Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Buy Gifts AND Make a Difference

This Christmas, why not buy gifts AND make a difference? One great website to visit is Ten Thousand Villages, one of the world's largest fair trade organizations. Artisans in 38 different countries handcraft jewelry, furniture, clothing, and other items, in impoverished places where they wouldn't be employed otherwise. And each item tells the story of the person or group it came from. Here are some great and inexpensive gift ideas I found:

Multi Strand Cuff Bracelet from India
Cut Metal Tree of Life from Haiti
Back Scrubber Kit from Ecuador
Blue Art Deco Bracelet from Guatemala
Condiment Jars in Basket from Vietnam

Reversible Silk Scarf from India
Recycled Foil Mosaic Bag from Bangladesh
Leaf and Bamboo Journal from Indonesia
Hammock Chair from Nicaragua
Elephants Puzzle from Sri Lanka
Leather Stick Drum from Kenya
Geometric Rose Pendant from West Bank
Reverse Painted Jewelry Chest from Peru

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sky Water Leaves Grass Art Exhibit

Heidi Lingamfelter & Winter Rusiloski: Sky Water Leaves Grass at Mokah Art Gallery
December 2, 2009- January 2, 2010

Although winter is setting in outside, the walls of Mokah Art Gallery are bursting with color and life. This newest exhibit features two female artists, Heidi Lingamfelter and Winter Rusiloski. Both artists’ work centers on nature, however, each uses a distinct approach with the subject matter.

Fallen Magnolia by Heidi Lingamfelter
Heidi Lingamfelter uses collagraphs to capture the essence of nature in a tangible work of art. She appreciates the simple beauty of the outdoors and loves collaborating with nature,
“Nature is the constant and I am the engineer,” says Lingamfelter.
Lingamfelter collects samples of the outside world, puts them on a press with colorful ink, and then turns the old fashioned crank to create a stunning piece of art. The result is a calming, meditative experience. Instead of using art to shock or push an agenda, Lingamfelter tries to recreate a moment, a simple scene of nature the observer can relate with.
Lingamfelter’s love of texture is apparent in each piece she creates. On the press plate, the ink seeps into the grooves between the grass, bark, or stones. As a result, each collagraph has a unique pattern and texture. Lingamfelter admits to her tactile obsession. She has always been very active and enjoys the physicality of the artistic process- going outside and collecting pieces of nature, then lifting the heavy machinery to create her images. In contrast, she often uses smooth brush strokes to paint the backgrounds for her collagraphs. The combination of lively textures and calming natural elements produce introspective pieces of artwork.
Father: The Machine by Winter Rusiloski

Winter Rusiloski needed a challenge. Having grown up in an artistic family, she was familiar with most basic art forms. After doing mostly abstract paintings, Rusiloski decided she wanted to branch out a little. During a trip to the Canadian border, she was overcome by the beautiful symmetry of the horizon. The connection between the lake and the sky was captivating. Afterwards, Rusiloski decided to take pictures of these images to use in her artwork.
At first taking pictures of found objects, Rusiloski then asked family members to send her images of the surrounding land in Pennsylvania. The quaint farms, haystacks, and trees provided inspiration for her abstract paintings. She challenged herself to match the colors in the pictures, and to continue the images with abstract lines and forms. Rusiloski works to unite the photographs and the abstract images, to cause them to integrate together seamlessly. As a result, her pieces are vibrant patches of color with hidden images of landscapes and nature.
Both Lingamfelter and Rusiloski use the outdoors as a springboard to create a unique outlook on nature. Their distinct approaches of collagraphs and abstract paintings form visual representations of natural elements. Although each piece is distinctive to its maker, the overall result is a colorful and textural experience.
Heidi Lingamfelter & Winter Rusiloski: Sky Water Leaves Grass is on view at Mokah Art Gallery through January 2, 2010.

