Hello my Creative Friend!
I wanted to share about my first time being a podcast guest. It couldn't have been with anyone nicer than Margo on her Windowsill Chats Podcast.
Meeting with Margo Tantau was a really lovely, natural exchange. That was my feeling afterward. I thought, oh, Iâd like to talk more with her; she has such rich experiences that Iâm not hearing about. But, letâs be real, thatâs not how I went into it.
Doing her podcast was a first time for me, and like most first times, thereâs uncertainty. In the beginning of our visit, I was a little awkward, which was way better than when I did the HGTV Rate My Space spot, and I was a lot awkward. As we went along, I eased into the newness, in no small part because Margo has one hundred and thirty-four previously lead conversations behind her. So sheâs a pro and works getting people to be who they really are.
In preparation for Margoâs podcast, Windowsill Chats, I did some research on how to be a podcast guest, which was really helpful because you donât know what you donât know. I learned about silencing my phone, controlling room noise, knowing what the podcast interviewer's goals are, and much more. So, I made a little diagram to put ME + MARGO + LISTENERS all together. It was really helpful to see where we merged together most and the focus should be.
Margo also sent some other information to prep me as well. It was mostly questions and directions to consider. So, I created a Doodle Note road map of my creative journey. This helped me collect my own thoughts on what my journey has really been. It was really helpful to me and so I sent both to Margo, thinking they might be helpful to her.
It was great meeting Margo and it felt like it was just her and I having a conversation. But, now with hundreds of people sitting in with us. Go have a listen to our Windowsill Chat #135 Shannon Christensen Reinventing Herself as a Creative, Channeling Her Grief, and Finding the Strength to Live up to Her Potential.
About once a month I tried to take a field trip. It's part of The 8 Creative Power Habits - X•X•O (Explore, Experience, & Observe). So we headed out of the city to the little town of Zabljak.
Zabljak is almost 5000 feet above sea level so it's almost 15˚ degrees cooler than Podgorica. Add a little storm cover over the area and it's really pleasant. Plus it's near the Durmitory National Park so it's in a beautiful area with a lake, hiking and lots of pine trees. We lost power for about an hour last night but all is well this morning.
Here's an excerpt from my JUMPSTART YOUR CREATIVE ENGINE with The 8 Creative Power Habits book. I thought I'd share one way you can X•X•O with Fieldtrips.
JUMPSTART YOUR CREATIVE ENGINE - FIELD TRIPS
You've got to plan a Fieldtrip! Especially if you're feeling creative burnout, a little stuck, need a new place to explore and observe, or just want a new experience. Plus they can be fun!
Let me know of a Fieldtrip you've taken or want to take and what you X•X•O.
Creative Power Habit #8 is Show & Share and I'm here to report about the Puzzle Pitch. If you missed the inspiration behind the Puzzle Pitch then you'll find it here. But the result was that I was rejected.
I have a Rejection File. It has rejection letters, from when letters were a thing, and emails. The word 'rejection' such a negative thing that today I've decided to no longer call it a "Rejection File" but a "Not Their Choice" File. That title was hard to come by when you look at all the synonyms for rejection - no-go, brush-off, cold-shoulder, thumbs-down, slap in the face, and kick in the teeth. You see the feelings associated with not being selected.
It's always a letdown when you enter and don't get the gig. It can often lead into this rejection rabbit hole of "my work's not good enough", "nobody's going to want my work", to "I shouldn't even bother anymore." You can see that it's a downward spiral with every thought building on the other's negativity. As with most artists, I can often see this as "bad being stronger than good".
TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN BEING 'NOT THEIR CHOICE'
There are two things to remember when we haven't been chosen. The first is that choosers have commercial criteria they are trying to meet that you really don't know the particulars of. You have to get into the head of the person(s) picking. As for this puzzle pitch challenge, I knew they would pick one dog and one cat puzzle design because pets are such a huge market. If I had really set my sites on getting picked I could have done one of those topics but it didn't fit me.
THINK LIKE THE PUZZLE MAKERS
You can practice trying to figure out how to think like the puzzle makers by guessing whom they might pick before the winners are announced. I looked at the entries and chose the ones I thought they would choose and I picked 3 out of the 10 winners plus I knew there'd be a cat and dog one. I couldn't pick which dog or cat because there were so many. So basically 5 out of 10 winners. Out of the other 5, I could see their direction. There was only one that was a wild card to me. It was good practice putting myself in the company's shoes.
REJECTION RECOVERY PLAN
The second thing to remember is to have a plan to deal with your emotions before you enter the challenge. My plan when I'm "Not Their Choice" is to 1) feel sorry for myself. But with a time limit. It's alright to acknowledge my disappointment. 2) Don't make any rash decisions about the trajectory about me, my art, or my business in this mood. 3) Remind myself of my successes. A "Success" file, board, or journal, etc., works here. 4) Look at their choices and try and see why they chose what they did. Like I said, good practice. 5) Reward myself for being brave enough to enter in the first place.
This doesn't have to happen all in the same day and your plan may look entirely different but there should be a small space for you. You have more creative work to do and you can't stay in the 'Not Their Choice" zone for long.
So, make your REJECTION RECOVERY PLAN so you can move through the creative process with purpose and share it with me.
Let me take you on a journey of Creative Power Habit #7 Vision. Part of Creative Power Habit #7 Vision is having goals. You can make your own or take on someone else’s invitation. Recently, I took the True South Puzzle Co and They Draw & Travel’s joint challenge. It was a call to pitch a puzzle. The concept was to create a puzzle that had a site-specific destination with a unique theme that also has commercial appeal. The uncommon thing was that the artwork didn’t have to be finished. It could still be in the concept stage.
I’ve entered challenges that required fully completed art only to be rejected, numerous times, and then be stuck with a very specific piece of art. So I appreciate having the chance to share in concept form. With that much flexibility, I was able to submit three pieces for True South.
FIRST PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY The Journey a Piece of Art Makes
Looking at the “unique” aspect they were looking for I decided to push the destination’s conceptual boundaries. My first design, The Journey a Piece of Art Makes, The Creative Process, is to show how an idea travels to its completion. From idea to destination. (I don’t know if this artwork will make it to its final destination of a puzzle but wish me luck or leave a heart here.) Plus I just finished writing the Jumpstart Your Creative Engine with The 8 Creative Power Habits book so I was all in on sharing about the creative process.
I’ve always loved hydrangeas and painting them. I chose to take images from the process of creating the hydrangea painting. Then I added words from the creative process and spread them around in the composition. When I was creating this I thought about how I’d enjoy actually putting together a puzzle like this. I could also see some of my daughters wanting to do it with me.
Sometimes our CPH #7 Vision can be too much of a conceptual stretch for a commercial market so that led me to my next entry.
SECOND PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY Sweets of Sweden
I went for something a little more predictable with the Sweets of Sweden. I lived in Sweden for two years and tried so. Many. Treats! They were all delicious. I loved my sketchbook painting days in their cafes, which seemed to be two to a block. I felt like a real European artist.
Wanting to share that feeling, I went to my sketchbook for inspiration and the pastry paintings that I did while in the cafes. The Swedes also love their flowers on tables (or lit candles in the Winter) and I remembered how all the cafes had fresh flowers. It was so lovely that I had to add those. Then there was the bird that flew into the cafe and shared my carrot cake with me. It was such a serendipitous moment that I had to paint her and it gave the puzzle an authentic feel.
Wouldn’t taking this puzzle to a cafe and putting it together be so much fun? Here's my next entry.
THIRD PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY Famous Statues of Europe
We went to Paris and Denmark and saw some of their remarkable marble statues. I mean, who can make rock look real like that! So amazing. In my last puzzle pitch entry, Famous Statues of Europe, I wanted to see if I could do an “adult” puzzle. (If there’s such a thing.) I added a bit of sophistication by making it black and white. I thought the pencil lines would make it intriguing to put together.
I don’t know how many people would want to put together a puzzle that looks like this but the CPH #7 Vision says to try it anyway. The puzzle could easily be placed in numerous museum gift shops all over Europe, wherever a statue is represented in the puzzle. And let’s be honest, I think I bought something at every single museum gift shop I entered.
PROFESSIONAL ARTIST FRIENDS
As a side note for my professional artist friends, this next news should appeal to you. I didn’t make any new art for this puzzle pitch. It was all work that was done previously. Having finished art at-the-ready makes for an agile professional. In the Build Your Body of Work Membership, every month we’ll do prompts that will give you artwork - a mini collection - to add to your portfolio. It will put you in the driver’s seat so that when challenges like True South and They Draw come up you only have to hit the gas.
