My Little Whispers to Take Different Path

Black Duck - isn't he beautiful!

This morning when I was out walking my dog, I went the opposite way that I normally do in my morning routine and discovered some beautiful cherry blossoms on the trees and a lovely forsythia bush in full bloom.  I would not have noticed these if I hadn’t listened to the little whisper in my head to go the opposite way this morning.  I even snitched a couple of sprigs from the forsythia and some cherry blossoms to bring a little bit of spring into my home.  Seeing these blooms inside with me for a few days will remind me that spring is just around the corner. 

When I was out for a walk last week I took some pictures of the ducks at the pond down the road from me

Beautiful Black Duck

 – there was one  in particular that caught my eye, it was a beautiful all black duck with red on his beak, very unusual and I can’t recall every seeing one like this before.  I love to take pictures when I am out on my walks in hopes that they may be used in an inspirational slide show at a later time.  A few years ago I compiled a slide show with photos I have taken on various vacations and added some inspirational quotes to each slide and some great music – A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and That’s Life by Michael Buble (sorry couldn’t get the ‘ over the e).  I have watched this slide show many, many times and it always puts me in a better mood and inspires me to keep going when life seems to be a bit of a struggle or I am needing to be energized. 

I enjoy finding ways to creatively inspire myself when I am not feeling particularly motivated or frustrated with the ups and downs of life.  Going for a walk helps lift my spirit and taking the time to really observe what is around me, the birds singing, the blossoms, the wind blowing the branches, 

Signs of Spring

 the puddles from the recent rain and the rain drops still clinging to the tree branches.  Observing nature gives me a lift and makes me feel so much better and I feel revitalized and I notice a real shift in my mood. 

 So if you are needing an energy boost get outside and take time to be in the NOW and observe nature and all its wonder….pretty sure when you return to you will feel rejuvenated.

Til next time

Michelle

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Reflection and Memories – creating a Birthday card collage for my niece

I have a niece who is four months and 11 days younger than me, yes my mom and sister were pregnant at the same time, something you don’t hear about to often.  We have a rather different family story as I never had contact with her for close to 48 years because when my sister and her husband divorced her dad took her away when she was about six and her brother stayed with my sister.  So all these years I wondered where she was and if I would ever get to see her again and then miraculously I was able to find her about 6 years ago.  She was living in Victoria, BC.  So I wrote her a letter and when she received it she immediately called me with great excitement that she was going to be able to reunite with her mom and family.  We had a reunion shortly after this with my sister and her youngest daughter and my mom.  It was a wonderful and emotional reunion.  Since then I have seen her many times, she has reconnected and spent time with her brother, I went to her dad’s funeral a few years ago, she attended her grandmother’s 100th Birthday and I have had the opportunity to meet her two grown children and her grandchildren.  My sister has developed a relationship with her long-lost daughter and with her granddaughter and her children.  We are looking forward to another reunion with my niece’s children and grandchildren this coming July. 

Since I enjoy creating collages I got this brilliant idea to create a Birthday collage for my niece.  I had this vision of incorporating a

Baby Bonnita

 picture I had of her when she was just a baby of six months sitting on her mom’s lap.  I also wanted to include a picture of her mom as a baby and found a picture of her grandmother as a child to include as well.  Her Birthday is on April 5 so the deadline for mailing a card was getting really close so I knew if I was going to actually do this I better get started.  Of course I have been stalling  for about the past five days, afraid that it won’t turn out the way I envisioned it and that it may not be art-worthy or good enough to send and share with her – that old FEAR thing again.  So yesterday I took the first steps  and reduced the scanned photos, created some text and decided to use an old book cover for the canvas. I read about using old book covers for canvasses so thought I would try it. I  did feel guilty cutting the cover off a book, but I did find it in a free bin, so I let the guilt go.  I painted the book cover and then put it aside as I didn’t know quite where to go from there.  Today I got busy and started adding ripped piece of coloured and patterned scrapbook paper, then added the photos and framed them with these little paper frames that I found, then added the text.  Next I covered the area that still had paint showing with a crackle medium to create an aged weathered look.  So that the collage could be

Birthday collage on recycled book cover

 hung up I added a piece of recycled sari silk with a couple of buttons to finish the ends off.  Then I added a coat of Modge Podge to seal it.  On the back I will write a personal note.  I am pleased at how it turned out and I hope that my niece likes it and if she wants she can display it.  So there – I did it a Birthday Collage Card – another very fun day of creating.

Til next time – happy creating!

Michelle

27 Art Journal Pages – Unearthing my creative side.

I am happy to report that I am still working on my challenge of doing  an art journal page everyday for a month and I am at number 27 – it has been so much fun and I look forward to it each day.  I have found it  interesting to see what unfolds as I create and try different techniques that I have read about and want to try. I have definitely  noticed a trend in what I write on each journal page and it appears the pages are taking on a life of their own by evolving into one page vision pages and affirmations.  It is definitely an enjoyable experience to sit down and take an hour to create my daily page. 

So continuing on my quest to learn more about collage and altered art I ordered two books from Amazon – the first one is call “Taking Flight” – Inspiration & Techniques to give your Creative Spirit wings by Kelly Rae Roberts.  I was so excited when they arrived late Friday afternoon! This book is wonderful and I am so enjoying it and learning so much.  It discusses the journey into the creative life, the spirit of possibility including  facing your fears, getting involved in community both on-line and off, creating memories and much, much more.  When reading the chapter on Facing Your Fears, I could so relate to what she was saying about your creative fears where that inner voice starts saying  things like ‘who do you think you are trying to be an artist’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not that talented’, and it goes on and on that inner negative self talk that can be so destructive if you listen to it.  

I am discovering it is all about learning to make art for yourself and not worry about what others think of it cause it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy and finding joy in it.  Yes, if you are hoping to make a living from your art, you do need to create art that others will want to purchase but at the same time you have to stay true to yourself and create what you love and not what you think people might buy. I am happy to be just creating for myself at this time.  So you just create and not fret about others judging your art and just let your heart be involved in the process and it will come together. Believe in yourself.   

I love the Learning to Soar section in each chapter where there is a project to try with step-by-step instructions. I am preparing myself to try some of the projects – yes, fear of failure does come to mind but I am determined to get over it, cause I am doing it for myself, no one else.  By trying these projects it allows me to discover my creative wings and test them out while nurturing my vulnerability, especially where creativity is concerned.  We all struggle but when we write, collage, scrapbook, journal, paint, draw or take photographs we empower ourselves to keep seeking and growing within.

Do the Thing You Never Thought You Could Do

This past few days I have been learning how to draw a variety of human figures or I should say human-like as they are not true to form. I am pleased with what has turned up on the page –  and surprised that I could do it! The picture in this post is the second one I did and I am being very brave by including it.

In my search to grow artistically I came across this wonderful on-line workshop while catching up on Violette’s Blog http://www.violette.ca/ and have decided to sign up.  It is a really good deal for the registration fee of $59 – it goes from April 1 to August 1 and you have unlimited access to 21 artist workshops and you receive PDF’s of the workshops to keep.  So I am signing up this week and excited about getting involved with this wonderful community of artists.  Here is the link for the workshop if you are interested. http://www.dirtyfootprintsworkshops.com/2008/09/21-secrets-art-journal-playground.html

Til next time happy creating and be kind to yourself 🙂

Michelle

Right Brain Painting of Your Business Landscape

As promised here are a few more tidbits I gathered from the recent Right Brainers  in Business  Summit with Jennifer Lee, www.Artizencoaching.com.  During the session on Painting a Picture of Your Business Landscape the guest speaker was Laura Hollick of www.soulstudios.com.   Laura’s booster to begin her session was to allow time for yourself and spirit.  She talked about taking time to figure out what makes you stand out by focusing on your gifts and strengths.  Then look at painting a business self portrait using three words that describe you and your gifts that you have to offer.  It is a great exercise to see how to connect who you are with the world and how you add value.  Most important is to keep yourself in alignment with who you are and where you want your business to go and yes, sometimes you have to go off track to find your alignment.  By doing this exercise it helps us strengthen our connection to our spirit and builds a stronger connection with our core self. 

In my earlier post I mentioned  how doing a mind map provides you with your first visual of the what, where, how, etc. of your business –  so the  next step is doing a visual flow spreadsheet that you can update weekly, monthly, etc. Of course  ‘The Moola’ (money) is an integral part of your business and you need a way to measure and see how you are doing and know where to make adjustments or change things if it’s not working.  You want to have something that you look at and use to measure your progress on a regular basis. And here’s a thought give love to bringing in a significant revenue from your business so that you can help others. 

Here’s a unique way to increase revenue and clients – try writing love letters to your perfect clients (not that you actually send them the letters you  are just putting them out to the Universe).  Another great suggestion is to walk hand in hand, arm and arm with your money.  If you are anything like me you may have to work on changing your core beliefs about money so that you get in better alignment and vibration with abundance of money flowing into your life.

Corralling your creative cohorts by offering and accepting help, put a wish list out there – what do you need help with?  Build strategic alliances, find mentors and build your inner circle of a small army of remarkable people – these consist of groups of prospects (those that stumble onto you), groups of followers (email, Twitter, Face Book  of which only 4% are true fans). Your group of allies (peers, colleagues, and other like-minded people). Make connections by engaging with on-line communities. 

As an entrepreneur, write a letter to yourself for the future, where do you see yourself  one year, five years and 10 years from now? Establish a strong creative purpose, spend time in meditation, walk in nature, hang out with like-minded people and share what inspires you and others. 

Final thoughts on the Right Brainers Business plan is how do you want to feel when you finish putting your plan all together?  Remember we manifest our reality from our inner talk, so be kind to yourself and most of all believe you can do it.  Then put it out there and  just see what happens!  So I highly recommend checking out Jennifer Lee’s book The Right Brainers Business Plan http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com/  I have included a photo from Jennifer’s site that includes all of the guest speakers that participated in the summit below.

All the great guest speakers from the Right Brainers in Business Summit

Til next time,

Michelle

Right Brainer’s Business Plan

So do you see yourself as a LEFT Brain Thinker or a RIGHT Brain Thinker?  I have always known I was more of a right brainer then a left brainer.  I really like the creative side of things and shy away from the more analytical side of life, you know the accounting, reporting, filing kind of stuff – I do what is necessary but it isn’t something that I enjoy doing.  So I was really excited when I came across a webinar that was going to take place that spoke to us ‘Right Brainers’ and would provide insight on how to do a Right Brainers Business Plan.  The summit just finished up on Friday, March 11 and I miss the interviews already.   Jennifer Lee of  www.Artizencoaching.com and author of ‘The Right Brainers Business Plan’,  presented the webinar and had lots of great guests throughout the 10 days.  You can get more information on how to access the interviews if you visit Jennifer’s site.

The summit was geared towards creative entrepreneurs – lots of the subject matter I had knowledge of already but having it put into the context for a right brainer just helped reaffirm what I should be practicing. During the summit Jennifer and her guests provided tips on how to strengthen your creativity muscles by journaling and capturing your ideas without censoring them.  There was discussion on how  to get started on the dreaded business plan but instead making it a fun visual exercise that you will want to review often.  I did a business plan back in May 2010 and it was like going to the dentist, really something I didn’t enjoy doing, in fact it was painful, but I did the best I could cause I felt I needed to have some sort of plan in place if I was to start my own business, but my heart was not in it.  I wish I had seen this summit before I had struggled through the pain and frustration of the formal plan.

We were reminded to take some simple steps like ‘begin with the end in mind’, think about and write down what your BIG VISION is because when you give it a voice it gives power to your vision.  Julie Stuart, www.makingideasvisiible.com had some great advise  –  first of all do a mind map (this is basically a brain dump of all your ideas for your business – anything goes).  When you go through this process it allows you to ask questions like  ‘What is my business trying to tell me? Where is it trying to go? What does it feel like?’  Have fun with the mind map, doodling, drawing little pictures and see what you come up with. I have used mind maps a few times and it is a fun process just dumping all of your ideas no matter how random onto a piece of paper or white board (that’s how I got started on my formal business plan).

I really enjoyed how they started off each interview session with a Booster or Chill pill – a booster might be allowing time for yourself to just be or a Chill pill – clear the clutter and get organized so that you can put your left brain at ease.  Finding ways to strengthen your connection to your creative spirit and build a stronger connection to your core self and  how important it is to value the nothing time, recognize when it’s a time to fill up your well again.  Look for ways to sparkle and shine!

There was a session on marketing your business and how to get the word out, recommending that you make a list of  who your perfect customers or clients are (you know the demographic/psychographic stuff) and something they found helpful was to create a postcard size visual collage with your perfect clients on it and keep it where you can see it everyday. They stressed how important it was to find your own marketing style and how and where you can share your gifts.  To remember to pick things that resonate with you cause if you don’t then you’re not likely to do them…..this is so true!  I know myself, if I have to do something that I am not particularly liking I will keep stalling but if it’s something I enjoy then I am  anxious to get right on it, leaving the more mundane chore for another time (is that procrastination?). Also remember to connect with people from your heart by forming a community or tribe which could be made up of your clients/customers or just other like-minded who support you.  Most important,  pay attention to your inner energy, if it feels good move forward if it feels bad – take a look and see if it is really something you should be doing and revamp where necessary. 

I will share a few more of the tidbits that I picked up from the summit in my next post.  In the mean time I am excited to share a couple of  the pages from my Right Brain Business Plan that I created over the weekend…..it was so fun to do and it will be something that I enjoy reviewing at and visualizing with every week instead of the one I wrote last May that I have barely looked at. My Vision for Eventgal.ca

How will I market my business?

