One Little Word 2015 and a goodbye

Happy New Year beautifuls.  My One Little Word for 2015 is SIMPLIFY.  And part of that is clearing the clutter.  I started this in December.  Some girls are doing a ‘get rid of 10 things a day for 100 days’ kinda thing and I felt the need to clear things too.  I’ve done the bookshelf and the wardrobe.  A little bit of the pantry (hello 2008 expiry date, where were you hiding?)

And I’ve  started the clean out on social media.  I’ve closed my newsletter account and Hootsuite social media manager account.  Two Twitter accounts are gone.  And when my renewal for this blog comes up, I won’t be renewing the hosting or domain name.

I only want things in my life that fill me up to overflowing.  That are the right fit in this moment.  And this blog, what it means, and the commitment, are no longer the right fit for me.

I started it with optimism.  With a thought of starting with a beginners perspective and hoping to teach others as I learned too.  I would get up at 4am to blog.  Write posts during my lunch break at that day job, take photos and edit them, try to connect with like hearted souls on social media and do newsletters too.  That’s a huge commitment when it no longer feels right.

And so, as I say goodbye, I leave you with the truly treasured lessons I learned on this adventure.

Be unique.  It doesn’t matter how well you do social media and networking and blogging and all that stuff.  If you aren’t unique, if you don’t have a signature style, if your art just isn’t that good (yet), nothing else will matter.  Nothing else will work how you imagine.

Don’t be boring.  I can’t stand blogs that are boring.  You know the ones that are like instruction manuals for your lawnmower?  Write how you speak, include a story, share your disasters as well as your wins.  You will find a joy in your writing when you do this and so will your readers.

Its okay to change your mind.  Doing is your own university.  You can read and do courses all you like.  But doing is where the real learning is.  And along the way, you figure out what you really want to do.  And along the way you will be led in new directions as you learn and grow and discover.  Don’t feel tethered to your original idea.  Follow the breadcrumbs, listen to your inner voice.  Follow your heart.  Oh yes, follow your heart.

Like who you are learning from.  I struggled to get through ebooks and blog posts from some people because I couldn’t stand the person.  But I read their work because they were recommended by so many people. Ugh.  It rubbed my fur the wrong way with every word I read.  You don’t learn that way.  And it takes all the fun out of the adventure.  The universe will lead you to the right people.

Most of all… Make sure it’s fun.  Even at 4am in the middle of winter, this adventure has been fun.  There were tears and frustrations and things went very sideways a few times.  But at the heart of it all, I still wanted it.  I wanted to keep going.  Because the adventure as a whole was fun.  It filled my cup.

My wish for you is that you find something you love to do.  And you find a way to make a living from it if that is what you want.  That you find beautiful souls who will be cheerleaders on your adventure.  And that you find something that truly fits.

Thank you.  For being my cheerleaders.  For your encouraging words.  For visiting me here and for being there for me when I needed you.

Thank you for being a part of my grand adventure.

xoxoxoxoxo – Coral.

Posted in Business Design, Learning, Mindset, Motivation, My story, What I know so far | Tagged | 2 Comments

I’m at a crossroads but the adventure continues

She set sailI’m at a crossroads. When I started this blog, it was going to have lots of interviews with creative business people and working artists.  It was going to reveal the secrets to being a working artist.  Somehow it was going to show me the way and in the process show other arty sistas the way too.  But a full time job and living on the other side of the world and having such a new blog and not a lot of confidence meant I only did a few interviews.  They were awesome, but it wasn’t setting the world on fire.  And it kinda felt like it didn’t fit.  Like that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.

So then I started on the adventure of creating my own range of stamps which was always what the big dream was.  That is what the interviews were supposed to lead me to.  I worked with designers to help with all the tech stuff and threw myself into the designs.  The idea was that it would be a beautiful experience and in a few months I would have an Etsy store open and before I knew it, I would be designing second and third series and quitting my day job and wouldn’t it be awesome.  But that didn’t happen.  Working with designers was a nightmare and an awful experience.  Tears and anger and a shit ton of money.  My Etsy store didn’t set the world on fire like it was supposed to.  The whole experience broke my heart and deeply injured my soul.  And I slowly came to the realization that it kinda felt like it didn’t fit either.  Like that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.   Which is kind of a shock to the system when it’s a dream you’ve held onto for most of your adult life.

Where was the hallelujah chorus and bells ringing and fireworks? 

Why did this all feel so damn sucky instead of the blissful glory I had dreamed out loud. 

What the hell happened?

So…. yet more re-assessing.  Should I keep this CWB blog going if I didn’t turn into the next Kelly Rae Roberts overnight?  What have I got to say other than this didn’t work over and over?  That it’s not as easy as it looks.  That it’s not just about hard work and believing in yourself and having the courage to go after that big wild crazy dream which is the line we are all fed, isn’t it?  If we just have the courage to try then the world opens up and amazing things happen.  Oh, phooey.

This blog started out as an idea to create a go to page where people could hear from other creatives on how to achieve that big wild crazy dream of being a working artist.  It was supposed to reveal the magic ingreadient, the one little secret that would be the difference between glory or defeat.  It was going to be for other people while quietly lighting the path for me too.  But now, I’m thinking it’s going to be for me.  I’m pulling back from thinking about who will be reading and what they might think when I write.  If they will like what I write, if it’s going to help them.  Instead, I’m gonna be asking if it will help me.

I’m just going to write for me.  To document the continuing adventure.  Because the adventure does continue.  And any good story includes a few twists and turns.  It includes adversity and fighting off mythical creatures and riding wild seas and climbing ragged mountains.  But it also includes unexpected friendships and discovering magical powers and inner courage.  Undiscovered strength in adversity.

And so, as with life, the adventure continues.

Coral  xo.

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When is it giving up? And when is it finding your true north?

Water colour crayonsSo here’s the question…

When is it giving up after only one try?

When is it finding the truer path?

When is it growing and evolving and when is it running away?

When is it a revelation and when is it hiding behind an excuse?

And how on earth am I supposed to tell the difference?

Because where I am doesn’t feel right.  And continuing down this same path with a do-over doesn’t feel right either.  That’s not gonna fix it.  Have I been procrastinating for the last 6 months?  Have I been hiding, scared because it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to be the first time?  Because my feelings were hurt?  Because my ego was bruised?  Or was that my subconscious saying this is not the right path for you in this moment?  That it is no longer a good fit.  It is no longer the dream.

I’ve wanted this dream ever since I became a grown up.

And when I got there, it was such a milestone.

For 5 minutes.

It had been such a hard road to travel, rather than the glorious soul fulfilling adventure I had wanted it to be.  So it wasn’t a euphoric crossing over into the creative life I had imagined.  Why?  Because the trip to get there was so hard?  Because the dream was so old?  Because it was the only image I could see that represented something bigger?  While the dream is still as burning as ever, how I imagine it isn’t.

I can see my dream house.  The bedroom with the bed that’s up extra high so I have to climb into it.  The dream bathroom with a picture window over the bath looking out over acreage and a podium that holds 1,000 fluttering candles.  The oversized chair I saw 10 years ago that cost $3000 – yes, just for a chair, that I’m curled up watching DVD’s on a rainy Saturday.  The seafood platter I eat on the timber deck as I watch the sun set with no thought of what tomorrow will bring.  The art room has it’s own sink for washing out brushes so I don’t have to walk all the way to the laundry every 5 minutes.  It has it’s own private reading nook for reading art magazines and books.

And there is the office.  Oh, the office.  With a store room that is the ‘shop space’.  But the shop space has never had stamps in it.  Not once in the million times I’ve pictured it.  I know I’m packing something because there is a gorgeous little wrapping station and a ‘way’ it gets packaged because I’m a little OCD.  But… no stamps.


What does this mean?  And why didn’t I notice this before?

Like, before I went down this seemingly wrong path for 2 years.  Before the ugly, snotty tears and the devastating anger and the money.  Ouch with the money.  The guilt that comes with that money. The exaggeration of failure because of the money.

My last visit to Jane Davenport’s house was such a revelation.  Secret stories of finding your own path in art.  Of licensing and classes and teaching and selling.  And that feels like where I want to dive in.  Her advice on how to get better at drawing really resonated with me and has become a new obsession.  I’m even feeling patient about the learning curve (for the moment anyway, I am the Queen of Impatience after all, so that could change at any minute).  I’m not following her online classes religiously whenever I have art time.  I’m experimenting in my Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.  And I’m just playing and figuring out how to draw.  Scrappy, scratchy sketches crowding the page in a huge $2 sketchbook.  Where it doesn’t matter if it looks silly or doesn’t work.  Where I’m not trying to do Somerset Studio worthy artwork ever time.  Where I don’t judge it harshly as not being good enough.  Not being perfect.

And that feels right.  It feels like a long road from where I am now but it’s the right road to walk down.  It feels like that’s where the kindred hearts are.  Where the joy is.  Where the “this is where I’m supposed to be” is.  Where there are other paths to discover, places I am meant to go, things I am meant to see, people I am meant to meet.  I feel pulled in the most glorious way in that direction.

But it means abandoning the path I am on now.  The rocky, bumpy path I’ve been on.  Abandoning the dream that has ached so badly inside me for 14 years.  But… the same way my beloved New Kids On The Block videos are no longer on permanant rotation like they were in high school, I still love dancing in my lounge room.  The part that brings joy, is still there.  It just looks different to what it did at 16.

Coral xo

PS.  I still have the New Kids On The Block sheets that I never slept on because they were too special to go on the bed.  I did wave one pillow case at a concert once.  I just can’t bring myself to throw them away.

Posted in Mindset, Motivation, My story | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How I found my voice and fell in love with blogging

Coloured PencilsAll good stories start at the beginning…  My beginning was when I’d been blogging for a few months and I was boring myself senseless. It was yawny yawn yawn.

And when you are bored with something, you grown to hate it.

And I definitely hated it.  Even resented it, maybe?

So how did I stop being so damn boring even to myself and fall in love with blogging?

And how did I find my own voice so I didn’t look like a copy cat of that big name blogger that rocks the Kazbah with every post?

Lean in and listen closely…. cause this is what I figured out.

Yes, you are a writer.  You are not writing “Spot sat on the mat”.  You are writing the greatest adventure story ever.  Your story.  Of slaying dragons and climbing mountains.    The ugly snotty tears of failure and disappointment.  The tragic 80’s happy dance in your lounge room in that moment of victory.  (Because most of the time, your victories happen when no-one is watching… that’s just how the universe works).

So share your heart with the world.  Be open.  Be true.  Be vulnerable.  That’s where the beauty in writing is.  That’s what makes you fall in love with blogging.

Be you.   For the love of all that is good and holy, do not say Amazeballs on your blog if you never, ever use it in person.  Don’t talk about the green juice you had for breakfast after your sunrise yoga workout if you really rolled out of bed about 11-ish and went straight for the coffee and leftover takeaway.  (It should still be good after 2 days… right?)   Why would you do that? (the copying, not the takeaway.  Actually, yeah, the takeaway too).  Because it’s the ‘in thing’?  Because it’s trendy?  I dunno about you, but I ain’t trendy in real life, so I’m not gonna be able to pull that off on my blog.  People will see through that in about 5 seconds.  And no-one likes a phoney pony.  When you write like that, you aren’t believable.  And you want people to believe in your adventure.  To be slaying the dragons right along with you.  Or at least cheering you on from the safety of the sidelines.

Listen to yourself.  Listen to the voice in your head that shows up, usually when you can’t write anything down.  The words that you say in your head when you are in the shower with your hair all soapy.  When you are just pulling out onto the highway and kicking the car into 5th gear.  Amazing how all your best stuff shows up then.  Another trick the universe loves to play on you.

Don’t clean it up (unless you are taking the swear words out… I have to do that sometimes.  Okay, more than sometimes).  I write things like wanna and kinda and gonna because that’s how I talk.   I say some words twice in real life, so I write like that.  As in – I love love things.  That’s your writing signature.  Not your “I just won an Oscar” signature (I’ve practiced that one for years).  The signature that means people recognize your writing, without even seeing your name.  And when you write like that… it flows like music.  Beautiful blogging music.

Is *insert spunky actor here* reading this?  Wanna write your bestest blog post ever?  Imagine your favourite actor is reading it.  And it’s the difference between him thinking you are an idiot or asking you to run away with him.  (Remember to share who your spunky actor is in the comments… I wanna know).

Or pretend it’s your arch nemesis reading and you wanna blow them away with your awesomeness.  Like you are wearing your Wonder Woman bracelets and your writing is deflecting their evil.  It stops you being lazy and thinking ‘that’ll do’ as you hit publish.  Near enough is SO not good enough.  Awesome blogs don’t do near enough.

Don’t write for the millions.  Don’t write as though you have a million readers (cause I know I don’t have anywhere near that many readers and I’m kinda guessing you don’t either).  When you write for that many people, you don’t see them.  You don’t see them in your head when you write. So write for you.  Write your little heart out, baby.  Share your heart and your art and your soul with the world.  Write as though there is just one person reading.

Because that may be who comes to read your blog today.  Who reads your words for the very first time.  And who loves every word.  Those are the people to write for.  Because they become more than blog readers.  They become dear friends.  They become the  cheerleaders on your adventure.  They become kind hearted mentors.  And that’s where the true beauty of blogging is.  That’s where the soul deep meaning is.  That’s why you fall in love with it.

And that is what will get you up at 4.30am to write before you go to that day job.

Coral.  xo

This post is part of a blog hop hosted by April from Blacksburg Belle (love her!) all about the joy of blogging – yes it can be fun!  Don’t miss what the other hoppers are sharing.

Today Sage Grayson and Lisa Lehmann are joining me.

Stay tuned to April’s blog over the next few days – there’s the  amazing Michelle Ward – the famous When I Grow Up Coach.  Mayi Carles – April’s partner in mischief, artist and creator of soon to be Life is Messy Kitchen.  Kimberly Palmer – money savvy side gig cheerleader.  Ashlee Thurlow – a business coach making it simple – yes please.  Laura Clempson – Creator of Cupcakes for Clara.   And Emily Thompson – web designer who loves working with creative business owners (that’s us!).

ANNND….. My gorgeous friend (and mentor) April is teaching a workshop all about blogging.  Learn how to write engaging headlines {you know, the kind that actually make you click}, take pretty pictures, develop a solid content strategy {bye bye writer’s block}, monetize your blog {yes, actual money} and so much more in April Bowles Olin’s workshop on creativeLIVE May 1st to May 3rd.

RSVP to watch it live for FREE. Because, free things are pretty awesome. (High-fives, library books, birthday desserts at your fave restaurant, Pinterest. All pretty awesome.) You’ve got to tune in for this course. She won’t disappoint.  She never does.

Posted in My story, What I know so far | Tagged | 25 Comments

I don’t want to be pretty anymore…

Jane workshop

My Jane Davenport workshop experience on

Sometimes you actually hear the light bulb go off over your head.  Sometimes it’s a gentle glow that slowly gets brighter (like the damn energy saving light globe in my bathroom that takes 10 minutes to warm up enough to actually light the room up).  But other times – you hear it.  It’s bells and the hallelujah chorus and happy dances in the lounge room.

I’ve only just come back from a workshop at Jane Davenport’s house.  And Jane has just come back from a workshop with Jesse Reno.  I love when my teachers take a class with someone else.  I love seeing what they create, how their work is different under their teachers influence yet somehow still very them.  But Jane’s post had more than that.

In amongst the photos of her work, her fan girl experience and her wrap up of the weekend was this.  Symbology and meaning.  Animals that she is drawn to, who magically show up at the end of her paint brush.  And when they appear, she feels connected to something.  Not just that they are pretty.

Ah, not just that they are pretty.

Oh, the room is shining bright from the light bulb above my head.  No ten minute warm up this time.

You know what I’ve discovered on this adventure?  It’s the single sentences.  The single sentences that repeat over and over in your mind.  The ones that whisper to you months or years after you first heard them.  And this is one that I know is gonna stay with me.

Symbology.  Meaning.  Connection.

Sometimes art is about making pretty things.

But for me… in this moment… I feel like I get it now.

And for me, it is no longer about just making something pretty.

Just making something pretty is for people who don’t feel soul deep in what they are doing.

Just making something pretty is for people who want to be distracted from the everyday.

Just making something pretty is for people taking their first wobbly steps into the world of creativity.

But I’m not a new kid on the block (my favourite band in high school – my confession for the day).  Now, I want more.  I know there is so much to it.  I’ve seen what it’s like to live this life every day.  And I know what it feels like too, even if it’s just been for a day or two.

I want to feel full to overflowing with connection and meaning as I make things.  The pencil to paper and the paint to canvas can no longer just be about something pretty.

I don’t just want to feel distracted from the ordinary, the everyday.  I want to live the dream life I’ve imagined since I walked out of my high school gate for the very last time.

I’m no longer a toddler, taking tentative steps.  I wanna leap and dance and play until I fall in an exhausted heap on the floor, catching my breath, covered in paint after a day where the world fell away.  Where all I was left with was me, with painty hands.  Finding meaning, finding connection, finding my own symbology.

That is what art should be about.

That is what a creative business should be about.

That is what life should be about.

Coral. xo

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I’m stripping out, but not stripping off… because no-one needs to see that

DarkestI’m stripping out, but not stripping off (because no-one needs to see that).  Errr, what??

On the house side, I’ve caught up on the housework that annoys the crap out of me every time I walk past it but never get around to doing (that’s a never ending to do list, isn’t it?)  I’ve had another ruthless clean out of the art room.  I’ve tossed clothes over my shoulder as I strip out my wardrobe.  And you know that third draw in the kitchen full of mysterious utensils, take away menus and warranty books for a food processor that broke 2 years ago?  It’s next on the hit list.

On the business side, I’m cleaning out my Twitter feed like a mad woman – so I am left with only the people I love, love, not all the people I followed cause I was supposed to.  Because they were the gurus I was ‘meant’ to follow even though they grated on my nerves like fingernails on a blackboard.  I’m unsubscribing from newsletters that I signed up for because I was worried I would miss out on the ‘secret ingredient’.  That one snippet of wisdom that would be the difference between having my dream life or staying in That Day Job forever.   And those blog bookmarks that get in the way of finding the ones I really want are gone too.   I’m wondering why I even felt the need to bookmark most of them in the first place.

On the me side, I’ve tried to live my Words of the Year – Being selfish (in a good way) and having fun.  I’ve been eating so many veges I’m surprised I haven’t turned green.  I’m surprised at the difference it has made – I’m feeling more energetic and happier (not the fake happy you get after eating ice cream.  I mean the happy that you feel all day because you ate all the veges on your plate the night before).  And my life has become about home and art, instead of giving everything to That Day Job and my home life only getting what was left.  I’m kinda wondering how I got myself into that rhythm in the first place and how I lived like that for so long.  No wonder my mid-life major re-assessment started so early.

As that has all come together, I’m feeling stronger.  Stronger to start again.  Finding the courage beyond all the feelings from my first set of stamps.  Finding the courage to do it my way and ignoring all the ‘ooh, I just started something by accident and now I’m a millionaire’ stories.

Because sometimes those stories are inspiring and courage boosting.  And sometimes they just shit you to tears and make you hate the world because it’s not happening for you like that.

When the clutter is gone, you can see more clearly.  You can find your way without wading through the nothingness and unimportant.

I’m not in love with my first set of stamps anymore.  Okay, I got that.  But what I am in love with?  What designs would I use over and over until the stamp was completely worn out?  Or do I focus on my getting better at art and somehow transform that into a product?  Selling prints?  Transforming elements of my art into stamps?

Was I designing stamps hoping my art would get better?  Should I have gotten better at my art to make stamps?

The clutter is gone, but the questions come in their place.

The surprising challenge in amongst all the questions, is not being led by other artists.  Being inspired but not being drawn into their style too much.  That part is actually much harder than it looks.

And I don’t want to fall out of love with the second set because I change what I love by the time they get manufactured.  I’m not a scattered person at all – I’m a slow and steady wins the race kinda girl.   But I’m also learning so much and discovering so many new things – I’m like a kid in a candy shop.  And what I loved last week changes as I discover new teachers, have new ideas and as I go exploring.

No-one is the artist they were a year ago.

I need to find a way to make what I want to make but leave room for my art, my business and myself to grow.  This could get interesting…..

Coral.  xo

Posted in Business Design | 14 Comments

Every step counts, even if it’s backwards

DLP1Danielle LaPorte has a manifesto that I love.

Check out the video or print it out here or the typography poster here.

I have it on the wall in front of me at That Day Job and look at it often.  Cause some days I really, really need it so I can keep going.  It’s also on my inspiration board in the art room, watching over me as I work.  Like a silent cheerleader.  The words in the air of the room as I work.

DLP2One of my favourite things on it is…

Everything is progress

And she’s right.  Any step – a mini step forward, a step sideways and yes, even a step backwards.  It’s all progress.

A mini step can feel like procrastination and fear.

A step sideways can feel like it doesn’t count.

And a step backwards can feel like a failure.  Like a sign from the universe that this isn’t what you should be doing.

I feel like I took huge steps forward the day I had my stamps in my hand.  But didn’t land where I thought I would.  It didn’t turn out how I thought.  It wasn’t a beautiful, exciting adventure to get there.  It wasn’t how I had imagined after 14 years of dreaming.

There were disappointments, delays and anger.  There were ugly snotty tears, cranky dances in the lounge room and lots of pouty “it’s not fair” moments.  Yep, when I’m disappointed, I act like a 5 year old.  G-G-Glamourous.

So now I’m taking steps in a new direction.  Mircro steps.  Cause sometimes a microstep is all your heart can bear.  Cause you can’t be Sasha Fierce all the time.  And even a micro step counts.

Because everything is progress.

Coral.  xo

PS.  You’ve signed up for my newsletter right?  I’ll be sharing a great video with Danielle LaPorte in the next one – it’ll change the way you look at chasing after your big wild crazy dream.  So divine.

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It took me 2 years to figure this out… I started at the wrong end

40 08

On the Finding Firelight blog this week

If you read this post, you’ll know I’m not totally in love with my stamps anymore.  And I think I’ve figured out why I don’t love them and where I went wrong.

I started at the wrong end.

I started at the product end.

Before I had jumped back into getting inky and painty.

Before I had figured out what my personal style of art was.  What my symbology was.

And it was a year into the adventure before I started diving back into those things.

But after getting to play in 2 art workshops last year, it’s all coming together.  And it’s given me a new direction to play and to start thinking about new designs.

I think the reason the artists I love and adore have been so successful is because they started at the right end.

And I didn’t.

They created their art.  And they shared it on their blog.  In their Etsy stores.  And people found them.  They built their tribe.  Their following.  Their fans.  And from there came the online workshops, the book deals, the licensing.  And the stamp designs.

So this year, as part of having more fun and play, I’ve signed up for 2 online art workshops.  And once they are finished, I may sign up for more.  And I’m going to play in my art journal a lot more.  Become more at ease with my own style of art.  And explore where that can take me.  Less pressure on designing stamps and learning business-y things.  Nnot trying so hard.  It’s about me doing the fun art stuff, connecting with other arty girls.  Doing workshops online and in person.  Stepping out of my hermit shell and building genuine connections.  This year, it’s gonna be about the art and the business side can follow.

I’ve already done an end of year clean out to simplify things.  I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters I don’t get around to reading and the ones that rub my fur the wrong way but I felt like I ‘had to’ be subscribed to.  I’ve unfollowed people on Twitter that weren’t my absolute must follow people.  I’ve deleted lots of bookmarked blogs.  I’ve stripped it all back to basics.  So I’m left with only the stuff I adore.  Reading blogs that make me ooh and ahh with every new post (Jane Davenport is my current favourite).  Newsletters that make me feel invincible.  Audio interviews that energize and focus me (loving Danielle LaPorte right now).

This year, as part of my being ‘selfish’ with my word of the year,  I’m only doing what feels perfect.  Things that lift me up, give me bliss and fill me up to overflowing.

Everything else is out the door.

Out, out, out.

Because this is my year of being selfish in the most divine way.  Of only doing what I really, really want.  Not what other people tell me I should be doing.  Or what I need to be doing.  No more have to’s and gotta’s.  Just wanna’s.

Because it’s my time.  It’s my time now.  (Oh yeah, I threw in a Goonies reference).

Coral.  xo

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Goodbye 39

Look what I got for my 40th birthday - all by Kelly Rae Roberts - one of my SHeroes.

Look what I got for my 40th birthday – all by Kelly Rae Roberts – one of my SHeroes.

Goodbye 39

You are the year I felt most like myself.

You are the year I got to connect with art in the deepest way.

Art has called to me for the longest time and this year… the year of 39…. I truly saw what you could be.  And I understood why my heart has been calling to you for so long.

This is the year I got to know myself so much more.  And I fell in love with who I am.

All the things that make me uncool are the things I love the most.  They make me who I am.  And I no longer hide those quirky little bits.

I feel like something great is coming as I turn 40.

And I feel like 39 was the beautiful bridge I got to cross to get there.

So many moments of clarity.  Gentle lessons learned.  The divine bliss of art classes.

For a long time, I was nervous about what 40 was going to bring.  I started having my ‘mid life major re-assessment’ 2 years ago, knowing 40 was looming and the expectations I’d had for my 30’s.

But as the day arrives, I’m surprisingly peace with it.  I feel like I’m coming into my time.

Goodbye 39.

Hello 40.

Coral.  xo


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One Little Word – OLW 2014

40One Little Word – 2014

Me + Fun

Lots of people are working on their One Little Word for this year.  Choosing words like Permission, Explore, Thrive and Trust.  Words that will help them work towards their goals.  Words that mean they say yes.  Yes to that online workshop they’ve wanted to do forever.  Yes to starting their blog to share their heart with the world.  Or opening their Etsy shop to share their creative soul.

But my word means I’m being selfish this year.  In the nicest possible way, of course.

I’m turning the big 4-0 in a couple of days.

And if I don’t have a year for me this year, then when do I get one?  I’ve put myself last for a long time.  I think it’s a girl thing.  We look after everyone else first and leave nothing for ourselves.

I gave everything to That Day Job for a long time and my personal life would get what was left.  But in the last 2 years, I’ve discovered that means nothing to the people you have given your everything to.  You don’t even get a thank you after 10 years of service.  Seriously, not even a thank you.

Looking after a sick husband, being the lean on girl for friends. running the house, running two blogs, working with designers and manufacturers for my stamps and trying to learn so many new things all at the same time – it’s no surprise there was less than nothing left for myself.

And my solution was to comfort eat.

Needless to say, it’s left me feeling empty on the inside and overflowing on the outside.

If I tried to do something that wasn’t easy the first time, I would give up.  Put it in the “go back to it another day” box.  Because it wasn’t fun.  And because I had nothing left in the tank to experiment and play and go with the flow.  I needed it to be perfect first time so I could just get on with it.

But in September and October last year, I did 2 “in person, real life, get your hands painty” art workshops.

And my world changed.

With Chrissy Foreman Cranitch – I felt bliss the whole day.  I can’t remember ever feeling like that before that day.  Such serenity and clarity.  No sense of time.  An inner calmness instead of my usual frantic, everything has to be perfect way.  I realized that working artists get to feel like this a lot.   And it made me want this life more than ever before.  Imagine getting to feel like this on a weekday?

With Jane Davenport – I got to see my dream life in person.  I got to see the life of a working artist up close.  The stockroom for her online store.   Her studio filled with art supplies and camera equipment for filming.  I made art that was effortless and was so very me.  I got to play.  The whole weekend washed over me and through me like an afternoon spring breeze, blowing away the cobwebs built up over 40 years.

How did I not see life could be like this before now?

You can imagine it until the cows come home.  But when you experience your dream life, you get it.  You truly get what you heart has been calling you to do.

So in 2014, I want more of that.

More bliss.

More play.

More fun.

Coral.  xo

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