Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader

The Scattered Life Collective #6

October 24th, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

The Blue Boar Inn Pork Tenderloin was delicious! A nice sweetness without being overwhelming. I would highly recommend it.

This weekend I’m going to try a recipe called Po’ Man’s Bread from a church fundraising cookbook. I couldn’t find an equivalent recipe online. If it turns out, I’ll share it here. It does require 2 egg whites, so I’ll have to substitute something. I’m considering some of the substitutions listed here. I have the Energ-G egg replacer, but I generally don’t get good results with it. I’m leaning toward the vinegar and baking powder right now. I work with a trained pastry chef, so perhaps I’ll bend her ear and see what she thinks would work best. It looks like this is a flat bread, so that makes it a little easier. Maybe.

My Instagram Post of the Week


This is an art journal page in progress. So excited to get a dip pen and play with it!

Reading

Will Mindfulness Become Another Self-Help Fad?

The Question of Forgiveness… and it is a Question

Back to Everest in 2015?

Sorrow on the Mountain

The Song of the Week

Above and Beyond Pres Oceanlab from shoop3D on Vimeo.

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • I forgot Boss’ Day, so I somehow ended up promising my boss an abstract Elvis painting. I’ve been working on that this week, and I love how it’s turning out.
  • I won Table Topics at my Toastmasters meeting on Tuesday. I was given a headline and had to convince an editor that it belonged on the cover of the National Enquirer. My assigned headline: Fisherman Attacked by Giant Shrimp. Hey, that story practically writes itself!
  • I won Best Speech at my Toastmasters meeting on Wednesday for giving my 10th Ice Breaker. It was the weirdest Ice Breaker ever, but since I’ve done so many, there’s just no point in doing the same old thing.
  • I’m doing a blog-a-thon tonight (Thursday) with 2 good friends. Mexican food, margaritas, laughs, and blogging. What could be better?

Round and About

I was honored to see that I was featured on Carolyn Dube’s blog for some of my work in the One Pull Wonders class.

Be Weird

Adventurous Mountaineers Scale the Alps for Incredible Photos

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 10/19/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Honey.

Inspiration for the Week

she was born to shine

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Together
Together by Rohan Reilly

2008-12-10 Death Valley Dune - Final 7-7-2011 750
2008-12-10 Death Valley Dune – Final 7-7-2011 750 by Cole Thompson

4.55 ante meridiem
4.55 ante meridiem by Vesa Pihanurmi

Namibia, Sossusvlei
Namibia, Sossusvlei by Dietmar Temps

try approving
try approving by Silke Rieger

Cloudbusting
Cloudbusting by jellyfire

Thirty-six: Dreams
Thirty-six: Dreams by Eva Thöni

Gray Jay in flight
Gray Jay in flight by lironsnaturephotography.com

112234566
112234566 by Bernd Schumann

Rain
Rain by marc-andré tragé

Untitled
Untitled by A. S.

Reflection of her soul
Reflection of her soul by Foufinha

New Wallpapers

Napoleon Invasion at National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective #5

October 17th, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

This weekend I am going to try Blue Boar Inn Pork Tenderloin. It looks easy and delicious. It should make some nice leftovers, too.

My Instagram Post of the Week

instagram post of the week

So excited about this canvas!

Reading

I am fascinated with mountaineering. I don’t do it, mind you. I just enjoy reading about it. The avalanche on Everest this year was terrifying, but I hope the media attention will change conditions for the sherpas. They are the backbone of mountaineering in the Himalyas. The climbing season was over back in May or June, so I wasn’t expecting today’s news: Surprise Blizzard, Avalanches Kill Hikers in Himalaya Mountains.

The Song of the Week


Love love love The Weepies!

