Shabby Miss Jenn

Friday, July 04, 2014

Another Romanian Connection Comes Full Circle

I've written about it before but in case you've missed reading it. 
I lived in Bucharest Romania for two years. 
My father was in the Canadian Military and had been posted
 to the Embassy there. It was like no other place we had ever lived before.
 I was lucky enough to be at an age to experience and remember
 many moments from then.
From the city landscape to the thatched roofs in the
 countryside villages we'd visit.
It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.

I went to the American School of Bucharest while I was there.
It was in a large home and children from about 20+ countries 
around the world went to school there.
I made wonderful friendships with many and have been blessed to 
reconnect with those friends again after so many years apart.

I always sort of kept a mental list of folks to look for again
 on social media sites.
Some were quite easy to find. 
Some actually found me first.
A few came back thru other friends. It's been fun.

One of the friends that was still on my list and
 yet to be found was Kelly.
Her parents were at the Canadian Embassy as well as mine.
She was a little younger then me but we had been
 friends and hung around together.
This photo from our yearbook shows Kelly dancing with 
another classmate at a school dance I don't recall.
I had searched her name and been coming up with no hits.

Being that I live in a rather rural area of Nova Scotia, I tend to 
take art courses that are offered online.
It's sort of my way of treating myself. I get to create art and 
chatter with like minded artists without having to leave my home.

A few years ago, I took an course called
 "Chickadee Road-The Studio Sessions"-by Kelly Barton and Liz Lamoreux. 
Part of this course included a private group
 to connect on Facebook.
As folks joined and posted, I caught the thumbnail photo
 of another classmate.

I knew those eyes.

Within the walls of this art course,
 I had just found Kelly.

It's been a few years now and we have managed to find ourselves 
in a number of the same art courses time and again. We have been building up our friendship with emails and shared laughter. We both love that yes, we have that initial Romanian connection
 that started the friendship; but our passion to create art,
 take photos of life around us; eat good food etc are all
 aspects we can use to build a stronger friendship now.

I'm totally in awe of her talent for knitting.
 It's something I can't do.
I love when she shares those photos.

Within the last few months of our chats and emails, we discovered
 she was going to be coming to Nova Scotia to visit family. 
( She lives in England)
 We quickly looked at work schedules for me and it was like
 the universe was smiling down on us.
 The time frame she was going 
to be here....I'm not working.

After 30 years...... Kelly and I are going
 to see each other again!!!!!

To say that I am excited about this would be an understatement ;)
We are hoping for good weather so that we can spend the day together
 having a picnic, taking photos of anything and
 everything we see together. We also have planned to exchange
 a piece of each others artwork.
I've sketched something out but not taken
 any photos of it yet.

She has teased me already about her piece
 to me by posting this photo to my Facebook wall

I'm positive you'll see a bunch more photos of when we finally see each other.
I can't stop smiling at the thought of it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Deeper Appreciation

If you look around the farmhouse, tucked into just about every possible space, 
I've created "something" that whispers to my soul.
 Piles of small books mingled with photographs housed 
in unique frames that captured my heart when I saw them. 
Collections of shells gathered on a 
summer day visit to a beach.
Old bottles filled with sunlight now as 
their original contents have long since disappeared.
Items that just make me smile when I look at them.

Sacred Altars. The Art of Altars and Offerings ... Jessica Brogan

What an amazing course this turned out to be. 
I knew that the topic had my attention and it was something
 I was already doing within my home. The course has been eye opening
 on a few different levels though and it's been a wonderful surprise.

Jessica is going to be hosting this course again in a while 
and I would highly recommend taking it.
I won't go into individual details about the spaces I created thru taking the course
but I'm going to share some photos that I took.

 The other people taking the course with me have created some amazing
pieces as well. We have felt strong and safe enough
in the group to share some touching and raw stories with each other.
This course has been such a blessing.

I'm looking at items around my home differently.
I am shifting things around and adding different pieces.
The act of creating the space as become as important to me as
the finished piece.
I'm gathering great peace.

When the chance arises to take part in this course again.... JUMP ON IT!


Thursday, June 05, 2014

She is a Diamond

Social media platforms are all around us.
You click like a zillion times.
You tweet something quickly.
You can look at a million thumbnail size images
 with a scroll of your cell phone.

