Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bookmarks for Dummies - CraftTestDummies

Last week I met with Jenny Rohrs ( to have a "play date." We ate spicy soup for lunch and afterwards sat outside to make some soggy wet crafts (making fabric paper).
My mission for the day was to create something as a base to use for some simple gifts to send out to my guests for the Artist's Way Women's Retreat I am facilitating in September. Jenny had an idea she wanted to share with me - bookmarks, using fabric paper as the artistic focus.
I came away with our meeting with ink-stained hands, mild sunburn on my back, a strong sense of inspiration and some pretty nice fabric paper samples.
I've pictured here a sampling of the bookmarks it took me a few days to finish assembling at home (it's tough to find time when juggling job searching with freelance... and of course mommy duties).
I'm looking forward to sending out the bookmarks to my Retreat guests, along with their final information mailers. Today is the day!
I look forward to posting another project in here, making use of the dried paper towels we used to clean our paint-soaked hands. I want to bring back to life a craft I invented back in college (stay tuned). Looking forward to sending Jenny a sample as a thank you for her generous time and friendship.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Luscious Layers" Workshop at Grand River Beads

I actually tore myself away from home for a few hours (thanks to my good friend Kim who babysat for me) to attend Jenny Rohrs's polymer clay class, "Luscious Layers," at Grand River Beads. I had a marvelous time and came back home with several pieces of which I was very proud.

When I came home, I displayed my pendants on the living room table and happily offered Kim any pendant of her choice as a gift of thanks. She chose the one I would have picked for her (unfortunately not shown here).

I find it ironic... I've worked as an ornament designer for 10.5 years, just got laid off, and now am finally taking the first 3D class I've taken since my college days. I'd written a goal for my previous job to learn more about 3D materials by actually experimenting with them (to learn by DOING). I never liked or wanted to work hands-on with 3D materials, because it almost always involves fire and/or heat. I have a definite phobia of fire and handling hot objects (I assume this is a natural fear I've just never learned to overcome).

Now I'm becoming more and more interested in 3D crafts (clay, metals) as I browse the net and drool over the rich artsy collage work I see people doing. Creating art with polymer clay, collage work with vintage images and artifacts, artist trading cards... the more I see out there, the more I want to experiment.
But first thing's first...
I need to create a workspace at home -- just for me.
I think I figured out where that can be... I just need to move my boxes of old baby and maternity clothes in the attic ("hard to get to!" -- ever see the film Serenity?).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Four Letter Word: "SELF" Publishing

Why do we writers feel that self-publishing lowers ourselves as authentic authors?

I recently came across an article in the Artella newsletter: Self Publishing Without Shame. I was thrilled to read another writer's thoughts reflecting my own. I have worked for a large corporation and understand that business decisions are based on providing one thing for the company: MORE INCOME. Money. That is all it's about.

Once I realize this, my light bulb goes "BING!" and I think, "Huh! If that's true, getting published by a corporation could be the same odds as winning the lottery!" Which -- lets face it -- is the truth.

Why would we as writers believe that publishing companies be any different as other corporations? I know so many incredibly talented writers with incredible ideas for books. It frustrates me to think they will never get published just because their idea doesn't match the "hot trend" or because the company has already published a book with a similar theme that year.

We really need to reevaluate our mindset about self-publishing. It doesn't take much money to publish a book these days. With online printers like Lulu, X Libris, and BookSurge, self-publishing is easy. You can even pay to have your book marketed on the web (BookSurge offers online advertisement on Amazon -- for a hefty price).

If you believe enough in your work, and you're willing to go the extra step to do some marketing of your own, why not take matters into your own hands and launch your own self-published book?

It's your dream... don't depend on someone else to make it happen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rosie's Symbolic Pet

Rose's first pet: a little green caterpillar we found inching it's way across our backyard picnic table. I decided to help my daughter capture it and bring it inside -- she always wants to keep the treasures she finds outside.

I poked several holes in the plastic container's lid and kept the leaf which I used to transport him so he could have something to eat and crawl around on.

A couple days later the caterpillar was gone.
I opened the lid and realized the caterpillar had decided to take matters into his own hands. It was time to make a change. He built his own cocoon.

