My He(ART)-Full Life



Monday, April 21, 2014

making space + opening up

 Dear friends...so much is happening over here I can hardly catch up with it all! Excitement and adventures and long long days...but totally inspired and open to all the goodness. I am leaning more and more into my two words for the year (surrender + faith). As I get older, I realize how we have so little control over so much in life...that for all our plans and hard work and what we thought life would be...a lot of times we simply have no control over circumstances. Still...we try our very best each day and...maybe there are bigger dreams for us in ways we couldn't have imagined. That's how I am feeling these days. Blissed out in an exhausted kind of way:)

 I have been working at the kitchen table again...my art journal (using the kit from Invincible Heart Co.) is coming along and taking on a life of it's own. I am loving all the experimenting, messes and discoveries along the way. Been listening to The Late Bloomer (by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes) audio series while I work and I just cannot tell you the sheer  brilliance of it!!! Every single word, nuance and breath goes straight to the very heart and soul of me. Truly...an entirely separate post is needed to talk about this bit of goodness. I signed it out from the library but am just going to have to purchase it.

 And through it all...I have been trying to practice courage. My friend Dee (an artist from across the way in England) made me these gorgeous affirmation notes last year that I have stuck up all over the place. For some reason...the exact one I need seems to be in the right place at the right time and bathes me with love.

 Been catching up on some quiet time and reading as well. Even though I can't quilt..I adore looking through books like this one. Quilting is such an art form that combines story and place with pattern and color. Totally fell in love with this book...a cup of tea and 15 mins. looking through these pages leave me...enchanted. 

And I have been paring down big time around here...it started with my clothing and I've moved out into the entire house. Can you believe I set my goal to have no more than 50 items in my closet??? Of course...ahem...that doesn't include shoes:) If it didn't fit, if I hadn't wore it in the past 6 months or if it wasn't practical...out it went! So now I adore everything in my wardrobe and I can get dressed in 5 mins. with no fuss. It feels so liberating and ...like  a breath of fresh air to make space for the person I am today (not the one I was 5-10 years ago or who I thought I was or wanted to be etc). Now...why didn't I do this sooner??

And I visited Invincible Heart Co. studio last week for a chat regarding some super exciting news (more soon!!) and found this piece of gorgeousness all over the table. This is the new art journal kit for the month and am loving the all the butterflies this beautiful lady is wearing. was so happy to see all the goodness emerging! Thanks so much for letting me take some pics + sharing your work Aimee:)

And to top it all off...just when I thought my little girl couldn't get any more adorable...she lost 2 of her front teeth last week!!! There was much excitement, a visit from the tooth fairy and the realization that life is precious and brief and magical. xxx

Thursday, April 10, 2014

organizing vs de-cluttering and other revelations

 This is the current state of my closet...except it's much worst in real life because there are parts you can't see...boxes + boxes...and more piles of clothes. Oh my! Let me back up a bit to how I got here. Even up to a few months ago I thought I needed to organize my stuff...in other words...keep all of my junk but have it more organized. This translates into buying more containers to store more of my stuff = bad idea!! One morning I walked into my closet and realized that I had absolutely nothing to wear. How could that be when I had a closet full of clothing???  So I started reading up on minimalism, de-cluttering + simplifying and came across the concept of capsule wardrobes. Okay...I'm 45 years old and had never even heard of this brilliant concept before so I went from article to article...Pinterest board to board... pretty much obsessed + inspired all at once!!  Here's some of what I discovered about myself. I'm that person that has tons of clothing but nothing to wear because...I have never really given my wardrobe much thought...ever!!! Something's cute??? Okay...well then let me buy it then! Never mind that I will never ever wear it or the color makes me look like a seasick alligator. Oh!! Something's on sale??? Well then...of course I should get it! And what about those clothes that don't fit me right now...well of course I'm going to lose 10 lbs (um...one day) . So my closet is full of clothing I am never going to wear again, clothing I have never worn, stuff that doesn't fit me or my lifestyle...I have an entire section of my closet that would be very practical if I were...say Betsy Johnson but really doesn't work for mommy and me classes:) And of course...clothing I will wear if I should ever have tea with Oprah. I mean...you just never know, right???  I read a statistic somewhere that said  most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time and I realized...hey!! that's me!! 

 So... for the past week I have been purging my closet. My goal is to get rid of 70% (or more) of my clothing...I'm not there yet but I am on a roll. I mean seriously...if I haven't worn it in the past 6 months...out it goes!! And it's not just clothes either...jewellery, scarves, accessories, shoes etc....Most of my stuff is getting donated with a few boxes heading to the consignment store. And it feels good. No...great!!! One of the deeper revelations I have had is that I am holding onto so much of my past and it's simply unnecessary. Once I acknowledged that I was holding onto certain pieces of clothing because they represented parts of my past, my youth, fantasies of what I wanted my life to be etc etc....it became so easy to say goodbye and get rid of them!!!It's absolutely freeing to get rid of junk that serve no purpose in my life right now.
So....getting back to the concept of a capsule wardrobe. It's the idea of being very intentional about creating your wardrobe based on a minimal amount of pieces (sometimes as few as 30-40!!). The trick is to pick out a color for your neutral base (mine is gray because I can go the full gamut from the lightest to charcoal black) and then to pick a couple of colors that are the accents. A few rules are...only buy stuff you absolutely love, choose quality over quantity, if you can't wear a piece of clothing 5-6 different ways don't buy it...and of course, stick with your color palette. So ideally...if you have a capsule wardrobe build on these principles...you should be able to go into your closet blindfolded and get dressed and look perfectly put together...because everything matches!!!! Brilliant!!!And then...I discovered Polyvore!! Who knew???

 Now all of this may seem a little shallow + superfluous at first glance...but when I looked at things a little deeper I realized absolutely not!!. When I am wearing clothing that make me feel like a million bucks (as opposed to looking like I stumbled out of bed + got dressed in the dark) I feel more happy and confident. When getting dressed takes up a minimal amount of mental energy and time...I have that much more time to spend on the truly important people and things in life...Tim, Tara, painting, photography, reading, playing, working out etc. And at the end of the day...that's what really matters isn't it??? Revelations all around.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

lately...

*I've given up on balance...and have surrendered to the fact that life is what is it with all the ebbs + flows. Some days + weeks are easy + relaxed and others are full to the brim exhausting with appointments + classes and schedules. It forces me to be present and  in the moment.
* I've let go of the fact that someday I'm going to fit into x. y and z clothing...that someday I'm going to lose those last 10 pounds or hang onto clothing items that clearly do not fit our active mommy lifestyle. De-cluttering big time over here...gone + gone. I have been reading on how to build up a capsule wardrobe (who knew!!) so dressing up is fun, easy + practical and I can look pulled together in minutes. Working toward that:)
*  I am moving toward surrender in ways large + small. Knowing deep in my heart that my path is being carved out with every single choice I make. There are changes in the air and it feels good.
* Spring has been showing herSELF in little bits + pieces...birds chirping, tiny little buds appearing and crisp mornings that hold so much promise. Love this time of year!
* I have discovered the simple joy of monthly calendars pinned to the wall above my computer; it allows me to see what's ahead and plan accordingly. The regular yearly wall calenders don't work as well for me for some odd reason:)
no more striving!!!! Simply allowing what is to be...
*life is good! A lot of hectic times coming up but very very grateful.

Monday, March 24, 2014

spring (break!!!)

Is it almost April already??? Spring break is full on here and things are lazy + hectic all at once. How can that be?? There's lots of doing nothing mixed in with reading, painting, tea drinking, duck feeding, moon gazing and tree watching (all of my very fave. things!!). I am practicing being (fully) present...I don't want to miss a thing:) xxx  





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

smitten!!!

A few things that make my heart go pitter-patter...
*creative inspiration, art journaling and storytelling. This pic. above is one of my latest art journal pages using the mixed media kit from Invincible Heart Co. Loving all the goodness emerging!
*spring!!! It's in the air...I can feel her coming! I simply can't wait to get out my flowery, lacy, printed skirts and dresses +  witness all the trees and flowers come into bloom. Not to mention the warmer weather...it's been a long winter, friends!

*fresh flowers!!! I always try to keep a vase (or two) of flowers in our home year round. Whether they are gorgeous roses or a sprig of something or other...they make our house come alive! I simply feel happier around flowers!
*this amazing blog right here! I stumbled upon it many years ago and immediately fell head over heels in love...her writing, photography and take on food (mixing up recipes with storytelling) had me hooked! So when I recently came upon this delicious breakfast (or anytime else!!) recipe...I decided to try it out because I love creamy, adore figs + when you add honey...well, what can I say???

*date night with my husband!!! It's been ages since Tim and I could sit and chat over a glass of wine...just relax and enjoy each other. So when it happens...I totally don't take it for granted. I am so very grateful...after all these years...I still think he's the most handsome, charming, interesting man...+ my best friend. He makes my heart go pitter-patter! Love.

*started a brand new journal last week...loving this one from Papaya! Filling up pages + pages with stories + dreams, hopes + ideas...it's the simple things, right??
*this word  right here...la cantadora. I first came across it many, many years ago in Women Who Run with the Wolves...but right now, at this time in my life...it just sends my heart racing! It means...keeper of the old stories...and Dr. Estes talks at length about the layers + layers of stories we all have hidden inside of us that need a voice, that simply have to come from a place of truth + vulnerability so we can connect...soul to soul. How amazing is this woman???? So very grateful for her presence, her works and her gracious spirit!!

*I had 3 hours alone in a coffee store with some fave. inspirational mags...heaven! Love paging through endless pics. + articles about everything creative...mixed media, studio spaces, art journaling, home decorating...colors + prints + paints...swoon.
*Lupita Nyongo!!!! She broke my heart and laid me bare in 12 years a Slave! Her beauty + brilliance is breathtaking; I can't take my eyes of this talented lady. Total girl crush!

*loving the wide open spaces here in Colorado...surrounded by mountains and endless skies...I can breathe! A lot of times as I go about my day...I am taken aback by the sheer rugged beauty of this place. It gives me pause...and makes everything right in the world.

*And my gorgeous, growing up waaaaay too fast girl...here she is just brimming with happiness...which makes mamma happy:) Mothering her has transformed me, has taken every single part of me and turned it upside down. Where I used to be closed off...now I am open. Where I used to be filled with trepidation...I now jump in with eyes closed! She has my heart, this sweet girl!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

adventures in using a mixed media kit!!!

“The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, its basins; we are its pools, ponds, streams, and sanctuaries. The wild creative force flows into whatever beds we have, those we are born with as well as those we dig with our own hands. We don’t have to fill them, we only have to build them.” - Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Women Who Run with the Wolves.
Truthfully...I've never used a mixed media kit before. I'm not quite sure why...maybe it's because I never knew they even existed?? Anyways...for the past week I've been using this art journal kit from Invincible Heart Company and oh my!!!! ...it's jump started my creativity in ways large + small. The first thing is...I turned our kitchen table into my art table. Yes...I have a home studio...but things are more comfy + cozy at the kitchen table...the sunlight pours in from all sides and tea is readily available:) Tara and I are ecstatic about our new arrangement...uh...Tim, not so much:)

So...I opened up the kit and laid everything out...there were things I had never even seen before!!!! Just magical, fantastical, super cute stuff!!! Who knew??? It was a little bit intimidating...what was I going to do with all this stuff? Right away...I set a few goals to keep me on track:
* I was going to use up every bit of the kit...especially the stuff that challenged/frustrated me
* I was going to establish the format of my art journal (I decided on a made- from -scratch journal)
* And the most important rule????? Get out of my own way!!! (Easier said than done!)

I added some of my own materials, of course. A pair of 7 Gypsies book boards (to make my front and back covers), watercolor paper (140lb rough), paper cutter, stamps, ink pads, markers, tapes, acrylics, inks etc.

And then I just went to town!!! The pages are fairly small (5.5 x 7) so I laid them all out on the table...added the patterned papers, acrylic paints, tapes, stains...

This right here is one of my all time fave. art supplies...Liquitex Acrylic Ink in Burnt Sienna. It creates such gorgeous aged surfaces; a little jar of magic!!  If I mix it with Paynes Grey...I get even more depth and luscious color!!!! LOVE!

This musical stamp came from the kit...the possibilities are endless with this and I can't even believe all the great stuff I can create...dresses, hair, backgrounds...on and on!




Oh my!!!!! The metaphors with this bit of gorgeousness are endless....

Magic...and serendipity

Loving these painters markers I picked up at the craft aisle in Wal-Mart!!!! I decided to try a few of them out and...love!!! So great for writing or mark making. Lush, rich color with great flow. Much better than tons of way more expensive markers I've picked up over the years that always seem to clog up at some point.

Love this gold paint...

 "I'll tell you right now, the doors to the world of the Wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door; if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much that you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
 I decided that my art journal is going to tell the story of where I am right now in my life...it's going to speak of all the frustrations, insecurities, vulnerabilities and healing. It's also going to tell my story of love + joy, possibilities + creativity...of all that I am on the cusp of...if I surrender, have faith and ...get out of my own way!!!


 "Stay with it. By insisting that nothing will stop us from exercising the animus, by continuing our soul spinning
wing- making ventures, our art, our psychic mending and sewing, whether we feel strong or not, whether we feel ready or not." -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
 And this is what emerged on my first completed page!! I love the raw, unfinished feel to it (I actually kept a rip in the paper for her face)...and used the patterned background paper for her crown. That's one of the things I love about art journals...there's just something about this medium that facilitates freedom, experimentation and play!!!! So excited to see what emerges!!!
Happy weekend friends!! xxx

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

serendipity, invincible heart co. + mixed media heaven!!!

Just last week I wrote about feeling a bit blue...a bit jealous + frustrated about my creative life. The truth is...I made the decision to scale back enormously on my art/blog/photography etc to focus more on Tara. She's an energetic 5 year old who wants to go places and do things and tell stories and play puppets and I'm...well... a 45 year old mom trying to keep up with her as best I can:) I realize that these years are short, that time flies by, that pretty soon I will have more than enough time to focus on my art. I know all of these things so I am 100% okay with my decision. Truly. Yet...I still yearn to write and make art and indulge my inner photographer and so on:) So honestly...there has been an inner emptiness that only creativity can fill. So...imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail last week with an intriguing offer  requesting a meeting with me...

Now...imagine a huge historic schoolhouse turned creative oasis...complete with high ceilings, old wooden floors and architectural details in an old + artsy part of the city. Imagine 2 darling women who decided to follow their hearts and dreams to open up a business where women could connect + create and commune. Where art and creativity is used to heal, inspire and lead us deeper  to our true SELVES. Imagine meeting 2 people for the first time and having an instant connection of hearts and minds. Imagine  a space where every nook is filled with such loving attention to detail...where you think you have died gone to mixed-media heaven...where the space is infused with so much love and inspiration...you don't want to leave!!!


Well friends...I didn't have to imagine any of it...because it's all right here...Invincible Heart Co.    

There's so much good stuff ahead...I can hardly stand it!! More soon. xxx

Thursday, March 6, 2014

the journey to here + now

                                                      (photo taken by Tara and edited by proud mamma!!)
  "Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort and letting it be there until the light returns." -Anne Lamott

My 2 words for the year are faith and surrender...it felt right to me when I picked them out...but the journey to the here + now has been perilous and fraught with fears and inadequacies. Not so long ago, these words would have sent me running for the woods!! They would have made me cringe, become filled with anxiety and, quite frankly, just a little bit neurotic!!!! But now these words resonate with me in a powerful way that is only possible because of the long road I've traveled. I had to experience that faith meant accepting and claiming all of it...the ugliness + pain, the vulnerabilities and shame...guilt, joy, love... mistakes and all. Faith didn't mean flowery perfection but rather, the acceptance of life...as is. And rather than the externals changing...it was I who changed.
“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” _Anne Lamott
I've got some great news that I can't wait to share with you guys!!! And the best part is...that whether this blessing had come into my life or not...I had the utmost faith I am exactly where I am supposed to be; here + now. xxx

Monday, March 3, 2014

a little bit of truthtelling

It's difficult not to compare ourSELVES with others...our lives, our journeys, our mothering...everything! And now, with social media, these comparisons can get even more intense, hostile and downright toxic. Sometimes after reading a blog post or FB post...I can tend to feel depleted, envious and lacking. And of course...none of these things take place in a vacuum...those feelings have to be  within me in the first place. Of course, knowing this doesn't make it any easier!  I think we are all vulnerable to it...I mean, it's a human tendency, no?? Things tend to appear to be 'perfect" online...I mean, no-one takes photos of dirty dishes, right:) But deeper than the surface comparisons are the more insidious ones...and those can really do a number on me. And truthfully...it's difficult to throw off jealousy and longing and embrace my very own journey. I see others engaged in things I simple can't fit into my life right now...and I have to take  a deep breath into the here and now and step into acceptance. I have to consciously focus on gratitude and the realization that we each have our very own path to carve out...a path that only we can walk. Lately...I have stopped focusing on the noise...and just trying to find my way, center myself and step into the possibilities of mySELF. Just a little bit of truthtelling today. xxx

Monday, February 24, 2014

painting at the kitchen table

 Tara has been sick with the flu for the past week...so I set up all of my painting stuff at the kitchen table and have been painting up a storm while she has been snoozing, watching movies and resting.I've been having so much fun...playing + experimenting. Truthfully...these past many months, I haven't had much time for painting, blogging and photography because Tara has truly needed me so much more and I decided I would scale back...just doing tiny bits and pieces here and there. She's only going to be little once...and time is just a flying on by. But...I have missed all of this so much...So, while I have been tired over here...it also feels really really great to get my hands all messy again!!!





And this is Tara today...feeling so much better, thank goodness:)

And of course nothing spells comfort food more than homemade pies!!! It's cold + dreary outside ...and I am dreaming of spring. In the meantime, though, keeping toasty warm. Happy + full of gratitude for so much.