Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Mackenzie Thorpe

Mackenzie Thorpe is one of the most sought after and collected artists. Born in Middlesbrough, England, Mackenzie remembers the strong feeling of community spirit, the warmth and humor that flourished in the face of adversity as well as loneliness and isolation.  His work expresses a wide range of human emotion from love and friendship to self-reflection and individual triumphs. 

I came across Mackenzie’s art last year during a visit to Carmel, CA and fell in love with his work.  I was quite drawn to his bronze and resin pieces for their clean lines, innocent yet hidden meanings and subtle humor.

On Valentine’s Day, I thought you might enjoy some of Mackenzie’s pieces that focus on love.  To see more of his work, visit here.

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For Children

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Lean on Love

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Sitting on Love


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Creative Every Day Update

I’ve fallen a bit behind in posting some recent creations as part of the Creative Every Day challenge.

“Goldner Hirsch Doll” 

Goldie is named after the hotel where we stayed in Deer Valley.  She was created one snowy, windy morning.  I delayed hitting the slopes until mid-morning in the hopes that the conditions would improve.

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Using what materials I could find, I created Goldie from a cosmetic pad, Q-tips, an empty candy box, gold ribbon, and a napkin with the Goldner Hirsch insignia.

Heartfelt BS

What would Valentine’s Day be without a trio of heart-themed bottle stoppers.

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Encased Heart Online Workshop

I had the pleasure of taking a one-day online workshop with Tejae Floyde where she shared her technique for creating encased hearts.  Below is my encased heart.  These little hearts are quite addictive.

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Thanks Tejae for a wonderful workshop!


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Gifts, Gains, & Gratitude

One aspect of the Great Big Dreams seminar that has really touched me is the creation of a Gratitude, Gifts, & Gains list.

As someone who spent many years moving through life taking things as they came and not truly appreciating what was happening around me, the act of writing gratitudes is indeed powerful.  However, it was not easy to get started.  I’ve tried writing gratitudes before but I never got very far; a couple days here and there.  Perhaps I wasn’t truly ready for this task.

In January, shortly after starting Christine’s seminar, I wrote about choosing a word (or words) to guide me through the year.  Out of three choices, I settled upon the word Gratitude because I knew it was something I needed to work onThis was well before Christine introduced the Gratitude, Gifts, & Gains assignment.

And I believe Christine’s approach has made a difference because it is not only gratitudes that we are asked to consider but any gain we’ve made each day or gift received as well.  Afterall, if we don’t acknowledge our small accomplishments, who will?

Part of our ability to recognize each small gift or gain has to do with setting small goals, from washing the dishes to scooping the cat box to changing the oil in the car.  These may be tasks we dread and therefore put off.  These may be tasks we silently complete without recognition.  But when we complete them and write them down, we recognize how much we’ve accomplished and can give ourselves a pat on the back.

Pay It Forward

A motivating component to setting goals and completing them is to share them with somebody.  I found this to be very motivating in the first Art Salon I participated in two years ago.  And it has been very motivating during this seminar.

So I’d like to make you an offer.

Because I have really benefited from Christine’s seminar and feel it making a difference in my daily life, I am offering to be your “to-do list, goal accomplished person.”

What does that mean?  It means that I’m willing to help you focus and feel a sense of accomplishment.  I’m willing to be that person you verbalize the goal to.  The catch is you have to set a “due date” to complete the goal.

For example, if you need to clear out your closet and you decide you’re going to spend two hours on Saturday doing this, you would send me an email stating the goal and when you will complete it.  When the goal is complete, you send me another email telling me you achieved your goal.

And there will be much rejoicing!  And you will have a sense of accomplishment. 

I’m going to limit this to four people at this time.  If this interests you, post a reply to this blog and I’ll contact you.  These don’t have to be “woo-woo” goals.  It is usually the small tasks that we avoid and that drag us down.  Yet getting these tasks off our to-do lists is really liberating.  It helps us move on to bigger and better things.

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The Unfinished Business Bucket

As I continue to work on clearing the clutter, I noticed that I had a number of unfinished projects laying about my studio.  I’m sure I’m not the first artist to develop this notorious habit.

There are pieces of art that I started in a workshop and never finished.  A project that cracked during the curing process that I thought I could fix.  An idea that seemed good when I started it but it didn’t quite turn out the way I imagined.

I don’t know why I hang-on to these pieces but I do.  I hang onto them thinking I’ll finish them someday.  In reality they take up valuable table space and I find myself simply moving them from one place to another in my studio.

I suppose I could toss them out.  For some reason that isn’t an option I’m able to accept.

Until now.

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As part of my effort to get clear and get through the clutter, I created the Unfinished Business Bucket or UBBIn this bucket I have placed these numerous projects.  The bits and pieces and scrum that have laid unfinished, undesired, unwanted.

