Friday, November 30, 2012

169/365: The Greatest Creation

a sketch by the's been stuck to my inspiration board
for months, reminding me that love blooms.
Today I made...

the happiest happy dance...

As far as creative spontaneous dance parties go, this one takes the cake!

Thirty minutes ago, I found out that two of our greatest friends got engaged today. He proposed on top of a volcano in Hawaii! I am dying to hear the details. Rodney and I are beyond thrilled, and reminded of the beautiful feeling that comes over a couple when they commit to a life together. It's an incredible thing when two people find each other. It's even more amazing when those people are a brilliant example of true love to everyone around them. My heart wants to pop out of my chest! Congratulations to our best man and our "sista from another mista."

I'm dancing and laughing and crying all at once! Love is the greatest creation!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

168/365: Writers Need to Daydream

Today I made:

a mental note to think like a child...

It's been a week of writing with young people. This is one of my very favorite things.
I began with a new tutoring student this afternoon. This fourth grade boy talked to me earnestly about where ideas come from. He described (in perfect fourth grade language) how writers can find inspiration in the tiniest nuances of our environment, like for instance, the ants that have infiltrated his classroom and the story he was inspired to weave around them. How very Walden-esk of him! By recounting his observations, he reminded me that writers need to daydream! Letting our attention drift once in a while can lead to discoveries of entire little worlds that would go unnoticed otherwise. I reminded him that the places we go to in our daydreams make for great story ideas to return to when we are stuck.

I've also been helping my ninth grade student this week with the completion of her first novel. She is participating in National Novel Writing Month with her English class. How cool is that?! I recently learned about this yearly challenge to write a novel in the month of November. I love this idea (maybe for myself in the future) and am delighted to find that high school teachers are using it as a project. It's been absolutely incredible watching my little friend go from having a staring contest with the blank page to creating elaborate characters and scenes out of her imagination. I've mostly been asking lots of questions and talking through the many choices writers can make. Together, we are learning to keep our audience in mind and to give our characters as much voice and personality as the characters in our lives have.

I can't think of many things more satisfying than teaching and learning about the creative process by writing with kids. Empowering a child to realize that they are creating something where there once was nothing with their own brilliant mind gives me the greatest warm fuzzies!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

167/365: Haikus & Yoga

Today I made:
four haikus on yoga...

These poems came to me during "final surrender," Shavasana pose.

ink & acrylic on watercolor paper
copyright Mila Bowman 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

166/365: Prickly Feelings May Come Up

Today I made:
art & journaling in response to a quote...
"Prickly Feelings May Come Up" art journal page;
watercolor & India ink on watercolor paper: Mila Bowman 2012
I've heard it said that artists are a moody bunch. Our keen senses trigger emotions. We feel deeply. We dive into the pits of despair and climb back up to elation in a matter of moments. Lately, this has been the case for me, but I don't believe this is exclusive to "artists." Anyone who is in a creative state of change will come up against a mix of prickly feelings. Whenever we step out of our comfort zone to take more control of creating authentic lives that will make us happy, we make ourselves vulnerable to feelings of fear, self-doubt, confusion, overwhelm, anxiety, loneliness, and more of the prickly stuff. Whether we're trying to design or redesign our lives to accommodate new family members, a move, a change of career, or the building of a dream, these are feelings we must face. At this point in my life and my creative journey, I can't help but acknowledge that I brought this all on myself. I invited these feelings into my life.

But who's to say these feelings are bad and should be avoided at all costs? Aren't they all a part of this wild ride we're on? We would all have to face challenges one way or another. If I take some of them on willingly (like when I veer off my prescribed path in search of bigger happiness), I may get some good practice for overcoming other big challenges. Sparring with our self-imposed fears and doubts can prepare us for other struggles in life.

The fantastic news is, there is a flip side to these feelings! We find that sunny side by facing the dark stuff head-on. On the other side of fear there is courage. If we toy with self-doubt, we are forced to overcome by learning to build faith and trust. If we take on anxiety, we will eventually learn to find peace. Our vulnerability opens us to a deep truth that may inspire others. It's part of our hero's journey. It's all ours to work out and overcome.

So is it worth it?
It is for me. The creative process can be a rough road at times, but it is a road that inevitably leads me back to the best parts of myself. The introspective parts, the brave parts, the honest, tender, compassionate, patient, determined, inspired and curious parts-- they are all on the other side of those uncomfortable feelings that may come up when we take on this journey.

So yes, I am moody and isolated at times. I mope and fret and rehash my mistakes, but it's because I'm preparing for a stealthy ninja-like attack on the negative feelings. I'm excited to feel what's on the flip side.

Monday, November 26, 2012

165/365: The Leaning Tower of Portabella

Today I made:
this stack of goodness...

Feeling creative in the kitchen tonight. I concocted this one myself! It's my version of a stuffed mushroom. This tall stack of goodness is a portabella mushroom stuffed with turkey bolognese and topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese (mozzarella would be good too), spaghetti squash and some cheesy marinara. Oh yeah, it's scrumptious!

After removing the stems, I drizzled the mushrooms with olive oil, garlic powder, basil, thyme and a little salt and pepper, then baked at 350 for 20 minutes. All other ingredients were cooked separately and stacked on after the mushrooms were done. Super easy!

While the mushrooms were baking, I cooked the spaghetti squash in the microwave by poking some holes in the side with a fork and rotating every 3 minutes for a total of 12 minutes. Spaghetti squash is a favorite at our house as it's a healthy and tasty alternative to pasta. See details here

Because I like to make the "I'd rather be painting" quick version of things, I used a pre-made turkey bolognese (ground turkey, onion, marinara and spices) from Trader Joe's (love that place!) It would be easy enough to whip up a batch, time provided. You could also use beef bolognese or try a veggie version and stuff with spinach. I'm trying that next.

My husband gives this recipe a thumbs up. It gets two from me for being quick, easy and delicious.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

164/365: Someday-Home Dreaming

Today I made:
a picture in my mind...

We took a drive up to Julian today- the second part of my birthday surprise. Julian is a mountain community about an hour outside of San Diego. The trees are all golden  this time if year and the air is crisp. It's the best place to go for apple pie, and in our case, for calamari steak and someday-home dreaming.

Rodney found a property for sale there with an incredible view of Lake Cuyamaca. It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but it has potential. I might consider trading in my beach and bay for a lake and four seasons. That is if I could work from home as an artist and teach creativity workshops to the locals. :) Could we leave city life for a peaceful mountain dwelling? It may not be a possibility now, but I adore my husband for helping me paint a picture in my mind of the life that is ours to create.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

163/365: Running Toward the Idea High

Today I made:
good use of my running shoes...

When I was a little Mila, I loved to run. I ran barefoot laps in our big backyard. I ran down the street to my friend's house so we had more time to play. I challenged my brothers to races. I had reoccurring dreams of running so fast that my strides turned into great leaps and before I knew it I was flying.
Running was a way of life back when I had the energy to support it.

Sometime during my growing-up phase, running became a "work-out" and my brain did its best to reject the idea. But my body still had urges every now and then to burst into a sprint. When we moved to San Diego three years ago, the bay path by our house coaxed me out again. Then my husband and I began jogging, sporadically, together. We keep dropping the habit and picking it back up. Every time, I am reminded of the strength of my will and the eagerness of my body to work for me when I ask it to. My thighs scream "Fowl!" but my mind screams "Yes yes yes! Remember how you love this? Remember how much it recharges you creatively?"

We don't always have the energy to begin a workout, but the workout gives us energy. (Darn those silly catch 22s!) It's like showing up in your art space without the slightest idea of what to make. Trust that showing up and making the gestures will result in energy and inspiration, in exercise and in art.

So this afternoon, with my favorite coach and workout buddy cheering me on, I made my legs and arms go through the motions until my heart was drumming in my chest, my lungs were bathing in fresh air and my veins were filled with delicious oxygenated blood. It didn't take long before my mind was solely focused on catching my breath and pushing through the pain. The rush of oxygen and endorphins to the brain made for happy and brave thoughts. I reached a place of possibility. Ideas flooded through and interesting connections were made.

It's probably my brain's way of shutting out the physical struggle by busying itself with far-out ideas and inspired whimsy. Whatever- I'll take it! Aside from getting a great workout, it is good for me to reach this happy place of letting my mind float on possibility. Running is becoming a spiritual practice for me, like a moving meditation, and the "idea high" lasts well into the day. I need to remember all this next time I'm groaning about putting on my running shoes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

162/365: Birthday Bliss

Today I made:

a blissful day of it...

This birthday began as they always do in our household, with my husband's morning serenade, "Happy birthday cake-in-bed to you..." (Love that guy!) The cake is always tiramisu (our favorite) and it comes complete with candles for wishing on. I managed to forget it was coming this year, so it was a sweet surprise at dawn.

I had the day to myself while Rodney worked, and I decided to spend it pampering myself with some of my favorite relaxing activities. My body was in need of a good stretch, so as the sun streamed in the bay window I managed to breath through a whole session of yoga. Next I treated myself to a massage. I'm pretty sure I melted right into the table. A visit to my favorite sea cliffs and a walk on the beach helped clear my mind. A peaceful bike ride home on the bay made it complete. Somehow I managed to turn off my busy brain for the entire day. I'm thankful for the much needed rest. I'm saving my energy (and a clean art space) for that spurt of post-birthday motivation that should be coming aaaaany minute now.

The night is young. There are birthday outfits to don, Spanish tapas to be shared and a bottle of our favorite wine to toast with. Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

161/365: The End of an Age

Today I made {it} to 33...

As my husband snoozed beside me in the passenger seat, belly full of Thanksgiving dinner, I drove the two hours home. We had decided last minute to take a quick day trip to L.A. to spend the holiday with dear friends. The day passed far too quickly and before I knew it, we were back on the road, but the company was worth it.

Wide awake and grateful for a bit of solitude in the dark and fog, I counted my blessings and welcomed the next year of my life. Then, with my favorite playlist to keep me company, I got my last 32 year-old groove on. There was something almost thrilling about moving at 70 MPH away from one age on to the next one. Not a bad way to begin my celebration of becoming older and (fingers crossed) wiser.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

160/365: When in Doubt, Take Child's Pose

Today I made:

friends with my yoga mat...

I am a yoga class drop out. Some time this past summer I got a great Groupon deal for twenty sessions of yoga at a studio bike-riding distance from my house. I was thrilled at the thought of taking my inconsistent living room yoga practice into a real studio, getting some guidance and making it a regular habit.

I have since attended one session. One!!

That's just embarrassing. It's not even a fair go, I realize. "Beginner's" yoga beat my butt and then I made excuse after excuse. My Groupon expires in a month and I'm trying to figure out how to convince my busy mind to buy into what my spirit knows is good for me. Words of wisdom and experience are welcome.

From the little I've done at home over the past few years, I've gotten a glimpse of yoga as a spiritual practice and tool for observation. I often find myself holding my breath and clenching my jaw through the poses. It's ridiculous how much my mind wanders even when I try to focus on my breathing. I know it's called a "practice" for a reason. It's not going to be peaceful and easy at first. It takes time and commitment to integrate into one's lifestyle. The thing is, I know it would help me immensely with managing stress, relieving tension, being more present and quieting my mind to allow more positive things to come through, if I practiced regularly. I fully believe in all the benefits, but I haven't found a way to make it a priority in my life.

This evening, after sending my husband off to his man cave, I put in the Beginner's Vinyasa Flow DVD and unrolled my mat. Banjo always sees this as an invitation to play, so he promptly retrieved his chew toy. (It's hard to breathe through downward facing dog pose while receiving doggy kisses.) Letting my mind do it's thing, I found myself thinking about what a friend said to me about making yoga my own practice. I thought about my favorite poses: child's pose, hero's pose and shavasana, the final pose. These are my happy resting poses and they don't require much effort beyond lying still. They are the easiest for me to breathe through and quiet my mind during. (I suspect the lack of both grunting and required use of muscle may have something to do with it.) Then on an inhale, during one of my less favorite poses, I had an epiphany. If I want to find a way to make yoga work for me as my own practice, so I can integrate it into my daily life, maybe I simply need to commit to doing my three favorite poses each day! You can bet I will look forward to yoga while sitting in traffic on my way home from work. Maybe it will even get me out of bed a few minutes early each morning. I'm hoping it will lead to a more consistent practice, and yes, an appreciation of other poses. For now though, I will rest in child's pose, observe the workings of my monkey mind and learn to breathe like my life depends on it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

159/365: Know Joy

Today I made:
a joy list...
Yesterday's journal therapy about Refilling Your Tank did me some good. I decided to take it a step further by making a list of things I love to do, things that bring me joy that I can draw from to refill my tank when my source is getting depleted. The idea is to replenish our energy, to recharge and renew by allowing ourselves time for self-care and engaging in activities that make us smile on the inside. We owe it to ourselves and to the people we care about to recognize when our tank is low and to refill it so we can be more present for all the demands of life. Even ten minutes a day of a uniquely-yours-joy-filled experience can bring you back to a better place. These are the little things that bring big fulfillment.

My list turned into an art journal spread in an altered book that I'm making to document my creative process and journey. The photo is a recent one from my trip to Zion- a joyful roll in the leaves. The bits of text that spoke to me from the page found me, as they always do, when I go in search of answers through art.

I believe that we have the power to create our happy lives by choosing to make time for the things we enjoy. In the midst of all the chaos, we can know joy.
What is on your Joy List?

Found text: "Remember, you are creating. Plan to live and enjoy. Knowing takes time. All this is part of making a happy life. Know joy."

Monday, November 19, 2012

158/365: Refilling Your Tank

Today I made:

time to refill my tank...
I feel as if the last month of my life has gone by in a blur. Between juggling jobs, business-building endeavors, classes, visits from friends and family, travel, special events, and creative commitments, "me time" has been scarce. As rich with learning, connection and celebration as my life has been lately, I am beginning to feel the effects of an empty tank. Stress and overwhelm are manifesting in ugly ways. I feel so mentally exhausted that I lack the focus and energy for just about everything I take on. "I don't wanna!" has been my lament for days and days. I zone out during conversations with people I care about. I am short tempered with my students at school. I cut corners where I know I should be giving 100%. I lose touch with friends. Small to-dos get put off until they unnecessarily add to the overwhelm. There is so much storming around in my head that I feel unable to deal with the tiniest stressors. I am beginning to feel the scary physical symptoms of what I think must be anxiety. I feel completely over-stimulated, as if I'm constantly going and doing instead of just being. I know I am trying to give more of myself than I have to give. I have obviously over-packed my schedule and run myself ragged trying to keep up with my ambitious well-to-do efforts.

While a part of me wants to bury my head under a pillow and cry and feel sorry for myself, I have to remind myself that this is not failure and that it is part of the territory. This is normal wear and tear on the road of life and there is something we can do about it. Yes, we need to be very honest with ourselves about how much we can really take on, but since that is not always within our control, we need to focus on refilling our tanks- on a regular basis. Work, relationships, commitments...despite the joy and fulfillment we may get from these parts of our lives, the energy we invest there inevitably drains from our source until we don't have much left to give to ourselves or of ourselves.

