Friday, June 17, 2011

Four Ways To Be Present!

I decided to do something a little bit different this Friday!  Since this was a week about reflecting on retired stamp sets, I thought that I would not introduce a new Four Ways Friday with a stamp set today.  Instead, I want to share with you some thoughts and images about Four Ways to be present.
1.  Plant a seed, watch it grow, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
This is the first strawberry from our strawberry plants this year!  I am able to be present when I plant in the garden.  I also stay in the moment when I go outside and look at the plants in the garden - literally standing there and watching them grow.  I am also more present when I eat one strawberry that is homegrown as opposed to picking up a carton of berries at the store and eating them.  There is something about being a part of the entire process - from planting to eating - that becomes a part of the actual moment of enjoying the sweet flavor of the fruits of your labor.
2.  Stop to notice, and maybe even smell, the flowers!
I took my camera into the backyard the other day and began taking photographs of all of the different flowers that were growing.  It was amazing to look at them up close, rather than just walking by them and seeing them as dots of color on the landscape.  Being present is about really seeing that which is around you.  To do so, we may actually have to slow down a bit.
3.  Take a nap (outdoors)!
It may seem strange to say that one way to be present is to take a nap :)  Yet, giving your body exactly what it needs in the moment is all about being present.  It is about recognizing that now is all that matters because it is all that you have.  I learn the lesson of being present every day when I watch Willow.  She is the most present being that I know! :)
4.  Create!!!!!!
When I am in the craft room actually making something I am so in the moment!  For athletes it's called "being in the zone."  I guess we artists can call it the same thing :)  Time dissolves.  The here and now is all that matters as we devote our attention and energy to exactly what we are doing.  We experience a sense of timelessness.
It is in the present where we can find our sense of peace.  It is in the present where we can connect with one another.  It is in the present where we can be ourselves and be happy.  I wish you a beautiful now.  May you continue to bring your awareness to the gift of the present :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wanted Get Well Soon Card - An Ode To Retired Stamp Sets

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Presence Teaches That What You Do Today Is Important, Because You Are Trading A Day Of Your Life For It.  -Dan Millman
What if we actually stopped to consider this thought during each and every day?  That what you do today is important because you are actually trading a day of your life for it.  I teach workshops on topics such as negotiation, influence, and having difficult conversations and I am so conscious that the people that are in attendance at the workshops are trading a day, and sometimes two days, of their life for the experience of being at the workshop.  I know that some of them are told they need to be there by an employer.  Others are there because they decided they had a need that they felt the class could fulfill.  I usually start the morning by saying something like, "We are here together, in this room, for a period of time.  These are minutes of your life that you are not going to get back.  It is so important to me that when you leave this room you feel as if you did some of value with those precious moments of your life.  I want to feel the same way too."  I go on to ask them what their personal goals are for our time together so that I can be sure to do my best to help them reach the learning goals they have set for themselves.  I feel very similarly to the time you are spending with me now.  Please know that I so appreciate your stopping by my blog and reading these words and looking at these pieces of art that I share with you.  It does not go unnoticed that you are choosing to trade some of the precious moments of your life to spend a little bit of time with me.  I too, am trading precious moments of my life to capture these words and images, in the hopes that they will prove to be of value for both of us.  Thank you.
Today's card is an ode to the retired stamp set Wanted.  I used Chocolate Chip ink to stamp the images and a rub on for the greeting.  I love how the eyelets and the crimped card stock add texture and interest to the card!  I hope you like it! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ancient Art Birthday Card - An Ode To Retired Stamp Sets

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Be Present
I am working hard, in this very moment, to keep myself present.  As I have shared with you, I find it so easy to lose myself in thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future and not experience the present moment fully.  This happens often for me and really gets highlighted whenever I am on an airplane...which is quite often these days.  I travel quite a bit for work and find myself on planes a lot.  Over time I have developed a pretty interesting fear of flying.  Interesting because I didn't used to have it.  My sense is that the fear is more related to the thought of not making it back home more than anything else.  So, as I sit on the plane, my mind starts to travel into thoughts of the future - particularly into thoughts of fear.  Will I make it?  Will the plane fly successfully?  Do the pilots know what they heck they are doing?  Where is my life vest if I need it?  What will it feel like if we fall out of the sky?  My heart starts to pound, I clench my fists, I am anything but relaxed and I am so in my fearful thoughts of the future that I fail to realize that in that very moment I am very safe, very alive, and the plane is flying perfectly.  I am continuing to remind myself to be present.  How about you?
Today's card is another ode to a retired stamp set (kind of ironic that in a post about being present I am paying homage to something from the past ;)  This stamp set was called Ancient Art.  I used my markers to color and stamp the images.  Do I get points for using one current set, Curly Cute, to stamp the word "birthday?!" A bit of stitching on the background adds some texture.  I hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fly Fishing Birthday Card - An Ode To Retired Stamp Sets

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Who Ever Said A Piece Of Art Needed To Be Made In A Day?!
The artist in me has been in growth mode lately!  I have wanted to stretch beyond the making of cards and delve into all kinds of other media again.  This is something I have always done - tried new techniques, played with different supplies.  Yet now, as I sit down to create, I find myself thinking in my head that you should be able to make your art in one day!  Where the heck did that thought come from?!  What happened to the days when I would spend days, weeks, or even months, working on an art project?  Picking it up.  Putting it back down again.  Just walking by it wondering what I would do or add next.  In the habit of making cards I somehow started to believe that art is quick.  That techniques that take time are somehow not worth pursuing.  I know that this is not true - really I do.  I am just amazed at how my inner critic seems to get very loud whenever I begin or want to begin to embark on some creating that isn't a 10-minute stint in the craft room.  So this past weekend, I went in the craft room and began making some flowers.  Flowers that began as fabric and then went through ink dying, fabric stiffening - all kinds of fun that required creating time, drying time, sit and wait time...and I LOVED IT!!!!!!  Art is made in the time it takes for it to be made.  Do we have the passion and commitment to allow it the time that it needs?
Today's card continues my ode to retired stamps.  This Fly Fishing set is a wonderful set for masculine cards!  I still love it!  I combined it with the Framed Tulips embossing folder and the decorative label punch as well as an antique brad.  I used both Chocolate Chip and Soft Suede ink on the Very Vanilla card stock.  I hope you like it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bella's Bloom Journal

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Sometimes I'm Unsure What To Do With The Inner Conflict
It's that time of year again for Stampin' Up!  Out with the old and in with the new.  As with any business, Stampin' Up! continues to introduce new products while discontinuing others.  This time of year always creates a bit of an inner battle for me.  Why?  Well, as a demonstrator it is important to share new products with you - to show you that we continue to bring new designs and new excitement into the crafting world.  Of course, as a demonstrator, selling is also a part of it.  If I only show you things that are no longer available for purchase from me, then I will likely not sell very much.  And here is the inner conflict - there is a part of me that is just fine with folks not buying anything at all (is it okay for me to say that?!).  As a matter of fact, I love my retired stamp sets and products and the idea of putting them on a shelf and not using them or even selling them just doesn't feel right to me.  I also don't want to encourage you to feel or think that you always need the newest product.  As a matter of fact, sometimes the most fun as an artist is making do with what you have on hand.
As a demonstrator it is in my sales interest to show you what is new.  For me as an artist it is important to not always need to newest thing - the next trend.  It is important for me to use that which inspires me, no matter what it's current "status" is as a commercial product.  Sometimes I am unsure what to do with this inner conflict.  Actually - maybe I'm quite sure - it's just a matter of admitting here I go!  I am going to use whatever inspires me!!!!  If it is not something you can currently buy from me, so be it.  I hope that no matter what I share with you that what it will do is inspire you to create with whatever supplies you have!!!! :)  So this week is going to be an "Ode To Retired Stamps."  I am going to share project with you that mostly use those sets that have long since retired.  They still inspire me! :)  Here is a journal I recently made with Bella's Bloom, Days Gone By, some retired designer paper and yes, one current embossing folder - Elegant Lines.  I hope you like it! :)