Thursday, December 31, 2009

Full Moon Dreamboard/Word of the Year

Metamorphosis 2010

Jamie Ridler over at Jaime Ridler Studios, asks what our dreams are for the new year on this last blue moon of 2009.  I chose to incorporate my word of the year “Metamorphosis”, and the perfect images popped up in the first magazine I looked through.  The affirmations are from an old copy of Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, purchased for a pittance at the library bulk bag sale, and perfectly state what I am intending for the new year.

Wishing you all the best in the upcoming new year, and looking forward to sharing more of the journey with you. 

Chicken for New Years? Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

Since I received the eBay award to purchase my laptop last winter, I have been able to accomplish a great many things online that hadn’t been possible until then.  More updates to my Etsy, easier and faster queries to editors, even a NaNoWriMo novel last month.  But the most important thing I accomplished was the massive web surfing and reading of blogs connecting with people online, like you, my readers, Naomi at Itty Biz and the amazing Havi over at The Fluent Self.

One thing I really enjoy participating in at Havi’s blog is her Friday ritual of listing the hard and the good that happened during the week. She calls it the Friday Chicken.  I have found that as the weeks have passed, somewhat like the law of attraction people who tell you that what you focus on increases, the good has outweighed the hard, even in these difficult times.

Today she posted a Chicken for the Year, like Chicken of the Sea, but with less tuna.  In lieu of Chickening at the comments over there, I am Chickening here with you.

So 2009, this one’s for you:

The Hard:

The massive ice storm in late January which knocked out our power and our water for two days.  I could’ve dealt with the power being out that long just fine.  I do handwork, so could still create, we have a kerosene heater, and it was cold enough to keep the food on the back porch in a cooler.  But when the water went out, that was a deal breaker.

field at the end of our street

It looked so pretty, though!

Marty came thisclose to being offered a temp job in July.  The interviews all went well, the guy really liked him.  We were sure this was it.  Then we found out the job went to someone else.  It was spirit crushing and put a damper on all of August.

At some point we’re going to have to replace our kitchen cabinets.  That point being when funding becomes available.  We knew there was a problem with the sink, and it obviously is still livable, but it has become a “must do sooner than later” type of thing.

And I’m going to tell on myself here.  As much as I am happy that my friends in my art group are showing and selling their work, it has been hard to watch them sell their work while mine comes home from the shows we all were in.  Part of me knows that you can’t really compare why one piece of art speaks to a person over another.  But that part of me that comes out late at night when I don’t know how the bills are going to be met next month wonders if maybe it’s because their work is less expensive, and if only you’d lower your prices my work would sell as well.  Hard, hard, hard. 

The Good:

My book came out in the spring.  Well, not technically my book, but the book I have eight projects in, which was a really big deal, considering the initial query said they were only looking for 40 projects total.  1/5 of a book of my designs!  Yay!  And it is a beautiful book, too.  The editors at Lark did a great job putting this one together.

My other book came out in September.  Yes, again, not technically, but I have four projects in this one, and the beaded votive holders even made the cover this time.  Another great job by the folks at Lark.

Netflix .  Need I say more?  Thanks to the wonder of streaming video and my laptop here, I can watch endless episodes of Dr. Who while stitching on new projects.  Oh, and they send videos to your house as well. 

Thanks to my Netflix account, my son and I had a wonderful July exploring the work of  Charles and Ray Eames (check out their videos, I am especially inspired by the one featuring their studio space) and Sister Corita Kent .  I took some leaps in my work, and we collaborated on a piece which sold at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles “High Fiber Under Five” show.


African Masks III, design by Izzy Stern  2009

Getting back into some physical movement.  Not as much as I’d like, but more than I had been.  Marty found a program which enabled him to go back to school for his CPA, and while he was in class, I made time to head out to the bike path.  I’ve also incorporated more yoga and the Dance of Shiva into my days.

Connecting with new friends and old family through social networking (hi Emily!).  Finding out I probably had more in common with some of my high school peers than I thought at the time.  Being grateful for the opportunity to make up for lost time.

Then there are the massive little drops of good that manage to combine into a big pond of good.  Having pieces headed out to shows in January, being invited to exhibit at the library, being featured in the Athens County visitors guide, more book proposals, more pieces being featured in other books, winning the award at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts competition.  All great things, and all the things that are important to list because they are small and tend to get forgotten in the daily grind of making more work and getting it out there.  And lots of good to carry into the new year, getting 2010 off to a great start.

So there you have it, my 2009 Year End Chicken.  It’s a great ritual and opportunity to connect with yourself and others, and I heartily recommend you check it out, and try a little chicken yourself.  Who knows? You could be surprised at what you find out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Alice and Friends

Like many of us at this time of year, I am in the process of taking stock of the year about to end, and making plans for the year to come.  One of my plans for 2010 include completing a series of images based on Alice in Wonderland as well as other fantastic creatures of myth and imagination, then finding a venue to exhibit the pieces.  The name of the series is “Alice and Friends.”

queen of hearts in process

Queen of Hearts, approximately 14” x 14”, embroidery on handmade felt.

queen of hearts detail

Detail of the stitching.

queen of hearts almost complete

Everything stitched, next up is the glue the spots onto the mushrooms and then border the piece.

Next up:

frog prince in process

The Frog Prince, still in process.

In the process of finding the right color floss in my copious stash, I found some wonderful grays that are begging to be shells in a mermaid piece, and I have plans to make several of my previous quilts into embroideries in this method.  I am very excited about this series, and looking forward to finding venues for it in the new year.  What are you looking forward to in 2010? 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What It Kind of Looks Like Outside Right Now

Winter White full 

Winter White, 2009  Patchwork with upholstery fabric and commercial cottons, crocheted applique

Winter White Det full

Detail of the patchwork and crochet.

