7 Steps to your Grand Plan

7 Steps to your Grand Plan

Lessons 2013, Dreams 2014:  A vision journal page

Lessons 2013, Dreams 2014: A vision journal page

We are leaving January and moving into Imbolc/the beginning of February.  Spring, believe it or not, is on its way.  Beneath the frozen surface, things are stirring, driven by the demands of life.

It’s a good time to see how all those resolutions/words/phrases for 2014 are going.

How ARE they going?

Yesterday I gave myself space to image the coming year – images speak to the subconscious.  I did find the conscious kept wanting to sit and makes lists, or at least capture a few ideas in writing.  It’s always good to move from the abstract ideas in one’s head to the concrete reality of words on paper, but all in good time.  Today images, tomorrow, words.

In my quest for images rummaging through old “O” magazines (they have the *best* words and phrases!), I came across something of help for the words.  Thought I’d share in case you need a boost.

First off, let me say that a grand plan isn’t necessary.  An intention, a wish, a longing – all of those can lead you in the right direction if you will listen.  But you will only hear in quiet grand plan or no.  Make space for quiet so you can hear!

Steps to your Grand Plan (adopted and enlarged upon from an article in the October 2011 edition of “O”)

1.  Go public.  Tell your grand plan to at least one person you trust.  Not to judge, but to listen.  That person can hear your dream with no questions – they don’t have your blocks.  Let them believe for you until you can.  Saying out loud is like writing it down:  it forces the brain to put order to your thoughts.

2.  Find support.  This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this here.  Having a group of folks to travel toward your dream with is mandatory.  They can share your dream or you can support them as they support you:  regular meetings and progress reports.  Discuss the bumps.  Pick each other up.  Onward.

art journal page:  Be the wave

art journal page: Be the wave

3.  Don’t let anyone tell you no.  One of my lessons from 2013 is “asking one time or one person is not enough.  Keep asking until you get the answer you need to move forward.”

4. Rely on the kindness of strangers:  use Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub or any of the on-line ways to crowdfunding sites for your project.  Believe.  Let others believe.  Accept grace when it comes your way (one of my wishes for myself this year:  accept grace).

5.  Spread the word.  Networking works (another 2013 lesson).  Get out and talk to people.  Everywhere.

6. “Your fuel source and your reserve is wonder – curiosity and willingness to be delighted.”  Practice at least ten minutes a day.  And then say thank you, thank you, thank you to yourself, to the Universe, to whomever or whatever aids you along your path (grace, friends, goddess).

7. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.  Naysayers are talking more about themselves than you.  Thank them for their concern and keep moving.  Do not drag them along with you.

Now, go get a fortune cookie, because you just never know where grace will come from.


Imbolc: Gratitude and ritual and dreams

beach photo with statement: people don't need to be saved or rescued. People need knowledge of their own power and how to access it.

Claim your Hell YES!!

This past week I have been having pangs of missing blogging.  I haven’t really taken the time to do anything about it, but note the tug and think something tugging that strongly probably deserves a bit of attention in my life, especially since at this point, with the new part time job, my life is well set up to add blogging back in with no stress.

I have recently subscribed to delancyplace.com which daily sends a snippet of a book.  Some I simply delete, some call to me.  Today’s post actually supports my morning ritual of waking, connecting out into the All, and saying thank you.  I was going to post it on Facebook but decided that I wanted something a bit more permanent, something I can find when I need it.

“Here’s a brief exercise that will raise your well-being and lower your depression: The gratitude visit. Close your eyes. Call up the face of someone still alive who years ago did something or said something that changed your life for the better. Someone who you never properly thanked; someone you could meet face-to-face next week. Got a face? Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them. But sometimes our thank you is said so casually or quickly that it is nearly meaningless. … Your task is to write a letter of gratitude to this individual and deliver it in person. The letter should be concrete and about three hundred words: be specific about what she did for you and how it affected your life. Let her know what you are doing now, and mention how you often remember what she did. Make it sing! Once you have written the testimonial, call the person and tell her you’d like to visit [him or] her, but be vague about the purpose of the meeting; this exercise is much more fun when it is a surprise. When you meet her, take your time reading your letter. ”  from Flourish by Martin Seligman.

