Category Archives: Grow

Tips and tricks for growing plants, children and your crafty business


Intentional Consumption by Laura Bray Designs

Yesterday, I listened to a Creative Thursday podcast that touched on a topic I've been mulling over for a long time. In it, Marisa talks about how much information is out there in the world and how it's totally un-monitored. Which is good for freedom of speech, but not so good for reliability and content. In the podcast, she brings up the point about deciding whether or not she wants to continue to add to the noise and that hit home with me.

I blog and contribute to (many) social media sites. But is what I'm saying and sharing worthwhile? Should I be contributing to the noise? On the flip side, what am I consuming and how is affecting my life, art, thoughts, and feelings?

Last year, I made a conscious decision to be careful about what I was watching on television. Sure, the Real Housewives are amusing and a guilty pleasure, but I began to think about how watching people behaving badly might affect me. Not that I was going to run out and create drama with all my friends and family, but did I walk away from a session of reality TV feeling good? Did I feel inspired in anyway? I decided I didn't usually feel good after a bout of television and I changed my viewing habits. Now I'm careful about only watching interesting, thought-provoking and uplifting shows. I don't necessarily just watch comedies or shows with happy endings, but I am intentional about what I watch. I want my media consumption to be primarily positive or, at least, make me think and inspire me.

So now I'm thinking about how that consumption decision has changed me and am wondering what kind of messages I'm putting into the world for others to consume. I don't think I send negative or upsetting messages into the world, but I'm not sure that I always share information that NEEDS to be out there. I think I need to be as conscious about what I'm putting out as I am about what I'm taking in. Do I write a blog post because I promised myself I would post at least 3 times a week or do write a post when I have something to share that is valuable and creative?

Lately, I find that I am pulling inward more and more often. I am working on my art and my business instead of using the guise of "marketing" as an excuse to surf social media. By being more particular about what I'm taking out of the world and what I'm putting into it, my art and creativity is blooming. It's reflecting me and my style more than it's reflecting what's popular at the moment. I think that's why I'm feeling happier with what I'm creating these days. I also think that's why I'm seeing more success. I'm "marketing" (on social media) less often yet I'm getting more business. My marketing is made up of more traditional strategies like networking with people in person (!) and sending out messages about my work to specific, targeted groups via my newsletters rather than just spitting it out into the world.

This decision of mine is difficult to navigate though. Take this very blog post. As I've been writing it, I keep asking myself, is this worthwhile? Should I be putting this out into the world? Which of my musings should be shared and which shouldn't? Am I just writing to hear myself think? Does this offer value in some way?

At 44 years old, I have lived more than half my life without the internet being prevalent yet it has so quickly become ingrained in my life I can barely remember how it felt to consume less information. There was a time when there were only a couple of channels on TV and no Facebook (gasp!). What did we do then? How did we share? How did we find inspiration? And why is it so hard to integrate a few of those things back into our lives now? I'm not sure what the answers to any of these questions are, but I am going to try to figure it out. In the meantime, please know that I really am trying only share information that I find to be thought-provoking and life affirming and inspiring.

Creative Business: Balance is a Myth

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There is no such thing as balance. For years, I have taught women to have balance in their lives. Balance between work and home, balance between self-care and the care of others.  But I was wrong. There is no such thing as balance. In today’ world, balance doesn’t exist. When you are working mom, tryingContinue Reading

Creative Business: What To Do When Etsy Lets You Down

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What To Do When Etsy Lets You Down Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about how Etsy’s policies changes and size have let crafters and artists down. While I don’t want to get into a huge debate over whether Etsy’s policies are right or wrong, I would like to play the devil’s advocateContinue Reading

My Favorite Books on Writing

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I am a bit of non-fiction junkie. I love self-help books, craft and art books, business books, and books on writing. I don't really consider myself a writer, so it's kind of interesting that I devour "how to" books about writing. Yes, I write a blog and some ebooks, but it's not my main gig.Continue Reading

(un)Busy Weekend


  I've been on a big kick this summer about how we are rotting away at home and need to get out and experience life on the weekends. Last week,as the long weekend began to loom ahead of us, I realized I was feeling stress. Then I realized how ridiculous it was to feel stressedContinue Reading

Back to School Countdown Series: The Extras

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If you have been following along with my Back to School Countdown, you should have school clothes and supplies purchased and organized, school lunches ready to go, and a homework station waiting for the first worksheets that will come in your door. So what now? This post is for the over-achievers out there. If youContinue Reading

Back to School Countdown: School Lunch

Back to School Countdown: Lunches & Dinners: Laura Bray Designs

We're in the final stretch of the Back to School Countdown. My daughter starts school in a week and a half. I know many of you have already started. Don't get discouraged! You can still work through the Countdown with me. Better late than never, right? Today, we're going to talk a little about food.Continue Reading

Back to School Countdown: Paperwork Organization

Back to School Countdown Paperwork Organization: Laura Bray Designs

Paperwork is probably one of the leading causes of clutter. My child brings tons of paperwork each week. It can easily take over your home and make you stressed out. After a few years of trying different organization methods, this is what works for me. The best tip I can give you is to dealContinue Reading

Summer isn’t over yet

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Today, I'm a little break from the Back to School Countdown. My daughter doesn't go back to school until September 4. While I want to be as prepared as I can for it, I also don't want to lose these precious last days of her break to planning. We are spending extra time at theContinue Reading

Back to School Countdown: Homework Organization

Back to School Countdown: Homework Organization: Laura Bray Designs

Yes. I said the “H” word. Many of us are veterans of the homework wars. There will be lost homework, fights over doing homework, and general tears. I can’t guarantee that these issues will go away, but a little organization might make it all go easier this year. Designate a homework station. Organize a deskContinue Reading