Monday, October 20, 2008

Living a positive life!

I have made a decision to actively live a positive life. I'm not particularly negative however I had a light bulb moment when it became clear to me that there is a difference between not being negative and actively living a positive life. I feel almost evangelical about it ... don't panic ... I'm still not a god botherer.

Has actively living a positive life changed things for me? Has my life improved? Am I happier? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes!

This is not an easy path I have chosen ... some days it is a real challenge to embrace a positive attitude ... but already I can see the improvements and these inspire me to continue on.

So what has changed? Basically the way I look at things has changed.

Take housework for example. For years I have resented being the only one attempting to clean so I just didn't do it and anyway cleaning always got in the way of the things I wanted to do. Over the last few years FlyLady has been teaching me to look at housework in a different light and not to think I could do it all at once however the lesson I could never grasp was that cleaning was a way of blessing my family. Now blessing sounds too much like god bothering to me and not a concept I felt comfortable with. Since leaving work I have daily been cleaning the house but only in the mornings and only in managable amounts, this way I don't get over tired, frustrated or negative about it. It took just over a week to clean the kitchen this way and the op shop received a vast array of kitchen things that were just cluttering up my house. My house is starting to sparkle ... my mum is impressed ... and I feel lighter with each area cleaned and decluttered. I no longer feel resentful and have come to understand that cleaning is a gift I am giving to myself and my family and I finally understand that is what FlyLady has been talking about with her blessings. Dear Hear and the Princess are happier and have actually started to help me with the cleaning without me having to nag or complain because the sparkle of the house is rubbing off on them too. So I have gone from a resentful cleaner to a happy, positive and joyous Domestic Goddess and it feels great!

Actively living a positive life has also made me happier in my relationship. I now focus on all the wonderful things that combine to make up my Dear Heart rather than getting bogged down in something that pisses me off. That is not to say I don't get pissed off rather it means that I can overcome those feelings quicker and don't hold on to them so that they can't continue to poison our relationship. Dear Heart is feeling the benefits of this and is responding in a likewise positive manner. The Princess is also blossoming with the increased calm and love flowing around here.

Actively living a positive life has meant my physical health is on the improve as well. I have taken up riding my deadly treadly again and I'm not struggling as badly and have learnt to embrace the burn in my thighs and the soreness in my bum.

When I started karate it was because we went as a family and I was really just trailing behind the other two. I didn't really take it seriously and I never expected to be any good. In the last few weeks I have become focused on what I want to achieve and have made an effort in each class to do my best and it is amazing the difference that makes. I'm hoping to grade to my next belt in November and have even set my sights on the belt beyond that. Now that is a definate change!

I have taken up belly dancing again and I love it sooooooo much. It makes me feel womanly and sensual. I am really happy when I dance. On Saturday night I went to a Belly Dance Bazaar with the Princess. We have both been inspired to practice hard so that we can perform next year. When I perform I expect you to come watch and support me and be blown away by just how gorgeous I am ... hahahahahahaha

Mentally I feel great. Relaxed. Young. I am sleeping better and wake up eager to start my day. I am going to continue this journey of actively living a positive life because the benefits are boundless. I'm off to stretch and work out what I need for my application to go back to uni next year. Ciao. Talk soon

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's hard to post an update with a 7yo singing musical songs ...

aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! I do love my Princess very much and yet I sometimes wonder where her "off" switch is ... she does like to be the centre of attention. Does that come from being a "lonely only"? Actually she is waiting to call her best friend but my mobile is in the car and Dear Heart has the car so we have to wait for him to get home and like most 7 year olds she really isn't into waiting.

She is happy as she has finally lost her two front teeth ... just don't call her gappy!

Last night I went belly dancing for the first time in months and had a great time ... I love belly dancing ... when I got home I found this note:

For those of you who can't read 7yo it says "In playroom not coming out because mum wrecked my thingy." Even though I laughed (not in front of her) I am very impressed with this note and I'll explain why but first let me give you some background.

The Princess has some anger and emotional issues and at times gets incredibly distraught and usually I cop the brunt of her melt downs. She also likes to conduct experiments in the bathroom making potions etc. I am currently working hard at cleaning the house and this week it has been the bathroom. Last week she set up some leaves in a bottle with powder and goodness knows what else and left a note asking us not to "rec" it. This week on my cleaning frenzy I moved the experiment from the bathroom to the bin. It took her a few days to realise what I had done and rather than have a melt down she wrote the note and lay down in her playroom for a while. She was over her anger by the time I got home.

I am impressed with this because writing a note about how she feels is one of the ways we have been trying to get her to deal with issues. Best thing ... I didn't get screamed at for 45 mins! A break through I'd say. Yay!

I'll try posting another update when I have some alone time. hahahahahahaha

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soul Journal - Door

The final prompt from Sarah Whitmire was to create a door. I really struggled with this prompt as I just couldn't think what to do. I didn't want to create a door that was closing off a part of my life nor did I want to create a door that was opening up to something new as I'm pretty happy with where I am at the moment. Then last night as I drifted off to sleep it hit me ... just make a door! So that is what I have done. I suppose you could consider it as the door between the first part of my soul journal adventure leading into my ongoing soul journal experience. I will be continuing the journey with the weekly prompts on the Soul Journal yahoo group and also those on the Art Techniques yahoo group as well as those I glean from other blogs etc.

So here is my door

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Murder of Misty and other gruesome tales

Until I sat down to write this update I had been thinking that I have been incredibly slack these last few weeks as I felt I had not done much more than read and sleep. How wrong I have been! Firstly I quit my job ... yay for me! I am sooooo much happier although paying the bills will be a little harder we survive these challenges. Dear Heart and the Princess have been happier too.

To say I'm a bit messy would be an understatement ... I just seem to have better things to do than cleaning a house. Now that I don't have to haul myself into work each day I have vowed to get this place clean ... I started on the kitchen last week and it is now beautiful and sparkling clean ... sent heaps of stuff to the op shop ... cleaned out every cupboard ... wiped down shelves etc ... now I just have to spread that out to the rest of the house ... hahahahaha ... the laundry is next as the most amazing amount of crap gets shoved in there.

And in amongst being the domestic goddess I am I have actually been making ATC's and trying my hand at inchies and a pendant ... the pendant was a dismal failure so that can be relegated to the rubbish bin with no hard feelings. Inchies are stupidly small ... 1" x 1" squares ... and I haven't finished so no pictures yet. However I will show you some of my ATC's.

The yahoo group arttechniquesatcs runs an Artist of the Month (AOM) swap. This month the artist is Misty Mawn whom I admire very much and must apologise to her profusely for "murdering" her style. Here are my attempts for this swap:

The yahoo group ATCOZ is running a bear swap. This will be my first swap with this group and I am a little nervous ... I hope they like these bears. I have been carrying around this bear magazine for about 15+ years because it is just so odd ... like a VOGUE but for bears .. with fashion tips, horoscopes, Dear Abby, etc ... very cute. I transfered the images using Opals and I'm really happy with how they turned out.

I broke my needle felting needles last week so haven't been able to play with those ... boo hoo ... and looking for something else to try I was inspired by Ruby & Lay Hoon to try Zentangles. Here are some of my efforts.

So that is it for now ... I have to go be Mum and wife now ... ciao

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Soul Journal - Misfits and Finger painting

Well the main part of our journey with Sarah on our Soul Journal is coming to a close. The last of our formal prompts have been given and my results are below. Sarah is letting us soar free to continue our journey in our own way ... my knees a knocking! Actually it is funny that at the start of our journey I would fly through the prompts and eagerly await the next step and loved the homework teasers as they built up the excitement as I wondered what was to come next. However, these last three pages have taken me days to complete ... I've taken my time, not hurried things along by using my heat gun etc. I'd like to think I was savouring the journey but no ... I was actually just trying to delay reaching the end! I feel a sense of loss BUT I also feel really pleased with what i have achieved throughout this journey. I have learnt so much and am thankful to Sarah for her enthusiasm, creativity and support. I intend to keep working in my Soul Journal and look forward to where the journey takes me.

So here are the last 3 pages.

In this first page we had to make a collage from photocopies of Soul Journal pages we had already made ... it was interesting to look at sections of one page and see how they could be used to create something new. I enjoyed doing this page.

This second page of MISFITS is one of my favourites and a technique I will use over and over again.

And finally a finger painted self portrait. I don't like it! It was hard to do the details ... I don't think I really look like that ... I felt uncomfortable creating this page ... I can't do faces! ... I'm crap at painting ... arrrggghhhh. However the wonderful thing I have learnt on this journey is that I can change this page - so I plan to come back to it one day when I feel more confident and reassess it ... decide then whether I will accept it and move on OR change it in some way ... it is my art and my choice! Thank you Sarah for teaching me this.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Needle Felting 101

I have tried my hand at needle felting lately and really enjoy it. Hopefully if I keep practising I'll improve and learn a more subtle way to blend things together. So here are my first attempts and they are being sent off for a swap ... except the fish ... that one went to Mary as her Lady of the Month pressie. Mary makes great needle felting ATC's!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Soul Journal - Collage Potpourri

This week I have been catching up on Soul Journal playing and trying to finish off other odd jobs as well. This week I clearly see what a mess I live in ... hmmm some decluttering is required and I'm not just talking about my house!

So here are my Collage Potpourri pages ...

