Is The World Your Studio? {a glimpse into Savannah}

A few years ago when I came up with the concept behind The Living Studio I had hopes of traveling with women, connecting with different cities and creating outside the studio.

My heart’s desire was to encourage women to get out of their comfort zone and to implement daily practicing.

I wanted us to become those we had maybe admired for years in the parks, museums, cafes.  To become those that were creating whenever the opportunity arose.

As of this date I now have had two Living Studio retreats.  The first one was in Bellagio, Italy and the second one just finished in Savannah, Georgia.

I learn each time more about myself, my creativity and where I want to take The Living Studio.

I also am reminded that we need this. We need this creating wherever we go and to not limit ourselves to our studios.

I see the difference it is making when we know…really know…that our creativity needs to be honored and nurtured.

Here is a peek into our week in Savannah, Georgia…

I came in early and was able to get away for the morning and enjoy the beach on Tybee Island.  When there was a snowstorm going on in Colorado this was a beautiful change of scenery!

Before I share our week I have to share our hotel!  When Kathie (my partner in crime that helped make the retreat come to life) and I saw this hotel we KNEW this had to be the location for The Living Studio Savannah!  Welcome to The Brice!  Seriously, the staff was outstanding and the whole place was an artist’s dream!

Our first full day together started with a rainy walking tour of Savannah. I think next time we will take the trolley:-)

At least I had a cute umbrella and some goofballs to hang out with.

After a wet morning we decided to create in our pajamas. Maybe I was the only one that did that but let’s just act like everyone did!

Our days were full of gorgeous shops, sites, architecture, food (oh, the food), creating and a lot of laughter.

This was an incredible group of women!

One of the highlights for me during a Living Studio retreat is to spend time separate from one another creating in the city.

This day we spent time creating in Forsyth Park and I know this time was just as meaningful and heart changing to the girls.

I am not a journaler like many of the artists I love and admire. My journal is where I play, make mistakes and practice. Usually it is only for me to see. I think everyone should have a safe place to explore and make mistakes where you don’t have to worry about anyone looking over your shoulder.  That is what daily practicing should be about…no matter what your creativity is.

We had so many good days but one of my favorite days of exploring was when we had a tour of Bonaventure Cemetary.

It has been many years since I have been in this cemetery but it was just as inspiring as ever.

Have I mentioned the food? Oh, I have?

I love being a collector of patterns wherever I travel!  It is just such good stuff for creating later.

One of my favorite days was when we went to the SCAD museum and we were even able to sneak into an illustration class and do some quick sketches along with all of the art students.

That was a day when my heart was so full and I felt like we all went home with an extra special treasure!

It didn’t hurt that we also found an antique store on our way to lunch.

Pretty much the best cappuccino I have ever had!  Doesn’t hurt that I also have paint all over my hands.

The week went so fast and our days were so full of good stuff. When it comes down to it this photo makes me so happy because it was all about women connecting with themselves and others.

I am still processing all the goodness of our time in Savannah and already my brain is busy with ideas for how to make the next one even better!

I have a Living Studio Normandy coming up in October that is sold out but you can email me at to get on the wait list.

The next state side Living Studio retreat will be in Seattle, WA next year.  If you would like to be notified when registration opens for that retreat please email me at

If you are looking for other retreats this year I encourage you to check out retreats that are being hosted by my good friend Kathie Vezzani!  She has some beauties coming up!

She helped me bring The Living Studio Savannah to life and you will love all of her gatherings!

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Creativity Takes Courage {Cat Bude}


For those of you that are new to the blog I want to tell you a little bit about the free series.

My creative network offers free videos, new online courses, live “chats” and now interviews with courageous lovelies from around the world.

Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to interview some of my favorite creative women and business owners.

You can see the talented list of interviewees over on my creative network under Creativity Takes Courage.



This month we are talking with Cat Bude all the way from Normandy, France!

I have had the absolute joy of getting to know Cat over the past three years.  I always leave my conversations with her inspired and with a smile on my face (and with another idea ready to take off).

I admire her love of family, home and faith.

She is a PNW transplant that has dived into the adventure of a lifetime and in the process saved everything that mattered to her.

Join us for an interview that will walk you through her family’s move to France, starting a business and finding her greatest voice.

Come on over and transport yourself to France!


To watch the video you just need to be registered at (registering is free).

Once you are on the site you will find this series, free videos (business and art) and new online courses along the left hand side of the page.

You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.

If you want to watch Cat’s video:

1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page

2) Click on Creativity Takes Courage {interviews with courageous friends}

3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side

4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set.

Tell your friends!

We want to create an online community where you can create, connect and be inspired.

Come on over and check out the interview!

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Just Dreaming About It Won’t Get You There

In the new year there can be long lists of dreams for the year and maybe even a yearly bucket list.  What I have found to be true is that me just dreaming about something has never led to the actual doing and experiencing.  If I want to learn something, go somewhere, spend time with someone… I have to make a PLAN OF ACTION.

There have been more times than I can count that I had no idea how I was going to make something a reality but I jumped in anyway.  When I know something is important to me, my family or my creativity I get really creative to make it a reality.  That “dream” doesn’t need to stay that way.  What fun is an incredible “dream” if you don’t walk it out and make a plan of action?  That dream can become a reality through planning, sacrifice and just jumping in.  That whole just jumping in is really the first step of action that leads to more action and then something wonderful being accomplished.

I get to travel to some pretty incredible places for my business and to teach art.  I also have traveled to beautiful places just for me or for my family.  I hear many people say to me, “I dream of going there too or someday I hope to have the money to…”.  The thing is that we never know how long we have on this earth and there is never enough money.

I remember the first time I went to France and I remember originally showing my husband the retreat and just KNOWING this trip was for me.  My pretty amazing husband took one look at my face and said, “I don’t know how we will do this but we will figure it out”.  Guess what?  We did!

Going to France that first time and spending time in the south of France and then Paris changed my creative heart.  It CHANGED it!  What if I hadn’t asked?  What if my husband wouldn’t have said that we would figure it out?  That first trip has opened up more trips and relationships.  It has made my world smaller and more intimate.

Did you know that I found one of my closest friends on that first trip to France?  I actually met one of my closest friends that also happens to be a lover of travel, family, art and the Lord!  I now believe with my whole heart that I was supposed to go on that trip to meet HER.  The Lord knew I would need an artist/heart friend that I could grow, travel and create with.  I don’t know what you have been “dreaming” about lately and the things you want to do in your life.

I would just encourage you to take steps of action this year.  Don’t wait.  What is waiting for YOU if you step out and figure it out as you go?

I have some pretty incredible heart, exploring, creative retreats coming up this year.  These are trips of a lifetime.  I will tell you about each of them below.

The thing is if you have an exploring, adventuresome, creative heart you don’t have to go on one of my retreats…just find one!

Maybe you don’t need to travel across the ocean and maybe you just need to open your home, step out your front door, go to a museum or find those women just like you in your community.

I just want you to not regret not doing things that are a part of your heart because the timing isn’t perfect.  It never will be. Believe me..I know. We make it perfect by our actions and sacrifice.

* If you are looking for something creative, here in the United States, historic, full of good food, warmer and within the next five weeks…

You might be interested in joining me in Savannah, Georgia for the first stateside Living Studio Retreat! If you do not sketch or paint please do not let that stop you!  This retreat is for the creative heart. This is for the painter, photographer, writer, entertainer, cook etc.

This retreat is February 23-28th, 2015.  We are staying at the artsy and stunning Brice Hotel!

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

Price is based on double occupancy, $2150. Single occupancy is an extra $550.  Local price for those not staying at the hotel, $1650.

* If you are looking for something creative, in Italy, with time at the pool, incredible food, history, time on the lake, faith based and sure to leave you with your faith and creativity at a new level…

You might be interested in joining Stephanie Ackerman and me along Lake Como this summer for Laura McCullough’s art and faith creative retreat!  Laura knows the town of Bellagio intimately and takes you on a luxury adventure that will leave you dreaming of the food, people, the pool, Lake Como, smells and villages long after you are home. I should know…this will be my third year teaching in Bellagio!

This retreat is July 11-18th, 2015. We are staying at the apartments of the world famous Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and neighboring Hotel Florence.

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

This retreat is $3250

Attention to detail, people focused, life long friends made… The ONLY way to see Italy is with Laura.  No other time spent will you make friends, feel the cobblestone streets, meet the butcher, the baker and the leather shop owner, all friends of Laura’s, and sip Prosecco under the stars as you thank God for every Italian moment… ~ Lora-Lori Rutt

*If you are looking to explore France in the fall, experience the Paris flea markets, stroll the villages of Normandy, sketch along the beaches, stay and create at a French chateau walking distance to the ocean, tour ancient ruins, experience true French cuisine, be escorted by locals, study local art, visit the markets of the countryside, be invited into a local art studio and so much more…

You might be interested in joining me for The Living Studio Normandy.  I am collaborating with Cat Bude and her husband of Sunday Brocantes at Rabbit Hill to bring you a truly luxurious and inspiring retreat. If you do not sketch or paint please do not let that stop you!  This retreat is for the creative heart. This is for the painter, photographer, writer, entertainer, cook etc.

This retreat is October 9-16th, 2015.

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

This retreat is $3995 double / $5495 single US Dollars

I can’t wait to see what you guys do this year!  I know that so many of us sit on the fence waiting for things to be perfect or for things to settle down or for the money to appear.  Whether your dream is to plant a garden, write more, find creative friends in town, paint, cook, take a class, learn a new language…I hope this year is your year to take stop dreaming and to start doing.

Love you guys!

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The Living Studio Normandy, France {registration is open}

My heart behind The Living Studio is that we will all learn to explore and create wherever we live.

I hope to inspire people to step out of the comfort of their studios and out into the world and boldly create based upon the beauty all around them.

This unique retreat combines my love of travel and creating and connecting with other women.

I don’t know how many times over the years I had walked past a person sketching in an art museum,

painting in the gardens,

practicing their watercolors in the mountains

or writing at a cafe and I have stopped a moment to envy them.

They were doing it!

They HAD to be creative.

It is a practice and a preparedness that motivates you to create your studio wherever you go.

With practice and always having your tools with you…you live your creativity and the world becomes your studio.

Few places have changed my creative heart as much as France so it is my joy to announce my collaboration with Cat of Sunday Brocantes to offer you The Living Studio | Normandy, France!

Here is a peek into this luxury creative retreat!

Are you a writer, a photographer, a painter, a sketcher ?

Are you just starting to embrace your creativity or have you jumped in all of the way?

No matter how your creativity is expressed or the level in which you practice it…this retreat is for you!

October 9th-16th 2015

Your trip begins in charming Normandy villages, and stunning seaside resort towns, and concludes with exploring the world renowned Paris Flea Market.

While in Normandy take walks in small local villages, discover French country farms, cider mills and chateau’s, spend a morning experiencing the beauty of Monet’s gardens, take a bike trip along the famous beach-side boardwalk of Deauville. Enjoy an afternoon at the quaint stone French cottage of a local painter and have an aperitif in his private garden. Walk along cobblestone streets and see 300 year old architecture and churches…and absorb the culture of Northwest France.


Partake in local culture at farm markets, stylish bistro’s and fabulous restaurants … Shop for vintage treasures, explore the beauty of the French countryside … You will never just sit in a room and make art. Your art will be created out of exploring and experiencing Normandy. Imagine making art in small villages along the sea, at a cafe, in Monet’s gardens, in an art museum, among ancient ruins, inside a cathedral or in the quiet of the grounds of the manoir.


Each day you will be given prompts that you can use if you choose to be open to the art all around you throughout the villages of Normandy. We will also have a few structured art classes.

Our hope is that this will not just be a retreat…it will be opening up of your heart and mind to creating your studio wherever you go.



Tour dates: Friday, October 9th – Friday, October 16th
• Transportation to and from Paris and all local transportation throughout the tour.
• 6 dinners, 7 lunches at bistros, brasseries and fine restaurants.
• 7 nights accommodations in a classic 18th century seaside Normandy manoir with full service spa facilities, beautifully decorated bedrooms, large private bathrooms, WIFI, and all of the amenities,  breakfast each morning and sea-view outdoor spaces to relax as well as walking distance to the beaches and shops.
• Art inspiration and structured or in-formal instruction in small villages along the sea, at a cafe, in Monet’s gardens, in an art museum, among ancient ruins, inside a cathedral or in the quiet of the grounds of the manoir with Jeanne Oliver.
• Stops at vintage shops, markets and brocantes.
• A visit to Monet’s home and garden and stops to sites frequented by the French Impressionist artists and their students.
• A hosted visit to the home of a French painter, studio tour and aperitif in his charming garden.
• Afternoon strolls in centuries old villages, stops at ancient ruins and stunning cathedrals.
• Expert French speaking native to translate, negotiate, assist and share local cultural information  during your stay.
• An exclusive visit to Rabbit Hill.

October 9th-16th 2015

This retreat is $3995 double / $5495 single US Dollars

A $500 (non-refundable) deposit is due at registration

If you are interested in registering for this retreat or if you have questions please email Jeanne Oliver at

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Italy {Bellagio and Off To Florence}

I have loved looking through my Italy Instagram photos for these posts.

I didn’t pick up my camera very often and I have to admit that using mainly my phone made me enjoy the moments more.

I want to make a book with all of the Italy Instagram photos and I will let you know what company I go with (and how it turns out).

We are now on days 5, 6, 7 and 8.

You can read about the previous days HERE and HERE.

On day 5 Kelly and I started it with a cappuccino in the beautiful breakfast room of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

I loved that we had our own routine and even the waiters knew us each morning.

Teresa Collins taught a scrapbook journal class and I later taught a painting class.

It was a full day of creating!

After class Kelly and I headed to the pool for a few hours before we met up with everyone at dinner.

We had a beautiful meal on the patio of Restaurante Bilacus.

{on Instagram everyone teased that this looked like a scene from a soap opera}

As you can tell our group got along VERY well!

The next morning we all met bright and early for a day excursion to Como.

I enjoy the smaller villages around the lake more than the larger city of Como but it was full of beautiful images that I couldn’t stop wanting to capture.

{I even found an art supply shop}

I stopped to see George on our way back to Bellagio and he sends his love:-)

I was so tired from the day of walking all over Como and then the long ferry ride put me right to sleep.

Once we arrived back in Bellagio we were enjoying an afternoon rain.

That evening I had an amazing dinner all alone with my boyfriend.

It was so nice to have the quiet of the evening together to just talk about this incredible area and our dreams to come back with our children.

The next day started off with the last class by Teresa Collins and the afternoon was spent at the beach.

I still can’t believe I captured this photo of Kelly diving into Lake Como.

This has to be framed and saved forever!

You couldn’t have paid me to dive into water where I can’t see the bottom.


The grand finale of the retreat was dinner at Mistral.

Every thing was so beautifully presented and the ice cream make using liquid nitrogen was awesome!

As cappuccinos were being served they asked us to come outside for a surprise.

We all made our way to the pergola overlooking Lake Como.

Waiting for us was the men’s choir of Bellagio and they gave us a concert in Italian.

It was the perfect ending to one of the most incredible experiences.

That night as we climbed into bed it was sad to know that it was over.

We were also excited though because the next morning a new adventure would begin for just the two of us….

We were off to Florence!

{Registration is now open for Laura’s retreat next year along Lake Como}

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Flashback Friday {Inspired: What Katie Ate}

{Originally posted on January 31, 2011}

About a month ago my friend Kim shared a website with me that I had never seen.

What Katie Ate is a foodie blog by Katie Quinn Davies.

From the moment I saw it I was mesmerized.

In fact, I wanted to live in the blog and perhaps roll around naked in a few of the recipes.

I do not regulary photograph food…but the way she stages and photographs will inspire you no matter what you love to shoot through the lens.

