Thursday, May 31, 2012

i'm hooked

a new shot for instep2souls
It's only been a few months since i joined the instagram craze and i am totally hooked. It is amazing to see the world at your fingertips through someone else's eyes. This concept is almost too big for my little mind to wrap around, but...i get it. i've always been a very visual person and i can see how people can get lost in daydreams, photographs, books...
indian paintbrush in the yard

on the way home

Have any images you want to share?
 I'd love to follow you.
Let me know how to find you on Instagram!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Flip Side

Lotus Red Teapot by SAMOS

Last week I applied to be a member of the Etsy Mud Team. On Saturday I received notification that I've been accepted! I'm very excited to be a part of such a talented group of individuals! I think it will also help me in getting my schedule nailed down. I've always admired artists that are disciplined in organizing their time. I can honestly say that doing this is not one of my strong points. Trying to figure out WHEN to do everything. Create, market, blog, network...The list is longer, but you catch my drift, right? I'm a list person, so that helps a little. But as your list for the day grows and time passes by, I then find myself in a game of catch up.

Lately I have been a collector of books. I have never loved reading like a lot of people, but I love books. Does that make sense? Anyways, one of the great many attributes a book has is that you can always go back and refer to something you have read to better yourself. For example, I just stated that organizing my time is not one of my specialties. There are many resources out there that help people like me do just that. Books, blogs, videos...It just so happens that one of my books, I'd Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson B. Stanfield, is a great resource for me. If you are like me and need some pointers on how to get started on better organizing your time, here are a few tips:

  • Be straight with your task list
  • Let technology be your assistant
  • Stay focused
  • Trick yourself into doing tasks you're avoiding

I would have to say that staying focused is one of the hardest things for me to do, unless I'm in the zone. Once I've reached that point, watch out! Nothing else gets accomplished except art making! And I'm very good at tricking myself into doing tasks I don't want to do. I usually reward myself with something that I've been wanting to do like sit down for an hour and catch up on my blog reading, go for a horseback ride, or plant some new flowers.

Do you have any tricks you'd like to share? I would love to hear about them!

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    Ready for CoLoR

    I have a few pieces that have been waiting patiently for glaze and a fire. It's on my to-do list for the day, among other things like gesso that large board that I've been wanting to paint, blog about instep2souls, and plant the rest of those strawberries!

     © stephanie amos

    © stephanie amos

    © stephanie amos

    It's been a busy, fun-filled week! Last Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary  by working hard in the yard. The day ended with a delicious dinner at Sangrita's in Westcliffe. The rest of the week continued with the usual chores of having horses: hauling hay, harrowing the field, etc. But on Wednesday we were able to escape it all and head to the mountains for a nice ride. The whole family came!

    the boys @ mt shavano
    Wishing  YOU all a very happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    a BIG night

    Chris agreed to this, really

    This past Friday was pretty exciting for me. My husband and I went to a book signing of Chris Guillebeau, the author of the Instant National Bestseller The $100 Startup and The Art of Non-Conformity. He gave a great talk about his book, answered questions and signed books. I've never been to a book signing before, but then, I've never been so excited about a book I've read before either!
    And that wasn't the only cool event of the evening. I met Alyson B. Stanfield, the ArtBiz Coach! She also has a great book out, I'd Rather Be In the Studio. She was sitting right in front of me! I recognized her since I've been a fan for several years now, but I've never met her in person. I was out of my element that night since I was hyped about the book signing and introduced myself. (I probably wouldn't have done this in any normal circumstance.) She was super nice! It is really cool to actually speak to someone you've followed through social media, newsletters, workshops, etc.


    Have you stopped by, my newest project?
     In case you missed last Friday's post, here's a recap:

     instep2souls is a photography project where I am asking ANYONE that takes pictures of their feet or shoes (with their cell phone) to JOIN me in a collaboration of images from all over the world. I want to curate a traveling photography show with the images that people have sent me. I'm sure there are a lot of people that are put off by this because they are grossed out by feet, but...I find that everyone has a story to tell and I would like to hear their story and then share it with others. And what better way than to pay tribute to our feet since that is how most of us get around in life. I welcome all photos (within good taste of course) to be a part of this project. For more information, click HERE.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    InStep2Souls + EBSQ Friday Five + New Pottery

    a Goodwill find
    Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to share with you a project that I've been working on that just launched today. It's called InStep2Souls: A Journey through Life. I don't know if you have noticed or not, but there are a lot of people that use their cell phones these days to take pictures. And they are shooting everything from eating ice cream, to sunsets and feet. Feet? Yes, feet! or their shoes.

    At first I thought this was a silly phenomenon, but it had me thinking about all the people in the world that are living life, day in and day and about their journey through life. Ever since I worked on the boats in Alaska, I love meeting new people from all over the world and listening to their life stories. I thought if I could get people to send me a photo of their feet (with or without shoes on) and tell me a little something about themselves, I could share a piece of THEIR journey with the world.

    I invite YOU to partake in this new artistic venture of mine.
    Be a part of the JOURNEY through LIFE!

    Click HERE for details


    On Wednesday I spoke about the webinar and podcast I took part in a few days ago. My artist friend Amanda Makepeace stopped by and liked what I had to share. She chose the Not So Everyday Blog of an Artist blog to be one of the EBSQ Friday Five blogs to visit this week! Thank you Amanda! 

    Pagoda Green Planter @ MuddyPotts
    a Mushroom and the BeanStalk Dish
    @ MuddyPotts

    Block Flower Plate Set @ MuddyPotts

    Have a Great Weekend!!!


    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    An End Leads to A New Beginning

      waiting for the webinar to begin

    The last couple weeks have been a blur, but in a good way. I usually don't have too many irons in the fire, but lately, I am getting a little more involved in everything. Yesterday the first session of the 101010 Project came to a close. I had the opportunity to meet nine really special women and learn from their experiences in running their own creative business. If you haven't had a chance to check out the project, I highly recommend it and follow the second session as well! It starts June 15.

    A couple days ago I signed up for the teleseminar given by Alyson B. Stanfield, the ArtBizCoach, and Carolyn Edlund of ArtsyShark. It was a valuable one hour session covering the secrets of retail selling for artists. They covered mistakes that most artists make such as following up on your sales. This one was huge for me. I have very few repeat customers and I've often wondered if the people that buy my work are happy with the end product and the buying experience, but I didn't pursue the follow up. Why not? How hard is it to shoot a customer an email and see if they received their package and if they are happy with it? In the last two days, since I've been following up on orders, I have received positive feedback on several sales, including a commission that was shipped off a couple months ago!

    I can't tell you how valuable this tool is for my business. It gives me a boost in ego knowing that my customers actually like my work once they receive it AND it helps me develop that artist/client relationship that may lead to future sales.

    Yesterday I listened in on an art marketing podcast called Blogging Tips for Artists. It was presented by Jason Horejs, the owner of Xanadu Gallery and Barney Davey of Art Print Issues. Again, another invaluable session for artists. I've been blogging for six years and have often wondered why I don't have many comments or followers. And again, did nothing about this. Just figured, "Hey, at least I'm blogging, right?" WRONG! As an artist, you want people to follow you and your work which hopefully will lead to sales. That's the point. A couple of the things I learned from this session was
    • Don't use large images
    •  Don't talk just about your work
    •  Use hyperlinks
    I could make a list of everything I learned, but I'd rather you listen to it yourself. You can check in with Jason or Barney and see when it will be available to download.

    Off to the studio now! I have some big projects brewing!!!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    The 101010 Project Continues...

    What an AMAZING learning experience this past 10 days has been. I hope that you have enjoyed following this project and have a developed a greater appreciation for artists of all kinds, their entrepreneur stories and words of advice. For more inspiration follow the 101010 Project as Session 2 begins
    JUNE 15.

