Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 26

It's my birthday today, & I'm not keeping my age a secret ;) I'm not ashamed ;)

I am proud of who I have become over the years. That's not something I say lightly, not something I say easily, but it needed to be said. It's been one hell of a trip so far, but I think I'm getting closer to being who my inner 3-yr-old wanted to be when she grew up :)

This past year, including our move (in fact, the actual moving started on my BD last year!), has been the best year in a really long time :)

Today, I'm grateful for my beautiful 'old' friends, and for the lovely & amazing new friends I've met since I turned 37 :) I'm grateful for the fact that I finally feel like I've got something to offer and to share. I'm grateful that those who knew me 'when', stuck with me through a whole lot of anguish and crap.

Here's to friendship. I feel a lot stronger for knowing my friends, for finally living geographically closer to them. I always knew it would be beautiful - & I've felt SO incredibly alone without, living away from the people I knew, hardly knowing my neighbours for the previous 11 years! This is the first year I'm actually feeling in my bones what it means to have friends! I'll be celebrating you with food today, people, lots of food & cake :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 21

Oh my gosh! Proud for persevering far outside my comfortzone! I don't do faces! Let alone large, center piece faces! You can see why ;) But this happened, and I stuck with it. And as if that's not enough, I'm publishing it, here. Sorry folks ;)

Today's gratitude is for regaining my footing after weeks of being lost, somewhere... I'm not all there, quite yet, but I'm on my way ;) I'm grateful for being able to call myself again on something without freaking out, screeching 'FAILURE!!' This was a battle going on on the inside, mostly. Outward (outside) appearance; calm and composed, for the most part.

Yesterday I caught myself thinking vicious thoughts. About other people, and myself too, eventually. The kind of stuff that really doesn't help. And it's hard to shut up that voice, but I made a start. Drawing this helped. I'm listening to Ingrid Michaelson this morning, and that helps too:

I could write my name at the age of three
and I don't need anyone to cut my meat for me
I'm a big girl now, see my big-girl-shoes
It'll take more than just a breeze to make me fall overboard...

That bit. Not the rest. Unless it's me, because I am always trying to catch myself. Hard work, that. But always rewarding, if I stand still long enough to feel grateful & thank myself ;)

Thank yourself today. For something! It really does feel good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 17

I've been a little obsessed with blue & orange lately! Ideas kept swimming in my mind, and I set out on a little quest to capture them in photographs :) There is a lot of blue & orange out there, and I'm not sure I'm finished with it. But this is my final cut for now (haha). These 5 are framed and ready to go up in the hallway, as sort of a little private exhibition - if you're in the neighbourhood, please drop in :)These two - A4 in an A3 frame! - are on the living room wall, hanging over the couch. I love how patiently Squirt cooperated with these for the price of a couple of blue and orange smarties :D The one on the left was him showing a couple of sweets to the camera of his own accord - he's a natural ;)

Today's gratitude is all for creativity. I love this buzz, ideas that keep coming, refusing to leave! To be quite honest, I have a little bit of paint-anxiety right now... No idea where it's coming from or why - yet. But you know what?! It doesn't matter! Because for the past couple of days, I found a different outlet for creative fever, and it's all good. I'd almost forgotten how much I love my camera, too - so maybe it's all because I needed that reminder!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Rant & lesson for today -
It's actually totally warped to want people to appreciate all the upheaval you are facing, too. The fact that some people perpetually think their problems are bigger, should point you to notice the beauty in your life. To take it on as a compliment. To smell roses! To be more compassionate and kind - both to yourself and to others! To be graciously grateful.

‎& how I suck at that! Do you think it's a women's thing? To want to be appreciated for our struggles, instead of our ability to see silver linings?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13

This was scary! I'd wanted to try drawing outside, in a public space for ages, but I just wasn't brave enough. Yet. Today, I brought my art journal and some not much used supplies (crayons and felt tips) to Artis Zoo. I wasn't sure they were going to leave the bag I carried, but bringing them made me feel good :)

Until we got to the Butterfly Pavilion, where it's nice and tropical, and I could sit down on the floor. This is not necessarily what I wanted to draw - I would have prefered to draw an animal, but this was the spot we chose to sit, so this was the stuff that ended up in my journal :) I brought paper for Squirt too, and we sat drawing together, which was awesome! It was cool to hear people whisper that it was a great idea!

