Archive of ‘book review’ category

The Sketchnote Handbook

Hello there! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  Mr. G and i enjoyed a quiet weekend for a change which was much needed! 

I bought myself the Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde and devoured it in two days!  It’s awesome!


If you are like me and enjoy taking visual notes or if when you’re on the phone you doodle while having a conversation then this book is for you! The book shows you how to take practical notes in a step by step format – it’s not about art but about capturing ideas so that you’ll remember the key elements of a talk.  I believe this is a very powerful tool for all of us. 

The Sketchnote Handbook also comes in a video format which sounds pretty awesome.  Click here to watch the video intro.  I’m thinking of buying the video format as well as it shows you behind the scenes of the making of the book which in my mind is beyond cool!


Here is a grocery list i made yesterday and doodled small icons just for fun! Sketching is a part of my life!


A Hat Rack sketch i made yesterday


I wanted Mr. G to make me a hat rack so that we could easily find our hats rather than have them all piled on top of each other in our tiny entry coat closet. I drew this sketch and measured some of our favourite hats so he’d know how big to make the hat rack.


So this is what he came up with – one extra peg than i had expected! Mr. G really loves working with wood and seems to be happiest when he is creating anything out of wood.  I also think he enjoys the “problem solving” aspect of it too!  I’m only happy to comply and supply Mr. G with plenty of woodworking projects Smile.  After all – i love to sketch and come up with ideas and he loves to play with wood.  A match made in heaven wouldn’t you say?

Love, Violette xo

Book Review: Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

Today is a special post as I’m featuring Eldon Taylor’s new book Choices and IllusionsEvery now and then a Publisher sends me a book to review if they feel it’s a fit for me and my readers.  Even though Choices and Illusions is not a book about art it is of value to any of us who want to create the life we want and deserve! And who wouldn’t want that?


I read the book and really enjoyed it – especially the parts about our beliefs and how so many of them have guided our lives in the wrong direction.  Choices and Illusions is like a guide to achieving your dreams.

The book Choices and Illusions comes with a subliminal CD which i listened to almost every day.  I felt uplifted and empowered after listening to the CD which is layered with affirmations.

Here’s a Q and A with Eldon Taylor: 

1. There are so many self-help books in the market, what makes this one different?

It is a well known fact that while most people can read an inspirational book, or attend a motivational seminar, however excited they are about what they have learned and however determined they are to implement the changes to improve their lives, that the vast majority of them will not. For the past 30 years, I have researched the mind, consciousness, self-image, decision making and so forth. I have learned much about the real reasons for our resistance to change and I have discovered a few solutions. Even if you never buy another self help product, this book will fundamentally change you. It basically turns the old models of success upside down and shows you not only what true success is, but how you can achieve it for yourself, right now.

2. Choices and Illusions is an interesting title. What does it mean?

It will probably surprise you to know that most of the choices you make each and every day really are not your own. They are choices that have been given to you through your upbringing, from your parents, friends, schools and so on. You may have dreams and aspirations, but you can never achieve them while your subconscious mind has conflicting desires. It is only by taking charge of our own choices, by reversing the negative programming that most of us receive, that we can ever truly find ourselves. And when it comes to negative programming, they say that for every positive input we receive, we also receive 90 bits of negative. On top of that, this negative input is much more powerful than the positive. When it really comes down to it, when we truly know who we are, then many choices just become a mute point.

3. Who do you think will benefit the most from your book, the veteran of self-help or the total beginner?

Quite honestly everyone will gain from reading this book. The knowledge you gain will empower you to reach your goals, whatever your background. I have seen these techniques work with people from all walks of life, from business executives to young house wives, from olympic athletes to prison inmates, from young children to those in their golden years. If all you want to do is lose some weight, this book will show you how. If you want to do better in relationships, find you perfect partner, be successful in business, have better health, age more gracefully, be better at sports, or even get closer to God, Choices and Illusions will show you how to do it because it really does reach the very core of the problems all of us face.

