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  1. Do What You Love is one year old!

    This month we celebrated one year of Do What You Love as a registered company (although the dreams have been in the works for much longer than that!)  So much has happened, including the inaugural Do What You Love retreat a full six months ago – as I was reminded by one of the lovely participants who sent me a note recently saying,

    “It’s lovely having that moment in time as a kind of benchmark for change and evolution (or even revolution!)  It will always serve as a beautiful milestone in my life.” 

    I have to be completely honest and say that before Do What You Love I never thought for one moment I could create something that would have that kind of impact on an individual, and it is what makes everything feel so right – and makes me so grateful to everyone who has helped me make the choices that brought me right here, right now.

    (Image: NavyBlur)

    These past few weeks I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the Do What You Love journey in preparation for sharing it (highs, lows, finances, warts and all!) in The Business Soul Sessions with Kelly Rae Roberts in January.  I have trawled through a whole stack of journals, seeking the moments of sparkle and darkness, the whispers of intent and the hesitant recognition that it might just be working!  I don’t normally read my own journals and they certainly aren’t written with the intention of showing them to anyone else, so to open them up to the class so completely makes me more than a little uncomfortable – but I am so intrigued by the story they tell that I know it is worth it in order to share them.

    I will be sharing a few sneak peeks here over the coming weeks (or you will get the whole story if you are joining us in class!)  For now I just want to acknowledge that this has been one of the best years of my life so far, and none of it would have been possible without the support of others – including YOU!  So thank you.  Truly, thank you so much.

    ***

    Stay tuned for an exciting new project being unwrapped and announced here tomorrow!  You are going to LOVE it!

  2. Get your art featured on the BBC!

    A production company working with the BBC is looking for great art  to be featured on hit programme ‘Show Me The Monet’ on BBC Two. (See here for a clip from the last series).

    As before, the Hanging Committee of three art experts is looking for great art to put into their prestigious exhibition in London where members of the public together with the great and the good of the art world can view and buy the work that is on display. They are looking for both amateur and professional artists from across the nation to apply – and that includes you!

    To apply visit the website here.  Applications will be accepted from Monday 12th December onwards. 

    This could be your moment to shine!

  3. *Shared Stories* – call for submissions!

     

    Every Monday this space becomes a place where brave and inspiring souls share their stories about doing what the love – whether they are doing it now, or whether they are still striving to do it.

    I would love to share your story here, and give you this platform to help you reach a new community of tens of thousands of like-minded souls.

    To date we have shared the stories of many women (and one man!) all over the world, including the UK, Italy, Holland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and India . We have had filmmakers, photographers, entrepreneurs, painters, life coaches, and people who just love creating. And each of them has been a storyteller, with a story to tell. Read their stories here

    If you are interested in sharing your story please drop me a line: beth [at] dowhatyouloveforlife [dot] com and I will send you the submission guidelines.  Please feel free to pass this on to any friends who might like to share their stories.

    Join us next Monday for more inspiring *shared stories*

     

  4. Weekend book club: Textiles

    As a complete book addict and hoarder, I thought it was about time I shared some of my favourites with you!  In each ‘Weekend Book Club’ I post about a set of lovely books, with a different theme each week.  This week’s theme is TEXTILES.  These are the kind of books that make your mouth water, with photos so beautiful you can almost feel the textures…

    Living with Textiles by Elaine Louie

    This book features my dream lounge (second image below) and explores how textiles can change the character and feeling of spaces in the home.

     Fabric by Suzanne Trocme

    I have to admit I bought this after falling in love with the cover. The image below doesn’t do it justice – it is a dreamy shade of green, almost metallic. Inside there are more examples of beautiful fabrics.

    Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge by Bradley Quinn

    This gorgeous book features interviews with emerging designers and showcases textile designs from all over the world – so inspiring!

     

    Textiles and Fashion by Jenny Udale

    A brilliant introduction to the importance of textiles in fashion, and how each influences the other.

     

    Rinen to kurasu (Living with linen) by Kunie Dayasue

    Elegant book showcasing various uses of linen in the Japanese home – the beautiful neutral palette makes you really notice the fabric textures and quality

     

    Transparency in Textiles by Dawn Thorne

    This lovely book is filled with techniques for manipulating textiles to get a variety of beautiful transparent effects

     

     Experimental Textiles by Kim Thittichai

    Stunning examples of the art you can create when you experiment bravely with textiles.

    ***

    Do you have any recommendations?

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    Inspired? See other Weekend Book Club posts here (on paper, pattern and sketching & illustration)

     

  5. Giving thanks

    I’m not American and I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I love the idea of a special day where you thank everyone you love for being in your life. 

    Recently I seem to have been quite hidden away from the world, busy working on some exciting but full-on projects.  While this has meant I have got to do some really fulfilling, thought-provoking work, it has also led me to the point where I feel I have no idea what is going on in the life of some of my very good friends. And even blog friends – I haven’t done the rounds for weeks, months even (and more and more people seem to have blogs that are hard to comment on for techie reasons, so I haven’t even left comments on those I have visited).  

    If you are one of them, you know who you are. Please know that when I’m not sending you emails or letters or gifts in the post, it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you. Know that when I don’t come to dinner or make it to your party, it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s because right now there are a few things I need to get done. But through every moment of that, know that I am thankful for you.  So very thankful.

  6. Emerging

    It feels like I am slowly emerging from a cave – not any kind of horrible dark place, but just somewhere I have been hidden away like a hermit, working on three projects at once, furiously writing, editing and writing some more.  There is still a way to go and deadlines are looming but progress feels good, and the sunlight on my face feels even better.

    Have started to go swimming again. I find that when I enter the pool with a question in my head I usually have an answer by the time I get out. 

    How about you? Where do you go to work through the questions that whirl around in your head?

  7. *shared stories* (39): Soraya Nulliah and Stephanie Dyer

    sharedstories***

    Today’s *shared story* comes from artist Soriah Nulliah

    ***

    Soraya Nulliah

    I am an artist. From before I was even born…this is what I am. It’s what makes my heart sing… it’s what fuels and sustains me. However…I didn’t always know this or believe this.

    I was born into a family and culture that was extremely oppressive, abusive and stifling; there was no room to breathe and grow. Girls were only meant to get married, be obedient and produce (male) children. That’s it! I was not allowed to have my own dreams or ambitions or creative expressions. For me…following my heart and doing what I love has really been the long road of individuation, empowerment and building my self esteem. I used to paint, draw, write poetry and journal when I was a teen but I was ridiculed and belittled so I kept it hidden. I put all of my dreams away in a box and locked it shut. I lost the key.

    As I entered my 20’s, I was fractured and very broken…dealing with the deep scars of my childhood experiences and wandering about the world as a lost soul. I entered a long period of soul searching. I left home and managed to educate myself.  I travelled and lived in an ashram for about 6 months. I read voraciously, visited museums and art galleries but I was very very lost and living a life that was devoid of heart and meaning. Externally I had everything but, paradoxically, I had nothing.

    The turning point in my life was when I turned 30 and went on a 4 month pilgrimage to India. It changed the course of my life. I am of Indian descent but had never visited the land of my ancestors before. It was this journey that led me to the very heart of my SELF and to my art. In the claiming of my whole self, I realized I simply had to create, write and paint; it simply wasn’t an option any more. I found the key to my locked box of dreams; that key was my true SELF!

    When I came back from that trip I took classes on painting, drawing and photography. I started putting paint to paper and pouring out my heart onto large canvases. I spent all of my money on fat jars of paint, books and classes. Most of those early paintings were truly horrible…but I was happy for the very first time in my life. My heart was singing and I was learning and growing.

    I think the biggest sacrifices I have had to make in the pursuit of my art has been after the birth of my daughter Tara. On one hand I absolutely adore being a mother and raising my little girl, but on the other I absolutely have to paint. So it’s a balancing act of sleep deprivation, guilt, passion, love, time management and creativity – a balance I am still struggling to find! I have an amazingly supportive husband so that helps tremendously.

    Motherhood completely changed me and ignited all of my maternal instincts with wanting to be there completely for my daughter. And just to complicate things, motherhood also fired up my creative juices and I had all of these paintings and stories inside of me just aching to be told.

    Doing what I love doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer disappointments, frustrations and setbacks. What it does mean is that when I do experience these, my heart and passion allows me to sustain the commitment to my art.

    What do I wish I had known back then? Hmmm…everything and nothing! Every single joy, heartache, pain, success and failure has led me right to this moment here; it’s all part of my personal journey. In many respects I have had an extremely difficult and painful life yet I firmly believe that those very same experiences have allowed me to be the person/mother/artist that I am today. I can be a great mother to my child because I never had that for myself. I can tell these stories of brokenness and wholeness because I have been on that very journey. Doing what I love continues to be humbling, healing, invigorating and exciting.

     

    [Images courtesy of Soraya Nulliah.  Find out more about Soraya on her blog]

    ***

    Stephanie Dyer

     

    Once upon a time… there was a little girl who lived by a world famous Museum in a little midwestern town.   Instead of taking ballet or piano like her friends, she begged her parents to let her take ART lessons.  And from the moment she walked across the shiny marble floors, smelled the museum air, and took a gander at some amazing art ~ she was hooked.  Each and every summer during the next 5 years was spent taking classes, learning new things, and just soaking in the beauty that came from human imagination!  But like all little girls ~ she grew up, and sadly, lost her confidence somewhere along the line between high school and college.  So quite naturally, she believed that the next best thing to being an artist was to be a therapist and work with children.  Although in truth, she never stopped dreaming or yearning to unleash the colors that swam around in her brain. . . always reminiscing about what could have been if she studied fine art.

    In the middle of all of that studying and hard work, prince charming came along and swept her off her feet ~ LITERALLY!  He took her to see the big wide world, made her see things from a new perspective and loved her silly and adventurous side (oh yeah, this girl was fun)!  She skied in the Alps, scuba dove off the Great Barrier Reef, went cliff diving, swam with a shark, rode on the back of a motorcycle through Spain, attended a wedding in Italy, sat in the back of a C-141 cargo plane to Pago Pago, went skydiving, and traveled the world ~ all before the age of 30. 

    Then, like an answered prayer, she became pregnant and happily traded in creativity on canvas for staying at home with her babies and being a full time mommy.  Until one day, it became clear that she must put brush to canvas again.  The time had come for her art to become a vehicle of healing after the most devastating loss of her newborn baby girl ~ Amelia.  This sweet little girl that didn’t get to live, gave her mother the push she needed to create again.   And her artistic soul was set free!  And that is where I am now.   I have spent almost 20 years with my college sweet heart and best friend!  He is the most beautiful man I have ever met and I love him and our children to distraction.  I am not nearly as adventurous as I used to be, unless you consider being pregnant 5 times and choosing natural birth an adventure (ahem ~ I do). 

    I started Beyond Words Designs (art… celebrating life) as a tribute to my daughter and the life that she never got to live.  Amelia is my muse and in my every thought as I sit to paint.  I am so grateful to her for helping me rediscover my LOVE of painting.  I hope to make a difference with my work.  I am on a mission to celebrate all mothers of the world and the lives that left too soon.

    I have some big dreams.  I would love to have my work be used in publications dealing with pregnancy, birth, grief and baby loss.  I dream of being recognized in publications and print.  I would love to write more (maybe even a book), to create and teach an art class where the focus is on healing.  Who knows… maybe Hallmark will need a new ‘birth and pregnancy’ greeting card.  I also want to continue to stretch my comfort zone.  To remember to be open to new and scary opportunities.  For example, I would not be the first person to volunteer for a public speaking engagement, but I am totally curious about how that must feel.  Being in the spotlight, giving voice to your thoughts… all eyes on you.  I completely admire people who can do this. 

    And at the end of my story… I will be happy if I can model for my children that they can do anything they set their minds to, that no goal is unreachable and that they should follow their passions.  I want to raise dreamers not drones.

    [All images courtesy of Stephanie Dyer. To find out more about Stephanie visit her website here]

    See here for more inspiring *shared stories*

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    Have you heard about my collaboration with surface pattern designer Rachael Taylor?

    The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design is open for registration now! Find out more here

  8. Winter colour

    This weekend has been enveloped in a rich mist – a cloud of grey that has hung over the hills and kept out the light. But through the grey, here and there, bursts winter colour, all the more beautiful for there not being much of it.

    Have you spotted much winter colour your way recently?

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    PS The Weekend Book Club is having a weekend off – back next week with more lovely books!

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  9. Making mischief

    Right, it’s high time for a bit of this…

    What mischief making are you going to get up to this fine Friday?

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    The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design class is buzzing!  Class began on Monday but registration is still open until tomorrow if you want to join the party.  Module 1 won';t be available again until next May so be quick! Register here

  10. Can’t stay desk-bound

    It feels like I haven’t left my office for a month. So many deadlines, so much to do. Loving all the content but need to get out and stretch my legs. So today I am going to get myself a change of scenery, a long walk, and some wind in my hair.

    How about you?

    ***

    The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design class is buzzing!  Class began on Monday but registration is still open until tomorrow if you want to join the party.  Module 1 won';t be available again until next May so be quick! Register here