My RB Business Plan fold out (one side)
I know some of you may say how would you take this type of plan to a bank if you were looking for financing for your business…..well you may have to do a traditional financial assessment and forecast for that (you could still have some fun with it as well)but what this is really all about is making a visual plan that makes you feel good when you look at it so you get the great feelings which align your vibrations and get you in sync with what you really want so that the Universe will begin to provide you with opportunities etc. to manifest your dream business.Til next time, happy creating!

Michelle

Entering the creative world of art journalling

Over the past few weeks I have watched a lot of YouTube videos on creating collage which has tweaked an interest in art journaling.  In years past I have recorded my thoughts in a journal off and on, however I find that I will journal consistently for a while and then I stop and don’t do anything for a long time.  Perhaps it is because I have a hard time writing something everyday.  Who knows but I do know it is therapeutic activity and allows me to clear my head.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit with a wonderfully creative artist that I met at the Valley Women’s Networking luncheon.  Violette lives in a purple cottage in White Rock, BC, and the colour doesn’t stop there  – the interior is a delightful mix of  terracotta, lime green, bright blue and decorated with lots of her beautiful colourful art.  

Our visit flew by and the conversation was so easy, it really felt like I had known Violette for years and we discovered that we had a lot of similarities in our creative journeys through life.  To inspire her and keep her creative juices flowing Violette does art journal pages.  If you are not familiar with art journaling it basically incorporates words or statements about what you are feeling or wanting to do along with pictures, painting, doodling or what ever your creativity brings about.  It is actually a very fun way to express yourself. Violette wanted to share her joy of  the art journal so she wrote and published a book that provides tips and techniques for this creative art form.  It is called  “Journal Bliss” which of course I bought and I was delighted that she also signed it for me!  Violette also has a great Blog that I love to read http://www.violette.ca .

After leaving Violette’s home I felt so inspired and set a challenge for myself to incorporate this art form into my life and try to create an art journal page every day for a month.   (I am trying to create a habit of doing something creative everyday – and I know in order to form a new habit you must do it at least 21 days in a row.)  I am proud to say that so far I have been keeping up with the challenge.  Here are a couple of pics of some of my pages.

As I am on this wonderful  journey of rediscovering my creative side, the “Journal Bliss” book has been a great resource as I am learning some new techniques for drawing and creating.  I have to admit that sometimes I have trouble letting myself just go when it comes to creating, to often over thinking what I should do or how it should look and worried that it will look dumb or like a 6-year-old did it.  But my daughter is always reminding me that it does not matter what others think as long as I am having fun and enjoying the process.  It’s funny when I think about how many times I have said that to her over the years and now she is saying it to me.   So now I find myself eagerly looking forward to creating my daily journal page (one of the perks of being retired is that you have time) and have actually been quite pleased with the end result.  It seems the pages are taking shape of their own and turning into my vision book as well and the best part is I am having fun with it and love how the pieces for each page just seem to come together.

til next time,

Michelle

Labyrinths – spiritual reflection

 I was fortunate to meet the Labyrinth Lady, Diana Ng http://labyrinthlady.ca/ a few weeks ago at a Valley Women’s Networking luncheon and she told the group about the Labyrinth she coordinated with the City of Surrey that was built in Fleetwood Park, Surrey. She went on to say that Labyrinths are ancient, powerful, transformative tools found in many cultures all over the world dating back 4000 years and that walking the path can be used as a proactive tool for promoting health and wellness.  This peaked my interest and I made a mental note that this Labyrinth was someplace I would like to visit in the near future. 

Today I met my dear friend Linda for brunch at the Fleetwood Arms.  We haven’t spent time together for quite sometime and it was great to reconnect and catch up.  Our plans were to have brunch then head over to Fleetwood Park to check out the Labyrinth which was just a few minutes away.  There was no one else around so we had it all to ourselves.  I started the walk first, it was very interesting how it looked like a maze but instead it wound around continuously – no dead ends like a maze would have.  Linda followed about a minute after me – the directions for the walk said to allow some space for each participant.  Upon arriving at the middle I stood there for a bit and took in the energy around me, then started the walk back to the entrance. We both agreed that it was a very calming and peaceful experience.  We then took a stroll through the beautiful gardens discovering the  crocuses in bloom and a few daffodils which was a very encouraging sign that spring and warmer days were on the way.  We decided that we would like to come back later in the spring when the gardens when the roses would be in bloom.  It is funny how I had been to this park many, many times in the past to play baseball but never noticed or explored past the baseball diamonds.  It reminded me how easy it was to miss some of the beauty that surrounds us when we  don’t fully pay attention. 

Walk the Labyrinth in Fleetwood Park

First signs of spring!

Statue in Fleetwood Park gardens