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The Creative Grace of Small Things ~ Artellagram 2/19/11
February 19, 2011

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You could say the year has gotten off to a bit of a challenging start! :-) The day after my husband had to leave to take care of family early in January, I broke my foot chasing after our little guy, Kai. A few weeks later, I had foot surgery and shortly after, my two-year-old son Kai got very sick with the flu, an ear infection and eventually bronchitis. Then, as many of you probably know, the entire city of Dallas virtually came to a standstill with serious ice storms here, topped off with snow at the end of the week, which in colder states would be laughable but which here cripples the city and brings along a slew of weather-related crises. To top it off, while still recovering from my foot surgery I got sick, and then sicker, and I was taken to the ER for abnormal EKG and it turned out I also had dehydration and pneumonia…WHEW!

However, the past couple of months, the following things have also happened….
  • On yet another snowy day, my husband and I were staring out the sliding door thinking about the inconveniences and closings and such, and then little Kai, staring out the window, bursts into the most joyous smile and says, "I think it's the BEST snow I EVER ever saw!!!", instantly melting away our snowy worries.

  • I was delighted to get to choose my own color for my foot’s cast! Wow! I chose the brightest orange, and it made me so happy! And it might just have been the radiating neon glow, but it seems to have made everyone else lighten up a bit, too…even strangers!

  • During a bad coughing fit, little 2 ½ yr old Kai actually said to me, "Ok, take a good breath, Mommy" and his adorable compassion was sweet as oxygen.

  • I've been so proud and inspired by the current group of ARTbundance™ Certification Trainees as they embarked on their peer practice sessions with one another during the past three weeks. I've been awed by their talent, commitment, and passion, and reminded of how well the ARTbundance™ philosophy really works! Keep reading below for a very special opportunity to work with these talented ARTbundance™ Coaches for free, as a volunteer client!

  • On Valentines Day, my sweet husband sang me a love song and I felt the same flutter as I felt on Valentines Day over a decade ago.

  • I made eye contact with a little bird who skipped on my windowsill, just to give me a little hop of hope!

  • A wonderful friend sent me a bouquet of sunflowers, "just because", without even knowing everything that had been going on with me, as I hadn't done a good job at keeping in touch.

  • And so, so much more…I could go on and on…
And that, I suppose, is what I'd most like to share today: the infinity of grace. I've given two lists which could describe my year thus far; the first list, however, of "not so good things that have happened" is finite, and yet my second list of little miracles feels infinite. SO, if I choose to, I can keep remembering more and more lovely moments from the past few weeks, even in spite of all the challenges.

One of my favorite ARTbundance™ Principles is Choice – we choose what we focus on. We all get to choose what we remember about early 2011. Life certainly isn't always easy, but we can remember little Kai's words to "take a good breath" and see the whole picture…the infinity of tiny ecstasies….as we live our lives, oxygenated by the little miracles everywhere around us.

For those short on time, to simplify this week's Artellagram, here are some ”quick links” to the highlights in this edition. You can simply follow the links that you're interested in and go directly to that section.

NEW! Get a Free ARTbundance™ Coaching Session!

NEW! SARK's Valentines Self-Love Special and "Pocket Pick Serendipity Game"!

Thanks to Our Mystery Mentors!

Artella Member Ship Updates!
Join the Artella Affiliate Program

Become Part of Artella's Team!

In the Studio with Artella Team Member Tammy Hensley

Creativity Tip: See Your ME-flection

Quotz Crystal™

1. Get a Free ARTbundance™ Coaching Session Plus Lots of Great Goodies! We're once again accepting volunteer clients to work with our talented Coaches-in-training in the current group of trainees in Artella's ARTbundance™ Certification Training Program. An ARTbundance™ Coach is a pioneering, unique hybrid of inspiring coach, creativity teacher, workshop leader, and spiritual guide. The Fall 2010 Trainees are near the completion of their certification training, and they are looking forward to working with volunteer clients in one-on-one coaching sessions!

To participate, you simply receive your free live one-on-one coaching in a 30-minute session, by phone, and fill out a follow-up feedback questionnaire following your session. In addition to the free ARTbundance™ session, you also receive a bonus gift of an ARTbundantly overflowing package of unique and inspiring goodies as our thanks! Since this opportunity has grown to be very popular, and we only have a limited number of coaches, we can only take signups on a first-come basis, at which point, like last time, we will start a waiting list. Those on the wait list however who do not get to work with a coach, will still get all the freebies outside of the coaching session, and will be contacted if a space opens up.

You can get all the exciting details and sign up for your complimentary session, here!

I've been getting lots of inquiries about the next session of ARTbundance™ Certification Training. The official date hasn’t been set yet, but right now it looks like we'll be starting our next group sometime in April, my little foot willing :-). If you would like to receive notification and an application for the next ARTbundance™ Certification Program, simply fill out the form on this page.

2. SARK's Valentine's Self-Love Special! This week I've seen lots of different opportunities to celebrate loving ourselves during Valentine's Day, but none have excited me as much as SARK announcing her fabulously creative new program, SARK-In-Your-Pocket! It's on a special discount as part of the Valentine's Self-Love Special through this coming Monday only, February 21. I think it's a terrific value for constant inspiration and definitely recommend it.

And, for some free fun that's both lighthearted and profound, try playing SARK's * Fr ee * Pocket Pick Serendipity Game, here!

