Tuesday, December 30, 2008

January 1, 2009 will be the name draw...

The hats are prepared. January 1, 2009 will be the draw for 10 spots in my Resilience and art course, one spot in the Happiness Challenge, and one spot in the Artist's Healing Journey. If you want to play, see the rules in the previous post and leave me a comment. Thanks and stay tuned.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three Give-Away Offers from me to you!

I said I was going to try to find a way to play in this Give-Away activity running rampant through the blog world. So here it is:
I'll be starting up the next rounds of The Artists' Happiness Challenge and The Artist's Healing Journey in January. (Happiness will be starting on the 12th of January and the Journey starts on the 26th of January.) You can read the details here. So I'm offering a free spot in both courses.

All you have to do is:
1. Be willing to play.
2. Announce this offer in your blog.
3. Leave me a comment with a link to your blog and announcement.

Perhaps you don't have a blog but would love a chance to participate in an Artist's Course by Lani? You are in luck. I'm working on a new course on Resilience and Art. I'll be basing the art prompts on principles employed by spas to help their customers relax and release those stress reducing hormones. Sound relaxing and fun? What I'd really love and need is an initial group of about 10 who would be willing play with my prompts for free, spending roughly 20 mins. a day on art/relaxation/resilience exercises for 12 weeks (probably 2 prompts a week plus articles and helpful stories, etc.)? Anyone here interested? Leave a comment here or email me and I'll draw ten names from who ever is interested!

Good luck and have fun! (If you are interested in the courses but not the free offer please see my website or Artella.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Play and Relaxation

Collage by Lani

Jan B. sent me a great newsletter with a lot of links and great quotes, all about play. Here's one particularly thought provoking quote:

“What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives. — What common denominator is shared by mass murderers, abused children, burnt-out employees, depressed mothers, caged animals, and chronically worried students? Play is rarely or never a part of their lives.”
— Stuart Brown, Institute of Play

Actually the website is about the importance of play and creativity in the workplace. So I followed these interesting links and ended up with the ten top reasons why it's good for employers to encourage employees to play. Coincidentally, I had been reading a bit on the use of massage in the workplace to promote relaxation, creativity, and productivity. Suddenly a big moment of enlightenment occurred as these two ideas swirled together in my mind. If these things are good for employees and the productivity of a company, they must be good for us in our lives all the time.

So here are my ten reasons to play and relax, not for our employers but for us:

1. Play is the path to fun. Fun leads to creativity and inner satisfaction. We are free to be creative if we are feeling playful and happy.

2. Play has all kinds of intrinsic rewards and helps us feel good by releasing positive brain chemicals.

3. The quality of our lives suffer if we don't take the time to play and relax. But we have become so "busy" it's hard to imagine creating time to play and relax. When was the last time you took time for yourself?

4. Most traditional cultures have time set aside for rest, making it sacred and an absolute necessity. Perhaps there is some wisdom to be found in traditional cultures.

5. We need time to do nothing, let problems incubate and allow for creativity to flow.

6. When we are at play, we can experience that spacious feeling of unlimited possibilities.

7. Play and relaxation allow us to be happy in our lives. If we are happy in our lives we are more resilient.

8. Playful activities generate joy and replenish our inner wellsprings. We are able to create and problem-solve effortlessly.

9. Play frees us from worry and stress, making life easier to cope with.

10. Play keeps our passions alive. We thrive in fun, relaxing, and creative environments because our passion is animated. What can we do to add a little fun, relaxation, and creativity in our environment?

I love coincidences, they make me feel quite playful, so on the same day that Jan sent me on this relaxation and play journey, Adela sent me this link, http://uncontrol.com/ where I totally got into flow mode, lost track of time, and solved about 10 problems I had been working on!!!

Thank you Adela and Jan! Now I'm off to check Stuart Brown's Institute of Play.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here's my Season's Greating for you

May your holiday be filled with wonder.

May your St. Nicholases out-number your Krampuses (Don't know Krampus? See wikipedia.)

May inspiration and joy create wings for your mind and heart.

May there always be enough mistletoe.

May the Ghost of Christmas Present spread cheer to all, even Scrooge.

May there be plenty of plum puddings.

May you discover wonderful things in the new year.

I must thank jaihn for her great find of a source for antique Christmas Cards, Mazaika.com!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another give-away!!!

Oh my, I found another blog with give-aways! This one will last only a couple of days, but do take a look at http://yourimpactmatters.com/. Such sweet little sock monsters and the blog itself is a delight!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Odetta - December 3, 2008

Lyrics for "Glory, Glory":

Glory glory, hallelujah
Since I lay my burden down
Glory glory, hallelujah
Since I lay my burden down

All my sickness will be over
When I lay my burden down
All my sickness will be over
When I lay my burden down

All my troubles will be over
When I lay my burden down
All my troubles will be over
When I lay my burden down

Lord, I'm feeling so much better
Since I lay my burden down
Lord, I'm feeling so much better
Since I lay my burden down

Meaningful Gifts and Inspiration

My BFF Kim's wrapped doll, a sweet gift that came in the post a few days back. (Thank you Kim! And I sure wish I could be in Ohio when another BFF will be there with you!)

So I've been thinking about the best presents I could imagine giving or receiving and I came up with two pretty simple ideas. The first one would be gifts of inspiration which continues to grow and multiply. The second would be stress reduction or relaxation ... or maybe what I'm thinking of is peace! So starting with inspiration here's Kim's and my wrapped dolls with ArtFest Bunny, they are reminding me that always time to make art and to think about ArtFest.

Around the same time that Kim's wrapped doll showed up here in Nova Scotia, I got an email from Joy MacLeod (the originator of my particular branch or wrapped art doll, via Jhan Groom) that she's being featured on Barb Kobe's Healing Doll blog. So if you are interested in wrapped doll inspiration, pop over to Barb's blog. You can see what Joy is up to but there's lots of other inspiration there as well! I found a Jan Phillips video there, a must see for all artists!

Would you like more inspiration? Rachel Alban sent this great source into an art therapy eGroup the other day, and it is full of modern history and inspiration:
LIFE magazine recently digitized their photo archive. Its hosted on
google. Although, it is not the same experience as flipping and
tearing through magazines..... It is organized really well and is a
lot of fun to click through. Great resource.


Another great source for vintage visual imagery came from Carol Moore:

A wonderful resource for clip art.

She is also helping to raise money for the cancer society by clicking 
on the site.

And Adela sent me this link for YES magazine devoted to positive and eco-friendly type stories. Lots of inspiration here, especially the story about a sustainably happy and stress free Christmas with no presents. Read this if you are looking for gift ideas that are ecologically responsible and will reduce your own stress!

Now for that gift of relaxation and peace... I went to our library where I discovered Liz Wilde's The Busy Woman's Home Spa Book which is a delight to look through. There are lovely, soothing images, delicious sounding recipes and common sense ideas about making time for our own well being. Although this book now resides on my wishlist, I got to wondering how many websites are devoted to DIY Home Spas. Don't you think creating a spa at home would be about the most fabulous thing you could do for yourself?

I'll let you know the best of what I find but meanwhile here's a sample of Ian Hutson's (Toronto's Camden Spa) recipes for you:
Cornmeal and Yogurt Scrub
This mixture is great for cleansing and exfoliating. You’ll need:

* 1 tbs. Ground cornmeal
* 2 tbs. Natural yogurt

Mix the ingredients into a paste and gently rub into your skin. Start at your chin and work up to the cheeks and forehead in small circles. Rinse off. The cornmeal helps exfoliate and leave your skin refreshed and glowing!

Lemon Refresher Toner
The acidity of the lemon and lime act as a toner to tighten your skin and close your pores. You’ll need:

* 1 lemon or lime
* ½ tsp. Cold water

Mix the lemon or lime juice and the water in a bowl. Gently pat onto your face after cleansing and follow with your favourite moisturizer.

Avocado MaskMash the creamy insides of one avocado into a soft paste and apply to your face using the avocado pit to massage the paste into your skin using small, upward, circular motions. Leave on for a few minutes then wash off with warm water. Avocados are naturally rich in vitamin E and leave your skin feeling soft.

For more, visit http://www.wnetwork.com/articles/health_spiritT1.asp?id=204

Here's hoping your holiday season is peaceful, stress-free and full of meaningful gifts and inspiration!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More Flickr Fun and Gifts

Another Man Ray Contest! What fun. Paul Grand provided the moon face and Pink Sherbet Photography provided the snow texture layer. Thank you Paul and Pink Sherbet!!!
Oh yes, and this image was created for the 42nd Weekly Contest on Man Ray: Moon Face. Fun, fun, fun!

