Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last Day of 56!

Just a little art journaling today!


Well this is my last day of being 56 years young!
I decided to create something as a keepsake in my journal.

I kinda love it don't you?????

Art journaling is a wonderful expression of self,
my journal pages are growing,
each and every entry means more to me
than the previous one.
Within the pages I am free to express myself,
try out new ideas,
play with paints and inks and all kinds of art supplies!
How I love returning to my journals
and looking at all I had created over the
past few months,
it gives me such joy!

This past year, my 56th year of life
has been full of wonder and joy!
I am so proud of where I have been
and totally happy with where I am now!

I have lost 40lbs!!!

A goal I set for myself as a birthday gift,
it was hard work, but I made it!!!
I totally love the Isagenix program - it changed my life!
I have enjoyed every minute of being a grand mommy
and eagerly anticipate the birth of my second grandchild in October,
(a baby boy for my other son Drew and his wife.)
I have strengthened my yoga practice,
Taken The Conscious Booksmith e-course
and started my book
"A Journey through Dementia",
I have taught all kinds of Zentangle Classes,
and Artful Spirit Workshops,
participated in many open mic Poetry readings,
continued to teach creative writing to my senior adults,
had an incredible eight days in the Outer Banks
with my precious little family,
celebrated 37 years of marriage with my Jimmy,
knit some wonderful lace pieces,
painted some original paintings,
traveled to New York City all by myself,
and so much more!

So for this girl who is turning 57 tomorrow,
born in the year 1957,
I eagerly await what the next year has in store!
I am sure there will be more art, more creating,
more photography and certainly more writing.
Each year is an opportunity to grow,
to learn, and experience new things.
I am open to a world of new possibilities.

Have a beautiful week
and thanks for visiting my little blog today,
be blessed
be happy
be creative
be in love with your precious life!

Donna lee


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Documented Life


January 1, 2014 I began my journey
with 
A Documented Life Project
as we are approaching mid August
(way past the middle of the year),
I decided to share some more of my journal pages.
My original post was January 8, 2014
when I had first begun this project,
you can find it here!




This has been a wonderful experience 
and I encourage you to hop on over to the
and be totally inspired!!
The creators of this adventure are
some beautifully inspiring women,
and each week they come up with 
more and more ideas to keep our journals 
filled with creativity!
Thank you to each and every one of them
for helping and guiding us along the way.

My journal has become a record of my life,
events, ideas, thoughts, poems, photos, art
and so much more.
It is never a chore to work on it,
only pure creative joy!
It has become my friend and companion!




With each and every passing week,
my journal becomes more a part of me.
I look forward to recording the moments of my life,
remembering and documenting.
The fact that I got to create art along the way,
makes it all the more special!
Sometimes I just sit in my studio,
glancing back at the pages
and see just where this year has taken me.
How soon we forget little moments in our lives!








I decided to share some of my favorite pages with you today!
It feels like I am opening up my soul to you,
journals are so very private.
What fun this project has been,
I know many of you have been participating
right along with me
and each one of our journals will be different,
in their own beautiful way.
I feel that I am connected with so many
others through this project!
We even share our work on a private Facebook page,
keeping us all connected together!

I don't think it's too late to jump in,
or I sure hope they offer this project again in 2015!








My journal is growing with each and every passing day,
it just feels good to hold it in my hands,
this is an amazing effort
and something I will treasure for years to come!



Wishing your Wednesday to be full of
love and creativity
and happiness in all things!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tangled Visions

A mixed media recent work of mine!

I've been teaching a lot of Zentangle lately,
and I am loving every minute of it.

It's hard to believe that I became
a Certified Teacher last fall,
and since returning home so many
teaching opportunities have opened up for me.

With each class I gain confidence, make new friends,
create beautiful works and grow deeper in love with
the creative process.
So many doors have opened up for me
and I love sharing this amazing art form with others!

I have been experimenting with other mediums 
 into my Zentangle work as well.
In the picture above ...
you can see that I used my watercolor in the piece!
(My other favorite art medium)
I blocked out where I wanted to Zentangle,
and painted the rest!
When dry, I was able to add Zentangle designs
into the piece!
I have an original work of art for sale 
here in my Etsy Shop!



I entitled this blog post Tangled Visions,
because I am beginning to see my world even more closely,
observing opportunity and learning new lessons
always open hearted and wide eyed. . .
(in fact I am considering changing the name of my blog!)

What I see ...

Life isn't always as easy as we want it to be
We must listen to our inner voice
We must recognize new opportunities as they come along
At times we have to step away from what is
Everyday is different
Loving others truly matters
You must trust the process ... whatever it is
Slowing ourselves down is crucial
Living simply and without want is true living
The heart always knows the way
Taking care of self is crucial
This life of ours is truly a gift

I hope that your Wednesday is amazing!
Thank you for showing up here

Donna Lee

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teaching the Art of Mandalas

Last Saturday, July 26, 2014
we gathered together for yet another
Artful Spirit Workshop
at the beautiful
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel.
We were smaller in numbers this time,
but it was such a wonderful and intimate group!

(We have been in this room before)

I firmly believe that attendance numbers don't matter,
and those who are meant to be there, will be there,
at the exact moment they should be,
for there are lessons each person needs to experience,
in their own time.

We gathered early morning,
and found our own special table
to begin our days creative journey.

This workshop theme Suzan and I presented
was all about Mandalas.
We are both passionate about this art form,
it's history and the benefits they provide
while creating these gems.

(My dear friend Suzan and Artful Spirit partner in Creativity!)

We started with a small warm up of sorts,
watercolors, circles, designs, 
watercolor crayons, ink
just allowing ourselves the gift of play.
We are all so busy in our lives,
how wonderful it was to allow ourselves the gift
of one day,
to play and be creative with others!
Leaving our lives behind for a short while.


(Watercolor play)

(Concentration happening here!)

We then created a mandala
from our watercolors,
our ink drawings.
We had words, words, words everywhere
and each participant
created an intention, or saying in their mandala.
We were very pleased with the results.

(Gathering our work in the circle)

I can't take credit for this technique,
for I first learned it from the amazing
Louise Gale and her mixed media mandala class,
(being offered again in October 2014)

I learned so much from her
and other courses I have taken.
Studied different techniques
and made them my own.
I was sharing what I learned,
how I made it my own style
and shared with others.
I am sure in return, our students today
will take what they learned from
Suzan and I and make it with their own styles.

We played with watercolor brushes,
different sizes and then painted a second mandala,
adding our ink drawings in the center
and more affirming words.

(More circle time with our finished work)

Each time we created and finished a piece,
we gathered together in the front of the room,
creating a mosaic with our finished pieces,
this is something I always do with my Zentangle Students,
taking the time to admire each others work,
and commenting on the lessons we learned.

I had created a nature mandala 
for all to enjoy,
explaining how fun this is to go out into the world,
create a mandala from nature,
walk away from it
and leave your gift for others to enjoy!

(Just a little nature play)

The amazing Shelly Norris,
then shared how we can create our own mandalas
with beautiful stones,
sharing the benefits of each gemstone
and their meanings,
what fun!
Shelly is doing amazing work with 
her gemstone business
Ms. Shelly's Rocks
and it was so fun to have her with us this Saturday!
It was the perfect addition to our creative day!

(Shelly teaching us about rocks and gemstones)

We then shared a beautiful lunch together in 
the hotel restaurant overlooking
the Chesapeake Bay,
fellowship is important
and I loved all the conversations
happening around the table.
We even created our own
mandala centerpiece for the table,
symmetry, symmetry, symmetry!

(Lunchtime centerpiece)

After returning from lunch,
I peeked in the room 
and noticed one student stayed in the room,
eating her lunch she had brought,
and kept on creating,
she was truly loving every moment.
I had to capture this picture!
It truly warmed my heart.

(How I love this photo!)

We then tried something new,
Mandalas on art boards,
something I have been selling on my own
little Etsy shop for quite some time,

(Happy Lights and examples of my own work)

I was now sharing my techniques with others.
I truly love working on these art boards,
they are so easy to work with
and take a variety of textures and paints.
You can find my original pieces for sale here

(My sis was in deep concentration)

(My demo at the table)

"Leave Your Mark"  a beautiful finished piece


(My happy daughter-n-law Lauren)

We used 8 x 10 art boards,
already spray painted with stencils,
then each attendee picked the one they wanted,
and created fun backgrounds with
all kinds of colors and textures.
After drying, they then drew their own
mandala designs over the painted surface,
each one was beautiful and had their own style!
I was so proud of them!
So much talent and exploration in one room.

(Love the colors and designs happening here!)

(Mother and Daughter creating together ... LOVE!)

Another completed work

Taking a quick pic of her beautiful piece

I have saved the best for last ...
our community mandala.
Each attendee was given
"a slice of the mandala"
to work on throughout the day,
we then brought them together
and Suzan mounted our pieces into a whole,
when we gathered and saw the finished product,
I think it truly took our breath away.

Created by one of my Zentangle students ... can you tell???

Our finished group mandala ... totally took my breath away!

We talked about community and coming together,
living with an artful spirit
and the joy of creating
of course we had to take our signature group picture
with our toes around the mandala
(cause not everyone is comfortable taking a pic)
it's become An Artful Spirit tradition!

We then surprised our attendees with a drawing,
and one lucky girl
Susan Pease
was our winner.
The joy is always in the giving!

It was an amazing day,
a creative boost,
a time of love and fellowship
and as always
I can 't wait for our next one!

We meet quarterly,
Our next gathering of creative spirits
will be Saturday, November 1
and the theme will be
Artful Spirit Collage
(aka Soul Collage Techniques)

See you there!

Donna Lee


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ten Thoughts on a Perfect Wednesday



Life is full of yumminess if only you will see

There are poetic moments at every turn

Being a grandparent goes way beyond what I ever had imagined

Writing is a gift I give to myself over and over again

Mandala artwork soothes the soul

Seeking out moments of quiet heals the heart

Life shouldn't carry with it stresses and anxieties all the time

If you are unhappy in a situation, do something drastic to change it

Make your yoga practice a sincere way of life
(if you don't have a practice ... oh please try it)

Dreams really do come true


Sending love and light
peace and joy
happiness and all good things
to you today!
Life is a gift ... don't waste a minute

Donna Lee


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grace and Gratitude



Is this not the most perfect sign?
I was visiting a garden show recently
and just had to snap this picture!

It got me to thinking . . .
Each and everyday do I try to live my life 
with
Grace and Gratitude?

In the busyness of our everyday lives,
we are losing touch with simple things,
forgetting what is important,
always looking to what comes next.

I went to Mr. Webster for meanings of these words ...
Grace:  a way of moving that is smooth and elegant
Gratitude:  a state of being or thankfulness

Summertime is such a perfect time of year
to slow down, enjoy life at a more gracious pace,
and live with a more grateful heart.
My senses are hightened around these words,
this way of life, this way of thinking.

I do try to live my life around grace
and I am truly grateful for each moment
in my life, whether good or bad,
for each are teaching moments for me.

Try practicing gratitude today,
see what comes up for you!
List all the things you can think of
in your journal that you are truly grateful for ...
right now in this very moment
I am so grateful for Wednesdays,
time with Annabelle ...
who is sleeping sweetly ... oh so sweetly
in her crib right now.
I always wonder where  do babies go in their sleep?
It must be a very happy place ...
for Annabelle always wakes up full of joy and smiles
ready for her grand mommy to give her some smooches!

Have a beautiful day today,
walk in grace and peace
talk with grace and love
act in grace and patience
I will too!













Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lessons from the Ocean . . .

My Ocean Mandala

I have just returned from a week in the Outer Banks
what a beautiful experience it was to be
with my family, to rest and restore, create art
and unplug from life's demands.

The Ocean's rhythm is so soothing and calming,
it naturally draws us in.
Just standing in the presence of the mighty sea
calms the spirit.
Walks along the ocean shore allowed me
the time I needed to pray, to think things through,
to collect beautiful shells (a gift from the sea),
and to sort out all the thoughts running around in my head.

I always learn something new when coming to the beach,
I think the lesson that so strongly came through this visit
was that my life needed to change a bit.
I need a quieter pace and carry less worry about the little things.
I always wonder why it is that at home,
I can't think as clearly as I can when I return to the sea.
I know there are life disruptions that get in the way at home ...
 yet I still can't find the stillness and quiet I so need.

So I thank the Ocean for teaching me
a quieter pace, a much needed slower walk in life,
to breathe in the salt and the sea and the sun,
and recognize the gift it is giving to me. . .
CLARITY

What a beautiful vacation I had ...
so many wonderful memories I will keep close to me.
Seeing Annabelle put her toes in the ocean for 
her very first time,
seeing my daughter n law Lauren
so cute and pregnant and growing each day
with our soon to be grand son,
watching my kids laugh and play and get along,
watching my husband and his sons
surf together in the ocean,
finding time to paint and create,
re-reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull
after all these years
and so much more!!

The Ocean is mighty
and certainly strong.
The Ocean waves are a gift,
drifting into shore and out to sea,
the natural rhythm it carries
teaches us to listen deep within,
if only we will.
Bringing into shore new beginnings and freshness
and certainly taking old habits,
ugly thoughts and sorrows
back out to the sea.



I hope to keep the lessons I carried home with me close,
never forgetting that my life is a gift,
and there is still so very much for me to learn,
to experience and to share.
I hope your summer gets you to an ocean shore,
somewhere, somehow.

Wishing you peace and love on this Wednesday,
as those of us on the East Coast
prepare for our first Tropical storm of the season;
yet another reminder of the
mightiness of the sea!



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why I Art Journal

Journaling thoughts to page

All week I was trying to decide
exactly what my blog post would be this week,
sometimes the ideas just don't come to me.

I took some quiet time in the studio this morning,
and created an art journal page ...
I had fixed myself a hot cup of Tazo Passion Tea
and the teabag was so juicy and full of color,
I wondered how it would look in my mixed media journal.
I just brushed the tea bag across the page
and let it dry,
I love the results, don't you?
Funny how Passion tea is a deep red when brewed,
but as it hit the page and dried,
it turned this gorgeous purple shade.

So I gave myself a moment to think about the word
"Passion"
and the thoughts kept coming.
Inspired by a little tea light, quiet in the room 
and my thoughts,
I filled the page

I realized then I knew what I would write
on the blog today!


Art Journaling is such a beautiful expression of self
I am filling the pages with inspiration,
different art techniques and ideas,
words, poems and mandalas.
I love looking back over previous journals,
with the dates (I always date my work)
to reflect on where I have come from.

There are so many art journal e courses
out there on the internet,
and I have participated in so many,
and learned so much from
incredible artists.
I have taught Art Journaling
at my own Artful Spirit Workshops,
and the response is always
that of delight and wonder.

Do yourself a favor,
find yourself a wonderful art journal,
(my favorite is the Canson Mixed Media Journal)
start with one page,
experiment with all types of art supplies,
ideas and techniques.
Get yourself a copy of
Art Journaling Magazine
by Somerset Studio,
have fun and LET GO!

Have a beautiful Wednesday,
it is for me ...
for Wednesdays are always Annabelle Lily days
and blogging here at Gentle Threads.
Each one of you, my friends and supporters
are a small and gentle thread in my life,
interwoven to complete a beautiful experience.
I am truly thankful you have come to visit with me today!

Donna Lee



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Setting Intentions ...



Funny thing about Intentions ...
we set them for the present moment
and then life moves in and off we go!

I love attending a retreat 
and being asked to set my intention for the experience,
it helps me to slow down and focus on the moment.
Sometimes ... just sometimes ... the intention we set our minds on
doesn't even happen ... something more glorious turns out!
Every time I am able to step onto my yoga mat,
I am asked to set my intention for the class.
When we hold our Artful Spirit Workshops,
we always start with intention settings,
it helps us to leave the world behind
and focus on the experience at hand.

Intention:  the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose
(Websters Dictionary)

I think every time we sit down to do a creative project
we should set an intention and ask ourselves a few questions:
what do I hope to learn from this?
how much time should I devote to my art practice today?
will I be sharing my techniques with others?
how does this project make me feel?
am I happy here in this moment?
what do i hope to learn here today?

I also love creating an intentional space
when I start to create something.
I love lighting a candle,
playing my favorite music,
lighting incense
and preparing my heart for what I am about to do.
I want the space around me to be beautiful
and in harmony with the creative process.
It all affects the completed outcome.
I think that is why I am so in love with Zentangle,
it is mindful and intentional drawing,
it soothes my spirit



It's good to remind myself, here in the month of June,
halfway through the new year,
for Intentional was my word of the year!
I feel I have been doing very well with it.

So think about walking with Intention this week,
whether in your workplace, creative space, family space
or just life space.
Keep in mind the thoughts and feelings you come across.
Living intentionally, step by beautiful step
is a process we learn to grow into.
I'm not all the way there yet,
but I'm pretty darn close,
and it feels so right!

I wish you blessings in your life this week ...
walk lightly
speak truthfully
love others
and
take care of your precious self

Donna Lee



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My keys for successful living . . .


My keys for successful living . . .

I attended a beautiful family wedding
this past weekend in North Carolina
 and it was so inspiring!
Lots of vintage decorations were used
that carried meaning to the bride.
Everything was thought out with heart and love!
This door in fact was used at the altar
and belonged to her grandmother's farm house.
It had been kept in a barn for a
perfect day such as this.

Somehow I was drawn to the keyhole
while taking this picture
and the thought for a prompt
for my blog this week came to mind.

I truly believe my keys for successful living are ...

Living with a happy heart
Having a strong faith to guide me is important
I must find as much time to be creative as possible
Writing is a way of life ... it is important to get the words down on paper
Treat others as you would like to be treated
See the beauty in all things
Smiling is a gift we can give to others
Enjoy the simple things
Finding time to rest is good for the soul
Family love matters and it is a gift
Believing in yourself is crucial
Don't be so serious!
See yourself as a delight
Love yourself with all your might!

"Seeing the beauty"
So I will take my own words of advice,
with the season of summer now upon us,
I want each day to matter, just a little bit more!
Slow the pace down,
accomplish without stress
and
have plenty of time to hold
my little Annabelle in my arms.

By the way ...
I will have a precious little grandson
coming my way this October,
my other son Drew and his wife Lauren are expecting!
Life just keeps getting better and better,
for I am truly blessed.


Donna Lee