Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Cluttered Space = A Cluttered Mind

Wow - my vacation is almost over and I've so much to do yet. After the trip to Minnesota, I began to organize and purge. Isn't it funny how it's so easy to accumulate things to fit the space you have or even beyond it? For some time now, I've been wanting to pare down things. You know what they say: a cluttered space is a cluttered mind. Actually, there is truth to that. Do you ever notice how much more serene you feel when your space is neat and orderly? 

Over the last several years, I have accumulated way too much. 

It is time to let go of things. 

I have finally admitted to myself what I've been denying for years. I will never finish or even start all those projects that I've wanted to work on. 

No, there are just too many, too little time, and new ones every day. So, it is time to let go and start anew. The hardest part is that I feel like I'm losing a bit of myself as I pack each precious item. Oh, the potential they hold! But unless I win the lottery (highly unlikely as I don't play it!), it will just never happen. So, I am having a garage sale this Saturday. And what I don't sell, I will donate and know that there are others that will create projects from these items. 

I am not letting go of my Somerset series of inspirational magazines. And I am keep some favorite items. But from now on, I will only purchase items as I need them for any project. No more stockpiling! 

My mixed-use creative space looks and feels so much better already. My hallway is lined with boxes of things that are leaving. And though I've purged a lot already, there is still more to be done. Oh, how can I possibly reduce my stash of ribbon? I adore ribbon. But, I'm afraid to say I do have a lifetime supply. I'm now getting down to the really hard part. 

I've made great progress and I'll continue to work on down-sizing my entire house over the next few months. It's difficult work and time-consuming, but it feels great when it's done. My hope is that having a simpler home will provide the space in my head for more creativity and sense of peace. Even though this is hard, I'm excited about it. Just as the seasons change, so too do our lives. I'm feeling a transition, moving on to something new. And that is exciting.

How about you

What do you do to feed your creativity? 
What affect do your surroundings have on it? 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Creative Connection Event 2011

The Creative Connection Event... the rest of the story!

Arriving on Wednesday afternoon in St. Paul, I had time to walk around the local area. 

No, I didn't make it to Mall of America (shopping is the last thing I need to do!) but I did take a stroll around with my camera. Note to self: bring the lighter camera on next trip! There were beautiful hanging flower baskets from the antique-style lamp posts and interesting buildings. 

Does anyone know what this building is across from Rice Park? I didn't walk up close enough to find out, but I was attracted to the architecture as it reminded me of a castle. Very pretty, don't you think? Also notice the brick road which directs your eye right to the building.  

Across from the hotel was the riverfront of the Mississippi River. What a great view from my room! The next day was BlogHer Handmade day. We began with a welcome breakfast in the ballroom and a version of Speed Dating. For twenty minutes or so, we rotated down a line introducing ourselves and exchanging cards. This was a really fun way to meet some interesting people that a person might not have otherwise met. Did I mention that there were 300 or so people there that morning, with more joining for the next two days?

The rest of the day featured three social media panels (very informative), a keynote luncheon with Becky Higgins and Stacy Julian as speakers. Both were excellent, sharing their experiences, learnings and advice while keeping us laughing and smiling at the same time.

The day was capped off by the welcome dinner with keynote speakers Cristina Ferrare and Holly Becker. Each time we entered the ballroom, the tables were beautifully decorated. The tablecloth glimmered in gold as we ate and listened. 

Holly Becker

Both Cristina and Holly kept us riveted with their life stories as they inspired us all by sharing so much of themselves. These are truly accomplished ladies.  

Friday morning, I took Photo Styling with Becki Crosby. The class was packed with information and what a doll Becki is. She did a great job and I have great admiration for the business she has built.

My second class was Photography for Knitters & Craft Bloggers with Gale Zucker. I had seen Gale's photography on her website prior to class and wanted to learn from her. Her photography is beautiful! Another great class - I have tons of notes from both and left both classes totally inspired.

Photo used in inspiration board by Leslie Shewring

The next day started with a keynote breakfast with a great panel of women entrepreneurs including Janine Vangool, Kelly Rae Roberts, Karen Walrond, Leigh Standley, Melody Ross and Susan Branch. I could go on for days, but just let me say that they were all wonderful and forthcoming with challenges they faced and advice for others.

My first class was Traci Bautista's Making a Living as an Artist. Wow - another three hours jam-packed with information, tips, advice and more. The last class was Inspiration Boards with Leslie Shewring. I was anxious to meet Leslie as she co-taught the Blogging Your Way online class last spring. She was just as delightful in person and we used images, papers and washi tape to create some collages. It was a good way to see how specific colors can work with each other.

The class I wanted to take but didn't (oh, there were so many great ones to choose from!) was Creating Fabulous Parties with Kim Stoegbauer of Tomkat Studio. However, I was able to photograph the display outside her classroom later. She has tons of great party ideas!

In between sessions, I perused the Marketplace and took in all the creative wares being sold. There was also a book author's signing and cocktails one evening. Loved the yummy hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

But the last night was the Cupcake Farewell. Even though there were a lot of people around there, I managed to get in and take some photographs of these gorgeous creations.

Yes, I admit that I do buy cupcakes just to photograph so this was a highlight for me!

I didn't eat any, but I sure loved shooting them.

There were also cakes made by Carolyn Robb and Sarah Champler at their English Country Garden Afternoon Tea workshop. 

Oh my - have you seen anything more beautiful than these cakes and lovely bouquet? 

Nancy Sorriano, Jo Packham, Brandy Shay; Zac Williams

Jo Packham, co-founder of the event, gave some final words before everyone enjoyed the desserts. Since I'm always on a quest to improve my photography, I was able to have a nice chat with Zac Williams who was the official photographer for the event. Even he could not resist shooting the cupcakes!

So that was the end of the event, but there is so, so much more I could say. I met so many super nice people, including my new BFFs Debbie and Barb who invited me to dinner at a fabulous Irish pub. The turkey (their specialty) was one of the best I've ever eaten - yum! - and we had a great time. 

I came home with a bazillion notes taken from the panels, keynote speakers, workshops and people I met. It was truly the most inspiring event I've been to and since then, I've been spending hours (okay, days) reorganizing my creative space and planning my creative next steps.  Wow, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all! Kudos to Jo and everyone who worked so hard to make this such a great event. I'm hoping to be back next year!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Creative Connection Event

Just returning from The Creative Connection Event in St. Paul...

Farewell Cupcake Party on Sunday

...and I am so inspired! It was an incredible event in so many ways. 

Let's just say that I'm inspired to unpack my sewing machine and sew again. No, I haven't sewn any clothes since I was in high school but I just might now. 

Or, I may make some new ribbon flowers to wear.

Or, do some other artwork.

And take some new photos. 

In any case, I came back with so many ideas for my artwork and my blog. So much to do, so little time!  

Luckily, I am on vacation now so I can at least plan for what I want to do next. My main goal for this part of my vacation is to get organized. That means going through closets, purging, organizing and maybe even having a garage sale. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind and I need some white space! 

I'm also starting a four week Lightroom class today which I'm super excited about. Then, Blogging Your Way 1.5 starts in three weeks. But for now, I need to get organized, spend some time with my kitty Grace who missed me terribly and requires that I stay by her side now that I'm back. And in between, I'll be thinking about all the things I learned at The Creative Connection Event and begin to put some into practice. But let me just say, the event itself was fantastic and everyone was so friendly.  More to come about the event soon!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wouldn't You Like a Pretty Pink Donut?

Lately, I've been eyeing this pink donut at Starbucks.

Do I eat donuts? No.

But, you may remember how much I love to photograph cupcakes. I guess I can't resist any food that just looks so pretty and sweet.

So even though I don't eat them, I sprung for the dollar to buy one. 

The funny thing is that I left it in my kitchen for a week or two when I was through and it never changed, but it did land with a thud when I picked it up and dropped it back on the plate.

I imagined sitting down to this donut with a glass of milk...

Or perhaps a spot of tea.

I hope it was delicious - it certainly was one of the prettiest donuts I've seen. And with little white polka dots to boot!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Garden Days

A few months ago, I went to the Elizabeth Gamble Garden for a photo excursion. The gardens are visited by many artists and I spied this lady painting the garden under her umbrella. She looked like a painting herself in this little scene.

There were lots of bees, just pollenating away. They move so fast, it was hard to capture them before they moved on to the next flower.

I love topiaries and was pleasantly surprised to find this giant bunny next to the carriage house.

There was so many varieties of flowers - it was truly a lovely estate. How wonderful it must have been to live there back 100 years ago. It was built in 1902 by Edwin Gamble, son of the co-founder of Proctor and Gamble. His daughter Elizabeth lived in the house until she was 92. When she passed in 1981, she gave the estate to the city of Palo Alto. How lucky we are to have this little piece of living history to tour and enjoy.

All photos processed with Cracker Jack photo texture and additional textures by Kim Klassen Cafe for Texture Tuesday. 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Memo to Self: Don't Forget to Hang the Memo Board

A Fanciful Memo Board

Do you like memo boards? I found this black and cream damask pattern memo board at Marshall's recently. Well, actually it was a few months ago; it's been in my garage since then. Often times items made with a padded filling have a bit of a smell to them, so I had to let it wear off before I could bring it back into the house. Actually, I was afraid I might have to sell it at a garage sale but luckily it worked out since I love the black and white pattern. 

I've been taking advantage of some Shutterfly specials this year to print some of my photos, which have been stacking up. So this was perfect for displaying some of them. Right now it's leaning against the wall, propped up on my desk near my computer. It's just one more thing I need to find a place for on my wall. I'm quite happy with the result, though. Do you have a favorite memo board?