It’s September, And I’m Blogging All Month Long

Friday Five, which is a regular feature on this blog, will be ‘soft suspended’ for the duration of my month long blog along. It will resume after the blog along is complete. Meanwhile, I will be here every day this month with something new.

I want to start this off gently, with a loving pat pat on the shoulders and head, and a request for my inner achiever (and yours) that we go easy on one another as we undertake this endeavour.  I want to remind myself that I don’t have to write a novel every day, or even a paragraph. I can drop in with a quick quip, a meme, a snippet. I can toss a photo this way, or a thing I found while I was surfing the web. It doesn’t need to be deep or meaningful or pretty. As long as I’m sharing something relevant to my present moment, I am (you are) doing it right.

Deal? Deal! Deep Breath. Let’s Go.

September is my favourite month of the year. It also happens to be my birthday month, but I’d love it just as deeply even if it weren’t because, dudes. The colours. The warm days & cool nights. The school supplies in neat rows on shelves in the big box stores. The ever-so-delicious scent of crisp autumn leaves piling up on lawns. Autumnal rain. Sunset over golden fields. Apple scented breezes. Mabon. This is often the month I do my one and only camping trip – a joint venture with my ex who shares my birthday month. I try to get in at least one or two evenings around a backyard fire. Spiced cider. Things I can slow cook in the oven without dying of heat exhaustion in my little apartment.

Winter is coming, but not just yet.

It’s an in between time. A gentle exhalation. The waning year gives us all one last hurrah before the winds turn ‘hurt-my-face’ cold and the snow comes to turn everything into a black & white photograph. It’s a glorious peak, a crescendo of colour, and the lights and shadows at this time of year are enough to break my heart with beauty.

I want to *really notice* this year. I want to take it deeply, deeply in. I want to sketch it, to paint it. I want to sit outside and breathe it in. I want to enter into an *intimate relationship* with September. I want to lift my head up and turn my eyes away from all the various screens, get my butt off the couch, leave the house, and wander aimlessly with my eyes wide open.

I don’t know if I will. I often want things, want to do things, and then I don’t do them because I let everything else get in the way. I know I’m not alone in that. I know a lot of us do that, but I figure if I put it out there, if I put it *down here in black & white*, I might feel more inclined to actually do it.

September is calling. I’d like to pick up.

In Other News

I’m dealing with a tooth abscess. As wonderful as Canada is, we do *not* have universal dental coverage, and you might not know this, but my top teeth are mostly acrylic. I’m a mixed media woman! :D Anyway, this means the loss of this tooth that’s abscessed (and it will need to come out eventually) will mean the need for a whole new denture – an expensive proposition and one I can’t take on right now.

I’ve got salt water swishes, golden seal swishes (thanks to my herbalist friend), acetaminophen with Codeine (which you can buy over the counter here in Canukistan) and black tea compresses on board, so I know I’ll be okay, but in the meantime, while I wait for this infection to clear up, I’m in a lot of pretty gnarly pain.

Mouth pain is the worst, isn’t it? It’s like SO IN YOUR FACE! Argh!

And, as if that weren’t enough of a challenge, one of my kids is boomeranging back home. I know, I swore I’d never do this again, but the situation is dire, and there is no way in hell I am going to let one of my babes end up homeless. It’s temporary, a month at the most, and there’s a possibility that his partner will also be moving at some point during this transition period. This came to light the day after I set myself the challenge of doing this blog along. It’s like the Universe figured I needed it to be *harder* so it plunked a kid (or two) into my tiny apartment for the entirety of the challenge just to make it that much more *challenging*.

I’m laughing about it. Shaking my head a little. Determined to do it anyway.

So, here I am. This is now. Let’s begin.

xo

Effy

Today’s Nudge: Start where you are. What’s going on with you? What’s on your heart/mind today, right now, at this moment. No back story necessary. No disclaimers. What’s up, buttercup? Spill it.

There’s a bunch of us blogging along in September. Find out more here, or pop your email address in the box below, and I’ll send you a nudge to blog every day along with a link to my daily writings.



Oh, hey! While I have you!

Book Of Days 2017 is going into its third session of the year starting *today*. You can have the entire year of content for $99. This is a wonderful way to make some time and space for *yourself* for once, because you’re worth it.

We start the month off with a PDF that includes prompts for every day in September, a listing of holy days, moon lore, musings, and bits and bobs that are designed to inspire your journaling (art or written!) practice.

