Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remembering Me

What is it with this photo of the unfinished teeny tiny doll, hanging over the side of a little bowl, with my painting over her shoulder?
I don't really know. There is something, though.
Perhaps it is her unfinished state, her somehow-hopeful posture. Maybe I love the idea of being at the "jumping off place." She is ready to dress. She is ready for features.
She is ready for hair and accoutrements.
You know, when I make my dolls, I listen to them.
I hear them tell me what they want...fluffy hair, sleek hair, wild eyes, puckered lips, knowing glances or innocent stares. They want pink - they want blue - they want black - they want some silver tinsel in their hair. They are sweet, saucy, bossy.

I don't make them into something; I reveal who they are.

So, why am I drawn to this photo, that I photo-shopped to the nth degree?

I think she is me.

I see her hopeful and waiting. She is reminded of how far she has come, and is tired, but brave.
She feels, sometimes, as if she is beginning again.

She says, "Remember me?" as she peeks over the edge on her little clay tiptoes, wishing she had her lips so she could give a curious little smile.

She realizes that she is just one doll of many that are waiting to be revealed.

She understands that I might not get to hear her ideas until later,
and she feels bittersweet over it.
So while she waits for me to listen to her,
she sits in the bottom of her cup and gets to know herself.

There are days when she wishes someone would understand her yearning to be completed, to blink, to smell smells and to share her inner longings. To be clothed is her wish.

She jumps up at the sight of me passing by; she peeks over the edge and sometimes will say, "How about now?"

"Not yet, " I say, "Not yet." But I pick her up and turn her around. I give her arms a little yank to make sure they are holding-fast. I dangle her legs to see that they are even. I glance at my stack of old crepe paper to see what colors strike me...she quietly emanates one word, "Brown."

I smile and put her back.

I care about her, and I want to listen to her, but I have troubles of my own to take care of,

so for now, I put a little square of brown crepe paper scrap in with her while she sits at the bottom of her cup.

"Well." She says to herself. She is done being angry over it all. She is even done with crying over the inattention. She just has come to a place where she says, "Well."

She quietly slips out of her cup in the night and finds the little thread scissors, which are still so big for her, and she begins to cut out her own clothes. She happily wraps herself in designs from her own little mind.

She tucks and she gathers. She wraps and she trims and then she twirls.
She has done it.
"Oh. I'm so pretty. Oh."
When I pass her by again, I look in on her to pat her little hand, and Lo! She is dressed.

She is painted. Her eyes are still shy, but smiling. Little heart lips part, ever so slightly, as I hear her say, "Hello. I was alone. But I learned to never be lonely."
On a day, sitting at the bottom of my cup, I learned to be my own best friend.
Through my headphones, I heard a song I've heard before, but this time God wanted me to really hear it.

It was Dante's Prayer by Loreena McKennit - you can listen to it, too at the bottom of this blog
And then I cried.

and I cried and I cried.
I tried to share my experience, but there wasn't time for me to talk.

Everyone was too busy -
or away -
or mired in their own troubles.
(I didn't know it then, but that was a blessing to be left alone.)

So I cried again.
Then I did, indeed, Remember Me.
And so, I shared my experience with myself,
and I painted this:

and then I could share it.
This is me, Remembering all the parts of...well...Me.
I Chose to never forget them. I Chose to take them with me wherever I go.

I was alone. But I will never be lonely.

Maybe I understand her.
Maybe I even sympathize with her.
But I also give her time to be alone, so she can get to know herself.
Maybe learning to love yourself is like peeling back the layers of an onion.
I cry when I peel back layers of an onion, why not cry when I'm the onion?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From That Center

" There are clearly times when quieting down and bringing our energy
back into ourselves is a step toward inner peace.
Yet the most powerful life
is not one in which we bring ourselves back to our center
when we have spun away from it,
but rather one in which we seek to live from that center at all times."
~Marianne Williamson~
Everyday Grace
Something I am starting:

Any of you want to read along as well?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Maybe Who You Are...

Maybe who you were born as, is who you were born to be.

Maybe you aren't defined by the decisions you've made,

Or the mistakes you've beaten yourself up about...

Maybe you are not becoming who you are...

maybe you are unveiling who you are.

