Friday, August 26, 2016

being in the moment

One of the wonderful things about creating art, or doing anything creative, really, is the fact that it forces you to be in the moment. So often we're pulled in many directions, multitasking, and our focus is anywhere but on what we're doing. But work on a creative project and our attention is momentarily captured.

Some days this is more profound than others. Some days time seems to stand still.

The other day I brought some coneflowers up to my studio to paint. Most of the flowers are past their prime, the color faded, but I wanted to capture the variety of colors and shapes before they're gone for the year.

flowers, coneflowers, echinacea, summer flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My painting process always begins with mixing paint. Such a simple act never fails to bring me joy.

coneflowers, echinacea, vintage mug, summer flowers, studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Connecting with the flowers. Dipping my brush into water and paint. Watching the colors develop on my palette. Testing the colors in my sketchbook.

This time working in my studio with these faded coneflowers, was especially joyful. Time did seem to stand still.

studio, watercolor, paint, paint palette, coneflowers, echinacea, sketchbook, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Matthias brought me some Gummi Bears while I worked and even their colors delighted me.

sketchbook, watercolor, watercolor palette, coneflowers, echinacea, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm still working on the painting and although that process has been a bit slow going (with many distractions), I'm carrying the stillness of the other day with me. Those moments connecting with the flowers, smelling the warm, meadowy coneflower fragrance and mixing paint to match their colors.

I'm not sure how we can recreate moments like those, but I'm going to keep trying. Keep paying attention. Keep reminding myself to slow down.

I'm wishing the same for you as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sketchbook Conversations -- a Chat with Patricia Nordeen

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Patricia Nordeen. Here's Patricia's story:

Patricia Nordeen, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I have been keeping sketchbooks for about four years, but just about daily during the last year and a half.  Prior to that I kept written diaries, often with things glued into them or doodled in the margins. There is just something wonderful about putting thoughts into books that can be closed and opened at the writer's or artist's convenience that has always appealed to me. I was an over-achiever in school, got 2 Masters degrees and a Doctorate at a fancy university, and became a college professor, and my ideas became my identity, which was good, because I had many ideas... but serious and pressure-filled. I needed a place to play, where ideas could simply be ideas, where I could write about the fun things I read, unrelated to my field of study. I always felt that books made me feel whole, and my journals, and then sketchbooks, give me the same feeling. I became very ill, needed major brain surgery, other surgeries, and my life became very different. After teaching for a grueling two years after I had recovered from the brain surgery, I realized my mind and body were not up to the task anymore. I packed up my life and returned to my parents' house, feeling shattered and useless. I did enjoy knitting and spending time with my family, but I longed to feel whole again, and my body just would not heal.

Patricia Nordeen, Sketchbook Conversations, sketchbooks

Eventually I landed on some youtube videos about art journaling and sketchbooks. I loved the idea of art journaling, because I could paint and collage without having to draw--something that I had never been able to do, and certainly never thought I could do. I started tentatively to gather up scraps of patterns, from papers, placemats, ribbons, really anything, and glue it down in my art journal. While I still was and am a knitter, I became more and more obsessed with my journals. At first I hoarded them, but eventually I joined a local art group and we shared our work with each other. It was fun and low pressure. I realized that drawing is a skill that can be learned! So I practiced and practiced in my sketchbooks. I started sharing images from my journals/sketchbooks on Instagram (@patricia.nordeen) and that keeps me accountable. Last year I participated in a 100 day collage project with Sharon Nullmeyer aka @nullsie, and that was really fun. I now have so many wonderful internet art friends! In 2016, I'm posting a sketchbook page per day on Instagram and am winding down a 100 day project with art friends, who are so close we call each other art sisters. Encouragement from my friends really helps. 