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • Work was productive this week, and at moments, even fun. I completely missed Boss Day, but the cooks pulled my can out of the fire. They got a cake together and the kids made cards. I had told Dave that we wouldn’t be doing anything, but at the end of the day we had a surprise party for him. He enjoyed it!
  • We had small turnouts at both my Toastmasters club, but that didn’t stop us from having really fun meetings. I learned that I have no idea about Mother Hubbard, and I should because she might be able to teach me some tricks for training Chinle.
  • I had a nice dinner with my folks, before they head out to California to celebrate my aunt’s 90th birthday.
  • Enjoyed sharing my love of journaling with one of the kids at work today. People always tell kids to journal about their feelings, but if you don’t show them how, it doesn’t work.

Round and About

Unstoppable Learning – I was so inspired when this aired on NPR. Glad to find the site where it is archived. Take a listen!

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 10/12/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: First Line of the Week – Marian Babson. Great journaling prompt!

Inspiration for the Week

“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.” ~Steven Pressfield

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Mixed Media, Nature Inspired Writing Journal - Mini
Mixed Media, Nature Inspired Writing Journal – Mini by rosemari roast

IMG_0925
IMG_0925 by Deepeningblue

Bokeh toile d'araignée [The Bokeh Selection 2014-10-03]
Bokeh toile d’araignée [The Bokeh Selection 2014-10-03] by Quentin Douchet

(30/365) Bokeh
(30/365) Bokeh by TheMilkWay

Beneath the Noise of Water
Beneath the Noise of Water by Robin Macmillan

Winter Woods. 115
Winter Woods. 115 by Janis Doucette Sexton

New Wallpapers

The Birth of a Star at Twisted Sifter.

Storm over Daytona Beach at Twisted Sifter.

Follow the Leader at Twisted Sifter.

Autumn in Aomori at National Geographic

Rains in Africa from National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective #4

October 10th, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

I’m competing in a speech contest this weekend, so I’m not even thinking about cooking this weekend. So maybe something I like to cook, like keema.

My Instagram Post of the Week

gelli print
This is a print from the One Pull Wonders class. I LOVE it!

Reading

The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner. Fast read.

The Song of the Week

Watching


I can’t resist this – it’s so awesome!

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • My best friend, Emi, took third place in her Division Contest. Awesome job! So glad I went to cheer her on. She really stepped her game up a couple of notches.
  • Great meeting of Think Tank Toastmasters on Saturday night.
  • Had a lot of fun playing Wii Bowling with my folks on Thursday night. They assigned me the avatar of one of their friends. It was only after I had bowled a terrible game that we noticed that the avatar is left handed. I dramatically skewed their friend’s average due to my bad bowling. Sad to think that I was out bowled by a 97 year old!
  • I got a lovely pedicure today and feel very pampered.

Round and About

Vintage Memorabilia Celebrates The Soviet Union’s Cosmonaut Dogs

Gwen’s handmade dragon book is fabulous!

Best Dog Art

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 10/5/2014.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Visual Prompt of the Week – Crosswalk. We’ve had uncharacteristically rainy days here in Phoenix this week, and I even had to get my umbrella out. It made me love the photography in this visual prompt even more than I already did.

Inspiration for the Week

Let Life Be - Brave Girls Club

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

DSC0043A
DSC0043A by Peter Chen

The Autumn Colors
The Autumn Colors by Matt Granz

Wish
Wish by Phoenix Scotney

Untitled
Untitled by Lissy Laricchia

Brushstrokes
Brushstrokes by jellyfire

Week 40 Experiment
Week 40 Experiment by Jean Chaney

from the Family Album 03
from the Family Album 03 by Toshihiro Oshima

Things Left Unsaid
Things Left Unsaid by Iordanis Keramidas

New Wallpapers

Mars, Antares, Moon, and Saturn from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Making Hay from National Geographic

Under Thin Ice from National Geographic

From the Temple of the Sun to the Temple of the Moon at Astronomy Picture of the Day

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective #3

October 3rd, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

I am going to be out and about this weekend, so I’m not planning to try a new recipe. I will be making a gluten-free Chebe pizza Sunday night though. Yum!

The Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Pecans that I made last weekend was delish! I need to remember this when asparaus is in season. It would be great with grilled asparagus.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram Post of the Week
I started 2 canvases last weekend. I finished one and gave it to a friend who needed a little cheering up. I am still working on this one – not sure where it’s going yet.

Reading

A History of Food Hardcover by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat – this week I’m learning all about cheese and yogurt.

My grandfather used to make his own yogurt in a gas oven using just the pilot light. It was runnier than what you buy in the store, and more tart. According to this book, people all over the world do this, some at room temperature. It’s supposed to be very healthy. I’m allergic to whey, so it’s not for me, but if you’re interested, there are lots of recipes for making yogurt at home on the web. My grandfather swore by it.

The Song of the Week

I needed the reminder to “lighten up” this week.

Watching

Revolution – it makes me think about how much I would hate it if all the lights went out. What would I do without the Internet?

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • I got to practice my contest speech at my club this week, but the most important part is that I got to test out the new ending. So much better!
  • Had a bit of a giggle over human silliness on Monday. Things got even sillier on Wednesday, and I’m still laughing. This is a big improvement for me.
  • Had a fitting for my Elvira costume with my mom. I don’t think she approves, but she is doing it anyway. I love her.
  • New kids at work.
  • I have discovered the curcumin extract is better than any NSAID for my bursitis. It doesn’t cause increase the tinnitus like the NSAIDs, so I am over the moon.

Round and About

It’s not just the NFL. Victim-blaming is rampant in our culture. Please become aware – Three Simple Steps to Take to Avoid Victim Blaming.

Pictures of a century of reading around the world.

How to Stop Stress Eating

Love these dog paintings by Gary Bunt.

More juicy links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 9/28/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Embracing the Inconsistencies of our Natures.

Inspiration for the Week

Don’t bother worrying about the little things – or anything really, because worry rarely translates into actions that make a difference. “Don’t,” as Richard Carlson said, “sweat the small stuff.”

But do focus on making the little, quiet, routine moments better.

Do focus on filling them with gratitude and compassion and joy and love, because one thing is sure: when we give attention to living well in this moment, we make the next moment a little better, a little easier to bear. That helps us make the moment beyond that a bit better and all the moments to come easier until we’ve strung together a whole big awesome life of little sweet moments.

Life is in the little things. The brief moments when we say I love you or walk away, when we give a hug or keep our distance. The moments when we choose kale over chocolate or chocolate over kale. These little moments shape the quality of our lives and the way we contribute to the world. Life is all about the little things. -Polly Campbell

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge by Matt Granz

Cadre fait en famille
Cadre fait en famille by Neija Zeugme

Making art journals from gelli printed papers. #artjournaling #gelliarts #bookmaking #handmadebooks #journals #art
Making art journals from gelli printed papers. #artjournaling #gelliarts #bookmaking #handmadebooks #journals #art by studio318

Vousnousautrement -Septembre
Vousnousautrement -Septembre by Maryline.MD

distress 19
distress 19 by Bob May

A boy and his dog
A boy and his dog by Adrian Murray

Rainy Woods
Rainy Woods by Vincent van Dam

New Wallpapers

Withered from National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective #2

September 27th, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

The Outback Style Steak I made last weekend was a great success. Very easy to make and delicious. I combined it with corn on the cob, roasted in the oven, and brown rice.

This weekend I’m making Asparagus and Roasted Pepper Salad with Toasted Pecans.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram Post of the Week

OMG, I just noticed that I got a like on this from Seth Apter. I have a serious case of art lust for Seth’s work. Wow!

Reading

Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow by Judith Viorst.

The Song of the Week

Feeling a bit nostalgic this week.

Watching

Season 3 of Once Upon a Time. I am amazed that it took me 3 seasons to realize that Emma is played by Jennifer Morrison who played Cameron on House. Too much multitasking. I never watched the title sequence before!

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • Had a wonderful massage on Monday.
  • Fun Toastmasters meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday night
  • My folks took me out for Indian food on Thursday
  • Spent the afternoon Friday shopping with one of the kids at work and had a blast
  • Still getting painty every day in the One Pull Wonders class with Carolyn Dube – love it!
  • I’m going to a local artist collective group’s exhibition today.

