Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Role Model In My Life is Alice Schuette

A Teapot that Alice Made Me

Do you have people in your life who, subconsciously, you model parts of your life after? I do. Many of them. And all for different reasons. Alice Schuette is one of those mentors for me, even though she has never, even be made aware of this fact.

Alice and I met in high school. Although, I cannot really say we were friends, but we were in some of the same activities and shared some of the same friends. Mostly, our lives did not cross until later in my life, after college, when she became someone I wanted to watch and sort of "take in."

I remember she drove this red Audi, and she kept a bag in her car to accumulate things she used during her day to add them to her recycling bin at home. This was in the mid 1980's, when all the recycling was done by you - no curbside pickup, no nothing. Even though I was recycling at the time, and getting tremendous grief about it from my parents, her act made me start doing things differently. I had only thought of recycling what I was throwing away in my house . . . she revolutionized my thinking about something very simple.

She was an artist. She taught at The Glassell Junior School of Art, which is the school associated with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She had her own studio down by The Last Concert Cafe. I thought her life was so revolutionary; I just did not know how to have one just like it. But I wanted it. I loved going to her studio, with no air conditioning and all the projects lying about, how the door of the studio would open just like a garage door and the view looked out into an empty lot with all that air coming in. It smelled divine, and everywhere I looked I saw something inspirational.

Our lives now mirror each other in many ways. We both had our first child much older in life. We were both married at The Rothko Chapel, unknown to each other until recently, when she posted a picture on Facebook of her wedding. I have my own studio with no air conditioning that has a garage door just like hers. How about that?

I blogged recently about the 5 Things I Would Save in A Fire. Alice commented on her five, and it brought me to tears. I asked if I could share it with you. It makes me want to, once again, be more like her.

I have a photo of my dad dressed in drag when he was 8.
I have a photo of my great aunt and her cousin in 1920's dressed up like Pancho Villa. I have a stick that my dog Flash played with in our backyard at 811 Wade Hampton before she died in 1995.
I have a lock of Emile's hair from the first haircut.
I have several rocks from different trips that I've collected.
And I have a St. Martin (now sadly headless) and his prayer card that I got in Ecuador. These are just some things.

Aren't these things the real treasures? The ones we hold in her hands to evoke a memory or a feeling. I have a little drawer of this stuff too. I think I will move these bits and pieces into something a little more worthy of their significance to me.

Having these types of mentors, even in your head, is a powerful tool in my life. You do not even have to be close friends with this person in order for them to affect you profoundly. I wonder who you know that inspires you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bookmarks Inspire Me and Aggravate Me

Some bookmarks I just finished

Books inspire me. Making books makes me feel purposeful. It makes me feel alive.

Bookmarks also inspire me, as well as aggravate me. They are a very HARD format for me to create, b/c they are small. And I like to pile stuff on to things and create lots of dimension. But working on this tiny type of canvas is really critical for me, because it helps me to learn to edit. I also think it's a great way to use all your paper scraps.

The bookmarks I always seem to like the best are the ones made out of complete junk. When I actually have to make something out of nothing . . . my mind creates more. And since I am very passionate about repurposing, reusing and recycling, that passion comes through.

Made from bottle caps found in a parking lot, an old earring, and a dry cleaning tag

Made from a Bandaid box, Lucy's discarded paperdoll bits, crepe paper, and some junk

Button, Bottle cap, and another discarded earring

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Soul Collage Is Beyond Powerful

I don't make a proclamation like this lightly. Soul Collage is one of the BEST tools I have found to not only unlock my creativity, but to work with my intuitive side. It lets me create without knowing what I am creating. Which is something we forget about doing as we get older. We constantly do EVERYTHING with purpose. This is not always the best mode for creativity.

I took this class at The Earth Sanctuary, and have blogged about it previously. The class is taught by Glenda and Sandra - who make the MOST incredible cards, btw. One piece of advice - don't try to make cards like theirs - they are amazing enough to be licensed products, and if you get immersed in trying to make yours as worthy as theirs, then you miss the point of the class . At my last class, I brought my mother, which is a whole other blog post, if you know what I mean.

Here is the process of the class - pull images for a period of time, sort of organize your images and then start creating a collage on one card. I have to go SUPER fast, or I find that I am censoring myself or making my cards with intention, and I want to make them intuitively. After you make the card, it is helpful to journal about it. You may not even know what the images are trying to tell you, which is just fine. Just go with it.

When I made this card, I was sort of scared of it. It is daunting. Fierce. Sort of spooky. This is NOT how most of the things I create look - they are more about happiness, lightness, and color.

I will share with you what I wrote, which is extremely hard, as I do not let anyone read my journals. However, if this helps someone take this class, and learn about the process, it is worth some minor embarrassment. You start each statement with "I am the one who..."

I am the one who feels beaten down by life.
I am the one who has fierceness and fortitude.
I am the one who works tirelessly to get where I need to go.
I am the one who finds refuge in church.
I am the one who feels dragged down at times, tired, and afraid of not getting ahead.
I am the one who is pulling my own cart.
I am the one who feels darkness.
I am the one who is strong.

It is interesting to note a couple of things about the context of this card and what my mind has been processing lately. My Bible study group, through Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, has been studying Ephesians these past weeks. A few weeks ago we talked about dressing yourself in the armor of God. There is a church in the background. And this man looks a little ready for battle, right? He is carrying a rickshaw - a detail that is hard to see. And I recently read a book about rickshaw drivers and other types of laborers in India. My point is that your subconscious mind is like a machine always processing things - things you may not even know need processing.

I am reminded to stay strong. Stay the course. No matter what my hopelessness can feel like in any moment, it can never equate to the feeling of hopelessness that a man in this situation must feel. And yet, he pulls his cart one step at a time. Isn't that how we get through life? One step at a time. And it helps to have your armor ready.