When reading catalogues and magazines I have now started looking for interesting shapes because I like this magazine silhouette technique ... thanks Sarah.

My Dear Heart thinks this one reflects exactly what my last few weeks have been like! I really enjoyed painting with a plastic fork ... great for texture.

Now this page I am happy with and feel it is complete. I'll be heading back to the Collage Potpourri lists again to do other projects.

And finally we had to go back to our taped pages and alter them. I really liked my taped page and wish I had ignored this bit of homework. This is what I have done so far and I am not happy with it and will come back to it at a later stage.

Over the weekend I am going to try and catch up with my fellow Soul Journallers blogs as it has been a while since I popped in on them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shattered & Lost

Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts and words during this sad time for my family ... I appreciate the warmth more than you could possibly imagine.
I feel shattered and lost and an overwhelming sense of sadness. Last week I wanted to take care of everyone else. This week I just want to be alone to curl up with my sorrow, to cry the flood of tears that threatens to drown me. I realise I don't see my family enough ... don't tell them how much I love them or how wonderful they are.
I feel frustrated by aspects of my life that don't fulfill me eg my job but I don't know what to do to change these things and my brain feels too fuzzy to work it all out.
Thanks again everyone

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Soul Journal - Home Sweet Home

I'm glad that the task of the last few days has been based around our home and our family as we have been very family focused here. On Thursday my Princess received an academic achievement award for her work in first semseter and on Friday it was my Dear Heart's birthday so on Thursday night we went out to dinner to celebrate ... love doing that! On Friday, after being dragged to karate where the floor is freezing!, we had cake and opened pressies. There is something beautiful about giving a pressie that means so much to someone you love that they cry. Yesterday we spent the day in Geelong watching a karate tournament ... incredibly amazing and incredibly cold. Today I got to play again. YAY!

After drawing our houses we had to collage over some of the drawing ... hahahaha I just couldn't stop!

Sarah has shown me that I don't have to panic about perfection. I didn't worry about what I put down on the paper because I knew that this was not going to be the finished product. I felt free to try different scraps, covering up one layer with another scrap if I wasn't happy. There was no negative self talk while doing this task just lots of fun.

OMG! Whilst writing this I have received the most tragic news. My beautiful 21 yo nephew Russell took his life today. I have spent the last hour on the phone talking to my mum and brothers and sisters. I will be offline for a while as I will be heading down to be with my family tomorrow.

I can't write anymore so I'll post the pictures of my painted page and my family.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Soul Journal - My House

We revisited our magazine squares or inchies pages and I am so glad we did as I felt it was looking a little naked or undone .... here it is all prettied up:

I also found this postcard at the Princess's school yesterday and thought it related to our soul armour and maybe even our houses we are now working on.

And finally here is my house. It has wonky walls because we had crap builders and it really does have wonky bits to it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Soul Journal - Cover Up

I didn't want to cover up my tape! However once I started I enjoyed the process ... I do like sanding.

I have to find a flower to press in my journal ... after 10 years of drought and being the middle of winter I have no flowers in my garden and I've peeked into the neighbours gardens and there are none there either ... boo hoo. But looking on the bright side I'm now off to buy a bunch of flowers ... oh beautiful brightness to banish the winter gloom.

Shock, gasp, horror ... I have been doing actual cleaning today in between reading blogs and sanding my tape pages ... hahahaha. Actually I'm really enjoying visiting my fellow Soul Journal bloggers and getting to know them better ... they are a generous, funny, inspirational, creative, amazing people ... I'm glad I am taking this journey with them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Soul Journal - Having way too much fun

I must say I am having so much fun with this journal and the last two tasks have been relatively easy peasy ... ok I exaggerate ... they were a little provoking. I started going through some magazines and catalogues for the images listed by Sarah but left it too late into the evening when I was tired and the Princess kept taking everything and showing me all the things she wants ... needless to say bed time was enforced on both of us that night. After a good rest picking the images really was easy peasy and here is the result.

Today I had to journal with the prompt "I forgot to tell you ..." I really appreciated this task because it allowed me to deal with an issue that has been bothering me and be honest about it and how I feel and helped clarify what I plan to do about it. Thank you Sarah for this task. The fun part was knowing that it would be completely covered in tape so no one but me will ever know what is under there. Until I did a search of the house I never knew we had so many different types of tape in the house ... Dear Heart had a stash in the garage that I raided ... he is far neater than I so his tapes were easy to find ... what they are used for I'll never know but they have now been appropriated for ART ... YAY! hahahaha

I have always been a little hesitant to journal honestly for fear that someone else may accidently or purposefully read what I have written and use it against me. Through these tasks I am learning that I don't need to be so concerned because I can always alter it into something else. This has been a very liberating lesson to learn!