When my tank begins to drain, I crave quiet, solitude, time to think, to write, to create, to reassess. But for some reason, I resist. Times like these when I feel spread thin with so much left to do, I have a hard time justifying taking the time to relax, unwind and refill. And that is how I manage to get myself into this stranded-feeling state, over and over again, by ignoring the warning signs.

No matter how surprising and uncomfortable our physical and emotional reactions to stress and overwhelm are, like speed bumps, they are there to remind us of something. The choice to slow down is ours to make every day. We must find a way to justify it in the haste of our daily lives. Maybe you're one of the clever ones who slows down to refill your tank before the indicator light turns on and you're running on empty. Some of us (yours truly) feel the need to keep pushing the gas pedal, long after the fuel has run dry, until we're stuck with our wheels spinning in the mud and muck. I seem to be reliving this hard lesson on a daily basis and I feel like I've been doing it for years. This must be one of my lessons in life. My need to share it with others is really just a big fat note to self/ tie a ribbon 'round your finger/ for goodness sakes don't forget again!!!

Thankfully, I am finally beginning to see that the things I do to refill my tank are not selfish acts of luxury, but nurturing acts of necessity. We cannot be our best and give our best if we are not our best to ourselves. Whether refilling our cup means listening to and caring for your body, relaxing the mind with journaling or a good book, reconnecting with nature or decompressing through conversation with a close friend, we can choose these simple acts of refilling every day. We can't afford not to.

So this afternoon, after bidding the relatives farewell and beginning my Thanksgiving break from school, I slowed down and checked my gage. There is much to do, as always, but instead of plowing ahead, I chose to refill my tank with a photo walk and some journal therapy. After so much depletion it may take a while to fill my tank, but I'm paying better attention to the indicator light.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

157/365: Merry Merry

Today I made:

Handmade Holiday art...

fabric decoupage ornament

I got to slow down a bit today and ease into the holiday season with another En{COURAGE} Creative Meet-up. Some of the lovely ladies chose to create mixed media ornaments or gift boxes while others chose to express themselves on canvas.

I stepped back from the teacher role this time and was delighted to hear the group members encouraging and guiding each other through the projects. I am loving the supportive creative community that is growing from this group. It is so much bigger than the projects we work on.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

156/365: Stitches & Christmas Stories

Today I made:

friends with the blanket stitch...

I spent the day playing tourist with my hilarious aunt and uncle who are visiting from Germany.
A quiet evening at home with my mama was just what I needed afterwards. We worked on a pattern and samples for the hand-stitched birdie ornaments for tomorrow's Handmade Holiday art meet-up. Mama taught me how to use a "blanket stitch" to finish the edges of my project. She filled the night with stories of her childhood Christmas memories and the handmade ornaments she always made with her brother and sister. I remember these Polish folk art ornaments from my childhood. Someday I will teach my kids how to make them. I love that my family history is filled with creative traditions.

Friday, November 16, 2012

155/365: Shut Eye

Practicing creative ways to keep my eyes open when I am very very tired...not so successful.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

154/365: The Art of Make Believe

Today I made:

myself believe that I can...

I received another tutoring request at one of my schools today. I was out of my regular teaching business cards so I offered the mom a business card from my art Meet-up group just so she'd have my contact info. She actually said that she was really interested in getting some creative enrichment for her artistic daughter!

With art programs getting wiped out in California public schools, there is such a need for this. I've toyed around with the idea of offering creative workshops through my tutoring before, but I kept talking myself out of it, thinking I'm not "certified" to teach art to kids.

Oh, the stories we tell ourselves out of fear of failure! My passion for art, teaching, empowering and inspiring is leading me to believe that this could be a good direction for me after all. The pieces are coming together naturally just as I was told they would. The path seems almost too obvious to be true. There is magic in making ourselves believe that we can.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

153/365: Make More Art

Today I made:

some tweaks to my work schedule...

