Stitch Journeys

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in self care

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It is always weird when something one does so naturally is sought after by others or when you find out that friends, especially close friends don’t do what you find such a basic part of your day. It makes you feel a bit like a freak! 

I have recently realized that I naturally do the ‘check-in’ on a consistent daily basis in one form or another and that many other people rarely do the 'check-in'. This boggles my mind! 

I thought everyone did regular check-ins.

The realization came to me as two more people asked me to help them do the ‘check-in’ in their studio space to help them be more orgnaized, professional and creative. Conversations with friends made me realize they don’t check in with their bodies or their spaces either.

You may be asking what is a 'check-in'?

A check-in is simply that…taking time to check in with why something is working, isn’t working or could be improved. I guess it could be a form of mindfullness. Maybe it is just an awareness.

When I walk into my studio, my office, my house, the Thread Lab, and even Cottonwood Center for the Arts I do a quick mental check-in to see if things are working well or if there is an annoyance that can be improved. What has been undone for so long that I no longer see it? 

I started this when I was managing a Pier 1 store way back in the day. It takes a bit of mindfulness to remember to do this and to be able to look at a space you enter every day with fresh eyes.

As an artist it is an excellent skill to cultivate!

Sometimes it means taking a look at why I am not doing something I want to do. Recently, I realized that I was spending less time with my stitch meditations. I checked-in and saw that the space wasn’t working for the inward focused task. You can see that quite clearly…

stitch meditation space 1 of 3

What a mess...there is stuff everywhere. Piles on all the windowsills, on the plant stand, and on the floor. Where did I put those scissors?

stitch meditation space 2 of 3

Fabrics and cool bits are all jumbled in a basket getting all smooshed and wrinkled, threads are everywhere! 

I did a little reorganization and now the space is welcoming and makes me want to sit and stitch.

stitch meditation space 3 of 3

All the fabrics are sorted by size-no longer a wrinkled mess, papers and cool bits are in a separate bin, I can even find my base flannel pieces! All the threads are on the top shelp with my scissors.

I do the same check-in with my body every day. What feels good, what feels less than great, am I tired, achy, how is my energy level? I don’t stop there though. I question why. Did I eat right today? Did I exercise enough? Did I get enough sleep?  Maybe this is because I was so sick for so long and it is partly by asking these questions daily that I was able to figure out what foods make me sick and which ones don’t.

I do the same thing with my emotional state….how do I feel? Am I on top of things or feeling overwhelmed? Why might I feel that way and what thoughts do I need to look at changing in order to get back to happy?

Check-ins are a huge part of self-care whether we are talking about your space or your health.

Have you done a check in lately? The winter solstice is a great day to schedule a check-in!

My check-in today is telling me I need to clean out my email in-box. :-) 

I have a gift for you to help increase your mindfulness and gratitude practices in 2016. 30 days of Gratitude texts from the gratitude coach, Terza Ekholm. 

Tagged in: check-in self care
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Dream Collage by Liz Kettle

One thing I want to do on my blog this year is talk about something that has become very important to me...self care and nurturing your heart. I thought about calling it Self Care Sunday and post every Sunday because Sunday is generally a great day to slow down a tiny bit and do a little self care..Right! BUT, all of you who know me well, know that doing something on a set schedule is just not part of my genetic make up! So we will call it Self Care Whenever! Which may actually be better because so many of us need to fit self care in whenever we possibly can.



papers waiting for an artist's hands

This last weekend I attended KC Willis' Collage Conference. I really waffled back and forth about should I go...could I justify spending the money on myself and my business...in January no less...right after Christmas spending! I would have to get a hotel, meals out, be away from my family...etc! All those reasons we can easily come up with when we aren't sure we 'deserve' to take care of ourselves. Now isn't that a stupid thought? Who else deserves our love and care more than ourselves?  So, after much dithering about I finally decided to go. KC has a lot to share about art marketing in addition to her unique style of collage. I thought maybe  starting the new year with a conference would be a good kick in the pants to get focused on my business and art goals. The weekend ended up being a great investment self care!



We were so in sync we even color coordinated!

I was delighted to find a classroom full of great artists and new friends. The speakers, Sarah Fishburn, Jenny Doh and KC were inspirational and heartfelt. There is something magical that happens in art workshops and retreats...magic beyond learning techniques and making art. That of course is why I started Textile Evolution, why Jacki Hefty started Whispering Woodlands, Jenny Doh is starting Crescendo workshops and why KC started her series of retreats.



Creating Collage Magic

This magic is hard to describe to someone who has never participated in an art retreat but produces knowing smiles from those who have and creates retreat addicts. I love retreats and wish I could attend one a month. I love teaching at retreats for that reason too. Connecting with others who share the same passions as you do, have the same fears as you do and have similar struggles and successes as you do...it creates a magical environment. An room full of creative swirling energy, love, sharing, support and fairy dust. There is so much joy! Retreats fill my creative well whether I am student or teacher.


I have heard discussions from those who don't like to work in class settings. I think this is because they may think they are supposed to be creating big...real...serious art in class. Classes are not for serious art creation. That has to happen in quiet...alone in the studio. Don't get me wrong...you can make meaningful art at a retreat but classes are to remind us that art is first and foremost a conversation...a connection between the artist and viewer. Oh, yes, classes are also to help us stretch, learn, try new things, see a different point of view and as KC so elequently said...get out of our tiny tent so we can count the stars. Connecting with others allows us to connect with our own hearts.



Sarah Fishburn and me...gads I need a hair cut!

Have you gifted yourself with a class, workshop or retreat lately...ever? There are so many retreat options from the energetic Art and Soul, the more intimate Textile Evolution, the focused Whispering Woodlands, KC's and many more. Workshops are taught in quilt and art stores as well as private studios. If money is tight...don't use that as an excuse for lack of self care! Create your own retreat. Invite some friends over and have everyone teach a technique or simply make spontaneous art out of a pile of the good stuff while you laugh and play.


I want to share some photos of our weekend...there were smiles and a few tears, laughter and joy, snorting water, chocolate adoration and an adorable dog named Fiona. I hope you will consider the self care loving gift of connecting with other artists sometime this year.



Diana shares her incredibly fun circus collage book


Jackie working on her Dream Big Collage



Rachel's beautiful book of Angels



Laura discussing her western book



Julia and Jenny working on Dream Big Collages



Jory and Sarah Fishburn during the daily art show



Betty and her awesome Western Girls book



Sarah Fishburn in a burning moment



Jenny Doh sharing her Dream Big Collage



Julia and Sarah exploring ideas



Our final day...lots of hugs as we parted...new friends

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