Entries Tagged as: Books

On Dreaming Big, Guest Post by Carmen Torbus

May 24th, 2011, Comments (6)

For quite some time now, I’ve referred to myself as a Bliss Follower, Big Dreamer, Mess Maker and lover of the words, “I’m so inspired right now!” So naturally, a blog like Creative Every Day and an artist like Leah would certainly draw me in. 

When my big dream of writing a book began to take shape, I knew I had to ask Leah to be a part of it.  I was absolutely elated when she said she would contribute!

Putting a little check-mark next to “write a book” on my Mondo Beyondo Big Dream List is a pretty surreal feeling.  I love Leah’s theme of “Big” this month and when she asked me to do a guest post, I knew I wanted to write about dreams.  It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to share my Big Dreams, so I took a bit of a stroll through old blog posts and pulled out my journals to see where I’ve come on my list. 

It as almost a year ago that I shared my Big 3 and so much has changed since then, but what’s really cool is that although my circumstances have changed, the heart of my goals has not... talk about reassuring! 

My Big 3 last summer:

1. Develop and launch an empowering & inspiring, self-discovery, powerhouse course/seminar/extravaganza for creative dreamers.
2. Create a coaching/consulting/conspiring program for creative women and begin taking clients that are ready to get fired up & take action to rock their creative lives.
3. Start speaking to audiences of creative women.  The cheerleader in me gets all giddy at the thought of getting a crowd of creative women fired up!

Oh my gosh,  I still get all kinds of excited just thinking about these dreams.  Now that I'm working full time outside the home, instead of reaching for these goals individually, I want to combine the three and make them into one mega-big dream... an extra-messy, super-inspiring, blissed-out, art making, personal discovery workshop.  That one is a whopper.... scares the pants of me just thinking about it. 

My Big 3 now:

1.The workshop above.
2. Again.
3. And again. (to infinity!)

What are your big dreams?  What are you passionate about?  What gets you out of bed in the morning and tucks you in at night?  What makes your heart sing?  Dream Big - over and over and over again!

xo & belief in all things you,

Mixed Media Artist and Author of The Artist Unique, Inspiration and Techniques to Discover Your Creative Signature

p.s. from Leah: Congratulations, Carmen on the launch of your book, The Artist Unique! I'm thrilled to be a part of it!!

Some small things I’ve been up to

April 22nd, 2011, Comments (10)

Keeping with the small theme, here are some of the small things I've been up to in the last week. I finished up a total experiment in sewing, using some fabric scraps I had from my first big sewing project, to make this little bird. He's perfectly imperfect.

My littlest pal (my best friend's 3 year old) and I made beautiful play-doh art (this was entirely directed by her.)

I've been taking loads of tiny photos with the Instagram app. If you use the app, have you heard about postagram? It's a cool way to get your instagram photos in hard copy, in the form of a postcard. I'm going to have to try that out.

I've also been putting the finishing touches on the nursery, including painting a growth chart tree which I'm in love with. Here's a sneak peek of it in progress. I promise to share photos of the whole nursery in all its glory very soon!

I also got a copy of the small and lovely new book by Patti Digh, What I Wish for You. I love Patti's writing. You can find my painting, The Unknown, on page 70!

I hope your weekend is full of small beauties!

The Right Brain Business Plan and a Giveaway!

March 1st, 2011, Comments (59)

I'm thrilled to share this interview with Jennifer Lee, author of the recently published The Right Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. Jenn is a friend of mine and I've loved seeing the process of this book go from a spark of an idea, to proposal, to draft, to finish product. I'm so proud of you, Jenn!

The book is awesome and I'm so excited to be giving away a copy! With all the creative folks who stop by here, I know many of you would benefit from this work. I'll have more details about the giveaway at the end of this post. I also want to be sure you've heard about the free Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit that's taking place this week. Check it out, there's loads of great information being shared.

On to the interview!

Jenn, how did you come up with the idea for the Right Brain Business Plan?

Funny you should ask, Leah, because the first Right-Brain Business Plan was born when I did your fabulous Art Every Day Month challenge for the first time back in 2007! So thanks for creating a space to help the idea blossom. During the last two days of the challenge, I was also working on my business plan and decided that I would use the opportunity to do something creative with it since I had to make art for the day anyway. I collaged my big vision for 2008 and beyond on one side of an accordion book and then the next day I put details such as my marketing plan, products and services, financial goals, and action plan on fun cards on the back. The plan helped me reach my goals the next year and became the inspiration for the e-book, workshops, e-Course, and now the book. Just goes to show you how having a regular creative practice like AEDM can spark fresh new ideas!

