Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year, New Direction

"It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though limits to our ability do not exist. We are collaborators in creation."

-- Teilhard de Chardin

I have been lax about posting to my blogspots {yes, both of them} during the Christmas season. Once I completed the 120+ hand-made, home-made Christmas cards and got those in the mail and out into the world, I just ... rushed about trying to finish all the other holiday tasks!

Now that I almost feel recovered {yes, RECOVERED} from Christmas, I'm trying to make / find time to contemplate just what I intend to do with the beautiful New Year that lies ahead.

What are YOU going to do in 2009 that's new, different, altered, and most importantly - CREATIVE?

You may not be artistic, you may not even like art -- but you can be CREATIVE in so many ways - you can elect to read a certain author in the new year, in a genre you may have never before explored. That's being creative {and adventurous, too}.

You could choose a different way of relating to another person - someone you'd like to know better, or someone you'd like to get to know from the beginning. You could opt for being more "related" to your family and friends -- remember their special days {birthdays, anniversaries} and you could volunteer to just BE THERE for them when they need a hand to hold {some women do not like going to their mammogram appointments alone ... offer to go along, and then head out for coffee together afterwards, for a nice visit}.

Pick a new walking route, if that's your thing. Take in a new neighborhood from time to time, ON FOOT, and see what others in your community are planting in their gardens. Heck, PLANT a garden for yourself !!!

Try a new recipe once a week - better yet, share it with someone you love.
Learn to KNIT. Take up CROCHET. Finish that embroidered piece you started how-many-years-ago-is-it-now ???!!!

Whatever suits you, I encourage you to do something CREATIVE in the coming New Year.

Me? I'm going to take that Mixed Media art class -- six weeks of bliss -- I can hardly wait !!!

Yours in heading in a new direction in the new year,

Princess Magpie, aka DAH

Monday, December 22, 2008


My family SURPRISED me with a birthday bash last night ... and here are the photos to prove it:

What a party ...

Hurrah ...

... at last, I'm FIFTY !!!
Hard to believe, but Princess Mapgie has a birthday today.
-- PM

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Prince

If I am Princess Magpie {and I am!}, then this, THIS ...

is my Prince.

It rained steadily all through last night, and so far, all day today. It's lovely. Rocky decided that he'd like a fire in the living room fireplace while I finished cleaning out & organizing our infamous Hall Closet ... aka, The Gift & Gift Wrap Closet.

He asks ... he gets!


-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH
{and by the way ... there is a King in the household, but he isn't as cute burrowed in the afghan as Rock Star}

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The BEST Wishes of the Christmas Season

We received a Christmas card from a favorite bed & breakfast this week, and it's so simple - yet it moved me profoundly. It's Irish Green, with a gold foil bow {can you picture it yet?!}, with these beautiful words embossed on the front:

Peace ~ Serenity ~ Joy
Health ~ Happiness
Friendship ~ Warmth
Hope ~ Prosperity
Goodwill ~ Harmony

And because I have a most busy day today, cleaning out the Hall Closet {yes, the one that Mark said I had to sort out or we couldn't have Christmas Day here !!! THAT closet} and one quick appointment mid-day.

Christmas Greetings to you all ...
from your,
Princess Magpie

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'll take my INSPIRATION anywhere I can get it ...

... including STARBUCKS COFFEE !!!

Mark and I stopped in at the Montecito Starbucks yesterday before heading home, and the little bag that my Gingerbread Man came in said this:

Starbucks Coffee (in the logo)

flavors my senses
sweetens my disposition
stirs my imagination
nourishes my dreams

I HAVE TO ADMIT - I was mighty inspired after my Mocha Frappucino and my Ginger Man. During this oft-hectic and stressful time of year, I highly recommend a stop-off at YOUR favorite, local coffee bar -- be it Starbucks, or a private venture like my sister-in-law Kim's ESPRESSO MIO ... just so long as you get your favorite special beverage and maybe a little nosh ... just to take that holiday edge off.

Gleefully yours, a well & truly caffeinated

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Card TIDINGS to you all

As I near completion of my 125-card stated goal this year, I am already feeling a little bit sad that the project is about over.

I do want to have our Dining Room restored to its former, albeit naked, self. "Naked" because, to me, it looks best and most lived in when we are either entertaining and it's all set for guests ... or when I have a scrapbooking or card-making project spread all over the room, end to end. Those are the scenes that make me happiest.

We don't do near enough entertaining -- very little, in fact -- and my husband gets very upset if I requisition the Dining Room for my projects -- so these two weeks of card-making have been a little slice of heaven in the house for Princess Magpie. {other than the running commentary from the Mister}

this photo may explain why Mark gets mad at me for using the dining room?
Bless you for reading my blogspot, and for encouraging me on this 125-card journey. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH
December 5, 2008

Beauty Within ...

"There is no one so ugly he does not have beauty within him --
no one so weak he does not have a great strength,
and no one so poor he is not endowed with richness ...
each person is of invaluable worth."

-- Sister Antonia

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A COLLAGE A DAY by Randel Plowman

Want to know what inspires me? Plenty.
Lately, I am very "taken" by the creative genius of one Randel Plowman, of Kentucky. Randel has a very cool blogspot, where A COLLAGE A DAY is posted ... check it out for yourself!

Someday, I aspire to ... SOMETHING creative each and every day ... be it a small collage, like Randel's, or a custom greeting card for somebody, or a page in a scrapbook, or an entry in my Watercolor Journal. Whatever it ends up being, THAT IS MY STATED GOAL.

illustration is called THE SECRET, and is one of Plowman's 4 x 4 inch collage works ... I love this!

Something creative EVERY single day.

I hope you enjoy A COLLAGE A DAY, the blogspot. Let me know what you think!

-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself ...

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that a favorite mixed media artist of mine, Jane LaFazio, is going to teach a six-week {ie, six classes} MIXED MEDIA class down at the San Diego location of the La Jolla Athenaeum, beginning late January.

I read all the details, I printed it all out, and I thought about it for several days. Jane and I exchanged a couple e-mail messages, and I was convinced that THIS is the class for me.

So ... as an early 50th birthday present TO ME, I signed up for Jane's class.

To find out more about Jane, visit her website at www.plainjanestudio.com ...

To see what Jane's up to on a regular basis, you can visit her fabulous blog at www.janeville.blogspot.com ...

And to learn about the class I've signed up for, visit this site: http://ljathenaeum.org/school.html

AND just in case there's still room this coming weekend in her Watercolor Journal workshop, which I took a little over a year ago with my friend Cynthia, please visit Jane's website and scroll down until you see her December 6 workshop details. Held in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA, it is an amazing experience. You'll be SOOOO glad you took it, should you sign up.

-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH

Strength, Grace, and Wisdom

According to Sarah Ban Breathnach, who I frequently turn to for inspiration {lifestyle & creative}, what it takes to lead a CHARMED LIFE {and we're not talking "embellishments" here} is as simple as ...




"There is entirely too much charm around, and something has to be done to stop it."

-- Dorothy Parker

You may be thinking BAH, HUMBUG to Dorothy Parker for that one. But take a closer look, and you'll begin to see what DP and SBB mean when they bring to our attention all the glossy magazine images that make us think everyone ELSE has a perfect life, the most beautiful house {ah, but is it a HOME?}, is living a perfectly charmed existence.

Ain't no such thing, is what I say.

Being an {albeit retired} interior designer, and having worked many photo shoots for magazines and marketing materials, I am here to tell you IT IS ALL STAGED. Yes, the houses and/or rooms were delightful in some special way in the first place, or else they would not be the subject of said photo shoot. But I gaurantee you that what you see in the photo, and what you would have seen two hours prior -- or two hours post shoot -- are not the same thing. WE DRESS THINGS UP. WE CLEAN THINGS UP. WE STRAIGHTEN THINGS UP. WE TAKE PEOPLE'S "Stuff" AND WE HIDE IT. You have no idea !!!

That covers one aspect -- places we see in magazines.

The same goes for the beautiful models gracing the pages and our televisions -- of course they all have a particular beauty, a certain "look" about them -- that's why they are modeling or acting. But the stylist is responsible for getting them to that JUST RIGHT look you end up seeing. They sure don't roll out of bed looking all good to go. No sirreeeeeee. Being the daughter of a 40's - 50's-60's-70's fashionista, I am here to tell you -- what you see is NOT what they see when first they look in the morning mirror !!!

Mom used to tell me ... "if I don't look perfectly made up and put together, head to toe, front to back, each time I step out the front door -- who will hire me for their next convention / fashion show / appearance?" And sadly, she was probably right - but it was her BUSINESS -- MOM was the product.

So what does all this have to do with CREATIVITY?

Princess Magpie {that would be me!} is known for putting a lot of expectation & pressure on herself {yes, it's true!} for how things should turn out.

Take my Christmas Cards for example. I want them EACH to be so charming, that the recipient will keep it forever. PUH-LEEZ. For the most part, they won't know what sort of time, thought, love, and energy went into making the card -- and if I don't send them the "perfect" card FOR THEM, that will really appeal to them, making it impossible for them to toss it out after the holidays ... then SO BE IT. I have to put the love and energy into the cards, write our greetings inside, put the postage on, and SEND THEM ON THEIR MERRY WAY. And just let whatever happens to them next ... happen.

SO - my creative friends - NO PRESSURE. Make art because it makes YOU happy inside. Then release it into the world and JUST LET IT GO ... LET IT BE ... let whatever happens next, happen.

Get up each day, thank God for all your blessings, and put on your own version of


to keep you going all the day through.

That's where I was going with all that!

-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH
wishing a Most Happy December to you all

Monday, December 1, 2008

Multi-Generational Crafting

PAPER CRAFTING: not just for girls, and not just for the young. Here to illustrate my newest crafting theory, that it's a MULTI-GENERATIONAL SPORT,
I give you ... Frank's Story:

So yesterday afternoon, my dad stopped by, and since our youngest "grand" and I were in the dining room, that's where Dad took a seat. After about 10 minutes of explaining to him just what we were doing {making Christmas cards} ...

... we looked over and there was Dad, sorting out the scrap pieces of paper ...

... organizing them into a neat little "collage" on the table, and then he began reaching for the embellishments -- the bottle of Stickles {glitter glue}, packages of beads, rubber stamps {he opted for what he kept calling 'the pigeon' -- although it was clearly a Quail -- which is obviously, this being Christmas-time, a PARTRIDGE !!!}.

Before Dad left to go home, he said "Keep watch over my citadel". {the Cross, he said, was for 'protection' over the ranks ... he really got into this!}

Once an Army guy, always an Army guy !!! Only my dad could take scrapbooking materials and play FORTS with them.

-- Princess Magpie {aka DAH} -- and now you see where I get "it" from ...