Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Artwork Published! Creative is a Verb

Creative Is a Verb Cover

I am honored to announce that one of my mixed media pieces was chosen for inclusion in Patti Digh’s newest book Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative In this book, Patti “leads you by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and use your own creative spirit by teaching six creative commitments.” Creative is a Verb is the follow-up to Patti’s successful 2008 book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally.

Way back in January I received a request to submit two pieces of artwork for Creative is a Verb. Each participating artist was sent one, two, or three essays that would become chapters in the book. We were asked to read our assigned essays and create artwork inspired by the essay. As with previous art submission requests, we had about two weeks to create artwork inspired by the essay.

I received two essays. One was titled “Leave Your Base Camp” the other was “Blow Bubbles Everyday.” My submission for “Blow Bubbles Everyday” was chosen and is featured in Chapter 6: Get Present: Show Up Like Magic.

Blow Bubbles Everyday

The substrate for this piece is a painted and textured magazine page. The horns were inspired by the bubble wands we used as kids (and might still play with as adults…though I’m not saying which adult, ahem.) The little characters inside the bubbles are smiling, dancing, reading, hanging out, hanging on, and waving. I think I channeled a bit of Tim Burton for this piece.

Thanks again to Patti Digh for this wonderful opportunity. You can purchase a signed copy of Creative is a Verb on Patti’s website or on Amazon (unsigned copies).


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Artwork Published: Four Word Self Help

In January, I received a request for artwork from Patti Digh. Patti, who is the author of Life is a Verb, sent an email to many artists around the world asking who would be interested in submitting artwork for her upcoming book, Four Word Self Help.

Patti described Four Word Self Help as follows:

I wrote this compilation of four-word self-help wisdom in reaction to all the very complex self-help books I’ve seen—isn’t there a simplicity to life that we can tap into, things we already know? For example, “Eat less, move more” or “Do work that matters” or “Leave some things undone.”

The book would be in small format, 4.5″ x 6.25″.  Participating artists would receive a phrase to illustrate. All artwork had to fit into the small format and could not contain any words, text, or language.

I was intrigued and replied that I was interested in participating.

A couple weeks later, I received a second email with a phrase that I was to interpret and illustrate. I had two weeks to create my artwork and submit it for possible inclusion in the book. We were also told that if our artwork was accepted, the editors may use it for a different entry than originally submitted.

The phrase I received was “Do What You Can.” The phrase made me chuckle. Given the slightly abstract nature of the phrase, I could only do what I could in my interpretation of it.

Creating artwork in a limited time frame is both demanding and energizing. You have to focus on the task at hand immediately, go with your gut, and hope it all works out to your satisfaction.

In early February, I submitted my artwork. On April 15, I received word that my artwork had been accepted into the book!

And on Tuesday, 8/17, my complimentary copy of Four Word Self Help arrived at my home.

It is such a thrill to see my artwork in print and in such a wonderfully inspiring book. I am honored to have my artwork in this book among the illustrations and interpretations of nearly 100 artists.

Here is the artwork I submitted:

"Do What You Can"

And how my artwork appears in Four Word Self Help:

On Page 129

Four Word Self Help is due in stores in September. Be sure to look for it! You can also pre-order a signed copy of the book from Patti. Click here.

Four Word Self Help Cover

Thanks to Patti Digh for this most excellent experience.


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Day 8 of 37

8ball1

Today is day 8 of my 37 day challenge. A week ago today I decided to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. This has mainly focused on sweet treats and candy that I love to eat as a snack or for dessert, especially chocolate.

The first few days went well though I wondered if, in my quest to decrease the amount of sugar, I was instead replacing sweets with salty treats. When I last wrote about this challenge I’d recently stuck my nose in the candy jar and inhaled the chocolate smell from the candies. That alone was enough to satisfy my craving at the time.

My dedication to this challenge over the weekend faltered. It started on Saturday when I had an organic chocolate toaster pastry for breakfast. Granted it had “organic sugar” and not the usual corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup content. But my decision had been made and I ate it. About an hour or so later I felt exhausted. Is it possible to start eliminating sugar only to re-introduce it and have it fatigue you? I mean only 6 days had passed. Was this my body reacting to the chocolate toaster pastry?

Or was it the fact that we’d been to see Tower of Power on Friday night and didn’t get to bed till after midnight on Saturday morning? Perhaps it was a combination of both.

Later in the day my dance with chocolate and sugar continued when we had a cup of hot chocolate after returning from errands. Again, this was an organic chocolate and sugar mix. But chocolate is chocolate and sugar is sugar (this was not stevia or anything like that.)

It really tasted good but an hour or so later my body had another reaction. Hmm….

I knew Saturday would continue to be a challenge as we were attending the 60th birthday party for our friend Bruce. I knew there would be a birthday cake. Sure enough, the batter was half chocolate, half white. And oh the white frosting and frosting balloons. Yes, this too tasted good.

Sunday I again felt exhausted and had to take a nap in the afternoon. Another late night on Saturday plus a bit more sugar than I’d had in recent days.  Coincidence? Who knows.

What I do know is that there are certain days of the month when being without sugary sweets is much more challenging than other days of the month.

So Sunday, day 7, was my day to regroup and get back on with the plan. Today I faltered slightly with a chocolate chip coconut cookie (blast those Keebler Elves!)

Is it bad to say that I’m not feeling terribly guilty as I know these days will happen? These are choices I’m making so the only person I’m cheating on is myself and my commitment to the challenge. As someone once said you simply “dust yourself off and start all over again.”


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Carry a Small Grape

Carry a Small Grape is the title of the third story in Chapter 3, Intensity: Say Yes of Life is a Verb by Patti Digh.

In this story, Patti describes her youngest daughter’s obsession with carrying around a small object.  Tess carried her little object wherever she went; outside on the swings, in her bedroom (where it slept under her pillow, of course), on the seat next to her in the carriage.

What was the object?  Two small bars of hotel soap lovingly preserved in a ziploc bag.

Digh goes on to tell of the same affection her daughter developed for a tiny grape that she found during snack time; how Tess gushed over the tiny grape, how fragile the tiny grape was to her, how teeny-tiny cute it was.  The grape was also carried around by Tess and given a place of honor in a bed of toilet paper placed inside the lid from a bottle.

These small objects are Tess’s talismans; her good luck charms.  They bring her joy and she, in turn, treats them with great reverence.

We all have talisman; a rabbit’s foot, shiny pennies, a favorite pen, a piece of jewelry, a pair of socks, a feather, a shell, a rock or momentos from a favorite vacation.  These are items that bring us joy, bring us luck, bring us comfort.  We cherish them and, perhaps, feel a bit of sadness when they fall apart or when we lose them.

Sacred Space

Sacred Space

In my studio I have a small, sacred space.  In this space I have a statue of Buddha, feathers, shells, pictures, and other small trinkets that I’ve collected along the way.  Here I can sit, meditate, contemplate, and enjoy these trinkets.  However, I don’t carry any of these items with me, like Tess carried her tiny soaps and grape.

At the end of the story, Digh encouraged readers to think about their “grape”; the item or items that create wonder in us and that bring us joy.  Then she challenges us to create a collage or drawing or poem of these items and to make that our personal talisman that we carry with us.

I finally got around to making my talisman this weekend.

Joy Talisman

Joy Talisman

My talisman, my “grape” includes a picture of Eric and I, Woody, Pippin, and a picture from our trip to Santa Fe.  It came together easily, except for choosing a picture from one of our vacations.  I decided on the shot from Bandelier because it symbolizes the awe with which I view our world.  We are but a tiny portion in the immense universe.  And the words are some of my favorites.

This talisman is the size of a standard playing card or ATC.  It fits into my purse so I can carry it with me wherever I go.  And when I’m in need of a little grounding, of a little wonder and joy, I can pull out my talisman and breathe.

What is your talisman?


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Celebrate

I recently started reading Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh.  The book came about when Patti’s stepfather died 37 days after being diagnosed with cancer.  This event caused her to realize that “living your best life doesn’t mean ditching your job and sailing around the world-it means living each individual, glorious, simple day with more intention.”

In the book, Patti shares life stories that illustrate and celebrate “six core practices for living without regrets: say yes, be generous, speak up, love more, trust yourself, and slow down.”

One of my favorite activities in the book thus far is celebrating small things, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post on success.  To celebrate the small things, Patti has a great suggestion: birthday candles.  Why use birthday candles just for birthdays?  Why not use birthday candles to celebrate your accomplishments, your successes, your achievements.

To all those people out there who shared their successes after reading yesterday’s post; to all those people who made a mental note and patted themselves on the back for small successes, to all those people who said silently or aloud Woo-hoo, light a birthday candle and celebrate!

This one is for you!

CELEBRATE YOUR FEELING OF SUCCESS

CELEBRATE YOUR FEELING OF SUCCESS