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Tuesday
Feb242015

Bringing WHEN YOU LOSE SOMEONE YOU LOVE to Life

Hi Everyone,

Those of you who have been reading the Zenspirations® blog for a while may remember that in October I launched my first-ever Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish, “When You Lose Someone You Love”, an illustrated book of excerpts from the grief journals I kept after my husband died unexpectedly three and a half years ago. The pages of the book I'm about to self-publish all started in one of my grief journals... expressing my feelings by putting pen to paper was both cathartic and healing... and something I continue to do. The photo below shows some of the journals I kept. I wrote all the text with my favorite tool-- a Pigma Micron 01-- in a series of Moleskin Reporter's notebooks. 

I've started to get inquiries about when the book will be available, and as I'm nearing the end of the redesign process, I wanted to share a progress report. Much to my regret, it has taken me significantly longer than I had originally anticipated to make these changes, which has delayed my being able to send the book off to press. One reason it has taken longer than I thought it would, is that in addition to adding color I have also been tweaking most of the pages... sometimes I've made changes to the layout, sometimes I've cleaned up (or totally redone) the lettering; occassionally I've combined the text from multiple pages onto a single spread. On several pages that were originally text-only I added an illustration to enhance the design. 

I'd like to share how the pages of my grief journals have evolved into the pages of When You Lose Someone You Love. For example, in the photo below you'll see the original unretouched drawing in my grief journal on the bottom, and a comp of the final design on top.

As another example, below is a photo of the unretouched lettering from my journal.

And here is the final design with digitally cleaned up lettering... although it looks simple, it took several hours to adjust the letters on this spread.

The next page of the book, which I consider pivotal, provides a good example of how I tweaked the lettering and added an illustration to enhance the design. It's after this page that the book starts to get a little more hopeful. The top piece is a photo of my original, unretouched journal, followed by the final version of that page.


 

I'd also like to share the evolution of one of the spreads at the back of the book where I added color. I have names for most of the spreads, and I call this one "Life's Journey". The image below is a photo of my unretouched journal.

As you can see, the illustration is kind of messy, so I scanned my journal, and then cleaned up the line art digitally to get the design below. I made a deliberate decision not to include the leaves on most of the trees, in order to underscore the bleak mood I was trying to convey.


When I set the stretch goal to add color, I was thinking about this spread in particular, because I wanted to visually show the themes of transition and hope, and I thought color would be a good way to do achieve that. I knew I wanted to incorporate a washy edge into the illustration, and tried at least a dozen different techniques before coming up with something I thought had possibilities.

 

But in the end, I decided that I should depict the world as being grey before the transition, and then add soft color which would gradually become more vibrant to help underscore the transition in my life's journey.

 

I left the star out of this version, but am wondering whether it would be a stronger spread with the star. I would greatly value your feedback on this, and would appreciate your leaving me a comment to let me know if you'd like to see the star, or if you like the page the way it is. Feel free to share your thoughts on any other aspect of the book. I'm in the middle of doing the final production, but can still make changes before I send the book to press.

For those of you who backed my Kickstarter-- THANK YOU!!! I truly appreciate your support (and your patience!) and am hoping the book will touch your heart. And for those of you who are new to the blog and didn't get a chance to back the Kickstarter, the books will be for sale on my website (as soon as I redo it!).

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne

Tuesday
Feb172015

Love is Transformational!

Hi Everyone,

Love is more than a feeling—it is a way of being. Love is kindness personified.

 

  • When you look with love, youll see the best in everyone you meet.
  • When you listen with love, you’ll hear the melody of someone’s heart.
  • When you reach out in love, you’ll discover the spark of holiness in someone’s soul.
  • When you give with love, hearts are healed.
  • When you create with love, miracles happen.
  • When you act with love, you become a light into the world.

A single loving act can change the world.

 

Years ago a friend left a post-it note on my computer which said “You are loved by the very Creator of the Universe!” This absolutely blew me away… I’ve always considered myself a loving and caring person, but until that moment I didn’t really understand that I had intrinsic value and was truly worthy of being loved. Knowing that you are loved makes a huge difference in your life. It gives you confidence, security, and ignites the ability to reach out to others in love. And love is what connects us to one another. 

Let the love in your heart permeate every fiber of your being… and connect you to the flow of the most powerful force in the universe. Won’t you join me in setting an intention to make LOVE the way you choose to interact with the world?

Love is transformational!

Let love, hope, gratitude and compassion fill your heart; let them flow through you, inside you and around you. Let all you do come from a place of love.


I had fun creating the image for this week's blog, and enjoyed experiment with some new color techniques. I'd love to know which version of the design is your favorite. Please leave a comment to let me know which one you like best.

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne

PS If you colored any of the Valentine's Day cards or coloring sheets from last week's blog, I'd REALLY appreciate your sharing how they turned out. You can e-mail photos to me at joanne@zenspirations.com. THANKS!

Tuesday
Feb102015

The Color of LOVE

Hi Everyone,

Love is like the wind... you can't see it, but you know it is there because you FEEL it. Love is an incredibly powerful force; it transcends language, time and place and brings hope and healing to those going through challenges. The love in our hearts serves as an invisible yet tangible connection to those we care about... no matter where we are in the world. So let the light of the love in your heart shine forth!

Last week I mentioned that I'm going to be developing a new website, and asked if you enjoy reading the blog, but haven’t subscribed yet, to please take a moment to Subscribe to the Zenspirations® blog so we'll be able to stay in touch no matter where I wind up hosting the website. THANK YOU to those who took a few moments to subscribe, and WELCOME to all the new subscribers!

If you are a new reader (rather than a new subscriber), the Zenspirations® blog is where I share inspirational images I've been working on, along with accompanying uplifting messages. Since the blog is popular with my fellow 'Creatives', Crafters & Calligraphers, I occassionally share technique tips. And every now and then I ask what you'd like to see, and then create something especially for those of you who leave a comment. Although it will most likely be several months in the making, I'm really looking forward to my new website, so rather than you just reading what I post and me reading your comments, we'll actually be able to converse.

Of course it helps to speak the same language when you are having a conversation, and this past week was a 'first' for me; one of the long-time subscribers posted a comment in French! A good friend was kind enough to translate it for me, so Martine, this is for you:

Martine requested the word 'AMOUR', which means LOVE in French. Love in any language is a beautiful thing to share.

I was touched at how many people requested cards for specific people in their lives... and it was REALLY hard to decide how to accommodate as many requests as I could. In the end I came up with three cards that will hopefully meet most of requests: You are Greatly Loved; To a Very Special Friend; and a heart dangle with the LOVE from last week's blog. 

Since I couldn't create cards for every imaginable relationship, I did what I thought was the next best thing-- I left room in the design below for you to add someone's name. You could write "Mom" above "You Are Greatly Loved"... or "Son" or the name of the person you are making the card for. And I left a space for you to sign your name on the back of the card. If you haven't made your own cards before, print it out, score it, and then cut it. In addition to adding color, you can add glitter, gems and whatever embellishments you like to use.

 

Click here to download a pdf of the "You Are Greatly Loved" card. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

On the card below there is room for you to add someone's name in the swirl between the two hearts.

 

Click here to download a pdf of the "Special Friend" card. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

 

 

Click here to download a pdf of the Zenspirations "Love Dangle" card. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. As inspiration, here is one way you can color the heart dangles:

If you have some extra time this week, please consider making a card for a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker who has experienced loss. Valentine's Day can be especially difficult for widows, divorcees and other people who are alone. A card, a flower, a phone call, even a FB message or text could make a BIG difference to someone you know. Please reach out in love, and touch someone's heart. You'll be glad you did!

For those of you who prefer a coloring page, I spoke to my editor at Design Originals, and she gave me permission to share a couple pages from my Zenspirations Color, Create, Pattern & Play books. So I picked two pages from the Zenspirations Inspirations book, and two pages from the Zenspirations Abstract book (see photo below).

 

The first two are from the Zenspirations Inspirations book.

Click here to download a PDF of the Zenspirations Love With Passion page from the Inspirations Color, Create, Pattern & Play book. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

 

Click here to download a PDF of the Zenspirations Woven Frame page from the Inspirations Color, Create, Pattern & Play book. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

The next two are from the Zenspirations Abstract book.

 

Click here to download a PDF of the Zenspirations Loopy Hearts page from the Abstract Color, Create, Pattern & Play book. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

 

Click here to download a PDF of the Zenspirations Rock Hearts page from the Abstract Color, Create, Pattern & Play book. When you get to the page, right click the image to save a copy. 

Have fun coloring! Experiment with different tools and techniques, and please take photos and share them with me. I look forward to seeing how your pieces turn out; my e-dress is joanne@zenspirations.com.

Happy Valentine's Day-- hope you get to spend it with someone you love!

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne

Tuesday
Feb032015

The Path to Wholeness: LOVE

Hi Everyone,

In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I am planning to devote the next few blog posts to a subject I feel passionately about: LOVE. And in hopes of helping you stay connected to those you love, next week I’ll be posting downloadable pdfs of love-themed pages from my Zenspirations® Color, Create, Pattern & Play books for you to embellish, color and give to someone special. If there is enough interest I will also post a couple card designs. So if you’d like to download free Zenspirations cards, please leave a comment to let me know whether you want to color it yourself or you’d prefer to have one I’ve already colored. Also let me know what kind of card you want me to post. For example, if there are a lot of people who want a “For a Wonderful Mom on Valentine’s Day” card, I can post that; if there are more votes for a card which says “For a Special Friend on Valentine’s Day” card, I’ll post a design with that message… so even if you’ve never left a comment before, please take a few minutes to let me know if you'd like a card, and what you’d like it to say.

Speaking of comments, I don’t know if I’ve told you how much I enjoy reading what you write. Quwatha, Sue, Elaine, Theresa, Debra, Sandy, Sharon, Sarah, Donna, Kara, Kathleen, Linda, Clover, Alyce, Janet, Kim, Laura, Jackie, Howard, Maria, beej, Jane, Barbara, Fran, MYT CR8TiV, Elisa, Wendy, Mary, Terri, Anne, Susan, Sharyn, Grace Ann, and all of the other ‘regulars’ – it means a lot to me that you take time to share your thoughts. THANK YOU! I often want to write back, and have been feeling frustrated that that the blog platform I’m using doesn’t allow me to respond to your comments. So I’m embarking on a new adventure—I’m going to be reworking my website and blog to facilitate interactive communication. I’d welcome suggestions on platforms you like which allow for reciprocal conversation.

If you enjoy reading the blog, but haven’t subscribed yet, please take a moment to Subscribe to the Zenspirations® blogI’d like to be able to stay in touch no matter where I wind up hosting the website.

Everybody wants to be loved... love is essential to our souls, just as food is to our bodies. To me, love is more than a feeling; it's a way of embracing the world and everyone in it. Love is a thousand little things which flow together to create an atmosphere in which kindness and hope can flourish. There are many kinds of love, but they all have one thing in common-- love grows connections between hearts. When you look through the eyes of love, you realize that each person you meet has unlimited potential. You'll see promise instead of imperfection, and beauty instead of bitterness. Let love fill your heart and there won't be room for fear or negativity. Look with love, and you'll see past someone's character flaws to the spark of holiness inside their soul. 

The love you share radiates outward... like ripples made by dropping a small stone into a pond. Love flows and grows... touching lives and healing hearts. The more love you give, the better you feel. Let love envelop you... Let love connect and consecrate you... Let love fill you and flow through you... Let love make you whole.

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne

 

Tuesday
Jan272015

Seek, Savor, Sanctify

Hi Everyone,

The beginning of every year is a good time to do some soul-searching, and I have come to the conclusion that rather than trying to DO more, I'm better off when I do less, but am more MINDFUL. When I take time to connect with those I love, make time to create (which keeps me whole), and try to break myself of the habit of filling every moment of every day with busy-ness. 

Often, in my attempts to get things done, I forget to slow down enough to Seek, Savor and Sanctify, which is something I hope to rectify this year. I'm also trying to answer the question:

 "If life is a gift, who or what are you giving yours to?"

Have you thought about this? If so, please leave a comment letting me know what is in your heart.

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne