Showing posts with label reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reflections. Show all posts


My Word for 2014

At 11:59pm on December 31st, I felt a pang of sadness. I was sorry to say goodbye to 2013 - it was quite a year!

I spent a cozy New Year's day in my jammies dreaming and scheming about the wonders that lie in the year ahead. New Year's is the best holiday for goal-setting-loving nerds. Like me.

Like last year, I came up with a guiding word for 2014: MOMENTUM.

In 2013, decisions were made and steps were taken to get the pieces in place in different areas of my life - I got married, completed my coaching certification and found my direction for my coaching business, and took on a new job title and responsibilities at work. It's all in place, and now it's time to dive deeper, to get moving, to put it all into action. It's all about momentum.

I am committing to a technique developed by comedian Jerry Seinfeld: I will take one step every day, no matter how small or big, to move myself toward my goals and generate momentum. Every day when I complete my task, I'll make an X on my calendar. And I will not break the chain.

It reminds me of this passage that I came across when I read poet David Whyte's Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity:
Not long ago, I heard on the radio a description of a new form of propulsion for a probe that had just been launched into deep space...The scientist describing the new motor said that the amazing thing about the motor was that although the electrons were pushed out of the back of the probe at an incredible speed, the electrons were so small that the acceleration on the craft was actually only the equivalent of the weight of a piece of paper. But because that slight weight acted every moment and it occurred in a basically friction-free environment, the craft could reach speeds of hundreds of thousand of miles per hour. 
It is a profound metaphor for a poet, of course: just the weight of a piece of paper, a blank piece of paper, every moment, or even to begin with just once a day, every day.  But it is a metaphor for any work and any person. A steadily building field of activity, laid down almost imperceptibly, layer upon layer, which creates a world and at the same time prepares us for our appearance in that world.
I often get frustrated with myself that my forward movement comes in spurts - I wait for the space to block off a full day for working on my business. I get grumpy when these days are few and far between, and beat myself up for "not being able" to work on the things that are closest to my heart.

This new approach will (hopefully) mean that I don't have to wait, and I don't have to be frustrated with myself. I'll break it into bite-sized chunks, keep at it, and by disciplining myself to be faithful to my biz every single day, I'll get into a groove. I'll need to be patient even if progress seems slow, and know that no matter how small a step I take each day, it is enough - the constant forward movement adds up. And who knows where I'll be a year from now.

I'm so excited to get the ball rolling!

What's your word for 2014? Share it in the comments!



What a Year!

2013 was a quite a year - I'd say it was even my favorite one yet.  I declared it to be the Year of Love & Gratitude, and was it ever.  Check out some highlights in this fun slideshow

I set out these goals for myself, and accomplished so much personally, professionally, and creatively:
  • Married my sweetie, and planned an amazingly fun wedding!
  • Went on a dream honeymoon!
  • Became an auntie!
  • Became a certified Professional Life Coach!
  • Made a lot of quilts and expanded my horizons in free-motion quilting techniques!
  • Revamp, reinvigorate, and rebrand my blog (in process - coming so soon!)
  • Launch my coaching business (my coaching practice is open for business and I've worked with clients throughout 2013 - but I have yet to mark it with a launch party, which will totally make it feel official - coming soon!)
My word for 2013 was: COURAGE.  I set out to live wholeheartedly, to share myself with the world without being shy or fearful of what others will think.  My mantra was: may I have the courage to show up and let myself be seen.  It was a big moment for me to step into the limelight as "The Bride," to take on a new role and greater responsibility & visibility at work, and to begin showing up as a coach - at networking events and through opportunities that came my way.  I was courageous this year, and though at times I felt vulnerable, nothing but wonderful things have happened - I've felt authentic, I've made friends with like-minded people, and opportunities have opened up to share myself and my passions with others in even more ways.  It's been so exciting.  

None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my team - my husband, friends, book club gang, co-workers, family, fellow quilt guild members, and coaching colleagues.  I am so fortunate to have such an amazing network of incredible people.

The pieces are in place.  2014 will bring everything to the next level.  More on that tomorrow!

