Entries Tagged as: self-care

No More Creative Constipation! Art Picnic: June 17th

June 3rd, 2009, Comments (6)

It's nearly time for another Art Picnic adventure. Yay! I'm super excited to share this class with you!

fly fly fly
fly fly fly, created at recent art picnic

I have a confession to make.

I get a bit nervous about talking on the phone. I've done a bunch of phone interviews in the last year, a few calls and classes, and they've all gone smoothly, but each time I've had a wave of anxiety wash over me before I spoke. It's getting easier, the anxiety is less each time, but speaking, for this introvert, can be a bit unnerving.

I could simply stop doing this sort of thing, but I really love sharing this work. I feel that it's powerful and important. Yes, it's simple, but the most powerful stuff is often the simplest. And the things I share in the Art Picnic class are essential parts of what helped me though my worst creative blocks, stuff I wish someone had shared with me when I was going through it.

My worst creative stuckage happened after I graduated from art school. My head was literally bursting with the voices of all the teachers I had and unfortunately, the loudest ones were the negative voices. Teamed up with my inner critic, these voices had me way too scared to create anything at all. I went months without painting or drawing and a full year without creating much at all.

If you're a creative person (and I know you are), then you know that creative stuck can lead to the feeling of build-up, like a dam that's over-extended and ready to burst. It affects all parts of your life, leading you to feel on edge,  frustrated, and not so fun to be around. Well, it's like being creatively constipated! Heh. Not pleasant!

No more creative constipation!

The way out for me was scheduling some time with myself to be playful, to give myself permission to fail wildly, and to create from my heart. In the Art Picnic class, I share the main tools to help you get started, get playing, and keep that momentum going. It's a gentle approach and I think that's the best way to get back to your creativity. Even if you're not blocked, scheduling some special time for you and your creative muse is a beautiful thing. Why not come play?

The next Art Picnic is happening Wednesday, June 17th from 8 - 10 p.m. EST (find out what time that is in your neck of the woods here.) It's only $25 and you can sign yourself up right over here.

An Art Picnic is all about quieting your gremlins and moving past your creative blocks so you can create freely. I'll be teaching you how to let your intuition guide you as you work, how to get playful with your art, and how to create from a place of joy, freedom, and authenticity.

The call consists of a half hour of sharing the essential parts having your own Art Picnic, 1 hour of creating on your own (with the ability to get in touch with me if you get stuck), and a final half hour of checking-in, sharing, and a few final tips to help you continue on the creative path. Check out all the details about the class here.

I loved what Teri wrote about her Art Picnic experience from the last workshop I gave. In the process, she learned that she could schedule some time for her creativity. And I love how she noted that it was a picnic with no ants! Ha! Very true!

It's so vital to schedule time for our creativity. Signing up for a class like this can be a huge help in making a commitment to yourself. It's fabulous self-care, so nurturing, and healing to set aside this kind of time.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I hope to see you there!

Whale Tales

May 30th, 2009, Comments (16)


After writing the other day about the "Dive Deep" painting and the synchronicity with the whale tail in it, I was lying in bed pondering what whales mean to me and thought back to other times I've painted whales. I had an "Oh!" moment when I thought about the piece, "Fishing." This piece consists of a woman in a boat on the ocean in front of a full moon. Beneath her a whale is swimming and its tail has come up out of the water. I describe it in my shop like this:

In this image, a woman is casting out, reaching out for support and the whale's tail shows up to let her know that even though she can't always see it, she is supported always.

This is a spiritual image for me. The whale represents the unseen, the divine, the Universe, whatever you want to call it. I didn't write this in the description, but I thought of the whale's tail as symbolizing those moments I call "winks from the Universe." Winks often take the form of synchronicity or moments that are just too juicy to be coincidental.

If I see the whale's tail as a personal symbol of a divine wink or synchronicity, then the tail in "Dive Deep" makes even more sense. When I start experiencing a lot of synchronicities, I get this sense that I'm headed in the right direction. So in the "Dive Deep" painting I can see the tail as a sign to the woman diving that she need not worry, she's right on course.