* art review written for Dallas Art News

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Discovery in the Woods

I love visiting our relatives in East Texas. As soon as we get close, I start relaxing and feel at home. My mom inherited some land there, and on holidays, we all take the bumpy ride through the woods. Eventually my parents want to build a house on the land, but right now there aren't roads, and it's overgrown and wild. Which I happen to love, by the way. When I'm in the middle of the tall trees, all I can hear is the wind rustling the leaves. It is the closest thing to heaven I can imagine.

So after Thanksgiving, my family went to visit the land again. It's been colder in Texas this year (it even snowed yesterday!), and the maple trees were bursting with color. Berries, walnuts, and pine cones covered the ground, among the overgrown grasses and weeds. It was a lovely mess.

I went exploring in one section of trees and discovered two old glass jars half buried in the ground. One was small, but the other was larger and filled with plants. As I looked closer, I noticed the jar had a fern growing inside of it, and the soil and moss had plugged up the opening, creating a terrarium right there in the woods! It was strange, because there were no ferns anywhere else to be found outside- just in that old one gallon glass jar. I was so excited about this curious finding, in the middle of nowhere. I carried around my prize while the kids tried to skip stones in the pond.

I was a little hesitant to clean the jar, fearing that some small creature might have taken up residence. But I finally did it this afternoon, and now it looks lovely. So I have my first terrarium, discovered in the woods of my future inheritance. A nice little surprise ending to a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ten Thousand Homes Show

Hi, friends!
I wanted to remind you about the show tonight. It's for Ten Thousand Homes, an awesome non-profit, that in response to the AIDS epidemic now builds homes for orphans in South Africa. Mimo from 'Something in the Wheel' will be playing, along with a portion of 'FindingCadence'- me, Ted, and our good friend Jenise on acoustic guitar.
It's at 8pm in the Mokah Lounge at Life in Deep Ellum. All proceeds benefit TTH ($5 Cover).
Come hear some awesome music and do your part to help bring homes to orphans in South Africa!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slower Pace to Dream

I think some of it has to do with the time of year, I suppose. The leaves are falling, and I'm collecting pecans from our backyard. I'm looking ahead to Thanksgiving and scarves and jackets, smells of cinnamon and spice, and slowing down the pace of life to spend more time with family and friends. I love this time of year.
Maybe the slower pace makes me more reflective. If I have dead space- like in the car, or waiting for an appointment- I typically start daydreaming or creating ideas in my head. So, I've remade my house mentally. All that's left is to get some money and redo it all. :) And I've planned several creative projects, if I'll ever have a chunk of time to do them.

And I've been thinking about different people on my heart lately, praying more specifically for them. I'm feeling God's presence more and more in my daily routine. Like when Ted's on the computer and I'm reading a book- I feel connected to him, even though we're not constantly talking. I love quality time, just being with him, doing ordinary things. I think God must feel the same way.
Well, I guess we'll see what happens with all this sudden inspiration. There comes a point when I must get it out of my head and into the action phase. But I'm content just to daydream for now.
*feel free to use these images!*

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conquering the Stigma of Mental Illness

"1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness can be as great a challenge as the disease itself... You see, stigma is caused by either the wrong information (misperception), or no information at all (ignorance)...

"The good news is- stigma can be conquered. How? By those with a mental illness sharing their stories. And by those without an illness- listening and learning." - from Bring Change 2 Mind

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sexual Exploitation in Dallas

Lately, I've joined with a few ladies in ministering to sexually exploited women in Dallas. We visit local brothels, strip clubs and call sex ads to pray for the women and try to show them Christ's love. In many of the brothels, Asian immigrants sleep on mats- on the same floor where they sell their bodies during work hours. Because these women speak limited English, and have no transportation, they have been our biggest burden.

A few weeks ago we took some bread and sparkling grape juice, along with some Scripture verses (in English/Thai) to pass out to the women in the brothels. Several of the places have been shut down since we visited in August, but it's left the remaining brothels very busy. The parking lots were unusually full for a weekday afternoon.

