Thursday, November 26, 2015

Practice Gratitude today and EVERYday!!!! It is good for your health ...

'dress of plenty ...' (2012) westwood, MA

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  

Besides celebrating a quality that I feel is quintessential to one's quality of life ~ gratitude; it is also a holiday that most everyone celebrates.  I love this because for the weeks leading up to the big day I can wholeheartedly wish everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving'.  This is not true with many of the other big holidays.   And I enjoy spreading the concept of gratefulness especially during this growing frenzy of materialism, aka black friday, but that is for another post. But for now let us remember to be grateful, practice gratitude today and everyday ...
it is good for you, your health, your life, your loved ones and all of us!!!
Thank you & peace, va

From Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.’s book, Thanks!…
“When the well-being of participants int he gratitude group was compared to the control group. a strong and consistent pattern appeared: The gratitude group was still enjoying benefits six months later. They were experiencing more positive emotions, were more satisfied with their lives, felt better about their lives as a whole, and continued to feel more connected to others.  Even though the experiment they had participated in terminated nearly six months before, they maintained levels of overall well-being that were nearly 25% higher than persons in the control condition.  The evidence contradicts the widely help view that all people have a set-point of happiness that cannot be reset by any known means : in some cases, people have reported that gratitude led to transformative life changes.”

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

'flirt ...' flies again and other arty adventures

'flirt ...' (2014) installed in the shop window at Renew Arts & Industry, Natick, MA
I am so happy and please to announce that my dress sculpture, 'flirt ...' is back out in the world!!! For the next few weeks, 'flirt ... ' will now be calling the window at Renew Arts & Industry home!!!

view from the ladder, when I was installing her....
from inside the shop
in all her glory ...
'flirt ...' and la luna

'adrift ...'  (2015)

 also thanks to the lovely and talented David Lee Black, you can now find some of my photographs sprinkled around the Wrentham and Providence area!! 

 'adrift ...' is drifting at the Looking Glass Cafe in Wrentham, while 'guppy ...' and 'pandora's box ...' are relaxing at The Spa at the Providence Biltmore

'pandora's box ...' (2015)
'guppy ...' (2015)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

i have no words, but can share the words and wisdom of others ...

a beautiful illustration by artist/illustrator: Nelleke Verhoeff
of Red Cheeks Factory

prayer from the author, Paul Boynton, from Begin with Yes

"There are times when there is so much darkness, so much hate and anger and so much hopelessness that we can barely breath much less make sense of it. It is as if darkest of all clouds has finally prevailed and we feel helpless and afraid. During these times we must open our hearts and our arms and remind ourselves and each other that there are more candles than guns, more love than hate and much more light, stronger, brighter and more powerful than any evil that may swirl around us. And at the darkness moments, we must, through our thoughts, prayers and actions remind each other of the ultimate truth that light, hope and most of all love always wins. Forever and ever. Amen." 

beautiful and poignant graphic created by Jean Jullien and which is becoming
the symbol of hope and support for the recent nightmare in Paris
  here is a wonderfully written post by Sarah Hill which I want to share here: "Paris is Burning; Paris is the City of Love.
I have 567 friends on Facebook. I don't think a single one of you is a hater. Maybe you have a hater among your friends, though. If you do, think about what to say to haters, today, and every day. Here are my thoughts for today:
There will be fear-mongering. There will be hate-mongering. It’s already started.
But before falling into the trap of religious hatred (in other words, today, deciding to hate Islam because it appears to lie behind yesterday’s hateful acts), let’s remember that religion is a tool of hate, not the other way around. Religion gets mongered up by hate. Hate is what lies behind these acts; not religion.
Love is what all religious arguments should be spreading. Love, however does not arm its arguments. Love does not use violence or force. And it never will. Anyone who arms for religion is arming for hate, not love.
Both love and hate are inherent to us; they are written in our DNA. The first time I was boiling mad at my own child, I recognized, in ways that had never been so clear to me before, that hate is not just taught, it needs to be untaught.
Don’t confuse ISIS for Islam. Don’t confuse Westboro for Christianity. They are hate, masquerading as religion, which is to say that they are hate masquerading as love.
In the Christian duality there is God, which is Love, and Satan who is Hate. I don’t believe in Satan and I don’t really believe in God. But I do believe in love and I know that hate is real. If you believe in God, and spew hate, remember that in so doing, you stop doing God’s work and start doing what you of what you believe is God’s antithesis.
To date, I have lost no one in hateful acts. I cannot speak from personal experience. But I know that at some point in my life I may be challenged to not hate because of a love stolen from me by a hateful act. Or maybe a random, accidental occurrence. Whatever the source of that loss of love – which we all face – I hope I have practiced enough love to overcome the hate that, like the everyday rising of the sun, will well up in me." heart emoticon

Powerful insight regarding the Paris attacks from George Takei.

