush to add color to the black and white background. Here's some other goodies that I used from my stash:
L: Label, A: American Craft Ephemera, Y: Yellow Ink, E: Enamel Dots, R: Rounded Corner Tool, S: Stickers
Here's some close-ups!