you can do this with one hand tied behind your back

This is the second time I’ve done The 100 Day Project. Two times now, I’ve drawn every single day for 100 days straight.

Just take a minute to count to 100. I mean, seriously: 100 days in a row!

Am I glad I did it? Is it worth it? Should you do it? What did I get out of it? Any surprises? Short answers: yes, yes, yes, so much I can offer you only a partial list, and surprise at the end.

What I Got Out Of The 100 Day Project, a partial list:

Even a 5-minute sketch is better than no creative work that day. And, no matter how disappointing that sketch might be, I’m more primed to do satisfying work the next day than if I’d skipped a day and not sketched at all. Any creative work is better than no creative work.

I’m sorry to say, that malaise, disappointment, perfectionism, dread, and procrastination still hound me. However, I now know that this is a normal part of the creative process, and daily practice has taught me to abide these negative feelings. The bad feelings do not mean the work is bad. And, at least 50% of the time, after a few days of abiding malaise and creating anyway, I came out of it with new ideas, better ideas, renewed conviction and energy.

The only way to get motivated is to do the work. It’s annoying but true. The feelings of motivation and determination return only when I start to work. I know, cart before the horse and all that. Just go, start, do, and the feeling of motivation will come. Usually. If it doesn’t, well, give it five minutes and go about the rest of your day and come back tomorrow.

Even if I skip half of the days of the challenge, I’ll have 50 sketches I didn’t have before. But I probably won’t skip half the days because once I get started, I don’t want to quit. GETTING STARTED IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST PART! Way harder than sticking with it.

And so, so much more. But that’s what I’ve got to share for now. But, THE SURPRISE:

You can do this–no matter WHAT is going on in your life. I know. Trust me.

My 80-year-old mother broke her wrist (crushed it to pieces, really), moved in with us overnight, left everything familiar behind, and had to have surgery the day this challenge started. I sat in the surgeon’s waiting room, fretting about anesthesia and her recovery and wondering if I should bother doing the 100 day project this year. But, I pulled out my sketchbook and started anyway.

My mom with the wrist of her dominant hand broken, filled with screws and plates and stitches and surrounded in a heavy cast; my mom more tired than she could admit, probably in pain, and surely bewildered by the upheaval of her whole life; my mom, suddenly unable to shower, drive, cook, or style her hair, did the challenge.

She did the challenge!

She drew tiny pencil and ink sketches every day for 100 days with her non-dominant hand!

I watched her the very first day, and the fingers of her non-dominant hand cramped so fiercely that two of them stuck straight out. She kept inking in her drawing anyway. Those of us lucky enough to watch this process can tell you that 100 days later, she has two sketchbooks full of lovely, thoughtful drawings. Truly remarkable.

The take away: if you’re having a hard time with your daily practice, tie your dominant hand up in a sling and try doing your practice with the other hand.

Puts things in perspective. You can do this … with one hand tied behind  your back … because it matters, your vision matters, your voice matters, and creative work is your path to expression and helping bring light and love and joy and acceptance into this world.

Good luck, and thank you–as always–for reading my blog posts and following my creative efforts for Carrot Condo.

–TRISTA

 

creating my own path

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Things are moving along slowly but steadily here at Carrot Condo. I’m starting to accept this snail’s pace because I’m noticing that a little effort every day builds faster and faster the longer I stay with it.

In other words–exciting stuff is happening, but I have nothing–yet–to show you. Four projects are in the works, and I’m excited about each of them, but also, each of them have held challenges and complexities I didn’t anticipate. Then again, each of those challenges led to something great: new people helping me, new skills, better ideas than the initial ones, and more resilience.

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That’s the thing about this creative path…I might be creating tiny cats, a coloring book to help you feel good about life, and monsters, but what I’m gaining from the effort is resilience, determination, problem-solving skills, patience, and a little toughness.

