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Inspired By Mandalas {and fellow bloggers!}

I mentioned earlier today that I’ve had mandala patterns on the brain again. When I say again it’s because I was very into them back in 1999-2000. I purchased every mandala book I could at that time because I saw them everywhere and had to know more. I even purchased coloring books with mandala patterns for kids (yes, kids!) just so I could use the outlines to fill in with my own paint colors, found paper, etc. I really enjoyed experimenting with them in this way, but never had I thought to sit down and make my own from scratch without a general outline until recently. In fact I hadn’t thought much of mandalas in quite a few years. This is what made me think of them again…

One of my favorite bloggers is Kat from Secrets of a Butterfly and she recently inspired me in one of her October posts because she was touched by the work of California artist Anahata Katkin (the designer for PaPaYa!), a lady I’ve known about via the web, but Kat’s words about her touched me and it was only then did I really feel like exploring Anahata’s work myself. Do you know about her? She is an artist with work that is quite amazing and now I’m wishing I could somehow meet her and take one of her classes because the art fest she taught earlier this year seemed pretty great (images here).

Kat has never met Anahata to learn her technique so I’m quite impressed that by using her paintings as a guide she created this very lovely mandala mixed media painting using vintage wallpaper and old sheet music. You can see Kat’s painting above shown in her craft room in England. So pretty and well, REAL. I’m more and more attracted to such work, art from the heart and that is handmade at home because something the person saw motivated them to use their own hands to create something similar. So many times we consume, consume, consume without thinking, “Hey I could make that myself!” and I don’t mean COPYING work because a one-to-one version isn’t using your own creativity and it’s not fair to the artist. But if something you saw moved you and you just cannot afford it to buy it (or you rather do it yourself), then there is no reason NOT to try to do something for your own personal use.

This makes me think of cooking. In America we have nearly every meal you can imagine in the frozen food aisle. Here in Germany it’s much different, the selection is smaller. You are forced here to cook many things from scratch because you cannot conveniently buy them already made by someone (or something) else. I think it’s easy to get a bit lazy and not make your own recipes because it’s often easier and faster to buy it frozen or to order take-out. I think we sometimes forget the joy of making things for ourselves, you know? Add to this art, things around the house, etc. So much can be made by our own hands without buying it from someone else. Not everything of course, but a good amount.

Maybe we don’t have the time, or confidence in what we can do, but what about making time this month to make a few things handmade? I think it’s good for our self esteem, our wallet, and we can be a good example to others because often our children, friends, and family members (even e-friends) can be so inspired by something we’ve made and it may motivate them to create as well. When it comes to self esteem, the more you practice something you do not consider yourself very good at, you will improve and those improvements build your self confidence.

It’s not about quantity either. You don’t have to be some kind of energizer rabbit super crafter.

It can just be ONE painting, one apron, one really good batch of muffins… Just make something and how you feel afterwards. Imagine the fantastic circle of joy in that — you inspire others, yourself, and you have things around you made by your very own hands and heart. Nice!

Lots of us pledge to buy handmade and I’m all for that, but let’s pledge to also make handmade and do some things for ourselves this winter season. It’s such a good idea in this economy too. Take out those old copies of Martha Stewart Living and those PILES of arts and crafts book, pick a SINGLE project, and just do it. Want to make a pledge to make something handmade? You can leave your pledge in the comments section below and then when your item is finished, photograph it, place it in your Flickr account, and link it here once it’s finished. Or if you’ve already made your own things recently, comment with a link below because it’s fun to share.

You can see a roll of gift wrap and decide to go home and create your own like Ez did (and displayed a tutorial for) over on her blog Creature Comforts recently. I’m absolutely amazed by what some of my fellow bloggers are doing with their own hands lately and so impressed by their creativity.


Have you made anything with your own hands lately?
Just ONE thing. Anything that you are proud to share? If so, please link to it in the comments section below, please show & tell!

(images from kat and the secrets of a butterfly)

Posted in Books + Magazines, contests, etsy, shopping, stationery, uncategorized on December 04, 2008

The Awesome Book

This made me laugh. Watch the video.

Posted in uncategorized on December 04, 2008

New! Jigsaw Available in America!

Lovely & New: JIGSAW. Yummers.

Posted in uncategorized on December 04, 2008

I’m Having Issues!

You know when things are going just so perfectly and then all of a sudden everything turns upside down in a matter of seconds? Oh yes, you say. This describes what happened to my dear blog just last night so this is a quick little post to let you all know that I’m angry at my blog today because it has misbehaved quite badly.

You see friends, something very bad happened last night and I have a lot of work today to restore lots of lost content, work that my super genius husband is helping me with, and so far we’ve been able to rebuild many of the pages but it’s a lot of work! I’ve been reading all of your emails asking why some of the ‘tabs’ are no longer working right, some are linking to strange destinations, and all of my domestic and international shop links are missing, as well as about 75% of my visual blogroll. Oh yes, fun times! If you no longer see your blog listed on the blogroll pages please do not think it was intentional and I’m a meanie and pulled yours down. No, no… I’m trying to restore all of them so some are showing, others still need to be added. The one beautiful thing about this entire screw up is that I’m learning more about WordPress and how this whole thing works than ever before so in a way I will walk away from this experience with knowledge of something that I knew little about before this mess. That’s good, right? Truly a forced education.

Okay, so while I’m working to get decor8 back to normal I’ll continue to hang out with you online today posting random thoughts as I work. Hope you are all doing well today, better than me anyway. I’m staying positive and working diligently to get things back in order, I assume I’ll be finished by this time next year perhaps? :)

Let’s talk about something fun for a moment… some of you asked to see my mini paintings that I mentioned working on recently. One is shown in the photo above. The others are gifts so of course I cannot post them anywhere because my friends read this blog and it would ruin the surprise. I made the painting shown above using a mini chipboards in white (here are some that are similar from Michael’s in the states) from the craft store, found papers, acrylic paint, and decoupage glue. It was very easy, I suggest making them for yourself or for friends as they are perfect for decorating or hanging from string to create a mobile. You can even use them as gift tags that your friends can actually keep and cherish for years to come.

xo,
Holly

Posted in uncategorized on December 04, 2008

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