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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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),
Maria

Adventures in Sleeping, Part II

Last time I told you about some of the strategies I’ve used to get better at sleeping, and I promised I’d share some of the strange inner workings of my sleepy mind. Are you excited??

After I got kind of tired of reading when I was trying to get to sleep, I moved on to writing. I’m a big fan of journaling, of getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Afterwards I often feel a sense of relief, like I’ve acknowledged and let go of these thoughts and can relax, so it has at times helped me in the sleeping department. Sometimes, the words that come out when I journal at strange hours of the night turn into poems. I wrote the following at approximately 4 in the morning sometime last year:

What choice have I, when sleep evades,
when thoughts won’t rest and daylight fades,
but sit in bed and ponder life
within the stillness of the night?

These thoughts that nightly come to me
keep me caught in reality
instead of sailing in silver shoes
to that place on a star where the fairies snooze.

Like: “I am hungry! Feed me now!
Are there eggs in the fridge? Should I buy a cow?
Or should I be an actor? A farmer’s not right!”
These are the things that come up in the night.

Dear Brain,
Please relieve me. Send those thoughts somewhere else!
Pack them up in a suitcase! Stack them up on a shelf!
These are thoughts that right now, I simply DON’T NEED.
So PLEASE get them out of my way, please, please, PLEASE.

So now I am begging. ‘Twas not my intent
but these last few hours tonight I have spent
trying to ask you more civilized-like—
after all, you’re my pal…so, turn out the lights?!

…FOCUS, Brain, and tell me please:
What are you trying to do with these
uninvited moonlit musings?
I find the concept rather confusing.

Do you think we’ll become closer friends?
Are you trying to take control of my hands?
Is it just too dull to sit up there and wait
in silence until I awake?

I apologize for being a bore
and a bit of a health nut too…
but it’s not only me who needs the sleep
…that’s right, Brain, I mean YOU!

I’m actually pretty impressed that my 4 in the morning brain made this much sense.  I really really like sleeping…but I guess my inability to do so resulted in some rather interesting creations, at least. Lest you think I am an exceptional middle-of-the-night genius, this is definitely my best moonlit, sleep-deprived poem. I have some others that are really rather terrible that I think I will not release into the internet.

If you loved this poem and are hoping for more glimpses of groggily-written masterpieces, you may be disappointed to hear that there haven’t recently been any gems like this one. I have been sticking to daytime writing and creating for the most part. But, I hope you will be pleased for my sake because that means I have actually been much better at sleeping recently! Without having to get up and write weird poems.

But I’ll let you know more about that in Part III.

Poetically,
Maria

September Salad Toppings

Hi friends!

I thought I’d share some more of the toppings that have been making my Life Salad so delectable lately. If that last sentence confused you, check out this post.

Here we go:

Brandi Carlile
Love her! Especially this song. I signed up for a free 3-month trial of Spotify Premium but I think I forgot to cancel it (which is probably exactly what they were hoping for…#oops.) Anway, now I can keep listening to Brandi in the car on the way home from work for another month, so things are all good.

Pigma Micron pens
I’ve been spending more time drawing lately, which has been a really good decision in terms of my happiness and mental health. In the quest for following curiosity and trying to figure out what I really like to do, this has definitely been a step in the right direction. Not surprising, I guess, since the majority of my childhood was spent doing arts and crafts. Ask my parents—our house was a sea of finished and unfinished projects for years. Now at least it is confined to specific areas of the house. Anyway, I’ve been using these Micron pens a lot lately—I like to draw in pencil, ink it with the pens, and then add some colored pencil. In case you missed it, I shared one of my recent drawings in this post. I’ve also been sharing more artwork over on Instagram.

Jane the Virgin
Two friends with excellent taste recommended this show, so I figured I should give it a try. As my dear friend Rebecca said, after I inspired her to start watching it, “it’s a great combination of comedy and drama. It’s not too serious but also has enough of a plot to keep me motivated to watch the next episode.” I would say even more than a plot it has some SERIOUS cliffhangers—meaning I am very ready for the third season. My mom likes this one too—when we were working our way through season 1 together, she would often plop herself in front of the TV in the evening and look at me expectantly, which obviously meant it was time for an episode of Jane. It was very cute.

Super cute crochet patterns
I’m so proud of my lovely cousin Anna who just opened up this Etsy shop! Years ago, when we spent a weekend at the family cabin, I helped her freehand crochet a little bear (without using a pattern) and I remember her telling me that someday she would like to write a book of crochet patterns. Etsy is pretty much the 2016 online version of that, and it’s so inspiring that she’s actually doing it! Also, just look at those princesses. Adorable!

There are just so many cool things out in the world. And such easy access to so many of them with the interwebs! But I will stop here so this post doesn’t take you a month to read.

With inspiration,
Maria

 

A Love Letter to the Earth

Dear Earth,

You are a very nice place and I like you very much. Also you smell nice. Right now you smell like rain. You smell soft and quiet and sweetly herbaceous and the smell makes me want to breathe deeply and think a lot.

One time I went for a walk with my mom around a nearby cross country course and I thought it smelled so amazing. There were all these fabulous and unidentifiable plant smells mingling in the air and it made me feel like summer and happiness. My mom thought it smelled like dog poop. Obviously we had very different olfactory experiences. (Side note: the fascinatingly unique scent profiles that individual noses are able to detect is yet another testament to the awesomeness of this planet and all the life on it!)

I also love the way you feel. I love to stand on your spongy beds of moss and soft sand and cool grass. I love when my toes go rogue and pick a flower without my brain telling them to and then hold onto it stubbornly. It’s like when people adorn their hair with flowers, only my toes are adorning themselves. And I must say they do look very lovely with the addition of a tiny blossom.

I love how you sound. I love the wacky rubber band noises of bullfrogs on summer nights and the crackle of dry leaves and the sound that falling snowflakes make when I lie very quietly on the ground on a snowy night.

You remind me of all the hours I spent as a child hanging out with the flower fairies out in the woods and the garden. Remember the rock hotel with the tiny crater that I used to fill with water for a fairy swimming pool? And all the fairy dresses I made out of fallen flowers?

Sometimes when I am out in nature I get this feeling like it is just so beautiful and so perfect and so full of life that I don’t know what to do with myself. And yet I feel inspired to do something… It’s like the Earth is infusing me with creative energy and saying, “GO DO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL TODAY, MARIA!” Today when I felt that, I decided to write a love letter to our dear Earth, to thank her for sharing that energy.

I thank you, Earth, from the bottom of my heart. I hope you never stop emitting those beautiful and mysterious smells.

Love,
Maria