Friday, November 30, 2012

bits & pieces.

hello. i'm so glad you're here. joining me for my weekly link up, sharing the {bits & pieces} of joy and beauty from my week. and there were plenty of those moments to choose from.
one // gosh i have amazing friends. and my mail box has been exploding with artistic love!

two // i've been swooning over this fake tattoo from this etsy shop all week...makes me want a real one!  (we put them on the same night! just doing what we know in our hearts to do!) <3 

three // latest art journal page. finding light wherever i can. considering it gets dark at 4 pm here now!!

four // a #secretmessage found in a fashion magazine.

five // j and i were given the most precious gift this week. we traveled back to michigan for the holiday, and our dear friend was due to deliver her baby boy any day (official due date next week). i prayed and prayed that we would be able to meet our little nephew before we left. and my prayers were answered!! jeremy and i fell in love with little jude alexander just hours after he was born. thank you JUDE for making your way into this world on the very day we were heading back to CT. SO grateful.

thank you for the feedback on last week's post. i found that so many people resonated with the idea that our {bits & pieces} are more often than not, the ordinary parts of our days. not the *fireworks* or monumental moments. it's so transformational to start capturing those {bits & pieces}. gratitude soon follows...

i'd love for you to share your {bits & pieces} posts here: 

have an amazing weekend, everyone. you are {loved.}

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012


i am afraid to show you who i really am, because if i show you who i really am, you might not like it--and that's all i got. 

-sabrina ward harrison

i've always been a "girlie girl." applying a full face of make up is just a part of my routine as brushing my teeth. 

i had a recent epiphany about this "practice" of applying my make up.

{the less make up i wore, the clearer my skin got.} 

when i have breakouts, it's such a natural instinct to plaster on layer upon layer to try and hide each blemish and uneven patch of my skin. but in reality, all of this make up is just further clogging my pores. and not allowing the healing to happen--but just providing a "quick fix" and cover up.

and i thought, wow. that translates to our lives too.

the more we let ourselves be seen, the more freedom we find. 

there is such healing in our lives {and "clearing" of our skin} when we peel back the layers and shed our defense mechanisms {hiding, retreating, reverting to what is comfortable}.

the fear and anxiety of the "truth." uncovering what's hidden. what no one really "sees." {release and allowing}. daily.

slow, circular motions. the deep cleaning. to remove the dead cells, that which no longer produces life, and stunts growth and forward motion. we must exfoliate to reveal the beauty, underneath.

moisturize. apply life giving nutrients to the body & soul. once the filth has been removed, drench yourself with affirmation and healing emollient. {pamper.}

sometimes it starts with first, seeing ourselves. and not grimacing or wincing. but smiling. and delighting. and accepting. and loving. 

kelly & liz have helped me to embrace the practice of self portraits. capturing ourselves, for who we are:

And here it is. Me. Breathing, being, knowing me. The me who walks this path trying to tell her story through words plus photos. The me trying to just lean into the truth that loving this body, this beautiful body that houses this soul who is me, is the only way forward now. Me. Beautiful. Real. Me.
Try it. Take a few self-portraits. Take 100 if you want. Find the you in there. The beautiful you. Choose to see your beauty. 
(original post here).

i am beautiful. today. now. just the way i am. 
i am not too much. 
i am not too scarred. 
or imperfect.
i do not have to hide.  
i am seen. 
i am accepted.
i am embraced
i am loved.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

i have an account at goodwill. {plus, a video}

hope you all had a wonderful holiday! we drove 16 hours {straight} back to michigan to spend the week with our friends and family. it was a wonderful time of catching up and seeing so many people we love. (and i, of course, hit up goodwill while i was back!)

my thrifting has now gone to the next level. i now have an "account" at goodwill. yep. you heard right. goodwill has a rewards card and now i will get 25% off after i earn so many "points." (can't remember exactly how it works. but if you happen to be at your local goodwill, ask them for details!) at least it's a reasonably cheap hobby, right?!

i scored some great deals recently during a thrifting trip. hope you enjoy this video highlighting a few of them! 

happy thrifting everyone! 
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

bits & pieces.

i came to a roadblock this week. looking through my iphone, trying to scrounge up some photos to include in my weekly bits & pieces collage. i didn't find any that particularly caught my eye. nothing that "screamed" blog worthy to me. 

but then i stopped and thought...

these are the true bits & pieces of my life. 

not a life carefully constructed so as to gain followers. not an artistic-wonderland-fantasy-frolicking-life.  {although, there are those occasional 'artsy' moments}. but my ordinary, every day, life. it's full of beauty & wonder. brimming with photo opportunities...if i just take time to notice.

