Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Santa,

I attended my first bazaar on Saturday. I stayed up almost all night beading and putting stuff together only to have not sold a single item!! I couldn't believe it! However, this is a new bazaar and it seemed that many of the shoppers were teachers or parents at the school and were there for the singing and other activities. Who knows. At least I have more stuff to add to my Etsy site (Conscious Creativity), so continue to check it throughout the week! And while you're on there...check out my wish list from other Etsy artists! Here are a few of my faves:

I love MANY of the vintage necklaces at FreshyFig, such as the feather lariats or owl necklaces. However, I especially love the Turquoise Blue Birds with Lockets like this one...

Yea, I know I could never afford this purse, but I can still admire, right? From Scotatto

Ok, this beret is more affordable and I know this person! Love the removable pin! From Fancydress

I've been looking for a travel journal for my upcoming trip and I think the fabric is beautiful on this journal from Parkside Harmony

But I also like this one and the fact that it has "sections" - From A Bound Book

p.s. Santa, I also love clothes and trips to warm places! ;)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Diary...

While this post is about journaling, I should start out by saying that I'm not a big "journaler." I had a diary when I was young (late elementary/junior high age) and I would write a few sentences whenever something big if my crush looked at me that day or if I determined that my parents didn't love me because they wouldn't let me go to a friend's house.

As an adult, I have only journaled for two reasons: (1) I'm in a mood to write poems (I call it journaling because it's usually related to whatever is going on in my life at that moment), or (2) when I travel. So, I am writing this post because I will soon have a reason to journal - I am traveling to Pakistan with my husband to visit his parents and sister - and we leave in less than 1 month. YIKES!

Don't get my wrong, I have enough to worry about to prepare for our trip (work reports, packing, buying gifts, getting my visa, etc) but for some reason I am thinking a lot about the journaling! I honestly hadn't even thought about bringing a journal to Pakistan, until my husband suggested it a couple of days ago. After leaving one of my journals on a plane (that I spent 3 months working on during my first trip to Peru), I felt so frustrated with myself and sad about the information I lost that I didn't care to journal much during my second trip to Peru...I guess I just thought that I would lose it again, I don't know. Of course, this is not a good reason to give up journaling for the rest of my life.

I also had not considered journaling because, honestly, I don't really enjoy writing. :/ Yes, I realize the irony in this statement - as I'm writing a blogpost! Sometimes, I am such a perfectionist (or nervous? or unsure?) that it takes me half an hour to decide what my first sentence will be. And I know journaling should be "enjoyable," "just for me," "I should just get my thoughts out," yadda yadda yadda. I KNOW! urgh. I'm getting frustrated just thinking about writing!

But I also want it to look nice, so I have to spend time finding the perfect has to be the right size, open comfortably, have the right look that matches my feelings about this trip, and I need to decide if I want one with lines (because I can't write in a straight line) or one with blank pages (so I can draw pics).

When I travel, I like to write about the things that I see, foods that I try, cultural mores, experiences, etc. but I began thinking that maybe I won't have that much to journal about on this trip. After reading the warnings about traveling in Pakistan we realized we probably won't be leaving my in-laws' home, except for a quick trip to a market to buy gifts. So what would I write about each day? There can only be so much that goes on between 5 people visiting in a home for 2 weeks that would be interesting to write about.... BUT, I may be wrong. I just need to change my style. Instead of writing about my site-seeing adventures, I will write more about my feelings (because I know there will be a lot of those)! This made me think of one of my best books I have ever received: The Decorated Page. My parents gave this to me for Christmas many years ago and it contains great advice for starting a journal and decorating it. So, I will have to re-read this book before I leave and put together a few simple supplies - maybe some pastels, charcoal pencils, glue, etc.

I have met my in-laws once and my husband goes years without visiting them so it will be emotional I'm sure, but also fun to catch up. I also plan to cook with my mother-in-law and that could lead to some interesting adventures, between the language barrier and my lack of common sense (at times) when it comes to cooking. When I met my in-laws it was also interesting to see how my husband interacts with his parents, and how similar his mannerisms are to his family members. ...I'm anticipating my journal might look more like a comic book! I'll be sure to take some pics to share on here. :)

Any advice on choosing a journal? topics to write about? how to get passed my perfectionism and just write? etc?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stencil + Spray Paint + T-shirt = FUN!

