thecreativesoulsara

where vintage bits and pieces become artful creations

Such an honor…

Those of you that follow my blog know that I haven’t kept up with it very well at all. Yes, there are a lot of valid reasons for this but I won’t go into all them because we all have reasons for things we don’t get done. I would honestly like to make blogging a bit more of a priority because I love sharing and communicating with all kinds of people. Well, I have just received a wonderful push in that direction….an online friend (who writes an amazing and personal blog) just awarded to me the Warrior Child Award.

the Warrior Child Award

This award originates with the Mental Health Writer’s Guild and you can read more about the award here: https://mentalhealthwritersguild.wordpress.com/the-warrior-child-award/

I was quite touched, to say the least. I really didn’t think I’d written anything that would lead to this award, but here is what was said in response to my post about Antique Storage: “What an awesome post, Sara! You’ve given us a look inside your heart and soul. It’s a very intimate thing, to share the things that occupy one’s shelves, drawers, desks…very courageous. And therefore, even though I had planned to do this before I stopped by, I hereby bestow upon you the Warrior Child Award.”  You see, I follow Laura’s (my nominator) blog and talk with her off/on through her own posts. So, she knows me more than just from my own blog or that one post. And that helps me to understand it better. I am still very honored.

And, as I said above, I feel a bit of a push to do more blogging here. And including more of myself in what I share. I started this blog to share about my art and jewelry making. But I don’t think I’ve shared as much about what creating means to me, how it affects me, etc. I’m not sure if I’ve shared here that I was trained and worked as a psychotherapist for years. I mostly worked with kids and their families, but also did some general therapy with adults, play therapy, art therapy and some addiction/recovery work with those who wanted it. I am a strong believer in getting therapy and other forms of help for mental health issues. I became even more so after I went through a couple of years of therapy myself. I was diagnosed with major depression for the first time about 20 years ago. And I have lived with it at various levels for all these years, always taking some kind of medication for it. And what does this have to do with creating? Well, I started keeping a very simple art journal during my therapy and during very low points. It helped me to get my feelings out, even when I couldn’t really put a name to them. I was able to figure out a few things about myself from interpreting what I had drawn and/or written. I made word collages to get to know myself better.

*Being creative speaks to my soul and allows my soul to speak*

So, I will be sharing about this connection from now on. I do it for a few reasons. If my words and my art can in any way help another person, inspire them, bring a new idea or perspective to some part of their life, then I am grateful to be able to continue to help people in some away (I had to stop working outside the home about 16 years ago due to chronic pain and health issues). Also, I am very bothered by the way the stigma of having a mental health diagnosis remains so strong in today’s world. So many of millions of people live with mental illness and yet it is still looked upon as something horrific and is misunderstood. I think that if those of us with a mental illness share about our diagnoses, our experiences, our growth that it will be huge step towards stopping the stigma. I can do my small part in this. Lastly, I’m thinking that by thinking through and sharing my experiences and thoughts and feelings that I will receive the benefits of further self-growth…and I am all about that!

I hope that if you choose to follow me on this journey that you benefit from it. I am also hoping that readers will share their own thoughts, experiences, etc. in response. Often times it is through sharing with others that we are sparked to grow the most. All comments are welcome here as long as they are not of a hostile approach. I always appreciate constructive input even if it’s not of the same belief as my own.

Peace to your hearts, Sara

Yes, it is.

Yes, it is.

Antique storage options for creative supplies

When an artisan has a plethora of items from which to choose from to create all the goodness it can be a real challenge to find ways to organize and store such items. And I’m the kind of person who needs lots of things to choose from when creating. My process is one of starting out with a key vintage or antique piece and then trying all kinds of different beads and other supplies to go with it. I play around and figure out what looks right to me. As I’ve said, it comes from my soul and this means listening to it as I try various combinations.

As a lover of vintage and antique I most prefer to display and store items in something old. When my parents moved to a care facility they weren’t able to take much of their furniture with them, leaving many treasured pieces for us kids. The favorite pieces I wanted I would have to wait for, because my mom was able to use them when she moved to an assisted living apartment after my dad died. I will come back to those later. So, my oldest sister lives in a small home that was already quite full, and she lives three plus hours away so her choice of an antique dental cabinet was appropriate, but she had to take time to make room for it, then to rent a truck to haul it to her home. In the meantime I got to enjoy using it for creative supplies! I don’t have a photo of “our” actual dental cabinet, but amazingly was able to find one just like it through Google Images. Without further ado, here it is:

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The top portion of ours has an old, black-spotted mirror, which also adorns the front of the lift-up lid on the right side. So many drawers to hold and organize a variety of things. I stacked fabric pieces in the lower, tall area with the door…so easy to see what I had that way. Each drawer held different categories of items….the larger bottom ones were just right for decorative papers, one of the small drawers for sewing supplies, etc. I was sad to have it go, but I did finally get my replacement pieces. I would have much rather had my mom keep them in her apartment in assisted living, but she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and when it had progressed to a certain point it was necessary to move her to the care facility portion in a private room. She still has a few pieces of her furniture and a couple of shelves with much loved items that she collected with my dad over the years along with some books and such of her father’s. We are grateful for this because she loves to sit and look at her collection, rearrange pieces her and there and it makes her happy.

So, what did I lovingly receive? Two beautiful pieces of antique Irish pine furniture….a long cabinet with drawers and bins that was likely in a general store of some kind at one point and charming shelves to hang above it. Right now it’s all very cluttered and so incredibly dusty and I hesitate to show photos of them, but I’ve decided that it’s just the way they are right now so I won’t worry about it. Over the next few weeks I will be removing *everything*, dusting it all and lemon oiling the furniture. Perhaps I’ll post “after” pictures ~wink~

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Charming antique Irish pine shelving

And, some close-ups….

The things on my shelves are a combination of things I collect and make me smile along with supplies for creating.

The things on my shelves are a combination of things I collect and make me smile along with supplies for creating.

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My small collection of finials and a few of my rabbits. I actually have a lot of rabbits….I was born on Easter and my mother started my collection when I was a young adult. More about them in a future post.

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I also adore vintage bottles of all kinds. Some are functional, like the one holding push pins and the unique one with the yellow top that holds wire wrapped beads. Others are purely for decoration and some are even supplies for creative adventures.

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I love the tiny shelf at the very bottom….just right for tiny things.

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Vintage and antique books are such a treasure!

Here is a look at the other piece with the drawers and bins. These photos really do not do it justice. And of course, it looks so much better when freshly lemon-oiled!

Here is a look at the other piece with the drawers and bins. These photos really do not do it justice. And of course, it looks so much better when freshly lemon-oiled!

Cabinet with a cool handle that turns to open

Cabinet with a cool handle that turns to open

Wonderful bin handles...and on top of the drawers here there is a piece of wood that pulls out to use as a little desk area. It sure comes in handy sometimes!

Wonderful bin handles…and on top of the drawers here there is a piece of wood that pulls out to use as a little desk area. It sure comes in handy sometimes!

I use a variety of containers to organize and store small items. Here are a few (and once again, very dusty)

The top box is a vintage cigar box that was my grandfather's, so it's very special. It holds small plastic bags used for shipping items.

The top box is a vintage cigar box that was my grandfather’s, so it’s very special. It holds small plastic bags used for shipping items. The bottom box is tin…I found it at a yard sale for 25 cents and I love the art on it. It holds glues, resin, etc.

I have three medium to large printers trays (one is faux but works nonetheless) to keep all kinds of treasures such as old watches and parts, bits of old jewelry and other found objects. I also like to use old teacups, china bowls and pitchers to organize items.

I have three medium to large printers trays (one is faux but works nonetheless) to keep all kinds of treasures such as old watches and parts, bits of old jewelry and other found objects. I also like to use old teacups, china bowls and pitchers to organize items.

Oh, the dust! Vintage muffin tins are perfect for organizing vintage and antique beads and charms and such!

Oh, the dust! Vintage muffin tins are perfect for organizing vintage and antique beads and charms and such!

Bead organization! I covered this plastic organizer with vintage map paper and added some great containers on top.

Bead organization! I covered this plastic organizer with vintage map paper and added some great containers on top.

And now for a little “just for fun and inspiration”. I like to surround myself with items and words and pictures that inspire me and make me feel good. Here are a couple of examples:

An inspiration board filled with quotes I've found, things people have sent to me/given me and pictures I like from magazines and such. Included are a little love note from my husband, a postcard from my mom and  a newspaper article in which I was interviewed at an arts festival.

An inspiration board filled with quotes I’ve found, things people have sent to me/given me and pictures I like from magazines and such. Included are a little love note from my husband, a postcard from my mom and a newspaper article in which I was interviewed at an arts festival (my photo is the small one to the left of the article)

A corner area where I hung a little vintage chair that was my parent's, then topped it with vintage books and bird and rabbit items. A mixed media piece by another artist hangs off the corner and a muslin banner I made with "peace' and decorative stamps hangs over one of the rungs. I've stretched a wire across the corner and hung items from it that I love (including a handmade card from my sister, a photo I took when we lived in WA state and some vintage items etc)

A corner area where I hung a little vintage chair that was my parent’s, then topped it with vintage books and bird and rabbit items. A mixed media piece by another artist hangs off the corner and a muslin banner I made with “peace’ and decorative stamps hangs over one of the rungs. I’ve stretched a wire across the corner and hung items from it that I love (including a handmade card from my sister, a photo I took when we lived in WA state and some vintage items etc)

I will leave you with a few pieces of jewelry that were sitting out on the counter….

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What do you use to organize your creative supplies?  I’d love to hear about it. Peace to your hearts, Sara

I haven’t forgotten about you and our trees!

Hello, all,

Just a quick message to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about those of you who are participating in the “draw a tree” prompt/exercise. I have had a flair up of my chronic pain/fibromyalgia due to preparing for and attending my 30th high school reunion recently. I was on the committee for the reunion and in the last couple of weeks before the reunion I put together all the memorabilia, made huge decorative photo boards, made individual glass hurricane containers for each classmate who has died and more.

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It was a huge tax on my body, then I spent two nights out with my classmates for about 6-7 hours each (something I never do!) plus setting up for the main event with centerpieces etc the second morning.

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My best friend and I…best friends since 8th grade and we lived together in college for 3 years. Old friends can be some of the best friends you’ll ever have…it was like we’d never been apart.

It was great fun preparing and even more seeing old friends and catching up. Definitely worth the pain and exhaustion that followed!

So, I will be drawing my own tree today, I promise, and post in the next couple of days how to interpret our trees. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Peace to your hearts, Sara

Is anyone participating?

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Hello all,

I’ve given you all a few days to draw your tree if you’d like to take part. I’d like to know if anyone is doing this and if people need more time before talking about it in a new post. Please respond with feedback in the comments on this post if you have or are going to do this so I know when people are ready…thanks!

Journal Prompt…and a little bit about art therapy

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For all you folks out there who keep art journals (or who just like to be creative or like to work on you personal growth):

When I worked as a psychotherapist I used art therapy with a lot of my clients. It’s a pretty non-threatening approach and not only can people learn a lot from what they create, I was able learn a some things about them and begin a dialogue through the piece of art.

I may have mentioned previously, I myself used art therapy when I was going through a couple of years of significant depression. Nothing like what my art journals of today are…I used mostly crayons, and later colored pencils, to draw with as well as making collages from magazine cut-outs. An interesting art therapy note about my choice of drawing utensils: in depression things can be very out of focus, very fuzzy and hard to grasp on to. My choice of crayons really reflected the way I felt because they do not provide sharpness or clarity like other things do. Then, as I grew personally and my depression improved, I made the move to colored pencils (very unconsciously at the time). Here I was able to express more detail and clarity, things were sharper in my drawings as well as in my mind and soul.

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Now for a little fun and self exploration with an art journal prompt: Draw a Tree

Okay, I know it sounds strange, but there are some things to be learned about yourself through this. And it’s a good introduction to art therapy since it is a basic and common exercise. I don’t want to explain here the questions you will ask yourself after you finish because it can alter what you will draw. But, if you would like to participate please take some time to create your tree in whatever medium or mediums you choose (except using another image of a tree from a magazine, book etc) then in several days I will post some questions, some thoughts about how to interpret your tree. *there is no right or wrong way to do this!* It’s all about self exploration. If you like you can then post a link to your tree, and of course any comments about what you learned or what the experience was like for you, but it’s not necessary.

Have fun with this!
Peace to your hearts, Sara

I was interviewed for an artist’s spotlight!

Recently I was interviewed for a Visual Artist’s Spotlight on a website by Cheryl Cope. Cheryl coaches women on enhancing creativity, weight loss and general women’s issues with a Christian perspective. I was a bit unsure how to respond to her questions…not that I didn’t “know the answers” rather what to include and what to leave out so it was an interesting read. I tend to go on and on sometimes, if you hadn’t noticed already. ;)  So, any feedback on the interview would be greatly welcome in case I have another opportunity to be interviewed in the future. 

You can find the interview, with photos and a coupon code for 25% off in my etsy shop, here:

http://www.cherylcope.com/visual-artist-spotlight-sara-windsor

Peace to your hearts, Sara

Independence Day…vintage style

Wishing you all a very happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Saying Goodbye to My Daughter…a new journey for both of us

My daughter and I right before she headed out for Seattle

My daughter and I right before she headed out for Seattle

My last blog entry included journal pages about my 19 year old daughter preparing to move to Seattle (we live in Missouri) and my preparing for her to go. So, I thought I would share a bit more about this…another journal spread and some photos.

"She is Travel Ready" The day I created this my daughter, Emelie, was packing up all her belongings that she wanted to take in boxes for the long drive to Seattle, so that was clearly on my mind.

“She is Travel Ready” The day I created this my daughter, Emelie, was packing up all her belongings that she wanted to take in boxes for the long drive to Seattle, so that was clearly on my mind.

Emelie packing her boxes and bags

Emelie packing her boxes and bags

And now for the art journal pages….

 I created this page by covering it with acrylic deep yellow paint, then after it dryed I added acrylic grey with an old credit card. Then I used gesso to make an area for the boxes, which I drew with oil pastels and old text paper. "Travel-ready" I found in a magazine and I added the other lettering.

I created this page by covering it with acrylic deep yellow paint, then after it dryed I added acrylic grey with an old credit card. Then I used gesso to make an area for the boxes, which I drew with oil pastels and old text paper. “Travel-ready” I found in a magazine and I added the other lettering.

Vintage map paper covers the right page...our wonderful, beautiful and special Seattle and surrounding areas. I drew her grey SUV with marker and added a heart confetti piece I had left over. I added images of some love stamps from a magazine and wrote my thoughts in new black marker.

Vintage map paper covers the right page…our wonderful, beautiful and special Seattle and surrounding areas. I drew her grey SUV with marker and added a heart confetti piece I had left over. I added images of some love stamps from a magazine and wrote my thoughts in new black marker.

ShesTravelReady4
The day Emelie and her boyfriend Skylar left was one filled with tears of mine and my husband’s. Emelie and Skylar were mostly just very excited to get started on their journey. My dear husband made sure the SUV was packed just so…no blind spots for his precious daughter.
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I really didn’t want to spoil Em’s excitement, so I would go off by myself when the tears overflowed, then dry my eyes and join the crowd again. But, when it came time for the final goodbyes Tom and I couldn’t hold back. As hard as it was to watch her go, we know that she is ready. She has always been mature, but she has grown and matured so much in the last year she’s been working and living at home. And, thankfully she has her man to go on this adventure with…we know they will take good care of each other.
EmelieSkylarReadytoGo
After she got in the car and put her seatbelt on she started signing “I love you” over and over again. I think it finally hit her. I didn’t get pictures of that because I was too busy signing “I love you” back and crying.

Off they go....we love you both! Safe journeys and good times to you

Off they go….we love you both! Safe journeys and good times to you

Art journaling my feelings

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What I really love to use an art journal for is expressing my feelings or working out how I feel when I’m unsure. This is what I have done for my last several pages and it feels good. First, a spread about my 19 year old daughter moving out next weekend…all the way to Seattle! Such mixed feelings here because I am thrilled for her to be embarking on her life’s journey on her own, going to art school, getting her first apartment, being with her boyfriend who is stationed with the Navy out there and just plain living in Seattle which is awesome (we lived there for a few years around 2000). But, I am terribly sad for myself! It’s taken me a while to get past crying every time I think about it. Her move date has gotten moved up twice, which has been very hard. So, I decided to journal about it, using some inspiration from Pam Garrison, who is one of my favorite artists. Love the light colors she often uses and I borrowed the “banner” at the top of the right page below, putting my own touch on it.

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Now for the techniques and supplies used, for those that care:

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The first thing on this page was a spray of home made pink alcohol ink, which can be seen mostly as-is where I wrote “my precious daughter Emelie is moving out”. I added watercolors to the rest of the page background, then added details with acrylic paint….the orange swoops to the left, the colored bands, the tear, the flowers. I added the journaling spot that I created using a stencil and the alcohol ink on acrylic paper, then wrote on it with colored ink pen.

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I used gel medium to attach some vintage papers, then painted with three colors of acrylic paint for the background. I made the journal spot by using pink acrylic paint, then yellow around the outside for the border, which I embellished with colored ink pens in a doodle or zentangle style. This is very new to me and I could certainly use some practice! I added the sweet vintage book page image of the bird “leaving the nest” since it so well illustrates my daughter leaving. I’m loving my new Prismacolor black pens/markers…they work so well!

And now for another spread….

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These pages I created in the midst of overwhelming stress feelings, needing to find something to do instead of screaming my head off to my family. My daughter brought home a little puppy quite unexpectedly. We knew she was going to adopt a dog when she moved….AFTER she got to Seattle! But, a friend of her best friend rescued this little dog and he needed a home. My daughter fell in love with him so she brought him home…the way things change when they get this age and are moving out!! Well, we already have three large dogs that we love dearly and are mostly very well behaved. But, you suddenly introduce a tiny puppy into this mix and they start going crazy. Not to mention the tv blaring, the kids all talking and calling the puppy, etc and our home was full of chaos. So, I hit the worktable and went at it to define my feelings and get them out by creating. I purposely made it very chaotic since that’s how I felt.

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I used several colors of acrylic paint all over the page, then chose stencil with a random pattern and used more acrylic paint to add this to the page. I added a few papers/paint swatch and wrote the word “Chaos” in paint pen, outlining it in my new gold paint pen and using my new Prismacolor black chisel marker to write the other words. It feels appropriate to me and really is an expression of how I felt.

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For this page I used various papers including used wrapping paper with a paisley pattern, part of a cupcake wrapper, vintage papers and went over them with watered down gesso, then added some more vintage papers. The book text with the various colors I created using watercolors and a toy truck tire with tread pattern to create. I am always looking for everyday things to create pattern now. I used colored pens to fill in some of the areas of the wrapping paper and write the journaling on the right side. The “want ‘wild’ orange” card covers up another paint chip card that didn’t work when I journaled on it. More gold paint pen in dots on and around this.

I feel like I’m getting a good balance between learning and trying new techniques and expressing what is going on in my life and with my feelings and perceptions. Another goal here is to improve my skills enough to sell some mixed media art so I can continue to create it on a regular basis along with my jewelry. I have a few gifts to family and a friend I’m needing to give and I think I will try some mixed media art using quotes. Crossing my fingers they will turn out well so I can give them!

What have you been creating recently? Art, jewelry, music, writing…??? I’d love to hear about it.

Peace to your heart, Sara

Home…the Art Journal Journey monthly theme

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I recently ran across a blog called “Art Journal Journey” where every month they give you a word or theme to journal about. Then, if you like, you can link your post to their blog to share with everyone…last month 60 people shared their impressions of the theme! It’s really interesting to see everyone’s take on the same topic. I decided it would be great fun to participate so I checked out the theme for this month…home. A nice start for my new art journal.

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I really gave some thought and feeling to what “home” means to me. I recalled all the different places I’ve lived…a large home in the city as a child, a vintage boat then a floating house with my parents, a dorm room, an apartment with friends, a little house with my first husband…then a variety of places from a farm house to a large new home in Las Vegas while married to husband #1 and moving around way too much, an apartment with my two kids when the marriage didn’t work out, a house in wonderful Seattle with my soul mate and husband…a couple of other places including 5 months of camping with our three kids before settling in our own house/home where we currently live and have for 10 years now. Home isn’t really so much about where you live and in what kind of structure. Even living in my own home I have always called my parents place “home” too. I realized that home is “where you find the people you love”. It means other things to me as well, such as where you can be completely yourself and people love you always, where your soul is at peace.

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I found a few great vintage photos to use in my pages and used those as a starting point. I also used acrylic paint, a decorative paper napkin, some scrapbook papers, paint pens, vintage Bingo card and “H” divider card and a lovely antique calling card. I can’t say that it’s my favorite spread, but I do like it mostly. I’d like the background to be a little less messy looking, but sometimes home can be messy, I guess.

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What does “home” mean to you?

Peace to your hearts, Sara

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