My 2021 Year in ReviewRead Now
Welcome back to The Sweet Spot , where we focus on All Things Essential, Simple, and Satisfying!
For this post, I will be sharing with you the significant and relevant life experiences and developments I have had in this past year and why they matter to me. Some will be practices that I have carried from previous years and some are new to my spiritual/creative practice. I'll be dipping into my art, music and journaling practices I've tapped into this year, along with other relevant happenings. Thanks for joining me on my 2021 Year in Review!
I would have to say that my most Exciting and Rewarding development was with a focus on MUSIC, and specifically with learning to play piano. Let me give you a bit of history...I started writing spiritual songs several years ago being inspired by sacred text as well as with prayer/meditation, essential parts of my spiritual practice. In my third year of writing spiritual songs, I decided I needed to learn to play an instrument so I could accompany myself as I sing. Up til that point, I was using a tambourine for percussion.
I got myself a piano app to try my hand as learning to play one of my spiritual songs by ear. I succeeded in that endeavor, so after a few months, I decided to get myself a digital piano! Back in March, it arrived and I was absolutely thrilled! I have added new songs to my piano book over the months and now have over twenty songs I play. I don’t have any of them fully memorized, but I’m learning to play some parts by memory just from regular practice. I learned the keys intuitively rather than putting stickers on the keys to remember where each one is located. I have also watched various YouTube videos by Pianote and Jazer who teach online. So I’ve learned to play 1, 2 and 3 note chords in addition to the melodies in various ways for my songs.
I am super excited with how far I’ve come since March. It is deeply satisfying to compose, play and sing my spiritual songs on my piano. It lifts my spirit, strengthens my faith and calms me when I’m stressed.
Sometimes I play several times a day, and even when I’m waiting to do something else, because I enjoy it so much.
Music has always had an important place in my life and heart, and this just brings it to a whole new level that deeply touches and satisfies me.
As an artist, my goal is to learn new skills and expand on what I’m already doing, especially if I’m deeply curious about a specific skill I haven’t learned yet. Last year, I learned to draw a cartoon properly and, as a result, I consistently draw myself in cartoon when I create my daily evening doodle, which consists of a word that summarizes my day. I draw myself (with the clothing I wore that day) inside one of the letters (similar to the header at the beginning of this post!).
One day I asked myself, Wouldn’t it be cool to draw other garments on my cartoon figure? So I decided to create a drawing illustrating myself in a dress which you can see below. I had so much fun with this new approach to fashion illustration that I decided to do more than one!
I also tried my hand at illustrating one of my nieces in dance ensembles which you can see in a previous post. This was a fabulous learning experience with body anatomy and fashion combined.
I intend to do more of this Fashion Illustrated cartooning in 2022. I may also dabble more in face cartooning on a larger scale.
Also, on the art front, I’ve taken a deep dive back into Art Journaling. This time I’m focusing on using gouache, ink, pastels, fabric and embellishments in my art journal play. The collage aspect is super fun for me and fabric is a deeply satisfying element to use in my spreads. The combination of texture, design and color is perfect for my purposes. It’s interesting that I’ve been collecting a fabric stash over the past several years and I’m finally using this in my art application. I enjoy pinning my fabric on cork for inspiration and cutting and trimming to fit different fabrics in specific spaces that work for me in my composition.
I have deeply missed the entire intuitive process of creating from my heart onto the page using color, texture, mark making, stamping, inking and collage, with messages that reveal themselves over time and place. Art journaling is a process that enables me to express myself deeply, honoring who I am and what Spirit wants to say to me through this medium. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun!
In other journaling news, I continue to add Bullet Journaling to my daily mix, using it to track important aspects of my life, from sacred study notes and song writing, to keeping track of my wardrobe choice with color and daily choices, to Gratitude and Sweet Spots (moments in my day that I want to recall that lift my spirit, make me smile or laugh, etc.). I don’t make it fancy or elaborate. I keep it simple, relevant and fun. One of the advantages of my bullet journal practice is keeping me aware of the things that are deeply meaningful to me, like what I’m thinking about, dreaming about, and keeping track of what I accomplish each day. It’s a totally different approach to my narrative journaling in my blank sketchbook. And using them in tandem just broadens my journaling horizons in meaningful ways.
In the earlier part of this year, I co-hosted two episodes of Keeping It Sweet with my dear friend, Carrie Aulenbacher, You can view all episodes by searching navigation for our page here on this website. We have such fun together taking about all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying.
