{how we are the sum of our experiances}


I love hair clips.

Born with a colic covering the front of my head, I’ve never had the beautiful sweeping bangs I’d seen in magazines; in fact, my bangs would stick out, curl under, and generally get in the way. Being a fan of flat, spiky hair, the curve looked too modern, too polished, for me. And so, I began using clips to hold it back. But bobby pins and normal clips let the hair on the edge slip right out, curve over the clip, under, around. So when snap clips came out when I was in middle school, I was saved. A few years back, while wandering Hobby Lobby, I discovered the snap clips I’d waited years to find were actually quilter’s clips! Imagine my surprise at finding a pack of fifty for only five dollars -- a set cost four, and here were tons of them! All shiny and silver, a hole at the end the only mar. Every so often, I stock up. The low cost means I give them away, leave them in cars or friends’ houses, old purses, jacket pockets. They’re littered through my life like odd pennies, always cherished when found unexpectedly. Wandering the mall one day, I discovered an adorable set of vintage fabric tied into bows. Large and cute, I didn’t even wait to get out the door to throw one in my hair. When I took one off, finally, I noticed the glue sticking through the hole. Ah-ha! That’s what it’s for! And so, when I discovered a package of fabric-paper flowers and vintage buttons, I knew what I had to do. Create cute new clips with the buttons and flowers and peg them in my hair. Having never used a glue gun before, I was worried -- will I burn myself? Will I make a mess? Will the paper burn? How fast does it dry? I have, when it comes to creative pursuits, always been a leap first, figure it out later kind of girl. I gather supplies, take a moment to examine what I have, read whatever instructions are available, and GO. It may be why I do several letters in cursive backwards (as I copied what was on the border around the classroom in third grade instead of waiting for the lessons to start), why I wasted lots of watercolors (a glass, some paint, and a ton of water; I now have a technique a love that depends on this mixture), why I can think outside the box (as in cover a sharp corner at work with a sugar packet and tape to keep myself from getting cut). It’s a trait I adore and treasure. This morning, before work, I glued my flowers and buttons and clips together, giggled when it worked, and snapped them in my hair. At the drive through, one little girl asked: “Mommy, how does she have a flower in her hair?” And that, my friends, made it all worth it. **** If one of these things hadn’t happened, would I have arrived at the same result? Would my mind put these puzzle pieces together into the adorable clips? We are the sum of our experiences; since only I have lived through this sequence of events in the body gifted by Divinity, I am the only one who could create what I did when I did how I did. We are all creatures like this. This is how creativity works -- fuse the past with the present and fly into the future.


Want some?

{ intermission }

Taking an internet break. I haven't felt the inspiration to work in my journal as of late. Have been doing more writing, more "hands on" crafts (sewing!), more resting. I've been working more (and FINALLY got health insurance!!), so much so that my body crashed yesterday and sent me into a 15-hour slumber. I'm still sore. But my boss said something that I need to take to heart. "Be gentle with your body," she said. I need to take a break. Look to myself for inspiration instead of seeing things on blogs and websites. Refill my own well. Figure things out. Rest. I am still available via email if you ever want to chat, and have a folder full of messages I need to respond to, if you're waiting for me to reply. I'm spending too much time online and not enough time with myself. love, kira

{ day 22: time to hang back, choose, and DO }

tarot & journal

I've been questioning things lately. Trying to figure out where I am and where I'm supposed to go.

My grandmother always had a saying:

"You're always where you're supposed to be."

Lately, with all that's been happening with my family, it's become harder and harder to believe that. (It is because of family matters that I haven't been able to blog as often as I'd like -- that's what Twitter's for!) But isn't that the foundation of faith? That belief despite everything to the contrary?

One of my resolutions for this year is to do more spiritual work. So I pulled out my tarot cards; it's been a year since I last consulted them, and felt it was time to leap back into my faith, religion, whatever you may call it. And what did my tarot cards tell me?

Get off your ass, girl, and start DOING!

(I'm paraphrasing, of course)

Basically, there's all this stuff I want to do, but continue to let myself be distracted by television, the internet, reading novels, etc...and even if I DO spend my hour in the studio, I'm working in my journal, as that's what I love the most. I then received this advice from my dear friend Christine:

  "Maybe you love the idea of doing A, B and C, but you only have the time and energy to realistically pursue one of them...so you have to make a choice and then let go of the others, at least for the time being.  If you can pull off all three, great, but if you walk around thinking about all three doing but nothing about any of them because it's too overwhelming to consider trying to juggle them all...well that's a problem."

And that's exactly what I need to do. What we ALL need to do on our journeys. Chose. Make lists. Stop stretching ourselves too thin and focusing, you know?

So I'm going to "hibernate." Go into planning mode. Lists and reflection. No more creating new products or branching out on new adventures. More figuring out what it is I want to do, should be doing, and planning more. Because that's what I've seriously been lacking. Instead of letting the 'zine come together by fate, I'm going to think things through, plan deadlines, etc.

Not that new ventures aren't required, or bad. Just that doing them constantly means you're always distracted by so many different things.

So, I'm off to plan. What could use your focus today? What has overwhelmed you and needs you to make a conscious choice? Perhaps now is not the time for creating, but for thinking, reflecting, and doing in another way.

{day 12: what's your coffee drink? & journal ambitions }

In case you haven't noticed, each blog entry this year will focus around a journal prompt. Use them as jumping-off points for your own journals or simply think about them. :D

One of the changes I wanted to make in regards to my journaling was to "journal the everyday." Go past the complicated backgrounds or nostalgic collages and think like an archeologist discovering my work a hundred years from now. What would it say? What would the people of the future learn about the past from my colorful books? How about my children, grandchildren? I discovered I didn't want them to discover I could paint or make these backgrounds, or even put together scraps of paper that made the people of today sit up and notice -- I want them to truly learn about me.

What did I do every day? Where did I work? Where did I live?

Did I visit with friends?

Like peanut butter?

Drive a nice car or a shabby oldie (the latter, of course!)?

I believe this is the reason I journal -- to put my life down on paper in order to show others what life was like at the turn of the millennium. I've always been captivated by the journals of peoples who came before -- paging through their delicate books with white-gloved hands, hoping to gleme a clue as to what life was like for them.

I've done research through journals (discovering lighthouses on Nantucket),

curled up with journals to find strength from someone with similar experiences (Frida Kahlo and her chronic pain, like mine),

marveled at journals (Danny Gregory's everyday pages).

I want my journals to speak less of artistic talent and more of who I am as a woman in this modern age.

And as such, I want to share these experiances with you so that you may do the same. Your reasons may be different than mine, but I believe, at the core, we are all spirits looking to make our marks on this Earth, and this is a way we can do just that.

This flowing explanation is the only sane one as to why I did the following page. And since I am sitting at work on my day off, I felt it only fitting to make daily coffee drinks the focus of today's blog entry.

my daily drink

Spend one day taking peoples' drinks at a coffee shop, and you learn a lot about them. If they're on a diet. If they like organic. Are they a sweets person, or like the bitter taste of black coffee? There are so many things you can discover about them just by learning their drink!

I had this dark page in my journal and decided to play around with swirls. Then I found this drink sticker in my purse (I use a reusable tumbler for hot drinks at work) and thought -- WOW! I can do an entire entry about this!

Want a sticker of your own? Ask your barista! We have them for when customers bring in their own cups...and since not many do, we have stacks! Simply ask next time you get a drink for it to be written on a removable sticker. Then put it in your journal and write down your favorite drink. It might seem silly, but a hundred years from now, when they discover mounds of composting Starbucks cups, this might give them a clue as to what was going on!

And if you don't know the "code" for your drink, tell me what it is and I'll write it out for you. Yep, those little boxes are there for a reason!!

And so, I leave you with my view from the drive thru. Chicago's been hit with a lot of snow, and on Saturday, it was a Winter Wonderland. Here's the view from the "other side." Now, I'm going to sip my soy iced green tea latte and spend a few hours in the bookstore....

view from the window

(Ps. my internet is DOWN. which means i only get about 20 minutes online a day. please bear with me - it should be back this weekend.)

{ day 8: self-discovery & that point when you actually LIKE your journal pages }


time spent in studio: 30 min (poor; did work on journal page, though); words written: 830; movies watched: 1.25 (had to leave early for work); internet time: 0 (as internet at home is down, and have come to work early to go online)

Creativity is all about self-discovery. In thinking outside the box, we often go deep within ourselves, digging through deep reservoirs filled with the intrinsic knowledge of countless generations that came before, looking for an answer we know is there, is better, is different. We learn not only about ourselves, but the world around us, behind us, before us.

