Monday, September 27, 2010

Maybe next time!

Well, I wasn't one of the semi-finalist's of the Cloth Paper Scissors Artisan Search 2011 and I'm okay with that =-)

As I've mentioned before, I have some plans for my Office Art Book (OAB) and I'm figuring out a way to share it with others in the hopes it may help them with their unhappiness in the workplace. Besides, I've got other plans and projects on my plate that need some tending to before Blogtoberfest takes place and that fabulous event starts in just THREE MORE DAYS!! Time is ticking!!


DANG! How does time fly so quickly??!?! If only it always had the wings of a butterfly and flew so beautifully!

I'm off to start working on my projects - see you on October 1 for Blogtoberfest 2011!! =-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Full Moon Vision Board

It's long overdue but I finally created a NEW full moon vision board...

These full moons seem to catch me unawares and they go by and then I feel like I've lost the opportunity to manifest my hopes and dreams. Now, I know that we all have the ability to manifest our hopes and dreams at ANY TIME but I believe in the power of the full moon and I tend to turn into a "lunatic" when one passes me by ;)


"Why do I turn into a lunatic", you may be asking. Well, when I looked around the blogosphere and saw other vision boards I realized that my boards are loaded with more WORDS than IMAGES and I thought "I must be doing this wrong - no wonder my dreams aren't manifesting for me!"...see how I'm sounding like a lunatic??!?!!

 
there sure are a LOT of words in this older vision board!

A good friend pointed out that it was a bit strange for a visual person such as myself to create word-heavy "vision" boards, but I realized that I'm not just a visual artist, I'm a literary one too - I love books, reading and I enjoy writing here at my blog, not to mention helping others with their writing by editing their work on occasion...maybe not so surprising to have such word-heavy "vision" boards after all!

As another dear friend pointed out, she loves my writing and thinks I "paint pictures with my words" - that was so lovely to hear!

But I felt that this time around, it was time to focus on images that resonated with me, from a subconscious level, and try to keep the words to a minimum. I looked for some images I could use as a backdrop to some phrases I created and I think this vision board has really come together for me this time...

 this vision board just feels right!

I've focused on three key phrases that sum up what I want in my life right now: using my skills and talents to create more money in my life, creative fun in work and play with happy, beautiful and artistic GREAT people...

When I described this board to my awesome Life Coach in our session last night, he asked what the overall feeling of my vision board was, what did it represent to me. I knew immediately:

FREEDOM

Freedom in work and play, freedom to know that there ARE infinite possibilities, that the future is WIDE OPEN for me...and that I deserve all this and more. The images of my vision board indicate that freedom with so much expansive sky filling the page.


I think this vision board will work this time!

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In other news...

Blogtoberfest is coming! Are you joining in the fun? I can't wait to see Tinniegirl's new Blogtoberfest badge...

Next Monday is the day Cloth Paper Scissors announces the semi-finalists for their Artisan Search 2011. I'll let you know if my submission makes the cut - wish me luck!!

I hope you have a weekend with the freedom to create your dreams into reality!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Owning it...

Do you own it?

Do you own your title and role as Artist??

Do you know in your HeArt of HEARTS that you are an Artist???

Do you share that with others? If so, when do you share?

If NOT, why do you NOT share? Are you surrounded by others who do not honor art or artists?

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There are some interesting things that occurred during the weekend, aside from the awesome City Hearts fundraiser, especially since my post about the Beast of Jealousy. The theme of owning the role of Artist has been rearing itself quite a bit in my life and I've discussed it with a few friends and one amazing "Scorpio Soul Sistah". Today, my fellow Artful Journey classmate asked the questions of where you find safe harbor in your creative journey and I believe having that safe harbor is closely linked to whether we own ourselves as Artists...or not.

It may be a mess but this is my safest harbor - my creative play-space at it's most magical with the twinkle lights in the evening...

So these are the questions that have been swimming in my head for the past few days and I thought I'd share them with you...

I can say that I DO own my Artist Self and have done so for many years, in my HeArt, but I do not share it with many. I have become quite discerning about when and with whom I share that part of myself. As my Scorpio Soul Sistah put it:

Why would you want to share your heart with others that have not shared their hearts with you?*

What a tribe of Beautiful HeArtful Women! Yes, this is DEFINITELY a safe harbor =-)

Indeed, why would anyone share such a thing if it is not being reciprocated??

Which is why I feel so free to share myself here in this blog, with you, dear readers. I know I share my heArt with others who also create with their heArt, but I also know it can be difficult to "come out" as an Artist to the general public...

***   ***   ***

I will continue to ponder this theme of "owning it" and report back as I continue this process of discovery. Will you ponder these questions with me?



* - thank you SO much for those words Gwynnie! You are truly a Wise Woman =-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up...

My! What a weekend I've had...here's a re-cap with some images...


A fun field trip...

...to Paper Source located in Pasadena. All I can say about it is:

WOW! I've just GOT to go back for more!

I did not get any pictures of the store because I thought there would be some on their website but not the kind of pictures I thought. I'll see if I can snap a few shots the next time I go to Paper Source...


A great fund raiser...

...for City Hearts, the organization I donated some art work to recently. The fundraiser is hosted by Malibu Family Wines and held at Saddle Rock Ranch in Malibu, which is a beautiful location. Here are a few highlights:

The 'saddle' rock the ranch is named for looms over the event...

Here is the special art auction I donated my art work for...

...and the booth of all the artists - so much amazing work and touching stories!!

I was so happy to see my work right next to this fabulous dress form! Fashion is never far from me ;)

It's just not a ranch without a few horses...

...and there are other animals like this llama that was lounging in the parking lot!

The children get to stomp grapes to celebrate the history of the winery and how it's made and is a great hit!



Finishing a project - finally!! 

I finished a project this weekend and I'm sure it may look familiar...

I finished hand-sewing the bloom I made for the last Creative Color Challenge onto a small tote bag I stitched up just for this bloom...

...it was a bit tricky at times and I'll share some of those challenges soon =-)

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I'd like to thank you all for the comments you left on my last post. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with the Beast of Jealousy from time to time. I especially appreciated (and honor!) the mothers who wrote about issues that come up with their daughters. I can remember aspects of my relationship with my mother that sometimes still occur today and I'll be writing about that eventually because I believe it does have an impact on my life as an Artist...

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a fabulous day of Creativity!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Beast of Jealousy...

Sometimes I get jealous...

I do.

I think it happens to everyone but we really don't like to admit to it...


I can usually be happy for the success of others but sometimes something happens that makes it hard for me to do that and I'll tell you that it happened to me about two weeks ago...

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I heard from a fellow co-worker about another co-worker who has recently written a book and has been promoting it everywhere...and will soon be leaving the agency I work for in the glow of this success.

I wish I could say that I was happy for her, but it got under my skin. Because I began to play "The Comparison Game":

  • I haven't written a book
  • I'm no where near to finding a better paying job or better work opportunity
  • I don't have the educational degree my co-worker has

...but a few hours later I was able to play a different game - "The Appreciation and Gratitude Game":

  • I have been submitting quite a lot of artwork in this past year alone that has or will be seen by a great many people
  • I've been blogging about things that seem to be helping some of you, my dear readers (at least I hope so!)
  • I am taking steps toward a life of self-sustaining, self-employment, though the pay-off feels like a long ways off...
  • I've got quite a few years of experience and wisdom behind me! =-)

And my life path is certainly different from the path of my co-worker...

Some of the things I've accomplished this year - not bad, eh??!?


When I discussed this with a good friend, she pointed out that I was probably upset because it's someone who is working at the same agency but having a far different experience than I am, and to remember that my co-worker probably spent some time on the office computer writing that novel!!

My friend was right, especially about that last part, I'm sure... ;)

And with that idea in mind it was easier for me to see my co-worker when I happened to be at the main office this week and congratulate her on her accomplishments, listen to her speak about her future plans beyond her last day working and wish her the best of luck...

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It's not always easy to to keep the Beast of Jealousy at bay, but if we can take a moment to remind our selves of our own amazing accomplishments, instead of comparing ourselves to others (I know, it's not always easy!!) we can have room to be happy for the success of others, especially if we can also remind ourselves that if others are able to succeed, we can succeed too.

