Friday, September 9, 2011

Back To School

The string of hot, sunny days we're finally enjoying here in Seattle is making it easy to be in denial of the fact that fall is right around the corner. It seems that although the calendar has slipped well into September, summer could go on endlessly.  School buses are on the road in the morning, the fall collections are on the racks, Halloween candy is stocked in the corner market, but it feels like sundresses, sandals and sunblock still rule the day.

 The Sartorialist

I'm trying to enjoy every last moment, but still make plans for the autumn months. Do you think that even when our school days are long behind us, we still have an inner "back-to-school" clock that sparks the urge to buy school supplies and school clothes as the days grow shorter? I'm a believer in the idea that one of the keys to happiness is to constantly challenge yourself to learn something new, and fall seems like just the right time to build my own home-study program and line up a few classes for myself.


I've always wanted to improve my photography skills, and even though I'm a big fan of how easy Hipstamatic and Instagram make it to take an interesting shot, I'd love to learn to take better pictures the old fashioned way, with an actual camera. How rewarding to be able to better document our travels, celebrations, or the milestones of my one-year-old niece.

Kate Forrester Calligraphy

My friend Amy does lovely calligraphy, and is inspiring me to want to finally learn this skill that I think would pair so well with my illustrations. How nice to be able to design personalized party invitations,  and then address them with a flourish! 

And Letterpress! I'm fascinated by this lovely, old-fashioned way to express something beautiful on paper. I'm wondering where I could find some letterpress classes and curious about hard it would be to master...

...Of course, there's only so much time to go around and my curriculum is sounding a little ambitious. Maybe just one of these subjects is enough. Or something simpler. Getting the pleasure out of mastering a new skill doesn't mean taking on something that requires a lengthy commitment. Fall is a great time for learning how to cook something new -- I think it's finally time to take on my Mother's perfect pie crust.

Martha Stewart

And of course, it wouldn't be back to school without a reading list. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the subject of creativity and inspiration.

Is creativity like a rose bush? If you don't take the time to feed, water and prune it, will it wither and die? Can you get it to grow back? I'll be revisiting The Artist's Way and Bird by Bird this fall and would love any suggestions you all have for other great reads on cultivating creativity.

How about you? Have you shifted into fall? If you were going to create your own syllabus, what would you most want to learn?


  1. Jeanne ~ what a wonderful inspiring post, I can't wait to get bird by bird, it sounds perfect. I so agree, I think we always need to be learning, growing, reinventing, Long on my list are improving my skills on the piano and speaking French.

    I to have always been curious about letterpress printing! Isn't this weather amazing??

  2. I'm loving the light pastel camera picture. =)

    - Sarah



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