Sunday, January 30, 2011

One World, One Heart, 2011 Edition

**Please note that this post will remain at the top of my posts for the duration of the One World, One Heart event. For newer posts, scroll down and click on the latest posts in the Blog Archive section in the right sidebar.**

Welcome to this year's One World, One Heart magical giveaway event starring bloggers from around the world!  Thank you so much for deciding to stop by myStoryART for a visit today.

Organized by Lisa Swifka, as a way for bloggers to connect with other bloggers from all corners of our wonderful world, this fifth and final year for the One World, One Heart Giveaway event promises to be the best yet!!

If you are a blogger and you'd like more information about how you can participate in this world wide event, just drop by Lisa's blog to read the "rules and regs" .  Many words of thanks and appreciation go to Lisa for all the work, time and effort she has put into this event over the past five years.  It is truly a gift of love on her part.

If you are a first time visitor to my blog, allow me to introduce myself and give you an idea of what you can expect to find, see or do during your visit to 

My name is Sharon House and I'd like to invite you to sample many of the delicious "goodies" you can discover buried in 130+ posts you can find on my blog.   Tasty morsels such as...
  • Entering your name for a chance to win the special giveaway gift I have selected for this year's One World, One Heart event.
  • Wise woman tales and other delightful, intriguing stories
  • Art projects to inspire you
  • Hands on projects for all levels of artistic talent
  • Tips, techniques and ideas you can use in your art
  • Tutorials you can download or request
  • Much, much more to delight the eye, tickle your funny bone and stimulate your creativity
If you like what you see and/or hear during your visit and would like to drop by again in the future, may I suggest that you bookmark my blog address in your browser or become a follower or sign up as a subscriber?  And, of course, remember to enter your name for a chance to win my GIVEAWAY. 

(Retail value $25.00)
I chose this funky, handcrafted polymer clay Inukshuk earring and pendant set (it also comes with a story, "The Story of the Inukshuk... The Meaningful Messenger") for my giveaway because of its symbolic meaning. The Inukshuk, originally found in Canada's arctic (and which was also the symbol for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games) is an enduring symbol of the importance of caring friendship between peoples and also serves as a reminder on an individual basis that we always have a choice in the direction we choose to take as we follow our life's path. 

Here's how to enter this Giveaway.

It's very simple!  Leave a comment on THIS POST along with your email address and a link to your blog (I'd like to return the favour and stop by for a visit to your blog)   The draw will take place on February 17 and I will post the winner's name here on my blog. 

**A gentle reminder... you must be a blogger and have your own blog in order to enter the draw.**

Thanks for stopping by today. I sincerely hope your enjoy your visit and come back again soon!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Time for a Wise Woman Tale

Hello again and welcome to my blog!

Last Wednesday night, as I turned off the bedside light to go off to sleep, our bedroom was flooded with the silvery light of the moon filtering through the open blinds. 

One of my favourite things to do is to lie in bed and look out at the night sky, especially around the time of the new moon.  As I lay there, feeling quite happy and content, I was reminded of a wise woman story that I have often told around the time of the full moon.

When I sat down to write this week's post, I realized that I haven't told you a wise woman tale for quite a long time now.  So, this week, for your reading or listening pleasure (you decide) is my "cobbled together from different sources" version of an old Hawaiian tale, The Old Woman in the Moon.

This story has been moved to the Audio Story page. Just click on the Audio Story "tab" at the top of the blog to access it.

P.S. In the mood for a good chuckle?  Another recorded story you might enjoy is "Mary Sue's Goin' on a Diet". It's a tale I tell only in January and was the recorded story for January 2010.

Have a wonderful week,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Step 5 - Create a Year of Magnificient Choices

Well... here we are the final step in this process.  Are you ready to play and have fun?  This step is all about creating a year of magnificient choices and it is simply de-licious! LOL 

Some Thoughts to Ponder before you begin

"Each day that passes, your choices will come and go. They are like diamonds in a chest of jewels, each waiting to be discovered." --Shad Helmstetter

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice." --William James

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." --Roy Disney

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." --Flora Whittemore

No matter what happens in our daily lives, we always have a choice.  Even if we think there is no other option, there is always something else that can be done.  A lifetime of experience has taught me that in any life circumstance I have two choices:  to accept things as they are or accept the  responsibility for changing them.

Over the past four days, you may have discovered some choices you have made in the past that you would now like to eliminate, change or add to your life.  Here is your opportunity to make those changes happen.  Take some time to go back and read what you have written over the past four days.  Reflect on the wisdom you have brought to the surface about who you are and what is truly important for you. 

