Opening eyes + confronting guilt.

It is so easy to feel like what I am doing is not enough, especially right now, a time when there is a lot of healing and change and action needed in the world. It is natural to feel so small and useless when the scale of the problems and suffering seem so large. Enter downward spiral of the mind: How can I help make the world a better place? What am I EVEN DOING? How is what I am doing even meaningful or useful at all? I spend a lot of my time working, but is my work serving anyone else but myself and my own enjoyment? Entering the dark side is a slippery slope these days if you’re not careful. This time, I hit a point where I seemed to convince myself that enjoying what I do for work is somehow bad (?!). Guilt is a powerful force.

The problem? A negative voice tries to make me believe that I am not a good enough person because my work isn’t directly healing people or helping anything that matters or saving the planet from ultimate destruction single-handedly. Trying to figure out where my guilt and confusion were coming from, I sat down and tried to transform my feelings into an overall negative statement – something written down so I could understand it better. This is what I came up with (warning, it’s ugly):

“Making design and paper goods is not of service to others, it is a self-serving form of pleasure to use my skills to do nothing but have fun and prove my worth to myself for the sake of my own self-acceptance and enjoyment. It is a way for my ego to thrive and nobody else benefits.”

Ouch! Do I actually feel this way? NO! What a terrible way to feel! You know how the mind just wants to make us suffer? It tells us “Hey you, yeah you, YOU are not good enough” as if it’s an automatic function of the mind. Actually, it is. Studies have shown that the ‘default state’ of the human mind, the state that is active when we are not intentionally directing our intention toward something, is powered by the parts of your brain that 1. think about the self, and 2. look for problems. It is no wonder we are so self-critical all of the time. I took an online course/lecture series on this topic called The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion (recommended to my yoga community by our amazingly supportive teacher), and it was eye-opening.

Anyway, through this process of journaling and unravelling, I realized that this super negative statement isn’t actually how I feel, but it is what sums up my FEARS in relation to my work and purpose. As in, I would hate it if that statement were actually true. It’s the same kind of fear as not being a good mom, a good person, a good anything. There is something to learn form this and I started paying attention. When I am self-critical, it is almost always fear-based. But the good news is this: the fact that I am feeling this unveils a deep truth, and that truth is “This is what I care about”. I wouldn’t feel this way if I didn’t care. Our fears reveal what we care about the most.

So, I did an exercise. I tried to transform my statement into a positive one, to realign and discover what it feels like my purpose is.  Writing is a magical thing, it causes your mind to slow down and get things out that you may not be able to discover by just thinking about it since thoughts can be so racy when untamed. Through this negative-to-positive phrase transformation, I actually learned a few things about myself.

Here is my transformed positive affirmation I came up with:

“Creating thoughtfully made goods and artwork is something that does benefit others. I can help make the world a better place even on a small scale, which matters too. While my work is fulfilling for myself, my intention is the driving force behind it – to use my creativity to spread joy and simple beauty to other people. It is a way for my true self to connect with the world and it is a practice worth engaging in”.

I know now that my Negative Voice must just have high standards and was giving no credit to small gestures of kindness, acts of sharing, inspiring small personal – human – raw – loving connections when we need them the most, making things that encourage compassion and an appreciation of the Earth. Negative Voice forgot to examine my intention. Negative Voice says “You are no hero”. Positive voice says “You are doing enough, and small victories are special too”. I love my negative voice because it teaches me things, but it isn’t actually what makes up actual ME. Whatever that is, it’s far beyond my limited human comprehension, but I think I am grazing the surface just enough to feel comfortable.

I am happy I stepped out of the dark side and got productive doing some inner work. What is the purpose of being an artist here and now? Artists can make the world a better place on a big or small scale. Artists can be introverted in other areas, but visual art is a way of communicating and connecting with the world around us. Art makes the world a more beautiful experience. Art is expressive, personal, healing, natural, influential and necessary. Art can spread ideas. Art can bring people together. I can’t single handedly save the planet, but I CAN use my creative gifts to make things that will bring some kind of good to the world even on a really personal level, such as a meaningful, loving connection between people, or a human connection to nature.

Life is a gift exchange, and this is my gift. This is what I have to offer. It it is a small but beautiful thing, and I am thankful for every opportunity I have to share it.

XO + thank you for reading.


Positive Reminders


These are things I think everyone needs to way hear more of. It is amazing to realize how big of an impact a small mantra or positive affirmation can have. Some sentiments need to be heard more often (or in this case, in an everlasting form of a card!). I was inspired to make these cards with epic amounts of love put into them and their designs as an effort to promote positivity, encouragement and extra meaningful connections with others (or even ourselves).

For a lot of us, card-giving is reserved for Birthdays and Holidays, but my goal is to put more things in the world that are intended for something more unexpected. An act of kindness toward another can be an encouraging card in the mail they didn’t expect. An act of kindness toward ourselves can be a mantra hanging on our wall to remind us something we want to be continually reminded of.

