i love yoga.


whimsical women interview #3

i’d like to introduce you to my whimsical woman of september…jennifer williams of blueskysunburn creations! one of the most incredible things about jennifer is her ability to juggle her creative life with her full-time job and spending time at home. i know most of us are struggling to find that balance between our “two lives” and jennifer’s honesty about the challenge is so refreshing. enjoy all of the art and photos…everything here was handmade by jennifer!

 as i leave behind my old blog, the year of discovery, i'll ask for one thing you've discovered in the last year…
In the last year I’ve discovered that I’m only as limited as I allow myself to be. I made excuses for why I didn’t do any sort of schooling or why my business isn’t as successful as I want it to be and I realized I was the only one holding me back. My 30th birthday was a major turning point for me. I’ve been able to accomplish more in the last four months than I have over the last four years.

how do you bring fun into your life…anything you do regularly that makes you feel like a kid again?
I’m pretty much a homebody. On rare occasions my husband and I will go out to the movies but usually I’m at home spending time with my husband, playing outside with my animals or in my studio creating. It may not necessarily make me feel like a kid again but it’s what brings me happiness.

how do you maintain balance in your life (IF you do), between creative endeavors and the other parts of your life that need attention?
It’s a juggling act, that’s for sure! I currently work full time in mortgage law doing doc prep, I’m in school to become a certified paralegal, head up Etsy Fort Worth which also includes being very involved in the planning their semiannual craft show, the Cowtown Indie Bazaar, and of course my own business, Blueskysunburn Creations. In the last few months I’ve been focusing more on profits from my business which involves going to two or more craft shows every month.

Balancing it all is hard. I’ve learned to multitask like you wouldn’t believe and to-do lists are a must. On my lunch breaks you’ll find me answering emails and working on Etsy Fort Worth, at home (after I’ve answered emails) I’ll be listening to my classes while working on pendants and painting while watching tv with my husband to get some time in with him. I try to spend at least ten or fifteen minutes each day with my pets but it doesn’t always happen. I’ve discovered my house tends to suffer more often than not as I don’t have a lot of time for housework.

what does community mean to you? describe a community of which you're a part. 
To me a community is a support team of people that encourage your endeavors and your interests. Finding the handmade community was very eye opening for me. It led me in the direction of founding a street team, Etsy Fort Worth, in February 2009. It’s a group of roughly 50 handmade artists who meet in person monthly and socialize with one another online. There is so much to be said about the impact on your own creativity when you are around other creative people.

what is the BEST costume you've ever worn?
My best costume wouldn’t necessarily be the best as much as it was my favorite. Last year I was a red Lego block for Halloween. I made the costume myself out of paper bowls, cardboard and paint with instructions I found on the internet. I even one third place at the office costume contest!

if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? and who would you take with you?
Wow, that’s a hard one. There are so many places I want to travel to. If I had to choose only one I think I would choose to go to Italy with my husband. I would love to see the ruins in Sicily or see what Venice has to offer.

tell us something about yourself that only a few people know…
Other than some mundane fact there isn’t much I can tell you that I haven’t publicly posted in my blog, Trial and Error. I pretty much put everything out in the open be it accomplishments, failures, angry rants or vacations.

and last, what's something you've been working on…or an upcoming project/event you want to share with us?
Due to the holiday season and the amount of shows I’ve been attending I’ve mainly been cramming to keep my pendant stock up as they are my best sellers. Just this past weekend I started creating larger pendants with art prints of my work and also I made a handful of pendants with crosses out of demand.

Aside from that I’ve been working on commissions. Come January I plan on working on larger scale pieces to get into local galleries and to sell consignment at stores.

thanks so much to jennifer for taking the time to share a bit of herself here in the playground. if you'd like to see more of her creative process...and her mischievous puppy...you can visit her blog here. and look around in her etsy shop over here.

i am winding up the “tour of texas” next month with my interview of a whimsical singer/songwriter from dallas. after that i will open it up to the women who inspire me from all corners of the globe…i can’t wait to explore the blogosphere for more whimsical women! and maybe some pictures of the spaces in which they create…i love to snoop around in other people's studios.


vacation hangover

i've been trying to get myself to go through the pictures, but it's just too depressing. 
i want to be back there....now.


only in west texas...


wabi sabi

my fingernails are painted. i realize that this may not seem like a big deal to anyone reading this, what with millions of women running around in various shades of nail polish at this very moment. but for me this represents something more than simply a color choice. this means that i actually had (and took) the time to sit patiently and do nothing more than casually flip through a magazine while they dried.

now, it is not news to me that my life had become way.too.crazy. i've talked about it recently in this space, and over the past few weeks, taken great strides toward a simpler lifestyle. but every time i look down at my hands i can barely recognize those elegant fingers. this simple act reflects all of the simple pleasures i have neglected since life got so hectic.

right now i am sitting in the bed of a 29-foot RV in the middle of the afternoon, eating a nutritious snack and staring out at the clouds over the mountains. i am surrounded by simple beauty...there are few buildings in this area, no noise, pollution, distractions. life is slower here in west texas. d and i eat delicious meals we can prepare in two pans on our RV stove, with fresh ingredients packed into the tiny fridge. i see that we don't need much to be happy (and i knew this to be true before we ever left houston). painted nails and my mountain bike, good pens and books to read, healthy food and afternoon kisses.