Actually, a lot of determination and toughness. Life outside of art-making, you know, the other 99% of my life, remains unpredictable and surprising. It recently gave me a big shift in my role, in my routine, in my time and energy. I discovered that on the hardest days, I was the most driven to fit in a few minutes of drawing. I kept thinking about a writer I admire, Karen Karbo, and her decision to move to France. As I followed her posts about this big change, I learned: it’s not “now or never” when it comes to doing what you want to do with your life, maybe especially art. Instead, it’s: if not now, when?

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The #100 Days Of Practice teaches me again this year that even a tiny bit of effort daily can be started any time, like now, as in: go do it! And staying with it long enough, let’s say, oh, maybe 100 days? Can start to build the path for your life that you’ve been longing for; it just takes patience at the beginning, and some kindness to yourself along the way, because it doesn’t always look pretty, but it’s a path!!

Well, as always, thank you for reading. By the next blog post, I should have at least two projects to show you. They are soooooo close, but not quite finished.

–TRISTA

 

 

a cliff, some cats, and domestic artifacts

I’m happy to report that things are humming along at Carrot Condo in spite of The Rest Of My Life interrupting every which way it can. This seems to be one facet of living a creative life–the rest of life gets jealous and pushes back, frequently and rather roughly. Again and again, I’m forced to the edge of a cliff named by Yoda fans: Do Or Do Not. Standing at the edge, I see that I can keep pursuing creative work in spite of everything else, or I can stop. Simple as that. And, though I occasionally hesitate, I’m here to say that I keep choosing the creative path. This is partly because of you all, of course, following along and encouraging me … and shopping for that matter! I’ve nearly sold out of a few things–thank you!

So, some updates that might interest you.

I committed to doing 100 days of practice again. For 100 days straight, I’m drawing an image from my domestic/homemaker life and posting on Instagram. You can follow at carrot.condo or #carrotcondo #domesticartifacts #100domesticobjects. This daily practice is helping me clarify and develop a creation for Carrot Condo that I’m really excited about, but it’s proved more complex (and interesting) than I’d realized at first.

 

Also, while grumbling on Instagram about my failed Altoid tins for my teeny-tiny stationery, I took a leap and reached out to a few professionals. I may have hit the jackpot with one print shop run by artists who understand what I’m trying to do with my illustrations and tiny stationery. So, I’ve got some work to do, but I’m feeling optimistic that I’ll have a new version of tiny stationery to show you in a couple of months…probably with teeny-tiny stickers!

 

Lastly, my friend Robin Vada and I will be teaching our Opening  Creative Minds workshop at Compose Creative Writing Conference on Saturday, May 18th. We combine gentle yoga, guided meditation, and writing prompts to unlock creativity and a feeling of confidence and optimism about creative work. Come see us in person at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.

Thank you, as always, for following along and for your encouragement. Carrot Condo’s Etsy shop will have full “shelves” in September displaying all of my 2019 creations. Until then, I’ll have more success-and-failure stories for you!

–TRISTA

she flies with her own wings

My good friend inspired this card because of the hard work she devotes to making life better for everyone she meets. I’ve become convinced that our daily actions contribute as much to the world as the Big Actions reported in the news, and I wanted a card that acknowledges this.

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March is women’s history month, and Oregon’s state motto and the Silverspot butterfly featured here are perfect for the strong women in your life who could use some encouragement, congratulations, and love.

This card commemorates the daily effort of my friend, myself, and others like us who try–moment by moment–to be kind, generous, and accepting. This can be taxing and difficult, and the Silverspot butterfly featured here represents the resilience we acquire as we try each day.

The Silverspot also symbolizes the power of the small–both the resilience of the delicate-seeming butterfly, but also the early-blooming violets it depends on that grow along the Oregon coast. The habitat for these violets (and butterflies) is shrinking and changing. And yet, the Silverspots burst forth each year, continuing their journey even as it gets more challenging.

After coloring my line drawing, I took it to a local printer for a fine-art-quality print on smooth paper. Then I hand-stamped each envelope with a design I carved and inked in green that compliments the hill of violets in the design.

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These folded 5×7 card, blank inside, available in my Etsy shop if you are interested in purchasing some.

Thank you, as always, for following my Carrot Condo journey of creativity and cheer. Happy Women’s History Month!!

–TRISTA

i lava you a lot

It all started when my kiddo gave me a homework assignment:

After drawing a lava monster, he set out paper and a crayon on my desk for me to draw my own. As usual, I was focused on the tasks I wanted to accomplish that day, but something made me slow down enough to appreciate his assignment, and I drew a lava monster for him.

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The rest of that week, the three of us kept saying to each other, “I lava you … THIS much!” in monster voices of varying pitches.
So, I decided to print my monster as a risograph at Outlet PDX, the studio and print shop run by Kate Bingaman-Burt, and turn the lava monster into a valentine’s day card.
Risographs are like silkscreens, every color you want to print needs to be a separate drawing. Then, each drawing/color has to line up (register) just right, or intentionally overlap. I have no technology to do this for me, plus I had fun doing it by hand, but it took patience and multiple drafts. I could feel my brain rewiring itself as I tried to think of each color as a black shape or line.
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I cheered when the first color came out–magical to watch the monster go from black shapes on white paper to fluorescent orange and pink on pink paper.

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The final results made me so happy, I thought there must be others who will want to give this card to a loved one, a friend, a mom or grandma, or for Valentine’s Day. Now I have enough cards for my kiddo to give to classmates and a few to sell as well.
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Truthfully, and as some of you know, I don’t really love Valentine’s Day. I feel like it puts too much pressure on couples and singles. However, embracing it from a kid’s point of view and expressing exuberant love/lava has made it more fun. So, Valentine’s Day or not, I hope you have many people in your life who lava you a lot!
As always, thank you for reading and following me along at Carrot Condo. Your interest in my work keeps me motivated and happy.
–TRISTA

tell me what’s ahead

Happy new year to you. I hope 2019 is off to a good start. Do you celebrate the new year? Make resolutions? Or is the 1st just another day?

Sometimes the new year doesn’t feel like anything special to me. Other times, it feels good to step forward into something new. This year I’m feeling optimistic, which is nice, so I’m holding onto that feeling for as long as I can.

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More about this design soon!

For Carrot Condo, 2018 was a good year. I had fun making things, I learned a lot during the making-process of each product, and I managed to stay patient enough not to give up due technical challenges. I built up some tenacity in 2018 that has already helped me out in the new year as I continue to tackle technology.

So, what about 2019? What do you want to see at Carrot Condo? What should I create?

I have ideas. And I’ve already started a few projects. But it helps me to hear what others think. At recent craft bazaars, I got a lot of requests for cat illustrations. Also, my tiny stationery tins nearly sold out (only two left). And my monsters made a lot of people smile and chuckle.

I know I whined about how labor-intensive the tiny stationery sets were, but …… I’ve decided to do more. A few anyway. Maybe a few more owls. Maybe cats. Maybe bats.

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What else? And what are your plans for 2019? What are your thoughts for the new year? I’d really like to hear. You don’t have to leave a message here, if it feels too public. Email, or send me a message in FB or IG.

However your year has started, I sincerely hope you have plenty of days of cheer,  friendship, and adventure in the year ahead.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

–TRISTA

 

a flood of books

On Sunday, December 30th, at Nordic Northwest in SW Portland, I will have a table of Carrot Condo creations at Portland’s first “Jolabokaflod,” which means: Yule Book Flood.

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Margaret Pinard organized the event and explains that Jolabokaflod is an “Icelandic national holiday where people exchange books as gifts on Christmas Eve then spend all night hiding away and reading them over mugs of hot chocolate (spiked or not!).”

This is my kind of holiday! Books, reading all night, and hot chocolate? I’m in! For us in Portland, it will be near New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas. In addition to an impressive line up of authors selling their books, there will be Nordic music and fairy tales performed.

You can get the full schedule here on Facebook or here on Instagram.

I’m excited to be a part of this inaugural event, and I hope to see you there!

PS: I finally made business cards!! (And I’ll have the last of these magnets at the Yule Book Flood event.)

Screenshot_2018-11-07 Trista Cornelius on Instagram “After a great experience at the All Saints Holiday Bazaar Saturday, I [...]-1