You Are Enough And So Am I

Picture by Andrea Scher

I have been taking an amazing e-course this summer, where this picture originated from. It is transforming my life one step at a time, one action at a time, one play date at a time. I found out about it from this artist, and I am eternally grateful that from taking one class, you learn something about another one, and so on. Both Kelly Rae Roberts and the originators of Mondo Beyondo are people well worth getting to know. This e-course is about....

Play, Kindness and Respect

Now before you stop reading... I know this sounds simple. I even thought I don't need a class about these things, I need one about getting organized and setting goals and blah, blah, blah. I don't have time to have fun, and if I did have time, then how far behind would I get?

But something nagged at me to take it. I also had a friend and artist, Celia Clowe, who was doing it, and so with peer pressure and nagging thoughts, I signed up. This class has infused my life with things I had forgotten about. Things like silly string, ding-dong-ditch (where you leave a happy for someone on their doorstep), jumping rope, having tea ceremonies with Lucy. It has inspired my life in ways I cannot even begin to tell you.

But our assignment today is to tell you. To make a declaration to others that We are enough right now. Today. I made this collage in honor of how I felt. Notice, dark scary background, happy woman coming out of it, and a caged mouse at the bottom. I made this in my Soul Collage class this past Saturday. It was sitting on my desk as I writing this, and I was looking over at it, and then had the Aha Moment.

I am the woman who has come out of a very dark time with a long battle against postpartum depression, and am now overjoyed with life, and no longer a caged mouse (mouser is my nickname). The dishes are dirty in the sink. I am tired. I have been beating myself up for not getting this or that done. Enough. I am enough right now.

And you want to hear the CRAZIEST thing? I am now MORE productive than I was before I took this course. All those worries about getting behind . . . this has opened my mind to more power, strength, organization, less stress, and a lot more JOY.

And if I just set aside 30 minutes every night to have a play date with my daughter...than all is well with me, with her, and with the world. You would be surprised how this one practice can transform your life. Won't you try it? What do you have to lose?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blank Books Are Intimidating

Book Created by Katie Gonzalez

A lot of times people look at the books that I create and like them, which is not just cool, it is thrilling, I have to admit. Then, I see, sort of a puzzled and sometimes embarrassed look on their faces, and then they ask, "What do I put in it?" I have been making books since I was a kid, so it might be very easy to be flippant about this question and say, "What don't you put in it?"

But I don't say that. I honestly don't think that. I know how hard it is to write in a beautiful book. You might feel like you have to use your best handwriting. You might feel like it is just to bare and too blank, and that bareness intimidates you. And there are many more fears.

I bought the book pictured above for Lucy. I blogged about the maker, Katie Gonzalez, awhile back. She uses a type of bookbinding process called coptic stitching. You can read more about her work here.

I would like to share with you what I wrote on the first page of this beautiful book:

Lucy, I think when anyone starts a blank book or journal, it is intimidating. You think things like...what if I make a mistake?, what do I have to say that is so special?, what if I misspell something? These are normal fears. Ones I hope that you will get over as you grow up and start books of your own.

I want to fill this book with all the funny things you say to us, because we forget them so quickly. And if it is one thing your dad and I treasure - it is words. We love to read them, write them and say them. You do too. We can already see such amazing things forming in your head and coming out of your mouth.

My hope is you will learn to use this as a book with me (see...I messed up here...does not matter one bit). When you say something funny or poignant, you will scream, "Where is my book? We have to write it down."

Yes, this is my hope, dear one.

Some books that have been really beneficial to me in the process of writing are:

There are many more. I spend a great deal of my time reading books about what to write in them. Sounds funny, I know. But it inspires me. To think for one minute that I could create something for you to record your life . . . that is motivation. It sure is.

Detail of a book I just finished - just digging this butterfly imagery

A very tiny detail of something I find VERY true

The finished look of this book

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Is The Universe Calling You To Do?

Cover for a custom book I am working on

So many things buzz around in my head before I sit down and write to you. I have to admit something here...this is my FAVORITE time of the day. Sitting and writing. Did you hear that? I said FAVORITE time of the day.

I want to share something with you. I have kept journals since the 5th grade. Reluctantly, I would write in them and then trash the written pages later when I reread them. Or I would start them and then never finish and due to the embarrassing fact that I left this journal half-filled, I would throw them away. God, we are hard on ourselves.

I have collected books on writing and blank books since I was in the 4th grade. Kind of a sign from the universe, don't you think? Why was I not paying attention?

This is what I am asking you today:

What are you collecting?
What signs is the Universe giving you
that you are ignoring?

Because believe me, it is trying to tell you

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Giveaway No. 3 and Something From Paris

Paris . . . is on my mind.
I have no plans to go there, but a girl can dream.
We can ALWAYS dream.

I am doing another GIVEAWAY.
Partnering with Vandi Hodges who graciously offered these gold hoops.

You can find all the details on my Facebook page for Little Lucy and Scooter.

24K Gold Vermeil over Fine Silver - Retail Value $195.00
Now getting back to Paris ...
here are a few details or thoughts that are inside the books.

Close-up of cover of book pictured above ... kinda proud of her hat.

This is one of the marblized pages I did with my friends, Brenda and Monica.

Some small details....

This paper was given to me by my artist friend Patricia Hinojosa.

Vandi just got back from Paris, and she brought me
some really CHOICE stuff.

This is some paper I had Bernard Bonnet bring
back from Paris in 2001.

Never found anything like this in the U.S.A.

I want to be this COOL.

This is the back inside cover ... of one book that is for me.I am saving it for when I go to Paris.

If you make it ... it will come.