Last weekend I signed up for a Graffiti Art and T-shirt workshop at Elephant Room Gallery. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but I work with young people who like to draw bubble letters in their school notebooks or who talk about tagging. I thought that I could learn something to use with them, since I have done t-shirt projects with my 8th graders.

Well, first I got a private lesson with Hebru Brantley in some styles of graffiti writing. It was pretty fun, but I'm not very good at it. : / I guess I need to practice that a little more! The t-shirt part of the workshop was with Sam Kirk. We made stencils that we could lay on our t-shirt and then spray paint the design on. It was a lot of fun and so simple! I have been brainstorming more t-shirt ideas to try on my own or ways I could do this project at school with my students!

Here is my finished product!

Here are the steps to take, if you want to make your own t-shirt.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why do you Donate?

Well, this blog is about conscious art, right? Well here is some conscious art:

Donate HERE.

My husband is an actor and writer. He used his artistic talents to co-write this piece with his sister, Kulsoom, and direct it. His friends volunteered their time and talents as well. In just 4 days, their hard work has almost raised their goal of $1000! We have been talking these last couple days about what motivates people to donate: the organization? the person asking? the time and work that went in to gathering donations (whether making a video or running a marathon), a personal connection, or maybe someone simply asking!?

So, I ask you, what prompts/inspires/motivates you to donate to your causes?

p.s. If you are motivated right now to providing safe drinking water, or maybe a minor surgery kit, or 675 vaccinations, it is just a click away: Donate at FirstGiving

Saturday, September 25, 2010

5 Reasons to LOVE Street Art

1. It's often uncommissioned = most interesting/unconventional
2. It's often politically or socially conscious
3. It beautifies public spaces and makes them more interesting
4. You don't have to pay to enjoy it (and many street artists actually have the art school training)
5. It's more available to the public than art in a gallery or museum (anyone can enjoy)
6. p.s. WHY NOT?

Sometimes street art is left alone by the city, or actually protected, as is the famous "Crack is Wack" mural, which I visited in NYC a few months ago. Other times, it is covered up.

Here are some great blogs and sites if you want to see some street art, stencils, stickers, etc. I really love the "Eco" street art!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Turning Hate into LOVE

In my last blog post, I was hoping and praying that people were marking 9/11 with love, instead of harboring hate and anger in their hearts. Holding onto hate is not only unhealthy and dangerous (for the individual and society), but it's also not very useful (usually). Perseverating on that hate/anger just makes one even more angry, stressed, raises blood pressure, etc, not to mention, possibly leading to violence.

However, take a look at these two women, who co-founded Beyond the 11th, after losing their husbands on 9/11 while 7 and 8 months pregnant - they surely had cause to be angry. Yet, they have turned their losses into love and global citizenship, reaching out to Afghani women who have also been widowed by war. Instead of viewing the situation as "us versus them," they saw the interrelatedness of their lives to these women in Afghanistan. These are the kind of actions that will "fight" the "war on terror" and make the world a more peaceful place.

Read or listen to their story here: Beyond the 11th

p.s. They also have a documentary, Beyond Belief, that is available on Netflix!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I Think About on 9/11

Like most people I'm hearing from today, I also remember the events of my day on September 11, 2001. It was a sad, terrible, and scary day and I needed something to make me feel safe and assure me that everything would be alright. I remember putting up the American flag with my dad at his office. On the roof of the complex we saw a green praying mantis and I quickly took it as a good omen. Then, I began to see everyone coming together, people helping each other, caring about each other. It gave me some hope that overshadowed the fear.

