Helping Opportunity Knock

By Lisa McCue Janusz and Carole Hyder

We all want opportunity to “knock”, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. Whether we’re looking for a new job, seeking a promotion, or just want to breathe some enthusiasm into our day-to-day routine, new opportunities provide a welcome fresh perspective.

Some people seem to attract opportunities more easily than others. You might wonder how you can do the same. The answer lies in a basic principle of Feng Shui: your space reflects your life.

As Feng Shui consultants we’ve seen clients working at cluttered desks, sitting in moldy unfinished basements or even scraping around on old office chairs missing a roller or two. Many valuable hours are spent working in these less-than-desirable environments. Is that supportive? Motivating?

Here are some excellent Feng Shui tips to attract new opportunities into your own life:

• Be sure to invite opportunities by using your front door, even if you have an attached garage. This helps get energy moving. Try to use it at least a couple of times a week. For added effect, try entering and exiting your home through your front door nine days in a row.

• Make sure your house greets your visitors, as well as opportunities. Create a welcoming front path and a noticeable front door. Make sure your doorbell works and that your house numbers are easily seen.

• Your office should reflect your professional goals. Get a solid desk and a chair with a high back to support you.

• Make sure your office reflects your goals and desired career destination. A person on a corporate executive path will have a more traditional office, while an interior designer will likely include more creativity and flair in their space.

• Think of two or three well-known people in your industry. Search out or imagine what their offices might look like. (Pinterest is great for this kind of thing!) Then add a few elements from their environment into yours.

Whatever you do, never underestimate the power of your surroundings. We all know it just feels different to sit in a leather executive chair at a nice wood desk versus a folding chair and card table. It changes your attitude, your outlook and the kind of opportunities you attract!

About Lisa McCue Janusz & Carole Hyder:
Lisa McCue Janusz is faculty and registrar, and Carole Hyder is the founder of Wind & Water School of Feng Shui. Wind & Water School of Feng Shui offers beginning to advanced Feng Shui classes including a comprehensive, certified training program.

Crafting Calm

I love books that inspire and Maggie Oman Shannon’s “Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation” does just that. And we’re talking truth in advertising, her book is divided up in to craft projects accessible to crafters of all levels that are designed to facilitate: calm, clarity, comfort, contemplation, creation, community, connection with others, and spirit.

By the time I was done reading “Crafting Calm” I had a handful of projects bookmarked that anyone could do, even me! There’s making personal prayer flags from crafting for clarity where you use things like placemats and a strong crafter’s glue for heavy beads and the like. There’s creating rock cairns from crafting for contemplation. The idea of taking some of my stones and minerals and stacking them meaningfully never occurred to me. Really! Then there are portable shrines from crafting for comfort.

I was particularly taken with Shannon’s description of a tiny matchbox style portable shrine that is often used in Central and South American countries. She bought one at an import store that was covered in bright fabric and had a small seal on it that read “Emergency Kit”. Inside was a “worry doll”, a red seed, and a clay angel pendant. The label glued to the bottom of the box read, “There are moments in which you need a peaceful vibe, a touch of good luck, and someone to tell your worries to. Use this emergency kit to balance those tough moments! An angel for peaceful thoughts, a Lucky Bean, and a Worry Doll.”

Shannon goes on to describe several simple ways you could make your own using Altoid tins or matchboxes. Some paint and some glue, a few bits and baubles that many have around the house and you’re well on your way. Well, I’m not a craft person. (Actually, I am and would love to be but I lack the time, space, and funds to indulge that part of myself.) However, I am a magical dabbler and one does not play in the occult without gathering up a box or two of portable shrine worthy odds and ends.

I decided to make a portable shrine focused on prosperity. I first found a piece of quartz, because in my opinion clear quartz makes everything better. Also, clear quartz is good for prosperity. I had a “wish stone” kicking around. It’s a smooth stone with the word “create” on it. I thought it would be a good addition because it would remind me and the universe to work to “create” prosperity. Lastly, I added some play cash, just to kind of spell out in clear, bold, text to the universe that we’re talking financial prosperity. Yes universe, CASHY MONEY! I didn’t have any tins or boxes, but if you’re a new age shopper like me you probably have multiple little velvet bags. So everything is in a royal purple velvet bag.

Not quite what the author intended, but I couldn't help but dive in!

This is how good “Crafting Calm” by Maggie Oman Shannon is; I couldn’t help but dive right in and create something after reading it! I hope to try more soon!

Confident Creating

By Eric Maisel

If you want to live a creative life and make your mark in some competitive art field like writing, film-making, the visual arts, or music, and if at the same time you want to live an emotionally healthy life full of love and satisfaction, you need an intimate understanding of certain key ideas and how they relate to the creative process.

One key idea is that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident. You need to manifest confidence in every stage of the creative process if you want to get your creative work accomplished. Here’s what confidence looks like throughout the creative process.

Stage 1. Wishing

‘Wishing’ is a pre-contemplation stage where you haven’t really decided that you intend to create. You dabble at making art, you don’t find your efforts very satisfying, and you don’t feel that you go deep all that often. The confidence that you need to manifest during this stage of the process is the confidence that you are equal to the rigors of creating. If you don’t confidently accept the reality of process and the reality of difficulty you may never really get started.

Stage 2. Incubation/Contemplation

During this second stage of the process you need to be able to remain open to what wants to come rather than defensively settling on a first idea or an easy idea. The task is remaining open and not settling for something that relieves your anxiety and your discomfort. The confidence needed here is the confidence to stay open.

Stage 3. Choosing Your Next Subject

Choosing is a crucial part of the creative process. At some point you need the confidence to say, “I am ready to work on this.” You need the confidence to name a project clearly (even if that naming is “Now I go to the blank canvas without a pre-conceived idea and just start”), to commit to it, and to make sure that you aren’t leaking confidence even as you choose this project.

Stage 4. Starting Your Work

When you start a new creative work you start with certain ideas for the work, certain hopes and enthusiasms, certain doubts and fears – that is, you start with an array of thoughts and feelings, some positive and some negative. The confidence you need at that moment is the confidence that you can weather all those thoughts and feelings and the confidence to go into the unknown.

Stage 5. Working

Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments – the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work. For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.

Stage 6. Completing

At some point you will be near completing the work. It is often hard to complete what we start because then we are obliged to appraise it, learn if it is good or bad, deal with the rigors of showing and selling, and so on. The confidence required during this stage is the confidence to weather the very ideas of appraisal, criticism, rejection, disappointment and everything else that we fear may be coming once we announce that the work is done.

Stage 7. Showing

A time comes when we are obliged to show our work. The confidence needed here is not only the confidence to weather the ideas of appraisal, criticism, and rejection but the confidence to weather the reality of appraisal, criticism, and rejection. Like so many other manifestations of confidence, the basic confidence here sounds like “Bring it on!” You are agreeing to let the world do its thing and announcing that you can survive any blows that the world delivers.

Stage 8. Selling

A confident seller can negotiate, think on her feet, make pitches and presentations, advocate for her work, explain why her work is wanted, and so on. You don’t have to be over-confident, exuberant, over the top – you simply need to get yourself to the place of being a calmly confident seller, someone who first makes a thing and then sells it in a business-like manner.

Stage 9: New Incubation and Contemplation

While you are showing and selling your completed works you are also incubating and contemplating new projects and starting the process all over again. The confidence required here is the confident belief that you have more good ideas in you. You want to confidently assert that you have plenty more to say and plenty more to do – even if you don’t know what that “something” is quite yet.

Stage 10: Simultaneous and Shifting States and Stages

I’ve made the creative process sound rather neat and linear and usually it is anything but. Often we are stalled on one thing, contemplating another thing, trying to sell a third thing, and so on. The confidence needed throughout the process is the quiet, confident belief that you can stay organized, successfully handle all of the thoughts and feelings going on inside of you, get your work done, and manage everything. This is a juggler’s confidence—it is you announcing, “You bet that I can keep all of these balls in the air!”

Manifest confidence throughout the creative process. Failing to manifest confidence at any stage will stall the process. It isn’t easy living the artist’s life: the work is taxing, the shadows of your personality interfere, and the art marketplace if fiercely competitive. If you learn some key ideas, for instance that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident, you give yourself the best chance possible for a productive and rewarding life in the arts.

About Eric Maisel:
Eric Maisel is the author of “Making Your Creative Mark” and twenty other creativity titles including “Mastering Creative Anxiety”, “Brainstorm”, “Creativity for Life”, and “Coaching the Artist Within”. America’s foremost creativity coach, he is widely known as a creativity expert who coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.ericmaisel.com.

Adapted from the new book “Making Your Creative Mark” ©2013 by Eric Maisel. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Get a Grip on Your Mind

By Eric Maisel

Creating depends on having a mind quiet enough to allow ideas to bubble up. Living a successful, healthy life as an artist requires that your self-talk align with your goals and your aspirations. Your job is to quiet your mind and extinguish negative self-talk. These are your two most important tasks if you want a shot at your best life in the arts. Here are some handy tips:

1. Recognize that you are the only one who can get a grip on your mind. There is no pill to take. There is no one to consult. There is nothing to read. You must mind your mind. You can let your thoughts do whatever they want and go off in any direction, or you can say, “No, that thought doesn’t serve me.” Only you can do that work.

2. Recognize that you do not have to accept, tolerate, or countenance a thought just because you thought it. You may have the thought, “Wow, John really made me angry at work today!” Then it is your choice whether to brood about John or whether to get on with your novel. It may be easier to brood about John than to write your novel, so you may have powerful reasons to stay angry. It’s your choice.

When we say something to ourselves like “My novel stinks” or “I won’t play well tonight,” we believe that thought just because we thought it. But many of our thoughts are simply not true, and even if they are true, they may not serve us.

3. Listen to what you say to yourself. If you can’t hear your own thoughts, you can’t get rid of the ones that aren’t serving you. If you can’t admit to yourself that you are constantly thinking that life is a cheat, that you’ve badly disappointed yourself by wasting so much time, or that you hate to be criticized, you won’t be able to dispute and extinguish those thoughts. Yes, it can be extremely painful to admit to them, but it is better to grapple with them than to let them cycle endlessly.

4. Decide if what you are telling yourself serves you. You are not looking at the truth or falsity of a thought but rather at whether the thought is or isn’t serving you. Countless true thoughts do not serve us. All the following may be true thoughts that nevertheless do not serve you to think: “I might have written ten books by now”; “Writing a novel is hard”; “Selling a novel is hard”; “I’m not sure I have it in me either to write a novel or to sell a novel.” None of those thoughts, even if true, serve you. The only thought that serves you, if you want to write a novel, is “I am off to my novel!”

5. When you decide that a thought doesn’t serve you, dispute it and dismiss it. It can seem very strange at first to dispute your own thoughts. Yet dispute them you must. Get in the habit of saying to yourself, “That was an interesting thought. Does it serve me?” If you know or suspect that it doesn’t, dismiss it out of hand. Do not linger over it! This sounds like “That thought doesn’t serve me and I am dismissing it!” Mean it when you say it!

6. When a thought that doesn’t serve you lingers, actively combat it. Some thoughts just won’t go away. Maybe it’s “No one wanted my first novel, and my second novel is an even more difficult sell, so why in heaven’s name am I writing it?” You may not be able to get rid of this thought simply by snapping your fingers. Then do more than snap your fingers — fight the thought tooth and nail. Maybe you’ll have to write out the ten reasons why this book may be wanted. Maybe you’ll have to chat seriously with yourself about self-publishing. You must battle brooding, clinging, disabling thoughts — or else you will be thinking them regularly.

7. After you’ve disputed and dismissed a thought, think a thought that does serve you. Creating thought substitutes is an important part of the process. These substitutes can be tailored to the situation, or they can be simple global affirmations that you create once and use over and over again, such as “I’m perfectly fine,” “Back to work,” “Right here, right now,” or “Process.” Because for so many of us the default way of thinking is negative, self-critical, and injurious, we want to create and use thought substitutes that help prevent our brain from conjuring up its usual distortions and distractions.

8. Get in the smart habit of extinguishing unproductive self-talk even before it arises. Often we know when a thought is coming. Maybe you’ve been waiting to hear from an editor who said she would call on Tuesday, and now it’s Friday. You know that if she doesn’t call today, you are certain to begin thinking thoughts like “She’s never going to call,” “She’s about to reject my work,” and “I can’t stand all this waiting.” You know these thoughts are coming. So extinguish them now and replace them with “I’m spending the weekend working on my new pet project! And I won’t think about that editor until Monday!” How many times have you known that a thought that doesn’t serve you is coming and let yourself think it anyway? It’s time to stop doing that.

9. Engage in active cognitive support. This means creating the thoughts that you want to be thinking and then thinking them. These thoughts might include all of the following: “I paint every single morning”; “I’m going to succeed”; “I know how to make meaning”; “I’m lavishing my love and attention on my current painting”; “I’m not afraid of process”; “I show up”; “I take the risks that I need to take, with my work and in the marketplace”; “I am creating a body of work”; “I am a painter.” You can think thoughts like these if you choose to think them.

You may never have thought about the possibility of getting a grip on your mind. I hope that you’ll seriously consider it now.

About Eric Maisel:
Eric Maisel is the author of “Making Your Creative Mark” and twenty other creativity titles including “Mastering Creative Anxiety”, “Brainstorm”, “Creativity for Life”, and “Coaching the Artist Within”. America’s foremost creativity coach, he is widely known as a creativity expert who coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.ericmaisel.com.

Excerpted from the new book “Making Your Creative Mark” ©2013 by Eric Maisel. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Imbolc/Spring Candle Holder with Velody

Hello my name is Velody and I’m a Craftaholic.

Yes yes I admit it. I love to do seasonally themed items; especially ones that are simple, lower cost and can be done as a family activity.

I had to rack my head a bit thinking about Imbolc and the early part of spring. This is a time of year where I’m out of sync with a lot of the county. I live in Florida so we’ve already left winter completely and are now moving back into Spring temperatures. I asked my peeps on Google + and on Facebook what they associated with Imbolc. I was flooded with many ideas after that.


The idea of white flowers stuck with me and I just couldn’t shake it. I love to work with felt. It’s a very forgiving material, can be inexpensive, and is great for people of all skill levels. What else do we all love? Something pretty to sit on the table or our altars.

The result of all this pondering is that today I bring you a simple felt flower candle holder.

Warning: Do not leave candles unattended. Styrofoam melts when hot and felt will smolder. This is for decoration or short periods of time under supervision only.
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Whatcha Need
• 2 inch Styrofoam ball
• Felt in white, yellow, and green. (Small quantities of the yellow and green)
• White yarn
• Aluminum foil
• Scissors
• Marking pencil
• Taper candle
• Hot glue gun & glue
• 1/2” Clover Pom Pom Maker
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What to Do
At its core this is a Styrofoam ball covered in felt flowers with a place to stick the candle. I did 6 different types of flowers and I’ll show you each one. Not all of them are original to me. I promise to show you my inspiration.
First I cut off the bottom of the Styrofoam ball so I had a solid base.


I then used the tip of my scissors to carve out the hole for the candle. I inserted a small piece of aluminum foil into the bottom. This helps to keep the candle nice and tight. I now have the base to attach all of my flowers to.


Iris Like Flower
The first flower is an Iris like flower. I adapted this idea for Cherry Blossom flowers by Creative Jewish Mom.

I started with a strip of 1 1/2” x 6” white felt. I scalloped the edges to make the petals. Not shown in this picture (but it is in the following one) is I found I needed to make the down cuts larger. Only a 1/4” from the edge.


I cut 2 thin pieces of yellow felt about 2 inches long and first glued them to the far left. I then rolled the piece up using hot glue as I went.


I pulled down the exterior petals a bit to shape the flower.


I also cut two thin green pieces of felt and added them to the sides.


Generic White Petal Flower
This flower was also inspired by the Creative Jewish Mom.
First cut out three flower like shapes. One larger than the other two.


For the two smaller shapes add a bit of hot glue to the center and squish the flower together a little.


Now add a large bead of hot glue to the center of the large shape and stick the two squished ones into it. Arrange so it until it looks nice.


White Loopy Flower

This flower is entirely of my own thought.
I took a piece of 6” x 4” white felt and folded it in half. I cut from the fold towards the end in small slits making sure to leave about a 1/2” inch uncut.


I cut two thin pieces of yellow about 3” long.


Now I added some hot glue between the two pieces of felt at the bottom for stability then rolled it from left to right adding hot glue along the bottom edge as I went.


Pom Pom Mums
The only flower I did that doesn’t use felt. This is done by simply making Pom Poms with white yarn. I used my Clover Pom Pom Maker to make mine.


Better than me showing multiple pictures of the steps is this YouTube Video.
How to Use The Pom-Pom Maker Demo by Fran Ortmeyer

Felt Rose
This is a very simple felt Rose. I got the instructions from eHow.com. It just starts by drawing a circle on the felt and then drawing a spiral into the center. Those are the cut lines.


Once the spiral is cut out I started out the outside, glue gun in hand rolling the rose up and gluing as I went.


Filler Flowers
These are another of my own thought and there isn’t much too them. They are circles that I freehand drew and cut out.


I then added a spot of glue and pressed the circle together to make four petals. The blue you see is the marking pencil. I actually liked how it looked so I didn’t try to remove it.


Putting it all Together
I made multiple of each type of flower. The final numbers was:
• 6 Iris Type
• 2 Generic
• 6 Loopy Flowers
• 4 Pom-poms
• 2 Roses
• 7 Filler Flowers
Now I just glued them to the Styrofoam ball as I thought looked nice. I could have fit more also. I think they look best when they are really tight together.


These flowers could be used on all sorts of items, from hair accessories, brooches, bags, wreaths or other home decorations. They’re simple, easy and a great craft for children who can confidently use scissors and/or hot glue.
This could be done with regular craft glue but you would need to secure the flowers while they dry, rubber bands would do the trick.

I’d love to see some of the final projects of others who make these. Let me know by joining into the Flickr group, or posting it to the Facebook Fan Page.

Please come back and check out my blog, Treegold and Beegold. I’m currently working on a cute little sheep tutorial I’ll be debuting soon.