(then, of course, a few hours after i wrote the intro to this post, the most breath taking sunset reflecting on a lake of glass appeared before me...)

one // sparkles for the win!
two // the most perfect crescent moon.
three // yeah. that's really the sunset on the lake. unbelievable.
four // my co-worker treated me.
five // thanksgiving bonfire!

there is beauty in the {seemingly} simple things. (donuts for example. i mean those sprinkles are lovely, right?!) so i encourage you, you don't have to do a bohemian photoshoot or take the most artful picture of the three course gourmet meal you made. just continue to take snap shots of your day. recognize and capture the colors that surround you. and i'd love for your to link up your {bits & pieces} posts here:

i'm thankful for all of you. who join me here in my online home. 
i truly hope you have a wonderful weekend with those that you love. 
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Monday, November 19, 2012

guest post // Amy from Fate-Filled Times.

Hello fellow Style of a Songbird readers! My name is Amy and I blog over at Fate-Filled Times. I'm thrilled to be meeting you here on Erica's wonderful blog.

Hello there!

I've recently learned that Erica and I have a common love for Art Journaling.  

We thought it would be fun to explore our techniques and inspiration on each others blogs--especially for those who feel they just don't know where to start.

It can be really intimidating to stare down at a blank page wondering how to turn it into a personal expressive space that's decorated to your liking.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial to share how I create an Art Journaling page from beginning to end. I hope to share how easy it can be to fill a page without feeling intimidated by it.


First, start by finding a great journal. There are so many options!

Here are some of my favourites:

*A great vintage find from a thrift shop or a family member's attic

*A brand new journal you are drawn to in a book store

*A used book that can be re-purposed (I know Erica is great at this!)

*A book you make and bind yourself. There are many great binding tutorials online.

To make a page interesting, add some colour. There are many ways to do this. For this particular page, I first used a warm tea bag to stain a portion of the page. Simply rub the tea bag on the page until you achieve your desired shade. Second, I used watercolour paint to fill in some of the spaces. Third, I sprayed some Glimmer Mist on the page, which sprayed poorly to be honest and left more of a puddle rather than a mist. Oh well! It's important to go with the flow.

Next, let's figure out what to write. I happened to put on a record by Raffi (a popular Canadian musician for children when I was growing up) and was inspired by one of his songs I had never heard before. It is called "Thanks a lot". It is an ode to Thanksgiving, so I felt the timing was suitable. Our Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 8th, but I know American Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 22nd.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Instead of writing my own words, I thought I would write Raffi's words. This is a great way to journal when you feel uncertain about what to write. I used pencil, but you could use any type of writing instrument you prefer. Writing can be intimidating, and so I find using quotes, lyrics, snippets from stories or books to be a great way to begin. 

Next, it was time for more colour and texture. My lovely friend Annika sent me some wonderful victorian style ephemera in a recent gift package and I decided to dive in and use some of it. I have a bit of an obsession with victorian roses, so I cut out three of them and glued them to the page wherever they seemed to fit that was appealing to my eye. Don't be afraid to play! Place them upside down, scatter them, even cover up some words with them. It's fun to try different possibilities and see what pleases your eye the most.

Next, I added some decorative tape to the bottom of the page for added colour and texture and accented it with some blue glitter glue. I love using glitter paints in my art, but I'm not as big a fan of loose glitter. It just seems to make a mess! If you don't have these types of products, you could used a piece of coloured paper to accent the edge and markers to enhance the edge. Your materials do not need to be expensive or fancy. I find many of my supplies at thrift stores.

For some added interest, I added a vintage pattern. I found arrows and decided to glue them to the top of the page. I played with directions and balance and decided I like the look of them crossing each other. I glued these to the page and then outlined them roughly with pencil.

The finishing touch was added using stamps. This created a title for the page. Since this page is all about being thankful, I titled it Thank You. I have a great love for alphabet stamps. I think they are really enjoyable to use and they look great. I am not afraid to make mistakes with them, either. I find my art is one place where I do not allow my perfectionist tendencies to thrive. I push them aside and go with the flow. It is much more meditative and relaxing that way. Any "mistake" is just an added element on the page. If you look closely, you will see some smudges on the final page. I had a bit of a slip with the glue and made a bit of a mess! I tried to fix it to no avail and now it is simply a part of the final look.

And, here is the final product:

I hope this peek inside my process will help you to feel inspired to make your own journal page...and maybe even a whole book!

I truly believe Art Journaling is all about the journaler, and this means every bit of your personality adds elements unique to you. Whatever flows out of you naturally is exactly what others are drawn to.

