New beginnings can be scary. I remember so many first days of school, both as a student and particularly as an educator, and how the unknown factors of what would eventually come together to be a class, was incredibly frightening. As a teacher, you are the facilitator, the one who makes things go smoothly, and hopefully the one who creates an encouraging, open, safe learning environment. I also remember the new beginnings of life in my belly. Being pregnant is such an awesome experience there are hardly words to describe it. Eventually though, the experience grows old and you can’t wait to give birth. After the excruciating pain of a natural child birth, you are presented with a most precious gift, a new human being and almost right away this experience, at least for me, generates intense feelings of love. I had this immense pleasure four times and find that within my children’s lives there are constant new beginnings that make their lives and my inclusion in them, rewarding and satisfying. I don’t really get excited about the New Year because I know that it creates an enormous clean slate that I don’t always feel ready to fill or even address. I know myself well enough to know that whatever the New Year will become, it won’t start on the 1st. Today is the 3rd of January and finally I feel slightly ready to at least start planning what the year will be about in terms of growth and changes. We are completely renovating our home, outdoors and inside, one room at a time. My studio is first on the list, for the indoor spaces, so that is completely covered in plastic and drop cloths as we work on it. I can’t wait until it’s finished. We’ve been working on it so far for a couple of months. I am filled with anticipation and awe, as the space transforms and changes. With the trees stripped bare of their leaves outdoors, I am filled with equal anticipation for the return of green growth, new leaves and flowers of 2012’s spring. Like the studio, we are also planning to totally revamp the front garden and parkway garden. Those who follow my writing will know that the gardens started barren, became an incredibly fertile and full garden that was organized but slowly it has morphed into a wild and crazy prairie, wildflower garden. Now, totally out of control, it is more like a thicket. I look forward to its re-organization in this New Year, filling it with antique bulbs, wild grasses, aromatic, magickal and medicinal herbs, non-invasive wild flowers and perennials, as well as setting it all in a good, structured hardscape. The birds love the space, as-is, and are filling it with life as I sit here and write, chirping and singing. I might make a mosaic bird bath for them and create some concrete and mosaic stones to lead the way through the garden. I also intend to paint some gourds to become bird houses. So, when I was creating this ATC, pictured today, I was thinking about spring 2012 and the promise it holds for our home, studio and gardens. This ATC contains an acrylic skin I made during a workshop from fiber paste, with added grasses and natural fibers, stamping, embossing, mica paint and acrylic with polymer medium.