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The Next 30 Days

“April, the Angel of the Months.”  -Vita Sackville-West

I LOVE New Beginnings…they give me a pep in my step and allow me to see my Life in a whole new Light. It’s the same feeling I get when opening the pages of a new journal.

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Pure Happiness!

With April 1st almost here and the start of Spring I am more than READY for a fresh New Beginning. This time, though I have decided not to overwhelm myself but instead focus just on the next 30 days. My thoughts are if I actually DO what I intend to DO then the next 30 days can be a foundation for the rest of my life. And I am sure to FEEL better both mentally and physically…something I am looking forward to.

The Plan

My plan is simple. For the next 30 days I intend on…

*Renewing my commitment to NOT watching the news but instead spending my mornings reading a devotional along with the month of April in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance.

*MOVING everyday…if only for FIVE MINUTES! I CAN DO THAT!

*Drinking water!! I drink water now but not near enough. I need to improve!!

*Creating everyday…even if it’s just gluing something in my journal.

I plan on keeping this small journal from Flow Magazine daily…writing down my thoughts, ideas, feeling and anything else I am inspired to do.

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I invite YOU

If you want to join me I would LOVE that!! I don’t want to reveal what our April Theme is for I Say Yes until Monday…but I will tell you it goes right along with this:)

If you want to join in let me know!! You can post here or in our Community.

I BELIEVE in the POWER of cheering each other along and lifting each other!!!

Hope you join in!!!

PS…what YOU decide to do for the next 30 days is up to YOU.

xoxo

Leslie

How I Organize Magazine Images

 

“He longed for cleanliness and tidiness: it was hard to find peace in the middle of disorder.”
― Robin HobbCity of Dragons

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I don’t know about you but I am FAR from organized. It’s a part of my life I have constantly struggled with both inside and outside of my home. My car is littered with coats, half-drunk water bottles and other sorts of things that were just to hard for my family to bring into our house. Our dining room table is used for everything BUT eating. I fold our laundry, pile the mail and dump stuff I don’t know what to do with there. One look around our home and it’s obvious I am desperate need of a professional organizer. Now add the fact I am working full-time…well let’s just say it’s not pretty.

The one place I insist on being tidy is my studio. It’s my safe space. The one place I go to for peace and quiet. Being clean and organized is a must! And the more organized my supplies are the more apt I am to create in my journal. And THAT is what I need most when stress is consuming me. I hope the following ideas and photos inspire YOU to create a place for all those images you use in your journals.

How I organize my magazine images

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Last summer when I REALLY started getting into using magazines in my journals I KNEW there had to be a better way to keep them. I was using gallon size zip-loc bags and while those do work well when journaling on the go…I needed something more permanent for my studio. I found exactly what I needed from one of my FAVORITE art journalers…Diane Fago.

Please Note: This process took me at least TWO FULL DAYS. I had HUNDREDS of images and words all jumbled up together so you can imagine what it was like sorting through everything. I must say it was so much fun!! I put “Frasier” on my MAC (my fave show) and sorted for HOURS!

Step One: I first decided on what categories I would sort my piles into. Here is what I decided on…

journal cards

bling

paint pens

Brave Girl Sayings, Images and Cards

letter and phrase stickers

painted papers. tissue paper and napkins

large phrases and quotes

vintage girls

birds/butterflies

rub-ons, alphabets, raised embellishments

whimsical and wings (these are mostly from Stampington Magazines)

girls

flowers

nature scenes, inside scenes

postcards (for tip-ins)

wood/metal

faith

shapes, frames, vintage

hearts, fave things, other

words/phrases (small)

Brave Girl Phrases

Step Two: Create labels for your bins/baskets

Step Three: Sort through your piles

Step Four: Put in the proper bin

Here are what mine look like…

I bought these plastic drawers at Wal-Mart.

These store my large images, words and phrases.

These purple drawers I found at a yard sale last fall. They store my smaller images and words/phrases.

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Here are the inside of four of my drawers…

Words/phrases on the top left, Hearts, houses and other shapes on the right. Lower left is my flower drawer and girls on the right.

The shelf on the left houses magazines and books I want to go through and cut out images while the photo on the right shows my flower books.

Here is what the drawers look like on my desk. These are located where I create so everything is within arm’s reach. It’s sooo easy to find exactly what I am looking for!!!

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A fun page I created using my supplies.

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I hope I have inspired YOU to go through your images and organize in a way that helps you create. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Please share in our community.

Happy Day, girls!

xoxo

Leslie

Week Four: Freedom

 

“Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon”

-Jewel

 

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Week Four: FREEDOM

We are already into Week four and girls, let me tell you…I see EVERYONE Moving Forward! It’s so exciting to think that just a few weeks ago many of us felt stagnant, like we were swimming against the current…but TODAY so many of us are feeling FREE! I am proud of each of you in our Brave Heart Sisterhood Community…for sharing your Hearts and Story’s and journals with us.

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear, after that, fear has no power, and the fear of Freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are FREE.” -Jim Morrison from The Doors

Last summer when I was living on Auto-Pilot, closed off from the world, my art and my Authentic Self I felt trapped. I had been here before and I had overcome before…but through life’s trials and frustrations I had allowed my own self-pity get the best of me. I was in a hole and wanted desperately to get out. Once I ACCEPTED my situation a whole new world opened up to me. I had a new sense of Freedom and it felt so GOOD.

I had been here Before…

Several years prior to last summer I went through the biggest trial of my life. One so gut-wrenching I never thought I would be whole again. It was during this extremely sorrowful time I found Don Miguel Ruiz and his book “The Four Agreements”.

This book and the Four Agreements…

CHANGED

MY

LIFE

FOREVER.

These Agreements gave me Freedom like I had never known before.

Do I always live up to each Agreement everyday?

Nope.

Not even close.

But am I mindful of each Agreement and do I always try to do my Best?

Most days, YES.

And that has changed my life.

My entire way of thinking.

And it can change YOURS. It CAN! And when I think about how simple it is and the fact that it DOES change lives…It makes my tummy all excited and I can’t stop smiling. These Four Agreements have the power to Change the World!

Our Assignment

It’s time to get in our journals this week and create a page all about our personal FREEDOM!! Do you need to FREE yourself from something? Or are you feeling more FREE than ever? Create a page and share in our FB group (if you feel comfortable!).

Here is mine along with my process…

First I started with finding a page in my journal…I don’t go in order and I knew I wanted a tip-in on my page.

Then I usually go to my journaling drawers (more on how I organize later in the week!) and pick out a few things. I knew I wanted to use at least 2 girl images and floral paper…I also grabbed my poem I had printed from the internet, my Freedom quotes printable from this class and a few other images, papers and flowers I thought I may use.

I added this girl image I found in FLOW Magazine…I love how FREE and happy she looks!

 

Then I took several patterned papers and cut them to fit on my page on the left and cut to fit a full sheet of floral paper on the right.

I knew I wanted to use this girl as soon as I saw her. I love how quirky she is with those boots and how it looks like she is Moving Forward.

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My Mary Oliver Poem is on the right side with pink ink to make it pop a bit more.

I then highlighted words that leapt out at me with a  yellow Neo Color and water brush and a black gel pen.

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I also added lots of flowers. I add flowers to almost everything!!

To tie the two pages together I added flowers around the girl’s feet.

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My tip-in was the perfect place to add one of my favorite quotes on FREEDOM by Robert Frost…

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The typewriter reminds me to ALWAYS tell my Story!!! And BE BOLD in ALWAYS telling My Truth.

I knew I wanted to pick a Word out of the poem to put across my page. I used Tim Holtz Foam Stamps and paint on copy paper then cut out.

This is one of my most used ways to add text to my pages. I LOVE this look! And it’s soooo easy!!! Letter stencils work GREAT, too!!! (video to come soon!!) NEW VOICE was handwritten using paint pens.

Here is my finished page with the tip-in. I LOVE it!!!

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I Say Yes “Freedom” Quotes

Art Journaling is HEALER. I came into my studio today with a heavy heart and left feeling lighter and ready to face my day. Art Journaling SAVES!

If you would like to join a community of over 300 supportive and loving women from around the world…we would LOVE to have YOU! We are Brave Heart Sisterhood!!! Join my FREE year long Art Journaling class…all the information is here.

Join our private community here.

HUGS.

xoxo

Leslie

FREE Soul Cards

 

Because sometimes we need to be reminded just how Brave we are I have made a gift for YOU. Four FREE Soul Cards handmade by ME. Print these out and tape them to your mirror, pin them on your vision board, give to a friend or use them in your art.

 

Just click on the link below and print.

Soul Cards

Enjoy!

xoxo

Leslie

Be the Hero in YOUR Life

“The only thing more important than your to-do list is your to-be list. The only thing more important than your to-be list is to be.

― Alan Cohen

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I am a List Maker. Lists do many things for me…

*make me happy

*make me less anxious

*make me organized

*satisfy my need to check things off

*help me see what’s going on in my life

*give me peace

*get all the stuff in my head OUT so I can stop worrying about it

Your assignment is to create a To Be List.

Think about all those things you would like To Be.

My List looks like this…

*To Be filled with so much Love in my Heart that all I see in another is THEIR Heart

*To Be at Peace no matter what Life throws at me

*To Be the very best version of ME everyday…and remember that my Best can change from day to day and I am ok with that

*To Be a Spirit-filled woman, sharing my god-given talents with women everywhere

I have more but you get the idea.

I can’t wait to see your List and creations, girls!

If you just stopped by for the first time you can join our FREE art journaling class here.

Be sure and check out our growing community here.

HUGS!!

xoxo

Leslie

 

Finding Your Inner Wonder Woman

 

I have been a Super Hero fan most of my Life…Spider Man, Super Man and Wonder Woman were my favorites! I remember racing home from school to watch the Amazing Spider Man….I LovED IT!

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If you were a child of the 70’s like me…chances are you watched an episode or two of Wonder Woman…

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Linda Carter was my HERO back in the day. I was just nine years old when Wonder Woman came out but I remember watching her, so beautiful and strong fighting the bad guys. I wanted to be just like her!

Childhood was a rough time for me…I felt very alone and afraid at times. I was an only child with two parents that loved me…there is no question there. However they both were battling demons and trying their best to raise me while suffering from their own wounds.

“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”
― Mark HaddonThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This part of the Story is called “Fat and Lonely”

I despise the word Fat. It’s awful for so many reasons. First of all I would NEVER, EVER call someone that. Yet, so many people do. They not only say it, but laugh and giggle and make songs about it. They toss the word around with such glee at the little boy or girl at school. It’s a word that has hurt me over and over again. One that I associate with circles of children surrounding me while taunting and teasing with so much fervor you would think they were in line to ride their favorite roller coaster.

The middle photo is me from third grade. One of the saddest times in my life…a time I go back too every now and then. I want so desperately to hold that sweet little girl and tell her everything will be ok. That she IS Beautiful. That she DOES have value. That her Dreams ARE worth dreaming.

The cartoon Fat Albert was on every Saturday morning. I loved it…never missed it.

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But sadly Fat Albert became my name.

“Hey, Hey, Hey…it’s Mrs. FAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT Albert.”

That’s what the kids called me in school.

It hurt.

So bad.

My little girl self didn’t know it back then…but she had the power to change. She did. She was so much stronger than she ever knew. But she was just a little girl. So frightened. So lonely.

My Dad drank.

A lot.

And when he drank he was mean. I know he loved me because when he DIDN’T drink he was such a GREAT DAD!!! But when he had had one too many he said mean, hurtful things. He called me Chubbox.  That hurt. But  I never told him because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I honestly don’t think he meant anything by it…but it hurt.

My Mom slept.

A lot.

And she didn’t sleep in bed and only at night. No…she slept on the living room floor with a blanket in front of the TV most of the day. I played Barbies on the floor next to my Mom and got scared sometimes when she didn’t wake up. I would shake her to make she sure was alive. It was a lonely and scary time.

I watched TV.

A lot.

It kept me company. Helped me feel not so alone. It helped me escape my life. I lived through Lora Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” and dreamed I was Nancy Drew.

I always knew I could count on my favorite TV shows to help me get through my day. Those characters were my friends as crazy as that sounds.

**More of my Story coming later this week**

This week’s Assignments

Our theme is Super Hero. What is a Hero?

“A hero is pro-active, empowered, and committed to growth and forward momentum…not a passive audience member watching life go by.”  –Tiny Buddha.com

Art Therapy Page: List all YOUR Super Hero Qualities and create a page.

My qualities are…

  1. My ability to have a lot on my plate and get everything done.
  2. My love of family
  3. My creativity and writing
  4. My ability to stay positive in the face of adversity

Here is my step by step process of the page I created…

First I took a red and a yellow NeoColor water soluble crayon and colored them on my journal page. Then I took a wet brush and went over the crayon. Next I took my Super Hero words and Wonder Woman emblem from our print-out and placed on the page along with a wallet size photo of myself. I always place what I want on my page before glueing anything down in case I want to re-arrange.

 

Then I took a pencil and a black gel pen to create five boxes on my page.

 

I filled in the boxes with Super Hero words, images and a quote from Spider Man.

Using medium alphabet stamps I was going to stamp the work POSITIVE. I didn’t leave enough room for the entire word….(photo on the left).

So I had to figure out how to cover it. I decided to add a small piece of washi tape over it and a large Heart…( on the right).

Lastly I wrote out my qualities in each box and journaled my thoughts about them.

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I really LOVE how this page turned out!!

Superhero Images Print-out

Super Hero quotes

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Find Your Happy Place

“Some people look for a beautiful place, Others make a place beautiful.  -Unknown

When happiness seems to elude me it’s nice to have a place to “go”.  I created this little spot in my bedroom to remind me everyday I CAN have JOY. It’s all up to me and my attitude.

My Happy Place is filled with a few of my favorite things…the angel represents me holding my dear family close in my Heart. The Stop sign print is by a local artist…I just love the imagery of Stopping to smell the roses. I LOVE to smell GOOD!! I have all my faves on a pretty old dish I found at a yard sale…coconut, vanilla and my signature fragrance…Night by Victoria’s Secret. Jewelry I wear often is displayed on pretty plates my family has given me and that tag book I made reminds me I am a child of God. I had to have a bird…they are one of my favorite animals and remind me of my Truth teller. Lastly a line from a childhood song…You are my Sunshine.

Your assignment is to create YOUR OWN Happy Place anywhere in your home or even out in your yard or patio. Fill it with a few things that remind YOU that Life is a JOY!!!

 

xoxo

Leslie

But What if I Don’t Like Where I Am?

“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night…” -Forrest Gump

Welcome to Week Two of “I Say Yes”…my year long free art journaling workshop dedicated to helping YOU find your Voice and tell your Story so you can Heal. I am blown away by all the activity in our Facebook group! Your journal pages are stunning and your willingness to share is something I never imagined. I am grateful for each of YOU. If you haven’t heard about our growing community please click here to join our private FB group. We would LOVE to have you!!!

I am ready to tell more of MY Story this week.

This part of the Story is called “Not again”

A year ago last fall my husband and I sold some property of ours for a pretty big chunk of change. We were so excited by this since we owed nothing on the properties and dreamed of investing our money in the markets and not working for quite awhile. At first this lifestyle was fun and easy. We couldn’t believe the money we were making. And if you remember my story from last week you know we had spent years struggling financially, unable to do things…we took full advantage of having extra and spent more than we should have.

BIG MISTAKE

When you have your money in the markets…it’s like you are on a roller coaster…lots of highs and lots of lows. And the lows can BREAK YOU.

To be clear…I was NOT a fan of playing the market…it felt too much like gambling to me. But I was reassured that everything would be fine and anytime I felt nervous about it my husband would say “Look honey, today we made $xxxxx!” As the year went on I got used to making money and losing money. I was sick to my stomach most days. What we were doing just didn’t FEEL right.

My family and I own and operate a shaved ice business in our town…Kool Kats.

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We LOVE what we do!! We LOVE serving our community the BEST shaved ice and ice cream in town! We take our business to fairs, college events, schools and festivals. When we are not traveling we are parked and selling at a permanent location.

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This is me from last year…the day of the Solar Eclipse!! Our drink of the day was Moon Madness!!

Last summer I spent most hours of every single day inside that trailer. You see in April the stocks we had our money in took a downturn. We started losing and losing and losing. Until…

WE LOST.

Most everything.

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I was bitter and mad and I cried and cried and yelled and screamed at my husband.

But none of that changed our situation.

It was what is was.

I had to make a choice…I could stay mad and bitter and upset and sick and feel sorry for myself…..

OR

I could CHOOSE to take responsibility for OUR mistakes (we are a team after all!!) and get to WORK.

I chose the latter.

And during that time I had SO MUCH on my plate I decided to give up social media and my art for the summer. My Heart wasn’t in it anyway. Because even though I had made the choice to MOVE FORWARD I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. All the old scary, yucky feelings from years ago came back and began suffocating me. Working did help. It put me in control of our situation but the art I had loved so much was missing.

My husband and I worked LONG hours…most of the day and late at night. We were so BLESSED with TONS of business and events and we were soooo GRATEFUL! We got home around 11 to midnight most nights then stayed up watching a few programs to unwind. Most nights we didn’t get to bed until 2 in the morning. We would still get up early though…we had other responsibilities. I would sit on the couch with my coffee and watch the news for an hour, knowing I had to get ready for work soon and do it all over again. But midway through the summer I realized the news was doing NOTHING to boost my mood so I turned to YouTube and that’s where I found fellow art journaler Diane Fago. I would sit and devour her videos. I LOVED THEM! Her style was really speaking to me. I hadn’t felt this inspired in MONTHS.

One morning instead of sitting on the couch I made an effort to go to my studio…a place I had been avoiding…it was almost too painful to be there. I MISSED my Brave Heart Sisterhood group so much and yet I just couldn’t bring myself to be there. But there I was pulling out supplies, journal in hand, excited to try what I had learned from Diane. I ended up creating THREE pages that morning!! I couldn’t get enough!! It was so FREEING!!!!

It was THAT day I made the decision the ACCEPT where I was. I ACCEPTED the predicament we were in. I ACCEPTED the fact thatI worked 12/14 hours a day. I ACCEPTED that we were once again struggling financially.

The day I  ACCEPTED was the day I found FREEDOM. My situation had not changed but my ATTITUDE had. A cloud had been lifted and I was finding JOY in my life again.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

  -Emily Dickinson

You could WIN These!

My sweet friend from Love Squared Designs has graciously made this BEAUTIFUL leather cuff and turquoise bead necklace for one lucky person in class!! Also included in the prize package are TWO prints from mixed-media artist Stephanie Ackerman and a few treasures from ME!! Find out in our group how YOU can WIN!!

Homework

March Theme: Stop Living on Auto-Pilot

Week Two: Acceptance

Art Therapy Page: Create a page ALL about HAPPY! Use bright colors, your favorite images and words

free

My HAPPY Page

Happy Images Printout

Happiness Quotes Printout

YouTube Video

Find the ENTIRE I Say Yes workshop here. Remember you are NEVER behind!

Join our Private FB group!

Winged Angel Girls

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.

 

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Stepping out of our comfort zone can be one of the scariest things we do…but so necessary for growth. This year we will be doing LOTS of Soul Searching, digging deep to enrich our lives and find our Truth.

I Say Yes is so much more than an art workshop. It’s about searching deep in our Hearts for what’s True. It’s about facing our Fears, standing up to them and Flying High.

This morning in our Facebook group I talked about how courageous each of you are for just being here. So many of you are sharing your Stories, your pages and your Hearts with us. It’s so inspiring and motivates me to live my very best life!

 

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I created these Winged Angel Girls last year for my Art Journals. Click on the link below to use them in YOUR journals.

bbl Click here for Winged Angel Girls

This is just my first set. I have many more and will be sharing them with you throughout the class. ENJOY! And please share in our group how you use these!!

Join I Say Yes by clicking here.

xoxo

Leslie