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” ― Carl SaganCosmos

Love is the spirit of this church, 
and service is its law;
 this is our great covenant: 
to dwell together in peace, 
to seek the truth in love, 
and to help one another.    
James Vila Blake, 1894


Friday, November 13, 2015

#4UFriday: A is for authentic

Last week on my 'dailydress' blog, I announced my intention to post a free printable on Fridays as a 'just-for-instance' present for all those of you who have been following me and supporting me on my artistic journey.

This idea of the 'just for instance' present comes from the wonderful children's book series, by Carolyn Haywood, B is for Betsy.  Here is what I posted last week ...
One of my favorite parts of being a mom ( and there are SO many) was reading to my daughters, especially at night when we were all cuddling and cozy and winding down from a full day.
One of our favorite series was by Carolyn Haywood's Betsy series, which starts with "B" is for Betsy'. A truly charming collections of stories that kept me and the girls laughing and in a lovely state of mind.
It was through these stories that I was introduced to the phrase/concept of a "just-for-instance present"; present given with no rhyme or reason, just because. I LOVE this!! I had given gifts for no given occasion but I LOVE the phrase ... "just-for-instance present".
So with that in mind I am hoping to make Friday's even a little more fun by giving all my followers a "just-for-instance present" ... printable for your enjoyment! 
So with no further adieu, here is this week's freebie printable.  This is the first page in my "ABC of Being" (working title) coloring book.  Each Friday I plan to share another coloring page with a letter and a mindful quality.

Happy coloring!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

celebrating poetry ... How to be Perfect by Ron Padgett

'english pea dress, with a nod to Ron Padgett ...'
#dailydressseries, 9nov15, 39F, 10PM, Natick, MA

How to Be Perfect

                                                  Everything is perfect, dear friend.
Get some sleep.

Don't give advice.

Take care of your teeth and gums.

Don't be afraid of anything beyond your control. Don't be afraid, for
instance, that the building will collapse as you sleep, or that someone
you love will suddenly drop dead.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Raise your pulse rate to 120 beats per minute for 20 straight minutes
four or five times a week doing anything you enjoy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.

Know that the desire to be perfect is probably the veiled expression
of another desire—to be loved, perhaps, or not to die.

Make eye contact with a tree.

Be skeptical about all opinions, but try to see some value in each of

Dress in a way that pleases both you and those around you.

Do not speak quickly.

Learn something every day. (Dzien dobre!)

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don't stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don't
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm's length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball

Be loyal.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Design your activities so that they show a pleasing balance
and variety.

Be kind to old people, even when they are obnoxious. When you
become old, be kind to young people. Do not throw your cane at
them when they call you Grandpa. They are your grandchildren!

Live with an animal.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

If you need help, ask for it.

Cultivate good posture until it becomes natural.

If someone murders your child, get a shotgun and blow his head off.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if you
have paid them, even if they do favors you don't want.

Do not waste money you could be giving to those who need it.

Expect society to be defective. Then weep when you find that it is far
more defective than you imagined.

When you borrow something, return it in an even better condition.

    As much as possible, use wooden objects instead of plastic or metal

    Look at that bird over there.

    After dinner, wash the dishes.

    Calm down.

Visit foreign countries, except those whose inhabitants have
expressed a desire to kill you.

Don't expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.

Meditate on the spiritual. Then go a little further, if you feel like it.
What is out (in) there?

Sing, every once in a while.

Be on time, but if you are late do not give a detailed and lengthy

Don't be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don't think that progress exists. It doesn't.

"Walk upstairs.

Do not practice cannibalism.

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don't do
anything to make it impossible.

Take your phone off the hook at least twice a week.

Keep your windows clean.

Extirpate all traces of personal ambitiousness.

Don't use the word extirpate too often.

Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not possible, go
to another one.

If you feel tired, rest.

Grow something.

Do not wander through train stations muttering, "We're all going to

Count among your true friends people of various stations of life.

Appreciate simple pleasures, such as the pleasure of chewing, the
pleasure of warm water running down your back, the pleasure of a
cool breeze, the pleasure of falling asleep.

Do not exclaim, "Isn't technology wonderful!"

Learn how to stretch your muscles. Stretch them every day.

Don't be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even
older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put it in cold water immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for twenty
minutes. You will be surprised by the curative powers of coldness and

Learn how to whistle at earsplitting volume.

Be calm in a crisis. The more critical the situation, the calmer you
should be.

Enjoy sex, but don't become obsessed with it. Except for brief periods
in your adolescence, youth, middle age, and old age.

Contemplate everything's opposite.

If you're struck with the fear that you've swum out too far in the
ocean, turn around and go back to the lifeboat.

Keep your childish self alive.

Answer letters promptly. Use attractive stamps, like the one with a
tornado on it.

Cry every once in a while, but only when alone. Then appreciate
how much better you feel. Don't be embarrassed about feeling better.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Do not step off the curb until you can walk all the way across the
street. From the curb you can study the pedestrians who are trapped
in the middle of the crazed and roaring traffic.

Be good.

Walk down different streets. 


Remember beauty, which exists, and truth, which does not. Notice
that the idea of truth is just as powerful as the idea of beauty.

Stay out of jail.

In later life, become a mystic.

Use Colgate toothpaste in the new Tartar Control formula.

Visit friends and acquaintances in the hospital. When you feel it is
time to leave, do so.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It's a waste of time.

Read and reread great books.

Dig a hole with a shovel.

In winter, before you go to bed, humidify your bedroom.

Know that the only perfect things are a 300 game in bowling and a
27-batter, 27-out game in baseball.

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to drink,
say, "Water, please."

Ask "Where is the loo?" but not "Where can I urinate?"

Be kind to physical objects.

Beginning at age forty, get a complete "physical" every few years
from a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with.

Don't read the newspaper more than once a year.

Learn how to say "hello," "thank you," and "chopsticks"
in Mandarin.

Belch and fart, but quietly.

Be especially cordial to foreigners.

See shadow puppet plays and imagine that you are one of the
characters. Or all of them.

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there's shooting in the street, don't go near the window.
Ron Padgett, "How to Be Perfect" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2013 by Ron Padgett.  Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press.

Source: Collected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2013)

Friday, November 6, 2015

#fromthelandofdragons: seeds

'burdened ...' 2015 ©virginiafitzgerald
I love Fall!! 
I always have!
It makes me feel alive!!
the colors, the sounds, the smells, the coolness on my skin,
the sightings of Jack Frost, the need for a favorite sweater.
2015 ©virginiafitzgerald
And as I have been documenting my 'land of dragons'

'burdened ...' 2015 ©virginiafitzgerald
I have come to love Fall even more (if that is possible) 
I have had the opportunity to witness the cycle of life, 
'sweet potential...' 2015 ©virginiafitzgerald
and I am thoroughly in awe of the creation of seeds!!
my harvest of seeds from my nasturtium plant!!
I gathered these yesterday nov5th ... note the barefeet!!

'chinese lanterns ...' 2015 ©virginiafitzgerald
The magic of mother nature is that the flower is created for reproduction.
The petals attract the pollinators who come ladened 
with pollen to start the whole process ... so


bees are our friends!!!
we need bees!!!
'two in a bush ...' 2015 ©virginiafitzgerald

peace, va

Thursday, November 5, 2015

#tbt: the story of 'sky warrior ... ' (the first)

Since 'skywarrior ll ...' is flying high in all her glory at the
I figured it would be a good time to tell the story behind the original 'skywarrior ...' .
'skywarrior ...' (2006) and artist/warrior
'skywarrior ...' was the first commissioned dress sculpture of the dressproject,
and she was created within weeks of the creation of the first dressproject dress,
'wedding dress...'
(brenda's dress) 2006
'wedding dress ...' (brenda's dress) on Wells Beach, ME. 

'skywarrior ...' was made and resides outside Chicago, IL. 
 My girls and I were visiting my parents when one of my mother's friends, artist  Lorna Marsh, inquired about these dresses that she was hearing about, dresses that I made
Fortunately I had developed my pictures (it was pre-online everything),
and I could show her the collection of 5 dresses that I had made in Wells, ME. 
 She was intrigued and loved the idea of the creation and then the destruction of the dresses, thanks to the ocean and the high tide. She asked if I would like to make a dress in her garden, she would cover my costs. I jumped at the opportunity. 

I admire Lorna Marsh as an artist, and she and her husband have a extensive art collection. 
I was also still riding the high of pure inspiration and eager for any opportunity to create another dress. 
I was invited over to the Marsh's exquisite garden and found myself a bit intimidated. Not only is Lorna Marsh an internationally known artist, she is also recognized for her gardens, which are beautiful. As I wandered around the ground Lorna joined me, pointing out areas that I may have missed. Then she suggested that I look up to the trees, which were magnificent! She told me that I could think high because she has access to a cherrypicker!!!

A cherrypicker ?!?! 
How many times does one have access to a cherrypicker, I asked myself??! 
Not many, so I decided that I was going to take advantage of 
this cherrypicker opportunity and make a dress in the trees!! 

And once I found the perfect spot,  the dress started to form in my head, 
and I was off!!
 I used polyester ribbons to create designs on the hardware cloth,
 as I figured the polyester would withstand the weather.
I knew that I needed to work with materials that would withstand the elements.  
Even though Lorna said that she loved the decaying and disappearing aspects of the beach dresses,
 I wanted to make something that would last a little longer than a day or so.  
So it was off to Home Depot (one of my favorite art supply stores :) 
I got hardware cloth, solder and other wires.
Then to Jo-Anne's for glass beads, because the spot that I planned to put the dress
 got the long rays of the setting sun, so I wanted the parts of the dress to catch the light. 
'skywarrior ...' detail of the skirt, created with soldering wire
and a variety of glass beads
With supplies in hand and the clock ticking I headed into my parents' garage. 
I cut the hardware cloth and sewed it together with wire.
 The name of this piece came about because of tensions 
in world affairs and closer to home.  

While I was constructing of this piece the infamous 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot was uncovered.  I had just flown with my two daughters, 8 and 5 years old, when suddenly the country was on 'red alert'.  All liquids were banned from planes and I watched as millions of dollars of make-up was being confiscated from carry-on bags.  
my mother helping weave in the
metallic ribbon
As a mother flying with young children I was very aware of how important it was to have a juice box or sip cup with you when flying, especially during take-off.  And as I watched the media and country work themselves into a panic I felt that women were feeling the affects of the red alert more than men and I was getting angry.

Also some issues arose closer to home.  Suddenly there were questions about how I was using my time during my trip, and wasn't the purpose of my trip to Chicago to visit and not work?!?!?  There was a sense that as daughter and mother of my girls I was expected to be attending many functions, and even though I was doing all the meeting and greeting that was asked of me, I was still getting negative feedback.  Finally, I asked if my brother was visiting and he had been offered a wonderful opportunity to showcase his talents (he is a writer) would everyone be upset with him stealing away to work?!?! I think not!!! 

'skywarrior ...' picture taken standing under dress,
looking up
That argument gave me a bit of breathing room, but I still felt under attack. And as I furtively  worked to finished the piece before I was to return to MA, I felt like a warrior! 

And I realized that this sculpture was a warrior too.  
She was going to be standing tall and strong in the elements.  
And she has.  
In fact she has survived for many years, though she comes down for the winters.  
'skywarrior ...' (2006) installed outside Chicago, IL
I visit her when I am in the area and Lorna once mentioned to me that she was very happy with sculpture, however she had hoped it would have deteriorated more ... we both had imagined birds nesting in the decaying dress shell, 
but alas she is a warrior!!

'skywarrior ll ...' (2015) currently hanging at
the Common Street Spiritual Center, Natick
and now there are two!! 
peace, va

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

spreading the love (art)!!!! in natick, attleboro and (wait for it ..... ) Sunny California!!!!

this past week i have been spreading the love ...
new cards at Renew in downtown Natick.
note the cards featuring their great merchandise
print of illustrated quote

First I replenished the stock of cards and prints at Uni-T at the Natick Collection. I brought new cards as well as many new prints, which included some of my illustrations. 
I introduced these illustrated prints at my open studio 
and they were received very well!! And at 

the owner, Eujin Kim Neilan, displays them so well.
one of the 'renew' notecards
Then on to Renew Arts & Industry, where not only did I restock their origami dresscards, but I added some of the new dress notecards, such as 'sizzzle...'  
AND also added some notecards featuring some of my photographs of their beautiful merchandise!!
new dresscard image, 'sizzzzle ...'

' #kitchentableseries V ...'  pen and ink.
 inspired by an instagram posting by another 'dress' artist, Karen Arp-Sandel.
In Attleboro, MA, you can find one of my #kitchentableseries drawings at the Attleboro Arts Museum as part of their Benefit Art Auction.  
Today is the last day that you can bid online so make sure to click this link to bid and to see all the beautiful offerings.  

And now for the big news!!! the California news!!
I am happy to announce that I made my first sale via/thanks to the internet!!
mixed media dress collage,  is now in CA!!! 
Thank you instagram's 'randomartist222', who saw my dress collage 
that I had shared on instagram and inquired if it was for sale!!!

YES!!! but .... she was in CA and I in MA?!?!

Well she made some suggestions and she waited patiently as I set up my paypal account and investigated shipping and then voila, she still wanted it!! the USPS got it there safely, she liked it in person ....
 I successfully made my first online sale!!!!!!!
(the crowd goes wild!!!)

And with that under my belt ... there will be more!!! 
Oh yes there will be more!!! 
so til later!! 
peace, va