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Monday, December 31, 2012

Reverb '12: Day 31 ... Happy New Year, 2013!

Closing a month of Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Day 31.

I end this project with mixed feelings knowing it is not an end at all ... I have loved creating an image a day for 31 days in response to Kat's prompts, but it takes time and inspiration that I am relieved to take a break from for a bit. I hope you have enjoyed my journey and that it has inspired you to consider your own.

Day 31: Where are you now?

Think back to where you were all those moons ago, on 1 December when you started #reverb12. All the way back then, I asked: "How are you starting?" Now quickly and without thinking too much about it, finish these five sentences:

2013 is going to be MY YEAR because
... I deserve it! I've weathered the storm. I've done the right things. I've learned new skills. It will be my year because I am and I want it to be.

In 2013, I am going to do ... good work ... both in my next job and in my creative work. I am going to honor the promises I make to myself just as I honor promises I make to others. I want to learn Illustrator.

In 2013, I am going to feel ... joyous, happy, and fulfilled.

In 2013, I am not going to ... constantly chip away at the good I offer by thinking I have to be different.

In December 2013, I am going to look back and say ...  I did it! I created a better life for me and for those I touch. I brought joy to others through my writing and photographic creations. I did a good job.


Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: DirtyWall-5, GF-6, Stained-5
Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: 0101, 3112

And here is the complete Reverb '12 ... 31 days of images reflecting on 2012 and looking toward 2013.

Click image to see larger view

Wishing all my friends and family a Happy New Year! May 2013 bring fulfilled dreams and lots of new joyous experiences.

  ****
(  ___ )
  \     /
    \  /
   ^^^

I toast a glass to you, my friends!!


Reverb '12: Days 28 - 30

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 25 - 27.

Day 28: How will you overcome *those* fears? Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?

Textures thanks to Pixel Dust: Intensify, Vintage Vellum
Texture thanks to Lenabem-Anna: old map

Let's forget the little fears and those limited to 2012, and jump right to the big ones! Lifetime fears. But I do want to clarify that none of these are imminent ... they are just my greatest fears ... ending up a bag lady, dying alone, and spending my final days with Alzheimer's.

I know, you are probably wondering why I'm concerned about these things since I've got lots of years of living yet to do. These are not things I spend my days worrying about ... they just float in and out periodically, although there are days as I search for work, get interviews, and am not hired that I wonder about the first one.

So, how am I going to overcome these things? The answers are pretty simple really, but as we all know ... sometimes easier said than done.

I am pretty sure I won't become a bag lady. First, I know eventually I will get a job. The angels just haven't aligned the right people and the right opening yet. ;-> Once I am employed, I will be very grateful and will be able to focus on other things ... things that bring more pleasure than a job search.

Although I fear being alone, I can't imagine I am ever really alone. I have friends and family who come through in my darkest hours. I tend to be pretty self-sufficient and sometimes I isolate ... so there you are ... I create the aloneness all by myself!

And about Alzheimer's ... I value intelligence and mental acuity so much, that this is the last way I want to spend my end days. I don't believe I have anything to be concerned about, but it's those little things I tend to forget that niggle at me. Keeping active, continuing to learn, and working with my memory are the best antidotes I'm sure.

Day 29: Have you heard your word? What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring? What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square 15, 162
Textures thanks to Pixel Dust: Silken Waters

ABUNDANCE was my word for 2012. It played out quite differently than I thought it would. I often think of this word in respect to financial security, but I was pleasantly surprised at the ways it appeared. There were those who stood by me when I needed support; there was the new community of Flickr and blogger friends I gathered along the way; and of course as I've mentioned before, there was time ... time to explore, time to learn, and time to reflect and dream.

On Day 3 of this Reverb, I thought I'd found my word for 2013 ... clarity, but now I really believe CONTENTMENT will be my guiding word for the new year. If I can learn to be satisfied with who I am, what I'm doing, and where I'm going, life will be much easier. I find myself always striving ... striving to be more perfect, to be better. This can be self-defeating in some ways. My goal is to appreciate what is ... to love what is ... right now.

Day 30: What can you celebrate NOW? Often we see our life as a humongous journey, and we believe that not only have we not arrived at our far away desired destination, but we also think we must accomplish x, y, and z, before we can declare with satisfaction that we are THERE. For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare. Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL. Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE.

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: awaken, nutmeg

Celebrating the NOW is an interesting concept. I seem to find myself in the past or future so often. But I have spent more time in the now recently.

What I know for sure is I feel more relaxed, and more at home out on a walking path or Colorado trail enjoying the beauty of the world around me, spending time with my furry friend, and discovering new photographic captures. I think this year, I will venture out to places I haven't been before again ... like I did in 2011 when I created newsletters I called The Stroll.

Discovering is always fun ... can't wait to see what awaits. Finding more places where I can just be me.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 25 - 27

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 25 - 27.

Day 25: How will you be vulnerable? The soft white underbelly, the flaw in the armor, the Achilles' heel -- weaknesses are what make us the most human, the most beautiful. Next year, how will you tend to your vulnerabilities? How will you build them a shelter from the storm? How will you put them through physical therapy? How will you find a way to make them work to your advantage?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: chalkmagic, softly

This was challenging to image and even more challenging to want to divulge publicly. Vulnerabilities and weaknesses are things we try to hide, to keep under wraps, and only share with our closest friends. It's disruptive to my sense of safety to allow my armadillo shell to be cracked open.

With that said, I know I feel most vulnerable when I'm in a situation where true feelings, emotions, and mistakes are revealed before I'm ready. I might never be ready as honesty is not always best presented. You know what I mean ... when someone asks what you think and it's better to save face ... for them and for you. Sometimes keeping true feelings inside is the the best plan of action. And I never like being caught in a mistake, although I make them all the time.

These questions about how to manage vulnerabilities is something I must contemplate. Is it best to attempt to stay away from situations where one feels vulnerable? Is it better to save those times for your truest of friends? Or does it give others permission to be vulnerable if we share? Take for example Brené Brown, who let it all hang out as she did during her Ted Talk on Vulnerability, then she went home wondering why she told 500 people something quite embarassing ... something that felt like it undermined all that she'd done before ... then it went viral!

I love Brené ... but I'm still challenged to let the world know all of who I am even though I know others struggle with similar challenges. What have you stood for that you haven't shared so openly?

Day 26: How will you make time? How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: finale, simplicity, autumnburst
Clock brush thanks to darkaion

I believe I will always make time for the few things that have become vital to my sense of self this year: photography, learning, creativity. But one thing I know about myself is things change. I need to walk for my general health and while I'm out I may as well capture nature's beauty, so I hope to keep that going.

Day 27: How will you honour your creativity? How did you make time for creativity in 2012? Looking back, is there one creative time or one particular creation that stands out for you? (Maybe you could share it here?) How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?


This year I had the gift of time, so was able to share my creativity publicly with amazing consistency. I know I won't be able to keep it up with the same regularity once I get a job, but will still find time to create as I love increasing my skills and it's therapeutic to express myself through pictures and these little art pieces that Reverb '12 has afforded me. I do believe this is a sample of my greatest creative spurt.

The countdown is here. Only four more days and I will have created art every day for a full month. Upon completion, I plan on printing out each piece 4" x 4" and create a poster 20" x 28" for my wall as a reminder of the prompts and contemplations of 2012 and considerations for 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Walk and Click Wednesdays #17: A White Christmas

It's time for Walk and Click Wednesday!

On Christmas Eve day the threat of snow was apparent as the cloud crawled in over the Rocky Mountains.


Here in Lafayette, Colorado we had a light, but beautiful white Christmas. The snow started Christmas Eve and continued lightly through the night. We only got a few inches, but it was wonderful to see the pristine sight in the morning.


And Kobi was wishing he could run and play with Spirit, but that wasn't in the cards this morning. It didn't stop him from Christmas greetings at the fence.


I hope all of your who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day!

~~~~~

I look forward to seeing you here for Walk and Click Wednesdays. Can't wait to see what you saw on your strolls.

Please join me in the adventure. The only "requirement" other than those below is that you go out walking and take some pictures. Please keep in mind that you don't have to walk, take pictures, process them, and post all on Wednesday ... take the weekend before to explore and a few days to process your photos ... then link up.

Walk and Click Wednesdays (WCW) Guidelines:

Are you new to Walk and Click Wednesdays? The party will open on Wednesday and close on Saturday at midnight.

Here are just a few guidelines to keep everyone on target.
  • Please link directly to your WCW blog post or the specific flickr image, not to your main blog url or flickr stream url. Please do not link to an online shop.
  • Please link back to laf Custom Designs. I'd love it if you'd share my WCW button on your blog (it's over there on the sidebar--see it?--just under the Friends Who Love It Here icons). It will also serve as a reminder to you since I know you all have a lot going on in your lives.
  • Please visit the other WCW participants and share the love. Gotta get this party goin' on.
Have a great weekend and find some time to walk and click. ;->
-->





Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 22 - 24

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 22 - 24.

Day 22: Your most important gift? What was the greatest gift you received in 2012? What was the greatest gift you gave? What do you intend to give yourself in 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: cherishscripted
Textures thanks to Pixel Dust: ImpressionistMusic, HolyGrunge
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Raised Effect 2
Textures thanks to Paree Erica: Fireflies VII, Silver Stars
Bow brush thanks to fartoolate

Generosity is the greatest gift I received in 2012. Generosity of spirit, of time, and of friendship. Those in my circles showed they cared and I am so grateful. We all need to know there is someone or many someones who care what happens to us. I really am blessed.

One of my gifts is the creativity I've shared. My hope is that it brings some pleasure to my blog readers. But, I believe the greatest gift I gave is appreciation. I made every effort I could to let people know I appreciated their efforts and their place in my life. I also try my best to be kind, although there are times my frustration gets the best of me.

Just a few days ago, I saw a man at a highway exit hoping a few people might stop and contribute to his well-being. I'm afraid I've become a bit skeptical, but being a bit blue that morning, I decided I could help both of us out. Since I was on my way to Starbucks for my only vice, I decide to double my order of coffee and pumpkin bread. I backtracked out of my way to take it back to him. I gave him the treats and wished him the best. After I left, I felt I missed something I had grown accustomed to doing ... I wished I'd asked his name. And thought I should have asked his story. Another time, I guess. I just wasn't quite myself that morning.

Day 23: What will you let go of? Name three excuses -- stories you tell yourself that are holding you back -- that you are going to let go of in 2013.

Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: 33, 178
Textures thanks to French Kiss: Purple Prose
Mountain brush thanks to 00AngelicDevil00

Three stories I tell myself that hold me back ... hmmm, I hadn't quite bargained for this level of truth-telling, but I know we all have things we don't want to admit even to ourselves.

I have a gigantic critic that resides inside. You know the one ... you can't do that, you don't know enough, you're not good enough. Yep. I said it. But, if I'm really honest, this isn't altogether true. I can do a lot, I know a lot, and I am fine just that way I am even if I do experience those "negative" emotions. Yes, I can be quite judgmental and that seems to lead to anger. I am envious of those who are successful, but this doesn't help me be successful.

So, with that said, those are the things I'd like to let go of: the inner critic, judgment, and envy. That requires a plan ... well, those steps haven't evolved yet, but the week between now and New Year's might be a good time to think on that.

Day 24: What is your most important habit? What is the single most important habit you intend to cultivate in 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: gentlewhisper, xanthescripted, ugglove, 123, takeheart
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square-20, 25, 132

I really want to discover a way to transition more of my judgments to kindness and thoughtfulness. This requires mindfulness ... paying attention. This means being more thoughtful and kinder to myself as well. That's where we must begin, isn't it? How can we pass that good on to others if we're beating ourselves up over the stupid things we've done, the mean thoughts we have? So I want to remember the day I helped the baby bird out of the crack in the driveway. We all have stories that cause us pain, the pain that causes us to lash out in annoyance and frustration. To remember this is the first step in showing more grace towards others.

Thanks to Kat for encouraging me to consider this question.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 19 - 21

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 19 - 21.

More Reverb creations.

Day 19: How did you nourish yourself? How did you nourish your beautiful body in 2012? What self-care practices will you take with you into 2013?

Textures thanks to Pixel Dust: SoftSwirls, SilkenWaters
Camera brush thanks to Benjirose
Place setting: Lovely Dinner

I can't say I'm feeling the beautiful body thing! But at least I am nourishing it with lots of photo walks, blue skies, sunshine, and fresh air. What I'd like to take into 2013 is a new regime and lose ... ahem ... well some pounds I've gathered along my journey in 2012. Why is this a perennial problem for me? I suppose I should look into that, as well. Shouldn't take much doing. The honest truth is I like my sweets ... and my Starbucks coffee with cream and sugar, and pumpkin or lemon loaf.

I'm not very good at self-care ... so maybe a list is in order to remind me ...
  • cut down the sugar and caffeine, so I can develop better sleeping patterns
  • walk even more regularly
  • start a yoga regime
  • reconvene a meditation practice
  • journal more regularly and make a point of noting the gratitudes

Day 20: What was lost and what was found? What was lost in 2012? What do you intend to find in 2013?

Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square-129, 134, 167, 171, 188

This is a sensitive question. In losing my work, I lost a place to go where I made some contribution, connected with people in person regularly, and collected pay for a day's work. As time goes on this transition begins to take it's toll.

Nevertheless, there is an up-side ... I have enjoyed the freedom to explore my creative side. As Cynthia Morris said in a recent newsletter, "creative play is vital for our happiness." I have known that if I'm not being creative, I'm not living. I also have found that all this photography and processing and creating my own little "art pieces" keeps my mind active and engaged. I feel productive and this brings me great pleasure.

I intend to carry this forward to 2013 as learning is vital to my well-being.

Day 21: What's on the dream list? What items did you tick off your dream list in 2012? What other, unexpected, dreams came to fruition? What are the top three items on your dream list for 2013?
 
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square-129, 163, 173, 191
Textures thanks to Pixel Dust: AbstractSplotches, FadedFresco, Impressionist Music

I can't help myself ... I love this piece. I learned a couple new design tools ... how to use puppet warp and the transform effects, both in the edit panel in Photoshop. These were used to give the word DREAM the curvature to create a pot for my flowers.

Back to dreams ... dreams for me are about growth, expanding, learning ...

Growth comes quietly
Growth comes slowly

It comes by asking
"how do I do that?"

It takes me down a path
of questioning and
searching for the the answer.

and one day I realize
I know more
and can do more.

Google is my friend ... I wanted my word DREAM to have shape, so I went in search for how to do it. Voilà! I found the answer out there in that vast information vessel.

A dream list? This has been a challenge recently. It's hard for me to dream when I'm concerned about the basics, but I also realize that it is the dreaming that will take care of the basics. This is a bit like chasing one's tail ... oh, nevermind that. It's time to consider what I would like to see in this new year; hence, another list.
  • replace my old worn out chairs in my living room
  • new kitchen faucet
  • new flooring -- carpet and/or tile
  • proper fence for the back yard
  • new cushion/covering for my free swing
  • re-establish my office, which requires purging and painting
There, I did it ... I dreamed a few dreams for 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 16 - 18

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 16 - 18.

More Reverb creations. The prompts become more challenging and take more thought and consideration. So, here we go.

I'm loving playing with clipping masks, shabby shapes, gradients, and bevels and embossing!

Day 16: Who inspired you? What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2013?

Image of Kim Klassen used with permission
Shape brushes thanks to DesignFruit: Shabby Shapes 

I gained inspiration from many places this year. Not to diminish inspiration I gain from other sources, but much of my focus was on taking pictures and Photoshopping.

Kobi, my sweet boy, often inspired me to put my socks and shoes on and get out the door. I think Kim Klassen and I have an immense love of our pups in common--and I love seeing pictures of her Ben. That helps me think others don't mind seeing Kobi as the focus of many of my posts.

Kim has been an incredible gift to me in 2012. Her drive, creativity, and sensitivity continue to inspire me as she continues the work she loves so much. I use her textures in many of my creations--they enhance and add depth to my bits of art. In addition, she has made learning Photoshop amazingly fun through her classes ... Photoshop Essentials, Beyond Layers, and Behind the Scenes! I don't think I would have learned so much and moved into original bits of art had it not been for her and Kat at Reverb '12. I'm having a blast creating this series.

And of course, I can't forget the inspiration nature brings. It calls my name and I go adventuring much more often these days, taking my camera, my muse, and my furry friend.

Day 17: How did you make a difference? Think of one person whose life you made a difference to in 2012. What did you gain from this? How will you continue to make a difference in 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: warmlyvintage, gentlewhisper

In contemplating one person for whom I may have made a difference in this life, I am challenged. I would hope that I have made a difference in many people's lives by initiating Walk and Click Wednesdays and sharing photos throughout the year. And although Kobi is not a person, I know I made a difference to him!

So, with that said, I believe beginning Walk and Click Wednesdays four months ago has made a difference to many of my followers. One in particular, Sarah Huizenga, joins the link up regularly and has put it so poignantly ... "I found the more I went out the things to photograph just presented themselves like gifts. The real trick is just being open to whatever you come across that day." This is exactly what I'd hoped my readers and followers would understand about just getting out. Being open rather than looking for something to meet a prompt. Thank you, Sarah.

Interestingly, I think Walk and Click has made a big difference in my life. A gift to me. Offering me a new way to look at things. Giving me something to meet the day for.

Day 18: The colour of you? What colour best represents the year you had in 2012? And why? What colour would you like to invite into your life in 2013? Be as literal or metaphorical, clever or crazy, or just plain off-the-wall with this as you choose! Can't wait to read your responses to this one!
 
Texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square-27
Shape brush thanks to DesignFruit: Shabby Shapes

BLUE: My color is a paradox.

Some days I have felt quite blue over this past year of searching, but not to dwell on that. The other side of blue is its ability to open me up to new opportunities. To see the sky. To notice the different shades of blue in lakes and ponds and creeks. It helps me feel the movement from the blue of tears to the blue of the heavens where I can dance and sparkle.

There are so of my blogging and Flickr buddies I want to thank for continued support in your following. You lift me up when the going feels heavy. Thank you all.

I'm not sure what color I'd like to invite into the new year. Something to contemplate further. Maybe the yellow, orange, red side of the color wheel!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Walk and Click Wednesdays #16: Wordless

It's time for Walk and Click Wednesday!

I'm leaving interpretation up to my viewers today with only a few words of introduction.

Dry Creek trail, Boulder, Colorado

16 new friends for Kobi all in one walk. Whew!
click image to see larger view

Pure enjoyment!

~~~~~

Hope you're all having a great week. I look forward to seeing you here for Walk and Click Wednesdays. Can't wait to see what you saw on your strolls.

Please join me in the adventure. The only "requirement" other than those below is that you go out walking and take some pictures. Please keep in mind that you don't have to walk, take pictures, process them, and post all on Wednesday ... take the weekend before to explore and a few days to process your photos ... then link up.

Walk and Click Wednesdays (WCW) Guidelines:

Are you new to Walk and Click Wednesdays? The party will open on Wednesday and close on Saturday at midnight.

Here are just a few guidelines to keep everyone on target.
  • Please link directly to your WCW blog post or the specific flickr image, not to your main blog url or flickr stream url. Please do not link to an online shop.
  • Please link back to laf Custom Designs. I'd love it if you'd share my WCW button on your blog (it's over there on the sidebar--see it?--just under the Friends Who Love It Here icons). It will also serve as a reminder to you since I know you all have a lot going on in your lives.
  • Please visit the other WCW participants and share the love. Gotta get this party goin' on.
Have a great weekend and find some time to walk and click. ;->






Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 13 - 15

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 13 - 15.

More Reverb creations. I am feeling a bit of redundancy in the prompts, but I do believe I found some different angles and processing techniques.

Day 13: Your favourite photo of you? Post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: marabella, paperandpaste
Texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Raised Effect 1
Shape brush thanks to DesignFruit: Shabby Shapes 

This is a weathered-with-age image of me and my mom. As far as I know this was soon after I was adopted ... I was two. Not exactly sure where this particular picture was taken, but I do know it was in Europe, possibly the coast of France. It's one of the few I have framed and it sits on a living room end table.

Day 14: The path that brought you here? My question is: what was the most important thing you learned in 2012? I would like to add: how does this learning shape the path going forward?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: friday, emptypage, edward

This is a pretty deep question, which I've attempted to depict in poetry and photo, but I believe the question needs some deeper reflection.

The most important thing I learned in 2012 is the next step reveals itself when it is ready, not when I want it to be ready. I don't know what is beyond the bend, just as I have no idea what comes along a curving path upon which I have never walked. It is all about the discovery and being ready when it appears.

And how does this revelation shape the path going forward? Maybe I can learn to relax a bit that there is good ... exciting new bits to see ... around the bend. The new year must have bountiful experiences in store. I am open to what presents itself.

Day 15: What tingled your tastebuds? What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical? It needn't be the most extravagant dish, just the one that knocked your socks off with its flavour, texture, aroma, freshness, colour, significance, timing… whatever. Relive the magic and help us savour it with you here.
 
Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: felicity, backin
Shape brush thanks to DesignFruit: Shabby Shapes

Unfortunately, cooking or eating out is not where I spend much time these days, but in September I made these yummy banana custard crepes. I played with some different processing techniques on this ... using one of DesignFruit's Shabby Shapes and layer masking, as well as a couple textures.

Thanks to all for following my journey and standing beside me as I explore.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 10 - 12

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 10 - 12.

More Reverb creations. These seemed to take more time. I think it's because I'm trying to challenge myself to use different techniques.

Day 10: What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: confidence, crackerjack, felicity

The greatest risk I took in 2012 was to leave a job without another to go to. There are times one must just jump into the void, the unknown, and wait for what comes next. Interestingly, although another job has not materialized, I believe I have been in training for what is yet to come. For this entire year, I have been developing and honing my Photoshop and InDesign skills as though I was engaged in an apprenticeship with my Self. I have learned so much and can clearly see positive development.

In addition, some interesting freelance projects have come my way: a blog redesign, a photo project for a wedding reception, and two book design projects. It makes me think that whenever the next opportunity comes it will include the need for these skills.

Day 11: 
What was music to your ears in 2012, literally or metaphorically?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: cherish

Ah yes, music to my ears ... the day Phillip, my oldest son, said he'd like to join me for Thanksgiving dinner. Bridging gaps, mending fences, healing wounds. It was a beginning, a first step to moving on to a better future. I am thankful. I am grateful.

Day 12: What made you dance in 2012? What made you weep?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: lilly, wonderfulmagic, zuzu
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square 125, Raised Effect 2
Corner brushes thanks to French Kiss
Heart brush thanks to DesignFruit: Shabby Shapes
Circle dots brush thanks to Krist Adams

In some ways, it doesn't take much to make my heart dance. The little things ... puffy clouds in a blue sky, the Rocky Mountain horizon, a soft fluffy pup snuggling close. But these are things I get to experience daily. There were some things that truly made my heart dance. And in the same breath or beat, made me weep with incredible gratitude.

There were many who stepped up in my life to say, "we know you're struggling and here's a gift to make the journey a bit lighter." Some gifts were significant ... a loan to provide a bridge when I didn't have enough to pay the mortgage, an unexpected sizable discount on a class I knew would provide a great impact. And some were smaller ... a treat to lunch, purchases of my greeting cards, and kind words from my friends and online tribe. All have been meaningful. All reinforced that I am valued. Thanks to you who contributed to my growth this year. You mean so much to me.

UPDATE 12/14/12: What makes me weep is that we live in a country where elementary school children are targeted by shooters who seem to need to lash out for whatever reason. Currently (12pm MST) 27 shot and killed in Newtown, CT include children and staff. It makes me wonder what leads our young adults to do this ... my recollection is they seem to range from 17 - 30, the ones committing these atrocities. We must pray that we can learn why and do something about it. We need to stop the assault on innocent people, especially children.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walk and Click Wednesdays #15: Baby, It's Cold Outside

I don't know where the weeks are going. I often find myself on Tuesdays thinking, oh, it's time for Walk and Click, so out I go to discover something ... different ... maybe. Oh, and can you believe Christmas is only two weeks away! How did that happen? The good news is I'm ready. Whew!


So this evening about 4pm as the sun was doing its bedtime routine and the temps plummeted to about 30º, out I go with Kobi in tow. Sometimes at this time of year it takes a bit of looking, paying attention, to find anything of interest because so much is brown and gray. But amazingly, one can actually still find some bits of color.


I have also been delighted that even in the waning and dormant stages there is beauty ... as with these dead flowers. It makes me ponder the beauty that can come at the end of things ... the end of an exciting project, the end of creating a work of art, and maybe even the end of life. How differently we may view these endings if we could find the beauty there.


