10 simple tricks to help you believe in yourself

Well, as you know I wrote that book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, and it is coming out in October (!). In my book I offer 30 “Sparks” to help you on your path to living a more creative, passionate life. One chapter addresses the self-doubts and fears we all have as we tackle a new craft, hobby or passion. People often ask me how I deal with self-doubt and so here is a little list to inspire you to kick your doubts and fears in the butt and start believing in YOU so you can follow your bliss: =&0=& Because guess what? No one really is. Except maybe the lucky few who know you well and who you allow in. If you live your life as if you are invisible, then you are free to behave however you want because you are under the (false) notion that no one cares. But people care. And they are curious. We are social creatures and so we are all constantly craning our necks to see each other. But just for a day or an hour here and there, liberate yourself from the perceived gaze so that you can just be you. Just be you in your state of false invisibility. The more you practice, the more you will realize that you have become very good at being you–no matter who is looking–then you can do it more often. When Allen Ginsburg set out to write his epic poem, Howl, he wrote it knowing that he would never show it to anyone. Look what happened. Acting as if no one is watching liberates the ego and allows us more freedom. =&1=&

be with me so i can…

The kids start school tomorrow–so summer officially ends. I just now cried and hugged them on the floor. My daughter starts kindergarten (which is making me cry as I type) and she suggested that I go into her room tomorrow and find some stuffed animals to cuddle while they are in school. But then again, she also said, “Oh, it’s OK because you have so many emails to do and you need to be alone.” She’s actually right. My email inbox is jammed full…I have so many projects to finish and deadlines waiting, but I surrendered it all to summer for the last few weeks and it was good. read more

An Inventory of Summer 2014

I almost read a whole book.
I had my first mammogram.
I tried to do a handstand on the beach. It is harder than it looks.
I fell down into a hole for a few weeks in June.
I stopped eating sugar, drinking coffee and eating chocolate to help myself climb out of that hole I fell into. Also, I took B Vitamins.
I turned 42.
I designed my next fabric line in my mind. I can’t wait to create it.
It rained once.
My first DVD came out. I watched it like 6 times.
I travelled home to the South with my family.
Kids do well when travelling.
Family love is big and beautiful.
There is nothing like cousins.
We led prayer flag workshops in Arizona and Alabama for our Happy Flag project in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We got good press here.
My dad lives way too far away. It is precious time when I am with him.
My kids do not do well with boundless hours of summer stretching out before them.
My baby girl can swim…for real…like a dolphin-mermaid.
My son will undoubtedly grow up to design and engineer cool things.
He bought Fart Bombs this summer and enjoyed them very much.
My husband sleeps in our bed again after a year. (No, we weren’t fighting for a year…but he couldn’t sleep with the kids in there.)
It is really nice to sleep with my husband again.
We fought about money.
We bonded as our children’s behavior grew so bad deep in the summer that we holed up against their attacks by just laughing about it behind our closed door. We hid from them. We giggled.
He started planning our fall garden.
I did my once yearly deep cleaning of the whole house and it was good.
I surrendered all work and obligations to the rhythms of my children and our house:
laundry, Legos, homework, dolls, cleaning and cooking.
Wars erupted all over the planet.
Also, I read Harry Potter to my kids.
And my children’s feet grew–that part near the heel and below the ankle–
on each of them–it is so big–almost as big as mine.
We watched Master Chef and lots of other TV and movies together…a lot.
I ate my children. I breathed them in. I enjoyed them. They pissed me off.
They hurt my feelings. They loved me so much. ALL of the craziness happened.
And it was good.
They acted wild. They acted lovely.
They are beautiful.
So is my husband.
So was my summer.
My book about creativity, The Little Spark, comes out this fall and I couldn’t be more excited.
I made a lot of green smoothies with raw cacao.
Dates are a very good natural sweetener for cacao-avocado smoothies.
(I want a Ninja blender.)
My kids start school next week.
And as ever, my heart will break as they step into their classrooms and our cocoon is shattered again until winter break.
You’d think I wouldn’t miss them at all based on the way they acted this summer…
but a mother’s memory is short and faulty.
All we can see is the love underneath the boundary-testing and misbehavior.
All we see is beauty.
And it was a beautiful summer.
We all spent a lot of time together in the studio making things.
And then Robin Williams… read more

Art Techniques for Quilt Design clip!

Here is the first bit. I was kinda nervous for a few seconds but then by some miracle…I wasn’t! So this clip captures those first few nervous seconds and I seem to blink a lot  and…ummm…I say, “umm” a few times. I do so like that little non-thinking word of exhale. Umm let’s us regroup. Umm is the tiny stop-gap we put in our sentences to buy some time for the brain to catch up with the mouth. But after all the blinking and umms in the first minute subside, then for the next hour I teach a lot of really fun material that I have learned over my life as an artist to help you make cool things in a direct and fun way–like drawing essentials including blind contour and gesture drawing, composition and fast, fun collage techniques. I truly believe that if you can draw you can do anything. Undoubtedly, the simple drawing techniques I offer will help you see the world better and more clearly and therefor your creations will be that much better. Even if you aren’t an artist and don’t really want to be one, drawing helps all of your creative products from sewing to quilting to graphic design. read more

Independence of the Spirit

I had a pause today–a moment of quiet reflection–staring out the window…and I had some thoughts. On this day of Independence here in the US, I’m thinking a lot about freedom. Actually, I’m thinking about whether or not money buys us freedom. And I am feeling that it does. Certainly, it does. I know. But, at what price? What do we lose in the pursuit? Of course we must work and work hard…but at what? 

I have said and I maintain that I have never bought into the “struggling artist” paradigm. (In fact, I feel that if I am struggling at anything then I am probably doing it wrong.) Yet when I compare myself to others, I very much feel the loser. On paper that is. In the realm of stuff. But not in the realm of the spirit and the soul. There I feel very rich indeed, and not even by comparison. I dare say, I feel free. There are many routes to that freedom. For me, this moment right here with the keyboard under my fingers is my goldmine. Or being with my kids as they turn cardboard boxes into homemade foosball games and other contraptions, or lost in making magic in studio, whether painting, or sewing, or just gathering sticks on a walk to turn into something later, as we did today.

My life is not leisurely, per se. There is no, or very little, sitting still. Not much leisure, rest, respite, travel, or even reading. Not much time for reveries by the open window. But my life is the reverie. I am usually making something, cleaning something, emailing someone back (usually too late) or trying desperately to teach my children to eat healthy snacks and not clobber each other. Yet, it is all the dream. I feel terribly, terribly lucky to occupy this exact very life. I love it, despite the toiling, the constantness. Because my life is a creative expression of the love that lives in my heart. 

What we toil at matters. Where we put our love, energy and time matters, and it should feel good, although that isn’t always possible. Where I put my love, is where my life will go. So, I choose to go in the direction of my dreams. Don’t get me wrong…I so hope there is a pot of gold involved at some point of this rainbow, but there ain’t no use fretting over that too much. So I just keep showing up at work and play. I witness the beauty around me everyday and bathe in gratitude for the treasures I find in my family and in the world. Happy Independence day. I hope you have some freedom inside of you to follow your bliss, your passion, your Little Spark of creativity. If you don’t, go find it. It is there. Watch this video narrated by Alan Watts for some inspiration:

read more

The Art of Whimsical Lettering :: Book Giveaway

I do believe you guys like words and text and letters just as much as I do, and boy do I have a fun book for you. Every once in a while I have a cool opportunity from a publisher to review a book and/or do a giveaway. You know–feed the buzzmill.  Sometimes the books are absolutely awesome like this one: The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe. I liked it so much when I saw it that I asked for an additional copy to give away to my readers. read more

PAINT PARTY :: DAY 2 :: Julie Goldin and Sally Keller

Here is the PAINT collection! In stores July 2014.

Day 2 of the PAINT party. Today, I am going to let you in on one aspect of my design process–the complete and total surrendering of control.

I am in recovery from control. I used to be super-controlling…seriously. I was a white-knuckler. I thought that the more stuff I could control, the greater the outcome would be. But life had other plans for me, thank goodness. Control is just a tool we use to treat our anxiety and existential dis-ease. When we don’t have answers to some of the big, profound questions in life, we control the outcome of all the small sh*t. And it becomes addictive. It makes us feel better and soothed. And, at the same time, it is completely exhausting because we run around like this: “I’m good enough, see? See how great I am at all this? Look at how I know what I’m doing. Look at how perfect I am…see?”  We begin to perfect everything in an attempt to show the outside world how completely awesome we are. But on the inside, we are just overwhelmingly uncomfortable with how imperfect we are–how messy, human, changeable, and scared we are–how terrified we are of everything and of life itself. So we control. But we aren’t in control anyway. It is all an illusion. We use control to self-medicate. If we think we are the one in control, then that places us higher than things like: nature, science, serendipity, god, synchronicity, poetry, divinity, wonder and magic. And that sucks. Because then we aren’t open to all of that wonderful stuff.    read more