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?



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:

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:


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.



an interview + a special gift = a whole lotta goodness {alisha hastings-kimball}

today, i’m excited to introduce you to a wonderful woman with whom i’m grateful to have crossed paths…online and in real-time. yes!  i’ve met alisha myself…we’ve hugged in person!  i first met her at squam, and, just this past summer, i managed to sneak away for a few hours {thank you to my sister for entertaining the kiddos meanwhile} to visit alisha in her home and studio.  she is warm and genuine and gentle {and she makes a delicious lentil salad}.  i’ve invited her to join us so that you can get to know her better…

{all photos credit of alisha hastings-kimball}


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

I have always loved making things ever since I was a child and have had a yearning to share my work with the world for pretty much as long as I can remember.

I painted for many years and pursued all sorts of creative endeavors, at one point I even wrote and illustrated a children’s book (it was never picked up for publishing, this was before self publishing). Around that time, I was playing around with polymer clay for fun and discovered I really enjoyed it and so even back then I always had an inkling that I might be good at ceramics. Fast forward to 1999 when a friend asked me to join her for ceramics class. After my first class I was smitten and came home that evening and declared to my husband that I needed a pottery studio and the rest, as they say, is history.

I started Songbird Studio about 10 years ago. I wanted a place where I could create things from my heart and then share these creations with the world. I also love that the studio is at my home in a converted barn so that I can also be there for my children.

you and i have had discussions about being an artist and a mother.  how does your creative work mesh with your role as mother?

I have spent a lot of time wrestling, figuring out and accepting how to mesh this life of artist and mother properly. It is truly a huge balancing act and one that I only can do because I have a wonderful supportive family who encourages me and I have so much gratitude for that. It is very hard to do both and do both well. Being both an artist and a mother means that I have officially become a recovering perfectionist, and I might not create as much work as often as I would like, but it also means I get to do things like filling my daughters room with balloons so the floor is covered with them when she wakes for her 10th birthday.  There are pros and cons to it all. But being an artist is in my blood, it’s a soul calling I can’t stop being a creative even if I wanted to. I’ve always been an artist even when I tried to deny that about myself so I’ve reconciled with myself that I am an artist who is also a mom. I wouldn’t feel as whole if I tried to just be a mom only. I think there is a real stigma in our society about choosing to do something besides being a mother especially if the thing you want to be is an artist. I think that it is seen by some as being selfish. Truthfully, I think being able to be an artist and sharing my work actually helps me to be a better mother. I appreciate my time in the studio as much as I appreciate my time being a mom because all of it is limited, special and helps bring into focus the need to be present and mindful of all the moments. Being an artist fulfills me in a way that brings me joy and happiness and that in turn ripples back to my family.


do you prefer throwing on the wheel or working off the wheel?

I actually like both and I can’t say I have a preference to one over the other. It’s more for me about the ability to be able to create whatever it is I have in my mind. So that may require me to do some hand building and some throwing and combine both methods or it may require just one.

My love lines for example are all hand built**. Where as my mindfulness mugs are all thrown. But my sheep knitting bowls and minis are both thrown and handbuilt. A lot of times I’ll throw things and then I’ll add handbuilt sculptural aspects to my peices. Being able to do both allows me the most versatility.
**see next photo

do you have a favorite method of firing?  or favorite glazes?  what do you love making?

I mostly use my electric kilns and commercial glazes. I do also have a Raku kiln that my husband built for me. Raku is a completely different firing process where pieces are removed from the kiln while still glowing red hot and then placed in a container with combustible materials which interact with the glazes in very unpredictable ways. I’ve not done a Raku firing in a while but I’m hoping to do some more in the early spring. Also, I’ve recently started using porcelain and am in the process of developing my style with this clay. I am excited to be trying some new things out. Ceramics is a very precarious art form which is not for faint of heart. Its a very lengthy process and there are many steps along the way for the work to be destroyed. Ceramics has a lot a lessons to teach.

I love making it all truthfully… But if I had to say right now, I am really especially enjoying see my mindfulness mugs and bowls getting out into the world. I think because I especially like the idea behind them.

600love line

you use words on many of your pieces.  from where does the inspiration for that come?

Mostly my inspiration comes from my own journey of self-discovery, self-love and a sprinkle of play thrown in for good measure. I make things that come from my heart and that are inspired by love. I make things that I think personally would be useful, beautiful and bring that love in my heart out into the greater world.

A couple of years ago I found out about this scientist, Masaru Emoto, who did these amazing experiments with water. His results and photographs inspired me to create my mindfulness mugs. We are all coming to understand more and more about how all of life is interconnected and that our personal thoughts have far greater impact on one another then we’ve ever realized. I created these mugs and bowls with the idea that whatever they were holding was infused with the message imprinted in the clay.

All my work with words is meant to help you stay mindful and infuse your life with the spirit of our interconnectedness.

now for a few fun ones…

what did you eat for breakfast? 

I usually get up early in the morning and have a nut bar and then later I have a true breakfast/lunch meal with a cup of tea, and today it is a navel orange and a peice of homemade zucchini casserole.

do you have a favorite day of the week? 

My favorite day is Saturday because that’s when my family is all together

what’s your favorite color to wear? 

I love wearing shades of purple and lavender… It’s my favorite color.

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


and finally
alisha has a special offering for you.  read on…

When you purchase a beautiful piece from Songbird Studio between Dec.5th and Dec.31st, you’ll receive an exclusive “Songbird Studio Heart Print ” designed for your altar, or to carry as a talisman in your pocket, give to your sweetie as a reminder of your love, keep on your desk or window sill as a beacon of love. The choice will be up to you. Simply use promo code “HeartPrint” at check out. Only while supplies last.


Alisha is an ceramic artist who loves creating unique beautiful environments. She is also a wife and mother to two incredible children and one wonderful kitty. When she’s not getting her hands dirty with clay she also enjoys photography, painting, sewing and writing. She is always looking for ways to embrace creativity in the everyday moments of life.

you can find alisha at songbird studio
and on her blog, news from the nest
on instagram
and on facebook

an interview with nichole mc veigh


i first bumped into nichole in the indie kindred creative community, a facebook group led by jen lee.  i was instantly struck by nichole’s generous nature as she straightaway shared her project (which you’ll read about below) and invited interested individuals to contact her. when i visited her online space and read through some of the interviews, i got lost in the interplay between her questions and the responses of her curated creatives.  i immediately hoped for the opportunity to answer some of those questions myself. and so began an email exchange and, recently, the thought, wouldn’t it be cool to turn the tables and allow nichole the chance to answer a few questions?  she’s committed to sharing and showcasing the work of fellow artists, and it seems that work (as well as her personal artwork) should be shared and showcased (and honored) as well.  and so i introduce you to nichole…

can you tell us a bit about the Embody Your Muse project?  what exactly is it?  what inspired you to create this generous and gorgeous space?

Embody Your Muse is evolving. I started it as an online presence for the coaching I’ve been doing for roughly 15 years, and have plans of expanding into in-person and online creativity workshops. I know so many creative people, and connecting them is a huge passion of mine, so workshops seem perfect.

As for the blog…it’s a way to showcase some amazing creatives…to get their work out and connect them with other people. It’s a great way for me to connect with local creatives as well, since my husband and I have a photography business, and take the feature photos for almost all of the creatives! I have a huge appreciation for everyone that is featured on my blog. I can’t remember if I mentioned this to you or not, but I read every interview carefully. I tear up when I read about things people have gone through or are going through, laugh at the light bits, and have the highest hopes for them. I really appreciate every single creative.

amanda cantrell roche, photo credit: lucent vignette photography
alicia maynard, photo credit: lucent vignette photography

in the interview features at Embody Your Muse, you ask artists some wonderfully thought-provoking questions.  i’m going to turn one of them back to you:  what does creativity mean to you?

Interesting you should ask that, since the very reason I started asking the question was to help frame my own relationship to the word! To me, creativity is taking different ideas, and bringing them together in a new way. Nothing seems to be fully new at this point, but ideas rehashed in interesting, innovative work. It wasn’t until I came to that understanding that I saw myself as truly creative. People would tell me I was creative, but I just couldn’t see it.  Regardless, I love creativity, and I love being around creative people.

i know, as an artist, you love to play with different media.  i’m quite taken with your sound waves embroidery…can you tell us a bit about that work?

I learned different forms of hand stitching in my younger years, but stopped, because it was too “crafty” for me. I wanted to be considered an artist, not a crafter. Then, roughly four years ago, I saw a photo of a piece done in Bargello – an old Italian form of embroidery – and that was that. I taught myself how to embroider Bargello. Who cares if I’m considered an artist, artisan, or crafter. I’m happy! **

600you may say im a dreamer soundwave
embroidered sound waves for “you may say i’m a dreamer, but i’m not the only one” imagine, john lennon

More recently, I had the idea to embroider sound waves – music clips – in Bargello.  That idea evolved into other sound wave projects, including my favourite, fetal heartbeats (suggested by my husband!). There is something so sacred and intimate about that work. My current sound wave project is personal…one of my mantras combined with sounds of the ocean. I will wear it around my wrist, as a constant reminder. All my work at this point is finished as either a cuff (bracelet), or to be framed. ***

600nichole fetal heartbeat soundwave in progress
fetal heartbeat embroidered sound wave in progress

like you, i love inspirational quotes.  can you share one of your favorites with us…maybe one that you turn to again and again, or maybe a newer one that has wiggled its way into your heart?

I have to choose? Oh, my.  “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver.  I consistently resonate with that one.

600dole 2
nichole’s son, photo credit: nichole mc veigh

now a few fun ones…

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

Today was incredibly gorgeous. I believe it was in the 70’s, and I also believe we’re in for a cool down pretty soon.

what did you eat for breakfast?

Decaf coffee with milk and Demerara sugar. I usually go for something more substantial (I love eggs and hash browns topped with mushrooms, onions, jalapeños, and any other vegetables I have on hand), but my morning went a bit differently than planned before I left to photograph a client. I made up for it, though!

what music are you digging lately?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, Beats Antique, James Blake, Bon Iver, Florence and the Machine, the list goes on and on. Oh, and there are Anthropologie and French music playlists on Spotify that I play often. I love music.

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


good, yes?

next wednesday (october 29) i’ll be over at embody your muse answering a few of nichole’s questions.  i can’t wait!
for now, have a good day and a good weekend.  and, of course…

sending a little love your way, m


Nichole McVeigh is an artist with an unquenchable love of learning.  She gives women permission to inhabit their passionate lives through creative coaching and photography, and she makes memories tangible through custom hand-embroidered sound waves.

you can connect with nichole at embody your muse and on her facebook page .
you can find lucent vignette photography {the story of art through light} here and here.
and…you can find her on etsy right here.

** nichole recently had a bargello cuff project included in the Mollie Makes Embroidery book.
*** nichole does custom embroidery.  you can find the contact form here.

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






love notes :: an interview with jennifer belthoff


it is a pleasure today to introduce you to the very sweet jennifer belthoff.  while she attended fall squam 2012, as did i, it was not until after squam that we connected.  instagram, email, her love notes project.  it’s amazing how technology can bring people together…i’m so happy it’s crossed my path with jennifer’s.  and with that nod to technology in place, there’s something to be said for a good, old-fashioned note in the mail.  here’s where jennifer comes in.  she’s the creator of a wonderful project, of which i’m happy to say i’ve participated in twice now and plan to do a third round {more on that soon}.  jennifer’s love notes postcard project is simple and sweet.  but i’ll let her tell you a little more about it…

what exactly is the love notes project?  how long have you been running this project?

The Love Notes Post Card Project is an opportunity to send and receive mail, real mail!  When was the last time that you went to your mailbox and were delighted by what was inside?  The Love Notes Post Card Project changes that, by matching you up with a fellow participant that you send postcards to.  Each week a writing prompt is sent out so that you do not have to face the blank page with fear.

I have been hosting this project a couple times each year since June of 2012.  It has been so wonderful to watch it unfold and see the connections that have been made through the project.

how did you conceive of the love notes post card project?

The Love Notes Post Card project came to life out of my love for writing and snail mail.  When I was a kid I had a couple pen pals that I would correspond with.  Now that technology has become so prevalent it seems that sending and receiving mail, real mail has become a lost art.

I wanted to find beauty in my mailbox next to the bills and coupons.  I wanted to see another’s handwriting and read words from their heart.  I wanted to connect people with one another.  And I wanted to make it easy, and something that anyone could do.

Sitting in bed one night I was brainstorming ideas with my love and from that night the idea emerged so organically.  I chose postcards because of their small size and less intimidating writing space.  Postcards can be found anywhere or could even be made.

do participants need to be artsy or crafty to join in the fun?  how many participants do you generally have?

The only requirements to participate in the Love Notes Post Card Project is the willingness to share some words on a postcard for a stranger.  One does not have to be artsy or crafty to join in the fun, they just have to be open to writing from the heart.  One does not even have to be a self declared “writer”.  If you can write a grocery list then you can write words on a postcard.

So far the number of participants has usually been around 100-150 people from all over the world.  To name a few, I have had people from Australia, Greece, England, Canada, Spain, the United States, and even some smaller countries that I have had to look up.

what’s your favorite part of running this project?

My favorite part about hosting this project is watching it all unfold.  I have seen friendships emerge.  Hearts open from the writing prompts.  People connect with like minded souls.  Amazing artwork created on the postcards.  It is magical, purely magical.

do you join in the fun of sending out love notes yourself?

I do join in on the fun because I LOVE it.  I pair myself up with one of the participants and am fully in the project just like everyone else.

and now, jennifer, some fun ones…

what’s your favorite time of year?

My favorite time of year is spring and summer.  I love the sunshine, warm weather, and being outside.  During that time of year you can always find me doing something outside…riding my bike, sitting on my front porch, feeding the ducks, or going for a walk.  I am a nature lover for sure.

what are some thing you do to bring yourself back to center?

Writing is my healing guide.  I find that when I am out of sorts and all over the place that sitting down with a pen and piece of paper and just letting the page hold my heart brings me back to center.  It is so healing for me to show up on the page and let go.  And I am a total lover of journals and pens and therefore prefer to write by hand.

what did you eat for breakfast?

Yogurt with granola tends to be my daily breakfast ritual :)

name a current song that’s getting a lot of play in your ears these days.

Music is one of my favorite things and I listen to all sorts of music daily so I will give you the last song I listened to:  A Million Dollars by Joel Plaskett


so, are you in?  i speak from experience when i tell you this is a really fun project!  it is delightful to find a bit of sweet mail tucked amidst the bills and advertisements.  the next round of love notes will run for three weeks:  june 16th – july 6th.  jennifer will pair you up with someone and send you a mailing address.  then each week, you’ll receive an email from jennifer with a prompt for that week.  you can use the prompt for your note…or write whatever is stirring your soul.

click right here for the Love Notes Post Card sign up form.  signs ups will be open until june 15th.

Image 1 ~The Love Notes Project~ 
  Hand written words of love 
  sent through the mail
  join us on Facebook ~ Love Notes Group
  share your photos on instagram ~ #lovenotesjb   

thanks for sharing your project with us, jennifer!

sending a little love your way, m