Saturday, December 29, 2012

my life: 2012 . . .

. . . a kind of 'year in review' for me using animoto to pull it all together into a video slide show.
The direct link:

for a full-size screen, click on the small white rectangle in the bottom right corner!

A photo of me *by debra pettinato-ross* on Siesta Beach on Christmas day!

I have not returned to blogging here on a regular basis yet, as you might have noticed!
I wanted to suggest if you missed my posts here, you can find me on blipfoto almost every day. Blipfoto is an international photo journal site. You can look at my journal here. The idea is to post one photo a day taken on that day and then write about it, if you wish. Since my main creative activity recently is taking photographs, I have gravitated towards sharing them there . . . instead of here, at least for now! You can sign up for a free blipfoto account and be able to comment, or just visit and read as often as you wish. Not much art is going on here yet as my supplies are only minimally unpacked. I think that should change in the not so distant future but there is a lot going on here at our new home (work to beautify) and I am allowing my art studio to unfold in it's own natural time. 

* I wish only the best for you and your families * I hope you are happy, healthy and doing well * Smiling and laughing and creating! *

My very best to you and yours 
xo lenna

The greatest honor of a lifetime is to be who you are.
~ paraphrased from Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

creativity bubbling: a video/art spaces

Last weekend Steven said, "I'm coming to get you at 4pm at take you out on the river in Chelsea." I was pleased; he was arranging a date! Chelsea is the boat that we bought from Lucas Boatworks about a year ago. It was hand built by Dave Lucas and Howard Heimbrock. Chelsea is an unusual boat because it is powered by a Briggs and Stratton riding lawn mower engine (!) and looks a bit like the "African Queen" with the canopy top. I took a short video and a bunch of photos while out in the boat with Steven and our 2 dogs, Asia & Chloe. I remembered about the video yesterday and enjoyed putting it together with a few photos and some music ~I'm learning! But I think it came out good -most importantly, Steven loves it! If you do not see it below, here's a direct link. Only 2 minutes long and a lovely boat ride. Won't you join me?

Asia & Chloe having a chat?
So that felt very good to be creative making that short video. Then today, I started moving things around in my office/studio space and on my lanai (porch) studio space. Cool! I was happy to be finally interested in trying to figure out how to arrange things related to my art so I can get back to that. I moved a green plastic set of drawers full of interesting fabric & goodies, out of the garage and under my work table on the lanai. Then I thought, why not move those two plastic towers filled with rubber stamps out to the lanai as well? They did not feel like they were working well space-wise in my office/studio, so why not? Here's what I've come up with so far . . .

It is comforting to me because the green drawers were in the same place in my old studio. The strange boat you see there is a barge that has been brought in to build our dock!

The drawers of rubber stamps will work so much better out here where my big work table is, probably where they will be used the most. They were behind the big box on the floor in the photo below. They were pushed right up against the wall in my very messy and unpacked studio. These drawers kind of blocked the flow of things and I am happy I got the idea to put them out on the lanai with my table instead. All of this makes me think about unpacking the "studio" boxes in the garage and finding a home for things in my new space!

Please excuse the mess! I have a smaller inside studio now, but with the addition of the work space out on the lanai, I think eventually I will have a very workable and quite pleasing arrangement. I will keep you posted as things progress.

I'll get there!! wow, here is an apropos quote:

Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing.
~ William Feather

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

unexpected gifts

Today I was blessed with unexpected gifts: I found two packages stuffed into my mailbox. The first one was from Elizabeth Duke. She lives in Connecticut, where I used to live! We met back when I taught an ATC book class at the first ART IS YOU conference 6 years ago : ) I was not expecting Elizabeth to send me a gift, but so glad she did! Take a peek . . .

Elizabeth sent me a yummy handmade journal she created. It has a painted and stamped canvas cover and a hand stitched signature inside. I can't believe she made it and sent it to me!! She also made her own tag with a red & green script that she tied around the journal with a red ribbon. Then she added a candy cane and a package of Christmas tags, so sweet.

Thank you Elizabeth! ~ You are wonderful! 
We both have participated in The Sketchbook project for the past 3 years, so Elizabeth knew how much I'd appreciate a journal like this beautiful one she made. xo

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Next, I spied a package from Fort Collins, Colorado. Hmmmm . . .
My friend Marla lives there, but this wasn't her address . . . it was a mystery!

The butterflies above are a card explaining the mystery . . . 

It was an unexpected gift from Christi Wich of Timeless Creations! A hand bound stash-type journal (made up of your stash papers!) filled with a great variety of papers, postcards, even maps of Florida and some wonderful text pages. WOW.

* I am still feeling pretty amazed at receiving this beauty! *

Besides the brick and mortar store called Timeless Creations in Colorado, Christi also has an online venue -- The Creative Underground: where "we are able to offer our creative classes and inspirational groups to those of you whom do not live in our city, area, or state.  Or, for that matter...for those of you whom wish to partake in our myriad of offerings but wish to do so in your pajamas in the privacy of your art studio or home!"  

I found out about the Creative Underground online site through my friend, Marla. It was the class Marla had signed up for: 52 weeks of creative abundance, that caught my attention . . . . "Each week will include ARTful projects-both personal and for your home, as well as video lessons, creative self-care practices and rituals, recipes, and a myriad of other inspirational endeavors and adventures that will help you to create a life rich in meaning and purpose, with a few opportunities to swap art with other participants!"

I signed up! Note: You must first sign up for membership to the group here, then you can go to the groups and classes tab and sign up for any of the classes. I did mention this class I had signed up for here on my blog and guess what? A bunch of my friends signed up too! Because of this, Christi wanted to send me a thank you : ) And how perfect is this gift? She has encouraged us to keep a journal throughout the class, and I've decided to use the one she sent me! I had done the first preparatory exercise of making a list of creative soul practices, but had not entered it in a journal yet. Since I have not even unpacked any journals yet, this gift is doubly perfect! THANK YOU, Christi!! I am honored and delighted.

I am so happy some of my friends have signed up because I will be able to work with them, so to speak, on a year long project through this class. I have done online classes before and the ones where you get to share with the other participants are the best!!! It leads to good collaboration, sharing and learning. And the friends who have signed up are so very creative and talented and fun! Are you interested too?? Check out the links above. You still have time, as class starts December 21st, 2012 ~ the beginning of the solar year.

I am most grateful for these unexpected gifts.

Namaste - "to be well"

Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.
  ~ Warren Bennis

Monday, December 10, 2012

taking care of me

At DeSoto memorial National park, the walking is good . . . . 
I'm heading back to NW Bradenton today for an appointment and have decided to walk at DeSoto Memorial National Park afterwards. If I don't go to Nia class, I will walk a few miles to keep the calories burning and my metabolism good. In about 3 weeks I've lost 4 pounds, which is good! Being brave, I added the widget for the fitness app I am using to the sidebar, here on my blog. It will sync with the check-ins I do for my weight on the site. I've been eating a lot less than before - 1200 calories and rarely drinking wine. But it is really going okay. There are conflicting reports about drinking wine or not with fatty liver disease, so I am mostly avoiding wine. I used to enjoy a couple of glasses each evening. My disease is not alcohol related, but the inflammation can be aggravated by it. Not having any saves a lot of calories too!

I do walk around the neighborhood, but DeSoto park is beautiful.

I love that part of the walk goes along the shore. I am fascinated with it. 
But the woodland paths are interesting too . . .

look who I found last time! 

I wonder what I will find there today? 

There is no wilderness like a life without friends; friendship multiplies blessings and minimizes misfortunes; it is a unique remedy against adversity, and it soothes the soul.

  ~ Baltasar Gracian

Thursday, December 6, 2012

hello . . .

Lenna & Kathy Oravec at Nia on Siesta beach - December 4, 2012

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  ~ Bertrand Russell

If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right.
  ~ Henry Ford

Above are two quotes pulled randomly from a document on my computer, that contains all of the quotes I've collected because I love them. 15 years ago, my son Decklin created a program for me that randomly selects a quote I can add to my email signature or anywhere else. With a click of the mouse, a quote is chosen randomly from a very large list and copied to the clipboard, ready to be pasted anywhere. I love this program and still use it! So often the chosen quote matches my current thoughts or state of mind; it’s quite uncanny.

I wish to say I am sorry for my leave of absence from my blog. It has been a while since I have had so little to share with you! I think most of you know I have recently moved house and that has been the main culprit. We have been here in our new home 4 weeks now, which seems incredible.

I have not begun to unpack and organize my studio – I only continue to put this job off. A lot of other things are going on and so doing this was another decision making process that I did not feel I had the energy to face. And it still remains undone! Instead, my creative outlet recently has been my photography. Lately I have been working hard on catching up with the uploading of my photos and you can find them here on Blipfoto where I keep a daily photo journal, and also on flickr.

Since I like to use this blog to mostly share my art making process, I have not had anything to share with you! I do know I will make art, work in journals and create with paper & fabric again, but I am not at that place yet. We are doing a large amount of landscaping with the help of many talented people and that takes a lot of time. I am very seriously working on my health issues by exercising daily and sticking to around 1200 calories a day – fresh, wholesome, mostly vegan foods. I found out recently I have a chronic liver disease (fat cells in my liver) that can be reversed by losing the extra weight I have been carrying. I have lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks and while that is slow, I think it is good. Only 28 more to go!

So, do not fear! I will return with my art when I get things organized here. In the meantime, I will check in when I can but you can almost always find me on Blipfoto. The weather is beautiful here in Florida now and I am still dancing in Nia class as you can see by the photo above. All is well and I truly hope the same for you. 

xo lenna

Saturday, November 24, 2012

wonderful card and mail art envelope!

My friend Joanna who lives in the UK, sent a wonderful card and mail art envelope to us celebrating our recent move to a new home on the river. Her card and envelope are just so lovely, I wanted to share them with you. My own art stuff is still in boxes . . . so I thought you would enjoy this gift we received from Jo. : )

Below, a photo of Joanna taken for an Art House Co-op project we were both in together called, The Meal. I love this photo of her and Rosie Mae! It helps me to imagine her "across the pond".

This was so beautiful to find in my mailbox . . . I was grinning!

I just love this envelope and the card!  xoxo

Wow. Then look at the back of the envelope, bellow! 
Joanna knows I love quotes and this one is just perfect for Steven 
and all the canoeing he is doing these days. ; ^ )

Thank you Joanna! Please go say hi to her on her blog, Fiddlesnips.

"Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Listen hard.  Practice wellness.  Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no regret.  Continue to learn.  Appreciate your friends.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is."  -Mary Anne Hershey

Sunday, November 18, 2012

creative woodworking

Through Lucas Boatworks my husband Steven met Paul Anderson. After discovering a similar interest in woodworking, Steven gave Paul some of the very nice, harvested wood that was my dad's -some cherry and bird's eye maple. There is truly more wood stacked up than Steven can use! Paul is a very prolific and accomplished woodworker; past president of the Florida West Coast Woodworkers Club. He and his wife Lauren asked us to come by their home today and I was truly amazed at Paul's creativity. Visiting their home reminded me of when students would come to my home studio for a class and feel almost overwhelmed by the art I had on display . . . I think it was like that today at Paul and Lauren's because of his stellar craftsmanship and creativity, maybe even more so - but not too much to see. I loved it all!

In their entry . . . in the knot holes are tiny carved squirrels!

The shelves below as well as the bowls were made by Paul
It's the same shelf in the photo above. The dining table peeking through was also made by Paul.
In fact, much of the furniture in their home is hand made by him!

A table Paul made with Lauren's help I believe . .. 

Another shelf Paul made, filled with small bowls and containers he made!

More bowls by Paul - actually a close up of the bottom shelf above . . . 

This is an outdoor ornament Paul made of copper and patina.
He does not stick just to creating only with wood - he also paints (watercolors, acrylics) and builds remarkable life-like miniatures!

Steven holding one of Paul's exquisite small containers

This desk Paul made is one of my favorite pieces because of the color of the wood and 
the beautiful leaf inlay. Behind it is a side table Paul made using some of my father's wood.

Here is a close up of the side table that Paul made using Cherry wood that my father 
harvested from his land in New Hampshire. He would have been proud of Paul's table.

We saw even more before going to Paul's shop. Yes, he made the drawers & counter arrangement! He definitely has given me inspiration to get my studio unpacked and organized!!

I mentioned that Paul also paints. He did this scene on his shop wall (garage door). He told us, 
"See, I have a waterfront view here!" Steven, Paul and Lauren.

