2018 word of the year & a manifesto

I want to spend 2018 feeling good in my own skin. www.theginghamstudio.com
2018 manifesto

If we were to sit down to coffee, preferably at a café in Paris, and you asked me what I wanted out of 2018, I would tell you that I want to feel like myself. Now, to be honest, I didn’t completely lose myself and 2017 was a good year. I really pushed myself and got out of my comfort zone. Now I want to get back to doing things that bring me pleasure and make me comfortable in my own skin.


The gingham studio show booth designed by Orangebox Celebrations. Holiday on the Hill, December 2017 www.theginghamstudio.com
the gingham studio show booth at Holiday on the Hill


After months of sewing, preparing and collaborating with Orangebox Celebrations {thanks, mom!}, I participated in 2 holiday shows. Being the introvert that I am, and having spent every waking moment consumed with these events, I was spent. I did learn so much about myself and my business and what I want in the future. The holidays came and I just wanted to hibernate. Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time resting, thinking, reading, dreaming, planning, being a mom, wife and creating space to breathe again.


grey gingham bags from the gingham studio - www.theginghamstudio.com
grey gingham bags with “bien dans sa peau” green embroidery


When I started thinking about what I wanted for 2018, all I could think about was finding the freedom to feel like me and have the confidence of having my insides and outsides match. The French call this bien dans sa peau, being comfortable in one’s own skin. Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, explains it this way,“For all her attention to what she wears and what she eats, a French woman is most defined by ease in being herself and the attractiveness of taking her pleasures”.


my art journal, 2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto www.theginghamstudio.com
make art for fun


2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto


create margin daily, monthly, yearly

create margin in my business to allow for growth and creativity

grow my business slowly and consistently

practice art making for future goals

make art for fun

automate daily tasks and shop online to decrease decision fatigue

batch tasks to be more effective, single tasking

faites simple {keep it simple}, always

nurture relationships with family and friends, have fun and laugh

connect with other makers in real life and online

encourage creativity in others and myself

observe joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}

listen to my body: what food, movement, rest does it need?

dress my body in clothes that I love and fit my body, personality, and lifestyle

drink more water and herbal tea

let go of extreme expectations, comparison and negative talk

spend time alone when I need it

stay hopeful in my faith: prayer, read scripture, journal

say no, and give myself space to make decisions

be mindful of what and how much I read and watch

only make goals for 3 months at a time, pay attention to the seasons


This may look like a long list, but these things are always on my mind so just writing them down helps me to feel more focused. Bien dans sa peau is about how I care for, nourish and clothe my body, mind and soul. Its about continuing that Paris state of mind, and joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}. Sarah Mae shared what her mother said about the French in her book Longing for Paris, “…the people seem so free, unencumbered by what others thought. They just lived and enjoyed life and food and conversation.” 

Do you have a word for 2018? Goals? Have you ever written a manifesto? I would love to hear what you are planning for the new year. Leave me a comment below.

à bientôt,



{If you want to read more on this topic, I shared some books that are a must for any francophile in this blog post.}







tuesday {joie de vivre}

tuesday joie do vivre -the gingham studio
enjoying everyday life

Joie de vivre {joy of living}

Every week it comes. I don’t dread Mondays until I’m in the midst of the stress, exasperated. Expectations, to do lists, housework, parenting. I end the day worn out. Yesterday was one of those days. I worked with no breaks, I ate chocolate cake for dinner, I didn’t put my computer away until way past my bedtime. I woke up with a terrible headache and a sore back. Why do I do this to myself? Please tell me I’m not the only one. This morning I took some time to stretch, fixed myself some eggs and tried to process why I let pressure to perform get the best of me. Tuesday gives me a fresh perspective. I accept my humanness and decide that it isn’t worth all the striving. Tuesday I aim to enjoy my life. Whether I have laundry, grocery shopping, or many errands to run, I am going to find pleasure in the ordinary.

tuesday-the gingham studio
Tuesday holds the everyday

Tuesday was the day I took my kids to the library when they were little. It was a ritual that we looked forward to every week. We would check out stacks of books, videos, make crafts and color pages. Now years later they still enjoy going to the library. My son gathers as any books as his bag can hold. And while we no longer go for the snacks and crafts it still is an enjoyable experience for all of us.

“Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. That is the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out the joy in the present, the now.”

-Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 {Msg}

I need this reminder to take care of myself and make the most of the gift of life that I am given. It truly is a gift. It reminds me of other fun Tuesday activities. A trip to the museum, strolling in the quiet, contemplating the thoughts of the artists as they painted. So much history and personality wrapped up in one painting or sketch. What about my own art?  I remember that I should take my own sketchbook and art supplies with me when I leave the house. I need to make time to spend a few minutes sketching, going to the park or downtown to capture what is around me on paper.

joie de vivre-the gingham studio
Tuesday café visit

I dream of being in a Paris café watching the people passing on the streets. I live far from Paris and am currently in the suburbs of middle Tennessee. I love where I live and want to be present in my own surroundings. On a warm sunny Tuesday last week I found myself at a local coffee shop and enjoyed a special café au lait while I sketched a new cityscape. What brings you joy? When was the last time you visited a museum or went to the park to sketch? If you only have a few minutes then just close your eyes and breathe, do yoga for ten minutes, draw a picture of where you wish you were, or say a little prayer of thanks.

the tuesday {mardi} bag-the gingham studio
the tuesday {mardi} bag is perfect for trips the library

Joy comes from our ability to appreciate the ordinary moments of life. Joie de vivre is a Paris state of mind. How can you stop striving and find joy?


*the tuesday {mardi} bag is coming soon to the gingham studio etsy shop

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