November News

I hope November is off to a good start for you, my friend. I fully expect this to be an exceptional month, mostly because I remembered to say "rabbit rabbit" on Thursday morning before I said anything else. This is pretty exciting because I rarely remember--how often do you wake up with enough of a brain to know the date?! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google it--I was introduced to this peculiar concept by my cousins years ago, and only recently learned it was actually a thing that other people do as well.)

Another reason this is an exciting month on my end: I finally, after many months of slow progress/busy-ness/procrastination, put some prints up on Etsy

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Dear Lovely Readers,

Remember that post I wrote a while ago on finding community? Well, I'm apparently not the only one who's found it challenging to build a fulfilling social life as an adult.

I shared my post on Facebook, and got so many comments from people who were feeling the same way that I decided to start a regular social gathering at a local cafe. We started calling it Look Perk, inspired by Central Perk from the TV show Friends, which was part of the inspiration for the original post (and which I am currently re-watching, by the way).

The result?

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I'm drawing for 100 days.

Hi friends!

Happy April!

For me, the theme of this month seems to be commitment. Mostly, this has come up because I've been frustrated recently that I haven't been taking my art as seriously as I'd like. In an attempt to remedy this, I decided to participate in #the100dayproject, meaning I've committed to working on an illustration every day for 100 days. It's only been 6 days so far, and already I am thinking two thoughts: 1. I am already way too busy, why did I add this?! and 2. I love drawing and I've always known I love drawing--why wouldn't I make time for this every day?!

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Radishes, Penguins, and Pigs, Oh My!

Hey friends! It's February! Happy belated Groundhog Day! Happy early Valentine's/Galentine's/Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Speaking of that holiday that's coming up in a couple of weeks, my Valentine's Day card collection, which has been in the making for quite a while now, is on Etsy! It started out last year around this time, with this design that I finally had made into a card:

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A word for the new year

Happy 2018! I hope your last few weeks of 2017 were cozy and relaxing, and that 2018 is shaping up to be a good year so far. 

I like new years. They always feel rather fresh and exciting, and I always get an extra dose of motivation to tackle some of the projects I've been putting off.  And as a creative person with a lot of interests, I always have quite a few projects in mind. At the same time though, there's a lot of pressure to improve and accomplish and uplevel and grow . . . which are all good things to do, but I'm not sure the pressure is so healthy or useful. 

Instead of setting a bunch of goals for myself this year, I decided to set one overarching intention of how I want to feel: strength.

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What Happened to Starfruit Salad?

Hi friends! It’s been a while.

Now, if you are reading this on my blog Starfruit Salad, you may be thinking, “What did happen to Starfruit Salad? Something, I assume?” And if you’re reading this on my new website, maybe you are wondering, “What happened to the old one?”

The answer is: I’ve been working on a re-brand, if you will, of my online art presence/blog, and I decided to use the name Maria Katharine instead of Starfruit Salad. This has been kind of a long time coming—I’ve been talking to friends for months about how I couldn’t decide whether to use Starfruit Salad, or Maria K. Ramsey, or something else, for the creative work I’m sharing online. I sort of liked them both, but neither really felt right, and it was really throwing me off.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I had the idea for a third option. I wrote out all three of my ideas, checked in with how I was feeling as I looked at them, and my answer was pretty obvious.

This was such a relief. I actually felt excited about the name of my website, and planning the design was way more fun than when I was still thinking about the other two options. Plus, I’ve always kind of wished we used our middle names more…if we don’t use them, what’s the point of having them in the first place?

The biggest difference I feel is a sense of confidence that comes from the clarity and coherence of using a name I feel good about. While I don’t know exactly what I’ll be creating and sharing here in the long run (I have maybe eight billion or so creative interests, so who knows, maybe this will turn into a space for me to share my music or my super smooth dance moves), but whatever I create, I have a space to share it that feels good, which makes me more excited to share. And sharing is why I started a blog in the first place!

So here we are. This is not a huge development in terms of some new content or focus, but we’re in a bit of a new place now. So welcome! Have a look around, let me know what you think!

Also, I do still really like the name Starfruit Salad, so if you’re sad about the name change, rest assured that I am not letting go of it completely. For now, at least, it’s still my Etsy name, and I think it would make a good name for a series of artwork or a product line, maybe even an illustrated book… (eek! now it’s out there!)

Thanks for being here. I’m so grateful to be able to share what I’m thinking and working on with you, and I really appreciate your support on my creative adventures.

With gratitude (and a new website),

Making the Most of Snow Days

Snow days are awesome. I’ve had several in the past week and have been so thoroughly pleased not to have to go to work and teach and be responsible for so many young people. I love these young people dearly…and also it can sometimes be very exhausting to work with them, especially when I’m working with several of them at a time, in a classroom setting.

These past few snow days, however, left me with a sense of not having fully taken advantage of the day. They were pretty relaxing, pretty productive, but somehow they didn’t really feel like snow days. So this morning (yet another snow day!), I thought about what was missing in my current snow days, vs. the snow days of my youth.

The answer: playing in the snow! I hadn’t done that in years. Why don’t more grownups play in the snow? Perhaps because getting all decked out in snow gear is kind of awkward and bulky, and all of your clothes get soggy anyway…and also probably because most of us are not really used to playing anymore. Especially the kind of playing that doesn’t have any particular aim in mind.

You guys…this was the best snow day decision I’ve made yet. Here are some things I took away from the experience:

  1. I really really love being out in nature. I’m a lot better at actually going outside when it’s warm out, though. I don’t spend as much time outside in the winter…and I could tell that I really needed to get out there, because I was so giddy the whole time I was outside.
  2. The world is so beautiful. It’s easy to forget this when we get sucked into the busyness of our daily lives and responsibilities and work and politics. But lying in the snow and looking at the sparkles swirling off the trees and through the sunlight was nothing short of magical. And it may be easier to notice magic outside after a snowfall, but who’s to say we can’t find it all around us, all the time? Also, for some reason, watching the snow fly around in the air kind of gave me the feeling of being tickled…so that I was goofily giggling to myself, as I was lying alone in a snow bank.
  3. Falling down is very fun when you have something squishy to land in. I went out with no plans, no goals, no activities in mind…and it turned out my very favorite thing to do while I was out there was to throw myself into the snow and feel the way it cushioned my fall and instantly molded itself to a perfectly shaped chair to fit my body. This was also very amusing, and also caused some goofy giggling.
  4. Trees make good picture frames. Tree trunks, rather. It gives you a different and fascinating perspective to look at the world as it shows up between tree trunks. Or from the ground, as I mentioned earlier.
  5. Very deep snow is not so good for snow angels. I had forgotten this, but if the snow is too deep, it’s very challenging to move your legs and arms far enough to make a decent angel shape.
  6. The best kind of exercise, in my opinion, is the kind that doesn’t feel like exercise. Why drag yourself to a gym, or out for a run, when you can get a workout by joyfully throwing yourself into snow banks and frolicking through snow that comes up to your knees? Of course, if you actually like going to the gym or going for runs, then go ahead and do those things. But I prefer frolicking.

So that was my morning. It was really fun, made me glad to be alive, made the day feel like a snow day, and helped me feel less resistant to the idea that spring will probably not be here for quite a while still…even though when I got inside I was soaked and had several snowballs hiding out in the legs of my snow pants. It was totally worth it.