At the back of my Soul Journal I have created a section called "Thankful". This is something I recall from an Oprah show ... at least I think it was Oprah. Every day I will write down at least 3 things I have been thankful for that day and I will do this even on the worst days ... I suppose it is like looking for the silver lining ... some days it will be easy and other days it will be hard however I think looking for the positive each day will increase my ability to cope with what life throws at me.

And now I am going to go work on some technique pages for the FAT book while I pretend to do housework. Later on I am going to spend some time on all the other Soul Journaler's blogs. I'd recommend you go have a look too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Armour has chinks

Last night I was so excited by my soul armour that I couldn't wait to have "show & tell" with my Dear Heart and he was appropriately impressed! Gleaming with pride and feeling light as a feather until he piped up with "you know you've made a spelling mistake ..."

POP ... deflated, hurt and resentful.

We had a bit of a tiff.

While trying to go to sleep I mulled over this issue and know that it is not what Dear Heart said but my reaction to it that is the problem. My self confidence is a fragile thing and any time I perceive a threat to it a monster rears its ugly head and attacks ... it is horrible and does nothing to increase my confidence or improve my relationship.

I now all the theory about changing the negative talk that goes on in my head ... replacing it with positive affirmations etc., but in practice I never seem to actually achieve this. I make a start but quickly fall back into bad habits and it is so easy to blame outside influences for the regression rather than admit that I have become too comfortable with these negative thoughts and feelings ... too afraid to let them go.

What am I afraid of !?! Why, when I know what must be done, can I not leap ahead and value myself?

Ahhhh ... so this is what my armour is for? To make me look honestly at the things that keep me following a path that traps me in self destruction. To help me recognise those things that I already have and what I may need to set me on the path to attain self confidence and freedom to be me without fear. To protect me from myself as well as from others.

The first step is the hardest and the journey has begun.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soul Armour

Today's task was to create our Soul Armour. This was lots of fun and the Princess kept coming to look at it and give me great big kisses and telling me how wonderful it was and how special I am. She is such a caring little thing and I love her like crazy!

Before you ask ... no I'm not the little girl used for the head ... the image is from an old photo of my Aunt Margaret.


Completed my butterfly ATC's for the July challenge on ArtTechniquesATCs. Here they are:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Soul Journal - Staking my claim

Day 2 of the Soul Journal adventure ....
This is the book I am altering to use as this journal - hopefully it will stand up to the test.

Below is todays excercise ... to name our journals as our own. You'd be surprised how difficult I found it to write my name over and over again ... as though I was being selfish or self centered ... but I got there in the end. Silly I know!
I used rub-ons, textas (thanks Princess), watercolour pencils, black sharpie and white gel pen.
I'm looking forward to the next task.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Soul Journal

Sarah Whitmire is posting on her blog step by step details on how to create a mixed media journal and will be providing daily prompts to keep you going. I've wanted to alter a book for a long time and anything that helps me on my creative journey with baby steps is a bonus. Thanks Sarah! Here is part of my day one efforts ...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I think I need another holiday ...

I have just had the most hectic few weeks with my Princess due to the school holidays. During the first week we stayed at home and had lots of play dates with her friends. I had an art date with Holly, Julianne and Megan that was a lot of fun ... gossip, paint and a wonderful butter banana cake ... yum! During this date I finished some Jumbo Playing Cards for a swap. This one is called "6 Degrees of Seperation"

I have also been trying to do dry needle felting and failing due to the lack of having wool felt only the crappy synthetic stuff. After discussing my frustrations with those wiser than me I have taken the plunge and ordered some 100% wool felt off ebay so that I can give it another try.

Another swap I am playing in at the moment has been a Mini Album and I have been trying out a variety of techniques ... some more successfully than others and again those wiser than me have helped me to learn where I may have gone wrong. Here are the pictures of my front cover and one of the pages I have created to swap out.

During the second week the Princess and I travelled down to Melbourne to visit family (which was ace!) and also to spend some time at The Castle creating with My Queen, Princess Moo and the fabulous Lucy. I enjoyed meeting Lucy in person for the first time! They taught me a Misty Mawn technique. I found this interesting even though I'm not 100% happy with the outcome which means I'll just have to keep practicing (hahahaha). Here is my first effort ...

Princess Moo taught me how to create a background (above) using paints and Windex ... now that was fun. Lastly I had a try at using beeswax ... smells wonderful and I like the translucent quality it gives the images. These two ATC's are called "Be Original" and "Visitors Permit".

And finally the ATC below is called "Lizzie Loves to Bowl" and was created for a Postage Stamp People swap. Her legs slide back up inside the ATC. I had a lot of fun making her. Princess Ruby enjoyed making her dance.

Now I think I need another holiday