Speaking of synchronicity, when I was working on the "Dive Deep" painting, I mentioned that I'd was painting a whale on Twitter and Jennifer Louden kindly recommended I read, People of the Whale by Linda Hogan. I haven't been reading a lot of fiction lately, but I couldn't resist a title like that, so I requested it at my local library. Well, it arrived on the day I finished painting "Dive Deep," but I wasn't able to pick it up right away. I hadn't painted the octopus into the painting when Jennifer recommended the book. It appeared after the whale.

I was finally able to pick up the book this afternoon, opened it up, and the first chapter is titled, "Octopus." I grinned reading it. The first paragraph tells the story of an octopus that "left the water and walked on all eight legs across land and into Seal Cave." Oh yes, and on the cover of the book there's a painting that includes a whale's tail jutting out of the ocean.

As an interesting aside, my great-great-great (not sure how many greats) grandfather was a whaling captain in Maine. Makes the whole whale connection even more interesting and significant to me. Oh and there's more sound synchronicity: Hogan's book is also mentioning songs: Songs to the ocean, songs to the whales. In the Native American tribe the author writes of, women used to sing the whales toward them.

Tonight, I'm feeling frustrated with myself for taking a bootcamp exercise class this week. I was sampling it, hoping to use it to kickstart a workout routine this summer, but oh my, bootcamp classes are SO not me. Fortunately, I'm listening to my inner voice that's telling me not to continue with that class. Yes, I'm feeling a bit sad about the damage I did to my feet in the process (old plantar fascitis cropping up. ugh.) But even though I'm feeling a bit bummed out about how my body is aching, I'm happy for the way I'm learning to listen to my intuition more and more quickly. (In the past, I might have continued on with the class despite knowing it wasn't a good fit.) And tonight, I'll be kicking up my sore feet and and diving deep into this new book.

Wishing you many winks from the Universe!

Do Art Not Dishes: How to Stop Avoiding Your Art Supplies in Four Steps

May 20th, 2009, Comments (17)

Three Muses

One of the biggest clues I get that I'm avoiding my art, is when I have some time to create, but all of the sudden I have an incredible urge to do the dishes, mop the kitchen floor, re-fold my laundry, or clean the litter box.

Now, if you love cleaning, doing dishes, or scooping out kitty poo, this may not be your clue. But anytime you're filling your art-time with things that don't really need doing in that moment, stop, take a breath and ask yourself, "Hey, what's happening here? Why am I avoiding my art?"

Doing distasteful chores is my clue that I'm in major avoidance mode, but there are sneakier ways I avoid. They're easy to fall into and oh, so time-consuming. For me, these sneaky avoidance tools include reading blogs, surfing online, and Twitter. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing any of those things, but you have to stay aware of when you're doing these things not just for fun, but as a way to stay just busy enough that you have no time to create.

O.k., so I've noticed myself avoiding. Now what?

First step: Do not beat yourself up

Beating yourself up over not creating will only lead to, you guessed it, more avoidance and less creating (followed by more beating yourself up.) Ouch. It's a vicious cycle and it's painful, so let's sidestep the berating yourself and move into the space of being gentle.

Second step: Gentle Noticing

Take a deep breath and gently notice the inner pulls that want to lead you into an activity of avoidance and then take a peek at why you're avoiding. There's usually some kind of fear there. A fear of not being good enough. A fear of making bad art. A fear of failure. (All totally normal, by the way.)

This may be enough for now. To just notice. You can then go on and do whatever avoidance tactic you were about to do (maybe you really do need to do those dishes!), but you'll do it in a conscious way. There's a big difference between choosing to do this activity instead of making art and doing an activity while unconsciously avoiding.

Step Three: You're Not Your Fear

After you've taken a gentle look at your fear, you may want to do some journaling about where this fear stems from. Ask yourself what is scariest to you and then see if you can determine some playful ways to work through them. 

One of my biggest fears is of not being good enough. When this fear comes up, I work through it by getting playful. Play can help quiet your inner critic to a whisper. Heck, you might even get your inner critic to play along with you. At a time in my life when my inner critic was particularly loud, I started having art picnics on my bedroom floor. I created a safe space in which to create freely and gave myself permission to make complete and utter crap. Lo and behold, this totally worked for me.

Once I got playing, I got into a creative flow, my confidence began to build, and I was creating freely again. The hardest part is often starting. If you can get through that, you'll be on your way.

Step Four: Commit to Your Creativity

If you find yourself getting into avoidance mode on a regular basis, it's extremely helpful to create a regular date with your creativity. You can do this on your own by scheduling time and putting it in your calendar (every day at 3 p.m. for the next month, I'll create for 30 minutes or every Saturday from 12 - 1, I'll work on my writing), you could make a date with an art pal or group of friends to create together on a regular basis, or you could take a class (I know when I pay for a class, it helps me keep my commitment to showing up.)

A student in my last Art Picnic class mentioned that if she hadn't been signed up for the class, she would have decided her day was too busy to create. But because she'd signed up, she showed up, and was so glad she'd taken the time for herself.

It's so easy to feel like we're just too busy, but creativity doesn't need wide expanses of time to flourish, it can come in little bits. And when we make time for our art, whatever that may be, we feel so much more alive.

So for today, forget the dishes and get creating.

p.s. The next Art Picnic class has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 17th from 8 - 10 pm EST. I'll be posting more details soon, but in the meantime, you can learn all about it and sign up right here.

Art Picnic Class is this Saturday!

April 21st, 2009, Comments (0)

intuitive art blue in red detail

Are you looking to experience a gremlin-quieting, art-making, creative-block-busting good time?

Yes, you say? Well, then I'd like to invite you to join me on an Art Picnic adventure, this Saturday, April 25th from 1 - 3 pm E.S.T. for only $25! (Find out what time that is in your area here.)

On an Art Picnic you will:

* Get grounded and connect with your intuition.

* Let go and get playful with your art.

* Get creative support from me to help you unblock and create freely.

* Have a blast creating your own, unique Art Picnic experience!

* Leave with all the tools you need to continue creating your own Art Picnics.

* Take excellent care of yourself by scheduling in some all-important creativity time.


I started Art Picnics out of a need to get unstuck creatively in a fun, no-pressure way. I was frozen in the fear of not being good enough and all the inner critic voices were keeping me from enjoying my creativity.

With a few simple tools, which I'll share with you in this class, I learned how to move beyond my fears and create from a place of joy, freedom, and authenticity.

The class takes place on the phone, so you can attend from wherever you are! During the first half hour, we will meet, discuss the tools you need to get started, and do a grounding exercise. We will then get off the phone and have our individual art picnic experiences. I will be playing and creating too, but I will also stay on the bridge line, so if you get stuck, you can call in and I will help you through it. In the final half hour, we will meet to discuss what we created, share what came up for us, and learn some tools to keep our creative energy flowing.

You do not need to consider yourself an artist to join in, everyone is welcome. You don't need loads of art supplies either. I enjoyed my first art picnic with just a blanket to sit on, some paper, magazines, and a glue stick. Simply bring whatever art, craft, or journaling supplies you have available and be prepared to have fun!

*As a special bonus, if you sign up for your Saturday's Art Picnic, I will send you a free mp3 recording of a grounding exercise I use that will help you get connected with your intuition before you start creating!

I am so excited to share this process with you, so sign up here and join me on Saturday for some Art Picnic fun!! Sign up by clicking the Add to cart button below:


Celebrate Your Creativity

April 4th, 2009, Comments (7)

Yesterday, I participated in a super fun celebration call with many fabulously creative women. We gathered by phone to celebrate the end of Jamie Ridler's book club reading of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women (great read, by the way!) and to launch the product Jamie put together, Your Creative Spark.

You can listen to the call here and I recommend listening to it as it's super fun and you get to hear about the wonderful topic of celebration. Many of us on the call, myself included, talked about how we have some trouble with celebrating. For me, it has been something I never really thought much about. When I finish something, my tendency is to dust myself off and move on to the next thing.

But there's something to be said for taking a moment to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. On the call, I mentioned how I've learned a lot about celebrating from the hubster. The way he celebrates a meal he's cooked is hilarious, but it's also fun! He oohs and ahhs over every bite and suddenly you find yourself laughing and appreciating every bite too.

Why not celebrate every bite? Life is delicious!

More recently, as I've recognized the importance of celebration, I've been taking time to celebrate, usually in the form of a happy dance. A little jig (done in your chair or around the room) can be so uplifting and a simple way to celebrate those little successes we experience every day. Why not give it a try?

I'm curious, what do you do to celebrate? How does it impact your creative process?

I hadn't thought much about how celebrating was affecting my creative process until Jamie asked the question, but when I considered it, I realized that celebration is about all self-care and valuing yourself. And you can always create from a stronger place when you're taking good care of you.

Your Creative Spark is now available for purchase from Jamie. It's jam-packed with loads of inspiration from incredibly creative women such as Jennifer Lee, Andrea Scher, Jessie Marianello, Melba, McMullin, Goddess Leonie, myself, and many others! The interviews Jamie did over the last 12 weeks are included in audio and transcript form and there's also some bonus articles from several of the interviewees. Through midnight on April 5th you can get $10 off the price by using the Discount code "celebrate," so if you're thinking about grabbing a copy, now's the time!  Jamie did such a fabulous job putting this together (happy dance for Jamie!) and she's such a creative rock star. Thank you again, Jamie, for inviting me to be a part of this fantastic project!


Click here to view more details about Your Creative Spark.

De-Cluttering to Find Your Flow

March 20th, 2009, Comments (19)


Today is the first day of Spring. Aaaaaah! (That was me singing angelically.) Just writing that puts in a little skip in my step. Longer days, warmer weather, and soon things will start sprouting green everywhere. Hooray! One thing I can say about winter in New England, it makes you really, really appreciate when Spring comes around. Granted, it is New England, so we could get whopped with a snow storm tomorrow, but still, Spring is here.

Spring and cleaning seem to go together. It's a time to shed the winter skin, the many layers, and all the accumulated dust and clutter that built up over the colder months.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of cleaning. Neither is the hubster. We're both messy. Years ago, instead of continuing to argue about how he never took his turn cleaning the bathroom, we decided to hire someone to come twice a month to do the hardcore cleaning for us. Best decision we ever made. O.k., that may be exaggerating a tad, but seriously, it was a great decision. I knew the woman who does the cleaning for us already because she cleaned the house of the family I used to nanny for. I knew she was trustworthy, kind, and did a great job. I also knew that she sent most of her money to her mom in Columbia. So, it works out great for all parties.

Sometimes, even though you CAN do something (of course, I'm fully capable of cleaning), that doesn't mean you shouldn't hire someone to do it for you. It's all about setting priorities and knowing how you want to spend your time and money. 

So, while I'm not about cleaning right now, I am all about de-cluttering...a different sort of cleaning that may seem like a boring task, but is actually all about creating space for the things you want in your life: your business, your projects, your art, your creativity, etc...

It's perfect timing (again) that this week's chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's fabulous book group, is all about the Power of Subtraction. I loved this quote at the beginning of the chapter:

The first step in starting an enterprise is to clear the space for it, or till the ground. This clearing process is a must....We like to think just forging ahead is going to be enough to start, but when you run into gnarled old roots where your new plants need to grow, you've got problems. - Barrie Dolnick, Simple Spells for Success

Author Gail McMeekin talks about the Power of Subtraction in this way:

Here I encourage you to get rid of everything you neither need nor want in your life. This includes anything from old sneakers to outmoded dreams. To create a life of positive choices, you must let go of whatever blocks your creative zest.

This is a great continuation of the idea of positive priorities that I wrote about last week. And I think it also relates to allowing a sense of flow in your life. What blocks your creative flow? How can you remove those blocks in a way that is managable for you?

If clutter is a block for you, what one small step can you take? What teeny tiny step will give you a increased sense of ease in your life?


I like to imagine my clutter clearing is like this fence and I'm slowly opening more and more bars to uncover the river underneath.

I seem to be all about water lately. Wednesday I took a long walk and did some journaling by a river. Water seems to be such a great source of calm and inspiration for me. And today, my piece Lady of the Lake (below) is up at artist, Cathy Nichol's blog for her Found Art Friday project! I just added prints of this piece to my shop, which you can read more about and purchase here.



- Be sure to check out Jamie's latest interview with professional organizer, author, and mentor, Sunny Schlenger.

- You can also sign up for the free book group celebration call that's happening, Friday, April 3rd, here.

Positive Priorities

March 13th, 2009, Comments (17)

The creative process gives back tenfold. It is by definition abundant and unending.
~ Cathleen Rountree

I really love the latest chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's wonderful book group. The chapter is all about living in abundance and that is what I'm all about right now.

Abundance is one of the things we talked about a lot at the retreat I attended last weekend. While I don't agree with all the Law of Attraction stuff out there, I think some of it is valid. I believe in a mix of articulating your vision for your life, calling it out (in the form of writing or vision boards or whatever works for you), and then taking action. The action piece is important.

Since leaving the retreat, I've been spending a half-hour every day clearing clutter in my studio/office space. I know a lot of artists are clutter collectors and I am definitely one of those people who has trouble throwing things away. But I also know that when I'm able to release clutter, I feel more clear and more open to bringing good things into my life.

I tend to get overwhelmed easily, so the idea of clearing all my clutter tends to just freeze me up and I do nothing, but doing it at a set time (I chose 11-11:30 a.m.) and for just a half hour (set a timer), really helps me out. It's along the same lines as SARK's micromovements, but having the exact time set up helps too. Accountability also helps me, so knowing that I was going to check in with my fellow retreat participants helped keep me on track too.

I love 12 Secrets' author, Gail McMeekin's explanation of abundance,

When we are in touch with true abundance it permeates the fabric of our lives. It includes passion, both romantic and creative; positive relationships with people, animals, and nature; life experiences you crave and enjoy; personal and professional challenges and growth; and individual moments to savor. Abundance invites us to live the life we desire instead of settling for less.

Yes! Part of inviting abundance also includes getting rid of "scarcity thinking," releasing things we no longer use, no longer fit, or no longer love (or maybe never loved, but held onto out of guilt!) Christine Kane has a great post about the reasons we cling to clutter and how to let go. I recently took Jennifer Hofmann's office spa day workshop and one of the things she talked about asking yourself, with each item in your space, "do you love this and does it support you?" This is such a beautiful, gentle way of making choices for the stuff in your space.

I also loved what Gail McMeekin had to say about Positive Priorities,

...a life of Positive Priorities - life choices that express who we are and what we want for ourselves - is in itself a creating act....own up to what it is that truly nourishes you.

Indeed. So, for me and my de-cluttering escapade, that has meant getting rid of the cheap-o plasticy shoes I bought at Tar-jay that feel awful on my feet. It also means, replacing the office chair that is literally falling apart (anyone have any recommendations for an awesome office chair?) It also means, surrounding myself with things that bring me delight, burning delicious smelling candles (I love the ones from Zena Moon!), and wearing clothes that fit, feel great, and that I love.

What are the positive priorities in your life? What makes you come alive? For me, daily creative expression is huge. Laughter is essential, as is movement (getting to the gym, doing yoga, dancing in my pajamas, etc...). Other priorities include time to myself, connection with people I love, learning, and time in nature. I'm also learning that my physical environment is something I want to make a priority and bit by bit, I'm making changes to reflect that.


Hey, there's going to be a super fun celebration call with the 12 Secrets book club and I'm going to be on it with lots of inspiring women! You can sign up for that here.

Also, be sure to sign up for my free Intro to Virtual Art Picnics call right here!

Virtual Art Picnics – Free Intro Call, March 19th!

March 12th, 2009, Comments (5)

art picnic basket

The first Virtual Art Picnic will be taking place this month and I'm so thrilled to share this experience with you! This workshop will help you ground yourself, get unstuck, and find the joy in your creativity.

A quick overview of art picnics: One of my favorite ways to get playful with my creativity is to have an art picnic. All you need is whatever materials you have at hand, a comfy spot (I like to spread out on the floor with a blanket and pillows), and some dedicated time to play. I like to begin by giving myself permission to make "bad" art and then I jump in by selecting whatever material I'm drawn to in that moment.

The class will meet for about a half hour to check in, do some grounding, and then go off and have our own creative fun for an hour. Then we'd come back and check in again for a half hour at the end. Doing it in this class format is a great way to plan for some pure creative fun in your life with a great support system in place.

The date of first teleclass is Thursday, March 26th, from 1 - 3 p.m. EST and it's only $25! I will describe the process more thoroughly in the coming week, but there will also be a Free Intro to Virtual Art Picnics call on Thursday, March 19th at 1 p.m. EST. (Use this time zone converter to find out what time that will be in your area.) The call will be approximately 40 minutes and we'll cover:

- What is an art picnic, anyway?
- What will the Virtual Art Picnic workshop will be like?
- How can you use art picnics to kick-start your creativity?

Simply fill out the form below and I will send you the call-in information when the call gets closer. I will be recording this call, but you will need to sign up in order to receive the recording.

*Update: This call has already happened, but you can sign up below if you'd like to receive information about future Virtual Art Picnics and free Intro calls.


Sign Up Today!

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The call is free, but long distance charges may apply. I look forward to speaking with you on the call!

Dreaming of Bears

March 11th, 2009, Comments (7)

bear dream

The retreat was great. A wonderful combination of relaxing and inspiring. I got there the day before the retreat began to do a little unwinding and getting centered. I'm glad I did because all the travel exhausted me. I stayed the cutest little loft room (that I had to climb a sort of ladder to get into.) Fortunately I'm super short, so I could just stand up in it. It felt like I was tucked in a treehouse and I loved that.

I spotted Animal Speak on a bookshelf in the hall and took it up to the loft with me to look at. I'd just been talking about the book with my coach, so it was funny to see it there. And I'd been wanting to read over the part about spiders after I had that spider dream recently. I rested in bed, reading and journaling, and drifted off into a lovely nap.

I dreamed that the hubster showed up at the retreat and I had to tell him that it was an all-women retreat, so he couldn't go inside. We pitched a tent together outside the house and we were sitting in it, when I looked down the road and saw a huge bear coming down the road towards us. There was an old man under a tree near us. I turned to him and asked if we should be running into the house. But he said not to worry, that we didn't have any food, so the bear wouldn't bother us. Then a drunk man came out of the woods and started harrassing the bear. The bear was pushing him away, trying to ignore him, but the man kept coming after the bear and eventually punched the bear in the face. The bear then lost its temper and bit the man. It was a very vivid dream and I woke up remembering it fully.

Later that night, I turned to Animal Speak to read about what bears symbolize. I learned that the bear has ties to the subconscious and unconscious mind. It is associated with Diana, goddess of the moon. It teaches you to use your inner resources to find your answers within. It teaches you to make choices from a position of power. Bears are often associated with trees, an ancient symbol that is like an antenna connecting heaven and earth. Trees remind us bring what we awaken into the world and to make our marks with it.

The things I read about the bear, it's connection with trees and the moon, and the bits about what it has to teach, were so relevant to me. I did some writing about the dream, which I think I'll share later on. It's interesting how focusing on dreams this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge, has brought such powerful dreams! It just goes to show you that what you focus on expands.


The next day, I had an amazing massage in a cute little boathouse (above) with an incredibly talented, nurturing therapist. While my face was down and looking through the head-rest, I opened my eyes and laughed to myself because within the rug pattern below, the shapes looked like a bear standing in a river with a crescent moon and birds flying by. That's where the image I painted above came from. After the massage, I drew a little sketch of what I saw and knew that I wanted to paint the bear in this way. I painted it today in acrylic and ink on watercolor paper.

I have more to share on the weekend later, but in the meantime, some fun links to check out:

- Spark, art from writing: writing from art is now online sharing the paired up artists and writers and what they created in response to eachother's work. Mine is here!

- Rainn Wilson (Dwight on The Office) has a new website called SoulPancake that is all about creativity and spirituality. Very cool!

- Need a pat on the back? A boost? A job well done? Check out my pal Jim Doran's new website, Hey Good Job. Love it.

Retreat to the Castle!

March 5th, 2009, Comments (10)

Emma in her castle

Hello, you creative geniuses!

I'm going to be out of town on a short retreat this weekend and I will not be able to check my email or post here as frequently as usual. Feel free to scroll through my archives for fun ways to play with your creativity, visit the Creative Every Day Challenge participants (listed in the sidebar) for loads of inspiration, and check out the interview with author, Robert Moss I posted this week!

Hope you enjoy this pic of my sweet, Emma, who every so often I find curled up within this cat castle. I totally wish I had one in my size! In lieu of my own castle, I'm making my own mini getaway to retreat and refresh (something I recommend to all creative souls!) I hope your weekend is creatively delicious!