Will any of these submissions make it? Will any of them win? It feels risky to share before I know but part of the creative journey is putting yourself out there (CPH #8 Show & Share). So, rejection or win, I’m in the creative game.
So my Creative Friends, what would your puzzle pitch look like?
My niece has been dealing with breast cancer first hand this last year. She is strong (and also falls apart) and is all the while amazing. She posts what is going on to our family and I went back to the beginning to reread some of it. A couple things stood out to me. One, she found it early which gave her options and two she was so relieved it was treatable. She said, “…it’s treatable and I can get through this.” She has a husband, 4 kids and a life she wants to live. It’s been 8 months and her battle isn’t over. It was life changing and she’s working her way to a new normal.
October as Breast Cancer Awareness month and Annie Unrein (of Patterns By Annie) does a #SewPINK Initiative to promote self-care, awareness and support for those affected by breast cancer. It’s a blog hop to bring it forefront in people’s minds. As she reached out I couldn’t let the opportunity go by especially given my niece’s struggle.
I focused on the monthly exam. How do you take something potentially scary (the monthly breast self-exam) and make yourself do it monthly. All I could think of was to add a little fun to it and keep it forefront all the time. So I decided to make a over-the-door pockets holder. Annie has a pattern here. I’m living in Montenegro right now and the mail isn’t great here so I made up my own pattern. (Thanks college Flat Pattern Design class!)
The National Breast Cancer Organization recommends -
NationalBreastCancer.org “Once A Month Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.”
In the busyness of daily life I forget all the things I want to do let alone the monthly things that need to be done. So this Pocket Reminder can hang in the bathroom all the time. The place where we need the reminder. Ask someone to fill the pockets with a little sunshine for you and you can print out the reminder cards to put in the pockets as well. Write on the back of them what you exam came up with and keep it as a record. Don’t be scared. Make your BSE reminder.
The cards are approx. 3” x 4.5”. Use them as a personal reminder even if you don’t do the pockets. This practice is important.
Here are some of the other Sew-lebritys that you can find projects from.
Follow along on this BLOG HOP 2021
✂ Oct. 1 (Fri): @fatquartershop - The Jolly Jabber
✂ Oct. 2 (Sat):@SallieTomatopatterns
✂ Oct. 4 (Mon): Hugs ‘N Kisses
✂ Oct. 6 (Wed): @sewfinity
✂ Oct. 11 (Mon): @BeyondtheReefpatterns
✂ Oct. 13 (Wed): @GreatHeronThreadCo
✂ Oct. 15 (Fri): @LoveYouSew
✂ Oct. 15 (Fri): @EmmalineBags
✂ Oct. 16 (Sat): @MeadowMistDesigns
✂ Oct. 18 (Mon): @OklaRoots
✂ Oct. 20 (Wed): @SuznQuilts
✂ Oct. 20 (Wed): @TeresaCoates
✂ Oct. 22 (Fri): @KnotandThread
✂ Oct. 23 (Sat): @ShannonsStudio
✂ Oct. 25 (Mon): @The_Littlest_Thistle
✂ Oct. 27 (Thur): @MisterDomestic
✂ Oct. 27 (Wed): @SookieSews
Prayers for all who find things that put them on the breast cancer journey. Hugs! Shannon
After almost 2 years away I'm home in the USA from Sweden and most of the family is here. I'll be here for a few months and the art life doesn't stop. Appreciating art doesn't have to happen only in Europe. The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is local for me so we went with the family. With a party of 13 we split into teams and my "partner" was my granddaughter, Miss LA. We went around together looking at all the art and I got to see things that she liked and her ability to pick out things that I would like. At one point she said, "Come here Queenie, I think you'll really like this!" It was this tapestry. She was spot on. (Later my SIL said he thought the same thing)
Chasuble Back • France, Mid 1730s • Silk & Metal-wrapped Silk • In the Style of Jean Revel
Revel introduced the new weaving technique that allowed for realistic shading and the illusion of three-dimensional motifs
It's kind of well known I have a thing for flowers. Lately I've been studying Dutch florals and came across these beauties.
Speaking of florals, here's a little detail on this marble statute. So delicate.
A really fun and telling thing about Miss LA and I was the crystal cut vases. This photo simply doesn't do these vases justice in any way. I couldn't catch the brilliance of the reflected light at all. But, as Miss LA and I rounded the corner we both let out a loud, audible gasp. In unison. Then rushed closer. These are so beautiful! Miss LA and I loved them. It was delightful to have that shared experience. And it was wrapped around art.
Art is a Lifestyle. It comes in big moments (Like Museum visits) and small moments (seeing delightful details.) Appreciate them all. So Creative Friend, what's your Live Like an Artist moment today?
Sometimes I do things on a whim. And in the middle of it I think I should have made a plan because I don't even know if it's going to turn out. That was the case with this little bouquet. I wasn't even really trying because I knew I didn't know how to paint a ranunculus. So I thought, "Well, whatever." A lot of things in life are like that - it feels right but you and I get in the middle of it and we don't even know how to do it. But we just have to keep at it. So I kept at it even though I didn't know how to paint that ranunculus. And sometimes it works.
Is this just me?
Today there was supposed to be a small meeting at my house. It was cancelled due to a rise in covid cases. I'd already gone to the store and got refreshments but I wasn't bummed because of the reason in the live video I did, Creative Life Tip #13 Two Birds = One Yes. Basically, there's always more than one reason I do things so if something falls through then I'm not disappointed because there's still some other reason to do it. Besides the gathering, I was going to take photos of my Caramel Apple Hack to share, try the dessert out to see if it would work out for dinner guest for Sunday. So I still had a couple reasons and the bonus was that Joseph and I could have fun having a private party.
Caramel with Lindor chocolates, toasted coconut, chopped almonds, crunch balls, toffee bits. Add skewers and green apples.
I love layered Caramel Apples. But they're so much more work that it turns into a production. I always have good intentions to do them every Halloween but never get around to it. How do I make Caramel Apples now? Introduction to my Caramel Apple Hack.
It's supper easy to pull together. Joseph and I had so much fun making the combinations and a mess. This will be my go to for Halloween from now on. Besides, let's be honest, the apple is just a delivery system.
If you're looking for another apple idea here one Party Tabletop Toasting, Apple Caramel Crunch that I did a few years ago.
Holidays are a fun time to be a little creative. Happy creative celebrations.
I use Pinterest all the time. It's a great creative tool. I've had this great cafe pin pinned for awhile. Looking through a board I realized that the @mycasa pin of Cafe Fabrique might be here in Sweden. I was curious so I did a little research and sure enough it is here a few miles away. It was just as Åsa Myrberg's pin/photo shows.
I have loved doing watercolor sketches of Sweden! So when I saw this pin in person I had to paint it. I got my portable studio and e-bike together and headed out. I like the focused time when painting at a particular cafe. It's just fun.
Are there any Pins that you've had to visit when you saw them?
Keep up with my creative living by joining my email list.
I was in my 30s before I'd even heard of a Monté Cristo sandwich. We'd gone out with my sister and my bro-in-law ordered it. It was just a different kind of sandwich I wanted to try. Fast forward to buying my mini loaves of bread here in Sweden and wondering what kind of sandwich I could make. So I did a little hack with the Monté Cristo.
This is a Mini Loaf Monté Cristo pull apart sandwich. That's a mouthful and unintentional pun there. Anyway, I really liked doing this for several reasons. One, it's a mini loaf. Small size. It doesn't really look it in the photo because I'm using a small plate and cooking dish but it was small. I'm not feeding 10 people a day anymore and with just the 3 of us I don't have to cook cafeteria style. But, this actually would be easy for a large group because it's bread made into french toast so it can be made in the morning, wrapped up and put in the fridge for later that day. I like that kind of cooking. It's a time saver to do dinner when you're already in the kitchen for breakfast.
Make the French toast, layer it in a pan with cheese of choice and ham. I like open face sandwiches (one piece of bread) so I put ham and cheese between each slice of bread. Though it can be done ever other piece of toast. Then wrap it in foil and put in fridge. When ready just pop it in the oven to heat and melt it.
In the meantime, I added fresh raspberries to raspberry jam. Raspberry jam in Sweden is so inexpensive and I love it. Adding the berries takes it up a notch. Then whipped cream.
The only thing I'd do differently is to bake the loaf with a little raspberry jam in the bottom. I think that would add a nice touch of the warm jam.
Shopping list: Mini bread loaf, eggs, milk, cinnamon, cheese, ham, raspberries, raspberry jam, cream
I like getting a little creative in the kitchen. Let me know if you try it and share a photo with my Shannon's Studio Facebook page. Also, if you want other ideas on living creatively then join my email list.
It's Pumpkin Season! And this is a super easy way to be festive. Make your stew like you regularly do then put it into a raw, cleaned of seeds pumpkin. Put the pumpkin lid on and wrap the whole thing in foil. Bake at 350˙for about an hour. I overcooked mine because I was video chatting with one of my kids so I just place the cooked pumpkin on a bowl. If it's not overcooked it can stand alone. Plus, look at those little Swedish moose crackers. Moose are Sweden's National animal.
About 30 years ago I did this in a big pumpkin and it still worked. So either single serving or family size it's still doable. It kinda looks like a lot of work but it really isn't. Give it a try and share a photo on my Shannon's Studio Facebook page.
Just over here in Sweden living a creative life but you can live a creative life where you are. Join me to learn more about creative living.
Your art should mean something. To You.
If you're a professional maker your art has to mean something to the client and the consumer. That takes a whole different thinking.
But if you're not --- then you're free. Free to do things for you since it only has to mean something to you. I don't mean 'only' as in you're not important. I mean 'only' as in it narrows who you have to make happy with what you create. No one gets to say whether it 'works' or doesn't. No one else gets a vote. You are free to enjoy it in your own way on your own terms.
We usually are happier with our art when it has meaning attached to it. When it has a message (even if hidden from others) that resonates with one's self. It also drives us a little more in the messy creative process to push through. Here's a case in point.
Quote Drawing Speed Video
Leila passed away at the same time Joseph was born. Then Sky passed away a little over a year later. They wanted us to raise Joseph "if anything happens to us." I brushed off the comment when they said it. Why would we even need to know? Until we did need to know. So at 50 we started raising Joseph full time. And even though I'd been a stay-at-home mom of 8 for 28 years, raising a child who's parents have died, one from complications of his birth, was going to be not only new to us but a potentially painful struggle for him in later years. So, I try to think of things that will reinforce his worth, his place and his life. To get across that he was wanted from before day one. He will struggle. We all do. But I want some of what I make to dust little bits of love over him. So he'll remember.
I don't know if it will mean anything to him, I hope it does. But even if it doesn't I made art that means something. To me.
Here's a simple DIY watercolor to PRINT • PAINT • CUT • TIE • PLACE. You can do it, kids can do it. It's quick and easy, even if you've waited for the last minute. For a short time the download will be available for free. After that it'll be available for sale in my shop.
If you want to connect while self isolating Im continuing my FB live vids at 8:30 pm Stockholm time. We talk Creative living current things and a little Swedish life. In the meantime roses lend a little beauty. #shannonsstudio #shannonchristensen #waterc
I bought this Jenna Kutcher bag and enamel pin from last Spring and promptly gave it a little creative attitude. I freehand drew it on the bag but then made a pattern from it to download so you can add some attitude too. Put in on a bag, apron, jacket, anything.
Also, took the "Busy is Not a Badge of Honor" & talked about busyness in our lives on Creative Life Tip Facebook Live Video #179
You'll find a few tips on recognizing and addressing it. Or watch one of the other 178 videos on making space for a creative lifestyle.
Here's a download for the Sphere of Influence Honeycomb Goal Catcher. It takes into account all of our different roles and responsibilities we have as women. We have big plates that make up a full life. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of it all. Or know what to keep or let go. So it's broken down into small story slices to go through one by one. Number one and the most important is YOU! I also did a live video that I talked about it. Creative Life Tip #155 Honeycomb Goal Catcher - Make Your Own (here or here)
Hello 2020!! So good to meet you. Looking forward to a creative relationship. #shannonsstudio #shannonchristensen
End up with holiday guests or just needing another meal to serve family or friends? This Sandwich Food Board (from my Creative Brain Food Series) is a life saver. Last minute and it looks like you had it planned all along. It can be made with any type of sandwich makings that you like. All the ingredients can even be had precooked from the deli section. See the shopping list below.
Creative Life Tip #103 Thoughts on Cleaning - Make More Time
Creative Life Tip #102 Creativity & Perfection is a Lifetime Process
Facebook Live Video - Creative Life Tip #101 Work the Internal/External Deadlines
I learn a lot from watching someone do something. It cuts some of the learning time. So, here's a process video of doing a Sketchnote on my iPad Pro using the Procreate app. This sketchnote corresponds with Creative Life Tip Video #70
Facebook Live Video - Creative Life Tip #100 Make One Space Special
Creative Life Tip #99 Build a Creative Library