September 8, 2014

Some Recent Thoughts on Creative Goals...

I am really in a strange place recently. The summer's pace interrupted the art goals that I thought I was so excited about... My husband was home, we traveled a lot, we spent time with family & cared for aging parents. I crocheted a whole bunch of kids' hats for World Vision's 'Knit for Kids'... and got excited about learning a brand new craft. Somehow, my sketchbook stayed on my shelf all summer & really didn't call my name. I put my Etsy shop on vacation for an undetermined amount of time. This is really not like me... not like me at all!

I have almost (but not quite) 'broken up with' Facebook... and I'm not missing social marketing a bit (zip-zero!). It's been months since I've "zazzled" or tried to keep up with my website or blogs. OK now, seriously... What gives?

I'm wondering if I've reached a new place in my life where I'm just ready to do something more tangible, more here-and-now... something more meaningful.

Or could it be that this is just part of the up & down life of being a creative person? Life changes...
interests ebb & flow.

What do you have for me Lord, as the seasons change and I adopt a new rhythm to life? Will you give me a 'heart' for something new?... or will you encourage me to keep going with what I've already started? I don't know yet... but my prayer is to be in the center of your will. Help me to have ears to hear your voice & a heart to embrace your direction.

May 1, 2014

My Aha! Moment

I have to be honest with you... I feel a little foolish about writing this blog post. At the beginning of last month, I thought I had all my art plans figured out... I was going to create digital stamps & offer them for sale to crafters through my Etsy shop, PholkartStudio. I set about the process of creating TWO new blogs... one to feature my handcolored digistamps & another to host a monthly challenge for crafters who create handmade cards. Yes, my plans were coming together nicely!

But something just wasn't sitting right with me... and without taking time to explore my discomfort, I pushed those uneasy feelings aside & pressed on with my plan.

Midway through the month, I began to realize that I just wasn't very happy. I was feeling a constant inner push to create brand new designs. I had put on my organizer's hat & was directing my new operations, clucking over each area like a mother hen over her chicks. I had taken on the role of marketer/social media guru with new zeal & began spreading the word about my big plans... In the end, I discovered I was juggling too many balls in the air and I was feeling completely frazzled!!

Finally, I took time to listen to my heart. And I rediscovered what I probably knew all along... I missed creating colorful little pieces of original art by hand & I missed working on my illustrated art blog. As a BIG introvert, I had been pushing out beyond my comfort zone & I wasn't spending quiet time renewing my energy. Most of all, I was running out ahead of the Lord.

And so... I began the process of pulling back & deleting. No more digital stamps. No more challenge blog. I put the brakes on my daily social media. And I went back to my studio & started "makin' stuff."

Honestly, I began to feel lighter... and happier... and more "me" almost right away.  My inner self breathed a deep sigh of relief.

So here I am... a little lost, a little 'between things,' with no big plans or arty business goals. I'm just trying to show up each day with my sketchbook in hand, trying to listen with my heart to the Lord & hold whatever comes next for me very loosely.

Thank you Lord that you keep loving me even when I go off in my own direction. Thanks that you have good plans for me & I can trust you to lead me. Please help me to listen to you with my head & my heart... and to follow wherever you go.

April 4, 2014

And Suddenly It Was Spring!

Background Photo © Studiobarcelona |

Last time I updated this blog, it was January & I was setting some goals for myself for the New Year... and here it is April! How did THAT happen???... Apparently, I should have added a goal to blog more regularly too!

January 8, 2014

Three Goals For 2014

(Background photo © |

And suddenly... It's January, 2014!! Time to hang the brand new calendar in the kitchen & give some thought to my priorities for the year ahead!

It always seems that, as I take the Christmas ornaments down & try to shift life into 'Normal' again, I have the overwhelming urge to purge our home of things we don't need... and to organize myself better for the New Year.

This year is no exception.

I'm not a fan of making New Year's Resolutions... but I am a fan of reevaluating from time to time & setting new goals... What worked? What didn't work? And what needs to be changed?

So, here are a few of the things I'm hoping to do in 2014...

DRAW REGULARLY - OK, you might be surprised by this one, given my love of doodling!... But days can go by while I fritter away my time online, admiring what everyone else in the world is creating! Mind you, I do love that finding creative inspiration is as easy as clicking my mouse!... Still, the best way for me to grow as an artist is by picking up my pencil (& eraser!) everyday & practicing.

JOURNAL - With all those creative 'voices' out there pursuing their many different passions, it's easy for me to feel a bit lost about what it is that I'm called to do. That's where journaling comes in for me. Scribbling my thoughts down on a semi-regular basis helps me process what I'm thinking & feeling. It's also my way of having conversations with God about what He wants me to do & be. Keeping a journal helps me tune my ear & my heart to the Lord's voice.

(A little side note... I'm not talking about some form of artful journaling here!... I'm talking 'scribble your honest thoughts on notebook paper with your favorite Sharpie pen to get them out of your head & heart and onto the page.')

EXERCISE - My husband & I recently joined a nearby gym. I've 'failed' gym several times over the past few years, but I'm determined this time to keep it simple. Go three (or more) times a week, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes... Repeat, repeat repeat! It's all about showing up & doing the work. My middle-aged bones will thank me later!  ;)

How about YOU???... What do you hope 2014 will hold for you? And what are some simple steps you can take to move toward your goals?

December 11, 2013

A Very Simple Christmas

It's beginning to look a little bit like Christmas at our house again this year! Our wreath is hung on the front door... just a simple green wreath with a red bow. It feels welcoming to me. I hope it will make others feel welcomed to our home this season as well. 

Our artificial tree is assembled & fluffed & strung with lights. I miss the smell of fresh pine from a real tree, but this is a season in our married life when holidays mean traveling away from home. The twinkling lights are bright & cheerful. They give our home a festive feel. Sometime soon I'll carry down our boxes of ornaments from upstairs & add to the tree's sparkle... But for now, the simple, un-embellished tree makes me feel happy.

On top of the old piano in our dining room, I've arranged the Nativity scene... just a replica of someone's skilled hand carving. I love the folk art feel of it & its' rustic simplicity. It's a reminder to me that Jesus was born in the humblest of circumstances & laid in a feeding trough used for the stable animals... Amazing Grace!! God sent His only Son to live & walk among us. Who would have thought He could love us so much?

I took this picture from our deck last night... It reminded me of the carol, "Silent Night". This year I have found myself longing for peacefulness, for time to meditate on the true meaning of the Christmas season. My husband & I have scaled our gift-giving & holiday shopping back. In truth, I'm relieved not to be bustling about looking for 'who knows what to give to Uncle Harry.' I'm content to miss out on the crowds & glitz & commercialism so often a part of the Christmas season. I'm feeling more centered, less stressed & more joyous. Yes, the Merry feels like it's returned to Christmas for me this year!

Last Sunday at church, we sang the well-known French carol, "Angels We Have Heard On High." I know I must have sung this song thousands of times over the years. But somehow, the words of the third verse jumped out at me this time... so much so that I scribbled them down on the bulletin so I wouldn't forget. They really sum up what I long to do this Christmas season (& always!)...

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the Newborn King.

~ Wayne Wold

May YOU be blessed in knowing the love
of Jesus, our Savior and Lord
this Christmas!

November 14, 2013

Counting My Blessings

"Cozy Winter Home"

We had an unexpected early taste of Winter here in North Carolina, as the temps dipped down in the twenties overnight... No snow yet, but it sure has been cold enough for snow! First dog walk of the season, I bundled up in my scarf & hat & my winter coat, with a scarf I'd knit wrapped almost up to my nose.


"Boy, I'm not ready for Wintertime yet!... I really don't like being cold!... Wasn't Halloween just a few days ago???" that little voice in my head begins to whine & complain...

And then I remember (something I'm prone to forget if I'm not very careful)...  

This is a very good day to count my blessings!

So, today I'm thankful for...

  • A warm house on a chilly day
  • A hot cup of Chai tea in my favorite mug
  • The space heater that's warming my toes-ies
  • The fleece blanket my sons gave me for Christmas... I'm cozier because of their love for me
  • A sunny 'Carolina Blue' sky with not a cloud in sight 
  • The sound of my dog snoozing right next to me while I type
  • A brand new book I can hardly wait to read
  • ... And a wide-open day to enjoy being creative!  :) 

Lord, I have so very much to be thankful for!... Please teach me to notice and count the big & small blessings in my everyday life... good gifts you have given to me!

November 11, 2013

Color Me Happy!

Just recently I decided to add some colored samples to the PholkartStudio shop on Etsy. I love color!... and I wanted to give my basically black & white shop a little more colorful friendliness!

What I didn't expect when I started my sample-making project... was rediscovering the joy I've always found in the process of coloring! With some music playing quietly in the background & a few stolen minutes to myself, there is something so peaceful & even prayerful for me about coloring! It takes me back to a time when my little girl self spent hour upon happy hour filling coloring books with hues like Blue, Green & Yellow-Orange, Purple & Red.

Now that I'm all grown up, my favorite coloring materials have changed from that wonderful new box of 64 Crayola crayons (my very own!) to my growing stash of Copics, Prismacolor markers & colored pencils. But that little-girl-love for coloring still remains!

 ...Yes, there's nothing like the blessing of simple pleasures!