Picture This

 

 

 

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(Some thoughts PLUS a beautiful frame project from Patrice….)

Planning is a funny thing. In someways it makes me feel safe… Nothing better than to cross off something on my list… But what about the things that never get crossed off? What about the dreams and plans that fall through… Plans that run away whenever you call out their names.. “My goodness I hadn’t planned on this happening today” is something we all says when running along the path of life.

When a phone call comes that changes your day. That changes your life. When that little one gets sick. You spend your day taking care of that little soul instead of going to work. Our job isn’t all we had thought it would be. When people disappoint you, or even worse betray you… Our plans are often set aside for another time.

What if we could picture our plans waiting for us to grow into them? What if we could discover that all along the way our path has changed and the dreams of yesterday no longer fit us?

What if we could actually see that our plans changing or our dreams not coming true are life’s journey and not a punishment. What if we could frame our plans in a way that would comfort us and bring us peace instead of a goal or a moment in time to be reached. I have been thinking so much about that lately. I have talked to so many brave girls who feel punished and forgotten along the way when dreams and plans don’t come true. I have thought so much about that in my own life… What do I do? I wait, I pray, I cry, I make bargains with my God… I feel lost and alone. I feel forgotten, I worry…

Slowly day by day, year by year, I have begun to see that my dreams and plans are a beautiful framework to the art of me being me.

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My life is the actual art…. My dreams and plans are the frame work of my life. I am not my dreams, I am not my plans. I am ME. My heart and soul can actually jump out of the frame of my goals and dreams and no matter what they can continue to live. It is my choice… My dream today is to live today as if my dreams and plans are just framing my beautiful life. So, even if today is a day that not even one dream or plan comes true my life will still be a beautiful piece of art. Full of love and joy and hope and faith to keep making plans to live beautifully.

With all that said, I have such a fun project to share with you!

All you need to get started on your beautiful frame is basic paint supplies. An old frame and a doily or stencil. A stencil brush. Let’s get started.

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Paint frame the color of your choice. Set aside and let dry. Next pick out a few accent paint colors. Lay your doily down onto your painted frame and stencil the doily pattern onto of your first coat of paint. Do this over and over using different colors until your achieve the look you are looking for. That’s it. Just make sure that you let each coat dry before going ahead with the next color. You can use anything you would like to achieve your pattern. Any stencil you love will work beautifully.

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From my heart to yours,
Patrice

The thing about fooling yourself…..

The thing about fooling yourself…..

In a culture that worships youth….I don’t care what anyone says, it’s difficult when you start to age….when you start to get older and find yourself no longer young or young-looking and to find yourself having less and less days of young feeling. (Actually, it’s only difficult if you resist it and wish it was different than it is…from what I’m told, it rocks once you start embracing it)

After the summer’s yuck-fest of healing, WAKING UP and getting real with myself…grieving, working hard in therapy and with my doctors and finally finding some beautiful peace and clarity….I wanted to share with you a few more things I have learned. I am getting healthier by the minute….from the inside out…but this 2 year sickness left me about 30 pounds over the weight that I feel comfortable at….and only recently have I been able to start tackling that. It’s hard to have a job where you have to be visible while working through something that you wish you could hide until you are done doing it. I have often felt like my body is betraying me…and wished I could hide it under a blanket until it is the shape I want it to be. And I’m learning that things don’t bounce back as fast at 43 as they did at 25. It’s going to be a long journey for my body…….and I’m only just recently coming to terms with that…..and I’ve asked my body for forgiveness and decided to cooperate with it instead of fight with it and curse it….

be really kind to your reflection

AND……..I ‘ve made it a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE goal to stop fooling myself…to stop fooling myself about ANYTHING. (fooling yourself is absolutely exhausting, by the way) I have very little excess energy these days so I’ve decided to use that energy to just be brave enough to see what is real, to believe what is real, and to live in what is real….whatever imperfect broken beautiful thing that ends up being from day to day.

Because…….

In my mind I’ve been 25. And in my mind I am a nicely toned size 6 and it doesn’t bother me at all to wear very stylish high heeled boots. So…some days when I am deep in my fantasy…it is perplexing that my husband is not also 25 or 32….but heading on up to 50 years old. And then I feel uneasy about both of us…and it comes out in all sorts of twisted up ways. When you fool yourself everything feels so weird. (and please understand that this is not about physical looks….it’s an analogy to the whole dang thing with aging and years going by and losing years and things not turning out the way you planned)

let go of what was

I have been 25 in my mind for over 15 years. Well….maybe I have let myself get all the way up to 32 or 33. (I was 32, 10 years ago when my husband had his accident and I STOPPED everything at that age……..and held on for dear life really believing on some deep level that I could stop the clock until things were back to “normal”) While this worked well as a survival mechanism for the last 10 years…..and while I know that is exactly the craziness that it was…..I still hold on tight to SOME hope some days that things can be like they used to be in some magic trick because that seems like it would only be fair after all of the difficulty of those years. I am a Libra and I am always fighting for what is fair :)

Then I look in the mirror. And I used to be able to stand a certain way in a certain light in certain outfits and it made it easy to fool myself that I could hold on to my youth. Those days seem to be gone. The angles, the lighting and the spanx aren’t even cooperating in my fantasy. My mirror is ever coaxing me into the wise woman years…..trying to convince me that it is good to be in your mid forties. (or at least that it is inevitable) My photos look like a different woman all together…………..

