Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Education in Love

So, my beloved Katie is finding a passion within herself for quotes. Inspiring, motivating, life changing quotes.  (Hmmmm . . . I wonder where she gets that from.)

She likes to google "inspiring quotes" on the iPad, pull up images of her search, and sit with her composition book while writing quote after quote into her notebook. I think she is going to end up with a pretty cool journal when she is done with it.  Often times she'll stop and read the quotes out loud to me, like, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent . . . ", and follow it with a, "Wow . . . that's pretty deep, Mom."

Last week, she was really interested in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt. I think that's pretty cool for an 8 year old (well, she's just 28 days away from 9, so I had better set that straight . . . you know, someday she'll read this and argue that she was 9!) I digress. So, she wanted to know all about Mrs. Roosevelt. Katie couldn't believe that she was the wife of a President. I couldn't believe how interested she was. 

I love these precious moments I have with my girls right now, when I can actually turn off the to-do lists in my head and just BE in the moment with them.  I love that in the middle of all of the teaching, I, too, am learning. I love that they would rather be kneeling by the coffee table with a pad of paper, a set of crayola markers, and me . . . instead of doing anything else. And I love that my daughters are reading things that inspire them, and talking about it.

A couple of days ago, Katie seemed to have forgotten all about these inspiring words of wisdom, though, when an argument with her very best friend turned ugly on the bus ride home from school. Katie ran into the house in a rather dramatic and distraught 3rd grader way, and fled to her bedroom while dumping her backpack and lunch bag along the way. When I went into her bedroom, she was face down into her pillow, crying aloud and telling me that she did a terrible thing.

"Mom, I said something terrible to Megan," she told me.

"Tell me what happened," I told her, rubbing her back in comfort.

"I can't . . . I just can't." She sighed that big, long, deep crying sigh, and started, "I wanted to sit with Abbie on the way home, and Megan got upset with me and said she hated me, and then I said something awful back at her. I told her she was mean and I could just stick a pin in her and she cried. She cried all the way home, and I cried, and she just ran into her house, and I ran all the way here, and I don't think she will ever speak to me again. I feel just awful, Mom. It was terrible."

Ah, to be eight . . .  when the worry of bills and jobs and grown up stress is just so far from your reality, and when an argument between you and your best friend can truly seem like the end of the world.

After a long talk, and a reminder of there being nothing she could say that would have me love her any less, Katie decided to make a card for her friend to apologize for her words. And luckily, her friend did the same.

Crisis averted.

It's so great, isn't it, that we can learn from those who have come before us. That even in the big picture of this life, we really all have words to express how we are feeling . . . when we are happy, or when we are sad.  I'm so glad that we can use our words to make each other feel better. And I am so glad that my girls aren't afraid to do that.

My favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote that we came across last week?

The giving of love is an education in itself.

Do you have any favorites? Leave them in the comments . . . I'd love to know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's been a long time . . . .

You know it's been a while since you've blogged when you go to sign into blogger, and actually have to THINK about the user name and password you are entering to get into your blog.

Yes, that's me.

I've been an absent blogger.

I learned a long time ago that the key to a successful blog is consistency. Consistency in blogging. Consistency in reading other blogs. Consistency in leaving comments on other blogs. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.

I haven't been very consistent. For that, I apologize.

If you are still here and still reading this post, then I say, "THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart!" And here's something else for you . . . I miss you. I miss writing. I miss sharing my daily stories and my journeys and my art and my life. I miss gathering my thoughts and putting them out here for all to read (or at least the 180 so followers I have.)

I always have ideas to write about, you know? Usually when I'm driving in my car, or blow drying my hair, or waiting for Katie or Ella to finish one of their gazillion activities this spring. Unfortunately, my most recent ideas seem to get stuck somewhere between my brain, and my fingers tips . . . never quite making it to this trusty computer for a chance to actually come out.

But, today is a new day. And since this is the year of "me" (remember?), I think I need to change that. So, I am hereby adding a new task to my days . . . 1/2 hour of writing. Just a half hour. To gather thoughts, document memories, share some dreams.

Like, the photo at the top of this post. I took it last week, with my phone. Just happened to be outside, and glanced up to see the most beautiful sunshine HEART peeking through the clouds. The clouds were moving quickly, but I caught it at the perfect moment. See, the old me would have blogged about it the day it happened, and shared many paragraphs with you about the whole experience. I miss that part of me.

