Creative Entrepreneur

My Winter reView, Spring inSight (with journal prompts to help you review, uplift and commit)

The Winter season is 'officially' coming to an end and Spring is moving in, here in the states.

I thought I'd share a few journaling reflective practices I find helpful (below), while doing a short review of some highlights from my own creative journey and reflections in this last season... all in the spirit of sharing, showing up and wrapping up - as I - and we - prepare for what's coming up.

Some winter highlights in my creative world:

We've made some minor, but uplifting improvements to our humble little home and how we keep up with her. One of my favorite changes... a table that seats six people for a meal, or two married artists hanging out together *not* in front of a screen.

Our four-legged roommates keep winter warmer and more joyful, too.

As does miso soup in the morning... and BREAD.

Homemade bread... no-knead dutch-oven bread, to be exact. OMG. Don't even think twice about it, just GO HERE, and do what it says. You will not regret it - and your people will get a fresh twinkle in their eye for you and your 'magical' baking skills.

This warm-soft-crusty bread thing may be my favorite 2018 winter highlight, if I'm totally honest. Bread and music feed the soul, folks. (That's my guy in the middle on the left, who plays music most days of the week in Asheville).

For my In The Stars peeps: we got a kick out of how the baked bread can look like a baked planet, too. This planetary symbolism represents the instinct to eat and be comforted, and is brought to you by the Efficient Grandmother archetype. Clearly...

Speaking of In The Stars, this winter season wrapped up the first voyage of my biggest, most heartfelt program yet, and began the second voyage at our new class site... with lots of new and returning soulful creatives.

It is pure joy to guide others into their birth charts, dispel unhelpful ideas and superstitions around astrology, and teach them how astrology is practical and rich (not magical or scary or about simplified personality types or fortune-telling at all)... just a creative language that helps reflect and describe human experience and patterns, internally and externally, in a collectively and personally meaningful way. It lights me up... which I'm sure the program participants can attest to by now, and maybe you can tell as I diverge.... :-)

Oh... and there was the FLU. It was just awful in our house for several weeks. We both caught it. ugh. Enough about that.

At the beginning of the year, I also began meeting once a week with a spiritual formation group, in person here in Asheville... this is particularly personal, transformative and precious to me right now.

They fill my heart, our little group of 7, as do our conversations and shared meals. It is the perfect support for my growing and deepening contemplative prayer practice, the surprise twists my spiritual journey has led me on, in the past decade - and the questions I carry about best serving God and others with my gifts and whole self in this wild, changing world. I am grateful everyday that I was led to join in on the immersive four year journey, come what may.

I also began... and will be beginning (or reviving)... some fun things here at Hali Karla Arts.

Like my Something From The Studio videos on Youtube. I enjoy making those, and the response has been sweet, so I'm going to keep exploring the format.

Starting with the shift into Spring this month, I will also be making some new podcast episodes, with a whole different theme to explore and inspire your reflective and creative practices. I kind of adore the audio format... both making and listening... and I hope this will speak to some of you and keep your creative energy moving, as I speak from my practice to yours. More on that in the next week or so!

And, for my subscribers, I hope to get those Creative Practice Circle Meet-ups finally going this spring, totally free to attend... so sign up to get the details.

Finally, I'm planning to bring back some online classes this year - like part of the Making Art Medicine series.

Friends, I have made quite a few classes in the past 6 years, and they are just sitting in files waiting to reach and inspire creative souls who find them and feel called to engage. After years of making new content and classes, I'm looking forward to revisiting and celebrating some of that hard work in fresh ways, and sharing it with new folks this year.

Now, I promised to share some reflection practices I like to use as a retrospective exercise, so that you can give it a try in YOUR journaling and planning practice.

(I shared a variation of these in my last Creative Practice newsletter, as a way that I like to reflect on one month and move into the next - I've just changed a couple of words and added a few additional thoughts here.)

These could be used at whatever frequency makes sense to you and your needs. Seasonally might be perfect for you!

Here are a couple of my end-of-month (or season) journal review approaches:

I always find it so helpful... to make time to review my planner, notes, art and journals from the previous month, and make a retrospective reflection in my journal.

It gives me an anchor to my life, without time just slipping by and important highlights going unnoticed, as it so often can. Months that I don’t remember to do this just don’t feel as focused and energizing in the ordinary day-to-day.

First, I list or free-write about...

  • What was challenging and what I learned or am learning (or mistakes I made), and
  • What (or who) I loved, found memorable or insightful, or feel especially grateful for from the past month.

Next, I make a table or bubble-map with 4 areas listing things I want to COMMIT TO or UPLIFT for the UPcoming month, as follows:

  1. KEEP UP - activities, perspectives, practices etc. that I need/want to continue or keep up
  2. GIVE UP - activities, perspectives, practices, habits, etc. I need/want to release or stop to free up time/space
  3. SHAKE UP - things I need/want to keep doing, but that need a change or shift to my approach to keep it fresh and flowing, or better fit my realities and vision
  4. TAKE UP - things I want to explore and try out in the coming 4 weeks, *stretch that comfort zone, y'all*

In my humble, color-voracious opinion, these reflections are best done on messy, artsy, or doodled pages of watercolor splashes or such - optional and personalized to your preference in your journal, of course!

Finally, if you are a bullet journaler, or a list-lover, here are a few extra uplifting focus areas for reflection + review, and planning + activating... as an ongoing process, or at times of purposeful transition...

  • LIFT UP (prayers and gratitudes and decisions you are faced with)
  • LOOK UP (possibilities to explore)
  • SHOW UP (events or activities where your presence will stretch you, fill you up, or gift others)
  • WAKE UP (a-has, revelations, insights that shift big things in your view and perspective, or bring pieces of the puzzle together for you)
  • SAVE UP (this could be about money, or dreams to work toward, or ideas that are still taking shape and forming in your creative awareness and need more time to percolate before sharing or pursuing)

Alright, my creative friends, that's my Winter reView and Spring inSight musing, plus some thoughts on how you can review and bring insight backwards and forwards in your practices, as we move from one season into the next... on the calendar, or in our life's chapters.

This was fun to put together... I wonder, do you do any sort of monthly or seasonal review that helps keep your creative energy flowing and focused on the 'right' stuff?

With heart, Hali

*** The best way to work with me personally this year, and to meet some amazing creative kindreds also participating, is in my program IN THE STARS. You can join in the journey anytime, for the time being - with immediate access to everything that's been released so far. 



My DIY Monthly Planner | Something from the Studio 1 (new video)

My DIY mixed-media Monthly Planner for 2018 - a peek and video in my traveler's notebook, handmade calendars, and bullet journaling In the spirit of sharing something a little different, and switching up how I share (a necessity for me and my creative energy and rhythms)... I hit record and made a video the other night while finishing up a handmade 2018 monthly calendar for my traveler's notebook planner. Just in case you could use an idea or two to make your daily planning your own, heading into the 2018.

In the studio, I've been putting together the exploration schedule for IN THE STARS 2018 - using a huge wall calendar and post-its, so I can visualize everything - and it is time to put it all into the calendar I carry with me.

And, yes... I *know* about digital calendars. I've tried... but they just drive me nuts and don't work for my mile-a-minute brain. I need to feel the calendar in my hands, and engage with my work and life planning once a week these days. So I find that the traveler's notebook and a simple bullet journaling process help ground me, with freedom on the page, space for change, and just the right dose of structure.

HERE is a visual swipe-through post of the simple process of making my monthly planner with some scrap art from my hubby, and scrap paper + a handmade undated monthly template + my sewing machine.

And here's the video from my YouTube channel as I share about making it, and how I fill it in and use it, plus a few peeks at my traveler's notebook and thoughts on my planning process... just a little Something From the Studio...

Mentioned in the video:

My preferred TN size is A5 (approx. 5-7/8 x 8-1/4 in) I tend to use a letter size paper (8.5”x11”) trimmed to 8.25”x11”, folded in half to make my own cahiers, with my covers cut to 8.25”x 11.5”, folded in half. I fold them all before sewing to set the middle crease, and use binder clips to hold them in place when running through my sewing machine.


I *love* my A5 Leather Traveler’s Notebook from Leather Quill Shop on Etsy:

In my TN and on my monthly planner, I use(d):

black Sharpie pens: Zebra mildliners for color-coding: Matte gel medium: white gel pens: Posca paint pens:

My DIY mixed-media Monthly Planner for 2018 - with video about my traveler's notebook, bullet journaling and making your own monthly calendar

I plan to record and share Something from the Studio from time to time, moving forward. Seem a bit vague? I know. It's intentionally like that right now, though... I like staying open to sharing glimpses of the various things I'm doing and part of, and what's on my mind as I'm in my own creative practice, while keeping it more casual and organic, and seeing where it leads.