melody aging copy

Oh, the mirror. That is where reality hits. In reality I am not 25. In fact, in reality, my oldest child will be 25 any day now. He and his incredible bride (who I love so dearly) have already given us a precious grandson.

brock n sabrina n leo

I am old enough to be a grandmother. I AM a grandmother…I am Mimi!  But in my mind………I am young and fit and energetic and smooth.

mimi and leo

 

….and some days I actually weep over the loss of my youth when I could be spending my heart time thinking of this precious boy. (is that lame or what?)

don't miss the important stuff

The truth is, I could not be the wild and wacky woman I am TODAY without all of the years it took to get here. I have been in a beautiful, difficult, complex, never ending love story with my beloved for almost 25 years. He is a grandfather…..a Pompie…

leo n pompie

I am the mother to 5 incredible children, 3 of whom are fantastic, contributing to the world adults. I could not be here without having lived to the age I am now.  I have started 2 successful businesses that have gone global…..the first one taught me all of the necessary lessons needed when it crashed and burned and took me along with it. I have written 15+ books and I’m working on my newest book with a major publisher that will be out this Spring. I teach classes to thousands of women every year and I can sit as a peer with the wisest of all humans……..because I have lived all of these years….I’ve won, I’ve failed, I’ve fallen, I’ve gotten back up…I’ve risked…I’ve shown up….I’ve gotten older, and older….and older……and even a little wiser.

……but yet I still try to fool myself sometimes into thinking it would be better if only I was 30 again…..

new adventures are ahead

I wish I was one of those people I have read about who ease into aging with grace and excitement and enough wisdom to know that this is a very good thing. But I have been mourning and aching and fighting it…….and, the worst part of all is that I have indulged in fooling myself into thinking that I would find the “cure” to it if I looked hard enough. I missed a whole decade, really….my 30’s, while being a caretaker to my husband and a CEO to my business and a survivor of so much dang fallout from all of that. I thought some miracle would happen that would even things out and I would get that time back when I was ready….that whole “fair” thing.

This isn’t even about looks….it’s about everything. I want those years back. It’s about hanging on so tight to what is gone and having your body turned so tight in the opposite direction at the road that’s already been traveled that there is no way you could ever see or think about what is ahead….or even what is NOW.

just show up

THAT is the thing about fooling yourself. You think you are going to get that time back, but what is really happening is that you are losing even more time by not living in TODAY. You are losing the precious TODAY. Today my grandson Leo is 5 months old and just started eating baby food. Today I just completed another amazing brave girl camp with my incredible sister as my partner. Today my daughter told me that she will give us another grandchild in 6 months. I could not have any of TODAY’s stuff if I was still 30 years old. If I keep chasing the past, I lose TODAY. And every day there is a new TODAY until 10 more years go by and if you were not going along that ride….you have lost yet another decade wishing you were still in the last decade.

The thing about fooling yourself that you can still be 25 is that you miss being 26, 27, 30, 35, 40………….42…..then 50, 60, 70………YOU MISS YOUR TURN at all of those beautiful ages.

P.S…..the coolest people I know are the older and wiser ones….seriously.

The thing about fooling yourself about ANYTHING at all is that you miss what is real……and the real stuff, with all of it’s ups and downs….the real stuff is where it’s at. It’s the ONLY place it’s at. (I’m pretty sure that’s science…….)

more beautiful days

Dear Melody,

If you want to wear yourself out, suffer a lot and waste a whole lot of time…..keep on fooling yourself and clinging tight to what was. If you want to be happy….to CHOOSE HAPPY…..get real. CLING TO TODAY….let go of the past. You are 43. You are wonderful. You are just right. PLEASE STOP MISSING OUT ON BEING 43.  (p.s. someday you will understand how young 43 really is)

xoxo,

Your 80 year old self

So whether you are 25 now and you are afraid to head into 30…and you wish you were still 18……OR….you are 50 and you wish you were 30. Or you are 18 and you wish you were 25……..or you are 70 and wish you were 50…..whatever it is….PLEASE stop missing out on your turn at being exactly the age that you are right now…because really and truly, you only get to have that turn for one year…..just one year…….

BUT THEN….you get a brand new turn to do a brand new thing…..and you get another chance to make the most of your turn at being that brand new age.

So……….I’m taking this year of being 43 as my BEST TURN EVER at being this age. I’m not gonna wish it forward and I’m not gonna wish it back.

it is your turn

I like it. I like me.

I hope you will join me in taking your turn at your beautiful perfect age. Sure feels lots better this way………..

Here’s to the wise woman years….bring it on.

xoxoxoxo

melody

p.s.

“The only good in pretending is the fun we get out of fooling ourselves that we fool somebody.” – Booth Tarkington

 

14 ingeneously creative dining room ideas from Brave Girl Camp

Hello, friends!

Five times a year, we get to drop everything and have Brave Girl Camp…and even after five years we are still pinching ourselves that this is our ‘job’. (Me: “Hey Melody”… Melody: “What?”  Me: “We’re working!”…Melody: “I know!!! I love my life!”….)

The days before Camp are always a whirlwind of creativity as we and our team pull together all of our newest ideas for making the week absolutely as special and pampering and (of course) as beautiful as we possible can….thrifting, repurposing, rethinking, getting creative. Here’s a quick tour of 14 ideas from the dining area of the Ranch House. You’ll see that we use a muted, neutral color pallette here…saving a crazy riot of color for the Art Barn (we’ll share those photos in a separate post). Let’s go take a look….

Brave Girls Club...Use an ivory matelasse quilt as an elegant and sumptuous tablecloth....1. Use a gorgeous quilt as a luxurious tablecloth.  We repurposed a cotton ivory matellasse quilt as a tablecloth to make the perfect foundation for our mix of hard and soft textures, glass and metal and fabric. We LOVE the feel of the thick, sumptuous quilt on the table. Who says a tablecloth has to be a tablecloth? (not us)

Brave Girls Club - galvantized steel table runner2. A tablerunner made of…. (you’ll never guess)….galvanized steel. It helps to have a fella handy who has a work shop and a love of metals. Marq cut a sheet of galvanized steel into strips, then sanded the edges. We carefully wiped them down and laid them down the center of each table. Because the ends and corners were still a little sharp, we broke out the hot glue gun to attach a band of narrow lace to each end to protect those walking close to the tables. The steel runners protect the tablecloth and make such a warm glowing backdrop to the twinkle lights and candles. Steel is for girls. don’t you think? If you don’t know anyone who can cut metal for you, see what you can find in junk stores and recycled building supply stores for your own version.

Brave Girls Club - vintage silverplate flatwear for Camp tablescape3. Vintage Silverplate Flatwear…no matching allowed.  Patrice brought her collection of vintage silverplate flatwear, and it happily became the most perfect ‘jewelry’ for our tables. Nothing matches which of course only adds to the charm. If you’re looking for an excuse to go junkin’, here it is. You can find silverplate in junk stores, thrift stores, and antique stores for less than a dollar to a few dollars for each piece. A little tarnish makes it absolutely perfect.

Brave Girls Club - bead charms for goblets4. Bead charms for water goblets. A meal becomes an ‘event’ when you add pretty little details, like a ring of glowing beads around the stem of each goblet. There were made quickly and easily from beads we had on hand strung on loops of memory wire. So pretty!  (PS…don’t they look stunning on the galvanized steel table runner? Love this closeup…)

Brave Girls Club - simple flowers in tiny vases5. Fresh flowers…a stem or two in small glass bottles.  Making a stunning flower arrangement is virtually foolproof (and very affordable) when you place just a stem or two of ivory flowers in a collection of small glass bottles…then just line them up down the center of your table. A bonus is that they are low so you can easily have a conversation with the beloved sitting across the table. We added a few sprigs of gold baby’s breath to bring a little warmth and color to the table. Just right. And these little arrangements lasted a whole week and more without looking one bit tired. (Grocery stores only get flowers once a week, so we make sure we are there on that day, rather than buying week-old flowers. There’s a nugget for you.)

Brave Girls Club - placecard stamped into paper clay

Brave Girls Club - paper clay place cards6. Place Cards from air-dry paper clay. At Brave Girl Camp, we like to use the names of our guests everywhere we can think of…including marking each girl’s place at the table with these beautiful (and surprisingly easy to make) place cards made from paper clay, a butterfly stamp, alphabet stamps, and watered down paint. Give it a final coat of mod podge after it air dries overnight. Lovely! And a fun keepsake to take home, too.

Brave Girls Club - canvas and fringe chair covers7. Canvas Chair Covers.  An inexpensive canvas drop cloth makes a LOT of quick-sew chair covers. We added all kinds of thrift store trims and fringes that we had collected…all in ivory of course. The result….a crazy mix of not-that-pretty chairs now looks clean and elegant and just a little funky/bohemian. I sometimes wonder how many things we’ll find to make with canvas drop cloths. :)

Brave Girls Club - stack cake stands8. Stack those Cake Stands. For our Beverage Bar, we stacked some of our collection of pretty Cake Stands to give a proper home to napkins, sugar cubes, and crispy biscotti. We set the table near a window that catches the morning sun. We strongly believe in using our pretty things every day….don’t you?

Brave Girls Club - antique cash drawer used as K-cup storage9. A vintage cash-drawer make the perfect home for K-Cups and such.  After weeks of searching for something ‘just right’…we found a gorgeous, heavy old cash drawer in our favorite junk shoppe to store all of our k cups, creamers, and sweeteners in perfect style. I am in LOVE with this piece!

Brave Girls Club - book shelf makes perfect display for beverage bar10. A vintage shelf with the legs trimmed off makes a perfect place to organize cups and water pitchers. We found this darling shelf in the same junk shoppe….we trimmed about 8″ off of each leg to make it just the right height for our beverage bar. We added a vintage french market basket to corral cups and lids and such…and the top shelf makes a sunny spot for water pitchers. Love it!  (And yes, Jeanne Oliver, this coffee bar is dedicated to adorable YOU. You must visit it sometime. )

Brave Girls Club - printed matelasse quilt for tablecloth11. A computer desk covered with a printed matelasse quilted table cloth and a glass top.  When Brave Girl Camp is not in session, Melody’s family uses this as a computer desk. During Camp this month, we converted it into the prettiest beverage bar in the land with an ivory and blue french matelasse quilt and a glass tabletop. The glass keep everything clean and tidy for the whole week, and the floor length quilt/tablecloth hides baskets of supplies. What’s in your linen closet that you could use to dress a table?

Brave Girls Club - decorage with empty frame12. Hang an empty frame…some frames are so beautiful they don’t need art. We needed to block off this doorway that’s just inside the dining room entrance, so we hung a huge carved frame in front of the closed double doors and set the stage with an old chair, a bench, and a trio of flower arrangements. A little bird stands watch and a pretty lamp lights it all up in the evening. We love it so much we may never use that doorway again. :)

Brave Girls Club - Wings, heart, and bottle collection13. Welcoming wings, a heart made of found buttons, and a collection of bottles and jars to greet you. Melody created these wings (she teaches you how to make them in our Art School: Wings online class)…they spread high above the entrance to the dining room at Brave River Ranch. Last year, our gal-pal Terry made the button heart on burlap to complete this stunning 5′ wide display. A collection of vases and bottles lines the shelf above, nearly kissing the ceiling.

Brave Girls Club - bead garland
14. Bead garland window treatment.
We strung extra large beads on a length of heavy string and hung them over the drapes…giving them just that extra bit of sparkle. Every outfit needs accessorizing, right?

My wish is that these ideas will spark your own creativity and your desire to have beautiful spaces in your own home. You can do it! Get your pretty things out of wherever you have them put away for a ‘special occasion’ and USE them. See what you can make out of unexpected materials. Seek out junk stores and thrift shops and learn to repurpose and reimagine things others have thrown away. And when possible, make room in your budget for investing in beautiful things that make your heart soar.

Coming soon….colorful decorating ideas from the amazing Art Barn!

love, kathy

For all of the caged birds – let’s break outta there…..

Hello beautiful friends…. I promised to give a continuation of this crazy journey I’ve been on healing from adrenal exhaustion…chronic hives,etc….and before I begin I want to tell you that I’ve had a giant progression on all levels. I feel so grateful every day these days to have finally found some answers to the health problems I’ve been having. Parts of it have been less than a good time, however…so part of this post is kinda sad and down in the dumps…because that is exactly where I was…..and as someone who values fun and joy and ease……it has been quite a stretch for me to take the healing path I took over the summer. But I am a brave girl…and after this summer, I claim that title for myself without question. Been doing lots of reconnecting with my beloved too…. 10382654_10204110893268877_7320987823718838074_n Again I want to tell you that I am doing great….better every day….and the purpose of this post is simply to sort of beg you, dear friend…..to really examine what might be keeping YOU from flying free……I’m so thankful to be feeling the way I am feeling lately….living the life I really want to live…because I’ve felt caged up, trapped and stuck for a long time now……. And having a chronic condition can really mess with you. I’m kinda tired of talking about this because it makes me feel like a huge whiner…but ya know what….it’s stuff we gotta talk about. So…here goes….. Above all things, I need freedom. I am a free spirit and a wild flower. This is not big news…I have been a weird and wild human from the moment I knew I could be. I’ve always danced to my own drumbeat…a drum that’s collaged and painted and covered in funky artsiness….a dance that resembles the wind. Yes, I need freedom. I know that you need freedom too…we all do.

the cage was in her headartwork from Brave Girl Soul School collage sheets, September 2014….click here to learn about Soul School

Another thing I am…is someone who is compulsive about needing to make sense of everything. When I can not make sense of things easily……I create economies, ecosystems and governments in my own head to make sure things make sense for me. I then live by those made up, very rigid and stringent rules for myself….just so things can make sense for me. I create systems to “pay” for things, and I make sure I pay dearly. I make hefty contracts with myself. And I kill myself to live up to them. Somehow, from a young age….I learned that I could make things make sense if I did this. You can probably understand now how tormented my mind and heart gets when I’m feeling weak….or sick…..or less than who I wish I could be…..when I need to be free….yet I create constructs that are rigid, demanding and dictatorial….and I do this to myself. Thing is…I bet you do this too. We are so mean to ourselves.

be freeartwork from Brave Girl Soul School collage sheets, September 2014….click here to learn more

Are you ready to be free too? I sure hope so……cages suck.

I have learned through some pretty painful lessons on this healing journey. I’ve learned that I have constructed my own cages, my own locks and my own misery……all of it in my head. Sure….lots of it has come from traumatic and difficult experiences…but those experiences are over and what’s left is just my own thoughts. This has been new knowledge that is so powerful and empowerING….but also incredible painful. Know why it’s painful? Because I never would have imagined that it was ME doing this to myself. I have already done SO MUCH soul work. I have worked very very hard. I have worked so very very hard to get out of the cage I was in. But then I felt like I got thrown back in when I lost my health…..and it is easier to believe that the wild and wacky personal system I constructed in my head is REAL (and by the way, in my head, it only applied to me…not to anyone else)…and that the rigid rules requiring perfection are to blame for my anxiety, my sickness, my sadness…my problems. The thing is though…..I MADE THOSE RULES. Then, I believed those rules. I believed that not keeping them meant I could not keep anything good or true or wonderful or beautiful. Yes, I know you might be saying “WHAT THE?” because I teach this stuff every day…I have witnessed miracles in thousands of women who have learned this stuff FROM ME. And I believe everything I teach…it’s just that I created an economy in my head from a very young age that I have to pay and pay and pay for things….and when I got sick 2 years ago…I couldn’t pay in Superhero proportions anymore…..which put me into a tailspin of massive panic that added to my sickness…..(a sickness that came from too many years of exhaustion from trying to live up to my made up personal economy) Well, I couldn’t pay anymore…so I threw myself back in my own cage. Sister….if this is resonating with you please just hold hands with me for a minute ok? We are not meant for cages. This is a miraculous, huge, amazing and life-changing realization for me. It really is….but like I said, it was also wildly painful one that I have been working through for months…making giant breakthroughs over the last months especially that have finally led to a steady incline in my health, my energy, my outlook and my joy. …because I have not been able to be set free until I have taken total and complete responsibility for my own thoughts….my own internal rules…and the way I see things, judge things, punish myself and reward things. Things=me….my actions, my aging, my goals, my energy, my limitations, my creativity, my moods…… AND how I judge everything else in my life….what I do to myself when things don’t turn out the way I wanted them to…the way I planned for them to…the way I worked for them to…the way I think they should have…….things like relationships and projects and healing…. My biggest question always comes around to some form of….”why aren’t things different than they are?” (and even worse…they often go to….”is this my fault?”) It’s no secret I’ve been struggling with these chronic health conditions for a few years now. Some of them are very visible and some of them aren’t. I will admit that I have been through a heck of a lot of trauma. (Just like so many of us have) When my physical health failed, I sought out healing on every level. I needed some help with PTSD and I needed help with some deep grieving. I needed help with some anger. I needed help with the hives that covered my body and with the exhaustion that kept me from everything that I wanted to do. I needed help with a 30 pound weight gain that nothing seemed to be able to stop or slow down. I needed help most of all making sense of it.

everything changed fly freeartwork from Brave Girl Soul School collage sheets, September 2014….click here to learn more

Here’s what I know now. Some things will just never make sense. Some things that happen in life send us swirling and and whirling and whipping in the wind until we are ragged and full of holes. When we make up reasons for what caused those things….reasons like “I must have deserved this” or “I could have prevented this if….” or “I must be cursed” or…… “I guess misery is the life that’s meant for me” ….or….”I guess I didn’t pay enough for this good thing, so it was taken away…” ….when we make that stuff up…..we build big old cages right around ourselves. My constant pursuit of making sense of things that will never make sense has led to so much suffering on so many levels that it makes me want to just want to bundle up my body in a giant swaddling blanket and rock myself to sleep, singing lullabies and telling myself the truth. Now I have worked very hard to expose this crazy system I had created for myself (and also give my little-girl self an A+ in creativity for making something so complex to help herself survive) …..and I spent the summer examining all of it. I cried a lot over the lost years…and I kept trying over and over and over to make it all make sense. Some of it still doesn’t and that is ok.

she finally set herself freeartwork from Brave Girl Soul School collage sheets, September 2014….click here to learn more

I am done “working hard” to make things make sense. I am all about easing into things now. I am all about cooperating with myself and all of my broken thinking instead of battling it. I am all about going with the sweet flow instead of standing against it, crying about why it’s not going a different direction. I am all about choosing the happy that is all around me. Making sense now consists of cooperating with however things have turned out today….and finding all of the goodness and treasures in whatever that is. I have exhausted myself battling the way things are, instead of surrendering to how things are and easing myself into the flow of how things are. How things are happens to be exactly perfect for me to become who I am meant to become……just like how things are for you is exactly perfect for you. Even when it sucks big time and you want to fight it and make sense of it…….

you have your own wingsartwork from Brave Girl Soul School collage sheets, September 2014….click here to learn more

My personal made up economy has collapsed. The tyrants have all been fired. I am building a commune up in there now full of love and cooperation and ease. I’m gonna dance and sing and work with how things are instead of cry over how they are not. once I surrendered….I finally started to heal…….surrender kinda means to stop trying so hard to bend things to go your way….and I never thought that sounded very brave…..what is learned is that it’s one of the bravest things of all…..fly free…..go with the flow…. 10649797_10204110896028946_4573309657237418887_n I want to tell you everything I’ve learned……. FLY FREE COVER SHEET FOR PRINT (1) For now…I really hope you will check out SOUL SCHOOL….where I teach all of my life lessons mixed with beautiful healing projects that anyone can do. Did you know we create a brand new SOUL SCHOOL lesson every single month? This month just so happens to be called FLYING FREE…and it’s all about everything I just talked about…full of journaling prompts, lesson videos and art journaling and projects to go with it…along with tons of collage sheets and resources to give you a whole toolkit.  (See EVERYTHING included in the September “Flying Free” class and toolkit here.) I hope you will check it out….we work really hard on it and we are all super proud of it…and the thousands of you who are participating have given such beautiful feedback about loving it that I just don’t want anyone to be left out. You can get a monthly subscription for as little as $10 a month!! Your beautiful soul is worth whatever it takes to be fed and reminded and grown and healed. I love you all. Thanks for letting me be real. I am ready to fly again. No more caged birds. Let’s examine our thoughts and let go of all of the thoughts that don’t serve the highest part of our spirits. That’s a lot of trash to take out, a lot of cleaning up to do…….but it is making room for all of the good stuff. sending you love and freedom and keys to the cage…. xoxo melody

A look inside September Soul School….

FLY FREE COVER SHEET FOR PRINT (1)“Flying Free”….the NEW Subscription Soul School class is here!

FLYING FREE is a brand new soul-restoring online class by Melody Ross & the Brave Girl Team, the September 2014 offering from our Subscription Soul School program.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll get…whether you’re a Basic, Deluxe, or Premium subscriber. You’ll receive access to a special online classroom where you’ll be taught powerful, moving, jam-packed lessons by Melody. You’ll print out a collection of artsy materials that you’ll need for the assignments, art journaling, and DIY projects that support this month’s theme*. Premium Subscribers will also receive a beautiful Brave Box…our collectible box packed full of premium-quality printouts of all of the class materials, along with some very special collectible add-ons.

Let’s take a look!….

Learn more and sign up here
See a comparison chart here
Already enrolled? Visit the new September classroom in your dashboard
Read a moving new post about why this class is so personally important to Melody HERE

Brave Girls Club - September 2014 Soul School BRAVE BOX

The September Soul School Brave Box for Premium Subscribers…our beautiful collectible box packed with premium quality print outs of all the class materials PLUS additional lovely things.(Basic and Deluxe Subscribers print their own class materials.)

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Cover Sheet with two original patterned papers

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Beautiful 8×10 Art Print… “it feels good to fly free”

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Flying Free Collectible Patch & Button (Premium only)

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Brave Girl Tissue Paper, sheet of 4 large artsy oval stickers, Born to Soar greeting card with grocery bag envelope (Premium only)

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Collage Sheets

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014
Another gorgeous Collage Sheet

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Lesson Notes & Assignments, Journaling Lesson and Prompts

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

4 pages of collage word strips (don’t worry…Melody will teach you how to use all this incredible material in the lesson videos)

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Flying Free DIY Projects – Tissue Paper Candles, Brave Word Beads

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

DIY Project – Bird & Heart Garland

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Be Free Free Bird Stitchery Projects

Brave Girls Club - Soul School - Sept 2014

Truth Card Kit and Brave Girl Camp Collectible Recipe

Brave Girls Club - Soul School

3 pages of stunning art for DIY candle project

Melody Ross - Video instruction

In the ONLINE CLASSROOM, you’ll be able to access PDFS for all the class materials, PLUS you’ll be able to watch all of videos, each created just for this class with the standard of excellence Brave Girls Club has come to be known for.

Melody will walk you step by step through her soul-stirring ‘Flying Free’ curriculum; then Kathy & Patrice will teach you the supporting DIY projects. The videos are so fabulous that if you didn’t do ANYTHING but watch them, this class would be worth every minute and every sacrifice.You’ll also have access to our growing library of Art Technique, Journaling, and Stitchery videos as supplementary material to give you endless ideas for other things you can do with the beautiful, artsy materials Melody has created just for this class!

FLYING FREE
September 2014 Subscription Soul School

SIGN UP HERE

See a comparison chart of our 3 Subscription Levels HERE

 *Basic Subscribers receive access to the Journaling portions of the class.

 Subscription Soul School Options

Each level receives more and more content…all with this month’s theme: Flying Free

Basic
Journaling Class plus Digital Journaling Kit (printables)  $9.95/mo

Deluxe
Everything in Basic plus full BRAVE GIRL online class & digital kit (printable)   $24.95/mo

Premium
Everything in Basic & Deluxe PLUS a beautiful BRAVE BOX w/ printed kit and MORE  $44.95/mo

SIGN UP HERE
See a comparison chart of our 3 Subscription Levels HERE

What have you learned about yourself since becoming a Brave Girl? (a sweet Brave Boots video…)

Hi, Braves!

Melody and I (and the rest of the BG team) are working night and day here at the Clubhouse on a BIG NEW project that we hope you will each LOVE (more about that soon)….and our poor blog has been a bit neglected. We promise that will change, but for today I went in search of the coolest thing I could find on our YouTube channel to share with you…something that you might not have ever seen but that is just hanging out there, hoping that someone will notice it.

I found something you will LOVE watching…because it is from YOU…from Brave Girls all over the world. It’s called ‘Brave Boots’ and here’s how it came about…a couple of years ago we asked all of you to send in photos of your Brave Boots (or shoes or whatever…) along with your answers to this question: What have you learned about yourself since becoming a Brave Girl?

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Brock put the photos and answers together into one of the BEST videos we have ever made. I just watched it again and I was reminded of how much I LOVE IT…I love seeing your names and your photos and the things that you so beautifully shared. So whether you’re new here or you’ve been with us forever, this is a fun and moving video. Hope you enjoy it!!

love, kathy

 

 

 

One of my favorite summertime recipes…Pavlova (you can make this…I promise!)

One of my favorite Brave Girl Camp desserts is this….”Pavlova”…..yummmmmmmm…..a fancy word for a DELICIOUS meringue shell filled with sweetened whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit.

I know this looks fancy and complicated, but it is NOT. If I can do it, you can do it, and I’ll show you in this video that it really is pretty simple.  And there is something really magical that happens when you combine the crispy meringue, whipped cream, and some fresh fruit…it is absolutely scrumptious!!! I’ve used peaches, but you can use any kind of fruit you have around….berries are amazing in this dessert.

SO…be brave!! Try making this for someone you love….

And if you’re a words and pictures kind of Brave Girl, here is the photo tutorial version.

Start by gathering your ingredients.  You’ll need:

1/2 cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Before you begin, trace 4-inch circles onto a piece of parchment paper that is cut to the size of your baking sheet.  6 circles fit on each of our baking sheets.  You’ll want to space them out – leave about 1 inch between the circles so your meringue has enough room to grow a little in the oven.

Next, separate the eggs.  It will take about 4 egg whites to get 1/2 a cup, but measure.  When we did this, the eggs we used were small, so it took 5.  Definitely measure.

The easiest way we’ve found to separate eggs is to crack the egg, then drop it into your fingers.  Let the white fall through into a bowl and the yolk will stay intact in your hand.  Set the yolks aside to use for something else. (Make sure that not even a teeny trace of yolks gets in with the whites or the whites will not whip…everything has to be free of any kind of oil or fat….trust me on this.)

Next, whip the eggs for just a few seconds, until they’re frothy…like this:

Once the eggs are a little frothy, add all the other ingredients…the vanilla, vinegar, cream of tartar and sugar.  Then let the mixer go on high speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture is glossy and stiff.  You want to be sure that the sugar is entirely dissolved.  When you think it’s done, put a little of the meringue on your fingers and rub it between your finger and thumb.  If it feels grainy at all, it’s not done.  If it feels smooth, it’s done!  It should look like this:

The best way to form the shells…the way it turns out prettiest is to pipe them BUT you don’t have to pipe them (we’ll show you how in a minute).  If you’re piping though, you can use a piping bag with a large star tip or a ziplock bag with the end cut off.  To fill the bag with the least amount of frustration and mess, put your piping bag into a pitcher and fold it over the edge.  Then fill the bag.

Twist the piping bag until the meringue just starts to come out the tip.

You’ll find that the parchment paper might try to slide all over your cooking sheet.  The trick we use is to put a dab of meringue as glue on each of the corners.  The circles you drew on the parchment paper will be your guides as you pipe.  Be sure they are on the bottom side of the parchment paper when you ‘glue’ it down.

Then pipe little nests.  Start by making a circle that fits inside of the circles you drew…(it will grow and spread a bit in the oven).  Once you have a circle, go around the outside of the circle one more time to form a bowl…like a second story wall on the outside of the circle.

If you don’t have a piping bag or a ziplock, you can form your meringues with a spoon…like this:

If you have leftover meringue in your piping bag, don’t throw it out!  Use it to make little meringue kisses…mmmmm…

The meringues will go into a 350 degree (F) oven for 10 minutes.  Then lower the temperature to 300 degrees (F) and let them bake for 20 minutes.

When they are baked, they will look like this.  DON’T take them out of the oven yet.  Crack the oven door and let them dry out in the warm oven for 1 -2 hours before you get them out. (You want them to be completely dry and crispy…and that reminds me to tell you that you shouldn’t make these on a humid day…unless you want chewy meringues…hmmmm….come to think of it, that might be good….but I digress…)

While they’re drying out, you can get your toppings together.  This time, we used sweetened whipped cream and peaches…we’ve used all kind of fruit.  One of our favorites is berries.  Oh yum.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and fruit to the meringue…and Voila!  Pavlova!

Serve it on a pretty plate to someone you love….this is my little grandson, Jackson. He has a way of making a cook feel pretty good….

 

Try it and let me know how it turns out!

love, kathy

PS. True confessions: Say the shells are a total flop and they come out all wonky looking…(not that that I would ever admit that it has happened to me….) You can still turn it into a gorgeous dessert. Just crunch up the crispy meringues into big chunks and stir them into the whipped cream. Layer this in a goblet with the fruit…it will be gorgeous and delicious and everyone will think that’s how you planned it all along. (*wink*)

 

Thank You!! – We made you a video to celebrate!!!!! (it’s really short and really awesome! please please please watch!)

Last week we hit a huge milestone, thanks to ALL of you…..not only are we celebrating 5 years together as Brave Girls Club…but we now have 100,000 of you with us as Facebook fans!

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We put together lots of ways to thank you and we hope you will watch this little video…..we love you all SO MUCH and want you to know that there are many wonderful things ahead! Next month we will be launching the most exciting thing in Brave Girl history and we are working really hard to make it FANTASTIC! So…..stay tuned, and for now, please watch this video that we made JUST FOR YOU!

 

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Here’s to 100,000 more Brave Girls and many many many more lifetimes of Brave Girl goodness for all of us and for all of the generations to come. We love and appreciate you and we could never do this without all of us!

xoxo

melody and kathy

melodyandkathy

 

Whatever it is….you can LEARN it!!

When I was ten years old, my friend asked me if I wanted to play on her softball team.  I thought it would be so cool to be on a team….I also remember thinking these exact thoughts:

“I haven’t ever played softball….I don’t know if I can do it….everyone else has been playing since they were 5…I’m going to look like an idiot…I don’t have all the right stuff…I don’t know all of the rules…I don’t know ANY of the rules….”

Despite my worries, my angel mother helped me get all signed up and everything worked out.  I know those worries seem silly when you’re an adult and you know know they’re coming from a 10-year-old….because you can look at that 10-year-old and say all of the adult things you know….

But have you ever had 10-year-old girl worries?  The ones that sound like this:

“What do I know?  Everyone else probably already knows everything.  And they probably all have natural talent, which is why they’re all so much better than me.  I probably couldn’t measure up.  I probably shouldn’t even try.  They’re all ahead of me anyway, I’ll never catch up.”

As if it’s some kind of contest or race.  Easier to tell that to some 10-year-old than to the aging woman in the mirror, right?  Or is it just me?

Do you know how old Julia Child was when she learned how to cook?  You know who Julia Child is, right?  She’s known all over the world…she’s famous for her cookbooks, her expertise, her passion for good food and her ability to make complicated recipes understandable.

Julia Child didn’t start cooking when she was 9, like you might think.  Or roast her first chicken at 13.  She didn’t intuitively know how to braise or saute or even chop and dice.  She learned it.

Julia Child enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu (a cooking school in Paris) in 1949.  She was born in 1912, so that would make her 37.  She was 37 when she decided she wanted to learn to cook….with all the learning still in front of her.

She went to Le Cordon Bleu for one year and…get this…FAILED her test at the end of the year.  She waited an entire year to re-take the test, which she did and this time she passed.  Thus began her very long and very successful cooking career…at 40.  (Side note: she was 36 when she decided to learn French…and enrolled in a French class.  Awesome.)

Is your mind blown?  But really….

Of course a 37-year-old lady can learn to cook, even if she never has before.

Of course a 10-year-old can learn to play softball….

And of course a 5-year-old or a 72-year-old Brave Girl can learn to make art….

….or play the piano, or grow a spectacular garden, or ride a horse, or swim the backstroke, or build a treehouse, or love somebody, or host a party, or sew a dress, or start a business, or speak in public, or write a book and all of the other millions of things there are to do in this world.

I didn’t come here to talk about Julia Child…..Brave Girls Club doesn’t even offer cooking classes (yet!)…..what I’m here to tell you is that whatever that “thing” is for you…YOU can learn it.

It’s not a mystery, it’s not impossible, it’s just something to learn.

For instance….music is a big deal in our family, and when a song seems hard or a part seems hard, one of my brothers always says, “It’s just an illusion…it’s not that hard.”  And he’s right!  Musicians perform perfectly because they’ve practiced and practiced and practiced and earned the ability to play complicated music….but every single one of them had to start at the beginning….every one of them sang a note or strummed a chord for the very first time, then just kept playing, kept singing, kept trying, hit a LOT of wrong notes and kept going before they got it.  EVERYTHING is that way!  LIFE is that way!

Brave Girl Art School started on Monday….and my kids (3 and 5) have been sooo excited to start.  We took these photos on their very first day….

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Maybe it’s because I was that apprehensive 10-year-old, but it makes my heart absolutely sing to see my little ones learning how to do art.  Maybe they’ll learn earlier than I did that you don’t have to know everything from the very beginning.  You don’t have to have some innate inclination toward art or music or gardening or baseball to be able to do it well and enjoy it.  Maybe they’ll be daring and adventurous and unafraid of new things.  Maybe they’ll never say those sad words, “I am not creative” and “I can’t do that”.

Maybe what they’ll grow up saying is, “I’m gonna learn that.”

I want to know: what is something you’ve always wanted to learn?  Then what I want to know is what is your plan for learning it?  (You don’t have to learn it today, but no excuses allowed!)

And if you ever wanted to learn to paint or draw or doodle or make jewelry or sew pillows or make pretty decorations for your home or if you ever wanted to see the pure JOY on your children’s faces as they learn to do any of those things, come join us for SUMMER ART SCHOOL!!!   Let’s LEARN it!!

 

Thick & Chewy S’mores Bars Recipe

We LOVE summertime campfires around here. We love to spend hours in the warm evenings sitting around the fire together… laughing and singing and talking and playing. We love to roast hotdogs over the fire and OF COURSE we love s’mores. But some people don’t have a fire pit in the backyard or don’t have time to build a fire to satisfy that chocolatey-grahamy-marshmallowy craving. These quick and easy s’mores bars are the perfect solution! And they’re a whole lot better than traditional gooey, messy s’mores for bringing to summer potlucks and pool parties.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 TBS butter or coconut oil
  • 1 bag regular sized marshmallows
  • 2 1/2 sleeves graham crackers (25)
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • mini mallow bits, optional for garnish (these are the tiny, sort of crisp/crunchy ones)

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×13 pan
  2. Crush the graham crackers in a large ziploc bag into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.  You might have to crush them in two or three batches and put the pieces in a bowl as you go. You will end up with a little bit of tiny crumbs/dust… that is perfectly okay and will contribute to the wonderful chewy texture of the bars!
  3. Melt the butter or coconut oil in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended.
  4. Add the crushed grahams and stir until incorporated and coated.
  5. Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly and firmly into greased  pan.
  6. In a glass bowl in the microwave or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the top of the bars. Sprinkle on the mallow bits if using. Chill in refrigerator until set, then cut into bars.

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Hope you love these simple summer delights!