"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter: A Season of Hibernation

     I have found the last couple of winters to be very difficult for me.  I wouldn't say I have a classic case of Seasonal Affective Disorder but I would say that the lack of sunlight and vitamin D wreak some havoc with my body.  I end up having insomnia during the winter months, and this has and is taking a toll on me!  The last two weeks in particular have been rough with sleepless nights. The city I live in tends to have quite a bit of dark days during the winter: so I started on some high levels of Vitamin D, some fish oil and a very good Cal/Mag.  I also try to get outside, whether it's a walk with our lab, or a jaunt around the backyard or neighbourhood.   I just find the winter months so hard that I have decided to be proactive about how to manage it this year.  I enrolled in a Hibernation Course with a friend of mine, which starts in January.  It's essentially on line retreat geared to nourish, rest, and create throughout this season.  As I started to think about this concept, I realised this is how I needed to approach this entire season.  I am always in a hurry for winter to be over and spring to come, I feel uptight, and anxious longing for the spring and summer.  Physically, I am doing what I can but emotionally, I need to look at things differently.  I came across a quote the other day that impacted me.  "Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action." ~ Ralph Ellison  This is how I will use this time to prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I won't be in a hurry or complain about the dark days, I will find the beauty in them and through them.  I will learn to sow through this season, as I embrace it.

I am taking part in the Documented Life Project as well.  I finished my cover a couple weeks ago, it depicts every season of the year.  I decided to paint the cover to reflect the word I have chosen for this year.  I also wanted my cover to invite me to sit down and do some art, to create as I sow through this winter season of hibernation!  I finished the inside of my journal today.  I can not tell you how good this has been for me at this time.  Expressing myself through the art, taking the time to create and enjoy.  It has been so incredible.  I needed this.  I have always loved art and form but never really embraced it or tried it on for myself.  On the inside of my journal I painted a tree along with a quote I loved.  " Preparation is never lost time.  The seeds you plant today will bring Harvest tomorrow." ~ Sarah Wehrli.  This is how I see this year.

The next page depicts a snowy winter scene with the quote I mentioned above.  It serves as a visual reminder of what I am striving for right now.  I looked up a you tube tutorial (this one here) and just followed the steps.  I had such great fun learning new techniques.  I found it settled me.  And as I build on my techniques and skill I will be able to do more scenes of my own!

I haven't prepared more of my journal then this.  I don't want to look ahead, I just want to be in this season and this moment, learning to rest in it, taking it as I come.

I chose a log cabin in the snow to depict this season of hibernation.

I love trees, so I used one on the inside of my journal. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 - A Year of Sowing!

It was hard at first, to pick my word for this year!  I couldn't think of one for a bit.  So I made myself a tea and sat quietly for a while to reflect and look forward.  What did I see this new year being for me?  I knew I wanted it to be about growth but I wasn't sold on that particular word.

I knew I wanted to challenge and stretch myself.  This year I have chosen to take part in The Documented Life Project by Art to the 5th.  To take part in this project is completely free!  Through a series of weekly prompts for the entire year - you end up creating your very own art journal.  The talented artists at Art to the 5th have come up with some wonderful ideas to stretch your creativity and build your art skill.  Anyone can take part all you need to do is sign up (you can use the links in this post).  It doesn't matter if you have never done 'art' before.  I have always loved art, and we keep nature notebooks so journalling my year through art appealed to me - very much!  As I began to think about it, I wanted my year to encapsulate this theme of growth, using my journal as a opportunity to be intentional about it.  I came across a picture depicting seasonal art on line a while back (there are all sorts of ones out there on DIY Art Pinterest boards, see here for the example I patterned mine from).  I had wanted to paint it on canvas but it didn't happen for 2014.  I decided then, that it would be on the cover of my art journal and I settled on the word 'sow'.   I would like this year to be about sowing seeds of new habits and olds ones made anew.  As I work through my art journal with the weekly prompts from The Documented Life Project I will fill it with all sorts of things: poetry, scripture, riddles, reflections in the days of both joy and struggle, song, music, prose and of course, art.  I have always been drawn to creating and doing art but have never had the opportunity until this time in my life to stretch myself and explore my creativity.

I am looking forward to this season of sowing.

My art journal came from amazon and is the Ranger Dylusions Dyan Reaveley's Creative Journal
 - the recommended journal by the Art to the 5th Academy.   I treated the cover with gesso  (a couple of coats) and bought some acrylics at the Dollar Store.  I was very nervous to start it, because I didn't want to mess it up!  One of the ladies on the FB group for The Documented Life Project said if I made a mistake or didn't like it, I could just add gesso and start again. Problem solved!  I decided to relax and have fun!  Have fun I did!!! I had a lot of fun.  I took the colours I wanted as my backdrop for the seasons and mixed them to either soften the colour or brighten it, using a wider paint brush with wide strokes to add the backdrop. I let it dry and added my tree.  I used more mixed colours to create some texture and variety for the tree. I also used a skewer to add some thin strokes I wanted to create with other colours.  Fingers were good for blending little bits of paint!   I used q-tips for the round 'leaves' and tooth pics dipped in various colours to compliment and add a variety of colour inside the leaves.  I used what I had on hand and thought about what I could use to create the effect I wanted.  Some of the kids playdough tools looked appealing.  I tucked that away in my mind for another day and art project! 

I didn't use a you tube video this time around, although I am certain I will utilize them in the future to encourage techniques and variety.  

Above all, I enjoyed myself immensely.  It was both relaxing and satisfying.  Looking forward to doing more as I learn to cultivate through the seasons of growth this year.

Excited to get started!

The cover of the journal treated with gesso.

I mixed the colours up and painted them on with wide free strokes.  It has a few layers.

Added the tree!

It was quite of bit fun doing this once I got started! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December First: The First Day of Advent!

Good Morning!

We are all very excited to begin the 25 days of advent!  The kids worked hard on their Jesse Tree last week.  I had a different Jesse Tree planned for this season but they liked last year's one so well that we did it again.  The one for this year wouldn't have been as interactive and they really wanted to participate in building it.  It's hung up and waiting for the first decoration to adorn its branches.  If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree, have a read through here for an explanation.  I had considered buying the pre made Jesse Tree Ornaments Ann Voskamp has on her site but the kids really wanted to colour the ornaments themselves, so I downloaded them from A Holy Experience.  It became very clear to me that they wanted to be a part of how The Jesse Tree unfolded.  I have to say, I am deeply impacted by how meaningful this whole process has become for them.

We will be using Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift to do our advent readings from.  It's a wonderful book with gorgeous illustrations throughout.  A family keepsake, to be used time and time again.
The Jesse Tree!

I made a Kindness Elf to go along with our advent season.  She will be hiding in parts of the house each day with a note.  The activities will be geared towards random acts of kindness during this advent season.  I will be using the suggestions in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift along with suggestions on the Facebook group: The Kindness Elves Page to help me formulate ideas and acts of service.

Lily is all ready to go this morning!  I crocheted her from a pattern I found on line.  She was originally called Lily the Christmas Elf, so I tweaked the name for our purposes!  If you are a crocheter and would like the pattern, here it is!  Lily is all ready with her note, some ornaments for the kids' tree along with ornaments for the kids to make up for friends!

I will be blogging about our adventures from time to time throughout the advent season.  Please feel free to join us for this amazing time!