I'm totally impressed with myself :) I'll be doing more of this! I'm grateful that today I plucked up courage and drew in a public space, with unfamiliar media & a subject I wouldn't have picked naturally. I stepped outside my comfort zone in a big way, and it was amazing! I really needed something like this right now :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 9

Yesterday, we went on a little Road Trip by Bike! Inspired by Stephanie Levy & her awesome Creative Courage e-course. Taking a detour to go shopping, looking at things we would normally just pass, stopping where we wouldn't on a run-of-the-mill Wednesday :) We had a lovely time, me & Squirt, and when it was time for bed, he asked me if we could do another day like this tomorrow :) That was probably partly inspired by the fact that we had poffertjes (sort of small puffy pancakes served with melting butter and powdered sugar) for lunch, but still! We had fun together!

Gratitude for today? Definitely, for taking the time to slow down. There is a drawing in this, but it's in the Work in Progress-stages still. I'll share it when it's done!

Day 8

On Tuesday, I spent my creativity on creating these mice for Squirt :) In the Netherlands, it's customary to share a little treat with your class mates when you've had a birthday, and Squirt went for... cheese! Which is quite funny when you know he tells me (and everyone who'll listen) on a daily basis that he really doesn't like cheese! On occasion while munching on a piece of cheese. Adding that he likes this cheese, but most definitely not 'the other cheese', whatever that means ;)

Gratitude only in the fact that I finished them on time :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 7

True story... My mother gave my grandparents a cake set for their 12.5-year anniversary; 1 large cake platter and 12 plates, decorated with different fruit & leaf patterns. It must have been around 1960. The platter and 8 plates had survived years and years of good use, and I inherited those when my oma passed away.

I used them for the first time last Sunday, for my home-made birthday cake, and my mom was so happy to see them out and in use, in my house...

Sunday evening, when I tried to put the stack back in the cupboard, somehow, 7 out of 8 plates slid off onto the kitchen floortiles. And broke. They didn't just break really, they shattered. Leaving shards everywhere. I cried while we cleaned and threw them away. I still haven't told my mom. I know it's going to make her sad, too.

I drew this plate on Monday, for AEDM, day 7, while eating the last piece of chocolate cake. I was thinking about my grandmother, my oma. These plates have been the center of every cake-worthy celebration since before I was born. They were a symbol of family to me. With my grandmother in the middle of that small safe universe.

I am grateful to my grandmother, for showing me what family is all about. Lots of good stuff, all about warmth - especially when I was a little girl. And lots of wise stuff, about people. My grandmother always saw the best in people, except in herself. She passed away in March of this year, and I miss her.

Update: I just phoned my mom to tell her about the plates... Her response? "Well, I guess it was their time then. I was amazed that they lasted this long!" How's that for mindful wabi sabi wisdom? ;)

I had an idea. I have my birthday coming up soon, and I've asked my mom to come cake-plate-shopping with me. I'd love to find plates that will go with the large platter, and she's going to gift them to me for my BD. That way, I'll still sort of have grandma-mother-daughter plates that will hopefully last till it's time to bequeath them :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 6

It's Day 8 of the beautiful month of November, I realise that... I'm playing catch-up from the get-go, here. I knew this would happen, which is why I'm taking part in both Art Every Day Month and 30 Days of Giving Thanks on the QT.

As far as AEDM is concerned, doing the work isn't the challenge, so much. I seem to end up doing something creative every day, whether it's an intention (mostly), or not :) It makes me endlessly happy, that does! So AEDM is great, because it's making me aware of how much time I spend on creative projects! I tend to complain a lot about not having enough time to do all the things I want to do, and it's true: I have way more ideas than time, for sure. But I do get to my creative work. And that needs saying too :) I'm grateful for recognising what I get to do!

The challenge is in the posting about it all! Do the work, enjoy myself and blog about it, too? That's where it gets trickier!

And then there is Shannon's challenge. Giving thanks each day of November. Gratitude is beautiful. When you do it right, when you try and feel it to your toes and back, it's kind, it's soft and it's mindful. It creates space, too. Space in your heart, space in your mind and space to breathe. I know this. I've known it for a while. But I have to admit, I need practice.