It seems that today will be a day of receiving grace – which translates in my world to happy unexpected synchronicity showing up.  There was the above bit in my email inbox, and the following on my Kindle – I just finished the third installment of  I Bring the Fire (warning:  I got the first installment free on Pixel of Ink and immediately purchased II and III – this is unheard of for me and the author, C. Gockel, has me hooked – I will be spending more if she writes more I hope I hope!  But I digress), and pulled up another book in the catalog, Create a Dynamic Year 2014  by Lisa Michaels.  I opened to:

Imbolc traditionally celebrated on February 1 or 2, with exact astrological point February 3.  Imbolc is the cross-quarter Wheel of the Year point following Winter solstice.  Also known as Brighid’s day or Candlemas, it marks the starting point of spring….A great opportunity exists during Imbolc to ceremonially create a ‘treasure map’ or a creation journal, a collage of pictures and ideas that represents what you want to manifest in your life this year, a visual reminder of the creations that are ready to sprout, grow, and bear fruit.”

Today is a non-work day, freezing cold outside (tho I may go an take a few pictures to share), and perfect for that vision journal – right down my alley.  I will put my own face in the middle of the page, add my word and phrase for the year and what I learned from last year, then spend some happy time with magazines and tape and paste and dreams.  My big lesson from last year was that dreams are bigger than I can think, to release and lean into them – that’s what my vision will be.  I will add a page or three or five to my vision sketchbook journals  (vision mask here, starter for visioning here , how-to here) and have a lovely day of it.  Maybe I’ll even forego the fire and let the furnace heat the house so I can focus on this – it feels really important!





Son painting at Daughter's

Son painting at Daughter’s

I was FB chatting with Loran Hills the other day. Loran and I met….hmmmm.  on FB I think.  But we both go back on the internet further than that. We decided that we both miss the “good ole days” of blogging when it wasn’t about business but just for fun.  I have since decided that I am going to return to “just for fun” blogging.

If it doesn’t have to be profound and even make sense, I can post more often, just a picture, or not post and not feel guilty.  That feels good.

I would love to get to the comfort level of  my favorite blogs to read, hecatedemeter, Soul Comfort’s Corner,  and The Indigo Vat, my three favorite places to hang out and relax on a quiet afternoon.  All are liberal with pictures.  I *can* copy that!

the ongong contest between duaghter and father of who makes the best cookie

the ongoing contest between daughter and father of who makes the best cookie

Today is the day after Christmas, which was lovely at, for the first time ever, away from my house.  Daughter and family are in a new home, and the baton is passing (but next year I am remembering to pack goodies for next day snacks, which I didn’t even think of this time since I’m the one that ALWAYS has leftovers!)

Son, who is home for the holidays, stayed at daughter’s to help with some of the painting things they need done since he is a contractor and can paint in his sleep.  In less than 2 hours he completely removed a pesky ceiling border that they had despaired over ever getting off.  His day of work is his gift to them.  Great gift!

I finished a collage portrait for him that I started 2 years ago.  He decided he was taking it home unfinished and my inner artist had a heart attack.  I promised to finish for him today and I did.  Am pleased with it.

Am also greatly enjoying a Kindle book from my longest friend, Linda:  ”The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel”.  Have just started but, in the way of good books, it has already captivated me.  Another book that was wonderful that I just finished is “The Gravity of Birds” – do yourself a favor.  Don’t miss that one.  Or “And the Mountains Echoed” the latest by that master storyteller, Khaled Hosseini.

