A public display of affection…

Dear Katrina (Of Feisty Scribe Fame!),

I received a surprise from you in the mail yesterday! Your card was so very thoughtful and beautiful. You are such a kind and inspiring soul and this world is so very lucky to have you in it! I was so moved by your thoughtful gift. After reading it I exclaimed out loud to an empty room, “There is hope in this world!” I know that if a person I have never met face to face in the world took her time to make me such a lovely card illustrated with honeysuckle simply because she knew I liked it…. Well, then I know this world is indeed the wonderful place I believe it to be. Thank you Katrina from the bottom of my heart. You continue to inspire not just me, but so many others everywhere. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself so openly!

Most sincerely,

Michelle

memories…

For 3 days this week and 3 days next week I am working onsite at a local college to help out while a designer is out for 2 weeks. Wow. Back to the grind. Back to non-stop work, no breaks, no dogs at my feet, no coffee pot in the kitchen, but worst of all, no working in my jammies!! Ouch! This is a great place and I love the people, (and this computer??? Yummy!!) but give me my painting jeans and old tee shirt any day of the week! Next time I complain about having to chase down checks I will remember all of this… ok, I am on another’s dime, I better git….

nice things happen when you listen…

So I decided to simplify. And I listened. I have been calm and enjoying life. True, is has only been two days, but two days without anxiety is worth noting. As a result of not stressing about meeting impossible deadlines or trying to do projects that have not proven to be financially profitable and instead concentrating on thing that are tried and true, nice things have happened. See, I was ALL stressed about getting prints and cards and magnets and mini paintings done for my festivals. I decided to not accept any more design work and do prepare instead. Now, I will let you in on a secret. None of my cards sell at my fundraisers, and while I have a whole bunch of mini paintings on display, people are still ordering customized ones. So, all this work to make things does nOT sell, but DOES produce commissions. And I am finally embracing that. I am not a product artist – I am a pet portrait artist. That is what people buy from me. So now I am faced with the lovely fact that I am completely ready for my festival as is. I have a good 20 paintings to display in my tent and all I have to do is make a few more signs. Which pretty much frees me up. So I decided to just be open to some more design work should it come in. Yesterday I was dropping off the files to the printer for the poster and mailer I did ( http://www.abeytacreative.com/poster.html and http://www.abeytacreative.com/mailer.html ) and they asked me to do 2 more projects and work onsite for 6 days. One of the projects is a magazine spread and one is a once a month newsletter that will be ongoing. Niiiice. So I released my grip and my fear on projects that haven’t provided me a penny and a tidal wave of no stress projects poured in. I got 2 new commission in the mail yesteday as well! Plus a golden retriever rescue has asked me to come set up a booth at their annual fundraiser this month! I guess when we listen, the universe like to let us know it was pleased!

Listen to what YOUR heart is telling you, like I always say, it won’t lead you astray!

simplifying

This weekend was a perfect fall weekend. The sky was a shade of blue that made you stare, not quite believing the luminous blue was for real-a shade so saturated it didn’t seem possible. My husband did yard work, my kids ran in and out of the house, my dogs chased frisbees. And the whole time I had a gnawing uneasy feeling. I was supposed to be doing something, not just relaxing, enjoying the day. I felt like I was playing hooky. A year ago I imagined this moment. Making a living doing what I chose to, enjoying my family and my time with them. So why in the world should I not be completely at ease??? I explained my feelings to my husband to which he (a bit too quickly) replied, “It is because you can’t relax! You can’t just ‘be’ in the moment and enjoy. You always need to be thinking of your next great idea!” Wow. This annoyed me, irritated me, really steamed me up. A sure sign that he was exactly right. Ever since I was a young girl I have schemed to make money, had goals, plans, something in the works. It seems I am not happy if I don’t have a bunch of things going at once. This past Thursday I took the morning off and I painted a painting just for me. It was so different than anything I have ever done and it was so freeing. At the end it was exactly what had been in my head and I was so happy with it. So happy I did another, then another. “Hmmm, I began thinking, I should do a whole series and contact some galleries…” See? I just can’t relax. Can’t just “be.” So I really thought about all this last night. After a lot of contemplation I decided to simplify. That for the next few months I will concentrate on nothing else but commissions. I may draw or sketch for me, but no brainstorming on how it might make me money. That not only gets exhausting, but takes the pleasure of creating away. I will have more than enough work with my commissions. I am not going to offer holiday cards, or prints, or anything else. I will enjoy my holiday season by painting other people’s dogs and maybe something else just for me. It is comforting to think that I am giving myself permission to enjoy what I have and know it is enough. I have the beginning of next year to try new things and see where it goes. I don’t anticipate this will be that easy at first, but simplifying sounds really nice right now.

honeysuckle love

I am in love with the scent of honeysuckle. Today my husband was working and our second car has sadly taken it’s final breath, so he dropped me and the kids off very early at their school. I ate breakfast with them then walked the mile or so home. On the way home I passed by some honeysuckle. Immeadiately I smiled. I picked some and just smelled it the whole way home. I get giddy off the perfume of this flower. I can’t even explain it! It just makes me so happy!! Right now it is sitting next to me in a glass and I just keep inhaling it. I have looked high and low for any thing honeysuckle scented. Apparently I am not in a majority that love this scent. Target a few years back carried a spritzer that I LOVED, but after one season discontinued it. One of the bath and body places recently had a honeysuckle scented line, but it was awful, smelled mostly of alcohol and was no good. There is a perfume called Michael that is very close, but is $50 a bottle and well, it is not THAT close. I am on a hunt for anything honeysuckle! So my next idea is to buy the essential oil and make it myself. I am almost to that point. If any of you out there know of any honeysuckle products out there…contact me! Write in in my comments section or email me. I will be grateful forever! I will paint your dog for you!! Anything!! Mmmmm, the scent just washed over me again….I swear it is a chemical reaction…love, love, love honeysuckle!! This surely is what heaven smells like.

fun stuff

There is nothing, NOTHING I like more than giving presents-especially ones I make. I love mailing them off, then the anticipation of waiting until they arrive. I try my best not to tell people when I sent them out a package, but I often fail miserably and email a quick, “Look for a surprise soon!” Hey, at least I pass along that sweet anticipation feeling, right? I had just sent Jill at Mortal Mom (her url is in my faves list-go check her out!) a package, and could hardly wait until she got it. Most recently was my best friend’s baby’s first birthday. This was the woman I went to art school with and knows me just about best in the world. I sent her a book I made all about her son Ethan Kai. He is a sweetheart, but has another personality trait that has meant this mom has not slept through the night in a year now. Sadly, that is not an exaggeration! See my gift here: http://www.abeytacreative.com/ethankai.html

I wish I could make a living by making gifts for people. Oh wait, I already do!

finally!

Well, it took a year, but I did it. I finally got my very own business cards! Printed by a real printer! In a nice little box filled with 500 hundred of them!! Now, this is significant for a variety of reasons. The most significant is that I no longer have to print them out on card stock, then cut them down with an xact knife one by one. (yes, I know they make the perforated paper, but I am seriously anal and hate those edges-plus cutting them down brought me back to my art school mock-up days, I suppose!) But after a year of that, enough was enough. Secondly, I have never in the past 7 years of being a professional ever had a business card. I have worked in over 8 companies in the past 7 years (yes I get bored easily!). This is because I have committment issues and have always been contract. Contract employees don’t get cards. I used to be jealous when I saw other people whip out their cards and say, “Here, take my card!” At my last job where I actually got hired status, I was ABOUT to get my cards…then I quit. See? Committment problems. But no more!! Hot off the presses!! Woohoo! No more late nights almost cutting off my fingertips!

But most off all it is significant because it says I value myself. That I spent money on me. That I could still be cutting my own cards down to save a few more bucks, but I finally am at the point where I value my time over money. And that is pretty amazing for me. It is a good day.