moving - forward

Monday, January 19, 2015

a few scenes from my recent travels around Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. 
Let your tears water 
the seeds of your future happiness. 
Steve Maraboli

I'm sorry I've been so absent. I wanted to leave the 29 Black Street For Sale post up as long as possible - I, we need to sell that beautiful place as fast as possible so that we can settle into our next beautiful place ... me & the Gang. 

I find I can't think back at all anymore. I can't look back. It makes me feel sad or something that feels too much like sadness. I've always had that quirk in my character - I love moving forward. I'm ready to move forward. This blog represents the past to me, these much cherished archives of words & a zillion photos, this net of memory & love will move with us, & stay ... hopefully forever. 

I'm moving to my Susan Black Design blog. I've already begun posting my daily sketchbook explorations & by Feb 01 I hope to have completed the official move - a brand new look, more stuff, a side bar filled with bits & pieces and of course, the link to this amazing place & all the archives. 29 Black Street - oh my, such a giant chunk of my life. But  ... I am so very excited about my present and my future in this new lovely place.

What's past is prologue, 
and the world awaits. 
Lisa Mantchev

* my other new obsession is Instagram - find lots of news & happenings & cats here

29 Black Street for SALE

Friday, January 9, 2015

the street view of 29 Black Street a quiet street very near the harbour / Winnie Dixon and her biggest fan Itty Bitty Betty in part of the huge double lot with  / the ocean, this beautiful boardwalk & Eaton Park are steps away from the front door (139 steps to the ocean) / Miss Winnie D checking out the little raised bed veggie garden / & the beautiful renovated 3 seasons sunporch with original windows and new cedar shingles

it's with a heavy heart, filled to the brim with bittersweet that I create this post advertising the selling of Beautiful 29 Black Street - please pass this link along to anyone you know who's looking for a beautiful home by the sea. Merci my friends !!

many more details here & at

here we go

Thursday, January 8, 2015

found on Pinterest  - it's honestly how I feel at the beginning of each new day - OK here we go !!!

cranking up the studio/portfolio blog again for this new year of create, check out my new daily sketchbook post No.1 ;-)

don't think I'm not afraid ...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

more photos from the other side - the other side of the harbour, a golf course and a beach !! 

Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. Thich Nhat Hanh 

Don't think I'm not afraid ... because it's not true. At times I'm terrified.

I'm sure I can come across like I'm all confident & casual about all the change & transition that's happened in my life over the past few months and I guess at times I am confident & cas or I wouldn't have been able to launch myself, Oliver & Virgil and my CE* (minus the teak topped desk for now) to a brand new place. This was all my doing, all my choice, my plan. To leave my home of 21 years. To leave familiar & safe (?) behind. To start fresh - a new life.

Next week will be mark the 2 month anniversary of my move. How can that be ? it's going too fast. In 4 more months I won't have a home - well maybe, hopefully of course I will have a home, another home but at this moment in time I don't know where that will be and that in itself I realize is the crux of most of my fear.

Having Nested with a capital N for what seems like most of my adult life in one place and now that the novelty of living in lovely Lunenburg fades and becomes the reality of living here ... I have a burning desire to settle in somewhere. To find my new forever home. To really unpack, to grow things, set up my new studio space & have Sam, Itty Bitty & the Prince back in my life everyday.

So many things in life you must learn the hard way. Maybe "hard" is a strong word for this particular situation. Challenging maybe is better word. I'm not a person who's afraid to try things and in trying new things you can't possibly predict how it will feel. Or that it won't result in just one feeling but a whole bunch of feelings that ebb and flow like rushing water, just when you decide you feel one way another feeling comes along and knocks the old feeling out of the way. Which is the true feeling or are any of them true ? I can only trust that that my instincts and my decision making skills are well honed and reliable. Faith, Trust + a little more Faith must be my guides ... but if I let it, Fear erodes Trust & Faith. I'm afraid some erosion is happening.

I wake up every morning in a bed with my cats and all my demons & fears crammed in together. I plod downstairs get my coffee, go back to bed and open my journal and my day planner. Let's deal with today and today only. Gradually each and every morning by writing while still in bed with my coffee and then again here at my 29 Black Street blog. I bargain with those fears, I wrestle with them, I convince them to leave me alone for awhile, just for today ... and they do.

But every night when I go upstairs to bed after a day of living my new life in Lunenburg there they are again, lined up against my pillows like a motley crew of wicked teddy bears waiting for me.

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom Marilyn Ferguson

* Creative Empire

one little word part 1

Monday, January 5, 2015

Create an ideal story of your future 
and tell it over and over again 
Danielle LaPorte 

I know, I know ... you're thinking well, d-u-h ?!? Seems like such an obvious word for an artist, illustrator, designer, photographer, blogger, maker-of-things - whatever it is that I am.

