Keeping consistent

No matter how you define creative success, one of the most important components is the willingness to show up and do the work.” – Jane Dunnewold

Thanks Jane, oh, how I can relate to this. The last few months have seemed chaotic for me. A variety of things taking hold of my schedule and spinning me around. Now I’m out of practice for showing up, but I’ve started the new year with good intentions.

What I realized is intentions alone aren’t good enough. Healthy habits of showing up and doing the work need to be enforced. But how do you do that when there are so many things distracting you.

I started the year with my Passion Planner. Last year was the first time I worked with this planner. In reality, it is just a planner, I didn’t need this “special one” to accomplish my goals and schedule my time. This one just includes prompts for self-reflecting, which I find very helpful. I need to remind myself of the positive things I accomplished, as well as keeping track of those items that need to get done. It’s helpful for me to check-in with myself weekly and monthly.

The other thing I realized I needed was practice showing up. For me, this means scheduling time EVERY DAY to work on my creative work. Frequently, I spent too much time on the admin work and the creative work gets postponed.

Recently, I started following a textile artist I admired, Anne Wood. She makes these cute little stitched designs and has some patterns  for birds and dolls that I’d like to try. A couple weeks ago, she announced she was going to start a 100 day stitching challenge. The goal is to spend 100 days, stitching for at least 15 minutes a day. Sounds just like what I need.  Today is day 6. It is easy to get distracted, but I’ve been doing the work (you can follow my progress on Instagram). Making the commitment and now sharing it with you, holds me accountable. I personally know that accountability is what keeps me on task. Left up to my own devices, I tend to wander.

Do you have tips for keeping consistent?


Perfectly imperfect

“Flower Garden 2 – Single-flowered Zinnia” by Nanette S. Zeller

I’ve been spending a lot of time the past couple weeks sitting in front of my computer, editing videos. I filmed a couple of “classes” last year and now I have time to edit them and get them up on Teachable for you to see.

At a certain level I could be considered a computer geek. Way before most people had an email address or even a computer, I was designing eCommerce websites. It’s funny to think about it now, because those of us developing those simple sites weren’t sure how the world would embrace the technology. Was it just a passing fad to purchase things online?

Now most everyone knows about Amazon. [I remember when they only sold books!] Things were much simpler then. I would use a simple text editor to write the code. It would take awhile to upload the tiny (for today’s standards) file over my dial-up modem with that piercing “handshake” sound connecting it to the server. Wow, have things changed. The software I’m using to produce my classes is very sophisticated. I can’t believe all the tools that come with it…

In some respects, it is amazing to have the powerful equipment to use in creating. But, in other respects I find all the bells and whistles distracting. There’s too much to keep up with. And I question whether I should be keeping up with the technology in my art practice, too?

This week, out of curiosity, I researched computerized embroidery machines. There is a fascinating amount of power in some of these home machines. Plug in a design into the machine’s computer and minutes later you’ll have a stitched emblem. So perfect.

I decided to pass on this advancement. I’d rather create something that is perfectly imperfect.


Full of Color

“Bloom like a flower by the Roadside,” 2023 by Nanette S Zeller

I hope your holiday season was filled with good things. Alas, the new year is finally here.

Like most people, over the holidays I took some time off and now it is time to get back to work. There is so much ahead of us. I am one of those who views the new year as a fresh start full of opportunities. What about you?

This year, I don’t see as clear a picture as I’ve had in the past. I need to pull together my notes and map out some plans. But, things feel heavier than usual. I consider myself an empath which makes it harder sometimes. For me, making plans isn’t as easy as drawing out the map and following it. I feel the energy around the decisions. The energy can either get me running down the path in my track shoes or feel like I’m wearing concrete boots. The start of this year feels more like the boots.

I’m sharing this because I want you to know it is OK to feel this way. There’s a lot of heaviness around us. If you’re feeling this way, take the time to be with your thoughts. You might even want to take the advice of Andy J Pizza‘s Creative Pep Talk podcast and daydream a little before pushing forward.

However you feel right now, I want you to know I appreciate you for being here and reading my blog.  Please know, that wherever you’re going in life I hope you “Bloom like a Flower by the Roadside;” resilient, strong, beautiful and full of color.


I’m always very reflective this time of year, especially as I approach the start of my next trip around the sun (aka birthday). I remember my family’s elders speak of how quickly time passed for them. But, I also remember when I was a pre-teen and couldn’t wait until I would become a teenager. Back then it felt like I would never get older. I understand now.

I’ve been especially reflective about this past year and where I’m going next. In my art profession this year, there’s been a couple of rejections, but a number of successes too. When I find myself thinking too heavily, I encourage myself to think of the wins.

Lately, I’ve been going through boxes and lightening the load. I find stuff that should be thrown away or given to someone who would have a use for it. It is time to let go.

Then there are the memories attached to the objects. A loved one or maybe a special day. The memories are mine, but I feel they are attached to the object. If I eliminate the object will the memory stay with me? For some things, maybe it is more important to hold on to it a while longer and repair the broken bits.

Wishing you a safe and happy new year.





Stay curious

I love having a window seat when I fly. I enjoy looking out and seeing what is happening beneath the plane. I look for roads, cars moving and buildings. When I fly over the mountain states, I enjoy seeing the terrain.

I’ve lived in Chicago, the Pacific Northwest, and now central North Carolina. I know theses places and I’ve visited some others. I try to imagine what its like living in these different (to me) places. I definitely understand how being a tourist isn’t the same as living day to day somewhere.

I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere new. What kind of home would I live in? Where would I shop? What’s the traffic like? Would I have to drive far to get to places? Would I find kindred spirits living there? Its so fascinating to think about.

The window seat provides me with inspiration, too. Like witnessing the color of light as the sunrises.

I can sit for hours watching the earth pass beneath me.
It reminds me to always stay curious.

A spark that builds a fire

After a busy couple of months focusing on my exhibit for Arts Council of Moore County, Campbell House Galleries, I decided to take some time to revitalize my creativity. My first trip was to Rocky Mount, NC to see Susan Lenz’s exhibit “Once and Again: Alterations” at the Imperial Centre. [Here’s a YouTube video of part of the exhibit]  I’m a big fan of Susan’s artwork which features a lot of re-purposed textiles. The architecture of Imperial Centre is so fascinating because it is housed in a converted tobacco processing facility. The hard industrial features of the building made such a beautiful compliment to Susan’s soft vintage textile work.

My second trip was to the Haw River State Park’s Summit Environmental Education and Conference Center to participate in a sleep-over art retreat with some friends. We spent a couple nights gathered in one of the conference rooms independently working on our projects. With so many months working alone, it was a much needed kick to share ideas, resources and laughter with these other very creative women. I decided to bring the hexagon quilt that I’ve been hand-piecing for many years. I was ready to start quilting it. This retreat, really gave me the time and inspiration to get some stitching done.

I think pulling out the hexi quilt was partly inspired by seeing Susan’s work. English paper-piecing, hexagons and hand quilting are all very old school techniques. Even though I used modern fabrics for the piecing and a fancy perle cotton thread for the big-stitch hand quilting, I felt in doing the handwork I was honoring an older generation of time. This is fitting, because I’m making this quilt to honor my grandmother.

Time again, I’m reminded how important it is to step away from the monotony of daily routines. It is important to seek creative inspiration from people, places and art exhibits. Sometimes these opportunities may not seem significant, but yet they can offer a spark that builds a fire. 

Feel grateful

Today is the last day of November. It has been whirlwind ride for me. It started with my exhibit opening, immediately followed by  a trip to see my ailing auntie. Came home with a cold that knocked me down for a week, while dealing with some issues around the homefront, then Thanksgiving. I’m trying to catch up this week, but I’m not being very successful. I need to just hang on and go with the flow.

Seriously, there is nothing that I can complain about, but there is this feeling that there’s a lack of time. Could it be my age? or is it all the technology sucking my time? For example, before writing this, I spent an hour dealing with a ton of spam that was generated through my contact form. Yes, along with being an artist and instructor, I am also chief web designer/manager, promoter, and accountant.

The reality is we can’t control all the things that get thrown at us. Planning is good, but you also have to be willing to adapt to a change in plans. I generally feel that I’m adaptable, but sometimes it becomes too much. At times like these, I find it best to put the focus on the entire picture. There have been some great moments for me this month. So, as the year comes to a close, I’m just going to put my focus on the good things and feel grateful.


“Fall down seven, stand up eight. Don’t fold beneath the weight. Don’t let it define you”
~ Aaron Burdett

Theres’s still time to see “Melange of Experience”
Arts Council of Moore County – Campbell House Galleries
Through December 19, 2023

More to see

I have had a lot going on the past 2 weeks. My exhibit opened at the Arts Council of Moore County and the very next morning, I was flying to northern California to spend time with my aunt. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the Bay area visiting my aunt and uncle. This month’s visit was bittersweet. Good memories, mixed with sad memories. I like to refer these memories as “ghosts.” I feel like the spirits who’ve moved on from this Earth are tapping me on my shoulder and reminding me of things I’ve forgotten.

Now I’m back home trying to catch up on the things that didn’t get accomplished the past several months. With Thanksgiving next week, it is that time of year when life brings busyness. So while I’m trying to keep it all together, I’ll stop and take a few moments to reflect on where I’ve been, contemplate on the journey, and ponder about what comes next. All of this reminds me:

Hold on to your memories, hold on to your dreams,
just never give up trying, because there’s always more to see.



I am always amazed how things work. There were 4 artists invited to show their work together. For nearly 2 years, we never spoke about what we were creating. You would think we could possibly create a disaster of artwork that just doesn’t play well with each other’s.  However, it is like magic looking at this exhibit. It is like some force guided us in our creations. Everything looks harmonious.

The exhibit will be open until December 19, 2023! At Arts Council of Moore County.

I hope you can visit.









To own it

I made this week’s deadline for getting my artwork created, prepped, photographed and delivered to The Arts Council of Moore County’s gallery.  I’m participating in this exhibit along with 3 other talented women. The exhibit opens on Friday, November 3, 2023.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past 2 years since I agreed to participate in this event. There was lots of mental planning, distractions and procrastination. I always think I have time, until I don’t. It will be interesting to see how my artwork is received. I’ve experimented with some ideas and definitely worked smaller than I usually do.

Entering one artwork into an exhibit is a different process from doing a solo or group show where you’re expected to produce many pieces to fill the gallery walls. To be honest, a concern is whether it will pay off…financially. There is a lot of money invested in producing artwork. Not everyone enters an exhibit opportunity to sell their art, but a good majority do.

I decided many years ago that I wanted to sell my art, because I didn’t have room to keep it. I also had given enough away to family and friends that they reached a saturation point. I had choices: 1) stop making so much or 2) sell it so I had room to make more. I decided to sell. There are a few pieces I wish I still had, but for the most part I cut the cord on ownership when I sell the art. Like most artists I know, I’m not getting financially wealthy selling my art … very few have that luxury. I am, however, receiving heartfelt wealth. This type of wealth is never monetized in a bank account, only felt in our soul. When you purchase original art you provide the artist with a sense of pride and joy knowing you liked their work enough to own it.