along the winding paths of daily life…



This is the line that emerged at the top of my “Tiny Gallery” piece (from a lesson in The Journey Within)

Yep – I think that it about sums it up :)


along the winding paths of daily life she contemplates This and That unendingly

long walks

the beauty of The Moment

What This and That do you contemplate?





P.S. In case you’re wondering The Journey Within is a year long class of creative exploration through art journaling and handmade books hosted by Kiala Givehand. I’ve really enjoyed how this class is helping me show up for my creative practice, and I’m looking forward to being a guest artist teacher later in the year. If you want to find out more click here (or the widget on the right:)

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Filed under Book Binding, Creative Play, Creativity, Journaling, mixed media, Nature, Playing, Self Discovery

Believe in Your Big Vision


…even when you’re not sure

exactly what it looks like!

When I sat down to play in my January Journey Within journal this past weekend, this just flowed out of my brush.

I just began the Right Brain Business Plan Facilitated ECourse, and this past week we were to begin working on our big vision.


I had created a big vision accordion piece last spring (above),
and felt stuck at the prospect of creating a new big vision.


Then I did the visualization exercise for the class hoping to get ‘unstuck’. These journaling musings (left)  came easily, especially the doodles, after listening to Jen’s visualization.

I decided I’m not quite done with my vision board from last year, but there was something more I needed to keep me motivated to follow through in this class. Because I want and need to complete more of the very useful, and creative, business exercises in order to move forward with my mountain mermaid studios vision – even if I don’t know exactly what it looks like:)

I also decided to let myself be OK with not really knowing exactly what my big vision looks like. I know I’ve got a lot of moving parts that I feel committed to:

I also have a bunch of other projects in my heart that I hope to bring to life one day.

And in the mean time there is LIFE – the here and now to be enjoyed…including this process of creating my big vision.
So super important to remember this part – that this moment is all we really have.

PossibilitiesVisionPackage_smTo keep me organized in a visual and fun way I created a “collage package” – that can house the different course exercises I’ll work on, and remind me that life is packed with possibilities for





even if I don’t know exactly what it all looks like!

And also remind me that creating, playing and thriving in the process is what life is really all about.

So I continue on this journey as an entrepreneur, remembering to take my days to play along the way. And make the process of creating my big vision as joy-filled and playful as possible, too.

How about you? Do you know what your big vision looks like? Can you relax into not knowing exactly and joy the process of creating anyway?

I’d love to hear about your journey!




P.S. If you like the look of the musings page I shared above, join my mountain mermaid community and you’ll receive a PDF of this musings play sheet to do your own big vision musing…or whatever musing you feel inspired to:)

P.S.S. We have a winner of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal: Bernice. Thank you to each of you that stopped by and liked my new mountain mermaid studios facebook page. I hope it will continue to inspire you!


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Filed under Art & Design, Creative Play, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, Lettering, Playing

My 2016 Musings Adventure Begins


As I wrote last week, my play over the holiday weeks took me outside into a beautiful winter wonderland. This made me feel that my 2016 #musingsadventure got off to a slow start.  Although as I look back at this spread with the last days of December and the first days of this new year, I feel it captures it pretty well.


One thing you may notice is I’ve lettered the word studio quite a few times. I’ve decided, at least to begin the year, that I will play with the lettering of this word, and then capturing the essence of what I’ve done in my studio on those days. I hope that I can use this as a bit of an accountability tool as I work towards sharing more inspiration to create, play & thrive through mountain mermaid studios. And the challenge of spontaneously playing with these letters will give me something to focus on.


I am also noticing that my practice is changing a bit. A friend asked me the other day if I use pencil to start my squares – to help me figure out the layout of each square. And the answer to that is yes – sometimes.


Lately though, I’ve found myself starting with different shades of grey marker, and sometimes a black one. This lets me capture my day as it comes to me and have the spaciousness to return to the square and play with color.

I worked on this past week’s spread earlier today — Saturday went down in colored markers without effort, and then I spent time coloring in the first part of the week. I look forward to playing with more color on the remainder of this spread a bit later.

You can see from my top image (the first week of the year) that some times the coloring gets left behind (I may or may not get back to it). And I am really liking creating little coloring pieces for myself that I can essentially go back to when I want to/have time.

How is your creative journey going as we begin this year? Please share in the comments!




P.S. If you’ve made it this far along in the post I so appreciate you, and you’re in for a treat. I held onto a few copies of the printed edition of the Daily Musings Journal (which is sold out!) and I now have a printable PDF edition available.  And I’m doing a giveaway.

I have just created a Facebook page for mountain mermaid studios (it’s still pretty bear bones and it needs some love (=likes)) so I can spread inspiration to create, play & thrive even further. I’d love for you to join me there.

Like my page and then head back here and let me know you did – you’ll be entered to win a 2016 Daily Musings Journal. Please include where you’re from – peeps from the U.S. are eligible for the printed edition and international peeps can win a copy of the printable PDF edition of the Daily Musings Journal. If you already have a Daily Musings Journal I hope you’ll stop by and like the page anyway. If you let me know here, and you win you can give your journal to a friend so you can be on the #musingsadventure together. I’ll be happy to ship the journal directly to them! Giveaway closes next Friday, January 22 at midnight mountain time.



Filed under Art & Design, Creative Play, Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Journaling, Lettering, mixed media, Musings Adventure

Confessions of a Powder Hound


Some moments over the weeks between Christmas and New Year, that included multiple powder days, I thought of my plans for visioning for 2016.

An article in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic — titled “This is Your Brain on Nature” talks about how nature nurtures us and relieves stress.

I know this to be true for me, and spending timing in nature is something I must do. And so I let those planning thoughts go…to be in nature, in the moment.

PowderTrees_smPart of the reason many of us who live in the Rocky Mountains are here is because of the natural beauty that surrounds us. And skiers, like me, love (and really must) take advantage of the snow when it falls in abundance the way it did around the holidays.

I wish I’d kept track of the exact inches that fell during those weeks between Christmas and the New Year, but I forgot in the moment when the snow report said 11″ and we were out the door and headed up to the mountain.

I couldn’t help myself. And I really didn’t need to. Besides my shoulds (i.e. my plans for visioning), I did not have any specific obligations that I skipped out on.

Believe me there have been other times in my life when I had to be at work, I had other obligations, or I didn’t live close enough to take advantage…

and this is why I am grateful to work for myself amongst the beauty that surrounds me.


The National Geographic article also notes that “virtual nature is soothing too.”

I hope you enjoy my images of playing in the snow, but more than that I hope that you find your own way to get out and enjoy nature.


whether it is in a wild back country setting (me and my hubby in an area called the humps)


or in a park near your home (me on a trail along the river that I walked to from my house – and as a side note this is a new trail that our community developed to allow fly fishing access to the handicapped)

So now we’re coming up on mid-January. And my visioning (which always includes nature and space for taking advantage of powder) for 2016 is coming together in bite-sized pieces. I realize that is really my way of working…so I’m learning not to resist. It make the process much easier and more fun.

So how about you?

How is your vision for 2016 coming along? Be sure to include time outside in nature…it’s good for you, and it’s FUN, too :)




P.S. Just to be accountable I think I’ll include a bit about my near term visions. They include a few giveaways — of the printable edition of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal and a few quarterly spots in The Journey Within – A Year of Handmade Journals. I hope you’ll stay tuned!!



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Filed under Joy, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

[Journey 2016] Begins Today!


The 2016 Journey Within
– A Year of Handmade Journals
that is :)

In 2016 you can make 12 Handmade Art Journals with Kiala Givehand and 18 Teaching Artists – including me, and connect with a community of beautiful creative people!


I’m not teaching until later in the year, but I’m excited for the Journey Within all year long. What a great way to commit to my creative practice (playing on paper:), which is something I really want to do this year.


The first journal Kiala guides us to create is such a simple structure, and yet (as you can see from the first image in the post) it can create such an elegant journal with a spine.


I’m really looking forward to exploring and discovering in community with a group of beautiful creative people. Explore & Discover are our themes to start the year.

This year long course has so much to offer, and my favorite part is the spaciousness that is built into the course. I’ve never been good at daily online challenges and overwhelming amounts of content with a need to work through it in a specific time frame.

Once you enroll…

  • You have the year to play with each monthly module.
  • There will be month themes
  • There will be video guidance and PDFs to make a new journal each month
  • There will be a variety of different teachers, teaching styles and techniques to play with in your journals (or a journal of your choosing)

…so you can pick and choose what works for you. You can even enroll by quarter if you prefer.

Do you want to join us?
I may be a little biased because I’m one of the guest teaching artists, but it feels like this is going to be a really fun creative adventure.

CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll!
[Full disclosure…these links I’m providing are affiliate links]

Happy New Year and sending you lots of love and creative adventures for the year to come!



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Filed under Book Binding, Journaling, Lettering, mixed media