Near the end of our fabulous tour (yes, there was even more) Paul said to me, 'Oh, I have something I made for you." He turned and retrieved this wooden plate from the shelf, and handed it to me as he explained to me that he made it from the bird's eye maple Steven gave him, that my dad had harvested & milled in New Hampshire - eventually trucked to Florida. When my dad died last year, Steven inherited many of his tools and a very large pile of beautiful hardwood. 

I must say I felt very emotional at that moment and gave Paul a huge hug. 
* This piece is very special to me *

Paul's signature and date carved in to the back of my wooden plate. He has treated the wood so the plate is safe to use for food and I know I will be using it a LOT. Thank you, Paul. Lauren is also very creative and I will need to go visit again to learn more about her jewelry and mosaics. A most inspiring afternoon and refreshing to meet such creative people who live nearby! 

I am thankful for so many things and people in my life.
Thank you for reading, caring and being here! 

The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.  ~ William Wordsworth

Thursday, November 15, 2012

thank you

Thanks to everyone for the many messages of good luck and happiness in our new home, but I really must send a special thanks out to Jewels and Frieda for brightening my new mailbox with these lovelies:

(smile) Thank YoU!

Things are coming along at our new home, slow but sure. It is a beautiful spot so it makes the work worth it, but still, it is so much work to pack and unpack! I will get there, and do enjoy seeing things take shape. In the meantime even though my studio is not set up yet and I have to work on that, I am starting to think about creative art projects. The furniture is arranged, kitchen and bathrooms set up, the clothes, sheets & towels are in place too and now I am starting to think of other more arty things. A friend of mine mentioned the Ning Group The Creative Underground and an online year long class offered through them called: 52 weeks of creative abundance. It did not take me long to decide to sign up! Class starts December 21st and is very reasonably priced, with a discount through Nov. 21st (only $52!!). Go check it out and see if it's for you! I am so looking forward to it. 

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
  ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Thursday, November 8, 2012

our new neighborhood

We took our first walk around the neighborhood since we moved, today. Our new home is much more in the 'country' with miles of fences to keep animals like horses in.

This neighborhood has a Ranch-like feel, very much . . .

We enjoyed the nice sidewalk, safe off the road . . . me & my sweeties, Asia & Chloe.

What?? This is not a horse! 

This llama came right up to the edge of the fence to meet us. Chloe even growled as we quickly walked past! Chloe was definitely really not sure about this llama, who seemed sweet to me . . although I did not get too close either! 

Another photo of our llama friend is found on my blip journal, here.

Do you see Asia ^ here still staring at the llama? : ) Chloe seems to have gotten over the encounter by now . . . this was a good first walk, about 2 miles, with just one small blister on my heel from wearing sneakers instead of my usual crocs!

Thanks for coming along with us . . . . we are making our way and slowly getting resettled. I am concentrating on the kitchen first, my clothes next, and then my studio!!!!! OH! My actual studio space is too small for my big art table so now it is out on the lanai -a screened porch, very large. It overlooks the water and is so grand! More photos as things come together  : )

Happiness is good health and a bad memory.
  ~ Ingrid Bergman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

we have moved!

Steven, Asia & Chloe 
paddling home from Lucas Boatworks to our new home on the Braden River.
Steven is using one of the gorgeous paddles he made at Lucas Boatworks : )

we are tired, happy, unpacking tons of boxes, and settling in! 
xo lenna

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
  ~ Katharine Hepburn

Monday, October 29, 2012

still here . . .

Even though I am still packing boxes (not done yet) and helping steven hand-carry over a number of odd shaped things, I find myself still here taking some photos. Thus, the new blog header I put together using Photoshop, Picasa and Picnik (through Picasa). Kind of silly, but not really I guess! I still have that an urge to do SOMETHING creative and my studio is completely packed up!!!!!!! This is hard to believe but true. The contents of my desk are the only things in my studio, that have not been packed and will soon be. The printer and scanner are still here, but we will hand carry those over closer to Moving Day. Yesterday Steven moved the studio cabinets over . . .

we are very lucky to have this luxury of moving in a bit at a time.

Chloe investigating the back yard . . . .

This will be a lovely home for us. Thanks for visiting, I'll stop in as I can. One week till we move!
I hope you are safe tonight, thinking of my family & friends in the Northeast. Love, lenna

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
 ~ Marc Chagall