What four or five things stand out for you? 
What is capturing your attention and beckoning to you? 
If you could be, do and have anything you want this year, what would you choose?  Make a list. 
What changes or actions will you have to take this year to bring these wants and wishes into reality?

A few words about setting our sight on what we want...

When we set our sights on something we want,  it is important to make it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART). 

If you have chosen something BIG, it is useful to have some smaller "benchmarks" along the way that will get you to your ultimate "goal".  Weight loss is a popular goal in the new year and often falls into this category so I'll use it as an example. 

It may be much easier for you to focus on the first five pounds, then the next five and so on.  It's more realistic and easier to achieve letting go of 5 pounds than focusing on the total weight loss number of say 40 or 50 pounds. 

You could walk for an hour a day which reminds me of another way to tackle weight loss.  Focus on something else other than *pounds*.  Pick out some activities such as walking or swimming. 

You can focus on time or distance goals when you walk longer distances or swim 4 or 5 times a week for an hour.  The weight will come off over time with more exercise and although weight loss is the primary goal it ends up being a fringe benefit of more physical activity.

Now that you have a good idea of what you want to have in your life in 2011, it's time to create a "treasure map" of the four or five things you discovered are truly important to you and you want to attract and bring into your life in 2011. 

Treasure maps are also known under different names:  Vision boards, Manifestation Maps, Dream Boards and if you are into Feng Shui, there is even a Feng Shui Treasure Map that is set up in accordance with feng shui bagua areas.

We have all had fun doing this activity at one time or the other so I am going to trust that no instructions are necessary.  All you need is a large sheet of paper or bristol board (or some pages in your journal that you set aside specifically for this exercise).   At this top of the page, write: "This is what I want to be, do and have in 2011. "

Spend as much time as you want creating your treasure map using photos, magazine cutouts, paint, glitter, buttons, crayons, drawings, balloon thoughts, words, embossed paper cutouts, trinkets, ribbon ... whatever you like! The idea is to dream and have fun.  And... you don't have to finish it all in one session.  You might even want to invite some friends over and each do a map!

Other possibilities:

Make an altered book and include pockets to stash your "dreams" in.  You can find out more about how to make an altered book by joining the Altered Books yahoo group

Create ATC sized cards for each of your "wants, do's or wishes" and stash them in a decorated altoid tin or ATC box

Make a paper bag or pocket book and stuff them with individual tag collages. 

BTW  If you are interested in learning how to make a pocket book and would enjoy participating in a monthly swap in 2011 to fill up those pockets, you can join The Latest Trends in Mixed Media yahoo group and sign up for the swap.

Any other suggestions?  Please leave a comment... it would be helpful for others!

When you are satisifed that your treasure map is complete, sprinkle it liberally with love and fairy dust! 

Decorate a large envelope big enough to hold all your papers from this process and your treasure map.  You could also decorate a box or create some "wrapping paper" and use some ribbon to wrap your papers in.

On the outside of the envelope or box write "To be opened on December 31, 2011." and stash it in a favourite "hiding spot", a drawer or even under your mattress so that you can dream on it the whole through year.  Come New Year's Eve 2011, open it and have a fun time discovering all that you have manifested this year!

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey.  I hope you had a wonderful time discovering more of who you are, what is important to you and creating some hopes, dreams and wishes for 2011.

All my very best wishes for a wonderful and magical 2011...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Step 4 - Listen to the Songs in your Heart

Hello again... Step 4 ... already!  How are you doing?  I'd love to hear from you...

Today's step is all about creating balance and enhancing your relationships... with yourself , with others, your work, your art and other activities you participate in that you enjoy.


Some Thoughts Before You Begin...

"Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead."  Louisa May Alcott

"Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life --learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day." --Robert L. Fulghum

It takes courage for many women to stop and take a look inside at those things that nourish, delight, energize, inspire and soothe us.  A vast majority of us have spent our lives taking care of others, living our lives by someone else's timetables and priorities.  When was the last time that you took time out of your busy life to reflect, rediscover, realign, regroup and renew your relationship with yourself? 

Achieving a balanced, high quality life comes from within you.  There is no paint by the numbers kit, a quickie tutorial or "how to" package for creating a balanced life that nurtures, sustains and fulfills us.  It comes from within us and when we pause to listen attentively to the music playing in our hearts, we can hear the words to the heartsong of our authentic self.


What changes do I need to make to better balance my life this year?

What will I do this year to make my relationships with my family, spouse, children and friends even better?

What 5 things could I do to take care of myself extremely well this year?

What 3 things can I do differently this year to enjoy my art, my life and my work even more?

