July 15, 2013

Color Run 2013! Oh yes we did!

 Hi again!  Wow, what an amazing, busy weekend!  Lovin' Man and I completed our very first 5k EVER.  And of course, being the color fanatic that I am, it had to be the COLOR RUN!  If you had told me a year ago that I would be RUNNING, let alone a 5k, I would've said you were crazy.  I thought runners were crazy, honestly.  And some are....but it's kind of a cool sort of crazy. It's pushing your body beyond boundaries....almost more mental than physical....although, the physical is definitely a requirement to keep going.  There's this cool rhythm that sets in when you run....where your body is cooperating, and doing what you want it to do....it's awesome! Does this make any sense?

 Here we are, sporting our lovely headbands prior to the race.

At the Color Run, you start out nice and clean, and wearing white.  We met up with some good friends in Des Moines....it's WAY more fun with friends!  Especially unicorn friends!
And then we ran......and ran.....we got splashed....and we ran........
We laughed......got splattered with color.....and ran.....and ran.....young Becca kept me on my toes......we didn't stop once......we ran......
And at the end, we smiled, and rested, and giggled, and made plans to do it again.......
It really is the happiest 5k on the planet.  If you get a chance to do it, DO IT. 
Thanks for letting me share this little bit of joy with y'all.
“I love running. I’m not into marathons, but I am into avoiding problems at an accelerated rate.
- Jarod Kintz

July 12, 2013

Blissin' Out

It has occurred to me recently that I am truly finding my bliss again.  Feeling really happy and passionate about all that is offered to me. 
Things currently giving me that blissful feeling:
1) The open studio at my business.  I'm in love with all the light, the floor, the big windows.  It just had a more open, creative vibe than the old space.  Love it.   
2)  My customers.  Generally, we have the coolest customers in town.  They are usually the happiest, most laid back group of people, and they truly appreciate what we are doing, and they support it.
3)  My family.  We have hit a nice stride in getting along and having fun together.  Enjoying my kids more than ever before....and that feels really nice. Soon we will be on vacation together. Yay!
4)  Derby.  I am physically the strongest I have ever been in my life.  I still have work to do, but my accomplishments so far make me feel so good.  This group of women is amazing, and I look forward to seeing them every week to SWEAT IT OUT.
5)  My neighborhood.  I can honestly say that if push ever comes to shove, I know that my neighbors would have our back.  These people are fabulous, kind and FUN.  We are having another get together this weekend, and I can hardly wait.  We are all so different, but still have a GREAT time together. 
6)  Inspiration.  I'm finding it everywhere.....online, magazines, books, on walks, talking with other creative peeps, etc.  For a while I couldn't think of a thing to create....now my brain is on overload, and I feel there isn't enough time to try it all.  A wonderful problem to have.
7)  My Art Rocks kids.  They will teach you all you need to know about JOY.  They ooze with it, all the time, over everything.  A fine lesson for us all.
8)  Our pups.  Elsie and Bosco make us laugh many times a day.  Their love is so pure and so simple.  They don't need much to be happy.  Another fine lesson.
9)  Color.  Can't get enough of it.  I want more, more, more color!  On everything!  All of them, all together, on everything. 
10)  Freedom.  Every day, I'm so thankful to be a woman who can do work that I love. I can drive my own car wherever I want, and I can think my own thoughts and believe my own spirit's calling.  I can speak my mind and explore new possibilities every day.  I am fully aware that not every woman has this.....and that we need to work towards a world that supports this notion.  If all of our women and girls were supported with freedom, AMAZING things would happen.
"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls before."
-Joseph Campbell
"Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss.  Nothing is as rich.  Nothing is more real."  -Deepak Chopra

July 11, 2013

Nothing Left

Wow!  I had absolutely NO trouble falling asleep last night!  I spent the day rearranging the store, which is always a good thing....it stirs things up and brings a new energy to the space.  We had some lively, creative customers in the studio.  And then a long, hard derby practice in Monticello!  We were really pushing ourselves physically, to work harder, faster and better.  Felt good to sweat, and I had nothing left at the end of the day.  Always a good feeling! 

Above is a piece I made with my own painted papers, magazine pages and a little scrapbook paper.  I did several faces like this...but he's my favorite one.  I think I'm gonna turn this one into a postcard.  Wouldn't you love to receive this message in the mail when you feel like you've got nothing left?

I'm not sure what today has in store for me.....but a little coffee, and off I go!  Have a great Thursday, all!

July 08, 2013

Twas a fun holiday week!

Howdy friends!  I have had a wonderful past few days!  Have you? Most of last week was spent with family visiting from out of town.  We always LOVE to soak up as much time with them as we can! 

These particular family members are just so wonderful.  So good for the soul to be with them.  We laugh a lot together, we drink wine, Lovin' Man always makes a few batches of his homemade ice cream....and we indulge in it every night they are with us.

 And they are SO good for my kids.  They adore my kids, love on them, shower them with attention and praise....it's good stuff, man.

My brain has been swirling with lots of creative ideas and projects.  Things I want to try, especially in my journal.  But I've been a very good girl, and finishing up some larger items for some customers who have been waiting for their pieces. 

This is a pair of deck chairs that a customer needed to have repaired and repainted.  She is definitely a Caribbean soul....so the palm trees and sunshine are perfect for her, complete with a Jimmy Buffett quote, one of my faves......

"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."  -Jimmy Buffett
And this piece was done for Cindy, whose home is just so rockin'!  Her colors are hot pink, lime, aqua, yellows, blues, and little touches of black and white.  ADORE!!!  This piece really stumped me at first.  So it sat, ignored in the corner of the studio for some time, before I figured it out. 
 It's a weird piece, that seems to be a cross between a school desk and a cuckoo clock!  We believe it's an old phone stand of some sort.  That circular piece at the top stumped me for a while, but then I remembered the fabulous trick of making zinnia flowers out of sunflower seeds and peppercorns, and Viola!  Instant pizzazz! It feels so good to mark things off the list.  In addition, we are going to keep our sweet Lily (our recent graduate) in the house for a while, so we are sprucing her room up. Got it repainted yesterday....a snazzy dark raspberry color, which I believe we are going to accent with a fun chevron print.  We shall see. 

Feeling blessed indeed.  Hope you are too!


July 04, 2013

Happy 4th!!!

Wishing you all a perfectly sun-shiny holiday! 
Happy Independence Day, USA!

July 03, 2013

Monday Night "Art Journaling Pow Wow"

Monday night, I hosted a small group of friends in the studio to talk about and experiment with art journaling ideas and techniques.  A couple of the ladies are pretty new to the idea of art journaling and altered books, and a couple of us are fairly experienced in techniques, and what to do with supplies, etc.  It was FUN!!!

 Below are some photos of some of the backgrounds we created for our books.  We didn't really get past backgrounds....we were too chatty and excited to focus on much more than that!  Ha!  Plus we snarfed down some YUMMY pizza from Zoey's!  But these are a good jumping off point for any piece of art.  The layers!  Love the layers!  Great for working on a book, a canvas, fabric, anything! 

First off, I have to show you this shot of something Denise brought with her that made us all drool, and ooh and aah......thousands of tiny words and expressions....already cut out, and ready to include in a piece.  She was attaching these to tiny little wooden hearts and using them as "tokens" to hand to friends.  She generously shared her stash of words...it was good!

I was really proud of Denise for jumping in....starting...despite her hesitation and trying to "overthink." She found the heart stencil, sprayed some ink, and then went to town with water soluble crayons. 
More oohs and aaahs came from that side of the room, which made me smile.  Look at her go!
My friend Cindy got to work on altering an old book, with the title "Juvenile Delinquency." 
She says that this summed up her childhood, since apparently she was a naughty little sprite....and thus would be a perfect book for her to alter.  She kept the title visible while working on the cover.
She ended up painting a mouth around the title words, with a cool flower stencil and lots of doodles and layers.  I think it's gonna be a fun one for her to work in!
My Lily joined us too, and painted papers for me to use in my book, or put in collages......
We used bubble wrap, stencils, and paper towels to make texture on paper.  Everyone fell in love with Dylusions ink sprays!  So vivid, and so easy to use!  Pictured below are some pages started by the amazing Mary Zeran and the adorable Lily.

Erin was off to a fabulous start with this page...using repositionable tape and spritzing with the inks!!!  LOVE IT!  And that patterned tape is wonderful!
And here are a couple of backgrounds I got done.  There are some layers of cheap acrylic paints, inks spritzed through stencils, more acrylic pressed on with bubble wrap.  (We were singing the praises of bubble wrap!) And the uneven circles were stamped with a toilet paper roll!  All highly technical!  Ha!  The heart on the bottom of the second page was spritzed while the underlying acrylic was still wet, so it did this cool "smooshing" and swirling together. 
These are all great beginnings for a canvas too....not just a journal.  In fact, I'm working on a canvas piece that's almost done, using similar layers as a start.  I'll show you when it's done!

Well, thanks for taking a peek....this was seriously a fun night that FLEW by in an instant.  We all agreed that we need to do this again soon.  It's so exciting to share inspiration with other likeminded creative souls. 

July 02, 2013

Check out the updated studio space!

Good morning creative friends!  I've been neglectful in showing you our brand spanking new studio space at The Dreaming Bear!  Silly me!  Well, in early spring, we consolidated our retail store into the first front room of our space, and instead of having our art studio in the back, behind the store, we have moved it up!  Front and center in the second room of our space! 

This is an improvement on so many levels!  We have LOTS of natural light coming in through the windows in front....some days, we barely need to turn the lights on at all!    People walking by on the street can see the creative frenzy going on inside, so they are more inclined to pop their head in and see what's going on!

And because it's in the front, it's a lot easier for us to staff....so now the studio is open whenever the store is open.....which is quite awesome, and works with the schedules of our busy customers so much better! 

We still  have all the wonderful options we had before...painting, decoupage and mosaic supplies.  And I'm committed to adding new items to choose from on a weekly basis.  It's been great fun to see our customers eyes light up when they see all the paints, glitters and ribbons.  It's contagious, and hard to resist touching all of the art supplies!

We will definitely get back to hosting private parties in the evenings....but still working on some reliable sources for supplies, so as not to disappoint!  If you are interested in hosting your own art event, email me, and we'll see what kind of creative fun we can come up with for you and your group!
Okay, I just realized that all of these photos are before our JAZZY new floor was put in!  For Pete's sake!  Well, I'm not turning back now....but will show you this snapshot, to give you an idea of how much COOLER the space is now!!!  Check out that gorgeous floor!  Snazzy AND easy to clean!  Perfect for us! Ha!
 And below, take a look at what some of our customers have created in our studio already! 

Come and play with us!  Tuesday-Friday 10-5:30 and Saturdays 10-4!

July 01, 2013

Gorgeous Monday morning

Hi again!  We have had a couple of GLORIOUS days in a row now.  I made it a resolution to get outside a little bit each day, no matter the weather....but these beautiful days sure make it a lot more fun!  As many of you know, we have two fur babies.....Elsie (a golden/yellow lab mix) and Bosco (a chocolate lab) and they love to get out and romp.....that is....when they aren't too busy resting......

Elsie is obsessed with ball chasing, and can be a tad nervous about things.
(although you'd never know it by this picture)

Bosco is a ladies man and could care less about chasing balls. 
 He flirts with customers in my store, and holds the couch down.
Not a day goes by when these two do not make us laugh. 
 Our home is a happier one with them in it. 
In other news, I finally feel like I'm getting my creative mojo back!  Yippee!  I went through a bit of a dry spell as of late....tired, unmotivated and unfocused. BLECH.  Some big things have changed in my life over the past few months.  I started playing roller derby last fall!  As a result, I'm healthier, stronger (lost 25 pounds and counting), and having a blast! My team is the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls....check us out!!! 
Here's a picture of me in my jersey before my first bout....I was excited, and nervous as hell!!!  Ha!  But it is such a fabulous group of women, who have taught me so much.  I would never trade this experience for anything.  We are all so different....our backgrounds, our lifestyles, etc.  But it's yet another example of people coming and working together for a common goal. 
In addition to all the skating, I've been doing a lot of strength training, running and other activities that have me feeling the best I ever have.  Grateful for this body that is working and cooperating, with the exception of a little ache or pain here and there! Lovin Man has really taken off with getting fit too....and we plan to run our first 5k next weekend....a COLOR RUN!!!!  Is there a better 5k for a color loving girl??  I think not!!!!
And another big change for our family is my oldest, Lily, has graduated high school!  Wow!  Where did that time go?  CRAZY.  She will be leaving us with some extra room in our house....so I am contemplating what to do with that extra space.....hmmmm.....art studio???  :)

We are excited to see family and friends this holiday week.  There will be some grilling, some playing, some sparklers, fireworks, a baseball game....We love the 4th!!!  Wishing you and yours an excellent holiday week!!!