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?


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:


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?


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 in February 2017.

Here’s where you can find Christine:

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.


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.


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!

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:


Five on a Tuesday + a Giveaway


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


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


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.


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.



Killer Toes {and a giveaway}


Her toes kill me.  There’s snow on the ground and she wears no socks…I don’t get it.  But they’re still tiny, and that kills me too.  Sometimes I wonder if, in some way, she knows just how much I love her toes and that’s why she runs about the house year round without socks. Do you think?  Yes, me too.

Someday her toes will be the size of mine and not nearly so cute.  But I’ll have shots like this to remember.  I’ll have shots like this to remember the cold January day when she sat reading in the big chair by the window with the morning light streaming in. I’ll remember the way my heart was tugged.  I’ll remember how she humored me as I took this shot.  I’ll remember the love and the calm I felt.

Because photography does that for me.  It slows me down, helps me notice…day after day. After day.  You know I love this. And you know I love to share what I love.  In honor of that, I’m offering two free spots in my next run of 28 Moments.  Class will run February 9 – March 8, 2015 and registration is officially open.  Click here for more information.

I’ll be picking two winners randomly.  To enter, leave a comment sharing whatever comes to mind…no matter how random.  Might be something you did over the weekend, might be something about the drink you’re sipping right now. Might be your current state of emotions. Don’t overthink it.  First thing that pops into your head.  Type it in.  Comments will remain open until Thursday, January 15 at 12 midnight PST.  Winners will be announced here in this post Friday, January 16.
Comments are now closed.

The winners are Tracey and Deborah!  Congrats, you two…I’ll be sending an email your way.
And thanks to all of you for playing along.  There was quite the discussion on toes and bare feet ;)

Ready, set, go.

Sending a little love your way, m



ten things {and a giveaway}


ten things, camping.

1.   i am camping as you read this {lucky me}
2.   campfires
3.   simple meals cooked over the campfire
4.   the trees, the glorious trees
5.   no internet, no tv, no xbox
6.   breathing the fresh air
7.   the quiet {depending upon who is camping nearby}
8.   the slower pace
9.   accompanying hikes
10. s’mores {you knew that was coming, right?}

and now for the giveaway!  i am offering two spots in my e-course, 28 moments.  we’ll be exploring the daily bits of our lives as we play with camera and pen.  class runs july 14 – august 11; you can read more here.  if you’ve already registered, you can still enter the giveaway – if you win, you can gift the spot to someone else.  if you mention this giveaway somewhere else {facebook, instagram, your blog, twitter}, let me know that in the comments and you’ll be entered twice or thrice or…accordingly.  share with us something you love {or don’t love} about camping.  if you’ve never gone, tell us that!  comments will remain open until 12 noon PST thursday, july 3, 2014.  the winners will be announced back here in this post thursday, july 3…probably not till late in the day.  depends on how early in the day we’re able to tear ourselves from the woods.
so go on…tell us about you and camping.  comments are now closed.

and the winners are:  karen and helen!!  ladies, i’ll be emailing you shortly with details.  
thanks to all of you for leaving your comments, thoughts, and memories on camping.  i loved reading each of them!

sending a little love, m



an interview + a giveaway = a whole lotta goodness {cordelia sipper}

today, i’d like to introduce you to a talented, sweet, and very fun woman named cordelia sipper {do you not love her name?!}.  we bumped into each other somewhere in blogland and when i learned about her sewn sketches, i knew i wanted to introduce you to her.  i hope you enjoy this little visit…

photo by cory

can you tell us a bit about your creative work and business?

I live happily with my husband and two daughters in Southern California, where we are surrounded by mountains and ocean.  I worked in the music business as a singer-songwriter for 15 years, but after having kids I knew that I needed a calmer lifestyle with plenty of time to hang out with my young kids and be home.

I wanted to stay in the creative realm as far as work was concerned, and I always had been drawn to sewing.  I started out by creating eclectic children’s quilts, but one day came up with the idea of making “sewn sketches” with fabric scraps from the quilts.  Sewn Sketches are unique wall-art pieces and can be framed just like a print or photograph.  Every one is unique and handmade.  I offer custom pieces as well, with hand embroidered names or words – perfect for a child’s room or wedding gift.  You can see a lot of my sewn sketches here.  I am happy to custom make any of these if you see one that resonates with you as I don’t usually have a large amount of sketches in my Etsy store at one time.

My newest thing is sewing my designs onto clothing.  First it was just onesies and t-shirts for kids, but it has expanded to women’s clothes:  tank dresses, tank tops, tee-dresses, sweatshirts and more.  It’s fun to create “wearable art”.  Many of the kids lines are organic and every clothing item is machine washable.  All my clothes can be found at my Etsy store.

When I’m not sewing, you can find me with my daughters on our little quarter-acre “farmette”.  We love to plant veggies and hang out with our small flock of chickens and ducks.

I love my life and what I do and that energy is translated into my work.  Every individual thing I sew is done so with consciousness and a lot of joy!

is there a product you particularly enjoy creating?

I like making all of it and I like coming up with new ideas, too.  I notice items that tend to sell better are funner to make, simply because the energy I put into the work is returned.  It’s a full circle kind of thing that’s very important when you sell your art.

how does the creative work you do fit in and/or balance the rest of your life as mama and urban homesteader?

My husband and I both work from home.  It’s great because we get to really be with our kids. But, also we don’t get very many breaks.  (I wouldn’t have it any other way though.)  We work while the kids are in school, but you know – there is so much that one needs to do to keep a family (and “farmette”) running.  Honestly, our days are very full and sometimes it’s hard to balance it all (some days I look at the laundry pile and just want to cry).  But, I try to remind myself there is no place to “reach” where everything will suddenly, magically stay clean and perfect.  A busy life with kids and animals is what I always wanted, really, and I never lose sight of that ultimately.

and now for some fun ones…
what did you have for breakfast?

Only coffee so far, later probably some non-gluten toast and an egg on top.

what’s the weather in your corner of the world?

We had a heat wave for a few days, about 90 degrees.  It was a little disconcerting because we’re in a drought.  Today it’s chilly and windy (chilly for us is high 50’s/low 60’s).

what’s your favorite time of  year?

I like all the seasons…because it’s the natural life cycle.  I think there is something to love in all of them, but I guess if I had to choose, Summer is hard to beat.

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

Oh, I’ve had a big mug of coffee, I’m having more than one: but breathe is right up there, since as I try and write this I can hear my kids screaming in the background.

and now for the giveaway…

photo by cory

cory is generously giving away one of her delightful tanks, like you see above.  {i happen to own one and i love it.}  to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us something you enjoy about summer {summer is on the brain as i think about tank tops}.  comments will remain open until sunday, may 11, midnight PST.  the winner will be announced  here {in this post} on monday, may 12.   comments are now closed.

and the winner of the giveaway is…margaret!!!
margaret, i’ll send along your email to cory who will be in touch with your shortly about your tank!

thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite things about summer…i found myself nodding my head a lot!!!

ready?  go!

sending a little love your way, m