The artist is nothing without the gift; but the gift is nothing without the work ~Emile Zola~

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's all about the little things

Annabelle Lily's shoes

I absolutely love Fall!
It is my favorite time of year . . .
for me it is a time of settling in
slowing down
writing more
painting more
pulling out those socks on my knitting needles
(which have been there since last fall!)
creating crockpot soups to simmer all day
nesting in my home . . .
for there is so much joy in this time of year.
We even have a new little puppy in our household,
and she is bringing a new kind of joy into our home . . .

Meet our Josie Grace

Halloween has passed
the candy is just about out of the house,
I've watched all the old horror movies
on TCM,
I must say truthfully, I don't get very
excited about that holiday,
but this year seeing my little munchkins
dressed up for the holiday,
made it even more enjoyable!

Our Grayson Blake just turned one in October

Now I look forward to Thanksgiving,
finding and recognizing all that I am grateful for,
and there is so much for our family this year.
It just keeps getting better and better,
and our family continues to grow.

Our miracle baby ... Dylan James

Take a long look at the world around you
and notice
the little things that are changing . . .
see the beauty in the leaves falling
the temperature dropping
the cool briskness in the air
the full moon at its brightest
Nature is amazing and it is a gift to us all.
Don't forget to look UP!
You never know what you are missing!

Leaves just starting to let go

I have pulled out my art journal again,
trying to work at it more diligently ...
I was inspired from fallen leaves
and collected so many to do a watercolor study.
Here is a sample of my journal page ...
I got out the watercolors, oil pastels and had at it
Words just flowed ...

I love art journaling

It truly is all about the little things,
those things which bring you joy in your life,
Whatever that may be!
Take the time to slow down and enjoy
all that is around you,
all that you have been given.
Cherish the special moments,
the ordinary life moments,
and the treasured times.

This weekend, pour that extra cup of hot tea,
and read one more chapter before rushing out the door!
Write a small haiku,
call a friend,
here's a thought ... write a letter to someone,
in your own handwriting!
Just treasure the still moments given to you

I am wishing you a week of joy,
a time of restfulness of spirit,
a time to be creative,
a moment to restore your soul,
just be in the moment,
be in this beautiful season . . .
it won't let you down

Donna Lee

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Twelve Things on a Wednesday

I always pass this tree when picking up my little Annabelle

 The smell of Autumn is intoxicating

One must always find time to nurture the inner self

Slowing down forces us to take a deeper look

Rest is important, so very important

Reconnection with friends is always a must

Time spent near the ocean is rejuvenating

Writing a handwritten letter for someone is a beautiful gift 

We are all too busy, we are forgetting to look UP

We should be asking ourselves "What truly guides us?"

Letting go is very hard to work through

Poetry is a gift that is often not appreciated

Life is moving way to quickly these days

Just found myself with these thoughts in my head
Sometimes we just have to get the thoughts down on paper
(or computer as it is here!)
I hope you have a blessed rest of your week,
take the time to listen to what's inside,
write them down, get them out,
sort them out,
they have come for a reason.
Stop and listen

Donna Lee

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Letting Go of What Was ...

My dream added to a DreamCatcher at my beloved Squam

This is totally not an easy thing to do ... letting go!
Think about it, we get so comfortable with the way things are;
over and over, day by day, year by year.
Change is a very hard thing to embrace,
or at least it is for me!

I feel that 2015 has definitely been a year of change for me,
and I am trying to handle and live gracefully with each change.
I have had severe neck issues this year,
so I have had to stop my yoga practice (for now)
and that was very hard for me!
I have to question a little, who I am,
without my yoga practice?
I find that I am a little less in shape,
more anxious, and not as centered!
Letting go of what was...

I've been writing Poetry for years,
the dream to publish recurs over and over again,
I think reality is settling in,
my poems are for me,
they are private, personal and for me.
I think the dream of publishing is fading,
Letting go of what was...

2015 also brought a third grandchild into our family,
little Dylan is such a blessing,
but we have all had adjustments to make,
especially his big sister Annabelle Lily!
I now have three precious grand babies ...
all 2 years and younger!
Free time? Not anymore,
letting go of what was...

I learned that I can no longer weave on my 8 Harness
weaving loom, because looking down is impossible!!!
I took up Tapestry Weaving again,
and am happy when I am throwing one small pic of thread at a time!
So I sold my precious loom to a wonderful friend,
and "she" now has a new weaving home.
I wove myself one last chenille scarf,
treasuring each row thrown with my shuttle
Letting go of what was...

How I loved throwing the shuttle

I was able to purchase an upright Dryad Tapestry Loom
for myself 
(The story is a total God thing)
and it was delivered by freight last weekend.
I am truly letting go of what was and embracing new!
It's gonna take us some time to get used to each other
So here she is:

Her name is "Gracie"

Change isn't always easy ...
Even in my day to day workplace,
so many leaving, new faces coming 
 Letting go of what was...

Friends come into your life,
some stay for a long time,
some stay for just a blink of an eye.
I am grateful for what I have learned,
the giggles I have shared,
the experiences we walked through,
 Letting go of what was...

My hubby and I recently got a puppy ...
she's nine weeks old
little Josie Grace
my free time isn't what it used to be
but oh it is so worth the sacrifice!
Letting go of what was...

How about you?
What is it you need to let go of today?
What changes are coming your way?
Embrace them,
you never know what beautiful growth
can come out of it all!

Wishing you a week of grace, love and awareness!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Weaving as a Life Metaphor

Beginning of a new tapestry

It has literally taken me weeks to write this post,
yes life can get busy,
(perhaps having my third grandchild born and a new puppy is considered busy!)
but I find the words hard to come by for what I want to express.
(I've literally written this post over several times)

I have been a weaver since my first born was 1 year old,
(we just celebrated his 35th birthday last week!!)
I will always remember taking him to my mom's house,
for her to watch him so I could take a weekly 2 hour weaving lesson
for six weeks!
At the end of that class, I purchased my first loom!
It was a simple tapestry frame loom on a stand.
I later went on to purchase a large floor loom ...
I had a weaving loom in the living room of our new house,
and no other furniture for years!
(My mom couldn't understand why I didn't have a couch!)

So weaving has truly been a part of my life for a very long time.
I think I am drawn to it because of it's simplicity, it's beauty,
and sitting at the loom is so peaceful and meditative!
I have always said I am drawn to arts that soothe my own soul.

My tapestry loom - using Waterlouge app

I have recently been drawn back into Tapestry weaving
and I am amazed how much attention weaving is getting,
especially on Instagram.
I am so happy to see so many enjoying working with fibers,
creating wallhangings and working with frame looms!
So exciting to see a new generation of young weavers!!!

I have been taking Rebecca Mezhoff's online Tapestry class
and it has been such a wonderful experience!
She is an amazing teacher and I am learning so much!
I have returned to my Mirrix Tapestry Loom,
which is a work of art all by itself!

True Tapestry weaving is a slow and patient process,
I love how I am learning new techniques,
watching the fabric unfold before my eyes
has been so rewarding!

Tapestry is a beautiful art form
With each row I watch the cloth unfold
It teaches me to not rush the process,
just enjoy the process of weaving.
How I love the sound of beating
the row of yarn in with my hand beater!
I am always excited to return to my loom whenever I can.

I have also been experimenting with
creating freeform tapestry, by using the
needle weaving process I learned many years ago
from Helen Banes (now deceased)
At our next Artful Sprit Workshop,
we will be creating
Handwoven Dream Pouches!
Here is my design created on thick foam core board
and waxed linen as the warp!

In Process

My completed dream pouch!

A Completed Dream Pouch

Weaving is metaphorical to me.
It means more to me than the finished product!
First you must create a warp in which to weave,
(lay down the foundation)
then your weft is the beautiful fibers that cross over the warp,
continuously over and under, over and under
creating the cloth.
I have always illustrated that the warp threads
are metaphorically the foundation of my life,
that which sustains me, 
strengthens me and guides me along the way.
The foundation is what I build my life upon,
(for me it is faith and family).
The fibers which cross over the warp
are the experiences in my life,
creating my very own precious fabric,
unlike anyone else's.
The different colors and textures
represent the different experiences in my life;
the people that have touched my life,
lessons learned and 
my hopes and dreams.
All of this creating the beautiful
fabric of my very own life!
It's pretty magical if you think about it this way!

Teaching my little Annabelle to weave

I guess you could say
weaving has been a huge part of my adult life.
Sure I have left it, returned to it and left it again over the years.
I can honestly say, it is the one art form in my life
that has always been consistent.

I am weaving the fabric of my own life
each and everyday,
filling it with opportunities to learn something new.
Weaving slows me down,
It teaches me how to just enjoy the process of creating.
I am grateful for the lessons it continues to teach me.

Currently on warped on my loom

May your week be filled with newness as Fall approaches,
slow yourself down just a bit,
try something new
return to something you haven't seen in awhile!

I am always grateful for the time 
you spend here with me,
thank you!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Joy of Family

Our OBX family photo before leaving

I believe family is the greatest gift we own
Loving each other
Sharing our lives together
Having fun and giggles
Watching our family grow
Loving and Supporting each other's efforts

My week in the OBX with my entire family was great,
how rare it is these days to get to spend
a whole week together
playing with grandchildren (and children)
spending a block of time together,
forgetting about what we left behind,
if only for a short time.

Since we've returned ...
of course life marches on
and we try to connect as much as we can!
I'm just grateful for treasured moments,
where time stands still for a little while
and we are reminded about what is truly important.