You will also get a new mixed media art journaling video lesson every two weeks, and a face to face conversation with me on video every single Monday morning. This session runs through ’till December 1st. Click here for more information.

 

Friday Five – Sybil, Pho, and a Giveaway!

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

I got a kitten.

Yes, I know. I’m allergic to cats, but listen. I had this feeling, after the manchild moved out of my studio and into his own place that it was time to move another furbabe in, and it *had* to be a kitten. Had to be. Like, I dreamed about it.

So I got a package of Claritin, a box of tissues, a tube of Polysporin, a box of band-aids, a litter box, a bunch of cat toys, and I trolled a local ‘buy/sell’ pet section for a kitten.

Meet Sybil.

Sybil has been here for about a week now, and it has been a mostly seamless transition. Sookie is still a bit put out by the whole thing, though she has of late been rolling around on the floor showing her belly in attempts to get Sybil to play. They can share my lap without squabbling over it now, and they both come to bed with me every night.

I’m in love with this cat. She’s 14 weeks old. part Siamese, very, very talky, and full of beans. She makes me laugh multiple times a day, and her purr makes me melt.

It was meant to be.

I dusted off my instagram account today because #catsofinstagram, so please feel free to join me there.

Thing Two

I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog today. You should check it out!

Thing Three

I had the loveliest experience last week of writing to a poet whose work inspired a painting to ask her permission to use some of the lines in her poem in the painting itself. It turns out that it was the anniversary of a rather monumentally difficult thing for her, and my note came at the perfect time. It also turns out that the poem I’d found and fell in love with was her very first published poem. *Goosebumps*

Anyway, the painting was something i was creating for Ever After 2017, which you can check out here. I am *in love* with the technique I’m teaching this year, and I know you will be, too.

My lesson goes live in October, and there are a multitude of gorgeous lessons already up in the classroom so please join us! You’ll be glad you did!

Thing Four

Oh. Mer. Gerd you guys. THIS STUFF IS AWESOME.

I’ve been down over the last few days with some kind of weird gastric thing – nausea, pain when I’m hungry, pain when I eat, etc. blah, so I put myself on a liquid diet for a few days to see if I could get things to settle. It’s working, and I’m already feeling better, and this stuff is half the reason why.

It’s only available in Canada (SORRY!), and it is rather high in sodium (SORRY!) but it is the perfect starter broth for pretty much any kind of ‘what’s in the fridge’ soup you could think of.

I sipped it as is for the first couple of days of my fast, but last night, I added some ground pork, matchstick carrots, matchstick potatoes, matchstick radish, cilantro, ginger, black pepper, lime zest & juice, and sriracha to finish, and whoa. Best soup ever.

Apparently, there’s a mushroom broth, too, as well as the usual chicken & beef broth.

There’s even a recipe for Beef Pho here on their website.

I intend to keep it handy for those times when I really want to make soup, but I really don’t want to bother with making my own stock (so, like, every time I want to make soup!).

Thing Five

Did I mention I got a kitten?

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Sunday Six + Who Won The Giveaway?

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five SUNDAY SIX! Six things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my occasional newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

This is more of a recap than a thing, but here goes:

During the last week of July, my youngest son came to visit from Calgary with his fiancee in tow, and we had an intense, whirlwind week of ALL THE SOCIAL. It was completely lovely. I adore my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, and it’s obvious that they adore one another. A mom can’t ask for more. She’s free-spirited, infinitely curious, full of life.

Isn’t she lovely?

There were outings (The Boathouse, the ex’s place for a fire and BBQ, the MIL’s place for Indian food, buffet style) and innings (movie night – we ate Borscht and watched Memento) and two trips to and from Hamilton from Kitchener (about an hour’s drive one way). He tuned my guitar, and taught me a song (Chelsea Hotel). There were lots of hugs and ‘love you mamas’.

The thing that struck me the most about this visit was how devoid of drama it was. This family of mine is a collection of intense personalities, and when we all get together, it can get – well – intense. Kids on their way out of childhood and into adulthood can be especially intense, since they often come with lists of grievances the length of their arms to air out now that they’re old enough to know how badly their parents fucked them up. There was none of that this visit, though. None of it. It was full of humour and tenderness, adult to adult. I caught myself thinking more than once “This kid has really grown up…”

Here he is at The Boathouse on Sunday, showing off his chops and making mama proud.

