Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY 2011 + 100th BLOG POST

Picture taken by Bobby Fraser (my brother)
location: Manitoulin Island

HAPPY 2011!

It's a NEW Year and I am SO excited!
So many wonderful things to look forward to this year...
For starters...

*I just finished my 22nd painting for my SOLO ART show coming up in February. More SNEAK PEEKS coming SOON!!!

*I just booked my flight to AAJ. I signed up f0r Jesse Reno's class... The countdown is on! SO STOKED for this!

*I start this DREAM course on Monday and I can't wait!

*I start teaching ART Therapy at Huntington U on Thursday.

*I'm presently writing my LAST short story for my book. Number 12 of 12!!!

I have never been this excited to start a NEW YEAR. I just know this one is going to be OUTstanding! I hope you are feeling inspired as well.
Here is a favorite quote of mine:

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" Abraham Lincoln

Create the life of your day at a time.
Let 2011 be the year where you take the LEAP!

I wanted to share my very FIRST blogpost with you and two other of my favorite posts to honor this blogging journey I have been on. When I first started, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to post consistently. But here I am 10 months later and 100 blogposts to celebrate.
I have a feeling this is just the beginning... Here are two of my favorites posts. I hope you enjoy(ed) them too!

Just TEN Minutes...

I would LOVE to hear what your favorite post was... And when you do, you will be entered to win one of two lockets! Keep it for yourself or gift it to your BESTIE! All you have to do is tell me which blogpost was your fave and why?

Thank-you to every single one who you who has taken the time to read my words. Every comment, supportive message, and kindhearted email has been deeply appreciated by me. You have enriched my life and I am so grateful. Make sure you enter your comment for your chance to win and for my chance to say thank-you. Much LOVE xox

Winners will be announced next week!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Follow the Signs...

Dear friends, I am so content. Christmas was lovely this year and I have been spending the last three days reading, writing and resting. I read a four hundred page book in one day and I didn't even feel guilty. This is progress people!

We are slowly recovering from three consecutive turkey dinners and a short trip to Manitoulin Island. We are spending time in our own little Universes, doing what makes us happy. They boys sit beside me as I type this, locked into their own little PS3 world... I am blissfully content.

While I look ahead to a NEW YEAR, I want to take pause to remember where I was just a year ago. Our journey is a windy one...

This time last year, I felt defeated and exhausted. I allowed some people in my life to take my JOY-sucking it from me through a funnel, leaving me feeling withered and tired. I was already so depleted from a work situation that left me wondering how unfair the world could be. That even though you give it your all and then some, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes people in "high place" choose to cover up the incident report from security and wipe the student's file clean. Sometimes the boy's club reeks and gloats in your face. Sometimes, in places of "higher learning", there is no such thing as zero tolerance for violence. Money and reputation outweigh truth, respect and a REAL education.

It is now a year later and I'm in such a different place-A NEW WORLD.

I do not regret these incidents, this series of events that led me to another bottom. What now? Where do I go from here? I believe that this desperation is what finally led me to rip the plastic off the white canvases. The ones I had bought five years before. The ones I brought back and forth while I moved houses and cities.

ART beckoned me. ART called me. ART saved me. It carried me through the darkness, the rubble, and the disappointments.

This time last year, I was vulnerable and bruised. I had NO idea what 2010 had planned for me, but somehow I still remained hopeful.

Now, on the cusp of a NEW YEAR, I am beyond grateful for the gifts of 2010. They have been abundant and beautiful.

I cannot wait to share all the many things I have planned for 2011. The NEW dreams, goals, wishes, classes, trips, etc.... For now, I just want to let you know that if you are in a dark place, the kind where you are lifting your arms and saying:" What now?" Just know that this could be the beginning of something more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Open your arms to the possibilities of 2011 and know that sometimes, the Universe works in mysterious ways for you to get on the path you are supposed to be. The path that opens your heart and makes you want to share it with the world.

PS. I have finished two great books this week. If you need a "goodie" to read I thought I would share...

1. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

She is in my opinion, the BEST fiction writer of our time. These are short stories that should be savored slowly. They are layered and rich. I read them in the bath. I like to read one short story per bath. This way I can treasure one at a time.

