Let me off the grid! A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Time For Letting Go

I've been thinking a lot about what I wanted to say in my 100th post.  At this time of year there is much focus on honoring the lives of those who have gone before.  This is a big part of my celebration of the holiday.  But I have also been thinking about letting go of those things that no longer serve me.  It's a bit of "fall housekeeping" -- physical, emotional, and spiritual.  It has always made sense to me that if you are inviting the ancestors in for the dark half of the year, then you should do so with a clean house, both literally and figuratively.  Thus, I have been clearing out a LOT of baggage in every sense of the word.  The amount of physical stuff I have acquired over a lifetime is staggering.  And embarrassing.  Every time I send another box or bag out the door, I feel just a bit lighter.  Obviously, this culling is going to take some time, but now that the process has been set in motion I hope to have things pretty much cleared out by spring.  There is absolutely no reason for me to have all this stuff (there probably never was a good reason).

I have also been thinking about my interior life.  Cleaning out the cobwebs here is a bit more challenging, as it requires serious reflection on who I was, who I am now and who I am becoming.  I find letting go of old notions of personal identity somewhat uncomfortable.  As silly as it may sound, my hair was one of those things.  I know intellectually that my hair isn't me, but for most of my life I've thought of it as an outward manifestation of who I was.  However, that shaggy mess looked bad, was hard to take care of and spent most of it's time pinned to the top of my head.  Now that I've cut it off, my life suddenly became a bit easier -- no more fussing, drying, styling.  Now I can hop out of the shower, towel it off and go.  Easy.  It occurs to me that this is a  metaphor for all of life's baggage.  I spend so much time hanging onto "stuff" and once I let it fall away, life becomes much easier.  The path is cleared to move on.  In letting go of "old me" things, the "new me" rushes in to fill that space.  Rather than being scary, I find it a relief.

May the season bestow its gifts upon us all.  May we have the courage and grace to receive them.  Blessed Samhain, everyone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Fun

I just got back from a weekend conference put on by the Art Educators of Nevada.  It was held in Boulder City, a wonderful small town about a half hour drive from my house.  It really felt like a vacation.  Boulder City is so different from Las Vegas; it reminds me of small towns in Ohio, where I grew up.  I spent the weekend with other art teachers from around the state.  We made beautiful things, talked about how to advocate for the arts, and went on a walking tour to see the sculptures on display around the town.  It was very difficult to choose what classes to take because they were all interesting.

These little cuties are made from pumpkin and sesame seeds.  One is a pin, the other a magnet.  My second graders are going to love making these.

 This is a wine bottle that's been fingerpainted with acrylics.  After it dried, the silhouettes were painted on with a brush (fingers just don't do details that well :).

It took two hours to learn to do copper tooling, and because I can't do anything simple, I didn't finish the other copper dangles that I'd cut out.  I brought them home and will finish later.

I think this is my favorite.  We learned about Tiffany and his stained glass.  This is embossed on very thin black foil paper.  We used metallic colored pencils and Gelly Roll pens.  Then we covered a square of cardboard with it (we were supposed to make two, but again, I can't do anything simple, so I brought home my other square to do later).  After the squares were covered, we used them as covers for this folded paper book:
I'm really tired and not looking forward to getting up early tomorrow to go to work (I need another weekend to recover!), but it was well worth it.

When I got home, I found that my scarlet runner beans have started to bloom!
My garden is really happy that the nights are cooler and the days are warm.  Actually, we all are!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pine Straw

I really scored this weekend.  While driving to give blood on Saturday, I noticed a grounds crew was raking up pine straw all along the street I was traveling on.  I pulled over and asked one of the workers what they did with it once they'd bagged it up and he said they throw it away.  I asked if I could come back and take some for my garden and he said absolutely.  So I got four huge bags of pine straw to mulch my garden for free.  I wish I'd been able to get more, but it wouldn't fit in my car.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for the next time the crews are out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Hogwarts Friends

Here are two more zettified Hogwarts professors.  These are great fun to do and I'll be making them into postcards to send off to folks who are Harry Potter fans.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome, October!

Once October arrives, I know it's truly autumn, regardless of what's happening outside.  This morning started off quite cloudy, (wonderful for drinking coffee in the "morning room") but it got hotter and sunny in the afternoon.  I cleaned out the bed with my poor corn stalks and used them to make two wreaths and two shocks which will fit perfectly on my outdoor altar.  Pictures of those to come, as I haven't finished decorating them...

Here's what's growing:
Now, this might not look like much to those of you in more temperate climes, but to have this much robust color in the Mojave Desert just tickles me to no end.

Here we have beans (3 kinds - scarlet runner, purple, and yellow bush beans), radishes, and shelling peas.

Today, Morgan and I were going to decorate the house (once October hits, it's Halloween all month as far as we're concerned), but we were waylaid by the creative impulse.  The dining room table was clean this morning but now...
Hmmm...well, we got a lot of stuff done.  I worked on my zettified Hogwarts friends, did a section in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2012:

and made this postcard for one of Morgan's friends who is on the other side of the country and needs some good mail days:

Any Twin Peaks fans out there?  I also worked on making a new art journal, using old magazines which I bound together with E-6000 and then covered with a brown paper bag from Trader Joe's.  Talk about repurposing!  I got the idea from Paula at Journal Artista (  She doesn't give any directions, but I thought it was cool enough to give it a go myself.  The glue isn't dry yet and no embellishments, so I'll wait until I play with it and then I'll post some pictures.

That's what's going on around here.  Now off to make chicken fajitas...