So, I've been thinking. I'm going to come up with some things to get the creative brain moving . . . like a weekly post listing 10 reason why I love summer? Or perhaps, the biggest thing I learned during the week? Or how about my daily journey? I haven't shared any pictures with you from my favorite road in quite some time . . . .  Or, maybe a humorous story of my hubby or kids (cause Lord knows, I have those daily . . . like, today. Did I tell you? Ella decided that she should dump 1/2 a container of baby powder on the floor of her bedroom. Wait . . . I said humorous, didn't I? Oh, I'm sure there is humor in there somewhere.)

Whatever it is, I hope I'm back. Back to writing. I miss it. And I have lots to say (of course).

So, here's to a dedicate 1/2 hour of writing each and every day.

Hope to have some good stuff coming out of it . . . hang on!

And that heart in the clouds is pretty remarkable, isn't it? It really was a beautiful moment. I'll have to tell you more about it later! ;)


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And the WINNER IS . . . .

I bet you thought I forgot, didn't you? I bet you thought I'd never be back to announce our winners for the two picture frames I told you about last week. Well, never fear my friends!!! WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! The winners were selected from the list generator. (I'm getting a little fancier in my old age, aren't I? For those of you who have been around for one of my give-aways in the past, I have finally graduated from pulling names from a hat!)

I received 12 comments on the give-away post last week, and one of our commentors (Lynn) mentioned that she also tweeted, facebooked and blogged about my giveaway, so she was entered twice! (I need to hire her to do my P.R., don't you think?) And please keep reading this post, even if you didn't win the frame. There is a special surprise at the bottom of the post for everyone!!!

So, without any further delay . . . . can I have drumroll, please!!!

The winner of the
"Life is so much better with Love!" frame is . . .


* * * * * *

Our second winner, who will receive the
"Life is so much greater when shared!" frame,  is . . .  

* * * * * *

Kathy and Lynn, I am SO VERY happy that you are our give-away winners! If you both would please email me the address where you would like me to mail your picture frame, I will have those out to you in no time at all! Please email me at !

Now, for everyone else . . . because I can't stand it for any one to miss out, and because it is my birthday week, and because I am so very grateful for each and every one of you . . .
I have an extra special surprise!

Everyone who left a comment on the give-away post (all 12 people listed below),
each of you will receive a bookmark from my shop!

YES!!! I am NOT kidding!!!

So, if you left a comment on the give-away post and your name is listed below . . . please email me your address at, and I will drop a bookmark in the mail!

I just feel like sharing some goodies with my blog friends this week, so please do send me an email with your address, and I'll have a bookmark in the mail to you within a day or two!

Congratulations EVERYONE!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Start of Something Wonderful

I'm 41 today.


41 years . . . young.

41 . . . and just starting life.

41 . . . it's going to be my year, I tell you. The start of something wonderful. Yes. I feel it. I don't know what it is. But I feel it.

My dear friend and I were talking last week about this impending day of celebration, and she said, "I think this next year needs to be YOUR year. YOUR year to focus on what YOU want." At first I thought it would be so selfish . . . to have a year of me. But the more I thought about it, the more appealing it sounded, and the more I realized how much I need it. A year of ME. A year to focus on me . . . inside and out. A year to listen to my heart. A year to nurture my soul. A year to feed my spirit. A year to exercise. A year to pamper. A year to meditate. A year to live. . . I mean, really live. To go where I want to go, when I want to go there, doing whatever it is I want to do. My year.

I like it.

And it starts . . . today.

The first day of my 41st year.

It's sort of fitting that PG and the girls started our garden yesterday. As I stood back and watched my amazing husband teach his daughters about the fine art of planting and loving and growing a garden, I thought about how this garden will act as a sort of reminder to me as I start this new year in my life. Like a new plant, I need to be handled with care.

I need to be grounded, focused, and firmly planted in my life.

I need to be watered, trimmed and weeded.

I need to be encouraged and shared and smiled upon.

And I need to remember what matters most at the end of the day are the people I share this life with. I am blessed beyond words, my friends. And as I look forward to this next year in life, I count my blessings on the past 40 years . . . they have been better than I could ever imagine.

It really is the start of something wonderful.

Much love to you all!

p.s. Don't forget to leave a comment on THIS blog post for a chance
 to win one of my hand-painted picture frames!

