Monday, May 2, 2016

The Flat Swap 2016

And what exactly is a flat swap, you say? Well, it is exactly an exchange of parcels with a complete stranger.  I chose the name-  "flat swap" because I wanted to send things that fitted in the post office's slot, and still be considered as a "letter." It started as a project, and you can see it here.
What exactly are those parcels about? They are all about bringing "spring cheer" to the recipient.

There are no guidelines this year. You will put together as many parcels as your heart desires, making sure that you and your partner are on the same wave length.

These are the guidelines from previous years: here and here.

And here I mention some swaps I was a part of.

All I need is for you to send me an email saying you want to participate. If this is your first time, then please tell me a bit of yourself so I can make sure I find a good partner for you. If this is not your first time I probably remember, but you can still give me hints.

You have until Saturday May 8th to sign up and 10 days to gather and make and mail your parcel.

If you have any questions I'm here --- giovabrusa@gmail.com

If you have Instagram, then make sure to use #theflatswap2016 so we can all see what your parcels look like. You can get inspired from last year here.

---As with the previous years, these exchanges are a wonderful opportunity to cheer someone up, so make sure you are really thinking of what you are giving instead of what you'll be receiving, and it is not about buying things, but creating them.---

Some ideas: letter, favorite recipe, poem, souvenir from your city, pick a color and make that the theme, or make spring the theme, add things from your collections such as; fabrics, buttons, stamps, postcards, old paper, make something; coasters, needle case, pouch, notebook. As they say;"the sky is the limit." Have fun putting it together, that is the best part in my opinion.

Wishing you a colorful, and warm spring,
Giova


Friday, April 29, 2016

I wish...

-I wish I wouldn't neglect this blog so much
-I wish I had more hands to do all that I want to do
-I wish the day had more hours so I wouldn't feel guilty when I didn't do what I was supposed to do
-I wish I didn't have to wake up... some days


-I wish tele-transportation was possible so I could see my mother and sister when I wanted
-I wish spring lasted longer than winter, and summer longer than spring
-I wish I could read one book per day
-I wish I could run a marathon (just kidding)


-I wish I could eat lots of cake without having an upset stomach later
-I wish I lived nearer a place where I could see the sunset everyday
-I wish my hair would stop falling once and for all
-And I wish I would get a grip and stop wishing for impossible things

Two more things:
1- If you are interested in participating in the world famous "Flat Swap" with a spring twist let me know?? A simple yes will do for now. I just want to know if it is worth organizing or not.

2- Have you heard of the beautiful and super amazing "Encyclopedia of Inspiration" launched by Uppercase? There is still time to pre-order with a discount.

All the best, all my love (wherever you are),
Giova


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Off to the fair

"Sometimes what you're most afraid of doing is the very thing that will you set you free."
- I don't know where I got this from

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."
-Maya Angelou

Even if I grew up making little things to sell at school or in front of my mother's shop I never had a table at a fair. I had always thought about it, but I was always too scared to put myself "out there." 


At the beginning of this year I told myself I would just do it and not think too much. Just do it, the thoughts can come up later. And then the timing wasn't right (when is it ever?).  I had only 15 days to make things as I had been traveling quite a lot, and I can never really find the time or energy to make things when I'm out and about. 

Of course many thoughts came and went like; Will I sell? Will people like what I do? Would people even notice the table?

Many things happened those two days, mostly in mind. The reality is always very different from what we imagined. I did sell. The people that approached my table did like what I do. And yes some people noticed my table.

The fair was the wrong fair for me and my work, it ended up being very different from what I had perceived the year before, but that has even made me more excited to find another fair that is actually better suited for me and my work. I think the first step is always the hardest, but once you're "out there" you simply are, and there is no turning back.

I have added this embroidered tree to my Etsy shop, and will be adding a few more things this week.

If you have ever thought of having a table at a fair or market, I really can't recommend it enough. Find the strength, do what you love and show it.

Lots of love, and happy spring,
Giova

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

A visit to Lithuania had been in order for a while now. My father travels there often and had invited me on several occasions but there was always something that prevented me to go, until now. We stayed in Vilnius but I really wanted to see the Hill of Crosses for myself. It is a 2 and a half hours train ride and then 15 minutes by car from the station.

"The Hill of Crosses is a place of Catholic pilgrimage that is believed started in 1831. The uprisings of 1831 and 1863 led families to place crosses here as a symbol for missing family members. It was bulldozed by the Soviet Union several times between 1963 and 1973. This place has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history." The hill remains under nobody's jurisdiction, therefore people are free to build/bring crosses, images, rosaries, scapulars as they see fit.









I'm still thinking about this place, as it has a very strong energy, unlike cemeteries or churches, which are usually more on the peaceful or comforting side.

I do know how it feels to have a family member missing. My father was kidnapped in 1996, fortunately for us he was returned 6 months later. But for those 6 months nothing made sense, there is a certain feeling of desolation and despair that accompanies you for every wakeful moment. Every breath or bite of food you take requires an enormous effort. The uncertainty of it all  bites you second by second, leaving nothing but despair, and that is what I think I felt here in this place.

I'm glad I got to see it, especially with my father next to me.

I wish you a beautiful and peaceful month of March,
Giova

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Light coming in

Literally light coming in. And since it is not an everyday occurrence then I must make the most of it which is usually just staring and taking pictures, and thinking - I'm doing loads of that lately. 

I'm always amazed how beautiful everything looks, how light can transform something as ordinary as a mandarin or a feather and give it another dimension - as if, all of a sudden they become illuminated from within.  This light coming in where I live, only happens during this time of year, and I have never paid attention how long it lasts. But let me leave the words to the expert...

A light exists in spring by Emily Dickinson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noon reports away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

I had a meeting yesterday to show my work, and lo' and behold "he" liked my work (genuinely) and it seems I will get a table at a fair here (more details as the event gets closer). I'm excited and nervous - both at the same time and with the same intensity. I have never shown my work like that before, but it is something that I was secretly hoping to do this year - so I must go and find my courage and faith (I think it is in one of my pockets, the left one, I think).

Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

'Hope' is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops - at all-

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm-

I've heard it in the chillest land-
And on the strangest Sea-
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of Me.


You know how "they" say it is all in the little things or the simple things? Well, this idea from Rachel, gave me so much joy. Watching the light go through those hearts, and that fragile paper was really the highlight of my day. I guess it doesn't take much to make me happy, but please clouds, let the light in... PLEASE!!!

I finished the Big Magic book, and it was just perfect. Most of the things she said, really hit the right buttons with me, and I can't recommend it enough. Now I have started reading this one, and so far it seems so "tender" (if that can be a correct adjective to describe a book). I like how books find me, and how there is always the perfect moment for each one.

I am finding a lot of solace in poems lately (more than usual), I hope you don't mind me sticking the above ones here, I really like them, and hope you do too.

Sending you lots of light, may your days (and weekend) be bright,
Giova


Thursday, February 11, 2016

A weekend of Paper Love

As I mentioned in the previous post, I went to Edinburgh to meet some of the alumni from the PaperLove e-course. I was very lucky a couple of years back when I won a spot on the course (because of this post I did). And I am very lucky now, because I got to spend the weekend surrounded by women who are in love with all things paper, just like me.

We got to play around, and make beautiful things...

Paint hearts and then book bind them together...

And talk and eat, share stories and exchange paper...

Then work some more...

I actually had a dream (on saturday night) about rocks in the shape of hearts, and a beautiful book- binded book (it was blue of course)...

And then we finished this one, and I am jumping with joy with the result, I mean... look at those wonky hearts, and that beautiful cover? What's not to love?

So far this is all I got inside, but I don't like to rush and fill things up...

These are some of the "alumni" I got to spend the weekend with... spot the mess?? Yeah baby!!! That's the stuff dreams are made of...

 Like rocks in the shape of hearts...

Paper doilies, and my first ever Peanut Butter Jammie Dodgers!! Yummyyyy!!!

Sending you lots of LOVE and wishing a very lovely Valentine's day!
Giova

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Heading out

I am leaving later today on a trip that was almost cancelled 2 times. Two very different reasons, but quite amusing in their own way. Murphy's law perhaps? This is why I am not a keen planner, never have been... refundable my @$%#!!!

 Anyway, hopefully I will land in Edinburgh and will get to meet some of my Paper Love comrades.

If you have time, please look at this - Write On - maybe it is something that interests you? And then we can do our little bit in keeping the art of letter writing alive. I know there are millions of causes, each one more important than the other one, but if snail mail makes you happy, then do take a look, I think it is worth it.

Finally... my week has been all about hearts, and this one I found at my father's place... such a tiny sacred heart. I embroidered my first anatomical heart this week, which you can see here if you want. I also sent out my Valentine's parcels and hopefully they'll arrive just in time. I will share more about them next week, I promise ;)

Wishing you a magical weekend ahead,
Giova
P.S: My tarot learning experience has been amazing so far!! I might reach my goal of being an experienced tarot reader sooner than those 10 years I was aiming at.


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