Maybe our only goal is to love...

to accept ourselves just as we are

to accept others just as they are

with no condition.

what a revelation.

Inspire Me Mondays

I'm taking a cue from Graciel at Evenstar Art and beginning to write about what inspires me every Monday. Today, I'm inspired by the worn-out, the re-used, the faded and the aged.

A blog I read very often is Sparrow Salvage. She is an amazing artist, with an affinity for the worn-out, the rusty, and the broken. I am always just taken with her soulful, pretty handwork, and her amazing jewelry. I've always loved these sorts of things, but it makes me see potential in even the smallest ripped bit of lace.

Christine Crocker of Deerfield Farmhouse inspires me in the same way. She loves the old and the faded beautiful fabrics that are now tarnished with need for mending. Her dolls are like nothing I've ever seen before. They have sweet little souls and are dressed in the most beautiful old fabrics. Her blog is inspiring to read, too.

This morning, these artists inspire me to look around my house for the worn out, the loved up and the faded. I collect old books that have water damage, age spots, wrinkles, broken spines, once magnificent tooled leather covers, ripped edges, sewn pages, book worm holes, rusty spots...the more scrungy, the better.

This little dolly is one that I own from Deerfield Farmhouse. She is dressed in a abit of old linen doily and antique faded velvet flowers. Her skirt is wrinkled, aged paper, and her little bunny face is crackled and aged. Her name is "Chalke"; isn't she the sweetest?


What is it about old dirty, ripped up, mildewed, broken books that give me goosebumps and make me dig deep into my pockets to purchase them? The books were once something useful, or beautiful...loved. When I hold them, I wonder what their miraculous journey was that brought them to this lowly state. I admire artists who can recreate that look in their art!

on Love

People deserve love not because of what they do, but because of who they are. When someone has forgotten their love, they have fallen asleep to who they are; our mystical challenge, and our spiritual power, lies in choosing to remain awake.
- Everyday Grace -
Marianne Williamson
~a single parrot tulip in a tiny red transferware creamer~

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fragmentary Blue

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet) --
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.
~Robert Frost~
**This is a bit of a fish painting my son did. I just loved the blue he used in it. I'm loving the textures and color choices...especially this "fragmentary blue."**

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spiders, Bikes and White Violets

Today was the first day in a long time that I've felt inspired to create. So, I set about creating 6 dollies, all morning. I sat in my living room while my daughter played and did "projickts" of her own.

I didn't tell Emma, as she has a phobia of spiders, most of the time, but I kept finding a baby spider running across my work all morning. I checked to make sure it was the SAME spider, and not some hideous thing happening under the coffee table, like babies hatching out. Nope, just the one, same little spider.

He kept hiding under the little things strewn across the table, and I found it so comical. I took this picture of him "hiding."

He was very shy, and didn't want to come out, so when I kept moving things as I was working, he would run under the next stationery item...poor little guy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~a few hours later~~~~~~~~~~~~

Emma wanted to go for a bike ride, and I told her to get ready. She came out of her room with tennis shoes, but no socks, an orange sundress with a pink sweatshirt over it, brown and pink leopard print leggings and a red coat. She is still on training wheels and goes very slow, but she goes as fast as her tiny legs will let her, with a huge smile on her face and whooping, "WooHoo! This is FUUUN!"

Her bike was splashed with mud, and stuck with all kinds of stickers and her little basket was full of dirt and one dusty quarter. She wanted me to run as fast as I could, to see who would win; I could beat her at a snail's pace, but I pretend-ran beside her. Do you know what she did? Even though I would "loose" she would still say, happy as all-get-out, "Mommy! You won!"

There is something about her...I want to be like her when I grow up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~after the bike ride~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~A White Violet~
I found him growing right next to my porch steps, and I was ecstatic. You see, nothing very delicate grows here where I live. You know what they say about "Shy violets", and coupled with the fact that it is white ("innocence") and what TheVictorian Flower Oracle says about the meaning of violets (humility, insights, calm tempers, desire, luck, sleep and peace), I was suddenly struck with something...a child is rarely timid when she is even remotely comforted by her surroundings and those she is with. A child blossoms in small acts of love. When she believes everything is alright, it IS alright. When she is smiled at, her world clicks into place. She "gets ready" (sans socks or a sense of style) and she heads out. She is confident, she knows what she wants to do, and she does it. She feels good enough to "allow" me to win at her own game. She doesn't have the need to hide or be timid because her eyes are OPEN. She sees beauty and purpose and chances to be generous in all that she does, and it CREATES beauty and purpose and generosity.
She is even trying to like spiders these days :)

Observing Beauty

"When you meet Beauty, you feel that the hands deep within your inner self are stretched forth to bring her into the domain of your heart. It is the magnificence combined of sorrow and joy; it is the Unseen which you see, and the Vague which you understand, and the Mute which you hear - it is the Holy of Holies that begins in yourself and ends vastly beyond your earthly imagination." - Kahlil Gibran
There are days when the things of everyday life are so Beautiful that I want to reach out the "hands deep within my inner self" and bring them into the "domain of my heart."
The beauty of the heart of a stranger
the flicker of a candle flame
a heart-shaped rock
a smile from my son
a chicken waiting for me to pick her up
John Denver songs
friends who wonder how I am today
looking forward to book club
news of baby showers
thank you letters from first graders
my son reading a book to himself...quietly...and enjoying it
spiderwebs on tree branches
FINALLY wanting to create art today
my husband...just being exactly who God made him to be
emails that begin with "sweetie" and end with "love, ma"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Inspiration Comes

You stoke the fire
keeping me warm
wond'ring -

Burning bright as flame
inside my eyes
down deep
I am mute

Smoke-sharp is your tale
enfolding me
strongly -

Enclosed and silent
quiet, secret
ever in

-a poem by Katie -

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Strawberries are like Good Advice

Good advice is just like a perfect strawberry to me. When it is strawberry season, I eat them like there is no tomorrow, and I remember how wonderful they taste, and how good they are for me, and I can't believe that something soo good is helping my body to repair itself, too. When the strawberries are not around, it is hard for me to remember how good they taste, so then I feel sad that I don't have any food that I love like candy, that isn't...isn't...isn't candy. The next time I have an especially good strawberry, I am going to commit its taste to memory. I will take a full 3 minutes to eat it and remember what it looks like, what it smells like, how it feels in my hand, how perfect it is to bite into and then the taste...I want to recall the taste in the middle of winter.

Today, I thought I'd share some links to VERY helpful advice that I wish I didn't have to keep reminding myself of, but that I obviously haven't committed to a soul memory yet:

Each of these has made an impact on me in the past year or so, and it is always worth re-reminding myself of what I know to be true.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Late Night Ramble

I've been thinking about playing a lawn game and letting my son win because he hasn't won in awhile, and then winning the next one because he has to learn to loose gracefully.
I've been wondering about bumblebees and how gentle and serious they seem.
I've been perusing the idea of a mind that is quiet...with only one thing to think on at a time.
I've been deciding on making myself well, and so happy it begins with nutrition.
I've been thinking about how the meaning of "an outpouring of affection" can simply be 2 people who simultaneously decide to see how you are doing lately.
I've been grabbing at strawberries right and left and so thankful that they are so good for me, but wishing, why can't coca-cola be full of vitamins and minerals?
I've been happy to know that I listen to my children's fears and soothe them, no matter how small, but I wonder why I don't do it all the time.
I've been listening to my friends, instead of talking, and
I've been talking to my friends, instead of pretending everything is alright, and wondering why I don't do that all of the time.
I've been purging my home of unwanted clutter and thinking about how that reflects myself at this point.
I've been intrigued by a woman's perogative to change her mind, drastically...within the space of a minute.
I've wished I could see the evaporated water coming off of the clothes I hang on the line, and wonder if I could ever see it like heat off of the pavement.
I've watched little butterflies racing here and there, and wondered at their energy.
I've been surprised that I found out my husband's ringtone for me is a song snippet about love, and wonder why he doesn't have the need to run and tell me as soon as he's done something like is intriguing.
I've been wondering if I'll ever feel like I'm out of this foggy spot.
I've been glad for the heat, and have been pulling it straight down into me...down into the soles of my feet...using it to root my body right down to the Earth, and I've been wondering if I could stand there for long enough, would my roots carry away the fog?
I've thought about who I am, and what I believe, and I am so happy with it, I could just write a song about it, if I knew how to write songs.
Then I wonder again, when I'll be inspired for more than 5 minutes at a time to be artistically creative.
Life is like a circle. It begins, it ends, and it begins again. The seasons are in a circle, the lunar cycle is a circle, the solar cycle across the sky is a circle, time is a circle, the week is a circle, the months are a circle...In every sense of what I just wrote...Life BEGINS, it ENDS, and it BEGINS AGAIN. In a cycle, as wide and as deep as you can think of...and beyond that I imagine.
We are born. We live. We die. We are born, We live, we die. Born, live, die. born live die bornlivedie
In our LIVE section of the circle, we also have times when things are born, they live and they die. I might open an art gallery, and love it and thrive in it, and then there is a time for that to die. I might decide to stay at home with my kids and do that for years and then decide it is time for that to end. I might grow my hair, then cut it and then grow it again. I might stop eating dairy and refined sugars so I can feel better...death to sugars...there was a time for sugar, and now it isn't time for sugar. Gettin' my drift?
What I realize and want to think about more deeply, is how our lives, in varying shades of distinction, reflect the circle of the Earth in all her beauty and wonder. When the Earth is ready to be warm again, and her soils de-ice and new seeds germinate...what does that say about a "Spring" of my life? I see myself in the Spring of whatever circle I am on right now...a time to renew, a time to let go and heal and warmup. The brightest spot, the best thing, the PROMISE is that after the Spring, is the Summer. A time of doing and energy and livliness. I could stand for some Summer, but I can't get there until Spring is over. I must stay on the circumference of the circle, making my way to the warmer season.


The Armful
For every parcel I stoop down to seize
I lose some other off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns--
Extremes too hard to comprehend at once,
Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with, hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best
To keep their building balanced at my breast.
I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the middle of them all.
I had to drop the armful in the road
And try to stack them in a better load
~Robert Frost
~a foxglove enhanced by me...representing a 'balanced stack'~
When I read this poem by my old buddy Bob, I realize he has a deeper meaning...keeping all the things we have going in a delicate balance...not wanting to drop anything, as all of it is important...but when it all gets tough, there seems to be a need to drop it all right there and restack. How smart and how right he is.
This week I've been thinking about how I consistently take on too much, and then I don't know where the frick I'm going with it all. I try to juggle and not drop anything, and then suddenly...kablam...I've dropped it all. Ever happen to you? Our lives are always in a delicate balance, and it isn't logical, or possible to be continually in that "sweet spot", where everything is being juggled perfectly. It may go on for a few weeks and then something has to give, but it may not be too bad...okay, I forgot that appointment, not too bad. But when everything begins to feel like you've just thrown tennis shoes in the dryer and everything is spinning with a definite thump on one side, you know trouble is brewing.
I think Bob is exactly right...time to sit down in the middle of the road and repack...reassess...reprioritize. What worked yesterday isn't necessarily going to work today. The "yes" you said to last year, may not be right for you this year.
I think that this is where I am right now. Sitting in the middle of the road with all my responsibilities and things I want strewn about me, and I get to restack and reorganize. I think I was frightened at first, but everyday, I become more sure of how I'm restacking, and what next step I'm on in life. I think the restacking can be quite fun...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Thoughts & Doings

~me in my work apron on the warmest day yet~

A poem by Robert Frost
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, "What is it?"
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
I was thinking of this poem today, and had to go and find it to read it word for word.
In the last 7 years, I've had plenty of years where I didn't have "a time for talk", and would say how busy I was and didn't meet with friends at all. Now I try my best not to do this. I pick up the phone and talk, or I suggest lunch, or an afternoon crocheting together. It is JUST as important to cultivate your friendships as it is to keep a clean house, or go to work everyday. Who do you need to take time to talk to today?
It was "hose weather" today, so the kids went to make some really great mud holes and little rivulets through their play area (which is really a patch of dirt and a big tractor tire buried in the mud). I watched them for awhile, and then I watched my chickens drinking the muddy water, and I couldn't resist a few pictures. I wanted this particular girl to look up and I said, "chook chook" she looked at me in this way...

So, I went back to looking at the patterns of the frothy mud on the water...this one looked like an elephant to me. Do you see it?
Then I figured enough of that, and I went to change the wash on the line, and loved the look of the silk blowing in the very slight breeze today...luckily, I keep my camera in my pocket these days...

I caught my best egg-layer strutting out to the front yard here...
So I followed her to take pictures of this little scene in the front yard...
But none of the daffodil pictures were coming out...only this one of 3 other little blue hyacinths I have in the spot...

Then I started taking pictures of the beeskep and the twig stool it sits on and these came out of it...

So, I let it be, and honored the weathered twigs instead. No one has ever seen them in quite that way beautiful the texture of it is...even as it is falling apart, and the nails are rusting and coming out, there is beauty.
Then I went in and said hello to my favorite food friends...limes & lemons...and lately avacados.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Day of Small (and not so small) Things

"For who hath despised the day of small things?"
Zechariah 4:10
I haven't had a day like today for a very, very long time...well, I've never had a day quite like today.
I talked to my mom on the phone for over an hour, then my friend Alma called and we talked for just over an hour, then my friend Julie called and we talked for just almost an hour. It was crazy...normally I am in my little cave literally whittling away the that was how it began.
Then I finished the doll that is going to be in the next Joggles class sessions & I LOVE her.
She is a gypsy soul.
I wanted her to have a very primitive elegant, dirty beautiful kind of look, and I felt that I succeded...She is wonderful, if I don't say so myself.

So far, my day had been full of small beautiful things...but tonight was a fairly big thing for me...I was on TV! It was crazy, and wonderful all at once. Very surreal.
You should be able to view the segment HERE - the segment about Katie Estvold, that's me.
Then afterward, I was so set to settle in after everyone was in bed with this scene...I laid on the dirty rug (nah nah nah nah nah...I played before I cleaned), with The Smoothies Bible and a stack of recipe cards,

with my coffee in a favorite mug

the best kitty cat in the whole wide world who is as many years old as my husband and I have been married...we call him Boo-Boo...he mostly laid on his back and kept trying to lay on my recipe cards when I was writing and looking at me with one eye until I finally picked him up like a baby and cooed him a little and scratched his chin and kissed his wet nose until he was satisfied and would lay beside me instead...kind of demanding when he wants lovies...

then I realized I had TWO episodes of my favorite show to watch on the DVR...yeeeeeees!
Most Haunted is a UK show, that comes on the Travel Channel...LOVE the history but mostly I love the GHOSTS...yeeeeeeees! This is a photo of my tv while Most Haunted is starting...yeeeeeees!

Then I couldn't wait to look through this catalog that I'd been waiting is called
It is specifically for dry climates, like ours. I know when you hear "Oregon" you might think "rain", but that is ONLY about 1/3 or less of the state that gets so much rain. Most of Oregon is High Desert and dry, dry, dry. This catalog is like a healing balm on my sore gardener's thumb. I can NOT wait to begin to rub my pennies together and figure out what I can get this year, and what I will wait for next year. It is SO wonderful to have such a specific gardening catalog!
And, WOW, look at the photo on the front. I DREAM of taking photos like that. It is so brilliant and the pollen covered bee flitting away from such a delicate feminine blossom. I don't know who took the photo, but I wish I could give them the credit for is just beautiful.
These are the plants that caught my eye on the first "once-over" tonight...looks like I am loving the purples and yellows...

Top Row ~Scabiosa ("Vivid Violet")~Salvia ("Blue Flame")~"Wabi Basin" (looooove this, but have seem something similar at a local greenhouse for under $20 - this one is $160!!!)
Second Row ~Gaillardia ("Frenzy" - loooved the curly ends on this!)~[farthest right] Asclepia ("Western Gold Mix" - never seen this before, but the orangey-yellow brightness of it makes me haaaaappy!)
Third Row~Stachys ("Silver Carpet")~[farthest right] Echinacea ("Kim's Knee High")
In the center is a collage of what are called "Tough-As-Nails Shrub Roses" - The white ones are especially calling to me.
What a very serene, busy day it has been. A rarity in it's simplicity.