Yes, I paint in bed, but if I am trapped in bed because my body does not feel well, I want to be creating. It makes me feel whole. I love these books with their crumpled pages and worn covers, many of which I have bound myself. There is always something new to learn, and that makes my inner over-achiever happy. Getting lost in drawing and painting soothes me. I can happily spend all day in my art journals and sketchbooks, playing with colors, styles, textures, and media. As someone who came to art later in life, I have much to explore, and that is a wonderful feeling. The pre-brain surgery me would rather be exploring the world, but there is a world to discover in art. Sketchbooks are private. I can choose to share what I would like, but ultimately, they are for me. The ones I bind myself are even more personal, and that privacy allows me to play without the kind of tortured-artist pressure staring at a canvas can induce. The practice of keeping a sketchbook gives my day structure and prompts me to notice the brightness of creativity all around me. I certainly hope to turn to the canvas at some point, but for now, I am content to play in my books and see how the pages unfold. As you can see from my images, my style is still kind of all over the place. For now, I am okay with that!

Patricia Nordeen, Sketchbook Conversations, sketchbooks

I love to paint weird, abstract, flowers and "ladies". These are just a sample. I love using acrylics for building layers with collage, and I love using watercolor and gouache, and fluid India ink, for their expressive powers. I'm really not above trying to use all the media, all the time. Why not? That is the beauty of sketchbook practice. It gets one thinking "why not?" about life and possibilities in general!

Thank you, Patricia, for sharing your story and your sketchbooks with us!

*Photos in this post © Patricia Nordeen. Used with permission.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Joy of Being Creative Every Day and My New Skillshare Class

Hooo boy do I have a bad case of the Mondays this morning. I just want to keep going with the weekend and not dive into another week. Is that too much to ask? It was a good weekend. It was a productive weekend. It was a creative weekend. And it was filled with joy.

sunflowers, garden, late summer, summer, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've been thinking a lot about creativity. On Friday I wrote about venturing out of my comfort zone in my sketchbooks and how valuable that can be. Trying new things, experimenting, playing -- it's the only way you'll grow.

I think it keeps things fresh, too. Straying away from your focus from time to time helps you to return with renewed energy, with fresh ideas, with invigorated creativity.

By creativity I don't mean just painting and drawing. I've been coming to realize how important it is to be creative in many ways. Of course, this isn't new for me -- I've always liked to make things, whether those things are gardens or food or clothes or art -- but I have narrowed my focus (for good reasons) and all those other creative muscles don't get exercised as much as they used to. I know part of it is that there are only so many hours in the week and this year between Matthias' illness, my art and my other job, there often isn't room (or energy) for other things.

I think there's only one solution. To all of it. To the Mondays. To being creative. To not having enough time (or energy). We need to jump in there and do it. We need to make creativity a priority.

Maybe that sounds simplistic, but it's the only way to accomplish anything.

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started."
                                                            --Mark Twain

Getting started is the hard part, but once you get started the actual doing isn't so hard.

I believe we can all fit more creativity into our days. And I think we should, whether that creativity is painting or sewing or cooking or something else.

It helps if creating becomes a habit, a regular part of our days (I've written about the benefits of daily art here and here -- and my assertion that "painting leads to a lot more painting" is true about any creative activity. The more you do it, the more you're inspired and energized to do it).

Because I believe that a daily art practice is so beneficial, my second class on Skillshare is all about developing one.

daily art practice, sketchbooks, watercolor, gouache, drawing, Skillshare, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

In it I walk you through designing a challenge to create art every day for a set number of days (you choose how many). I give suggestions for how to design your challenge to help you be successful and I provide a set of 31 prompts to inspire your creativity. I also demonstrate seven days of creating from those prompts using watercolor, gouache, pen and collage.

This class is now available on Skillshare and I'd love for you to join me there! If you're new to Skillshare and you sign up following any of my links you there's a special offer of 3 months of Skillshare membership (and access to nearly eight thousand classes, including both of mine) for only $0.99. The regular Skillshare price is $9.95 a month, so this is a substantial savings!

Of course, my new class is bringing me joy (and I hope it will bring you joy, too), but because it's Monday, I can't for get my Joy List.

Joy List Monday: 

a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

Other things on today's list:

  • sunny skies
  • long walks
  • a toad taking a bath in the dogs' outdoor water bowl (I made sure he could get out)
  • cooking together with Matthias, listening to music, singing and dancing
  • eating the zucchini bread and calzones we made
  • getting out my sewing machine and doing some sewing
  • mint tea
  • getting together with my parents and brother for a shish kabab dinner and later some fireworks
  • the smell of roasting tomatoes
  • knowing there are roasted tomatoes in the freezer
  • working in the sketchbook I bound for myself in January of last year
  • chilly nights for good sleeping
  • birds enjoying the seeds from my sunflowers
tomatoes, watercolor, watercolor tomatoes, sketchbook, watercolor sketchbook, hand bound book, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Wishing you a joy-filled and creative week!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Venturing Out of My Comfort Zone

I don't like venturing out of my comfort zone. No one really does, do they? It's hard. It's scary. And, obviously, it's uncomfortable.

It might sound silly for me to say this considering how many new things I've been trying lately. Fabric design. Teaching video classes (which on the one hand I'm looking at and thinking, What? I'm actually doing that?!). And even before that, venturing into art in the first place. Deciding to upend my lifestyle and move from a big city to a rural area and embrace a simpler way of life (whatever that means -- and whoa boy, has that road been hard and scary and uncomfortable at times).

I guess the reason that I say I don't like venturing out of my comfort zone is that I love the idea of comfort. The dream I have of the future me is cozy and sunny and colorful. It's a small dream. I don't want to be rich and famous. I just want to be comfortable.

fortune cookie, fortunes, dreams, wishes, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I hold onto that dream.

But looking back I see that I haven't let it keep me from venturing out of my comfort zone.

When looking for quotes for today's post I cam across one that really resonated with me:

“Great people do things before they're ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you're afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that - that's what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that's really special and if you're not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”
                                                                        --Amy Poehler

You see, that's me. I'm certainly not saying that I'm great, what I mean is that I am constantly doing things before I know I can do them.

There are so many things I want to do and if I waited until I was ready, I'd never do any of them.

Even so, I do find myself dragging my feet when things are difficult. A good example of this is working with gouache. I love the idea of gouache and I love what other artists do with gouache, but I don't yet love working with the medium.

gouache, studio, organization, muffin tin, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've bought two different sets of gouache with the goal of practicing with it. I bought a sketchbook specifically with the intention of playing with gouache in it. And yet, I drag my feet. Sure I have other things that are keeping me busy, but I could fit in a little sketchbooking. After all, in my classes I advocate fitting short periods of art making into your day. I also advocate experimenting and trying new things.

In truth, my sketchbooks seem to be fairly un-experimental. Most of the time I sketch with black micron. Because for such a long time working in a sketchbook was itself out of my comfort zone, it didn't really matter to me if I was doing the same thing over and over. In fact, doing the same thing over and over -- practice -- is good for your art. But I think we also need to stretch ourselves, continually try things that are more and more difficult or we'll never grow.

I know I did this with my watercolor painting, whether fully conscious of it or not. My subjects, my compositions, have gotten more and more complex as my skills have developed (it's easy to see this when looking at paintings of subjects I've painted multiple times over the years).

watercolor, botanical watercolor, watercolor orchids, orchid paintings, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

So, yes, focus is good. But it's also good to try new things, different things. And it's naive to think that when you're trying those things for the first time (or the second or third or fourth or, or, or) it will be easy or that you'll immediately be successful (ok, sure, there are some people for whom that's the case, but I don't know any of them).

Which brings me to another quote that resonates with me:
"Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction."
                                                                            -- Harry Truman*

Your action will be imperfect at first and that is fine. It's good. It means you're doing something. It's a sign of growth. And it's easy to forget. It's so much easier to avoid the things we're not good at than to embrace the messiness of the beginning.

Sometimes the beginning isn't as messy as you think it will be. This week I've been playing around in my sketchbooks with media I'm not comfortable with. Yes, gouache, but also colored pencil. Oh, how I love the idea of colored pencils. The look of them lined up in their jars, but I never seem to actually get around to using them.

colored pencils, studio, art supplies, organization, jam jars, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And so wanting to experiment, but not having enough time to wash off my palette, mix colors and experiment with gouache, I grabbed my jars of colored pencils and played with them.

sketchbook, colored pencil, mushrooms, drawing, sketching, mushroom sketches, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm glad I did.

sketchbook, colored pencil, mushrooms, drawing, sketching, mushroom sketches, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm glad I got around to playing with gouache, too, even though it frustrated me.

sketchbook, gouache, floral art, dots, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Frustration is part of growth, too. Frustration has driven me so many times on this journey of mine. It impels me to keep going. To figure things out. To overcome.

And so, my wish for you this weekend is this: get out of your comfort zone; try something new; experiment; play; have fun. You never know where it will lead.

*there is some uncertainty whether Harry Truman actually said this

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sketchbook Conversations -- a Chat with Sharon Nullmeyer

Today we get a glimpse into another set of different and inspiring sketchbooks. I'm chatting with Sharon Nullmeyer for this week's Sketchbook Conversation. I'll let her tell you about her art journey:

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Hi, I am Sharon AKA Nullsie and I am a late blooming artist! I moved cross country a few years ago and actually found myself with free time, which never seemed to be a commodity in life before. I was a little lonely, and was enjoying the change of seasons and the beautiful things around me, compliments of mother nature, but I needed a way to express myself. I turned back to art which was an early love in my life. I got involved with art-journaling, sketching, a little painting and started taking some online classes.

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I bought my first sketchbook, a tiny one and just began. (And it was not pretty). Around the same time I discovered August Wren, an amazing artist on Instagram and she painted EVERYDAY in a sketchbook. (I was in AWE). I also took "Sketchbookery" a class offered by MaryAnn Moss-and that was it! I started posting and painting and posting. I decided to paint every day in my sketchbook, and last year I did! Everyday, for all the world, or my few followers to see. 

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

This year too! I made friends on instagram, joined groups, did a 100 day project of Collage with artist Patricia Nordeen and even did traveling journals this year. It's been amazing. 

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I have a ton of sketchbooks going, one for a gouache class I am taking, one is a summer journal where I paint and write about adventures and favorite days and I have one going for my everyday paintings and sketches. 

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

SO far the ideas keep flowing. I take pictures of things I see as I investigate the East Coast with my boyfriend, and then paint them later, or at least attempt to.

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

If you are just starting out, I encourage you to just do it, and do it daily. I have watched myself learn and improve just by doing the practice. Its cathartic too, and its helped me through some most difficult times, it's a part of me now, and honestly it's changed my life.

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

My favorite tools of the trade are pretty simple. I love sharpies, my favorite watercolors are my beloved Schminkes. I have just discovered gouache, I use Holbein, and I have quickly accumulated piles of art supplies that are taking over our house as I sign up for more classes. I love GIANT sketchbooks!

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

You can find me here: (my favorite place) (i am addicted)

Sharon Nullmeyer, Nullsie, Creative Space, Work Space, Art Space, Sketchbook Conversations, Studio, Sketchbooks, Painting

Thank you, Sharon for sharing your story and your sketchbooks with us!

Catch up on all of the Sketchbook Conversations and find more sketchbook inspiration here. For more inspiration from creative women from all walks of life, check out my Artist Interviews.

Interested in joining the conversation and sharing your story and sketchbooks? Contact me and I'll give you the details on how to participate.

*Photos in this post © Sharon Nullmeyer. Used with permission.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Joy List Monday -- Taking Time to Enjoy The Beauty of Late Summer

This morning I woke up to the song of an oriole. Every morning before getting up I lie in bed and listen to the birds. The orioles haven't been singing very much lately. Occasionally I'll see a flash of orange and black, spotting them flying past, but they've been quiet. These last couple weeks I've noticed that another of our birds has been quiet. I no longer wake to robin song or hear the robins singing in the evenings as the light fades. I know they'll be disappearing before too long.

Suddenly it's late summer.

I'm finding myself tuned in to the wonders of summer, focused on being fully present, trying to hold onto these days and not let them slip away.

This weekend I felt as if I were living inside one of my Summer Bliss fabric designs.

fabric design, surface pattern design, Watercolor Kitchen Garden, watercolor fabric design, vegetable garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The bounties. The colors. The joys.

Last Monday I wrote about my struggle to be present and let myself have lazy days. In a way that post was a reminder to myself of the importance to savor these days. And I think it worked.

sunflowers, teddy bear sunflowers, summer flowers, garden flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've been filling the house with flowers. Watching clouds. Enjoying the garden and time spent in it not pulling weeds or trimming or tying up, but just being.

It can be so hard to stop. Stop doing. Stop thinking.

I've noticed that my nasturtiums are finally taking off. Not just a single flower here or there,

nasturtiums, variegated nasturtiums, summer flowers, garden flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

but enough for me to cut a handful for the house.

nasturtiums, garden flowers, summer flowers, nasturtium flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I seem to notice my little hummingbird friend constantly now. Every time I go outside. Every time I look out the window, even, she's buzzing from flower to flower. It's a gift, her presence. And it brings me joy each time.

Taking time for quiet has allowed ideas to blossom. I have so many projects I want to tackle. Not projects for my blog or my shops or an e-course, but just for me.

I hadn't realized I needed time for regenerating. For peaceful contemplation. For fun.

sunflowers, summer, summer flowers, blue sky, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's amazing what a difference taking time for those things makes.

I've been doing it on the weekends and trying to add some ease into each of my days. This morning I took a little extra time and baked some muffins*.

muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, baking, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Are you making room for ease in your days?

Are you keeping Joy Lists?

It really does make a difference.

Joy List Monday: 

a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

Here's mine:

  • sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers
  • spending a quiet afternoon in the garden, just me and the dogs
  • tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes
  • Matthias finally feeling better in spite of a recent complication
  • going to the farm for lunch with my parents and ending up staying all day for chatting, tractor rides, bocce, picking produce and a dinner of Chicago style hotdogs smothered with garden fresh produce
  • cicada song during the day and a chorus of crickets at night
  • blue, blue skies
  • projects -- in my head and in the works
  • Matthias' recent sushi-making obsession
  • finding beauty and joy in the simplest of things
marigolds, summer flowers, garden flowers, simple flower arrangements, handbuilt ceramics, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Wishing you a joy-filled week.

*I used that recipe for my lemon poppy seed muffins, but put in over twice as much lemon juice as it called for. They turned out deliciously.

Friday, August 12, 2016

What I've Been Up to Lately

I've been working on a bunch of different projects lately and thought I should share some of them with you today.

Creating new prints from my paintings and updating my Etsy shop often takes a back seat to everything else and so I've been making a point of adding some new pieces there.

watercolor, watercolor art prints, Etsy, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I love how they've come out and I'm especially fond of the butterfly mini print sets. To create them I took individual butterflies from my larger paintings. I used these same butterflies in my fabric, too.

butterflies, watercolor butterflies, surface pattern design, fabric design, watercolor fabric, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've been printing and trimming calendars lately. Because it's a bit time consuming and because it takes a lot of room to let all the prints dry, I print them in batches.

studio, art print calendar, watercolor calendar, 2017 calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The first calendar went off to a new home earlier this week.

And speaking of new homes, some of my favorite, older original paintings have found new homes lately.

This geranium

watercolor, botanical watercolor, geranium watercolor, botanical painting, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

and these wild violets (I wrote about painting the violets here).

violets, wild violets, wood violets, watercolor violets, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm always delighted to know that my art will bring others joy, but I do get a little sad saying goodbye to my favorites.

Finally, I mentioned the other day that I've been working on my second class on Skillshare. The second time around has been a lot easier. Still a lot of work, but without the learning curve of figuring out the technical details. I hope to release the class in a week or so, but I thought I'd share the intro I created for it today:

I'm getting a bit excited!

My first class is doing well. Have you signed up yet? I heard from one person that there's a little confusion about how Skillshare works. You pay a monthly subscription fee (regularly $9.99 a month, but they run specials and if you're subscribing for the first time you can get 3 months for $.99) and then you have access to all of the classes on Skillshare. There are thousands of classes on topics ranging from cooking to business to pattern design to crafts to art... and new classes are being added constantly. I'd love to see you in class!

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sketchbook Conversations -- a Chat with Constanza Urdampilleta

Today we get a glimpse into another totally different sketchbook for this week's edition of Sketchbook Conversations. Some of you have already commented about the variety seen in these artists' sketchbooks. That each sketchbook is unique, as is each artist's story, is what I love so much about this series. I'm hoping that seeing this diversity will inspire and encourage you to follow your own voice.

There's no right or wrong way to go about keeping a sketchbook. But I think when I was just starting out I had the idea that there was a "right way". Without an art background I didn't know how to work in this mysterious "right way" and so I didn't work in sketchbooks at all. That thinking held me back for a long time.

I don't want that sort of thinking to hold you back. It's one of the reasons I put together my first class on Skillshare (and why I'm working on more). And it's one of the reasons I'm hosting these Sketchbook Conversations. If you have the yearning to create, create. The world needs more art in it. Your life needs more art in it.

And now on to today's Sketchbook Conversation! Today we're chatting with Constanza Urdampilleta. Here's Constanza's story:

I am a 26 year old Argentinian living in Sydney. I am a passionate about drawings (mandalas and small things).

Constanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I like working in a sketchbook because it´s an easy way to always be prepared to put down some inspiration.

Constanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook ConversationsConstanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I am always looking around to see new things and find inspiration. I love Instagram and street art also inspires me.

Constanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I use markers, and pens to draw. These are the tools that I feel comfortable to work with, but I am trying to explore new ones such as watercolours.

Constanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook ConversationsConstanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

I am a young creative woman trying to put together my work with my passion.

Constanza Urdampilleta, mandalas, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Thank you, Constanza, for sharing your sketchbook story with us today!

*Photos in this post © Constanza Urdampilleta. Used with permission.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Joy List Monday -- Lazy Summer

It hasn't really been a lazy summer.

I recently realized that despite what I said in last week's Joy List Monday post, I haven't been enjoying summer like I usually do. Haven't been lying out on a blanket in the grass with the dogs.

Jude the Greyhound, greyhounds, rescue greyhounds, rescue dogs, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Or eating meals on our patio. Or even cutting flowers for the house.

summer flowers, garden flowers, garden bouquet, Fiestaware, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Last year I endeavored to Savor Summer. This year summer's getting lost in the shuffle.

roses, Above and Beyond Rose, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

But summer's not over yet. It's not too late to savor it.

hummingbird, ruby throated hummingbird, female hummingbird, black and blue salvia, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

To spend a few hours outside without a plan. Letting go and paying attention to the magic that is going on all around me.

sunflowers, blue skies, summer, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's a constant struggle. To be still. To be present. To pay attention.

Maybe I sound like a broken record each week as I share my struggle. But I think I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I think we all can use a reminder to slow down. To pay attention. To listen and look and smell (and taste and touch) and savor.

What about you? Are you savoring summer? Are you enjoying each day? What's going to be on your Joy List?

Joy List Monday: 

a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

Here's mine:

  • perfect weather
  • making ratatouille with all good things from my garden (and a few from my mom's)
  • cutting bouquets of flowers for the house
  • spending time reading in the garden with Matthias and the dogs
  • eating the first of our refrigerator pickles (so good... and seriously so easy; I used a version of this recipe)
  • having breakfast at the farm with my family
  • working on my next Skillshare class (if you haven't signed up for Skillshare at the special rate of 3 months for $.99 you still can. Access my class and thousands of others).
  • spying a perfect crescent moon in the evening sky
  • sending off a couple original paintings to new homes
  • bits of a double rainbow in the sky on my way home from work
  • buying a bottle of bubbles for $.50 and spending some time in the garden blowing bubbles
  • Queen Anne's Lace and chicory blooming along the roadsides
  • planning a couple crafty projects for the house
  • watching the clouds
  • the scent of basil
  • our hummingbird visitor in the garden all the time
garden, summer, hummingbird, ruby throated hummingbird, female hummingbird, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry