looking back, a year in review

After lots of slowing down, head clearing and rest, I am finally ready to share with you my look back at last year's goals. Time to reflect and celebrate all that I’ve learned before I start my "to do" list for the new year.

Keep an open mind
I resolved to keep my creative path open and although I sometimes struggle internally with the idea of focusing on one medium vs. many, I have become increasingly more accepting of my multi-art personality. I feel that I am narrowing in on my core passions and want to continue to clear away what isn't working or bringing joy. This year, I would like to weave my passion into everything I do.

Make more art

Art ... I delightfully focused on making more art last year. I sketched more, explored watercolors for the first time and completed ten acrylic paintings, 10!!! Of those paintings (3) were commissions, (4) I made as gifts, (2) sold to a collector and (1) is currently for sale. That's huge and looking back on it felt effortless and very joyful. That makes me believe that completing 15 or 20 paintings this year is totally possible. By continuing to make more art and allowing myself permission to be present in each project; my point of view, style and most authentic self will be that much clearer.

In addition to making more art, I began a long term goal of offering art prints of my work! I found a local place to have my work professionally scanned and after getting a few scans done I opened up shops on Fine Art America and Society6 so, that prints of my artwork may be purchased. I have wanted to offer art prints to those that enjoy my work for a long time. I am excited to see how much further this will go this year.Oh and I created my first art print wallcalendar! I look forward to creating a new calendar each year.

Design ... In looking at my freelance design work, I continue to love creating wedding invitations and I need to share my work in this area. So far every wedding project I pick up is for someone I know or from word of mouth. I am currently working on my 7th wedding suite design, lucky #7! I have been hesitant to get this part of my indie business going but, I think it's time to start really think about it. I took my entire design portfolio offline this year. It was so outdated I couldn't stand sending people there. So this year I need to rework my design portfolio. It's kind of daunting to think about but, I need to do it to move forward.

Etsy ... And lastly I took a look at my Etsy shop. When I make things from my stash of beads, wood, paper products, magnets or any other craft I want to try on a whim many of those experiments end up as real items for sale in my shop. Thus far, I haven't had much of a plan for this area. I have narrowed in a few things I really like doing like magnet sets, canvas and art jewelry and finally posted a few original paintings in my shop this year. My photos are looking so much better from when I started and that is something to celebrate. I have a little outdoor setup I use to try and keep them consistent. There is still more work to be done in the photo dept. It will always be an area of improvement for me but, I am proud of the way pictures look right.

Stay Involved
Activities this year that keep me grounded and connected to art and my communities were: Art Masterpiece, The Meetup Biz Goal Sharing, Creative Every Day and Art Every Day Month, East Valley Artisans, The Artists Corner - Sharing Tips and Tricks Group, Phoenix Philanthropists Volunteer Meetup and One Moment. I have called myself a groupie on more then one occasion and over the past few years I have tried many different groups and meetups. I feel good about the ones I am involved with now.

Experiencing art with kids in the Art Masterpiece volunteer program is really cool. There minds are so open, I love hearing what they see and how they feel. Art Every Day Month was mind blowing and I can't wait to participate again this year. I joined the One Moment (OM) blog meetup to share my one moments. It is has been nice getting to know the other participants and share my life on a more personal level with you here, on my blog. My local art group has been inactive recently but, I met some wonderful local artisans and keep in contact with them.

This year, I want to stay with what feels good. I would love to take a workshop or go on a art retreat and be immersed in creativity with other creative souls. That would be fantastic.  

Overall Well Being
Work ... I'm still working too much, too often but, I did set some loose boundaries this past year. I took Saturdays off and limited my time on Sundays too. I started taking a hour lunch breaks during my regular work week to enjoy the afternoon at the park with the kids after school. This has been a great mood lifter for all of us.

Health ... I stopped my gym membership with the idea I would save money and practice yoga and zumba on my own. So far neither has worked for me. I am home so much, I need to get out for these activities. I like being in a class - it pushes me further. I would cry a good cry in yoga pretty regularly (do you ever do that?) and that helped relieve so much stress. I am however, 2 pounds away from a big weight loss goal so, that is so exciting. (2 pounds, really?! can't I just be there already!). I have read many healthy cookbooks and simple living books from our library this year and with each one I learn something new. Knowledge is power! Beets have become a staple in my diet and I find that I now crave them! They are delicious grated raw on top of salad or juiced with apples, carrots and ginger. They have done wonders for my gallbladder and digestion. It's been a stellar year overall for our family's health and I am really grateful for that.

Life ... I lost both my grandmothers this year and that was hard, really hard. Being that I only get to see them once or twice a year I still feel like when I visit New York this summer they will be there. It shook me up a lot and made me question where I live. Really question it. When thinking into the future I know I want to be closer to my sisters and I want to enjoy life with my parents while I still can. I would like to focus on cultivating deeper connections with the important people in my life this year. As my kids get older and more independent I want to remind myself they are still young and need my attention when they need it, not when I'm ready to give it. I think I'll use the beginning of each season as a reminder to check in with myself, reflect on our family connections and make adjustments. When you push in one direction is very easy for another area of life to get off kilter, keeping the balance is necessary for me to live my happiest most fulfilled life.

So that's where I am at. It took my so long to process this, all month really. I kept coming back to this post and thinking on these points. Whew,it was exhausting. Now that I have looked back I need to start looking ahead! That is where the new explorations and possibilities lie. Cheers to a Happy New Year!

project letter writing

When Linda from a la mode stuff posted about project letter writing earlier this month, I immediately smiled at the idea. I love receiving letters and with the holidays still fresh in my mind, my of love for mail was renewed. Living away from most of our family means that the mail is super exciting during the holidays. The kids loved checking the mail every day in December and have been pretty disappointed this month. Each year I keep a list of the things we receive for the holidays with the intention of sending thank you's and each year I end up sending an email, Facebook message or making a phone call instead. Not this year! I cheated a bit and had the kids write many of the cards 9since they got most of the gifts after-all) but, we did it! And today I am sending our last couple of thank you's. One really sweet side effect is that my son grabbed a card and wrote his dad a thank you this week for finding his Super Mario Wii game. And last night when discussing a memory of baking cupcakes with my Aunt last year, my other son said we should send her a thank you for making cupcakes with us! The kindness and gratitude spreads once you start the pen writing.

Would you like to join us in project letter writing? There are no hard and fast rules, just mail a card or letter to someone each month and with it a little happiness unfolds.


om: hello princess

My sweet little boy is sitting next to a sweet little girl in kindergarten who is teaching him how to draw princesses. I have been the recipient of many, many princess drawings this week. I love that the first one says "Hello Prinses" in the bubble. Do you see how much his drawings have evolved? His last one yesterday is so much more detailed. He makes my heart smile.

One Moment [OM] is a weekly meet up that promotes living in the moment.  Whether funny, sad, ridiculous, or banal, looking for these moments can promote balance in our lives. Anyone can join – read about it here.


bead jewelry sale!

I marked down all bead jewelry in my shop 30% through Jan 31st. No coupon needed.


painting in progress: willow tree

I worked on this over the weekend and oh my, how it's changing. I cleaned up the older branches from the previous drawing that weren't working for me, I did some paint dripping techniques on the background for fun and started removing the tire swing. I'm kind of sad to see the tire swing go since it really is a lovely memory but, it was looking and feeling like an afterthought on the piece. I had lots of magical fun with my grandparents willow tree outside of the tire so, it still means a lot to me even without the swing. I am going to think it over some more as I continue on this piece. I am loving the overall sweeping feeling of the tree now though. To be continued ...


painting in progress: willow tree and tire swing

I started this painting back in May and have left it unfinished since. I usually don't let paintings sit undone for that long. I love the subject matter and story but, the picture wasn't quite matching up to what I had in my mind. (If you want to read about the story in my original post, click here.) When we moved in Oct I packed up my canvas and easel and ever since I have been working on smaller artwork. I recently set up my easel, put the unfinished painting below on it and let it sit there for a few days.

Having a fresh look I noticed that the slope of the branches wasn't right and that I needed branches cascading forward. The painting sat there for a couple more days. Then, last night around 9pm I was reading blogs and came across this post by . It was just what I needed, thanks Deborah! I love Virginia Lee Burton's book The Little House. I adore the story and admire her beautiful illustrations. I hadn't seen much of her other work though and I learned so much from post. Her tree illustrations are truly lovely. The minute I saw her trees I jumped of the couch, asked my husband to call me in 30 minutes and I painted. It was an exhilarating 30 minutes, one in which I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and guidance that I was tapping into the true magic of my memory of my grandparents willow tree and tire swing. Then, when I came back inside the house I heard the theme song to M*A*S*H, a show my husband rarely watches and one that was my grandfather's favorite. A show he had to watch while he visited us. Even when he fell fast asleep on our recliner we were not allowed to turn it off, despite many protests from me and my sisters. He passed away when I was in elementary school and I have always associated M*A*S*H with him. Thanks for the hello grandpa.


om: exploring

E rocking out on a branch guitar and H posing front and center while their friends climb.

Pretty much every day after school I pick the boys up, we meet up with friends and head to the nearby park to play. Before we started this ritual the boys would take the bus to and from school and I would go entire days without ever getting dressed and going outside (one of the downfalls of working from home). Now I am forced to get dressed, pick them up, talk with other parents and enjoy some fresh air every afternoon. The boys, of course, really enjoy it. At first they played at the playground but, since we go so often they started exploring the park, climbing trees, collecting sticks and just being boys. They even have a secret fort (aka a large tree that has branches to shield them) that they love. When we head home everyone is a bit calmer, we spent some quality time together and I can go back to work in a happy house. It has ended up being my favorite moment each day.

One Moment [OM] is a weekly meet up that promotes living in the moment.  Whether funny, sad, ridiculous, or banal, looking for these moments can promote balance in our lives. I decided to join in the fun. You may want to too – you can read more about it here.


dream board full of art and words to inspire!

This whole dream board thing is pretty new to me. I have always kept stacks of inspiration in folders, on shelves or in binders but, never on a pin board. Boy, have I been missing out. I created my first dream board this fall and propped it up above my desk but, it was a bit too high to really look at it every day. So, I decided to hang the board on the wall right next to my desk where I can clearly see it. Man, is this cool! I can take in the art and words daily. So much better then having them tucked away in a binder.

Art and words to inspire me:

"There is a story inside you that only you can tell."
"Give your dreams the wings to fly"
"Dream what you want to dream, go where yo want to go, be who you want to be."

I have a ceramic pot very similar and want to add a plant to it just like this.

More art and words to inspire:

"Love who you are"
"Love is all that matters"
"Art is the voice of the heart"
"Live in the moment"

Quote to inspire:
"I like living, breathing, better than working ... My art IS that of living: Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed no where, which is neither visual or cerebral, it's a sort of constant euphoria." ~ Marcel Duchamp  

I come from a long line of gigglers so that art is here to remind me to have fun and giggle! My goddess gratitude journal from Goddess Leonie is on here too.

Here's  a Buddha full of love, mandala inspiration and a beaded necklace in turquoise and red because I love that color combo so much.  

This board is ever evolving, as new imagery and words inspire me they can go up and things that no longer serve me can come down. I am really excited about this simple pin board of inspiration! 

Do you have any visual reminders and inspiration in your work space?


om: taking time to pause and plan

I love wrapping up the end of the year and setting new goals. But right now, I'm a little stuck. 2011 was a roller coaster in many ways and I think I am still processing it. So instead of trying to gather up a quick set of goals for the new year - I am taking time to pause and plan. I need to let space in, gain a new perspective and see what opens up and guides me. I hope to do just that by limiting my time online, spending time outdoors, starting my mornings with zumba and ending my days with meditation or yoga. I have been playing around with the idea of choosing my first "word of the year" and look forward to seeing what that ends up being. I just need a little more time for my thoughts to simmer before I commit to my 2012 plans. Are you heading into 2012 with resolutions planned and ready for action or you still trying to gather your thoughts?

One Moment [OM] is a weekly meet up that promotes living in the moment.  Whether funny, sad, ridiculous, or banal, looking for these moments can promote balance in our lives. I decided to join in the fun. You may want to too – you can read more about it here.


we have a winner!

I am so happy to announce the winner of my first ever giveaway! The winner was chosen by random.org. Drum roll please ... the winner is Wendy! You lucky phunky gal! I'm so glad you talked about them at the show - I was there in spirit through my calendars, haha. I'll be shipping out your prize tomorrow. Congratulations!!!

Thank you to everyone who entered and shared my giveaway. I am humbled and honored with all your kind words. It was so interesting to hear which ones were your favorites. Love you dear friends!

If you would like a calendar for yourself please click here to grab a calendar from my shop.