I've been doing this one little word thing for 4 years (I think) counting this new year. My first ever word was can a few years back when I'd decided to have a serious go at doing my own thing - my own art & illustration after being a designer of other people's visions for many, many years. I had a blog, I had an Etsy shop - I needed a word to help me make things happen. A simple reminder to myself that YES I can do this, I can do anything I want to do - turns out I was right.

In 2013 my word was ease. A word I had hoped would shelter & protect me from the big, bad  feelings of overwhelmedness that seemed to cling to me all the time. Growing a creative business, like growing any business, is challenging, there are many components and considerations aside from what should be the main one - being creative and you are the team, the boss, the employees, the advisors, etc. By the end of that year my word ease felt like a bad joke, that it's primary purpose the entire 365 days was to remind me how much dis ease I had in my life. 2013 was one of the most difficult years on record so that one little word ended up being a kind of reverse-psychology word, a lesson instead of a gift ... or maybe it was the gift of a lesson. A big lump of coal that eventually morphs into a diamond.

Every thought we think is creating our future Louise Hay

Last year after the hellish year of dis-ease I chose the word faith. I'll admit it was my white flag word. I give up I was saying, sort of ... not completely (because I would never do that) but I'd decided to try and wrap my mind around believing, having faith, that shit happens for a reason. So for 2014 I felt prepared, I had faith on my side so I could handle it all ... bring on les shit. Well of course, you know the end of this story. The sun came out, the rainbows appeared and all the shit rode off into the sunset. Good things arrived, followed by more good things and then even more good things. Hmmmm ... I can't help but wonder if that word faith might have been helping me to see things in a better light. All in all faith was very good for me and I've added it to my everyday toolkit.

This year I want to create in a bigger, broader, bolder & braver way than I have ever created in my life. Over the past few years, in the time I've been writing this blog and especially the last 4 years I've built a really solid foundation for my life & my future. In fact not only is there a foundation but the framing is up ... it's a solid blank structure waiting for me to create everything I've ever wanted. This year's word is all about the royal create, the big create. It's about applying the spirit of creating to all aspects of my life & of course especially to my creative business/life.

In the 4 years that I've been choosing a word for each year I've never felt this excited about my word.

It always seems impossible until it's done 
Nelson Mandela

executive assistant ...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

dollar store fun for cats / following me ... just in case / best photography assistant / his chair in my office / his office - the corner of my desk, under his spotlight lamp and centred on my his mouse pad / I see you are taking a photo so I will pose / everyday, all day sitting in his office keeping me company / I am very handsome and I know it / stalking the ball toys prey

books, cats ... life is good T. S. Eliot

Books - currently listening to the audio book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, next up I'll be listening to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (both available on youtube) & I'm currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed & Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron - my goal this year is to read/listen to 50 books - here we go !

Cats - it's cat appreciation day around here. That darn Oliver - he's amazing. I marvel each and every day how much love, comfort & character comes in such a compact package. I could not have made this move without him. He's sitting beside me now as I type this on his little corner of my desk - his office under the heat & spotlight of my lamp. He's my everything cat ... coach, therapist, buddy, creative director, executive assistant, brutal critic (when I need it the most), photography assistant & best friend. Best cat ever.

2015 - I've had a slow start to the new year. I've been sick ;-( a nasty cold which thankfully is clearly on the mend but it's put me a little behind my schedule. Look for my one little word for 2015 Monday & also a post to follow that about the supporting cast of words and a little bit about how I chose them.

stumbling forward

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hi I'm Susan & I am a mistake maker
2013 & 2014 were full of mistakes for me ...

Missteps, fumbles, tumbles, crashes, hard knocks, rude awakenings & more. I'm not afraid to try something new and try in a very good (bold, persistent, experimentation) way much of the time and sometimes I'm not afraid to try in a really reckless, careless, self-sabotaging way and I've experienced an assortment of all of the above over the last two years.

Stumbling across this great Neil Gaiman quote yesterday seemed a very perfect way to wave goodbye to both of those years 2013 & 2014.  To say a happy goodbye and to also acknowledge, with tremendous gratitude, the many, many big life lessons that came from that time. Gifts, I can see now with my hindsight glasses on - gifts wrapped up with a big bow of grace.

You will only fail to learn 
if you do not learn from failing. Stella Adler

All the bad emotions that clung with those lessons - anger, hurt, sadness, guilt, indignation, worry & doubt (especially self doubt) - have now with time transformed magically into a layer of frosting. I love frosting. Once you've run ahead of them a distance, far enough that you can look back, you realize they're not chasing you anymore. Only then can you stop, reflect and wave goodbye to them ... whispering thank you under your breath.

& finally my good buddy Winston ... he sure said lots of very wise things. Happy New Year to all !

Success is stumbling from failure to failure

with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill