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Ramona Gault

Oh boy, Nina, now you've done it! I won't be able to rest unless I take up your gauntlet and shoot some pix of myself, thin hair, saggy skin, and all. It's scary! I applaud your courage, once again. You're true blue!


This was beautiful.

Lady, you are so very courageous with your honesty, don't ever doubt that, I couldn't tell my truths as you do and yet, I am drawn back to you and your blog. I find comfort and courage and someone to admire, despite the fact that she lists all her very human, very common ways of not being perfect.

Thank you

Tina in McLeansville

"i don't hide much here"...that's ok. you've shown us how not to hide that way. and from your last post: "cracks let in the light"...good. we need light.
growth is good. strength is good. not always easy, but good. and it is never, ever a finished goes on and on and on...necessary because it plants the seeds for others. life goes on regardless...we just keep moving forward, trying not to step in something along the way! :) hugs....


So glad you did not fit into that crowd Nina
and stuck to your own true self. You go girl! Keep living in with gusto.

xo right back at ya

Jo Hassan

Being truly authentic means practicing courage: being emotionally honest and real about things, and embracing all our vulnerabilities. Anything other than this is really a bit of a sham, don't you think? - and so very exhausting to be living a 'mirage' or fantasy 'half-life' for fear of causing offence or folk not liking or critising us.

Your courage, honesty and authenticity about all aspects of your life, not just the good bits, are what makes you so very inspiring to us and also much loved.

I related so deeply to your words today, Nina... its almost as if you are writing about me. I too am that shy and awkward little girl cowering at the back of the sports hall. But your wise words, encouraging us to embrace, acknowledge and accept our vulnerabilities and the realities of who we are seems so very liberating somehow. So I will take them with me as I tiptoe onwards... I'm still terrified but promise to try. Big hugs xxx


That last photo says, "Don't mess with me."

You are strong...and even moreso now that you are free from the anti-depressants. Good job on that!! Way to see it through...


I so admire you Nina, for your beauty and grace, your honesty and your ability to inspire myself and others. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.


oh nina thank you for bringing this up. maybe i'm the only one, but i feel like when i look at myself it's as though another presence(the one(s) who were critical of me as a child) are inside of me and thus my view of myself is so skewed.

i look at myself and see parts of various family members staring back at me. this family member doesn't like the other's hair, the other family member doesn't like the other's nose.... all this criticism has congealed into a complex selfhood that doesn't like to look at images of myself.

it's so much easier to look at someone else and admire their beauty because i see them with fresh eyes--i think--...but why can't i see me that way...your post is touching a painful place inside i so want to get over...i have some visual images of hands as you suggested; that wasn't so bad, but the face will be difficult for me, but it is necessary...

why not take pictures of your own visual landscape?

Lindy McClellan

Glorious Nina~ I just spent some taking taking pictures of myself and trying to just see them without judgment. Then I sat down to read your blog. So fitting. I so struggle with many of the same things. Bravo to you for being an authentic being! It gives me courage to try to be the same. Always a work in progress.



Thank you for this post, Nina. It's beautiful, just like you. You are so brave and honest and TRUE. You write about the way most of us feel about ourselves and our place in the world - but YOU always know the perfect words. I am so drawn to your blog, your life - you are a dear friend and so very much admired.

dee chapman

It's heartfelt posts like this that keep me coming back my friend.


XO x 100
Just that.


It is the sharing of your self that has kept me coming back to your blog-lovable or not (and I think you show the lovable side). That is how I have come to love you.


Wonderful, heartfelt and inspiring post! Not sure about taking and posting pics of me just yet, but I have managed to do lots of videos with my hands. I wanted to share about journaling more than I wanted to protect or hide my hands. Always a problem, those hands that many people told me looked so old and wrinkly, at 16 even. I've always had these old hands, and now I think I am finally starting to grow into them ;) Thank you for sharing all of who you are and inspiring us to try to do the same!


More shared feelings that strike a chord in many of our hearts, Nina. Thank you.

The swing from gregarious high energy in social groups to reflective low energy afterwards is something that I cope with too. It's quite logical and expected in a mostly introverted, creative personality. Don't fret about it, just believe in this natural process.

