Wee Cottage Lane Christmas

Wee Cottage Lane  Christmas
by Laura Pallatin of LaBelle Mariposa

Monday, April 30, 2012

Inspirational Image for a Monday

Today's Inspirational Image is from Chapter 10 of my book, Walk In Your Own Footsteps. When we share loving, uplifting, and supportive news about our friends and family, we spread love. When we engage in gossip, we do just to opposite. Sometimes, it's helpful to evaluate what information we share and make sure it conveys the love we want to transmit with our words and actions.

Have a blessed week!!
Inspirational Image

Getting ready for the Mariposa Festival

Happy Monday!!
Day of the dead skull to be used for a pendant
Hey, there! I hope that your Monday morning is full of promise for the coming week. Since my mom, Maralee Lowder, and I are heading south to the Mariposa Festival this weekend, I'm going to be out in the garden shed creating pendants for the event. It's kinda funny. I have made so many butterfly pendants so far, yet the new images I've been working on are "day of the dead" skulls. It's been fun to do something so different. To follow you'll see what I came up with. I just love the imagery, especially the bright colors
Special Mother's Day painting for a wild momma's pendant

Sunflowers always make me feel happy inside. This one will make such a cute pendant.

I had a wonderful time teaching classes at Trezher's Gift and Gallery in Sacramento. The students came up with wonderful projects. I find it so humbling to offer a group of people a framework to create within, then watch them come up with completely unique works of art. The shop owner was so happy with the class that they booked four more for the coming year!

That's me on the right, teaching a class at Trezhers Gift shop in Sacramento, CA

Friday, April 27, 2012

Enjoying Success

Sunflower painting for pendant
Hey, all! 
Today I'm crazy busy getting ready for the last night of the gallery exhibit at Little Relics and getting materials together for my class tomorrow. I've been feeling overwhelmed by all the activity I'm doing related to my book and art. The last few days I've actually been thinking, "once this stuff is over I'll be able to get back to my real life." Funny, huh!?! I've been working my booty off to get my businesses going and now that I'm seeing success, I'm stressed because I'm behind on the laundry... *sigh*

So, I've decided that I'm going to stop worrying about what I'm not doing and enjoy what I AM doing! I thought I'd share a sunflower mini mini paintings with you, today.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Laura P.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creativity, Commerce, and How to Measure Success

Things have been really taking off for my art business lately. It's been awesome! I've met amazing people and had so much fun. I'm feeling successful at promoting my art. Am I making tons of money? Well... no.

Walk In Your Own Footsteps is doing well, too. People contact me to tell me how much the book has helped. I've been creating Inspirational Images on a regular basis and people are enjoying those, too. Does this mean I'm making gobs of moolah? Well... no.

So, today I've been evaluating my definition of success. Do I strictly measure success with dollar signs, or is it also about waking up excited about my life and sharing my joy and hope with others. Obviously, I consider the latter to be as important as financial reward. But, I gotta admit, increased financial reward would be a cool.

All this being said, I'm happy to be working from home and available for my family. I LOVE knowing that, when I'm artistically inspired, it is my JOB to bring the ideas in my head into the world. I don't have to feel guilty for taking time to create, it's what I'm supposed to do!

Today's Inspirational Image reminds us that when we judge each other we create distance, and when we accept people we can experience love. Today, I choose to love. I hope that you do, too.

Laura P.

choose love

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sugar Blues

For the last few days, I've been kicking a sugar monkey that's been on my back for too long. Just like ridding ourselves of any vice, sugar has been a worthy adversary. I've been cranky, had headaches... not to mention cravings. Oh, and don't let me start about the social pressure. Everywhere I look there's cute cupcakes, yummy looking cookies, ice cream, hmmmm. 

I'm sharing this because eliminating sugar from my diet is not any different than letting go of any addiction. We can become addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, cigarettes... Those are obviously addicting substances. But we can also become addicted to our own chemical process when we are in certain situations such as drama-filled relationships, risky behavior, anger and rage. The bottom line is that kicking addiction is tough. It doesn't matter if it's an obviously bad drug, a negative behavior, or a socially acceptable one, changing behavior is rough. 

If you are living with a behavior that you feel is not good for you, you have the power to choose again and let that go. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it! 

Laura P.

Take actions that support your own personal walk

Monday, April 23, 2012

Living our best lives

I have lived parts of my life thinking that I just needed to hold on till things got better. That's not a bad way to live, sometimes it's the only way to survive things. However, some of those years I could have been enjoying the company of people I would have to say goodbye to and I didn’t even know it at the time. I also lived in a nice home, had good friends, and many other neat benefits that I didn’t fully enjoy. I was so busy white-knuckling the scary stuff, I missed much of the nice parts. And, of course, much of what I feared never happened anyway.

Today, I try every day to focus on the wonderful people and good things in my life. Letting fear of the future hurt my present is very destructive, so I avoid that fervently. Choosing to live our best lives every moment of every day, is the best way to have happy productive lives.

Laura P.

Good choices inspire courage


Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Fever Friday

Hi, all! Sorry I missed you yesterday, my youngest son is home sick and that became my priority. He's going to get better today, medicine has been called in and we'll go get it in a bit.

I think, like many people, I have this feeling that when I finish a project I'm working on right now, life will get easier somehow. That once this big thing I have going is done, I'll be able to do the stuff I want to do. Or, at least the things I think I should do.

When I was 21 (25 years ago) I was working on my wedding and told a co-worker that I would be glad when it was over and life would settle down. She just laughed. She said life never settles down. I think she's right. I think, now, that the trick is to make sure that what our lives are full of is stuff we want. Every time we say "yes" instead of "no" to what we don't want, we stuff we don't want to become priorities in our lives. We are giving up what we want in favor of what we don't. Work is a necessity for most of us. Making the best of it is a first step to living happily ever after. Second, is definitely carefully choosing how we spend our "not working" time.

Remember the immortal words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Life is made up of what we actually do, not what we plan to do, or intend to do. It is always only the actual action that we take. I hope that this weekend you find some real big fun in your life and enjoy every minute of it.

Laura P.

ps. I'm especially pleased that today's inspirational image is from my own art work. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Spring and everyone is busy!

I have the gardening bug bad this year. No insects, fortunately, but the desire to get outside and play in the dirt is irresistible. I'm not the only one around my house with the bug, either. My sweetie went to home improvement centers yesterday to get supplies for a raised veggie bed with me. When we got finished running around, I went to lay down for 5 minutes... (my code for a nap) and was so pleased to watch large shiny black birds outside my window snapping twigs off a tree for their nest. There were two of them in the tree. One working away, the other supervising. I couldn't help but speculate as to which was the male. I'll never know, but they seemed to be working together. So, work has waited while I enjoy the garden. I'd call it working in the garden, but it's so much fun, I can't think of it that way. :)

Today's Inspirational Image has no pictures. It's the first of it's kind. I was working on the words and decided that I didn't want to distract from the message with any images. I don't know if I'll do many of these, we'll see how well received it is. I like it though. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Laura P.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wrapping things up & making decisions

The last few months have felt like a crazy swirl of activity. I have so many projects in process that I am in danger of being strangled by all the loose ends. So, I'm gonna make a list (yeah, I know another list) and start finishing projects and wrapping things up. Starting with getting my book off to the publisher and including organizing my kid's bedrooms. Whew! The list seems daunting already. But, worth it. 

While on a walk a couple of weeks ago, I saw the sign I used for today's Inspirational Image. I laughed out loud because it contradicts itself within a couple of feet! It got me thinking of how so many of us have been taught to look outside ourselves for guidance. Often times, the people and institutions we trust to lead us are not very good at directing us and we really need to learn to make decisions for ourselves. Be it church, school, or other people in general, many of us allow others to direct our lives. Isn't it time to start making our own choices and live with the outcomes? Good or bad, they are the result of our own choices. 

Well, I guess that’s it for me today. I hope you have a wonderful day and make good choices for yourselves.

Laura P.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How was your weekend?.?.? Have a great week!

Happy Monday morning!

Working from home can sometimes mean I feel that I'm working all the time. Coming to my computer Monday morning to write this blog is my way of heading to the break-room to grab a cup of coffee and say, "Good Morning" to the rest of the workers here. I always enjoyed getting to work on Monday morning. I like the feel of a new week just starting. I have the same enthusiasm here at home, just no one to share it with.

I, personally, had a great weekend... Thanks for asking. My youngest son brought home a wonderful progress report and I was honored to have my work on display at a nice gallery called Little Relics in Mid-Town Sacramento so I went down and enjoyed the Second Saturday Art Walk.We had a wonderful write-up in Sacramento Press.com and I was quoted and photographed!  I enjoyed dinner with a new artist friend named Florence Skiadis who Susan also had on exhibit at her gallery Little Relics.

Sunday morning I woke up kinda disoriented. Do I work on art, clean house, hang out with my kids? I was all over the place and my emotional state reflected that. So, I headed to the garden to weed, dead head, and watch birds. Nothing like some fresh air and activity to make me feel better about life. Here are a couple of pictures I took of our iris beds yesterday.

close-up of iris I plan to paint

irises with daffodils and Japanese Maple

Because of my schedule, I often don't enjoy weekends "off." I'm often at home with my family, but I'm working on something or another for a deadline that's just a few days away. Another aspect of being a working artist is balancing work that I need to do for specific galleries or shows, and the ideas that are rattling around in my head and seeking artistic expression. One might think that painting little butterflies for a show is creative enough to quell the muse, but today it's not. Today, Dia de los Muertos images are nagging at me and that's what I want to create. Hopefully, some sketches and written plans for future projects will be quiet down that particular muse with a Spanish accent.

I hope that you find inspiration today to do the work you are tasked with this fine week. I know I'm ready to get to it. Got my coffee, said, "Good Morning" now I'm ready to work.

Here's the Inspirational Image for today.  I hope that in all the busy-work of your life today, you take a few moments for calm peaceful reflection. Sometimes, resting and relaxing can be very illusive during out action-packed days.

Laura P.

Walk In Your Own Footsteps Inspirational Image of the day

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Preview night last night was a blast!

Happy Friday!
Last night was the pre-view night at the Little Relics Gallery in Sacramento. It was a fun night filled with lots of happy people mingling in the cozy gallery as it stormed like crazy outside. Susan Rabinovitz  put on a really nice event, Thanks Susan!! My daughter, Rachel, came down to hang out with me and her friend Katy Coke also attended. The big event is the Second Saturday Mid-Town Art Walk which is tomorrow. I've been told that a lot of people come and am looking forward to that, too. I'll share photos next week. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Laura P.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rain, rain... oh go ahead. I didn't want to hand-water anyway

I don't know what it's like in your part of the world today, but it's raining like crazy here. We don't usually get this kind of constant rain. We get the "squall blows in and blows out an hour later variety," usually. Therefore, it affects everyday life here in a way that it doesn't when folks are used to it. I formerly lived in Texas. There, you just get up and go anyway... rain or shine. Life can't wait because it's raining or nothing would get done. But, in a climate where 20 minutes could mean a nice sunny drive, we tend to wait. Getting up this morning and getting the kids moving with the chorus of raindrops falling all around, and doing it with a positive attitude,  reminded me of so many other paradigm shifts I've experienced. The first thought, "Agh, it's raining cats and dogs, I want to stay in bed!" to "Oh, good. I don't have to worry about the plants in pots today" was a stretch. But, a positive attitude is essential to getting all the work I need to accomplish finished.

It doesn't matter if you call it a paradigm shift, or re-framing, changing your mind about something so that you feel better about it is a neat way to improve your outlook and your general approach to life. If you can't do this for yourself, it's great to find someone who can. I had a counselor who could help me flip my perception with just a few words. Now, I do it for others. You'll probably notice the people in your life who appear happy most of the time do this naturally.

Admittedly, it's a small thing... getting out of bed on a rainy day with a smile for my family, but when you learn the habit of finding good in most situations, your whole life feels better.


Add caption

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Juggling priorities today

Like any working person in the world (that's everyone!) I'm finding myself juggling all the things that I feel I need to get done today. Trying not to focus on just the hard stuff... or just the fun stuff... The problem is, my list is too long. How do I prioritize EVERYTHING? So, I'm going to just do the things that I'll lay awake tonight thinking about if I don't do. And, I'm going to take my newest teenager to the go-card place to take his class so we can have his party on Friday!

Today's Inspirational Image is another picture from the beautiful Filoli Estate in Woodside, CA.

hmmm.... I'm starting to think that these Inspirational Images are more for me than anyone else! Whew, Present Moment Awareness. There's a whole chapter in the book about this topic. Eckhart Tolle  has written a bunch of books about this (brilliant stuff, by the way. I'm a huge fan!!) It should be easy, right. I mean if you're alive right now, then you're living right now. But, not true.  We worry about what we haven't done and fret over what we might not get done. So, is that what I'm doing? Probably. OK, I'll take a moment and breathe. Do a little meditation....    Then attack that list!

Laura P.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quiet house, now time to work.

I'm starting to believe that people imagine us artsy folk as having lots of time on our hands to create whatever comes to mind. Sometimes, I wish that was true.  I'm so blessed to have a very busy April and that means I have a lot of getting ready to do. I have two classes scheduled at Trezhers Gift Shop in Sacramento, three events at Little Relics, a gallery which is showing my art (Yeah!!!) and I'm doing the Mariposa Butterfly Festival  with my mom the first weekend in May. So, that means I'm painting today, cutting glass tomorrow, putting together outfits for the showings, posting Inspirational Images, working on the proposal for HCI Books (because that's actually top of the old list)... And then there's my sweetie, my kids, dogs, house, laundry.... I guess you're getting the picture. Okay, that said, I'm happy and thrilled because I've gotten what I dreamed of. Now, I need a maid! :)

Seeking balance, and keeping my fibromyalgia under control, is very important to me. So, taking time to meditate, go for walks, or anything else that calms me down and allows me to relax is very important while things are so busy. That's why I chose this Inspirational Image for today. I took this picture on a trip with Jim to the coast. This was taken in Gilroy, Ca at a seed company's garden. I think the beautiful flowers with the dark green background have a very calming feel.

I hope that you take time to find peace and calm today, despite the busy-ness of your business. :)

Inspirational Image - Peace

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's the opposite of Monday Morning Blues?

I don't know why, but I've always really liked Mondays. It's like a New Year's Day every week! Woo-hoo! Anything is possible, now. It's a whole new week, it's Monday again! This week, the kids are back at school and the house is quiet again giving me time to work. So, I'll be painting today. Also, I bought a new easy-up and I need to see how easy it goes up! It starts raining tomorrow, so today's the day.

Today's Inspirational Image is from the trip Jim and I took last week. I think the name is super funny! If you speak Spanish, pulgas means fleas! So, this beautiful structure is the "Fleas" water temple. But, it gave me a beautiful opportunity to share a thought for the day. Isn't the blue sky with the white wispy clouds beautiful?

I hope you have a happy and productive Monday!
Laura P.

Pulgas water temple, Woodside, CA

Friday, April 6, 2012

Home again...

Wow! It is so fun to get out of town and relax, and it's equally wonderful to get home, and get back to work. We had a great time just cruising along a short section of the Northern California Coast. We visited the Filoli Estate and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you like beatitude gigantic homes and well manicured gorgeous gardens. I'll be using a lot of the photos for future Inspirational Images as well as the new deck of cards I'm working on. The kitchen looked just like the set from Downton Abbey. We also stayed in Half Moon Bay and ate at a favorite restaurant there called the Princeton Seafood Company. I especially like this place because the food is very good, the service is friendly and conscientious, and the prices are reasonable.

I'll be sharing photos once I have a chance to sort and photoshop them. Till then, I hope you take the advice of today's Inspirational Image this weekend. Get out there, Wander... Wonder at the beauty of nature. 

Laura P.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Headed for the coast to relax and take pictures for the new card deck

Hello, faithful readers.
Jim and I will be cruising along in his cool convertable for the next couple of days. It is my plan to get some new photos for the next deck of cards as well as some much needed relaxation. If anything artsy or "Walk In Your Own Footsteps" happens on our trip, I'll post it here. Otherwise, please check out my travel blog called the Adventures of Jim and Laura

Have a great couple of days!

Here's a picture I took in the town of Coloma on a recent car ride Jim and I took. Enjoy.

Old fence in the Coloma, California grave yard

Laura P.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Production mode.

I'm so excited that mom and I have been accepted at the Mariposa Butterfly Festival. But, it's only a month away, and since I've been blessed to have my current paintings placed in galleries, I'm very low on paintings on hand. Since it's a festival, and I LOVE to paint butterflies, I thought I'd paint up a few tiny works to sell at the festival. I've amassed a collection of 3x3 and 4x4 canvases and tiny easels and I've been painting butterflies and sunflowers like crazy. The funny thing is that each one is different so I fall in love with each project even though I'm surrounded by about 20 in different stages of completion. Creating art is such a blessings, now if my neck and shoulders could just relax, I'm sure I could get even more done!

Now that the sun is shining here, and I have happy work to do, I'm definitely in a "Rejoice" state of mind. I hope that you're enjoying your life and work today, too.

Laura P.