So subscribe to my YouTube channel if you hang out over there and want to know when I post a video, or make sure you're on my Creative Practice Updates & Notes mailing list:


about my planner and righting wrong fits

an A5 traveler's notebook for my planner, sketchbook, journal, and business ideas Things that used to fit and flow just haven't in the same way this year... all through my life, creative energy, relationships. Many have just needed adjustments, integration, clarity. Some have needed boundaries and space, or to just be released in one way, shape or form.

It's all been about growth and assessment, contraction and expansion, and moving toward honest wholeness, on some level.

It's good to have an environment that supports our values and choices. A commitment to that is what gets shit done, and creativity flowing. Not always easy, though...

So how do we make or help create that environment? That life? We can't change everything, of course... sometimes it's just about adaptability and resiliency and working with what is, too. Finding how This Me now fits in with This Life I am living, this work I am doing, these things that move and call me, these people I love, etc.

Before I go and get all side-tracked and deep about life on this one... let me just use a simple, practical example from my uncomfortable process of restlessness, trial-and-error, and growth this year. Because if it's shifting on a deep level, you better believe you'll feel it in all the simple, ordinary levels, too. *geesh* Which brings me to...

My planner.

Nothing has worked, satisfied or met my needs this year... which have admittedly, become more discerning than in the past. Like in all the other ways in my life.

I have literally made, modified or tried 7+ variations in the past 9 months. Like many things, I can't always quite put my finger on, and certainly don't graciously bring words to these days, none of them 'fit' me quite right. And I am an analog girl for this function.

Hellllooo... first world problems, I know... and yet, even in these little ways we respond and react and try to dance with our lives, we can learn about the bigger ways we do so in other areas of life. We can learn about the journey of restlessness and change, for instance, of trying to find what and how and when and with whom we fit in new or re-membered incarnations of our self.

So... back to my little OCD planner journey this year...

Some just had too much structure or distraction. Too much freedom or chaos. Too big and heavy. Too small. Not enough room to breathe and vision and get a sense of my own thoughts. Nothing was inherently wrong with any of these planners... they were just wrong for me right now.

Or I would carry around 5 different books/thing-ys to meet my usual process needs (the planner, the sketchbook, the journal, the thing that holds the loose things...).

Now, I do know that you have to actually *use* the planner for the planner to work. That truth can be mind-blowing to efficiency, of course. ;)

And while I am someone who needs a good amount of freedom or flexibility for my process in work to thrive, I also require some form of schedule and planning to keep me focused and grounded in the day-to-day, and from drifting off into the oceans of my blissfully creative, yet unpalpable, Pisces never-never-land.

All of this to say, after flitting about this year, seeking the structure for my planner that assists the reality of my day-to-day AND the needs of my imaginative process, I have returned to bullet journaling and a traveler's notebook.

And I'm loving it because I did so with certain specifications unique to me. The first traveler's notebook I tried years ago felt wonky and not big enough.

So I splurged and had one handmade in the A5 size by this great little shop on Etsy. A5 is just slightly bigger than a Moleskine, and I've loved that size for awhile.

The first time I gave bullet journaling a try, it got way too chaotic. I liked the freedom... but it felt too chaotic and repetitive.

I also didn't stick with it long enough to find my sweet spot of structure and keeping-it-oh-so-simple. When I came back for another go this summer, it all seemed to fall into place, and I'm mostly loving it now - my way.

I also enjoy that a travelers notebook allows me to make my own signatures for it, if I need something specific... for instance, mini art journals for on-the-go ideas or play.

And those artsy pages don't get lost in the mix of work planning, calendars and to-do lists... because they get their own little signatures.

Anyhow, I shared a very short flip-through of my beloved new creative life and biz assistant traveler's notebook over on my Instagram stories today. It's the one in the image above, of course. I *love* that blue leather.

Down below are just a few links to some planners I have used, liked and tried over the years on my journey of realizing that how things seem to fit and flow in life will just keep changing.

And if we keep stretching and trying, responding to our restlessness and discomfort - and in relation to our inherent, dynamic and unique creative energy and needs - we may just find our own sweet spot... a right fit in little approaches, to how we function and relate.

Ways that more wholly support our work, discovery, connections and how we can show up, with focus and intention and freedom, along the way.

The Simple Elephant planner Moleskine 18 month planner Enchanted Forest Journal Passion Planner