An Interview + A Giveaway {Heather Mattern}

Today we continue our monthly interview series. A series in which I introduce you to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.

Today we’re visiting with Heather Mattern.  Like many of the women with whom we’ve talked in this interview series, Heather explores multiple creative media…to name a few:  collage, photography, writing.  You’ll learn in this interview that she’s now working creatively with essential oils.  I kind of love thinking about her mixing these potions the way a painter might mix paint, the way a cook might stir ingredients, the way a poet might blend words.  I have always felt Heather to be passionate and free.  I think you’ll feel it too after reading our conversation.  I’m very happy that Heather joins us today. Are you ready? Here we go…

Can you tell us a bit about your creative work?

I love that you call it creative work. Mmmm. My creative work is intuitive, whatever makes my heart sing, I chase. Typically, my intuition speaks through my journal — which is my FAVORITE tool for creative work. My ideas are vast, sometimes a poem arrives and knocks on my soul that I can’t help but write, other times, it’s gift ideas for my oily tribe. My newest passion is creating custom essential oil roller blends for sisters with specific health concerns. All this to say, when creativity knocks, I chase it intuitively until another leads the way.  I love every moment of it.

What does creativity mean to you?  What role does it play in your life?

Creativity to me is all about capturing the beauty amidst the chaos in whichever way one feels led. Some paint beauty, others write it, teach it, dance it out, etc.

Is there a project on which you’re currently working?  What’s lighting your fire these days?

I’m super passionate about my new wellness biz. With the combination of journaling and Young Living Essential Oils, I’ve found full body wellness and it feels amazing! I’m leading workshops, sharing my story about leaping from fear to passion, and giving away handmade journals along the way. It feels amazing to be here. I was born for this!

Are there particular relationships in your life (to people, to nature perhaps) that inspire you to create?

The trees inspire me. Always the trees. There’s something so peaceful and sacred about them. I’m often found staring out the window, listening for answers and inspiration. They are full of them.

Do you have any rituals surrounding your creative work?

Every day starts with black coffee and my journal. After I scribble down my rambles, I end with gratitude and wishes for the day. This little ritual of sending wishes out into the world gets me excited and giddy.

What does a typical day in the Mattern household look like?  Where do you fit in (and shine) in all of that?

Oh boy. Let’s see. Mornings are ours. Mine and my loves. Coffee, journaling, and the gym. After our “gym date,” it gets a little crazy around here. Homeschooling three teens – you never really know what’s going to happen. I have one day a week blocked out for my biz and creative work. On those days the kids are left to themselves to get their schooling done and other responsibilities. It’s my sacred creative time. Sometimes I’m upstairs while they are downstairs. Sometimes I stay in the living room or kitchen creating my blends or writing love notes to my tribe. My kiddos know – every Tuesday is mommy is not to be bothered. J  And for the most part, they are great at respecting my “work day.”

 

Now some fun ones…

What did you eat for breakfast?

Today I ate half a banana before heading out to my gym date. J

Do you have a favorite day of the week?

Thursdays! Because my husband doesn’t ever work on Thursdays so our weekend gets to start early!

I know you’re a fan of essential oils!  Do you have a current favorite oil and/or oil blend?

Oh it’s so hard to choose a favorite. But I’m never EVER without peppermint! It’s like magic in a bottle.

What makes you smile?

Road trips! With my family, with friends, or even by myself.

What music are you digging lately?

My daughter introduced me to Andy Black recently and I’m sorta  kinda  maybe —  a little bit obsessed.

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

Passion. Right now I’m all about passion. Chasing it, claiming it, living it.

 

And now for the giveaway…

 

Heather is giving away a custom roller blend of essential oils + a handmade journal (US shipping only, please).  The winner will correspond directly with Heather so that she can create a blend that supports whatever the winner is craving from life at this moment.  Awesome, right?!

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below.  Share a passion you’re chasing right now.  Or tell us what you ate for breakfast this morning.  Or just say hi. And, even if you live overseas (because shipping is for US only for this giveaway), feel free to leave a comment if inspired.  Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, June 19 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, April 20.
 Comments are now closed.

The winner is…pumpkin sunrise!  (email coming your way)  Special thanks to everyone who left a comment.  

And…Thank you, Heather, for being here with us.

Sending a little love your way, m

***

Heather Mattern is a romantic, she lives with her high school sweetheart in NC where they homeschool their three teenagers. Addicted to road trips and wanderlust, Heather travels around sharing wellness bliss with women, teaching them how they can have full body wellness. You can find her at ramblingheather@gmail.com and on Instagram.

 

An Interview + A Giveaway {Stefanie Renee}

Today we continue our monthly interview series. A series in which I introduce you to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people.  I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.

Today, we’re visiting with Stefanie Renee.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Stefanie in person – a brief meeting, but long enough to get a hug and to feel her kindness.  She’s someone whose art practice I admire…she keeps at it, daily.  She shares her practice with family and friends (I just love her photos on Instagram when I see she’s been creating with her daughters) and, now, online (read more about that below).  She’s down-to-earth and possesses an energy that feels constant and true…like she’s always creating, but not at fevered pitch…just wonderfully steady.  I think you’re gonna like her!  Are you ready? Here we go…

Can you tell us about your creative work, and what creativity means to you? 