Thing Two

In the midst of all this, my middle son moved into his own place, and I got to put my studio back into some semblance of Effyness. He’d been crashing in there, so I’d rearranged everything in order to accommodate the addition of a double futon and a bunch of his stuff. It was workable – I mean, I worked in there for the months that he was here – but it was really lovely to reclaim it, put things into place, and create a sense of spaciousness that hadn’t existed in there before.

I love this room. I’m so glad to have it all to myself again.

Thing Three

On Thursday, the ex and I drove the kids to the airport, and then we drove back, mostly in blessed silence. We had no plans to hang out but we decided to convene on my couch to high five one another for successfully navigating the invasion of the kidlets, listen to music, and play a bazillion rounds of Yahtzee. It was a lovely way to ease back into solitude.

On Friday, I rolled out of bed only to collapsed in a heap of socialed-out underwear-clad jelly, which is why y’all didn’t get a Friday Five *or* the promised winner’s announcement from my giveaway. I had exactly *nothing left* which is often the case after an intense period of engagement with other human beings. I took three naps that day. THREE, y’all! Much needed though, as proved by yesterday’s ‘rolling out of bed and into the studio’. I painted & puttered, got some housemouse stuff done (dishes, bathroom), watched endless true crime documentaries, made soup, burned nag champa all day, and even put on pants so I could go be social for a little while.

SOUP

This was easy to throw together. One onion (chopped), three cloves of garlic (minced), two carrots (sliced into coins), a half of a jicama root (peeled and chopped), about 2 cups of mushrooms (sliced), curry powder, a splash of soy, a splash of apple juice, salt, pepper, lime zest, lime juice, and about six cups of chicken stock (I use “Better Than Boullion” when I don’t have homemade stock handy). Simmered for a few hours. Devoured in a matter of minutes.

Today will be mostly worky with a bit of housemousing (I can’t see the floor in my bedroom at the moment), and a bit of social later this evening.

Thing Four

Despite the intensity of the week, I still managed to get some art done. I made a decision just before the kids arrived to get over myself and start working on canvas. I don’t know why it’s so intimidating for me, but it always has been. You guys have watched me struggle with this for a few years now. I have all sorts of built in ready made excuses about why I can’t/shouldn’t work on canvas/sell my work that are getting seriously old. People ask me all the time “Where can I buy that?” and I always answer “I don’t really sell my work…”

I started up a Society6 & Redbubble shop last month, and was surprised to find that people aren’t kidding when they ask ‘where can I buy that’. There are floors out there adorned with rugs featuring my art. There are people wearing my art on a-line dresses, or carrying tote bags featuring my art. So, alright already. I’m listening.

This canvas is almost finished. She’s 11 x 14 inches (I think – I’ll have to give her a proper measure when she’s finished). I’m calling her “Queen of Earth”.

She just needs a bit more work in the face, and a bit of tending, and she’ll be done. I’m pretty sure I have to courage to offer the original up for sale, and offer prints & other things in my shops. And then? I want to work on a “Queen of Fire” and a “Queen of Water”, etc. because series are fun.

Thing Five

I discovered this, and I jumped in with both feet because ALL THE DANCING.

Thing Six

I held a giveaway for a seat in Mixed Tape II last week, AND THE WINNER IS!

YAY! KERMIT FLAILS! I’ll be emailing you today, Christina! Congratulations!

Here’s More About Mixed Tape II for those of you who want to join in the fun!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE…

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five SUNDAY SIX! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Friday Five – Fierce Mama, Fierce Self-Care, Fierce Art

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

It’s been a little minute since last we typed, but this is not an apology.

I have been struggling a bit with feeling overwhelmed with the whole ‘adult child living with me’ thing. I love my kids. You know I do, but they are adults now, and I don’t necessarily love living with them – especially not in a space that’s this perfectly designed for *one*. My studio is his bedroom, so my work flow has been all out of whack. I’m not getting my requisite amount of solitude.Etc. etc. Insert list of ways this is challenging here.

This is life, right? We adapt. We overcome. At least, that’s what I do. You, too, right?

The kiddo is moving out at the end of this month. The week before he moves out, another kiddo is coming for a visit from out of town with his fiance in tow. It’s going to be an intense week – so full of goodness, but also full of family in close proximity even less space & time. And then? I’ll have my space back, and I’ll be able to reclaim my creative practice, and reassert the schedule that works for me.

Yes, I’m counting the days. You bet I am.

