Monday, July 21, 2014

Step Twins -- Two Mediums/Same Design/One Artist

They look the same to me!
I believe they called it dusting off my brain. I was being encouraged to try something new as a means of self expression, and I was holding back. My familiar fiber art skills are so comfortable to me that I can sometimes, when I am felting late at night, almost feel like I am creating in my sleep. "Dust off my brain!" seems a bit drastic, doesn't it? Perhaps I am relating more to the popular "Step out of your comfort zone". Whatever happens to motivate me, this new series has already been named: Step Twins.

A new inventory of artistic supplies.
When you think about identical twins, of course there is only one mother involved. So in this creativity-expanding exercise, I am playing the role of the Mother/Artist. Pairs of objects will be created in this series of 16 pieces in my studio, and these are what I am referring to as the Twins. So there will be eight sets of Twins when the series is complete. Any guesses as to how long this might take me...assuming I won't get away with working while sleepy?

My brain is feeling fresh as I contemplate that each set of twins will be comprised of works that will, from a distance, look the same. As you approach them, the texture of each piece starts to pop, and then, magically, as you step front and center before them, you realize that one of the works in each pair is a painting and the other is a fiber art piece. Step Twins: the same mother but very different genetics.

I started with a painting and now I am collecting the wool.
In my studio today I have begun playing with Twin Set #1. It might be fun to begin some of these pairs with the painting first (which is what I've done today), and then on other occasions, I will start with the fiber art. This will truly stretch my skills and cause me to wake up my process, don't you think? What kind of challenge are you looking at for the balance of 2014 when it comes to your creativity? May I make a suggestion? Perhaps you should dust off your brain.

Please check back from time to time for an update on this series. I'm excited to share it with you!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Textile Art vs. Fiber Art -- Which words do you use?

Work by Nancy Crow
I have long defined my work as fiber folk art and it is usually a comfortable way for me to talk about what I do in my studio. Because I communicate with my collectors over the Internet, I have learned that art lovers in different parts of the United States and abroad use other words to describe the kind of objects/art I create. Outside of the conversation about the relative value of art as opposed to craft, which is a subject that often carries a bit of tension, I've been thinking about the choice of calling myself a fiber artist over a similar term, textile artist. Have you ever thought about a geographical or a perceived sophistication difference in the words used?

In common usage today, any type of artwork which uses pliable, organic elements as the major material can be labeled as either fiber art or textile art, and I notice when I do an Internet search that a large variety of examples come up when either term, fiber or textile, is used. However, I am noticing that there seems to be a difference between artworks that are created using traditional needlework techniques like stitching, weaving, spinning, felting, or quilting and those artworks that are made using a more expansive toolkit, like combining fiber with other mixed-media, adhesives, heated tools, or non-organic structural elements. Another clear reference to the word textile can be seen in ancient textiles to those of the 21st century, where a lineage of makers/artists created yardage of fabric, each baring the fingerprint of the artist.

Work by Miriam Schapiro
How does any of this history or word play make a difference in my profession? I believe that the way in which a person thinks about him or herself is a foundational element to whatever it is they do to earn a living. I am a professional artist, meaning my creative process is undertaken in a manner that addresses my economic goals and traditional business practices. When I use certain words to describe my artwork, words that feel apologetic or self-limiting, this has an impact on not only my own self expression but also on the manner in which the public views my work. I do sometimes feel hesitant to tell others I am a fiber artist, as if I am a poor cousin visiting the art world. Does this ever happen to you?

I believe that the art community, and especially the textile art community, has a strong heritage of skills that are passed down through both professional communities as well as domestic circles, and my work as an artist in in keeping with those who came before me. That means I can stand with some of my favorite artists who broke free of traditional and perhaps limiting art world boxes and now represent innovation in the fiber and textile arts--favorite artists like Nancy Crow and Miriam Schapiro come to mind.

Work by Georgianne Holland
When you consider making, buying or talking about fiber art, I hope that you also hold an expansive view about what it can mean within the larger artistic community. Beyond gender, beyond education, beyond cultural boundaries, there is a space for creativity using pliable organic fibers that speaks to humans in a very textural, seductive and accessible way. I have grown to think highly of all of this manner of communicating beauty and ideas, as I'm sure you have as well, and it is my hope that others will also help us sing the praises of creativity, using whichever words and mediums  ring most true.

Thanks for stopping by,

Find my work at

Friday, June 6, 2014

Decoupage Anyone?

My light table decoupaged as a cheerful patchwork!
I love Mod Podge! If you know what I mean, then you are likely ready to tackle another decoupage project. I have used a variety of glues and techniques to decorate the surface of many objects over the years. I've embellished large pieces of furniture all the way down to teeny tiny balsa wood circles. It is a fun way to make my home decor a one-of-a-kind piece.

One thing I have never done is decoupage the backside of clear glass trays, allowing my art of choice be showcased in this DIY upgrade. Have you tried this yet? I found an artist named John Derian who makes glue and botanical images look classy on the wall, and with only a few dollars invested in supplies. This is a great home decor bargain!

STEP ONE Locate a copyright-free image of your choice in the size that will fit on the back of your glass tray. The folks at Behrenberg Glass sell a variety of tray sizes.
Places in the Home Tray
STEP TWO Clean the back of your glass tray with window cleaner, wiping to remove any residue. After it dries completely, sponge brush a think layer of Mod Podge over the entire tray back. Place your image, right side down, on top of the Mod Podge. Quickly flip the tray over to make sure the image is centered as you like it. Smooth the paper against the glass, then place the tray back side up on a clean work surface. With a cylindrical object, like a clean wine cork, roll out any air bubbles until the paper fully molds to the glass. Dry for 30 minutes.
STEP THREE Brush a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the back of the tray, from edge to edge. Place a clean white sheet of paper onto the glue, flush against the back of the image you already glued there. Smooth it with your fingers and roll out any air bubbles, as with the first layer. Dry for 30 minutes.
STEP FOUR Cut away any excess paper around the tray edges with a craft knife. You may want to cut away a thin line all around the edge of the glass. That way, you can in a later step, apply a paint color that from the front of the piece, will look like a colorful edge treatment. After your trimming is complete, seal the back side of this white paper layer with a thin coat of Mod Podge and a sponge brush. Dry for 30 minutes.
YouTube has many decoupage tutorials.
STEP FIVE When you tray is completely dry, paint the tray's back side with an acrylic color of your choice. This is when any cut away edge around the white paper will sport a color that will show through on the front of your piece.

I am having fun going through my own catalog of nature, bird, tree and flower images, looking for a few ideal decoupaged tray choices. I think we all know that there will be birds involved in the end!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne - See more at:
P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne - See more at:
P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. I am inspired by this community of creative, passionate, and friendly women! Best wishes, Georgianne

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Artists' Unhealthiest Habit and How to Stand Up to It

I have some NEAT advice for all my fellow artists, as well as my charming friends who: love to read, love to relax in their porch swing, are computerized office workers, or those who love to take long road trips. This advice is perfect for all of us who lead lives primarily from the seated position. Stand Up for your Health!
Two recent studies show that being sedentary for long stretches might be one of the unhealthiest things we do each day -- even if we regularly exercise. Guilty!

The second we sit down, three important things stop or slow down in our body: the calories we burn, our enzyme activity (digestion), and electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends 9.3 hours each day sitting. As an artist who creates behind a sewing machine and operates an online boutique, I am certain I meet or exceed this statistic.

What is my NEAT advice for everyone who thinks their chair is the best place on earth? 

NEAT is an acronym for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, a term used by James Levine, MD, PhD, for all the incidental movement you do throughout the day that is not considered formal exercise. I believe that my smart phone is my greatest advocate in this goal to increase my movement throughout the day. I set my timer to ring every 60 minutes with the song Happy by Pharrel Williams. Have you ever tried to not move around when this song is playing? It has become the cue in my fiber art studio to stand up, dance around, and shake my backside. This is a healthy and silly prompt to reinvigorate my circulation.

Here are some more NEAT ways to get moving:
Strap on a fitness-tracking device. I use a BodyMedia armband to keep track of how much I move each day. It is incredibly motivating to me!
Watch TV while doing chores. I fold clothes, dust my furniture, and go up and down stairs throughout commercial breaks. I don't feel like I am missing any plot points...heck, does TV even have a plot anymore?
Learn a new hobby. I've gone old-school and am taking up again some of the playground favorites of my youth. I am determined to relearn how to jump rope! Yes, think Mohammad Ali and his quick-step jump rope training. I especially want to master those awesome cross overs and double jumps!
Give up a few conveniences. Operating a fiber art studio is a physical job. There is a lot of moving around, heavy lifting and bending/twisting action. To make sure my body is not sedentary for long stretches of time in the studio, I have learned to be a little less efficient with my seated tasks and instead, add in bouts of action throughout the day. Is it inconvenient to interrupt a lengthy machine-quilting session with cleaning duties? Yes. Does it decrease my risk of future cardiovascular disease? Yes.

Let's all stand up for good health!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Oh, it was nothing" and other ways to Celebrate your Success

Many of the women I know are quiet about their accomplishments. Ask them how they managed to pull together their company's most profitable project in three years and I am likely to hear that it's all in the teamwork. Do you know women like this who feel more comfortable shining a light on others rather than verbalize their own achievements? In the fiber art community of my profession, female artists often explain their amazing needle art expertise by pointing out that their mother, grandmother and aunts all inspired them with their simple homemaking skills like sewing clothes or embroidering tea towels. I know how this works because I have done it myself. The real hero in our life always seems to be someone else.

American women are often raised to be polite, humble and modest, and this leads women to view accepting praise as a form of bragging. Are we selling ourselves short? In order to deflect a robust statement about the value of our accomplishments, do we have to engage in a version of negative self talk? "Oh, it was nothing" may sound humble, but does it actually undermine our confidence or demotivate our future efforts? I believe that all people, male and female alike, should practice a few techniques to celebrate success so that their full participation in life is acknowledged and their anticipation of future success is enjoyed!

Awesome Efforts deserve Vibrant Recognition
1. Pat someone else on the back. Because I am an artist and so enjoy looking at art, there is not a week that goes by when I cannot find a fellow artist who has made something that inspires me. When I contact them and offer my sincere praise, you might think I am doing this for their benefit. That is only half of the story. Talking about others' accomplishments helps normalize the behavior, making it even more likely that I will mindfully appreciate my own victories.
2. Take a trip down memory lane. At the end of the week, after you have given your daily life your best shot, take a quiet moment to review your actions. Think about three specific ways your accomplishments made a positive difference in this world. Thinking about specific actions like this requires your rational brain to do more of the thinking work than your emotional brain, which means that you can more easily override your early polite-girl training to be humble and quiet about awesome abilities. Luxuriate in your thoughts of contribution.
3. Practice asking for what you want. We've all thought it from time to time. Women who are blunt when asking for stuff get called not-so-nice names. This cultural habit does not serve us well, and even keeps us from verbalizing our needs. If something you want is related to an accomplishment from your past, say stellar performance on the job, how hard is it for you to speak up and ask for an appropriate reward? Have you ever felt passive about life as you wait and hope for the acknowledgement you deserve? I know I have. It almost seems like praise from an authority figure or another person whose opinion I trust (like my husband), is something that should come my way unbeckoned in order for it to be legitimate. Here's the skill I am practicing to boost my confidence in this situation: ask for advice. "I am trying to figure out the best way to be included in the Main Street Art Festival in September. Do you have any advice for me?" This approach allows me to get closer to asking directly for what I want, and every step in that direction increases my chances of getting what I want more often.
4. Ritualized Mini Celebrations. Are you the kind of friend who notices when your girlfriend's child receives an award? Do you call her up and help her feel special about her special little girl? Why is it easier to get pumped up about another person's success than it is to get pumped up about your own? Jessi L. Smith, Ph.D. says it is due to what's called "negativity bias," which causes our brains to look at what goes wrong before it looks at what goes right. This little protective devise helps us survive, I suppose, but I vote that we should thrive more than survive! So the next time you accomplish anything, truly anything, give yourself 20 seconds to mentally Happy-Dance. Who knows, this might even lead to actually moving your body around in a little jig. Now wouldn't that be a fun-loving way to enjoy yourself?

Looking at feminine accomplishment and applauding it is something this old world of ours needs. And sometimes, this is an inside job. When we take the time to notice our efforts and give ourselves the positive credit we deserve, and then that naturally leads to an embodied experience of joy, you can bet that our motivation to succeed in the future will be heightened. All of our awesome efforts do deserve vibrant recognition, because that, my friend, is no small thing.

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love to have you follow my blog! I invite you to do that because the content I offer here is awesome. Getting to know you through comments and such simply fills my heart with joy. Thanks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Average Age of American Widow is 55, and other Shocking Travel News

Are you the kind of wife who makes plans for retirement vacations? If you are any one's wife at all, and you are still happy to explore the world in your 50s, a few extravagant vacations can likely come to mind. I know they do with me! That is why I read with shock the statistic in Parade Magazine's recent issue that the average age of widowhood in the United States is 55.

I am not ready to retire yet (thus elaborate travel is still in the planning stage), and my 55th birthday is a few months away, but this piece of trivia really got my attention. I decided to do a little research to see if this statistic was real, and I did find some governmental statistics that quoted figures of "average age of widowhood" at 55 to 58 years old. I think we need to talk.

Why does this headline get my attention, and perhaps yours as well? I have been in the process of implementing a Live a Vital Life in Our 90s Protocol at the Holland House since 2008! That was the year I made up my mind that with specific lifestyle choices and putting my growing health knowledge into action, I would be able to live a vibrant life well past 90. In fact, this little "program" of mine has snowballed into a full-fledged career as a Holistic Health Coach! It is just fascinating to me how the simple choices I make every day can add years to my life as well as life to my years. My husband has enjoyed the lifestyle changes that have progressively happened in our home for the past six years, and his health has never been stronger. Each book I read on the topic of longevity and wellness has a magical way of ending up in his reading stack, and we are having lively discussions about all the pros and cons of expert advice and the latest health and wellness research results. I truly believe that my husband and I will outlive the statistics and dance at our anniversary party in 2050.

If I think about all the ways in which we have improved or tweaked our daily choices to live longer and with more vitality, I would have to claim the following as the changes that make my Top Ten list. How many of these efforts are part of your healthy lifestyle?

1. Be an Artist   Creativity is a healing human endeavor and expanding our vocabulary by expressing ourselves with our art is a superb way to stay young. Do you believe that your creativity is valuable? There are as many ways to be artistic as their are people on this planet.
2. Move to Monaco   Did you know that the average life expectancy in Monaco is 89.68 years? I am thinking of adding this destination to my retirement travel plans. I want to see first hand some of these vibrant folks!
3. Choose Wonderful Friends   The feelings of isolation will age the human spirit almost as fast as overeating donuts. I use the word Wonderful to be crystal clear about my feelings regarding Ruthless or Apathetic friends, whom I plan to avoid.
4. Cook with Joy   This lifestyle choice has morphed into a larger effort which is giving us great results, and that is to cook whole foods with joy. The energetics of eating mostly produce and making 90% of our food at home is a lovely habit. I also feel joyful every time I see my husband chopping salad vegetables.
5. Buy Better Mattresses   The importance of a good night's sleep is not some future-tense sort of benefit. Being well rested is great for longevity, as well as being great for this very day. I believe it is the foundation of optimism.
6. Drive with Care   This could also read, Don't Get in Car Accidents. It could also read, Ride your Bike more often.
7. Find Reasons to Laugh   I try to laugh every single day. A real belly laugh is my favorite core workout.
8. Sit Less and Garden More   Set a timer when you sit down to read or use the computer. When it rings, go garden or take a walk. I seriously do this. I am not saying I have the luxury of time to take a long walk or plant for an hour, but I am saying that small bursts of bending, moving, stretching and squatting are awesome ways to add functional fitness for my future well-being.
9. Cherish my Spirituality   Embracing my connection to the Divine and my place in the universe is primary food for me. Taking a moment to quiet my mind and center myself is not only a spiritual activity; it is also a stress reliever that lowers my blood pressure and comforts my body.
10. Take Great Vacations   And thus, I have plans for retirement vacations! There are many lovely places that my husband and I want to see, and many of them are in my home state of Colorado. Good thing we have 40+ years to explore.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mother's Day Table Settings and other Stories about How Women Feed Themselves

I am both a mom and a daughter. I have had a mother-in-law whom I adored. My own precious mother had seven children and she fed us dinner at 6pm for decades. I am the mom to three, step mom to two, and grandmother of four, and I love to cook for and feed my family. With all of this mothering in my life, I know my way around Mother's Day, and I know it is just a few weeks away. Shoot! Huh?

Mother's Day is set aside in the US as a day to feed moms in a special manner. I know it is also a card-giving occasion, a flower-planting day for many, and a big hug of thanks to the woman we all count on: our mom. I have observed though that it is mostly about the food. Breakfast in bed. Brunch out after church. A gathering of the grown up kids for an afternoon meal in the backyard. Ah, American life on Mother's Day! Delicious food made special for ONE day. Thanks, Mom!

As a health coach, it occurs to me that setting aside one day a year to focus on special food, flowers and gratitude for maternal reward is simply not enough. I propose that all women, especially women who are also moms, and daughters, too, for that matter, should think about how we make special the very act of eating. You know, how we do it for ourselves. Yes, we don't have to wait for Mother's Day to have a luxurious breakfast in bed (our eat our lunch without also driving)!

Here are a few eating questions to ponder, without judgement, just think about:
  • Do you often sit at your kitchen or dining room table to eat? Will you on Mother's Day?
  • How often do you have sit down family dinners at your home? Are you in the midst of raising kids or is yours more of an empty nest these days?
  • Are you the primary cook of your food?
  • Do you eat while driving? Do you have a lovely eat while driving tray, like the one shown above?
  • How often do you entertain at home, and when you do, do you set the table for your guests?
  • Did you ever eat at a TV tray and watch The Wonderful World of Disney?
  • Did you ever get to eat on a TV tray that had short legs so that you could place it on your lap as you sit in your favorite chair?
  • Do you find it more relaxing to eat alone, before or after your kids have finished their dinner?
  • Do you eat higher quality foods when you set the table to eat it?
  • How often do you eat your food on the coffee table?
  • What is your favorite thing to do in addition to eating when you are eating?
I am here to tell you, because it has just now become crystal clear to me, that most women, and I include myself, do not make eating the special experience that it should be. Did you ever read the 1964 children's book, Bread and Jam for Francis by Russell Hoban? I remember this book fondly. It involves the story of Francis being packed lunch by his mother, and in that lunchbox he is treated to a soft boiled egg along with a tiny little salt and pepper shaker, and a tiny little spoon to tap the egg open, and oh, yes, yummy bread and jam. I remember thinking, boy-o-boy, that Francis is so lucky! To be treated to such a special way of eating school lunch. I want to be this lucky!

I propose that we can all make ourselves feel special at most every meal we eat. We can set a place for ourselves at the proverbial table of life, and make sure that our simple daily meals are precious moments of time
when our food is nourishing, our mind is relaxed, our full senses come out to play, and we know ourselves to be special. We can involve other people in this effort, or we can do it for ourselves because we like it that way. I really can and so can you.

Let's prepare to celebrate Mother's Day this year as the fresh start in a new way of eating. After that lovely and special meal is over, let's keep out our place mats, and our cloth napkins, and even keep a place clear  on the coffee table. Bringing mindful beauty to most every meal is a healthy and fun thing to do, and it makes us feel special, because we are.

If you have concerns about how food is a part of your life, I hope you will find helpful resources at my fun health coaching website. Go there now and let me know you read this blog. I'd love to send you my top ten tips to make your mealtime a bit more relaxing.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Phone Tech Savvy to Benefit Your Fiber Art

If you are getting to know the features of your iPhone, and like me, you may never use that cell phone tool to its full advantage, today's blog post will give you one good reason to stretch beyond your technology boundaries! I fully admit that I am technology adverse. I seek out all the paper and pencil in the house well before I seek out a machine on which I can write. No calendar on my phone, no movies on my iPad--I simply like things old school. I get a little twitchy when people ask me why I don't take advantage of the time-saving tools on my iPhone, and I maybe even tune them out a bit, because I've convinced myself that I won't understand the steps involved in using my phone, at least not in a way that feels comfortable. Can you relate to any of this?

So, now that you know about the low-tech place from which I function, I am about to tell you that I am enamoured with the Turbo Scan App on my iPhone! My patient husband looked at me during my recent rant regarding my HP Office Jet Pro. "I don't know how to scan anything or send a fax! I cannot find anyway to make my computer and scanner 'talk' to one another!!"  Or something to that effect. With a respectful pause, my husband told me that he uses this App on his phone and he can send a scan to anyone he wants, quickly and easily. Well, good for you, smarty pants! He very kindly showed me how to do just that.

If you are an artist and often have fiber art in some stage of creative expression, you, too will love this phone App. I attended Jean Herman's workshop on fabric collage in Loveland, Colorado, this past weekend. Fabric collage is a fun technique that reminds me of creating your own puzzle from scraps of fabric. Gather up your scrap bag, a jar of gel medium, and a few of your favorite photos as inspiration, and you can in an afternoon, create a landscape, portrait or abstract image in fiber. The photo series I am sharing today reflects just such an experience. This fabric collage was developed during a four-hour workshop under Jean's guidance.

Here is when the Turbo Scan tool on your iPhone comes into play! I opened the App on my phone and was directed to take three successive photos of the piece [the original looks like the image on the left]. The App then melded those three photos into one scan, which I could then manipulate. To say that I manipulated anything sounds like an exaggeration of what I personally did at this point...I simply pushed a button that let me see the scan in black and white [middle image], or with a bit of color [image on the right], or as a complete photo [the first image]. Can you see how helpful this functionality is to a fiber artist? I can easily see in this series of scans that the simple fabric shapes I glued down actually do have a 3-D impact, are of interesting tonal values, have line that moves the eye, and finally, where I might need to add more detail. All from the push of a button! The exciting use of this tool let me see in just moments where I need to go next with this fiber art. No pinning it up across a large room and looking at it all squinty-eyed until I can see room for improvement. No need for getting expert form and function critiquing to determine the next best move. In just moments, I used technology to guide myself, and I feel great!

I am reaching out to my fellow tech-avoiders today in a selfish manner. This is my way of passing along the first step in healing myself of the notion I do not need to learn how to fully use my new phone. I hope that you have visions about how you could use this tool to get instant feedback on your next creative project! Or, I hope that this silly story is proof that old-school women can join together and learn new things! As Jean gently told us all at the workshop yesterday, her hope for us was that we would all end the day knowing that we had learned one important thing. Thanks Jean! I definitely did. You are a wonderful teacher.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Does Your Healthy Home need a Detox?

The benefits of eating clean, nutritious, whole foods are clear--the fewer toxins, chemicals, and junk you feed your body, the more vibrant a life you'll lead. While the phrase "you are what you eat" stands true, the state of your environment can also impact your health. Here's what I have learned lately about detoxing my home.

Cleaning Products
Toxic chemicals are widely used in generic cleaning products. The first step in your home detox is to read labels and question the "brand I always buy". Not all cleaning products list their ingredients. I would certainly avoid anything with a danger, hazard, or poison label. Ingredients like ammonia, DEA, APEs, and TEA are also bad for your home. Although even the most natural cleaners contain small amounts of hard-to pronounce ingredients, choose cleaning products like you would food. Opt for short ingredient lists (five or less) and make sure you comprehend most of the terms used on the label. Plant-based ingredients are the best choices, followed by solvent and phosphate-free products.

Making Your Own
Alternatively, you may make your own cleaning products. Baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and cornstarch are pantry staples that can also double up as cleaning supplies. Combined with hot water and elbow grease, you may never need to use a chemical cleaner again!

Furniture and Textiles
Mattress manufacturers often add flame retardants in order to comply with fire regulations. Regardless of the chemical concoction used, retardants are known to cause poor brain development as well as learning, behavior, and memory problems in children. Carpets also contain their own chemical load--stain resistance treatments, antimicrobial properties, antistatic agents, etc. In reality, they are all toxic.

Be a conscious consumer and choose a mattress made from natural materials like untreated cotton or wool. Also ensure they are free from synthetic materials like foam, glue, and moth-proofing chemicals. Use the same standards when choosing bedding, curtains, and rugs. Clean carpets with a plant-based detergent, or if you're moving homes or renovating, opt for hardwood floors instead.

Refresh your home with Paint
Springtime is often the cue for homeowners to clean and refresh their home. Nothing says fresh and new like a new coat of paint! Be sure to use no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. Many companies advertise no-VOC, but this may only be the base white paint. Once color is added, it's no long no-VOC. Here is a link to more information.

A truly clean, green home can't be achieved overnight--so if you can't incorporate these suggestions now, that's okay. Begin with small changes and watch them make a big impact over time.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sometimes the big changes start with one, small conversation. Learn more about my health coaching programs at!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Exercise Good Ideas

It has happened to me again. After 30 years of this type of thing, you'd think I wouldn't be so surprised. Today I had another exercise-induced Good Idea. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you are taking a nice, long walk through a tree-filled park, and like a bolt from the blue, a great idea comes to mind. Or perhaps you are riding away on the stationary bike and you forgot your ear buds, so you are just minding your own business, thinking about silly little things. Then, without any warning, the solution to a nagging problem is handed to you from the heavens! I've been known to say, "What?"

What is it about exercise that gets the good idea juices flowing?  When I was a young mom, 30 or so years ago, I started a small in-home business that I named Gifted Ideas. I did this because I kept coming up with genius new product ideas while I was pushing one of my kids in a stroller around the block. Genius may be an exaggeration, but they did certainly feel like little gifts.

In questioning how this happens to me and lots of other people, I learned from Leo Widrich that our brains are much more active during exercise than they are when we are on the couch. Belle Beth Cooper agrees. She says, "A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance, compared with those who are sedentary. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, even so-called fluid-intelligence tasks." There you go.

Crochet Brain, filled with great ideas!
Our brains truly are amazing in their ability to support us and our best interests. They secrete a particular type of protein that acts like a memory enhancer as well as a reset switch. This same protein will add endorphins to your blood and increase your good mood, which is perhaps why I believe my ideas are so wonderful. All I have to do to get these great ideas flowing is to get off my couch, perhaps even out of my fiber art studio, and move my body for 20 minutes. The next time I get a great idea while exercising, it will not be a surprise. My memory enhancers will make sure I don't forget how all of this works. That's the plan.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Color Play: A Study in Orange, Red, and Pink

The work of an artist is often more like play. It could be said that all those who enjoy their right livelihood are playful on the job! I am playing with the cheerful colors of orange, red and pink today, with a touch of yellow for fun. Some of these images are my own and some are inspirational touchstones for me.

Traditional furniture with zesty colors creates a youthful space at home.

Silk fusion is a playful fiber art technique I enjoy. This piece is now ready for embellishment.

The pinks and coppery oranges in the wool pile today are an obvious favorite of mine!

I believe this feather has been overlaid on an orange and pink backdrop. Fun!

What colors are you playing with today?

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Colorful, Young, Around-the-World Inspiration

How are you inspired? Do you seek out inspiring activities and people, making new friends and traveling to distant lands? (You would be my hero.) Is inspiration something that just happens for you, hitting you like a bolt of lightening from out of the blue? (Meaning it probably doesn't happen very often, but if it does, you are my hero.) Perhaps inspiration comes to you in the same way it comes to my sitting in a particular chair. I actively seek out the unique and sublime from the office chair I've had for 25 years. I have not had the Wonderful Worldwide Web for that long, but this chair has seen me through a lot of inspiring moments!

Being only an aspiring traveler and occasional dinner party guest, it is important to my creative life that I find other ways to bring refreshing news and ideas to me. I have made it a habit to spend 30 minutes every day taking an online trip around the world, where I feast upon the latest resources and uplifting inventions I find there. How do you bring inspirational ideas into your daily life?

Three Inspirations from my recent Travels

The Blue Marble Project

Rock stars, presidents, kids, scientists, artists, explorers, and eco-celebrities...even the Dalai Lama and the Pope, have received blue marbles.

In 2009, the wildly popular, absurdly simple, neuroscience-based initiative of marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, has shared blue marbles around the world with millions of people in celebration of our beautiful, fragile, planet.

Now, The Blue Marbles Project has set out to pass a blue marble through every person's hand on earth, with a simple message of gratitude along with it.

So, the "rules" remain pure and simple.
1. The marble must be blue (any shade, preferably glass).
2. When you get one, give it away to someone as a token of gratitude (whenever you like).
3. Share your story with the world (however you like).

Just play the Blue Marble game! Don't over think it. You'll love it.
Contact Julie Starke to get some blue marbles for yourself, your classroom or event, and start spreading blue gratitude.

The Creative Embroidery resource of Stef Francis

Do you get excited by the needle arts in Europe? My research, and perhaps someday my personal experience, has shown me a huge needle art community throughout Europe. One of the new-to-me favorite magazines to read is Embroidery, The Textile Art Magazine (the Embroiderer's Guild magazine). Through this resource, while firmly planted in my office chair, I have learned of  Stef Francis. If I were in Great Britain today, I would visit the "World of Space-Dyed Threads and Fabrics" run by Stef Francis. On her website, you will find a huge range of hand-dyed yarns, threads, fabrics, and fibers. I am told that most are dyed by Stef in her unique range of colors, which I just love! Doesn't her fiber and textile kit look like fun? I believe that in another life, I was a royal or aristocratic lady with my retinue, creating famous embroideries. Please let me know when it is teatime.

The Amazing World of Richard Clarkson

My final inspirational person today is a young designer I have found from my other fantasy life...the world of Twitter.  It is there that through the help of another hip young man, the charming Brett of IAmLab (my new favorite blog and resource for #handmade love) I found Richard Clarkson (see how this armchair friend-making is fruitful: and young and hip). Truly, these things wouldn't happen to me in real life.

What Richard makes will just astound you, if napping on your sofa while a gentle, non-wet thunder burst in your dining room seems like fun to you. Right? I love the romance of a light show on a cloudy night, and Richard has designed a way to bring that into your home! Watch this little video to see what I mean, and then imagine having this light fixture be the conversation piece at your next dinner party. I would attend that party!

There are so many ways that inspiration can happen. If a bolt from the blue happens to you today, I hope you will drop me a note and let me hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, February 10, 2014

Building Bridges between Artists and Consumers

Hello Fred!
Have you ever wanted to be a patron of the arts? Perhaps you already are, or perhaps you think that this activity sounds a bit stuffy? I have always thought that I need to uplift and support Creatives of all types. I once paid a nickle for my friend's art fair entry. She was devastated, devastated I tell you, that no one wanted to buy her lovely sketch of Fred, the family dog. We were in kindergarten, and even then, I knew that being an art patron was something I'd enjoy!

There are many legitimate reasons to support artists, especially if you are one yourself. I believe that the arts are part of any society that wants to experience true prosperity. The work of artists inspire me to be better: a better person, a better businesswoman, and a better artist. Art helps us express our values. It also helps build bridges between cultures. For example, there are many differences between mothering in Colorado and Nigeria, but there are also huge similarities, and those communion experiences can be celebrated in art. That is a true gift.
I also believe that art and creativity are an important worldwide industry. I know that some artists don't like to be told they are making a consumer product, but I do know that nonprofit arts organizations in the US generate over $160 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 5.7 million jobs and investing in the passionate work of artists in American life. That my friends, is a lot of nickels.

I would like to build a bridge between you and a wonderful new artisan-loving organization on the scene today! is a referral site that showcases curated shops of handmade goods, like the gorgeous pottery made by Niki Crosby of Happy Clay in Richmond, Virginia. The focus of ArtizanMade is on eco-fashion and home decor, and many of the members in this new endeavor are also members of the popular TAFA organization [Textile and Fiber Arts List].

Behind each product on the ArtizanMade website is a story. There are so many loving and powerful stories of creativity in the midst of adversity, or transformational experiences that take an artistic soul and guide them into new experiences with small business dreams. I love being part of these success stories...don't you?
Happy Clay by Niki Crosby, my new favorite artist!
Instead of using my consumer purchasing power to profit a big-box store in 2014, my plan is to find again the sheer joy of supporting my fellow creatives, one Pencil Sketch of Fred at a time! Yes, there is truly joy in being a patron of the arts. I hope that you will join me in this delightful lifestyle via your own computer dial up. In fact, I have decided to become a member of ArtizanMade and add my dreams of artistic living to the chorus.

As ArtizanMade reminds us, "Together we can shape our world into something that makes sense, which is sustainable, beautiful and handmade." Amen

Thanks for stopping by, 


Monday, February 3, 2014

Taking Care of Your 95-year-old Self

Some of us have had the privilege and the responsibility of taking care of a loved one in their old age. Whether or not anyone is prepared for being the caretaker or the elderly in this precious life situation, elder care is going to become a significant life passage experience for almost everyone.

If you reflect for a moment how you feel about being taken care of in your own old age, there are probably a few adrenaline rushes and worries that flood your system. I know this is my immediate reaction. I am an independent woman who likes to live My Way. I love my home, my community and my lifestyle. Will these cherished elements of My Life be taken away from me in old age?

Here's my thought: Vitality in your 90s and later begins today!!

Did you know that you can join me in the Self-loving Lifestyle that lets you be your own caretaker in the last decade of your life? The way you take care of yourself this very day honors your later years. Here's a few things for you to think about: know that I am here to support you.

  • Did you feed yourself today to create longevity?
  • Did you exercise your body today to create and maintain balance, strength, vital operating systems, and to minimize pain?
  • Have you ever learned how your vital lifestyle adds to your social lifetime?
  • Do you use your passions and interests to create meaningful experiences at every life stage?
  • We can join forces with others to safeguard the future vitality of our Planet! It is important to have a place to live.
  • Are you supported by relationships that withstand the test of time?
  • Would you like to take one financial action today on behalf of your 95-year-old self?

I am 54 years old. I have attended seven funerals in the past five months. Some of these delightful friends, family, and neighbors died in unexpected ways, and others suffered months or years of decline. All of this has truly empowered me to reflect on how I can care for myself during the next 40+ years so that my final months are filled with sacred moments of loving connection and enlivened experiences. It's my life and my choice. I can make powerful efforts today to safeguard that choice for myself and my loved ones.

You may be 20 years old, or perhaps you are already raising grandkids and downsizing -- there is never a wrong time to begin caring for your one, true, precious self!

Will you join me? I would love to hear from you and we can begin brainstorming together your options for being your own primary caretaker. My work as a health coach is centered on hearing your ideas and helping you move in the direction of your choice.

Comment to this post and I promise, I will be in touch! Follow this blog and learn many ways you can create a Self-loving Lifestyle.

Until then, thanks for stopping by,
Georgianne Holland
Nestle And Soar!
Creative Health Coaching

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Life Becomes a Roller Coaster Ride

If time is flying because you are having fun, then what does time do when a need to rest presents itself? I am coming to the end of my 60-day hiatus and time is doing a very funny dance. The clock can speed up or slow down in any number of ways, and at the end of a creative hiatus, I must report, time is like a roller coaster ride!

Have you ever allowed yourself a healthy hiatus from your work life? To simply set down the tools and walk away from the work flow was not easy for me. I know that stopping work seems like it would take less effort than working, but I can report that it has been a considerable energy drain, this not working. My life was always structured with work: during hiatus, there were huge upswings followed by plunging blue moods, and always the unexpected corner or jostle. Thus, my 60-day roller coaster ride, and the coaster-car is pulling to a stop.

NEW PLAN: Play * Linger * Alternatives * New Direction

PLAY  If you could call my new Nestle And Soar Studio Plan a structure for the future, it would have to be a rather loose plan, punctuated by lots of walks in the park. Perhaps my most profound lesson during this time away from my beloved needle felting tools would have to be a new attitude about dedication to a work schedule.

LINGER  My healthy hiatus impressed upon me my need to be more playful and less structured overall -- in my life and in my work! I have also devoted myself to the notion of lingering through the process of creative design. Prior to my hiatus, I was so knee deep in commissions and producing product multiples that my schedule was an ever-ticking deadline clock. My new plan involves time to linger in the creative process.

ALTERNATIVES  New to my studio in the year ahead will be the addition of artistic mediums other than needle felting. I will continue with my passion for the needle arts, and I will add the mixed media techniques that have long distracted me from my collected works. These alternatives will require additional education on my part, and I am thrilled!

NEW DIRECTION   The rest of my plan for 2014 includes the addition of my expanded services under the umbrella of Nestle And Soar. I am excited to say that my sideline as a Health Coach is coming into full bloom in the year ahead. My devotion to the notion that Everyone Deserves the chance to Nestle And Soar has always included my interaction with experts in the health and empowerment movements. I am thrilled to be taking a new direction in my work by claiming NATURAL HEALTH as my theme for this year: both in my artwork and in my interaction with my clients. Please watch this blog as well as my newsletter for more information in the weeks ahead!

As a health coach, one of the often repeated concerns of my clients is that they just don't have enough time. No time to cook, no time to exercise, no time for continuing education or new hobbies. Perhaps your work life has become your roller coaster? Or maybe your artistic endeavors have been put away on the shelf, waiting for the "right" time? Time both pulls us and pushes us, it even can take us for a wild ride! I hope that you will find time for your very best living in 2014. I hope that you will let me share in your victories and that you will share in mine. I hope we all have a chance to play!

Thanks for stopping by,