Having trouble choosing which classes to take?

I often get emails from women fretting over which classes to take and even one recently where a woman worried that there was nothing being offered that she didn’t already do at home, and she couldn’t see where she would be learning anything new by taking any of the classes being offered.  I know that each of you are spending a lot of money and taking time away from your family so it is very important to you to choose  just the right thing.  I am here to help you do that.  Here are some of my thoughts on classes and how I feel they fit into the “camp” experience, just in case you are out there right now pulling your hair out trying to decide which classes to sign up for!  This is just food for thought. Hopefully it will help:)

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How often do you get to do what you love to do while on vacation? While connecting with other women?  While not cooking or cleaning? While swimming in a river and singing around a campfire under the stars?  It has been my experience, and I have attended a camp like this for the past three years, that what you get from the classes you take is only about 20% of the whole experience.  I took a food styling class, yet I already knew how to use a camera and style food.  She made me better.  I took a sewing class, yet I already knew how to sew.  The girl who sat next to me for the day is now a friend I’ll keep in touch with for the rest of my life.  One of my favorite people in the entire world exists in my life now because I met her at camp.  We never had a single class together.  Just happened to cross paths one day outside of the dining hall and she had the guts to say, “Hey, you’re from Texas?  So are we!”  We spent the rest of the evening sitting on a pier on a lake laughing and forging new friendships.  Just the act of deciding that I needed to do this for myself… taking the time away from my family, making the journey alone across the country and showing up for my SELF was worth more than any class ever could have offered.
Do you write? Do you make cheese?  Have you ever spent time with an intuitive?  Have you ever spent the day painting with Juliette Crane?  Dancing and playing with paint and glue in Corrine Gilman’s class?  Or sewing with Cal Patch?  Or goal setting with Shawn Strattman?  How many photographs do you have of yourself that you truly love…photographs that reveal your light shining from within?  How often do you do yoga on the banks of a river?
I dare you to take another look at the classes and see if you can’t find something that would bring you joy, rekindle something lost, spark something altogether different.  Try not to focus so much on the class itself, but the experience instead.
If you still can’t find something, well…dang!

 

Slow Family Living :: Bernadette Noll

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Lucky Star and Slow Family Living are teaming up to bring you a BiG GIVEAWAY!  One lucky woman will win free tuition* for Lucky Star Art Camp, a women’s art and whole living sleep away camp taking place on the Guadalupe River in the Texas hill country this October 9-13, 2013 (worth $875). They will also win a copy of Bernadette Noll’s book “Slow Family Living”. Will it be you? This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss, so read on and enter to win today! The giveaway ends September 2nd at 11:59 p.m.

* Tuition does not include room & board, travel expenses, or any applicable class supply fees. Visit www.luckystarartcamp.com for more details about Lucky Star Art Camp and www.slowfamilyliving.com to learn more about Slow Family Living.

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I recently discovered Bernadette Noll and her concept of “Slow Family”.  I’m so glad I did because the more I read and learn about her concept of Slow Family Living, the happier I am that we finally connected.  This concept of appreciating every step of the family experience for good or for bad, and doing so with intention is brilliant!  It’s what I strive for within my own family, and some days are better than others, but I can use all the help I can get!  Take a look at my interview with her below to get an idea of what she and “Slow Family Living” are all about.  For a chance to win the giveaway, keep reading to the end.  I think you all will love her!

Can you explain the concept of “Slow Family Living” and where the idea originated?
The idea of Slow Family is that you do things with intention, with thought, with joy and with connection to each other and to the process. It came about several years ago when I was doing a Family Mission Statement workshop with my friend Carrie Contey. and about 5 or 6 couples. One of the recurring complaints folks had about raising a family was this idea that there was a lot of pressure to do things they didn’t necessarily want to do with their families or to do things a certain way with this underlying fear that if they didn’t they would somehow be left behind – things like join teams or have extra tutoring or even show up at birthday parties. We joked that, like Slow Food, there needed to be Slow Family. That evening, after everyone left, Carrie and I sat down and wrote the manifesto. The words we wrote that day nearly 7 years ago are the same ones in the manifesto today.

Tell us about a time when you have actually put your “Slow Family Living” ideas to the test with your own family.
Well, every day I try to do something to build connection and to have fun. Things as simple as making eye contact when we talk rather than calling to the kids from across the room. Putting screens down when someone is talking to me. Pausing randomly just for a hug. Listening more. Making time on the weekends that are just family. Having family appreciation dinners. And then bigger things like road trips together or even having a day where everyone plays hooky together! It doesn’t have to be this major thing, it can be just little shifts in how you decide to be when you’re all together.

Did you go to camp as a child? How do you feel about the idea of sleepaway camps, like Lucky Star Art Camp, for grown-ups?
I only went to one sleepaway camp as a teen and that was to a sports camp. My summers were pretty idyllic though because at 11 we moved onto a house on a lake – just hours and days spent hanging out, swimming, having cousins over for weeks at a time and pretty much living in our swimsuits. I love the idea of an art camp for women, specifically mamas because so much of the time we are SO distracted!!!! To have a few days without kids to be with other women to talk uninterrupted, to have a focus on creativity, to have time to think, breathe, make, and see a project to completion is, to me, is about the best way ever to fill one’s cup. Then we can go home, cups full, ready to pour out some more to our families, our jobs, our homes, and all the obligations that are part of our lives.

What would you say to someone who loves the idea of sleepaway camp, but is having a hard time carving out the space in their family life to get away?
First, figure out what’s blocking you. Is it a feeling of guilt? That folks won’t be able to survive without you? That you don’t deserve it? Then imagine how you will feel when you are there and when you leave! So free, so happy, and so satisfied! Next, share your excitement. Tell them that you really feel a little overwhelmed by leaving and that you really need their encouragement and support to make it happen. Then tell them that when you return you will feel so much happier! And ask them, even the little ones, to wish you well in this pursuit. They get it. And if you talk about it ahead of time, and say it with enthusiasm, it’ll be contagious.
Carrie Contey talks about modeling self-care for our children. If we don’t model it, how will they learn it? Will they learn it by us taking care of them? Or will they learn it by us taking care of ourselves? When we tend to ourselves we are teaching our children that we are worth it and that we are strong, creative women who have great ideas! They will then feel that way about themselves when they are adults.

What are your goals for “Slow Family Living” and the “Slow Family Movement”?
First of all my goals are to encourage families to do things in the way that works for them. Not to subscribe to some specific method or rules, but rather to ask every day, “Is what we’re doing working for us?” “Is this what we want?” “Is it bringing us the connection we want?” “Are we having fun?” Ask every day. Then, if something’s not working, figure out how you can change it right away or further down the road. If it is, high five yourselves and keep going! So many messages we get are that family life is something to be endured, survived. Slow Family is about finding connection and creating joy in the process. Whether you are a single working parent, or a stay-at-home mama, a parent of one or of ten, Slow Family is about doing things intentionally, connected to self, to the process and to each other. For now, and for a lifetime of family connection.
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Lucky Star Instructor Highlight + Giveaway :: Cal Patch

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I am elated that Cal Patch, author of the book “Design-It-Yourself Clothes”,  is coming to Texas this October to teach three classes at Lucky Star Art Camp, “Hook Up a Hat”, “In Stitches” and “Book Keeper”.  If you’ve ever wanted to learn to crochet, embroider, or sew . . . now is your chance to learn from one of the best!  Not only is Cal incredibly talented, she is the nicest, most inspiring chicken-lovin’ earth-goddess magic-seamstress you could ever meet.  I had every part of me crossed when I asked her to come to Lucky Star, and she said . . . “YES” !!!  I hope you enjoy getting to know Cal a little better by reading this interview.  And . . . if you read all the way through, there is a surprise GivEaWAY at the bottom of the page!  Enjoy:)

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Do you have any nicknames? 

Well, Cal is actually a nickname; my real name is Carolyn. No one remembers who started calling me Cal, but it stuck.

Do you have any pets? 

Gertie the Chihuahua, Trissy the cat, and 6 chickens: Grace, Betty, Midge, Francine, Olivia and Amy Winehouse

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Probably moving upstate (from NYC) to begin a farm with my boyfriend of less than a year (at the time; now 5 years). I told him on our first date that if he wasn’t interested in moving upstate and having chickens and goats, we needn’t bother with a second date!

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

Yes! I loved camp. I went to all kinds, from suburban day camps to sleepaway horseback-riding camp, which was of course my favorite.

Salty or Sweet?

Ideally I go for BOTH at once! Like say, a rosemary sea-salt caramel.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I went through lots of phases: ballerina, zookeeper, stewardess, photographer, horse trainer, modern dancer, fashion designer…

What kind of music are you listening to lately?

Indie folk is my genre of choice: First Aid Kit, Mountain Man, Joanna Newsom, Peggy Honeywell

What is your favorite time of day?

Afternoon. Time for tea and something sweet!

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you choose it?

I have a few, but my fave is a ring of girls I loved from books and illustrations: Pippi Longstockings, Holly Hobbie, Ramona Quimby, a girl from an Edward Gorey story, and a Kiddle.

Do you like to cook?

It’s not at the top of my list of favorite activities, but I do love to EAT! My favorite meals are ones prepared by someone else.

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Anything made with fresh, local, organic foods, in season and straight from the farmers, and prepared simply.

Any thoughts on the state of food in our society?

Oh my. Don’t get me started. Deplorable! Let’s just say I agree with Jamie Oliver 100%. And Erica Wides, who hosts a fantastic podcast called “Let’s Get Real”. I highly recommend it!

River, ocean, pool or lake?

Hmmm. No pools for me, unless it’s a salt-water pool. But I like any of the natural bodies of water, especially the swimming hole in our backyard.

What are your three favorite sounds?

Barred Owls hooting (they say: Who cooks for WHOOOO?)
My dog Gertie howling (extremely rare, but hilarious)
My spinning wheel squeaking (because it means I’m spinning, which I love to do but don’t do often enough!)

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To learn more about Cal, read her bio here, and check out her website here.  To register for one or all of her amazing classes taking place this October 9-13, 2013 at Lucky Star Art Camp in the Texas hill country, check out our website here!

And now for the REALLY good stuff . . .

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Summer Recipe: Red Quinoa, Bulgur & Black Bean Summer Salad

A light and savory summer salad full of fiber, protein and healthy fat, this easy adaptation is the perfect healthy lunch.

 

Red Quinoa, Bulgur & Black Bean Summer Salad

1- 8oz. pack of Bulgur & Red Quinoa Quick Cook Grains by Central Market, cooked

1- 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1- 15oz can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

sliced avocado, whole sprig of fresh cilantro and limes to garnish

Dressing 

(Central Market recipe)

6 T. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp each of Ground Cumin and Ground Paprika

Juice of two Limes

Prepare the Bulgur & Red Quinoa according to directions on the package.  While waiting for cooked grains to cool, make dressing by adding all ingredients to mason jar and shake.  Combine cooked bulgur and quinoa, black beans, corn, cilantro, and dressing in bowl.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top each serving with sliced avocado and garnish with cilantro and sliced lime.  Makes 12 servings.

 

Enjoy!

 

Why Go to a Sleepaway Camp for Grown-ups?

Many people ask me this question, so I thought I’d take some time to share my thoughts here-

My first inclination is to ask why you would send your CHILD to sleepaway camp, but then I’m tripped up momentarily by the fact that I am surrounded by beautiful, top notch kid’s summer camps and I even have several friends that own wonderful summer camps or work at awesome summer camps very near our home and I still haven’t worked up the nerve to send our 8 year old son yet.  It’s not him, it’s me.  I’m just a big chicken when it comes to sending my sweet boy…away…and here I am making it my life’s work to encourage WOMEN to go to camp…to go on an adventure!  And that’s when it hits me…the reason I WILL send him and our daughter to camp some day is for all that I know they will miss out on if I don’t.

I will never forget the time I spent at 4-H Camp or Student Council Camp or the time I spent as a counselor at Muscular Dystrophy Camp when I was in high school.  I remember the nervous excitement of meeting my roommates, making new friends outside of my normal circle and meeting people I felt like I’d somehow known forever because they just “got” me.  I loved learning new things and collaborating within a group to create something really cool that I could never have done alone.  I especially liked listening to music under the stars around a campfire and dancing myself into a sweaty oblivion.  And then there were the water balloon and shaving cream fights and so many other fun activities that encouraged us to dive in whole heartedly, get dirty, make mistakes, and laugh at ourselves as part of the process.

All of these things are parts of life I don’t want my kids to miss out on.  And all of these same things are the exact things I love about going to sleepaway camp as a grown-up!    Why should kids get to have all the fun???

I was recently interviewed by blogger Jen Allen of www.piercedwonderings.com who asked some really great questions.   I’d like to share her questions and answers here in this blog post because it really reveals the behind-the-scenes thinking and the “why?” behind Lucky Star.

A few months ago, I stumbled across Lucky Star Art Camp and thought to myself, “How incredibly cool is this? How amazing would this be to attend?” Time and space to learn and create with other women? Yes. Please. Because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of supportive, nurturing relationships with women and because there’s so much that I want to know.

Lucky Star is the dream of Lisa Field – a landscape designer, event planner, mom, wife, and gardener – who defines artists as those who “can be found in the kitchen making a lovely meal for their family, in the garden planting a row of peas, in the wee hours of the night sewing a Halloween costume, or in a gray on gray cubicle using a rainbow of colorful file folders and sticky notes to do anything to brighten the day.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lisa about Lucky Star, how it came about, and why it is so important for women to make the space for an experience like this.

From what I can tell, this will be the inaugural Lucky Star Art Camp. How long has this been in the works and what was the impetus for making Camp happen?

This IS the first year for Lucky Star!  It has been a dream of mine for years, but it was a year ago that I really physically began the process of building a website and putting together a business plan.  The driving force behind creating the event has been my desire to bring women of all ages and backgrounds together to share and learn and create.  Women give so much of themselves every day, but rarely take a break from it all to recharge.  I know first hand how hard it is to leave town, to line up someone to cover for you at work and arrange for help with the kids and pets.  It takes aligning the moon and stars to make it all happen.  But the hardest thing is getting over feeling guilty or selfish for doing something so focused on YOU.  I want to encourage women to let go of the guilt and embrace the notion that they and everyone they love and tend will benefit from the experience they will have at camp.  I have experienced this first hand for the past three years while attending a similar retreat in the Northeast.  I have always loved bringing women together and forming clubs and groups and co-ops over the years.  When I discovered art retreats, a light went off…that was it!  I had to do my own version in the town where I live which is home to some of the best summer camps in the land; not to mention it happens to be beautiful!  So, Lucky Star was born.

You have a very broad and accessible definition of art. How did you come to your definition and why is it important to have it be expansive?

I am a mother of five; two girls and three boys who range in age from 4 1/2 to almost 21.  My husband already had the oldest three when we married, so I quickly went from foot loose and fancy free to Super Step-Mom.  I dove in wholeheartedly and loved my new family.  Because I was only a part-time mom, I still had plenty of time to myself to do as I pleased which at that time was scrapbooking (more accurately: collecting scrapbook supplies) and photography.  I had no idea until I started having babies just how hard it can be to have a hobby once you are a mom.  I had seen so many creative thinking women like me begin to feel trapped in this situation and I vowed to never let this happen to me.  So as my kids have gotten older, I have developed a new attitude that I try to share with as many women as possible.  My theory is that no matter what their specialty, creative types have an instinctual desire to create.  It keeps them sane.  And I think that WHAT they create is ART.  This applies to all women, not just mothers.  Creatives need to create and I just don’t think the emphasis needs to be on WHAT they create, just that they DO.  So… I try to see the “art” in the everyday things like cooking a beautiful meal for my family, for instance.  I put together something tasty, make it look pretty, take it outside and photograph it and then share it on my blog.  All in one chunk of time I covered culinary art, food styling and photography, and writing!  I might only do this once a month, but when I do, it satisfies that need within to create art.  It feeds me and I feed my family.  Win-win!  The point is, there are many people out there in the world who will tell you what art is or isn’t.  You must develop your own definition to fit the season of life you happen to be in and adjust as you go.  Don’t let your job or your family be the reason you stop creating and end up feeling all empty and deprived inside.  Just change your perspective!

In looking at the list of instructors for Camp, there are some amazing women who will be joining the participants and providing their guidance. How did you decide who to invite to be a part of this experience and how did you go about making the invitations?

Lots of research, prayer, meditation, and some serious throw-caution-to-the-wind COURAGE.  I put everything I have into creating this team.  It started with thinking about what I wanted to offer people, which for me was broad because I’m sort of a “Jill of all trades” kind of girl.  I am a landscape designer, organic gardener, and event planner who values all things handmade and loves to paint, write, and photograph.  Lucky Star embodies all of these things, so I set out to find instructors who would bring this to life!  I made a list of those women I wanted to invite to teach and I took a leap.  What a roller coaster ride this process was!  Some women were instantly excited and on board and some politely declined.  The most agonizing for me was when someone wouldn’t answer at all.  I could handle “no” because it allowed me to move on to the next person on my wish list, but no response at all made me first think they might not have received my email, so I’d send another and still no response.  Eventually I would give up and move on realizing that person was not meant to be at Lucky Star this time around and that my careful act of choosing through meditation and prayer had worked.  It was all part of the process.  Today I feel very confident that the women who are coming to teach or to attend are the exact ones who are meant to be there.  

For many women, finding the resources to attend Camp might be a stretch. Why is it important for women to find ways to not only make room for art/craft/creativity, but to come together as part of a larger community creating and learning together?

I spoke earlier about the importance for women to feed their creative side so I won’t go on about that (though I could for days:)  I remember the first time I felt the presence of “collective soul” which is how I like to think of creative communities.  I was twelve years old and I was sitting with my family on a bench (which I think was actually an old church pew) under the stars watching a concert at the Kerrville Bluegrass Festival (now Kerrville Folk Festival).  The lead singer asked everyone to hold hands and sing along.  My dad was on my right and a total stranger on my left.  We all held hands and sang together.  I felt electricity.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  The hair on my arms literally stood on end as I listened to my voice blending with those of the complete strangers all around me.  We were all so different…age, race, background, politics…yet we had all spent the day in the sweltering Texas heat to hear the music we all happened to love.  In that moment we were ONE and I LIKED it!  Finding and creating community is now a passion of mine.  We all need a place to feel we belong and we all need people in our lives who feed our creative souls, even if it’s just for a moment.

Lastly, what do you hope participants of Lucky Star Art Camp take away from their time at Camp?

I hope to give them at least one “goose bump” moment.  I want to remind them of how exciting it is to learn something new and to share their story.  I want them to remember what it was like to play like a child.  I want to share this beautiful river, these majestic trees, and rugged hills with them.  And most importantly, I want them to be able to draw confidence and strength from the experience they had at Lucky Star whenever they need it throughout the year.

Thank you Jen Allen for asking such great questions, and thank YOU all so much for taking the time to read more about Lucky Star.

Lucky Star Instructor Highlight + Giveaway :: Corrine Gilman

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I am so excited to introduce Lucky Star instructor Corrine Gilman!  Corrine is the ultimate creativity cheerleader and her intuitive, down-to-earth style is magnetic.  I can’t wait for you to meet her at Lucky Star this fall.  She is teaching Creative Abandon and Dreaming the Spiral.  Both classes are sure to ground, inspire and ignite!  I hope you enjoy getting to know Corrine a little better by reading the fun interview below.  You can also find her website here and read about her Lucky Star class offerings here.  And LuCKy YoU…Corrine is giving away an original 12×12 mixed media piece on gessoboard created specially for Lucky Star and ready to hang on your wall!  For a chance to win, look for the Rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of the page.  May the luckiest starlet win!

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Do you have any nicknames?

No, my name is unusual enough

 

Do you have any pets?

Yes, five rescue dogs, six ducks and two rabbits

 

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

My year of training and growth as an expressive arts facilitator, although having intensive training in the California wine country with daily trips to a 2500 year old redwood tree for meditation, well, that was just the icing on the adventure cake.

 

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

Yes, sleep-away camp in the white mountains of New Hampshire.  Archery, swimming and

gimp crafts were my favorites, and of course the ghost stories!

 

Salty or Sweet?

Both, sea salted chocolate with bacon…bliss.

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A singer and a nun, so the choir – maybe that’s why I love gospel music so much.

 

Tell us about a time when you were really brave.

I was in my early 20’s and my Mom was dying of cancer, taking care of her and my Dad

emotionally during that time was the bravest thing I have ever had to do.

 

What is your dream for your golden years?

Isn’t every year a golden year, shining with daily possibility, that’s how I like to see my life, a little bit of glitter, mostly sparkly.

 

Outside or inside?

Outside, I crave the solace of nature and the getting lost in it.  Nature feeds my soul and informs my art.

 

Who inspires you?

Ordinary folks like myself who decide to live their lives to the fullest each and every day. Artists Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Miro, and Jean DuBuffet, outsider art and artists, scientists Richard Feynman and Carl Sagan and Bernie Berlin of A Place To Bark and other animal rescue organizations.

 

List three scents that take you back to another time.

The smell Dove soap and my grandmother’s soft hands and cheeks.

The smell of a ripe tomato in my Dad’s garden

The smell of a dogs paw which tells the stories of the world.

 

What do you do to relax?

Take long walks in the woods, read a good mystery, canoe at dusk.

 

What kind of music are you listening to lately?

The fabulous Sarah Jarosz, The Heritage Blues Orchestra and Joe Sample

 

What is your favorite time of day?

Early morning before dawn.  I am most alive and productive

 

List your three favorite books.

In the Skin of the Lion, Michael Ondaatje

The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Erhlich

Making Hay, Verlyn Klinkenborg

 

Do you have a favorite daily ritual or practice?

Early morning walk always…

 

Do you have a tattoo?

No tattoos…

 

Do you like to cook?

Yes, although I am moving more toward simple, whole ingredients like proteins and salads

 

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Shrimp in any form, roasted asparagus, huge vegetable salad, and a slice of lemon merangue pie

 

Any thoughts on the state of food in our society?

Factory farming and ranching has got to go.  Small farms who can grow what they want, in a sustainable way, without interference from the giant GMO food producers is the way we need to be moving.  Back to the ancient grains like amaranth and quinoa, grass fed pasturing of our animals, support for local, local, local.

 

What’s your favorite season?

Fall, there is a crispness to the air that invigorates me.

 

River, ocean, pool or lake?

Pond, because I live on one.

 

What are your three favorite sounds?

Babies giggling, beagle howling, wind spirit moving the trees.

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Lucky Star Friend, Mindy Lacefield + Super Awesome Giveaway!

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One of the things people tend to get nervous about when going to camp is where they will sit in the dining hall. You look out across a sea of women, hands full, palms sweaty, looking for an inviting smile…anything to indicate they might be willing to say “sure” when you ask “do you mind if I sit here?” and you never really know what you’re going to get or who you’re going to end up with. Well, on one particular day when I was at camp this past September, my friend and I asked two women if we could join them.  What I got that day was two new friends, two new cheerleaders, two new daydream believers…Jennifer Belthoff and Mindy Lacefield.

I just sat my little Hunt, Texas butt down at that table and yakked and ate and laughed and yakked some more.  We all ended up sitting on a dock under the moon, talking and laughing for hours, never thinking about who lives where or who does what, never even considering the possibility that we may never get to share a moment like this again.  In that little slice of time we were living life to the fullest, stretching our wings, and reaping the rewards of what life has to offer a soul when it meets some of it’s sisters.

When I got back home, I pulled out all the business cards and scraps of paper I had collected with names and websites of all the people I’d met so that I could look them up and attempt to stay connected.  I got to Mindy and realized…DaNG! …this girl is a big deal, y’all!!!  She makes beautiful, soulful, emotional art that sells like hotcakes and she teaches all over the United States.  I was blown away!  I still am.  I wanted Mindy to teach a class at Lucky Star this October, but it wasn’t in the cards this time around.  We are going to try to make it happen in the future, though, and when it does, it’s going to be great!

In the meantime, my sweet friend has generously offered to give away a spot in her super awesome online class, “true Free Spirit”,  to help me promote Lucky Star!

I am truly grateful to you for this, Mindy.
With love from your friend way down here in Texas:)

And now for the Giveaway –
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Lucky Star Instructor Highlight :: Vivienne McMaster

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I’m so excited to introduce the amazingly talented photographer and Lucky Star Instructor, Vivienne McMaster. Vivienne is coming all the way to Texas this October from her home in Canada to teach you to see yourself in a different light…through the lens of your own camera. I can say from the personal experience of taking several of her online e-courses that Vivienne’s classes are life-changing. There is something about her techniques and gentle spirit that opens you up to seeing yourself with a much kinder eye and believe it or not… self-portraiture is REALLY fun! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Vivienne by exploring her website and by reading this fun interview and please consider joining Vivienne in person this October at Lucky Star!  Also, if you feel like playing along…we have another Lucky Star Giveaway. Vivienne has generously offered a spot in her new e-course, “Be Your Own Beloved”, which starts next week! Look for it after you read the interview. Enjoy!
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Do you have any nicknames? 

Vivers
Miss Viv

Do you have any pets? 

One sweet unusually petite cat named Ladybug

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Life is one big adventure!

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

Yes. For 9 years each summer I went to an incredible all-girls summer camp on an island where we lived in canvas tents in the woods. It absolutely shaped my life in so many ways. We essentially lived outside, canoed under the stars, sang songs around campfires and made lifelong connections. I’m so grateful that my parents were able to make that happen in my childhood.

Salty or Sweet?

Sweet for sure. I’m also gluten-free so when I find a good gluten-free sweet treat, total bliss.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

To be honest I don’t really remember, but I do know that the work I’m doing now is something I couldn’t have dreamt up for myself. Being a photographer and making my living creatively was actually beyond what I hoped for.

Tell us about a time when you were really brave.

Every time I launch a new offering it feels like it is the scariest thing in the world and like I really need to be brave. You’d think it would get easier over the years but really being a creative entreprenuer is one big act of bravery, again and again!

What is your dream for your golden years?

I would love to be doing what I’m doing now: creating, taking photographs, teaching, learning and really living every day to the fullest. Of course I’d love to have had a long love-filled life with a life partner and a gaggle of grandkids too!

Outside or inside?

Outside. Big time. I often feel like in my photos you’d think I lived in the woods as I just crave natural spaces so much and seek them out in my work. The woods, the ocean, even a tiny patch of wildly overgrown grass in the middle of the city makes me oh so happy.

List three scents that take you back to another time.

The smell of the eucalyptus trees from a trip to California years ago
The smell of lilac in the spring
The smell of nag champa reminds me of being a teen

What do you do to relax?

I love photowalks, hot baths and just giving myself permission to stop working and to watch movies on netflix!

What kind of music are you playing lately?

I’m kind of a folkie, so a good singer songwriter makes me happy. Lately Chris Pureka, Patty Griffin and Iron and Wine are regularly playing in my house!

What is your favorite time of day?

I think I have two favourites. I love morning and feel most alive and energized for the first chunk of the day but I also so love evening light so much.

List your three favorite books.

Beautiful You: A Radical Guide to Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary
Women Food and God by Geneen Roth
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Do you have a favorite daily ritual or practice?

I love my baths at the end of the day. Being self-employed I often feel like I’m never ‘off-work’ so having that bath at the end of the day is ritual for shifting from work to relaxation time.

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you choose it?

No tattoos actually! You never know, it still might happen!

Do you like to cook?

I love to cook and am falling more in love with it all the time. Being gluten-free it is simply safer to cook for myself than to eat out but I’m finding myself learning more and more about cooking and getting more enjoyment out of it all the time.

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Lately it is west coast wild salmon and homemade yam fries with a kale salad!

What’s your favorite season?

Definitely spring. Living on the west coast, spring arrives early after a really rainy grey season and I feel like it invites us to really slow down and notice what is around us and savour the newness and growth.

River, ocean, pool or lake?

A lake for sure. Last year I was teaching a workshop in Whistler in the summer and after each day I would walk to the lake nearby and just walk right into the water. That view of the lake when you are swimming is pure bliss.

What are your three favorite sounds?

Birds chirping
A 12 string guitar
Waves crashing

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

BeYourOwnBeloved

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Instructor Highlight :: Nicole Levy

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I met Nicole Levy two and a half years ago at art camp in a class on how to pitch an article to a magazine.  We only spent that one day together, writing, sharing our ideas with the class, and daydreaming about the magazines that we hoped would someday publish our words and photographs.  Our paths crossed again the following year, and it was so nice to see her happy smile at camp again; a familiar face among many new ones.  We ended up spending another day together, sewing this time, and I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have gotten to know Nicole.  Now, to have her teaching at Lucky Star is just…right.  Nicole is teaching “Upcycle Your Wardrobe” and “Stamp It” this fall at Lucky Star Art Camp.  Don’t miss the chance to spend the day with her in Texas! I hope you enjoy getting to know Nicole a little better by reading our fun interview below and on our Instructor page.  And by the way…she has been generous enough to offer a sweet trio of her handmade favorites as a giveaway to Lucky Star followers!!!  Read through to find out how you can win our newest Lucky Star Instructor Highlight Giveaway!

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Do you have any nicknames? 

Nicoleee

Cole

Coley

Coco

 

Do you have any pets? 

A dog named Jax and we’re going to be bringing home some chickens later this year.

 

 

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

No. Attending camps as an adult is my way of making up for it. It’s like being a kid all over again.

 

Salty or Sweet?

Both

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Very early on, I wanted to sing, but it just so happens I’m tone deaf.

 

What is your dream for your golden years?

My dream for my golden years, and even now, are the same. My soul craves to live by the ocean in an artsy community – teaching, making and learning, while surrounded by a tribe of incredible women who root each other on every step of the way.

 

Outside or inside?

It all depends. Great comfort, inspiration and joy can be found in all sorts of places.

 

Who inspires you?

Jane Goodall. Her sense of self is rock solid, her accomplishments are awe-inspiring and the change she has created and still creates in the world among people from all different backgrounds is remarkable.

 

List three scents that take you back to another time.

Freshly cut grass, fresh baby tomatoes and a campfire instantly bring me back to my childhood.

 

What do you do to relax?

When something is really bothering me or I need to unwind, I just walk and walk and walk. A little like how Forest Gump, just ran and ran and ran. I walk until the stress is released.

 

What kind of music are you playing lately?

The song ‘Into the Wild’ by LP instantly energizes me these days.

 

What is your favorite time of day?

Mornings.  There’s nothing like a quiet morning when I have no where pressing to be and the whole day, with all its possibilities, are in front of me.

 

List your three favorite books.

Life on the Other Side, By Sylvia Browne

The Art of Growing Up, By Veronique Vienne

A Year of Mornings, By Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes

 

Do you have a favorite daily ritual or practice?

Juicing. I’ve recently discovered and now love green juice. It’s so pure and full of nutrients.

 

Do you have a tattoo?  What is it and why did you choose it?

No tattoo. I sometimes tease my husband that I am going to get one though. A few years back I had a mole taken off my shoulder. I’d like it back, so I tease him I am going to get a tattoo to replace it.

 

Do you like to cook?

When I have time, I love to cook.

 

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

A bowl of hearty soup drizzled with olive oil, topped with diced avocado and homemade bread.

 

Any thoughts on the state of food in our society?

It’s amazing as a society how dependent we are on processed foods. We look at these ‘food’ items as food, but they are anything but something we should be nourishing our bodies with. I’m on a mission to cook and bake food that comes from whole foods, not processed flours, sugars and other ingredients. Our society has a long way to go on this front.

 

What’s your favorite season?

Fall. Despite how fleeting it can be I love the colors, crisp air and all the nesting that goes with it.

 

River, ocean, pool or lake?

Ocean

 

What are your three favorite sounds? 

My husband’s laugh

Any noise my dog makes

Waves

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The Giveaway-

Nicole is generously giving away three of her favorite things…Felt Acorns, Lavender Lemon Restorative Hand Scrub and a beautiful Wet Felt Table Runner on behalf of her blog,  www.LavenderNest.com and Lucky Star.  This is what Nicole has to say about the prizes-

Wet Felt Table Runner: Does that side table of yours need a little love? You know, the one in the corner that always gets forgotten about. This one of a kind wet felted runner is 11 inches long by 10 inches wide and provides the perfect adornment for a small table or dresser. It was made using roving (pale grey, purple, white and green) from upstate New York sheep. It’s sure to brighten up any room.

Hand Scrub and Acorns: What could be more fun than hand scrub and felted acorns? We’re not sure either. This lavender lemon restorative hand scrub is made from all natural ingredients and will soothe and care for the roughest of hands and feet while giving the senses an aromatherapy treat. And if that’s not enough, these sweet little felted acorns, using real acorn tops, can be displayed year round in your favorite bowl, on the tree or wherever you fancy.  

Are you feeling lucky?  Play along with us below!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


NicoleLevyGiveaway

Lucky Star + Stencil Girl Products = Happy Campers

Lucky Star has a sponsor!!!

We are excited to introduce our first official sponsor, Stencil Girl Products !  Designed by artists for artists, this line is sure to become your new best friend.  AND…there is a “giveaway” so keep reading people!StencilGirl Horizontal copy

bioImage_1Who is Stencil Girl you ask?

Talented artist, workshop leader and author, Mary Beth Shaw, is the woman behind the brand. Mary Beth has generously offered to send us some stencils for our Lucky Star Art Camp swag bags! AND…Lucky Star instructor, Corrine Gilman, will be using Stencil Girl Products in her classes Creative Abandon and Dreaming the Spiral at Lucky Star this October.

Register for Lucky Star Art Camp and sign up for Corrine Gilman’s classes to test drive these awesome new products.

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Why will you love Stencil Girl Products?

Our stencils are designed by artists who know and love stencils and use them regularly. What does this mean to you?

– Quality
We use 7 mil mylar, a plastic film that is heat resistant. The stencils are thick enough to be strong and long lasting, yet they are thin enough to provide a seamless look in your art. StencilGirl demands this ’cause she is a picky little girl who doesn’t like a bulky stencil. These stencils are also laser cut – can you say precision!! – right here in the USA.

– Versatility
Use the stencils with paint or texture medium (Wood Icing rocks). They will work with encaustic products and you can clean them on your hot palette if you are quick about it, Stencil Girl does it all the time when her palette is cooling. You can use them for rubbings or as a template for drawing, incising or stitching.

– Design Strength
Have you ever bought a stencil only to find it has weird openings that interrupt the design? This has happened to Stencil Girl and she doesn’t like this, nope, not at all, so she personally tests every single stencil for the strength of its design.

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Now for the Lucky Star GIVEAWAY!  Mary Beth is giving away a package of Stencil Girl stencils…

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+ a signed copy of her book Flavor for Mixed Media.

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To enter-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Mary Beth and Stencil Girl Products for sponsoring Lucky Star and for this awesome “giveaway”!