In truth, I am already successful...
in creativity
in friendship
in love...


In what ways are YOU successful that you haven't acknowledged lately?? What can YOU be proud of that you'd like to share here today? I want to hear about it and you better shout it from the rooftops!! ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

My First Magazine Submission...

I've done it...

I've moved through my own internal critic and thrown my hat into the ring of amazing artisans vying for the title of "Artisan 2011" in the Cloth Paper Scissors Artisan Search 2011! I have submitted in the category of Art Journal and Book Making.

It's my first submission to a magazine OR contest EVER!!!

I dared to quiet my inner critic that said, "those artists are submitting REALLY beautiful work - how can you compete with that??!?"

I CAN compete among them because I have years of creating art work behind me and I also have a unique concept to submit that many of the others didn't - my Office Art Book...

you can read the description for this image HERE...

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I knew about this contest for awhile now and was debating whether to enter but I wasn't sure which category to choose until the full page ad for this contest hit me in the face while perusing their STUDIO Magazine (Fall Issue). I felt it was a sign to enter and I thought about submitting an art book, but I'm still working on my art book from this years retreat, as well as the smaller companion book*. When I learned that the semi-finalists will be asked to submit the ORIGINAL ART for one year, I had to decide if I had a book (or any artwork) I would be okay with releasing into the world for one whole year**. I did - I was ready to release my Office Art Book...


you can read the description for this image HERE...


Of course, my inner critic saw the work of the other amazing artists submitting art books and art journals, but I took time to look at my book and appreciate what it did for me as I created it and thought of how it might help others if they could see my book too. My art book had a unique concept and challenge: making it all at my office in my spare time, using only the office supplies available to me at work...with the occasional items brought from home to add some visual interest.

I submitted my Office Art Book, with help from my dear boyfriend making my photographs the required size for submission. He really liked the images I used for this submission and I love it when he likes my photos since he has studied photography. It's like getting validation from Ansel Adams*** or something!! ;)

I thought that I would take the final photos to use for the submission at my office desk, where the art book was created, providing the right background for the concept and context of my art book. I thought that might be a fun touch for my submission! I wrote up a detailed description for the art book and added sections to each photo entry to spread out the story of the book. I've received confirmation that Cloth Paper Scissors received my submission and the semi-finalist results will be posted at the blog of Editor Jenn Mason on September 27...


you can read the description for this image HERE...

I'm not entirely sure I stand a chance at semi-finalist in my category, compared to the amazing work that has been submitted so far, but I like to think I have a different take than the rest. If I don't make the cut to semi-finalist, I do have some ideas about sharing my Office Art Book (OAB) with others in the hopes of helping people who are unhappy at work, so stay tuned for that! I hope you have a chance to look at my submission - I'd love to hear your thoughts about it...

***   ***   ***

I'm starting to think that if we can look beyond our creation/artwork and how it looks to focus instead on how it will help others in some way, then we may be closer to quieting those inner critics...


What do you think? Does creating something to make someone happy make you feel great about your work?? I'd love to hear about one of those projects!




* - I will have to share some pictures of that book - it is made with some very special book covers =-)

** - there are no guarantees that my artwork will come back in the same condition as I send it out, so I needed to be very certain of what I was putting out and being okay if it comes back a little the worse for wear...I'm okay with it!

*** - my dear boyfriend has taken some beautiful landscape shots from his trip to Ireland, which makes me think of him as Ansel Adams ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Regarding Criticism...

Hello everyone and thanks for your wonderful comments on my last post. I'm glad to see that I have been able to help out a few readers with some resources for dealing with day jobs we can't stand!

Today I was inspired by a post from commenter Kerri to write about a great resource for dealing with criticism toward our artwork...


crit·i·cism

[krit-uh-siz-uhm]
–noun
1.
the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
2.
the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
3.
the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.
4.
a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
5.
any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.: historical criticism; literary criticism.
6.
investigation of the text, origin, etc., of literary documents, esp. Biblical ones: textual criticism.


For the purpose of today's post we will be dealing with definition number 3...

