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Happy 2017!

All round cool guy, Paul Jarvis, wrote a State of the Union for his most recent Sunday Dispatches, and invited the reader to do the same, so here I am. I’m encouraging you to do the same too. It was great to have a look at how far I came this year, even with half of it spent as a pukey, pregnant mess. So let’s have a look.


I’m putting this down as a success even though it’s the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m at 35 weeks now, and trying to decide if this mark on my hoodie is this morning’s puke or toothpaste. I’ve become a walking advert for abstinence, yet this is still somehow the most magical thing that’s ever happened. I mean, I even like his creepy 3D scan pictures.

People keep telling me how I’m going to love this little boy more than I love Griffin, which I just cannot imagine, so I’m excited to meet him. And also to stop the uncontrollable puking.

Besides growing a human inside of me, I feel like the rest of my personal life has just leveled up in ways I could never have expected.

Get Messy
Oh my heart beats for Get Messy and the artists making things through it. 2016 is the year that Get Messy became an actual business instead of just something Lauren and I do on the side. We were interviewed on a podcast and featured in a magazine. Yay. Every single year we work really hard to make the community and the experience even better and 2017 is the biggest jump yet. You’re gonna want to be a part of it.

This year I was involved with nine courses and it’s the easiest way for me to find flow in work. I launched Photo Organisation 101, which I didn’t market and didn’t do too well sales-wise even though it’s been one of the most requested classes and even though I’m in love with the class. But you know how sometimes you just need to get something off your heart? And there’s always another day to market it.

Through Studio Calico, I created an Art Journal Mini Book class and having a physical kit, and seeing people making amazing things rocked my heart. It was such an honour to pair up with them in my favourite class series ever. I also contributed to a few of their courses (woo).

I was meant to launch The Minimalist Art Journal in July, but pregnancy made it wait until December and the response to that has been awesome! I loved having guest teachers for that and the women I chose totally rocked it. I think I like pairing up for classes more than working solo, but only when the pairings are as organised as I am. This launch did super well even though it felt really rushed to me. I’m not good at marketing (even with a degree in it), and I’m not good at trying to convince people to buy, but I must have been able to somehow communicate how great the content was. In the end, the course’s message was something really important to me (and articulated by T!): express with less.

I ran my first “special” for Level Up, which brought in a group of new students that I am SO excited about. This class still has my entire heart. This year I’m going to do a content update, and increase the price. There’s something to be said about slow growth.

A really great example of a magical group is the trio involved in launching Vanessa’s Totems class through Get Messy. V did the art and the teaching (duh), Lauren did the editing, and I did the tech. We are each so very good at our bits and I feel like we created something way better than the sum of it’s parts. Sales wise it did amazingly, and even better is seeing the art the students are making from it, and how it’s changed their art lives. V’s already working on her 2018 class and I’m thrilled to be a part of it again.

The podcast!
Whaaaaaat. Lauren and I launched a podcast, and I’m still pretty much in awe of it and the guests that we interviewed. If you’re feeling stuck, try a new thing. I’ve learned so much about sound. Mainly that it’s the most difficult thing to be good at.

Memory keeping
This was my first year not doing Project Life and I don’t regret it at all. I created a pregnancy album and a December Daily and that was enough.

I also finished the year strong for my Creative Teams, and it’s really interesting creating just for myself.

People and places
This year I met three special online friends – Vanessa, Catherine, and Jennifer and pretty much died of the inspiration watching them art IRL. I also made a bunch of new German friends. I saw internet/business bestie, Lauren, in Budapest. I saw my favourite Dutchies. Twice. I also had my uni roomie stay with us for almost a month. I took a magical trip to Berlin with Fe, and another one that T surprised me with for my birthday. I saw Paris again. We flew to South Africa and I saw my best friend get married. T went to the USA. My family came here for Christmas. My mastermind group bought me a new lens for my camera when my only one broke. Friends from around the world posted stuff to us for Baby E.

People have been really good this year.


Losing control
Pregnancy has been the most insane lesson in losing control. I had no idea that it would affect me this much. Almost six months have been completely written off to entire days spent lying in bed with a bucket. The silver lining, though, is it got me to see that 1. life goes on and there isn’t a guy who reprimands you for unanswered emails, 2. being organised, setting up processes and working in advance are essential to solopreneur peace of mind, and 3. Lauren and T are heaven sent – one picked up on all business work, and one picked up on all housework.

My art
I made an exceptional amount of art at the beginning of the year. I loved what I was making. Then my pages became black and raw as I worked through issues falling pregnant. And then I became sick and unable to create anything at all. I still haven’t been able to get quite back into the swing of things, and it feels as though a piece of me is missing.

T started arting, though. And it’s been the most amazing thing to watch.

The blog
I’ve totally neglected it as I struggled with what the internet has been teaching and what I’ve known to be true. I’ve also been trying to make it worthwhile to readers, which has meant that I’ve been publishing nothing. I had guests on which was new, and came at the perfect pregnancy time, and they were an absolute win.

To turn around my growth from my blog, I gave it a mini makeover. I also spent a lot of time thinking about what I want it to be – screw what the internet “experts” say. So that will come this year.


This year, my focus is on five things:

  1. A baby to turn our family initials into ETC.
  2. Level as my word for the year – I like that it can be interpreted in a few ways. As a position on quality (reaching a certain level), improvement (up leveling), and the way that’s speaking to me the most right now – an even surface. Keeping the status quo (or finding it again after Baby E). Relaxing a bit.
  3. Get Messy leveling up in a serious way. Make sure you’re signed up for the mailing list
  4. Fine tuning and improving things already set up. Trying not to start anything too new, except…
  5. New classes. Get Messy has an awesome 2017 class line up. I am also open to pairing up with someone new. If you want to launch a class, but have no idea how and are struggling with the technology and branding, I’d love to work together. I’m not putting a sales page together, but if this speaks to you, send me an email. I have space for three people and if you’ve read through this entire email, you’re probably my kind of person.

So that’s my year and a brief look into 2017. What did your last year look like? What do you think your 2017 is going to look like? How did you grow? What did your art look like?

State of the Union 2017