Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Girdles, Pantyhose and Spanx

Please visit my new blogs/websites:

It was such a privilege to speak to an incredible group of women.  I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the number of requests I've received to post my speech.  I've included it below- straight from my notes. I would love any comments or feedback you may have.


Girdles, Pantyhose and Spanx
W.H.O.A! - Women Helping One Another
"We are So Powerful When We Work Together"

So...I'm talking to myself in my studio, right? I'm trying to get to the essence of what I'd like today's talk to be about--because over the past year I've discovered the importance of surrounding myself with women who are encouraging and empowering. So I'm saying words out loud like Inspire, Encourage, Empower.
"My husband walks in and says, "What are you doing?" I explain that my talk is going to be about Women Helping One Another. Suddenly my husband shouts, "W.H.O.A!". I say, "What?" He shouts, "W.H.O.A. - Women Helping One Another." W.H.O.A! is such an appropriate word because when Women Help One Another - obstacles, fears and negativity are stopped dead in their tracks. Powerful. I thought it was so cool I had to shout "W.H.O.A!" Can I have an amen?!
Why do I want to talk about Women Helping One Another?  Well, since last October my art and art business have had the most incredible year--prior to that--I'll give you the Reader's Digest version--I was a  VP in the computer industry, got fibromyalgia and had to give up my career. I was devastated. I discovered my entire identity was wrapped up in that job. I felt like Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet -when she goes to the Friar and says, "I am past hope, past cure, past help." With nothing to lose, I picked up paintbrush--it was so healing! It literally gave me back my self esteem. Art allowed me to heal and reinvent myself. I wanted to "pay that forward"so I started teaching adults who don't know how to paint - how to paint. And that is what I did from 2006 until last October. Since October,  my hand painted ornaments were sold at Knott's Berry Farm, I've been published in Romantic Homes, Victorian Homes, taught Coptic Journaling at Whimzy and in two weeks I'll be at Glitterfest--I share this with you very humbly --because since 2006 I had the same aspirations and dreams to move forward - to sell my art --what changed? What happened to me that was different? In each instance, where there was a large step forward--I could trace it back to being encouraged and empowered by another woman--either directly or indirectly. I call this The Ripple Effect.
I could talk about the Ripple Effect that occurred between Picasso and Matisse, and how their work inspired and influenced one another, how their friendship empowered them to go the distance, how they then influenced their contemporaries and went on to inspire the entire art world--their work still inspires us today. But for today, I'd like to keep the examples a little bit closer to home. I'd like to share with you what I've experienced over the past year.
There was an artist who saw my ornaments back in 2006 and told me they would be perfect for Knott's.
She offered the contact info. I thanked her and politely declined - explaining that I wasn't ready yet-I hadn't been painting long enough. She approached me again in 2007. 2008. 2009. Each time I politely declined, saying "I'm not ready". In my head I thought I needed to take more classes and needed more designs, but the truth is -- I was in fear that my art wasn't good enough. In 2010 she didn't approach me--she gave my phone number to Knott's and they contacted me directly, asking me to come in for an interview. As a courtesy to my friend, I thought the least I could do was suit up, show up and show 'em my artwork. I did and was delighted with their response. That is how my ornaments got into Knott's. Women Helping One Another. Powerful. It's the Ripple effect.
My favorite example of the indirect Ripple effect involves two women artists--Both women are bloggers. One was having a bad day and blogged about it. The other artist, who did not know her--read the post and reached out to her. They got together and created a workshop which I had the good fortune to attend--and for me it was life changing. Here was a group of very accomplished artists who shared from the heart and because they were transparent I discovered their fears and concerns were the same as mine. I was not alone. The artist reaching out to someone she didn't even know had a profound effect upon my life. You never know where your kindness, your giving of yourself will ultimately land. The Ripple Effect. Women Helping One Another.
Last summer, Lydia Reza approached me and asked if I'd be interested in meeting with a couple other artists to support one another in achieving our creative goals. I jumped in. In the beginning there was six of us--by October it was down to the core group-just three of us. We started meeting once a month and called our group, "The Broad Squad". We shared our goals, created action items and held each other accountable. Sometimes we just shared and it was a therapy session. I always left the meetings inspired and on fire. Very quickly, these women became my very dear and close friends. Women Helping One Another.
I love Julia Cameron's phrase, from The Artist's Way, she writes "in order to acheive escape velocity" she makes a list of friends who support her and a list of friends who don't. Those who don't,  Julia calls W.B.'s --for Wet Blankets--no one wants to wrap themselves in a wet blanket--she suggests we wrap ourselves in something else-something dry. Heated, fluffy towels.
Let's talk about those first - your heated, fluffy towels need to be your believing mirrors - those people who mirror and reflect back the truth of your art and your dream in a possible, positive, affirming way. They are believers, they know that sometimes Creative Success means creative failures, they believe in "trying and trying again". They are generous. They believe in you and your dream.
My husband is a believing mirror, Lydia Reza and Jenny Doh are believing mirrors for me. Can you write down three believing mirrors? Believing mirrors don't have to be family members or BBF's - but they do need to be people you trust and feel safe with.
Now ladies, we've gotta talk about them, you all know them - Creative Snipers. Those people who you share your dream with and they tell you why you can't achieve it. Dreambusters. You say, I want to write a novel, and they'll tell you why you can't publish in this economy. J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was rejected 12 times before she was published. 12 creative snipers said her work wasn't publishable. But nine of those rejections came through her agent. Her agent must of been a believing mirror who said, "This is awesome work, and we're going to keep submitting it". On the 13th submission, a small publishing company in London decided to publish it--to world acclaim. I think a lot of creative snipers are un-actualized artists, so I try to regard them with compassion. I'd like to think if they knew better, they'd do better. They may be wonderful friends to take to a yoga class, but its important to be aware that they are not a safe place to share your art.
So we talked about the Ripple effect, we've determined who our believing mirrors and creative snipers are - now its time to discuss "girdles, pantyhose and spanx" - in a nutshell - ladies, women need support! Creativity flourishes in a place of safety and acceptance. Success happens in clusters. If you don't have one already, I'd like to suggest creating your own Dream Team. Your Broad Squad, like the one recommended in the book,  Cash in a Flash. Author Robert G. Allen calls it a mastermind alliance - his definition? "Two or more individuals coming together to accomplish more than either could alone." Like Matisse and Picasso. Allen believes that to be a great person, entrepreneur, leader, artist, speaker or author you MUST have a dream team - "read any biography or autobiography and you'll find examples of this.
Men need support, too. A great example of a Dream Team, a success cluster, is a group of men who were friend BEFORE they were famous. They pooled resources and supported one another's dreams. They are George Lucas, Steven Speilberg, Brian de Palma, Francis Coppola and Marty Scorsese. Everyone benefits from pooling resources and generosity. Can you write the names of a potential dream team where you can pool resources and support one another's success?
I believe launching my creativity to the next level occurred because I was surrounded by supportive women, believing mirrors who empowered me to take the next indicated step, held me accountable. I am so grateful to these women - my "girdles, pantyhose and spanx" --cuz ladies, a gal's gotta have support.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Roger's Garden's Halloween Party