Meditation, 24x36 collage portrait by Tammy Vitale

Meditation, 24×36 collage portrait by Tammy Vitale

Linda also sent me a lovely little journal and I have determined that I will collect quotes in it, and possibly use them for my postings here – as bits of whimsy or solid foundations for an introspective post.  Today’s collected quote, from “The Thirteenth Tale”:  ”Perhaps emotions have a smell or a taste; perhaps we transmit them unknowingly by vibrations in the air.”  Isn’t that provocative?  I sure think so!

Hubby gave me wonderful goodies to stay with me for a long time:  a very nice gift certificate to the Bead Boutique in Prince Frederick, MD, and an amazing piece by Debra Bernier, whose work I have lusted over for quite some time now.  I probably shouldn’t share her info with you because it will just create more demand for her work, which is hard enough to get now!   ;-) Hawk 12.26.13 2

The final bit of flotsum for the day: pictures of my local red shouldered hawk which has discovered that the frogs, which should be hibernating in my pond, are sitting on the side, and so comes daily for his dinner of frog.  I didn’t mind so much when he got the bullfrog, though the bullfrog was quite beautiful in his own way, but who will sing to me if he eats all my frogs.  And why at the end of December are they not hibernating?!!  Nature must eat.  I cannot fault the hawk, but I do wonder about the disruption of the natural order of the seasons and the odd behavior of its creatures as a result.

Happy Boxing Day to all!

Living with Art – the Vanity is Delivered

Living with Art – the Vanity is Delivered

Many of you followed the making of granddaughter’s vanity throughout Art Every Day Month in November.

I thought perhaps you’d like to see the end of the story.

fambly - the vanity in its new home Fambly - vanity in its new home

Yesterday we drove the vanity up to Daughter’s new house to put it in Granddaughter’s new room.  It was a surprise.  With Grandson’s help, she stayed in his room until we got it in.  Then she had to close and cover her eyes (the picture for that is too blurry  :cry: to share, unfortunately), and of course the whole family helped her close her eyes.

When all was ready – which included my getting into picture taking space – we all said:  Ok!  open your eyes!

Fambly - open your eyes and see the surprise - her family.15

I think she liked it!

fambly - i think she likes the vanity

The stool has been finished and living at our house since the summer.  It was nice to see both pieces in place in their new home.

We had to check out how the tile princesses matched the stool princesses.  You have to love Disney sometimes.  I can buy matching paper and material and use them accordingly.

fambly - matching tile princesses to stool princesses

Then came making it her own by adding things to drawers and to the top.

fambly - seeing the vanity for the first time fambly - making the vanity her own

I also took down the chimes she made on an overnight stay.  She and her Mom painted them last month and I put them together to take up with the vanity.  They will now live in her window until she decides otherwise.

Fambly Joyceton ABs chime in her room window

All in all, I’d say a wonderful ending to a grand story – what do you think?

If you missed any of the story you can start at the beginning and follow through:

A Day of Beginnings

I Know Better


Moving Right Along

A Suitable Eclectic End

It’s done – Take a Peek!

I discovered a draft blog in there that I can’t get to post – possibly why it’s still a draft.  It was about midway through and showed me making a mess – since I do that most of the time anyways, we aren’t really missing a piece of the story.



Take a peek – it’s done!

Take a peek – it’s done!

Vanity for granddaughter - finished.

Vanity for granddaughter – finished.

The vanity for granddaughter is complete.  I put it all together for a photo shoot, but it will have to come apart again to travel to her new home.  I’m happy with it.  I doubt I’ll do this again!  Those barber pole stripes that go all the way around were a trip to paint.  This kind of painting isn’t my favorite but some things you do for love!

You can see a picture of what happened to the matt glaze tiles when I grouted with black here.  And how I solved that to the side here.  I

Princess "tiles" to match the princess material on her stool.

Princess “tiles” to match the princess material on her stool.

used acrylic medium to paste these pictures over the black tiles.  It has worked just fine out in the elements of southern Maryland on a birdhouse that I put a “floor plan” in paper on the roof.  We’ll see if it can manage a little girl.  If not, then back to the drawing board.