And to myself I have given a challenge.  Once a week, or thereabouts, I will pull a piece from the Unfinished Business Bucket and make a determination: To Finish It, To Re-invent It, or To Dump It.

I don’t expect this to be easy.  There must be some pack-rat, can’t waste, I’ll find a use for it someday spirit in my past who causes this to happen.

Whatever it is I want to confront it and use it to my benefit.  I look at this as another exercise in creativity.  Perhaps by clearing out the old, I can make way for new ideas and inspiration.

Or perhaps I’ll just end up with a really clear, clean studio.

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Single Task vs Multi-Task

In the Great Big Dreams seminar we recently discussed blocks and remedies.  You know those things that keep us from moving forward; sometimes they’re physical, sometimes they’re psychological.

Several blocks and remedies really resonated with me: too much stuff on the brain, multi-tasking and unfocused attention, overwhelm, perfectionism.

I decided to focus this week on the “too much stuff on the brain” and “multi-task and unfocused attention.”  This seems to be a big issue for me, especially when returning from a vacation.  You’re probably familiar with the feeling.  You come home rested and relaxed from vacation only to face all the stuff that you missed while away and now need to get up to speed on.

No wonder people say they need a vacation from their vacation.

One remedy to this feeling of overwhelm is what Christine calls a “brain drain list.”  That is, you write down all the stuff that is bouncing around in your head.  By writing it down you clear it from your brain which may bring a sense of relief.  At least all that stuff isn’t bouncing around in your head, causing stress and worry and making you wonder how in the world you’ll get it all done.

Now, how do you tackle all that stuff you’ve just drained from your brain?

You can create a to-do list.  You can prioritize your to-do list.  You can multi-task.

Or you can choose 1-3 items to accomplish and single-task.  That is the approach I’m taking.

I’ve made to-do lists and inevitably I put too many items on the list and never complete half of them during my day.  That doesn’t lend itself to a sense of accomplishment.

I’ve prioritized my to-do lists and that provided some success.  However, some items always remained and, over time, I again lost that sense of accomplishment.

On Sunday night I write down all the stuff that I have to deal with during the coming week.  From that list, I decide which three items I need to accomplish each day.  I chose three items per day beginning with Monday.  On Monday night, I chose three items for Tuesday, and so forth.

And the question I ask throughout all of this is if I do nothing else that day, which three items can I tackle and feel happy that I accomplished them.

How is this different from multi-tasking?  A sense of accomplishment.

When we multi-task, we often move through a series of items (do a little something here, do a little something there) yet we never fully accomplish any of the items because we don’t focus our attention on them.

With a single-task approach, you determine what you can accomplish and set aside or designate a time frame in which to accomplish it.  Writing this blog entry was on my list for Monday.  I set aside one hour in the evening to write it.  If I know I only have 60 minutes to get a task done, I’m going to devote my full attention to it.  And when that hour is done, I know the task is complete and then I move on to the next item.

I’ve even found that by limiting myself to 3 items I may actually accomplish more.  I tick those three items off my list and may take on another small task.  Or, maybe I reward myself with some quiet time to read or take a walk.

Granted, this approach may not work for everyone.  If you try it, it may feel odd at first.  We expect our days to be busy-busy, running in circles, doing this or doing that, and then collapsing at the end of the day wondering where the time went and asking ourselves what exactly did we get done.

Yet when you give your attention to one task at a time, you achieve so much more.  You complete the task and you give yourself a sense of accomplishment.

And what about those large tasks, like clearing your closet or the garage or those 20 bottle stoppers someone ordered?  Break it down into small chunks of time over the week.  And at the end of the week check it off your list.  Done!

Do I allow for “bleed” time?  Of course.  If I’m on a roll with lots of momentum while working on a task, I’ll keep working on it.  There is no tape that will self-destruct or bells that ring with black holes sucking away whatever it was I was working on.

With this approach, you gain control over what you need to get done.  You decide what you can accomplish when and of those items which ones will make you happy to complete them.


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Imbolc

whitecandlesblog.jpgAt the beginning of February, the Celts celebrate Imbolc (im’olk) or Candlemas, the Feast of Lights.  February 2 is often chosen as the day of celebration because it marks the cross-quarter day on the calendar, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  Locally, it may be celebrated around the time of the first sign of spring.

Imbolc is a time of weather prognostication and the tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens may be a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day.  A Scottish-Gaelic proverb states:

The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.

Imbolc also coincides with the feast day of St. Brigit (known as the Bride of Scotland).  Brigit or Brigid is the goddess of poetry, healing, and smithcraft.  She is associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing.  Therefore fire and purification are an important aspect of this festival.  The lighting of candles and fires represents warmth and the increasing power of the sun over the coming months.

Celebrate Imbolc by cleaning your house (purification), making a St. Brigit cross, or leaving a silk ribbon on your doorstep for Brigit to bless; it can then be used for healing purposes.  Meditate on what you would like to see grow in health and strength this year.