However, 9/11 also sparked a lot of hate that was wrongly targeted at regular people and U.S. citizens. I didn't see this at the time in my small, white farming town. However, only 30 minutes away, my husband (whom I hadn't met yet) was becoming the target of hate crimes because of his religion and the color of his skin. Psychologically, I understand that people feel the need to blame something/someone in situations like this - you try to put information and people into boxes to categorize and understand the situation. But fear, ignorance, and hate, as we have seen throughout history, can trigger people to do terrible things.

Today, I feel like that same fear and hate have been exacerbated after years of war, children left motherless or fatherless, inaccurate media coverage, more security in airports, The Patriot Act, and political and community "leaders" that promote hate and segregation, etc. NPR has been reporting on the increased Islamaphobia and hate crimes towards Muslims and I have seen this as well - on NYC streets towards my husband, vandalism to our car, at my work, comments at the end of news articles I read... There is less tolerance, it seems, when what we really need is a cultural center that would bring people together, to learn about each other and care about each other.

Today, when I woke up and realized what day it was and that my husband was currently on the bus and train to work, I cried. Many people are marking this day with sadness and remembrances, but many are also marking it with hate. Today I am marking with love and I hope that people realize that these tragedies and events affect everyone, whether it's directly or indirectly. This morning I cried, praying that everyone who sees my husband today - on the bus, the train, the streets of Chicago - will be marking the day with love and acceptance, so that my jaanu comes home safely.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Homeless Art Museum

I can't believe I forgot to share this! It was one of the most interesting experiences I had in New York and one of the best "exhibits" I have seen in awhile (and I did go to the MOMA while I was in NYC). I was touring the Skyline with a friend in NYC and when we came down from the elevated park we found this man sitting at a table, claiming to be the Museum Director of the Homeless Museum of Art (a homeless museum).
He claimed that the stuffed coyote next to him as the Director of Public Relations and was his listener and she was telling him things. He asked about my friend and I, and when he found out that we were social workers he asked if we were just analyzing him and if our radar was going off, saying "cuckoo!" I have to admit though, we did discuss after we walked away whether (1) he did have some kind of disorder; or (2) if he was doing some kind of social experiment; or (3) he was just an eccentric artist. He was clearly an artist and gave us free entrance tickets into the museum (as shown in the picture) and told us that the ticket was good everywhere we went that day and was good until midnight - we would be in the museum for the entire day. LOVE it! Needless to say, I looked him up when I got home and the artist (Filip Noterdaeme), and ideas are fascinating! Check it out: Homeless Museum of Art.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Oh, that sweet smell of oil and turpentine!

I came home the other day, and as soon as I walked in the door the smells took me back to my senior year of college, art building, 2nd floor, corner room with the big windows (all open, of course) overlooking the grassy front yard where the Sculpture students were setting up their newest projects, where you have to weave through the maze of easels and wet paintings and talk loudly over the sound of the vents and music playing just to be heard...oh, how I miss the Oil Painting Room (I'm giving it a proper name because it's that special - and this is my blog so I can write what I want).

But yes, many hours were spent in the Oil Painting Room - learning to use the staple gun and saw to build a canvas, mixing oils, learning to how to block the colors, trying to master Monet and Picasso (or even get just a little close). I look fondly back at that room, where I would stay until 3am before a project was due, thinking I could fool the teacher into thinking I finished my project on time (I was only kidding myself though...oils take a very long time to dry and you can't paint the next layer on top until the layer underneath has at least partially dried). It was a challenging class but so much fun.

Now I can take my own time. My parents gave me a very nice easel for my birthday last month...and so, after 6 years off, I am getting back to my real love in art - oils. When I came home the other day, the smell of oil paints in the living room made me smile with all the memories and I couldn't wait to add the next layer onto my painting. I just hope the smells make my husband smile too! ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sand Mandalas

It's been awhile since I have posted...summer vacation laziness (and travel) has been in full effect! I was in NYC in June but am just now getting around to posting these pictures of artist, Joe Mangrum, spending the better portion of the day creating a sand mandala at the south end of Central Park. I loved this little area because there are always interesting people to watch here, but this day was a special treat for me. While, he does have an art degree, Mr. Mangrum taught himself how to create the sand mandalas. Friends, if you ever want to get me a gift, I will take his Painting New York book! ;) Check out his website...his work is really beautiful.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Community Art

A good friend invited me to Chicago's Folk & Roots Festival last weekend and I was pleasantly surprised:
1. Great music (especially Red Baraat...I ended up paying to see them again the next night and then buying their CD)
2. The artsy booths set up (bought another summery dress that I don't need...but it's so bright and happy!)
3. The community mural that was being created on the street by Nuestra Musica Chicago. It was just too cool, not to partake....

Oh, and 4. The good company! :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

End of Year Art

I recently finished the school year with my second round of 8th graders. It was joyous - this is the first year that all the students on my caseload graduated! And they were all very happy for the end of the school year and new beginnings. However, it was also sad for me because I will miss all of them and wonder how they are doing in high school... I will wonder if some are still in gangs, if they are all going to school and doing their homework, if they are talking with their parents, practicing managing their anger, or seeking help when they are feeling depressed. But, this is not meant to be a sad blog...Instead I want to highlight a few end-of-the-year projects which give me great hope for them because it shows just how resilient, creative, smart, and caring they are....

Obviously I love art for awareness, and I try to sneak this value in with my social work projects. More importantly, however, I believe that art can be very therapeutic. It lets you open up, share something about yourself, let your guard down, reflect on/evaluated your beliefs and feelings, and observe others' perspectives, beliefs, and experiences in a non-threatening way. So here are just a few projects that highlight how art can do these amazing things!

This was a bulletin board in my office that all of my students helped to create (some in small groups and some individually). The students wrote down things they do that are in their comfort zone and placed these inside the sun. They were so interested in what others were comfortable doing, as it varied for everyone (i.e. doing math, playing video games, drawing, etc). The suns rays show those things that are outside their comfort zone but are important for them in order to grow and overcome obstacles (i.e. math again, a presentation, trying out for a team, etc):

This is a bulletin board outside my office with a quote by Publilious Syrus, "A good reputation is more valuable than gold." This project was done with a classroom group. We talked a lot about choices, consequences, values...and tied this into goals they had written earlier in the school year. They thought about their goals and values and how they want other people to see them. They were so creative and took so much time in creating their "ideal self."

I work in a community that experiences a lot of violence. A lot of my students are desensitized to violence, probably for a variety of reasons, such as seeing so much violence in video games and movies, but also experiencing it at home and on the streets. As you might guess, many of my students respond that violence is not a big deal and are very nonchalant about violence when we are talking in my office. They also lack empathy for their classmates when they are a perpetrator or witness. This project was meant to look at how they have been affected by different kinds of violence, process how they felt about it, and decide what they wanted their classmates and teachers to know about their experiences or about violence in general. They created t-shirts with their messages and these were hung in the school cafeteria (same project I blogged about last year).




Thursday, May 13, 2010

My last name is Ally

I've blogged before about how I became interested and involved in social justice issues, especially issues related to race. Basically, I don't know. I just remember being in 4th grade the first time I stood up for a friend of color and their "strange clothes." I've never liked anyone being picked on (maybe I could identify...because I was definitely picked on) and I didn't think it was fair for someone to be teased because they didn't "look" right. The first racist joke I remember hearing is "What did God say when He made the second Black person?: Punch line: "Darn, burned another." In elementary school, I didn't understand exactly why this was wrong, but I knew that it sounded weird.

Moving out of my small, White, farming town and heading to college, I became friends with people who were biracial, Black, Mexican, Guatamalen, Chinese, American Indian, Iranian, Korean, etcetera, and White. I got to see first-hand how they were looked at in a suspicious way in stores; the ignorant comments in class; how they were encouraged to sign up for the easier classes; how we were stopped at the border when I was with a group of "brown people" just trying to go dancing in Canada; the way others would touch or comment on their "beautiful" or "strange" hair.

Now I am married to a wonderful, talented, and loving Pakistani man. Through him and my new family I've seen this "otherness" and ignorance taken to the level of hate. I've heard of hate crimes, of course. In college I remember an area high school having 7 nooses hanging outside one morning. But to know people who have experienced this kind of hate...or to see/hear this hate is a different experience. That's when an ally is really tested and you have to know what level you go to - how do you respond to that comment? How do you support that person? How do you educate others?

I try to keep informed in my daily life and educate people in more informal and relaxed ways (i.e. casual conversations when their guard is down). But don't get me wrong, I love the more direct ways as well. I loved leading discussions in college about these kind of issues with my fellow classmates. I have created art pieces that also directly address issues related to racial injustice. And this is what I would love to do full time with young people - art for social justice. Art can be a non-confrontational way to educate people and start discussions...just like my husband is doing. :) If you know me, you know this is my ultimate goal: to have a job where I can address social justice issues through the arts.

Maybe because of these experiences, and my husband being Muslim, and wanting to do this kind of work, is why I felt really sad, angry, and even a little hopeless when I read this story about a 'Muslim Artist's Exhibit Vandalized. This artist, Anida Yoeu Ali, of the "1700% Project: Otherance," had a wall installation at Sullivan Galleries that challenges the stereotypes of a "Muslim" identity, which was defaced a couple of days ago. Among other comments, some text on the wall read "Kill all Arabs." Sometimes I wonder if things will ever get better. But I know that's not the attitude to have! Anida definitely does not have that attitude. In fact, she has organized a public performance and discussion for Saturday, May 15th at 12:30pm. She is calling on the public to join her in reclaiming the vandalized piece and turning it into a work of healing. I think this is a wonderful idea and I hope TONS of people will turn out to support. I am so disappointed that I have several plans for Saturday already and I am tempted to cancel them in order to attend and show my support. PLEASE, if you can attend, I urge you to do so. Your last name does not have to be Ally to be an ally. ;)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


(This is the first piece of art I ever sold)

April seems to be a good month for me! I have received several custom jewelry orders, sold a couple of items, and finally set up a Jewelry/Art party! I have been trying to make at least one jewelry or art piece each evening and the creative juices just keep flowin! I think it also helps that I am doing an art project at school with my students so I am just inspired and motivated all around.

Which brings me to this topic: Where do people find inspiration in their work and/or hobbies?

Inspiration for my art:
(1) I am most inspired by seeing other artist's work. I aways bring a tiny sketchbook or notepad with me when I go to art exhibits and especially art festivals.
(2) Taking classes has also been inspiring for me, probably because I'm around other artists and seeing other's art (similar to above), but also because my brain is being coaxed to stretch out.
(3) The beauty in nature inspires me to paint and architecture/bridges/lines inspire me to take photos (although I am a bad photographer)!
(4) Selling my art. I do get a "fix" when someone buys one of my pieces...there is just something about another person validating your work and beautiful and valuable.

Inspiration for my work (social work):
(1) Connections with young people is the absolute best....having students excited to see me and tell me their stories is WONDERFUL and I love hearing from them after they have left the school.
(2) Seeing young people make it through difficult situations and the challenges that life presents. And when the young person is excited that they overcame the challenge - That is the cherry on top!
(3) Watching something "click" - For a student or teacher.
(4) It melts my heart when young people (or adults, for that matter) reach out to someone else. For example, when one of my 1st graders asks a peer what is wrong or one of my 8th graders comes to me for advice for a friend. Awwwww!

What's your inspiration?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recycled Handmade Beads

I have been wanting to try making paper beads for a couple of years, and since I was home at a decent hour today and it is Earth Day, I decided that this is the perfect opportunity! Below are the steps to make your own beads. They are pretty simple to make, but BEWARE - can be very time consuming! The whole process from making the beads to creating a necklace took about 3.5 hours. However, it's so much fun to create designs on the beads and see the finished product that it is well worth your labor. :)

Step 1: Cut 1" by 7" strips of paper from a brown paper grocery bag.
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Step 2: Fold the edges in to the desired width for your bead. (Note: I recommend gluing the edges down to make it easier and less frustrating to roll the paper).
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Step 3: Wrap paper around a knitting needle, paint brush, or any thin, sturdy object. Lay it on the table to roll bead as tight as possible. Put glue on the last 1/2" of the paper strip and finish rolling. Hold for 30-60 seconds to let glue set (I used Elmer's glue) and slide paintbrush or needle out from bead
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Step 5: Use a permanent marker to color in the end of the beads and to create designs.
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Step 6 (Optional): I painted a layer of Modpodge over the beads to help protect them and make them more sturdy.
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Step 7: Make a necklace or bracelet! Go to my Etsy site to see the finished product!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free time?

My husband, Usman, will be leaving in one week to NYC for an off-broadway show....The Elborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Second Stage. He will be gone for 3 months and I've been thinking about what to do with the time that I am here by myself in Chicago, and then in NYC for a month while he is performing? The answer: promote my work more! ....which leads to another question: How?

I would really like to sell my jewelry and art at some galleries, shows, street fests, etc in Chicago and NYC. Do any of you have any tips on shows or ways to get my work out there without spending $400 for a booth?

I also want to read more books related to making, creating, and selling art. Here are a few on my list: Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life, Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business, and The Artist's Way. I also found this list of 4 Inspiring Books About Creativity on Marmalade Moon. I think I have my work cut out for me!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Love Makes the World Go Around

....and so, I put a little time and energy into making some personalized Valentine's this year!


Did a little experimenting in adding some confetti love to our world...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Revealed World

So far, this blog has mostly been about my art projects, but today I want to talk about a book I am reading, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. When I came up with the name for my blog and Etsy site, Conscious Creativity, this was meant to explore my creativity, as well as the ideas behind that creativity. So, I want to talk about my ideas.

A lot of the art I have created in my life has come from a desire to make “art for art’s sake” or to make something “beautiful.” Sometimes, I simply enjoy the challenge of making something unique, using the right combination of color, lines, symmetry, etc….all of that stuff you learn in art class! You can ask my husband how I was during our wedding planning or decorating our house! (smile) At other times, I just get the urge to create. The process is often very soothing and I can find myself in a trance for hours as I stand soothing colors into a canvas, or hunch over a piece of paper with an exacto knife. I lose myself.

However, a lot of my art since high school has come from a desire to share some kind of political or social perspective…or for myself to explore my own perspective. So, where do those ideas come from? Of course, they come from my family, the community/environment I was raised in, my education (or lack of), and, I believe, in my own nature (yes, from nature and nuture). I have often thought about this….I wonder exactly where did I grow this belief or that perspective, etc.

This question about my perspective has been brought to me again with Mountains Beyond Mountains. It is about the wonderful Dr. Paul Farmer, who has worked in Haiti for many years (I know, how relevant….been meaning to read this for a year now) and is a co-founder of Partners in Health, a health and social justice organization. In the book, the author quotes a woman whom Dr. Farmer worked with in Haiti. She talks about how much she learned from him and how much he opened her eyes. She says, “I think there is a point where you realize the world has just been revealed to you. It’s like realizing your parents are both good and bad. It’s sort of, Oh no, things will never be quite the same again.”

This thought really struck me….when was the world revealed to me? Exactly when and how, did I gain my perspectives? by what means….who revealed it to me? When did I realize that I do have a culture, even though I am white? When did I realize I am a WASC (White, anglo-saxon, Catholic J) and that I see the world through this lens? When did I realize that my lens is not the correct lens….that there is no one correct, superior lens through which to view the world? When did I realize my White privilege? When did I realize that Dave Chappelle is not racist against white people? When did I realize that teachers can be classist, sexist, homophobic, etc? When did I realize that I cannot just travel to another country and take unsolicited and supposedly ‘unbiased pictures’ of the locals, to show my friends and family the “unfortunate poverty,” so we could all sit around and shake our heads and exclaim how lucky we were? When did the realities of institutionalized racism, forced assimilation, gentrification, ageism, etc really force themselves into my world? It’s interesting to think about the who, what, when, where and how. My reading, my art, my conversations help me to work these questions out. If you want to actually name a “turning point,” a time when I realized things would never be the same again, then I would name my freshman year in college, but then I think, no, maybe 4th grade, or 9th grade, no, definitely my sophomore year of college. Really, it is a process for me….it will always be a process.