It's sort of heartbreaking to be honest about this, but being grateful is really hard for me. I'm a recovering perfectionist. There are so many sides and sidelines to this that it probably warrants a whole blogpost of its own, but I'll keep it simple for now. It's hard, because as a recovering perfectionist, I'm still having a hard time letting things go. Realising that there is no shame in leaving things as they are. That there is beauty in imperfection. That I don't have to make everything better, and improve upon improvements, perpetually. That there is space to BE. And breathe. And enjoy.

To be truly grateful, you have to be able to be still. To take stock of what is; not of what's going to be better if you get to tweak just a little more. And that's hard. I'm getting better at it, but it's still hard. A challenge. One that I need. For my soul (thank you so much, Shannon, for making me aware of this!)...

This is part I of my art for November 6th. I cut myself some slack and used Photoshop Elements on the painting I made for my friend's card. After all, she wasn't happy about the design per se, but I was! I made this painting with my birthday boy in mind, and so it was always going to be for him. I had never coloured something in PSE, but always wanted to, so this made me happy :) And I'm pleased with how it turned out!

And this? This was an exercise in letting go of the inner critic :) I was going to order a birthday cake. What with all the stuff and stress on my mind, I was going to be kind to myself. And then, just like that, I decided to just go for it! I'm not a pastry chef, but I can bake a cake! It's a brownie cake with lots of real chocolate inside & on top, moist & yummy :) To be honest, maybe more in honour of me the mamma than of the birthday boy, but hey! I was celebrating being a mom just as much that day ;) And I made some coconut-banana muffins for the kids, so I'm not feeling guilty ;)

My gratitude for day 6 of thanking in November? It goes wholeheartedly to my baby boy... Who is as far from being a baby boy as any three-year-old can be :) He's awesome!! He's more and more becoming his own self, with likes and dislikes, hugs + kisses & a dead-cool sense of humour :D

He changed my life when my life needed changing most. I'd almost given up on myself and my place in this world when he came along. He made me want to be the best mamma I could be, and for that I had to become. Full stop. I had to re-invent myself, drag myself up out of the mud by the ears and start believing in myself. You have no idea where I was. Neither do I. But I do know that I'm here, like this - getting stronger, wiser and more true to myself every day - because this amazing little boy, this gift came into my life when he did, three years and 2 days ago...

That's gratitude from my toes...

Birthday Boy

Friday, November 4, 2011


I finally got round to creating a spot for my witch to hang out!
I went leaf-hunting two weeks ago, spending a couple of awesome hours in the park with Squirt in the Autumn sun. Of course I didn't bring my camera... I wonder what life would be like without something to beat yourself around the ears with, but that's another blogpost ;)

I dried the leaves between tissue paper in a book, and got out my sewing machine yesterday - after the last drags of a stomach bug had left my system. I had wanted to finish these window buntings before Halloween, but didn't. I'm okay with that. Last night's yoga session was amazing, and I'm at peace with the world today ;)

I created them the same way as the one I made two years ago. There is a link (with permission) to a tutorial in that post, although needless to say, I only used the sewing method here :)

After finishing my buntings, there were a couple of leaves and bats left, so I decided to frame them:
I LOVE blue and orange together. Ever since the episode with baby smurf and too many carrots (click & scroll down a little through the post)... There is something so... energising and zesty about this combination :)

By the way, I'm sort of taking part in Art Every Day Month, hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas. But quietly. I probably won't be posting my efforts every day. And I'm okay with that, too. In fact, I'm really, really okay with that :) It means I'm finally reclaiming my power to say 'No!' to myself. Because I have way more ideas than time to accomplish them. And I really liberally ladle stress all over my plate when I have the feeling I committed, so I MUST... So there :) Look for the label 'AEDM 2011 on the QT' :)

I also love the November challenge Shannon came up with - Thirty Days of Giving Thanks. I had this awesome idea of combining the two and make a piece of art based on who or what I'm thanking that day :) Again, I'm saying 'No!' I'm not committing, as such. But I am joining this challenge, quietely, too. Basically, I'm going to do what I can when it feels right :) I'll label these '30DOT on the QT', surprisingly :)

How's all that for soul care, nurture & self-love?! MAN I make me proud ;)

P.S. reserving the right to change my mind - it's all part of being whimsical & colourful ;)