My goal has always been to make cards that people want to keep, not throw away. My hope with this little collection is that these designs have a dual purpose, and can be experienced as meaningful enough to keep around after they are sent + received.

These are on our shop now in our “new” section available individually for $5 or as a bundle for $15.


The space I’m in where less is more


I came across this quote online and it just keeps coming back to me so I lettered it out for my studio. Not only is it catchy and clever, but it’s so true to me right now and helpful and comforting. Before Worthwhile became my full time job, I had a lot of different things going on. I worked two part time art/design jobs, did freelance logo and lettering design work along with calligraphy, invites and signage for weddings while also making my own designs to sell. Uhhh.. whoa! These things all gave me loads of experience in different things, and wonderful opportunities to explore my creativity which I am so thankful for. However, it’s very hard and stressful to have too many things going on at once, especially when I became a new mama. I was fairly stressed and anxious all of the time, so I gradually disconnected from some things and focused on fewer things that were the most important to me because I had to accept that I only have so much time and energy, which lead me to moving forward with making my line of prints and paper goods, the thing that feels like it fulfills my creativity the most, my primary focus. Ever since I have decided to devote my work-self to one thing, I have felt much more on-track and balanced.


However, a creative mind still wants to go in all sorts of directions when untamed. I mean, come on! There are just soo many possibilities! We are lucky to live in a place where there are so many open doors to choose to go through with a creative career. Even now that I have my one true job-love, it’s only natural to get excited by the thought of starting new types of projects to branch off with. (A design blog! A new line of things that aren’t paper! A book! Textile design! Pick up custom design again for fun!) But I have been really mindful of always asking myself this: Hold on a sec, does it contribute to my main focus? And if not, is it worth it enough to take time and energy away from my main focus? Sometimes it is! Often it isn’t. Knowing is key. Saying no and stepping back form ideas that initially excite me is totally ok, especially when I’m even more excited about my main thing. If I have a very limited amount of work time, any amount of time I spend on something else is time taken away from being extra on top of my main focus. And that’s just a good thing to remember in prioritizing. I always say that I’d rather be extra badass at one thing, not mediocre at 10 things. Even though it was sad for me to disconnect from other avenues in favor for one, it has made everything feel much more balanced and focused for me.


Here’s the best part: Instead of feeling like I’m missing out on a million things, it feels more like a very strong and loving commitment to my work and intentions! Attitude is everything. I’ve found myself in a space where less is more.


Visualize this: a ball of energy with different streams pouring out of it like outlets for each “thing” you have going on, and you get to choose how many outlets. Divide that ball of energy into three things and there is way more energy flowing to and fulfilling those things than say dividing it by 10 things. Conclusion: my energy ball is happier and more focused with less streams. Exciting ideas sound a little less exciting when it means that would be me dividing my time amongst more things and thus spreading myself, and my energy ball (which btw in my imagination looks magical and glowy and fiery and yellow like the sun?) too thin.


Anyway, might I add that this is literally just me, right now, at the moment and maybe doesn’t resonate with everyone. This is NOT an advice post about me telling anyone else to do exactly what I’m doing because everyone’s journey in having a creative career / working for themselves / owning a small biz is totally unique. Maybe there are people out there who ARE badass at 10 things all at once and have bigger balls of energy than I do or whatever and this isn’t a problem (congrats!) But if this sounds like a good reminder to you as it does to me and you wanna keep it around, I made a downloadable print-off of the hand lettered quote on a white background that you, yes you, can print out directly from a home printer at 8.5 x 11  Download it here. (For personal use only, please).

Magic of the Strawberry Moon + Summer Solstice

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.39.07 PM

Today is a special full moon day because it is also the summer solstice, the first day of summer where there is the most daylight. This is a special time for me personally in general, because Henry’s birthday immediately follows the solstice and the words “strawberry moon” remind me of how there was a big super strawberry moon the month he was born.

In addition to that, there is a certain significance about strawberries that I realized after he was born. Firstly, when I was pregnant with him, one of the only cravings I had were strawberries – I literally HAD to eat them every day, even in the winter months. I didn’t really think anything of it (other than, “strawberries are good”). After he was born, strawberries reminded me of being pregnant, and I got a tattoo of a strawberry plant on my thigh to remember that special time.

I didn’t know it at the time but we know now that Henry SERIOUSLY LOVES strawberries,  fruit in general is is favorite food, and it makes me wonder what the source of my cravings was…! Now we have strawberries growing in our back yard (here’s a picture below of them flowering. Sadly, the local adorable rodents got to take them home to make summer strawberry rhubarb pie for their families. Good for them).


When I pieced together that strawberry season is in June (thus, the name for June’s full moon) and that’s when he was born, and that’s what I craved, I got all cosmic with feelings of nature being all connected and became in awe that my pregnancy craving was something that would be in season when I gave birth. Whoaaaaaaa. Is there a connection there? I want to believe.

Making those connections made me so excited. I felt for a moment like a lunar goddess of seasonal fruit with a special connection to plants and moon cycles and still feel the magic to this day. Ha!

No joke though. We are connected to nature so deeply and the moon plays a huge role in our lives. Feel it. Life is pretty cool. Happy full moon!


Mystery Film


Here’s a thing that’s worthwhile: shooting film! I love it when so much time has passed and I forget what was on the roll of film. It’s so exciting! This roll was laying around for almost 2 years before I found it and sent it in.


It was a true black & white roll of expired film I took to Mackinac City on our way to Pictured Rocks when we got engaged – how exciting! Henry was only 3ish months old, and it was his first trip and first hike! I still remember the little handmade felt green hat he was wearing – I think we lost it on this trip.





When Steve and I looked through these last night we couldn’t believe Henry’s little face. How his eyes are the same but his face is so much different now. I remember once we were in Munising he made his first smile. I really love taking him outdoors. He has no idea about how much adventure we have planned ahead for him.



One by one, local photo shops have closed around us, and even recently the drug stores stopped doing in-house film processing. I knew you could send your film out, but I didn’t know where. I finally found a place called The Darkroom and sent in these two black & white rolls along with the 4 disposable cameras that we had at our wedding reception! (Don’t worry, those will end up on Facebook sometime soon I believe).

I’m already almost through a color roll that I can’t wait to send in.


Creative process + cultivating brand meaning


“Lively screen printed paper goods” is Worthwhile Paper’s tagline and I really like this little definition of “lively”. I feel like I’m in an everlasting state of personal growth with my business and at this moment I think it’s useful to remember my original intention about my creative process, and also to be open about the meaning behind my brand, so I wanted to write a bit about it!

When I began the process of starting my own design/product-based business I got stumped by a question I saw somewhere: “What makes your products unique”.  I didn’t have a definite answer for that question on the spot, and that was a huge problem for me! I quickly started thinking about what makes my products unique. They are screen printed, but that isn’t the only thing I have that makes them totally unique. We use recycled paper, but so do a lot of people. My designs are hand made and hand lettered, but I’m not the only one making hand made designs. I decided that while the combination of those things make my products special, what really makes them special is the intention behind the design, alongside my personal aesthetic style.

I wrote a mission statement and set this as my intention: To make paper goods that spread happiness with modern, energy-filled designs inspired by nature and feel-good experiences.

alive copy

I always keep in mind the following question when designing: “Does this fit in with my overall intentional look & feel?” Another question I ask myself a lot (that I think all creatives should all check in with) is: “Is this idea coming from inspiration rooted in my true self and my own experience, or is this coming from some other subconscious motive inspired by something else, or someone else’s work completely?”

I always think back to this post by Emily McDowell about defining your brand that I happened to read during the beginning stages of starting my little biz (perfect timing). It actually started a foundation for the way I think about designing and coming up with ideas. In the post, Emily talks about creating adjectives that you base your brand or style off of and using them as guide rails when coming up with ideas (Basically, everyone starting a creative product or design-based business needs to read her post!).


I think coming up with adjectives for your style is a great exercise. The adjectives I would use to describe my brand are Lively, Modern & Thoughtful. I used Lively in my tagline because I think it is the most important and has the deepest meaning of the three. While the visual aspect of design is something I love and think is important, “Lively” is particularly special to me because it’s based on feeling and emotions and not just the way something looks.

I want someone holding one of our cards or prints to feel happy some way or another and to know that the person who designed it really meant it!

Another good source of inspiration on brand development is Aeolidia’s post on having a unique selling proposition. Arianne says “It’s what makes you different from every other company out there. You should be able to immediately tell someone what makes you different from even your closest competitors.” This is a really good read and very on point.

Anyway, I just had these thoughts on my own creative process and identity that I wanted to put out there, and a desire to write a little bit about what “lively” means to me. Thank you for reading!




I’ve been wanting to create a blog for Worthwhile Paper for a while now that wasn’t just a shop news page. I used to write in a personal blog and really enjoyed having a blog as a creative canvas, but, I let that fizzle out (semi)accidentally. My dorky domain name expired (whoops) and it just vanished. Plus, the last post I did was a re-cap of my baby shower and said baby is now almost two! I think you can do the math – obviously writing in a blog wasn’t my top focus while having a newborn when I had just started a brand new paper goods line to run. Thus, out the window it went. But now I’m feeling really motivated to share more of my self again. So hello, Something Worthwhile – A hybrid of a studio blog and personal space. This is a thing that creates joy for me but hopefully, maybe, a small chance, something I post in here will bring joy to some others along the way as well.

Also, did I not score the perfect domain name?!

Here’s the main thing, I’ve come to realize that sharing things is something that makes me feel both spirited and useful, so this is my outlet to do just that. Along with Worthwhile Paper shop news & updates, the focus of this journal will explore the following topics, hopefully featuring the stories of others along with my own:

+ being an independent maker / small business.
+ adventures & travel – everyday adventures and bigger trips alike.
+ healthy eating / recipes to cherish.
+ art, design, creativity + inspiration.
+ motherhood.
+ personal growth and peaceful practices.

Thanks for checking it out – see ya soon.