Most of the Asian brothels have shrines set up outside where the women can daily bring food sacrifices or incense. It saddens me to think about the life these women are living. The cycle of degradation, lust, power and confused prayers offered to man-made gods with deaf ears.

We're currently in the process of trying to start a non-profit organization so that we can raise funds to continue ministering to these marginalized women. There is so much more on our hearts to do. And the need continues to grow, as our eyes are opened to sexual exploitation all around us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Clean" is in the eye of the beholder...

Just thought I'd share a recent frustration- my daughter's version of a "clean" room.

Well, at least I can see the floor again...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take Captive Every Thought

Last night I didn't sleep very well. I went to bed late, couldn't get comfortable, and Ted's snoring was worse than normal. I tried sleeping on the couch, but I'm used to someone next to me, so I went back to my bed. I finally was able to fall asleep using the earplugs I wear during band practices. Yes, the snoring was that loud. Then Timothy came into my bed in the wee hours. So I knew it was going to be a rough day.

While I was showering, I felt really down. I kept thinking about finances, life circumstances, body image issues... and the world was turning dark and overwhelming. And then I remembered that I hadn't had much sleep, and that perhaps this depression was really just physical exhaustion. So I felt better, but then my mind kept drifting to the same problems, and I'd feel discouraged again. So I told myself again that nothing had changed but my perspective, I was just tired. Every time I had a negative thought, I had to tell myself the truth. "Take captive every thought" (2 Cor. 10:5). Arrest the thought, deflect it, replace it. Repeat as needed.

It still surprises me how fast I can feel overwhelmed and depressed. If I had given in to the negative thoughts, I could have been immobilized by the end of my shower, and it would've been that much harder to remind myself of God's truth. Little things like sleep make a HUGE difference in being able to manage thoughts and emotions. And when I feel vulnerable to attacks of discouragement, that's when I need to stay closer and cling harder to God.

Later in the morning, I was able to play some worship songs on my piano and just rest in His presence. I felt completely refreshed and re-centered again. And when Timothy took his nap, I took a little one, too. The combination of sleep + God's presence = peace. Sounds simple, but it's easy to forget in the emotional breakdown. Fortunately, God is really nice and nudges me in the right direction when I start to lose my way. Hopefully, I'll remember tomorrow when the daily chaos strikes again. But for tonight, I'll try to get more sleep. I think I'll be proactive and use my earplugs right away this time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Jewelry and Art Prints for Sale

I was lucky enough to win this month's art giveaway from Leah Piken Kolidas. She has a great blog called Creative Every Day that I encourage you to check out. This is the print I received today, called "At Sea," which I can't wait to add to my wall collection of art prints.

I also updated my Etsy shop recently with some goodies. Here's a pair of upcycled orange earrings and aqua floral earrings. All of my earrings are made from reclaimed materials (except for the ear hooks), so they are one of a kind, lightweight, and inexpensive!

I've also added some new art prints and photographs. This is a print of my original mixed media art "Wonder," and a picture called "English Countryside."
Stop by my Etsy shop to see more art prints and unique jewelry!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fun With Fail

Ok, I usually don't do this... but I just discovered the funniest website, and I had to share some of my favorites. There are about 300 pages of hilarious pictures and videos. Go to http://www.failblog.org/ to see more.

How do you mistake this for a cat?

I'm all about upcycling, but this southern halter goes too far!
It was probably his first and last fall, and wouldn't you know it, the Queen rides by.
so bad for publicity
poor kid
some groups you don't want to leave
lazy worker fail
hope fail- what message are we sending here?
privacy fail- I like the chairs facing the toilets
safety fail- a plastic bag, really?
boundaries in relationships fail
transporting hay fail
catch fail
canoe fail
should have read the sign fail
flying bat fail
axe murderer fail- hmm, no one stopping?...

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