Filling My Stocking…

December 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I feel like I’ve been channeling a bad Grumpy Cat meme (who I just adore btw); so, I decided to get my holiday bah-humbug under control. Yesterday morning I finally gave into a couple things I’ve been wanting…desperately!  I can’t tell you haw many times I’ve admired this pretty set of notecards offered by Ravelry, I think I will frame one.

Next, I settled on a book – it seems forever since I actually sat and read.  My hands are always busy; well, until my hand injury.  So, I settled on a Christmas themed book from the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley I Am Half-Sick of Shadows – it’s one of my favorite series!  If you like English novels set in grand homes and gardens with a bit of intrigue…this is the book for you, plus the eleven year old heroine is someone your grown-up self will admire quite a bit.

Lastly, I surprised myself when Craftsy had a flash sale last night and I enrolled in stupendous stitching, which is an exploration on textile surface design!  I probably won’t have much time for this until next Summer…but I couldn’t pass it up!

Ok, my stocking is full now…and I think I might just be able to brave the holidays!

***PS…Thanks bunches to the Contented Sparrow for featuring my Downton Abbey Cross Stitch Pattern Duo – xoxo

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Summer Reading: The Creative Entrepreneur Chapter 3 Part One

July 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

2 weeks ago (sorry I took a week off with the holiday) I finished off Chapter 2 of The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam.  This week gets a little meatier with The next Chapter 3.

Francesca Woodman

Chapter Three, is vast, messy and I feel like it’s going to take time to really digest it all.  I’ve broken it up in pieces with part one as the largest.  This chapter begins by sorting out Right Brain function from Left Brain and really delving into your strengths and weaknesses of each.  Beam still has this hippy-dippy language she writes in but its grounded enough to make you want to stay a part of the process of self-evaluation.  I found the exercises really helpfully; especially as I always thought of myself as left brained…after this, I realize, I couldn’t be farther from it.  Probably I just tried to live in a left brain life for too long until a few years ago.  So, in that sense, things about myself I saw as deficiencies, now I can see more honestly and appreciate their benefit…the same is true for the left brain quirks that hold me back.

Another truth that Beam kept hitting on was the idea of forcing ourselves to do the things we find weakness in; i.e. you like to write all day and you stink at math.  Apparently, there is a good bit of study and thought that delving into those weak areas not only strengthens our weaknesses but doubly strengthens our gifts!  This past week I did take on a bit more detailed business work (stuff I loathe!) and I’m not sure if it gave me a push creatively in my other areas…but it did feel like it cleared away a lot of the minutia in my head and allowed myself to create without distraction.

Francesca Woodman

Also, this week, by a happy accident, I watched the documentary, The Woodmans on Netflix.  I was somewhat surprised to have never heard of this family of artists back in school; though it seems the daughter, Francesca, gained the most notoriety with her hauntingly beautiful photographs.  The thing that really got me though was their work ethic.  They just don’t wait for inspiration; creating art is a job.  George Woodman, the father, makes a comment somewhere in the film that “if you don’t have any ideas you go into your studio and sharpen pencils…eventually you might just get an idea!”  If you find yourself reading along with this book; now’s the time to watch this film to enhance this chapter.

Next week, I’ll focus just on pages 60-61, Mapping Your Remedies…so check back next week to find my progress.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Summer Reading: The Creative Entrepreneur Chapter 2

June 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last week, I unrolled our 2nd annual Summer book club!  This year I wanted to pick The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam as I’ve not been in the right place to travel down this road for a few years.  Right now seems perfect as I find myself with enough business experience to look back and evaluate with a wide open road ahead with many paths to choose.

Chapter Two, part one, focuses on building a Mandala; I know it sounds terribly hippy-dippy but honestly, it’s just a flower that you write on the petals…not scary, people…I promise.  In each petal, we explore topics that help define our own contributions we make, i.e. why we work and then we get into the nitty gritty of managerial tools and leadership skills (creatives usually lag in these skill sets – and I am no different).

So what were my biggest revelations?  Other than YES, I need to be more disciplined and refine my time management; I shocked myself by writing “I like there to be a PROCESS more than a RESULT”.  Maybe, this is why creatives never finish anything?  But the fun for me is creating; don’t get me wrong, it’s a great validation for someone to purchase my work but the process is gold.  I also, repeatedly remarked how much I need time off…or away from the churn of producing and producing and producing…  I need to stop and fill the well creatively to envision new ideas and work.

Part two, asked that you identify mentors…these could be anyone from idols to your next door neighbor.  Beam asked that you write a fictional letter to them and then respond as they would.  I did a similar exercise in college and thought it to be a pointless and almost made me feel as if I had a split personality.  I did lay out all the reasons I admired each person and then highlighted the commonalities.  Most people had this amazing work/ life blend, they create meaningful work with exceptional craftsmanship and each had a book or two they had authored.  All things I am work towards.

If you are joining in, next week is Chapter 3.  I will break this into two parts since it is pretty meaty.  Stop at page 59 and meet back here Monday for my latest digest.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Summer Reading: The Creative Entrepreneur

June 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

This week Summer officially begins and I’m going to be disciplined and work through Lisa Sonora Beam’s workbook, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real.  It was gifted to me awhile back during my recovery and it just wasn’t feasible to focus on moving my business forward when it was hard enough to just get out of bed.   Now that I’m healthy I can take this on, which comes at a good time as my energy has returned but I’m feeling a bit directionless.  Never have I not had a plan (I know, double negative — dramatic effect!).  So if you would like to see where I end up going or explore this for yourself, meet me back here on Mondays (ahh…it’s the internet.  join in on your own time; I’ll be waiting.)

So, to begin, Chapter One ask you to gather your supplies.  Beam suggest using the good stuff to reinforce that this is important work.  She cautions, though, not to spend all your time on preparing and miss out on the actual work.  Off you go…

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Lucky Ducks and Wise Owls…

April 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Finally, I’m having a stretch of good luck!  A couple weeks ago I happily won the new Rachel Maddow book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
…signed!  The contest was sponsored by Maddowfans; myself and another lucky duck were chosen by creating a funny subtitle for the book.  I wrote Drift: How Dick Cheney Got His Groove Back.  So, add clever book subtitle maker to my list of things I can do!

After I found out I called C at work and she asked if they were going to use it on the book.

“No, it’s published already.”

“Well, she sure would sell a lot more with that subtitle.”

“um…It’s number one on the New York Times’ Best Seller list…I think she’s doing ok.”

Later I called my mom AND she was appropriately excited for me!  (Though, I suspect she wants to borrow it…hmm.)

Anyway, it’s been a couple weeks and I think the whole Maddow book experience has inspired my new project quite accidentally.

Owl Drink to That

It’s a patriotic owl bar mop towel!  I’ve been kicking the idea awhile of “Owl Drink to That” but just in the last week I decided to silk-screen it and top stitch it to a bar mop (which is a beotch by the way).  I pulled the red and blue fabric from the bottom of my fabric stash…not my typical color scheme.  Once I pulled it together I was like, hey, Maddow is a mixologist, political wonk, and all around wise owl!  Yay, it’s cool when you use your noggin!  (btw, someone almost immediately pinned it on Pinterest on a board called “to do”…thanks.  good luck with that.)

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Creative Girl Book Group: Final Thoughts

August 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

This has been an incredible journey.  Katharine Sise’s Book Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career
was a fun read AND an inspiration.  She began the book by dealing with the creative and the spiritual components of the artist’s life.  Then she got into the guts of the thing with the hard work and effort and energy and STAMINA needed to really have a go at creating a successful business.  And then she comes full circle with having us creative peeps remember the roots, the passion, the “why” of the thing.
Sise tackles the myth of art and madness being UNAVOIDABLY INTERTWINED.   She has us creatives come up with a “business plan of sorts” for our well being.  We are challenged to connect with our bends toward perfectionism and procrastination.  She cheerleads the idea of community and building in time to step away and get out of your head.
As you have been reading in my last few posts, I have been feeling the need to take a few steps back and breathe. It took a couple of weeks but I am feeling like ME again.  I needed to do it for myself and for my family.
-Robin Norgren

Creative Girl Book Group: Chapter 17

July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

We are finally at the end of the book.  Chapter 17 is the last ‘OFFICIAL’ chapter that focuses on HOW TO in building your business.  The last chapter is more of a recap.  I will make sure and share more on that next week.  Chapter 17’s subtitle is “You Are Your Own Publicist.”  I love this section of the book.  Katharine Sise, the author of Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career, goes into the differences between marketing, advertising and publicity.  I have to admit I thought marketing and advertising were synonyms.
On personal branding, Jane Lauder, General Manager of Origins (One of my FAV companies!) says:
“Creating a brand is like creating a story and there’s value in telling your story over and over again.  Sometimes you’re too close to your product and what you may think is repetitive hasn’t even scratched the surface of becoming clear to your customer.  It’s vital to get feedback so that you’re sure your message is shining through. “
This one piece of information has prompted me to begin meeting every Wednesday with two other local business women and FOCUS ON branding.  This fits nicely into Wednesday’s post transition since the completion of the book is next week.  I am super excited to get started.
Anyone else out there picked up this book and begun the process? I would love to hear!
-Robin Norgren

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