Everything from the very original way she shares her recipes to the typography she chooses.

I ooh and aah through every post and it makes my mind go a mile a minute with so many new ideas for my own line of clothing and art.

Isn’t that amazing how that works!

I can look at beautifully photographed food and it gives me ideas for photographing my own lines of clothing and ways I want to express myself on my blog.

One of the best pieces of practical advice that I heard while at Alt was to look outside your area of expertise or knowledge for inspiration.

That doesn’t mean copy…it means find things that INSPIRE!

Inspired ideas are those beautiful ideas that open your  mind and heart to all of the original ideas inside yourself.

Where are you finding inspiration lately?

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Living Beyond Happiness {Reaching For The Joy}


{image found HERE}

I hear it all of the time…

You deserve to be happy

I deserve to be happy

If I only had xyz… I would be happy

It is not that happy is a bad word.

I just know that there is more!

{image found HERE}

You are surrounded by it every day.

Surrounded by this idea that happy belongs to you and it you aren’t living it every second than you are doing something wrong or you deserve more.

Advertisers try to convince you that with their product you will have happiness.

In my recent Lucky Magazine they actually have a page that says “Fill The Void” and they had little stickies so you could tag everything in the magazine you wanted.

It was a joke..but was it really?

{image found HERE} is happy…what can be so wrong with a word like happy?!

Let’s get something straight before we go any farther…

There is nothing wrong with being happy.

I am not some sad, martyr of a person that loves to revel in my day to day monotony….honest:-)

I just want to suggest that there is something better waiting for you if you sometimes put “happy” aside and reach for the joy instead.

{image found HERE}

When I think of something that makes me happy I think of things that bring be short term happiness.

They are wonderful things and I appreciate them but….

When I think of joy I think of a state of being.  A way that I feel, live, believe, breath…no matter my circumstances.

Stay with me…I swear I will get this out and I hope at the end it makes sense.

{image found HERE}

I sat down with my kids and we all brainstormed some of the times that we chose the thing that brought immediate “happiness” and we wish we wouldn’t have.  We talked about how when you think of yourself and only what you want right now and what will make you happy right now…sometimes there are consequences and they can later rob your joy.

I was surprised how honest they were about their own choices and how they completely understood what I was trying to say.

{image found HERE}

We have also watched a few of our close family friends go through heartbreaking separations/affairs/substance dependence etc. this past year and we have watched daddies (and mommies) leave to be happy…but they don’t seem that happy.  They wanted more.  I know that what they thought they would find if they left…they haven’t found.  They were running after happy when with a little work joy could have been at their doorstep.

It is a healthy person that can prioritize their gifts and needs and do things in their lives that bring happiness and joy.  I am just trying to say where did we ever think we had the “right” to be happy?

To me it is no different than the people that are shocked that life isn’t “fair”.  Who ever told you that one? Sorry to disappoint you but life and fair don’t really go together.

I am a mom of three children, married, homeschool my kids and run a business.

I have to make decisions from the second I wake up (and many days when I am woken up before I am ready) about will I do what I want or do what is the best.

Sometimes that choice can be hard to make and other days it is obvious and easy.

I am a pretty selfish person by nature and I have to fight with myself a lot some days to do better…do more…do what is right.

If you are a mom I know you know this struggle.

If you are a parent I know you know this struggle.

If you are dealing with a sick family member I know you know this struggle.

Heck, if you are alive….I know you know this struggle!

I want to hear about the happiness you sometimes say no to you can live in the joy.

Definition of Happiness:

a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Definition of Joy:

a state of well-being and contentment

Here is the quick list we came up with and I hope you see something you can relate with here.

{image found HERE}

I think that we sometimes forget how much better joy feels than happiness.

I love happy.

I experience it every day.

I do many things for me and I am so thankful for times when I can think just about me and my needs and wants.

That is healthy too.

I hope you know what I am trying to say though.

That shouldn’t be my search.

That shouldn’t be my goal.

Think of all that I would be missing if it were!

I would love to hear your examples of choosing joy.

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