Happy New Year!



back in the studio

Today was my first day spent in the studio in a long time.  Too long!  

In the middle of last week, I took a look at my to-do list and all of the exciting projects I have going on, and my head started spinning: finishing up my coaching certification and launching my business, revamping and revitalizing this blog, cultivating the awesome Rhode Island Modern Quilt Guild, oh yeah, and planning my wedding!

It's such an exciting time of ideas, energy, and abundance.  The kicker is that everything on my list is a want-to, not a have-to.  Ideal!  But I want to do it all, and I want to do it now!

I know it can't all be done at once.  But I also know that they will all get done.

Two important things I came to realize this week:
  • I need to trust myself.  I know that my projects will move forward even if I'm not plowing ahead full force.  I am a person who naturally leans into the future (for better and worse!), and thrives off of moving forward.  
  • I need to carve out studio time.  I've marked off all of my Sundays between now and the wedding as "QUILTING DAY," and I'm treating them as sacred time to ground myself. 


My Word for 2013

I've chosen my word for 2013 - a word that will both guide and challenge me through this wonderful, wonderful year:


In The Gifts of ImperfectionBrenĂ© Brown explains that while most people think of courage as bravery - the guts to venture out into the battlefield or unknown territory - the word actually comes from the old French word coeur, meaning heart.  It means "to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart."

The question "How can I be more courageous?" changes from "How can I be brave in my life?" to "How can I live with my whole heart?"

I made an intention poster a couple of years ago that hangs in my studio, with this guiding statement: live from the heart, share from the heart.  It's a simple statement, but a very tall order that requires constant tending.

And now I see that living with my whole heart is quite literally an act of courage.

For me, living wholeheartedly means sharing my gifts and passions openly and freely with the world.  For a long time, this has applied directly to sharing my creativity at here at Connect the Dots.

But there's a piece of me that weaves into that creative work that has been asking for more space and attention: my love for reflection and discovering a deep connection with my sense of purpose.  I've only recently come to fully recognize the power of this part of me, and my desire to facilitate this process for others.  And that's what inspired me to complete a year-long certification program to become a life purpose and creativity coach.

So now I'm starting a new chapter, and a new mission both here on this blog and in my coaching practice:

Connect the Dots focuses on sharing my creative practice as a quilter and crafter, including documentation of my projects, reflections on the process and meaning behind my creative work, and sharing artwork by my creative friends. By offering a window into my own creative practice, my blog aims to inspire others to incorporate creativity into their daily lives.

As a life purpose and creativity coach, I deepen this work by offering clients the opportunity to work with me directly on developing their own creative practice.  I work with women who are creative in their personal and professional lives to recognize, make space for, and courageously share their own creativity and self-expression, whatever their medium may be.  

So much more to come!



A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I was on a young alumni panel at my college - an event for seniors to prepare themselves for life after graduation. As the six of us panelists gathered to walk up to the stage, I felt my heart fall down into my shoes. I realized that the panel makeup was this: banker, entrepreneur, med student, banker, smartphone app inventor, and me.

As we began to introduce ourselves, I started to feel like I was speaking a completely different language from everyone else. I grasped my notes, looked out into the crowd of professionally-dressed and ambitious seniors, and told my post-graduation story even though it felt completely wrong. When I asked for a show of hands of people interested in nonprofit work, five hands out of a hundred and fifty went up. I nervously listened to the other panelists tell their stories. They spoke in generalities, with lots of "you know's," even though their work environments and daily lives sounded to me like something from an alien planet. I don't know! Should I? When I left the auditorium afterward, I wanted to completely melt into the ground and disappear.

At the time, I felt like everything was wrong. Like I was on the wrong path, or worse - that I wasn't on a path at all. I was wasting my education and, measured against my peers, unaccomplished and small.

How true was that, really? It wasn't true at all. But it sure felt like it.

The truth was: I needed that kick in the butt - that feeling of utter lostness to kick me into gear, and to make me think about what I really want, what is important to me, what my values are, and how I can best share my gifts with the world.

So I did. I spent months reflecting, talking with friends, and asking questions about my truest skills and interests. And that's when I discovered life coaching.

Coaching encompasses all of my favorite things: reflection, goal-setting, creativity, and self-care. It's about working with people one-on-one to help them envision and become their best selves. It makes me feel useful, confident, inspired, and excited. It's what I was born to do.

A year ago today, I was feeling low and lost.

Today, I am at my final weekend of training to earn my certification as a life-purpose and creativity coach. And though I feel a little bit uncertain about what happens next - how coaching will unfold as a piece of my life - I am sure that I am on a path, and the right one, at that. And that all of this - the low and high feelings - were a part of that process.


Creative Community

my first cathedral window, for the pincushion swap, from this tutorial

Over the weekend, the Rhode Island chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild met for our monthly meeting.  I started the group back in June, and it's one of the weekend activities that I most look forward to.  We had seventeen people in attendance, who all brought projects and tips to share with each other.  This month, we did a pincushion swap - so everyone came away from the meeting with a handmade gift.  

I learn so much from everyone in the group, and always come away from the meetings ready to spend the rest of the weekend in my studio sewing.  

Isn't it lovely to be part of a creative community?  It's like recharging my inspiration battery.  And of course, sharing my own energy and excitement for quilting with others.  



Hello, 2013!

tea towel from yaymeeralee on etsy

2012 was the Year of Transition...

But I'm officially declaring 2013 the Year of Love & Gratitude.

There is so much to look forward to this year - personally, professionally, creatively, and here on the Connect the Dots blog.

In 2013, I will:
  • Marry Ian!
  • Go on a relaxing and super fun honeymoon!
  • Become an aunt!
  • Complete my certification to become a Professional Life Coach!
  • Launch my coaching business!
  • Make a lot of quilts!
  • Expand my horizons in free-motion quilting techniques!
  • Revamp, reinvigorate, and rebrand my blog!
Every single one of those bullet points deserves an exclamation point (or three).  And you'll be hearing more about all of them in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!



See ya, 2012!

A lot of things have been going on behind the scenes here in 2012, and I'm finally ready to share them with you.

For me, 2012 was the Year of Transition.

So many pieces of my life shifted and changed.  In the middle of it all, it seemed turbulent, exciting, and often a little scary.  On the other side, well, it all makes perfect sense.

The highlights:
  • Ian and I decided to get engaged (Yes!  Big news!)
  • I explored and shifted my career interests, and enrolled in a program to become a life coach (SO much more on that to come!)
  • I founded a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild in Rhode Island 
  • I (finally) started to think of Providence as home, rather than my childhood home in Vermont
  • I celebrated my *golden* birthday, and turned 27 on the 27th, thus entering my late twenties

Through all of these things, quilting in my studio space has kept me grounded.  I made a whole bunch of quilts throughout the year, each of them was personal and special to me in its own way, and each taught me something new about the quilting process.

[Other notable things that have kept me grounded: Netflix, hot tea, Ian, Callie Cat, and copious amounts of dark chocolate.]

Looking back at my goal for this year was like taking a big, deep breath.  I laid out just one challenge for myself in 2012, rather than a whole list: to place more value on rest, relaxation, and recharging myself.  I (mostly) allowed myself to stray from structure and gave myself permission to take time for myself.  Of course, I always need to grow in this area.  Always.

See ya, 2012.  Though it all turned out right in the end, I'm not sad to see you go.

Up next: what's in store for 2013.  [Hint: it's going to be awesome.]



Happy New Year

You may have noticed that I skipped my usual end of year goal check in this year.  I set out a very ambitious set of goals for myself in 2011, and ended up learning and accomplishing many things - many of which weren't on my list.  I wrote a guest post on Heart Handmade UK blog, attended the Fletcher Farm School of Craft for a week-long quilting course, and participated in a quilt show.  But I didn't check off everything on my list - my interests shifted a bit over the course of the year, and I ended up taking on some new projects (in non-crafty areas of my life) that pushed me in new ways.

