Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The end of an era, and the beginning of something new

To everything, there is a season.
Breaking up is hard to do...  It's not you, it's me...

Oh, friends. I can't even tell you how many times I've written this blog post. I've saved drafts and deleted them, I've written lengthy explanations and brief little farewell posts.

I even wrote a really long post that I planned to publish yesterday, but here I am re-writing it one more time.

I have talked about moving away from blogging for a few years now – closing up shop, no more PaperTurtle, trading morning blogging for morning yoga… I’ve mentioned it in conversation to my friends and family only to have them scoff, “I’ll believe it when I see it” – probably because I’ve threatened to do it so many times.

I published my first blog post in November 2008. Since then I have published 1,513 posts that have included sewing projects, baking cupcakes, growing sunflowers, raising turtles, losing my mom, drawing mandalas, teaching yoga and remodeling houses. For eight years I have shared our day-to-day life, weekend recaps, stories about my past, contemplating human nature, being vulnerable and speaking from my heart. For eight years I have been finding my own voice, making new friends, being inspired and inspiring others. And for eight years I have been photographing and writing about it all.

I believe that the success of a blog depends solely on the goals of the blogger. The success is directly tied to the outcomes the blogger hopes to realize. And since I never set out to "gain" anything from keeping this blog in the first place, the benefits have far exceeded anything I could have imagined to begin with. I just know that my focus has changed and there are other things I want to fill my time with and pay attention to.

When I think of the many ways PaperTurtle has served me, it feels like an immeasurable personal success! It really has been. And now it’s time for me to move in a new direction. I will still be writing, but not for this space. I will still be photographing, but also not for this space. Will I ever come back here? To PaperTurtle? Will I ever post more photos and/or stories? I don’t know. I doubt it, but stepping away from an eight-year-way-of-life is going to be strange. I won’t know until I try it.

In the meantime, you can “like” my yoga page on Facebook, MyYoga Friend Deb. I post quotes and links to articles/stories there and eventually, when my yoga blog is up and running, I’ll include links to my new blog posts there as well. I think I'll even come back here to PaperTurtle and post a link for my yoga blog when I'm ready to fly with that. For photos, you can follow my photos on Instagram. I’m PaperTurtle in that realm.

Sigh. So, yeah. That's that. I can hardly believe it myself. Maybe I won't fully believe it until I click that "publish" button and let this post fly. Just thinking about putting this out there gives me a sinking feeling in my belly. Silly as that sounds, I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around closing my beloved PaperTurtle blog. I think this will be a tough habit to break... There's also part of me that feels a little giddy and excited for being able to focus more of my attention on my mandala and yoga path.
I would like to express my very sincere appreciation to those who have followed my blog and have continued to read my words. I feel so much gratitude for everyone who has ever left a lovely comment to validate me, lift me, inspire me, bless me.
Looking back over the past eight years, PaperTurtle feels like such a great accomplishment and precious gift. I’m so very proud of what I’ve done here, and now I’m excited to do something new.
Onward and upward, my friends.
With so much love and gratitude,
~ Deb

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mandalas and scrapbook paper unite

Oooooh...I have had this idea in my mind for a while now, and last weekend it worked its way out of my head and out through my hands. I knew there was a reason to save all that scrapbook paper!

The process was simple, really. I used my compass to draw some circles, then I cut the circles out and arranged them to create the base of my mandala. See the rings in the photo above? I cut those into eight pieces, and then freehand cut the petals. I still have some ink pads in my scrapbook stash, although they're pretty well dried out. The one I used for this piece was just enough to give the edges and tips a little color for added definition.

I glued my pieces to my sketchbook page with a glue pen and then I doodled...

I had cut the same size circles from a few different papers, so I created a second one with some of the other shapes I'd already cut out. Here's mandala #2:

Same colors, same basic shapes, unique mandala every time.

Upside-down photo, but that's ok. I laid down a few lines of doodle but it still needed something.

So I made dots - my go-to-fill-in technique. I used a thicker tipped Sharpie marker and started dotting.

So much fun.
So soothing and relaxing.
So many scrapbook papers...
limitless possibilities for mandalas.
I'll be with my sketchbook if you need me.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Around here this weekend

Hey there, blog friends!
Welcome to another exciting weekend recap on PaperTurtle. Our weekend was fairly low key, and I did manage a few photos to share.

Saturday morning I searched the turtle habitat to see if Rex and Casper were out. They have some favorite hiding places in their habitat and they weren't in any of those spaces. Then I noticed them hanging out under my sunflower sprouts. :o)!!! Made me so happy to see that. They are no doubt enjoying the canopy of shade, and possibly (hopefully) eating bugs from underneath the leaves.

In other pet news, Whiskers Jay was a happy camper this weekend. I drew five mandalas over the course of two days, so he remained perched on the edge of my table...purring and tail swishing...

I love the simplicity of this mandala.

Saturday evening - way too hot to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine. I took this next photo standing inside our backdoor, dreaming of autumn...

And then Sunday. I'm down to the part in my yoga teacher training where I'm required to attend a certain number of classes at the studio and journal about them. So I went to two classes yesterday - one that I participated in, and one that I assisted with. Need to finalize my notes today before I forget certain details...

I spent a little time looking at the hashtag #mandalalove on Instagram this weekend. Oh, the inspiration! I've made some Instagram mandala friends in the process, and I'm going to be using some new shapes in my own mandalas just to keep them interesting for me. The one above was inspired by a mandala artist who uses a lot of triangle points in her work. Something new and different for me. I made a bit of a mess, but in the long run I loved the finished piece. I used watercolor pencils on this one:

We had some cloud coverage for a while yesterday so it was nice enough to sit on the patio...until the mosquitoes started pestering us. Hot, humid, stormy time of year + Arizona sunsets to compensate.

And now a new week with pretty much the same ol' routine on the horizon. Work, yoga, work, yoga... I'll take it!

Keep on keepin' on, my friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Where the mandala leads, Part 2

In April of last year I wrote a post with this same title, minus the "Part 2." At the time, I was preparing to lead my first mandala yoga workshop and had rented a room from Inner Vision Yoga, the studio where I practice and also receive my yoga teacher training. I'd always had a feeling I'd be teaching in that room in the studio, and having that come to fruition was such an exciting thing for me! Even if I did have to rent the room and promote the workshop on my own, I was so happy about that.

Well, I've lead six workshops since then (two held at Inner Vision), and when I contacted Inner Vision Yoga to see about booking a date for my seventh workshop I assumed it would be like before. I'd pick a date that worked for them, I'd pay the fee for room rental and go about my merry way promoting the workshop and taking care of registration.

Imagine my delight when I received a call from the studio with a request to lead my workshop on their behalf. :o)!!! The studio will promote my workshop, they'll handle all registration and I'll show up with my mandala supplies and lead the workshop. And this time they'll pay me instead of the other way around.

I cried happy tears after I got the call. My mandalas have been life changing for me in so many ways, and it's such an honor to lead workshops where I can share this simple art form and inspire others with these magical circles. The process is so soothing and lovely.

The photos in this post show my progress in creating this mandala...

Sometimes I begin my mandalas using a circle template and the method I shared in this tutorial. And sometimes (most often) I use my compass to lay down some circles and just dive right in.

I drew this mandala with a Sharpie permanent marker, my favorite drawing tool lately. I wanted something that wouldn't bleed when wet because I used watercolor pencils to color this one in.

It's a lot quicker to color in with these watercolor pencils. The entire area doesn't need to be covered because once you wet the color it moves around as paint would.

Most fun part: putting the water on and seeing the colors become so vibrant.

I will gladly continue to follow where the mandala leads me.
I wonder what's next?! :o)
A mandala template to print and play with,

Monday, July 25, 2016

Around here this weekend...

Good day, blog friends.
I hope this Monday morning finds you well and happy. I am both. :o) Come in, I'll tell you about our weekend...

Saturday morning I had breakfast with my sister-in-law, Janet. We each had a mimosa and a yummy meal at The Original Chop Shop in downtown Chandler. SO yummy, and I'm excited to take Doug there sometime.

Carrie and her beau were out of town for the weekend, so we had her dog, Marcus, in the mix of our resident fur balls. Marcus and Lucky are great friends. The cat? Not so much. This next shot was at feeding time for the cat...all hands on deck.

I drew a few mandalas this weekend and I loved spending lots of time with each one, just taking my time. Whiskers Jay stayed close by (as usual).

That tail.

You can see both of our turtles in the photo below, enjoying some ground venison that Doug gave them. Oh my gosh, they love that stuff! Rex literally comes "running" for it. Nature. So gross and so cool.

I played with watercolor pencils on my mandalas this weekend and Whiskers would not leave my water jar alone. Pal or pest? Both rolled into one!

This week will include lots of yoga as I have picked up a Friday morning class at another Chandler Parks & Recreation location. So, in addition to the two I teach at Snedigar Rec Center on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, I'll be teaching Friday mornings at Tumbleweed Rec Center. I've also scheduled my next mandala workshop for the end of August, so I'll be preparing for that in the coming weeks.

When my schedule is full like this it's a challenge to keep up with my own yoga practice, so I'm stepping up my morning routine starting today. Gotta' click publish and hit my yoga mat.

Pray for peace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My mandalas in Mexico

Oh my goodness, the yoga retreat I took to Mexico at the end of April seems like it was ages ago! Finding this post saved in my blog drafts really took me back. Today I give you mandalas I drew in Mexico...
I loved having the opportunity for some down time on this retreat. I spent plenty of time practicing yoga, shopping with friends and visiting Mayan ruins, but there was also plenty of time for relaxing. I had taken a few books to read, but every time I picked one up my mind just wouldn't stay on task. So naturally, mandalas for me!

I noticed something about my mandalas while I was on the yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. My colors were all beach-y and sunny and vacation-y feeling.

Oh, that light that shined through my cabana window... Swoon!

True. Love.

This next mandala never made it to completion. This is what happens when I force something. I wanted to draw a mandala with harder edges so I started out with this:

And then I lost interest. I tried to add some color but just wasn't feeling it so I figured, "Meh. Life's too short, turn the page..."

And then I went back to what comes naturally...

Side note from mandala talk: The first couple of mornings as I walked along the beach I was surprised to see no shells for collecting. How could that be? Then I thought of my sweet hubby and how he is always finding little trinkets and stuff - because he really looks for them. So the next morning I decided to be more like Doug. I looked a little closer, and what do you know? I found shells! The shells on the beach at our resort were always buried just a little under the sand, with the very tops poking out. I was tentative with the first couple I dug out with my finger, expecting a little critter to climb out from underneath, but that never happened. I found shells every time I walked on the beach from that day on.

One of the participants in our group had a birthday during the week of our retreat, and my Alaskan friends suggested that we make a card for him that we could all sign. "I have nice paper with me!" I volunteered, and we agreed to meet later and construct a card. When we gathered we decided that I'd draw a mandala base, and a couple of other friends gathered beach items to adhere to the front. I loved the addition of the beach finds and the ring of sand inside! We were able to borrow a bottle of glue from the resort office, and we were all so happy with the way the card turned out. The recipient loved it too.

I drew the next one for my mama. Her birthday was at the end of the week during my retreat.

Last but not least, imagine my surprise and gratitude when I was presented with a birthday card made just for me at the end of our week. (My birthday fell on the day after our return home.) I had taught a couple of the ladies in my group how to draw mandalas, and they made this card for me that everyone signed. I love that I have Kat's first mandala as a keepsake! I will treasure it for always.

And how cool is it that they found a heart shaped ocean piece for the center?
Mandala love.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Around here this weekend

Hey there, blog friends.
Welcome to the beginning of a whole new week. What a lovely weekend we had around these parts! We were productive and also had time for time for relaxing and spending time with friends. Come on in...

You may recall that I reduced my corporate work hours to have Friday's off in order to pursue yoga and hospice work. I completed my hospice volunteer training in June and have been waiting to receive my first assignment. Well, Thursday afternoon I got the call, and Friday morning I visited my first hospice patient.

I had a moment Friday morning as I was getting ready to go where I wondered what in the world I was doing. I called Doug and he soothed me - reassured me that I could do this... And I did.

Turtle Town
The patient I'm assigned to is so lovely. And as "luck" would have it, she has a great deal in common with my mom. They were both born in the same year, born in the same state, worked the same profession all their lives, and my patient even has a daughter my age. When I first walked into her room I was struck by her lovely appearance - she even resembles my mom in a way. Petite build, impeccably groomed, at the end of her life yet still a grace about her.

It was awkward for both of us at first, but by the end of my visit we were connected. Hospice is sacred space, and I'll visit her every Friday until she's no longer there for me to visit.

In the meantime, life rolls on. I've managed to stake my sunflower sprouts to keep the turtles from plowing them down. The ones in the photo above are doing so well in their habitat.

Doug and I had friends over for brunch yesterday. Doug's friend is also our electrician, so he's seen our house remodel in progress, but his wife hadn't seen it since we first got our keys. It was so fun to show her all of the changes around here. I made baked French toast with blueberries, a fruit tray, deviled eggs, and stuffed mushrooms. Yummy!

And after brunch, I made art.

I've been wanting draw mandalas with a Sharpie pen on canvas and it felt so good to get this idea out of my head and out through my hands. I've been collecting words cut from magazines, and though these aren't glued on yet, I'm thinking they will be...

After the orange hues, I went blue...

Ah! Looking at these photos makes me want to stay home on this Monday and create more! It was overcast yesterday, and we had a big thunderstorm and lots of rain during the night. Bam! Woke us up at 3:00 a.m. with some crazy thunder. But alas, there's yoga to be practiced and corporate work to be done, so here I go.

Ahhh...a whole new week awaits.
Wishing you a great one, sweet friends!
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