Before journaling, my creative output was mostly limited to the written word. I watched my internal growth through increasingly complex and lyrical sentences, the mining of beautiful words to conjure vivid mental pictures, a landscape created through the assemblage of letters on a page. At work, I often found different ways to get things done, more efficient ways that gave me more time to write, to enjoy life around me. Solutions to everyday problems were heralded as amazing or highly creative, things they couldn't have thought up on their own. I often wondered how that could be; the solution was right in front of them!

Now, I can watch myself grow in technicolor, soaring through the rainbow on the back of a paintbrush (or, recently, along my fingers, as I've digressed to kindergarden and abandoned conventional tools). I love journaling because I can see so many different elements come together.

Last night, I had a dream about creating collages. My journal sat in the middle of a rich red rug. Pens and markers were spilled atop piles of paper – patterned, found, plain, painted. I pulled drawers of elements, everyday items, colorful swatches of fabric, beads, game pieces – I was laughing as I spilled them onto the floor around me. I became an alchemist of the soul, pulling together whatever caught my eye into a page that grew into a song (I've always loved music, lyric, melody; I played the flute, but have never been able to grasp how to create the many-layered symphony of a simple song). It soared above me, swirled around me, and in that perfect moment, I realized it was me all along.

Where'd all this come from? The page above. I love how it came together, and can't stop looking at it. I feel like I achieved something, or maybe, got something out that had been trying to escape me for a long time. Here's how it all came together:

+ I use the blank pages of my journals for sketches, doodles, notes, or to get markers/pens to work that are         being difficult. Here, I was playing around with that winged face thingy.

+ When painting the facing page, I mixed, well, a lot more paint than I needed. I hate wasting paint – if it's         left-over on my pallet, I have to use it somewhere. So, I colored the bottom of the page with the left-overs,     which covered what you can see in dark green.

+ I had to grab something from my bedroom, and on the way out, my eye caught a pretty candle holder I got in     a sale at a favorite art/indie shop. I love the contours, so I brought it into the studio and sketched it on the     half-painted page. Gotta keep my drawing skills sharp!

+ Before I painted, I put a layer of gesso over the page; this “faded” the original drawing in the corner, and that     simply wouldn't do! So I colored it with watercolor crayons and re-did the outlines with charcoal.

+ Now that it was shaping up into a journal page of it's own (the previous steps weren't done in one sitting), I     decided the top needed some color. I did a wash of yellow with my fluid acrylics (which are like acrylic             watercolors...it makes sense once you've used 'em).

+ The yellow was too bright, so I coated the page with fresco cream glaze.

+ The music I was listening to spoke to the page – the candle holder DID look like a lighthouse, so I transcribed     a bit of the lyrics with stick-on letters and doodled around them.

+ When I was a kid, I loved the lighthouses of Nantucket Island. One that always stuck in my mind was Sankity,     a tall, endangered house covered in red and white stripes. The thought of a lighthouse brought this back to     me, so I painted the sketch with these colors.

+ And to give it a base, I cut a strip of scrapbooking paper and pasted it to the bottom. Then, I grabbed a             left-over piece of columnar paper and tinted it with a distress ink pad in old paper. Added the date with a         tape labeler.

Then wrote. And voila! Finished journal page!

What songs inspire you? Do you find yourself listening to the same albums when painting or creating? Why? What do they say to you? Use your music as a jumping off point next time you're staring at the blank journal page. Or simply collect left-overs and odd ideas on a single page. Who says you have to do the whole thing at once?

{ day 3: new year's resolutions }

new year's resolutions, 2009

1. Be more responsible with my money.

The last few years, I've been plagued with overdrafts and general mismanagement. I'm not very good with it. Thankfully, I've learned the credit card lesson early in life, and am thrilled by the prospect of simply paying things off. While I can't be completely responsible right now, I can budget things better, keep track of monies spent, and keep working to curb my spending.

2. Work in the studio one hour every day.

Working has me coming home tired or sleeping in. I can go days without stepping foot in my studio or working on anything creative (I'll read or watch a movie, instead). I want to have a life in art, in teaching, in creating, and need to begin to do the movements to make these things happen. The first is to put myself in the studio for an hour – I'll even get a timer. At work, I have great self-discipline; at home, I'm more apt to veg and procrastinate. I need to work on this.

3. Write 500 words a day.

I adore writing. And do a LOT of it in my head. The only way to get it all out is to attack it NaNo-style – give myself an obtainable goal to reach every day and hold myself accountable. The writing can be for a blog entry, fiction, non-fiction, or even fanfic. Whatever it is, I need to work on this. One of the ways I'll get more done is by posting to the blog; readership, even that of a single person, will give me that pressure of oh-my-God-what-if-I-DON'T?

4. Spend less time watching TV!

A very hard habit to break, as I majored in television writing and it remains one of my passions in life. I guess a better way to phrase this is to watch less mindless TV. I'm used to having it on in the background (as over 70% of Americans do) and end up watching the stupidest crap evar. Like Paris Hilton's My New Best Friend. Really. I can be doing other things with my time. Like writing until NCIS comes on (and no resolution's taking away my three hours of that show on USA!!).

5. Work on my spiritual development.

I've started on this, but need to stop reading and start thinking. Writing. Pondering. Processing. Practicing. This is the year of DOING, of ACTING.

6. Grow my business – zines, journals, artwork

If this is what I'm going to do with my life, and I've said it a lot, I need to WORK. Again, action. Like getting out two issues of the 'zine this year (at least!), opening and keeping stocked an etsy shop with journals and supplies, and getting my artwork hanging around town. See? Writing this down is easy, and when I complain, you can all point back to this and say, “But loooook! It's in writing!” And then I will have no argument and go back and make another 'zine.

7. Blog at least four times a week.

I've gotten lazy. Or rather, Lazy (with a capital L). I had an intention when I started, and it's kinda fizzled out as I've become distracted by work (see #2). I want to make more videos and post more. This will help me along with #3 and #6, as well as do the thing I love most – teach, share, and inspire. It gives me the most joy in my life, and, well, we all could use a little more joy.

8. Get healthy!

This really should be #1, but I'm not listing this all in any particular order. I've been using my poor health as a crutch (I would do this, but I'm tired. I would work full time, but it's painful) for too long; this year, I'm focusing on my health above all else. My job will soon afford me health insurance, which will let me go to doctors and such. But I need to do more. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Just let 2009 be the year of getting my strength up and my energy back (see last post's journal page) so I can go out there and tackle everything. My junior year of college, my parents asked me if I wanted to take a year off so I could do just this, and I argued against it, saying I wanted to get everything out of the way first. God, how differently things would have turned out if I had! I now bow to the wisdom of my parents. And you can tell them I said that! Four years after they suggested it, I'm going to do it. No more half-assed attempts. I'm getting better so I can take on the world.

What about you? Have you journaled your resolutions yet? Use images from magazines or photographs to help illustrate your goals. Be specific – if not in your journal, then on your blog. Get it in writing! That will help you stay on track (and let others keep you in line!).

{ endings and new, positive beginnings }

mixed-media art: sing for them

Happy New Year!

2009 has already started on a good foot; I have my beloved laptop back! A new hard-drive was a late Christmas present, and after a few hours of taking things apart, searching for cords, and being generally frustrated, my laptop flared back to life! The operating system was an upgrade, so it's all sleek and pretty and ready for me to get back into the swing of things – and one of the first devices I got to reclaim was my beautiful scanner!

So, now I can scan in my lovelies! And print things again! And be generally artsy as I was before. I don't have to suffer through using a PC (I'm a Mac girl!), a borrowed PC at that, that didn't have any programs or data, so I was mostly using it to check webmail and such. Oh! If you sent an email during the month of December and I didn't reply, I'd say re-send it, because everything was all filtered and such on my computer, and webmail is a big mish-mash of stuff, so I may have missed it.

I can't WAIT to find a copy of Photoshop and InDesign so I can get back to designing banners and working on the next issue of Page by Page. I don't know what the topic for this issue is going to be, but my “method” is more...letting things happen naturally. It's an itch I have to scratch, and once I've got it, I have to see the issue through!

Oh, I'm just so excited for the coming year. Books to read, lessons to learn. I'll have my journal page of resolutions up tomorrow – for now, I've gotta get my face on for work (aka put on make-up). I've been sick for the last few days....and have no idea how I'll make it through 6 hours of making coffee.

journal page: full of energy