In 2014 I started a series called #stefscribbles which consisted of sketching and watercolors of people that I would see or interact with during the day. It started off as a way to get out of my head and off the computer, and was easy enough to keep out on my desk and to just do something quickly.  Nothing too serious …  It’s since morphed into daily color meditations that I do with mixed media in the mornings, to get my wiggles out so to speak.  I like to experiment with new materials such as weaving, sewing, playing with driftwood that I collect at beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and postcard writing.  I always fall back into photography which was, and always will be, my first love.

What creativity means to you?

Well I like to say that it keeps me sane. It’s my meditation and my go to when I’m feeling blue or when I have extra energy.  Creativity in whatever form is really my lifeline.

I love the series of watercolor people you share on Instagram with the hashtag #stefscribbles.  Could you tell us about that project and share how that project began?

Yes, it started a few years ago when I was going through a particularly dark time emotionally, I couldn’t get out of this particular funk so I picked up my paints and started sketching women — Courtney Cerruti was a big influence but I have always been drawn to people and their faces whether I was photographing or painting so they started out as a daily occurrence.  While I worked at my desk, it was easy enough to have my paints nearby to scribble, doodle and paint.  At that point I was just painting them and nothing else but then a friend started posting these “stories” about them on my Facebook page and that just lead to me naming them and creating stories about them and what they were doing or going through.  I am an avid people watcher and whether we think we know who the people are or not, it’s always fun to make up a story about someone. I started creating these watercolor people with names and stories to add to the #stefscribbles. I’ve been doing them off and on for over 3 + years and have completed over 600 of them.  It’s been a fun creative activity for me.

As a mother and artist, I’m curious how you weave your creative work into that of family and home.  Can you share how you honor your work while also being a mother?

I have my own space in our home; a small studio/office where I do my work and also my creative work.  It’s tiny but it’s all my own.  A place that can get messy and no one cares and I can leave.

When my 2 daughters were younger is when I started back with photography and I always had a camera in my hand to capture all their tiny moments of growing and once they got older and harder to capture is when I started with painting etc… So creativity has always been intertwined with my family.

My girls love to be creative too so we often do projects together and that’s always fun.  There was a time that my youngest daughter and I would draw together at night and that was a very special time together.  We often do collaborative drawings together too.  When they are in school, I try to find the time, but it’s balancing the creative work with the “paid” work that I am often challenged with.

But sometimes it’s just the stolen 5-10 minutes that keeps the creative part of my life going while also trying to manage my family.

Does being a mother inspire your art?

When I had my oldest daughter 12 years ago I remember saying that I really birthed my creativity when I birthed her. I had always been into photography but then I started a blog a few months before she was born – incorporating  photography and writings about pregnancy and life. Merging the writing and the photography together + being a first time mom really awoke something inside of me.  I’ve been on a real creative journey ever since.

Do you have any rituals surrounding your creative work?

Like I mentioned earlier I like to do a morning color meditation – where I just doodle, scribble and paint first thing in the mornings to get my juices flowing and it doesn’t have to be anything.  Otherwise I like to create something every day — I’ve been doing a 365 project for over 5 years where I either paint or photograph something every day.  It’s one of those things that just happens now, there’s rarely a day that I don’t do one of those two things.

I’d love for you to tell us about your online class Jumpstart Your Art:  Dive Deeper into Your Daily Creative PracticeWhat is the class about?  What inspired you to create this class?

I was having trouble sleeping for a while and one night I was up playing around in my studio and I got to thinking that  I wanted to create something to offer the world that I was doing at the time.

That was when I started Jumpstart Your Art – 30 Days to a Daily Creative Practice.  Something that got people creating every day. Since I knew how much it helped me to create this daily habit, I thought others would like the same. It ended up being  an email a day with creative prompts and inspirational quotes, links or stories for 30 days.

It was super fun and I had some great students who really got inspired.  That morphed into the latest “Jumpstart Your Art: A Deeper Dive into your Daily Creative Practice” which goes for 3 months.  3 emails a week with prompts etc.  Just a longer time together and more in-depth creative pursuits.  It’s a great community and we share either on Facebook or Instagram.  It’s an accountability group really – we all want to create good habits and starting a creativity habit can give you so much!  It’s really therapeutic.

***
Now some fun ones…

What’s the weather in your corner of the world today?

It’s sunny and bit windy but very lovely.  The flowers are amazing this time of year.

What makes you smile?

The flowers blooming and the smell of our orange tree in the backyard.  Seeing my girls happy and laughing together. Creating a work of art I’m really excited about.

Are you currently reading a book?  If so, what is it?

Yes, I just started reading Where did you go, Bernadette?  by Maria Semple.  I just finished her other book Today Will Be Different.  When I find an author I like, I tend to read all that they wrote!

Do you have a favorite fruit?

I love fruit but I can’t pass by really sweet strawberries, and when blueberries are in season I love love love them!

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

Quiet and Focus

And now for the giveaway…

Stefanie is generously gifting one of you lucky readers the painting you see above. This painting is from her “color meditations” series.  It’s done with acrylics and is approximately 8 1/2 x 11″ on watercolor paper.  This series is a relatively new one for Stef, and they’re paintings she loves doing.  This one could be yours!

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below.  Say hello, maybe mention a creative project (big or small) that you’re working on (baking cookies counts!), share what you like.
Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, May 22 , 2017. The randomly selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, May 23.
   Comments are now closed.

And the randomly selected winner is…Julie!  {Julie, an email is coming your way shortly.}  Thanks to those who played along!

And…Thank you, Stef, for being here with us.

Sending a little love your way, m

***

Stefanie Renee:  I’m a mom, scribbler, painter, photographer, project manager, assistant to women entrepreneurs, event coordinator, creative advocate and sometimes the angry life coach! (I’ve been told I can tell it like it is with little to no filter! But I say it all with love!)  When my oldest daughter was born in 2005, I also birthed my commitment to creativity. Ever since then I’ve been on a mission to make it an everyday commitment and lifestyle.

 

Here’s where you can find Stef:
Website
Instagram
Society6

An Interview + A Giveaway {Lori Walters}

Today we continue our monthly interview series. A series in which I introduce you to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.

 

Today we’re visiting with Lori Walters.  When I first saw Lori’s work, I was smitten.  By her vibrancy, by her playfulness, by her heart. It doesn’t take long to feel Lori’s positive and uplifting energy.  It doesn’t take long to feel her genuine love and kind spirit.  It doesn’t take long to feel like she’s your friend. I’m so happy that Lori is joining us here today.  Are you ready for a sweet conversation?  Here we go…

 

Can you tell us about your creative work and business?

my creative work in this world is simple: to add my particular bits of love and light and goodness to the universe…with kindness being my guide. every single dot, line or stroke is filled with sparks of magic that comes from that special place ‘out there’ that flows through us…being creative truly feels magical to me.

happily, i’ve been fortunate that some lovely folks out there in the universe feel the bits of the magic that i feel when i’m being creative and making art, and they choose to purchase a piece of it. this allows me to keep putting those bits of magic together, and in turn allows my business to grow…color me grateful.

What does creativity mean to you?

one of my earliest memories is of holding a crayon, which i promptly put to use creating a ‘masterpiece’ on the dining room wall (another big dose of gratitude to my mom, who didn’t discourage my playing with crayons from that point on!). quite simply, my creative work is my life. whether i’m making a scribble, a painting, a meal or the bed (sometimes i leave it messy on purpose!), it’s all about the feel and the vibe of the thing or the act. i remember being introduced to the artist carol anthony many years ago, hearing her words and thinking “THIS…this is exactly how i feel, too! THIS is what being creative means!”… she said “true art to me is the art of just everydayness, surrounding yourself with the atmosphere of being. our creation of our particular beauty is our way of telling others to listen in their own lives, to breathe in a quiet moment. my work is only one piece of the larger magic show that we can listen to to help our lives be better.”

Do you have any rituals surrounding your creative work (do you play music, light a candle, take a walk)?

i have to say, i love rituals. i love the word, i love the acting out of them. my present ritual is to just be quiet. these words flowed through me a number of years ago, and these words define what ritual is to me presently:

there’s a story here     stop to listen     invisibles evident     what we hear in the silence

Have you always been a painter? Are there other media you’ve explored?

yes, painting is my true art-love. i do a lot of mixed media work, both on the canvas and sculptural type pieces. i explored pottery some years ago, and would love to revisit it sometime in the future!

I love the appearance of words in your paintings. Can you share with us why you choose to incorporate (so delightfully, I must say) the two?

first of all, thank you so very much! i’ve given this a lot of thought over the years. my grandfather (and best buddy) always encouraged me to express myself, to “say”…and when i thought of “saying”, both words and images formed in my mind (i’ve always been a very visual thinker). so when i began painting, i naturally took his sweet guidance quite literally…many of my very first paintings (and many subsequent ones) have the word “say” on them. it makes me smile when i do it, remembering how he always got a kick out of this story of mine!

Now some lighter questions…

What did you eat for breakfast?

a piece of skillet-toasted ‘hippie banana bread’ (banana bread with pumpkin+chia seeds, nuts and dried fruits)…yummmmmy!

Do you have a favorite day of the week?

it’s whatever day(s) sarah+i have off together…it usually involves a bike ride and/or a walk on the beach. then it’s time to gather in the kitchen to chop and cook and chat and sip on wine and share stories and a meal…one of my very favorite things to do!

Are you currently reading a book? If so, what is it?

yes, i’m always reading. and ironically, i have stacks and stacks that i’ve not gotten to yet, but i’m rereading two of my favorites: calder at home (the joyous environment of alexander calder) by pedro e. guerrero and the zuni cafe cookbook by judy rodgers. both books are very inspiring to me (so obviously i’ve been needing a little inspiration!).

What makes you smile?

so many things, but at the very top of the list is spending time with sarah and otis (mi pequeña familia dulce)! and kindness makes me smile…always kindness.

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

sunshine.

 

And now for the giveaway…

Lori is generously offering a painting in today’s giveaway. It’s ‘a love revival’ mixed media painting (acrylic+oil+crayon+pencil+collage) and measures 4″x4″x1.5″.  In Lori’s words, it’s: a love note to love…it shares big love wherever it goes!  It’s painted on all four sides with fun colors+markings+such, making it all kinds of extra-special lovely!  I should say so!  Extra-special lovely indeed.
*shipping will be continental US only

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below.  In honor of Lori’s grandfather, maybe think about what it is you’d like to say today.  Then say it; express yourself.  Or just say hi. It’s all good (and it all counts towards your giveaway entry).  
Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, April 24 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, April 25.  Comments are now closed.  

And the randomly selected winner is…Heloise! {Heloise, an email is coming your way shortly}  Thank you to everyone who visited and shared in the conversation with Lori. The comments were heartfelt and full of love.  How fitting.

And…Thank you, Lori, for being here with us.

Sending a little love your way, m

***

i was born with a crayon in my hand+i like to share art full of goodness+fun+love+such. i paint+make art every day. happily so. gratefully so. inspiration comes from  everything around me…there are so very many beautiful things in this world. it brings me great joy to share this magic with you.

