I realized I was in trouble when the folks who run craftgawker.com and foodgawker.com rejected my first photo submissions. Somehow that ‘professional opinion’ knocked me to my creative knees, in spite of all of the lovely compliments and encouragement during the lifetime of this blog. As painful as it was to have my composition criticized and deemed unacceptable for craft- and foodgawker’s reader base, the experience has also launched my thoughts about the why’s and what for’s of my little handmade corner of the world and catapulted me into new territory. I am now convinced that I needed this shake-up, that I was drifting in complacency, not to mention low productivity.
Do you know that in-between state, somewhere before you are fully awake but still tethered to your dreams? This morning, as I was slipping into consciousness, a voice said, “You’re not spending (enough) time with your own crafting/making/creating — stop browsing (and admiring, to be honest) everyone else’s work and focus on your own!” Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. (Could the amazing Elsita do what she does while frittering away time on the ‘net? Don’t think so.)
Once again I was reminded of Julia Cameron‘s advice to suspend recreational reading (for at least a week) so as to facilitate focus on one’s own work. (Not so different than suspending access to electronic devices in the classroom, which was a discussion topic at school this week.) Now, I love to browse the web sites and flickr photostreams of other artists and crafters. I love connecting with creative types all over the world, commenting on their blogs and photos, cheering them on and feeling a zing! of inspiration and the thrill of conversation when they respond in kind. But I have to wonder if this pattern of mine has become like starting and finishing a meal with dessert, and has left scant room for the basics, that is, time with me-myself-and-I.
Finding a balance between feeding my curiosity about what everyone else is up to and tending to my own endeavors is my new priority. Funny how ‘balance’ seems to pop back up, time and again. I wrote about it four years ago, and here I am again.
Do you find your own creative juices compromised by too much time web surfing? Does your inner artist ever feel soggy, saturated, and overwhelmed? Have you considered a social media detox? I’m putting myself on a social media diet. No time constraints, but until I make progress on that list of unfinished projects.
Wishing you peace and clarity in your creative pursuits this week.
Posted in 2011, Artist's Way, Crafts, Creativity, Detoxing, Inspiration, Joy, Life Balance, Origami, Photography, Publishing
Tagged Margaret Lobenstine, Renaissance Soul
I love the idea of healing from within — with nutrition. So it’s always fun to visit one particular friend who is doing just that and making great strides with her health. Since purchasing a Vita Mix several months ago, she’s been whipping up all kinds of veg-fruit concoctions.
Upon my arrival on Friday afternoon, she offered me a fresh green drink.
The formulation is simple:
Kale (she discards the stems to save wear-and-tear on the Vita Mix)
Spinach (sorry, none left for the glamour shot)
1 lime (peeled and seeded, unless organic)
1 green apple (peeled and seeded, unless organic)
1 chunk fresh ginger, peeled (about the size of your thumb should do it)
Water, until you have desirable consistency
She recommends layering your ingredients in the mixer with the wetter foods first: apple and lime. Whir. Pour. And serve. … Delicious! And what an easy way to get in a few servings of dark greens.
We scooped up the foam with little silver spoons you might expect to use for a latte or hot chocolate. But no, we were slurping up bright green veggie foam. And extolling on its deliciousness. This requires a very special sort of friend. It’s not everyone who shares my excitement for the nutritional benefits of green drinks. I certainly don’t mind drinking alone but it’s definitely more fun with a friend.
Any other favorite veg-fruit Vita-Mix’ing combinations out there?
Posted in Detoxing, Eating Clean, Friendship, Garden Delights, gluten-free, Life, Recipes
Tagged diet, juicing, nutrition, raw food, Vita-Mix
… but I haven’t given up the (decaff) coffee yet!
There’s so much I love about the idea of more fresh foods and less processed or what I consider my comfort foods: white and sweet. The biggest challenge for me is eating foods in groups — fruit by itself in the a.m. only; no nut spreads on bread (and that would be a sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel), etc. So until I’m ready to really give it a go, it looks like I’ll keep sipping my Sunday morning java. It seems like such a just reward after a morning workout at the gym. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the rest of the day is wide open. And I’m really enjoying this Sunday morning ritual.
If you’ve tried going raw — even partially — and have some tips or stories to share, I’d love to hear about them.
- Green Lemonade on Thanksgiving
It’s all over the internet. There are how-to videos on YouTube. And my sister-in-law prepared a fresh batch for us yesterday. Absolutely delicious. And it’s transformed the health and wellness of a good friend of hers. The combination of lemon with apple (I’m told Fuji apples are the best because of their sweetness) and the quiet punch of fresh ginger is scrumptious. If you couldn’t see it, you wouldn’t know you were drinking a ‘green’ drink. Not a hint of grassy taste. … In fact, I can’t wait to brew up my own batch but I don’t have a juicer just yet. For those of you who follow Dr. Oz and/or Oprah, you may recall that he prepared a variation on this green drink on her show. His recipe can be found on her web site.
GREEN LEMONADE – the recipe:
Into your juicer put the following WHOLE fruits & vegetables:
- 3 lemons
1 bunch kale
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 clump fresh ginger
1 romaine heart
Juice together. Pulp can be used for baking or eating as-is. If you plan on using the pulp, it is recommended that you remove the seeds from the lemons and apples prior to juicing.
Last week it was a public speaking gig all about “Online Marketing: Creating a Buzz” and this week it was an in-store opportunity to lay out my books for sale and offer customers a sample of one of Eating Clean‘s recipes. Remember my summertime job as “Artist in Residence” at the garden center, making up pots of flowers? The same garden center is open year-round and this past Thursday they put on a Ladies’ Night and invited me to participate as a vendor.
When I first wrote Eating Clean–100 Appetizing Solutions Wheat-free & Dairy free, and told people that the idea had come from doing a liver detox with a naturopath, there were some who thought ‘detox’ meant I was coming out of drug or alcohol rehab. Not! The idea of whole foods rather than processed is now more commonplace. And since the Hollywood royalty has put concepts such as organic and detoxing on the health map it has made my job of explaining that much easier.
If someone were to ask me for advice on how to market their own self-published book, events like this are exactly what I would recommend. Taking one’s own advice can be the hardest of all and I have to laugh at myself that it’s taken me this long to get with the program! There are many other venues besides bookstores for marketing a book and this past Thursday night was a perfect example.
The size of the table was perfect (right off the showroom floor) for a single product and so much more appealing than your standard exhibition 6-footer. Passersby enjoyed tasty samples of the Fruit and Nut Spread on one of the 1″ rice crackers (turn to page 108!). Pleasantly surprised by the not-too-sweet and spicy flavor, many stopped to browse the book, make a purchase and took a promotional post card to share with a friend.
So now that I’m getting more comfortable with being out in the public eye I think it’s time to take my own advice to heart. Looking for and being open to more opportunities like this are in order.
The story begins almost five years ago. I’d had a lightbulb moment as I walked out of a piano lesson: I was irrepressably enthused with the idea of assembling a collection of recipes designed to comply with a 30-day liver detoxification regimen. In case you’re new here and wonder why in the world I might be excited about such a thing, the short story is that the year before I had sought out a naturopath to help me restore my energy and to prevent any more hair loss. Among other things prescribed by my new medical guru, the month-long diet without processed foods, caffeine, wheat, dairy or sugar had a profound effect on my health — I felt fantastic!
I charged ahead, deciding to self-publish rather than pursue acceptance with a conventional publisher. And with the idea burning in my head and nothing yet on paper, I attended Publishers’ University, a 3-day educational event hosted by Publishers’ Marketing Association. This was followed by an overwhelming weekend at BookExpo, a book lover’s idea of heaven-on-earth! PMA is a great organization and I recommend it to anyone considering self-publishing. So, here’s …
Lesson #1: Join a professional organization. Read the newsletters, enter your publisher’s profile online, on paper, anywhere possible. The wealth of information, experience of other members, and networking potential is well worth the annual membership fee.
There are other national organizations for independent book publishers, as well as many regional groups, too. I was introduced to PMA by my brother who works in the technical end of publishing. Had he not called me up at the end of April and said, “You have to go to this!” I don’t know how long it might have taken me to figure out that the extended support of a professional organization could be so valuable. Publishers’ University and BookExpo always occur at the end of May/beginning of June — I had one month to prepare for my first foray into the Big Apple in twenty years.
So perhaps Lesson #2 is: Seek out anyone and everyone you know remotely involved in the industry and give their advice serious consideration.
I purchased a train ticket, reserved a room in the hotel directly across the street from Penn Station, assembled three day’s worth of all-black outfits, and printed up some business cards identifying me as a publisher —! And thus a new career was born.
A simmering pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove makes me feel content. Not only is it delicious and nutritious (and low-cal, low-glycemic, sugar-free, gluten-free — you name it), but when offered, the suggestion of a steaming bowl of goodness begets a smile and a guaranteed affirmative. I whipped up this chicken soup earlier this week when frigid temps brought me back to a winter mindset and all I wanted to do was burrow indoors. I hope you like it as much as we did here.
1 carton chicken broth (organic, from free-range, vege-fed chickens)
4 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, medium-size, sliced
2 Tbs. olive oil
1-1/2 chicken breast, boneless, organic … you know my drill!
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. Bell’s Seasoning
Heat olive oil in a soup pot. On a medium heat, brown the chicken breast, both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add sliced onion, carrot and celery. Stir and saute. While vegetables are sauteeing, dice chicken breast. When vegetables are translucent, add diced chicken back into the pot. Now add the chicken broth, 1-1/2 cups water, and seasoning. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve soup as-is or add to each soup bowl a scoop of steamed brown rice or your favorite pasta. Enjoy!