What advice do you have for creatives out there looking to start their own business?

You don’t have to go it alone. It can be scary to start your own business and put yourself out there, so make sure you have a circle of support – I like to call them your creative cohorts – who you can lean on and learn from. In fact, Leah, you and I connected through our blogs several years ago and have been great sources of support and encouragement to each other even since.

What is the first step to crafting a Right Brain Business Plan?

Start with getting clear about your vision for your business (and your life). What are you passionate about? What do you and your company stand for? What values are you honoring in your business? What does your success look and feel like? This will serve as the foundation for the rest of your plan.

How do you recommend creative people deal with the overwhelm and fear that can come with putting a business plan together?

Find ways to make it fun. Use colorful markers and sticky notes on fun paper instead of forcing yourself to go straight into a spreadsheet to crunch numbers. Pick one piece of the plan to work on and then jump to another part if you get stuck. Don’t feel like you need to have everything ironed out before moving on to the next piece. Give yourself healthy doses of what I call Left-Brain Chill Pills to quiet your judging mind.

What are the benefits of crafting your business plan in this way?

People who have unsuccessfully tried to do a traditional business plan have actually completed a Right-Brain Business Plan because they had fun with it. So actually finishing a plan (and a plan that you’re totally jazzed about and that you look at again and again) is a huge benefit. This RBBP approach allows you to think outside the box and make your plan in any format that tickles your fancy (I’ve seen a bracelet, a paper plate mobile, and even a plan in a paint bucket decorated with a feather boa!).

Above is the fabulous leather cuff bracelet created by Bevla Reeves of Hair Conspiracy.

What are some of your favorite creative business planning tools and resources?

So many. Basic things like sticky notes and colorful markers (Mr. Sketch and Staedtler triplus fineliner are my faves). I’ve been using the Levenger Circa notebooks for more than a decade – it’s an amazing cross between a spiral notebook and three-ring binder. I also love Levenger’s Oasis Concept Pad for brainstorming ideas. My friend Lisa Sonora Beam’s book The Creative Entrepreneur is also one of my favorite creative business planning resources.

How do you stay creatively inspired in your business?

I like to connect with other creative entrepreneurs and see what they’re up to. I work with a coach who helps me innovate and try new things. I look for ways to blend my various interests to form new ideas. I practice self-care Fridays so that I refuel my creative spirit. I love to read.

Where can we get more information about you and your book?

You can find out more about the book at http://www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com. You can also visit http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com to learn about the Right-Brainers in Business Summit started this week.


To win a copy of Jenn's book, leave a comment on the post below by Friday, March 4th at 12 pm EST. If you'd like, leave a comment about how you think the book could be helpful for you!

UPDATE: Congrats to Sheri D. Maple who won a copy of Jenn's book!

Passionate Reading

February 9th, 2011, Comments (16)

As I was thinking about the Passion theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I looked up at my bookshelf and saw lots of inspiration there, so I thought I'd share! Here are just a few of my favorite reads that inspire passion in me, that are written with a certain firey passion, and/or encourage living a passionate life.

Ok, this one is top of the list for passion: The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark by Sera Beak. While this book might not be for everyone, I loved it. It's a book about spirituality that's got a great feminine vibe to it and it's written with great energy and a sense of humor. It's all about asking yourself meaningful questions, understanding more about what makes you tick, living with arms wide open, and "releasing your divinity into the world." The author also has a great website and blog: Spiritual Cowgirl.

Next up, is a book by SARK. I remember reading Succulent Wild Woman: Dancing with your Wonderf-Full Self and wanting to give the book to every woman I knew. It's juicy and delightful, bold and funny. SARK describes a succulent wild woman as, "A woman of any age who feels free to fully express herself in every dimension of her life." Sound good? The book goes own to talk about how to bring more of this wild succulence into your life with activities, drawings, and stories. She's a great storyteller.

I love this quote from a big new free happy unusual life by Nina Wise: "Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness." Yum! This book is all about connecting with yourself, your creativity, with others, and with life in general in a more playful, creative way. My copy is totally marked up with words and doodles. It's a one of my favorites.

Another favorite is The Book of Awakening, it's a daybook written by Mark Depo. The essays are amazing, but I'm mentioning it in this post because the writing has a certain passion in it, possibly informed by the author's relationship with life and death, as he wrote this while recovering from cancer.

It strikes me that most of these books have a certain spiritual edge to them. How interesting!

Anyway, I'm curious, what are some of your favorite passionate reads?

Being a Beginner

January 14th, 2011, Comments (27)

I'm learning to sew. Crafty skills, where precision is key, are not my forte, but I want to learn well enough to make simple things like pillow covers, curtains, little baby items, and some things for myself. So I signed up for a few lessons at a local fabric shop. Last week we played around with the machines and today we started on a simple bag.

We used samples from a fabric book to make the outside of the bag and pocket, and other remnants for the lining (which you can see sticking out the top because I haven't sewed the lining and outside together yet.) And next week we'll make straps and sew it all together. I'm excited about this imperfect little bag. How fun to be a beginner, learning to do something new!

Next we'll be working on a pair of pants (loose, pajama-like pants, that I'll be able to wear after the baby), so that we can learn to sew from a pattern. But what I'm most excited about tackling is these little booties (on the cover, below) I saw in Anna Maria Horner's book, Handmade Beginnings. Gosh, they're cute!

Trying something new is always good for the creative soul. It sparks the imagination while getting us excited and thinking in new ways. Are you learning anything new this year?

While learning something new, can you allow yourself to let go and embrace imperfection? I sewed the back part of the pocket inside-out by accident today and just laughed it off, but sometimes it's hard to not get frustrated when our first experiments are a little off. I know I can get easily frustrated when I'm not naturally good at something (like all sports-related activities), but I'm really trying to let go of that while learning to sew. Give yourself the space to be a beginner, to make mistakes, to play, and see what happens. So much of art and creativity is about happy accidents and what you do with them.

p.s. For those of you who sew, where are your favorite places to buy fabric?

Traveling with Uncertainty

October 7th, 2010, Comments (15)

I did this piece recently to submit for one of Patti Digh's latest books. It was inspired by an essay she'd written about dealing with uncertainty and stepping bravely into the unknown, something I find quite difficult in some ways and quite exhilarating in others. Just now, this piece makes me think of the daring decision I made at the age of 15 to be an exchange student and live with a family in Madrid for a month. What a scary and mind-opening experience it was! It certainly took a leap of faith to do, but I have no regrets about it.

And then thinking about the earth theme, I'm curious about the places you've traveled to, whether that be to a new part of town or an exotic location. What brave steps did you take to go somewhere new and what effect did it have on you? What kind of art might that inspire in you?

By the way, I received Patti Digh's Creative is a Verb in the mail and it's beautiful! Chock full of gorgeous art and inspiring words. Patti is amazing. I've got a piece in the book as well, it's this piece and it's on page x. I love that's it's opposite this quote: "Don't apologize for who you are or the art you create" - C.J. Rider

p.s. I'm working on the Art Every Day Month sign-up page and hope to have it ready to go shortly!

p.p.s. The piece above, "The Unknown," is 11"x14" with collage and acrylic on wood.

Checkity Check It Out

August 18th, 2010, Comments (10)

Yesterday, I got a copy of Four Word Self Help, Patti Digh's new book. I got an early copy because I have a piece of art in it, along with many other wonderful artists from around the world. You can find my piece, "Let Others In" on page 3. What a beautiful little book this is!

I also wanted to share Jess Larsen's website. She has started offering doula services in the Northern New Jersey area. I'm a big believer in what she does and was thrilled to have some of my work, including Spring Thaw (above), featured on her site. You can learn more about what she does as a doula here.

Story-filled Linkyloos for you

March 9th, 2010, Comments (9)

I love the way the monthly theme worms its way into my brain and pops up everywhere. It may not always show up in my art, but it's always in my head. Just goes to show how the things we focus on really do expand in our lives. Which makes me wonder about what it is that I'm focusing on!

Today, I've got some fun links to share with you before I go off to enjoy the sunshine. I truly can't get enough of walking in the woods lately. After the long winter, I've been so excited about the warmer weather, the sun, and oh, the little yellow crocuses! So precious! Life! Woohoo! Um, yes, I get a little excited about spring. One thing I can say about living in New England, it makes you reallllly appreciate the Spring when it starts to stretch its wings.

On to the links:

- The lovely Lianne Raymond has complied this absolutely beautiful ebook, Dying to Be Born, filled with wisdom and art from inspiring women such as: Martha Beck, Pam Slim, Brené Brown, Patti Digh, Jan Phillips, and many more. I've got a piece of art in it too! It's beautiful and it's free! Go download a copy for yourself. If you leave a comment on Lianne's post here, you'll also be entered to win Jan Phillips' CD set, Creating Every Day (now that sounds cool!)

- Thinking of the old stories we tell ourselves, reminded me of this post I wrote a couple years ago called, Digging Into Defining Beliefs. It was something I needed to read again today.

- Martha Beck is one of my favorite authors on the topic of changing up your beliefs and this recent post from her blog is a great example of why. It's hilarious and super smart, great combo. I also loved her book Steering by Starlight, which I read and also listened to as an audiobook.

- Have you heard of Jen Lee? I've had the pleasure of listening to an audio of her telling a story, and oh, she has a way with words! You can download a copy of her ebook, "the story catcher" here.

- If you enjoy listening to stories, you'll love The Moth podcast!

Well, that's enough links to send you down a few rabbit holes. Enjoy the stories and keep telling yours!

p.s. The art above is titled, Fishing and is available here.

Recycled Bits and Pieces in Art

December 11th, 2009, Comments (12)

A little sneak peek of something I've been working on for a book by arist, writer and teacher extraordinaire, Carmen Torbus, that I'll be featured in along with an amazing group of artists. So exciting! And it's so hard not to share the whole thing because I love the way it came together! But soon enough.

I share this little snippet because it fits well with the recycle theme going on this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge. In this piece and in a lot of my art, I recycle bits and pieces of paper to create the collage backgrounds for my paintings. In this small section, is a bit of to-do list stationery and some sheet music.

Where do these bits and pieces of paper come from? Well, like many creative folks, I'm a collector. I see interesting pieces of paper and I have trouble throwing them away. So, they get stored in boxes and eventually used in artwork. Sometimes I buy the scraps at fairs that sell antique goods in the summer, sometimes I trade with other artists for scraps (I loved doing this for a 6x6 collage project), and sometimes I find the bits myself in everything from my own scribbled notes, junk mail, and doodles on rice paper. My sister-in-law recently gave me a great stack of old blueprints that I adore using and my bff recently gifted me an old book of design forms. I like having the variety, so when I sit down to collage, I can pick through my supplies intuitively and use what works for me in the moment.

Sometimes it's easy to forget what we have, so it's good every so often to sort through it all. Whenever I do this, I'm always inspired by what I find and re-discover amongst the boxes. What are some of your favorite recycled goodies that you use in your artwork?

p.s. I was recently interviewed as part of the "Inspiring Women" series on the All Things Girl blog. All Things Girl is a fabulous zine filled with great articles, art, and interviews (and you can submit your artwork too!) that I highly recommend checking out!

Chairs in a Row

November 29th, 2009, Comments (24)

I traced the silhouette of this woman onto rice paper last night, but today I came back to it and traced a series of chairs, which got me all excited. Again, I collaged and painted on a 6"x6" clayboard surface, using bits from my collection, things I intuitively grabbed that seemed right in the moment. One scrap looked like it was the shape in the house, so I played with that. I had a piece of rice paper cut in the shape of a eucalyptus that I'd written on months ago, but not used in anything. It seemed like the right time to use it here. Stamps and stamped images of ferns came into play as well. Then I lay the rice paper image over it, using a soft gel medium to bring it together. I love the translucent quality of the rice paper and the way the drawings sit on top of it. I've always been a fan of layers, the way it mimics how layered things are in real life.

I'm so enjoying the rice paper at the moment. I love when a material thrills me and I know I'll be playing with it for awhile until the next medium makes me giddy. It's a good place to be, feeling the joy of materials, feeling in the flow.

I was feeling a big sluggish the last week, although I kept plodding through. Flow in creativity comes in cycles for me and I've come to accept that. Sometimes a down period means I do other things like reading or research, re-stocking the well as Julia Cameron puts it in The Artist's Way. And other times, like during Art Every Day Month, I keep plodding through, knowing that the spark will fire again, if I just keep patiently putting mark to paper. Often times, I don't think the spark has returned to me, until I've already begun, like last night, which makes me glad for those times when I kept plodding through. But other times, a break feels necessary. Neither way is wrong or right. Knowing that both ways of returning to my work can be fruitful helps me come back without judging myself in the process.

What helps you come back to your creativity after a slow period? Are there any sparks happening right now for you?