One of the things I learned over the course of the year is to allow these shifts to happen - to allow my course to change directions, and be flexible with my expectations of myself.  I have come to realize that I have no shortage of ambition and motivation to push myself.  I know that I am continually going to learn and grow and pursue interesting projects. My inclination is always to fill up my time, set goals and benchmarks, make lists, and set up structure for myself.  But I don't think I necessarily need to do those things.  I know that I'm skilled at them - maybe overly so - because I fill up my whole calendar and neglect a really important piece of my life: rest and renewal.

In 2012, I have just one challenge for myself: to place more value on rest, relaxation, and recharging myself. (Thanks to Erin at Big Girl Feats for her awesome blog post that helped me articulate this.) I want to adopt this challenge in how I approach my life - try to not strictly schedule my time and projects, stray away from structure and lists, etc., and I also want to bring this into my creative work. I want to make sure that I spend time in my studio on a regular basis, because being away from my creative practice for a few months helped me realize that sewing is essential to how I process life, reflect and recharge.  I'd like to stray from the usual structure that I impose on my work by experimenting more with improv quilts and designs that don't rely on blocks.

For my first project of the year, I'm getting "back into shape" by spending some time in my studio daily.  I'm loosely participating in Fun-A-Day Providence, where anyone can sign up to do something creative every day for the month of January.  I hesitated to commit to the project, since I'm trying to stray from structure, so I'm committing to participate only to the extent that it feels right.  And so far, it's felt great to be in my studio each day, and to have a new creative project underway.

I assembled a collection of fabrics (above), and each day I'm creating a quilt block design that I've never created before.  Together, I'm hoping the 31 blocks will come together as a modern sampler quilt.  Check back later this week to see the results so far.




Working through The Artist's Way has prompted me to remember and reconnect with mentors from my past. My first and dearest thought is of my advisor during my junior year of high school, Jill.  She was 27, and I was 16.  But we had many things in common: we shared a birthday, had the same exact eye glasses, and connected over our mutual love of writing (back then, I was a poet).

I dug through a box in the back of my closet to find this note that she wrote to me at the end of that year, just before she left for a new teaching job. She was in a faculty meeting, but her mind wandered and she wrote this poem for me.

Part of moving forward
is understanding what’s behind.
Like trees, we grow from essential elements,
the nutrients of our youth seeping
through our stretching skins.
Like leaves, our hair will come and go,
like boughs, our limbs may even break,
But our stories, like seeds, will forever be fed
by the heart’s rich soul,
telling themselves again and again
through the truest light in our eyes.
The light in my eyes today tells of meeting
a girl whose roots have mirrored
the pattern of mine, twisting around
the same boulders of fear, exposing themselves
at the edges of the same hopeful, vernal pools,
spreading like a net of chance and faith
to clutch at the core of what keeps us alive.
And as the rings of our years spiral outward,
gaining texture and heft, we’ll know
that we were grafted together back then,
and this is part of what has made us so strong.

-Jill, May 2002

There simply aren't words for how I feel about this poem - its trueness, and the hope and strength that I feel from it, even many years later.  

I treasure it.



Changing and Balancing

I'm on week three of my twelve week creativity course, led by the book The Artist's Way.

It's a slow process, but so far so good.  And I'm surprised to find much of it applicable to my professional life as well as my creative life.

Things are shifting in my world right now.  I'm working more than before - I gave up my studio day during the week to take on more hours at my day job.  And I'm working on another really cool project that's taking up a lot of my time.

This all means less time for sewing, and less time for blogging.  With my studio day gone, I'm seeing my weekends quickly taken over as well.  And I've found that I can't create in windows of two or four hours...I really need a whole day carved out so that I can create at my own pace.

It's been hard to adjust to this new schedule, even though it comes with exciting beginnings. By Friday of last week, I was really weary of running here and there, from meeting to meeting, and not getting any time in my studio.  This ugly self bubbled up inside me, and I felt ready to blow.  I was daring bicyclists to ride up behind me too close and cars to not be patient as I crossed the road, so that I could direct my frustration at something.

On Sunday, I took myself on an artist date (one of the book's assignments) to my favorite tea shop to read and people watch.