And of course, a walk just wouldn't be a walk without my tried and true companion. Here the breeze gives flight to Kobi's ears as he stands saying, "what are we waiting for Mom."

~~~~~

Hope you're all having a great week. I look forward to seeing you here for Walk and Click Wednesdays. Can't wait to see what you saw on your strolls.

Please join me in the adventure. The only "requirement" other than those below is that you go out walking and take some pictures. Please keep in mind that you don't have to walk, take pictures, process them, and post all on Wednesday ... take the weekend before to explore and a few days to process your photos ... then link up.

Walk and Click Wednesdays (WCW) Guidelines:

Are you new to Walk and Click Wednesdays? The party will open on Wednesday and close on Saturday at midnight.

Here are just a few guidelines to keep everyone on target.
  • Please link directly to your WCW blog post or the specific flickr image, not to your main blog url or flickr stream url. Please do not link to an online shop.
  • Please link back to laf Custom Designs. I'd love it if you'd share my WCW button on your blog (it's over there on the sidebar--see it?--just under the Friends Who Love It Here icons). It will also serve as a reminder to you since I know you all have a lot going on in your lives.
  • Please visit the other WCW participants and share the love. Gotta get this party goin' on.
Have a great weekend and find some time to walk and click. ;->


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 7 - 9

Continuing with Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing... Days 7 - 9.

I've  been having a lot of fun with Reverb creations. It's not enough to just reflect. This helps me visualize with more meaning. And I hope it helps you see something for yourselves.

Day 7: What will you take with you? What's the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: takeheart, seriousmagic
Texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square 17, Square 43

The one thing I will take with me into 2013 is really a composite. This year my walks with Kobi have grounded me and helped me stay true to what is really important. To wander and play. To find new vistas and meet new people. To experience and discover. With that, I am more able to be open to the wonder and magic that truly exists in the world. Things happen unexpectedly. I am more aware. And happiness appears magically.

Day 8: Your most important relationship? Considering the idea that nothing lasts forever: what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012? How will you continue to nurture it in 2013?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: cherishscripted, bestill 
Texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square 112

Sometimes it is helpful to realize nothing lasts forever. I know I will not be jobless forever. I know there is a silver lining in all that I have experienced this year. I mean, really ... if I had been employed how would I have learned so much so quickly about graphic design and Photoshop and InDesign? On the other hand, I know one day I will lose my sweet Kobi who brings so much joy to my life. I will postpone thinking about that until I have to.

So, with that said, the relationship I must nurture in the coming year is me and my Muse. She can be very demanding. Sit down now. Do it now. And sometimes I must listen or the creative moment will pass unnoticed. And the gift will be lost. What I also know is I must get my Muse out of the chair more often. It's is impossible to continue to be inspired unless one goes out to experience life in its fullness. Meet people. Be aware of the little things we may not observe. I find I am more attuned when I take my walks by myself as I am too much in my head when I walk with others.

Day 9: Your favourite book? What was the best book you read in 2012, and why? (And by "Why?" I mean: Why did you read it? And why was it your favourite? Although these answers could be one and the same...!)

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: autumn burst

I am an avid reader, but often I don't finish one book before I am pulled to the next. I began several ...

The Designer's Guide to Marketing and Pricing - Ilise Benun & Peleg Top
Managing Up - Rosanne Sadowski
What Color is Your Parchute? - Richard Bowles
The Prosperous Heart - Julia Cameron
Do More Great Work. - Michael Bungay Stanier
Start with Why -Simon Sinek
Fire Starter Session - Danielle LaPorte
Daring Greatly - Brene Brown
Inspired and Unstoppable (this one I actually got 3/4 the way through!) - Tama Kieves
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown
This I Know - Susannah Conway

BUT, the only book, still just a manuscript, I read cover to cover was Homesteading the Soul, and not because I had to just because it is a client project. This is really an engaging book that pulled me along wanting to see what would be revealed next. I laughed out loud. And I cried. I was able to relate many of Terry's universal experiences to my own life even though the setting was Hugo, Colorado, a tiny town on the Eastern plains, but I grew up moving frequently and lived mostly on military bases or in major cities.

I am dedicated to help Terry Keepers give birth to his book by providing editing, layout and design, pursuit of permissions for quotations, and self-publishing consulting. We have high hopes that the book will be available by the end of January. A lot will depend on how quickly we get the permissions.

I'm looking forward to upcoming prompts from Kat. I hope you'll be back to see my new creative images. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reverb 12: Days 4 - 6

Continuing with Reverb '12 ... Days 4 - 6 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing.

I've got a special treat for you ... the brushes I made for my Day 5 image. Click here to download the gradient footprints and the quotation.

Day 4: How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: partings, poetic

Some years ago, my son Phillip said something quite profound, "No one can be a better me than me." It struck me then and I remember now. I may not be perfect, but others cannot step into my shoes to be me and if they tried, they couldn't do as well as I do. I say this in all modesty as I am my own worst critic. Mr. Critic stands on my shoulder all too often.

The word for this season is simplicity. I'm not even sure I will decorate. I will make a turkey and we'll see who comes to share it with me. However it all works out, I will be me. I will relax and enjoy movies, books, and my photo processing. That's how I plan to celebrate me this season.

