Art Journaling for Relaxation

This week I am trying to create order in my studio, which is hard to do after sifting through storage units last week. I seem to have reached my organizing quota.

I am looking forward to replenishing my musical pendant inventory and creating some Valentines for February when order is restored.

Next week I hope to refresh the shelf at the Pop Up Gallery. Until then my ornaments are still $5 off.

Meanwhile, I am part of an art journaling Facebook group that has been fun.

Mostly I see my pages as backgrounds for future musings, but some might remain as standalone art works.

We get various prompts, like drawing circles, doodling on strips of collaged paper, stamping with various random items found around the house, using colors we don’t normally choose etc.

It helps me to settle to do something like this, and is also fun to do with friends and family.

At a The Collage Cafe drop-in I made a collage from paper scraps.

It got me to dig out some templates I had never used.

Sometimes it is good to have a project that takes me out of solopreneur mode where the outcome doesn’t have to be sellable.

Plus it is fun to see what everyone else does and how other people express themselves.

I had fun with the word cloud challenge when I was in Houston.

Self care is good, and pausing from the daily grind with a bit of coloring is therapeutic.

Some collage snippets even offer wisdom and humor.

We’ll see what these two get embellished with in the future!

Grown*UP Girls Club

Remember when I introduced The Collage Cafe? This Sunday I got to join the Grown*UP Girls Club for a creative session.


This gathering is Lindy’s brainchild of creating a haven for women to leave all the day-to-day behind and spend some time playing, creating and getting to know other ladies.


The group meets on the second Sunday of the month and includes annual members, drop-ins, and another tier of membership Lindy can tell you about.


Some considered themselves uncreative and bravely stepped out of their comfort zone, and others had dabbled in various artistic ventures.


After introductions we were given a blank canvas and instructed to write positive things on it, in order to set the intention for the class.


Then we selected paint colors to cover our words with.


After a few layers we started cutting out papers. In addition to the two sheets provided we were allowed to peruse numerous art materials in the studio, and it was lovely seeing what the participants gravitated toward.


Washi tape became a popular embellishment, and how can it not with this amazing variety?


We chatted while we snipped and pasted, making for a lovely afternoon of kindredness.


There were two birthdays so we were treated to Sacher Torte in addition to other nibbles.


We also got to try new teas that were refilled regularly.


Some snacks looked ready for a painting.


It was lovely to step out of my regular medium and get back to my collage roots. Some people experimented with rubber stamps and added dimensional embellishments to their pieces.


Mine may get wire-wrapped in the future, but I am pleased with how much was completed in the session.


I cannot distinguish between the creative and ‘non-creative’ collages, can you? Each of these is worthy of an open studios exhibit!


Want to be part of the fun? Check out The Collage Cafe’s upcoming workshops!


You can also visit my bangles and pendants, and peruse a plethora of lovely gift items that are bound to spark your joy.


The Collage Cafe is located at 912 Sherman Avenue in Evanston IL 60202, near the corner of Main and Sherman.

Evanston’s new Collage Cafe

There’s a new cafe in town, The Collage Cafe!


Lindy Stockton opened the storefront for a sneak peek during Open Studios Evanston.


Since then, she has carefully curated gift items and creativity-inspiring products for adults to celebrate our inner artist.


The store has a plethora of greeting cards, pendants, wall decor, candles and decorative household items to cheer yourself or your loved ones up.


The Collage Cafe formally opened in September and has since hosted numerous workshops, including book binding and journal cover making.


Hopefully Q1 slows down enough for me to take advantage of this nearby workshop space.


Lindy founded the Grown-up Girls Club that allows women to gather every second Sunday of the month for an afternoon of creativity and inspiration.


From 1 to 4 pm, Lindy arranges for a project and provides a fun place to get away from daily chores and spend some quality creative time among like-minded women.


Private parties are welcomed by Lindy, just give her a call or pop into her store to make arrangements.


I’ve already gifted the lovely deck of inspirational cards Lindy created, and am making a wish list for the holidays.


I also have a few of my bangles and pendants in the store.


Those bangles garnered a commission, which was so much fun to create.


So go check out the Collage Cafe, around the corner from Vogue Fabrics at 912 Sherman Ave, Evanston.


Check out the store hours and upcoming workshops and drop-in classes at the web site.


It’s inspiring to see artists open up storefronts and I am excited that Main Street has so many new businesses popping up. It’s an affirmation that I live in the right community of like-minded people.


I’m also impressed by the clear vision Lindy communicates through the aesthetics in her store. Her color-palette and product selection indicates a strong sense of her brand, which my inner marketer appreciates and values.