Winter has a lot more color in the landscape than it initially appears.  The flash of red cardinals, the remainder of green moss, the rich textures of all of the trees that line the hills that surround my home.  Add a misty layer of a snowfall and you have the perfect composition.

If one has the pleasure of being snowed in with no place to go, it is fun to recreate the landscape in fabric.  Just make sure the power and heat stay on!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That’s What She Said

Friends don't let friends speak crappily.

I was at an art group meeting on Monday.  That in itself was a rare thing, as I have been avoiding the meetings in general over the past three years.  However, one member recently lost her husband and has become housebound due to her own illness, and since we were meeting at her home, I chose to attend.

We did our usual sharing of our work and updates on what we were doing professionally (many of us have had sales of our work, and I had just turned in a project for another book).  It was all fairly light and fluffy, usual fare, but then our friend shared her journal with us, and how much harder the past month had become for her.  Before we knew it, we were all passing the Kleenex.  It was like that cemetery scene in “Steel Magnolias” , except no one was there to tell us to “Hit Ouiser”. 

When we all were able to catch our breath, my friend said “You need to enjoy what you have today, because you just don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”  (She said this in part because not only has she had issues in her own life, but another member had a major house fire, and my husband has been unemployed for three years, and another member had a heart attack earlier this year).

And whether she intended it or not, I heard the unspoken “Because tomorrow you could be hit by catastrophe.”

Which is why I had been avoiding the meetings in general for the past three years.  It was easier for me to avoid the meetings all together than to stand up and say “Well, tomorrow could bring something great as well, couldn’t it?”  (Which, no, I did not say in that room on Monday, but I did say it in my head; and now I am saying it here).  Or to say “I believe we can sell our work and make a living at it” or “No, actually these hats are for galleries, not to keep my family warm, but thank you for thinking of them.”

I let my friends speak crappily.  It bothered me, and I vaguely knew why, but today this came through my inbox, and helped me put a finger to it.  I will have more to say in a future post, but for now let me close with this post from Christine Kane, who really sums it up:

Watch Your Language: 7 Tips for Big Results
by Christine Kane

A few years ago, I was in a car with the promoter of one of my performances. He had picked me up at the airport and was driving me to my hotel. On the way, we talked guitars. We got onto the subject of Olson Guitars, arguably the best guitar in the whole world. At one point, the promoter said, "Yea, well, in my entire life I'll never own an Olson guitar."
There was a time when I'd let a remark like this slide on by, even adding my own "me either" to the mix.
Now, I can't. Yoda steps into my head and says, (in his Yoda voice) "So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done."
So, I turned to the promoter and said, "You are NOT allowed to say that!"
This is because I know the power of language. When you know that words become things, it's hard to let language slide.
I can't help it. I have a rule:
Friends don't let friends speak crappily.
Language is powerful. Words can create reality. Even if my promoter friend doesn't know how on earth he'd ever get his guitar, it doesn't mean he should cut off the possibility with his own words.
If you're wondering how to begin watching your words, here are 7 practical language principles for becoming a better creator of your life.
1 - Eliminate "never" and "always."
Never and always are words of hysteria. "I always mess everything up!" "I'll never figure this out!" "I'll never get an Olson Guitar."
First off, it's not true. If you always messed everything up, you wouldn't have made it out of the womb.
And second off, extreme words are designed to hook you. It's just your emotions taking a joyride. You're more powerful than that.
2 - Use AND instead of BUT.
"But" dismisses the statement before it. "And" includes it. For instance, "That's a good article, but it needs some editing" isn't nearly as encouraging as "That's a good article, AND it needs some editing."
"I love you, but…" is another great example of the dismissive power of "but."
3 - Avoid "Should."
Should is a heinous word for many reasons. It is victim-speak. It disempowers its object. It negates desires, thereby making it harder to make choices. It adds a nebulous energy to the decision making process. Use empowered language instead: "I could…" "I would…" "I am choosing to," "I would like to," "I don't want to," or "You might consider…"

4 - Stop calling yourself depressed.

Also stop allowing anyone to tell you that you are depressed. When you call yourself "depressed" or "obsessive compulsive" or "ADHD" or whatever - you're claiming this thing. You're calling it forth with the most powerful two words in our language: "I am." That creates very little option for the transformation of this condition.
5 - Delete the word "hate" from your vocabulary.
"Hate" has lots of energy. When you use it, you send lots of energy out into the very thing you "hate." Even if it's negative energy, it's still a powerful force, adding its charge to that thing. You're also depleting this energy from your own spirit as you say it.
6 - Be "great." Or "wonderful."
A disease of the creative temperament is a belief that we must be authentic at all costs. So we can't answer a simple "How are you?" without delving into an in-depth scan of our emotional temperature.
Try this instead: When people ask you how you're doing, just say, "I'm great!"
I used to think if I said this, then I better have a good reason for saying it, like I just won the lottery or something. I thought it would make me look suspicious, and people would start to wonder if something was wrong with me. But then I did it. And you know what? Most people don't care why you're great. You're saying it for you.
7 - Pay attention to the music of your speech.
You know how some people? They talk in question marks? And you have no idea why? But it makes you think you shouldn't really rely on them? And it makes you not want to hire them?
The music of your language says a lot about you. If you let your sentences droop like Eeyore, ("Thanks for noticing me.") or if you do the uncertain question mark language, take note of what attitudes are causing this. These patterns are created for a reason. Even if it feels like faking it at first, generate confidence as you speak.


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 8,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at