I trust that by sharing my Year in Review, that you have been inspired to focus on what is Essential to you, what areas where you can keep it more Simple, and finding ways to find the deepest Satisfaction in what you do on a daily basis. It’s important to celebrate your wins, take care of yourself in ways only you know work for you, and finding the Sweetness in every day!
You’re welcome to share below how you’re Keeping It Sweet and how you plan to continue in 2022!
I also want to take this moment to thank you, my friends, for following my art and music and journaling journey in 2021. It has been fun and inspiring to share what I’ve been up to along the way. What else would you like to know about my practices? Let me know in the comments.
Wishing you All The Sweetness in the New Year!
Welcome back to The Sweet Spot! I share all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying in my life with the purpose of showing what a difference it can make to be mindful of these elements. As I recognize what is Satisfying to me, I want to do more of it. When I see what is Essential for me, I want to be sure I make space for it. When something gets too complicated for me, I want to find strategies to make it simple and do-able.
For this post, I plan to share a bit of my cartoon doodle art (and the history behind my process), which is something I create on a daily basis in the evenings. I started off about 8 or 9 years ago, when I used a word to summarize my day, and took up a challenge to create a doodle a day for 7 days and used that word as my source for the doodle. Well, I guess you can say, I never stopped! I was having so much fun creating doodle designs, I just wanted to keep going with it. It was fun and inspiring and a relaxing way to end my day.
Once I started using markers and pens to bring color into the. mix, then the sky was the limit! Winsor Newton watercolor markers, Tombows, and Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens came into the mix, for detail, full color, highlights and designs. I found myself using dots, circles, Lines and spiral motifs repeatedly since that's what I used in my paintings as well. I just go with whatever comes to mind. It's a very intuitive process that delights my Artist Self.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Illustrated Doodle Cartoon, where I share my recent foray into fashion illustration from an outside resource other than my wardrobe, I greatly desired to learn how to draw myself in cartoon form. I've wanted to do this since high school! Over the years I looked for instruction through different books on cartooning, and I finally found one that suited me with a step by step. After several months, I began to create a cartoon that resembled me somewhat and have improved it with facial expressions (eyebrows really do make a difference!), and work on the figure (which is a work in progress!). Of course I do all of this in pen, so NO ERASING. My work is all free-hand.
There are times when I really like the result. Other times, not so much. I've learned what to draw first so it looks naturally layered with no lines interfering with other illustrated parts. I just go with the flow and learn from my perceived "mistakes". I'm having so much fun with it! It is truly a Satisfying engagement for me as an Artist.
When I first began my evening doodle, I just used black and white. So I was purely focused on the design aspect of filling in the letters and creating a doodle that looked like what the word meant. I even read a book on the subject to learn various letter designs to try and incorporate the feeling of the its meaning.
Once I added color, I was still outlining in black pen. Several years ago, I decided to draw with colors for the outline of the letters, eliminating always outlining in black pen, and that really made a difference in the way the doodle looked. Brighter, more intuitive, and lively. So, now I always start with color. I rarely just draw the doodle outlined with black pen.
When I entered my cartoon into the mix, I drew with black pen from the start and still do. I fill each cartoon with go to colors for skin and hair, plus adding design elements for the wardrobe, such as lines for stripes. I try to capture the motif design as much as possible without making it too complicated. When I draw the fabric, I don't reference the garment in front of me. I just go by memory. I think back to what I wore that day and just run with it.
One thing I want to point out. When I started this doodle process, it was just for fun. In black and white. Adding color came almost 2 years later. Drawing with color instead of black pen even later still. Adding my cartoon has been a recent venture in the past year and a half. All these elements took time to develop and include in my daily art practice. Not all at once.
So, if you're looking to create a routine with an art form, keep it simple right from the beginning. Simplicity is key to trying something new. And if you run into something, a new idea, that feels right, try it, with no expectation for the outcome. And if it works, run with it and see how long it keeps your attention and satisfaction. Change things up if that's what suits you. Be patient with yourself if it doesn't turn out "right" every time. Practice is key, especially daily practice.