i am happy here. with the slow pace and sun streaking the sky following an afternoon rain shower. with time to write and take photo walks--and free wifi, of course--a technologically advanced "simple life." my cousin bought me a subscription to whole living magazine as a thank you gift for her recent visit (yes, she is that thoughtful!) an article i read today discussed the concept of wabi sabi, an ancient zen philosophy which celebrates the beauty in life's imperfection. the freedom in abandoning our western idea of perfect is very intriguing to me, both in a physical and emotional sense.

i believe that these past six months have been about my transformation closer to this idea of embracing imperfection. of finding out for myself what is real and celebrating all of the quirks that make me unique. that i like to paint my nails and then go get muddy on the mountain bike trails. that i can love my dad fiercely, yet hold a near polar-opposite life philosophy. that i can be a responsible adult and not have a 401k.

the past six months have taught me that life is much simpler when i make decisions based on my values and expectations for myself rather than someone else's, or worse--society's. this wabi sabi concept appeals to me because it validates that life is incomplete, unfinished. i've always thought that my life would be perfect once i:
a) found a rewarding career
b) met my soul mate
c) completed a triathlon, took a creative writing course, planned a vacation...

but once i had all of these checked off my list, i still felt incomplete. now i see that that's the point. there will always be things to add to the list. and that's the beauty of life. i will always be growing, living, learning--it never ends. but what needs to end is the expectation that i can do it on someone else's timeline, or to someone else's specifications. i will always make mistakes, i will never be perfect.

to live authentically, i need to simplify my life in line with my deepest held beliefs. pare it down to just a few basics, those things i simply cannot live without. and i'm getting there. slowly, clumsily, imperfectly...i'm getting there.



yesterday i was myself again. i've been coming out of this fog for a while, but i finally felt the warmth of the sun on my face. in my effort toward authenticity and  my mission to maintain my childlike spirit...it felt like success. one snippet of my near-perfect day looked like this:

windows down in the black beauty, a car that has seen me through everything: grief, grad school, 4 am shifts at starbucks, marriage, and a fairly horrible commute to my first "real" job in houston. she's more like an old friend than a piece of machinery now. i know my CRV like the back of my hand--there's a comfort that comes with the relationship and she definitely has a special place in my life.

so, the wind is pushing those curly little pieces of hair all around my face. i smile in the rearview mirror...my natural hair frizzing in the late-summer heat. i am happy. the kind of happy where i glide my hand out the window to ride the waves of wind floating alongside me. and when a favorite song comes on the radio, just as i'm picking up speed on the open highway, let out a little scream...just to remind myself that i'm alive.

it was just a moment. a drive i've made a hundred times. but it was in that moment i knew i was coming back. that part of me that seemed trapped in quicksand, the one unable to break free from the tangles of her own life. in that moment, i felt peace.

sometimes i need to scream with the windows open. not worry what the guy in the lexus might think when i weave my arm through the warm breeze.  sometimes, i just need to be me.


today =





flashback friday

it was so much harder to think of this week's flashback friday...mostly because i haven't been feeling very playful lately. it seems that every day has brought new grown-up challenges and limited my time for more simple pleasures. which is exactly why i needed today's adventure...

david and i used to go mountain biking at least once a week...i remember when i first started this blog, i posted this about our weekend ritual. and it was always a time of unadulterated fun. there's something about flying through the trails, wind whipping your face, a sense of true joy when we're in the groove. today i really forced myself to forget about all of my adult worries and just ride. i focused on the glints of sunlight through the trees, the birds chirping happily overhead, and the sound of my breath as we navigated the valleys and obstacles in our path.

riding bikes as a kid, we were never thinking about the homework we had to do later that night or the nutritional content of our lunchboxes. we were solely focused on the task at hand--speed and balance and the ever-popular "no hands" to show off to our friends. now, i may not have a banana seat or streamers flowing from my handle bars, but i do still get that little jolt of fear when we hit a difficult trail, that sense of freedom when flying downhill at top speed, and joy at having my best friend beside me for the ride.

what did you do last week that made you feel like a kid again?


naptime is over

seen from our balcony in galveston, tx on friday

okay, so i really DID sleep most of the last week away. i may have finally overcome the overwhelm that was taking over in august and have enjoyed the first days of september by relaxing and starting a new art journal. i've noticed that i haven't been painting as much lately and since i'm going through a lot of big changes and decisions right now...i thought it was a perfect time to try it out.

i took an old composition book i never used and cut the front and back covers off to use for the journal. then i took a bunch of unused papers and punched holes and found some little binder rings to hold it all together. i'm excited that it's even something i can do after a full 12-hour shift at the hospital (today) and feel productive.  though the paint's still drying and i haven't added my text yet, i thought i'd give you a sneak peek.

hopefully i'll be posting more pages throughout the month. but mostly the next 30 days will be spent planning for our annual anniversary-vacation, or what david has dubbed "our third honeymoon." only this time we will not be in NYC or a small greek island, but in a rented RV traveling across west texas. we are nothing if not unpredictable.  i'll probably post a bit less this month, but plan to get a whimsical women interview in and a bunch of photos of my travels. 

although it's still 90 degrees most days, i'm pretty sure i feel autumn coming...