Day 5: What was your dream destination in 2012 and why? It can be a town, city, country or region -- real or imaginary -- and doesn't matter if you actually got there or not!

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: paper4, felicity, happyheart

My destination was not a place and not even a state of being I set out to reach--self-discovery. I would have to say I began the year with a destination of getting employed and not much else. Although I did find a job quickly, it was not a good fit, and I determined moving on was the best for all involved. So I began the job search again. As I submitted resumes I also increased my skills in Photoshop and InDesign along the way since I had time to devote to self-education.

Although I hadn't set out this way, I believe my destination was to find healing and balance through my creativity. Thanks to Kim Klassen I found the vehicle: Beyond Layers and Behind the Scenes. I've learned so much about post-processing my photographs. Her courses are so much more than the how-to of it. Her courses are about discovery, growth, awareness, and perpetual learning. As I proceed with Reverb '12, I find myself creating new artistic pieces with the techniques I've learned over the past year.

I also continued to write. I've kept up my blog for over a year now--started in September 2011--and have reached 185 posts. In the process, I have walked several paths ... I started out wanting this space to be a place to showcase my design work. It quickly moved to a place I shared my photography and post-processing as I learned from Kim. At some point I found myself enjoying sharing some stories from my dog's perspective--Tales from Kobi. He could tell some things better than I. ;-> I started a link up called Walk and Click Wednesdays to inspire others to discover the world around them by getting out for a walk and take pictures. It's nice to have some company while I do so and discover different parts of the this earth. And now I am on a journey of reflection and contemplation with Reverb '12.

As we all know, balance and healing are never a final destination, but an ongoing journey. I am pleased that I have discovered things that bring me joy.

Day 6: What did you learn? Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: theladder, siennasample, xanthescripted
Texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Raised-effect 2
Elegant Frame Brush thanks to Diana's Creations/Dianaz Designz

I found this quote recently that seemed to speak to exactly where I am right now. Searching for what's next. Waiting. Beginning a journey that has yet to be formed. I find myself "in the meantime," that place Iyanla Vanzant speaks of in her books, In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want and Living in the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Process. She talks about cleaning out the cobwebs and finding love in unexpected places.

I have had that experience this year. A former husband who helped me financially when my back was against the wall. Friends who continued to listen even when the story got old. I found a community of friends through Flickr and Kim Klassen's followers with whom I have the love of photography and post-processing in common. And my One Little Word, abundance, took on new meaning as I manifested simple things like a swing and a half dozen three ring binders for free in addition to the bigger things aforementioned. I'm working on being comfortable in the in between.

And not that I haven't known this, but I love to learn. I take on new projects, using techniques that push my envelope. Although I like a certain amount of routine, I can't do the same thing day in and day out, year after year. It might appear that I do, but I need variety to keep me engaged. I like to know what to expect, but also like to be open to the new, the exciting, the different. I need lots of time alone, but I also have a social side. I call it balance, but others may find me confusing. What I know for sure is this is me.

I'm looking forward to discovering where the path will take me ... what experiences I will have on this new journey. I am willing and able.

I suppose it is time to close this tome of a post. If you made it this far, you deserve a medal! Thanks for sticking with me.

Don't forget to download the brushes I made for my Day 5 image. Click here to download the gradient footprints and the quotation.

Wishing you all a great day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Walk and Click Wednesdays #14: Praying

Stretched a little thin this week, but wanted to keep Walk and Click Wednesdays going.

I did get out for walks, but more of a cursory nature and only around my neighborhood and our regular walking path. Nothing particularly exciting.

I did attend the Doodles and Poodles doggy play date though and helped clean up the dog park ... removing rocks, filling in holes ... while Kobi played. When it was time to go he went a little crazy, play with a little black Doodle, but my favorite of all was this ... just before we left.

Kobi prays ...

Texture thanks to Kim Klassen: canvasmagic

And Izzy (the tan and white) and friend after a hard day's work ...


Hope you're all having a great week. I look forward to seeing you here for Walk and Click Wednesdays. Can't wait to see what you saw on your strolls.

Please join me in the adventure. The only "requirement" other than those below is that you go out walking and take some pictures. Please keep in mind that you don't have to walk, take pictures, process them, and post all on Wednesday ... take the weekend before to explore and a few days to process your photos ... then link up.

Walk and Click Wednesdays (WCW) Guidelines:

Are you new to Walk and Click Wednesdays? The party will open on Wednesday and close on Saturday at midnight.

Here are just a few guidelines to keep everyone on target.
  • Please link directly to your WCW blog post or the specific flickr image, not to your main blog url or flickr stream url. Please do not link to an online shop.
  • Please link back to laf Custom Designs. I'd love it if you'd share my WCW button on your blog (it's over there on the sidebar--see it?--just under the Friends Who Love It Here icons). It will also serve as a reminder to you since I know you all have a lot going on in your lives.
  • Please visit the other WCW participants and share the love. Gotta get this party goin' on.
Have a great weekend and find some time to walk and click. ;->



Monday, December 3, 2012

Reverb '12: Days 1 - 3

I have begun. The Reverb '12 with Kat @ I Saw You Dancing. If I'm not being creative, I feel like I'm not living, so I have chosen to create an art piece for each challenge. By the end of the Reverb, I will have 31 visuals of my journey. Then what to do with them ... hmmm, maybe these will serve as my dream board for next year. I can post them on my wall ... in my bed room or my office. Candyland squares showing me the way. ;->

Day 1: How are you starting this last month of 2012? Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel ...  in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

Brushes thanks to DesignFruit: Mellow Mess and Shabby Shapes

The truth is I've got exactly what I've created. A solitary life with my sweet Kobi. I enjoy communing with my online creative friends, visiting with other pup-owners at the dog parks, reading inspiring blogs and books, watching a good movie, and coffee shop hopping. There are only a few things that would make it all better. Can you find them in the cloud above? What I know for sure: I'm not alone in those desires.

Day 2: What was your most significant expenditure in 2012? It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact. What difference has it made to your life?

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: confidence, cherish
Brushes thanks to DesignFruit: Electrosketch

My most significant expenditure was time. I spent it walking and clicking. Post-processing photos. Trying to keep up with Kim Klassen's unending creative innovations in Beyond Layers and Behind the Scenes. I've learned so much about about Photoshop and made a significant dent in learning a most powerful software program.

In addition, although the benefits of working are obvious, having time to slow down, relax, and be introspective is a wonderful healing experience. I am beginning to learn what is really important to me: quiet--loudness is a vexation to the spirit (Desiderata); sharing my creativity; reaching out to friends and family. Of course, there must be more, but this is good for now.

Day 3: What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet? What steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013? Living life on a transplant waiting list gives you lots of reasons to reflect on what you've achieved in your life, and what you wish for the future. Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live.

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: naturally, ifonly, lookup
Circle dots brush thanks to Krist Adams

Honestly, I can't imagine what would really be my top priorities if faced with only a year to live. I actually wonder if I might feel relieved. Relieved that I would no longer have to figure it all out. Relieved that I could finally just be me. Relieved that I could get away with feeling all my feelings openly. Oh ... you say I can do that now. Ah, what a revelation. Maybe that moment of clarity I'm looking for.

In the process of defining clarity, I found and fell in love with this new word, pellucidity! What a fun word. And the definition ... clear in meaning, expression, or style. When faced with the end of my life my wish is that I have no regrets; that my interactions are clear of false pretense or hidden motives ... always; that I have no fear ... no fear of rejection, lack of confidence, or harm.

I'm not sure accomplishment is what I would be focusing on. Being is more important to me than accomplishing. Being peaceful. Being inspired. Being creative ... to the last.

One small step toward this goal in 2013 is to walk this daily introspection for the next 28 days so that I see things more and more clearly on this journey. To dare greatly (Brené Brown).

I believe I have found my One Little Word for 2013!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

'Tis the Season

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is coming. The season for gratitude and appreciation. I have so much to be grateful for: old friends and new friends, family and generosity, time to play with my creativity, doggy play groups, and a land abundant with walking paths and sunshine (Colorado).

Last night I got a niggle of inspiration to create this bit of holiday cheer. It is pretty complex, but here is the basic recipe:

Start with a circle
Add some custom shapes
Top with a texture or several
Work with different blend modes and opacity on each texture
Save the different effects (separate files) so you have several iterations of the circle.

Open each file and remove the background. I think you can do this by flattening and clipping, but I did it by using the eraser and quick selection tool and deleting.

Then start a new file with a black background; layer the different circles, add an outer glow to each circle.
Add a few more custom shapes, brush effects, and text and a border.

This took a bit of time, but I had so much fun doing it ... playing with different effects. The possibilities are endless as with all creative endeavors. Try some yourself.


Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: cherishedscripted, wonderfulmagicstars, providence, autumnburst, zuzu. 
Thanks to Krist Adams for the circle dots.

Last Friday, I met with a dear friend of mine who always encourages me to be my best. One day we met at a doggy play date with lots of other dogs and their people. I captured this image of her Sumo and fell in love. I was so excited that I wanted to send it to her immediately, but I resisted. I chose to make a print and give it to her as a Christmas gift early. Her eyes welled up and glistened as she gazed at her sweet Sumo.


Textures thanks to Kim Klassen: steelish, kristin, bestill.

It was not an arranged gift exchange, but that is what happened. Jill gave me a little Bichon Christmas ornament--my mini Kobi. He's adorable and has found a special place on the pass-through counter between my kitchen and living room. Makes me smile and remember my friend's generosity.

Hoping this season brings all that you hope for including delights of the heart--friendship, gratitude, generosity, and love, as well as sweet delights--cookies, cakes, and pies.

'Tis also a time for reflecting and looking forward. I'm going to participate in Kat's Reverb '12, although I will not be posting daily. I think I'll be batching between Walk and Click Wednesdays. I'm so grateful to Jill at A Thousand Shades of Gray; otherwise, I wouldn't have know about Reverb '12. Take a look and consider playing along too.


Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, and Happy Hannukah!