Back to Back Issues Page
Articulation 12/16/04 - "Creative Splatters and Simple Gifts"
December 16, 2004
Hi ~

If your email program does not display this newsletter in its proper colorful formatting, you can view it on the Web

"Creative Splatters and Simple Gifts: How to Feel the Holiday Spirit without Spending a Penny"

We're right in the juicy cream-filled center of the holiday season. There's no way to ignore it, perhaps especially in the States, where all commerce industries are trying to grab at us from a million different directions. In the past couple of weeks, I've heard many people express that they can't enjoy the holidays because of lack of funds. Below, I've compiled a few ideas of ways that you can make this season meaningful without spending a penny. Perhaps one of them will strike a chord and make a difference to you!

1. Go to the library and check out children's books about the Holidays. I'm currently in Dallas, helping my mom after surgery, and am enjoying spending time in the little library she runs in her home (read all about her library here.) I've loved discovering multiple layers in the joy of the Season by reading children's books. There are wonderful books that celebrate the diverse traditions, cultures, and themes of this Season, while being inspiring, entertaining, informative, and fantastic waltzes of words and art! Read the books out loud with a friend of any age, or curl up and enjoy a romp through our world's many celebrations. A few of the favorites I have enjoyed this year, that I recommend for inspiring themes, writing, and art, are:
  • Children Around the World Celebrate Christmas by Susan Titus Osborn and Christine Tangvald
  • Light the Candles: a Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub, illustrations by Lynne Cravath
  • The Greatest Gift of All by Kimberly Rhinehart, illustrations by Georgia Rettmer
  • A Kwanzaa Celebration Pop Up Book by Nancy Williams, illustations by Robert Sabuda
  • Peter Spier's Christmas! by Peter Spier
  • A Small Miracle by Peter Collington
  • Light the Candle! Bang the Drum!: A Book of Holidays by Ann Morris

2. Make a wishing tree. Take a small, interestingly-shaped branch and steady it in a bowl (try putting it in floral Styrofoam, or balancing it amidst rocks, pebbles, or sand. Or simply wrap clear tape around the branch's base and tape supports around it to keep it standing upright – remember, the point here is that you don't have to spend any money.) Once your "tree" is planted, add wishes to the small branches by adding simple "ornaments", accompanying each one with a wish. Have fun playing with wishes for yourself, loved ones, and for the world. The wishing tree is a ritual that you can do alone, or with your family or friends. Here are some ideas for the "ornaments":
  • little notes stuck on branches
  • earrings or other jewelry hung over branches
  • fibers or yarn or ribbon tied in bows around the little branches
  • gumdrops stuck on the twigs
The last idea is a favorite tradition from my childhood! Take a look at the lovely gumdrop tree my mom and I made this year by going to, and scrolling all the way down to the bottom, where the "Quiz" is. Isn't that a pretty tree?
3. Go on a virtual window shopping trip with an Internet friend. Make a "shopping date" that you can do from your own computers, in your own corners of the world. Hook up to an Instant Message program (both MSN and AOL have ones that are free to anyone) and sign on so that you can "chat" back and forth in real time. While you are chatting, each of you surf the internet for fun finds, and then pass the links back and forth. Some ideas:
  • Allow serendipity to take over and enter interesting words in search engines, or as URLs, and see what you find. For example, when I looked up "Marney" in a search engine, I learned about a Medieval English village named Marney, and found this sentence: "Marney was the energetic center of town where villagers connected to socialize and engage in bartering and exchanges." Wow!!!
  • Go to Artella's Smart Shopper and each of you answer the questions for the other person. Then share which gift choices you came up with by sending the links of the gifts you are "giving" the person "in thought". Giving gifts on an energetic level puts into action the idea that "it’s the thought that counts". Knowing what someone would give you, if resources were not an issue, is a fabulous thing to take in and accept.

I'll warn you that giving "energetic gifts" is a very powerful activity. A few years ago, during a lean holiday season, my husband and I exchanged our "would-be gifts" in a tender exchange. I "gave" him a PalmPilot, and he "gave" me aquamarine earrings, to match the stone in my engagement rings. It was such a sweet gift exchange that didn't involve any tangible goods, or any money.