Now, oh so very soon
we are anticipating the birth of our third grand baby,
and in three short weeks,
we are bringing our new labrador puppy home . . .
(still trying to come of with a cool name for her!)
things are about to get real busy in the Wynn household!!!

This I know to be true:
Time stands still for no one
Love is the greatest gift of all
Grandchildren change your perspective on life
Each moment should be treasured
Even when your children are grown they need you
You still need to carve out time for yourself
Finding time to do what you love is important too
Reach out to extended family,
my summer has been blessed 
with re-connection with cousins I cherish!
I can't get enough of my sweet family,
which is growing with each passing moment.

The Joy of Family ... I know I'm truly blessed
and grateful and gifted for sure,
how about you?
Celebrate your loved ones today,
find moments to be together,
heal broken relationships with extended family,
it's so important,
for family is what matters.

Sending Love and Light
Donna Lee

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Living Poetically

There is a poem in all that I see

I have been in love with reading and writing and poetry
for as long as I can remember . . .
I was never great at math and science,
but I excelled in the Arts,
English and Literature!
(No surprise there)

Life has a certain way of distracting us
from doing the things we love the most.
(for me it was always writing)
Throughout the years I was
filling journals, scribbling poems,
reading and writing about my life.
I was also raising a family, working,
creating a life, 
so my writing didn't always get priority.

When I began care taking my parents
through their life taking diseases;
I found myself returning to the page.
I would write about the experiences I was going through,
it just felt good to get it all out.
I began writing poetry more seriously,
and the words were flowing at just the right pace.

I enrolled in several online courses, 
took writing classes at retreats
(instead of art) with some amazing writers
and I began to feel as though I had my voice back!
I am so grateful to those writing pioneers out there ...
they are truly amazing. Encouraging others to put pen to page.
I learned so much, something just for me from each and every one of them. 
Dare I mention them here, hoping I don't leave someone out ...
(just click their name ... I have linked you to their magic)

In 2013, I wanted to write a poem a day,
for exactly 100 days.
 I wanted to add my own photography to each poem,
it was a true labor of love and I learned so much.
The discipline of that experience
I will forever carry with me.
They are simple poems and from my heart
you can find them all here . . .

Now I have become the newest
Vice President of the Southeastern Region
for the Poetry Society of Virginia
and I am super excited
to be spreading the poetic news of Virginia!
I am honored, excited, humbled and ready to get working.

Poetry is a gift to all
It changes lives and when shared can be a gift to others.
I am totally in love with words,
writing them, reading them and sharing them.
How about you?
I would love to hear your poetry and writing experiences!

I leave you with this thought . . .
Look at all the beauty around you day to day,
take the time to write about it . . .
Treat yourself to a sweet little journal,
jot any thoughts or feelings 
you might come up with throughout your life,
who knows it may just become a poem one day!

Life is an open door ... don't be afraid to just step through!

Donna Lee

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What love is to me . . .

Love is . . .

Spending a beautiful week with my family
in the Outer Banks

Snuggling and Kisses from my Grand Babies

A smile just because

Holding my spouse's hand

Watching my family love each other

Friendships with special people

A card that comes in the mail just because

Re-connection with cherished family

Being kind to someone in need

Saying sweet words to someone 

Being truly happy within my own self

Sharing my wealth with others

Hearing a poem read out loud

Creating art in the quietness of a morning

Giving of my own precious time

Positive words when someone is near

Love is my family  ... your family

God's infinite embrace 

Reaching out in times of need

Sharing with the elderly

Giving without expectation

Loving myself always

Being happy with where I am in this life 

Trusting each step along the way

A gift to cherish that we are given

Love is all that matters

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Finding the Beauty in my Life

My Antique Shop find
A treasure for my Calligraphy practice

It has definitely been a few weeks since I 
have come to my blog to write.
Since returning from Squam,
life has been busy in a very good way.
I taught a few Zentangle classes,
been adding pages to my altered book from my Squam,
I had family visiting from 
New Jersey and Myrtle Beach.
Reconnection with family is so important!
I've been practicing my Calligraphy daily,
and trying to finish knitting a pair of socks for myself.
I began my online Tapestry course
with the Amazing Rebecca Mezoff
(a gift I gave myself for the summer!)

Tapestry teaches me to slow down very easily

Summertime is always has a gentle reminder for me,
it comes in gently saying...
"Donna Lee ... slow down a bit,
take in the beauty,
rest your soul and your monkey mind,
find the beauty in your life."
I realize I don't have to do it all,
you can easily put things aside and they
will be waiting for you when you return,
whenever that may be!!!!

I am here to say I am listening!

In just a short time
I will be heading to the Outer Banks
for a week with my little family,
a yearly blessing of ours.
One week of slowing down,
appreciating the ocean,
family, nature and rest.
I am taking my Tapestry Loom with me,
and a journal for writing Poetry.

It always seems to me
that when I return to the Ocean,
I can regroup my thoughts and my life,
it's as if it is a drug fix for me,
I always returned centered and focused.
This year I plan to totally unplug
from social media too ...
which is hard for me since I am 
an Instagram junkie!

I plan on finding the beauty in my life,
in all things this summer.
I need a major fix ... a major slow down ...
a major refocusing of where I am headed.
I am planning on the OBX helping me with that.

In the meantime,
enjoy the summer beauty,
the smell of a rainstorm,
the sound of thunder rolling in,
pick veggies from your little garden,
lay in the sun and read a good book.
Nature is amazing and gives us so many gifts.
There is beauty all around you ...
you just need to look for it!

Taken in Manteo last week with my Cousin and his wife
Always finding beauty around me

I wish you peace
I wish you love
I wish you happiness in all things
I wish you the gift of contentment
and rest for your soul!

Donna Lee

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Squam Experience

Rockywold Deephaven Camp
Holderness, New Hampshire

I returned home exactly a week ago
from attending Squam Art Workshops
and I am still processing the journey that unfolded
there for me!

How do I put into words just how I feel 
about what I experienced at My Squam . . .
knowing that I can't possibly express
 exactly what I want to share and give it the justice it so deserves!
I don't think I truly can ...  BECAUSE IT WAS MAGICAL!

I am still processing all that I experienced at Squam last week,
and I don't want this feeling to end.
I want to remember all that I did, all that I learned,
all that I experienced and remember the wonderful people I met.
I have attended two Squam by the Sea journeys
and Squam in the City last fall,
but nothing compares to the "original" Squam
at Squam Lake in New Hampshire.
It was by far the most beautiful retreat experience for me!

I decided to share my favorite photos 
from my Squam experience last week ...
I am touched beyond measure that I was able to attend, 
to teach a Zentangle® class
and share this drawing process with 40 attendees! (WOW!)
I was happy to be a small part of an amazing group of people,
close to 200 attendees!

To be close to Elizabeth, 
(founder and creator of Squam Art Workshops)
who will always have my heart,
and Forrest Elliott, Mindy Tsonas and Nina Gilbert
(her outstanding team)
what an amazing job they did!

Enough said ... here are my pics
Hope you will enjoy and get a feel for my five days!

Opening night adornment

Yarn bombing everywhere

Walking the many paths

Yarns by Shalimar yarns for a tapestry
Isn't the packaging adorable!
Another art fair treat I brought home

Me and Mindy united (photo taken by Elizabeth Duvivier)
How I adore this beautiful soul!

Elizabeth reading my favorite poet Mary Oliver
in our magical writing class

Ice beauty during the Art Fair

The beautiful heart showed up everywhere

Story time with author Clara Parkes
I purchased her sock knitting book!

My art fair treat from Maya Made
New sock knitting bag

Always have to take at least one selfie!

Connecting with Susan
My Love Notes Project partner

My altered book class with Colleen Attara

Knitting in my pj's by the fire

The perfect venue for my Zentangle® class Friday morning

Best class helpers ever!!!!

Creating a class Mosaic of finished work

The BEST class helpers ever
How blessed was I!!!

Awesome and attentive class

Sweet Nina concentrating

My Instagram that day

Cabin Artwork created by
Elizabeth and Forrest
(Wished I could have brought home!)

Morning peeking through ... ready to start each day

Creating a nature mandala before class

Writing class venue

"Writing your own Myth" class with Elizabeth

Facing the blank page ...

Dream Catcher created by 
the beautiful Mindy Tsonas
for all

Adding my dream to the dream catcher

Attending a natural remedy workshop

Always inspiring words to be found

My writing sisters ... we shared a lot together

My Keens walked many a step

Anxious to get into the Art Fair on our last night

Yes I am Yogiknitgirl and I LOVE Ravelry
So fun to meet the gang in person!

Saying goodbye to Squam Lake the last day

Being greeted on Wednesday arrival

The dock at our cottage

The view from our room

The beautiful woven Heart there to greet

Best Roomy ever!

Inspiration during Altered Book Class with Colleen Attara

My view while writing on a Saturday morning

So much inspiration here

Gathering for a group photo
(photo taken by the amazing Forrest Elliott)

Daily inspiration adorning my cabin bedroom

See what I mean??????
If you ever get the chance to attend a Squam
please give yourself that gift!
They are magical, soul refreshing,
loving and safe.
So much goes into the making of such an experience
and I am filled to overflowing.
I will step lightly for awhile,
take care of my soul
and be ever so grateful
for what I took home with me!
Thank you Elizabeth, Forrest,
Mindy and Nina!

Along the pathway at Squam