Round and About

I absolutely love the old book illustrations at the OBI Scrapbook Blog.

How could I possible resist Elwood the World’s Largest Concrete Gnome.

Professional artist Alisa Burke allows her young daughter to create art with her. Love the pictures of her daughter experiencing a pottery wheel for the first time.

Carolyn Dube and her commenters give some great ideas for using spray inks in her new Play Date series. Read all the comments for some great ideas!

This infographic showing you how to shop for fresh vegetables is handy.

I love this writing prompt at io9: How the Astronauts Became Known as Gods

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 9/21/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Police Case Files.

Inspiration for the Week

Success in the form of a meaningful life comes to the people who are vulnerable enough to show up. Those willing to experiment, work, learn, love, grow, and fail and then go again. And, it is through our shared imperfections–after all, imperfection is the one thing we all have in common–that humanity appears.

-Polly Campbell

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Recess Hangout
Recess Hangout by MelissaCamille

Slow Clap
Slow Clap by Robb Lansdowne

Winterton Dawn
Winterton Dawn by jellyfire

New Wallpapers

Shoreline of the Universe from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Color Me Sad from National Geographic

Hollow Greetings at National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective

September 19th, 2014
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The Scattered Life Collective
I follow Cynthia Lee (@spirituncaged) on Instagram because she inspires me. Today she posted about a new-to-me project, The Scattered Life Collective. I thought I would play along this week and meet some new friends. Here we go!

On the Menu

Every weekend I try a new recipe. Tomorrow, I’m going to be trying Outback Style Steak. Care to try it with me?

My Instagram Post of the Week

instagram1

Reading

I just finished After Dark by Phillip Margolin and am working on The Amber Room by Steve Berry. I don’t seem to be able to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be reading.

The Song of the Week

I was serenaded this week at work. If it had only sounded this good.

Watching

I just finished watching 9 seasons of Criminal Minds. I really should go for something lighter next, but at the very moment I finished the last episode of season 9, Netflix sent me an email saying that season 9 of Bones was available. So, yeah, watching season 9 of Bones.

Good Things that Happened this Week

Carolyn Dube’s gelatin monoprinting class, One Pull Wonders, started this week. It is fabulous! Every surface in my house is covered with colorful prints. I am having so much fun!

I won the Tonto 6 Area Humorous Speech contest. I am still unhappy with the final 15 to 30 seconds of my speech, so I am rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting…) The Tonto Division contest is coming up on October 11th.

Round and About

My art link of the week: 16 Homemade Paint Brushes from Babble Dabble Do. I must get myself some clothes pins!

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 9/14/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: The World is Our Mirror. 

Inspiration for the Week

The Yes Manifesto by Jon Acuff – you have to click through and read this. It is AMAZING.

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Tiger's Heart - Watercolor on Khadi Paper
Tiger’s Heart by Sandra Strait

Mushroom  Take time 7-14
Mushroom Take Time 7-14 by jprater28209

Collage Pendant
Collage Pendant by czekoczyna

Arizona Intensity
Arizona Intensity by Matt Granz

The journey is the destination
The journey is the destination by Iordanis Keramidas

High Lunge - Day 14 of Thirty 30
High Lunge – Day 14 of Thirty 30 by Mandy

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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Playing Around with Stress

August 28th, 2014
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Stressed College Student

Being an adult is stressful. You have probably noticed that. If it’s not bills, it’s the idiot in front of you in traffic or the jerk at work who will not stop doing that annoying thing. Or the housework, or the to do list that spans pages, or the kids, or the spouse, or [put your own favorite stressor here]. The stress just never seems to stop.

I work in behavioral health, so I hear about dealing with stress at work. I am even expected to be able to model my personal methods of dealing with stress so that the kids can learn from me. Just what I need – more pressure!

This week I learned something new in our staff training. Our clients talk about coping skills, but it all seems rather ill-defined. One girl would watch TV all day long as her coping skill, but what kind of life is that? Another would read, another would be plugged into an iPod, and yet another would de-stress by annoying everyone else. We needed a new way of talking about coping skills, so we’re rolling out a new way of talking about and understanding them. I’ll share what I learned, but then I’m going to add something of my own that is beyond the scope of our program.

The first thing we’re going to teach our clients about coping is “escape skills.” This involves learning to recognize when your emotions are about to spiral out of control and doing something to get yourself out of the situation. Taking a time out is one example of an escape skill. The goal is to have escape skills that are healthy, rather than turning to drugs, alcohol, running away, or cutting.

An aside: I like time outs. They’re peaceful. It’s the going back afterwards that I don’t really enjoy. What I really need is re-entry skills. I suspect I’m not alone. 

The second thing we are going to teach our clients is “processing skills.” This involves taking care of your emotions without the need for external assistance or escape. Soothing self-talk or deep breathing are examples of these.  In theory, if you’re good enough at processing skills, you won’t need escape (or re-entry) skills anymore.

I still like time outs though. It’s so quiet in time out.

Our clients won’t be with us long enough to learn my favorite level of coping, the preventative stress reduction techniques. You may have heard this called “living a balanced life.” You may have even laughed at the concept. After all, if you had time for that, you wouldn’t be so stressed, right?

The last year and a half has been very stressful for me. I had to do something about it. I couldn’t continue to live with the level of stress I was wallowing in on a day to day basis. My solution: incorporate play into my life.

Tonight I’m at Rio Rico Mexican Grill enjoying a blog-a-thon with friends. Eula is typing one of her fabulously funny posts about life’s ridiculous moments.   Suzanne is writing the touching story of a cat that adopted her family’s furniture business. Emi is writing about how the death of Robin Williams affected her. Siobhan is missing in action – she said she’d be late, but at this point I’m picture her in a ditch dying somewhere. (Thanks for that legacy, mom.) This monthly get-together is an important part of my play strategy.

As I’ve shared before, I’ve also gotten back into art, and I’ve dragged Emi with me. She and I trade art journals back and forth. Making the trade every week and seeing what she added to the pages is one of the high points of my week. I don’t claim to be a great artist. You won’t see my selling my stuff on Etsy any time soon (if ever). I only claim to be having fun. I taught monoprinting to Emi in June, to  a group of senior citizens in July, and to the kids at work in August. That was a blast! I like my art messy, and I can’t be bothered to worry about whether anyone else likes it. Art is a huge part of my play strategy.

Toastmasters, of course, is part of my strategy. I love the fun, positive people and the supportive environment. I love the challenge of speaking in contests, the surprise of table topics, and the great friends I’ve made.

If you’re struggling with stress, remember that escape skills and processing skills are great, but living a balanced life that includes play and fun is even better. Leave a comment and tell me how you deal with stress.

Reaction to Stress

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Book Review: The Process Server by LH Thomson

July 17th, 2014
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The Process Server
The Process Server by LH Thomson shows us a glimpse into a dystopian future that is all too likely to come true. Imagine a world where you can escape into virtual reality and never come out. The trade off for this is a debt that builds up and enslaves generation after generation.

Enter our protagonist, Smith, a man who has rejected the economic system based on virtual reality. He is a self-made man who owns his own space ship so that he can travel the galaxy as a process server. His pilot, Jayde, looks like a young teen, but is really over 200 years old and has a deadly temper.

In this book, Jayde and Smith take on an assignment that is a huge gamble – it will either help them make enough credits to become independent or it will be their last hurrah.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. I enjoyed the fully realized setting. I can definitely see a future in which people become so enmeshed with virtual reality that they give up their lives to it, so the world that Thomson has created is both imaginative and completely plausible.

If you like science fiction or thrillers, I’d recommend The Process Server to you. It’s a fast, exciting read that will not disappoint.

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Still in that rut – still climbing out

May 30th, 2014
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calico

I was at Michaels a few weeks ago and they had a smoking sale on canvases. Ten 8×10 canvases for $15.

I never buy canvas. I never buy canvas because no matter how much art I create, I don’t think of myself as an artist. I don’t believe what I create is worthy of canvas. I’m not even sure it’s worthy of paper.

But there I was buying 10 canvases. Scared to death, by the way. What would I do with them? Where would I hang them? As the cashier was ringing them up, I was about ready to bolt, leaving them behind.

A woman standing in line behind me asked, “What are you going to do with the canvases?”

Really? I’m going to run away from them, I thought. But I squared myself up and said, “Stencil, spray ink, gelli plate, glue things to them, I don’t know. Stuff. I really just do this for the fun. It’s therapeutic for me, I guess.”

“What a great idea,” she replied. “And you can’t go wrong. $1.50 a canvas. You’d drop more than that at Starbucks.”

I laughed, because I don’t drink coffee or frequent Starbucks. Still, she had a point. $1.50 a canvas. It’s a pittance, right?

I’m choosing to believe that I’m worth $1.50 a canvas, and I am having fun! I have the calico cat canvas (above) hanging in my office at work. I purposely hung it off center, because I’m going to paint a bunch more. So much of my stress is work-related. I can’t make art there, but I can hang my art there to remind myself of the feeling I had when I made it. Even more, to remind myself that I can always make more art and experience that wonderful feeling again.

Excuse me. There’s a canvas calling to me in the other room. And some paint. And spray ink, a gelli plate, collage papers, and stuff. I think I should go investigate.

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What to do when you’re stuck in a rut

April 19th, 2014
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I’ve been in a rut. My dragons are flying without pilots, my rebels are probably running amok pillaging the countryside on Alykan, and, on this planet, my flash fiction is being rejected by publishers and I’m losing speech contests. I’ve been demoralized and down resulting in a catastrophic loss of mojo.

It’s been this way for a year now. It’s not really about the writing, but reality leaks, doesn’t it? Chaos at work always translates into chaos in my brain that leaves work and goes home with me. And wow, last year there was a record amount of chaos. Just when I thought I was adjusting, things would change, and then, without warning, change again. It’s hard to get your sea legs when the wind keeps changing direction.

That’s my story anyway. You can believe it or not. I don’t care. I am too busy climbing out of this rut. The way I’m doing it is with art. I love playing with paint. I mean “playing” quite literally. “The messier the better” should be stenciled over my work table.

Last year, I discovered the joy of gelatin, as in gelatin print making. I bought myself a Gelli plate. Have you seen these? O  M   G. These are so fun they should be illegal! Here’s a speech I gave about them.

The background for this quote is made from one of my Gelli prints:

Pablo-Picasso

I’m also art journaling, which is challenging for me since I don’t feel like an artist in comparison to the many wonderful folks I see on YouTube. I’m stretching myself here and posting one of my spreads. Please don’t laugh!

I_Became_the_Butterfly

Not all my spreads are that pretty. I won’t torture you with the messier ones. You can look me up on Flickr if you have a brave soul.

Recently I discovered a gal on YouTube who talks about mistakes as “oops – outstanding opportunities presenting suddenly.” She encourages play, while being honest about her mistakes, her lack of patience, and her disdain for rulers. I absolutely fell in love with her videos and immediately followed her blog. You should, too. Her name is Carolyn Dube and her blog is “A Colorful Journey.” (And by the way, her last name is pronounced do-bee, which took me back to my childhood with memories of Romper Room. How could I resist a Do Bee?)

I love Carolyn Dube so much that I almost fainted when she announced she was coming to Mesa, AZ, to teach. I got some money together and the next thing I knew, we were madly stenciling and flinging paint around. Carolyn even let me use sharp instruments to bind my own journal. Check out her summary of the day – lots of pictures of the action, including a couple of yours truly.

Carolyn has caused a big uproar in my world. I am now officially addicted to stencils and binding my own journals. I joined the StencilGirl Club and already have my first shipment. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off work already so that I don’t have to fake a sick day to play with them! Here’s a stenciled page done on vintage ledger paper that I made in the workshop:

taste-the-rainbow

So… rut? What rut? I’m busy painting. And gelli printing. And stenciling. And look! I wrote an actual blog post! Watch out world, I think my mojo is coming back!

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Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader