Year of the Fierce Woman

FIERCE word art in bold colors of black, white, orange and pink. Ink and marker drawing. Geometric and abstract.

It’s done!!! This, the first piece of entirely hand rendered art I have completed in over 7 years, represents the attitude with which I intend to face everything this new year tries to throw at me. Nearly a year ago, seeking an outlet to express my frustrations over so many different things, I started it. But, as they say, “life got in the way”. In less than 4 months, I’ll be turning 40…this past year has given me much to think about and at the end of it I finally came to a crossroads. After what I like to call a “slap in the face from the universe”, I realized that the time to reach for my dream of becoming a full time artist is now, that “someday” will never come and that I’ve allowed doubts and personal insecurities to hold me back long enough. I’ve set my 1st goal of completing 10 pieces and re-opening my Etsy shop before my birthday at the end of April and (unlike in the past), I’m logging my time to ensure that I reach it. A favorite quote says, “We are what we repeatedly do”. So, I’ll be making a lot of art this year and I couldn’t be more excited! Keep an eye out for progress updates, new pieces and help me stay accountable, won’t you? Bring it on, 2019!

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Patterns of Decay in Ombre

Fall leaves arranged in an ombre color patternMost of the leaves around here are now turning brown & crunchy (perfect for raking up big piles for my son to jump in!). So, I’m glad I caught the last bit of fading colors while I could. I’m particularly drawn to the organic patterns that form on the leaves as they start to decay…creative inspiration for sure!

Buried (in a dumpster) Treasure

Last month I was backing out of my parking space at work (a historic mansion currently undergoing renovations) when something sticking out of the dumpster caught my eye…before I could talk myself out of it, I’d dug up 11 vintage wood drawers + 1 matching chest, a metal bin and 2 planks of wood. I had just enough time to stuff them in the back of my car (narrowly avoiding ruining my dress clothes) and speed away to pick up my son from summer camp. Not everyone understands the thrill of such a find appearing right next to your empty car (ahem…my husband), but to the natural-born junkster, such a gift cannot be ignored.

And I’m happy to prove that I’ve since put *most of my discoveries to good use. My 5 year old son, Connor, immediately claimed the metal bin for his toy cars (smart kid). But I’ve turned 2 of the lovely, chippy drawers into functional & decorative storage boxes and the chest, which sits next to my kitchen table, is great place to keep paper plates, cups & napkins within easy reach for summer entertaining.


I love having such a convenient & well-lit spot to put reading material (with extra room for my coffee!) and even my husband can’t deny that his keys aren’t getting lost nearly as often. A thrifty find is always thrilling, but hands-down, nothing beats free!

*OK, so I still have no idea yet, what I’m going to do with the other 9 drawers or the planks of wood, but experience has taught me that if I wait long enough, inspiration will come. Until then, my “collection” is stashed safely out of the way in my basement laundry room.

Magic

Fireworks_070417“It looks magical!” exclaimed my 10 year old friend, a recent immigrant from Rwanda, as we sat next to each other on a blanket, watching fireworks paint bright streaks across the black sky. It was another “first” for her in her new life in America. Nearby, her one year old brother and my 5 year old son sat unnaturally still, entranced (as we all were) by the sight, while rainbows of color danced in their sparkling eyes. As long as I can remember, Independence Day and fireworks have always gone hand-in-hand, precluded by a full day of fun and feasting with beloved friends and family. The formula doesn’t alter much from year to year, and yet it is one of those iconic American traditions that never gets old. At any other time of year, the list of things to be checked off and hassles to be endured might have seemed like more of an inconvenience than a pleasure – cleaning, shopping, cooking, packing, crowds, noise, heat, traffic, unpacking, more cleaning – but as my young friend alluded, there is something inherently magical about days with so much “living” packed into them that by the time you fall into bed, once you finally make it back home, you are wobbly from contented exhaustion.

Today has been the opposite of yesterday in nearly every way. Yesterday, I never stopped moving (and never minded). But today, I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t crawl out of bed until long past “normal” breakfast time and I’ve barely moved from my favorite chair, except to refill my coffee cup and snack on yesterday’s abundant leftovers. As I sit on my “island” surveying the aftermath of a dozen warm bodies moving in, out & about my house, instead of compiling yet another To Do list, my mind keeps calling up grainy images from my memory – bits & pieces from party games that have yet to find their way back into the correct boxes recall bursts of uproarious laughter around the dining table; red cups & star-shapped straws dotting the landscape recall kitchen countertops groaning under the weight of so much food & conversations mingling in the air along with mouthwatering aromas; pint-sized wet clothing draped over the rim of the tub recalls squeals of laughter from children running through the sprinkler in the sunshine; the half-smeared remnant of a “dinosaur eye” painted on my son’s face recalls him sitting with barely-controlled patience for the artist to finish her work so he could get back to bouncing his way through all the inflatables; and the subtle soreness of my muscles recalls the movement of my body as I performed with pleasure the duties of a hostess, ensuring the comfort & enjoyment of those whom I most love in the world and then, as the day drew to a close, finally letting go of all responsibility and allowing myself to bounce and sway however I pleased to the rhythm of live music at a riverfront festival.

Magic. Yes, indeed, there is something magical about a day that can make you completely forget everything that normally occupies the most space in your subconscious mind. The itinerary of next week’s work & school schedule, bills to be paid, household renovations to be completed, political shennanigans to fret over, crises big & small – my own as well as others’ – crying out for attention. Where did they go?

In the soft, orange light of the setting sun, last night I laid down on a blanket with my hands under my head and stared up at the swirling clouds – pure summer bliss. Presently, a few drops of rain made cool spots on my face & arms, but I didn’t care. There was nothing I needed to do and no one who needed my help. In that moment, I simply existed. I cannot remember the last time I felt so gloriously free. But a day devoted to the celebration of freedom reminded me that there is so much more to life then the acrobatics required to get through modern adulthood. We experience life at its fullest when we engage all five senses, and yesterday was a colorful kaleidoscope of opportunities to do just that. Tomorrow, I must return to being a “grownup”. But I intend to make a little more room, going forward, for embracing fun & creativity in my regular routine. Making magic wherever I can.

Fall is for Family Time

White Fireplace decorated for autumn with a grapevine wreath and a sign that says family. Firewood piled up ready for cooler days. Fall leaves and berries. Family comes first. Country cottage style rustic decor.

I love the simplicity of this photo ( @countrylivingmag on Instagram) & the timely reminder that even as our lives become busier with the approaching holiday festivities, at the end of the day all that really matters is family. So make sure that you put them first, cherish every fleeting moment & don’t stress too much about the little things.

Find Success: Stick To What Already Works

I came across this thought-provoking article by James Clear today & it kind of rocked my world. What do I know in my heart (or from past experience) is a proven strategy for success, but I haven’t been doing lately? Have I been focusing too much on what’s ‘trendy’ and ‘exciting’ while ignoring the tried & true, but perhaps ‘boring’ or ‘time consuming’ methods? Am I wasting precious time seeking a quick & easy solution?

I’m afraid the answer to all of these in one aspect or another is, ‘Yes’. Ouch. Time to step back, reevaluate my goals & priorities & follow a lot of my own advice (instead of everyone else’s).

Interview with Design Sponge Founder

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This is one of the most inspiring interviews I’ve ever watched. Grace Bonney of the hugely popular design blog, Design Sponge, shares her insights into running a successful online business for 10 years and how she deals with the ever-changing landscape of internet marketing & social media. A wonderful reference for small business owners everywhere. Click the link to watch the video, http://www.marieforleo.com/2015/03/grace-bonney/