There were lots of little leaf "crumbs" on the floor of the container and a big chunk of leaf missing -- evidence of the little fellow's handiwork.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on Rosie's pet to see how long it'll take for this little guy to break out of his cocoon.

It took ten years for me to break from my incubation... my chrysalis. I believe the caterpillar will prove himself braver and wiser.

The Pen is Mighty!

I was recently laid off at American Greetings and have been working intensely with Right Management to prepare myself for the journey of choosing a new career path. I took an online test called The Birkman which helps to evaluate my interests and personality to determine which types of careers might fit best.

I wasn't surprised when I saw "Literary" and "Artistic" career pursuits at the very top of my chart. Most of the results merely solidified what I already knew about myself. But on the last page I found at the very top of my Job Strengths & Families Report was the new category: Knowledge Specialist. To the right of this category I read the list of job families: psychologists, counselors, ministers/priests/clergy, ministry managers, physicians, etc.

My eyes focused on "ministers/priests/clergy, ministry managers" and I began to feel that panicked feeling when God is trying to reach me and I resist. I kept thinking, and almost saying out loud: "No... no!" Shaking my head, the tears started to come in response to my internal battle. "No... I can't think about that now. I have kids at home to think of. I have a house to pay for."

Even now as I type these words, I hear an angel murmur softly: "Haven't I always taken care of you?"

Anyway, I left the Birkman evaluation class with much anxiety, wondering if it was just my imagination or if God was really trying to get my attention. I drove around looking for signs as if asking God, "Okay... just give me something real... just a good solid message so I know you're really trying to call me."

I decided to stop at a place with a cute name: CoCo's Family Restaurant, sat down in a booth and ordered my lunch. I produced my journal from my purse and reached in for the pen I grabbed from home that morning. I have no idea from whom or where I got this pen. I think I borrowed it from someone and never returned it. With journal opened and ready to write, for the first time I actually noticed the logo and title on the side of this pen. It read: Ashland Theological Seminary... Doctor of Ministry.

WHOA! I nearly slammed the pen down on the table in front of me in shock and disbelief. I laughed and shook my head. "Okay," I said out loud, "okay, God. I hear you."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Signs and Wonders by Albert Clayton Gaulden

This book is amazing. It helps explain a belief I've had since I was a teenager: that God is speaking to us all the time -- all we have to do is learn how to listen.
I've tried to explain to people how to recognize God's voice - and that's where I become speechless. This book helps put that explanation into words. I'm starting my own journal, trying to document as daily as possible (it's tough) the messages I've received and noticed. It can be pretty astonishing when you open your mind to believing signs and synchronicities are God's ways of speaking to you (answered prayers), and NOT merely a coincidence.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Six-Word Memoir

On Jenny Rohrs's website,, she had an entry on her blog regarding an exercise called "The Six-Word Memoir." I decided to take a moment and actually think abut what my six-word memoir would be (to describe my current life). I normally tell myself I don't have time to write, and this was a good way to tell myself, "You have time for six words, don't you?"

I wrote:
"Little Wendy, coming into the light."

I feel an awakening happening this year for me. I was on the phone pretty late last night with one of my husband's friends, talking about my present journey, exploring the creative life, taking risks, and trusting that God will lead me toward the path He wants me to take. All I need to do is take His hand.

For me, spirituality is definitely linked to the creative. I feel empty if either is lacking in my life.

I challenge you to take a moment and work-out your own 6-word memoir.
I'd love it if you could also share it by posting a comment on this site.
Best wishes on your own journey, and may you trust the hand of God to bring you forward.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Artist's Way Retreat in North Carolina - My Leap of Faith

Well, I did it.

I reserved a site for my 2009 Artist's Way Retreat in North Carolina. So my dream is becoming a reality. It's kinda scary - taking that leap of faith.

That's the way it was for the retreat I'm doing this year in Ohio. Somehow, I was granted the right amount of people at just the right time to help cover the deposits I needed to pay (at a time when financially I'm not doing so well). And on a weekend when I spontaneously decided to finally reserve the last of the houses at Lakeside, miraculously I received a late deposit from someone - which I had forgotten was due!