What types of people do I want to connect with this year?

My deepest wish is....

What I am most grateful for is....

My greatest aspiration for this year is...

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." --Oprah Winfrey

"Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance." --Brian Tracy

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." --Jim Rohn

"A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere." --Joyce A. Myers

"Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life." Wayne Dyer

See you tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Step 3 Listen to the Music of Your Soul

Welcome back!  I hope you are finding this process insightful and interesting.  Today's step is one that I particularly enjoy and I hope, as you work through it, you do too.

Ready to play?  Set your papers aside from yesterday and begin with a fresh sheet.

Some Food for Thought:

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible to do. " -- Pope John XXIII

"Living with integrity means:
* Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships.
* Asking for what you want and need from others.
* Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension.
* Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.
* Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe."
-- Barbara De Angelis

You've may have heard what I am about to say time and time again:  Know your values.  But do you know why it's important to know what they are?

Here's my $100.00 opinion...GRIN... because values are at the root of what is most important for you.  They play a HUGE role in assisting you to live your life in integrity. 

Your values influence your thinking and guide your actions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year whether you realize it or not.  So doesn't it make a lot of sense to spend some time to figuring out not what you think should or ought to be important but what is TRULY important to you? 

One of the quickest ways to get a handle on what your values are is to look at how you spend your time.

I'll use an "activity" I engage in from my life as an illustrative example. 

I spend a lot of time writing. Posts for my blog. Stories that accompany some of my art pieces and jewelry that I sell. Stories that I tell at adult storytelling evenings or storytelling "gigs".  Occasional articles for publication in professional journals.  Oh and not to forget some of my art tutorials,,, GRIN.  These examples are a good cross section that illustrate the importance and priority this activity takes in my life. Writing is definitely important to me.  No kidding eh??? BIG GRIN

So what are the values at the root of this activity?  First and foremost for me is sharing because I believe that it is important to share knowledge. 

Another value is fun/pleasure.  Researching a "subject" and learning something new from it is a pleasurable activity for me.  I have more fun than a barrel of monkeys discovering something I didn't know before.  Just ask hubby... he gets the biggest kick out of me when I share some new discovery I've made with him.  Sometimes I am so excited, my words trip all over themselves.  There are certainly other values beneath this activity but those two values, sharing and fun, are at the top of the list for me.

Asking yourself  "What is truly important to me?" and then listening for the answer, is the first step in creating a list of values.  For example:  If having a loving relationship with your spouse or a significant other is important to you, the value might be "love".  Another example:  "I want to be a successful artist",  the value might be "success".

Determining what is important to you and creating a hierarchical list of your most treasured values is well, very valuable indeed! LOL. 

Think of values as the compass you carry which guides your way through life.  When you know your values, prioritize them and base your daily actions on them, you are well on your way to living the best, most fulfilling life you can make for yourself.  It is the difference between living your life from a reactive state (from the "Outside-In") to living your life based on your life purpose and values (from the "Inside-Out")


What's really, truly important to me?

What do I daydream about the most?

What do I love to do?

What is most fun and meaningful for me?

What kind of people do I love being around?

What five values are most important to me?

How do I want to be known in the world?  I want to be known as someone who....(finish the sentence)

What natural strengths, skills, abilities and talents do I want to use this year to make my life sing?

Shared Wisdom

"Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates.  There is lots of movement but you never know if it's going to be forwards, backwards or sideways."  -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Use what talents you possess.  The woods would be very quiet if no birds sang there expect those that sang best. " -- Henry Van Dyke

"The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have not what you don't have." -- Woody Allen

"If we aren't willing to pay the price for our values, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all." -- Barack Obama

See you tomorrow as we move on to the next step in this process:  Listen to the Songs in Your Heart


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Step 2 - Make Room for Magic


"Freedom is... clearing the clutter to make room for magic, rainbows and stardust to show up in my life." -- Sharon House

Welcome back!  Well guess what?  I finally figured out just how easy it is for me to reply to comments left  here on the blog. DUH... it is so simple, it's almost embarrassing to admit I didn't know how to do it. LOL. So check out the comment section for additional thoughts I may have in response to your comments or those left by others.

Ready to dig in to the next step?  Set yesterday's pages aside and begin with a fresh page or piece of paper.

A few thoughts to ponder before you begin...

Let's face it.  We all have *stuff* just gathering dust, taking up space in our homes and "clogging" our lives that we either no longer want, need or use.  But each time we think of tossing it out, the evil clutter fairy
shows up!

Artists are notorious for holding onto "stuff", just in case they may want it *someday*!!  Do you really need those 30 dominoes in your stash or would 10 do for now?  Do you really need all those blank canvases you bought on sale a number of years ago that are turning yellow and taking up space in your "stash" closet?  Do you really need to hold on to those acrylic paint bottles with only a few drops of (drying) paint left in them?  What about all those unfinished projects?  Yep, those ones that you keep telling yourself you will finish one day -- that elusive "Some day I'll..." that just never seems to come.

Hmm and while we are talking about *stuff*, take a look in your clothes closet.  What's too small?  too big? out of style? the wrong colour? worn out?  Shoes, dresses, pants, blouses, sweaters, scarves... the list can go on and on.   What about the garage?  Your kitchen cupboards?  Storage locker?  Your car?

When our lives are stuffed and cluttered, there is precious little room left for *magic* to appear.  The weight of all that "clutter" that hasn't seen the light of day since who knows when can often hide from us the awareness of what we really want in our lives.

Could it be that all that *stuff* you no longer use or even want is taking up space in your home, weighing you down (even if you aren't aware of it) and perhaps leaving you with that sickening feeling of being firmly STUCK?  Only you have the answer.

Now my experience has been that when you start eliminating clutter, you begin to free yourself from clutter's clutches and oh my, it feels good.  You feel lighter.  More in control.  Powerful... knowing that you are in charge of breathing new life into your work, your art and your daily life.  Creating space for new inspiration, fresh ideas and positive energy to come in.  Energy to assist you in discovering and accomplishing what is truly most important to you in all facets of your life. 

Noticing some resistance to the thought of attacking clutter?  That's pretty normal.  I'm doing this process along with you and this is the step I find myself most in resistance to every darn time.  But I will set my resistance aside for now.  I'll do it anyway because I know from previous experience that addressing it works.  I encourage you to do the same. 

Being *energy efficient* is "IN" these days LOL...however, only you can decide if one of the things you want for yourself this year is to accomplish more with less effort by becoming more *energy efficient*!

The bottom line: to move to a new level, you need to create some space to accommodate it so get ready to... 

What 50 things are cluttering up my home, my art space/supplies and my life?

What activities do I engage in that are really a waste of my time and energy?

What physical surroundings,environments and (oh BOY!) people dampen my enthusiasm?

Tip: Clean it up. Box it up. Let it go. Sell it. Give it away. Get rid of it. Simplify.

P.S.  How did the tortoise win the race?  That's right... slow and steady.  He just kept at it, day after day until he reached the finish line.  Take a cue from the tortoise in clearing up the clutter.

Quotes to Ponder

"I've been getting rid of some clutter — anything that doesn't serve a positive purpose in my life — and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I'm not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it. " --Jan Denise

"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just enough baggage."  -- Author Unknown

"Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow." -- H.G. Chissell

"If you have debt, I'm willing to bet that general clutter is a problem for you too." -- Suze Orman

"Affirm for yourself that you are a success. Affirm that you are successful in getting rid of your clutter. If you are having a hard time getting started, be grateful that you are such a successful clutterer. Who else could have amassed such a collection of stuff?" --Norman Vincent Peale

Further Reading  about Clutter from Amazon...

Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back

Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

One Thing At a Time: 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day

101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter

The 15-Minute Organizer

Tomorrow:  Step 3 - Listen to the Music of Your Soul

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Step 1 Take an Inventory

"If one advances confidentally in the direction of his dreans and endeavours to live a life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."


Here are today's questions to answer:

1. What did I appreciate most about 2010, personally, artistically and professionally?
2. What did I achieve last year that I am proud of?  Look at all areas of your life:  family, relationships, community, your art, your job, your children, your home, etc..
3.  What did I discover in 2010 that will improve my quality of my art, my family, my life?

Write your answers in your journal (devoted exclusively to this process) or on sheets of pretty paper. 

Add any embellishments, photos, drawings, doodles, cut outs, or ideas that are sparked as you complete your pages.  You can draw a treasure map, make balloon thoughts, use crayons, paint... let your imagination lead you...

A Quote to Ponder:

"The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one's opportunities, and to make the most of one's resources"

Tomorrow:  Step 2 - Make Room for Magic

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goal Setting in 2011: Make Room for Magic

Typically the beginning of a new year prompts many of us to pause and reflect on the year just passed.  As the new year dawns, many people traditionally turn their attention to the year ahead by sharpening their pencils and writing resolutions or lofty goals.

You won't catch me doing that. I find setting New Year's resolutions or creating a lofty goal plan a complete waste of time. 

I heard that *GASP* you just took (LOL)

Consider this for a moment.  Have you ever noticed how traditional goal setting tends to focus on what is missing, lacking or needs changing?  Yep, it can actually reinforce and remind us of what is not working or what we don't have.

OUCH!  That's a recipe for setting ourselves up for a "downer" experience that doesn't feel very good.  Who wants to start off the year feeling like *that*?  It's no wonder so many people lose their motivation and enthusiasm for their resolutions and goals so quickly.  Statistics prove that most people have abandoned them long before the month of January is over.

Would you like to test drive a new, inspiring and positively creative way to reach for your special stars this coming year?  Yes.  Then you need not look any further.  You're in the right spot today.  Read on..

A number of years ago, I came up with an uplifting five step process for my creative coaching clients (and me) that inspired many magical moments for them and for me.  I'd like to share this process with you over the next week.  Encourage you to try it out.  See how it works for you.  I'm betting that if you dive head first into this process and work through it, you're going to feel excited about what the coming year has in store for you.

Why Traditional Goal Setting Often Doesn't Work

Setting goals from a place of lack actually increases lack. It focuses on present pain for future, illusive gain. We artistic, creative types can become so impatient to get to where we want to go that our impatience stops any forward movement dead in its track.  The longer our *want* is stalled, the more we focus on not having *IT* and the more we feel the lack.  Some people call this ride on the merry go round the experience of being "circle jerked" LOL

Traditional goal setting asks us to be specific.  Being specific is great in itself but it's not always easy for highly creative people to get a handle on.  We can be pretty slippery and vague.  If you say " I want to be successful artist" what does successful really mean to you?  How will I know when I am successful?  What will be happening?  What will I be doing? are questions you need to ask and answer to get to the bottom of what "I want to be a successful artist" really means.  I have also found that danger lurks in focusing too narrowly on creating a specific outcome.  It rarely leaves any room for something to come to you wrapped in a slightly different package. 

You see, sometimes, we are just too smart for our own britches.  We think we know exactly how it will be and what it will look like.  And often, we are wrong.  We don't recognize *IT* when *IT* shows up because it is different than what we expected or thought it would be.  We can miss out on a lot of magic.

Dare to Do Something Different

If traditional goal setting doesn't work for you, I have a simple solution.  Stop doing it.  Do something that will make you feel good. 

Now any of you who have been coming to my blog for any length of time know that I am definitely someone who is addicted to feeling good.  For me, there is nothing like a healthy shot of feeling good to get my inspirational and motivational molecules all lined up and headed in the right direction. 

Wouldn't you like this too?  If the answer is yes, then you are in for a treat over the next five days.  Come along with me as I show you how to weave together your own special yarns and create a unique tapestry for your year ahead.

Let's Get Started

Between now and tomorrow, find a quiet, comfortable spot to just kick back, relax, close your eyes and randomly think and dream about your life, your art, your wants and wishes.  Let it be a pleasant experience without the need to take notes or telling yourself you have to remember it all.  Enjoy these moments of introspection and solitude with your "self".  That's all you need to do to get ready.

About this process

This process has five steps:

1. Take an Inventory
2.  Make Room for Magic
3. Listen to the Music of Your Soul
4. Listen to the Songs in Your Heart
5. Create a Year of Magnificent Choices

There are only a few important points to keep in mind as you embark on this process. 

1. Choose some pretty, loose paper to write on with your favourite pen.  Each step will require a new sheet of paper so depending on how much you write in response to the questions posed in any of the steps, you may need a couple of sheets for each step.  You can use a *NEW* journal as long as you are prepared to use it for this process only.  Not to give anything away, you'll understand why later on.
2. Finish each step you are working on in one session if you can. 
3. Do the steps in order
4. Finish the entire document (all 5 steps) within seven days.

Effort = Magic 

You have to put in the effort of completing ALL the steps to reap the magic.  It doesn't have to be a lot of writing with every i dotted and every t crossed.  You can draw or doodle to your heart's content if that's what you like to do.  Draw "thought balloons" to record your musings.  Use crayons or paint.  Paste in pictures or photos. There is no right or wrong way to complete each step just as long as it feels good, you are having fun and it is a reflection of you and who you are.

Your Next Step

I hope you will join me and come back for a visit tomorrow (Monday) to discover Step One, Taking an Inventory in this "Wisdom Weaving for a New Year" process.

BTW... If you have a My Yahoo! or Goggle account or another news reader such as Bloglines,  now might be a great time to sign up as a myStoryART Subscriber.  The sign up box is at the top of this page, on the right. It's free and as a blog subscriber, you will automatically be notified as soon as new posts are added to myStoryART.  This way you don't have to keep on coming back to the blog to check when a new post has been published.