Monday, January 25, 2010

My Prayer

I was cleaning out my craft closet this weekend (and by cleaning I mean mainly shifting stuff around because I can't bear to get rid of anything) and I ran across something I thought I lost in one of our moves. I found it among some water color paintings I had stored in an old portfolio. I am so glad I found it. It is my creativity prayer.
I wrote it about ten years ago, when I was reading a wonderful book by Julia Cameron called The Artists Way. I'm sure you are familiar with it. I think everyone should read it regardless of whether or not they think they are creative.
Anyway, I felt inspired to write it when I realized that too many times, I stop myself from creating because of a little voice inside my head who whispers to me that whatever I make will never be as good as...fill in the blank.
I wanted to share it because I think we all have that negative little voice in our heads. It stops us from doing, from being, from sharing.
It's not a great piece of literature or even great grammar. I free wrote it quickly, from the heart. I post it over my workbench and silently recite it every time I begin something new. I can honestly say, it helps me.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I begin this work in your name.
I am profoundly grateful for my gifts
and dedicate them to thee.

I know that creativity
and my desire to create
come from thee.

I know that it is thy desire
that I use my gifts
to the best of my abilities
and that as I use them,
they will increase.

I know that thy gifts are given to one
for the benefit of all
and I ask thee to help me
use my creativity to benefit others.

Please open my mind and help me be brave.

Help me overcome my fear
and low opinion of my work so that
I may create freely.

Please help me see the possibilities.

Please lead me and
help me allow myself to be led.

Please help me to inspire others.

Please help me to know
it is not too late
and I am not too untalented
to do the things I desire.

Please help me to love
and encourage others
in their creative endeavors
and never to be threatened by them.

Help me to feel happy at their works
and not self-hatred.

I ask thee to open up this part of me

I encourage everyone to write their own creativity prayer and if you do, I hope you let me know how it helps you.
God is the great creator. Because we are made in his image, we are all creative as well. I know he desires for us to connect with that part of ourselves. He will help us do just that if we will ask and then use our gifts to bless others.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ta Da!

As promised, here is my second block for the quilting bee. It's my own design (with a little inspiration) and I am thrilled with the way it turned out. I'll be sad to part with it, but at least I have this photo.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quilting Bee Block

I finished my first quilting bee block. This is Katie's month and she asked for blocks relating to trees using paper piecing as the method.
Let me just go on the record and say I found paper piecing to be hard. This surprised me because I have repeatedly heard how easy and fun it is. Not so for me! I admit that I shed more than a few tears while giving my seam ripper a good workout. In fact, I almost quit the group when I came to the conclusion that I was the most inept quilter on the entire planet.
Then I remembered my purpose in joining was to expand my skills and that will never happen if I quit over the first difficult task. So I determined I would get it right no matter how long I had to work at it. And, 4 1/2 hours later...

here it is. I am very proud of it. I did make a couple of mistakes but in the end, I don't think they are noticeable. I hope Katie likes it.
She asked us to do a second block if we had time. While I was struggling through my first block I swore I would only make one and then be done with it. However, completing the first block gave me confidence that I could make a second one as well. Plus, I got inspired by a beautiful block I saw on flickr. I had some one inch grid paper so I decided to use it to paper piece a tree top similar to the one in the flickr photo.

It worked like a charm and I love the results. I haven't finished the block yet because I am trying to come up with a nice design for my trunk. I only want to use the original block as inspiration, I don't want to plagiarize it. I will post the entire block when I am finished.
Now that it is over, I am glad that I stuck it out. I learned a new technique and definitely had to stretch myself. Thanks, Katie!

Monday, January 11, 2010

This year I will.....

Here is my newest project. I am very pleased with it. It is my first effort at improvisation, which means that I had no pattern. I haven't quite finished the quilting yet. When I do I will post a photo of the entire quilt.

Learning to do improvisational quilting was one of my 2009 New Year's resolutions. Are you a resolution maker? I will own to it. I am.
It seems that resolution making is no longer in fashion. I hear many people making the same comment, "Why should I set myself up for disappointment?" Wow.
I guess, in a sad way, it makes sense. If we never try to achieve a goal, we definitely won't fail. However, we also won't succeed at anything and isn't that a form of failure?

Anyway, I also make a habit of recording all my resolutions. I have much better success at accomplishing my goals when I write them down. So here goes.

This year will include:

Continuing the path to get my degree. This is my newest subject. My first class is tonight. I'm nervous!
There will also be more:

as I continue to get back in shape. 13 pounds and counting!
I will also be completing:

with the Young Women's group I work with at church. Personal Progress is such a wonderful program to help young women learn to reach for more than what the world defines women as.
I am also very excited about:

the new online quilting bee I recently joined with 11 other women from all over the country, none of whom I know. Each month one of us is in charge of choosing the fabric and the block design which we then send to all of the other women in the group. Each women sews her own interpretation of the block and sends it back to the queen for that month. By the end of the year each women has honed her quilting skills, made 11 new friends and enough blocks for one awesome new quilt to keep.
This is fabric I just received for my first block. I can't wait to get started.

Okay, those are the tangibles. However, there are some resolutions I can't show with a photo but want to record as well.
This year I will...
  • Worry less and love more
  • Believe Christ, not just believe in him
  • Step away from what holds me back no matter who or what it is
  • Lift up the hands that hang down
  • Be exacting but not a perfectionist
  • Celebrate more of the small moments
  • Eat on the patio
  • Spend more time at the beach
You are my witnesses.
I would love to hear what you will be working on this year. Just post it in the comments.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking back, looking forward

January always makes me reflective. I don't think it is a coincidence that this month is named for an ancient God that looked both backward and forward.
The holidays were a bit of a mixed bag this year.
For the most part, it was a time of festivities and family fun. We sang, shopped, played games, made a wonderful gingerbread creation and generally laughed our heads off. I could not have asked for a more wonderful time with them.
However, it was also a time of stress and worry for a loved one who is suffering health problems. Added to that, a small amount of anger and hurt feelings thrown into the mix as well. And, that doesn't even mention the pulled hip muscle, flat tire and backed up septic tank. Wow.
It is always amazing to me that joy and sorrow can exist simultaneously in the same life and even the same experience. Those people I admire most are those who can compartmentalize the two and then focus on the joy.
That is what I will attempt to do in this blog.
Don't worry, I certainly have my struggles; the messy house, the family drama, the feelings of being overwhelmed. There are also moments of insecurity, anger, depression and frustration. But, this place will not be about all of that. Here I will focus on the important things; creativity, family, beauty, spirituality and joy.
That may seem a bit "Pollyanna" but whatever. I love Pollyanna. There is much wisdom in her story.
At it's most elemental, happiness is a choice and life is about what we choose to focus on.