To end with the perspective of some Haitian peasants, on how people living in so much poverty could still believe in God. The proverb goes: “Bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe”….“God gives but doesn’t share.” (we humans have all we could ever need….it is up to us to divide the bounty.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making Mandalas

I am happy to announce that I am finally selling my mandalas on Etsy! If you are wondering, here is how I make hand cut mandalas....

1. I draw a design, using "stencil" pieces that I make so that it is more precise.
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2. I cut out the design and pop the pieces out.
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3. I have a lot of left over little pieces that are also pretty and I like to use them to make a new design.
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4. I flip it over (to hide pencil marks) and pair it with another lovely color behind to make the design stand out.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Special Delivery

Those who know me, know that I love to give handmade gifts. Most of my family and friends have at least one necklace, painting, wall decoration, textile gift, or at the very least, a card, that I have made....and my parents and grandparents have tons! I love the challenge of making a handmade gift that will fit that special person's personality and style, match the colors of their home, or will just mean something special to them. And I especially love seeing them open the gift!

Well, my most recent gift is a little different. My sister-in-law is on her way to Pakistan as I type, and with her, she has a necklace that I made for my mother-in-law (as well as some other things for both her and my wonderful father-in-law). But, this handmade gift is a little different because I have never met my mother-in-law. I only have an idea of who she is, from stories her children have told me, emails I have received, pictures I have seen, and one struggled telephone conversation.

This is what I know about her: * She is a kind person * a quiet soul *strong * a loving, nurturing mother * city girl * hard worker * she is calm and gentle * levelheaded * she stands up for her family and beliefs * brave * selfless * determined * respectful of nature * protective * a wonderful cook * she doesn't complain * she is humble * and she loves me and calls me beta (daughter) even though she has never met me. This may seem like I know a lot, but really it is only a sliver, especially when you make a necklace that is supposed to reflect a person's style and essence.

I find myself nervous about her receiving the gift and partly glad that she can open it privately, so that I don't have to be watching her, nervous that she won't like it, although I know enough to know that she would love it anyways because she is like that, and she would think it is wonderful just because it is homemade and from me...and because she is a mom...and I'm pretty sure that all moms are like that, regardless of culture. But I still whisper a prayer that she likes it....


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Time to Get SERIOUS!

Ok, so one of my New Year's resolutions was to increase my Etsy sales this year, so I think that I need to stop sitting here on my butt, waiting for people to find my site and jewelry! So, I've made business cards to hand out (how professional, I know! :), I am going to start wearing some of my jewelry in order to advertise more, and I am working on adding some new art to my site for all of you who do not wear a lot of jewelry! So here is a peak of what is coming in the next week......!!!

I've been working on some mandala designs:


...and even made a mandala into my logo!

p.s. I might take some hints from my friend Christine as well, who is doing an amazing giveaway for her blog readers at Lavenders and Limes! What a great idea!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Well, I'd say that 2009 was a pretty great year. I celebrated a wonderful first year of marriage, traveled to Peru with my dad, I started cooking more and trying new vegetarian recipes, I started this blog and my Etsy site, and I've continued to work as a school social worker and keep pumping iron at the gym! However, there is always room for improvement! This is the first year I am writing New Years resolutions and I thought that if i post them, then I will be held more accountable than just thinking them in my head! ;) So here they are:

1. Sign up for a Spanish course
2. Practice Urdu
3. Stretch for at least 10 minutes every day
4. Drink more water
5. Eat more greens and less chocolate (I'm anticipating this will be the hardest for me!)
6. Sell at least 35 pieces on Etsy in 2010 (I sold 18 necklaces/bracelets in 1009)
7. Read at least 25 books (I know this is low number, but still higher than my 12 books this year!)
8. Take (and pass) the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam
9. Meet my parents-in-law
10. Paint
11. Pay off my grad school loans (this will also be a BIG task but I think we can do it!)