Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 Smiles - Handmade Jewelry from Around the World

Today I'm sharing with you some of my latest discoveries in handmade jewelry from around the world that made me smile!

Uh Oh Necklace - Foundling - Asheville

More on my Pinterest board here.


This week has been busy, busy, busy with my Creative Courage e-course beginning, but wonderful too! We have another very international group of lovely, kind women with many new and many familiar faces, and it's such a treat to begin another session together. 

I will be closing registration once and for all on Friday, so if you are interested in joining us at Creative Courage, I hope you will grab the opportunity to sign up here.

I wish you a happy Thursday with lots of creativity and inspiration!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Chance to Join Creative Courage

On Monday, January 28th, my next session of Creative Courage begins - and I wanted to let you know that this will be your last opportunity to join Creative Courage for quite a while.

We have 12 all new interview guests joining us this session, including Grace Bonney from design*sponge, artists Lisa Congdon and Kelly Rae Roberts, Faythe Levine, author of Handmade Nation - come check out our wonderful line up of talented artists and writers here

As a special bonus, I'll be sending each participant a handwritten postcard from my new hometown of Berlin.

I've been revising, adding materials, and working hard to make this the best session of Creative Courage - ever!

Would your friends, sisters, mom, or someone else you know enjoy the course? If so, please feel free to help me spread the word.

There are still a few spots left, but they have been filling quickly today.

If you are interested in taking part in Creative Courage, the time is now. I hope you'll hurry over to grab your space here

I'm looking forward to making 2013 a more colorful, creative, and courageous year together!

Thanks for everything and I'm sending you hugs today from snowy Berlin,


lisa solomon : artists who blog

Lisa Solomon is a multi-talented artist friend, who I first interviewed way back in 2008 here. She continues to amaze me with her productivity and her kind, generous spirit! 

Lisa is an art professor, freelance graphic designer, and author of a beautiful recently published book called Knot Thread Stitch, which explores creativity through mixed media and embroidery. She also runs a crafty business called MODIfy/d with a friend, and her first online class called INTERWOVEN (featuring a very cool variety of art + sewing techniques) begins soon - on February 4th.

Lisa has shown her artwork internationally in the US, Italy, and Japan. See more of Lisa's artwork on her website and read more about her studio practice and poetic musings on her blog.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your personal connection between sewing and making art.

Hi ! I'm Lisa - I live in Oakland, California with my husband, my 4 year old daughter, a pit bull, deaf french bulldog, 2- 3 legged cats and a stumpy tail kitty. I'm a half Japanese half Caucasian/Jewish American not very tall lady. 

I mention my heritage because I have always felt like a "hybrid" [culturally] and have come to realize that this hybridity is really central to how I work and what I make. In many ways I liken it to being "in between" – I float between different familial and cultural rituals/routines/expectations and my work floats between media/subject matter/scale. 

I tend to make work that is either small or really big [like room size]. Most of my work has some sort of personal quotient – either it's directly about me/my family, or the subject matter is influenced by something or someone close to me. I tend to use painting, crochet, embroidery, drawing, paper, felt, pins – the implications of using craft materials in a fine art setting is something I like to flirt with. 

My grandmother was an avid maker. She knitted and crocheted and embroidered. She was particularly great at hardangar embroidery [which baffles my mind, but it stunningly beautiful]. 

When I was in grad school I discovered embroidery. And once I did it simply became another means for me to draw. 

We'd love to hear more about your beautiful new book Knot Thread Stitch. What inspired you to write this book?

I actually wasn't sure I could do it. A book wasn't really in my plans. But then my editor really spurred me on. I also decided that I wanted to approach it differently. In the end I really just wanted to make a book that had cool projects that used embroidery in an interesting and hopefully retro/contemporary way. I thought a lot about how I use my own EXTENSIVE craft book library -- I tend to look at the pretty pictures and then figure out a way to incorporate a technique or idea in my own way. 

I dreamed about handing off my projects to a bunch of my ├╝ber talented friends - and just seeing what they did with simple parameters. So I gave them project titles and a few ideas but very little other direction. I thought it would be fun to see our wildly different and personal takes side by side - and indeed it really was a treat to see the gorgeous work my friends and colleagues made. 

How did you come up with so many unique ideas for creative mixed media projects in your book?

I tried to think about how traditional embroidery was utilized – what decorative purposes did it serve? And then I tried to think about how to contemporize  these basic project ideas. Honestly this book gave me permission to make things that I've had in my mind for a long time, but didn't have the free time to pursue. 

I also really wanted to push the boundaries of what you could embroider on and with – paper, shrink plastic, felt balls…. I spent some time looking around my house and a lot of time looking at the craft books out there and trying to do things with my own twist [and hunting down contributors who would provide THEIR own twists].

Many interesting variations for your projects are featured in your book - as "Artist Versions." How did you choose the artists for your book, and how was your experience with collaborating with so many fellow artists?

That was so fun ! I basically approached all my online craft buddies. Back when we all started blogs [what 7 years ago?] internet land was much smaller and I really feel as though I forged some strong friendships. After I had a list of the projects for the book I just racked my brain for people who fit into the project – and I wanted people whose takes would be really different from mine. 

I realized during this that I'm a pretty good project manager ;) and it was really really fun to have an excuse to work with all these people that I admire so much. Luckily all the contributors are incredibly organized and hard workers so they made it really easy on me. I didn't have to hound them or follow up for paperwork/releases. 

What were some of the biggest challenges and highlights of having your book published? 

For me it was really hard to wrap my head around how much content would = how many pages. I had no idea really how to translate that. Also I knew that I had to write the whole thing – but REALLY – I had to write the whole thing ! At some point I struggled with how much to include in the basics section – what fabrics did I really have to write about and what did I want to say???

Also even though I knew it was going to be a lot of work – it really was A LOT OF WORK ! From idea development to actually making all the pieces for the book, to getting them photographed [and I styled all the photos too]… But… in the end I have a BOOK. Something I never dreamed I'd have. And I love books. With a passion. So it's a thrill to look at my book – it's MINE. 

Highlights? Hearing from readers and makers about the book and what they've made. I'm going to NY to do a workshop at Purl Soho in March – I've loved their store forever so it's a real treat to get to do something with them. 

Do you have tips for someone who would love to write and publish their own creative book? For instance, how to develop a successful book proposal and working together with a publisher?

I was SO lucky in that my publisher approached me and pretty much cajoled me into making my book. I had the best editor who really walked me through the whole process and answered any and all questions. In terms of developing a successful proposal – I think the key is really figuring out how your book is going to be different from what is already on the market. 

How is your book different from what is already in their stable and what has already been made? What my publisher wanted was a Table of Contents and a short description of what I would do. That was what got the ball rolling. They were already familiar with my work, so I didn't have to provide images, but if you are pitching from "scratch" I would make sample projects and photograph them so that there is really a sense of what your aesthetic and point of view are. I would also research publishers. Different ones are known for different things. Find the one that suits your ideas/talents. 

From my experience your editor is KEY. That is a relationship that you really want to feel comfortable with. You want someone who will be able to be your middle person, someone who will support you and back you up [with the powers that be and designers] when you need it. 

Please tell us about your creative dreams for 2013 and beyond. What are some of the future projects would you love to work on?

Creative dreams? Hmmm. I have a solo show in November so I am frantically working on that. I had this crazy idea and asked for help and was so overwhelmed with the response. I have been managing that since the beginning of the year ;)  

I'm also really excited about the online class I'm about to teach with my friend Katrina called INTERWOVEN - it's the first time trying an e-course and I'm excited to see how that will work. 

Otherwise really I have been missing my studio. I need to carve out some time to play and figure out what needs to happen next. I need to just sit and drink some tea and simmer – but as we all know – that is much easier said than done – especially with a kid!

That sounds great Lisa, and you know I can relate :)

I love your Knot Thread Stitch book and I'm sure that your new INTERWOVEN online course is going to be a hit! Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts with us today! xo

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

10 Smile Tuesday : Kitchen Love

I'm truly enjoying our 10 Smile Tuesday series, and I hope you are too! Today I'm featuring beautiful things I would love to have in my kitchen, enjoy! xo

I adore everything from Heather Moore's South African Skinny laMinx label and her screen printed tea towels, aprons, and houseware - especially this apron in Abacus

More of my kitchen love...

Spring tea towel from Canadian design label bookhou

Mason Jar recipe cards hand printed by Noelle Griskey at Pink Bathtub

Collectibles print from Francesca Iannaccone aka mrs eliots books

Plums print by Ana/ANEK

Sushi print by Arrolynn Marsh

Ich liebe dicke Hintern - "I love big bottoms" in German - 
postcard from my friends at Rosenrot Berlin 


Hope you are smiling now!

Find even more kitchen goodness on my Pinterest board here.

I'm sharing new recipes and stories about my latest cooking classes - Israeli, French, and Italian - here.

Have a lovely Tuesday!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

10 Smile Tuesday : Illustrated Recipes

Hope you are having a lovely Tuesday! Today I'm posting 10 of my favorite illustrated recipes that I hope will give you a smile.

Lemon Meringue Pie by Lucile Prache

How to Make Spicy Dill Pickles by Elisandra Sevenstar

Pesto alla Genovese by Emiko Davies

Vegetable Stew by Koosje Koene

Easy Roasted Tomatoes by Rebecca Green

Tzatziki by Felicita Sala

Bloody Mary by Kelly Lasserre

Grandma Lou's Sugar Cookies by Lisa Longfellow

Banana Bread by Heather Perry


What are your favorite recipes and/or cookbooks?

Are there any food blogs you love to follow? 

I've been quite inspired by all of the yummy recipes that I've noticed on Pinterest lately, how about you?


And - did you know that we devote an entire week to personal wellness and sharing delicious recipes in my Creative Courage course? Yes, and I love this part of the course! We will begin soon on January 28th, it won't be long. There are still a few spots left, so if you haven't registered yet, please check it out here.

This week, I'll be sending out my very first monthly newsletter of 2013, featuring more new recipes and everything with the theme "delicious." I'd love to send you a copy, simply sign up here.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Creative Courage Soul Sisters : Part II

Our Creative Courage Soul Sisters series continues today with these amazing women:

I'm over the moon thrilled that Grace Bonney will be contributing an interview for this session. Grace is the NYC based creator and editor of Design*Sponge and author of Design*Sponge at Home. She founded the popular (and very helpful) Design*Sponge Biz Ladies series and even a Design*Sponge Scholarship for art and design students!

Grace has been featured in The New York Times, on The Martha Stewart Show, and on Good Morning America to name a few. I particularly love Grace's radio podcast series called After the Jump. In this series, Grace shares interviews with leading artists and designers, as well as her own personal experiences. One of my favorite podcasts from the series is Grace's personal Work/Life Balance

Grace also happens to be one of the most friendly and generous design bloggers I've had the pleasure of meeting online. 

I asked Grace to share one of her creative dreams for 2013:

"My dream for 2013 is to do at least one project where I truly let go and try something that scares me. Whether I fail or succeed, I want to work towards operating from excitement and hope rather than fear or perceived safety."

Another talented guest I'm delighted to introduce is Kelly Rae Roberts, well-known mixed media artist based in Portland and author of Taking Flight: Inspiration + Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings

Kelly Rae is also the creator of the highly recommended ebook series Flying Lessons, the Hello Soul, Hello Business e-course, and has had huge success as a creative entrepreneur, self-proclaimed possibilitarian, and internationally licensed artist.

Kelly's warmth, openness, and encouraging spirit are very present on her much loved blog, and you will find an enormous array of her glowing artwork and illustrated products in her online shop.

You can also connect with Kelly Rae on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Helen Dardik's sense of humor and her love for life shine through in her art, illustrations, patterns - and on her very popular Orange You Lucky blog!  Helen is a Canadian illustrator and designer, born in Odessa by the Black Sea, and she also lived in Siberia and Israel before moving to Ottawa. Lately, I've been trying to convince her to come visit in Berlin - she is also a fan of the Berlin movie "Run, Lola, Run!"

Helen is represented by the illustrious Lilla Rogers Studio, and runs a beautiful, busy online shop called Orange Studio, full of her whimsical, joyful prints. She's also mom to 3 little girls, and you have to wonder how on earth she has so much energy to keep up with it all, wow!

You can view Helen's lovely illustration portfolio on her website, and visit her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Cynthia Morris is another true traveling soul sister and writer, creativity coach, consultant, mentor, and author of the recently published, Paris based novel Chasing Sylvia Beach

Cynthia loves to travel around Europe as much as I do and describes herself as a "creative nomad."  She leads writing workshops internationally and was a recent speaker at the famous World Domination Summit in Portland.

What does Cynthia have planned for 2013?

"My creative dream for 2013 is to focus on my art. I plan to take what I've been doing in my journals to the next step: work in larger format, showing my journals in videos and develop other art projects. I hope to become a better painter and illustrator and discover a whole new adventure for myself."

Get in touch with Cynthia on her Original Impulse website and read more about her new novel here.

Super talented, prolific artist Julia Rothman is another of our Creative Courage contributors this session! 

Julia is a much sought after illustrator, designer, and the author/illustrator of several books, including: Drawn InThe Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative GameFarm Anatomy, and most recently The Where, The Why, and the How: 75 Artist Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science

She is co-creator of Also Design, a company which designs unique and beautiful websites, logos, animation, and print projects. Julia's many clients include Chronicle Books, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Target, Crate & Barrel, and countless others.

Julia also keeps a popular book blog called Book By Its Cover, where she reviews her favorite gorgeous books and art related publications.

She also enjoys "going on walks with her terrier Rudy, playing Boggle on the iPhone, and rating Bloody Marys on a scale from 1-10."

See Julia's incredible illustration portfolio here, and connect with her on Twitter.

Alicia Bock grew up in Michigan and Florida, surrounded by water and color, which has influenced her work as a professional and fine art photographer. Alicia also describes herself as a traveler and dreamer.

She is also a poetic blogger and she writes: "My photography is the search of light and shadows, pretty things in pink, the feeling of the ocean, and a blue moon. I strive to create photographs that evoke memories of our favorite days." Gorgeous.

Alicia runs a popular Etsy online shop featuring fine art photographs "from Paris to the seaside."

Connect with Alicia on her blog, view her lovely print gallery, and join her on Facebook, and on Twitter


When I put together these Creative Courage Soul Sister posts, I can hardly believe myself that I am lucky enough to interview all of these incredible women. 

I am awed and inspired by all they do, and I'm simply delighted that they've agreed to share their time and thoughts with us at Creative Courage.

I'm sending out another round of warm, grateful hugs to all of my creative courageous soul sisters - thank you!!

Wouldn't you like to join us on January 28th, as we start another fun, festive, colorful, motivating session to begin our year full of joyful, creative spirit?

I hope you'll come over to Creative Courage today, feel inspired, and join us here.

I'm sending you giant hugs from Berlin today too!



Creative Courage Soul Sisters: Part I

Photo of artist Lisa Congdon by Leslie Sophia Lindell Photography

Hello there! I'm excited to share a new Creative Courage Soul Sisters post with you today! These incredible women will be sharing their secrets with us in exclusive interviews in the next session of my Creative Courage e-course

I LOVE doing these guest interviews with talented, smart women who are running thriving creative businesses and following their dreams. I learn so much from the interviews myself, and I'm always inspired and pleasantly surprised by the responses I receive.

Creative Courage starts in only 2 weeks, and I'd like to invite you to join us here


We'll start today with San Francisco based illustrator and fine artistLisa Congdon - author of the unique book A Collection A Day, which documents her 2010 blog project, published by UPPERCASE. Lisa is represented by the prestigious agency Lilla Rogers Studio and her clients include Chronicle Books, Target, and Urban Outfitters.

Lisa was raised in upstate New York and Northern California surrounded by trees and animals, and her artwork is inspired by her love of nature. She now lives in San Francisco, and she's also an avid cyclist and swimmer.

Lisa loves cooking vegan meals, visiting flea markets, watching films, and spending time in her light-filled studio. 

When asked about her creative dreams for 2013, Lisa told me: "In 2013, I'd like to start making large, abstract paintings." 

See Lisa's art portfolio, and visit Lisa on her blogFacebook, Twitter, in her Etsy shop and on Big Cartel.

Another lovely guest joining us this session is Faythe Levine, documentary film maker, writer, artist, photographer, curator, events organizer, creator of the well-known film and book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY Art, Craft, and Design, as well as the new Sign Painters book and upcoming film.

In her hometown of Milwaukee, Faythe curates an art space called Sky High Gallery. Since 2004, she has also organized a wildly successful local show called Art vs. Craft that supports innovative makers of handmade goods. 

Faythe writes: "I am continually searching for good things-- music, food and art objects. My desire to share and collect drives me to keep searching and meeting new people at home and while I travel." 

One of Faythe's creative dreams for 2013: "In 2013 I am determined to step away from computer based research and carve out studio time for myself to go back to making visual art."

Learn more about Faythe's many fascinating creative projects on her blog, including more about the Handmade Nation book and film and her new Sign Painters book and film.

Our next guest is Laurie Wagnerpoet and writer, creative writing coach, author of 7 published books and numerous magazine articles, creator of the 27 powers Traveling Writers series, Wild Writing classes, and the Telling True Stories ecourse. She's also a mixed media artist, mother of two, and a "one time amateur racquetball champion."

I adore how Laurie tells us more about herself here: "The ceiling in my dining room is gold. The walls are blood red. I have a fire pit surrounded by a motley crew of comfy chairs, in my front yard.  My garden refuses to be tamed... If I'm in a bleak mood, I won't try to hide it. If I'm feeling like a luminescent moonbeam, I won't hide that either."

Laurie has personally taught over 1000 writing students, and she currently leads weekly writing classes at her home in the Northern California Bay Area and in Berkeley at The Teahouse Studio. Her Telling True Stories e-course is wide open and welcome to writers of all ages, around the world.
When I asked Laurie to tell me about one of her creative dreams for 2013, she replied:

"My creative dream for 2013 is pretty simple, it's to have a create person's wet dream. For this, I need the trinity of: 

1. Good ideas
2. The time to execute them
3. The energy to inspire them

Often I'll have one or two of them - the ideas, but no time - the time, but no get-off-my- tush-inspiration to execute them.

Having all three  - ideas, energy and time - is all I want for 2013. I don't care what I make, I just want to make it up and make it happen!"  

Don't miss Laurie's 27 Powers website and blog, and there is still time to sign up for her Telling True Stories e-course starting this week!

I'm delighted to have ceramic artist Diana Fayt joining us this session too! 

Diana is based in San Francisco and her internationally celebrated ceramic art has been featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine and in many American and Japanese publications. Diana's artwork is exhibited all over the world, and her clients include Heath Ceramics.  

Diana received her ceramics and printmaking degree from the California Arts and Crafts, but beforehand she spent a year retracing her Hungarian family roots in Budapest in 1983/84. 

In Hungary with her distant relatives, Diana "explored Communist Hungary with a pack of former circus stars who drove an old Cadillac, frequented burlesque shows and liked to "Boogie."  Sounds like fun to me!!

I asked Diana to share one of her creative dreams for 2013: 

"My one creative dream for 2013 is to learn new things. I've spent so many years as a solitary maker and teaching others that I am yearning to re-fill by learning new things and be challenged in new ways. The number one thing I want to do is learn better sewing skills so I can start making my own clothing."

Connect with Diana on her blog, on Facebook, see her beautiful website portfolio, and visit her online shop.

Another Creative Courage Soul Sister who loves to combine her travel and creative process as much as I do is Maya Stein - ninja poet, writing guide, creative adventuress, creator of the Type-Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem and Tour de Word travel writing projects, and leader of the Feral Writing Workshops.

Maya was born in Nova Scotia, but grew up in New England, has more freckles than she can count, loves making crepes, and is a self-proclaimed "perennial 12-year-old" and "seeker of hidden places and mystery."

Maya's weekly poetry practice10-line Tuesdayreaches more than 1000 people each week, she has self-published four books, and she just completed her fifth.

In 2010, Maya completed her "Tour de Word" project - a two month, 12,000 mile driving trip through 30 states, during which she lead writing workshops for children and adults.

In early summer 2012, to celebrate her 40th year, Maya began her "Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem" travel project. For this tour, Maya rode her bicycle (towing a typewriter) for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, Massachusetts to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while stopping to gather words and images from strangers in the communities she visited.

Regarding her creative dreams in 2013, Maya told me:

"Aside from finishing my Type Rider book, what I'd REALLY like to do is be asked to come for a speaking engagement somewhere. I'd love to be able to share some of my experiences - about writing, about teaching, about building an audience around poetry, about navigating online spaces with my work, and about manifesting creative projects. I'm hungry for live interactions, opportunities for genuine learning and exchange, and I'd really like to offer up more of myself in this way, to help others through the process of moving their creative lives forward."

Join Maya on her website, find out more about her classes, and peek inside her shop.

The always inspiring Portland based photographer Andrea Jenkins will happily be joining us this session as well! 

In addition to being a photographer, Andrea is a writer, modern dance teacher, core contributor to UPPERCASE magazine, as well as a regular contributor to Poppytalk and Shutter Sisters. Her work has been featured in numerous art/photography books and magazines.

Andrea describes herself as: "one part freelance photographer, one part writer, one part teacher, one part (modern) dancer, one hundred parts mama. kidding about that last part. well, not really. I live in portland, oregon with my spectacularly bearded husband and two extraordinary children in a small house filled with too many collections and probably too many legos."

Her loves: "instant photography and lists that tell stories plus old school photo booths and movement as art. plus vintage everything, lemon sugar anything."

Andrea's creative dream for 2013:

"to shoot with as many different cameras as I can. and write about it. in fact, it's a new project I'm about to begin." 

I adore Andreas' lovely Hula 70 blog and her Etsy shop full of gorgeous prints featuring her dreamy Polaroid (and other) photos.

You can also connect with Andrea on flickr, twitter, pinterest, and instagram.


A giant, warm hug goes out to all of my Creative Courage Soul Sisters for sharing their time and thoughts with us, and I hope you enjoyed meeting them and having a peek behind the scenes. 

I can't wait to share their interviews with you in the course! Part II is coming up later today.

I hope you'll join us for the next inspiring new session of Creative Courage, starting January 28th. To get more information and register, simply click here.