Good is Not Enough

In 1988 or ’89, when I was teaching high school and overseeing the student government, we came up with a phrase for spirit week: Good is not enough. We meant to share it as motivation– to encourage students to do more, try harder, reach higher. Even the football team yelled it during warm-ups before games.

I think about my own work now and ponder the impact of those words. If good is not enough, then nothing can be shared unless it is great. Perfect. No blemishes.

I struggle with that because I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about failure and how important it is to fail well. By that, I mean to take risks, push myself. And if that means something doesn’t work, that’s fine. I’ll learn from it and move on. Yet, sharing mistakes or work that isn’t quite there is risky, too. What will people think?

Photographer Donna Hopkins addressed this in a recent blog post, and I found myself nodding along as I read:

There will always be those who discount my work, places that make me fearful, and things that stir up doubt and insecurity. And this is why mentors are important. These are the people I respect, and I see something in their life and work that can help me to take the next steps.

I absolutely love her quote from photographer Henry Lohmeyer :

It’s not our work at its best that begs to be heard, it’s our glorious falters, our enormous mistakes and it’s our honest brokenness that wants to be heard. It’s not our work that we’re showing, it’s ourselves and we deserve noting.

Working hard, learning more, trying again–these are traits that will help me improve my work. But being honest in the process and not simply showing shiny, pretty results makes the journey real.

In My Kitchen

There’s something about seeing this press in my kitchen every morning that turns me on and wakes me up. I mean really. It’s like I feel ONE with her!

She has helped me over some rough spots lately, and now we’re ready to show off the results. Hope you can visit the Fredericksburg Literary Book Festival this Saturday from 10-5. There will be a wonderful assortment of artists, authors, and book arts lovers. I’ll have some of my favorite cards and prints, too. I’ll be in the red tent at A1 :)

Living a Life


I’ve been thinking about my life lately, like who I am and when I figured that out..

The hard answer is that I don’t think I knew until a few years ago. I spent most of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t, and that’s not a pretty admission.

But I do remember the first time I experienced something that would help me on this path. I took a recertification course for teaching. I signed up for programming, and I’d never seen a computer. Back in 1985, there weren’t many, but I was intrigued.

I spent the first three weeks complaining– about the difficulty, my lack of understanding, and my frustration. And then one day it clicked and I wrote a program that worked.

From that day on, I realized I loved solving problems and being creative. I began learning again, first as a teacher and then as an instructional technology coach. When we had problems with our school network, I’d stand in front of the cables and routers, trying to figure the problems out. When I wanted to start blogging, I called the only teacher in the county I knew who was doing it: Will Richardson. We installed Manilla software on the server, and we were up and running.

When the school needed a webpage, I taught myself HTML. When my second computer died, I finally learned how to trouble shoot it myself instead of following the directions to reformat (and lose) everything.  I began connecting with others online, learning both how to be a better teacher and how to use the power of a group. A few years ago, I decided to explore letterpress printing. Because I’d learned to build a community online, I knew I could reach out and get help. Now, three years later, I am printing and running a small business.

I say this not to pat myself on the back but to point out how long– 45 years– it took me to learn that I love being creative. I love to learn. I love change.

The last few years I’ve embraced the idea of solitude and quiet, realizing that more than anything, I like to be alone. And that’s ok.

My wish–for my grandchildren and for all the children–is that they learn about who they are and what they want from life at an early age. This comes from play, long talks, empathy, and kindness. Wouldn’t it be lovely if children spent the first few years of school learning to get along and getting to know themselves instead of being pounded with homework and stress?

From Will: It would make more sense to focus simply on nurturing and supporting the learning mindsets that kids already bring with them, rather than forcing them to adopt a “school mindset” that has little connection to their real lives.

Self-acceptance, learning to ignore the ego, and loving one another, these will grow a happy life. Everything else will fall into place.


Doing Something


I have a dear, young friend who has breast cancer. She has finished chemo and is beginning radiation. I am inspired by her sweet heart and lovely outlook on life.
When she started losing her hair, she shaved flowers into a design to decorate her head. When her hair finally all fell out, she painted bright colors all over her head.
When I see her, I think: “you have a beautiful head and heart.” And she does.

Cancer treatment is expensive, even with insurance. I wanted to do something for her, so I created this card (collaborating with artist Lynette Reed on the design). Every penny from the sale of this card will go to the young woman’s cancer fund. I have also eliminated the shipping charges on Etsy.

I hope you’ll find a reason to send this to a friend, knowing your contribution of $5 will also go to a wonderful young woman.



I’ve been busy.
For me, fall is a time of renewal, a time of new beginnings.

This must come from my teaching background. September meant new students, new classes, and second chances– for us all.

As a printer, I am experimenting with products (postcards) and color (spray painting my cards before printing!)

That last tip came from a quick conversation with an artist in town (thanks, Gabe). I am hopeful the color backgrounds will provide a creative collection for me.

One thing I won’t get away from is making cards that matter to me. And, as always, I hope they matter to you, too.

Have a great fall!