While reading this week's chapter, I came across this nugget:
Anger is a map.  Anger shows us what our boundaries are...It tells us we can't get away with our old life any longer.  It tells us that old life is dying.  It tells us we are being reborn, and birthing hurts.  The hurt makes us angry.
I like the idea of anger as a map. Of realizing what I need to fiercely protect in my life.  Of using it productively.  Balancing out all of the new pieces of my life is both exciting and painful.  But I have faith that it will all settle out, and that I'll set new boundaries and find a balance again soon




It's been so much sewing, sewing, sewing lately.

After all the hours in the studio during quilt camp - 50! - I'm a little burned out and am having a bit of a rest.

Even in these quiet moments, when my sewing machine is all packed up, creativity is happening.  Brewing below the surface.



This is Awesome | Creative vs. Business Brain

I recently came across this article on Balancing the Creative Brain with the Business Brain from Crafting an MBA.

I really identified with the divide between creative brain vs. business brain - I've been thinking about it a lot lately, but I call it experimental vs. entrepreneurial spirit.

For the past few months, I put on the brakes a bit with building my business.  I came to realize, as she says in the article, that I work a lot, and while my tendency is to make everything into work, maybe what I really need is a hobby.  I need to love, enjoy, and find relaxation in my time in my sewing room.  For now at least.

I've been experimenting and learning with quilts this year, and mostly letting my Etsy Shop run itself.  I've decided that I won't sell at any craft fairs this summer, but instead will attend them and find inspiration in them.

Right now I'm enjoying the freedom to explore a new medium, to follow my interests, and to fill my to-do lists with want-to's rather than have-to's...or even not to have a to-do list at all!

I'm sure the entrepreneurial/business brain will return, and when it does, I will follow it.  But for now, I'm enjoying this creative/experimental phase.

Where are you in the great divide?  Is there a divide between creative/business for you?



A final post on color (and blues)

Confession: I've been in a rut lately.  Winter blues have set in - I feel exhausted, moody, bored, a little lost. 

I've been carrying on here - noticing color, posting regularly, dreaming up new things to create.  But have you noticed that I didn't make as much as I usually do this month?  I haven't had the energy to execute.

I've been holding my blues close to my heart instead of posting about them, both because I aim to always be positive here and because I wasn't sure what to make of them yet.

But I can feel myself coming out the other side of this now, and I've come to realize that ruts happen.  They're part of the creative process, and they're part of life.  And getting into a rut is how I know it's time to reevaluate, make some changes, start fresh.

Instead of creating this month, I've systematically been cleaning each room in my apartment.  Purging, organizing, and simplifying are sometimes essential to the creative process.  Preparing the stage to create.  I cleaned my bedroom, my living room, and my sewing room (I think it's the cleanest it's ever been!).  

This weekend, I brought the same energy to cleaning up my blog. Purging, organizing, simplifying.  More white space.  Ahhh.  What do you think?  The new design is helping me to feel reinvigorated, ready to close out this month of color study and blues and have a fresh start in March.

Have you been in a creative rut?  How did you get out?



2011 Goals

I've been writing and thinking all month about my goals for 2011. I've started out with three guiding statements:
In addition to these broad statements, I have a few specific things in mind. And since I felt really great about checking off my 10 things to do in 2010, I figured I'd keep the ball rolling and lay out 11 things to do in 2011:

1. Compile a book of my patterns and projects
This way, I'll be able to remember exactly how I made certain designs when I revisit them weeks or months later.

2. Write a revised business plan
A couple of years ago, I had a "manifesto" about what Connect the Dots should be. This year, I want to update this and make it a more complete business plan.

3. Write a guest post on another blog

4. Make more Art
As in, not craft, but Art. And while I'm at it, I should try to figure out more about what the difference is between Art and craft.

5. Go to a summer school of craft

6. Open a bank account for my business

7. Be part of a quilt show

8. More awesome giveaways
As in, I'll be doing more, and encouraging more participation in those giveaways through my blog, facebook, email list, etc.

9. More tutorials
I'm taking requests! Let me know what kinds of projects you'd like to learn about - sewing, crafting, or blogging related.

10. Engage my blog readers in a conversation
I'm aiming for more two-way interactions, for more opportunities to get feedback from readers and exchange ideas about being creative.

11. Choose a loose monthly theme/focus for blog content
So far - January has been about goals and resolutions. Check out Friday's Gallery post to find out February's theme.

I'm counting on you, dear reader, to hold me accountable to my goals! So ask me about them, check in on me, encourage me, and share your goals with me in the comments below - I'll be sure to do the same for you!



Another New Year's Resolution

A few weeks ago, I wrote about reading The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda and two big ideas that I took from it, and I'm focusing on in 2011:

Keep it Simple

Connect the Dots

There's one more big idea that I've been thinking about, and I'm adopting as another guiding statement in 2011:

Be a Light Bulb, Not a Laser Beam

Maeda writes that he was once given this advice by a professor who told him, "you can either brighten a single point with laser precision, or else use the same light to illuminate everything around you."

It's almost been a year since I dropped down to working part-time in order to make more room for creative projects in my life. I've been working hard at growing and creating as an artist, educator, program director, and professional. It's been a whole lot about me, me, me. By the end of last year I felt a lot like a laser beam - focusing so completely and intently on continuing to grow in these roles and checking things off my lists that I wasn't able to meaningfully focus on others in the way that I wanted to.

This year, I'm going to be more like a light bulb than a laser beam. To me, this means more thoughtfully focusing on others, being more present, attentive, warm, and generous.

This blog has become more and more about being a light bulb over time, and you'll see more of that this year. My hope is that by sharing my creativity and how my creative friends create, (create, create, create!) some of that warmth will reach you and encourage you to be creative in the ways that you're interested in. My goal moving forward - less tunnel vision and charging forward, more seeing big picture and listening.

So, given that, I want your feedback:

Are you feeling the glow? Has Connect the Dots helped you be creative?
What do you like (or not like) about the Connect the Dots blog and what would you like to see more of (tutorials, questions answered, features, etc.)?



What I'm Reading: The Laws of Simplicity

Since I posted a recap of my "10 Things to Do in 2010" last week, I've been thinking about what 2011 holds for Connect the Dots. I don't have a list yet - I'm still figuring out what I want to focus on this year. But I do know at least one thing I want to work on...

A few weeks ago, I posted about my current life philosophy: "You are creating a work of art called your life." While this was my focus for 2010, I'm feeling ready to move on to a new philosophy, one that my Mom frequently tells me when we talk on the phone: "Keep it simple."

2010 was an exciting year of changes and growth. I went from being full-time at the museum, to dropping down to part-time to devote more energy Connect the Dots, The Hive Archive, and New Urban Arts. Then I left the museum for a new part-time job at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Now, I find myself walking around with three different types of business cards in my pockets. When people ask me how my job is going, I say, "Which one?"

It's exciting to be working on so many stimulating and wonderful projects. But it's also exhausting. I've divided myself into little parts, and sometimes I feel unable to be my best at any one of those things. Having some time off over the holidays was so good for me - I could unwind, take a break from going a mile a minute, and get some perspective.

I picked up this book, "The Laws of Simplicity" by John Maeda, to help me think about how to simplify in 2011. It's a quick read, just 100 pages, and I pulled out a few nuggets that could help me feel less overwhelmed. There's one that I want to share with you, because it's too perfect.

Maeda talks about Gestalt Psychology, and how the human mind likes to find patterns and organize things into groups. He's applying it to the evolution of the controls on an ipod, but go figure - I found that I can apply it directly to my life.

He writes: "What the difference between the cluster of 30 dots displayed [in the middle], and those on the [left]? The answer is simple. [In the middle] there is no order to the randomly placed dots; on the [left] there is a clear grouping of some of the dots. We immediately pick out the group of dots as a "whole," even though it's composed of many little dots. In effect by gathering the dots into the group as on the [left], we have simplified the otherwise haphazard display of 30 dots by giving order to the chaos" (Page 18). An then there's the figure on the right, where "the cloud of dots represents where all of the individual elements have melted into one as if they were optically blurred through a lens" (Page 20).

Okay, here's how it applies to my life: on the left, I have what I've been referring to as my "four jobs." When separate, they are overwhelming and disjointed. I need to change how I think about my work to the blurred figure on the right. I have my work at the Humanities Council, and I'm an Artist. My work with The Hive Archive (organizing networking for artists) and New Urban Arts (teaching art) are merely extensions of Connect the Dots and my work as an Artist.

Do you see the crazy thing here? I have to connect the dots. Literally.

So starting now, I'm connecting the dots and making myself whole again. Keeping it simple. Just like Mom says.



2010 - Check!

At the beginning of this year, I planned out 10 things I wanted to accomplish in 2010, and I'm proud to say that I checked off all of them!

1. Complete a quilt. I made more than one, but my favorite was the one I made for my Mom's birthday.

2. Build Etsy inventory and 3. Get my Etsy shop up and running. I launched my shop in September, and I've already made over 50 sales!

4. Learn how to take more awesome photos of my work. This is for sure an ongoing process, but I think I've come a long way this year!

from this... this

5. Start regularly commenting on other people's blogs. Check!

6. Put together an art portfolio. I have two now - my flickr site, and a tangible album to bring to art festivals.

7. Market my work to a gallery or shop. My work is now available in three retail shops - Kreatelier, River's Edge Flowers & Gifts, and the Providence Children's Museum gift shop.

8. Make a dress. I re-made a thrift store find, and then built up the courage to make not one but two dresses from scratch. I think I'm hooked!

9. Donate pieces to at least three fundraising initiatives. I donated artwork for some very worthy causes that are close to my heart: New Urban Arts, The Hive Archive, Providence's Arts & Business Council, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the Providence Children's Museum.

10. Participate in a holiday craft sale. I was featured in the Brown Alumni Magazine Holiday Gift Guide and took part in the warm and cozy Cardboard Pancakes Studio Sale.

It has been such an amazing and challenging year of changes and growth. Thank you so much for being a part of it, and for offering me encouragement and support!

I wonder what 2011 holds for Connect the Dots...what would you like to see?



This is Awesome: My First Zine & GIVEAWAY

I turned 25 on Monday!

It felt like a big milestone - this has been a big, wonderful year. So I wanted to celebrate with a party and all of my dear friends in one room. Here's a shot of my divine chocolate cake (which, fortunately/unfortunately, appears to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next six days since everyone is so sugared out from Christmas)!

For the party, my creative friend Alice helped me to make my first zine (a small, self-published work). It's called 25 Things I've Learned About Myself in 25 Years, and I made it as a gift to myself, to my friends, and to you, dear reader. That's right, I want to send one to you!

So, to get your copy, here's all you need to do:

Leave a comment below with something you learned about yourself by the time you were 25, or something you *hope* to learn about yourself by that time. And don't forget to leave a way for me to get in touch with you (email or address, etc.).

Here's one from my zine:
#16: I like going to the library to pick out books more than actually reading them.

Can't wait to read yours! Thanks so much, dear reader, for a great 25th year! Here's to year 26!


Christmas Memories Tree Skirt

For Christmas this year, my family did something a little bit different. Following up from last year's "gifts from the heart" - handwritten notes - we each brought one gift that we could all enjoy while we were together - food, drink, games, movies...and it was great. I've been dying to reveal my gift to the fam for forever, since I made it back in August when I was surprisingly feeling Christmasy.
Last year, I had my family write Christmas memories, and we all talked about the history and traditions in our family. I collected each notecard of memories written in each person's distinctive handwriting, and I knew I had to do something with them...

Here it is! A tree skirt!

It's my own design, inspired by the "little forest quilt" I found here. I scanned each notecard into my computer, enlarged them, and printed them out on iron-on fabric. Tah dah!

Here is my grandpa's memory: "I remember my first electric train! It had a loud horn."

And my grandma's: "I remember midnight mass on Christmas Eve when Pete came home from the war and gave me my engagement ring. He was so cute with his look."

I was so excited to give this to my family as something that we'll hold on to forever. And it looks great under the tree!

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