That's it. That's my word for this year. Connect. It just feels right, and when I had the wonderful Dr. Keppy muscle test me, it came through strong. This past year I've felt a little disconnected. I left my favorite networking group due to some family issues a while back, and I had withdrawn a bit from some other activities and connections just to keep from being overwhelmed. I do tend to be more introverted these days, but I do miss some of that personal connection. Begin 30

So far I've visited a new networking group, I joined a book club, I've been more active in some of my FaceBook groups, and I've been more conscious about connecting with and seeing some of my friends face to face. I'm not sure what else this year has in store for me, but I'm feeling grounded and ready. How about you? I'd love to hear what your word is, and connect with you. 


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Creative Dam

Once upon a time I was a chronic project finisher. If I started it, then by golly I finished it. This came from the days when I used to sew a lot of my own garments. I would have 4 or 5 items finished except for that last step. They would need hems, or buttons or something equally as minor before I could actually wear it. So I made a rule. I could not start on the next item that I really wanted until the current one was finished. It worked wonders. I got very disciplined about finishing my projects. That even carried through into my quilting. Then somewhere along the way my sewing/quilting/arting time got so busy (hello, entrepreneurialship!!) that I started to let projects go. I was fine with that. Many were items that I started because I wanted to learn a new technique, and once that was done I didn't necessarily care about the actual project. JQuilt 25

Enter the quilt. Or should I say The Quilt. This is a quilt that someone asked me to make for them, probably four or five years ago. Normally I won't just make something for someone just because they asked. But this person is special, so I said yes. I also haven't made a bed quilt in a very long time either and this was to be a king size bed quilt. We'll leave it at that for now. The fabric was purchased (lots of gorgeous, colorful batiks that I love), and I was given carte blanche with the design. Those fabrics sat for a long time. I would pick them up and fondle them occasionally, just because I loved the color and the feel. I would ponder on the design, and then put them away again. I worked on this design in the back of my mind for quite a while. I definitely didn't want to do a traditional design, but I'd been art quilting for a while, and the constraints of a regular bed quilt just didn't call to me any more. 

I had been playing around with a "crazy quilt" method for a while. For those of you who don't know what this is, go here. I decided that I could use that method with my own style, so I sat down with my cross hatch paper and my pencil and started to draw. And count squares. And count more squares. I finally had a workable design. Which I set aside again. I'd pull it out every now and then and cut and sew and work on it for a few hours at a time, knowing that this was not a sprint project. This was a marathon. Slowly it began to come together. It picked up momentum. I continued to work on it when I had a few hours free and I wanted to sew. There is usually a lull in my business at the end of the year, and this year was no different. Now I had a lot of time to work on it, and the desire as well. 

The Quilt itself still isn't finished, but the top is complete. That's a huge accomplishment. I'm working on the back now, and am hoping I'll have the quilt sandwich made before things pick back up again as 2019 arrives. What does all this have to do with being a chronic project finisher and the Creative Dam? Each time I thought of a new art quilt or art project I wanted to start I had this niggling feeling that I needed to work on this quilt instead. I needed to finish it. Yes, I have other projects lined up, both partially finished ones, and those that are just ideas. But I can feel the energy, the momentum building behind the dam. And that dam is The Quilt. I am excited to see what 2019 has in store, and all of the wonderful possibilites and projects. And I'm super excited to finish The Quilt and having it land with that special person, and then to watch and feel that dam burst. 


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What's Luck Got to Do With It?

As I continue my year end reflections, my attention has turned to luck, and what luck actually is. I was out running an errand in the middle of a weekday with my son. I commented on how lucky I was to be able to take off whenever I needed to, unlike your typical 8-5ers. He just kind of looked at me. "Mom, that's not luck," he said.  "You created this for yourself. You made it." How clear sighted that statement was. He was right. He was just looking at the same thing I was, just from a slightly different perspective. ship 28

How did all of this happen, though? How did I get here? Was it luck? I don't think so. It was hard work. It was by design. I didn't always have a clear vision of how I would arrive, but I always had a pretty clear vision of what I really wanted. I don't mind working hard, I don't mind working a lot. I just like to do it on my terms - when I want, where I want and how I want. I specifically designed my business that way. I never wanted a retail space with regular hours, even though that's the vision many other people had for me. 


If you want something, don't rely on luck. Don't wait for someone else to bring it to you. It is something you have to do for yourself. I think it all comes down to the strength of your desire, and your willingness and courage to go get it. Your willingness to try and your willingness to fail, and then try again. What is it you want? What are you ready to go get? I'd love to hear about your journey. Let's connect on FaceBook, email or InstaGram.


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What's Your Journey?

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I like to really reflect this time of year. Did I accomplish what I set out to do this year? What did I learn? What can I do better next year? It isn't always about business either. Lots of my goals are personal ones. I try to always continue to learn, and many times the lessons I learn are more about myself than anything else. Journey 1 30

There is that saying, you know the one. It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. As I think about what I want to focus on this upcoming year, I realize just how true that is. When we are working toward a goal, it is about the journey. Yes, it's great to achieve whatever that goal is that you are reaching for, but ultimately, it's about the journey. What it took to get there, what you learned, what you tried. What worked, what didn't, what you loved, what you disliked. What you would do different next time, and what you are now incorporating in your daily journey.

When I look at art, whether I'm the artist or someone else is, I always see a journey. Of course I appreciate the finished piece, but I always think back about the journey. What it took to make that piece. What lessons were learned, how the style or technique was honed and perfected. How parts of it were repeated over and over again. Art does imitate life. Art is just a condensed version of life. Trial and error. Repeat, practice, exploration. What is that if not a reflection of life? What's going on in your journey?


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My thoughts about today have to do with creating. It's good for the soul, regardless of what you like to create. It can be photography, woodworking, knitting, sewing, beading, weaving, jewelry, writing, baking, metalsmithing, drawing, and yes, even coloring. The list goes on and on. There is something so basic about the need to "make" that is ingrained deeply in us as humans. It is part of what makes us human. 

For me, I have an almost constant need to make, to create. I'm very fortunate in my line of work that there is a lot of creativity in my day to day business. I get to choose colors, and I get to work with different canvasses every day. Just having my hands on the different items -  backpacks, shirts, jackets, hats, hoodies,  etc. is fun, the possibilities endless.  Somedays, though, it's just not enough, and doesn't fulfill that need to create the way I want, need.

Then comes the big question - what should I make? I think a lot of people get stuck here. If you don't know what you want to make, how are you going to make something, anything?  My answer is to simply start.  The  intent is just to create. It doesn't have to be about the end result, but rather the journey. For me, it can be about color, it can be about texture, it can be about a fiber, thread, small purple art 25fabric or technique. Not having a specific direction can be intimidating, but liberating at the same time. I find that it is a great way to settle my mind when I am stressed, a great way to relax, and oftentimes it creates some wonderful headspace. It helps me  to work through things, thoughts, ideas. I can process whatever is happening that I am struggling with, an idea I'm working on, or it can be as simple as providing some time where I can just be with myself, within myself.

So I urge all of you to just go create. Don't worry about what you are making, just go and feed your soul with creativity. I'd love to see what you are working on. Email me, post on my FaceBook, or connect with me on Instagram. 

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The Studio

Centennial, Colorado
Local Art & Local Patrons