Summertime and the livin' is easy.

My two girls decided to put on a fancy lemonade stand and try their hand at entrepreneurship.  They went the extra mile by donning some "classy" costume hats, raiding my work room to create a hand-painted sign, and adorning the table with vintage tablecloth and fresh picked flowers to attract customers.  Taking a cue from mom's make-it-fancy mentality, I'd guess.  ;)

Lots of giggles and deliciousness ensued.  They drank about 8 cups each.  Two dollars richer, I would say their first lemonade stand attempt was highly successful.

Our recipe:

Fancy Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Cup White Sugar
Water to taste
Fresh Lavender (optional, but that's what makes it fancy)

Dissolve sugar in lemon juice in pitcher.  Add cold water, mix.  Sprinkle purple lavender "bits" in and stir.  Serve over ice.

This is what summer is all about.


The Gift of Inspiration

The last DIY project I did for the Austin Wedding Blog...
I've been going through what some might call a dry spell, creatively speaking.  I've been waiting for gift of inspiration to strike, to feel like I am doing what I am meant to be doing.  I'm tired.  When you are constantly generating and putting yourself out there, trying new things, exhausting your possibilities, sometimes it helps to take a long break and relax, let go of your expectations and find relief in not doing anything.  But that's easier said than done.

Yes, it's important to free yourself up for when the moment strikes.  But sometimes you've got to actively seek inspiration to find it.  Even when you're tired.  Here are a few of my inspiration outlets (outside of Pinterest and Country Living - my go-to founts of inspiration!), that I go to when I need to refill that creative cup.

Music has always been my number one source of creative inspiration.  When I was a child, I spent countless hours in my bedroom with the radio on and I would just draw and draw.  This continued through high school, but then I hit a long dry spell after I graduated.  No drawing, no music, not much creativity at all (I did spend a lot of time traveling though.)  When I was in my early 20's, I lived overseas in England for three years.  It was an incredible experience, but at times I felt very lonely and isolated.  Then I discovered Radiohead.  Their music injected creativity back into my life in many ways.  I felt connected to the emotion and artistry and intellectualism of this band.  Now when I'm feeling a sense of disconnect, I turn on iTunes.  Listening to music helps inspire me to find myself drawing and craft dabbling once again.

Photo courtesy of Lalalaurie
Creative Friends.
I had a great talk with my friend Lalalaurie today, who is a champion of creativity.  She is a talented paper artist, she writes projects for the Fiskars creative team, and runs the too cute for comfort Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, finding homes for sweet and cuddly shelter kittens and raising money for the Tacoma Humane Society.  I look up to her not only because of her artistry and talent, but because she is a focused hard worker.  Her tenacity and drive is evidenced in her beautiful creations, photos and cohesive styling.  She also gives great advice.  Today it was to aim high, think big.  Don't go after something unless it's exactly what I want.  As I contemplate some big life choices, this was just what I needed to hear.

My Kids.
"When can we go to the park?"  "I don't want to take a shower!"  "She stole my toy and then hit me!"  "I don't WANT to eat a sandwich for lunch!"  This is part of what drains me.  I was interrupted about 8 times while trying to write this one section.  But when I need a to let go and have fun, I know I can always count on my kids for lots of giggles and silliness.  That should be their nicknames: Giggles and Silliness.  They remind me that I can't always take life so seriously.  Sometimes I've got to stop and smell the roses.  And then run around in circles screaming about the spider in the roses that almost touched my nose.  They draw awesome pictures like this:
It's me.  I feel like it's a pretty solid reflection of how I felt that day.
I love this stuff.  They challenge me to draw too.  We take turns and acknowledge each others strengths as artists.  My kids rule.

I feel like the woods are where God dwells here in the Northwest.  Point Defiance Park is right in my back yard.  It's my favorite place to go when I need a little nature therapy.  I'm reminded how small and temporary I am, how big the world is, how my problems aren't part of the big picture.  It's a great place to find peace and breathe.

I love few things as much as a road trip.  Getting in the car and exploring new territory, new people, new surroundings is incredibly inspiring.  We just visited Lake Chelan, one of my favorite places.  A vacation destination since I was a kid, Chelan provided us with some much needed sunshine and it was only a few hours away.  I bought 20 pounds of peaches.  I have no idea what I am going to do with 20 pounds of peaches, but I'm sure some inspiration will strike... ;)

Craft Blogs.
There are too many to name!  A few favorites are listed on the right.  I LOVE BLOGS.  I love seeing into other creative people's worlds.  I always find inspiration when I look through my Google reader.  I also love link parties, because I get to see what other people are making and it gives me an excuse to conjure up a new DIY, craft, blog post, etc. and helps me connect with other bloggers and crafters.  This post is linked to the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop.  It's my first time doing so, and I'm hoping this will be a great way to connect with others creatively.  Check it out and I hope you'll leave a comment if you're here visiting via the link party!


Deep Thoughts and Creative Ruts.

Contemplating life with "Blackout" the chicken
Mistakes are hard.  I know the saying "you learn from your mistakes" all too well.  I'm starting to feel like a pro at making mistakes. I'm one of those people who's not afraid of jumping in and trying something.  "You'll learn as you go" is another, and I do.  But there isn't much comfort in those words when something doesn't work out.  Disappointment, shame, failure aren't easy to overcome.

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging for the past couple months.  I've been going through the process of reevaluating where to spend my time and energy.  Having a creative business is fantastic most of the time.  But when you take a look at your time/energy spent vs. what's in your bank account, it can sometimes be a little disheartening. Doing my taxes this year is what made me reflect on why I'm doing Deeds & Petunia and what I want to get out of all this.

My priorities.
My two kids are my #1 priority, of course.  I am so lucky to be able to be here for them and take an active role in their lives as a stay-at-home mom.  I truly believe in the long run it will make a difference.  But they go to school all day and I get bored easily.  Deeds & Petunia started on a whim when I found a bunch of really great vintage trims and notions at an estate sale and I thought "I could sell these online, I bet."  That endeavor to make a little extra money and cure my boredom sparked a fire of creativity in me, and before I knew it I was crafting up a storm.  A friend suggested I try my hand at veil and fascinator making.  It worked out pretty well and I would say I was a fairly successful seller on Etsy for a while.  As a start-up micro-business, I had a positive cash flow in the first two years.  I found great validation in feeling like I was doing something right.

But veils and fascinators are not my passion and I got pretty burned out.  It wasn't a mistake (it was anything but a mistake), but it wasn't fun or flexible anymore.  I found myself counting sales instead of counting all the accomplishments, all the great connections I've made, all the creative growth.   I wanted to move away from wedding accessories and into writing and blogging, and working on becoming more of a creative resource for people.  But I felt like I had no wind in my sails - I couldn't do what it takes to basically start from scratch again.

I knew it was time to take a break.

So of course, I started Real Estate School. (?!?!)

Which I really enjoyed.  I knew I would be good at it.  The money was tempting.  And I do love the thrill of making a sale.  But my heart was not in it.  It's not what I'm "called" to do.  I'm not sure it would provide me with the job satisfaction I desire.  Maybe it was a mistake.  Yeah, probably.  I didn't want to quit because of the whole failure thing and I didn't hate it.  Sigh.  So now I'm feeling a little lost.

Ultimately, my big question in life right now is, if I'm going to spend time and energy on a business, what is the most satisfying way to do it?  The most meaningful?  The most lucrative?  Should I just go work at Starbucks? (probably no.)  It's stressful.  I don't want to make another mistake.
Maybe I could intern?
I think I'm walking through one of those valleys where you have to just trust that God knows where you are supposed to be.  I'm trying different paths to find my way up that mountain again where I'll feel like I'm on top of the world.  I think it starts with looking at where I've been and not taking that for granted.  I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was sit down and blog.  This feels like something.

Frankly, I don't know what I'm seeking.  I remember the simple feeling of satisfaction I get when I create something beautiful.  Or when I get to write up a tutorial and someone says "thank you!" feels great.  Having my work published feels super AWESOME.  People don't respond often on the blog or my Facebook page (maybe I'm not as interesting as I previously thought), but when they do, I feel connected and so happy to bring a smile to someone else's face (at least that's what I like to think you're doing.  Smiling.)  I like that a lot.  :)
 If you pray, keep me in your prayers.  I'm so scared of making another mistake, that I've lost my courage and don't know what my gut is telling me to do anymore.  But I'm going to keep on blogging.  It feels like the only thing I can really do at this point.  Some of it might be about crafting, but you might also have to read a lot about Linus my cat, or my ovaries (which are testy lately) or 80's pop music.  It'll probably be mostly for me for a while, so I don't know if you'll even find it interesting, but if you do, let me know.  It will help keep me going until I figure things out.  There might even be a nugget of inspiration in there somewhere (for both of us.)

Thanks for reading.