Yesterday I was digging through some folders of illustrations on my computer looking for something and came across a bunch of drawings of people that I did back in 2010-2011. These are 2 of them. I still really love them!

As I was looking through these illustrations I remembered how much I love drawing people and thought to myself "why don't I ever draw people anymore?" 

I don't have a good answer to that question. Which means, I think it's time to start again! I'm going to challenge myself starting November 1st to draw a person a day for the whole month. Now, I don't really do very well when I set challenges like this for myself for some reason -- I rebel against the constraints that I put on my self almost immediately. But I'd really like this one to work! So I'm going to do my best.

Anyone want to join me for a 30-day drawing challenge? You can draw whatever you want! It doesn't have to be people.

On a separate note, I'm going to be out of town all next week, and I'm going to take a break fem posting here. I'm headed to Joshua Tree, CA again for some energy medicine training. I will have gorgeous desert photos to share when I return!

See you on Monday, October 27th!

Yesterday I had a lovely day. I worked in the morning and then had back to back massage and acupuncture appointments around lunchtime. I planned to come home and work all afternoon, as is my nature.

One thing I talked about with my fantastic acupuncturist, Judy, is the idea of giving your body time to rest and heal and recuperate after times of intense output, injury, trauma, etc. How "muscling through" is often our natural response (it sure is with me!) but how our bodies need time outs. (In fact, I'm pretty sure our minds do, too, but we were specifically talking bodies in this case.) I had some personal stuff going on over the summer that I sort-of muscled through, now that I look back.

I created Pattern Camp, and my energy output for that built and built from July through last weekend, when the course went live. I didn't totally pay attention to what my body needed, partly out of having a lot of actual obligations -- teaching a painting workshop in Denver, going to my brother-in-law's wedding in California, going to a gathering at Pixie's, finishing the content and the launch for Pattern Camp, etc -- and partly because I'm stubborn and have a work-a-holic nature. Even when I'm "resting" I'm not usually resting. My mind is usually racing, or making me feel guilty about how I'm not working or running or being somehow productive toward some goal. So I've "rested" some in the past few months, but I haven't done a lot of actual resting. This mind of mine, I swear! Have you ever heard that phrase "the mind is a f***er? I don't like that word, but I feel it's apt and true in this instance. ;)

I hit a wall when I got home from my self-care appointments yesterday. I had a list of things that I was "supposed to" accomplish. But all that kept popping into my mind was: "lay on the couch. Go lay on the couch. Rest." I just couldn't do anything productive. It wasn't going to happen. The idea of muscling through made me want to crawl in a hole. And so, I did. Blessed be. I rested. When I finally (finally!) surrendered to just laying on the couch and watching tv, giving myself permission to do it and to not be productive, it was wonderful. Exactly what I needed. Why don't I learn from these sweet cats of mine, who know so deeply how to rest? Having their snuggly little bodies nearby sure helps to remind me!

And today? I'm feeling much better and ready to get back to my work.

When you give a lot of energy, or when a lot of energy is pulled out of you for whatever reason, it's necessary to refill your stores. To unplug and pull that energy back into you, however your intuition is telling you is the right way. Sometimes it tells me to lay on the couch. Sometimes it says to go for a walk outdoors. Sometimes it says to lay in the sunshine. I find that whatever it's saying, I never regret listening to it and heeding its advice. I don't always do it, but when I do, I always feel better for it.

So, that's the lesson I've learned (again) this week. It's ok to rest. In fact, it's vital. Otherwise, I'll have nothing of myself to give. 


I'm excited to tell you that not only do I have brand new iPhone 6 cases available now, but there are also 5 brand new designs as well, pictured here!

The iPhone 6 cases come in 2 varieties: Tough and Barely There.

The Tough cases have a hard rubber bumper that sits on the inside of the case (pictured here).

The Barely There cases have no rubber bumper and sit flush against the phone; they're nice and streamlined.
Here's an example of the Barely There case:

I'm also happy to tell you that ALL the phone cases in my shop are now available for iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5/5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 6 (not the 6 plus).

Hope you like the new ones! I can't wait to rock that raccoon case on my own phone.

above: by Sara Franklin

Pattern Camp, my new online pattern design course, happened this past weekend.

24+ hours sitting at my computer, fielding questions and troubleshooting problems, watching the private Facebook group as gorgeous pattern after gorgeous pattern created by the Pattern Campers rolled in, sensing the excitement and victories that they were experiencing as they unlocked the mysteries of creating their own repeating pattern designs, not eating enough, eyeballs blaring…. it was one of my best weekends ever. Truly.

above: by Aimee Sicuro

Yesterday I felt like my eyes were going to fall out. Not in a bad way. Just in a way I'd never experienced before. Are fuzzy spots in your left eye normal? ;) (Don't worry, it's gone now!) I walked around in this weird daze all day -- a happy, bleary, pattern-filled daze.

And I discovered: I love teaching! And, I think I might be good at it!

I wanted to share some of the patterns that were created over the course of the 2-day intensive portion of the class, because they're too freaking awesome not to share. This is just the tiniest sampling! I'll share more in the coming days. They're continuing to roll in at a fast pace -- the Pattern Campers are completely addicted already!

Many people are working through the lessons at their own pace (not everyone could join in the 2-day intensive for a variety of reasons -- schedules, families, living half-way around the world from me, etc), so I'm anticipating literally hundreds of patterns made by this talented group over the next month. I can't wait to see them.

above: by Joy Hall

above: by Lexis Kreig

above: by Susan Reagan

above: by Amy Wildgrube

above: by Erin Brimmer

Pattern Camp will run again in early 2015 -- if this is piquing your interest and you'd like to know more details about when the next course will take place, you can get on the Pattern Camp email list right here.

I had so much fun, it's still all I can think about! I've been so inspired + exhausted + excited + humbled + grateful + filled with possibility since the weekend, I've hardly gotten any other work done. I've been working on this blog post for about 2 hours and I keep getting so distracted by checking and re-checking the Facebook group. Pattern Camp = true love!

The extravagant journey that is your life. How lovely is that phrase? I adore it.

I get questions sometimes from people who read my blog or like my artwork or whatever, about what I think they should do, what is the right way to do something, how it's "supposed to" be done…. and my answer is always the same:

What is your heart saying?
What is your gut pulling you toward?
What makes you feel happy, alive, excited?

That's the magic key. That's what you're supposed to do.

You already have everything you need. You only have to listen to YOU, to tune in to what your own heart is calling you toward. This is your extravagant journey -- you get to make the rules. 

The answers are already within you. All you have to do is listen.


Hi friends, just a quick reminder today.

My brand new e-course, Pattern Camp, starts this Saturday October 11th. Registration closes tomorrow, Friday October 10th, at noon PST.

If you've been thinking you might like to join in but haven't committed yet, what's holding you back? Is your soul whispering a quiet (or maybe a very loud!) YES? Is your mind getting in the way? That happens to me sometimes. Sometimes the very thing that is calling to us that will move us forward in our lives is that which we resist the most because it's scary.

That's been coming up a bit already in the private Pattern Camp Facebook group. People who are feeling intimidated, not as good as some of the other people in the class, scared that they don't know know enough, etc…. And man oh man, do I get those feelings. Just yesterday I got sucked into a little vortex of self-sabotage and comparison that left me complaining to my husband on the couch for a little while.

But! That doesn't serve anyone now, does it?

The thing about these folks is that they're showing up anyway, even though it's scary. How inspiring is that?!

If any of these excuses are rolling through your mind, and yet Pattern Camp is still calling to you through all the muck, I invite you to join us. The group that's formed so far is proving to be wildly supportive, creative, encouraging, widely varied in computer skill levels, and they are all pretty freaking awesome (and class hasn't even started yet!).

If you have any questions about whether or not Pattern Camp is for you, there are lots of answers right here. If you still have questions, send me an email! I'll help you figure it out.

Hope to see you in class!


I've worked on a couple of fun projects lately as part of Design Week Portland (which is happening now!) that I thought you might like to see.

Firstly, I was invited by WeMake PDX for the second year to make a birdhouse for the Put A Bird In It auction, which raises money for arts + music education. I love this project and event! More than 80 artists and makers in Portland create birdhouses, and then there is an auction and a big party to close out Design Week. It's super fun. The event is this coming Friday night. Come check it out if you're in Portland! Details are here.


Secondly, also as part of Design Week, I was invited to participate in this totally weird and cool event/installation/happening -- 50 illustrators were invited to draw on these truck tarp flags that are being hung each day in Pioneer Square, in the center of Portland (where is serving as the hub of Design Week).

What are we drawing, you ask? We're illustrating tweets and Instagram photos that people are tagging using the hashtag #dwpdx. Which is yielding a wide variety of illustrations, let me tell you!

I drew for 2 hours yesterday, and will be back again this afternoon drawing for another 2 hours. It was so fun! Here are some of the flags that greeted me when I arrived:


Each day the flags a different color. We got to draw on yellow flags yesterday! Here's a pic of me hard at work:

My first flag of the day. :) (photo by Design Week PDX)


Don't they look so cool all hung together? This is a photo by Kate Bingaman-Burt, one of the main masterminds behind this whole project:

Today I'll be drawing on orange flags. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see behind-the-scenes pics!

Just a reminder!

If learning to design repeat patterns is calling to your soul, sign up for Pattern Camp now! There are only a few days left. Class starts bright and early on Saturday morning at 8 am PST!

ps -- on a totally separate note, is Mercury retrograde kicking anyone else's butt this time around? OMG, today has been a ridiculous mess! Haha. Oh, Mercury. You pain in the neck, you.

The cuteness around here astounds me sometimes.

I love these two so much!

I'm so happy the weather is beginning to cool off, because it means they'll want to snuggle more often. Well, Juneau is always down to snuggle, but when the weather is nice Anika tends to be on her own. But when the weather changes, under the blankets she goes.

In other news, last week I had my astrological chart read for the first time ever:

I didn't know a whole lot about astrology going into it, beyond knowing that I'm a Leo, my rising sign is Capricorn, and having a general knowledge about the qualities of each zodiac sign.

{Interestingly, during the reading I remembered that in 6th grade I did a project for the Science Fair about the zodiac, and it got me to the State competition! I'd forgotten all about that.}

The reading was pretty magical. Carol, the astrologer, read my natal chart, which she explained to me as the beginning of the story of me. A natal chart is a picture of the cosmos as it was at the exact moment that I was born -- sun, moon, planets, stars…..

The things she knew about me just from looking at my chart was pretty mind-blowing. Like, details that she never could have known from the couple of minutes that we chatted before the reading. There wasn't anything she said that didn't resonate completely. At times it was like looking inside my head and pulling out thoughts/behaviors/beliefs/character traits that have been a part of me since as early as I can remember.

She told me I can have a different kind of chart read next -- a progressed chart -- which is like a continuation of the story. It's a picture of a different moment in my life. The moment that is now, and the moments that will be the future.

How exciting is that?!

I'm going to schedule this next reading for sometime in the near future. I really want Ryan to get his chart read, too -- Carol told me that couples often like both partners to be familiar with their charts, because it adds to and deepens the way that you can relate to one another. I'm down with that!

I'm so excited and grateful to have this new tool at my disposal, to help me understand my life and the way that I am from a different vantage point, with a different kind of meaning. This year for me so far seems to be all about discovering and collecting new tools to put in my self-awareness + healing tool belt. And it seems to be working. I don't think I'm quite the same person that I was at the beginning of 2014. 

While I stumble my way through, learning, making mistakes, having mini break-throughs, never quite knowing where I'm going or why, I can look back I can see the thread that's brought my to exactly where I am at this moment in time. A beautiful, silvery thread that I've followed, sometimes realizing it and sometimes not.

From the reading I got this sense that I somehow came into this world knowing that my intuition, that silver-y thread, is my guidepost. My north star. The voice that I am supposed to follow. The knowing that will lead me deeper into my own experience of life. Sometimes it's louder and other times it's softer, but that silvery, intuitive thread that's whispered in my ear since I was a child has led me to march to the beat of my own drum, and it's written in my stars. I'm starting to understand what a powerful gift that is -- to trust my inner self. To know that it won't lead me astray if I listen to it, honor it, trust it.

I remember as I drove across the country from Colorado to Georgia back in 2007, leaping into the unknown with Ryan, my car was not "supposed to" make it (according to the mechanics who checked it out before I left). But I didn't have money for a new car, so I drove it anyway, hoping and praying that I would make it. That's when the silvery thread first appeared in my mind. I was so afraid I wouldn't make it, afraid of moving to this new place and leaving behind everything and everyone that I knew, and the silvery thread appeared, connecting me from Colorado to Georgia, and all I had to do was picture that silvery thread pulling me forward, trusting that it would get me there safely. It helped. And I did get there safely.


That is not where I expected this post to go this morning! But there you have it. I trust that someone, somewhere, needs to read what I've written today. And that is good. That is enough.


Yesterday I was working on some stuff for Pattern Camp (class starts October 11th!), and I was brushing up on my skills for turning a painting into a repeat pattern. It's not something I do very often, but every time I do I think "why don't I do this more often??!"

It is SO fun!

I turned this little mini painting into a repeat, and I'm totally in love with it. Aren't those geese so cute? I sort-of want to turn it into fabric at Spoonflower and make a dress out of it. That'd be so adorable, right?

I have this dress that I LOVE, and I dream of learning how to sew a dress just like it and then making, like, 50 of them in different fabrics. This would definitely be in the mix!

© 2014 jessica swift, LLC / website coded by emily thompson