I had an aha moment today when working on my substitute teaching and tutoring schedule. If I want to develop a skill, I need to spend time practicing it. It's taken me a while to recognize that my art is worthy of that time just as much as my teaching work is.

It's grade reporting time for many schools, so tutoring requests are beginning to trickle in. I get excited about this because I love the one and one connection with my students and the challenge of planning creative individualized curriculum based on a learners' strengths and needs. It also means I get to be more creative with my work schedule. It's looking like I may be able to set aside an afternoon or two each week just for tutoring, which means I can plan on scheduling in some regular morning time for art making beyond the short spontaneous creative acts that I'm usually able to fit in during my work week.

While my random daily creative acts are keeping me connected to my creative spirit, I am still struggling with finding my voice as an artist. According to my husband, the answer is simple: I need to make more art. Not just read or write about making art, but actually make it. Imagine that! I need to set aside time and energy for my art just like I set aside time to work with my students. I need to schedule in time each week to work with my tools in my studio just like I would schedule any other appointment. Carving out special time for my art each week will acknowledge its importance in my life. It will get me making more art, which- fingers crossed- will allow my style to develop. I've been working hard and waiting patiently for this breathing room in my work schedule. It's not official yet, but I'm seeing the possibility and I'm going to pounce on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

152/365: Creative Catch Up

Today I made:

time to catch up and reflect...

O.K., Zion I can understand, but no internet connection in St. George? So much for mobile blogging on my trip. Playing catch up tonight to share some journal entries and photographs from my weekend getaway with the girls. I'm beginning to acknowledge that the blog is often separate from the daily creative act. But sometimes, acting as a journal, it is the creative act. Most of all it's documentation of the process, the ups and downs, the inspiration and dry spells. Many nights (tonight being one of them)  this space has been a bridge between art projects, keeping the momentum going, the focus on the commitment. My past commitments have always unraveled with gaps of days. First one, then two, then a week gone by and the routine is broken. Something is different here. I'm allowing myself to continue after filling in the gaps with my best attempts- a sort of wobbly continuity. I've outsmarted myself. Finally.

Monday, November 12, 2012

151/365: For the Love of Books

Today I made:

old spines creak...

We are loving the antique stores and crafty resale shops in St. George. I am especially loving all the old books. From the yellowed pages of a volume of old Emerson poems, to the deliciously patterned covers of old Reader's Digest anthologies, I am in vintage book heaven. My camera loves the colorful set-ups. The patterns and color combinations are coming home with me as inspiration for my art.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

150/365: Five Senses on a Utah Sunday

Today I made:
photos of Fall & five senses journaling...

We tasted baked apples at a bed & breakfast.

We smelled essential oils to calm & to cure.

We saw the gold leaves quivering in Zion.

We felt the frigid water under Weeping Rock.

We heard six kinds of laughter.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

149/365: Travel Light

Today I made:

everything fit into one backpack...

I tell my husband I am training for our some-day backpacking adventure across Europe. I like to be prepared for anything and I always feel the need to pack several reading options, journals and art supplies as well, so traveling light is no easy feat for me. This morning I miraculously managed to squeeze all the girly necessities and artful entertainment into one itty bitty "personal item" for the weekend. Today I flew out to my old home town of Las Vegas where I met up with my five darling friends, squeezed into one packed car and drove to St. George, Utah. We are staying at a Bed & Breakfast that used to be one of the oldest homes in St. George. This weekend is is our "Goddess Retreat" and it's all about rejuvinating in each other's company.

My goddess gals are the treasured remnants of my past and an endlessly comforting part of my present. They are my teaching mentors, my mothers, my soul sisters and my confidants. We call ourselves goddesses because, well every woman is, and because we are the bearers of each other's truth, courage and creative spirits. We are all at different points of a similar path, which allows us to gain a sacred kind of insight and perspective. Together we are storytellers, problem solvers, voracious readers, life-long learners, change makers, picture takers, chocolate eaters, children's cheerleaders, dreamers, believers and strong brave women. I can be my most authentic self around them.

