Digging out of creative ruts

This past last November I needed a major creative kick in the pants. Not about what I was creating, no. About what I was wearing. I had been freelancing and working from a home office for about 4 years and was completely and utterly disgusted with myself that I had spent the majority of those last years in pajamas or yoga pants. When I first started working from home it was such a novel concept. IM-ing with friends stuck in an office while I sipped coffee in my slippers.

That novelty soon wore off though, and well, I just started feeling like a slob. All the time. Even when I did put clothes on. Nothing seemed to work. I was in a duel to the death with my closet and coming out on the losing side. I had lost my style mojo.

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You see, I was always known as one of the more stylish gals in the office. What I wear has always been a direct reflection of how I feel. And I preached that same philosophy to everyone around me. "Yes! What you wear can effect your mood! Your performance! Your day!" So what did it say about me that I didn't care to get dressed during the week for almost 4 years straight? Well, that's a long session on a therapist's couch just waiting to happen.

I didn't realize until recently that my style is actually an outlet of creative expression for me. Yet there I was, floundering, as I struggled to find one thing to wear in a closet that was so overstuffed I quite literally could not fit one more garment into it. I found myself feeling frumpy and grumpy most days. Not creative, and certainly not inspired by my wardrobe. The major problem? Most of the things hanging in said closet were for the life I used to have, (going into an office, working a 9-5), not for the life I am living now. 

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I'm happy to say that for the last 2 months I've been getting up and getting dressed every morning. Sometimes, actually more times than not, I'm even swiping on some bold red lipstick. Regardless if I'm going to see another human being that day or not. And guess what? I'm happier. I'm more productive. I feel smarter. (Really, I do!) 

I can't wait to share some more of my style revelations and transformations in the coming weeks as I go through the process of transitioning my closet from a whole bunch of crap I didn't want to wear, to breezily throwing together the perfect freelancer's uniform. 

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Step one was the purge. As you can see from this pile of hangers, no mercy was shown. Drastic times call for drastic measures people. And these were drastic times indeed...

Advice for a Friday: Inspiration is for Amateurs

Inspiration

Thank you Chuck Close. Have a great weekend everyone and get to work! :)

Pin Spiration

A collection of pins that have grabbed my attention lately

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from the tart tart

The citrus trees in our yard are heavy with fruit right now, so piles of freshly squeezed rinds are a common site around our kitchen lately. Spending some time photographing these cast offs would be some fun creative play time this week.

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from Murat Ibrahim Tumblr

It's hard for me to stop staring at this image. So incredibly dynamic and beautiful.

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from They Call Me Redhead

Lips, hair, dress. The colors are perfection. I had my routine hair reddening this weekend, and in my dreams this is how it would be styled every day.

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from The Glamourai

It's time to start thinking about how to decorate our bedroom. This image hit all the right notes for me.

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from The Design Files

Looking at this neatly organized workshape makes me want to chuck everything from my garage so I can create a making station just like this.

This made me happy today: Oamul Lu

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How to you take super delightful illustration and make it even more delightful? You turn it into a GIF. Thanks Oamul Lu. You made my day!

Quiet time. Winter's gift.

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I just got back from the midwest- seconds before the tempurature took a drastic dive bomb into the sub-zero zone. Everyone says they hate winter, but I REALLY hate winter. In particular, being cold. I have no tolerance for it. One of the perks to moving to the sunshine state; no more scrapping ice off of windshields, or the perpetual rat's nest in the back of my head from wearing wool scarves.

I wasn't looking forward to my trip at all because of the cold. If I was a child I, would have been in full on melt down mode kicking and whaling as I flung my body on the floor. Dramatic, I know. 

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But then something magical happened. It started by packing my vintage, long mink fur coat. I decided I didn't care if I got sideways glances from passersby and cafe patrons. (I love to be unique, but I also worry WAY too much about what other people think of me.) I wanted to be warm dammit- and this coat is the heavy artillary. And it's beautiful. But I never wear it for fear of, well, i don't know what. Being too fabulous? Offending a hippie next to me in the coffee shop? Not blending in? I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw and didn't look back. 

Once my- oh so very important- needs of staying warm were met, I was happy as a clam. Even allowing myself to walk more than a couple of blocks outside without muttering swear words under my breath the whole time. I was able to notice things I would have otherwise overlooked. Like how quiet the world becomes when it's really, really cold. Winter's gift to us: quiet time to turn inward for reflection and solitude. I suppose it's no accident that as a society we set new goals and spend more time in reflection at the new year- generally the coldest and darkest time of year. Once I acknowledged the quiet, I was able to notice how small sounds are amplified and travel great distances to our ears in the dead cold. 

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What would happen in our day to day lives if we took time to put on our figurative fur coats, set aside our fears, and allow ourselves to be absolutely, positively quiet and alone with our thoughts? How could this change our creative practices? Our relationships? Our spirituality? Our health?

Suddenly that little voice at the very bottom of our hearts- muffled by the temperate comings and goings of everyday life- is heard. It's amplified by the quiet, and our greatest hopes and possibilities are allowed to bubble up and reveal themselves.

Maybe visiting the cold isn't such a bad thing after all.

Images sources via my pinterest

Artcrank Poster: Pedal Pusher

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Last month I had the pleasure of participating in Artcrank LAX again. It was a great night with lots of great posters, and once again I was honored to be part of the group. 

Maybe you missed it. Maybe you don't live in LA. Either way, you're in luck because there are a limited amount of my Pedal Pusher print available in my shop. Head on over and check it out!

Desktop Wallpaper: Holiday Sweets

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Are you starting to feel the Christmas Crunch?! I'm doing all right. Most of my gifts are purchased and in the mail (thank you Amazon prime!) Living in LA makes it hard to get in the holiday spirit though. Having grown up in the midwest, looking out the window and seeing green grass, blue skies and 75 degree weather just doesn't put you in the Holiday spirit. (Not complaining! Really, I'm not!) I do need some other cues to bolster up that Christmassy feeling though. Thankfully, Kelly over at Studio DIY asked me to make some downloadable gift tags, and well, of course I couldn't stop there!

To make sure you're really in the spirit this year, I made desktop and phone wallpapers of holiday candies for all of you! AND, lucky you, they coordinate perfectly with the tags I made for Studio DIY. So download your wallpapers now, then put some tunes on, and wrap up all your sweet gifts with your tags too!

Desktop Wallpaper / Phone Wallpaper

Make art that sells: Final Thoughts

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I still haven't shared my work for the fifth and final week of MATS, so here it is. We were designing artwork based on our own collections. I actually realised I have a lot of different little mini collections. I like to think of them more as things I gravitate towards from a home interior perspective. I drew up several different things, but in the end went a more natural route. Nature is something I am continually inspired by- and I do pick up little things on walks and trips and sprinkle them through my home. In a lot of ways, even though this class pushed me to create things outside of florals, etc., it also solidified for me that I'm really happy when I'm observing nature and translating it back into the world in my own unique way. For this project, that translated into using plant and animal life from under the sea. I loved experimenting with the different shapes and love that the design came out as a sort of floral, but in a much, much more interesting way!

I loved the motifs and colors so much that I wanted to create a pattern collection based on them as well. So then, "Sea Carnival" was born:

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The biggest thing I want to touch on though today, is not the inspiration and encouragement from Lilla during the course, or even the artwork created for the course which challenged and surprised me, but the community that occurs as a result of the course. 

Deciding to make art to sell for licensing is no joke. I am hopeful that I can make a rewarding career/lifestyle from doing this because I love it. Like, to the core of my bones love it. But it's filled with all sorts of questions and uncertainties- especially at the beginning. This course has put me in touch with the most amazing group of artists- from every single walk of life and every single type of media and it's unquantifiable. They are there to encourage, support, offer suggestions on artwork or just have a bit of a laugh on a long day. To be in touch with other artists all over the world with just a few clicks of the keyboard- how cool is that?!

So with that, some of the other lovely artists and myself have put together a little blog tour to share a little of all of this amazing talent. I'm going to feature today's other two artists, but be sure to check out the dates and sites below so that you can have a look at all of these talented peeps!

First up is Rachael Schafer. I just loved the line quality and whimsy of all of these little cages:

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And next is Jordan Vinograd Kim. I immediately fell in love with that bee! So pretty with the mixed media paper texture under the colors:

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If you'd like to catch up on my thoughts over the journey of the whole course you can find that here:

week one / week two / week three / week four

And be sure to pop over to these lovely folks in the coming days and weeks: