Archive for Life

Studio Update #3

Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
My desk and studio as it currently stands – dying flowers and all.

Hello friends. Yes I am alive.
So sorry for not being around yesterday or Friday. Things have been really busy in the studio and home, and I just couldn’t bring myself to post some filler material just to have something up here – quality over quantity!
So today I figured I would share with you why I have been so absent as of late….
…a wedding!

Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
No. Not my own. 2 years is a little too short for a renewal of vows.
A dear friend is getting married this weekend and I was lucky enough to be asked to do some hand lettering for the big day. The last few weeks have seen me hunched over lots of kraft paper and white ink to put those details together, and I’ve loved every minute.
Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
It hasn’t only been lettering here in the studio, I’ve also finished up a few more gems. Hooray! Can you figure out what these guys are?
Hint: March / May / June / July
Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
I think I might open up my shop a bit earlier and do a slow release rather than all my product up at once. If I waited until then I might never get the shop up and running! What do you guys think?
Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
I must admit though, as much as I love working in the studio, it’s really hard some days to stay focussed when the gorgeous sun is beating outside and all I want to do is dive into the lake.
Studio Update #3 | Squirrelly Minds
Thankfully I have this girl to keep me company.

I think I know which way I’m leaning, but I’d still like to know:
Would you rather the Print Shop open up earlier
with fewer products or later with more?

On | Maintaining Your Sense of Worth as a Creative

In the Studio of Squirrelly Minds - Maintaining your self worth | Squirrelly Minds
I know I said on Tuesday that this week was going to be all about ice cream, and in fact I was all set up to shoot and post my ice cream sandwiches today, but something happened that I couldn’t ignore and just had to write about. I have to warn you, this post is text heavy and does come from a place of negativity and insecurity, which is something I deeply try to hide here (I’m all sunshine and rainbows!). But I’ve been here before and feel the need to open up to you all, get this conversation going and ask how you get through similar situations. Because if you’re a creator, and especially if you’re online, I’m sure you’ve felt what I feel.

Remember when I made this announcement to open a print shop featuring my watercolour gems? And remember how I was super excited but also nervous at the same time? Part of my nerves was a fear that someone would beat me to it, and sure enough someone did.

My friend sent me a blog post featuring an artists’ gorgeous work of watercolour gems. Yes, gorgeous work, and I am so elated that others are also inspired by these beautiful works of nature. I mean really, gems and minerals are mind boggingly stunning and the perfect specimen to be captured by paint and brush. But I can’t lie, my heart sank a little, because seeing work published before I got a chance to do so made me feel unoriginal.

I know I’m not the only one to go through this. I’ve had similar experiences with DIY’s in the past, and I cut the project completely. In a different creative realm, my sister was in the middle of writing a screenplay when a movie, featuring the same historical figure in a similar format she was writing, was released. Heart broken, she axed the project.

In the Studio of Squirrelly Minds - Maintaining your self worth | Squirrelly Minds
It’s true, I feel that urge to stop – because how can I create something that is already being created? My work is no longer original, so why should I bother? That’s my heart talking, and my brain is telling my heart to shut up.

I would tell anyone who listened, that when it comes to creations and art specifically, everyone brings a unique perspective to their work and, therefore, has something different to offer. And I wholeheartedly believe this, regardless of what my heart is saying. So thankfully, my brain steps in with this reminder, and my passion encourages me to persevere. I just have to tell my heart to be quiet every now and then and remind myself that everyone brings a special something to their work. Yes, even little ‘ol me.

Now I’m not here bearing the inner workings of my soul to ask for pity or encouragement. Rather I feel this is an important discussion to have, and I want to better myself through learning from others (you!) who have gone through similar situations. And so, I ask you this:

What do you do when you face similar situations? Do you ignore the rest of the world and persevere on? Do you stop entirely? Or do you mope a bit like me and get back to it?
When you treasure an idea or creation of yours, then see it made into reality by someone else,

how do you maintain your sense of worth?

Blog | Summer Alt Summit Recap

Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Brooke Dennis
I don’t really know where to begin with an alt recap to be honest. I could talk about what I did each day but if you follow alt attendees you know about the food trucks and croquet. Instead I could tell you what my 5 takeaways are, but I’d just regurgitate what other attendees have already so eloquently said, because it’s all so true.
So instead, I’m going to post pictures (all by Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis unless otherwise noted) and share tid bits here and there about my journey through blogging and what alt means to me.
Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Brooke DennisI started blogging in 1999/2000 with Blue Glass and then White Nenya. I coded my blog in notepad and ran several personal websites just for the heck of it. But life got hectic, so in 2007 I stopped – right around when Joy and all those other big bloggers got their start. At this realization an embarrassing thought ran through my head – “Tan! You could be where they are today if you stuck with it you no good quitter!”

…yeah….I like to dream. And belittle myself apparently.

Here’s the thing: even if I stuck with it, there’s no way I’d be a fraction near our-holy-mother-of-blogging Joy Cho. Why? Because she has inhumane perseverance. She didn’t wait for anyone to find her and ask to work together, she put herself out there every single time. That takes a lot of courage, something I hope to gain more of as time goes on rather than hide down my cozy, dark rabbit hole.

Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Bing

Photo by Bing. L – R: Me, Ruth, Kristan, Celine, Sara

As much as I love it, Alt freaks me out. I may hug everyone, hoot and holler loudly and go up to strangers and say hi, but in all honest truth constantly putting myself out there being around so many people kind of makes me want to curl into a ball. There were certainly times I felt like I was back in high school, completely out of my comfort zone and not knowing what to do with myself, so I’m beyond thankful to have met some truly amazing welcoming and friendly girls I could go up to and chat with and know I’d have a genuinely good time. These four are just a handful of the ladies I’m so pleased to have gotten to know and look forward to chatting with more in the future <3

Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Justin Hackworth

(p.s. my resting face is “mega be-otch”, I’m not actually angry in this photo).

Speaking on a panel was such an incredible experience and privilege. I’m not going to lie, my hands were mega sweaty and my stomach was turning knots that a sailor couldn’t untie, but I felt so elated to be up there with 4 incredible other ladies sharing my experiences in growing a small blog. This certainly was a pivotal moment for me, and I truly hope I get to do it again.
Oh, if you’re looking for that PDF, don’t worry! It’s coming!
Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Justin Hackworth
Blogging can be a pretty darn lonely venture. You’re at home by yourself all day with no one to talk to but your cat (sorry Lucy, you keep good company). I was asked on our last evening if I would attend Alt again, and truthfully I wasn’t sure. It’s a lot of money to spend, and being a teacher I have to take personal unpaid leave – more chaching down the drain! But Alt gives something that I couldn’t get easily elsewhere – a recharge. Attending Alt electrifies my inspiration, making me want to work harder, smarter, and better. It surrounds me with likeminded people and revives my love of blogging. I don’t know that I’d go in January again because I’m a total wimp when it comes to ice and snow (the number of people I shocked when I said I was from Canada and we don’t get snow). I loved the smaller, more laid back feel of this June Alt, and I truly hope they host it again because you know what? I do hope I’ll come back and relive the experience all over again.
Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds - Photo by Brooke Dennis

Summer Alt Summit Recap | Squirrelly Minds

Kristen of When at Home / Laura of S.S. Heart / Christina of Just Call Me Chris / Bethany of Twenty Something Plus / Gilit of Shoes Off Please

Don’t worry I didn’t forget about the Friday Five! Check our 5 other fantastic Alt recaps. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

And don’t forget, today is your last chance to enter to win a $150 Gift Card from Wayfair ! Hurry Hurry!!

Blog/Life | Alt Summit Bound

Alt Summit Bound | Squirrelly Minds
Photo by Justin Hackworth
If you had told this girl, at this precise moment one year ago, that she would be speaking at Alt Summit in June the following year, she would have said “I don’t like liars…get out of my face!”

…okay, I would have been much much nicer than that, but I still wouldn’t have believed you.

Yet here I am, the day before I jet off early in the morning, heading to Salt Lake City to breathe in the mountain air, chat with some inspiring bloggers and brands, and yes, even speak on a panel.

The last month has been a flurry of prepping the panel with my girls Ciera, PJ, Mariah, and Melissa. Now all our hard work is finally coming to the test, and I can’t wait! However, I’ve spent so much time preparing for the panel and my business cards (which will include a gem print freebie, hooray!) that I haven’t had a chance to organize my wardrobe, or, sadly, line up posts for the week.

And so I will be taking this week off to fully enjoy my time at Alt. If I can I may post a photo or two on here for fun, but if you want to find me chatting away about the conference, you can find me on instagram and twitter.

I’ll miss y’all. Be good while I’m gone and I’ll see you next week!

…I feel like your mother saying be good…was that weird?


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