If you decide to create a journal page, please share it with us!

And, a big thank you, Erica, my fellow Art Journaler, for hosting me on your blog.

{Amy, thank you for sharing a peek into your process with us. You are a beautiful & brave soul and I'm so glad our paths have crossed.}

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

bits & pieces

hello to my faithful readers. gosh, i can't tell you how much i appreciate the time you carve out of your days to stop by my sacred online home. i love sharing our days with each other. it's remarkable how people from all around the world can connect isn't it? 

hope your week was full of wonderful moments. here were a few i found exceptionally memorable...
one // a secret message from our friends at starbucks. isn't {rekindle} a lovely word?
two // another secret message found at goodwill. i'm a sucker for old books...
three // i think i spent a good six hours this week stuck in stop and go traffic. at least i had big hair + red lips.
four // breath taking sunset {even if it does occur at 4:45 pm now!!} 
five // my latest thrifted find for art journaling. it's called "voices in the desert" and it's perfect.

this is right outside my office window. {and this is art.}

i'd love for you to link up & share your posts documenting the {bits & pieces} of beauty from your days.

lots of love to each and every one of you! <3

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

you're invited.

The Art Journaler is not one person.
It is not Mandy.
It is not Teresa.
It is not you.
It is not a certain style or a level of artistic accomplishment.
It is a collective us. A messy us. A sparkly us. A secret us. An entity greater than us. It is a belonging. And you? You belong. Welcome inside.

i wanted to personally invite you to consider joining The Art Journaler Community, a group that i belong to and absolutely love.

The Art Journaler Community provides you with a safe place to share your heART with a community of like-spirited artists.

choose kind people to see it {your art/creations}. people who will be gentle with you and your fragile, new discoveries  so often, we start from a place of scarcity or low self esteem, and choose a critical person to look at our work. {don't do it!} -sark

another incentive to joining The Art Journaler Community now is you could win the beautiful piece of art above created by the amazing mandy. the drawing will be november 17th!

if you have any questions or would like more information, email: or leave a comment below. 

consider yourself invited! <3

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

make space.

many people think that "art" is only reserved for those who wear berets and whose hands are splattered with paint. those who spend hours every day in a studio with expensive tools and giant canvases. those whose inboxes are bursting at the seams with galleries beckoning them to display their masterpieces. 
but i believe we all {yes, even you} have creative gifts hidden inside. and we all have the ability to live a life of art.  

make space for creativity in your thoughts. 

your thoughts create your reality -tony robbins.
so much of the physical manifestation of art stems from the swirling of thoughts in our mind. beyond the grocery lists, appointments, phone calls, worries, and deadlines are colors and textures and words waiting to be gracefully placed on a page. we must carve out space for these lovely, creative thoughts in our minds.

a phrase that has become a mantra for me is "create before you consume." our minds can quickly become clouded with thoughts and ideas from other wonderfully creative people. (largely thanks to the internet, right?!) 

but i believe there is a special version of creativity inside of you that you don't need to hop onto pinterest to discover. this is one of the most terrifying but freeing parts of art for me. digging inside myself. not copying. but letting the inspiration come from within me. this means taking ownership of what you create-because it didn't come from another source. creating before consuming ultimately means having confidence in your own, unique creativity. it takes courage to be creative.

make space for creativity in your daily life.

did you know that even the way you plan your days can be art{ful}? that junk mail can be incorporated into a collage? and doodles are beautiful?! teresa, mastermind behind, right brain planner, has revolutionized the way i think of living a life of art. she has demonstrated that your creativity doesn't have to be compartmentalized. art doesn't have to be reserved for just an hour in the evening. in fact, what if you started making space for art in the way you put an outfit together, mixing textures and patterns and colors that feel {comforting} or {energizing} depending on your mood that day?! what if the way you arrange your lunch on the plate becomes a creative expression. and you snap a photo with your iphone accidentally while putting it into your purse, but it captures a piece of your day in the most artful way? (see below)

{my art journal was left open and i must have accidentally pressed the camera button. but i love how it turned out!}

your creativity doesn't have to be a fragmented activity, but it can be fluid and ever present throughout the day. as we make more space for creativity in our daily lives, it will inevitably emerge.

make space for creativity in your home. 

this is the most tangible way to cultivate creativity into your life. if you can't devote an entire room as a "stuido," then just start with a sacred corner. fill it with images and words that you love. start collections (sea shells are my newest love!). buy some inexpensive acrylic paints and cut out words from magazines that speak to your heart. (or just use the art supplies you already have laying around--crayola markers work just fine!)

the most important part about carving out a creative space in your home is that you don't have to go through the hassle of putting it away. this makes a huge difference in fostering an environment that is conducive to continual flow of creativity. this way, when you have fifteen minutes, ten of those aren't devoted to trying to find that paint color or canvas you put away in a closet. {i'm so grateful to have an entire room here as my creative haven.} i'll post some pictures in an upcoming post!

make space for creativity in your perspective. 

making space is all about choosing to see. andrea's outfits are just as much art to me as mandy's paintings. one way to bring creativity to your perspective is to take photos throughout your day of beautiful moments & objects. if you have the instagram ap, you can tag them like this: #thisisart #lifeasart.

start small. take some extra time to put on a fun shade of lipstick. dig through your closet and uncover a piece that you have been ignoring. and put it on display. stop and look at the sunset. set the table with placemats and all. even if you are eating alone. light more candles. go on a nature walk and challenge yourself to find three treasures along the way. buy an old book and rip out random pages and look for secret messages waiting to be discovered. {the possibilities are endless}.

i sincerely hope that something in this post has lit a spark inside you to make space for more creativity in your life. there is beauty and art around every corner. you have everything you need to {get started} or continue your practice of making the {space}.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

bits & pieces.

welcome to the weekly link up at style of a songbird. i'm so glad you're here.
five glimpses of beauty from my week...

one // sometimes the soul speaks in splatters. {that magenta has been wooing me lately.}
two // "you are not alone, laying in the light. put out the fire in your head, and lay with me tonight." patty griffin
three // my husband texted me "playing dress up" and i came home to find this. (this is true love). 
four // he has my heart.
five // winter came to town this week.

you see, i believe life itself is art. the pages of my art journal, the settings at a table or the snow covered branches on my way home from work. they all have color and texture. they all hold beauty and wonder. 

the capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
-julia cameron

that's the purpose of this weekly link up. {to pay attention} and take notice of the {bits and pieces} of beauty that surround us. and to document them, so we don't forget.

this is what art journaling is all about...

may we live a lifestyle that develops eyes to see and ears to hear and may we document our discoveries in a field manual so as not to forget the beauty.

i'm so happy that you've chosen to visit. i'd love for you to share your posts of {bits & pieces} below:

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

drugstore beauty haul {video}.

today, i'm inviting you into my living room for a chat sharing some of my favorite products from the drugstore recently. it combines two of my loves {thrifting} + {beauty & make up products}. all of these items are $10.00 or less. i have included links below the video, as well. enjoy! 

any questions? do you love any of these products, too? i'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

guest post: artist inspiration series.

hello monday & hello to all of you! hope this post finds you refreshed and ready to embrace the beauty and possibilities of a new week.  

i am so excited to share that i am guest posting today over at {incredibly sweet} amy's blog, fate filled times. we quickly connected over our love for art journaling and living a creative life. she is currently pursuing her dream of going to art therapy school. {so excited for her!}

hop on over to amy's beautiful blog and read my post here

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

living my dreams.

i am thrilled to announce that i am accepting the invitation to join these two brave & beautiful women... the social media manager for The Art Journaler!

may we live a lifestyle that develops eyes to see and ears to hear and may we document our discoveries in a field manual so as not to forget the beauty.

mandy and teresa, thank you for believing in my abilities & dreams. i am thrilled to be helping you see your dreams flourish

you can connect with The Art Journaler on facebook, twitter, and pinterest

{to say i'm excited would be a vast understatement}

happy weekend everyone!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

bits & pieces.

welcome to any new style of a songbird subscribers or those who are linking up for the first time for {bits & pieces}. welcome {back} to my faithful readers, followers and friends. hope this post finds you well. 

every week i share five moments {in images} from my daily life. this practice has helped me focus on the beauty and joy that surrounds me everyday. a lot of times this comes in my mailbox or through my art, but other times it can be a flower, a hug or a sunset. there are no limits to the bits & pieces of delight in our lives...we just must have the eyes to receive their beauty. 

one // happy mail! i treasure each and every element.

two // found myself inspired reading cosmo magazine waiting at the oil change place. who would have thought?!

three // sari silk sent from a dear friend, wrapped around my wrist. the colors are so vibrant! {l o v e}

four // sometimes no words are necessary. color and texture and shapes will do.

five // i know many families had vast amounts of damage to their property from hurricane sandy, however, this was the only branch that fell in our yard. pretty amazing...{i feel sort of silly for even typing that.}

as always, i'd love for you to link up your posts sharing your {bits & pieces} of beauty below.

have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 

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