You amass a string of "friends" that you for the most part,
 don't really know and could bump into on the street and 
would never recognize. (Sad but true for me. I'm trying to
 get better with that, I swear)

If you are lucky, a few real treasures are dropped into your life.
In the midst of those treasures is
 a true diamond to behold.
Someone that makes you slow down
 in the quick responses and think.
Someone who shares truly
 from their heart space.

I've been blessed with such a diamond.

The Light that shines from her is radiant.
When she writes, her words illuminate such
 an intense reaction within me.
She shares moments happening within her life and
 even though you know she is feeling raw and vulnerable in them; 
she is connected enough with herself to take 
the time to share and place her emotions into text.
 She's willing to do so because it may just help one other person
 in the world feel a little bit less alone
 fighting their own demons.

She's got my brain spinning in so many ways.
Surprises arrived in my mailbox just because she wanted
to let me know she was thinking of me.
Her self portraits make me feel strong and brave enough
to capture my own image and thought process that comes with them.
When I got flack for taking photos of myself, she had my back.
She supported me.

Her willingness to be raw with her writing.
Not always rainbows and
 little fuzzy bunnies munching clover.

Unfiltered Truth

 Spoke loudly enough to stop me
 in my tracks and truly listen.

I have darkness and demons on the edge often.
There are days my soul weeps in the background.
I'm no longer scared to share those aspects of myself.
They are all parts of me.
That same darkness also makes
 the Light within me 
shine bright when
folks look in the right space.

Just recently, Jessica was talking about her first e-course.
{You all know how much I adore a good course}
This one jumped at me for a number of different reasons.
Jessica was behind it, #1 of course.
Courses that speak to my soul don't always have to be an art course.
It was going to be about alters.
Something I already incorporate within my home.

Where did I have to go to sign up?!

The course began just a few days ago and
 it's blown me out of the water.


It's like Jessica is sitting right across from you and talking.
She has taken some of the most amazing photos.
She has had friends of hers allow her to
 share some of their amazing photos.
The content already has me doing research on stones, 
scents and different meanings
I wish to blend into my creations.
The term "feather-envy" has popped up a few times and even ended
with me racing around my back field 
chasing a feather in the afternoon breeze.
I'm looking at sticks, dried flowers, driftwood, 
sea shells and so much more all with new eyes.

She has made it fun, light hearted, full of incredible information mixed with just
enough depth and inner thought, to push ourselves.

She is going to be offering this course 
again in the Fall she says.
I place my hand on my heart and promise you...
I will be shouting LOUDLY
for all of you that this concept strikes a cord with
to scoot over and sign up.
You will not regret a single moment
of being in her Light
and all that this incredible
woman has to share and offer.

Thank you Jessica.
Thank you so much for being.... YOU!

{all photos are Jessica's photos and imagery.}

Monday, May 26, 2014

Change can be Incredible

So truthfully it took me about 30 years but 
that quote still hits home for me.
It really is how I try to live my life.
I am not one to follow a trend because others seem to.
I'm known for being outspoken on many topics and
 have even fostered some rough patches in friendships 
due to my thoughts and opinions being shared. 
I will ask for guidance in areas of my life but 
usually tend to follow my gut instinct.

Quiet thoughts

 Many mornings I step outside and just listen.
The multiple blend of birds chirping their hellos.
The wind drifting gently thru new leaves.

What changes do I need to see happen 
in my life at the moment?
Am I happy with how things are?
Where am I daydreaming myself to be
 in a month's time?
In a year?

I've talked about my battle with depression before in posts.
One of my surefire ways of shaking the darkness
 back from the edge is to
 change something in my life.
Sometimes all it takes is to paint my toenails 
a different colour then usual.
This time around in my fight, it took a little
 bit more then nail polish.

During my journey of weight loss, I had forgot about looking
after my hair. I just let it grow out and it got longer and longer.
The length I thought I was loving.
French braids

and then it changed.

Split ends
Dry and brittle
Same old hair style.
Clumps were falling out when I'd brush
or the shower would be full after washing it.
Getting a trim was just no longer going to be enough.
Frustration was always floating on the surface of my being.

Something was going to need to change.

I followed my instinct
and with one call to my hair dresser,
a good solid 9 inches was cut off my hair.

The change was within seconds of 
the last snip of her scissors.
I felt lighter. (obviously)
I soon came to see that the lightness 
wasn't just in my hair. 

I'd not noticed my battle with darkness
had woven itself into my hair.
I was hiding behind length.
 I was feeling stagnant. 

With the shorter cut, my curls came back
and so did the bounce in my step.
I had missed that.
The feedback from folks was instant.

My eyes sparkled
Some folks didn't like the cut and 
that was fine with me too.
I didn't do the change for anyone
other then me.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Newest Addition at the Farmhouse

As we have been reclaiming the yards and gardens around the Farmhouse, we've talked about the different landscaping we hoped to create. Different shrubs, bushes, flower beds and trees have been discussed to be scattered around. Fruit trees have always been tops on our list. Last season we planted a 5-in1 style apple tree and also a 5-1 style pear tree. They seemed to do pretty well and are covered with buds this year. We have our fingers crossed they fruit.

This year...... it seems cherry trees have been decided on for the yard.

Hole were dug and worked to be ready for trees when we found them.
We wrote down the names of the cherry varieties  that we could gain access to and spent the evening researching them on the computer.

He took the seats out of the back of the car and then reclined the front...... off he went.
Next thing I know, I can hear the car back in the driveway and he's placed a cherry tree into the wheelbarrow to get it across the yard.

This went quite well so in the next day or so, we'll add the other one.
The two kinds we went for are Sandra Rose Cherry and a Vandalay Cherry.
I am so excited to see how they do.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Authentic Self

Just a little while ago, I changed my profile photo on Facebook 
as I'm prone to do when the mood strikes.
Something odd happened this time. Someone sent me
 a private message to let me know they thought it strange
 that I take so many photos of myself and post them.


I know that many folks use photos of their children,
 a funny quote or image they found as their profile.
 That has never really been my style. I want it to be a photo
 of "me" so that if friends are searching for me on FB, 
they'll know it's me when they find the profile. 
I'm not talking about the zillion photos folks take
 in every bathroom they seem to find themselves in.
 I use the mirror in my kitchen or I've even managed
 to have some fun outside taking photos.

I don't own a cell phone so having to use my
 big camera sometimes is awkward. 
My husband isn't the type to take photos
 so I hardly ever ask him. My camera is with me
 most of the time and I just started playing with it.
 It's digital so it wasn't like I was going 
to be wasting film.

I just started clicking.

Hardly ever look to see how the photo has been captured 
until I'm sitting back at my computer. 
No filters or tweaking. 
Just what got snapped when
 I pushed the button.

In an online course I'm taking, the teacher made this statement
 that went along with an assignment 
of having to take self portrait.

"I don’t feel that my (or anyone’s) love for self portraits
 comes from arrogance or vanity,
 but rather a sense of self discovery 
and wanting to stimulate
 an internal conversation within myself. 
 Sharing self portraits with the outside world is
 like sharing art, there’s that chance that 
it will resonate with another and
 create a common bond. "
Misty Mawn.

After I read that quote, I began to look closer 
at the photos I was taking.
What was I trying to capture?
An emotion?
A color?
A moment I didn't want to fade.

When I look at these photos,
 I see my authentic self.
No photoshop.
No filters

This is me.

I see ancestors in my face.
My great grandmothers eyes.
My aunts nose.
My jawline is from my father's side of the family.

Laugh lines
Grey hair
Everything Life has opted
to bless me with as 
reminders of how I have lived my life.

Quiet eyes
Shadowed with darkness

Blue grey eyes
tinged with a spark of madness

A sharp tongue
hidden behind the smallest smile
ready to lash out
for either a quick needed laugh
or to put someone in their place.

A mind reflecting on the past.
Daydreaming of the future
and all that may open before me.

A heart that has loved
been broken
and healed again.

A soul
Whispering messages
to always be true
don't be fake
Stay steady on your path.
Be weird
Be Random
Be who you have always meant to be.

When I take my photo,
I see where I have been
and where I'm going
all mixed together at once.

What makes you different,
makes you beautiful.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Newest WIP Painting

Just thought I'd snap a few photos of the latest painting I've been working on.
Adding texture has become such fun for me.
Nothing beats your hands covered with paint, paper and glue ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The spark has been rekindled

I have been neglectful of my little online space here and I'm not missing how ironic the situation is that the blog post that brought me back is about writing. There has been a long list of things that at any true moment I could have sat down and written about. I really did wish to share many of them with you.
I've become well versed in stacking as many obstacles in my path to keep me from doing so.
The reality is I allowed myself to create those obstacles based upon loss of drive to put the time in that it takes. I got lazy. I began second guessing myself. Who reads a blog any more? Aren't most folks caught up in the quick glance news feed of Facebook or the instant imagery from Instagram?

Then I happen to see this little video.
The Universe was sending me a very strong message ....... I listened.

Click this link and watch the video...... I'll wait right here.  ;)

  The Conscious Booksmith: A Mindful Approach to Creating Your Book // with Christine Mason Miller from Animyst on Vimeo.

My soul GASPED for air.
Those voices that had been whispering for me to stop writing were slammed into a box and the key was tossed away for the lock.
It wasn't possible for me to click on the sign up link quicker.

I didn't give myself a moment to second guess or question my actions.
I jumped.
This spoke so loudly to my soul.
I'll admit right here that I shed a few tears.

The incredible imagery used in the video and her heartfelt words..... it was like it was created for me to finally WAKE UP to the reality of the unwritten library within me that needs to come to light.
Years worth of stacked journals; worn pages filled with my thoughts and rambles.
Story lines.
Characters and their details.
Page layouts for photography books.
Family history just waiting to be expanded for future generations to discover.

The whispers of my soul are the voices of characters in my books that I will bring to life.

Do you have a book within you?

Watch the video again.
Then sign up for what I can only imagine is going to be one hell of an incredible journey in bringing our dreams to light!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Turning a Corner and Climbing Out of that Rut

Sometimes you don't even notice you have fallen into the rut
 until you are just walking along and continuously bumping into it.
 It tends to happen to me every now and then and 
I've learned little tricks to ease myself out of them.

Creative people tend to surround themselves
 with other creative people.
They understand things a little better. 
Less confused looks and high arching eyebrows.
No nagging questions of:
Why would you carry little scraps of paper in your purse
 with a pencil sketch and a word hen-scratched over it in ink?
 What do you mean you lay on your pillow at night and over
 30 painting ideas flash thru your thoughts 
while drifting off to sleep?
 They can look at the multiple cut out doll pattern pieces
 and scraps of fabric thumb tacked to the wall
 and not even blink in confusion. 

Luckily for me, social media forums like Facebook
 have made it even easier to surround myself with other artists. 
You start chatting, talking and sharing photos of your work.
You discuss your art background.
 What medium you like to work in.
 You begin to open up further with each other.
You share what art courses you have taken and
 that you fell madly in love with. 
The courses that left you shaking your head
 in confusion get talked about as well.

By far my best loved aspect of having artistic friends is
 when they share OTHER artistic friends with me.

Have you seen the work of so and so? 
I've been listening to you and think you would really 
enjoy the work of this person I know.
Let me show you this painting that I just bought. 
You are going to be amazed.

Two such artists have been the ones 
pulling me out of my creative rut
 and I can't thank them enough.
They don't even know they have
been working magic within my soul.
I am feeling energized and excited 
like a bolt of lightning has struck me.

A good friend of mine contacted me and
 said you have to see this painting.

I was blown away.
It was a life changing moment for me.

The artist is Misty Mawn.
I had never heard of her work until that painting was shared 
with me and a link to her blog.
Within days, I devoured everything possible I could find on her.
 I read her blog from start to now.
I looked at her Etsy shop.
I was over the moon with happiness when I learned she offered online courses.
Fighting the demons in my head saying we didn't have 
extra money to spend on frivolous self indulging whims,
 I signed up for one of her courses. 
Within days of the first few lessons,
 I signed up for another she offered. 
It's like she has awakened something that
 I didn't even know existed within me.
A side of my creative soul that is so different from
 how I have been creating and yet still very much me.
She also has a book so I ordered that and
 was blessed with 5 prints of her work.
 I can hardly wait to frame and 
hang them in my art studio.

 The little message 
she signed to me inside
 was icing to my cake! ;)

 Then I was in the midst of a totally different art course and 
one of the teachers struck such a cord within me.
 Her work makes my jaw drop to the floor.

The artist is Danielle Donaldson.
Once again I found myself consuming every bit of 
information I was able to find on her.
Her website was like no other eye candy I'd discovered.
She too had an Etsy Shop

I found myself sitting at my art table 
surrounded with stacks of watercolor papers
 and tubes of paint. 
Brushes dipped in every 
color of the rainbow.
These two amazing artists have opened my
creative soul to new thought processes.
Art mediums that I haven't touched in years
are being dusted off.
I am painting.
I am taking photos.
Poetry is being written.
I have not been this energized about my creative work
in a very long time and I wanted to
say thank you.
so very much
 for being artists
who share their
 heart and soul
with others.