Jill Butlers Blog
Spring Has Sprung
Time to make a clutter-free space
in our homes and our minds
So what does falling in love, clearing the clutter, and quieting the mind all have to do with each other?
Are we loving who we are and what we are creating? Over and over we say “we love this,” “we love that.” So what exactly is the “this” and the “that” we so love?
Our homes are often a mirror of how we feel about ourselves. Have we invested in this relationship? The surprising and wonderful thing about this relationship is when we are engaged with our homes they give back. They comfort, they wrap their arms around us when we walk in, we sleep well, and are inspired to welcome others into our homes.
#LikeAGirl, I Am Woman
Sometimes it is as easy as shovelling snow by the full moonlight
Sometimes you have to wait until the right idea comes along. Sometimes you just need something new to get the juices flowing.
Inspiration often comes from unexpected places. The ground-breaking Super Bowl ad, #LikeAGirl inspired me here and on a moonlit night.
I didn’t know what I wanted to say, not until this morning. I am working at home. It’s not a snow day (for a change), it’s Jill’s day to create in the home studio. And as often happens, something else jumps up and waves its hand, needing my attention.
I love my propane gas fireplace. It is my friend in the evening when I arrive home, it is my friend in the morning as I have breakfast. It warms me and Carrot the cat, for our 15 minute meditation that starts us off for a good day.
The only problem is that this morning, I believe I’m about to run out of propane gas. Worry and the inability to easily check the gauge, has caused me to not use the fireplace as much, or to consider not cooking on my stove top. Neither is a good option. Here comes the challenge. Propane gas tanks are not part of my design vision. The solution is to vanish the 325 gallon gas tank by burying it in the backyard. The propane folks are happy to deliver, when the tank can be found: not so easy under two feet of drifted and frozen snow. Tired of the worry, I order a delivery for the next morning.
The clock is ticking!
Marking Time. 2015
I'm spending some time thinking about how I spend my time. Time like currency can be valued, invested or wasted. It can also be appreciated, gifted, hoarded, savored or shared? Above all else, even currency, time is our most valued asset. How we spend it shows us what we value.
Last year we created a calendar specifically for Child and Family agency of CT. I thought of this project as a one-off until I'm in the car, my mind wanders to calendar appropriately as I'm on my way to our Child and Family November meeting. As these things happen: I was greeted by Suzanne with an eager question, "Jill are you doing another calendar this year, my friends are asking, I hope so". I smiled, laughed actually, and said, Yes! That is how it happens. An idea comes and when we're listening, the Universe reinforces it (someone asks the question) and when we're paying attention we recognize it, chuckle, and we get to say yes, or no.
January's illustration is titled, "KFS", knife fork spoon, and marks what could be called the never ending eating and feeding, or, it can mark how we share a meal. Growing up I remember family dinners, we were required to share our day's activities with more than grunts and groans, no chowing down and jumping up to escape. Sharing a meal, especially a home cooked meal, creates sacred time.
The Postcard Size Art Show at the Chester Gallery
I love this show; it's accessible, fun and surprising to discover what one can create when limited to 4" by 6". This year is the 24th year that Jack and Sosse Baker of the Chester Art Gallery have invited local and regional artists to create in this user-friendly format. You will find artists whose works you may already know and/or discover new talent and be glad for it. Here's a short list of likely participating artists, please don't be hurt if I you weren't named: Bill Vollers, David Rau, Pat Smith, Theresa Zwart-Luderman, Deb and Scott Munson, Patrice Nelson, Jan and Peter Good, Claudia Van Nes, Elizabeth Gourlay, and many more.
What can be expressed in a 4" by 6" piece of art? Actually, a lot. As pure art, this intimate size speaks volumes. Choices of material want to be intentional, provocative and/or simply pleasing to the eye. Small is not necessarily easier to create. Small demands that each brushstroke, torn edge, element, or figure communicates.
Reconnecting to our Déjà vu
What's to be learned from reconnecting to our past? Just back from my place of origin, Kalamazoo, Michigan on what I call my déjà vu trip to reconnect with I left behind for other adventures out in the world. This looking back can become a catalyst for propelling us forward or quite simply reminding us "from whence we came". Paul was generous and willing to experience and share my excitement even when I giggled and squealed. His observations and comments shed new light on things I hadn't considered...ever!
As we sat outside my first Kazoo home, I was reminded of the wooden table and chair set up in the kitchen where Mom could keep an eye on me while carrying on with her chores. In my recollection, I'm at my kid size table with an enormous hatbox in front of me. Scissors, glue, no doubt made from flour and water, and rolls of wallpaper are waiting my first collages to be created. Who knew I would come to love collage. My preferred glue, scissors, art materials, found objects, may have been upgraded but the seed was planted here with something to follow. And then I made the connection that this cottage style house in downtown Kalamazoo was a pre-curser my now home. It's starting to feel like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
S U M M E R C O L O R
Still time to enjoy Mother Nature's palette
Summer brings with it easy access to locally grown, and hopefully organic foodstuffs. Bright summer colors are the perfect color for our eating choices. The red of the early strawberries made me ever so happy, that is until I succumbed to a pesticide attack brought on by the berries that weren’t organic. One step forward, two steps back. I want to shop locally, and/but it’s increasingly important to make organic choices even if the price is higher. The ultimate cost of ingesting pesticides is higher yet!
Mother Nature Knows her Colors
The colors of the rainbow create a healthy and visual recipe for what’s best to eat – mix - match and blend these colors:
Red ~ throw in the washed strawberries
Orange & Yellow ~ add mango and pineapple
Green ~ add a green - like spinach
Blues & Purples ~ complete the rainbow with the berries,
add coconut water and a protein powder
Living with Color
Recently, I was reminded by feng shui consultant, Lurrae Lupone, that my preferred color palette of blues and greens for my office and home needed to be juiced with some high energy colors. My preferred summer colors and mid-tones just aren’t enough!
i love summer
i love summer
early morning lake swims
with a swallow dragonfly or fisherman
first, to write lakeside
sitting on my bench
coffee in hand
now the moment
to dive in
i love summer
ice and sweetness
lemonade a favorite
seasonal fruits banked
for the winter
bonfires in the backyard
neighbors smell the smoke
the unspoken invitation
settling in to relish the fire
wine s'mores friendships
i love summer
i say, "i'm working"
sand in our suits
walk the shoreline
castles built to dissolve
sails lagging others blowing crisp
on the water
i love summer because it is.....summer
I’ve been thinking about Pause
and my current need to take a break from
too much activity and my ceaseless internal chatter.
I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions lately ~
Why am I here, anyway?
My partner Paul laughs, or maybe cries,
when I bombard him with questions in rapid-fire.
His first response is,
“which one do you want me to answer first”?
That stops the train.
What is my question?
What matters most?
The key questions for the moment are ~
Who am I?
What do I want?
Stepping back is the way to perspective
I’ve decided to hit the PAUSE button
to enjoy the porch ~ read write nap
swim in the lake
quiet the mind and
Color Failure Requires Being Bold
Featured Tribe Member ~ Essex Printing
I’m in a pinch, the printer has failed me, not once, but twice.
The deadline is now.
The client is a Fortune 100 company.
This is not the time for a breakdown.
What I need is a Breakthrough.
Being bold isn’t necessarily being popular.
Decide to switch our printer relationship
Ask for quotes.
Choose one, pray, quietly bold within.
Review the paper choices.
Test the paper choices. Decide.
Prepare the art files.
Proof the job, color matters mightily.
Correct the files as needed.
Proof the job again.
Keep the client in the loop.
We will make the deadline.
Leave the printer team to do their job.
Pick up the first needed copies.
Deliver with a day's margin.
Breathe a sigh of relief.
What more do we need?
Nine months later, our hero printer
wins the N.E. Print Industries,
Pinnacle Award, First Prize,
for our project in its category.
Being Bold matters.
Time for a reprint!
Travel tip – if it’s not fun, make it fun!
I almost collapsed….laughing. I’m in Santa Monica at the gas station with my French girlfriend. We’re filling up the rental. Monique is driving and I’m the tour guide from Seattle to LA. As usual, we are yacking as Monique pulls away from the gas pump. Suddenly, we’re being screamed at to stop the car!
Oh whoops, the gas hose is still pumping and we’re on our way. We are shrieking, doubled over as the gas station guy is having a hernia.
Suddenly, I have to go to France! Having had a 16 year stint of living in Paris, it makes sense. And now suddenly, I’m longing to go back, so I booked it for October.
After a day or two of walking the streets of Paris, smelling the metro, watching the Parisians strut their stuff, and reading the Herald Tribune from the terrace of Les Deux Maggots on the Blvd. St. Germain, Monique and I will head South.
We will pretend we will only speak French, for my practice and benefit, but that will last maybe 10 minutes before we switch to English. Our friendship began in English, thus it’s where we are most comfortable.
This will be fun, and what doesn’t feel like fun, rest assured, we will turn it into fun!