When you find friends that allow you to release all the parts of you that get heavy, it's so much simpler to travel light.

Friday, November 9, 2012

148/365: Handmade Holidays & Pinterest

Today I made:

an invitation...

The Meet-up group I host with my art partners is having a Handmade Holiday art party later this month! We are very excited to share our wild collection of mixed media supplies with our new friends.

I spent a rainy Friday night creating the invitation and browsing holiday art projects on Pinterest. Oh Pinterest, how I love thee! If you've yet to discover this "online pinboard for organizing and sharing the things you love," prepare to be addicted. Besides providing endless eye candy for every topic under the sun (art, fashion, decor, recipes, teaching etc. & etc. & etc!), Pinterest is absolutely marvelous for creative project ideas. Imagine the most cute, clever and creative ideas on the Internet (searchable by whatever terms strike your fancy) in one place. I get lost there for hours. If you're looking for holiday gift or decor ideas, this is the place! I'll share our Meet-up project ideas soon...after I decide between the hundreds.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

146/365: The Art of Friendship

Today I made:

a friend smile... (and that could very well be my favorite thing)

Don't you just love when the Universe sends someone your way to remind you that you're on exactly the right path right when you need it? I got a call from one of my favorite people in the world today and she did just that.

This particular friend came into my life when my focus and purpose were very different than they are today. Years ago, we were student teachers together and then newbie teachers at our first school. My creative passions were still dormant. We both spent most of our creative energy on building happy classrooms where children wanted to learn. Since then, she has watched me stumble and attempt to reinvent myself when the "five year plan" took on a life of its own. She has never questioned my flighty tendencies and is endlessly supportive, even when I don't know exactly what I'm doing. I so admire her energy and commitment to what she does. This giant-hearted woman has inspired so many children to be lifelong learners. And she has mastered the art of friendship. I am absolutely beside myself at the thought of being able to inspire her in return and am so touched that my efforts here have resonated with her.

No matter how doubtful or isolated or in my own head I feel some days, I need to acknowledge that this is all unfolding as naturally and peacefully as it should, just like a strong friendship does. This is the ripple effect I was hoping for. Those first few rings closest to the center help build the initial momentum and ensure that the ripples spread. Those rings are the encouraging words, the gentle nudges, the sharing of gratitude and spreading of messages by friends who believe in us. Passion grows because of them. Today my purpose behind this creative undertaking is rekindled. Thank you, Mel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

145/365: A Season for Making

Today we made:

a night of it...
My art partners and I spent the evening planning creative holiday workshops over a cozy dinner.
Curry butternut squash soup with salad and baked brie, talk of ornaments and crafty belly is content and my head is filled with big kid art projects.
Goodnight moon. This will be a happy season for making.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

140/365: I Knew You When...

Today we made:

up for lost time...

Today one of my oldest and dearest friends arrived for a long weekend visit. We met in second grade and did a lot of growing up together. We hadn't seen each other since high school (that's getting to be an awfully long time ago). We reconnected on Facebook a couple years ago and finally got to sit and chat face to face over a glass of wine tonight, sharing stories and filling in gaps.

This picture was taken before C and I grew into our teeth...
and before we grew out of: sewing doll clothes and putting on fashion shows, puff painting t-shirts, making up our own silly lyrics to pop songs, drawing elaborate treasure maps for our little brothers, designing lunch menus based on foods of a certain color, writing love letters to boys we'd never meet, and building forts that lasted the whole weekend.

I know this for sure, we will never grow out of that childhood friendship or those imaginations. I think we witnessed the birth of one another's creative spirits, back when we were young and wild and free enough to pretend to be anything we wanted to be. She is still helping me do that today and I am ever so grateful.