Creativity for Business Day

“Be inspired by others.”
~ Jetta Bates

Tuesday was Creativity for Business Day for us Ladies of WIN.  We had a lovely breakfast provided by First Slice, were introduced to the art of jewelry making, listened to guest speakers, had a delicious lunch, and watched a drawing demonstration during Spa & Cupcakes. Yep, it was 3 days in one.

photo courtesy Women’s Innovation Network 

“We all have this potential of being an artist
because we all have the ability to create what we are doing.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

I’ve been playing with wire lately, but learning how to make a cuff ring/cuff bracelet was very educational. Susan Franker, Katie Mills and Maria Leppo showed us how to take a strip of brass or copper and embellish it with hammer strikes or decorative stamps. Hammering is quite therapeutic. 🙂

“I come up with all kinds of ideas looking at clouds.”
~ Jetta Bates

We then filed down the edges of our pieces. After this, the bracelet or ring was formed on a mandrel.

The bracelets were annealed (heated) to make them flexible for bending. And some people opted for patina on their bracelets.

“My bracelet looks like I just bought it from a store.”
~ WIN member Ivana Milano 

We then waxed them and wore them right away. It was a “WonderWIN powers, activate!” moment.

photo courtesy Women’s Innovation Network 

Lillstreet offers a variety of classes (including encaustics with Jenny Learner of “The Buzz” Gallery 303 fame) which you can peruse at this link.

Luxury brands consumer engagement/strategic planning expert Jetta Bates then spoke about Innovation in Marketing, highlighting that as small businesses we are also agile, and can leverage to stay current in the market.

“The fear of mistakes is an innovation killer.
Test ideas and get feedback from the marketplace.
A mistake is an experiment, as Thomas Edison said:
‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ ”
~ Jetta Bates 

Jetta recommends creating PR based on current events, using surveys to start a conversation with clients, developing strategic partnerships, and looking for opportunities in places where your competition is not.

After a brief brainstorming session as a group to get our own innovative juices flowing, we walked over to Spacca Napoli, where we were treated to a lavish menu of Caprese Salad, Malanzane (a yummy marinated eggplant), and Bufalina and Cacio di Bosco pizzas. I also opted for Lacrima Rosso, a lovely red wine.


Jonathan and Jennifer Goldsmith spent years in Italy, and eventually returned here, where they founded the pizzeria. Using their skills from their previous lives and careers, the couple is expanding its 24/7 ‘mom and pop’ operation to delegating more to staff, and getting systems and plans in place so they have more boundaries in their personal lives.

“Absolutely believe in yourself.”
~ Anupy Singla

While we were noshing on deliciousness, author Anupy Singla presented her creative career path from a news reporter to a cookbook author with a product sold by Williams-Sonoma.

“It’s nice to have a great idea but you also have to create a platform.”
~ Anupy Singla

From a blog came the book idea, The Indian Slow Cooker, which Anupy test marketed by making meals from her home and handing them out to blog readers with a request for feedback.

When she missed the Indian spice box she had grown up with, she developed her own, the Spice Tiffin, which caught the interest of the Williams-Sonoma president. Not content with a top-down approach, Anupy then took the initiative to provide demonstrations at her book signings in Williams-Sonoma stores, to educate the public but also show the store staff how her spice box is to be used.

“You can’t be out there not listening to people who give you feedback.”
~ Anupy Singla

Anupy’s tips to a creative business lifestyle include

  1. Clear your clutter
  2. Pay your bills
  3. Find time to exercise and eat right
  4. Just do it (feel comfortable to make your mistakes)
  5. Ask for advice from people you know and who get you
  6. Always say please and thank you
  7. Invest in others-the more you give the more you get

“I love to cook, I hate making dinner.”
~ Anupy Singla

Following this fabulous advice, a group of us took a private car to the next venue. Who doesn’t like being chauffeured on occasion?

At MySpa at the Fairmont, we were treated to mini cupcakes by Swirlz and the hotel, mini spa treatments, and big networking.

“If I have proven myself to the naysayers in my life,
then I have proven my idea.”
~ Anupy Singla

Fashion Illustrator Rosemary Fanti spoke about the Art of being very Unique. Following a layoff, she decided to reinvent herself doing what she loved, and discovered the niche of fashion illustration. By volunteering to draw at charity events, she became more known and generated a client base.


“My success has been to become what my brand is and to project that.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

She focused on creating a one-word description for her business, and then proceeded to project that image onto all avenues of publicity: Social Media, her web site, business cards and other packaging materials.

“There are people who don’t want to spend the money and that is fine.
There are people who find the value in your product.
You will find those people if you are
consistent in your brand and consistent in your product.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

In staying true to your value, Rosemary used the analogy of walking into a department store and liking a pair of shoes. “If you told the sales person, I really love these $1,200 shoes, but I only have $400, the salesperson will tell you to come back when you have $1,200.”

Following her talk, a lucky attendee was gifted with one of Rosemary’s drawings, which she drew right there on the spot!

It was a fabulous way to and celebrate Crain’s Chicago Business Week and kick off Chicago Artists Month, which is filled with creativity and inspiration in every neighborhood around town.

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.