Now that I'm approaching the birthday numbered 60, I finally understand that my hours are too valuable and finite to use mired in self-doubt. Instead I try to use them for joy, wonder, and gratitude...not always successfully but I do try. ;-)

Have you ever read about 'highly sensitive' people? You and I (and many other women) fit that description. Another facet to embrace about ourselves.

I'm grateful for your challenge: Accept all our faces and share them.

Warm Hugs, Donn

mary jane dodd

'to thine own self be true' is a concept we both embrace... it is a path that requires great care and vigilance... for it is easy to go astray... what i see here are the bits of truth you choose to share... and know that (rightly so) there are those you hold close... i tend to write in a similar style... sometimes, for me, it is easier to find the universal truths and try to connect in that respect... i admire your openness... it is a public journaling exercise to be sure... and re: the pictures, you are so right... there may be a handful of pictures my kids have of me... and i haven't submitted my tutorial to a publication because of that picture they want - so very stupid, i know... it is one of the fears i will take on in the next few days... your pictures are lovely... isn't it funny how one can begin to feel more comfortable with the wrinkles? it's almost like you have been cut loose from the culture of youth - and it is so much more relaxing...

peggy mcdevitt

Like usual you have described "life and life's issues" so well. Nina, you are right on target, you know your good points, your not so good and have a good philosophy on life's ups and downs (not that it makes it all any easier). I don't know if I can take pictures of myself but will give it a shot and see what happens. I thought your relationship was no longer, I am sorry for that. Good news you have Walter and your learning to really like yourslef so there you all. enjoy your evening, love ya. Peggy

Janet McDonald

Nina its hard growing up sometimes...for many of us wasnt it. I was snubbed a few times, but then did have my best friend Peggy later on. School ha thats another thing. Some kids had all the beautiful looks or that personality that drew everyone, and those were hard times too...yea and trying to fit in. I know we are like you gf youre not alone. You will have your days Nina...but hang on tight!! Steady as the ship weathers the storm Miss Lady. Atleast you are an Original bf so many people got into jewellery! Youve mad a mark and you are indeed cherished woman! Hey come over to my blog and go thru a few of them and see wot Ive been doing! My styles not exactly you but its mine and Im proud of me too lol. Leave me a comment too ok? Awww I love comments. huggs...Be blessed and like Tasha Tudor said..."Take Joy"!! And shes right...we must take Joy!
PS That is such a pretty pic of you taking your picture!


As usual, your post today strikes and deep and resonant chord within me. Since Artful Journey, I've been quiet and introspective. The highs of that amazing weekend still have me in their thrall. As a result, I find myself examining my life, my work, my contributions to the universe... It's a little scary but oh so satisfying.

I take up your challenge to photograph myself, although I'd rather have Tiffany photograph me (grin). After my loving emotional examination, why not learn to love the external as well?

Thank you for YOU!



I love this idea. I am going to start taking more pictures of myself!

Mary G.

Nina -- This post is just so rich and beautiful. There is much to think about in it. Thank you for it. Ornamental really makes my day. And so often what you write strikes a chord with what is going on in my life. Maybe it is because I, too, was that shy girl, not wanting to meet anyone's eyes lest they look into mine and then turn away. I was thinking about loving myself today -- what does it mean to love myself? What is true love and how would I treat myself as someone that I love? I am still figuring that one out. But at least I can start, and refine it as I go along. I will take your advice and take pictures of myself (and learn to use the timer on my little camera, gosh darn it!). That'll be a start. Best wishes to you.


I wish..
I wish I could..
I wish I could be that brave.

Stacey Johnson

Lovely post. Aging is such a confusing journey. Sometimes I like what I see and other days I wonder who is that in the mirror? When did that happen? Then I have to laugh and remind myself that even though I feel the same on the inside, well maybe a wee bit more confident, the outside is a tad weathered. But what I notice most in your pictures us what beautiful eyes you have and since they are the window to the soul, you are a so true and real. And thank you for making your readers strive to be as true and appreciative as you are!


and a big, fat, sloppy kiss!


Here's MY criticism: You and I don't live next door to each other so I can tag along on your walks and tell you how cool you are...

You're right - we all need to be brave and take pictures of ourselves to leave for the children... All of us can learn something from being so brave and strong - like you... You've got so many wonderful admirers, please always imagine us standing around you - holding hands - keeping you safe and insulated from criticisms... Even folks you don't know, but who come and find solace and calm and inspiration from Ornamental... We'd probably be a pretty big army on your side if you saw us all lined up together... Good wishes to you.


Hey Nina, love you girl and AMEN to looking in the tell us who we are and sometimes it is hard to see ourselves as others see us...but we really need to look more often and see what everyone else is seeing...especially our boys :D I am so glad you have an open heart and regardless of how things worked out with your last "lover"...I am so glad that you opened your heart to love because "you" know that you are a worthy person and that you have a lot of love to give. And if that relationship helped you become "medication free" so that you could be a "love goddess" once again...AMEN go girl...and never feel bad about loving yourself and some lucky man to receive your love...have a great weekend, fondly, Roberta

sorry I've been absent a bit...we just moved to the "Love Shack" and I'm behind on my blog reading :D

Jamie V

Dear, Sweet, Nina. May I say you look absolutely radiant in these photos? I have actually started to photograph myself, as I would like my children(and grandchildren, if I'm so blessed)to have some rememberance of me! Thanks again for your honest and thoughtful words! You are a continual inspiration ~ hugs to you. Jamie V in MT


I have been away from here for a while, too long, but I knew if I came you would make me feel, and there were a few weeks when feeling was way down on my list of things I wanted to do. But I am back again and I was right - you've made me feel and I like it. Pictures. Oh God, says I, but I remember a class last summer, self portraits required and finally I worked up the courage and showed my nose - oh, a family nose, to be sure, but what I would have given as a young girl for a small cute one instead of the one from a Cherokee great grandmother. And the responses from others in the class were "A Cherokee nose!!" and suddenly I knew this woman I'd never met was with me, part of me, and yes. A Cherokee nose. Not a small one. You are right. More pictures.

SO glad to be back. xoxo

Tammy McGee

I come often to your blog, and I absolutley admire your courage, and passion and beautiful writing. :o) I am so excited to take your class at artfest, and I hope I am not as shy there to speak with you as I am here. I admire you and I think your self portraits are beautiful! Keep spilling your beautiful human heart out. Your making the world a better place. :o)


The true vanity may be in NOT taking pictures of ourselves- I truly dodge the camera because I can see so many flaws in who I am. The pictures seem to exagerrate them to me- Im not sure I can take even 1!
I will think about it- thank you!

Linda F

Thank you.

anna maria

That was beautiful Nina........I'm speechless, but I'm here, reading.


I lost my sister almost four years ago. She was my very best friend and she was only 51. She left me a letter that I found the day before her funeral. She told me in the letter that she had always admired me. Me, the sometimes shy, sometimes brash to the point of being brazenly rude. When all the time I was admiring her, she who stayed home and took care of everyone, who arranged all the funerals of mother, father and grandparents. She who was a single parent and brought her daughter up so successfully. She who woke up from terminal sedation the day before she died and told me I was her best friend. I wish I could have told her before she went how much I admired her. I do not have many pics of her, but the ones I do have I shall cherish for evermore. I will never make the same mistake again with a friend or family member. I sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror in passing and just for a fleeting second I see her face. Don't know why I am writing this, I am just missing her today.

We are all getting older, and some days I just feel like the invisible woman. It seems to me that when we reach a certain age we somehow cease to exist, no-one seems to notice as we pass by. I make a point of smiling at people and saying hi to anyone I meet on my morning walk . I am here in the world and don't you forget it.


I'm loving your eyes in these portraits - they look as though a veil has been lifted and your soul is shining brightly through those windows. xo


I'm glad I read this post... I have a son who is 10 with mild Autism.
His father and I met in art school, he a painter, I a metalsmith.

I am always on the fence with wanting my son to blend in. I know there are times he can't or won't..

It's hard enough going through these stages yourself, but having a child who is socially awkward is equally hard. Not hard for me...
but for him...

I find it very comforting to know how confidently you seem to speak of your fears and insecurities. I know we all have them..
but rarely do they come to be verbalized as well as you express them.

You are therapy for me Nina..
Thank you for just laying it all out there, and just being you...



Have I told you how much I adore you? If I have, well I am telling you again. Mmmmwah to you!

Linda Byrd

You are such an inspiration. I never think to take photos of myself, but now I will. Maybe I will even garner enough courage to post them on my blog. As for negative comments -- the "delete" key is the most empowering one on the keyboard.


I'm having trouble with seeing pictures of myself thsee days. I see the age coming, thinning face, frown lines. I don't feel beautiful when I look in the mirror. Ack. Hormones stinks. Perimenopause stinks. I still have lots of hair, but need to cover the grays. My kids love me, I love them. My usband is crazy about me, I am crazy about him. SIGH.


"if work is good, if i know that i am loved."

When work is good. This is all too familiar....and the very thing I'm wanting to grow out of myself. Funny how we equate the demand for our creations with a sense of self. This is the artists' heaviest cross to bear, I think, in all the history of the world.

Diana B

@Sandra: It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head, isn't it? Just practice telling them they're wrong, and eventually, they will shut up (or at least move very far away - like Tierra del Fuego...).

I don't like taking photographs of myself, or having anyone else take them, for exactly the reason Sharon mentions: I see the people in my family staring back at me and not one of them ever gave me the least encouragement or made me feel safe in the world. Why would I want to be reminded of all that?

@Tammy: just screw up your courage and talk to Nina at ArtFest; she's a beautiful, warm and giving person -- you will be an instant friend, and don't we all need friends? Nina won't let you down, I promise.

@fay: many heartfelt hugs to you; I am so sorry about the loss of your sister, but glad she gave you the gift of knowing to cherish your time with your friends and family.

great post Nina...xoxo nita

kathy mcgowan

Oh Nina--THIS is the reason I feel so close to you--I just wish we were neighbors! The authenticity you display is just what we need more of in the world. After I read your post, I took several pictures of myself---AND looked at them in a loving way. Thank you.

Veronica Funk

I love that you open your soul like this, love that you share all of your beautiful images with us, and love the fact that you voice so many of the thoughts and feelings that fill my heart. Thank you for being so brave.


Diana B, I hear ya! and I'm hoping these folks go farrrrrrrrrr awayyyyyyy.


Darling, you only grow more luminous in person, word, and thought as you age. Your clarity of vision is reflected in your face always.

I have the same trouble with the coming back after the intensity of these marvelous retreats. To say it is difficult is an understatement.

I will try to be braver about my age and my appearance. I am so conscious of being a good 15 to 20 years older than most of my colleagues. In art, however, we are all timeless spirits.


What Autumn said keeps coming back - that the true vanity might be NOT taking pictures of ourselves. GULP! It is such a strange and painful experience to look at pictures of myself at 60 and think WTF? But then I realize that when I saw pictures of myself 40 years ago I thought the same thing, although now I see that I was sorta beautiful. Will I be thinking the same thing looking back when I'm 80? (god willing....)
("Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone....")


Thank you Nina, Thank you.....endlessly... for your honesty, your open-ness, for sharing your vulnerabilities that trigger recognition within your readers. For reminding us of our own fragile selves and for giving words to emotions and feelings that we all share, but don't always admit to.
Thank you also, for sharing Walter with us, his devotion to you so aparent in one of your photos, his face looking up from the bottom corner. Such a dear!

Frankie Kins

Lovely post once again,dear Nina.

Julie Fredericksen


I see what so many others are seeing in your face - it is shining, radiant, luminous. You've had to make some tough, painful decisions over the past 6-8 months, but you must be comfortable with them or you would not be looking or feeling that good! (Sure, you question yourself sometimes but overall I think you are where and what you want to be.)

There have been a couple of times in my life when I made a bad decision and immediately my body reacted against what I'd done by making me ill. (Why couldn't my body have told my brain what to do before I made the decision?)

Kathleen Botsford

As always, your words touch my heart. I am confused though. How can anyone possibly have any thing negative to say about how YOU feel or express yourself? I know you know it's their baggage. It has absolutely nothing to do with the vulnerable and beautiful way you share your heart and your art; each passionate emotion reaching out and encircling us, enriching each of our lives as we stop by to visit.

I never did understand the self portrait photos or portraits but I am willing to accept your guidance and wisdom and start taking some. Thank you for your courage and heart, for being the unique soul you are. You are deeply loved by so many of your fellow sojourners. Namaste' dear Nina


What a thought provoking post....I hate looking at myself, always have done. And I always look bad in photos - or so I think. I am quite bad at meeting new people or going out places on my own, probably part of the same thing.
You have such courage Nina. I wish I had a little more.
People who meet me think I am self assured and brave, but underneath I am scared most of the time - of rejection mostly I guess. In the past I have struggled with aggaraphobia as well, but am better with that since getting MarthaDog. And I have to speak to people who love to stop and pat her and talk to both of us.

As I said - this provoked a great deal of thought. Thanks.
Sara xxx


Oh dearheart, thankyou so much for that post, i throughly enjoyed reading it!
What a fantastic idea!! :))
Have you heard of the author, SARK? She recommends 'mirror work' as aself healing tool - "Stare into a mirror for many moments, without preparing to go somewhere, or see "how you look" or fix your hair, look at your skin, or put on makeup. See what you see. SEE WHAT IS. Speak to yourself in the mirror and ask, "How are you....really?"
The mirror doesnt fake it. Embark on a mirroring journey".

Isnt that beautiful ? Im glad you wrote about this today nina xxxx


I've been reading your blog for some time now. I enjoy your writing and find your jewelry inspiring. I felt motivated to make my first comment after reading this post, especially the comment that you made about frustrations regarding knock-offs. I also make jewelry and was asked by a local art center to teach a workshop. I hesitated because of my concern about some students becoming the future competition by creating their own work that might be extremely similar to mine. I have decided to forge ahead and do the class, but I wonder how you and others who regularly teach workshops deal with this dilema of sharing techniques and dealing with the knock-offs. Any additional insights other than the understandable frustrations?


I DID IT!! I took some photos of myself. I would never have had the courage to do so before today - but I've done it Nina!! Thank you for giving me the courage to look at myself. And you know what? It wasn;t the disaster I thought it might be! Sure - my hair looks like I've been in a hurricane but - in a way losing ones mum is a hurricane? But on the whole - not too bad. I even managed to smile..

Thank you my lovely courageous friend.
Sara xox


flat out... I just think you are wonderful!!! Thank you!

Sheryl Freudenberg

As always Dear Nina you have us in the palm of your hand and you are so loved in return. Thank you for sharing your life and letting us share ours with you. Big hugs!


I tend not to take pictures of myself. Thanks to you, tomorrow I will start. You are right. My son will love those pictures. I wonder what I will see? What I will learn? Tomorrow, I'll take the first shot. Thank you...P.S. Elizabeth Creates sent me and I'm so glad she did.

Maggie Chung

You are beautiful!

terry Fryer

I am a little behind in reading...
I believe the subconscious leads you write what you need to. To Love you is to know you. We all have our good traits and our bad. A true friend makes the decision to stay with you regardless. You accept the bad and enjoy the good. Opening yourself to the world is the ultimate vulnerability! I agree with so many msg's. HOW BRAVE! How many people are willing to put their true feelings out there for all to see? Everyone has different opinions and if you don't agree, discuss, no one should just make negative angry comments.
Nina - the you- you put in your pieces makes them beautiful. Can I rise to the challenge....probably not. I have learned to not focus on the mirror. What I see scares me. I feel like I do better if I forgot about the packaging I am wrapped in.
Thank you for always sharing.

NotSoccer Mom

it is not vain to take pictures of yourself; it is courageous! i envy you your courage to take pictures of yourself. i suppose i must admit that i am vain and don't want to see myself with the extra 50+ lbs on my body that are so unhealthy for me. but with my 48th birthday less than a week away, i can say that i have learned there are all different types of courage. and, for that matter, of vanity.

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