I’m also including a photo of my bead studio finished – I brought up my thrift store bin ($5!!! and holding several Bernina sewing machine attachments that it looks like I can sell on EBay for a lot more than that!) and cleared off more of the table.  Now I have tons of room and everything is still at hand that I need when working.  I’m really happy with that.  I might even keep it reasonably straight for more than 5 days (note:  3 of those 5 days I’m busy with work and other things so it isn’t really as long as it sounds).

all ready to go!

all ready to go!

My next free moment I’m letting myself play with fusing, soldering and muddling – and making myself some more new earrings!

AEDM30: A Suitable Eclectic End

AEDM30: A Suitable Eclectic End

vanity top grouted and mirror stand painted and attachedHere we are at the end of Art Every Day Month.  I’ve done all but 2 days (I think) – not bad given I am still getting into the rhythm of my part-time job.

What I’ve learned is that I can work hard at my part-time job and then leave it and have play time to work hard at my art or whatever else it is I’m focusing on (including reading – I’m finally getting through a few books I’ve been wanting to read).

close up of grout, and the formerly pink tile (to the right of the raspberry tile)

pre-grout when the tiles were still pink

vanity grout close up and formerly pink tile

vanity grout close up and also the formerly pink tile

Today I worked on granddaughter’s vanity: grouted in black.  Anyone who has ever grouted in black knows it is messy and labor intensive compared to lighter grout.  But it always looks great and this was no exception.  Of course I forgot to seal the 3 pink matt glaze tiles so they are all now black, but I have a thought in mind to make it look as if that was always my intent (and they won’t be black).  We’ll see how that works out!  I also primed and started to paint the mirror cradle, and got it attached to the back of the vanity.  Moving right along!  I guess I”ll have to post the finished project here when it’s done – I’m hoping to get back to posting at least once a week now that I’ve had my AEDM recharge.  We are closing on daughter’s house Monday, and I want this in there when they move in – sometime prior to Christmas.

My other project today was cleaning my bead studio which was mayhem.

I had an ulterior motive:  I need space to play with fusing silver, soldering silver and playing with muddling metal (all of which I learned earlier this month and reported on here and here and here).

So I started out with mayhem and chaos (note it is well light outside)

desk mess - note even the chair seat has something on it

desk mess – note even the chair seat has something on it


this is left over material and supplies from covering chairs this summer - had to find a place for it.

this is left over material and supplies from covering chairs this summer – had to find a place for it.

bead room bead table mess

a better view of the bead table prior to cleaning


and finished with a really nice space and everything actually put away, not thrown here and there.  I had to bring up yet another little chest but now I have a place for all the pieces of fusing/soldering and muddling which is good because I wandered up to the Bead Boutique and bought myself a round of supplies as needed to play with all that.  An early solstice gift to myself.

bead room floor by bookcase clean bead room bead table clean


In between I kept the fire in the wood stove going because it’s cold out, and cooked myself lunch and dinner from scratch. I also sorted through holiday gifts to get ready to send some out and to track where I am with my Angels – I am still waiting for some of those to come in, but everything else is in good order.  Which wasn’t that hard this year because, as I told son:  big people got new houses this year.  He agreed that wasn’t a bad deal (as he installs his hot tub on his lanai).

A well-rounded day.

Not bad for the last day of AEDM!

AEDM 29:  Moving Right Along

AEDM 29: Moving Right Along

Today was work on granddaughter’s vanity day.  Affixed the top tiles, decided to glue them down close together, which left exactly enough room to add on word tiles, former fridge magnets for sale, not little guiding lights forever on her vanity. I do plan to grout after 24 hours has passed.

I also marked where the mirror holder goes and there was space left, so I mosaiced it with various tiles I have in my mosaic collection.  I am right now thinking I may do some mosaic glass around the mirror just to make it pretty and different.  I decided to redo the left side panel, which started out to have princess paper.  That didn’t work in real life like it did in my head so I painted the panel.  I may collage both end panels yet, but I have to find my acrylic medium first.  GAC doesn’t get it for this kind of work.

Without further ado, for your dreaming enjoyment of upcycling and passing along old furniture (this was my Mom’s vanity for those of you who didn’t read the previous reports AEDM 15 A Day of BEginnings, AEDM 17:  I Know Better and AEDM 24:  Vanity).

except for glard you have a pretty good idea of where this is moving....right along!

except for glard you have a pretty good idea of where this is moving….right along!

front painted

front painted

left side - also showing the msoaics I added

left side – also showing the msoaics I added

This shows the addition of word tiles on the right hand side.

This shows the addition of word tiles on the right hand side.

Here you can see the mosaic tiles filling the space between my handmade tiles and where the mirror holder goes.

Here you can see the mosaic tiles filling the space between my handmade tiles and where the mirror holder goes.

Formerly covered with Disney princess paper, this side is now simply painted.

Formerly covered with Disney princess paper, this side is now simply painted.

AEDM 27:  Harmonics

AEDM 27: Harmonics

Today’s offering is a quick sketch over an old background paired with yet another poem – not one of my favorites but I know I don’t have it anywhere on line already (because it’s not one of my favorites).  I chose it because it talks about last night’s hard rain – and boy did it rain hard in real time all night long!  Today I am grateful that it *wasn’t* winter (although we have had below freezing 2 nights earlier this week) because otherwise today would have been all about shoveling snow and I’d be asleep right now.  Yes, it’s late.  I almost didn’t do my creativity for the day because I’ve been cleaning for tomorrow’s gathering and I felt that was creative enough.  But my heart wouldn’t let me skip.  Enjoy!

Fast sketch over old background by Tammy Vitale

Fast sketch over old background by Tammy Vitale



 by Tammy Vitale

It is the melting that I love, the way

things become what they are

without witness; how the stone is

worn by water and the wax

beneath the orange flame evaporates

into air; how the poet writes

of migrating geese, and abstract becomes

images more concrete

than the asphalt on which daily I

drive; how the certainty of atoms gives in

to the whimsicality of quanta and chaos.


If it were winter, last night’s hard rain

would have been snow, but I would still breathe

 the air, in and out, without thinking.

AEDM 26:  Stars

AEDM 26: Stars


And if I were to tell you that all of this is true, would you believe me?



When the First One’s fist

Art Every Day Month, Day 26:  Stars, a Collage, by Tammy Vitale

Art Every Day Month, Day 26: Stars, a Collage, by Tammy Vitale

smashed my eye and broke

the bone below it, all I saw

was white light

and then, red.



When I met you, the First One

was lurking still in the shadows.

This is meant to be sinister.  I had

the broken eyebone and bruised ribs

to prove it.  The untangling was taking

a while.  The First One proved to have

unlimited rope which he kept looping

around anything available – a forgotten

ankle, a stray arm.  I kept finding myself,

figuratively, on the floor, face in the dirt.

Justice has no power over invisible ties.  I

had to find the magic scissors, learn

to keep cutting when the rope retied itself

like birthday candles relighting or stars

appearing and disappearing on a cloudy

night.  Somewhere I’d taken the time to write

what I expected the next time, should there be

a next time, on paper.  In black and white (actually,

it was a yellow legal pad) I figured what I wanted

would be less elusive.  You arrived just after

the bruising faded to pale green, enough

for successful makeup disguise.  The paper

stayed in a drawer.  It was too soon.  I wanted

to play.  Told you.  You said, “Fine.”  I noticed how

your eyes crinkled at the corner, how long

your lashes are, how your hands fit my waist

as though made from the same mold.



The night dispatcher at the police station got to know

my voice.  So the evening I ran to the Magistrate’s window

with protective order in hand, First One in hot pursuit,

she, the night dispatcher, located across a large lobby floor,

called in on-duty officers.  The Magistrate noted,

it being Friday at 5pm, the whole thing was not his

problem, told me “Take it to court Monday.”  In the back

of my mind I starting adding up how many minutes

that might make.  The officers arrived but could not arrest

First One because the order to do so was currently in

another county.  Still, they held him ‘til I could get

in the car and drive away.  On the way out, I bumped

my head against the glass door and saw stars.




In the back of a bar located in Southeast DC

I sat, surrounded on 3 sides by high, protective

but crumbling brick walls.  I was writing poetry

on a glass topped table and sipping my third

wine.  In less than an hour.  By the time you

appeared my stomach was queasy from heat

and unshed tears.  Overhead the stars shone.

Passing traffic was muffled but audible.  A

cricket sang halfway up the ivy covered

crumbling brick wall and I wondered if it might

rain.  We had not yet made love.  Convention

called for pulling myself together but my body

demanded otherwise so you walked me around

the block, stood over me while I stuck my finger

down my throat and puked, held on tight while

I sobbed with my wet mouth and wetter eyes

against the fresh smell of your shirt.



In the basement of your brother’s house

we made love.  My house was being watched.

This is meant to be sinister.  Your house

contained a mother and father.  You are 21.

I am 35.  The room is lit with three candles.

It is June.  There is no air conditioning but

there is a small square box fan on the floor.

I don’t remember the color of the walls.  I

remember your hands, how they knew all the

secret spaces; your mouth, how well it fit mine;

the air, full of wetness getting wetter; how

you stroked me afterwards until we both

went to sleep.  In my dream there was a moon

and hundreds upon thousands of stars.



We are sitting in Sizzler’s Steak House.  Public

spaces are always less volatile.  A lesson learned

from the First One.  Outside the sun is merciless,

so, of course, there are no stars.  This is about one

of the two children that came along with me.  A package,

I told you.  You said, “Fine.”  Over salad and shrimp, I

hissed, “If you can’t help me, just do no harm.  Get out

of my way.  If you can’t do that, then get out of my

life.”  I still had the magic scissors.  This is meant

to be sinister.  I knew exactly where to cut.




There are all kinds of rope.  Some trips.  Some

binds.  But some hangs loosely. glimmering like

spider silk hung with morning dew, as ordered as

a small universe, angles just so.  No chafing.  No-

thing rubbed raw.  Soft.  Like the satin on a baby’s

blanket, or the fine hairs at the nape of your neck.

Ropes that mark safe boundaries.  Ties that connect

earth to sky, keep planets and stars in proper places.

In my hands the scissors turn to fireflies that escape

into the dark and cloudy night sky.

AEDM 25:  Convert

AEDM 25: Convert

The poem is one that has been around a long while.  In the mid-to-late 90s, I wrote a lot, and a lot of what I wrote was poetry.  Today I pair an old poem with a new collage for Art Every Day Month.  Enjoy!

by Tammy Vitale

"Convert" - collage in altered book by Tammy Vitale for AEDM 25, 2013

“Convert” – collage in altered book by Tammy Vitale for AEDM 25, 2013

Once her prayers beat the sky

with the fear of a caged bird

cold beads slipping through fingers

like memories.  She has forgotten

why the woman in blue

is forever stepping on the snake.


Instead she thinks of the green serpents

seen unexpectedly the year she thought

of drowning, how water enfolds and covers


but the serpents sang to her

of the secrets of dry grass

the diligence of trees

and the warmth of small feathered things

with racing hearts

so she learned to love the land.



she places sweet milk

in the corners of her yellow kitchen

just in case

the serpents come ashore

makes nests of shredded paper

for broken birds with wounded wings

and scitters glass beads

one by one

across the worn and shiny floor

while she holds her prayers

in the palm of her hand