    If you missed some of the soulful goodness that has been shared, make sure and head over to the blog the holds ALL THE DETAILS on the project: CLICK HERE

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    101010 Project: Stephanie Amos

    Stephanie Amos
    Name of business: KoiStudios
    Social media links:
    Years in business: 7 years

    I live in the mountains of Colorado with my amazing husband, three loving dogs, two handsome horses, and the queen of all cats. When I'm not out riding, I am usually in one of the two studios at our home where I paint, throw, sculpt and shoot my camera. I am more or less a free spirit in the sense that I can never sit still and am easily distracted by my interest in trying something new. I am fascinated with color and texture which is not limited to just art, but architecture as well. I love to travel and have been to many beautiful places and look forward to seeing the rest of the world real soon.
    Collaborations: A Good Idea?
    Absolutely! Of course there are always going to be pros and cons with any collaboration, but I have found in most instances, the pros outweigh the cons. I have worked with several different artists in different types of collaborations. Each one was a new adventure where I learned how to do something new or discovered a new found interest.  If you’re not sure collaborations are for you, I suggest you make a list of what you believe the pros and cons to be.  Here are a few possibilities to consider:
    working with another artist(s)              
    the opportunity to meet new people
     share ideas
    working outside of your comfort zone
    chance to network
    Again, these are only a few possibilities. There are many more that you may come up with according to the collaborative work. But I highly recommend you collaborate at least once in your career. It’s an excellent opportunity to share your ideas as an artist and broaden your own personal horizons.

    i love...

    waking up to a foggy morning...


    stepping outside to the smell of a new rain...

     and living in the mountains...

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    101010 Project: Robin Norgren

    I just wanted to say that the 101010 Project has been so much fun! I am very grateful to Robin who is the creator and all of the creative souls that have participated in this first round of the project. And now I would like to introduce to you, my friend Robin Norgren...

    Robin Norgren
    Name of business: Robin Norgren Studios
    Social media links:
    Years in business: 4 years

    I strive to live life to the fullest. No matter what. I have grown into myself through my love for Jesus and HIS LOVE FOR ME. Art, motherhood, business, creativity and yoga are the cherished vehicles for this deepening. Life can be FULL, JUICY, MEANINGFUL, PURPOSE FILLED, LOVELY. I want to help you come to your fullest life. I create workbooks, ecourses and workshops that chronicle my change and growth and offer you ways to find out what YOUR FULLEST life will be.
    Collaborations: a good idea?
    In 2011, it seemed that everything I was creating was a collaborative effort. I lived outside of the United States for the majority of 2010. So when I arrived home I found myself saying YES TO ANYTHING my friends were working on in an effort to reconnect.
    I created and executed a preschool program for a small start up church. I co-facilitated a support group for women called “Mending the Soul.” I illustrated my first children’s book with a friend. None of them went well. In fact, these friendships still feel strained to this day (I actually wrote a 4 week course on collaboration as a result of this experience!).
    You have heard it said that it is best NOT TO work with friends. And for a while after these experiences I would have said AMEN to that. But today I think that I would try again but I would take what I have learned from those past collaborations and walk into future ones more wisely.
    Here is what I know:
    -the power structure of the collaboration must be firmly established. None of the tasks can be ambiguously left for someone to organically decide who is responsible for them.
    -if monetary investments are involved, KNOW that the one with the money holds the power; it is no longer collaboration.
    -decide IN ADVANCE whose ass is on the line is something doesn’t get done. Taking ownership and responsibly ESPECIALLY for the main parts of the project are MANDATORY
    -DECIDE UP FRONT what the non-negotiables are for the project for each party involved and THEN DECIDE if it is a good idea to go forward.
    With four keys fleshed out beforehand, I think that even friends can work together with minimal strain on the relationship.
    Robin Norgren is currently completing her life coaching certification and would LOVEto offer you a FREE 15 minute mini session – sign up for her mailing list here:

    Robin Norgren
    Spark and Inspire
    Well of Creations
    My Creative Peace

    To read more about the 101010 Project, click HERE

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    101010 Project: Kelly Thiel

    Name of Business: Kelly Thiel Studio

    Years in Business: 10

    An artist and a mother of two young girls, Kelly Thiel
    lives in South Carolina, USA creating award-winning clay and bronze sculptures, as well as doing art journaling and mixed media paintings. She just finished building a new studio at her home, and is dying to log some real hours in there! Kelly is doing her best to live life to the fullest and enjoy each day, with her art and her family.

    Collaborations: a Good Idea?
    I do think that collaborations are a good idea. Sometimes when two artists get together, a beautiful synergy is created. Ideas just flow and wonderful things can happen. It's also a great way to reach out to other audiences that you may not normally interact with. I would say that a blog hop is a sort of collaboration, just an online one with many contributing artists! My favorite type of collaboration  though, is when two artists in different mediums get together to create a single (or multiple!) piece(s) of art. Integrating both mediums and working off each other's design, the two artists come together to create one finished piece.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    101010 Project: Jan Avellana

    Jan Avellana is a mixed-media artist with a passion for art making, books, deep conversations, and seaside adventures with her three favorite men (ages 5, 8 and 42). Jan spent the better part of her adult life trying very hard to be a grown-up with a traditional job. The birth of her two sons released her to follow her heart and reclaim the artist she has always been. In 2007, Jan created a line of silver hand stamped jewelry under the Hazelnut Cottage brand. Today, she revels in mixed-media messes, making heartfelt connections with others through art and words.

    In print, you can find Jan in “The Pulse of Mixed Media”, “Inside the Creative Studio”, “Artful Blogging, Winter 2011” and “ClothPaperScissors Studios”. In life, you can find her immersed in the studio or at the beach (with paint in her hair). Online, you can find Jan here:

    {etsy shop}

    Collaborations: a good idea ?

    Yes, I think collaborations have the potential to further relationships between artists as well as help promote both our own artwork, and the artwork of our fellow artists. The trick, I think, is to find a right fit, someone who shares our values, our aesthetic or at the very least, someone who we feel we can work with in a give and take fashion. As yet, I haven’t worked on any truly collaborative projects, but I certainly look forward to it in the future!

    To read more on the 101010 Project, click HERE

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    101010 Project: Nolwenn Petitbois

    Business Name : Inner Worlds
    Years in business : 2

      I am a self-taught Mixed Media artist.
    Dreamer. Lover. Passionate. Gratitude Warrior. Bookaholic. Cook. Art Journaler...

    I would never have thought that painting and creativity would be in my daily life and even less my business until not so long ago. I believe that nothing happens by coincidence and so that I do have powerful messages to share through what I create. I am a Mixed Media artist because my heart and soul need to play and discover all the time and Mixed Media allows me to mix and match techniques and materials.

    My artwork usually represents strong whimsical women (that I called «Nixies») who have a positive message to deliver to the world, to you. I believe in the important power of Positive Affirmations and of Gratitude, that both guide me in my creative process. I am a life-long learner, and love to unravel new ways to make my path lighter and stronger. Healing is a huge part of my life path, I am now also a Practical Reiki Master and noticed how it shifted the way it affects my creativity and the entire process of it.

    I am also an art journaler and is currently a teacher in the art journaling collaborative playground 21 Secrets that opened its doors in April 2012.

    Collaborations: a good idea ?

    I have never done a collaborative piece of art yet. But it is something that crosses my mind from time to time when I see amazing artwork by other artists that decided to jump and collaborate with someone else.

    However, I have created collaborative art journals via Round Robins and got mixed emotions with it. Some pages got lost, some entire journals were never received… I guess this is something that can happen unfortunately. Over all, it was a nice thing to receive pages from different people from all over the World, in styles sometimes far from mine which is very interesting eventually.

    Collaboration can be scary if you don’t know the other artist well, if you don’t have the same view of what the final piece should be. BUT it is also something very exciting. Knowing that another artist will add his/her own personal touch and then release it to the world with you.

    And I think it is a good idea as it offers the possibility of receiving more exposure thanks to the artist-s you do it with. It can bring new customers that may not have known about you otherwise.

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    101010 Project: Kelly Warren

    As we enter our second week of the 101010 Project,
    I'd like to introduce the ever so talented Kelly Warren! 

