Creative Times
Studio Mothers blog
In This Issue
How Far Can You Get on 250 Words?
Intention Journaling
The Project: Leaf Prints
Wild Apples Launch Party
What's Your Experience?
Life Assessment Tool Update
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Mother Artist:
Linda Hoffman
Linda Hoffman
"The whole world is a creative mode. I don't feel a separation between what I'm doing as an artist, the materials I'm using, and my family life. It's reflected in how I live and the choices I make. I'm not drawn to go to a movie for its entertainment factor, for example. I'm pretty single-minded. Everything is enmeshed-even my choices for a vacation -- I want it all to come from the same source and feed the same river."

~Linda Hoffman, sculptor, poet, photographer

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Welcome to the first issue of the Creative Times! Each month this newsletter will bring you inspiration and resources for your creative practice.

In the US, Mother's Day is just about two weeks away. I hope that yours is full of relaxation, an extra hug or two from your kids, and maybe a few moments to spend creatively.

From my creative home to yours,

Writers: How Far Can You Get
on Just 250 Words?

250 WordsI've interviewed creative women with young children at home who are desperately unhappy because they can't get their creative work done with any kind of regularity, or even at all.  

Probing more deeply, I often learn that so-and-so writer mother can't consider working on her novel if she doesn't have four hours to herself. When I suggest trying to be more flexible with work opportunities, she resists. So then the question becomes, gently: "Do you want to get your novel written on your own terms, or do you want to get your novel written?"

It's important to remember that nothing lasts forever. Eventually, she will again be able to enjoy four-hour stretches of solitude for writing. But if that's not feasible right now, and the creative work is how she makes meaning, it's more important to loosen up on those ideals and develop skills that enable more spontaneous and flexible creativity.

It's not terribly hard to write 250 words a day. With the exception of mothers with newborns, most of us can pull off 250 words without making a major time commitment or feeling like we're neglecting their family. The four paragraphs you're reading right now total exactly 250 words. If you wrote 250 words a day, you would have a full-length novel written in just over a year. Does that sound like a long time? It's not. And if you don't write those 250 words a day, the year will pass anyway, novel or no novel. Word by word!

Intention Journaling

intention journaling

I recently became so overwhelmed with all of the things on my to-do list that I was no longer able to easily prioritize at the beginning of each day.   

As a result, I'd flutter from item to item, getting a few things done, but forgetting something important that really HAD to be taken care of. I realized that I was so inundated that I needed to "talk" my way through to clarity. So I started "intention" journaling every morning.

Unlike Julia Cameron's Morning Pages, I write a page every morning that specifically sets my intentions for the day. In conjunction with my planner, I outline what I'm going to do -- but more than the specifics, I remind myself of the mindset of presence that I want to retain as much as possible; how I want to eat in order to nourish my body; priorities for my business, etc. It's kind of like re-programming myself every morning. Intention journalling isn't about re-hashing the past, although I wouldn't want to limit myself if something really important seemed to be waving its arms in my face.

By clearing my mind and soothing anxieties, I make room for creativity. During this process, I often come up with new ideas for something I want to integrate into my coaching work or a new blog topic -- I note them in my journal and then go back and highlight those items, so the journal is sort of a real-time workbook. It has been an enormous help to me in gaining clarity every morning, working though any perceived stressors, and reminding myself of what's important before the day runs away form me.

If this approach appeals to you, give it a try. Art journaling would work here too!
The Project: Leaf Prints

Each month in the Creative Times, Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow brings you a family-friendly art project. Enjoy!



By Tammy Garcia

Age range: 2 years to adult

leaf print
Leaf imprints are a wonderful project for spring (as well as fall). Begin with a relaxed walk in a garden, each child carrying a basket or bowl. Collect leaves of different shapes, textures, and sizes. You can also collect flowers and delicate twigs with interesting patterns. My daughters and I used leaves from the japanese maple, yaupon holly, oleander, nandina, coneflower, yarrow and bald cypress. Time to make prints with leaves and lovelies from the garden!


  • Leaves, flowers, twigs from the garden, lightly washed and dried
  • Rubber brayer (roller), approx 2" width
  • 3 or more colors of Speedball water-soluble block printing ink
  • Heavy paper: Bristol paper, plain cardstock or watercolor paper, cut into pieces approximately 2"x2" or 3"x3" or 2.5"x3.5"

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Set up a table or your kitchen floor by taping down a large area of postal paper, newspaper or a plastic drop cloth.
  2. Put on old T-shirts. This is a messy project.
  3. There are two key ways to create the prints. You can create a print of the leaf, or the inverse of the leaf.
  4. On a piece of old plastic or a wide plastic lid (it will be ruined, so use scrap), squeeze out about a teaspoon of ink. Roll the brayer forwards and backwards on the ink to get the brayer loaded evenly. Kids 3+ will probably be able to roll the brayer and load it with your supervision. For kids 2-3, you can prep the brayer for them and hand it to them to make the prints.
  5. Keep in mind that these inks dry out quickly, so prep a color and use it, then prep another color and use that.
  6. To create a leaf print, place the leaf on the newspaper and roll the brayer over it. The leaf will likely stick to the brayer, so just peel it off! Yes, this is messy, but fun!!! Turn the leaf over with the painted part face up. Put a little card on top of the leaf, and press the card with the palm of your hand. Don't worry about messy hands, it's part of the charm, those little fingerprints that will wind up on the cards. If you have a spare dry brayer, you can also roll the brayer over the back to make a great print.
  7. To use the leaf as a mask, and create a print of everything "but" the leaf, set a dry leaf on a little card. Roll the paint-prepped brayer over the leaf. (You can then use that leaf for another leaf print!) 

leaf print table 


Here are some other ideas...

  • Paint a leaf with a brush, using several colors
  • Put a painted leaf under a card and roll a dry brayer on the back of the card
  • Place a painted leaf on a card, and roll over with a brayer in a different color
  • Try more or less paint on the brayer
  • Try multiple leaves on a card
  • Paint backgrounds with a brayer with just a hint of paint; overlay a leaf print
  • Do a leaf print on top of a background of a slightly different color

Enjoy your garden explorations and leaf prints!


TammyTammy Garcia, mother of two, is a self-taught artist and photographer. Find creative inspiration at her blog, Daisy Yellow. Don't miss Tammy's Art Journaling 101, the monthly Creative Experiment Challenge, Kick-Start Journal Prompts, and a bounty of other creative resources.

Wild Apples Launch Party 


Wild Apples Issue SevenI'm delighted to be

reading my work at the launch party for issue seven of Wild Apples, the literary arts journal. And I would love for you to come!


The launch party is at 1:30 on Sunday, May 1, at the spectacular Hill-Stead Museum, located just outside of Hartford, CT. (See the full schedule of activities below.) Entrance to the museum is free for all Wild Apples party attendees. Bring the family and make a day of it!



12:00 - 4:00 pm

Hill-Stead Museum's first Sunday open house (self-guided tours)
1:30 - 2:30 pm

Wild Apples: welcome, readings, and music in the Sunken Garden
2:30 - 3:30 pm

"Light" refreshments served in the Sunken Garden
2:30 pm

Nature walk with Diane Tucker, estate naturalist
3:00 pm
Create art with light activity
3:30 pm
Celebrate May Day at the maypole
2:30 - 4:00 pm
Tour the historic house at your own pace


If you aren't able to attend, please consider supporting this beautiful twice-yearly publication by ordering a copy of issue seven or by subscribing: Thank you!
What's Your Experience?
question mark
As a creative mother, you're brimming with wisdom to share with other mothers. I'd love to have your response to the following question, which will run in an ongoing column at a new creativity website (details coming soon!).  


From Kym: "Are other mothers able to include their children in their art or creative process? Either as subject matter or as a way to help their children feel included in that part of mommy's life."

I'd love to include YOUR experience in my column. To contribute, send me your e-mail response.

Do you have a question for a future column? Send it in!
Life Assessment Tool Update


Life Assessment ToolIf you completed the Life Assessment Tool and are wondering where your results are, I haven't forgotten you! 

Responses to the Assessment have been overwhelming and it's taking me some time to get to each one and provide the attention that your thorough and thoughtful responses merit. Hang on...your response is coming soon!  

If you haven't yet taken my free online Life Assessment Tool specifically for creative mothers, you can do so here
(c) Miranda Hersey, 2011. All rights reserved.
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without explicit, written permission.