4. Tell us a little more about yourself. What are your qualifications and how did you learn of the techniques you teach?

I have the usual qualifications, doctorates in both psychology and metaphysics, but more importantly, I am a pragmatist. I am only interested in what works. My approach is very scientific and once I had put together the basic techniques for my programs, I needed proof that they worked. My programs have been researched by numerous independent universities and institutions around the world and been demonstrated effective. Researchers at Stanford have tested my program for alleviating exam anxiety and found positive results. At Colorado State University they looked at depression, at Bremen University in Germany they looked at weight loss and I could go on and on, but you can find all of these details in my book. I was actually a criminologist before I decided to focus my efforts on personal empowerment. My reasons for beginning my exploration in this area was because I was administering lie detection tests and I needed a way to reduce anxiety in the innocent person who was just afraid of the test itself, and heightening anxiety in the criminal. However, once I saw the true potential behind these techniques, I decided to bring it to a much larger audience.

5. What is the “no-don’t syndrome” and the “subtraction game.”

We are all brought up hearing the ‘no-don’ts’ – no, don’t do this or no, you can’t do that. We hear it from our parents, our peers, those in authority and those we care about. All of these ‘no-don’t’ teach us limitations to what we can do or be. This is a real problem because unless you believe you are capable of achieving a goal, then the likelihood is great that you will not achieve it.

The ‘subtraction game’ is basically a coping mechanism we have for the limited beliefs we have about ourselves. If we do not think highly of ourselves, then by thinking less of others, we can feel better because we are not at the bottom of the pile. So if I am not good at something, I will feel better when I focus on how much worse most other people are.

6. You talk a lot about forgiveness in Choices and Illusions. Why do you think this is so important?

It really comes down to self responsibility. When you are blaming someone else, or even if you are blaming yourself, then you are holding on to the past. It is only by forgiving and letting go that you can move on. It is only by accepting full responsibility for everything in your life that you can find a way to fix it. After all, if your problems are someone else’s fault, there is nothing you can do about it. I actually discovered the significance of this with my work in the prison system. The criminal always has an excuse. He basically believes that if you and I had been in his situation, then we would have turned out the same. The fact is, this is simply not true. Self responsibility and forgiveness go hand in hand.

7. What do you think is the most important teaching in Choices and Illusions?

Most people believe that self-help and self-improvement is about rags to riches, failure to success, and so forth, when indeed it is the beginning of a journey into self- discovery. True success is when you can put your head on your pillow at night and feel good about who you are and what you have achieved. Inside every human being is an eternal truth and a life purpose. Using our mind power is simply starting the engine on that journey of self-discovery and highest self-actualization.

8. One of the chapters in Choices and Illusions is, Mind is not a Local Event. What does that mean?

Precisely that. Most people think of the mind as somehow only being directly connected to the organ brain but its powers extend way beyond the physical. Work has been done that showed group meditation for peace resulted in a drop in crime rates, that there is evidence for life after death, that psychic phenomena are real, and there are a number of scientists today who are gathering even more evidence. This becomes important in self help because when you fine tune the power of your own mind, so many more things are possible. Whole new worlds open up for you. Choices and Illusions is not supposed to be the be all and end all, it is merely a starting point of a wonderful journey. What this book does do though, is empower you to truly help yourself. It frees you from the old ties and enables you to truly live freely, experiencing the life that you truly want.

9. If you could sum up one factor that prevents people from being successful, what would that be?

Most people hold beliefs that are mutually exclusive. For example, Money is the source of all evil and I want to be rich; Thank God it’s Friday and I want a successful career. When you inner beliefs are not in line with your stated goals, then success cannot follow. Self sabotaging methods will come into play. The classical example is the opera singer who loses her voice, or the runner who sprains an ankle. I have given seminars around the world and my standard question is, who wants to make a million dollars this year. Most people put up their hands. Then I instruct them to say to themselves, “I will make a million dollars this year.” It only takes a few seconds before you see people smiling or even laughing. The common thoughts that go through people’s minds are things like, “Yeah, and pigs will fly,” or “I don’t think I would make a good bank robber.” Another example is the person who wants to be successful in their career but is terrified of public speaking. This fear of public speaking is eventually going to kick in and they will not perform their best when put to the test that could mean the big career promotion.

