Sunday, June 24, 2012

our cabin

When we bought our house, I had dreamy visions of making the room between our garage and back porch into a greenhouse, a playspace, an art studio.... five years later, it was  covered in cobwebs, pollen, gardening tools, and had turned into a patio furniture junkyard. One day last week when I was supposed to be doing something else, the spirit took hold of me and b/f I knew it, I'd spent the entire day sweeping, mopping, dusting and painting this look nook. My daughter painted the walls pink and we decorated it with things we love. We named it the "cabin" inspired by a song by Red Heart the Ticker, When We Were Young. There's a line that says:

"when we were young we had a cabin, one window, one table, we had hours, we were vandals, there was nothing where we weren’t able below the stars and beneath the shining sun, oh we could be in love with anyone, beneath the shining sun".
Our "Cabin" and new home of Sweet Spot Career Counseling.
Photos and Design by Elle James
When we had finished, I knew this space was going to be my new office for my private career counseling practice. That's right, Sweet Spot Career Counseling is coming soon!

Thanks to Elle James for the beautiful pics of our "cabin".

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear Vermont

Yesterday was my daughter's last All School Sing at Neighborhood Schoolhouse. I decided it was more important to stop, let her sit in my lap, hold my ears, and sing rather than run home to work like I usually do. It was the right choice. As we sang "This Little Light of Mine" and "These Green Mountains are My Home", I looked around the light filled room and saw Iyla's teacher cuddling a little baby, a pre-school girl sitting in the lap of a 6th grade boy, and children sitting in their parent's laps- content, safe and warm. Tears streamed down as I felt the IMMENSE GRATITUDE for this time in our lives- it's what we wanted. We wanted our daughter to grow up here in this loving place. We wanted our daughter to be connected to nature at this school roaming free in the woods, getting her princess outfit muddy and bringing home pet slugs named "Sluggy" and "Cutey Pie".

In honor of this moment,  I share this love letter from friend, writer, musician, mother Robin MacArthur who describes the beauty of this time and place. Listen and you'll know why a piece of my heart will always reside in these green mountains, wherever I roam.

Writer and musician Robin MacArthur pens a love letter to her home state. Scored by Red Heart the Ticker, the band Robin plays in with her husband Tyler Gibbons.  Photos by the talented Sara Brooke Curtis. Check out Robin's blog: Woodbird.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Top 5 Girl Crushes, Make it 6.

Profile PhotoEach week I have homework from Blogging Your Way 2.O which I'll be sharing here. I love my homework today: List my top 5 blogs, which I'm tweaking a bit to be my top 5 Girl Crushes, which turned into 6. Why they inspire and what we can learn from them.  Who inspires you? Please share in the comments below!

A Beautiful Mess by Elsie Larso
Hooray, this site is proof you don't have to micro-focus on ONE thing. Elsie is a designer, boutique owner, blogger, e-course teacher and she just wrote a book. So there. I love that. But guess what, she's not an overnight success, she began with Red Velvet almost ten years ago.

The Lesson: It's OK to have lots of interests and projects, you can be a success, you just have to find the thread that binds your interests to make sense as a brand. And, be patient, success will come if you are diligent. It takes time. Belief +  Love +  Action  + Patience = SUCCESS!

Do What You Love: Beth Nicholls
PostCard Swap on Do What You Love
 I've mentioned this site before because it really is very closely related to the work I do. I completely agree with Beth, "I believe the world would be a better place if more people were doing what they loved ".  Much like Elsie, I like the multi-creative approach Beth uses in her biz. She teaches e-courses, sponsors other e-courses, has an amazing retreat, and interviews creative women doing what they love.
The Lesson: Beth has figured out how to gain and keep the attention of her audience by engaging them in a meaningful and inspired way. By allowing people to write their own stories in "shared stories" she has a constant stream of content coming in which frees her up for other projects. Another way people are connecting is through the Stitched Post Card Swap- a great way to connect with her niche market. What ways can you connect on a creative level with your niche market?

Marie Forleo
I love MarieTV! I watch it every Tuesday. Today she interviewed Mastin Kipp, founder of The Daily Love with over 100K readers around the world.  His message, and Marie's overall message, is that you just need to DECIDE AND GO FOR IT. I believe that too. I think the hard part is deciding for most people. I've finally decide. Have you?

The Lesson: Here is a smart woman who is using the Internet to build an empire. She's funny, she's accessible. She uses VIDEO. Hum, I use video :). She talks a lot about email lists. I think I need an email list. I should get on that. What's your email address anyway?

Danielle Laporte
This lady is inspiring me big time right now with her Firestarter Sessions book. Read more here.

The Lesson: Don't sit around thinking about everything you want to do. Start taking action now. From a business perspective, I think what I can learn from Danielle is the importance of branding and making an Internet presence in a confident, kick ass kind of way. No apologies here.

Girl Crush Tea Party by The Jealous Curator
First off, there's probably nothing more enticing for me than the combo of getting together with like minded creative women to drink tea, eat sweets and make art. That's just about as good as it gets. So, I hope to go to a Girl Crush Tea Party and secretly really want to host one 'cause I love that kind of thing. Also, I see this particular group of women as a tribe I'd like to be part of. I can relate to their sensibility and style.

The Lesson: I've thought about this concept before and didn't act on it, but I'd really like to use the Girl Crush Tea Party as a model for local day long workshops in my area. There are SO many creative people that I'd like to connect with IN PERSON. I'd like to expand on this model and make it into a support group where women can encourage, inspire and keep each other on track. Wouldn't that be nice?

Decor8 by Holly Becker
And of course I can not leave Holly Becker off my list! Founder & editor of my favorite blog, decor8, Holly she infuses her authentic self into her business and I just love that. She is totally transparent in her work and freely shares her story and how by taking a risk and quiting her day job she became a huge success doing what she adores. Like my other girl crushes, she dabbles in many creative forms from writing, to teaching, to interior design consultation and more.

The Lesson:Be authentic. Don't copy, there's room for us all! I'm learning a ton from Holly's class, read about it here.

OK- so, spill the beans. Who are you crushing on? Who inspires you? Instead of being jealous of them, what can you learn from them??

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Artist Series: Mary Nasser

Deep Within mixed media/acrylic by Mary Nasser
Hello and welcome! As I mentioned here, I'm taking Blogging Your Way 2.0 and loving it! I've already met some super talented and creative women in the very first week, such as fellow classmate and artist Mary Nasser. I was drawn to Mary's art because I'm a world traveller who seeks exploration, culture and COLOR. I saw all of those elements in her art and wanted to get a bit more info on her process and what it's like to make a living as an artist. Enjoy the interview~

Map mixed media/acrylic
Desha: I see you incorporate a lot of maps in your art and read that you are inspired by geology and landscapes. Do you also love to travel, is that part of your inspiration as well?

Mary: I do also love to travel, and traveling has definitely been an inspiration to me. I've been fortunate to see all kinds of landscapes and geology in my travels as well as amazing art, too! Immersing myself in a different culture or environment also helps my sense of perspective. I love blogging about my travels because it is a source of inspiration, and I hope my posts about travels will inspire others, too.

Desha: Art can be a very personal expression, how does it feel to put your art "out there" online?
Latitude mixed media/encaustic
Mary: It felt very scary, especially at first, because art can be subjective and beauty be in the eye of the beholder. But since putting my art out there online, I've received an overwhelming amount of support from other artists in the online community.

Being brave and putting my art out there has also resulted in friendships and opportunities I could have never imagined. For example, this summer I will be featured in an international art magazine about art journaling and mixed-media! A contributing editor of the magazine had seen my blog and loved my art and asked if I'd be interested in being interviewed for their magazine!

Keeping a blog has also kept me on track of my goal of posting a painting a week. Deadlines have made all the difference for me!

Lake mixed media/encaustic
Desha: Our society doesn't necessarily encourage people to make a career out of art, how have you been able to make a career as an artist? Do you consider yourself a "success"?

Mary: I've been able to make a career as an artist by following different paths, such as teaching art, doing art therapy workshops, and even working as a museum educator. Do I consider myself a success?  Artists are their own worst critics, but I do consider myself a success. I paint everyday and am fortunate enough to teach art and work closely with others and encourage their creativity, too.

Wilderness mixed media/encaustic
South mixed media/acrylic
What would you tell young artists who might want to pursue a career in art, yet are worried about the economy, their parents, money...... etc.

Mary: I would tell young artists to follow their dreams. Many years ago, I read in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way that we are not given a dream without the means of achieving that dream. That has always stuck with me. I truly believe that there is enough abundance in the universe for all of us. So I would tell young artists to work hard, stay focused, follow their dreams, and be patient, too.

Mary C. Nasser
More About Mary
All of my art is inspired by nature: specifically, landscapes and geology. My love of landscape is revealed in mixed media paintings layered with maps and scientific illustrations. I study physical geology and geological diagrams to incorporate into my paintings. I am captivated by the idea that geological shifts and transformations seem to parallel both individuals and their relationships: continually changing, varying, shifting and developing, too.

In 2008, I embarked on an artist residency at Red Cinder Creativity Center, located between the active and accessible volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Immersed in twelve of the world’s thirteen climate zones, I experienced and studied the various landscapes and dynamic geology of the island. I had the unique opportunities of watching landscape being created and standing on the newest land on earth: landscape created by lava hardening into rock, which, in time, will transform into soil where plants will sprout and grow. Consequently, the dramatic volcanic landscapes continue to inform and influence my work.

Find Mary on her blog or Etsy and like her facebook page while you're at it!
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