The amazing work of Virgie Lightfoot

The incredible Paulette Adams (see her in the current issues of Somerset Home and Romantic Homes) invited myself and Lydia Reza (my partner for Vintage Marketplace) to the Roger's Gardens "Blackstone" Back Alley Theater (Halloween Preview) Party in Corona Del Mar. 

Albeit the line was long, but the lovely folks at Roger's-- decked out in black with festive hats all done up with tulle, rhinestones and roses-- kept coming by with ice cold waters and homemade cookies-- while Paulette, Lydia and I chatted. Ideas were flying everywhere and I must say I am surprised that my head did not spontaneously combust with all the creative electricity zinging around between us --and we had yet to enter the event!!! 

The "Blackstone" Back Alley Theater design immediately transported us "backstage". The Prop room was loaded with Vintage Halloween rosettes, bottle brush Halloween Christmas trees (does that make sense?) Glitter Glass Haunted Houses, black cats, Vintage Halloween tags...much more than I can possibly list. Paulette's eye was caught by an old French military jacket of beautiful quality. So glad she pointed it out--with my head bent in the Wendy Addison display I would have completely missed it! As we entered the Costume room, Lydia pointed out the ceiling (yes, I still had my head bent--this time I was immersed in black bird nests and black glitter trees) where a huge moving tarantula danced over our heads.

There were vintage photos that turned seriously scary as we passed, one of my favorite backstage props was a vintage couch that had playful rats poking their heads out of the upholstery. Huge chandeliers that hung from ceiling to floor...

Had a wonderful conversation with Virgie Lightfoot (photo at top) - her artwork is whimsical, very original and fun.I was amazed to find out her creatures are made of fabric with her own special paint recipe--the end result is incredible (yet another superlative!!)

We wrapped up the evening at Tommy Bahama's--more great conversation with soft (live!!) guitar music and coconut shrimp. To quote Fat Boy Slim - what a "Wonderful Night"! Couldn't wait to get home and share it with y'all!   ox

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Lavender Havest

Earlier this year, I planted four types of lavender --about 20 plants. I love lavender. The way it looks, the way smells. Visted the Keys Creek Lavender Farm a few months ago and received tons of info about growing and cutting your own bushes. Yesterday I completed my first lavender harvest - what an incredible experience! I say "harvest", but there was no heavy machinery, barn building or singing of "The Gospel Train" - just me with my little pruner and an abundance of bug spray! 

It was wonderful feeling the heat of the sun complimented by a slightly cool breeze, dodging the nectar seeking bees-- all the while immersed in the intoxicating scent of lavender. It took about half a day to "harvest" - I was amazed as my large basket started to overflow with stalks. Neighbors stopped by to comment or observe. June, my friend from across the street strolled over calling "Martha! Martha!" I laughed because I'm sure when gardening,Martha Stewart does not wear her hubby's 20 year old Palm Frond hat (great story behind the hat - Whitey Harrison, the father of Long Board Surfing made it for Mike--but that's fodder for another blog post), bright red crocs, and no make up! Despite my scary appearance, I'm happy to report that butterflies, ladybugs, even the neighbor's cat put in an appearance.

After the cutting was done, I sat on the lawn under our huge Water Maple tree and made bundles for drying. Mike came out to help--ended up taking a nap on the grass! Wish I had taken a picture of that. It was an idyllic summer afternoon. Hung the bundles high in the garage. The smell is amazing. I've always wanted to plant and cut my own lavender - yesterday truly was my lavender dreams come true.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bottles Bellissimo class at Rita Reade's

 Bottles Bellissimo
Spending time with creative friends is such a privilege. Yesterday I took a wonderful class at Rita Reade's and was thrilled to spend the afternoon with Rita, Christine, Kay Ellen, Michelle and met new friends Christie, Vicki and Nancy. Enjoyed creating and conversation so much that I almost forgot to take pictures! I did manage to get a few shots that I thought you might enjoy.
Attending a soldering class at Rita's lovely home is like taking a vacation into Romantic Homes, Romantic Country or Casa Romantica. Every corner filled with objects of beauty - and she is constantly changing things up so each time there is something different to see.

(r-l)Christie, Rita, Liz
Rita made a wonderful lunch (with homemade bread!) and Christine brought an incredible buttermilk cake her daughter baked (sorry, I was too busy eating to take a pic!)

Liz's beautiful bottle

(l-r) Michele, Christine, Vicki, Nancy soldering
As class was wrapping up, Rita opened her mail and discovered she's published in the upcoming Somerset Home magazine -congrats, Rita!

At the end of class I took a "special" picture by holding my iphone at arms length. Here it is -

(l-r) back row: Michele, Vicki, Liz
front row: Kay Ellen, Christine, Rita, me

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome to my Studio

Buddy and Bruno - official Greeters for our Studio Tour

Hello! Welcome! C'mon in!  
I'm so excited you're here - isn't this the coolest party? A huge thank you to 
Karen Valentine from  My Desert Cottage 
for creating this amazing event!
My studio is my sanctuary--I'm surrounded by everything I love-- art, books , music,  the garden through the window, my cats-- I'm so excited to share it with you! While I am most often a solitary worker in my studio, you'll soon learn what a large role my husband plays in the creation of this magical space. 

I love this table. Everything fits!

My Summer Tree
if you look closely you'll see not only my artwork, but ornaments done
 by Julie Nutting,  Sheri Baldy and way in the back,  Iva Wilcox

My husband (who is an EXTRAORDINARY man!!) built a huge table (it used to be a closet door!) that is my work surface.   It holds my computer, EVERYTHING I need when working on a project - paints, brushes, etc. AND a six foot white Christmas tree that I decorate each month. 
Valentine's Day Tree
Spring Tree
Project, computer and the tree
Despite the large table, Buddy likes to sit on the edge

 Last week I was making tiny cones for some Victorian ornaments
 --my husband came up with these "drying racks"
He makes me laugh every day!
Apparently HE thought they were elf hats!!
Some of my bits and bobs
Lots of shelves with inspirational items. The two darling mice were made by the incredible Jenn Hernandez.

Now here's the part that makes me cry (happy tears!!) I told my husband about Where Bloggers Create two days ago. That is when the corner by the windows looked like this:

He surprised me --and put in a work counter!! He finished it this afternoon - and now that corner looks like this:

 I'll get this corner "set up" in the next week or so and take a long shot of the studio so you can see the entire room.

When I originally started this post, I thought it would be about my art and my studio--I'm grateful that I also get to publicly acknowledge all my husband's hard work and how much it means to me.

Well, that's it - hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks so much for stopping by.  Can't wait to see all of your studios!!


The Party Starts Tomorrow!

Can't wait for the Where Bloggers Create 2011 party to start! It's almost here! A big thank you to Karen Valentine of My Desert Cottage for putting together this amazing event. I've been a big fan of hers since I saw her "Witchy Woman" vignette in Somerset Studio (Vintage Halloween/Sept/Oct 2010). I'll be posting my "Studio Tour" for the party soon--can't wait to see everyone's creative spaces! See y'all at the party tomorrow!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrating Summer

"Then followed that beautiful season...Summer...Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light: and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."  - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is a stillness to the morning light - Summer has arrived! I grab coffee and walk out barefooted to feed the squirrels - the grass feels delicious beneath my feet. Gardens are blossoming forth; in the afternoon, iced tea is served to girlfriends on the front porch; there is time to chat and linger. My lavender and lion's tail are a' buzz with honey bees.

June has been a busy month (yes, friends, that is my excuse for being so remiss in blogging!!) The month kicked off with Vintage Marketplace - I did manage to get pics up and describe how extraordinary this event was...and then things took off.

The following week, Rita Reade organized a day for creative girlfriends that started out at Key Creek Lavender Farm - about 20 amazing women showed up - wish I had gotten pics of everyone who attended!

Bouganvilla archway - Lavender Labyrinth behind

Rows upon rows of fragrant lavender

Then we were off to Christine Schulz's for a gourmet lunch prepared by her daughter, Rachel and sister, Vicky. Christine's home was incredible!  -  I'll let you see for yourself -

Then we were off to
Matilda's Mouse - a very unique barn sale held on the old Betty Crocker estate.

It was such a magical day. Taking time out to hang with my creative girlfriends is so important! But June didn't stop there!

Taught my coptic journal class (Van de Mortel Designs) at Whimzy, followed up later in the week with a celebration of Summer Solstice and shopping at Gilding the Lily. Shop owner extraordinaire, Nancy Jamar, had everything Victorian I was looking for (and then some!!) - took a rose painting class with Christy Repasy - the BEST art class! If you have the chance to take her class - jump on it - they book up months in advance. Managed to get over to Jamestown Village Flea Market and picked up a few items that I will be repurposing and blogging about. Yesterday had tea with my Fa La Vecia partner, Lydia Reza ...

June has been such a fun-filled month. I can't think of better way to kick off summer - can you?