2. The Bishop's Man by Linden McIntyre

This book was the kind of book where I had no expectations. It was the 2009 Giller winner here in Canada. I LOVED it! It's the kind of book that makes me want to be a better writer. The story is layered with his past, his childhood and his gremlins. It was a beautiful moving story about a priest, the kind you don't hear about in the six o'clock news. Sometimes a book will shift something inside of you, make you a better person as cliche as this sounds. This was one of those books. I left Catholicism a long time ago, but this book helped me to see the humanity in a place where I only saw ugliness before. This is the book I read in one day.

PSS. This is my 99th Blog POST.
Stay tuned for the next one! Number 100 on NEW YEAR'S DAY!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Twelve Wishes for You!

My twelve wishes for you ♥ ♥ ♥

1. Peace in your heart.
2. Warm toes on cold nights.
3. Sweets to make your belly smile.

4. Hugs to keep you warm- from the inside out.
5. Songs to fill your soul.
6. Laughter to fill your heart.

7. Feet and mind grounded in presence to enjoy all the goodness.
8. Early morning snuggles.

9. Late nights in front of the Christmas tree.
10. Sweet surprises from the ones you LOVE.

11. Embracing the power of giving.
12. Believing in the Spirit of Christmas.

Feel the LOVE, BE the LOVE, LOVE.

Happy holidays and Joyeux Noel from my family to yours.
Wishing you moments of JOY that will top you up and then some.
LOVE, Danielle xoxo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Five Joyful Things!

I want to share a few things that are making me jump for joy these days...

1. I visited Huntington University yesterday and I have to admit I was nervous. Being the new girl again and finding my way... I was overwhelmed by the kindness and welcome I experienced. It was so refreshing and I am REALLY looking forward to teaching ART Therapy there in the NEW Year!

2. I started a meditation group! We have met twice already and we plan to meet every Monday night. I have been wanting to join one again for years but the nights never seemed to work. One day, I decided to just start one of my own. This has been SO wonderful and I am really enjoying being back in my groove spiritual groove that is!

3. I have completed my 11th short story! That means ONLY 1 MORE TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am one story away from completing this collection of short stories...and then the editing begins! I CANNOT believe how close I am. I hope to finish BEFORE 2011.

4. My painting groove is back! After painting so many flops, I have finally painted some goodies again! Yay!!!

5. I am really enjoying watching the Christmas movies with my son. Last night we watched Home Alone on tv. Hearing him laugh out loud is the sweetest sound in the world. Snuggling up with him is just the best!

PS. I have a couple of new items in the shop! Here is a painting I took out of the vault. I'm keeping the original but the print is available!

What is making you JOYful these days?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heart Made Gifts...

The house is bursting with Christmas! Our little Frodo is also counting down the days for the big guy in the red suit to drop by... I wanted to show you a couple heartmade gifts that we made.

Owen and I made papier machee dove ornaments. We just used newspaper and flour, white paint and paper for the beaks. I then used the glue gun to add the "hangy thingy" and the white feathered wings. My little man is quite proud of these and I'm sure he will enjoy gifting them to some very lucky family peeps. (Please act very surprised if you are reading this post.)

It reads:
"You have the heART of an ARTist", said the little bird.

I also made something very special for my Mom this year. She has been painting keepsake boxes for years. She painted one for each 5 of her sisters and for countless others. I wanted to make her a box of her own but with a special theme. My Mom is an ARTist but doesn't know it yet. She is also WAY more talented then she believes. So, I wanted to make her something to remind her that she is an artist.

I'm filling this box with all kinds of goodies and supplies as well as Julia Cameron's "The Artist Way". I'm hoping that she will continue to nurture her artistic gifts next year. I'm her biggest fan. (I have also asked her to stop reading the blog as of today until Christmas...she is crazy busy anyways teaching senior kindergarten and getting ready for Christmas).

Here is my little Frodo again. I think he's hiding his bones under the tree. It seems to be his favorite hangout lately. In the studio again today. Seventeen paintings completed for the show. I'm aiming for twenty two. I hope the results are better than yesterday...2 1/2 flops! Not everyday can be magical... Happy day to you and wishing you a day of magic in the studio, at work, or wherever you are. Did you make a heart made gift this year for someone special? I would love to hear about it! xo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bittersweet Christmas Memories...

My Christmas shopping and creating is complete. My gifts are just about wrapped and tagged. I just have my super duper melt in your mouth fudge to make and I will be ready for the big day.

I am ahead of shedual this year... It's a nice place to be for once. But, I have so many other deadlines looming that are keeping me busy; like the new ART THERAPY class I will be teaching next semester and my SOLO ART show coming up. The dates have now been confirmed. I will be showing my work in February. I have 16 paintings completed so far. I plan on 22. Thank-you all for your patience. I am looking forward to putting new paintings up in the NEW YEAR.

This is such an exciting time of year isn't it? SO full of magic and hope... Only ten days till Santa arrives and my son Owen is BEYOND excited. Despite the happy memories I have created with my husband and son, and all the happy memories I know we will create this Christmas, I can't help but go back to a time where Christmas was bittersweet. Maybe you have an idea of what I'm talking about. Christmases past where it began like a fairytale and eventually became a drama...even a horror show. I know I know it doesn't matter anymore. I'm a grown woman with my own family creating beautiful loving memories. But, the little girl in me cannot help but go back at this time of year, to that place of uncertainty yet, of utter knowingness that by the end of the night, with alcohol consumption reaching maximum levels, all hell would break loose. The fairytale would end abruptly. Another Christmas marked by alcohol, his drug of choice.

I want to dedicate this post to all the children whose Christmas may not end with happily ever after, rather, with the big black scar of knowingness. I want to tell these kids that this too shall pass. You will be in control of your environment someday. You will start to heal that brokenness. You are not the reason for the horror show. You are a perfect loving innocent child and you deserve to be loved-unconditionally. He may never understand how he changed you, how he snuffed out your light, but someday you will shine BRIGHT. again. Someday you will put up your own Christmas tree, sit quietly looking at the lights and know that you are safe and loved deeply. that you are enough. that it was never your fault.

I'm sending LOVE and light to all those whose Christmases will not be full of cheer and glee. You are not alone. Never. And, someday, you will be able to create your happily ever after. minus a few painful memories... I promise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Featured Interview with THE Louise Gale

Meet my friend Louise Gale. Some of you might already know her...

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her last February at ARTful Journey in San Jose California. Her British accent makes me swoon, but her heart and spirit are what makes me heart her so. She has become part of my tribe, one of my heART sisters. She is also starting a revolutionary ecourse this January that can help you make 2011 the year where YOUR dreams come TRUE! I am SO excited to share her words with you! Please get a cup of tea and stay a while.

1. Like you, I have left the regular 9 to 5, a secure job to pursue a daily creative life. Do you remember the moment you made this decision? How long did you question yourself before making this big decision?

About a year before I left my job, I had a folder called “the happy plan”. In it, I had notes and lists of thoughts and ideas. A breakdown of different scenarios, going part-time, leaving my corporate role etc. My heart knew I was destined for another life, so even though I was realistic in knowing I had to keep doing what I was doing a little longer, I felt positive I could make a change. It was in the summer of 2009, when I finally realized how other artists were making a living from their art in very diverse ways, that this dream started to become reality. I then took all the tools and techniques I had learned from the corporate world and life experiences so far to map out a way forward. I wrote out my long term goals and dreams then started to break them down into bitesize chunks, focusing on the outcome. My visionboard in January 2010 had “April” on it, so this actually ended up being the time I decided to leave.

2. There is no doubt that you are a brave woman as you have left your home in England and everything you know to live in a new country. What makes you so brave Louise?

Oh thank you Danielle! I wasn’t always brave! Growing up, my parents had always taught me by example to “go against the grain” so to speak – so do what I felt was the right thing, not necessarily what everyone else was doing. From about the age of 17, I started to do things that pushed me out of my comfort zone, that scared me a little, travel overseas, spread my wings a little further. At 22, I remember looking through a magazine and seeing a picture of the great barrier reef in Australia, wishing I could visit, then realizing I could, I just needed to save the money, book the flight and have a plan about where to stay and what to see!! I started to set goals about places I wanted to visit, activities to be more adventurous. I booked a scuba diving trip in Australia to try to overcome my fear of the ocean. (I did it, but am still a tiny bit scared to swim in the sea when I cant see clear water!) . There’s a saying “do something that scares you everyday” and I think the more of those kind of things we do, helps us become braver. These could be little things, like talk to a stranger when waiting for the bus or wearing a bright color! Taking these small steps helps us become more confident to try new things and cultivate the brave souls that we all are.

