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Calm Skies Collection Debuts Thursday, November 19 Calm Skies Collection Debuts Thursday, November 19

Creative Thursday

Make It Your Own

Make It Your Own

From taking risks, jumping in to new ventures, pivoting + reinventing, meet Robert Mahar, one of the true Online Pioneers. Robert is an Artist + Designer + Master Teacher of Imaginative DIY projects, and "Making It" season one Alumni.

And he's also obsessed (Robert's words) with all things Vintage books + crafts.

One of the most talented, wonderful, warm, kind-hearted creatives + teachers, I tell you now~ that immediately following this episode you're going to want to head straight over to Robert's Crafted with Robert Mahar YouTube channel and start making.

If you can imagine it, in any discipline Robert can teach you how to create it. A midwesterner at heart, Robert has called Los Angeles home for over 25 years. When he's not virtually hanging out with Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler on the virtual "Making it At Home" Challenge (in a wig made of toilet paper rolls) you'll find Robert traveling to studios offering in person embroidery and weaving workshops as soon as we can all be together again.

Enjoy our conversation filled with life and business lessons from a wise, dedicated Artist who's been through many seasons of Creative Entrepreneurship.

Don't forget, to get a glimpse into Robert's creative world and see his beautiful work, you watch the video of our conversation at my YouTube channel

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Knowing When It's Time to Take A Pause

Knowing When It's Time to Take A Pause

how are you?

How are you?

Are you taking some time just for you? (even if you're almost August 2020 is looking nothing like you thought it would)


Last week I had a guest speaker present in The Expansive Artists, and as we ended our call together she shared some insight that had a huge impact on how I view time, and the (eternal) crossing off of to-do lists.


A mom, a owner of a creative company with 20 employees, I asked her how she seemed so calm and relaxed?


I mean, hello~  Is it just me or would the thought of managing 20 employees potentially cause you to lose a little sleep at night and/or feel frantic with demands of your team, and appointments.


Clearly it's time for me to look at my beliefs around growing a team of more than 1 or 2. (I'm working on it...!)


What she shared with me was this: she realized that she'd anxiously try to plan, and get ahead for the next day, as if one day she would reach a light at the end of the tunnel, the skies would part, breathing space would open up, and the to do's would magically not spill into the next day and the next. 


No matter how big her team grew, that day never came~ 

Instead she realized it was up to her to claim her time. The work would always be there, but she could end her day at 5 pm. She could stop working at the end of the day on Friday.


I share this story to say, I know this, but I haven't been living it as I'd like to because I've been waiting to get to.... But hearing this reminder, that day from this calm generous soul sitting across from me (on a Zoom)~ it stuck.  


While I know time will look different for me when I finally complete the episodes in season 2~ I'm not waiting until thento begin taking more deliberate pauses.


I took the weekend off. I did something just for me, I sewed a dress (not my first and definitely not my last as now I'm re-inspired to keep sewing!...and gently make my way back to fabric design) - the dress! is the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Co. 


Nope, I didn't post episode 4 today and I almost didn't post a podcast for the first time in a year. But I felt inspired to share a little more insight on this topic.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Comment below and tell me something you are doing just for you!


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Just Pick A Thing

Just Pick A Thing

 Happy Creative Thursday! Sit down, relax, make yourself comfy, grab a beverage this is a long one.


Just Pick A Thing ~  spoiler alert from last week's episode; you can't balance it all, don't even try, just focus on one thing ~ hard earned advice from today's Creative Thursday guest Emily McDowell (and if I may second that advice, I wholeheartedly agree)


Season 2, Episode 3 is here! and I'm excited to introduce you to

another creative extraordinaire, writer, illustrator, aka feelings translator, Emily McDowell, living in Portland Oregon.


This episode is ALSO SOOO GOOOD!


Can we keep it REAL for a moment.


Creating, editing, launching this episode has been a BEAST.


Before I dive into this part of the email that I am writing for the second time today (as my 2 hour draft from earlier did not save) let me preface this message by saying: I'm coming to you from what is now the epicenter of our global pandemic, endlessly thankful for so much, especially good health and the opportunity to share this with you~ and forever sending you good thoughts for continued wellness with you and your loved ones) ~ In the scheme of things this is no big deal...


and now I would simultaneously like to shout that running a (CREATIVE) BUSINESS is HARD some days.


There's a perception that people like me, aka Artists with a "pretty" brand, voice/face on the internet are only showing you the shiny, edited view of our worlds.


As I've shared since day 1 of starting my blog back in 2006, without justification, or apology, I most definitely only you show you the edited version.


Trust me, you don't want it any other way (I say as I just yelled in my studio, because hours of work on top of hours of work was lost again) You don't need an up close and personal view of those moments...


I am however also known for transparency, and pull back the curtains on the challenges we all face as Creative Business Owners, as is Emily and why I know you're going to love her episode too. We want to save you the same struggle (pro-tip copy and paste any writing you do in another program in a word document or notes)


This episode has been the hardest to shoot, edit, and it lost the most files during my devastating hard drive mishap ~ (which is the main reason this series was delayed and why this episode is sparse on the video, especially the single shot of Emily. )

And it has continued to give me technical issues right up until the very last minute with unexpected audio problems and now a delay yet again with an entire email gone missing, by my email service provider. 


Initial episodes we filmed at our guests' home studio which is a) inconveniencing their home + personal space and b) can be difficult to get the 3 camera angles we want to get.


On this day of filming we discovered our cat of 19 years, Garbo Girl, was ill and declining. I sobbed before I arrived to film at Emily's house, also forgot extra batteries for one of the 4 devices we use to create these episodes. Filming a conversation was the last thing I felt like doing. (silver lining - I did get my hair professionally styled that day)


Emily had just learned that she would be spending an entire weekend fixing an issue created in part by a company that she had also recently realized was the wrong partner and later shared with me off the record that she never should've licensed her business to them. (She did end up leaving that partnership and entered into a new one, a much better fit)


But we showed up that day and created this episode for you. Because that's what you do as a Creative Business Owner.


Keeping commitments matter, to you, to the promise to share a part of Emily's story, to my Kickstarter Backers.


So thank you in advance for your understanding that this episode isn't as refined as I hoped it would be. (I just found some tiny glitches I'll be fixing in a moment after my tequila shot...but the episode is now LIVE!)


Challenges like these are the reason I will never take on a monster project by myself like this again and they are also the same reason why I will do all I can to bring you conversations like this one with Emily.


It might make your journey easier and leave with you more inspiration and motivation to keep going, especially on days like today.


Because I say, and I know Emily would agree, all the challenges are worth it for the opportunity to fully live the Creative Entrepreneur Life.


In 2012 Emily started making cards because she saw a hole in the stationery market. 

She couldn't find any cards that reflected her reality: one that included messy relationships, dysfunctional families and her personal experience going through cancer and getting your traditional "get well" card which lead to her create her "viral hit" line of Empathy Cards, and follow up book "There is No Good Card for This". 

If you've wondered how an Illustrator could grow a single card line into a company that is carried by over 2,000 retailers, in this conversation Emily takes you through each step of building her business from the very beginning. 


An episode filled with hard-earned knowledge and guidance, Emily shares invaluable wisdom gained through the rewarding but also very real truths of what it takes to grow a successful stationery business. Since the recording of this episode, near burnout, Emily chose to make some big shifts both personally and professionally, leading to profound transformations that she now also shares on more personal @emilyonlife account on Instagram.


You can find all things Emily McDowell at and @emilymcdowell_ on Instagram.


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A Story About Reinvention

A Story About Reinvention

That time you rewrite your bio, and in search for your bio photo, come across one of your very first professional shoots from 2005.

A graphic designer & interior designer, (who really wanted to sell Art but wasn’t sure that my work was ”good enough”) I started Creative Thursday with selling my hand-painted vintage chairs.

This was one of my favorites, her name was Edith (I named each chair & wrote it on the bottom along with my signature + date)

I started this Creative Business with a passion to share my journey and inspire creativity for all 💕.

I thought if I could so this, self-taught, little to no formal training, there is no reason why you can't too!!

So my motto became, let’s do this together! I’ll take you along for the ride, share my story + give you peeks behind the curtain, opening up about challenges + wins along the way.

As I write this almost exactly 15 years to the date from the time this photo was taken (Sean, me + my chair at the entrance to the tiny Laurel Canyon bungalow we rented from a friend, when we first moved in together as a couple) - I’m ready to tell a new chapter to the story.

I did it. Built my dream business as a Working Artist, (with my paintings!) shipped over 10K packages with my Art all over the world, had a book published, designed 9 fabric collections and sold a few chairs along the way too 😊

But what happens next? 15 yrs in, what do I believe is possible now that I didn’t before & where did my fertility challenges + loss along with comparison of Artists who came up with me at the same time + expectations of where I “should be by now” slowly chip away at my spirit + confidence.

What’s next?
Evolution, reinvention, growing up, awareness, recognition of a strong, quiet wisdom + aligning with my true purpose + the desire to guide other Artists so they don’t have to experience the same struggles.

What happens when you want to evolve your work?
Artists often find success in a certain style & then feel trapped in one voice or color palette. They resist change because now their income is dependent on that 1 style. And because change is “scary” 😳

Reinvention is the story I want to tell now #creativethursdaybymarisa

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How to Balance it "All" + the Real Secret to Success

How to Balance it "All" + the Real Secret to Success

Is it even possible...

Season 2, Episode 2 is here! and I'm so excited to introduce you to a creative extraordinaire, Alissa Haight-Carlton, modern quilter, author, Emmy nominated (Project Runway and Making the Cut) casting director, co-founder of Vital Casting, fabric designer and original co-founder of the Modern Quilt Guild, living in Los Angeles. 


This one is SOOO GOOOD!


Join us for a transparent conversation, as we pull back the curtain on not one, but 3 different Creative Industries, from working in Hollywood, to staying true to your values, compensation for creatives, to valuing your work, to how to choose your priorities as a multi-disciplinary Artist +  Entrepreneur + the (real) secret to success and ~ wait for it ~ what it's really like to work with Tim Gunn.


Find all things Alissa Haight Carlton at and her new casting company and on Instagram @alissahaightcarlton

Tune into the audio of our conversation in the podcast below, and watch the video at our YouTube Channel,


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Object Consciousness vs. Space Consciousness

Object Consciousness vs. Space Consciousness

Ahhh!!! this is hands down one of the best, most enlightening conversations I've listened to during this time.

A fan of Eckhart Tolle since I first watched him he and Oprah host one of the first online sessions taking us through his book "A New Earth"

Did you watch too?

During this pandemic, I found my way back to Eckhart's teaching.  It is one of the few spaces where, when I listen to him speak, I tap into a sense of calm and peace like no other. (I highly recommend his Youtube channel) 

And this conversation between he and Russell Brand just brings so much understanding, clarity & peace to both Sean & I right now.

We were getting into the habit of tuning into the news in the morning, as one might understandably do to stay up to date with all the latest during a pandemic + intense global crisis, however we noticed that this ritual was starting our day in a high state of stress + fear.

Now during our daily coffee time, we've been listening to this 2 hour conversation in 15 min increments, to process all that Eckhart is sharing & honestly to savor it as I don't want to the dialogue to end. 

This is just 1 of the eye opening concepts: Eckhart shares an  analogy as if you are a room~ highlighting the difference between the objects in the room versus the space that is the room, in which the objects reside.

Object Consciousness leaves you feeling never satisfied, you never “arrive” and you often need others to feel inferior.

Space Consciousness is awareness, moments of no thought where you rise above instead of below your thinking, you recognize the essence of who you are. You become aware of a gap between 2 thoughts & this is where all intuition, creativity and wisdom reside.

Chances are when you are making Art you are in your Space Consciousness. 💗

Also if the intensity of this time has left you feeling afraid to speak publicly~ at around the 58 minute mark there is soothing insight around “hive thinking”, & how it can play out in social media in particular, and how best to thoughtfully, acknowledge and respond from an aware state of consciousness. ❤️

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Season 2 Starts Now!

Season 2 Starts Now!

At last, at last! It's FINALLY HERE!

There's a long story behind the unexpected challenges of making this series, especially Season 2, but that will be saved for another day and another podcast.


Today it is my honor and pleasure to introduce you to my friend, first sewing teacher, and fellow Creative Business owner, Christine Haynes.

A Sewing Author, Teacher and Pattern Maker, in our conversation, Christine not only takes you through her journey of building her business, from risks taken, pivots made, full time jobs left, weeks set aside for annual trips to Paris (Paris travel tips are included for dreams of once again visiting the city of lights) ~ but you'll want to tune in all the way to the end where Christine shares a heartfelt, personal story and message that is especially meaningful and timely.

 A journey that spans from art and film school in Chicago, all the way to Brooklyn via a stopover in L.A. (Christine is sharing her pattern designing process with you too!) ~ I know you will be inspired. 


And yes! you can now take virtual sewing classes with Christine from her Brooklyn Studio. Find all things Christine Haynes at

Watch the full video episode here at the Creative Thursday YouTube Channel, or tune into the audio version on today's podcast episode.





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#1 Reason Artists Don't Sell Work

#1 Reason Artists Don't Sell Work

What do you think is the number 1 reason Artists don't sell work? 

After working for years with Artists in Business and being one myself of own experience around selling and not selling... this is an obvious oversight that I see happening all too often.

It's time to rewrite a certain story Creative Friends, it's time.

If you're seeing this post before Saturday July 4 @ 12 pm PT.

The Doors to The Expansive Artists Are open! for another 48 hours and then they'll close again so we can get to work and prepare for all the incredible online possibilities that await us!

We can't wait to welcome you! See you inside!

 PS The new Expansive Artist Affirmations Decks are HERE!!! the first batch is already shipped and on their way to their new homes. To our pre-order Collectors, thank you so, so much for your orders and your patience during the Covid-19 delay deck printing.

 Tune into the new podcast episode #191 below.


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Busting 3 Artist Myths When It Comes to Selling Your Work

Busting 3 Artist Myths When It Comes to Selling Your Work


Do you believe you can share your work with confidence, build your online business, and sell your work especially during and post a Covid-19 economy.

It's time to answer these questions for yourself as honestly as you can.

Let's talk. 


It's not too late, you can still join us! "Sell A Piece of Art this Week" 3 Day Challenge. You can jump in and catch the videos for just a few more days.


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Why Pricing Your Art is Not Like Real Estate

Why Pricing Your Art is Not Like Real Estate

It's time for a different approach.

I've been answering a lot of questions about pricing during my "Sell a Piece of Art this Week" challenge, which has me realizing just how much, we as Artists and especially those of us mentoring our fellow Artists, aren't having this conversation enough.

First, let's make this clear: no one can tell you the price of YOUR ART. Nope, not even someone with years of experience selling work. They can guide you, advise you, yes and if they're a gallery they can tell you the price they believe it should be and then you'll agree together if proceeding with the collaboration is a good fit. But you, and only you are the one to make the final call. Why? 

Because there is NO ONE FORMULA for an industry that is as nuanced, unique, and subjective as Art.

So when I heard an established Artist advise an emerging Artist: to price their Art by looking out into the marketplace, using the analogy of how we price homes in a Real Estate Market by comparison, I knew it's time to start talking about this more (which I did on last week's podcast episode).

Art is NOT Real Estate, especially original work. We do not look at Comps (Comparables are the homes you look at in your neighborhood that sold within the last 3 months that you can use as a guide for pricing your property) when pricing our Art because we have zero idea about the behind the scenes for example; the time involved with creating the piece, the cost of making the piece, the overhead of the business, the skill level and experience of the Artist and how dedicated their Collectors are.


"Rising tides lift all ships" How are we choosing to lead and advise our industry. What lopsided collaborations are we continuing to agree to. Are our words and actions the rising tide, or are we perpetuating the myth of struggle and continuing to undervalue the gift and work of the Artist.


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