Showing posts with label Vignettes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vignettes. Show all posts

Jul 3, 2013

Precious Project in the Making



I have this beloved old wooden box with its original gray, weathered paint still on it, that I find myself "displaying" it instead of tucking it away out of sight. While I know it is the "in thing" with artsy gals to love the old, the chipped, and the worn, but I didn't grow up that way at all. Something like this, my mother wouldn't have allowed in the house. It may not even have made it into the shed, but instead, straight into the garbage can.

But I digress. 

As I am still on my new, little adventure, which I will be able to share with you in the near future, this box does play a part of it. As I sort through my various treasures, of all kinds, I needed to find a place for those few lost souls, that I couldn't part with, but I am sure, I "will need them for a project." But I am trying very hard to organize and sort my treasures and really eliminate those that have been waiting for such a project for years now, and let's be honest, some of those projects I am either not interested in any longer, or they aren't "me" any longer, or, I just can't remember what the heck that fab project was going to be in the first place!

But for those few trinkets, that I am still convinced that belong within arm's reach for that sudden spark of frenzy when I am sure my next idea is exactly what I need to do...I needed a place for those trinkets that I never tire of because if at the very least, I love to look at them, touch them, and remember where, when, and how I came across them.



Sometimes, I think the older I get, the more simpler I get. Not to be confused with simple-minded, mind you. Although, there are those that may argue that. And it seems that the more complicated the world gets, the more I rebel against it. The elderly are becoming a lot more understandable to me in their way of thinking as I get older, it seems. I remember hearing dad, sometimes grumbling about the world, and its lack of morals, or how people just don't talk to each other anymore (ha! way before the invention of cell phones and texting!). But then again, he rode his mule to school and graduated with only 12 kids from a one-room school house in rural Nebraska. But for the most part, he adapted pretty darn well from riding a mule to owning a Harley Davidson for about a week when I was about 13, for what I am assuming was his very short-lived mid-life crises that mom quickly ended.



But I digress again...


I remember one time, many, many years ago, while living in Texas, when I was seeing a wonderful counselor who was helping through a very difficult and painful time in my life, he had me do a break through exercise. It was the coolest exercise...



Here you do it and then I will explain:

Have someone read the following to you, you need a partner:

(In order for this to really work, you HAVE to stop reading right now, and go find someone to read this following. If you read ahead to my experience, then your experience will be tainted, and I promise you, you will be mad at yourself, because this is such a cool exercise, and you will have ruined it for yourself...so stop right now...come back when you have someone and the time to do it...it really is cool!)

Have your partner and you get relaxed and have her/him read:

Close your eyes and relax. Now imagine a box, any kind of box at all.(Pause) Take your time and really, really study your box and really see it. Don't rush, take your time and really see it. Do you see it? (Pause) Study it really well. You got it in your head? (Pause) What size is it? What is it made of? Where is your box? After several minutes of really seeing your box, keep your eyes shut, and just watch it for a minute or so and see what the box is doing.

Now, look inside your box...what do you see? Look around inside and really study what you see. Describe in detail what you see. Does it have a lid? Look at the inside of the lid if it has one. What do you see?  

Now before you leave your box, take note of the environment around your box. Is it outside, inside, the weather, anything you notice all around the box...scent, noise, everything that has been going on the entire time around the box...

Okay...open your eyes and tell your friend exactly what you experienced that you didn't already share...starting with the beginning of this exercise. Go over the list of things I asked you about your box and go over in lots of detail...take notes...


I may have forgotten some of the exercise, as it was years ago, but I will tell you what I saw, as I will never forget. Remember, I had no idea what this exercise was for or for what reason we were doing it...this is how I described my box at that time:

My box at that time was covered in precious jewels, emeralds, rubies, diamonds and covered in gold. When I opened it, it was lined with purple satin, but there was no bottom, and it was floating, actually, sort of being whipped around a little in the wind. Inside there were tons and tons of papers that were falling out of the bottom, one by one and flying away. I wasn't grabbing at them at all. When asked to look at the lid, there was a mirror and when asked what did I see, I saw myself! I was just normal, not crying, not laughing, just looking. The sky was blue and sunny. The box never landed or crashed to the ground.  



Okay, what does this all mean? The exercise is to help you sort out that whatever you saw inside, is the answer to whatever personal issue you may be having. You (or the counselor) will have to decode it. How you described your box, is how you are currently feeling about yourself at this moment. What your box is "doing" is how you feel about your issue and how you feel it is taking place in your life. And other details can tell you (or predict) how you are going to (or may) handle your issue. So now that you saw how much detail I had, go back and fill in any other details you may have left out before you read on.




Well, I can only tell you how my therapist decoded my descriptions, and it helped me more than I ever thought a silly exercise ever could for self-awareness:

He said that he was extremely happy that I described my box with so many "precious jewels" and gold...that meant that I still valued myself and I had felt I had self worth (I had been going to therapy almost year, and that was not the case when I first started). He said he liked that I used the word "precious jewels" and not just "jewels"- which words we actually use to describe this exercise really tells us things about ourselves. The purple satin inside meant that I hadn't turned hard like I thought I had (something I worried about at the time) and "purple" which was not my color at the time (nor now), but a color of royalty, meaning that my heart was still true, pure, even though I felt I had been tainted by this hard and painful season. He was trying to show me that my real self had not died. I remember tearing up when he had told me that, and he said, he hadn't told me that, I was telling myself that with my very own words...

He said that he was not surprised to hear that my box did not have a bottom, as my problem still seemed overwhelming to me and not having a bottom means I was feeling that my issue would never end. But when he asked what was I doing, I was only looking at the papers...not interfering with them...which is good, letting life take its course. So you see, what you were doing is important in the exercise too.

However, he felt very encouraged that my box was in a bright, sunny, blue-sky environment, which meant that I was more hopeful about the future than ever before. However, it was whipping about somewhat, but not blown apart. That shows that I am still anxious but not out of control. The box was in tact, and showed no signs of falling apart (he asked me during the decoding session if the box showed any signs of weakness, and it didn't).

He said he felt very happy that I wasn't grabbing after the papers that were falling out one-by-one. He said he had wished they were falling out at a much faster pace, which would have meant I was shedding my hard season of life quicker, but they were leaving the box all the same, and I wasn't grabbing on to it, thinking I could still save/do/change/ the situation. I was letting go.



And finally, he said the good news is, I was realizing that my hard season of life was almost over, and it was up to me to move on - hence my reflection in the mirror. I am the answer to moving on. No one else but me can do this. He was glad that my reflection just showed me...no one behind me, no shadow, me not crying, just me. That meant that I was willing and able to handle this on my own. 

These are all subconscious thoughts I was having, which showed me I had more strength than I realized and helped me to grow in that moment.





I was so impressed and excited with this exercise so many years ago, I remember doing this exercise on my brother. Of course, he had no idea what this exercise was about, and I just said, "hey, do something for me..." and I had him relax and did the whole thing and did it very slowly and so on. My brother had just been through an emotional divorce, was trying to get back on his feet, and tends to keep things to himself. He tried to pretend that all is well by joking all the time, but this is what he told me about his box:

Here is how some of it went:

Me
Imagine a box, any kind of box. Got it? See it?
Okay, tell me about your box.

Brother
It is a cardboard box. Sort of medium size.

Me
What else? Is it a strong/sturdy box?

Brother
No, it is beat up. Dented. Like it was kicked around

Me
Where is your box?

Brother
In a garage

Me
What kind of garage?

Brother
I don't know, it's pretty dark

Well, you can see where this is going! He went on to say it was empty. Nothing inside, and so on. He was floored when I told him what the exercise was about. And very eye-opening to him, as he was convinced he was doing okay, but actually, I could see he wasn't. And he then could see he needed to take better care of himself and do some things to make himself happy again.



Where am I going with all this? Well, I am not sure, except all I know is, that when I got out my beat up old gray box with my trinkets, I had very strong sense of contentment. And for some strange reason, admiring its rough exterior, its very sturdy bottom, and feeling its heavy weight as I placed it in a very happy, new area, I had a flashback of that box exercise so many, many years ago during a season of pain. 

And how ironic that during that season of pain, I described a jeweled box of gold, lined with satin. And now, during a season of contentment, joy, and happiness, I should find such pleasure out of a rough, worn, old, wooden box filled with old things. But this season of happiness is following a short season of much, much physical pain and some unexpected changes in life. 




And maybe, this time, at this moment in life, this box just simply means that a little worn and a little rough on the outside, only means there is a really precious project in the works on the inside.

And maybe that is my true project...

May your precious project always be in the works from The Greatest Protector of all...Christ who saw me through all of my life projects.

from my house to your house



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Feb 8, 2012

creating with The Creator part 1

Hello!

I hope this post is finding you all well. I wanted to thank you so much for all the kind emails and comments that came my way due to my announcing my first book that I photographed and styled, Quilts From the House of Tula  Pink, due out soon. The well wishes I received made me feel so happy.If you missed that announcement and have no idea what I am talking about you can catch up by clicking here.

As I said in my prior post, I would spend the next couple of posts doing a little story telling about this shoot and share a few amazing stories, as well as some behind the scenes photos and photos that were not used. I did receive a very nice email from the creative designer who said she wished the book could have been longer because there were so many photographs from which to choose and selecting which photographs was very difficult. Getting that email made my day.




In trying to keep the stories somewhat succinct (yeah, right, cough) I will quickly tell you that I got the offer to do the job in April, signed the contract late April or early May (can't remember), and had to have the cover shot by late May. 




The Email:

I was so excited to get the assignment. I had never met any of the team members before. I had no idea who Tula Pink was and no, I am not a quilter. I just opened my email one day and there it was, an email from the publisher, asking if I would be interested in the project and if she could call me. She had seen my work, of all places, on my blog, and she loved what she saw...I couldn't believe it! This is what I have been working for all this time and now, I am staring at my email, and a publisher wants me to call her...I don't even remember what I was thinking...I just emailed her back that I would love for her to call me and just gave her my phone number and we spoke the next day.




The Vision


So we connect on the phone, and immediately, I realize that this is more a "professional" call than I had been used to in a while...meaning more "buttoned-up and panty-hose" as my Texan girlfriend used to say when she was referring to corporate. The publisher was very polite, but professional. Not that I am not, I am just more, let's say, casual. The publisher is trying to give me the vision of the book, and the "feel" they think they want and is trying really hard to connect the dots for me as I listen, but I am quick thinker and soon, I sort of lose my "buttons and panty hose" and resort to my old self and here is how the conversation goes on our very first phone call:


After some struggle of visionary discussion...


Publisher

We just want a really different sort of book, sort of edgy...

Me

May I interrupt for a moment?

Publisher

Of course...

Me

Well, let me tell you what I think you want, and if I am way out in left field, then I will be quiet and you can keep telling me what you think you want, but I think I know what you are trying to say, but aren't really saying it...

Publisher

Sure, go ahead...

Me

I think you want Shabby Chic, but not really Shabby Chic.
I think you want industrial, but not really.
I think you want it urban, but not really.
I think you want it feel homey, but not really in a home.
I think you want it to be rustic, but not really country.
I think you want it really unique, really Tula, but not so far out there that the readers' can't relate.
I think you want it to be edgy without it being hard.
I think you want each quilt to have their own personality, but they all are related.
Am I getting close to what you are trying to say?

Publisher

That is exactly what we want!


Crazy Time

We talked a little more and hung up shortly after that, and then I realized that I somehow said a whole lot of something without really saying anything! Is that crazy talk, or what? At the time, it made sense to me, but as soon as I hung up, I thought, "What the hell did I just say?" Now what do I do? And never mind I had never met Tula Pink or even seen her website or even seen one single quilt of hers. But I tell you what, I give the publishers and Tula a whole lotta credit for turning over their babies (quilts) to a total stranger and just letting me do whatever I wanted. We did email a few times after that call of course, and I emailed them a few ideas, but they never once saw my location, or styling until I shot the assignment and turned in the shots. Now that is pretty trusting. 

Now that I got the assignment, I just have to figure out if my camera will handle their format requirements and if my computer programs are up to par.





I suddenly felt like all eyes were pointing in my direction. I had signed on the dotted line...and this was a do or die situation for me. All that I had done had led up to this moment. Except I didn't know this at the time. Little did I know that all those years of working so hard were about to pay off...but I had no idea after that one phone call what adventures I was about to have. No idea at all.


So Much To Learn





I learned very quickly that I didn't have the right lens, nor could I afford one. So...I learned to rent lenses. I did not have the updated computer programs to convert my files into files for print format for the required format for books. So, within 36 hours, I had to upgrade my computer, take a class and relearn a very hard program. I learn just enough to squeak by. I learned new ways to work my camera because I demanded new things from it that I never knew I could do. 





Help from Above

But actually, I have that backwards...I demanded new things from myself that I never knew I could do. And for that I have to thank God. And for me, my God is Christ. I have absolutely no doubt that on this assignment, Jesus was there every single day, every step, every computer click, every click of the camera, every mile I drove, every time I picked up someone's precious prop that I borrowed and never broke it. That is why in my first post I didn't thank Him, I wanted to save this post for that. I wanted this post to be about Him, not me.

God was such an important part of the success of my shoot and styling that I have now put Him on my business card...He is my Creative partner. Without Him, this would have never happened. After the shoot, I designed new cards and put my new partner on the card with me, take a look:










Too Good


Let me just paint a brief picture for you, if I may. This shoot took place in an abandoned building, on the top floor, in the summer heat of triple digits. I had to drive an hour and twenty minutes to get there. I had ten very heavy quilts to haul up the flight of stairs, props, furniture, and many items did not belong to me. I rented expensive equipment, and many times, spent up to 10 hours in the heat, with ice packs in the ice-chest to keep me cool. I had to climb ladders to hang up chandeliers, or tie umbrellas to the ceiling. At any time, I could have tripped, fallen over cords, fallen down the stairs, dropped the quilts in the dirt or mud. I could have fallen off the ladder, dropped someone's precious prop, lost an item, or even wrecked my car while driving back and forth on farm roads. I could have had computer issues, missed my deadline, or even gotten sick or had a week's worth of migraines. This was also during the horrible tornadoes we endured and I could have easily gotten caught in one of them while shooting or driving home (we had over 200 in our area during August and September). 

And if this isn't enough to convince you, I haven't even begun to tell you the stories that even a non-believer will at least have to scratch his/her head and have to  admit that someone was helping me out.

Now, please understand that I am not trying to convince, convert, or conclude anything for anyone. But I do wish it to be clear that while I am so happy about this book, the very hard work that went into it, and all the creative energy from the entire team and all the enormous amount of creative trust between us...I just want to pay my full respect to the greatest Creator I have ever had the pleasure to work with...Christ. If I had the influence, I wish I could respectfully get Him to be known as "CC" for short(Creative Christ) because He does create some amazing things.

I will never forget my first shoot after I turned in my cover shots. It was late at night when I finally got home, about 11PM. I downloaded all my photos while I took a shower. Randy was in bed already and I got something to eat. My computer was clicking away and I was rubbing my neck with my eyes closed and then I heard the little bing!

I yawned and opened my eyes and clicked my mouse and then I just stared at my computer...I couldn't believe what I shot. I hadn't even cropped, or straightened any photos yet and I couldn't believe my eyes. I knew right then, I was not alone in this project. I just remember slowly scrolling through all my photos and quietly whispering, with a lump in my throat:

Thank you God for not letting me do this alone. I know You had a hand in this. There is no way I did this on my own. Thank you so much for helping me today.

And below was the first photo I saw that first night...sitting in my office, in the dark, with only the light of the computer screen illuminating the room. 

As I stared at my photos in my office...I knew I wasn't alone while I clicked through them, one by one.












The funny thing is...I have never been alone in any of my projects, but for some reason, God chose to be very present in this project. I have always been aware of Him in one sense or another and more at some times in my life than at others. But during this entire assignment, He seriously had a vested interest and I was so grateful to have Him on board. 

Well, I thought I was going to tell the barn story of the quilts, but this is already getting long. So the next story is funny and amazing....it is about how this...




...finally made it to this:






Thank you dear readers for allowing me to share my adventures. I so enjoy sharing and having you in my life to share them with. It makes my adventures all the more exciting. Thank you so much for sharing in my joyful days as well as in my days of hardship. You mean very much to me and I feel extremely blessed to have such great readers who take time out of their busy lives to stop over now and again for a visit.


Until then, if so inclined, my Creative business partner is not on an exclusive contract...He is free to work with anyone who has a need for His services. Just call out His name...no waiting, and no automated operator to put you on hold either. (I hate those things!) I would be happy to give Him a wonderful recommendation... :-)


from my house to your house,



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Dec 31, 2011

Seeing the New Year Differently

Happy New Year!

It seems that every year gets shorter and shorter as I get older and older.

As one year ends and another begins, most of you know that I don't make any new year's resolutions. I do however, usually select a word for the new year that I will observe throughout the year in hopes that I will be better for it.

I had been thinking of this new word for about a week or so, and decided that my word for the new year would be:

Vision.

As most of you know, my vision has been a great source of contention for several years now due to my car accident.




These past several years have been a struggle as my once 20/20 vision was "totaled" along with my little car on that night of the  accident and has fluctuated ever since. Five of the glasses you see below are different prescriptions and the rest are just readers.





While gathering items around the house for my little posting on my 2012 word "vision," I played around with my props a little bit as I played around with words in my head on exactly what it is about the word, vision, that I want to write about....





And as I fuss about the books and glasses, trying to figure out exactly which shot I want, I continue to think about how my vision of this shot isn't really coming to fruition and how ironic that is....


After some moving here, and fussing there, I finally get the vision I was after and I am satisfied. Now, it is only a matter of getting the right angle...or rather, perspective. I continue to ponder in my head about how 2012 is going to be different for me...how I am determined to see things differently.


How I will have a different perspective on life....




But it wasn't until I bent down and got a completely different perspective and shot the photo below did it finally occur to me: my word for 2012 was not the right word. It wasn't vision that I was after...no, not vision.





But rather, I was wanting insight


Yes! Insight is something I desire. A deeper understanding of the world, those around me, as well as myself. All the spectacles in the world won't give me this.


Insight is a level of wisdom that comes from experience. 


Not from books. 










Only from living.








It is interesting how "insight," my new word for 2012, came about. While at first, I was sure my word was "vision" and I had set out to create this little vignette to shoot, I went and got this huge 1800's bible as the base of the setup.







As I set it on the table I just flipped it open and on the very first time I opened it, this little four-leaf clover was pressed right in the center of it. I took it out and then began to stack my other antique books on top of it and went and gathered all my glasses around the house.


But it wasn't until I finished my little photo shoot, having mostly "written" my post in my head, and began to put my items away did I discover something even more extraordinary. As I carefully replaced the little clover leaf in the pages, it was the first time I had noticed that I opened the bible to this verse:


Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.






I think no matter how well I thought out this little vignette, or my idea of what I thought I was going to say, and how I was going to say it...


Someone much smarter, wiser, and more in control had something else in mind all along. And I think I would be so much better off in 2012 if I will just let my insight be guided by Him.


May your 2012 be filled with peace, joy, and be lovingly guided by Christ who loves us like we couldn't never understand.


from my house to your house,








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Sep 3, 2011

Creative Cooking Simple Serving

I am honored to once again to have my work featured in Where Women Cook. I came home last night and found my autumn issue waiting for me and I never stop getting excited to see my work or ideas published. I never take it for granted that there are so many very talented individuals wishing that they too, could share their ideas and talent with the world and they are hoping that someday they will be able to do so.


So, thank you Where Women Cook for doing such a beautiful job with my feature and the layout is, as always, spectacular. This issue is especially exciting because it features Cristina Ferrare of "Big Bowl of Love" from OWN network. She will be one of the keynote speakers at The Creative Connection Event that is just only a couple of weeks away now! I can't wait. Remember, like I said in a few posts ago, if you grab this button and leave a comment and post the button on your blog's sidebar, your name will be entered to win either a subscription to Where Women Create or Where Women Cook. Jo Packham, founder of both publications, generously offered that to my readers!




CONTEST GIVEAWAY! 

Just grab the button below. 
Place button on your blog sidebar just until Sept 15th. 
And leave me a comment that you did so.

There will be Two winners:
One will get a year's subscription to Where Women Create
One will get a year's subscription to Where Women Cook

Click HERE for details!


Issue of Where Women Cook that features my latest work




But for now, let me say that the little feature I did for Where Women Cook is a feature called "Art Bar." It is a regular feature only added in a couple of issues ago. I believe mine is the third Art Bar? Not sure exactly.  I chose to feature one of my favorite holiday drinks: Wassail.


I fell in love with this European traditional punch back when I lived in Germany. There are many ways to make this punch and so I shared my version in Art Bar. I will share some of the photos that were not used, as the feature is purposely kept to only four pages and only the recipe.  You will have to read WWC to get all the photos and the recipe.....yes....the recipe (for a while at least) stays in WWC to be fair to them. But I will say, that this punch is served warm and is so good, (and beautiful) that serving it year round is something too hard to resist. But I will give you some serving tips, as they could not be included in the issue...so I am giving you something, even if not the recipe.  :-)


I hope you enjoy the extra photos and tips.







I use a metal, vintage punch bowl when serving warm punch. Not only does it lend to the traditional feel of the punch, but the metal keeps the punch warm longer. I line up the tarnished silver goblets on an old mirror for texture and old world beauty. 



Sometimes, keeping things simple is simply elegant. Just lining up the goblets on an old mirror is all that is needed for this little drink station....





I like using an antique, tarnished creamer, instead of a ladle to dip out the punch. Have you ever noticed how ladles are awkward to handle and tend to spill the punch anyway? Now you know what to do with those little three dollar creamers you find at any flea-market but wonder what to do with them. They are easy to hold, and pour directly into any little cup, without spills!









Using left over fruit to decorate is an easy, quick, and inexpensive way to finish off the table. Save your money for great appetizers and don't spend it on decorations...guests will love the simplicity and will enjoy gabbing and eating the tasty treats that you were able to purchase with the saved $$.











As a special treat, poke the oranges with cloves in a decorative manner. If you have a guest of honor...poking his/her initials into the oranges is a nice surprise! In this case, I honored Where Women Cook. A little trick: First float the orange to see which way it floats. Poke the cloves on the upside and if necessary, poke one or two toothpicks on the bottom of the orange which will help stabilize the orange to keep the cloves upward. Be sure to push the toothpicks far enough in to keep them from falling out.




The baked and scored apples look so cozy among all the floating fruits and spices. It just screams autumn! I love the crinkled skin. You will need to cut fresh lemon and orange slices before serving - they aren't so pretty after simmering in the punch :-)



Well, I just couldn't put away all the fun ingredients without playing a little...I guess you can see where my heart is...


If you want some fabulous recipes, some really heart-warming stories about some fabulous women to inspire you, this is a really great publication that Jo Packham has created. This publication is for women (or men) who like to cook, who love to peek into other women's kitchens, and who love a good inspirational story. I am really honored to be a part of Where Women Cook. If you are looking for some connections, inspiration, or just wanting to jumpstart your passion to a new level, again, I will be at The Creative Connection Event, and if you are still on the fence about this, I encourage you to visit their blog which will give you lots of information, ideas, and last minute registration deals and tips.


Well, that is it for now. I hope you enjoyed the little bit of eye candy. I always enjoy getting up a post that shows my passion. I have been super busy finishing up a huge project and I haven't had a moment to rest, gather my thoughts or even clean up after my project. And boy, how I can't wait to share with you ANOTHER HUGE project that just landed in my lap...but it is a project that will take quite a while to work on, a TRUE labor of love, and will fulfill many, many years of dreaming, loving, wishing, and a very unbelievable story that goes with along with it. It will be such a fun project, a long project, I may start a whole separate blog about it.....stay tuned!


Until then my dear readers, I wish you all the chance to create, dream, wish, and continue to grow your passion in a direction that fills you up with pure joy.


from my house to your house,




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