Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ribbon Cutting!

Gosh, time flies.  It was a month ago already when people from the Zimmerman Chamber of Commerce came by after the monthly meeting to do a ribbon cutting ceremony in the store.  It was such a warm welcome and I really love being part of this community (that's me holding the scissors).

I have met such amazing people since I started this business.  Last week I had one day in particular where everything I touched "turned to gold" it seemed.  It was one of those magical days where one thing after another just fell into place and I just felt so blessed. I also got to witness and be part of a small miracle, watching one store owner help another in a very generous and unexpected way.  While yes, there is strife and friction sometimes, the generosity and caring I've seen really makes me especially thankful to be part of this community.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Last Saturday I had some time to work ON my studio.  Yes, this is the "after" photo!  I  moved and rearranged a lot of stuff, and it freed up a nice area to the right that feels so much more open now.  And it's always helpful to actually put stuff away.

I work in a mess...a creative mess.  I can usually find everything, except I have been searching and searching and searching, both here and at home, for a bag of old photographs that I actually dug out of a friend's dumpster several years ago.  I can't find them anywhere, and it's driving me crazy because I know I still have them...somewhere.

There's one specific photo in the bag I'm looking for, it's a group of women, taken probably in the 50s or possibly 60s, and they're having a blast.  They're lined up with their arms around each other, drinks in hand, and one of them, I'm pretty sure, has on those fake eyeglasses/nose thing.  I really wanted to find it to use in a few different places.

Sandy, Cheri and I have decided to hold an event in July, and are calling it "A Gathering of Sisters" (no, we're not related at all).  The photo I can't find would have been fantastic, but since I can't find it we photoshopped our heads onto this one.

It's gonna be a fun day!  Lots of planning to do beforehand, but sometimes that's a whole lot of fun too.
I'm also still, slowly pecking away at it, working on the art retreat.  I think I've decided on a name...Ripples Retreat...because I hope that the effects of the retreat "ripple" out into other areas of the participants' lives.  I want it to be a life-changing event, even if only in little ways.  And we all know that when a handful of stones are tossed into water, the ripples of many stones cross and intersect with each other and connect in miraculous, beautiful and amazing ways.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Connecting the dots.

I've heard the saying "you cannot connect the dots looking forward in your life, only by looking backwards."  How true that is.

I've been looking at some dots lately and doing some connecting.   What I really need to do is put the dots on paper and actually connect them to really see.

There have been some amazing connections going on in my life, but I am only now able to see them by looking back.

This past Saturday I got a surprise that was, well....surprising!  I got an email early in the morning from Kathy Wilkins with The Brave Girls Club telling me that I was their featured artist of the day for their daily inspirational emails which go out to thousands and thousands of women.  I was truly honored, and shocked!  I had submitted, sort of on a whim, a piece of "bird" art in January, never ever expecting anything to come of it.  I mean, heck, they must get thousands of submissions, and it says they're picked totally at random.  What were my chances?!

Yet, here it was in my inbox. Had I known it would really happen, I would have submitted "better" (more to my liking) art, and had a better photo of myself on my website for them to capture!

I sat there explaining all of this to my husband, and I was actually in tears (and I am not a very emotional person).  I told him that it gave me a sense of "you're on the right path" and that things will work out in the direction I'm heading, which I think he really needs to hear and know, because I believe he's very skeptical about all this. 

To connect some dots...I had found out about The Brave Girls Club a few years ago and signed up for their daily emails in the hopes that their inspiration would help me through a rather rough spot in my life.  I took their Soul Restoration classes too, and would hole up in my craft room most evenings doing art and watching the videos/doing the classes (ok, and crying and having some wine!).  I have saved almost every email from them, and actually used to print them off and put them around the high school for girls to find, but that's another story.

I took a class from Melody Ross about a year and a half ago at The Creative Connection event in St. Paul.   Such a sweetheart!  And then I was signed up to attend their Brave Girls Camp last May, but cancelled it when our first grandchild was due to enter the world at the same time.  Who could risk missing that?!  Someday I'll get there.

And now, to be their featured artist of the day was simply amazing.

Dots connected.

I have a lot of people on my dot radar this past year, connections from years ago that are returning, and new dots too.  It really is simply amazing how life connects and you never know what a day will bring.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nothing to do with

art today...just Monday Musings.

I had to shake my head this morning and think "wow, what a sad state of the world when people feel they have to thank us for being honest."

I stopped at the local Dunn Bros. for coffee this morning, and when I got to the window I handed the guy a ten.  I was aware of that only because while I was waiting for the car in front of me, I was holding up and examining the ten dollar bill, marveling at the intricacy of the details. 

He gave me my latte, and started handing me back my money...a ten, four ones and some change. 

Ah....wait!!  "I only gave you a ten" I told him.  He looked a little startled and said "oh man, it's been one of those mornings, thank you for being honest."

It just kind of made me think about how honesty is so unexpected these days.  I could have driven away almost five dollars richer and with a free latte!