The winner will be announced on Wednesday!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Everything's Coming Up . . . GIVE AWAY!!!!

Greetings my dear friend!!!! Oh, it's so wonderful writing again . . . I've SO missed our chats!

As you know, I've just finished 11 posts from the 101010 Project. That project came along at the perfect time for me, when I thought I had lost every ounce of creativity and had forgotten what I was trying to accomplish in this creative life of mine. Thank you for welcoming each of my soul sisters here, and reading their words. They really are a remarkable group of ladies.

This month is just flying by, my friends. My days have been full of a million end of the school year activities for Katie and Ella, preparing for a garage sale in our neighborhood this weekend, visiting with family who came into town from New York, and oh . . . did I mention . . . creating?

Yes, I've been a painting fool. I've mostly been working on some new picture frames. Oooooo . . . I have to share them with you . . . I want to put them in my Etsy shop, but each time I make one, it is bought up by family or friends! What's a girl to do?

Each one is an original, designed by me, and hand painted by me . . . and Katie and Ella (our two little artists helped with the first coat of paint on many of them.) I think my favorite is this one . . .

However, I SOLD it to a neighbor who was giving it to her Mom for Mother's Day (how sweet!) I've made a few more, though (they may look slightly different, though. Remember . . . each one is an original hand painted design, so they may vary slightly from frame to frame.) I really love this one, too . . .

Oh, I love them so much . . .


Lord knows, I have been talking about doing one for sooooo long!!!!

So, let's do it now!

Here's all you have to do . . .
Leave me a comment, and you will be entered to win one of the above.
If you mention it in your blog post, or linked people to it on your facebook page, 
tell me so in your comment and I'll enter your name into the drawing TWICE!!!!!

I'll keep this post up until Wednesday, May 24th,
when I will choose one winner for each frame (so if you win, you will only win one).

So, shout it from the roof tops . . .
tell your friends and neighbors . . .
blog about it . . .
facebook it . . .

and maybe I'll be mailing YOU one of these lovely frames!
(Oh, did I mention . . . I will be throwing some other little presents in the box?  You never know what you will receive unless you leave a comment!)

Hugs, my friends!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Final 101010 Post: A Recap

I can't believe my 101010 Project is done. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I have to tell you my little background story of how I became involved in 101010.

Sometime in late March, I believe, I saw a post on my facebook "Flying Lessons" group page from friend, Robin Norgren, asking for 10 women who are interested in working on a project with her. Robin's post read:
  • So I have an idea about a blog hop. Maybe 10 people who blog regularly and are getting ready to launch something. We could pick a topic and then it would run in various forms on each other's blog and expose our new products to each of our audiences. What do you think? Any takers?
I happened to be online and in our group page when Robin's post came up. I immediately responded with a comment telling Robin I was interested, and I think within the next hour or so, she had 10 confirmed artists, plus a whole bunch MORE who also wanted to participate.

All of a sudden, a pit hit my stomach. What are you doing? I thought. You are in no position to be offering any opinion of a creative business. What makes you qualified to be a part of this group? All those fears and doubts talking in my head.

I sent Robin an email, telling her I didn't think I should do it . . . that perhaps I was too "new" and wouldn't have enough to offer. She replied . . . it was completely up to me, but that I shouldn't worry. I should do whatever I felt right doing.

So, I didn't worry.

And I decided to kiss my fear good-bye. I mean, how hard could it be, right? Of course I would have things to add to the discussion, don't you think?

So, I stayed and kept my spot for the first 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions Project. And I loved every minute of it! In case you didn't have a chance to find or read all of my responses to the questions, I thought I'd share them with you here. Here are my 10 answers to the 10 questions asked . . .

1. Collaborations: a good idea?   "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace." - Franklin D. Roosevelt.  And so my belief goes . . . are collaborations a good idea? Most definitely YES! From music (Lennon & McCartney) to dancing (Astaire & Rogers),  ice cream (Ben & Jerry) to computers (Hewlett & Packard), the list of amazingly successful collaborations is long and wide. I am a strong believer of strength in numbers, and any time two creative souls gather . . . I am certain great things will come of it. My most successful creative endeavors have been born out of idea bouncing and feedback that I have received from another.  Setting responsibilities and boundaries are so important in the process. But once established, the sky is the limit. Anyone interested in collaborating? Call me! ;)
2. Success in business is defined as . . .  I'd love to say that success in business has only to do with following your dreams, and nothing to do with maintaining financial independence while doing it . . . but I wouldn't be honest if saying that. In a perfect world; I would be able to sit in a studio from sun up to sun down, painting my heart away, as little blue birds flew in and out of my house, tending to the dishes, laundry and children. Of course, money would grow on the trees outside of my little studio and I would simply GIVE my art away to the hundreds lined up outside my door, as "selling" would be of no concern.  However, life is not always perfect. So, to my realistic creative soul, success in business is being true to my artistic thoughts and ideas, being able to produce and create my work, and selling my art to others in a manner that will offer greater financial stability to my family and myself. All while maintaining a healthy balance between my life and my art. Yep. That, to me, would be success.

3. The hardest part about pursuing a dream is . . .  Clearly, for me, it is turning off the voice of doubt within myself. That voice has played in my head often in my lifetime. What's most interesting to me, is that I am not a low self-esteem sort of person. When it comes to almost all parts of my life, I am full of confidence. However, when really "putting myself out there" with my art, I become the most vulnerable I have ever been. With that vulnerability, comes this unending doubt of . . . Can I really do this? What makes me think I can really do it? What makes me more special than the next to actually do this? I've said many times before that I am my own worst enemy. Pursuing my dream . . . is requiring me to completely separate myself from those voices of doubt and just . . . DO.  Something I am still learning each and every day. DO.

4. The hardest part at year 2 of your business is . . . I'll let you know when I get there. ;-)  Yes, if you see my bio above, you know that I am a newbie in this creative business life. While I participated in the Flying Lessons of 2010, it has taken me a little bit longer to wake up and "smell the coffee".  As I slowly approach year two, I imagine the hardest part will be finding balance to create vs. running the business part of things. Even now I find myself struggling with moments when I'd love to just sit and paint and create, but know that there is some business to tend to. The creating has to take a back seat. And, keeping it all straight on the business end. Yes, I'm fairly certain that will be my challenge. Time will tell .  .  .  

5. What color describes your business?  When I first read this question, I thought "easy peesy!" But the more I looked at the color wheel, I felt drawn to so many of the colors out there. Trying to narrow an artistic person down to one color is quite a challenge. The color RED is represented widely in my studio, as bookshelves and frames and accent pieces here or there. Red gives off a great energy and inspires me to take chances and be BOLD in my work. However, I must choose YELLOW as the main color to describe my business . . .  Bright and sunny, and full of creative energy.  Yellow is said to stimulate mental processes and encourage communication. Much of my art has to do with inspiring and encouraging, and I can't think of a better way to encourage communication with others. "Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun." - Pablo Picasso

6. In rapid fire fashion, write down 10 words that describe your business. Share your thoughts on these words.   HAPPINESSDREAMS, COLORFUL, INSPIRING, UPLIFTING, VIBRANT, SAFE, MOTIVATING, HONEST, KINDNESS. Words. So powerful. It is my wish that my words will bring happiness to those who read them. It is my wish that my art always add a colorful and vibrant energy to those who see it. It is my wish to put out into the world all that is safe, that is honest, that is uplifting and kind. It is my wish to inspire and motivate others by the things I say and do.  It is my wish that my art and my words will remind people of the dreams within their own hearts.  It is my wish that I can help others have faith in the spirit of those around them, and help them be reminded of the truest potential within themselves.  My business has a long way to go to get to this, but I believe that by reminding myself of these words each and every day, I can reach it.

7. What would you consider the 'favorite' mistake in your business? I have to say that one of the my 'favorite' mistakes was learning to listen to my creative heart and know that you can't force it. If you don't feel it . . . you shouldn't do it. Time and time again I found myself truly FORCING myself to produce. FORCING myself to create. I think most creative souls would agree that creativity often comes in spurts. Sometimes you have so many creative ideas that you feel them bursting from your seams. Other times, you might be empty . . . without a single thought in mind. It's ok. Forgiving yourself and allowing yourself these moments of 'rest' are so important. It is ok to leave it for a while, when you need to. Forcing the art might be a big mistake, and one that ends up taking more creative energy from you than you realize.

8. The "balance" question - what does this mean for you and how is it working for you?  Balance . . . Augh. Does that answer how it is working for me? In all seriousness, balance is a challenge for the people who want it all - a family, their own business, a soul filled life. And me? I'm one of those people. I worked for over 25 years in healthcare, the last eight of those years were spent as a mother, too. During my time as both a full-time employee and a mom, I felt like I was not meeting the needs of either roles (my job and my children). Now that I am no longer in healthcare, I have had much more time to devote to my children during these early years when I feel they need it most. However, finding time for my new creative business is a challenge. Having a supportive partner in life is huge, and learning to accept help from others is another key (I gave up trying to be Wonder Woman long ago. I mean, I love the outfit, but it never looked quite right on me.) So, I say 'no' to things when I have to. I say 'yes' to help when I really need it. And I'm learning more and more the importance of having a schedule and sticking to it. Family time is family time. Business time is business time. And God willing, I'll continue to be right there in the middle of them both.

9. What do you need to STOP DOING in your business? Questioning and internalizing everything . . . and then . . . stalling. I truly, like so many others, am my worst enemy. I need to stop listening to the voices that tell me "I can't" and only focus on those that tell me "I CAN!" I need to believe in my goals, in my abilities, and move forward. A dear friend of mine always says, "If you aren't going to help me, then get out of my way so I can get the job done!" , and she truly exemplifies that in all that she does. When I look at the past, I find I have wasted a great deal of time in the "what if . . . " stage. My goal for this next year? To STOP looking in the paste, and focus on moving forward to the *bright yellow* future.

10. Who is your business muse? Like many dreamers and "flyers" from Kelly Rae Roberts "Flying Lessons" e-course, I would be amiss to not mention Kelly Rae Roberts as my business muse. For years I have followed her presence online and watched as she was lead by her inner voice to a world of success. She continues to expand her business by leaps and bounds, and I am in awe the work, dedication, and success she has with Kelly Rae Roberts LLC. In addition, I find myself a great admirer of the business of Teahouse Studio and Mati Rose (and partners). Teahouse Studio is a dream to me, I only wish I lived closer so I could move in! Mati's art is so whimsical and bright, it makes me smile each time I see it. I love what she has done with her business. But there are so many more out there who have done it, and each time I stumble upon a new business and artist who inspires me, I soak up all the positive energy I can and tell myself, "You can do this, too! Just . . . DO IT!" My wish for us all . . . that we ALL do it!

Thank you, again, for allowing me the past 10 days of 101010. It has been such a great experience for me, and I am so glad that I didn't listen to those doubting whispers in my head, and just DID IT!!! I'm on my way, friends!!!

101010 will continue, starting June 15th, with a whole new set of questions and artists. Here is a preview of what is in store with the next group:

If you missed some of the soulful goodness that has been shared, make sure and head over to the blog the holds ALL THE DETAILS on the project: CLICK HERE

Monday, May 14, 2012

101010 Project: Me

Here we are, our last day of the 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions project! Thanks for sticking by me and hanging in through this wonderful experience. I have loved reading what my creative soul sisters think about pursuing their dreams . . .

and today, it's my opportunity. 
(Leanne Wargowsky)
Name of Business:
From Chaos Comes Happiness

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is . . .
Clearly, for me, it is turning off the voice of doubt within myself.
That voice has played in my head often in my lifetime.
What's most interesting to me, is that I am not a low self-esteem sort of person.
When it comes to almost all parts of my life, I am full of confidence.
However, when really "putting myself out there" with my art,
I become the most vulnerable I have ever been.
With that vulnerability, comes this unending doubt of . . . Can I really do this?
What makes me think I can really do it?
What makes me more special than the next to actuallydo this?
I've said many times before that I am my own worst enemy.
Pursuing my dream . . . is requiring me to completely separate myself
from those voices of doubt and just . . . DO.
Something I am still learning each and every day. DO.

Social Media Links:      

Years in business:  Approaching 1

Brief Bio: Born, raised, and living in the Chicago land area, this happily chaotic soul is definitely a newbie in the universe of creative businesses. Last August, after 25 years in healthcare, I was released from days of insurance and hospitals and I started listening to my inner artist. My dream, From Chaos Comes Happiness, was born.  I'm not doing it alone, though, as my support system is wide and deep with a husband who encourages me and two beautiful daughters who inspire me. While I have a long way to go in this business of mine, I'm determined to remain true to who I am, and stopping just long enough to smell the roses along the way.

Thank you SO MUCH for joining
"10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions".
Make sure you stop by our fellow artists sites and shops,
and see the amazing work done by these women!
To view all 10 questions and
find out more about the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE

Friday, May 11, 2012

101010 Project: Robin Norgren

 We are down to our last couple of posts on the 101010 Project. Today brings us to day #9, and the wonderful world of Robin Norgren. Robin was the mastermind of the 101010 Project (which has already schedule it's second and third segments with other artists from Flying Lessons). I am so glad for the opportunity to collaborate with Robin through 101010. She really is a gem!

Please welcome . . .
Robin Norgren
Name of business:
Robin Norgren Studios
The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…

the tenacity, the determination, the drive, the risk, the stamina, the hard work, the long days, the sleepless nights, the loneliness, the uncertainty, the confusion, the discouragement, the frustration, the spirit draining, the fatigue, the unknown.

Social Media Links:

Years in business: 4 years

Robin's Bio: I strive to live life to the fullest.No matter what.I have grown into myself through my love for Jesus and HIS LOVE FOR ME. Art, motherhood, business, creativity and yoga are the cherished vehicles for this deepening.Life can be FULL, JUICY, MEANINGFUL, PURPOSE FILLED, LOVELY.I want to help you come to your fullest life.I create workbooks, ecourses and workshops that chronicle my change and growth and offer you ways to find out what YOUR FULLEST life will be.

To view all 10 questions and find out more about
the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE
And come back on Monday, May 14th,
for MY answer to the question,
and our final 101010 post.
I'll also be offering a give-away of to one lucky comment left that day!
See you then!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

101010 Project: Nolwenn Petitbois

Day 8 of 101010, 10 Women 10 Businesses 10 Questions continues, with the captivating Nolwenn Petitbois. I was first introduced to Nolwenn through this project, but have had such a great time going back through her blog and see her moving art and read her inspiring stories. She makes me happy, for sure!

Today, join me in welcoming

Nolwenn Petitbois
Name of business:
Inner Worlds

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…
never giving up. But with time, and no matter how big or howsmall the dream is, I realized that giving up was the easiest way out. The best way not to be disappointed if we actually never get near the point we wanted to arrive to. But what if they were true when saying that the harder you work the greatest the reward ?
I believe that a dream can’t end up in your life if you did nothing for it, absolutely nothing for it.
I may be wrong but this is how I see it, for me anyway.
Another very hard part about pursuing a dream is the trust issue. Feeling in your gut that no matter how your dream will come true, it WILL come true for sure. Sometimes, we envision a whole big map to go from the dream’s seed to the dream in full bloom, set up a timeline even.
But once you trust and commit to go on despite the bumps on the roads,
each and every dream can come true.

Social Media Links:

Years in business: 2 years

Brief Bio: I am a self-taught Mixed Media artist. Dreamer.Lover. Passionate. Gratitude Warrior. Bookaholic. Cook. Art Journaler... I would never have thought that painting and creativity would be in my daily life and even less my business until not so long ago. I believe that nothing happens by coincidence and so that I do have powerful messages to share through what I create. I am a Mixed Media artist because my heart and soul need to play and discover all the time and Mixed Media allows me to mix and match techniques and materials. My artwork usually represents strong whimsical women (that I called «Nixies») who have a positive message to deliver to the world, to you. I believe in the important power of Positive Affirmations and of Gratitude, that both guide me in my creative process. I am a life-long learner, and love to unravel new ways to make my path lighter and stronger. Healing is a huge part of my life path, I am now also a Practical Reiki Master and noticed how it shifted the way it affects my creativity and the entire process of it. I am also an art journaler and is currently a teacher in the art journaling collaborative playground 21 Secrets that opened its doors in April 2012.

To view all 10 questions and find out more about
the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

101010 Project: Jean Simrose

Day 7 of the 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions continues with the incredible Jean Simrose . . . and if I don't get a piece of her jewelry in my hands soon, I'm going to spend too much time pouting then doing anything else!!! Please join me in welcoming Jean to our happy chaos, as she shares her thoughts on the hardest part about pursuing a dream!
Jean Simrose
Name of Business:
Jean Simrose - Jewelry Artist

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is . . .

My dream has been an ever-changing challenge throughout my life. I am interested in so many things that my focus has continually changed over the years. I have been a licensed beautician, done accounting, worked for an oil company and worked as a mental health social worker. Creating things and working with my hands has always been a hobby. Making a career of it has been the hardest part of pursuing this dream. I sometimes question my talent and ability to make jewelry people will buy. I internalize the negativity from others who don’t believe I can succeed. It is difficult not to become disillusioned in my own ability to follow my dreams. Surrounding myself with supportive, positive people who believe in me helps me to follow my ultimate dream….creating things that people value and inspiring others to follow their dreams as well.

Social Media Links:

Jean's Bio: Jewelry artist, wife, mother, grandmother. I was born and raised in Canada in a very creative family. We were encouraged to work with our hands and pursue creative hobbies. My sisters and I were taught to sew, knit and crochet at a young age. I liked to design clothes and jewelry to go with them. My careers were varied and diverse. I was a hairdresser. I worked as an administrative assistant for an oil company while my two sons were growing up. After they moved out on their own I went back to university and became a social worker. I worked with people with disabilities and mental illnesses for many years. Art and crafts became therapy and a way to connect with my clients. I facilitated support groups and encouraged my clients’ creativity and skills as well as developing my own. In 2005 I remarried and moved to the Seattle area. I took a Silversmithing course offered at a local college. I made jewelry as gifts for family and friends and as I learned new techniques my inventory increased. I started my blog and an on-line Etsy shop in 2009. Since then I have enjoyed participating in art and craft fairs in the U.S. and Canada. I love connecting with new people and expanding my knowledge of this very diverse craft.
To view all 10 questions and find out more about
the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

101010 Project: Alease McClenningham

My goodness! Question number 6, already!!!! 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions is proving to bring some great inspiration and motivation to all who visit, and I am so happy to be a part of this group. Today I have the honor of hosting Alease McClenningham, an entrepeneur whose hard work and determination have certainly paved the way to success!

Alease McClenningham
Name of business:
The School of Creative Business

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…
. . . the naysayers.
There are so many people who are non-believers that they can derail your dreams.
The important thing is to only listen to yourself and your needs.
It is important to surround yourself with positive people.
Alease's Bio:
As an expert, Alease lends knowledge to the press, editorials and serves as a subject-matter expert. She is a sought-after presenter in the areas of creative marketing, personal image, branding and fashion. As a professor, Alease is committed to her student’s education, furthering their exposure and considers their success a direct reflection of herself. As a mixed-media artist, Alease participated in several exhibitions. Wishing to market her artistic endeavors, she found little advice available. This, coupled with her passion for education – she tracked her online marketing & branding journey and founded The School of Creative Business.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: Alease Michelle

Current Projects:
On a 12 Week Sabbatical (video updates)!/video/?id=818177079
101 Free Resources to Grow Your Creative Business!/SchoolofCreativeBusiness/app_197602066931325
Creative Entrepreneurs of the Month Interviews
Starting Points for Creative Entrepreneurs webinars

Years in business: 4 years

To view all 10 questions and find out more about
the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE

Monday, May 7, 2012

101010 Project: Kelly Warren

Day Five of 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions continues, and if you are a regular follower of my blog, you will immediately tell from the artist appearing here today that she is MY KIND OF PEOPLE! Her photo, alone, is right up my alley, and makes me SMILE!!!! Yes, I am talking about Kelly Warren. I mean . . . take a look . . . she's my kind of people, for sure!

I give you . . .
Kelly Warren
Name of business:
Happy Shack Designs

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…
I think the hardest part about pursuing a dream, first and foremost,
is taking that first step and putting it out there! And then the second hardest part
about pursuing that dream is remaining realistic about your situation and
what’s doable at whatever point you are in your life.
That means accepting that the dream may not happen tomorrow, or the next day,
or the next month, or even the next year. But as long as you keep it out there
and keep trying, even if it’s just inch by inch, hope springs eternal.

That said, I think another aspect of that, which sticks with the reality theme, is accepting when you need to take a step back and reevaluate. One of my dreams is to have a retreat center and offer art retreats. I found the perfect spot a couple years ago…if only I had 1.3 million dollars lying around! So that’s when I had to reevaluate! I’ve still moved forward with facilitating art retreats, but I had to reevaluate and figure out how I could make it happen on a smaller scale, and that’s when Mermaids and Mamas Artful Adventure was born: Purple Cottage Retreats.  I still haven’t given up on the big dream, just seeing what I can do in the meantime to get me there.  