3. Mystery Mentor Thank You! I want to thank everyone who participated in the First Annual Mystery Mentor program in January, and made the program such a huge success! We appreciate your feedback from our recent survey, and will be delighted to be running similar programs in the future! I hope you are enjoying the new connections with your Mentors and Mentees! Thank you to all participants for sharing your creativity in this unique way, and a big sing out to Jennifer Knutson, for her truly masterful job at coordinating the Project!

4. Artella Member Ship Updatesl! This month's Luxury Goodies will be sent out within the next couple of days. If you are a Luxury Member and do not receive your February goodies, please check any junk mail folders, and contact us if necessary.

If you're not a Luxury Member, you might be interested in coming aboard our recently-updated cabins on the Artella Member Ship Creativity Cruise! You can get more info, here!

4. Join the Affiliate Program!

Join Artella's generous Affiliate Program and enjoy all the new affiliate tools that we've recently added! You can get more info, here.

5. Interested in Becoming Part of Artella's Team? We are expanding our team for all the exciting things we're working on this year, so if you're interested in becoming part of the Artella Team, check out this page for details.

Artella is run by an amazing team of individuals, many of them volunteers, who work together to make it all happen! This year, we've started a new tradition to honor the amazing members of this Team.

Each month, Artella will make a donation to a charity in honor of one of our Team members, to the selected charity of her choice. Our first donation for January 2011 has been in honor of Tammy Hensley, our most "senior" member of the Team.

We're also delighted to present an interview with Tammy, to give you a chance to get to know her better!

Artella: You requested that Artella's contribution in your honor be made to CHUM (Churches United in Ministry). Why did you select that particular charity?

Tammy: The difficult times that so many in our country are facing is heartbreaking to me. In the area where I live, these winter months are especially brutal for those who are homeless or in need of other assistance. CHUM provides a variety of important services including shelter, food shelf, employment assistance, and outreach. They do their best to help those who they aren't able to find bed space for on any given night to make sure they have enough blankets and clothing to try and stay warm in the elements. It's a truly needed service in our community and wonderful that it's a bunch of different community churches working together to help others. While there are many deserving local arts organizations, it's hard for me to give there when others' basic needs aren't being met.

Artella: Describe the kinds of things you do for Artella.

Tammy: A lot of my responsibilities at Artella include the Blissness publications, The Art Journal Journey, and work on the Studio Kits that our members get each month. I am primarily responsible for designing and laying out both the Blissness Splash and Art Journal Journey eMags and I search out clip art and create the Idea Booklet for each Studio Kit. In addition to laying out The Art Journal Journey, I also contribute a monthly column. For the first couple of years, I authored the Alphabet Anthologies feature and have now moved on to The Fiber Files. I also wrote a series of articles summarizing my experience at The Creative Connection Event last fall which was the first art event I had ever attended.

You can read the rest of Tammy's interview, here

We are expanding our team for all the exciting things we're working on this year, so if you're interested in becoming part of the Artella Team, check out this page for details.

"Mirror work" is a very powerful tool in modern psychology, which involves looking at oneself in the mirror eye to eye and vulnerably expressing affirmations of self-acceptance. In this way, Mirror ‘Art’ turns mirror ‘work’ into an art project to further engage your client's full body, mind, and imagination into the process. True self-acceptance radically changes our choices, and allows us to align with what we really do want and need in life.

To create your "ME-flection", create a mixed media self-portrait using a mirror for your face. This could be as simple as altering a handheld mirror by painting or decorating it, or it could be a more involved piece of artwork that incorporates greater imagery and symbolism, such as the altered mint tin that is shown here.

As you work on the project, you can organically shift between expressing affirmations of self-acceptance to working on the artwork. Each process adds more momentum and meaning to the other.

Here are instructions for how to create the example shown here.

1:  Clean an empty mint tin and cover it with a playful, child-like fabric. I cut the fabric to size and then wrapped the tin with the fabric (like wrapping a gift), and then used a strong glue to attach the edges down.

2: Use strong glue to glue three crayons together, and then glue them to the base of the tin, allow it to stand on its own.

3. Glue two more crayons to the back of the tin, for "arms".

4. For the head, I used a decorative napkin holder. It consisted of a round metal napkin ring, adorned with beads. I found a round mirror that was just slightly larger than the opening of the napkin ring, and I glued the mirror to the back of the ring. I added glue to the beads so that they would "stick up"(to look like fun hair). And whenever everything was dry, I glued the headpiece to the top of the box.

As an alternative to the napkin holder, you could create something similar by wiring beads of various sizes and then attaching them to the mirror that you use for your head. 

5. Glue other small found objects, each with its own symbolic meaning, all over the body.

6. As you work, continue to express affirmations of self-acceptance, saying them out loud if you can. Here are a few to try:

"I am doing the best I can."
"I offer so much to the world around me."
"I am more comfortable in my skin each and every day."
"I am truly unique."

Continue to come up with your own messages…the kind of things you would tell a good friend in need of assurance and encouragement.

7. When you've completed the piece, you get to take the final step; for when YOU look in the mirror, the piece actually becomes complete.

See your this wonderfully multi-faceted celebration of who you are!

The project is excerpted from the Artella e-course, Mixed Media ME-flections: 30 Self-Portrait Projects to Change Your Life. You can get more information about this course, here.

This Quotz Crystal is a high-resolution jpeg image, suitable for printing. I invite you to print it out and hang it up to remind you of the everyday miracles all around you!

~Seeing the very best parts of's 2011 so far,

Artella Founder, Mango Lover, Hula Dancer

Artella Land ~ the creative isles of words, art, and spirit

Artella 9090 Skillman #182A-116 Dallas TX 75243

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