    Name of business: Happy Shack Designs
    Social media links:

    For my website, visit
    For my jewelry on Etsy, visit
    For my art and photos on Etsy, visit

    Years in business: 7
    Brief Bio: An artist with a short attention span, I create work in artisan jewelry, fine art photography, mixed media, and book arts. I've also been known to sew a thing or two. I work full-time by day as the Director of Student Life and Leadership Development at a large four-year college in Florida, and am the lucky mama to wonderfully sweet eight-year-old twin red-headed daughters. I have been married to a handsome man of great patience who's put up with my art shenanigans for 17 years now.
    Collaborations: a good idea?
    My experience with collaborations has been fairly limited, and I’m not sure the experience I did have would be considered a true collaboration, but I’ll share it and let you decide!
    In 2008, I did was a large Fat Book Swap. There were ten women involved and ten themes. The idea was to create 10 cards of each theme (basically the same 4 x 4 card 10 times), meaning we each created 100 total 4 x 4 cards. We then sent everything to the person doing the organizing, the wonderful Roni ( I was amazed at how quickly Roni gathered each participants’ work and sent us out back out a 100-card package of wonderfulness! I had a special box custom crafted to keep my full set in and enjoy looking back through them often.
    This collaboration was a challenge for me as I’d just gotten started in mixed media, but it really pushed me to try new things and I found that I really enjoyed the 4 x 4 format. The deadlines pushed me a little bit, but only having to come up with one design for each theme (even though I had to create 10 of each design) helped some. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I learned tons of new techniques, made some great blog friends, and have a beautiful box chock full of 100 pieces of original art to show for it! You can see my entries in the collaboration at this link:
    For my website, visit
    For my jewelry on Etsy, visit
    For my art and photos on Etsy, visit

    To read more about the 101010 Project: click HERE

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    101010 Project: Alease McClenningham

    Name of Business: 

    The School of Creative Business

    Social sites:

    Twitter: Alease Michelle

    Years in business: 4


    As an expert, Alease lends knowledge to the press, editorials and serves as a subject-matter expert. She is a sought-after presenter in the areas of creative marketing, personal image, branding and fashion.

    As a professor, Alease is committed to her student’s education, furthering their exposure and considers their success a direct reflection of herself.

    As a mixed-media artist, Alease participated in several exhibitions. Wishing to market her artistic endeavors, she found little advice available. This, coupled with her passion for education – she tracked her online marketing & branding journey and founded The School of Creative Business.

    Current Projects:

    On a 12 Week Sabbatical

    101 Free Resources to Grow Your Creative Business

    Creative Entrepreneurs of the Month Interviews

    Starting Points for Creative Entrepreneurs webinars

    Collaborations: a good idea?

      Collaboration is the best idea for those wanting to reach a wider audience. I strongly believe that when you start out in any type of business is to seek out others who like your work and are familiar with you as a person. Friends and family is the best people to start the collaboration process they will spread the word about your business, which will then be shared with other liked minded people.

      Thursday, May 3, 2012

      101010 Project: Jean Simrose

      Jean Simrose – Jewelry artist, wife, mother, grandmother

      Etsy shop:

      I was born and raised in Canada in a very creative family. We were encouraged to work with our hands and pursue creative hobbies. My sisters and I were taught to sew, knit and crochet at a young age. I liked to design clothes and jewelry to go with them.

      My careers were varied and diverse. I was a hairdresser. I worked as an administrative assistant for an oil company while my two sons were growing up. After they moved out on their own I went back to university and became a social worker. I worked with people with disabilities and mental illnesses for many years. Art and crafts became therapy and a way to connect with my clients. I facilitated support groups and encouraged my clients’ creativity and skills as well as developing my own.

      In 2005 I remarried and moved to the Seattle area. I took a Silversmithing course offered at a local college. I made jewelry as gifts for family and friends and as I learned new techniques my inventory increased. I started my blog and an on-line Etsy shop in 2009. Since then I have enjoyed participating in art and craft fairs in the U.S. and Canada. I love connecting with new people and expanding my knowledge of this very diverse craft.
      I hope people enjoy my jewelry as much as I enjoy making it.

      Collaboration: a good idea?

      Collaboration: working with someone to produce or create something; partnership; joint intellectual effort; to cooperate.
      I am collaborative by nature. Being an extrovert I solidify new ideas for my jewelry business by talking to other people. Making connections with people, coming up with ideas, bringing variety to my work are all positives for me. I enjoy the company of others and sometimes need the challenge they bring to express my creativity fully and gain confidence in my work. So far I have taken new classes to satisfy my need to collaborate. One of my goals is to find a “group” that I fit in where I have similar-minded people to collaborate with. I am always looking for ways to improve and connect with others. My jewelry business depends on it to succeed. People have to like the jewelry I create and buy it!
       Read more on the 101010 Project: click HERE

      Wednesday, May 2, 2012

      101010 Project: Leanne Wargowsky

      Yesterday was the kickoff of the 101010 Project. This idea sparked from artist Robin Norgren after many of us women met through the e-course, Flying Lessons, given by artist Kelly Rae Roberts. The 101010 Project is a blog hop where each one of us were assigned ten thoughtful questions about our creative business. We each answered the ten questions and then starting May 1st, each one of us will post one answer from someone other than ourselves to our assigned question.

      Collaborations: a good idea? will be the question that you will see answered on my blog throughout the blog hop. At the end of each post there will be a link that will take you to the 101010 Project blog where you can find all the participants and links to their blogs.

      Today we hear from sweet Leanne, a creative businesswoman that discovered her creative roots through blogging.

      Name of Business: From Chaos Comes Happiness

      Social Media Links:
      Years in Business: Approaching 1
      Born, raised, and living in the Chicago land area, this happily chaotic soul is definitely a newbie in the universe of creative businesses. Last August, after 25 years in health care, I was released from days of insurance and hospitals and I started listening to my inner artist. My dream, From Chaos Comes Happiness, was born. I'm not doing it alone, though, as my support system is wide and deep with a husband who encourages me and two beautiful daughters who inspire me. While I have a long way to go in this business of mine, I'm determined to remain true to who I am, and stopping just long enough to smell the roses along the way.
       Collaborations: a good idea?
      "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace." - Franklin D. Roosevelt. And so my belief goes . . . are collaborations a good idea? Most definitely YES! From music (Lennon& McCartney) to dancing (Astaire& Rogers), ice cream (Ben & Jerry) to computers (Hewlett & Packard), the list of amazingly successful collaborations is long and wide. I am a strong believer of strength in numbers, and any time two creative souls gather . . . I am certain great things will come of it. My most successful creative endeavors have been born out of idea bouncing and feedback that I have received from another. Setting responsibilities and boundaries are so important in the process. But once established, the sky is the limit. Anyone interested in collaborating? Call me! ;)

      Read more about the 101010 Project: click here

      Tuesday, May 1, 2012

      101010 Project: Sonja McCllough

      Collaborations: a good idea?

      I have been blessed with the ability to generate some awesome ideas through prayer, Ideas are abundantly mine. Just for the asking. Conceptual thinking is my gift. The ability to get a project done is also a gift I have been blessed with. While not considering an all important detail is my greatest weakness. This is why I love Collaborations. When women collaborate, they simply get more done and get more done efficiently.
      Years in Business = 12
      I’m this crazy JESUS loving creative … with 2 children living smack in the middle of Tennessee. The seeds of my creativity were watered with knitting needles, yarn and nine kittens on a rock covered patio in the mid sixties. Today, we hold the fort down with a few less kittens (3) … and thankfully my creative edge remains in tact. I’m often inspired by some odd ball stuff & compelled to create by the sweet whispers of the HOLY Spirit. An idea generator am I. Creative collaboration is a sweet spot with me and many have locked creative hands with me to work on projects like The Bond & Respond Quilt project of 2010, Inspired Studios Magazine & The Creative Biz Marathon. My service to HIM in the body of the church currently is that of Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Southeast Baptist Church Murfreesboro TN.
      Read more about the 101010 Project: click here