Kelly's Social Media Links:
Years in Business: 7 years

Kelly's Bio: An artist with a short attention span, I create work in artisan jewelry, fine art photography, mixed media, and book arts. I've also been known to sew a thing or two. I work full-time by day as the Director of Student Life and Leadership Development at a large four-year college in Florida, and am the lucky mama to wonderfully sweet eight-year-old twin red-headed daughters.I have been married to a handsome man of great patience who's put up with my art shenanigans for 17 years now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hmmmmm . . . . 101010 What?

For those of you wondering what, exactly,
all of this 101010 Project stuff is about
. . . a video . . .

I gotta tell you,
I am loving this,
and am SO proud to be a part of it.
I am so grateful to share my thoughts with others,
and I feel blessed for the online community
my art and I are now a part of.

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.

I'll be back on Monday with more answers from 101010.
I have 5 more answers to share from the participants,
then I'll share MY answer with you.

Until then, wishing each of you a wonderful weekend



Friday, May 4, 2012

101010 Project: Jan Avellana

Welcome to day Four of 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions . . . and I am thrilled to welcome this next artist to my blog home! Today's answer comes from the extremely talented Jan Avellana . . . otherwise known as the brilliant Hazelnut Cottage. I think Jan is just dreamy, and not because she lives in Hawaii (although I must admit, it helps!) You must take a side trip over to Jan's links below . . . you won't regret it!

Jan Avellana
Name of Business:
Hazelnut Cottage

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is . . .
having a vision of what you want to do, and where you want to go, but being unable to pursue it wholeheartedly. Pursuing a dream is also difficult because often, this pursuit entails sacrifice—money,time, emotion—and these sacrifices may affect the people you live with, who depend onyou to be fully present for them and to provide financially for them. Sometimes pursuing my artistic dreams feels too foolish, the price, too high to pay, considering everyone involved. I am finding in my own creative journey, that in order to pursue my creative dreams, I must also find a way to supplement my earnings with an outside job—a challenge to be sure, with two young childrenand a Hawaii-sized mortgage!

Jan's Brief Bio:
Jan Avellana is a mixed-media artist with a passion for art making, books, deep conversations, and seaside adventures with her three favorite men (ages 5, 8 and 42). Jan spent the better part of her adult life trying very hard to be a grown-up with a traditional job. The birth of her two sons released her to follow her heart and reclaim the artist she has always been. In 2007, Jan created a line of silver hand stamped jewelry under the Hazelnut Cottage brand. Today, she revels in mixed-media messes, making heartfelt connections with others through art and words.
In print, you can find Jan in “The Pulse of Mixed Media”, “Inside the Creative Studio”, “Artful Blogging, Winter 2011” and “ClothPaperScissors Studios”. In life, you can find her immersed in the studio or at the beach (with paint in her hair).
Jan's Social Media Links:

Years in business: 7 years

To view all 10 questions and find out more about
the 101010 Project: CLICK HERE

Thursday, May 3, 2012

101010 Project: Sonya McCllough

Day 3 of 101010 Project brings us to the spiritual gifts of Sonya McCllough. What a blessing to get to know Sonya! So inspiring . . . So uplifting . . . So Sonya!

Allow me to introduce,
Sonya McCllough
Name of business:
Sonya Mac Designs

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…
holding tight to the whisper of the dream.
The soft and delicate whisper is much like the wind.
Only felt ... never seen or heard by any other then the dreamer herself.

Sonya's Bio: I'm this crazy JESUS loving creative … with 2 children living smack in the middle of Tennessee. The seeds of my creativity were watered with knitting needles, yarn and nine kittens on a rock covered patio in the mid sixties. Today, we hold the fort down with a few less kittens (3) … and thankfully my creative edge remains in tact. I’m often inspired by some odd ball stuff & compelled to create by the sweet whispers of the HOLY Spirit. An idea generator am I. Creative collaboration is a sweet spot with me and many have locked creative hands with me to work on projects like The Bond & Respond Quilt project of 2010, Inspired Studios Magazine & The Creative Biz Marathon. My service to HIM in the body of the church currently is that of Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Southeast Baptist Church Murfreesboro TN.

Sonya's Social Media Links: 
Years in business: 12 years
To view all 10 questions and find out more about the
101010 Project: CLICK HERE

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