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At some point in our lives we will have to deal with or have already dealt with criticism in our lives in regards to our creative work, whether it be writing, painting, dancing, singing. And it is difficult enough when we can be so hard on ourselves and the work we create. In fact, I realized that I was being hard on myself for my last Creative Color Challenge I submitted by calling it "a mess, but a floral one"...

oops...did I really say that??

Yet, many of you loved it and Louise certainly loved it enough to include it in her weekly wrap up, not to mention expressing hopes of seeing more sewn items in the future. She must have been picking up on my creative air waves because I have been working on just that...

a little sneak peek at what I was up to this Labor Day weekend...the final results will be posted later...

But I digress! ;)

I once worked with a performance art group that came down very hard on me for expressing my authentic story and it was an extremely difficult and painful process. It's not something I would want anyone to experience, so when I came across this creative and revolutionary process for providing constructive FEEDBACK to artists, I was thrilled!

From Liz Lerman's Dance Exchange Website, where you can buy a copy of the book that contains more info than the original article I read...

To get an idea of how this process works you can read from her original article about this process HERE. What is wonderfully creative and revolutionary about this process is that it doesn't have to apply to artists only, it can also be used in personal relationships.* The books by-line states you can use this process for anyone creating "anything you make from Dance to Dessert"!

In short, here is the process:
  1. Affirmation
  2. Artist as Questioner
  3. Responders ask the questions
  4. Opinion Time
  5. Subject matter discussion
  6. Working on the work

Here's how the steps work if done in a group setting:

In step one, you begin on a positive note, which we all want to begin with naturally. And your group will give you what they appreciate about the work that resonates with them and this is where lots of wonderful AHA! moments happen and you realize that your group "gets" you.

In step two, the artist asks questions of the audience/group but they do need to be specific to the work being created. If you were creating a dance, you might ask about a certain movement at a certain moment in the music and if it makes the impact you are striving toward; your group will be able to answer to your question.

In step three, the group has the opportunity to ask questions about aspects of the work they may not understand and this can be helpful if there is an important point we want to come across in our work. For performance art, I usually have a story I am trying to convey and I want to know that the audience will get that. This part of the process is also helpful because if there is a confusing aspect to the work being created, that is what a "critic" would speak to and not in the positive way that will be helpful to the artist...asking questions will shed light on anything unclear about the work being created and this can diffuse negative criticism.

Step four may have the potential to be a danger zone since opinion is just that - someone's opinion of what they saw and how they felt about what they saw. It's subjective, but the way this is worked out is the 'critic' must ask if the Artist wants to hear the 'criticism' before they are allowed to speak out. I believe this helps to diffuse possible defensiveness that may arise in the Artist. In my experience with groups that have used this model, negative criticism rarely comes up since everyone is invested in creating great work and wants the same great and helpful feedback when it is their turn to go =-)

Step five can be optional if working in a group, as well as step six, since both steps are dealing with the Artist's work at a different level than there may be time for in a group setting.


I was so thrilled when I discovered Liz Lerman's method for "critical response" though it came after my terrible experience, but find it I did and I love to pass along great information if it helps anyone. If you are working in a creative group and you don't want criticism but constructive feedback this resource is for you. I do not own a copy of the book but it does contain more information on how to work with this process in a group setting with a facilitator, which is important to have. I think this process would also work well in the classroom...

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I wish there was a way for us to work with our own internal critics, but I haven't found one yet! But maybe we can use step one of Liz Lerman's process with ourselves to quiet our inner critics - if we can learn to be more appreciative of OUR OWN EFFORTS, we will be able to see what great work we are already doing...

Will you try to be less critical of what you create this week?? I will if you will!



* - I may need to consult my copy of the article to use this method with my boyfriend!! ;)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Party!

