Saturday, March 9, 2013


Wow. Looks like I'm about to fill up yet another notebook with my morning ramblings. I feel kinda bad for my kiddos. Though I do a fairly good job of keeping most of my belongings pared down via seasonal purges, I have never been able to make myself toss all the calendars/agendas/journals that have all but filled the cedar chest passed on to me by my grandmother Mimi.

I felt a wee bit justified when I used some of them to assist in the writing of my Miss Becky Goes Abroad blog, about our stints in Indonesia and Bahrain, but now that's all recorded online, and the kids have both read it. Then I think how thrilled I would have been to discover a long lost diary or two from my parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. One or two. Not fifty. Especially when most of them aren't really even diaries. Many of the earlier ones are merely agendas, and the latter are just stream-of-consciousness ramblings -- neither of which makes for great reading! And now I'm adding art journals on top of all that? Why, I've got five going at once, as we speak -- a travel journal, a collage journal, a nature journal, my color journal where I play with my vivid ink sprays and markers, and my Simple Abundance Journal!

So here's what I'm thinking.  I'm thinking I just need to write a big ol' sign on a piece of poster board and place it inside the cedar chest, so it's the first thing they see when they open it. On the sign I will write: Be Braver Than Your Mama. BURN THE LOT OF 'EM!

P.S. In fact, maybe they can pile them in the fire pit when they have the party to scatter my ashes, and everyone can roast marshmallows over them!

Friday, March 8, 2013


 I must apologize for going AWOL on you yesterday. It seems I got sucked through a wormhole, back into the late 50s, early 60s. For some reason, when I was doing my morning pages yesterday, I found myself making a list of some of my very favorite childhood memories. Many of them involved favorite toys or activities:

  • building a four-poster bed for my dolls, out of a cigar box and some peg clothespins, with my Mimi 
  • playing school with my siblings in our mudroom-turned-playroom that contained a couple of antique school desks Mom had wagged home for us
  • getting to pick out a Gumby Colorforms set as a reward for not pitching a fit at the doctor's office 
  • finally saving up the $3.00 I needed to buy my first Barbie
  • the box of hand sewn, oh so chic and sophisticated Barbie outfits Mimi gave me for my birthday that year, and the orange plastic Barbie convertible she and Granddad gave me for Christmas
  • the fabulous (cardboard) Barbie Dreamhouse that Santa brought

Thinking about that cardboard Dreamhouse, and all of its cardboard furniture and accessories that had to be put together, reminded me of the play kitchen I got when I was four or five, and that got me to wondering if I could find some images of these things on-line. Sure enough, I found a set from Sears that looked just about like mine, though I don't recall it being pink. Maybe white with red accents? The most exciting thing about that kitchen was that, after I got it, Mom took me to the local Five & Dime to shop for some accessories for it. Only, instead of buying toy stuff, she bought me some REAL kitchen utensils, dish towels -- maybe even a little dish drainer -- just like hers! I was sooooo over the moon.

Check out those outrageous prices!
But that's when I fell through the wormhole, for I went from looking at pictures of kitchens, to searching for images of all the other toys I remembered from my childhood...

printing them all up, and then spreading them out on my work table -- trying to imagine how I might combine them with some pictures of myself at around the time I played with them...

and with some retro-looking papers from my stash, and the oh-so-cute Vintage Girl hangtags that I saved from my coat-of-many-colors.

I'm still thinkin' bout it. Anywho, the day was more than half over before I finally thought, "Oops! I never got around to writing a post this morning!"

Know what really blows me away? The realization that in just four short years, this little girl went from her fiberboard play kitchen to a cardboard dreamhouse with no kitchen at all, and from wanting clothes and hairstyles just like those I saw in my beloved Shirley Temple movies, to wanting to look like Annette Funicello in Beach Blanket Bingo, to dress like Barbie, and, more than anything, to own a pair of white Go-Go boots so I could dance in a cage! That's quite a leap, no?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


The well of Providence is deep. It's the buckets we bring to it that are small. ~ Mary Webb  

Using that spare copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance, as an art journal, has got me back into the habit of reading one of her little essays each day. The one I read today described the ritual she has for getting down to the business of writing each morning -- one which is very much like my own. She says "I prime my personal pump in a very particular way because the repetitiveness of the process activates the right side of my brain where creativity dwells...The instantly recognizable ritual informs my brain that I'm now working. Before I realize it, I'm jotting down notes as if I'm taking dictation from Spirit. When I've got a rough draft written in longhand, I head into my office to work on the computer. Then the real writing begins. Once again I have coaxed Inspiration into helping me through the power of ritual." It got me to wondering if perhaps it was reading this essay the first time, so many years ago, that helped me to establish my little sunrise ritual. All I know for sure is, as long as I follow it, I never seem to have any trouble coming up with blog posts -- nearly two thousand of them now, if I'm not mistaken, counting Miss Becky Goes Abroad.

Ahhh, if only I was able to kickstart my art practice as easily as that! Just a couple of days ago, during this morning ritual, I scribbled things like "Must make sketching a habit! Must do it every day, until it stops scaring me!", and "Note to self: The more whimsical my sketching is, the less likely it is that I will beat myself up over my 'mistakes'.", and "Play, play, play with watercolors!" The trouble is, unless I am actually taking one of my online art classes, or watching a tutorial, and have a specific assignment telling me exactly what to do, I have a very hard time "gettin' down to business" when it comes to art. Does anyone else have that problem?

I kept on reading the essay and when I came to the part that said "You need to create a reassuring ritual for yourself to access your inner reservoir -- that place deep within you inhabited by imagination. Why not create an inviting one for when you work with your illustrated discovery journal?", it was as if a light switch had been flipped on. Why, all I needed was a better bucket to bring to the well!

I needed one that could hold my sketchbook, pen and pencil, watercolor pencils, a water brush, a glue stick, some scissors...

a journal in which to paste anything that inspires me, be it a color palette, a pretty script style, a doodle, or a particular technique I'd like to try...

plus a few books that inspire me, and some magazines to cut up.

Brilliant! But here's the important part -- I can't just leave this basket sitting in a corner, gathering dust, now can I? Sarah says "If you find that you can't work on it every day, pick one night a week that you can devote to searching for the visual images that reveal your authentic preferences. Make the process as appealing as possible. Perhaps, after putting the children to bed, you can take a long, leisurely soak in the bathtub. Then, after you are comfortable and relaxed, bring the basket containing your magazines, scissors, and journal over to your bed. Prepare a special hot drink to enjoy only at this time. Light a pretty candle on your dresser to invoke Inspiration." I'm thinkin' that, for me, the perfect time would be in the evenings whenever Hubby goes down to the man cave to watch a Sci-fi movie on his big-ass TV. And I'm thinking my ritual should take place snuggled in the corner of the sofa where the best reading light is, and it should involve a fragrant mug of my favorite chai latte. Why, I'm feeling more creative just thinking about it!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013


Can you believe it? This Texas girl has never been to camp! Well, I did a couple of weekend overnighters with the Girl Scouts, but gen-u-ine Summer Camp? Never! Once I was all grown up, I got to go to a few writing workshops, which had that whole female-camaraderie thing going on, but I'm kinda past all that now. I decided that if I was ever going to blow any money on another retreat, it would be an ART retreat this time. The problem was finding just the right one -- one with a really good line up of classes and teachers, and that didn't require an expensive plane ticket on top of the tuition, food and lodging expenses. Anywho, Hubby and I went to lunch at Leaning Pear yesterday, and they just happened to have a stack of the spring issue of Edible Austin laying out, so of course, I grabbed one. Well, you'll never guess what I found inside. This!

You would not believe the line up of teachers folks! Everything from artists I've seen in magazines like Art Journaling and Artful Blogging to a French food stylist/photographer/blogger that I'm a fan of. The hardest part was whittling down the list of options to one full day class and three half-days, but I finally decided on a Happy Painting class with Juliette Crane, Food From Your Backyard with Lisa Seger, Making Cheese with Lisa Seger, and a Stamp Carving class with Nicole Levy.

I can't believe all this will be happening right here in the Texas Hill Country, at a fabulous girl's camp called Waldemar, which has been around for ever. Check out these digs!

SQUEE! My hubby was so funny when I showed him the ad. He started in with his usual lecture, "Becky, I really think you should go..." "OK", "No, I'm serious. You always wanted to do something like this, and I really think you should..." "I'm going." "It's right around your big six-oh, and it could be your birthday present to yourself..." "BABE! You don't have to convince me! I'm there!" huh?

So. Who's goin' with me?

P.S. There's a link to the camps website over in my sidebar, beneath my "tags".