But...guess what happened within a week? He came home one night announcing that one of his customers gave him a Palm Pilot as a Christmas gift. And my friend, jewelry artist Melissa Chapin, gave me aquamarine earrings! Tony and I were pretty impressed that we were able to manifest these gifts for one another, and for me, this was a turning point in my own understanding of how the Universe responds to the desires we verbalize.

4. It's a wonderful life! Take inspiration from the theme of the great holiday movie, It's a Wonderful Life, and tell someone that YOUR life is different because of them. We are graced daily by the small, seemingly insignificant actions of other people, and too many people are walking around not realizing that they made a difference. Send an eCard (take a look at Artella’s eCards at to thank someone for something they have done in 2004 that made a difference to you.

5. Make or give a Joy Binder! Suzanne Falter-Barns of created a fantastic tool to help create the coolest gift for someone you love, for NO money. She calls it The Joy Binder, and you can find instructions for downloading and creating it here.

As you fill up the Joy Binder with inspiring bits and pieces, consider taking a look at Artella's Free Creativity Seeds page. Numbers 1, 2, 4, 12, 14, 15, 17, and 21 are very appropriate for Suzanne's Joy Binder!

6. Make and give "Play Money!" At the Artella Creative ManiFestival Retreat last month, we exchanged "play money" all weekend: money that each participant made before and during the to give in appreciation for meaningful exchanges. The play money ranged from seashells, to tiny quilts, to watercolor expressions, to "chicken bill" drawings, to Artella bucks with the giver's dream written on the back. When people ran out of money, they could go to the Art Room and make more. It was wonderful! You can do it, too...give someone a gift of money you design yourself, and send it to them with a note explaining this sincere gift of prosperity and abundance.

(And speaking of the Retreat, we've posted new photos, and links to the personal Web site of retreat participants, at

In closing, I'll take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of Artella this year. The Artella presence in my life is the best present under my tree.


It's been a year with a lot of twists and turns and losses in my own life, as well as in the lives of lots of people I know. I believe that if we allow it, the spirit of this season can do much to heal wounds, losses, and empty spaces. This week's ArtSplash is a little meditation about this.

It's called A Tangle of Lights and you can find it at

You can send this new image, and many more, as a free eCard...we even have Holiday cards and Holiday poste for your digital stamps!


1. There is still time to give the perfect gift...and get gifts in return! Our Gift Gala Subscription packages are wrapped up beautifully and super-swiftly, to make sure they get delivered in time for the Holidays, so you still have time to attend Artella Mae's Gift Gala and purchase subscriptions for all the creative folks on your list. In return, you get tons of gifts yourself AND earn Artella Gold dollars, to use on any Artella product or service. I'll let the fashionable girls in their vintage Holiday gowns give you the details...take a look for all the details!

2. e-Artella update! e-Artella #e-7 has been delayed because of my shift to being a full-time caretaking for my mom for a time. But it IS coming soon. Subscribers and contributors will receive it automatically; and YOU can get on the list to receive it for just $4.95 by buying your copy here.

3. Let Artella help make 2005 the year when it all comes together! If you have big dreams for the new year, Artella has courses and workshops to help make them happen! Consider, perhaps...
  • Create Your Own YOUniversity (aka YOU * U), to help you create turn-key eProducts, start to finish (NOTE: there is a fr+ee information phone session about YOU * U on January 4. See the link below for information about attending the info session)
  • Goalar Energy, the program that finally allows you to approach a goal by embracing both sides of your brain
  • Launch, Lift, and Love Your Web Site, a fr+ee teleclass in January
  • Accounting Your Blessings, Miracle Soup, Creative ManiFestival, and The Gratitude Garland...highly unique e-courses designed to help creative people create greater prosperity and grace in their lives
  • The Wealthcare Program, which combines 3 of the above courses in a comprehensive approach with group and individual support
  • Writes and Passages, to help you find your unique writer's voice
  • Coming in early 2005...The AccountaWILLity Project, my effort to fulfill my own personal goal of supporting people in STICKING TO THEIR INTENTIONS.

Information about ALL of these workshops and courses is available on the Workshops page.

Also be sure to take a browse through our latest eBooks, eBooklets, and eWorkbooks in the Artella eBookstore. There are three new booklets added just this week, so be sure to drop by!

6. Newest Poetry Contest Winners! Here are the winners of our latest Poetry Contest:
  • First place: Kim Gelanis for "Quiet"
  • Second place: Ann McGovern for "Beach Dreamings"
  • Third place: Alex Silva for "One Life"
  • Fourth place: Maureen Ryan Griffin for "In Gratitude to Shining You"
Look for the winning poems in the Poetry Gardens in the next few days.

Entries to the last Quarterly Poetic Idol Competition are currently being judged. We expect to announce winners by the end of the year.

7. See DAILY updates to the Artella site! Don't forget, whenever we add something to the Web site, I post it on the Artella-News blog, just so you don't miss a single opportunity or free resource. Visit the blog at


Our current featured artist is Sallianne Norelli! From her eBook on writing, to her beautifully "vintage-look" jewelry, Sallianne's products make great gifts!

Also, I didn't have the privileged opportunity to mention our last Featured Artist, Annie Hesse, in Articulation. Annie's beaded necklaces, bracelets, and pendants are incredibly unique, with an artistic quality that really sets them apart. Be sure to take a look.

Artella's Smart Shopper is an interactive tool that helps you do your shopping quickly, easily, and in a fashion that supports Artella Artists. If you have haven't given this toll a try yet, DO it! It only takes a minute, and it's a lot of fun to answer the questions and see what intuitive suggestions the Smart Shopper returns!

And if you need a bit more holiday cheer around you, try these: Glenda Miles' Holiday Wishing Wand, Liisa Mannery's Father Christmas Doll, Michelle Lawhorn's eBook, ReEnvisioning the Holy Days, Tina Ramsby's elegant and inexpensive Holiday tags, the Holiday books and journals by Mary Wiseman, winter purses by Megan Hull, and Beth Burke's Follow the Star quilt.

Also look at our entire collection of artsy holiday cards by Jerry Dreesen, Arthiss Kliever, Zura Ledbetter, Patricia O'Rourke, and our beautiful collection of holiday-themed jewelry by Linda Lynch, Tina Ramsby, and Jan Bartlett (and note that Jan's vintage lens pieces are on sale through Christmas Day!)


If you have a lot of little tiny scraps of ribbon laying around that are too small to do anything with, here's a way to put them to use. It's inspired by the "crazy quilts" made from ribbon scraps, but it doesn't require any sewing. Simply cover a regular piece of paper with a double-stick adhesive (wide double-stick tape, or a full double-stick sheet), pull back the covering, and then lay down the ribbon scraps until all areas of the adhesive are covered. Viola - you now have gorgeous, tactile wrapping paper made from ribbons! Optional: leaves some small spaces between the scraps, and pour tiny beads over exposed areas of adhesive. Shake off the excess beads, and then your ribbon paper has an added dimension of sparkle and spine!


This time of year, kids write letters to Santa. Why not take a cue from them, and write letters to the parts of you that you would most like to connect with? Here are some prompts to spark some interesting letter-writing exercises:
  • Dear Memories,
  • Dear What's-Holding-Me-Back,
  • Dear Streets I've Walked,
  • Dear Me-At-90,
  • Dear Winter,
  • Dear Bones,
  • Dear What-I-Cannot-Catch,
  • Dear Deep Giggles,
Make your own list of "letters to write", and write a letter each day as an easy practice for keeping your writing voice alive.


1.This link at New American Dream offers many resources for making the holidays simple, creative, and eco-friendly. I was very impressed with this resource and hope you'll take a look.

2. At a time of year when it is important to remember a variety of cultural and spiritual traditions, I recommend a visit to the Web site of YOU * U Graduate Lila*, This site is like a treasure hunt for the spirit. There is a wealth of information about many different kinds of spiritual traditions, as well as an array of tools for bringing a greater sense of Spirit into you life. Congratulations on your wonderful site, Lila*!

Wishing you meaningful holidays full of hope and life.

~tangled in tinsel and tommorrows,

Artella Founder/Editor

Keep It Coming!To ensure delivery of this newsletter, take a minute now and create a contact in your email address book for

If you don't, your Internet Service Provider(ISP) may block delivery.
Back to Back Issues Page