I’M BAAAAAAACK!

autumn

As many of you know, last week I had to make a sudden, unexpected trip out of town to attend to a big  family emergency!

It wasn’t in my plans, it wasn’t convenient, I had a trillion things hangin’ fire (including Creative Cottage classes!) and I had only one hour to prepare, but I HAD to go because it is my firm belief you must…

autumn 5

So, I dropped EVERYTHING, jumped in, and did what I had to do!

For several days there was much stress and worry…but things resolved themselves very well and I know I did absolutely the right thing to take the time out, even if there was some chaos left in my wake.

Thanks for your patience and understanding–many of you shared stories of your own emergency “time outs” and unexpected twists of fate, and that really helped.

In this process, I realized…

autumn 6

Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do!

LIFE has a way of taking over the best laid plans, the tightest calendar, the little empires of mice and men.

So, whatever you feel you have to do, DO IT, unapologetically, proudly, and with purpose!

And then, start again.

nov blog 8

I’m back, better for having gone, closer to family and home than I have ever been!

I’ve posted the November classes for you (click on the Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage Classes on the top right of this post!)

I realize November and December are holiday months and many of you will be out of town or entertaining at home, but I’ve tried to give you lots of creative adventures to chose from in case you just want to play for a few hours! Sign up early–classes have been filling fast…

and thanks, again, for understanding that I live a full, flawed, unpredictable, exciting, amazing life and I am so happy that you’re in it with me!

Happy Autumn!

autumn 4

Love From The Mistress of Merriment

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

HOME FROM THE SEA!

back 7

It was everything I hoped–healing, relaxing, fun, and  restful!!!

The weather was exquisite.

The company was superb.

The sea was endlessly entrancing.

I could feel the sea air expand my lungs and fill my spirit with pure JOY!

back 1

I’ve always been a Beach Babe and known that the sea had a particular, healing hold on my heart.

Ending up living in Tucson (for all its charms!) was a hard bump for me and I found myself craving the beach with every fiber of my being as the summer heat became intolerable.

I started planning my beach trip way back in March and clung to it like a life-raft as the temperatures soared.

back 5

And then (VERY inconveniently!), I got very ill this summer…

back

In the midst of delirious fevers and great waves of weakness, I almost let go of my beach dream…

but my wonderful friend Karen Zopf

Karen Beach 3

wouldn’t let me!

She insisted it was just what the doctor ordered and that we HAD to go!

So I HAD to, quick, start rebuilding my health and reviving my spirit so I could go.

Because the illness nearly killed me–I knew I had to radically change my life, eliminate all the things that were not life-enhancing, stop “over achieving,” and finally learn to slooooooooooow down!!!

No two ways about it. Not “someday.” It was a very hard lesson but it was also a huge breakthrough!

You all know that I have been TALKING about it for years–but the illness FORCED me to make the changes!

 I am so very grateful for that!

It’s time to embrace a new mantra…

back 3

With your help, that’s my plan!

I’m leaving behind lots of old responsibilities and obligations…

Re-inventing my daily life to include more time for FUN…

Prioritizing much more time for my Beloved, my friends, art making, solitude, and time at the sea.

back 4

You will see some changes at The Cottage–deeper, longer classes and more chances for “artist dates” and “play days.”

(Go check out October’s classes by clicking on the Cottage Classes banner at the top of the page and come join me!)

You will see some changes in me–more willingness to “go to lunch” or come play in your studio with you.

I think you will be pleased.

I am determined to continue to be the Mistress of Merriment in ways that keep me well and happy and full of enthusiasm.

I am going to follow this good advice:

back 2

So, I’m back from the sea…Ocean Beach with all its funky fun and relaxed vibe did its magic!

back 8

Please come celebrate life and enjoy creativity at The Cottage as Tucson welcomes autumn!

Much Love and Mermaid Kisses,

Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

BEACH BABE GONE WILD!

marnie mermaid

I’m off (at last!!!) on my great beach adventure!

Dear friend Marnie Ehlers captured the feeling so beautifully in her watercolor painting!

I feel like a magical sea creature already!

Some people are desert people (bless & keep them!)–some people are mountain people (a lovely place to be!)–

but me–I’m a Beach Bunny through and through!

mermaids

And after this long, hot, malaria summer I feel the beach tugging fiercely at my soul and enticing my battered spirit to re-emerge!

The beach is my very best medicine!

mermaid 2

So, off I go…on my summer road trip…

with my boogie board & an ice chest full of yummy snacks…

net bags for collecting beach detritus…

beach bum clothes…

summer reading and no ambitions!

Here is where you’ll find me…

beach3

at the seafood cantina…

beach 4

at the end of the pier, marveling at the magic of the sea…

Beach 14-7

And watching every sunset I can!!!!!!

I won’t be completely wild–I will be  following VERY strict beach rules…

beach7

and I’ll be with REAL mermaid sidekicks…(like these from Cory McCory!)

mermaids 3

in my own little groovy hippie summer world…

groovy summer

I’ll update you when I get back home…meanwhile…

merma 4id

I’m sailing into the mystic! Bon Voyage!

Love & Salty Sea Kisses,

From Mermaid Kait

APPRECIATING EVERY SECOND!

time

That’s the real problem, isn’t it? In every aspect of our lives. There’s plenty of time! Tomorrow. I’ll get to that real soon.

One of these days. Next week maybe. Missed sunsets…lost precious moments.

sunset at santa monica

This last week I’ve had occasion to note how tenuous and fragile our strand of life is and how unbidden calamities and unwelcome surprises can cut it short in a second.

Several good friends are going through very significant health issues…others are on rocky, perilous paths. There are a few heartbreaks, some betrayals, and a friend blind-sided by a lay-off after 37 years on the job.

A few got stuck with their “to do” lists still in their hands when the curtain dropped. We lost a fabulous local musician Stefan George this week plus thousands of people around the planet caught in the cross-fire of war & famine & misfortune. 

All had lives and families and PLANS! All were precious and loved by someone!

I’ve taken all this to heart in my on-going “learn as you go” philosophy of life.

Then, WHOMP! I realized…

I’m sooooo danged lucky! I have you…crazy beautiful Babes that you are!

girlz gone wild

I have The Creative Cottage. I have the Girlz With HeART. I have my wonderful Sweetheart and my own little patch of hardscrabble desert.

Yikes! My life is bountiful! I am a part of the Great Wheel, a feather in the raven’s tail!

medicine wheel

So, in honor of all those who have lost their precious, fragile strand of life this week…and for all those who are going through muddles & messes of their own…try to remember…

miracle

and let’s remind each other…

yesterday

And MOST IMPORTANT: Let’s not take ourselves too danged seriously!

crone clown

Life is but a dream…slow down, play more, love those dearest to you with all your heart!

With Love and Gratitude From Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved

(Thanks, as always, to Pinterest for pictures!)

WHAT I BELIEVE

“It’s a joy full life. I believe when all else fails love always wins. I believe in practicing courage every single day.

I believe kindness changes everything. I believe in telling our messy, complicated, beautiful stories.

I believe nothing is wasted and everything shapes us.

I believe in letting go and trusting the process.

I believe we are all part of something beautiful, something bigger, something deeply, profoundly, astonishingly…good. “

I love this quote from Kelly Rae Roberts (who is one of my heroines!)

      blooming 2

It’s exciting…next week I’ve been asked to give a presentation about “What I Believe” for about a hundred young women who want to become mentors.

At first I was utterly overwhelmed!

YIKES! What DO I believe?

Well, it turns out…it’s kinda simple really!

This is WHAT I BELIEVE

attract

And, yes, it’s definitely harder than it sounds–but so worth the effort!

Very early on in my own life I decided…

decide

 I believe life is about our choices and…

I choose

That old adage about “the company you keep” is also important…

greatness

And just try to…

where you are

and

beauty happy

It’s taken me a very long time, but now, I

yesterday

and, in my classes & counsel sessions with Cottage friends, I urge us all to…

future dreaming

I’ll tell these young women to…

remember who

and to…

work for a cause

I’ll tell them that they need to…

grateful

and remind them…

blessings

Finally, these are the lessons it’s taken me all my life to learn…

in the moment

embrace the mess

and

what's in heart

Above all else…

joy

and I believe that laughter is the best healing medicine of all!

smile again

It is my goal is to remind them that …

life

Soooo, what do YOU believe? What shaped and guided what you believe? How do you share what you believe with others? How have your beliefs changed?

 Click on the little white cloud at the top of this post and tell me!

And wish me luck at the big conference…

I am so humbled to be asked and so grateful to have beliefs that have served me so well that I can share!

Whatever else you do in life,

Believe with all your heart that you are a special, wonder-filled, amazing creature!

you matter

NOTICE: You are hereby allowed to be happy, to love yourself, to realize your worth, to believe in great things, and to be treated with love and respect.

Much Love From Kaitlin

© Copyright Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Pictures and much inspiration from Pinterest.

“STEAM” OF CONSCIOUSNESS

creative people

Here’s some soul babbling–what one of my young mentees calls “steam of consciousness!” And steam it is…born from the stewing cauldron that has been this long, hot summer.

Working with my Girlz With HeART Program all summer at our Creativity Camp has been exhausting, exhilarating and soooo much fun! And, as usual, I am learning quite a lot about myself in the process!

At Creativity Camp we stress leadership, intelligence, compassion, and service. These are the elements of a life well-lived in my book. In my own life I’ve always been driven to “do the right thing,” be thoughtful, energetic, and self-effacing.

But underneath all those “virtues” was a keen sense that I was not quite enough. Never quite smart enough, never quite “good” enough, never quite “accomplished” enough.

I know, I know…silly to take humility to such an extreme. Silly to join the legions of women with so little sense of self-worth. But it was, as I say, it was sold to me as a “virtue” to be cultivated. And I was nothing if not obedient to high expectations.

But…

don't believe

That’s the advice I give the Girlz about their own “story”–one often blighted by abuse, neglect, and a very strong message that they are not wanted. I tell the Girlz not to believe that sad story but to “rescript” it to become one brimming with promise and potential.

Have I not been listening to these lessons myself?

So, lately, I’ve come to practice the very fine art of believing in myself. It has been a bumpy road and, sometimes, I slide comfortably back into beating myself up for some (mostly) imagined short-coming, but, more often than not now, I trust that the life I’m living embodies all the “virtues” I know to be real–kindness, creativity, service, and leadership.

maya2

Working with the Girlz has taught me to live my best life, to think my highest thoughts, and to believe that I am doing my best life’s work.

create

I know now that I am on the path that lifts my soul to the light, that is the culmination of all the very hard lessons my life has brought me. The life I live now best uses my real “virtues,” the ones that live in my heart and not in my head.

When in doubt, I always revert to the values learned in my hippie years, when I lived collectively with a band of merry pranksters who honored the land and fashioned a simple, “small footprint” life that focused on hard work, joy, music, and community involvement. 

hippie thoughts

These virtues are my “religion” and they have always served me very well.

So now I practice what I preach. I feel blessed by my life…however much more of it I am gifted to have left.

I have a new mantra…

Mary Oliver

And that is the message I want you to embrace from these warblings…from my “steam of consciousness”…

Live your best life. Push back the obstacles. “Rescript” the tired old story that you are not being enough or doing enough!

Am-I-Enough-janine-adamo

And celebrate this, as I do…

focus

May the universe bless you!

Love to you from the Mistress of Merriment–who IS enough, who DOES enough, and who HAS enough!

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

GO WITH THE FLOW!

lynxhands_cropped

It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

David Steindl-Rast

This week I had one of those silly setbacks (of my own making) that had me adrift for a day or two. It wasn’t anything really.

Just the sad feeling that I wasn’t getting a big project done that I’d promised myself I would complete by the end of June. I kept procrastinating. Everyday I found a half dozen excuses not to spend time working on it. I started two other projects rather than finish the one I’d already committed to finishing. I was mad at myself, impatient, and cranky.

Finally, I decided to share my frustration with my wonderful Creative Playmates circle. And  guess what? I discovered it’s a problem most other creatives share.

We get excited about a new art technique, a fancy new art supply, the inspiration of a recent art journaling YouTube video. We have a deadline for completing a special birthday card or creating a little project for the grandkids. We have three big canvases half started, an altered book in progress, a collage just waiting for that last, perfect piece. And we beat ourselves up about it, mad at our lack of ambition, sad at our inability to follow through–which, of course, doesn’t help at all!

studio

Sometimes I try to trick myself into creativity. If my art space is messy, I spend some hours clearing and refreshing it. Even if I don’t get anything else done, having a tidy studio feels good!

But sometimes I just can’t quite capture my original enthusiasm for a project by the time I’m ready to start it. And, sometimes, I just plain want to stay in my jammies all day, read a good book, watch an old 50’s black & white movie, or take a nap with my Sweetie instead of working on a project.

What I’ve learned over the last few months is that these periods are just the normal ebb and flow of the creative process. We all need respite, little mini-vacations, moments not scripted by our day planners. We all need to give ourselves permission to nap on these sweltering summer days.

And sometimes doing nothing is just the right thing to do!

art by water Sometimes taking our art supplies out into nature ignites our creative energies again. Sometimes nature itself is the inspiration.

emily mitchell

Sometimes the work of other artists inspires our own.

yvette lyons

 The important part is to just go with the flow, be gentle with yourself, leave tasty, sweet chocolate cake crumbs for your Muses and follow them into the magic that is creativity!

make time

So here’s my hot summer advice. 

Go with the flow…step into it…let it carry you where it will! Enjoy the journey!

Happy Summer!

P.S. Thanks to Flora Bowley for various pictures and much inspiration in my life!

I did get the project done–

 NOT as I’d originally visioned it, NOT when I thought I’d have it done, NOT quite as elaborate as I’d planned

but BETTER somehow for the long gestation period (and, I like to think, the naps and the chocolate cake didn’t hurt either!)

Love to you from Kaitlin, Mistress of Merriment

In the flow!

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 

LIFE IS LUSCIOUS!

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

IMG_1402

This is my mantra!

It’s not so much about art-it’s the PROCESS OF MAKING IT, LIVING IT, BEING INSPIRED BY IT!

Creativity in any and all forms stretches the heart, expands the soul, thrills the senses, and nourishes the spirit.

IMG_3144

After my recent sudden, humbling illness, I realized life is too short to fritter away doing anything less than LIVING VOLUPTUOUSLY! So…I dragged out my paint box and had soooo much fun painting backgrounds for a new art journal I’m going to work on all summer long.

Inspiration does exist but it must find you working.” Pablo Picasso

I didn’t wait for inspiration, I just jumped in, slathering my favorite colors (purple, aquamarine, cobalt, and lime green) around the pages–layering decorative papers, old maps, and bits of fabric through the journal. More of everything is sooo much better!

 Hours flew by and my heart was overflowing! I felt totally “in the moment” and none of the cares of the world intruded.

IMG_4018

The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

Everywhere in my life there is color, pattern, texture, and FLOW. I surround myself with all my crazy collections…stuff

and I make every corner of my world shine with my unique personality…

camp3

My creativity is not so much about art making as it is about LIFE MAKING!

I want my whole life to radiate juiciness, excitement, JOY! I love that my home reflects my creative soul. New Paint 2

I’m so happy that The Cottage mirrors my creative spirit.

Where The Magic Happens

I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.” Vincent van Gogh

art7-1000x885(pp_w775_h685)

Life is luscious! Go out and celebrate it!

Come to The Creative Cottage to play and laugh and enjoy this wonderful, amazing, creative life with other amazing, joy-filled, luscious women!

Happy Summer–Time to Play at Creativity Camp at The Creative Cottage!!!

Love from Kait

Mistress of Merriment

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

(Thanks to the awesome www.megduerksen.com for use of some photos!)

GO PLAY!

l

The days are busy, the list is long, the hours are short…but I am trying harder every single day to make more time to play!

Play is at the heart of my happiness. Getting out my paint box, scribbling in my art journal, reading the wonderful pile of library books always beckoning–that’s what feeds my soul, not ticking off: “do the dishes, make the bed, clean the garage.”

I find I get waaaaay more done on my TO DO List if I take time to play.

By not scolding and berating myself for not doing all the stupid, meaningless “chores” I’ve assigned myself, I find time to open a cookbook to a random dessert recipe and make it! When I’m not feeling overwhelmed and sitting around feeling like I’ll never dig out from under the millions of tasks (literally!) that I’ve assigned myself, I love sneaking out to laugh at the antics of the butterflies in my garden. When I stop beating myself up for all the beautiful fabrics I’ve bought over the years thinking I was going to make all my own clothes,  I love sewing the colorful scraps together to make little quilts for throwing over me while I’m watching Masterpiece Theater. 

My Pinterest boards are filled with a zillion magical projects I hope I live long enough to try–but, if I don’t, I love DREAMING about them!

Yup–there are plenty of things to fill up my mind and take up my time,,,but, still, I try to find time to daydream about being a mermaid who lives in a little cottage by the sea or building a fabulously funky tree house with a ladder I can pull up–“No Boyz Aloud!”

I believe creativity is a divine spark that requires constant kindling. Despite the “nose to the grindstone” old Calvinist adages that make play seem somehow wicked and wasteful of one’s precious time, Einstein and I think…

creativity is intelligence-mysticmamma-com

So, just cut yourself some slack (and maybe a slice of that yummy new dessert that you just pulled from the oven), go outside and sit in the garden for a moment, take your journal and a slew of colored markers, breathe…

letgo

Stop waiting for “free time”–stop waiting for life to get easier–stop kidding yourself that “one of these days” you’re gonna take time to play. Just go do it!

mysticmamma.com

It’s not about your accomplishments: all the tasks you have done or all the chores you will do.

It’s not about only allowing yourself to have fun “when”: when you lose ten pounds, when all our clothes are neatly mended & ironed (and hanging in color-coordinated splendor in your organized closet!), or when your oven is spotless…Stop listening to the big, loud, bossy voices in your head that say you can’t or you shouldn’t or “maybe later.”

Claim some time, make some room, give yourself the gift of a little fun, find a way to make yourself giggle and grin!

You deserve it–you’ve earned it–you’re WORTH it!

bebraveandbefree

It’s the wild, precious, wonder-filled YOU that the world needs, that your family needs, that your friends need! It’s YOU–messy, muddled, crazy, silly, non-stressed YOU!!!

whoyouareisenough-MYSTICMAMMA

And remember–

I love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE because when I extend you that grace, I can claim it for myself!

Now GO PLAY!!

(Or come on over to The Creative Cottage where lots of us convene to eat dessert, make art, and just BE!

Love And Happy Play!

From Kaitlin

The Mistress of Merriment

©Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

CAVORTING!

Cavort: to engage in joyful activity; to have lively, boisterous fun

K&P-14

This what the Tucson Weekly said when they highlighted our storytelling event as one of their coveted “Pics of the Week”:

Local “mischief makers” Kaitlin Meadows and Penelope Starr will put on a literary performance full of inquiry and illumination. Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., will host the event on Friday, April 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The theme of the night is balance. The performers will explore how to manage asking, receiving, and learning to love what you have and get in a whimsical style that involves surprises and audience involvement. Both Meadows and Starr have extensive experience as storytellers and should engage the community in a fun and thought-provoking performance.

K&P-1 And, YIKES! did we have fun! Thanks to all our fabulous peeps who showed up to share the evening of cavorting with us…

K&P-10

I’m was thrilled how many old friends came to laugh along with us!

K&P-6

K&P-3

This is our fourth year of sharing these storytelling ventures at Antigone…and I love my side-kick–

Penelope Starr K&P-15

is the amazing creator of Odyssey Storytelling . She was one of the first wonderfully creative souls I met when I arrived in Tucson a dozen years ago–and before I knew what was happening, she had me performing as an Odyssey storyteller…it’s been a crazy, wonderful ride since then!

Every year we find a way to take our dog & pony show (more like a Thelma & Louise movie actually!) to Antigone.

Have I raved about Antigone in these posts lately?…Antigone is one of only a handful of independent bookstores left in America–woman owned, a landmark off Tucson’s famous Fourth Avenue, and the most magical place to find the books, periodicals, journals, cards, and just plain “cool stuff” in Tucson.

I LOVE their kids section and the “Staff Picks” are always engaging and inspiring. Any book you hear about on NPR (or anywhere else) they’ll order for you. And if they don’t have it, they are gracious enough to send folks right down the street to my OTHER favorite bookstore, The Book Stop, also woman owned and in business for 48 years–AGAINST ALL THE ODDS!

you can do this

PLEASE support these fabulous Tucson bookstores–please don’t buy all your books from Amazon or other syndicates! These are our LOCAL businesses–with real,  hardworking, LOCAL employees who care–who live and breathe books–and who encourage local characters like Penelope and I to speak freely and share joyously.

Here is Antigone’s Debbie Cross introducing us…(thanks Debbie!)

K&P-12

We had a fabulous time telling our stories! Thanks to those of you who joined us…and thanks for supporting Antigone (and The Book Stop)…

CAVORT every danged chance you get! It’s soooo much fun!

P.S. May Cottage Class schedules are out–click on the tab at the top of the page…I’m especially proud to share my first evening series–check it out!

Happy Cavorting!

Love From Your Mistress of Merriment,

Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2015. All Rights Reserved.