I thought today would be a good day to talk about work for those of us who work day jobs but especially for those of us who work horrible day jobs that make us miserable...I mentioned briefly in my last post that there were some interesting revelations that came to light in regards to my workplace this week. Here is the one that tops the list:

after two years of no pay raises and a pay-cut for all employees this year, the CEO bought a new car

I knew this "bad" economy was not affecting EVERYONE!! ;)

FYI, I am still looking for better opportunities, especially those closer to home and I know that not all non-profit organizations are cutting staff pay since other fellow employees have been doing the research and passing the info along to me - I've got some great informants! =-)

I have written before about the work situation I deal with and I linked to a few resources that helped me to "change my attitude" (until I realized I'd have to change my job) and I'm going to write about them in detail today as well as some books I've been reading recently, because there are some amazing people who are taking creative action to improve conditions in the workplace, some of them a bit radical!

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Chief Happiness Officer/Happy Hour is 9 to 5

In the beginning, there was Chief Happiness Officer, Alexander Kjerulf, who is committed to making the workplace fun and enjoyable for all. He shares lots of great info on how to make a terrible workplace a better one and he eventually wrote a book filled with those tips titled: "Happy Hour is 9 to 5"

 This book has great tips for making the workplace more enjoyable and you can read it for free at his website

One of the great ideas included in this book was "The Order of the Elephant" which is a way to focus on the great stuff employees do and contribute to the workplace and is shared between employees. I brought up this concept with my previous boss and she loved the idea so I set to work to create an elephant for our depatment. Here is the "Order of the Elephant" I made for the use of the staff in the program I work with - I named him "Bubbles" for the fabric he was made of:

"Bubbles" posing with the inspiration from a great book that also helped me to make my life better while dealing with burnout at the office - I'll review the book another day...


Needless to say, everyone on staff loves him! Another concept that was implemented from this book was the "Praise Poncho", which you can read more about in the book or the website...there is even a list of questions to ask potential employers to see if it will be a nice/fun place to work and the questions are insightful ones! If only I'd had his list when I interviewed for my current job!! ;)

Mr. Kjerulf has great stories and resources he shares on his website and he's recently started a newsletter as well. I love that he is being so creative in helping others to make the workplace fun and enjoyable for everyone. Luckily he's not alone in wanting to change the workplace...


Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It

I recently read this book when I borrowed it from my local library. Authors Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson are pioneers of creativity with an amazing way of working they call Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). The most important concept of this new work program is based on the principle that "you can do whatever you want, whenever you want as long as the work gets done". The primary problem with the workplace is that we are not treated as adults nor are we trusted to get the work done. This idea alone really resonated with me and the culture of work I deal with. 

There are some radical concepts in this book but I know you're ready for them! ;)

They also write about the concepts of time in the corporate environment and time in a ROWE environment. The ROWE environment begins to look a lot like the days of many artists and bloggers I know! I realized after reading this book that I will have to insure that I do not carry the ideas of time from the corporate environment with me when I finally reach the goal of self-sustaining,  self-employment. And I believe I now have a great tool to help with that ultimate goal...

New Book Not Yet on the Bookshelves...

I've written about meeting Chris Guillebeau whose site The Art of Non-Conformity is a regular read for me. I've read both of his free e-books and I highly recommend them.  I love that he is encouraging others to create their own lives instead of following the usual paths of conformity and I also love that he understands we all want to do something meaningful for others with our talents...
 

the book is due in stores soon!

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to have won a free advance copy of his new book that is due in bookstores soon: "The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want and Change the World". As he mentions on his site, this book is filled with additional material you won't find on his website and what I've read so far is great! I feel like I've been given some really great tools to get better focused on what I want in my life and how to accomplish it all. I will wrote more about this book when I have finished reading it in full but I love what I have read so far...

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If you have read this entire post, which I know is a long one, Thank YOU! I do hope you will look into the resources I recommend here if you are stuck in a miserable work environment or if you know someone who is. You may be interested in reading my own creative approach to my work situation by looking at my Office Art Book posts. 

If you have "escaped from cubicle nation" and are living a life full of creativity - congratulations! You deserve it!

I hope you are enjoying a day of relaxation wherever you are and thank you for joining me in my little Labor Party today!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Creative Color Challenge - Week V - Lavender

YIKES! This has been one CRAZY week and much of it due to the Mercury Retrograde we are going through. I managed to complete my art piece that I wrote about in my last post, but it did take time from this weeks Creative Color Challenge and I'm afraid I don't have much to show for it this week...

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The Color:

The objective:
to create something using this color, plus black and white*

The final product by yours truly:
a bit of a mess, really! But a floral one...


Firstly, Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my art piece and my blog post! I'm so happy that the wall hanging turned out so well and I'm so pleased that many of you are enjoying these longer posts I've been doing recently. I like to talk about my process of creating and I think it helps to demystify what it is to create something. I also hope it encourages others to begin to create and work with their hands. Now onto this weeks challenges, colorful or otherwise!


For the art piece I have donated for the City Hearts fundraiser that I wrote about in my last post, I took a few days off to get it finished for delivery which took up Monday and Tuesday leaving me with a few days to work on something for this week's challenge, right? Well, not exactly...

When I first saw the color challenge we were given I thought "Yay! Now I can start the embroidery on one of my cashmere cardigans I've been planning!" Needless to say, the Universe had other ideas in store for me...and how!

More than I can chew... 

I was a bit tired after my push on completing the wall hanging so Tuesday night was lost. This week at work I knew I wouldn't be anywhere near my computer on Friday so I realized that I would have to complete my project by Wednesday night to photograph it and write up my post. Unfortunately, the days have been getting shorter and I really saw it this week when I attempted to do a few "starting point" shots on Wednesday night, none of which turned out well when I loaded the photos into the computer. I tried to start some embroidery later that night, but nothing was looking right. I'm beginning to think the threads I bought for this sweater may be a bit too tonal and blending in too much as a result...

Embroidery would have been more than I could chew with such limited time this week!


I awoke earlier than usual on Thursday morning and thought I might try my hand at a fun tutorial that one my Artful Journey sisters wrote up on her blog the other day - it's a fun way to make flowers and it seemed like it could be a quick way to create something in lavender. I then added in making a flower with t-shirt scraps left over from one of my t-shirt scarves I made for a friend. I can use these flowers later to adorn a canvas bag...


A down and dirty craft project - T-shirt flower!


some base petals to start, cut two-in-one...

more petals in a slightly different shade of lavender, cut individually...

add a little top-stitching to keep it all in place and VOILA!...
a simple t-shirt flower to adorn a canvas bag that can be top-stitched to keep all the petals in place...

and this little flower is super simple and fun to make....
It's a fun way to make flowers thanks to Chrissy's fun tutorial that you can find HERE...

One of the challenges for me with this project was the tone of color I used and photographing it to capture the true hue. I was working with the blue toned shades of lavender and it doesn't always photograph as well as I had hoped. And I was working early in the morning with cool light coming in from my northern window which made it more "cool" in tone. But I completed the last color challenge for the month and I'm proud that I made a project for each color of each week. I'm still just a wee bit sad to see this challenge come to an end because it really was a lot of fun, even if this last week went off the rails!

***   ***   ***

Other challenges...

What a week it's been...one of my fellow Artful Journey classmates wrote about her Mercury Retrograde experience in this post HERE...and a recap HERE. They are funny and I wish my experiences were half as funny as hers this week - for me, work is a chaotic mess and then there's the issue of my car key breaking in my car door! If it wasn't for my dear boyfriend going to retrieve my spare key from my home (20 miles away from my crappy office!!) I would have to sleep in my office tonight!!! Because heaven knows I do NOT have money to spare for a locksmith to get me into my car...at least it gave me lots of time to write up this blog post - HA HA!! ;)

Though work has been bad this week, I can say there have been some eye-opening revelations that came to my attention, none of them very pretty...and it all reinforces the fact that I really need to find a way out of this entire situation. I may write more about those details later to "celebrate" this Labor Day holiday coming up. There are some amazing people who are working on creative ways to approach the workplace that have been swirling in my head these days and I realized that some principles would be applicable to those considering entrepreneurship.

In the meantime, I will take some time to relax from some of this insanity around me and make time to do a project or maybe more cleaning of my creative play-space. I managed to donate a lot of goods from my space to another craft space and I'm hoping it clears a space for a better job...or whatever amazing opportunity the Universe sees fit to send me!




* - okay, she actually let us use some of the other colors from the previous weeks but I was stretched for time!