10. You also state that ‘it is never too late.’ Do you really believe that?

Yes, most definitely. There was a time in my life that I was definitely not the nicest person. Most people around me in those days would be surprised at what I am teaching today. There was a time in my life that I thought it was too late for me. But my life has changed. Today I see my work as having a much greater value. I know for a fact that everyone can experience a life that brings them a sense of satisfaction and it only takes a few small changes.

To view the Trailer video go here.

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author and is considered to be an expert in the field of subconscious learning. He has made a lifelong study of the human mind and has earned doctoral degrees in psychology and metaphysics. He is a Fellow with the American Psychotherapy Association (APA) and a nondenominational minister. Eldon has served as an expert witness in court cases involving hypnosis and subliminal communication.

Eldon was a practicing criminalist for over ten years specializing in lie detection and forensic hypnosis. Today he is president and director of Progressive Awareness Research, Inc. Since 1984 his books, audio programs, lectures, radio and television appearances have approached personal empowerment from the cornerstone perspective of forgiveness, gratitude, self-responsibility and service.


Blueprint for your Castle in the Clouds

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you have something fun planned for the weekend.  It’s my daughter and son–in–laws birthday so we’re having a celebration at the Magic Cottage – should be fun!


Remember the driftwood birdhouse Mr. G made?  Well he attached it to a wooden post i had found on the side of the road years ago.  It was white so of course i had to paint it Smile.  I still need to paint a few more coats. The bottom pink area will have bottle caps hammered into it just to add a bit more whimsy!


Yesterday I bought the book “A Blueprint for your Castle in the Clouds”.  The wonderful whimsical illustrations caught my eye as well as the entire concept of castles in the clouds!  Barbara Tammes’ lovely illustrations grace her own writing.  This book is a bit of Jung, Law of Attraction, Affirmations, Inner Child work, Sark, Life Coaching, Wishcraft and Graphic recording all rolled into one neat book!  I can’t wait to get further into it.  Have you read it before?  If so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

I’m having the grandkids over for a visit in a short while so I’m off to get the yard ready!

Hope you have a magical weekend!

Love, Violette xo

Making your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving your Artistic Goals

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

You’re in for a real treat!  Today on my blog I’m featuring an excerpt of Eric Maisel’s lastest book Making your Creative Mark. Every once in a while i am sent a book which might be of interest to me.  This book definitely is of interest and is just what the doctor ordered Smile


At times I tend to be a bit airy fairy about wanting to make it as an artist.  The ideas and wishes are in my head and often do not see the light of day or I let the voices inside my head deter me from moving forward on some ideas.  In this book Eric explains what is going on and how to deal with these issues in practical easily digestible steps.  Who better to help the artist than the foremost creativity coach Eric Maisel?


I found myself wanting to become more organized and focused after reading Eric’s book. It helped ground me and heighten my resolve to live a life as an artist. This book isn’t just for visual artists – it’s for writers, singers, filmmakers, musicians, craftspeople and actors. Making your Creative Mark will definitely be my GO TO book when i feel like I am floundering and rudderless and need some direction. I hope you check it out as well!


This is Eric Maisel.  If you want to have a chance to win a creativity coaching session with Eric enter the giveaway on the New World Library blog.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from his latest book!


By Eric Maisel

If you want to live a creative life and make your mark in some competitive art field like writing, film-making, the visual arts, or music, and if at the same time you want to live an emotionally healthy life full of love and satisfaction, you need an intimate understanding of certain key ideas and how they relate to the creative process.