I look forward to creating my illustrated cartoon doodle each evening. It always relaxes me and gives me space to practice design elements, cartoon form, illustration, and overall capturing of what matters to me in my day. Essentially, it's a visual colorful diary in addition to my evening written reflection. It shows my ups and downs and keeps me in the know of how I'm doing. In other words, it's relevant to me on a daily basis. It holds meaning that I feel is important to myself as an Artist, a Creative, a Family member, a Business Partner (with hubby), an emerging musician (Just learning to play piano!), and female human.
I trust you have enjoyed this foray into my illustrated cartoon doodle journey and my goal is to inspire you in your creative pursuits, whatever they may be. Just remember to keep it Essential, Simple and Satisfying to creative as many Sweet Spots in your daily life!
Wishing you all the Sweetness!
Welcome back to Keeping It Sweet co-hosted by me and my dear friend, Carrie Aulenbacher. We focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying!
For this New Year's Edition, I share extensive tips on bullet journaling and making things sweeter in the home, and Carrie shares a meaningful project she's been working on!
Do leave a comment about how you're keeping it sweet in 2021!
(This edited video was originally recorded live on Facebook.)
You can view previous episodes of Keeping It Sweet here.
Hello friends! Welcome back to The Sweet Spot, where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying!
In this post, I’ll be focusing on Color, Fashion, Journaling and Art. But first, a bit of back story.
I am a member of The Joyspotter’s Society Facebook Group headed by Ingrid Fetell Lee who authored the book, Joyful (You can read my review here). I really relish the joyful focus in this group and the different “themes” Ingrid creates each week for us to focus on for inspiration. Recently, she suggested posting with the color yellow as the theme, which was a really fun choice. I ended up sharing an image of the yellow section of my wardrobe (see below). Yes, I recently arranged my wardrobe based on color rather than type of garment, which makes for some new mixing and matching—so fun! Since I was so inspired by this theme, I decided to create a blog post with the color Yellow/Gold as my focus. Isn’t that fun?
Yes, being inspired by Ingrid’s theme, I thought I’d share how the color yellow/gold inspires me, why I love it so much, and share some pieces of my wardrobe with you and why those pieces work for me.
I also decided to include some journaling tidbits, since back in December of 2019, I began using a Bullet journal. (Yes, I have expanded my journaling practice once again!) One of the Collections I have included in the past few months has been recording what I wear each day, just to keep track of the color scheme. I happen to also draw these fashions on my cartoon each night when I create my doodle, so that theme connected rather readily.
In the past couple of months, I even created a tracker chart in addition to writing down what garments I wore (abbreviated for ease of use) ; this tracker is now color coded so when I look at the chart, I can see visually what colors I have worn the most in the month.
Color has a vibration and energy to it, so I found the idea fascinating to track the colors I am drawn to intuitively as I choose my garments each day. It really is a multi-layered aspect of the "why" behind my choices: the color, the vibration, my sense of fashion, and how I feel when I’m wearing what I choose,
Doing this in my narrative journal would have been difficult which is why I appreciate the Bullet Journal approach to making this aspect of my life visible. As an artist, color is really important to me, in what I create and in what I wear.
So, YELLOW. I prefer to use the word Gold, since I really love the darker hue versus the light hue of yellow. Both of the garments I’m featuring in the post are of the darker variety. One is solid gold and one is gold in the negative space around a large floral motif in black and white.
The reason I really love the solid color is twofold: I don’t have a lot of solids in my wardrobe (I happen to be drawn to motifs and multi-color palettes) and it’s easier to mix and match with a print scarf, which you can see in the image above,
The other garment with the floral motif is very comfortable with a perfect circle neck, and the floral is larger with the contrast of black and white, which really suits my style.
These garments are my favorite pieces of fashion from my yellow/gold section of my wardrobe.
In addition to sharing images of my actual wardrobe pieces, I decided it would be fun to share examples of my fashion illustration in my cartoon doodle. I found two doodles, one with each of the garments featured above so you can see how I’ve incorporated my love of these pieces in my drawings.
In the floral garment, I’m sitting in my bedroom chair talking on my phone with a loved one. In the solid gold garment, I’m chatting with my eldest daughter about an important subject.
I really enjoy doing these drawings that show my perspective, my emotion and my relationships and what they mean to me. And it’s a fun challenge to draw what I’m wearing during these times in my life.
If you want to see the Bullet Journal Collection for my wardrobe, you’re welcome to watch the video!
The color Yellow/Gold is a fun color to wear since it’s vibrant, giving that “sunny” aspect to life. My favorite flower is the SunFlower which goes right along with that essence. I also use the color yellow consistency in almost everything I paint, including the Rose I’m sharing below. My two favorite watercolor choices are Winsor Yellow and Yellow Ochre. Yellow is so essential, making other color “light up” in vibrancy. It really livens things up and raises your vibration.
Thus my Ode to Yellow/Gold and all it holds for me.
I trust you enjoyed my perusal with the color yellow as well as my fashion focus both with garments and my cartoon illustrations. I have so much FUN with these aspects of my life. They are Essential to my way of looking at and experiencing life on a daily basis. It’s part of Honoring Who I am and relishing what makes me happy.
What is essential for you right now?
What colors are you drawn to?
Do you keep a bullet journal and if so, what collection really makes you happy and adds fun to your life?
You’re welcome to share below! I’d love to hear from you!
Remember to Keep It Sweet, focusing on what is Essential, Simple and Satisfying—especially in this New Year of 2021.
As another year comes to a close, and WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN, like none other I’ve experienced before, as you, my readers, from around the world can attest to.
The purpose of my sharing these highlights, as I do each year, is to show my evolving path, as artist, journal keeper, business owner and woman.
Some of what I list is personal, some professional and some, just downright fun!
What I have chosen to list would qualify as Essential, Simple and Satisfying in one way or another. So, shall we begin? Come along on my 2020 journey with me!
As I proceed, I will focus on my Professional Life first. As Office Manager of Bill’s Quality Electric, LLC, which is headed by my Master Electrician/Electrical Contractor Husband, I am responsible for all things having to do with our business, and that includes Social Media Marketing. We have been on Twitter and Facebook for many a year. But this year, I decided to add a YouTube Channel, new territory for our business!
This year was also a more creative year for me as writer of our Electrical Safety blog. Each time I publish a new post, I now promote it on our YouTube Channel, which is Your Electrical Safety Resource! I have so enjoyed this new venture and am excited to share it with you! You are welcome to subscribe for electrical safety, shock and fire prevention tips!
The next item I’m super excited and pleased to share involves a very close, special friend of mine. This year I decided to launch a new LIVE SHOW called, Keeping It Sweet, where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying, which is how I describe a Sweet Spot! So, My dear friend, Carrie Aulenbacher, and I co-host together, with each of us sharing how we’re Keeping It Sweet right now! Plus we share tips on how we focus on what is Essential, Simple and Satisfying, giving daily life examples of what that looks like and what a difference it makes to our happiness, JOY and well being. You’re welcome to check out the episodes here. Just a head’s up: there’s a LOT of FUN and LAUGHTER going on!
The next item is focused on books, specifically the author and spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle. I learned of him several years ago with his book, A New Earth someone told me about, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. Then I found out about his other book, The Power of Now, which I also read. Well, this year, I began to watch Eckhart on video, listening to his teachings from events held around the world, based often on questions from the audience. I really appreciated his calm and kind manner, his sense of humor and the truth of what he spoke. So, now I make Eckhart part of my morning routine, and I recently re-read the books mentioned. I highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in spending more time in the Present Moment and less time caught up in the crazy thoughts running through the head focused on past and future.
Now for one of my favorite subjects: ART. I have several things to share in this category.
First, is my practice of EXPERIMENTATION with watercolor (I share more detail in this post.) I won’t go into too much detail here, but I will say that it has been truly rewarding to try New Things as an artist and how much fun it has been to see what I am capable of creating with my paintbrush and Winsor Newton watercolors! My goal is to apply what I have learned over the past almost-decade of time since I first dabbled in watercolor and see where it takes me.
For most of the time, I have focused on the intuitive approach to painting, but 2020 brought me to try my hand at replicating subject matter that appeals to me, thus I have succeeded and it has brought me great Satisfaction and has been a huge Sweet Spot in my year.
The next aspect of ART I want to mention for my year end review is adding some real fun to my daily doodle, which I started 8 or 9 years ago, first with black marker, and then adding color, texture and detail. This year, I determined to try my hand at something I’ve always wanted to learn: CARTOONING. Yep. But not just drawing a figure. But dressing that figure in my own wardrobe every day! How fun this has been for me, since FASHION has always been of interest to me, especially concerning illustrating. So each night, I’ve added myself in cartoon form, which only enhances my daily doodle far beyond just a fun word.
And lastly, for Christmas, I decided to try my hand at creating a cartoon/illustrative portrait for each of my daughters. A larger version of my daily cartoon. And I am happy to say that I succeeded! This is also a new approach for me using the same tools I use for my daily doodle.
For many years, I did pencil portraits of my family and of many celebrities. But drawing in pen is a completely different experience and a rewarding one at that.
Now onto a subject many of my readers are familiar with and that’s JOURNALING. I won’t go into the details of my extensive journaling practice; instead I will simply share one addition I made starting in December of 2019: BULLET JOURNALING. I read the book and have it in my personal library.
I will say this: I have only adopted some of what is taught, such as daily rapid logs, Collections, and monthly spreads. Nothing fancy. You can see some of the inside pages in this video/blog post I created for The Journal Showdown hosted by Jamie Ridler. My Bullet Journal has added more Order to my days and a place to delve more deeply into what matters to me. What I love about it is the way you customize is to fit your goals and needs.
My final focus for this year in review is MUSIC. I had two developments to share this year.
The first was acquiring a mic with stand and speaker. So, now I can sing the spiritual songs I have written and amplify my voice. (I was given this gift right around my birthday! What a delightful surprise!)
The second development has involved learning to PLAY MY SONGS on the PIANO. I’m currently using an app until I get a piano keyboard. When I do acquire one, I’ll let you know! I’m still researching what kind to get before I make a purchase.
Playing the piano, learning the keys to play the melody, is something I have desired to do for a very long time. It’s basically a musical dream come true! It makes me so happy! Yay!
So, putting it all together, writing spiritual songs, playing them on my piano and using my mic to amplify the sound: a SUPER SWEET SPOT FOR MY SOUL. INDEED.
So, that sums up what I wanted to share with you all as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins.
My wish for you, dear readers, for 2021 is that you will find the SWEETNESS and savor it every day from what is ESSENTIAL, SIMPLE and SATISFYING for you! And you are always welcome to share what your Sweet Spots are here on this blog or on social media where we are connected.
When we share what is Sweet for us right now, we #spreadthesweetness in community, thus, making the world a Sweeter Place. And we can always have more of that, can’t we?
Thanks for your interest in my 2020 Year in Review and I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
All images Copyright 2020 Dawn Herring
Hello friends and welcome to Ep 4 of Keeping It Sweet Christmas Edition, co-hosted by me, Dawn, and my dear Friend, Carrie Aulenbacher!
Our focus is on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying and for this episode, we talk about all things Christmas, going down memory lane and offering some great ideas to make your Christmas time extra special.
Do leave a comment and let us know how you're Keeping It Sweet this holiday season!
This video was originally recorded LIVE on Facebook.
Welcome back to The Sweet Spot, where we talk about all things essential, simple and satisfying.
I'm excited to share with you about my journaling practice with an invite from Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios to share in a journal showdown about our practice either in a blog post, video or on social media. I decided to take part in this Journal Showdown event and take a video showing you my different journals and how and why I use them.
I thought I would include a summary of sorts here in addition to my video.
Here are my journals I use on a daily basis:
Flame Tree sketchbook where I write and reflect, using dominant/non dominant writing. I also draw a word based doodle and include my cartoon character representing me inside one of the letters in the word. I show an example in the video.
Picadilly bullet journal for daily rapid logging and Collections that are meaningful and relevant to me. I show the index and why I decided to start one since December of 2019.
Composition notebook for my morning dream journaling.
Composition notebook for my spiritual note taking from my studies.
Composition notebook for my spiritual poetry and song writing based on Psalms.
1 sketchbook for list making and mind mapping
1 sketchbook for sketching and cartooning practice
1 small journal for notes and ideas and poetry I write for family
1 small journal for quick notes and music notation for my songs.
I go into a bit more detail in the video about what each journal is for and why I love it so much. I enjoyed sharing the basics of my journaling practice for The Journal Showdown hosted by Jamie Ridler. Also below I've shared Jamie's journal showdown so you can learn about her practice and get details on sharing your own.
So, my journaling practice is one way I keep it sweet. To learn about my other favorite sweet spots, click here.
Hi. I'm Dawn Herring. Here at The Sweet Spot I love writing about how I'm keeping it sweet with music, song writing, cartooning, doodling, watercolor painting, movie watching and book reading. My goal is to share what feels really sweet to me and why. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.