I'm stepping out, not knowing if there is solid land ahead of me... trusting that God will provide if this is indeed His purpose for me. To be honest, so many miracles have happened in my past, at times it seems to have faith doesn't seem so risky.
What provisions do I need for the NC retreat?
Workshop leaders and paying guests.
"... and a paddle game... and this chair... "

The place I've reserved is Lake Logan Episcopal Center, nestled in the lovely NC Appalachian mountains. I decided to hook this up because my NC friends and my sister can't make it to the one I'm doing up in Ohio... so I'm bringing the action to them, because I know they will benefit from it. We get so bogged down with our responsibilities, we forget to play. I want to give my friends & family that opportunity for playtime - and the serenity of the mountains will be a great bonus.

I've reserved my retreat to take place next year on the weekend of May 29, 30 & 31.
I've taken the next step in my creative journey. Boy, it sure is exciting!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Word Lover's Retreat at Lakeside, Ohio

This Saturday my husband David was sweet enough to watch the kids all day for me while I skipped off to attend a writing retreat in lovely Lakeside, OH.
Our activities included a lecture by John Ettorre and Claudia Taller. We explored the art of Haiku and memoir writing, and at the end of my experience we discussed Frances Mayes' book, Under The Tuscan Sun. The overall census was we felt the film was much more enjoyable and easier for us to relate. However, it was still a great discussion and Claudia did well keeping us on the topic of the book, discussing WHY we didn't enjoy it. I missed the storytelling that took place at the end of the day, which was unfortunate. I'm sure I missed some good life stories! I needed to get back home so I could get a decent night's rest to get my kids up in the morning.

Overall it was a fun day and I met some great people. There were many people there from the Skyline Writers Group, of which Claudia is also a member. Workshops all took place at the lovely Idlewyld Bed & Breakfast. I've visited there before at Artist's Way Retreats, and stayed there last year for my anniversary to see the Who's Line is it Anyway comedy act with Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood.

I plan to post later some of the exercises I was able to write during the workshop.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Andrea Schroeder's Creative Spa!

I was surfing the internet looking for resources to find workshop leaders for my NC retreat next year and stumbled upon an inspiring artist. Andrea Schroeder lives in Winnepeg, Canada and she created something called a "Creative Spa" in which to hold her "Creative workshops."
This is what she writes about her workshops:

Why attend a creativity workshop?
Some benefits are:

- time to PLAY and have FUN in an accepting environment with kindred spirits
- safe space to explore yourself and your life

- learning new ways of connecting to your own creative energy and intuition to fuel positive changes in your life

- experiencing how your creative energy can support and guide you in moving forward and creating new possibilities for your life

This attracted my attention because it's reflects my mission for the retreats I'm organizing. Boy, there seems to be a lot of creative energy out in central Canada!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Edible Art at the White Flower Cake Shoppe

There's a wonderful local cake shop I just have to mention in here. The White Flower Cake Shoppe, located in Beachwood, OH (my neighboring suburb), is more than a cake shop. They make works of art. My husband's aunt Theresa is related to one of the owners. I found out about it originally through her when Theresa volunteered to bring the cake for my baby daughter's baptism.

I really didn't expect much -- a cake is a cake, right?
The cake Theresa brought was a simple round cake, but its decorative quality was as perfect as a cake you'd see in a bridal magazine. It was the talk of the party!

A couple years later we had another baptism
party, this time for my second baby, Jack. I decided I was going to do something special for him too. I wanted a cross-shaped cake this time. It was beautiful. We hated to cut it up.

Any time I need a special cake done (when I can afford it) I plan to use the White Flower Cake Shoppe. They not only know how to make a delicious cake, but also how to make it special to fit the occasion.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Engine of Invention meets in Lyndhurst, OH

This past weekend my husband, David, had his buddies over to jam in our basement (band name: Engine of Invention). I find it very amusing having a house that booms throughout the neighborhood for a few days. Normally the only noise echoing from our abode are sounds of whining and crying (we have a 2 1/2 year old who is practicing her independence, and an 8-month-old who is teething).
I grew up with a drummer dad, and I remember it felt pretty cool having a drum set in our basement. It always gave me great joy to hear hi9m practice - even though it was terribly noisy, I knew my dad was doing something important for himself. I felt sad when years later the drum set ended up being packed away in the attic, because it symbolized packing his dreams away as well.
Although having a band playing in my basement can be pretty noisy, it fills me with happiness - because I know my husband is living his dream down there.
And as our kids grow up they will notice the same things, and they'll learn how important it is to practice those dreams to keep them alive.

My message today - BANG ON YOUR DRUM!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Energism Art by Julia Watkins

A new friend, Kristen Boyesen, recently sent me a link to this woman's art (Julia Watkins). It really appeals to me. I prefer her pieces which are more landscape-based, because they seem more abstract - I don't like the ones that combine the recognizable imagery as much.
My favorite is "Path to the Light." (pictured right)
The title has significant meaning for me.
"Coming into the Light" is a theme which has recurred to me for a few years now, but most specifically this year, where I have felt a kind of "AWAKENING."
I'll have to share some of my work which has this same theme.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Creative Mom: Jenny Rohrs

And here I begin my new journey in blogging! After a meeting with Jenny Rohrs, I decided to let my website be the home for my Artist's Way Retreat page, and I'll try to keep up with this site as an online journal. Thank you, Jenny, for all your wonderful advice. You live my dream life, aiming to make a living by being CREATIVE. Surely something I can aspire to, myself.
Motherhood is a wonderful job, but our children also look to us as role models for how to live a grown-up life. Do they want to see us dissatisfied? Or full of energy, excited, and dedicated to our dreams. I believe the latter is true.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wordcatching 1 - Journaling Workshop by Carolyn Koesters

Enhance your journal writing by learning the healing and reflection exercises you can use any time, any where, with your journal. Through journaling prompts including poetry, stepping stones, and freewriting, we'll be looking at what brings you to this retreat, what you will take with you, and what you will release. Techniques covered will strengthen your relationship with your deeper self, your inner wisdom, and perhaps help you to reconnect to what you already know. Bring a strong intention to release what you do not need to carry with you any longer. There will be ample time for self-exploration and application of techniques.

Please bring a stone with you.

Carolyn Koesters, Writing Manager at American Greetings, is a certified poetry therapist and a lifelong journaler, and conducts national workshops to help people become self-aware and expressive through journaling.

Wordcatching 2 - Journaling Workshop by Carolyn Koesters

Explore some new and profound tools into healing past issues or looking into the beauty of change- whether you are yearning for it in your life currently, or in the thick of it. Techniques covered will include writing to a photo of your choosing, poetry, a profoundly moving technique using dialogue, and the powerful tool of writing a letter into the future. The gift of this class is the time and silence to really delve into some of your darkest and beautiful corners of your soul.

Please bring a meaningful photo with you.

Carolyn Koesters, Writing Manager at American Greetings, is a certified poetry therapist and a lifelong journaler, and conducts national workshops to help people become self-aware and expressive through journaling.

PolyClay Art Doll Pin- "Lady Madonna- Momma's inner life" - Workshop by Jenny Rohrs

This charming, whimsical pin explores the metaphor for a woman’s “interior life”- not the tasks we have to perform as workers, wives, and mothers, but rather the rich, deep, passionate beings that we ARE, but don’t get to share with the world everyday. Try your hand at polymer clay; using stamps, mica powders, UTEE, paint and “doo-dads”, we’ll fashion a block of clay into a great art pin you’ll wear with pride. Feel free to bring small metal or plastic charms to embed in your encaustic collage to make it even more personal. Come play with Jenny and open your creative opportunities.

Jenny Barnett Rohrs is a self-taught mixed media artist who likes to work in polymer clay, fabric, and paper. If it can be stamped, foiled, stitched, painted, wired, soldered or beaded, she’s lovin’ it. She also teaches polymer clay jewelry classes in Rocky River and Amherst, and blogs faithfully at and

Body, Breath, & Creativity - Yoga Workshop by Elizabeth Miller

Our full feminine embodiment is an utterly delightful body of love. And it is within this that we find our own personal well of creativity. Each one of us is uniquely designed to shine in a way that only we can do. This workshop includes asana (physical movements), pranayama (breath practices) and nourishing meditation to help us realign with that deep well of creative expression within. When we are stiff and creaky in our bodies, our minds follow suit. As we open our bodies, our emotions and our creative expression begins to flow as well. We will also use inter-personal reflective exercises to help seal the understanding of our lives as practice. Delve in the depth of yoga practice and be rejuvenated.

Elizabeth Miller is a certified yoga teacher in the viniyoga tradition through American Viniyoga Institute, registered nationally with the Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour professional level, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has been practicing yoga for ten years, and has studied extensively with many renowned teachers including Gary Kraftsow, David Deida, Dinabandhu and Ila Sarley, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sofia Diaz, and others.

"What Do You Believe?" - Workshop by Kym McBride

Believe (be´· lieve) 1. to put one's trust in 2. to accept as fact 3. to have faith in

What Do You Believe?

This is Kym McBride's most popular presentation with teenagers and adults. From her own journey, Kym weaves personal stories into an insightful lecture followed by conversation and insight. She shows how earlier experiences in our lives stamp us with beliefs that we may act upon for the remainder of our days. These include beliefs about relationships, money, intelligence and coping skills. They become the very foundation of how we look at the world around us. We may have forgotten where these beliefs started because we don't take the time to really "think about... what we think about." This presentation will encourage you to start to ask yourself the tough questions: What do YOU believe? But, more importantly... WHY?

Bring along one or two situations that are causing you concern and we will explore the belief that you hold which is preventing you from moving forward. By bringing it to your consciousness, mind-healing will happen. Kym uses her intuition to get the insights to your past and current lives to bring healing into this life.

As a motivational and inspirational speaker, Kym McBride shares her own unique journey of self discovery. She calls herself a "reluctant psychic." Ten years ago she became aware of her abilities and there was no turning back. In addition to various workshops and lectures, she works as a Medium and photographer, and is also a supporter of the "Dress for Success" women's charity.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Retreat Accomodations

I have two options at this point for places to stay during the retreat. I'm working on the third option and will post when available.

Maxwell House (pictured right) is where most retreat members will stay, as it has the most rooms available.
I've always wanted to stay here -- we're lucky to have the opportunity available to lodge here, as this is a popular B&B at Lakeside.
10 rooms available - still need to get info on # of baths on 1st & 2nd floors. Those who stay at Maxwell House will need to bring their own linens & towels, as we are staying off-season. I will bring extra towels & linens in case some people forget. Pillows are provided.

The other Bed & Breakfast we have is Rainbow House Cottage (pictured left), which also has a tea room available. Once I have more members signed up, I am hoping the House manager can keep the Tea Room open for us. Regardless, it will be a lovely place to stay.
7 rooms available, with two full baths upstairs and a half bath downstairs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 retreat

September 19, 20, & 21

The New Artist’s Way Women’s Retreat is based on the retreat offered by spiritual-care professional, Sandie King. Sandie’s retreat was loved by many women who devotedly returned year after year.
This New Retreat intends to keep Sandie’s spiritual focus with a renewed focus on the Creative Self.
The Retreat will remain at our beloved site: the Lakeside Community, by Marblehead, OH.

The Lakeside Experience:

Lakeside is a perfect gathering place, with a beach, dock, space to walk and benches for sitting on a breezy afternoon.
Since 1873 this community has been forever standing as a beacon, guiding those seeking a place for spiritual growth and renewal, a place for educational and cultural enrichment. An opportunity to learn more about the world, others and most of all, yourself.

You will have your very own room at one of the lovely victorian-style Bed & Breakfasts.

The Retreat Weekend

We begin our time together with a Friday evening gathering; a time to greet familiar faces and meet new seekers of creativity and growth. It is also a time to breathe deeply after a demanding week and prepare yourself spiritually for this gift you have given yourself.

Our Saturday workshops focus on ways to nurture you spiritually and energize the Creative Self.

Sunday we give closure to the retreat by gathering together in reflection of what we have experienced -- whether you choose to share or simply listen and enjoy others’ stories, it should leave you feeling fulfilled and refreshed.


Breakfast is provided Saturday & Sunday. There are places to dine throughout the Lakeside Community, reasonably priced.

Cost Per Person (total $250)

Retreat tuition is $150. Room & Board for two nights (including breakfast on Saturday and Sunday) is $100.
A $100 deposit will be needed at time of registration. The rest will be billed later when you receive your brochure describing workshop and B&B choices.


For more information or to register contact
Wendy Fedan