Saturday, March 28, 2015

what's cooking

Hello readers! I've been away from this blog for about three weeks, and today I'm coming clean about why:

I've been working hard on the framework for a creative consulting business called Arboretum Creative, through which I plan to coach creative entrepreneurs on how to make money from their art without selling their souls. I am so excited to do this and help some of you with the operations and marketing of your creative businesses. I want to create some free products to give you more information about the creative arts marketplace, but to do that I need to know what you struggle with!

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As you may have noticed, I have also removed all of the ads from this blog. I've realized that monetizing my blog in that way is not for me, so I have replaced them with a Donate button from PayPal, where you can donate a dollar or two to help support me in the writing of this blog! Time costs money and art costs time, and this is just one of the concepts that I will be covering in my consultation packages.

If this is something you are interested in, sign up here for email updates on progress and products as I start chasing my calling!

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Friday, March 6, 2015


Life-filled work is what keeps a creative business going. I can't be creative if I try to separate my soul from what I do. As a work-at-home mom, I have to find some sort of structure between my work and Everly's schedule. She is currently learning about naps, and is getting so good at independent play. She has always had that stroke of independence; at 4 months she could play with her play gym for an hour. Now she is jumping in her little play saucer and telling me her opinion about everything while she does it. Those little da-da-das punctuate my workday, and I have learned how to synthesize my boss duties with my mommy joys.

I've heard from a couple different moms that they are having a hard time figuring out how to run a creative business while being a mother, so I've decided to give you all a peek into how we do things in the hope that it will encourage you that you can find a way to fit your work into your life and your life into your work.


We wake up around 7:30, and snuggle til 8 or so. Then Everly and I go into the living room and kitchen (it's one big room) to make breakfast and catch up on the news while Everett sleeps a little longer if he needs it. I'll put her in her bouncy seat or under her play gym while I eat breakfast and have a quiet start to the day. Everett then makes his nasty green smoothie and we all get in the car to take him to work. He works for himself, but is based out of a studio owned by our church. As a one car family, if I don't take him in the morning I am stuck at home until he gets home around 6.

Everly usually falls asleep in the car (or if we're home, in her crib) around 10 for her morning nap. I know that my brain is not the best at solving problems at this point in the day, so I use this time for running errands and doing chores while I let my mind wander. I find that this actually helps me be more creative, since I am not focusing too hard on a pressure to produce. I give myself permission to do what it takes to care for our family before I work on any projects.


At this point Everly has napped and been fed, and I have gotten some chores done. I've recently realized that the reason I didn't feel creative was because my creativity was coming in spurts between bouts of anxiety about all the stressors in my life. To combat this I've started trying to take care of at least two of those stressors before I sit down and try to do my art. I'll do something along the lines of paying some bills, replying to an email, or washing the dishes.

I then sit down and try to work for 15 minutes straight. This doesn't sound like much, but other moms will attest to the difficulty of getting those 15 minutes to actually happen. The point is to focus in hard on what you want to accomplish. "Do your best" is not the mantra that I like to use during this time. I'm a perfectionist, and my best is an unattainable fantasy that I've drafted up in my head while I'm stressing about how little I can do. Instead, do what you can do in the time you have, and give yourself permission to stop working when you need to. When that 15 minutes goes by, see where you are an either take care of what needs to be done, relax, or keep working for another 15 minutes. Of course, I leave my work when Everly needs me, but she is usually pretty happy with her toys.

To keep my motivation up, I usually have a to-do list with things that I know I will be able to get done sprinkled among the challenges. That allows me to feel some sense of accomplishment for the little things, like taking a shower. Moms should be congratulated and feel accomplished for showering!

do what you can do in the time you have, and give yourself permission to stop working when you need to.


After I've gotten some work done, I pick Everly up and we spend some quality time together snuggling, nursing, and playing games until her afternoon nap. While she sleeps I do some of my best creative work. I write a blog post, balance some books, do some painting. This is my time to release what the Lord has put inside my heart.


Whenever Everett is done at work, Everly and I go pick him up and come home for dinner. Everett's been cooking a lot lately, so I get a little down time before we eat. When Everly is winding down, we watch a little Netflix and I do a little reading. If I have time before I'm too sleepy, I'll do some journaling.

This routine is pretty flexible, and the tasks fit in a lot of different arrangements. Everett and I are so routine-averse that it's actually really amazing that we have been able to do this. I love that we actually got more structured after having a baby. It was hard, but it's been amazing. I've felt like the urgency of having less time to work has made me more efficient. I'm able to run our production company, schedule gigs, do some art, and even start planning the launch of my very own creative consulting business (shhh! More on that later).

I know that life will change through every stage of Everly's development, but I will take those changes in stride and adjust my schedule as I need to. I can't wait to see how our family changes over the years.

Questions on how you can work your own business into your life? Contact me for more information about consultations.


Monday, March 2, 2015

get a little crazy

This past week I have gotten very little sleep. Everly hates her crib, and I love to snuggle, so it's really hard to motivate myself to keep her in that cage while I could just scoop her up and kiss away her fears and cuddle her to sleep. Also, my body has realized that she wakes up a ton when she's in the crib, so my brain is like, "Why bother going to sleep when we're waking up in an hour anyway? Let's think about all the things that will happen in the next year."

This means that I don't really get the amount of sleep that I need to recover from things like colds, hard work, being a full time mom and full time musician, life, etc., so I've just learned to operate in a generally sleepy state.

I stay at home with Everly most days, and I love to make our house look like a home while I'm here. The kitchen has been bothering me since the day we signed the lease. It had this old blue country wallpaper that was peeling off and sucking up all the light coming from the glass doors. I had created a little workstation for myself in the corner next to the counter, and was just feeling stifled and suffocated when I would try to do work in my designated workspace. I ended up doing most of my work sitting on the couch with my computer in my lap, which was so bad for my back that I would have a headache by 3 pm every day.

In a stroke of inspiration (madness?), I woke up one day and decided it was time to make a change. This is not after a full night of restorative sleep; no, this was after a night of about 3 real hours of sleep. I had just hit my limit of days that I could tolerate that wall, so I did some research and bought my supplies and made my house work for me.

The process

Problems: The desk is right next to the door, so we drop everything there on the way in. We also leave stuff on it that needs to go out, like the stuff underneath that needed to go to Goodwill. It's the only place I have to store my printer, scanner, and large art. The wallpaper is so dark it makes that tiny corner look like a cave. This corner was one of the worst parts of our house.

Process: I got a little crazy one day and just started pulling the wallpaper down. I started where it was already peeling and took the entire first layer off. 

I then realized I was going to need to scrape off the bottom layer to add any paint to the wall. After some extensive Pinterest research, I decided that the fabric softener method was the one for me. (Details below). It took me a few hours over the course of two days (I had other things going on that took precedence), but it really wasn't that hard. 

I grabbed a $1 roller from the Dollar Tree and some leftover paint from the rest of the living room, and reserved a naptime for painting. It felt like it took no time at all since the wall really wasn't that big. I took the junky stuff to Goodwill and moved the printers into storage since I haven't used them in 2 months.

I took a few minutes to do some measuring, and found that the desk fits perfectly over the radiator that we don't use. The light is so much better in this spot, and I have better access to Everly and her needs. It feels more like an office and less like an afterthought. 

The paint color has totally opened up this room, and the rearrangement has made it more welcoming and functional. The total cost was only $2 since I used leftover paint and got the fabric softener and the roller at the Dollar Tree. I got a little crazy with this project, but the results are helping me stay sane.

Wallpaper Removal:

  • Squirt bottle
  • fabric softener
  • scraper
  1. Remove any outlet covers.
  2. Mix 1/3 fabric softener with 2/3 water in the squirt bottle.
  3. Peel top layer of wallpaper off.
  4. Saturate remainder with fabric softener mixture.
  5. Let sit until you can see bubbles under the paper. (You want it to sit long enough to be really soggy, but not long enough to dry.
  6. Scrape off the saturated paper. If it is still sticking, spray again and wait.
  7. After all the paper is down, wash the walls with water and a towel to remove any sticky residue before painting.

What is driving you crazy in your home? What's stopping you from fixing it? Leave a note in the comments!


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