 

 

 

Here’s where you can find Lori:
Website
Store
Instagram
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter

An Interview + A Giveaway {Deb Taylor}

Today we continue our monthly interview series. A series in which I hope to introduce you to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.

Today, Deb Taylor joins us.  I think Deb might be one of the first people I got to know on Instagram.  I can’t recall exactly when we connected, but I’m so glad we did.  She’s soulful and playful; she’s a whirlwind and a whisper.  It seems she’s always got her fingers and toes dipped into something.  When you read our conversation, you’ll see what I mean.  She’s talented and super creative and has a really big heart.  I’m so happy to have her here with us today.  Are you ready?  Here we go…

What does creativity mean to you?

It means like breathing.  For me it is necessary in my daily life.  Whether I shoot a random photograph to share on social media or decide which warm beverage to sip in the morning.  The anticipation to cook a colorful meal with exotic ingredients.  I want to create something beautiful every single day.  We have so many opportunities during our day to be creative.  It does not require art materials or much time.  It can simply be the way you slice bananas into your cereal with a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Sipping something special from a beautiful vessel.  Or maybe wearing some funky socks or mismatched earrings.

Come on, these things are free and simple and do-able.  I think you will find a smile on your face.  And also inspire others around you.  For example, I streak my hair often with purple and pink.  The smiles and comments I receive from random folks I pass by daily remind me that we are all seeking simple joys and happy moments.  And color!!

Your creative work includes many different media.  What are your favorites and what are you working on/with now?  Tell us about your creative work!

Needle.  Thread.  Fabric.
I stray away from sewing on occasion to play with paints and paper.
Maybe some beads, basketry or stained glass.
But I always return to fibers.  Weaving, slow stitching, visible mending, eco dyeing. Currently I am experimentally with natural dyes such as floral, vegetable and plant matter.
These days I am obsessed with repurposing and salvaging clothing with visible mending.  I am also studying the Japanese art of Sashiko stitching.

Do you have any rituals surrounding your creative work?

Yes.  When I begin a new project, I smudge my area with white sage.  I burn away the old, and call in the new.  Often I will place my materials outdoors during the Full Moon to charge them with new energy.  My work is sacred, so I honor the materials I am working with.

Are there particular relationships in your life (to people, to nature perhaps) that inspire you to create?

When I collaborate with another artist, it always raises the bar of my own creativity.  I often get stuck in my own ideas, but when I create with other artists, I become infused with their energy, which is extremely contagious!
Recently the photography workshops I participate with online have completely altered the way I make photographs. My story telling has become richer and deeper with every photo I make.  I am so grateful for my online community.


You have a new online workshop coming up.  Will you tell us about that?

Miss Mash {To Dye For} is my third online workshop.  I will be teaching various techniques to dye fabrics with kitchen scraps, botanical bundles and rusty objects.  I will offer videos and tutorials for small fabric projects using the fibers we will dye together.  I will hold space in a private Facebook group for sharing, support and developing new friendships.

And now some lighter questions…

What did you eat for breakfast?

one avocado, two slices of tomato, black beans and ginger slaw

Do you have a favorite day of the week?

no.  I prefer every day to be my favorite.

What was your favorite thing you did last week?

I was home alone for 4 days.  I created intensely every single day, without interruption, all day, every day.  I was in my zone!

What music are you digging lately?

Snatum Kaur

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

BREATHE

And now for the giveaway!!!

 

Deb is generously giving away one spot in her upcoming workshop, which will run April 17-21.  In her words:
Mish Mash { To Dye For } is my online workshop based on eco-dyeing fabric techniques, videos and tutorials for small patchwork stitched projects.
My approach to teaching is very playful, relaxed and casual.
It’s even great for kiddos and weekend projects.
Supplies are common household items.
I will host a private Facebook group for sharing, support and a sweet space to meet new friends !

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below. Maybe tell us what colors you see in your world today. Or maybe just say hello. Whatever you like.

Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, March 20 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, March 21.  Comments are now closed.

And the randomly-selected winner is…Angela Vular! Angela, an email is coming your way shortly. Thank you to everyone who played along and shared colorful bits in the comments.

And…Thank you, Deb, for being here with us.

Sending a little love your way, m

***

Deb is a photographer, blogger, fiber artist and home-cook vegetarian living in sunny Florida.
She’s also a sun-worshipping red-wine lover, peace-seeking full-moon dancer and beach-combing daytime dreamer.

Here’s where you can find Deb:
Blog
Instagram
Facebook

 

An Interview + A Giveaway {Christine Mason Miller}

Today is the second installment in my monthly interview series.  A series in which I hope to introduce you to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.

656typewriterToday, Christine Mason Miller joins us.  She’s someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person, someone I’ve gotten to know better over the years through thoughtful email conversations and through this class.  She is down-to-earth and kind.  She is wise and intuitive and has a terrific sense of humor.  Christine is someone who creates endlessly with her own hands and heart; she is someone who shows up for herself and, time and again, for others.  She’s more than a little awesome.  Are you ready?  Here she is…

Can you tell us about your creative work?

At the moment, my creative work centers around writing—I just published a memoir—and a new podcast inspired by the experience of writing the book. It is also about giving myself the time to explore a lot of questions that writing this book has inspired, which I will ultimately want to write about. I have a tendency to dive into new creative projects without a big cushion of time in between because I am such a do-er. But right now I’m aware that an integral part of my current creative work requires a lot more of that in-between time—time to sit with the questions and let myself follow a lot of different threads before trying to formally articulate anything.

What does creativity mean to you?

It means making things—objects, connections, compositions. It means having a certain kind of order even if things look messy on the surface. It is about creating beauty. It means looking at a situation or a problem or a question from every possible angle. It means trying and reaching and expressing.

656buddhaAn underlying theme of your new book, Moving Water, is family. Can you share a bit about how you honor your creative passions while also tending to those you love?

I have come to appreciate all the tiny ways I can express myself creatively while also, simultaneously, taking care of those I love. We have a pretty active household—lots of guests and entertaining and providing—and I always strive to make these experiences as beautiful and thoughtful as possible. So on a day when we have a big family dinner, I won’t likely have time to sequester myself in my studio to write or paint or whatever, but I will get to spend time putting together a beautiful table for dinner.  In either situation, in the end, I have created something beautiful, and both experiences are gratifying. Channeling my creative passions in the realm of writing or artwork is usually more long-term and project-oriented; doing this within the context of caring for my family and loved ones has to do with smaller things. Mother Teresa says, “Do small things with great love,” and that is one of my favorite quotes.

When you write (for books, for magazines) are you a pen and paper kind of girl, or do you head straight for the keyboard?

Keyboard all the way. My hands, with a pen, can’t keep up with my thoughts. Although I love the act of putting pen to paper, and there are absolutely times when I need that slower process. When it comes to editing, I am decidedly old-school. I’ll print out the pages and go to work with a pencil, scissors and tape. With Moving Water, I literally cut pages apart and re-assembled them, arranging multiple pages in a long line across our floor. If I’m trying to re-arrange things, it is really difficult on the computer because I literally can’t see the overall structure.

656pagesIn the process of writing Moving Water, can you share something you learned about the writing process? And can you share something you learned about yourself?

I learned that I know very little about the writing process—that even though I’ve done a fair amount of writing, there is still so much to learn, and always will be. So the process made me very humble. I think the most important thing I got—really got—is that the first draft really is, as Anne Lamott is famous for saying, a crappy first draft. That is has to be crappy because it has to involve dumping all my thoughts and ideas and possibilities on the page. Then the real work of crafting a story or book comes after that. I found the writing process to be very similar to sculpting. I only took one sculpture class in college, but the experience stayed with me. I’ll never forget working on a clay figure, thinking it looked pretty good, but then turning it to the side and seeing a complete disaster! Writing is kind of like that—it requires turning and turning and seeing things from every possible angle, and it requires removing and adding and revising the material.

What I learned about myself? This is a big question for me right now, as the experience of writing Moving Water has radically altered my view of all the stories (and others) I shared in the book. The short version of my answer is that I’ve learned how dynamic my life story is; nothing is rigid or static or permanent. At any moment, I can alter my view of things, I can let go, I can shift my focus, and within those choices the landscape of my past can change dramatically.

Your new book is brave and tender. Can you share what inspired you to write this memoir?

The inspiration initially came from looking at the blended family I married into and seeing how easily it could have crashed and burned. In other words, if you got a glimpse of the baggage each of us—me, my husband, his daughter, his son—brought to the table, your prediction would have been disaster. Yet we’ve not only survived, but thrived. Once this fascination took hold, the idea of writing about it took hold.

656speaktrueAnd now, some lighter questions…

Do you have a favorite food(s)?

One of my favorite things is from a cookbook called Olives, Anchovies and Capers. It is this:

  • Olive bread
  • Butter
  • Anchovies
  • Lemon juice

When my husband and I tell people about this, the typical reaction is, “Anchovies? EW,” but then we make it for them, and they love it.

When was the last time you laughed?

First thing this morning, when my chocolate lab Tilda crawled on top of me this morning to wake me up. She’s sixty pounds, so this was no gentle wake up.

I think, like me, you’re a lover of quotes. Is there one you’d like to share with us today?

I usually go immediately to Hafiz or Rumi, so today I’ll share something a little different, but also one of my favorites:

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”   -Jean-Paul Sartre

What colors do you like to wear?

I am totally boring—90% of my closet is gray, white or black. Navy blue is walking on the wild side for me.

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

Breath

***
And now for the giveaway!!!

Christine is generously giving away one signed copy of Moving Water.
(For this giveaway, shipping will be domestic only.)

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below. Maybe share what family means to you. Or maybe just say hello. Whatever you like.

Wanna enter more than once? Share a link to this interview on Facebook or Instagram. For each share, you’ll be entered an additional time!  Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, February 20 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, February 21.
Comments are now closed.
And the winner is…Diva Odete!  Diva, an email is coming your way shortly.  Thank you to everyone who played along and shared wonderful things in the comments; thank you to everyone who partook in the conversation quietly at home.  And…

Christine has created a special discount code for you.  Yes, she has!  (She’s awesome like that.)  At checkout, use the following code for a 25% discount:  MW25OFF
Code expires February 28.  Click here to place your order.

 

Thank you, Christine, for being here with us.

Sending a little love your way, m

***

300cmm1_lowresChristine Mason Miller is an author and artist who has been guiding others toward a meaningful life for more than twenty years. Her experience with writing, publishing, licensing and teaching has established her as an experienced, compassionate authority on how to bring dreams to life, particularly those related to writing and publishing a book. Her latest book, Moving Water: A Memoir, is now available in her shop, and will be offered on Amazon.com in February 2017.

Here’s where you can find Christine:
Website
Instagram
Podcast

An Interview + A Giveaway {Mindy Tsonas}

This marks the first in a monthly series of interviews.  I’ve done a handful in the past (here and here are two examples); moving forward, my intent is to introduce you (on a regular basis) to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life.  Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart.  Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway.  It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work.  Their gift to you is of their choosing.  This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.  I’m excited to begin this series with you.

***

img_0686Today Mindy Tsonas joins us.  She’s badass, mixed with gentle, mixed with sensual, mixed with artist, mixed with guide, mixed with someone who always seems to have a hand outstretched.  Years ago, I attended Squam Art Workshops; Mindy was there too.  I only “knew” her from Instagram, but at one point in the weekend, she and another friend were walking towards me on the road – and  I don’t remember what either of us said – but I remember that she embraced me in a hug.  That’s Mindy.  It’s a pleasure to watch her and her work progress and bloom; she’s someone who is always creating in one form or another.  She’s whimsical and grounded.  Intuitive.  Caring.  Really wonderful.  Are you ready?  Here she is…

 

Can you tell us about your creative work and business?

Hello.  My work in this world is as an Embodiment Artist, activist, and the owner and creator of Studiofemme, a dynamic gathering space for women wishing to become more powerfully themselves.  It’s a place where we are free to explore our edges and connect in the tender places of intimacy, identity, creativity, and sexuality.  Really my work is about helping others claim the full complexity of who they are, unshame all their desires, and express the truths of our heart.

What does creativity mean to you?

To me, creativity is a conduit for connection.  It is meaningful, purposeful, and is a way for us to build bridges to one another.  As a little girl I always remember using my creativity to make things for others.  It is a love language for me as much as it is a passionate endeavor.

Creativity also is a way I connect with my body.  The tactile, sensory, and physical act of creating helps me feel more embodied and integrated, and is an important part of moving energy through my system.  If I am feeling stuck, I know that is simply a story in my head and often just moving paint around or scribbling words on a page is enough to create the shifts I need to keep moving forward.

Two words that surface in your work (correct me if I’m wrong!) are juicy and vulnerability.  Can you share with us how you help others dig into the juiciness of their lives and their art, and how you help them open to vulnerability?

Juicy and vulnerability are absolutely a part of my creative landscape.  The juiciness is about accessing and allowing the full range of ourselves to be expressed…depth and breadth.  It is inhabiting all of our light and shadows, and giving ourselves permission to claim who we are, fully, and without judgment.  I used to believe I was just a creative person, but I realized pretty quickly that that is just one facet of my femme.  My longings are more than just artful ones, and so I say yes to exploring them all.

This is where the vulnerability comes into play.  Just like coming out in the full expression of your creative self, so too is the process of blossoming into other parts of our truth, one tender step at a time.  I always check in with myself to ask, “Is this action/desire moving me closer to my truth, or further away?”  It’s a pretty honest gauge for moving towards and sharing more vulnerable parts of ourselves.

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Living intentionally – soaking up the juiciness and opening to the vulnerabilities – requires gentle attention.  How do you honor your creative/artistic/business passions while also tending to those you love (yourself included)?

After more than a decade of digging deep, my creative life is finally a fully integrated aspect of how I show up in the world.  It is a part of everything I do as a Girl Boss, as a parent, and simply as a woman in the world trying to live her truth.  When I try to compartmentalize my world into separate corners, that is when I feel tension and the friction of everything struggling to fit together and coexist.  When I can embody my work and passions and soul as one, be who I am in every space and context, that is when I am most powerful and joyful and free in all realms and roles.  Nurturing one part then feeds the whole system.  Self care simply becomes a necessary part of that equation, not a separate thing I do just when I have time.

One of your new endeavors is a podcast, The Underneath, which you’re recording with your husband, Alex.  I’ve listened to the first few episodes and appreciate how your candid conversations seem to effortlessly blend the work of relationship and intimacy with creativity and living in general (I do love connections).  Would you like to share a bit about your brave, new project?

The podcast is a brand new adventure and the first creative collaboration between my husband and I.  Although I have been sharing stories about our life together for many years now, the act of speaking our truth is adding a new dimension to the creative process.  The vulnerability of out-loud is a new edge we are exploring together.  Being part of the LGBTQIA landscape and living a non-conventional life, we wanted to be a voice out there for others.  We also both believe in the value of sharing the imperfect process underneath the polished outcomes, thus the name.  It’s really just us talking about life and love and sometimes the hard things.  The messy parts are so much a part of real life, especially as creatives.

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And now, some lighter questions…

What’s the weather in your corner of the world today?

A huge storm has just finally past.  It feels like a metaphor in so many ways.

When was the last time you laughed?

I laugh all the time…maybe last night at yoga.

What’s your favorite color to wear?

My color story is black and grey neutrals with colorful pops of pink and maybe turquoise, here and there.  I can’t find anything in my drawers, because it’s pretty much a sea of black, my go-to for sure ;)

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Toast with a fried egg and a little side of kimchee, decaf coffee with almond milk and agave.

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

LOVE.  Always love.

And now for the giveaway!

img_0687
Mindy is generously giving away one spot in her brand new, upcoming online class (February 12-18) Studiofemme // Tiny Revolutionsyour life is your revolution, a week long adventure in Art, Love and Embodiment as Activism!  In Mindy’s words, “We will write, paint, tell stories and get messy, all for the purpose of positive change in our own lives, and out in the world.”

To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below.  Maybe share one way that creativity surfaces in your life.  Or maybe just say hello. Whatever you like.
Comments are now closed.

Wanna enter more than once?  Share a link to this interview on Facebook or Instagram.  For each share, you’ll be entered another time!
Please make sure to tag me, so I see the post!

Comments will close at midnight PST on Sunday, January 29 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Monday, January 30.   …And the winner (selected by a random generator) is Suzanne!  (email coming your way, Suzanne).  Thanks to all who played along here and on Instagram.  xo

I hope you enjoyed this chat with Mindy as much as I did.
Thank you, Mindy, for being here with us.

Sending  a little love your way, m

***

img_0686I am a Sensualist, Embodiment Artist, and Provocateur.  Part sparkle maker.  Part shadow dancer.  Part soul seeker.  As a woman and person of color in a queer and open marriage, I’m also a Revolutionary inside my own life and out in the world.  In a nutshell, I talk about girl-power as its own sacred Love Story.  I help guide women into the extraordinary Wonderland of themselves.  Through juicy creative pursuits and honest explorations, my passion is to inspire others to shake loose and get naked in empowered, exquisite truth.  Delicious freedom and expansive joy is always the discovery.  My magic tools for going deeper are art, love and sex-positivity…my wild sacral shimmy.  I write, I paint, I touch, I dare.  I make things both tangible and intangible to hold space for universally meaningful experiences and luscious conduits of connection.

Here’s where you can find Mindy:
Website
Podcast
Etsy 
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest 
Twitter

 

Five on a Tuesday + a Giveaway

j5t

I like my lists.  I know you know.  When I just need to get something (anything) down, lists are how I fill my page.  Yes, the to-do lists (there’s always a current to-do list). But the other lists.  The ones for gratitude, the ones for right now, the ones for dreams.  I like the way lists tell a story.

If I write a list of five things for my Tuesday morning, here’s what comes to mind:

  1. a sunny and cool autumn walk with my favorite girl and our pup
  2. gratitude for being home this morning
  3. a hot cup of tea and then toast for me and waffles for the kids
  4. reading with the kids and the discussion that ensued
  5. tissues and tea and a longing to lay down (I’ve got a cold ;)

It’s simple, this list.  But it captures the morning perfectly for me.  It’s a little story for this Tuesday.  My story.

And now the giveaway part…I’ve got an upcoming run of Just Five Things starting in November and I’d like to invite you to join me.  You can read full details about the class by clicking here (dates for the class are November 7 – November 20).

In order to celebrate the opening of registration, I’m hosting a giveaway this week. Hooray!  Two spots in the class.  To enter the giveaway, share a few things you might list for your day.  You don’t have to write five.  You could write one.  Or ten.  As you wish.

Comments will close Sunday, October 9 at midnight PST.  I’ll announce the winners back here, in this post, on Monday.  Comments are now closed.  The two winners, selected at random are:  Heidi Johnson and Betty Tusing.  Congrats, ladies + I’ll be sending you an email shortly!  

Thanks to all of you who played along.  I enjoyed reading what each of you shared; so many things listed brought a smile to my face.  (And if you didn’t win…and, really, I wish you could all win…send me an email reminding me that you played along in the giveaway and I’ll send you a discount code to use for class registration).  xo

I can’t wait to read your lists stories.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

p.s. hey, it’s almost time for Gratitude Week!
Click here for details :)

Five and a Giveaway

656grace

I was journaling yesterday morning before heading out the door with the kids. I didn’t have much time, but the pull to sit at my desk and write something (anything) was strong.  Lately, I’ve been telling myself I don’t have the time or I’m too tired or I’m too something. But the truth is that I do have the time and I’m not really too tired and I’m always too something.

I ended my journaling yesterday with a list (you know I love lists); there is always time for a list.  It was a list of five words that I wanted to carry with me on my busy day.  It was a way to check in with myself (in addition to the journaling done), a way to center myself, a way to set intention for my day.  I thought about my words as I moved through my busy Wednesday.  That list of five words was a touchstone.

Lists.  Words.  Simple and powerful.  Playful and intentional.  Essential.

My next run of Just 5 Things, an online class in which we explore creative listmaking, will be June 6 – 15.  Before registration opens on May 3, I’m hosting a giveaway for two spots in that class.  Right here, right now.  To enter, leave a comment below.  Tell me the first five words that come to your mind…maybe words of now, maybe words of what you’ve eaten today, maybe words reflecting tasks that need tackling.  You choose.  Just five things.

Comments will close Sunday, May 1.  Two winners will be chosen at random and announced, here in this post, on Monday.  Ready?  Go…

Sending a little love your way, m

**if you’ve entered my IG giveaway, you can still enter here too!

Comments are now closed.

…and the winners are: Pequena Gi and Joni!  An email is coming your way, ladies.  For those of you who played along (I wish everyone could win), I’d like to offer a discount on your registration as a thank-you for playing along (I loved reading everyone’s words) (so much).  Send me an email (you can use contact form above) and I’ll return your email with a link to receive a 15% discount.

Thank you ALL for playing!

 

 

Thinking About Pause + A Giveaway

656pause

A new year.  It holds so much, doesn’t it?

Part of me understands that we’re simply continuing on.  January 1 is not very different from December 31.  It’s a new day, yes (and how I love a new beginning) but the change in calendar year doesn’t much affect the daily doings of life.  Part of me also understands that the change in calendar year offers a built-in pause, an opportunity to reflect back as well as look ahead. It’s hard not to pause and reflect this time of year.

So I take it for what it’s worth, not weighing too heavily one way or the other. I appreciate a pause whenever it presents itself, whenever I invite it into my life.  And invite I do.  I would go crazy without pause in my life.  You too?

As I think about inviting pause, I think about the various tools I use each day…the tools that help me steer this side of crazy. Two of these are my camera and pen. Both camera and pen help me pause, help me slow down, help me celebrate.

The camera lens helps me see  more clearly.  The words help flesh out the rumblings in my head and heart.  They are both very much forms of meditation.

I’m getting ready to run my online class, 28 Moments.  This is a class where we use camera and pen to pause, to slow down, to celebrate.  You needn’t be a photographer or writer.  You simply need be curious about exploring your days with a camera (yes, this includes phone cameras) and pen (or pencil or keyboard) in hand. It’s a class that will open your eyes a bit more, your heart a bit more.  It will, I hope, open up your life a bit more.

Now here’s where the giveaway happens…
I’m offering two free spots for this class which will run February 1-28.  You can read full details about the class by clicking here.  If you’d like to enter for a chance in this class, please leave a comment below.  You can tell me/us anything you like…maybe what a pause looks like for you, maybe what you ate for breakfast this morning, maybe tell us a joke.  Simply share something and you’ll be entered.  (Already registered?  You can still play; if you win, you can pass that spot along to someone else!)  Comments will close Sunday, midnight PST; the winners will be announced here, in this post, on Monday, January 11.  Comments are now closed.
Thanks to all of you who played along.  The winners for this giveaway are: Janet and Lisa…congrats, ladies!  I’ll be sending you an email shortly.

Ready, set, go…

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

An Interview + A Giveaway {Cory Sipper}

Today we’re visiting with someone who’s been here before…the very wonderful Cory Sipper. Last time we learned about her sewn sketches (you can read that interview here). This time, Cory talks about her music, her just-do-it attitude, and her newly released album.  Here we go…

656cory promo 6
photo credit Brad Kaz

As a creative mama myself, I find it challenging to weave my creative work into that of my family and home. Can you share a bit about how you honor your musical passions while also tending to those you love?

I just do it…like most things in my life. In fact “Just Do It” is my mantra. My kids are used to me practicing my music, writing music and working on the computer. Of course it’s easier when school is in session, because then I have the time to work while they are there. But my husband and I are both artists, and both self-employed, and it’s all my kids know. Ultimately my kids are used to doing a lot of crafting on their own. A glue gun goes a long way!

Do you have any rituals surrounding your music writing? Or do you grab paper/pencil/guitar when inspiration strikes and just get it down quick?

I usually sit down with an intent to write. Inspired or not. Sometimes the creativity happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I have to work harder. Sometimes it comes easier, like it’s “sent” through me. That’s always fun and something most artists can relate to at some point in their lives- the feeling of being channeled, for lack of a better word.

Does being a mother inspire your music?

Being a happy wife and mother has inspired some songs, like “Big Love” off my new album. Ultimately I’m inspired by life itself. Its joys and struggles.

Can you share one or two things you learned (about the music biz, the creative process, yourself…whatever comes to mind) in the process of writing and producing your new album, “Make Your Magic”?

Oh. So much. And there is so much I’m still learning now and always. It’s an incredibly hard business, so I guess ultimately my learning is in staying with it, going with the flow and riding the waves. The writing is very easy for me. It’s the business part that is painfully hard. So- in answer to your question- what have I learned….to keep going. Forging onward. That is my ongoing lesson.

Now a few fun ones…
What was your favorite thing you did this summer?

Our one and only vacation- a two day tent camping trip we took to Montana De Oro – near San Luis Obispo, CA.

When was the last time you laughed?

I laugh everyday. Even when I have a shitty day I usually laugh at some point. My husband and my relationship runs on humor and I’m in general a very irreverent person.

Are you currently reading a book? If so, what is it? 

I AM! People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I read to get myself to fall asleep.

If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?

Shelter. I don’t know why- but that’s the word that came to mind. I’ll have to meditate on why that might be.

album cover photo credit Brad Kaz
[album cover] photo credit Brad Kaz
And now for the giveaway…
Cory is generously giving away a CD of “Make Your Magic”.  I’ve listened to my copy many (many) times and I’ll tell you that it’s really (really) good. Knowing what a sweet lady Cory is, then listening to her voice and lyrics…well, here’s your chance to see what I mean.  Leave a comment below if you’d like to enter the giveaway.  Maybe tell us your favorite song right now or one from college or high school days.  Or maybe just say hello.  Comments will close at midnight PST on Monday, September 14. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Tuesday, September 15.

I hope you enjoyed this chat with Cory as much as I did.  Thanks to Cory for being here with us.  Now leave a comment for your chance to win her beautiful CD…  Comments for the giveaway are now closed.  The winner is Grace!  (I’ll be sending you a email, Grace.)  Thanks to all who played along!

Sending  a little love your way, m

 

300coryCory Sipper has been writing and performing songs since the tender age of 13.  She has four critically acclaimed albums out and her fifth “Make Your Magic” was released in May, 2015.  Cory’s songs and voice have been used in hundreds of TV shows, films and commercials over the years, both nationally and internationally.  After a 10 year break from actively releasing albums, Cory is now excited about the release of “Make Your Magic”, playing live shows and connecting with her fans. Cory lives in Goleta, CA.
You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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A quick reminder that registration is open for Just Five Things.  10 days of creative list making.  10 days to enjoy a playful writing practice.  10 days to explore and enjoy community.  Click here for details and registration.