3. What lead you to an inner journey? Many people believe they are too busy during the day to quiet themselves and listen. Why do you think this is so important?

It’s so important to be present and listen to ourselves and the world around us. I have recognized how distracting this world can be sometimes and before we know it a year or many have passed without us even thinking about what’s important and what life is really all about. In June 2009, I complained to myself, that I didn’t have enough time to be creative, then realized the time I was watching tv could be swapped for more creative activities. I decided to give up tv altogether just to see what difference it made. So every evening, I would create, do research, visit blogs, connect with others, meet friends I admired to discuss life. I found my own life was enriched and I became so much more productive. I think its so easy to be on “auto pilot” and when we stop, take a break, go on vacation, this is when we become restless, because we know that something needs to change.

Catch the Wisdom by Louise Gale

4. The ecourse you are launching in the New Year sounds fascinating and I am very excited to join you in 2011. Why are you so passionate about this project? Tell us why this course is unique.

I’m so passionate because this course combines the right side of the brain with the left, giving us the fuller picture of dreaming and then putting ideas into action. There are some amazing ecourses out there focusing more on dreaming and identifying dreams, but what makes “Big Dreams. Small Wonders” unique is we take it a step further, we cover how to break down the dreams into actions and brainstorm ideas of what to do next to help them become reality. I am so excited to be able to show some of the tools for “drawing out” dreams and then putting them into roadmaps. I’ll be combining exercises for the creative right side of our brain (the creative, dreaming side) with the left side (more analytical, list building and executing of ideas into action). Everyone usually has a preference to one side of the brain to the other, so some may feel the exercises take them out of their comfort zone just a little, but this is ultimately growing the side of the brain they need to balance the other side with. The theories I used in my learning & development role in the corporate world also help piece the learning experiences together as we work through the 4 weeks.

5. What would you say to someone who wants change and knows they need change but they are too afraid to take a step towards change?

Ah Fear! That feeling that sits with us constantly. I am a strong believer in things working out the way they should and for a reason. I would firstly say “Trust yourself and the universe and to stay positive”. The power of positive thinking has an amazing effect. I have always been a glass half full kinda girl and even when things don’t go as planned, when I look back to reflect, I understand this “event” has taken me down a different road, that the destination is the same and ultimately brings about something positive… as long as you let it.

After realizing a change is needed, I would then suggest scoping out further (this is usually what stops others moving forward). Ask yourself questions such as; what is needed to make the change? What resources do I need, How long can I manage financially as I’m making this change? Can I cut back on anything? What are the key steps to get there? What contingency plans can I put in place in case something doesn’t go as planned? This process helps you be realistic and also overcome some of those fears, especially when you have a plan B, C, D etc, Creating such a plan helped me overcome a lot of the fear I initially felt about taking a huge step. I also looked at different scenarios: Would I think about taking some extra work here or there to help me? Could I give up spending money on x to enable me to survive longer financially? I also gave myself a date to review where I was and make adjustments if needed. Having a plan really is key, it won’t always be easy, but being able to come back to the roadmap and always moving forwards helps us stay focused. We do all deserve to live the life we were born to have and this is all part of that wonderful journey. You can do it.

Mystical Garden by Louise Gale

6. What do you think separates the dreamers from the non-dreamers in life?

I think we are all dreamers at heart, but for many, putting the initial dream or thought into action can feel out of reach and therefore wont then ever happen.

One of my favourite authors- Antoine de Saint-Exupery said “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. I create plans for all sorts of things!

We are in charge of our own destiny. There are many obstacles, other circumstances and hurdles that are put in front of us to make this more challenging, but it’s the challenges and risks we take in life that make it so much more rewarding. Overcoming an obstacle, doing something that scares us a little, pushing ourselves to grow and improve ultimately enhances our own life, our self esteem and the legacy we then provide to our children or the next generation we are here to influence. I really feel that “Big Dreams. Small Wonders” will inject what is needed for many to make 2011 a great year, and unstoppable to make positive change for years to come.

Now you know why I am SO excited to start the NEW YEAR with Louise and so many others who want to make 2011 count. Registration is OPEN right now. You deserve this. Join us!

A huge thank-you to you Louise for opening up and sharing your wisdom and journey with us. I can't wait to see you again next February at AAJ! (Major SQUEALS!!!) But, first I will see you online January 3rd. I can't wait!

Find Louise here:


PS. Before I sign out, I have to thank-you all for your comments and kindness on my last post. Your words made me blush, cheer and smile from the inside out. Thank-YOU for your generous words. I will keep them tucked inside my heart always. xo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Learning to LOVE me...

Here I through the eyes of others...
I thought about putting this photo shoot off...
waiting to lose another 20 pounds because that's when I would really like them...
like me...

But I didn't.

I'm not going to list the many things that went through
my head as I opened the jpegs to view these pictures...
the self-criticism, the self-loathing, the look at my round face and BIG cheeks!!!

So here I am, exposed.
My body is not perfect,
my face is not the kind you would see on the cover of a magazine,
but this is me right

No more waiting to lose another 20, 10, 5 pounds before I take that family photo.
No more waiting until I reach my "goals" to finally accept who I am.

Here I am.

Yes, I am a work in progress.
But I deserve to LOVE myself unconditionally.
No matter what the numbers say.

Hello World, this is ME today!

PS. ALL photos above are the work of the talented Harriet Carlson
PSS. More pictures to come soon!
PSSS. My SALE is still on all my original paintings! 40% OFF until Friday! Hip Hip Hooray!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Thank-You SALE!

Thank-you all so much for the kind words on my last post. I am truly enjoying this time in my life. It is so lovely to share good news with others after many difficult years of growth.

With the Holidays fast approaching, I wanted to share my happiness with you by offering 40% off ALL my original paintings in the shop. I feel this is a way I can share some holiday cheer with you. I am so grateful for your support and I want to let you know that it deeply matters to me.

Here are some examples of original paintings now listed in the shop. The sale will start tomorrow and end Friday December 10th. Maybe one of your favorites is waiting for you or someone you LOVE.

Tis the Season for giving! My dear friend Juliette Crane is also having a SALE! Please help her celebrate her (pre)-Birthday by visiting her shop to view her beautiful whimsical art. Starting tomorrow, all PRINTS are BUY ONE GET ONE FREE, for two days only! A gift of ART is always from the heart and Juliette is truly an inspiration to all who know her. She is a ray of sunlight that shines on this vast field in cyberspace. Please visit her blog to learn more about her process. Her ART will also be featured in Somerset Studio in the NEW YEAR... Yay Juliette!

Clear Skies Rest Over my Heart
by Juliette Crane

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thank-you Synchronicity....

(photo credit Harriet Carlson)

I have been experiencing some lovely synchronicity these days. For starters, I have joyfully accepted a new teaching position at Huntington University in my home town where I will be teaching ART Therapy. What is so special about this opportunity is that this job found me first. I love it when the Universe gives me what I didn't even know I wanted and then I realize it is totally what I needed. I start in January.

I am so stoked about teaching at the University level. It's only one class but that is plenty for me. No more teaching eight classes in one semester for this girl. I remain committed to my ARtful Journey but look forward to spending some time outside my studio to teach something that I have instinctively applied to my own life. ART SAVES indeed!

On another note, I did a photo shoot yesterday! This was total pro with the infamous local creative genius, Harriet Carlson. We're talking lights, camera- action! I wasn't prepared for how uncomfortable I would feel sitting in front of the black lense of the camera with only me to shoot-to see.

To say that I was uneasy is a complete understatement. It was painful. After two glasses of white wine (it was only 2pm), I was able to sit and take part. My edge was gone but some awkwardness still remained.

It is so humbling to sit before this lens. I hope one day to find my inner diva and strike a pose like a semi-pro at least. But for now, these pictures will document my present.

I can't wait to show you the fully edited shots, but for now I had to share the one above.

I have a HUGE sale starting next week on all original paintings. I will be adding some old favorites to the bunch so please sign up for my newsletter to be in the know. I will be sending out the next newsletter soon!

It's Friday and I sit here in a book store with my favorite grande non fat caramel macchiatto, grateful for the gifts I have been receiving from the Universe. My arms are open to receive and I thank-you for all that you bestow upon me. Happy Friday all! I hope the Universe smiles upon you too. Ask and you SHALL receive! xo