One key idea is that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident. You need to manifest confidence in every stage of the creative process if you want to get your creative work accomplished. Here’s what confidence looks like throughout the creative process.

Stage 1. Wishing

‘Wishing’ is a pre-contemplation stage where you haven’t really decided that you intend to create. You dabble at making art, you don’t find your efforts very satisfying, and you don’t feel that you go deep all that often. The confidence that you need to manifest during this stage of the process is the confidence that you are equal to the rigors of creating. If you don’t confidently accept the reality of process and the reality of difficulty you may never really get started.

Stage 2. Incubation/Contemplation

During this second stage of the process you need to be able to remain open to what wants to come rather than defensively settling on a first idea or an easy idea. The task is remaining open and not settling for something that relieves your anxiety and your discomfort. The confidence needed here is the confidence to stay open.

Stage 3. Choosing Your Next Subject

Choosing is a crucial part of the creative process. At some point you need the confidence to say, “I am ready to work on this.” You need the confidence to name a project clearly (even if that naming is “Now I go to the blank canvas without a pre-conceived idea and just start”), to commit to it, and to make sure that you aren’t leaking confidence even as you choose this project.

Stage 4. Starting Your Work

When you start a new creative work you start with certain ideas for the work, certain hopes and enthusiasms, certain doubts and fears – that is, you start with an array of thoughts and feelings, some positive and some negative. The confidence you need at that moment is the confidence that you can weather all those thoughts and feelings and the confidence to go into the unknown.

Stage 5. Working

Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments – the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work. For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.

Stage 6. Completing

At some point you will be near completing the work. It is often hard to complete what we start because then we are obliged to appraise it, learn if it is good or bad, deal with the rigors of showing and selling, and so on. The confidence required during this stage is the confidence to weather the very ideas of appraisal, criticism, rejection, disappointment and everything else that we fear may be coming once we announce that the work is done.

Stage 7. Showing

A time comes when we are obliged to show our work. The confidence needed here is not only the confidence to weather the ideas of appraisal, criticism, and rejection but the confidence to weather the reality of appraisal, criticism, and rejection. Like so many other manifestations of confidence, the basic confidence here sounds like “Bring it on!” You are agreeing to let the world do its thing and announcing that you can survive any blows that the world delivers.

Stage 8. Selling

A confident seller can negotiate, think on her feet, make pitches and presentations, advocate for her work, explain why her work is wanted, and so on. You don’t have to be over-confident, exuberant, over the top – you simply need to get yourself to the place of being a calmly confident seller, someone who first makes a thing and then sells it in a business-like manner.

Stage 9: New Incubation and Contemplation

While you are showing and selling your completed works you are also incubating and contemplating new projects and starting the process all over again. The confidence required here is the confident belief that you have more good ideas in you. You want to confidently assert that you have plenty more to say and plenty more to do – even if you don’t know what that “something” is quite yet.

Stage 10: Simultaneous and Shifting States and Stages

I’ve made the creative process sound rather neat and linear and usually it is anything but. Often we are stalled on one thing, contemplating another thing, trying to sell a third thing, and so on. The confidence needed throughout the process is the quiet, confident belief that you can stay organized, successfully handle all of the thoughts and feelings going on inside of you, get your work done, and manage everything. This is a juggler’s confidence—it is you announcing, “You bet that I can keep all of these balls in the air!”

Manifest confidence throughout the creative process. Failing to manifest confidence at any stage will stall the process. It isn’t easy living the artist’s life: the work is taxing, the shadows of your personality interfere, and the art marketplace if fiercely competitive. If you learn some key ideas, for instance that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident, you give yourself the best chance possible for a productive and rewarding life in the arts.


Eric Maisel is the author of Making Your Creative Mark and twenty other creativity titles including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Creativity for Life, and Coaching the Artist Within. America’s foremost creativity coach, he is widely known as a creativity expert who coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at

Adapted from the new book Making Your Creative Mark ©2013 by Eric Maisel. Published with permission of New World Library

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