I just spend a day and a half alone…

and a little quiet, introspection and organization did wonders for my mind, body and spirit.  Last night I ran out to Barnes and Noble for a book and grabbed a magazine next to the checkout called FLOW.  It spoke to me.  I woke early this morning and decided a habit I want to create is reading something inspiring in the morning instead of news—aaarrgggh NEWS.  I fed my cat, Karen, blended lemon, parsley and ice (after a summer of beer, potato chips and ice cream a correction is necessary), made coffee and sat down to dive into FLOW.

“Celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures.”  REALLY?

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WOW. I was right.  FLOW was utterly inspiring and if I was disciplined and organized enough to publish a magazine this is what it would be. Astrid and Irene are clearly my long lost sisters (and new heros) from the Netherlands. I’m reading the English edition, unfortunately I don’t speak Dutch.  I bet I missed out on some amazing Dutch words that were lost in the translation.   This is the quote below the title.  I need every back issue now.

“No need to hurry.  No need to sparkle.

No need to be anybody but oneself.” —Virginia Woolfe (1882-1941)

contents FLOW magazine LillibridgeThe first article was about positive psychology (which I’m studying) and how small changes in our lives (kaizen, I’ve written about this before) can net big shifts in our lives. The article talked about thinking in terms of solutions, not problems and looking for small ways to bring forth more joy in our lives. LITTLE STEPS, BIG CHANGES.

“It is easier to see things in black and white than to pay attention to all the grey tint in between.” —Dutch philosopher and psychologist, Gijs Deckers

Big, bigger and biggest often doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s the small things that make people happy.”  page 17.

Next was this picture of my hero, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Kahlo’s studio at Casa Azul.  Now, I can’t stop smiling by this point and I’m only on page 18…

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then this quote.  Oh, my sister.  I will write about my sister.  We have a story to tell.

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Then there were interviews with a jewelry artist from Poland, a family living off the grid in British Columbia and an illustrator living in London.  That’s as far as time allowed this morning.  If I had the whole day, I would throw a blanket in my yard and devour every word. I can’t wait until I get back into FLOW.

On page 33 is an article by journalist Catelijne Elzes in celebration of rainy days…my favorite and most inspiring kind of days, throw in fog and I’ll swoon all day.  I can’t wait to read that article.  Really, Irene and Astrid, lets do lunch…

I have to get to get to work on my designs for STRUT…I have only 11 days.  Picking something up that spoke to me randomly got me thinking about connections.  I believe when we’re looking for meaning and connections (threads) in our lives they keep revealing themselves.  We just have to be on our toes or we can miss them.  I often miss them. IMG_6612_3

I know a lot of people don’t believe in coincidences, magic or spirits…however, I choose to.  I will be searching for little signs of magic all day and I have hunch that I just might be able to find some more.

I hope you have a great day and experience a little magic today too.  We all are deserving of some.

Thank you Irene and Astrid. Are you hiring?

Jeweler/Jane Frank’s work for STRUT

Check out the work of German trained, Master Goldsmith, Jane (Yanna) Frank.  Elizabeth Bunsen and my models will be wearing her work on the runway.  My request was for Jane was for her to create something prairie chic, bohemian and earthy and then total freedom.  Yes, she nailed it.  I love the quality of these pieces and the way they reference prairie grasses, nature and the palette we are working with.

It will be a pleasure to showcase these pieces with our clothes and accessories.

Beautiful work, Jane. Thank you.

You can see how well they fit in with what we’re working on…leather, ecodyed textiles and a print made from Elizabeth’s rust work on paper.  Oh, it’s fun to work with such talented creatives.

If you’re interested in taking jewelry classes at Jane’s very welcoming backyard WERKSTATT (workshop) or are in need of custom work or repairs, here’s the link: https://janefrankwerkstatt.wordpress.com/class-schedules-optionsclass-schedules/

Here is the link for more information about Jane, her work and other pieces for sale.http://www.janefrank.net/about.html

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the power of nudge.

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I read about this great behavior study program to help students be more successful during college IDEAS42 (link below).  With the school year approaching and entirely different rules of engagement nipping at my heals, I’m looking for strategies. This site is well worth checking out if you have kids of any age.  It really made me think about the partnership between parent and child required to aid success with transitions.  I’ve come to realize that NUDGE is a pretty swell word.

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NUDGE is different than telling someone WHAT or HOW or WHEN to do something.  It’s a little bit gentler and it’s quieter.  NUDGING is setting up the possibility of a beneficial behavior being implemented.  And sometimes that’s the best we can hope for with ourselves, our loved ones or colleagues…the possibility.

I think about the use of NUDGE with food, money, exercise, reading, chores and so much more.  If I wash fruit, cut up vegetables and make them front and center when the fridge is opened by hungry customers…I’ve nudged them (or myself) to a good choice.

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If I leave out books that I think the kids would love or magazines opened to an article I think they would enjoy without saying a word…I’ve maybe nudged them into reading something I think they would be interested in.  This is way more effective than telling them. I read things to my husband Jeff and pretend I don’t want them to hear it.  I do that a too much.  Ask my kids.  It drives them bananas. A nudge is better.

This year I’m going to fill a basket with graph paper, binder paper, paperclips, tape, highlighters, pens, a stapler, a zip drive, a ruler and whatever else they may need to be successful…NUDGE them toward self sufficiency.  And potentially avoid a run to Staples late at night.  This helps me too.  Having a shelf with cards, envelopes, stamps and an address book makes it way easier to get a message in the mailbox.

As a WIFE and MOM, I don’t want to be a NAG.  I would much rather NUDGE.

I have a college age son and I know that I need to be on top of deadlines for him. I don’t mean schoolwork, but other things…dentist, applications for trips, health care, financial management, family birthdays (so he can call or send a text) and so on.  I won’t do this forever, but NUDGE is the right thing to do for a lot of young adults.  And they can have a sense of accomplishment.

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When I lay out my sketch book, charge my ipad, phone and put a note about my intentions for the day next to my coffee cup…I’m a tiny bit closer to accomplishing what I want to get done that day.  When I don’t, I’m less likely.  The same is true with automatic savings plans, laying out our exercise clothes, making to do lists or putting reminders in our phones, on the fridge or on a calendar.

I’m hardly saying I’ve got this organizational stuff nailed.  It’s an area of profound struggle for me.  But, NUDGE…well, that I can wrap my highly disorganized head around.

The power of NUDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

collaboration is pretty cool.

Elizabeth Bunsen and I are both prairie girls.  Elizabeth from rural Nebraska and me, as you might know, South Dakota. We wanted to design a collection that reflects our shared sense of interior geography. Our efforts will walk down the runway during Burlington, Vermont’s annual fashion show—STRUT.  The show is a part of a three day art celebration in Burlington, Vermont…SOUTH END ART HOP.

Elizabeth creates amazing rust prints on paper.  I’m a graphic designer.  I wanted to design some of our textiles for the show.  I ordered these from SPOONFLOWER.  I think they came out beautifully.  The fabric wasn’t too expensive and they were pretty quick on the turn around.  I can’t wait to work with these prints.

RUST  PRINTS + ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR = PERSONALIZED TEXTILES

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Elizabeth is getting ready for the Art Hop in her studio now as well. It’s sort of a kooky, busy, creative time in Burlington, Vermont’s South End. We will be using some of these pieces that she has ecodyed with eucalyptus and indigo.

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I will be making handbags for the show out of leather scrap.  I love the way Elizabeth’s fabric floats next to the leathers.  I’ll keep posting more of our work as it’s available.  This is by far my favorite creative time of the year and working with Elizabeth’s creations is bringing some additional energy that’s really welcomed.

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I’ll be doing a real blitz of long days in my very hot studio starting August 27th.  If you stop by to visit—an icy, unsweetened iced tea from Cumberland Farms is always welcomed.

 

The South End Art Hop’s STRUT is on September 10th

Here’s the link for tickets.  Both shows usually sell out early.

http://seaba.com/art-hop/strut/

I’ve been thinking about my ego…

lately and basically the more I read the crappier I felt about myself…however there was some hope in what I was reading too.  Einstein helped considerably. Thank you, sir.

ego einstein quoteThe more I protect my lack of knowledge (get defensive, react, don’t listen, dig in my heels) in any given situation the harder I have to work to protect my ego.  When I’m protecting my ego I’m generally talking more than listening as well. Not a great habit.  If I let go and accept things as they ARE instead of how I WISH they were in relation to me—my ego becomes much less fragile or reactive.  This will no doubt be a lifelong practice.  I’m only noticing maybe .00005% of the time now when my ego is acting wounded and subsequently protective, but that leaves a lot of room for growth, right?

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When things come up and I start offering my views about how to fix something or what I think someone else should do, my husband reminds me (and I him) to, “put that on the list of things you don’t have to care about”. Sometimes, because he’s a leadership coach, I don’t take kindly to be “coached”, but now that we’ve done this for each other I notice when my EGO is showing up much faster. That ain’t nothing.

“This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.”  —The character Ellis in the film “No Country For Old Men”

Indeed, it ain’t all waiting on me.

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so challenging & so necessary…

When my kids were little I wanted to see all of the similarities to me and other family members…moles, mannerisms and so much more.  Those observations were really fun—welcomed and celebrated.

However, as a parent of young adults I’m acutely aware of how they are differentiating themselves now.  It isn’t easy to “parent” their emerging adulthood and separateness, but it’s really quite necessary.

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I’m trying to understand their choices and what they represent—freedom, a (hopefully) healthy sense of self and discovering their place in the world.  This is really important work for all of us. I feel more compassionate and slightly less pissed off when I access how I felt at sixteen or twenty years old. Sorry Mom and Dad.  I had to do what I had to do.

Our kids are trying to understand this brand new adulthood thing and the process is a little clunky (to say the least) for everyone.  Young adults that on occasion still need us like they are little kids.  Little kids who want the privileges that come with adulthood.  And parents who would much rather be snuggled up reading bedtime stories than watching the clock and waiting to hear the car pull in the driveway.

I don’t want to spend a lifetime feeling like there should’ve been one more book read.  One more camp.  One more trip.  One more lesson.  One more skill taught. One more ______________ (fill in the blank). If I don’t let go of the ONE MORE(S) they will keep us all from moving forward.  I’m pretty sure we all want to keep moving forward.

First, I must acknowledge the loss.

Then I have to let them go and trust our imperfect past.