Happy Winter Everyone.... Im sitting here typing away as the snow heavily falls outside my bedroom window. Its early & still dark outside. The crows are out squacking away screaming for food I havent brought out to them yet...My husband hit the road hours ago plowing, sanding & salting ...Im a little slower than he is but theyre sure letting me know...
I made up these seemingly delicious birdy burgers from rice cakes, peanut butter, corn meal, bird seed, raisins, & a little maple syrup...I hung them on a variety of trees but the birds couldnt have cared less...but the squirrels? ohhh they tore them down.. then tore em up! LOL Chewed right thru the reupholstry thread I wound around them several times...& they had em on the ground glommin em down & I could have sworn I heard a sqirrely burps! LOL
I posted a couple of pictures of my incompleted & neked bunny Im in the process of making. Im participating with some amazing artists & doll makers from Cloth & Doll Artistry.
Its a challenge Ive joined. Were supposed to design a... Christmas Easter Bunny! We can keep our dolls but need to have our projects submitted by Feb. 25th & judging will begin I think on the 27th & 28th. The lucky winner will win an online class from Kat Lee.
Im also very humbled & extremely excited to have begun a very personal journey of self discovery with my dear online friend Emily Franz from "Hootin Annies" & her blog "Blonde & Blithe" What an amazing woman of grace, humor, & what a mind blowing beautiful spirit she has.
Weve begun working to find & unlock, & then honor our authentic selves with "The Artist Way" book as a guide. I posted a picture of a few books Ive been reading & use as daily meditations to help better understand why I often feel so blocked as a creative artisan.
One of the several reasons I adore Em is because she isnt the least bit intimidated or turned off with my Learning Disabilities, I think she has the grace to see beyond my barriers that often prevent me from learning things artistically that so many take for granted...I can learn, it just has to be presented to me in a non linear way than most. Void of impatience, shame or judgements.
I cant share what Ems hopes , dreams & goals are...out of respect for her since this is a personal journey but I do know she shared publicly we are on this walk together, but I can share a little bit of my walk & my experiences.
I was first introduced to Emily way back when Country Marketplace Magazine was still being published. She had done a fabulous interview & had a photo spread of herself & some of her work. I could tell immediately that this woman was a force not to be reckoned with...LOL I mean her tenacious spirit, her lust for life was so infectious...I was so drawn to her. I must have reread her 3 page spread multiple times. She was this adoreable sexy blonde straddling a chair, with her black jeans & red high heels on....Im tellin ya...she made an impression Ill never forget...
At that point, I had never sewed or attempted to make a doll but I was so hungry with desire I could taste it...I had dabbled in some decorative painting but still considered myself a "crafter" & I loathe that word...Im surely not an artist yet but Im not crocheting any lavender dogs to hold my toilet paper! LOL not that theres anything wrong with crocheting purple dogs or dolls for the back of your toilet...Im just sayin... besides...this is my story! LOL
For years my Mom was sadly afraid to encourage me to peek outside of my comfort zone & I think she was trying to avoid my disappointment so when ever I expressed my desire to sew a doll....one of Ems "Hootin Annies" (that just spoke to my spirit)...shed say.."Ohhh honey, dont set yourself up, stick with what you know" which wasnt much & I was bored & needed stimulation..so I kept my first trip to Nirvana to myself when I went to the fabric store for the first time...Ems pattern of "October Annie" safely crumpled in my hand & asked the sales clerk to help me...after all those dark days in my active addiction, here I was sneaking to the fabric store...keeping my secret from my Mom... Jeesh what was so wrong with that picture???
But I kept Ems words from the interview & what I took from her, in my head to support me...do what you love...follow your dreams...your bliss...go for it...because its what she did..I rode on her words, her courage that I took from her article...
I sped home & sat at my dining room table, with all my supplies & sewing machine I wasnt very familiar with & looked up every word in the pattern that was latin to me...I remember working on stuffing her uncooperative #!!OX**O%## neck for hours...many tears...many cups of coffee....& yes I reverted to what I know best...good olde fashioned Prayer...
I reflect back now to how sad it was that as an avid (doll making) sewer my own Mom was, I couldnt possibly have asked her for help...she just didnt think I was worth the time it would take to try & master this one doll Im sure she thought would be my last...
I remember staying up past 2 am appliquing the pumpkins on her little primitive apron...thank God "Primitive" allows & encourages a non perfection make do attitude....cuz this doll was as imperfect as one could get but completed...with personality & she was mine.
One would have thought I had just completed the Nobel "Piece" Prize...I couldnt wait for the light of day to drive over to Moms house to show Annie off...to show me off...to show God off...
She was stunned but genuinely thrilled & proud of me...that was probably 60 or more dolls ago... It wasnt long after that before my mom used to come to me for guidance on primitive doll making...
My gift here was wondering what else did my mom think I couldnt do because of her own issues, barriers & fears???
God, the profound impact on this experience was beyond anything I could imagine... Id been in the dark for so long battling addiction & then trying to rebuild my life, & make amends from the wreckage of that horrible lifestyle that Id stopped believing I was able to do anything at all.
Could I in fact make pie crusts & pies???
Mom said I should buy the store bought since Id never be able to master this tricky task...After successfully making my own pies & homemade crusts, the lil shack "Soul Peaches" in our town took one bite from the pie Id brought down & old beautiful "Minnie" ordered 4 a week...I provided this little restaurant with apple, peach, cherry, & blueberry pies until they closed their doors 2 years ago!
I know being as star struck & naive I was, I carefully typed out a letter of thanks to Em after making October Annie & thanked her for inspiring me as a woman, to push myself into believing in myself.
I thanked her because I felt she was responsible for this beautiful magic that she motivated me to tap into myself & unlock. I remember her kind reply...she said "Id knocked her socks off with my surprize email & compliments, & she hadnt a clue as to how she helped, but was happy if I thought she had in some way, & encouraged me to make 100 more dolls" She said she was humbled...oh if she only knew!
Since then Ive followed her blog, drank in her enthusiasm, & when she expressed interest in working with someone serious looking & interested to do a little creative & spiritual excavating with the Artist Way..well I was all over that!!!!
I shared this lengthy experience because I am passionate about carrying the message of hope to each other. I sadly know a few artists out there who have been blessed & havent found the place in their hearts to give back a little.
Im not asking or suggesting that we reveal our secrets, our knowledge of perfecting doll making that would prevent or comprimise our own sales...all Im asking is that we encourage each other...we dont know what anyone may be going thru...
I do know..if were honest well admit were all going thru something & if we cant lift each other up with our gift of time...of encouraging words, healing thoughts,then who will?
At the time, Em had no clue as to how God was using her voice, her experience,her passion as a vessel to touch my life so profoundly. If she had such an impact to inspire me...could I possibly???? touch someone as well?
I believe God blessed us with very personal exquisite gifts, purposes, & passions, and if we take them & run without giving back? well... we reap what we sow. I want God to be proud of me...Too whom much is given..much is expected.
I will forever be grateful that God lead me to Emily...in the short time weve gotten to know each other, she just makes me want to be a better woman...Thank you Miss Em...me thinks God was just plain showing off when He made you! I love ya & look forward in all thats ahead of us.