Now about GIFTS, continue to check Chrysti's giveaways is for 29 days, you can keep checking in with her. She's got great giveaways! Day 0 here, Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, and of course Day 4 is here. Take a look and join in the fun!

Also there's a pretty neat raku pendant being given away here. Lovely.

Now I'm thinking I should create some kind of giveaway. Hmmmmmm. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 05, 2008

'Tis the season for giving gifts

I loved exploring links from Chrysti's blog and what I have discovered is there's some wonderful generosity out there. Here's the first one:
Susan Tuttle's long awaited (by me anyway) new book, Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations + Explorations has just been released and the exciting, generous news is that she will be giving away a copy to a lucky, lucky person. There will be a drawing on Tuesday, December 16th at noon. If you want to be a part of the drawing, it's easy:

Just mention Susan's book in a post on your blog and include the Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/64h9tm
Then mention the contest and include a link to it in your post: http://ilkasattic.blogspot.com/2008/12/book-give-away-contest.html#links
Then leave Susan a comment for this post that includes your contact info, so I know how to find you if you win.
She also says "Feel free to grab the .jpg image of the book cover to use in your post (not required)."

Another beautiful giveaway in going on over at Kelly Rae's blog. Donate $5 to the building of a new house for Esteria a friend of Jen Lemen's who is a friend of Kelly Rae and a person I admire hugely! It all has to do with a trip to Africa which you can read about here. Kelly will pick a lucky donor to win one of her paintings.

There's also a giveaway going on at Nancye's Art and Beautiful Junk blog. She's a part of the 29 day giving challenge community, so she will be giving away one of her new booklets on making folk art polymer clay dolls.

And of course because Chrysti's giveaway is for 29 days, you can keep checking in with her. She's got a lovely one today of a beautiful calendar. Take a look and join in the fun!

Isn't all of this generosity just about the best thing going?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Old Lessons

Collage by Lani

Have you ever wondered why we need to re-learn our big insights over and over again? Lynda Barry in "What It Is" describes it as an existential puzzle that she has solved over and over again. She has one of those big "ah-hah" moments, develops amnesia, and the existential puzzle comes back into her awareness and there she is, struggling to solve it again. (By the way, her book is wonderfully quirky and messy and just a lot of fun! You can even download a very nice preview from the publisher here.)

Daniel Nettle, author of "Happiness: The Science behind your Smile", has noticed something called habituation. He's applied it to the acquisition of material goods (if only I had this or that, then I could be happy) and found that once we actually have the object in question, that we become habituated to it. It no longer makes us happy and fades into the background, becoming part of the wallpaper of our lives. And we are free to long for the next thing that is going to make us happy.

I'm thinking maybe insights are like this. Maybe we become habituated to them, so that the idea that first lit up our minds begins to fade into the background, merging with the wallpaper. Then, like Lynda Barry, we have to solve our existential problem all over again. We find this beautiful, elegant insight and have that ah-hah moment and then put it aside. And it fades and merges with the wallpaper.

So how do we encourage ourselves to continue having these elegant insights? Gregory Berns (author of “Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment”) has studied fulfillment from the inside out, trying to discover what happens in people’s brains during emotional experiences like happiness and satisfaction. From his research, Berns has concluded that satisfaction requires two ingredients that nature has designed our brains to crave: novelty and challenge.

I'm thinking that I will try using novelty and challenge to wake up my mind, to continue to find or create my own little nuggets of wisdom and art. Not that the old insights are no longer true, it's just that our human ability to become habituated makes it feel that way.

So this is today's challenge. Find an old insight or truth and try to give it a novel twist. Perhaps create a work of art based on it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Do you know Chrysti Hydeck?

Image from Chrysti's email. (TtV and crayons)
There are happy times going on over at Chrysti's blog. She's gotten hooked by the 29 Days of Giving project and it seems to me that all her blog visitors will benefit. Even if we don't benefit by all of the amazing give-aways, we will surely see the happiness that this generosity will create for Christy and all her friends! Here's a quote but read her blog!

A few months ago my friend Lia turned me onto the 29 Days of Giving project and almost instantly I knew it was a perfect fit for me. Though I’ve never been what one would call wealthy or rich with material things I’m always eager to share what I have. As a child, I used to drive my mother nuts by giving away my beloved toys and books to friends, schools, neighbors or anyone else my little mind thought could benefit from said object. Each of my belongings all had their own voices to me, and if i felt someone else could provide them with a better home, or appreciate them - well I gave it away, and often without permission.

As I grew older, I loved surprising people with an unexpected care package, spoiling them on holidays and other occasions, sending a card with an appreciative note out of the blue.. the list goes on and on and on.

Now isn't that nice? So go on over to Chrysti's blog and support her generosity! Leave her a message. Let her know if you like what you see! She's also got 1000+ free images to use in collages that you can find here. Here's what I did layering a few of them:
Collage by Lani (with Chrysti's help). Thank you Chrysti!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Butterfly award...

I've been awarded this beautiful butterfly award by
Nancye at http://nancyesartandbeautifuljunk.blogspot.com/
Thank you so much Nancye!

Here are the rules for receiving this award
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

I'd like to share this award with the 14 Secrets bloggers:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How do you create the feeling of spaciousness?

Collage by Lani, vintage cloud postcard from Playingwithbrushes.

Here's a lovely guided meditation that I found on Spirituality and Practice:
An Excerpt from Heart of Wisdom, Mind of Calm: Guided Meditations to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice by Christina Feldman

Christina Feldman, co-founder of Gaia House in Devon, England, presents 58 guided meditations designed to nurture spiritual growth. Here is one on the spiritual practice of joy.

Guided Meditation: Altruistic Joy

"Let your body settle into a posture of ease and balance.

"Gently close your eyes and settle your attention in your body and in the present moment.

"Invite into your attention a friend who is happy or joyous. They may be delighting in the birth of a child, in recovered health after a spate of illness or in a life event that has brought a newfound happiness.

"Sense their gladness, gratefulness, or delight as you have seen it in them.

"Offer them a generous wish that their happiness may deepen and continue.

"Find a few simple words or phrases that express the generosity of heart you feel for them:

" 'May your happiness deepen.'

" 'May your life continue to bring gladness and delight.'

"Next invite into your attention someone whom you envy or feel some resentment towards because of the happiness they are experiencing. It may be a friend, a colleague or even someone you do not know but whom you admire and yet at the same time envy.

"Offer to that person a generosity of heart that rejoices in their gladness, accomplishments, or successes:

" 'May your happiness deepen.'

" 'May your gladness continue.'

"Sense whether it is possible to offer that same generosity of altruistic joy to yourself. Take some moments to reflect on the many blessings and moments of happiness and ease that are present in your life in this moment. Reflect on your capacity for love, care and empathy, on the people in your life who care for you, on the moments of gladness and delight you encounter. Say to yourself:

" 'May I deepen in happiness and generosity.'

" 'May I live with appreciation and gladness.'

"When you are ready, open your eyes and come out of the posture."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wouldn't you love to invite these guys in for a cup of tea?

A Walk Around Britain - Short Version from awalkaroundbritain on Vimeo.
Here's what the Guardian.co.uk has to say:
Three young men having been walking across Britain without any money, camping out and relying on the kindness of strangers to survive. Calling themselves "singing adventurers", they have taken three major trips in the past three years, sleeping wherever they can and foraging for food. They sing three-part folk songs, ancient and modern, wherever they are welcomed. They "busk in heaving towns, chant in crumbling chapels, and get feet tapping in many a-pub across the land."

Here's their website and it's got some of their songs on it. Beautiful!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And here's a little more of the flickr / TtV fun

One of the flickr groups is a collection of shots taken through the viewfinder to use for layers, Noise and Dust Through The Viewfinder. I particularly love this one. So thank you milesdscott!!

Oh and these were created for the 41st Weekly Contest on Man Ray

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Puppets from the Montreal workshop

Here are a few of the amazing puppets from the Montreal workshop in September. As you can see, great variety emerged, as always. Participants let themselves be guided by intuition rather than trying to impose their ideas on the materials. (Why is this a lesson that I need to learn on a fairly regular basis?) The theme was finding resilience within the self and within the group so it was quite interesting when one of the stories included a character who could see within the other puppets hearts and all the puppets became concerned about having their worst traits brought to light. I reminded the puppets (you can do this with puppetry) that since the character was able to see within everyone's heart (hers included) than she was also seeing everyone's strengths and resilience. Puppets and puppet makers were relieved. Thanks to Beverly King, Christine Sylvestre, Jhan Groom, Francine Levesque, and Yasmine Lesmoudi for sharing their imaginative work here.

More fun with flickr...

Now I've figured out the whole Man Ray challenge thing, I was able to create this one for the 41st Weekly Contest on Man Ray.

This one was created for Textures for Layers Challenge #39: Little Girl (too late to enter) with mad plumerian and Vin60's TtV's. I also used Tina / Reflected Memories' texture for layer (birds & branches). Below are the same TtV's with old postcards from China.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing with Man Ray Challenges

I followed the trail and links from bunchadogs & susan to the Flickr Man Ray group and the Flickr Textures for Layers group. Being late for two really great challenges, I combined the "grunge tree" with the Pierrot image (a challenge from 2006) here. Both this image and the one below use layers from telzey, Tina, and borealnz. The one below also uses a vintage photo from Playingwithbrushes.

Fun, fun, fun!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Plugged in

Plugged in
Originally uploaded by bunchadogs & susan
I love this photographer's work, mind, aesthetic! Wow, take a look at her flickriver if you get a chance. Thank you Adela, for sending me this link!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bill Moyer, Mark Johnson, Stand By Me

Watched Bill Moyers tonight. He was talking to a very inspiring man, Mark Johnson. Mark says "the only choice we have is to come together and to inspire each other because that's the way we will create a better world for us now and for the kids tomorrow. And the other truth is... a lot of people live in a world of fear but we don't even know how long we are going to be in this world so there's really no reason to fear anything. The most important thing is while we are here let's make a difference together..." You can watch the Bill Moyers interview and then the video "Stand By Me". Just beautiful!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Joy of Giving

Over at 14 Secrets, Carol Henley posted this great link. Take a look.
29-Day Giving Challenge

She'll be writing a book so she has a call to writers on this web page.
Submission Deadline: November 29, 2008

Book Title
How to cultivate a daily giving practice that will ignite your energy for life
by Cami Walker and the 29Gifts.org Community

Book Description
29 Gifts is the story of how 29Gifts.org founder, Cami Walker, healed from a major illness by taking an unusual prescription from a South African medicine woman. The remedy? Give 29 gifts to others in 29 days. Midway through Cami's 29 days of giving, after seeing many miraculous changes in her life, she launched a website encouraging others to take the 29 Gifts Challenge and share their stories about how it impacted their lives. Six months and 1,879 committed givers later, a publisher said YES to Cami's proposal to write a memoir. The book is scheduled for release Fall 2009. The details of the publishing contract are confidential at this time.

In addition to Cami's inspiring personal story, 29 Gifts will also include a supplemental collection of personal essays from other writers about the Healing Power of Giving.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Here's another time, another place challenge...

Collage by Lani

This collage was based on some wild self-portraiture over at my friend Kim's blog. Take a look.
Here's the challenge. Find some photo's of yourself past and present and collage them into another time, another place. Have fun!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

How do you feel about making art?

Cathy Malchiodi has a great blog entry today: Women Making Art: A Time Guiltily Seized. In it I found this lovely clip from filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll. Her documentary, "Who Does She Think She Is?” relates the stories of five women who are professional artists and mothers, the critical importance of art in their lives, and how both parenting and art making are often devalued in our culture. Read Cathy's blog and enjoy the clip.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

StoryPeople are up to good stuff... and free!!!

Cover of Strange Times by StoryPeople Digital.

I got this email a couple of days back, very humorous and my yes, these are peculiar times!!! So I read the email and buzzed right over to StoryPeople and picked up my free copy of this new eBook. And now I'm sharing it with you.
Dear Friends,

These are some peculiar times, aren't they? We like them a lot.

We can't help it. We love to get all dramatic and wound up & then let it go, so the studio is full of laughter, flying all over the place. (It's also good exercise, dodging the out of control giggles).

We wanted to share some of that but couldn't think how & then Brian got that look. 'Let's do an e-book!', he said & we oohed & then tried to get all business-like (it's something we work at regularly, with varying degrees of success :-)). 'What price should we make it?' someone said & he laughed & said, 'Why not free? Free's a good price.'

So, that's what we did. We can't wait for you to see it. Because we think it's more brave, witty & inspirational than we thought an e-book could be. Best of all, it's called Peculiar Times!

Drop into StoryPeople.com as soon as you can & be one of the first to get it!

The book is available there for you in PDF format (which almost every computer in the world can read). Just a couple of clicks and you're on your way...

with love,

The Crew at StoryPeople

Don't you love the crew?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two new dolls (so far)

I love these wrapped dolls. You can wrap secret messages into the doll as you go, tie all kinds of shamanistic do-dads to them, and embellish, embellish, embellish.