I know that I am extremely lucky to have the kind of relationship I have with my kids, and I want you to know that I am *incredibly* grateful. I know that it’s uncommon for moms to talk about how much they’d rather *not* live with their kids. I know there’s a lot of shame that goes along with meeting one’s needs and establishing (and protecting) one’s boundaries. Moms are supposed to experience paroxysms of joy over the presence of their adult children, right? We’re supposed to do gleeful jigs and COOK ALL THE THINGS and hug the stuffing out of our adult kids as often as we are able.

And *I am that mom* when there is enough time and space between visits. I’m that mom when I haven’t been in close proximity for an extended period of time, like I have been this past year – this intense year of orbiting an adult child, of being present to and accessible at the drop of a hat while he negotiates his reentry into the world after a serious & terrifying break with reality.

Mental illness is no joke.

It impacts the one who has it, and it impacts the ones who love the one who has it. We are blessed that my son is now stable and able to move into his own place. We’re *so* lucky that the end of our cohabitation is nigh, that he and I have successfully gotten through it, and that our relationship is still solid. I’m all kinds of full of gratitude for all the ways this has grown us both, and all the light it has shed on how far I’ve come in the self-care department.

This is the real ‘thing one’ for realsies. 

I am a fierce mom, and I am devoted to the well-being of my children. I am also no longer that person who gives up everything and spends her all on other people. I reserve some for myself. I put myself *first*. I know the rightness of that. I know the value of that, and how much better off all my people are as a result.

Thing Two

I have found a few resources to aid me in my guitar practice, and I wanted to share them with you.

First of all, this lovely hardwood guitar stand is gorgeous & doesn’t take up a whole lot of space.

Second of all, these two sites have oodles of chords for songs I’d love to learn how to play.

And YouTube, man. So much goodness on YouTube!

The first song I’ve learned to play is “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes. I played & sang it through for an audience of one this week – my kiddo, Jeremy, who is my musical inspiration. I’m not ready to play for anyone else just yet, but I promise that I’ll let you know as soon as I am.

Here’s the video that helped me learn the song.

Thing Three

This starts on August 11th, and I could NOT BE MORE STOKED.

Thing Four

This is my new microphone. It is, apparently, the official microphone of podcasters everywhere.

Yes, that’s a teaser.

No, I’m not telling you anymore. You’ll just have to stay tuned.

Thing Five

I may not have been writing much, but I am arting a metric butt tonne. Here are a few peeks into my journaling process.

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Friday Five – Middle Age, My Guitar, Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

Can we talk about a sensitive thing for a second?

I’m aging. The contours of my face are changing. Lines appear that were never there before. I have hot flashes. Like, multitudinous hot flashes. My skin isn’t nearly as supple as it once was. There’s a hair that grows over night out of my chin, and it’s the texture of barbed wire.I have wisdom glitter sprouting all over my head. My face seems to be slowly descending down my neck. Things that used to be pretty firm now flap.

“I ache in the places that I used to play.” Leonard Cohen, man. He knew stuff.

And yet…I feel more beautiful than ever. I feel embodied. I love being in my own skin. I catch sight of myself in a mirror, and I beam back at my reflection. I like to move this body. I am more and more inspired to dance. I want to take up yoga, and even have some community things in my calendar that are designed for beginners so I can actually satisfy that desire.

My relationship with my body has moved out of the realm of self-care deficit & utter neglect to this present realm I live in – this realm of self-love. And I’m not just talking about the warm fuzzy feely kind of self love. I’m talking about the morning hand full of B vitamins + multivitamin. I’m talking about the tincture that lets me sleep without anxiety. I’m talking about the food I give it, the way I adorn it, the choice, over and over again of comfort over anything that pinches or restricts the outrageous jiggling in my generous thighs. I’m talking about slathering it in coconut oil and spritzing it liberally with anything cut through with patchouli.

If you’re a survivour, too, you’ll know something about the kind of hard work it takes to get here.

The body, having been violated, can shut down. We can forget we *have one*. Forget to feed it, forget to tend it with loving care. We can live from our necks up in a way that fosters self-abandonment. We lose touch with our sensuality, our sexuality, with our healthy hunger. We can lose touch with desire.

Therapy has helped. So has the very powerful practice of meeting myself on the page. These commitments to the being known as Effy have borne beautiful fruit in the form of a more intimate relationship with my self in all my parts, including the ones that exist below my neck, that do the tireless work of keeping me anchored to this planet, that send signals like “eat”, “touch”, “move” to my brain in the spirit of trust that I will heed those signals.

There are still holdovers of self-abuse and neglect.

I smoke cigarettes. I can be very sedentary (though less so these days). I do sometimes still forget to eat until the work is done, which sends my body into a state of resentful depletion that requires extra tender loving care to come back from. But these issues are waning. They are becoming less and less prominent in my list of battles I must fight. I am finding myself focusing my attention elsewhere, higher up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

“Eat breakfast before 4 p.m.” is no longer a statement I have to make to myself. “Bathe” is not something I ever need to add to my to do list anymore. Now I find myself jotting down things like “Explore the possibility of Bali.” and “What if you got over your resistance to having a car so you could travel some?”

Self love causes these shifts, and creative practice (plus trauma centered recovery, hello) facilitates self love.

Yes, I am an evangelist. I can’t help myself. I’ve been on the ‘pink cloud‘ of recovery from self-neglect through mixed media art journaling for seven years now, and I want *everyone* to come to a meeting. *Laughs*

I just wanted to tell you.

See this woman? I *love* this woman.

Thing Two

I dusted off my guitar, bought a stand for it so it could live in my living room, got a handful of picks, a battery for my built in pick up/tuner. I bookmarked Nate Savage’sGuitar System” and marched my virtual ass back in there. I started a bookmarks folder called ‘songs to learn’. I filed down the nails on my left hand so I could fret without fretting. I bought a music stand. I got a friend to tune my guitar, established that the strings aren’t yet dead, strummed C, G, Am & E as a way to ‘get back on the bike’, and woo her back to life.

I’ve been practicing enough that callouses are forming. I can bumble my way through “What’s Up” without too much trouble, and next on my list of things to take on is “how to play while standing up and singing at the same time”.

This is a life long dream of mine. I have always been one of those song birds – you know the ones – who can’t do anything without breaking into off key arias. I listen to music all the time, and even used to be a bit of a karaoke queen. I *can* sing passably well, but I’ve always wanted to sing *and* play, so I’m giving myself the gift of *time* in order that I may learn how to do that.

One of these days, I’ll perform at an open mic. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll be sure to get someone to film it when it happens.

Thing Three

Pictures of things with my art on it have started appearing in my social media feed. Dudes, I can’t tell you how wonderfully weird this is.

I’ve been joking on Facebook that I’m going to call the ‘surface design’ arm of my creative business WTF Designs – because it works as “Wild Things Fashion” Designs, but also as WTF! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Who knew I’d be doing this? I didn’t. I really didn’t.

Anyway, several of you have written to ask where you can find the rugs, so here’s the link. I recommend signing up for an account so you can get notifications on sales! Sometimes they have percentages off everything + worldwide free shipping, so it’s worth giving them a little space in your inbox.

I’m thinking about redoing my living room with all things “Spirit Vine“. There’s a rug, throw pillows, wall tapestries, etc. etc. etc. so a room makeover is not out of the question.

Thing Four

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade is a wonderful garnish on a beautifully seared steak. This is a pretty good recipe, though I like way more roasted red pepper and way less olives. Adjust to suit. You’re welcome!

Thing Five

 

THIS BEARS REPEATING!

Ever After 2017 starts July 1st.

Today is the LAST day you can use your coupon! Use it or lose it!

Art Journal Summer School ALSO Starts on July 1st!

See you there!

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Friday Five – Artist Dates, Wearable Art, & Roses

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

Three years ago this month, I moved out of my marital home and in with a roommate, whose house was swiftly offered up for sale out from underneath her, necessitating another move to my little hobbit hole on Old Carriage Drive.

It was, frankly, completely awful. Living alone, being alone, was not in my wheelhouse. Had *never* been in my wheelhouse. I didn’t know how to cook for one, for example. I didn’t know how to fill the hours. I didn’t know how to *sleep* alone, or plan alone, or live without being anchored to some other being. I was an orbiting planet and other people were my North Star. Actually, I was less planet and more moon. A vast, empty satellite waning light and dark in accordance with whatever light came (or didn’t come) from elsewhere.

Fast forward to today, and I am now that girl who, when friends text to cancel social outings, fist bumps the air, sheds the ‘outside clothing’, and settles in, happily, for solo time. My life is set up so that I *get to have* a lot of time alone. I *like* being alone. I like living alone. I like having everything in my life designed so that it revolves around solitude broken only *as I wish* with social time that is carefully scheduled to accommodate my need for *alone time*.

Where I used to cry myself to sleep from loneliness, I now scramble to ensure that I don’t overwhelm myself with social stuff. My, how things have changed. *Fist bumps self with a booyah!*

Artist Dates (a la Julia Cameron) has been a major part of that shift. Where I used to feel pathetic about dining alone, or going out alone, I now see it as a source of creative fuel. I take myself on solo dates regularly. A travel art kit, and enough dosh on my debit card to get a pint and a meal, and I’m set for the evening.

A friend asked me to do a goddess t-shirt, so I’m playing with designs for that. This one began as a meditation last October, but I’m working on her again to see if I can fill her out and make her t-shirt worthy.

I’ve written about Descendants before, but what I didn’t know was that they have an open mic every Thursday, and last night. As a result, there came a point in my solo evening when I had to make a decision, because the place went from very conducive to this kind of thing to not so conducive. Live music turns any place into a party, and open mics especially so.
To make eye contact or not to make eye contact. That was the question. To pack up and book it out of there before the open mic began in earnest? Or to put away the painty things and enter the fray along with my fellow humans.

I opted for the latter. Put the sketchbook away. Sat gazing with an open face at all that was happening around me. Got invited to join a table (the seating at Descendants is communal). Bought a pint of whisky caramel pecan ice cream to share. Made friends. Exchanged numbers. Connected on Facebook.

Having the *choice* to do that is wonderful. Gauging my level of ‘ability to human’, and then accommodating that is wonderful. Sharing a pint of ice cream with strangers is wonderful. Finding humans that feel like tribe is wonderful.Not feeling like I’m going to die of loneliness? Priceless.

Thing Two

I’m learning a metric butt tonne about surface pattern design lately – something my Journal52 + Facebook tribe helped me with by raising the funds for me to take Pattern Camp + Creative Campfire with Jessica Swift.

I am *in love y’all*. I get to combine my desire for messy, doodly, paint-in-the-hair time + nerdy Photoshop time to create patterns that are suitable for use on all the things.

This pattern started its life as a journal spread for my BODKin, which will go live in class this coming Monday. The spread is a ‘gratitude garden’, and the demonstration includes a myriad of techniques including pushing and pulling background and foreground to create a lot of value contrast, deli paper as a ‘no mistake’ option for adding text, and using india ink markers over acrylics paints.

Book Of Days 2017 – Session Two – Week Nine

Once the spread was finished, I scanned it, and used areas of the spread in a kaleidoscope like pattern that I created in Photoshop, and uploaded to my Society6 & Redbubble account.

One of my lovely Wildlings (thanks Patti!!) bought an a-line dress with this design on it. It’s a *crazy thought* that people might want to adorn their homes & bodies with my stuff, but apparently, this is a thing!

A-line dress in my psychedelic floral pattern called “Wild Garden”. Also comes in all the things, including skirts, t-shirts, wall tapestries, rugs, notebooks, etc.

It took me a long time to get up the gumption to try my hand at using Society6 (great for art prints, device covers, notebooks, household stuff, etc.) & Redbubble (for skirts, shirts, tapestries, etc.) to create another income stream. People have been asking for prints of my work for quite a while now – like, a couple of years – but it always felt weird to me. Like – yes, I will show you pictures of my babies, but why would YOU want to hang them on your wall?

I’m over that now that I’ve discovered how much fun it is to create with surface pattern design in mind. It is a *BLAST*, y’all! And while it isn’t going to make me rich any time soon (Seven sales so far, adding up to a total of about $40 commission), it does delight me, fire me  up, and provide me with a ready answer when someone asks “Can I buy that?” Yes! Yes you can! Thank you!

*Squee!*

Thing Three

Speaking of surface pattern design, roses are sexy.

This is a macro of a demonstration I did for Let’s Face It 2017. It’s a two part thing wherein I share a tip (using Tombows SIX WAYS) and then a mini lesson in creating these lush, sexy roses using – you guessed it – Tombow markers!

This was about an hour of happy patterning & colouring. You can join me for this and a whole bunch of other lessons by eleventy billion* other amazing teachers in LFI2017 by clicking here.

*May be a slight exaggeration. The use of hyperbole is strong with this one

Thing Four

Remember this? I posted about it last week and said I might try merging the face at left with the pattern at right.

She’s coming along brilliantly. A friend who saw her live and in person suggested that she looked like an exhausted guardian angel. Apropos, I think, considering what I must put my guardian angel through on the regular.

Thing Five

Ever After 2017 starts July 1st.

You can only use your coupon until that day, so if you were hoping to get in on this awesome deal, don’t delay!

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

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