Friday, November 16, 2012

Mental Health Day

Yesterday I took a much needed mental health day. I posted on facebook "Self care before self destruct...mental health day today. Trust me, I've been down the self destruct path and if you need one...take one!" While I was out and about I ran into a friend who had seen my status update and asked what I was doing for my mental health day.  After our conversation I got to thinking that once upon a time I had no idea what a mental health day was or how to execute one. Many people sacrifice their self care because they feel they are being selfish when take time for themselves and neglect other responsibilities. Those responsibilities may be work related, school, household or family responsibilities. There may be others but these are the ones I can personally relate to...

I'm not going to take you down my path of self destruction but I do want to share with you my current efforts to maintain balance and good mental health in my life now. First, I plan my mental health day and actually put it on my calendar. I choose a day when my kids have few or if I'm really lucky, no school or sport events.  I plan it so that I can get any of my responsibilities taken care of before the day comes (house cleaning, laundry, errands etc.) I also plan it so that I can have certain things ready for myself, for example I make sure my favorite shirt is clean.

Here's what a typical mental health day might include, the things I always do are marked with an *:
* wear my favorite shirt
* wear perfume
* lunch at's always the same, fajita burrito bowl with peppers, onions, black beans, mild salsa, sour cream and extra cheese.
* a stop at Starbucks. I actually go in and enjoy my Venti Mocha, no whip in the store and listen to the music, enjoy the aroma and people watch
* drive the speed limit and make complete stops at ALL stop signs
- watch a favorite movie that provides either a good laugh or a good cry depending on what I need or a new one from my list of movies that I want to see
- spend time in a favorite store, usually a bead store or a paper store
- download some new music to my Ipod
- indulge with a favorite candy, usually Swedish Fish, Twizzlers Cherry Nibs, or Jelly Belly jellybeans
- take a nap
- make an impulse purchase
- paint, scrapbook, play with beads, sew, knit...
- take pictures

If you've never taken a mental health day or it's been too long, take one, soon! I promise you'll be a better mom, wife, friend, employee (insert noun of your choice here) for it!!

Speaking of pictures here are a few from yesterday...
Some tags I painted and inked and a mini stencil I made...

My impulse purchase...$2 grab bag from Michael's. Granted, most of it I will not use but the 3 little chairs are a altering project waiting to happen and my cat can be a pimp for Halloween next year! Score!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge 3

It came together slowly but all for good reason I think...
Here are the prompts:
Headline: Triumphs and Defeats
Color: Black and White
Quote: Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have been existing on my dark side lately so I wanted to start with a black background. I don't have any black gesso yet so I used crumpled black tissue paper and adhered that to my page with gel medium. Then I sponged on some dark grey for more texture. I went a bit crazy with my sponge so I lightened the black more than I intended. To fix that I used a stamp that I made with plexiglass and silicon to stamp black swirls. I found the tutorial for the stamp on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's website but I can not find it now to provide a link to save my life. My stamp is shown in the photo below. (On a side note, if you think it looks a lot like The Crafters Workshop Cosmic Swirl you're right. I used that to make this 'companion' stamp.)

Anyway, I pulled out the playing cards because triumphs and defeats made me think of taking chances and gambling...things sat that way for a few days. Then I got Carolyn Dube's newsletter with a black and white "spark" which can be printed out and used in your personal artwork. I printed a couple of large copies and a couple of smaller copies and added them to the pile. In her email she said that she kept seeing the moon. I could not stop seeing a black cat. Superstitious people associate black cats with bad luck which would probably lead to defeats. I am superstitious to a point but I am too much of a cat person to believe any of them could be bad luck so I kept thinking of the quote by Samuel Goldwyn "The harder I work, the luckier I get." and probably more triumphant. I cut that little kitty out and put him in the bottom left corner of the page.

That kitty made me happy so I pulled out my favorite Dylusions Letter Jumble stencil and a new Balzer Designs stencil I'd been hoarding, Mini Summer. In my happiness I wanted to add more white on my page so I pulled out the grey and white polka dotted packaging I'd been saving from a Donna Downey product I'd purchased. I started tearing up paper and placing pieces and added some black and white polka dotted Smash tape that is mostly covered now. Got everything glued down and started stenciling in light grey and white. I decided Summer was me and gave her a couple of dark plum highlights like the ones I got in October.

Thanks for stopping by! If you feel moved please leave a comment, they mean the world to me!
- Dawn