Thursday, September 29, 2011


Yesterday my husband and I were sitting outside watching our two little ones splash in a large puddle in our driveway.  Splash enthusiastically.  Then run a lap around the car, and splash again.  And then lie down in the puddle.  Another lap.  More splashing.  They were having the time of their life.  And there is probably another post somewhere in here about reasons why it's good my girls have both my husband and I as parents, because without him I probably wouldn't be relaxed enough to watch this drenched, messy, chaotic, and ecstatically happy event.  Knowing he would handle the stripping off of wet shoes and clothing and the ensuing bathtime (involving even more splashing) I could sit back and enjoy watching my girls run and splash with abandon.

At some point, the splashing began to wane, most likely because there wasn't much water left in the puddle, and they each began to drift into other activities.  The youngest snagged the tricycle, and my older daughter discovered some wet sidewalk chalk left out from a playdate earlier in the week.  My husband and I chatted idly as we kept an eye on these more leisurely activities, when the oldest girl came running over and sweetly presented us with a gift.

"Here Daddy," she announced, handing him a leaf.  A soggy leaf off the ground that she had smeared with wet sidewalk chalk.  The leaf was brown and the chalk was a vibrant pink, and the effect was stunning.  I took it rather abruptly from his hand to inspect it.  The texture of the wet chalk streaked on the brown, veiny surface was gorgeous.

"May I have one?" I asked.

"Sure Mommy," she agreed and ran full tilt back to her studio, i.e. the curb of our driveway.  She undertook her task with great concentration and seriousness and came running back shortly with another leaf, this one streaked with yellow and orange and pink. 

I took it and exclaimed with genuine appreciation over its beauty, and she beamed and wiggled with delight.  Within minutes, she had developed a "technique," looking carefully for just the right kind of leaf and discussing with herself what colors and how to do it.  She brought us dead leaves, and green leaves, and bits of flowers from weeds growing under the bushes, and rocks, all of which she carefully and freely chalked.  And they were all just so pretty and unexpected.

I was floored with the effortlessness of her ability to create such beauty out of things she found around her -- some dead soggy leaves on the driveway and nearly forgotten sidewalk chalk.  She made art.

And oh, how I marveled at her unconscious confidence, the complete lack of an inner critic, simply a desire to create something.  If only we could all create with such abandon and freedom and sureness.  Think of the beauty in this world if we all gave our creativity so lavishly.

This week, silence that inner critic. Pretend you are three years old again and see the world as only full of permission and possibility.  Find something around you (a leaf) and use any tool at hand (chalk) and create.  Just create and bring a little extra breath of beauty into this life.  Be effortless.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gather & Giggle -- we're building community, darnit!

One of our main reasons for creating Doodlebugheart is to bring women together. We know how much our girlfriends mean to us – they keep us going – whether we’re going through a rough patch or just dealing with life’s daily ‘stuff’. There’s nothing like an afternoon or night with friends. It’s better than therapy.
One Giggler was making flowers out of up-cycled sweaters!
Our monthly Gather and Giggle is just that. Getting women together. We got together last Sunday – special thank you to the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce for sharing their space! We got a few of hours to hang out, eat cupcakes, and be creative. We shared our stories and craft supplies; came out feeling grounded, relaxed, and connected.
Another Giggler knitted! (hands omitted to protect the innocent)
{We’re not meant to go through life alone.} I’m sure of that. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an avid artist, a prolific scrapbooker, or a stellar seamstress, to be a part of our community. You can be young, old, stressed, exhausted, bored, or happy as a clam! We’re simply making life a little more enjoyable by being together, once a month, getting together and giggling.
A Giggler's 2 year old's birthday card in the making
( bad: I *just* couldn't get it to stay right-side up!)
Come play! And keep an eye out:  Gather & Giggle is coming to Westchester...

Friday, September 23, 2011


This Tuesday, we are taking part in another networking event through our Chamber of Commerce.  Which sounds very proper and business-like until you find out it's really a Girl's Night Out for a small number of local professional women.  Then you realize it's actually a par-tay in the name of business--and we can't wait! There are even going to be swag bags at the end of the night, and Doodlebugheart wanted to contribute.  So, in keeping with the theme of all things Fun and Female, we figured bracelets would be the way to go.  What girl doesn't like a little wrist candy?  And these are bright and sassy and best of all, subtly remind us to keep on unfurling!*

Our little gifts are bagged and ready to go, and we are so excited for our soon-to-be friends to get them!  (Shhhhh, don't tell them, it's a surprise!)

Generosity is contagious, and giving lifts the spirits of the giver as well as the recipient.  See if you can find a small way to surprise one person today by giving something to them.  Gift an unexpected smile, an extra-long hug, a positive saying you scribble on a scrap of paper and stick in their purse for them to find later.  Create a way to share a little bit of your beauty with the world, and then tell us about it!

*Want one of these cute little bands for your own wrist?  Visit our website and order yours today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pay it Forward and You're a Gorgeous Genius too!

Pay it forward. When you get an amazing boost, you've got to pass it on. That's why I have to tell you about Lisa Sonora Beam, an extra-ordinary Creative Gorgeous Genius!

Two years ago, I picked up a book called, "The Creative Entrepreneur, A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real" by Lisa Sonora Beam. Driving home from LAX one day I was so eager to start it, I stopped at a Starbucks along the way. Her melding of creativity and business savy (she's a distinguished visual artist and holds an MBA!) connected my brain with my art. I followed the workbook, which guides creative types in creating a business plan. A mandala was birthed, ideas began to grow, phone calls were made. Doodlebugheart began to breathe.
Lisa Sonora Beam uses mandalas to guide you toward creating a strong, viable business, by getting specific on your skills, heart, value, gifts, tools, meaning, profitability, and flow.
I begged my husband to gift me with the Gorgeous Genius reTreat in Puerto Vallarta with Lisa. My world exploded! Creative people from all over shared, learned, questioned, and crafted. The people I met that week in Puerto Vallarta -- those Gorgeous Geniuses -- influence my life to this day. Especially Lisa.
Emily & Lisa Sonora Beam, Puerto Vallarta, January 2009
So I'm paying it forward. Get her book here: The Creative Entrepreneur. Got to her workshops. The next ones are: Chicago, October 29; San Fransisco/San Anselmo, November 12, and the Creative Entrepreneuer reTREAT in Puerto Vallarta. Info here:

Thursday, September 15, 2011


EEEEEEEE!  Just a little bit of excitement over here at Doodlebugheart, because we are ready to launch our newest product:  The Travel 'Bug Bag!*

This super-handy craft kit is perfect for those on the go, and ideal for anyone who is space-challenged.  It's a clear plastic clutch full of fun tools to help you get your craft on!  There's a journal for writing and visual journaling, stamp and ink, scissors, glitter glue, and a whole bunch more.  Best of all, each one comes with a unique ephemera envelope stuffed with bits of inspiration to get you started!

The Travel 'Bug and the Basic 'Bug share some of the same essentials, but each kit also boasts its own special items.  The Travel 'Bug is a little more compact than our Basic 'Bug, and it zips closed, so it won't spill when you throw it in your purse--or even in your suitcase, as our friends who just left on their trip to France can attest!  It's perfect for travelers, for keeping in your car, and for your loved ones who live in places where space is at a premium.  Send a few to your friends in their New York studio, and don't forget those college students!

We will be at the Ridgewood craft fair this weekend selling both our Basic 'Bug and the brand new Travel 'Bug.  Pop by and say hello, and take home your own Travel 'Bug!

*These are photos from a custom order.  Some variation exists between items in this photo and the standard Travel 'Bug Bag.

**The Travel 'Bug officially goes on sale on our website September 21.  As a special thank you for your loyalty, our blog readers can order now, before it's available online .  Just give us a call! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Divine Discontent is kickin' my butt (thankfully)

You've heard about "Divine Discontent". That point you reach when you're so frustrated. angry. upset. -- something has to give! And once it does, it's a good thing. I hit it last week: I was mad as hell.
   *our Doodlebugheart cameras were sorely lacking
   *my email was freezing on my iPhone (oo-- in fact, it's doing it again now!)
   *my printer wasn't working
   *my {beginner} design software seems to be incompatible with my personal blog site
   *I fell down, hurt my arm, and got my hair cut too short
In my oh-so-un-divine, mad-at-the-whole-world frustration, I was also feeling "lack" -- lack of money, time, energy, hair, and sunshine -- to fix or update (or lengthen) anything.
I was experiencing Divine Discontent.
But it was a good thing. It created a shift. It got me, my tools, and my space up to the next level.
   *We got a new camera (thanks to an Facebook and ebay mix up with Traci Bunkers) -- and this one actually works!
   *My man found me an awesome Epson printer on sale, with an incredible rebate!
   *Heather Arndt (mini-computer guru to my techless self) weighed in with help.
   *My bruise is going away, and slowly, oh. so. slowly. my hair is growing back.
Stepping into a new phase of life, where things actually work on the level that I am, I'll be creating, photographing, and printing in a much more professional way.
before Divine Discontent

after Divine Discontent
Thank you Divine Discontent. I needed that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

House Play

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was play "house".  I would commandeer my younger brother's yellow booster seat to be the house, which gave it 3 walls and a floor, but no roof or 4th wall, much like a tv sitcom set.  There were no dolls involved; in fact, any "people" in the house were wholly imaginary and incidental.  My goal was to decorate the house--without using any garish Barbie furniture or other doll-house sized miniatures.  I loved finding ways to take ordinary objects and make them become something else.  So a spool of thread with the jar of a lid resting on top became a charming dining room table.  The bottom of a check box draped with handkerchiefs became a bed.  The couch was an upside-down jewelry box with it's lid nestled sideways to make a back.  And those hideous free chalky-tasting mints you grab as you walk out the door of restaurants made adorable throw pillows.  I didn't actually play that much once the house was completed.  It was the building of it--creatively turning found objects into things I needed--that fascinated me.

So totally a table.

I still love doing this.  And today I found a tiny way to do that in my real, life-sized house.  Let me tell you why I'm a genius.


I've already confessed my paper addiction, and now I must add my extreme fondness for pretty ribbons as well.  I love to wrap presents in a beautiful way. I feel it makes the present itself even more special when the outside shows care and thoughtfulness.  I try to choose gorgeous papers, make special tags, and accessorize with the right ribbon.  So I have a generous selection.  I find that Costco often has lovely ribbons at outstanding prices, so I (impulsively) add to my collection when I am there.  The problem is storage.  The rolls are large, and don't seem to fit in drawers easily.  I currently have them in a storage tote with handles that I keep under a table and slide out when I need it, but I have so many rolls that they lay on top of each other and I can't see them all without lifting out 6 or 7 rolls and then tossing them back. 
And no, this isn't all of them.  Not even close.
Since I actually wrap presents pretty frequently and also regularly craft with ribbon, I like to have the ribbon easily accessible.  So the mess, and inability to find the ribbon I want when I want it, have been a huge frustration for me.  So when I saw this item today (for a fraction of the price, again at TJMaxx!),  I had a total "Aha" moment and was transported back to my childhood imagination.

I took this*, a perfectly lovely paper towel holder. 

And made it into an even more perfectly lovely ribbon holder. 

Isn't it a lovely decorative display? I keep my most used and bulkiest rolls on it, and since they stack vertically, they take up less space.  They sit on my table ready to go, and best of all, they spin easily so I can just pull out the amount I need, snip it off, and I'm done!

This little $10 investment tickled me tremendously.  It solved a persistent problem, made a pretty display, and for a moment, made me feel like the creative genius I was as a child playing house.

What genius re-imaginings have you discovered?  Celebrate your ingenuity, and share them with us!

*This particular model was ideal for my needs because not only is it a graceful design, but it doesn't have the side arm on the bottom that most models sport; and the finial at the top screws on, keeping the rolls secure if it gets knocked over.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm a lame mama

We made a bird feeder today.

the paint set was beautiful
The last official day of summer, and that's the best I could do. I'm done. I'm tired of being the Official Entertainer/Entertainment of my Five Year Old all summer long. I want to go back to work. I'm a lame mama.
Max was our muse.
Kindergarten is supposed to start tomorrow (finally) and then it's only, like, three hours a day. How am I supposed to work with that kinda schedule! But what I really wonder is how did my mom do it? She had three of us hooligans. *And* she went back to school. And then worked full-time! Then again, how did those crazy pioneer women do it? I'm pretty sure the men back in the day weren't making nutritious meals or playing Hi Ho! Cherry-o! with their little ones.

I'm a lame mama. I need alone time. I thrive in peace and quiet, when I can hear the birds chirping.. huh. Birds. Well, as least we made them a bird feeder this summer.
At least they could do a fly-by..

Friday, September 2, 2011

Being a Grownup

As a parent, I do my best to try to instill good habits in my kids.  I serve vegetables and fruits at meals (even if they don't eat them); I enforce regular and reasonable bedtimes; I slather their alarmingly fair skin with sunscreen; and every night they brush their teeth enthusiastically if inefficiently.  They don't need guidance in how to spontaneously play or to scribble with abandon or to throw on wacky outfits.  They need guidance in how to grow up.

When it comes to myself:  well, I rarely get enough sleep, rolling out of bed with bleary grumpy protest every morning;  I put sunscreen on my face via my daily moisturizer but neglect the rest of my body;  I do brush every night, but flossing is a crapshoot.  As far as meals....well, I hate to cook.  I may need guidance in how to grow up too.

Tonight for dinner, my options were a PB&J, the leftover chicken and rice dish from last night, or heating up some soup.  Instead...I had lime-flavored chips with heaps of salsa verde and half a Diet Coke.  That's it.  The entire dinner.  And then I had dessert: ice cream with chocolate sauce.  And man, was it good!

Now before you get all preachy on me, this is not a typical dinner for me.  But you know what?  That was exactly what I wanted to eat tonight, and it was enormously satisfying.  I didn't binge.  I just ate what I wanted until I was full.  Granted, there was no nutritional value to that meal, but it's one meal out of one day.  I'll load up on veggies tomorrow.  And I'm not advocating emotional eating, bingeing, or eating disorders in any way, shape, or form.  What I'm trying to get at is......WOW, it really is great to be a grownup sometimes!  Because I'm in charge of myself, and I can totally have chips and ice cream for dinner!

Obviously if I do that all the time, I should probably put someone else in charge, but once in a while, it feels naughty and freeing and deeply satisfying.  Usually being a grownup means being responsible and paying bills and cleaning messes and delaying gratification and brushing and flossing and saving and ugh.  Now and then, it feels great to indulge.

So often we think of creativity as just that, as an indulgence.  Something we will do once the conditions are perfect.  A little silly fun once dinner is made and the kids are sleeping and the report is finished and the laundry folded and the emails answered and on and on.  But it isn't an indulgence.  Creativity is an essential human need.  I give you permission to follow your impulses.  Indulge, if that's how you must look at it.  Maybe an occasional meal of chips and ice cream isn't the worse thing, and maybe something that isn't responsible and nutritious for your maturity is just what you should do.  Maybe ten minutes spent scribbling your thoughts into a journal will be the most satisfying thing you did all day.  Maybe gluing together scraps of paper torn from magazines and newspapers and shopping lists and calendars becomes a piece of art you frame and keep on your desk as a reminder to indulge now and then.  Try splattering paint on a piece of paper willy-nilly and putting it on the refrigerator like you would if your kid had made it.  Or maybe it isn't even art:  do something naughty and freeing in the bedroom, cook dinner without a recipe, put away the laundry without folding it and take colorful pictures of the drawer.  We can be creative in our everyday lives as well as at our desks.  Give yourself permission to do something daring and unusual just this once.

Go ahead.  Indulge your creativity.  It's the best part of being a grownup!