Dig Deep… RECLAIM Buried Treasures!

For the past couple of years I have chosen a word to focus on for the year.  Last year my word was “RELEASE”, the idea of letting go of the things in my life that were adding clutter and were getting in the way of moving forward.  In 2014 my word is “RECLAIM” to really “dig deep” to find the ideas and keepsakes that are meaningful to me.  To not just drag back all of the things I let go of last year, but instead to find the things that are most important to me and figure out how to make them a bigger part of my life.

As part of this process of reclaiming, I am going to be doing a collaboration with myself to create new artwork from old art.  I am beginning with a painting that I did back in high school about 40 years ago!

Check out this video to learn more about my RECLAIM project.Dig Deep… RECLAIM Buried Treasures

Video or No Video?

Are you a Visual Learner?

If I am going to learn something new, I would much rather have someone show me how to do it rather than read it in a book or just tell me.  I guess that is the artist in me.  I know that other people learn differently, so as I am planning to launch my Visual Journaling experiences on-line this fall, I am checking out many options for presenting this wonderful tool to help people take an inner journey or simply have a safe space to practice being creative.

Video Conferencing

One of the options I am considering is Video Conferencing.  I love the idea that I could actually see and talk to people in my classes from all over the world . I could see the excitement in their eyes or that look of confusion, just like I would if they were in my studio.   I just think that would be so amazing– it is sort of like “THE JETSEN’S”.  Ok, now I am dating myself, but as a kid I remember watching the Jetsens and being amazed at that they had video telephones- it seemed so futuristic and now we have them!

Wow We Video Demonstration Today! 

I am planning to participate in a Video Conferencing Demonstration today at 2:00 Central time. Here is the link: http://www.meetwithlynn.com

Everyone is welcome to check it out. – it is FREE.  If you can’t make the call but are interested in learning more , there are some great videos from WowWe that explain their capabilities


Cliff Note Version

Ok so I have already acknowledged that people learn differently, for those of you who are more the bullet point learners- “Just the Facts ” (like on Dragnet) here are the highlights:

- People who are participants in a video conference don’t need to join or sign up on WowWe, it is FREE

- If particpants don’t have a webcam capabilities, they can watch the video, but won’t be seen on the video conference, they will just type their questions into the computer

- They recommend a headset or earbuds to reduce feedback, but no other special equipment is required

- People who want to use this service of video conferencing, video emails, and teleconferencing can join and just pay a monthly fee of $20

- People who want a more robust program with lots of different capabilities can pay a one time fee of $75 – $175 (depending on services) and $20 per month

- It is an affiliate program so if you recommend this to someone and they sign up, you can earn money- there is a entire grid, but I haven’t gotten in to all of that yet

- There is so much more, but you will need to either join the video conference this afternoon or check out the video.

Your Opinion Please

I would love to hear from you on the type of learner you are- visual, audio, read from a book so as I am designing my on-line experiences for the fall, I can take all types of learning into consideration.  Also, I have NOT signed up for WowWe yet, I am still checking it out, so if you know anything about it GOOD OR BAD, please let me know!


Enjoy the Journey!

Have you ever said “I just wish this event was over!”

Since summer in Minnesota is so short, we try to pack as much into those 3 months as we can.  There are lots of big occasions including weddings, graduations,  family reunions and more.  Many times instead of enjoying the preparations for the big day, we just want it all to be over.  By doing this, we are cheating ourselves.  We are so focused on the destination or event that we don’t pay attention to anything along the way except how much work it is.  If instead we focus on the journey itself, there are so many things we can use to learn, grow and enjoy.  I’ll give you an example to illustrate my point:

House Cleaning

For our anniversary for several years I have given my husband the gift of cleaning the house every other Monday morning.  You might not think that is much of a gift, but if you like a clean house as much as my husband does… it is a BIG gift.  Anyway, I have tried all different techniques to get this task done as quickly as possible so that I can move on to other things I enjoy more.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house, I just don’t love cleaning it!  Since this was my week to clean, I decided to “Enjoy the Journey” rather than dread the task.  Since it doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to push a vacuum or clean a toilet, my brain could be working on other things while I was cleaning…  Here are some of the things I came up with when I was cleaning today:

Enjoy the Journey” could be the name of my entire blog – (not just this post) it could be about me inspiring and encouraging others to enjoy the journey of lifenot just get through itI have been trying to figure out the purpose of my blog for months!

I could teach classes on Navigating the Journey – to help people who are having trouble enjoying the journey.

I should blog on Tuesdays and Thursdaysget some consistency for my blog posts

Go back over some training on blogging I received a few months ago

I could hire my 14 year old daughter for the summer to help me create videos, update my web site, facebook and my blog (she knows way more about technology than I do)

I came up with an idea of another post based on some of the fire lighting techniques I learned at Girl Scout Training over the weekend.

That is a good morning’s work!

I probably spent more uninterrupted time thinking about my business while I was cleaning the house this morning than I have in months.  The good news is besides all of these wonderful business ideas, I ended up with a clean houseI think there is something to be said for clearing away clutter in an effort to Enjoy the Journey. 

I would love to hear about how you are enjoying the journey of your life, please feel free to comment below.




Take a Journey….

When was the last time you had a chat with the inner you? 

Do you have a place to go to be yourself?

A Visual Journal provides a space where you can test new ideas and create a road map or bridge for getting from where you are to where you want to beA blank sketchbook is used along with resource materials including magazine articles, ads, photos, paper, notecards and anything else that has significance to you.  These materials mixed with some paint and markers are used to get all of the things that are swimming around in your head -  down on paper.

Not an artist?

This is NOT about creating art.   Some of your pages may be artistic, but that is not the point.  This is about practicing to be creative and finding out what you REALLY want to do with the rest of your life.  There is something very freeing about having a place to “Play” and not worry about making mistakes.  Just like everything we do in life, you need to practice to get good at it.  You need to “practice” being creative and the Visual Journal is the perfect place to do it.

Want to come play with me?

I am offering two options to learn about the Visual Journaling Process:

OPTION #1  – DAY TRIP- THURSDAY, MAY 31 – 10 AM – 2 PM – Embellishing Bliss! Studio – 5205 Mayview Road Minnetonka MN 55345

A great opportunity to get your toe wet with the Visual Journaling Process.  Explore this amazing tool to start to discover the inner you.  Bring your own bag lunch and a NEW Blank Sketchbook.  All other materials provided.

Only 5 space left!  Get a FREE Journey Pack of your Choice – Total Value $120 – -  NOW ONLY $67


OPTION #2 – EXTENDED JOURNEY – 4 WEEKS – WEDNESDAYS – JUNE 6-27  9AM – NOON – Embellishing Bliss! Studio

A more in depth 4 week journey which uses the visual journal to dig deeper into something you want to explore in your life.  After an introduction to the process the first week, the topics for the next three weeks will include: RECLAIM, TRANSFORM, RENEW.  Bring a NEW Blank Sketchbook, all other materials provided.

Only 5 space left!  Get a FREE Journey Pack of your Choice – Total Value $270- -  NOW ONLY $197

Email me at pat@em-bliss.com to register for either journey.  If these times don’t fit your schedule, I will work with you to arrange another time.

Don’t wait– Sign up Today!  If you know of someone that could benefit from a Visual Journal Journey, please forward this on to them.

Lake Minnetonka Art Tour this Weekend

Embellishing Bliss! Studio will be open
for the Lake Minnetonka Art Tour this weekend May 5 & 6

There is a wonderful opportunity for you design your own studio tour this weekend. Over 45 artists are participating in a 24 studio tour in the Lake Minnetonka area. All the studios will be open from 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.  There is no official beginning or end, but the Embellishing Bliss! Studio is #2 on the tour map.  For specific details and a map, you can go to: www.lakemtkaartstour.org

I have been very busy designing new products this spring.  I have updated the Wiggle Shrug from last fall and am making it out of T-Shirt fabric, which is just the right weight for Spring and Summer.  The “Twirl” is my latest fun and funky accessory that can be worn as a scarf or a belt.  It is created from neckties and other great fabrics.

I was able to get a wonderful selection of upholstery samples which inspired me to design the Origami bag series that includes 4 sizes: A large tote, handbag, pack and a small case that works great for the large sunglasses or smart phones.  The Journey Pack is also made from an upholstery swatch and is a very simple backpack design – perfect for those times when you have a few things to carry.

This winter I have been using a Visual Journal to help me to chart out a new direction for my company.  I will still continue to design and make accessories from reclaimed textiles, but I also want to help people to reclaim what is meaningful in their lives through various experiences. I will be facilitating events in my studio including Day Trips and Extended Journeys during which I will introduce the Visual Journaling Process which is a wonderful tool that is used to learn more about a very important person… YOU!  Space will be limited to 6 people per event so stop by the studio this weekend to reserve your spot.

Do you doodle?

Do you doodle?

Why do we doodle?

Were you one of those kids who had the front of every notebook filled with doodles?  One of my most vivid memories of doodling was when I would be at the bar of my family’s tavern talking with my dad after school or in the summer.  I would sit there with a plain cocktail napkin and see if I could draw or duplicate the logo from a beer can, cigar package, gum wrapper… whatever happened to be in front of me.  Many times I would just doodle and make lots of neat shapes and designs.  I have never really thought much about doodling until now, it is something I have just always done.


Yesterday I was cleaning off the table in my studio to work on a quilt when I found the paper towel I had doodled on while I was on a conference call the night before.   I picked it up and put it in the wastebasket and then I realized what I had done – so I took it back out.  This was something I needed to put in my Visual Journal and write about.  Today I wrote that doodling is very FREEING (I put the word in black bold marker).  I don’t have to stay inside the lines, I get to create the lines.  Wherever my pen, marker or pencil takes me I get to explore.  I find that most of the time the shapes I create are very curvy and graceful.  They are designs that are great beginnings for my next projects.

What are your doodles telling you?

Is there some fun creative energy inside that wants to come out?  Let that energy out to play through your doodles. Remember you get to create the lines, you don’t have to stay inside of them!

I’d love to see your doodles

Take a picture of your doodles and add them to this post, I would love to see what you do.  Who knows, we could start a club “Doodlers Do it Best!”


Learn from those who have gone before…



Who has traveled the same path?

I have recently started taking walks in the morning down to a park near my house.  Since winter in Minnesota means snow (although we haven’t had much this year), I see all sorts of footprints, both human and non-human in the snow.  For some reason I started thinking about the people that had walked on this path before me.  What were they thinking?  What could I learn from them?  Then I wondered what could I share with others who come after me?

What if we were fellow travelers?

If we go through life sharing our experiences with others, what would that change?  Not that one person always has to lead, but that it is a role that moves back and forth.  At times I learn from others and then they can learn from me.  I know that I have started finding more women like me, they are wanting more out of life.  They want to explore their true purpose and it is amazing what we are learning from each other.

Learn from the people who have gone before… even if that person was me

I was talking with one of my new friends this week and I was telling her about this experience with the path and the foot prints.  I am not sure why I even said it, but I said that it is so cool that we can learn from those people who have gone before – even if that person was me!  Too many times I learn something and promptly forget it.  I need to pay more attention so I can learn from my own experiences.

Be a fellow traveler and explore the possibilities!

Are you open to change?

Have you ever felt stuck?

Sometimes it is hard to get out of the rut or routine of our everyday lives.  It easier to keep doing what we always do, because it isn’t as scary, it is safe.  But you know that there is that old saying, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got” (or something like that).

What if you opened a door that you hadn’t ever opened before, and that brought about change.  Would you be open to that change or close that door as fast as you can? I am choosing to open many new doors and using these opportunities to explore new possibilities for my life. 

Today, I am working with my friend to write curriculum for my Visual Journal Journey.  It is an exploration that is taken using a blank sketch book as your map or guide.  That might sound a little funny, how can a book that is blank be a guide?  You have probably guessed, the process of filling the sketchbook so that it becomes a guide is what I want to be able to share with others. The photo you see above is my entry for today.  The magazine page I had torn out with the headline- “Open to Change” gave me the idea for my journal and this blog today.

A Visual Journal is a wonderful place to practice being creative and store all of your inner most thoughts and ideas.  It is a space or container for you to be you!  No judging allowed, there is no right or wrong way to do it.  It is not about creating beautiful artwork, although what you create may be artistic….  It is a place where you can explore what if…

One of the key ingredients to get the most out of this practice is to pair it with something you already do everyday- your morning cup of coffee or tea, I do mine after I come back from my morning walk.  You choose the time and place so it becomes something that you “get” to do, not “have” to do.

I will continue to share more about my Visual Journal Journey and in the near future will be offering opportunities for you to discover your inner most thoughts and feelings by opening new doors through on-line and in-studio explorations. Stay tuned, I know it is going to be an amazing journey!

Twists and Turns


Twists and Turns in Gymnastics & Life

Keyla and her mom Jennifer came to me with a huge bag filled with T-Shirts, Sweatshirts and leotards that represented 14 years of her life.  Keyla started gymnastics as a 4 year old and now as a freshman in college, she is a coach.  A knee injury cut her career as a gymnast short, but she still has many fond memories of the years she spent in the gym and in competitions. 

Design Inspiration

When we first met, I asked Keyla if she had any vision for the duvet, if there was a particular shape or design she had in mind.  The gym where she spent most of her career has a logo that incorporates a swirl or tumbling figure.  Since the gym was such a big part of her career it seemed fitting to incorporate that into the overall design.  I did a very quick sketch to capture the feeling of swirls, twists and turns. 

How to begin?

Since all of the materials I was working with were knit, I didn’t have to worry about the fabric raveling, so I could cut them into shapes I wanted without finishing edges.  I used a white sheet as a base fabric.  All of the Tees, Sweats and Leotards were pinned directly to the sheet.  This serves a couple of purposes:  first of all, since the sheet is not knit, it won’t stretch and provides a more stable base, also, I can sew the curvy shapes directly to the sheet, not to each other which makes the process much easier.  I started with the pieces I knew had the most meaning to Keyla and put them in the most prominent places, then I worked on balancing the color throughout the duvet.  I then just started cutting unique curved and twisted shapes from each garment.  The leotards were a bit tricky because of their unusual shape, but helped to create some of the most interesting parts of the duvet.  It is sort of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together without the benefit of a picture to look at!

Putting it all together

When all of the pieces were pinned on the sheet, I sewed  them to the sheet.  The trickiest part is getting the entire duvet under the sewing machine and sewn in place.  Once that was accomplished, I used a varigated ribbon to cover all of the raw edges.  The color of the ribbon helped to pull together all of the colors incorporated in the duvet and also to finish off all of the raw edges.

Memories captured for life

Keyla and Jennifer with the duvet in my studio.  Now when Keyla is at college, snuggled under her duvet or resting on her body pillow, she has all of those wonderful gymnastic memories with her as she enters the next chapter of her life.

Find Beauty in Burdens


This was the Winter Wonderland we woke up to yesterday morning!  Overnight Mother Nature had dropped a beautiful white blanket of heavy snow.  It was one of those really wet snows that bend tree branches to the breaking point.  As I looked out in to my wooded back yard I was reminded of the day just over 23 years ago when we bought the lot that our house is built on.  It was a snowy January day in 1989 and we were out looking at lots with a real estate agent.  For some crazy reason, I hadn’t worn boots that day, but the agent told us we really needed to walk back into the lot to appreciate the beauty.  We trudged through the snow toward the back of the lot where it was heavily wooded- but in the center of the lot where our house now sits, there was a clearing.  As we looked toward the woods, the snow had started to come down very hard and it was so beautiful that it looked like a Christmas card.  If we hadn’t accepted the burden of trudging through the snow, we wouldn’t have ever experienced the amazing beauty of our back yard.  The interesting part of the story is that we had actually looked at this lot  a couple of weeks earlier – but we never got out of the car and walked to the back of the lot. 

There have been many, many times over the years that I have appreciated the wonder of our back yard after a snow storm.  For some reason yesterday I was drawn to really go out and soak up this amazing gift of nature (this time I put my boots on).  I didn’t focus on how heavy the snow was, or how difficult it was going to be to shovel or drive in, instead I wanted to appreciate it’s beauty. 

It really made me think that we need to FIND BEAUTY IN BURDENS.   Even though it may be difficult at the time, we need to look past our every day burdens to see the bigger picture and how those burdens can help us to seek out the really wonderful parts of life that we might otherwise miss. Those branches that we almost touching the ground yesterday because they were so heavy with snow, have bounced back.  They are are standing tall and upright again.   I would love to hear about ways that you found beauty in burdens, you can post your comments below.