Touched by Magic!


Hi Friends!

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

A true ‘jewel’ of a book has touched my heart and soul. It’s the kind of book that had me in tears  as I read, for it spoke so much about the creative path that I am following during this exciting chapter of life! Perhaps this wonderful book is also on your stack of books to read…


After a very long waiting list at the library, my turn to explore the magic of creativity finally arrived. It was a double-blessing to check out both the book and the audio book of Big Magic at the same time. What a joy to hear Elizabeth Gilbert’s passion as she read to me, while I followed along, adding sticky notes to the passages that inspired my creative heart.

Liz Gilbert shared the reasons why it can feel so scary to take risks as we create. Whether you are a papercrafter,  a watercolorist, a quilter, a glass-blower, a writer, a composer, a poet,… any kind of artist at all,  Liz helps us understand how “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity.” As I read, I filled a journal with quotes and connections to her powerful inspiration.


Now I truly understand why it can be so hard to go downstairs to my ‘Paper Garden’ studio to begin a new project. Liz encourages us…

“Work with all your heart, because – I promise – if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”   

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic



Now I can understand why, on some days, all creatives feel like we have lost our mojo. We have the time to create, a dedicated space to be messy, and wonderful supplies at hand. In spite of these many blessings, we just don’t feel creative. On those days, I can only look through my paper, paints, ink, and stamps as I wait for my inspiration to return.

Liz reminds us…

“The most important thing to understand about eudaimonia, though – about that exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration – is that you cannot expect it to be there for you all the time. It will come and go, and you must let it come and go.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


Liz encourages us all to look back through our family history to find the makers that we come from. So true! I come from a long line of makers. As I grew up, I watched the joy and hard work of my parents as they worked with with their hands and hearts. My mom made a beautiful quilt, colorful stained glass pieces, handmade pottery, sewed our clothes, baked the most wonderful cookies and cakes, and tended her lovely rose gardens. My dad built our bedrooms upstairs and our family room downstairs, restored several antique cars, and designed Lionel train layouts. Even today, their creative passions add joy to their days. My Aunt Gilda, with an advanced degree from The Art Institute of Chicago, found joy as she worked with pen and ink, as a sculptor, painter, quilter, and calligrapher. (One day, I promise to share more about these amazing, creative makers who have been a source of lifelong inspiration to me! ♥) From time to time, I’m sure they all felt the same creative fears that I feel. It’s all a part of the magic!


Especially this year, as I strive to ‘blossom’ (my ‘One Little Word’ 2016) by bravely sharing my artwork and taking part in creative Challenges that stretch my skills,…  I can feel the magic happening! It gives me the courage to keep sharing. I feel so blessed to gather with other makers at our monthly papercrafting Crop Days. It feels so inspiring to spend time with my creative ‘tribe.’


Liz celebrates makers of all ages…

“If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along. You already know so much more than you think you know. You are not finished; you are merely ready.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Even though it’s hard work and can feel scary at times, I feel so ready ~ ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to blossom! I am so grateful to all of the creatives online who teach and inspire me each day. (You might like to check out my Inspiration links in the blog header.)  They shared Big Magic with me… and I couldn’t wait to share Big Magic with you!

♥  Beginning this week, Big Magic is available in paperback, too.

♥  I absolutely loved the audio book of Big Magic! There is nothing like hearing the passion in an author’s voice as she reads her inspiring words aloud to you!

♥  After publishing Big Magic, Liz wanted to continue the conversation about creativity. Her delightful podcasts, ‘Magic Lessons,’ are “roadmaps to creativity and the little nudge we all need when we feel stuck creatively.”  I enjoyed all 12 wonderful episodes from Season 1. Now Season 2 of ‘Magic Lessons’ is already underway.  Check out the ‘Magic Lessons’ podcasts!


Yes, I have truly been touched by magic…

and I look forward to sharing more connections to the inspiration and lessons

I’ve learned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

 I’ve only just begun to blossom! ♥

“All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life – collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand. It’s a strange line of work, admittedly. I cannot think of a better way to spend my days.”      

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


Hope you will join in the conversation here!

Have you read Big Magic?

Do any of these quotes from the book touch your creative heart?


Be awesome today!

♡ Dawn












25 thoughts on “Touched by Magic!

  1. Dawn, I’m heading straight to my library tomorrow morning to get a copy of this book! Did you ever do Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”? It started me on my creative path almost 20 years ago. Now I’m hoping Gilbert’s will give me the boost I need to get where I’ve been wanting to be. Thank you so much for sharing it. The quotes are wonderful. You always do such a nice narratives of the things you’re interested in. Your papercrafting is so pretty and imaginative, too. Have you ever considered drawing your pictures rather than stamping? I wouldn’t be surprised if you draw better than you realize you can.

    • Oh, Cathy! Thank you for your kind words. I think you will love Big Magic! I was so happy to listen to the audio book while following along in the book. I’ll be very curious to hear your thoughts (and if you cried, like I did!). Be sure to let us know! I definitely have more to share about Big Magic one day soon!

      Believe it or not, last night I read through the entire workbook for The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron! Next week, it will be my turn for the book at our library. 🙂 Can’t wait!! Do you do Morning Pages and plan Artist’s Dates? I want to read the book… and then jump in! I don’t have an art background at all, so this is all so new and exciting for me!

      I have been doing a tiny bit of watercolor painting on my own. It’s my dream one day to paint my garden flowers en plein air. There is just so much creative inspiration everywhere… and not enough hours in the day to explore all that I want to learn! Thanks so much for being here, Cathy, and joining in the conversation! Wishing you a creative weekend! ♡

      • I was already journaling when I read Cameron’s book and have continued to do so. I did the book with a friend which is a great way to go through it. We got together every week to share what we’d done in the workbook–in a sense, that was our artist date. I was inspired to draw the characters (a cat, snowman, and dog) of the children’s stories I was writing at the time, but then my friend moved away and I was busy still raising children and I let it fall by the wayside until last year when I started again in earnest to learn to draw. I’m quite pleased at my progress in copying other artists, but now I need to develop my own style and learn to compose my own scenes. That’s the scary part for me right now.

      • Wish we were neighbors, Cathy! It would be such fun to share this creative journey in person! I’m so happy that you are busy writing and illustrating again, Cathy. You go, girl! ♥ As you read Big Magic, you will gain a deeper understanding of the scary parts of creativity. I think you will be inspired by all of the insights that Elizabeth Gilbert shares!

        I’m already compiling a mental list of places to visit on my Artist’s Dates. I love your idea of sharing with a friend, Cathy! I’m an ‘early bird’ by nature, (perhaps because of my name!), so I think it will be fun to start Morning Pages soon. In a few weeks, when the garden goes to sleep, I will have a bit more time to explore this creative path. Keep in touch, dear Cathy! ♡

  2. Dawn, I can’t wait to read Big Magic. It sounds like a wonderful affirming book to get going after taking the gardening season off. I am immediately adding her quotes to my journal. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about hesitation to go to your paper garden and create your magic. Gardening and housekeeping give me plenty of excuses not to begin projects that I truly seem to never have the time to do.
    Thank you, dear one, for sharing this book and your creative journey. ♥

    • Oh, Martha Ellen! I actually thought of you (and your sweet, little felted sheep) as I read Big Magic! I never knew that you had the same feelings. I know this treasure of a book will speak to your creative heart, as well. It’s so funny how fear of making mistakes can prevent one from even beginning. I’ve always been a ‘work before play’ kind of person, and there is always more than enough work to prevent me from playing. I must stop using work as an excuse… and make creative play my work! ♥ My husband and I talked about this last night. He fully supports and encourages me to continue on this creative path. So, I have no excuses now! 🙂 I just have to plan more time in the ‘Paper Garden.’ I often think of Picasso’s words ~ “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” ♥ I’m thinking that I should letter a sign with this quote to hang over the stairs leading down to the ‘Paper Garden.’ It would be a little nudge, as Liz Gilbert says!

      Big Magic truly explains why all creative people feel this way at times. I filled a journal with amazing quotes and things to think about. So, there will be more posts on the topic of living a creative life. It would be lovely to take this creative journey together, my friend. I just began reading The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Have you read that book yet? I think it’s going to be a wonderful adventure in the coming months! ♡

  3. Oh, Dawn – your artwork is wonderful and I can feel your excitement as you continue to create and to grow and to blossom.
    I have experienced those times of emptiness and have learned to just go with the flow when it happens. Creative moments do return and those empty times are really just times of filling me up again. Now, I have a new word. Eudaimonia. It feels like a gift.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Heartfelt thanks, Penny! It’s a very exciting, creative journey for me! I love having time in retirement to pursue artsy fun. It takes me way back to my early years, just after college, when I had time to play with inks and paints. Once I became a homeowner, all of my spare time (and money) was spent on house restoration projects and the garden. So, it truly feels like I am revisiting my ‘roots.’ 🙂 I just love your outlook, Penny! I must remember “times of filling me up again.” Enjoy your new word, my friend! 🙂 I’m looking forward to an all-day papercrafting Crop with my creative ‘tribe’ tomorrow. I’m heading down to the Paper Garden right now to fill a basket with enough supplies to last all day! Have a nice October weekend, Penny! ♡

  4. Its pure joy to open up my inbox early morning and find your email there. The moment I see ‘Petals, Papers and Simple Thymes’, I rush to my kitchen to make a cup of coffee, and grab some cakes and then just sit down and relax in front of my laptop to read down your beautiful blog. Every blog article of yours is a gift 🙂 I love it ❤

    • Welcome, Ricky! Your very kind words have warmed my heart this morning! I’m so happy that you stopped to say “Hi” today. It’s always fun to meet another kindred spirit and Girlfriend of Susan Branch! There are several posts about Susan Branch and her inspiration in my life here. Just peek in the blog archives! Wishing you a creative weekend, with time to work at your art desk! ♡

  5. Everything you touch, Dawn is big magic! Your creativity and eye for beauty bring such joy. Every piece a work of art! It is your great gift to spread sunshine. 🌞❤

    • Rabbit! Rabbit! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart, dear Karen! You have been such an encouragement to me from the very beginning, when our little blog was just a twinkling of an idea. So happy that you could be here with us today! ♥ Have you ever felt the fear that comes along with creativity when you walked into your sewing room, Karen?

      Today I’m celebrating World Card Making Day 2016 by spending the day at a papercrafting Crop! My basket, filled with ink, paper, and stamps, is packed and ready to go. Can’t wait to watercolor some sweet little images to make cards. Watch your mailbox, my friend! More sunshine and hugs are on the way! Enjoy this special weekend with your whole family, Karen! ♡

  6. Dawn,
    Your work is so original and beautiful. I’m thrilled for you that this book has given you that burst of confidence and inspiration to continue with your creative process. I’ll be checking my library for the book. I’m always looking for inspiring words to keep me going with my creative pursuits.
    I love your watercolor work shown in this post.

    • Oh, thank you, Karen! You always say the sweetest things! I think you will really enjoy Big Magic, too. I will be so curious to hear how Elizabeth Gilbert’s words touch your creative heart. Do come back to let us know! Maybe you will be lucky enough to find both the audio book and the book at the same time, too. It was delightful to hear the author’s passion as she read the book aloud. I was happy to have the book as well, so that I could write so many of the wonderful quotes in my journal. My little works of ‘heart’ are stamped watercolors. I used watercolor paper, Art Impressions Watercolor stamps, watercolor markers, and a paintbrush with clean, clear water to move the colors around. Although I work slowly, it’s always fun and relaxing! Thanks for always being here, dear Karen! ♡

    • Welcome home, Judy! It was such fun to follow along on your trip to Ireland! Thanks for your very kind words, Judy. My cards go right into the mail to spread a bit of sunshine! Hope they warm the hearts of family and friends.

      Isn’t it interesting to think about all of the makers in our family histories? Our grandparents and great-grandparents were makers out of necessity. We have the luxury of following our passions as our hobbies. As a quilter, your creativity grows stitch-by-stitch, day-by-day as you work on your art. Your quilts most definitely warm the hearts of the recipients and become a part of their family history! Hope we will both make good progress in our gardens this week as we dig and transplant! Thanks so much for stopping to visit, Judy! ♡

    • Hi, Latane! I think you might really enjoy Big Magic. It will most certainly speak to your creative heart! I loved hearing (and feeling) the passion in Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice as she read the story aloud. I was so grateful to have the book, too, to savor my favorite quotes. Your library will very likely have Big Magic, too. We’d love to hear your thoughts after you read Big Magic! So happy that you joined in the conversation today, Latane! Wishing you nice, creative Autumn days! ♡

  7. Dawn, you continue to influence me in so many ways. I ordered that book after you first mentioned it and it arrived this week. This is the third book you’ve recommended that made it to my list. I’m also subscribed to Papertrey. You inspire in so many ways.

    This is a lovely post! I so enjoy seeing all your cards. The cottage garden water color is stunning. They’re all beautiful, but that one is my all time favorite for the emotions it evokes.

    This is my current favorite: “Work with all your heart, because – I promise – if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”

    Happy weekend!

    • Oh, Alys! Your kind words have truly touched my heart! Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy Big Magic as much as I did. I think it will touch your heart in so many ways. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about the fear that often comes along with the creative process. Be sure to check out the Magic Lessons podcasts, too. 😊

      Alys, the tiny watercolor gardens are stamped using Art Impressions Watercolor stamps, watercolor markers, watercolor paper, and a paintbrush. The flowers, foliage, arbor, and containers are all separate stamps. It’s so much fun to create little gardens ~ each one-of-a-kind!

      I’m so happy that you are finding wonderful inspiration from Papertrey Ink, too. Kindred spirits for sure, Alys! I spent this afternoon in my little ‘Paper Garden’ making some masculine cards using Papertrey Ink stamps. Are you busy making Halloween cards? I’ll be busy working on Autumn cards in the coming weeks. It fills me with joy to share handmade kindness with loved ones!

      Happy reading, Alys! May your favorite month be filled with creative days! 💗

  8. Just home and still a bit “jet lagged” but will place my order for Big Magic. You are an inspiration, bless you.

    • Welcome home, Anne! Hope your adventure in Tuscany was pure joy. I think you will love Big Magic! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, dear Anne! 💗

  9. What beautiful artwork, Dawn! When I look at what you create, I wish I were more crafty, because you make such wonderful things. And now I want to read “Big Magic” even more than I did before, so thank you for that. I hope all is well and that the fall is finding you not too warm, not too cold, but just right 😀

    • Oh, thank you, Chris! I think you will really enjoy Big Magic, too. It is filled with inspiration to get your creativity flowing. I’m sure you will connect to Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey as a writer!

      For the past few days, our Autumn weather has been just perfect! The leaves are just beginning to change colors here in the Midwest. I am working really hard on some big changes in the garden. So, the dry, cooler days are most welcome! Chris, I thought of you this afternoon when I was in my Herb Garden. My Pineapple Sage is just beginning to bloom! They are such lovely, delicate, red blossoms! Thanks so much for stopping to visit. Wishing you delightful Autumn days, Chris! ♡

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