But knowing that I didn't, and knowing he was not out the money at the end of his shift made me smile even more than just having the fabulous latte in hand.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Art Retreat

Today I've been doing a lot of research on other art retreats around the country.  I can't find a single one in Minnesota.  Nothing.  We need one!

I've contacted a retreat center to see about touring it, I think it looks promising.  I want the retreat to be "all-inclusive" to the point where you don't even need to bring art supplies at all, just your clothes and that's it.  I've put out a little survey on Facebook and Craigslist to see if I can get some feedback on what women would want in a retreat.  If you have a few minutes and are interested, I'd love for you to help me out with your ideas and input.

Yesterday I had an amazing day at the store when I created this beautiful piece.

I posted it on Facebook, and immediately had great feedback, including someone asking to buy it.  It all came together very quickly and easily for me, and I really, really love it.  I decided to try sending it to a magazine to see if I can become a published artist!  It all just felt so very good.

Last night I laid awake for quite some time during the night, and started trying to remember as far back as I could in my early creative life.  I can remember drawing a lot when I was a kid, I distinctly remember loving to draw trees in winter with snow on the branches.  Why??  Who knows, but I remember that.

Then I thought about how I went to a vo-tech high school for commercial art.  Although I never felt good at drawing, that's where I chose to go.  And I never pursued that path after school. 

I loved photography early on too, and got my first 35mm camera in high school.  Back then film and processing was expensive, but I always loved taking "artsy" photos, and loved black-and-white photography (still do).  For a while when my children were younger I did wedding photography, which I mostly enjoyed but never felt super accomplished in.  I think I do better photographing things rather than people, and I still enjoy taking photos that I think some people don't really understand!

When I was in high school I also worked at Burger King, and remember doing some artistic work for the store.  I painted a big King on the back door that customers could see when they were placing their orders, and created some framed artwork for the lobby.  How I wish I had a photo of that now just to see it again.

When we were first married, 25 years ago, I distinctly remember telling one of my husband's friends that "within a year I'd like to be able to support myself with my crafts."  Hmm...25 years later, and that didn't happen.  But, I've never given up on being creative.  I think raising kids and then working full-time once the youngest was in school definitely put a damper on creative pursuits.

Last year was a very difficult year for me.  I was stuck in a job which I hated.  Every day I had to drag myself there, literally forcing myself to walk through the door each day.  As soon as I walked out in the afternoon I would start dreading the next day, I couldn't even enjoy my free time because I absolutely hated where I had to spend my days.  Sunday evenings were the worst and I slept horribly.  I had been there for 13 years and enough was enough.  It was killing my soul.  I had many, many days of complete boredom where, if I was lucky, someone would bring me a pile of boxtops to trim and count (I worked at a high school library).  Most days I had very little to do and it was getting harder and harder to continue being nice to the students.  I needed a change.

Change came in the form of an old friend who I had worked with at the photography studio many years ago.  She owns a store five minutes from my home and offered to have me move in and share the store with her (I had had a conversation with her over the winter about how much I disliked my job and wanted a change)!  The universe really does listen, and it couldn't have come at a better time.  I moved in last fall and I can tell you my soul has recovered!  I get to spend my time creating things and being me.  I no longer feel trapped by circumstances.

But creating art isn't enough for me.  I want to help others learn and become creative, to see things take some time for reconnect with their soul.  And that's why I have this need to create a retreat.

I've started the whole process, and will keep the ball rolling.  It's gonna be great!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dreams can come true.

I've had this idea percolating in my head for about 25 years now, and that idea is to hold a retreat for women.  Originally, way back when, I wanted to hold it specifically for moms of young children, probably because that's where I was at the time.

But life progresses and things change, and of course I'm no longer at that point in my life.  My children are grown and mostly on their own, and I've become interested in creating things/art again, after a decades-long hiatus.

And the retreat idea keeps swirling through my head, and often.  It's time to either DO IT or simply forget about it and quit hesitating.

I have the skills to bring this all together and make it amazing.  I know deep down I can do it, I just need to quit being a scaredy-cat and buckle down and hold myself accountable to the dream.  I need to take all the "you can do it" advice to heart.  Seriously to heart.

I've found a place to go and be alone one day (maybe two) each week and work on this dream.  I need the time with no interruptions so I can get the planning work that needs to be done, done.

So this is my big announcement to the world...I WILL PLAN AND HOLD AN ART RETREAT THIS YEAR!!

There.  Now that that's out into the universe, let's see what will come together. 

I think it's gonna be amazing.

Wanna come along?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

“Life just turns deliciously quirky when you stop resisting
yourself and, instead, honor the intuition that tugs at you like a puppy on a leash in the park. Follow the magic, and the magic starts to follow you.” – Tama J. Kieves

I've had the same intiution/feeling/idea for almost 25 years now, off and on.

It's time I listened to it!  But more importantly, did something about it!