31 December 2009


I remember:

*having Harper Lee join our family
*not sleeping much
*going to Sarasota and almost dying
*playing with Royce in concerts
*re-writing every stick of music for The Wizard of Oz
*going on tour with Proskuneo
*being adopted by the Garmons
*starting the back&forth project with Betsy
*almost walking away from everything creative in my life
*starting the Artist's Way with Betsy [noticing a trend here?]
*drinking a lot of coffee
*going to Sarasota again and not almost dying
*being a part of a little something called PWI
*playing Muse @ Water's Edge
*playing music @ Hamilton Mill
*watching good movies
*reading a lot of My Life Is Average
*starting a new job
*starting this blog
*writing a lot of music
*writing a lot of writing
*sketching 'till three in the morning
*having a blanket fort built in my room
*going to the pumpkin farm
*taking a sabbatical after PWI
*going to the beach with the staff team
*being a reaaaalllly good cook
*falling back in love with music
*lots of weddings a lots of babies
*taking a bajillion pictures
*finishing multiple journals
*going to LONDON and basically freaking out about that
*wearing lots of soft clothes
*starting to love my life again

30 December 2009

january songs

I can usually measure every year by the monthly playlists of music I've made. I was creating my usual 'January Songs' playlist, when I noticed that I hadn't deleted last years. I love this comparison of what I was listening to last year, and then this year:

last year:

this year:

I'm loving Mute Math this month, as well as Regina {always} and Phil Wickham and Hauschka {new and weird and i love it!}

29 December 2009

what i need to be able to function normally

This time of year, I hold tightly onto anything and everything beautiful, magical and shiny. The heavy things I tend to carry cause me to cling to simple beauty as a life-raft. Glitter brings me hope. Quiet and time and space to think brings me to tears. A blanket fort built as a surprise by friends drew the first real smile I've held in a week. Laying on the floor, looking up at the Christmas lights that held up the blankets reminded me that there is always hope. God does love me.

{and my friends love me too - they really did build me a surprise blanket fort. best christmas gift ever}


quiet world

I took some time out last night to go shoot a stop-motion sunset. It was freezing yesterday, and something about the cold makes the air and the light so clear! It was breathtakingly beautiful out there. So many shots in this video remind me of why I am quiet+world+creative. I became who I am in this place. As much as I look forward to leaving here someday soon, to live closer to my life, I will always have a spot in my heart for this place, this land, this light.

enjoy :] all photography copyright paul holley and katie holley, 2009 and original music copyright katie holley 2009.

my quiet world from quietworldcreative on Vimeo.

28 December 2009

apples to apples :]

favorite set of portraits from christmas [looooving my new 50 mm prime lens. I officially take back any time I've ever thought of myself as a photographer before I had this lens].


26 December 2009

24 things

24 things I want to do before I turn 25. They really aren't all huge, or appear huge, but some of them [like the edgy haircut] are big hurdles for me and I'd like to lean into them this year. Maybe next year's list will include loosing 25 pounds or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but this year ... we'll tackle sketchbooks and haircuts!


best memories of 2009

more photo collages! get excited!

best of 2009 collage

best of 2009 collage

best of 2009 collage

christmas memories 2009

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas! Thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from yesterday's festivities :]

christmas 2009 collage

check back soon for some more collages of my favorite photos from this last year. i'm also starting to think about 2010, so there should be some good blogging from that, as well. much love!

16 December 2009

longest week ever.

this is how i feel this week:

from this girl, via tumblr.

12 December 2009

top of the roller coaster

You know that feeling that you get when you ride a roller-coaster? When you're at the top of the first big hill, and the roller-coaster stops for just a second before letting you plummet to the bottom?  You can get that feeling in life, sometimes, too. Not everything is that top-of-the-hill stomach drop, but a lot of things come really close.

I'm learning that I often get a hint of that feeling, and do everything to stop it. Including never going on roller-coasters! Sometimes that feeling is called:

*Trying new things
*Being the new girl
*Speaking up
*Being brave in my life and art
*Making my own choices

And since each of these things include a roller-coaster stomach-drop [for me] then ... I avoid them! At all costs! But what if ... life is about feeling that feeling as often as it comes?  What if I'm supposed to be leaning in to that feeling instead of running away? How much of my life have I missed at twenty-four?

I guess I'll be learning to lean in in 2010. What about you?

06 December 2009


Oh my goodness, is it the end of the first week of December and I haven't blogged anything yet?

Some yummy photos, inspirations and updates on recent art projects coming soon! Much Christmas-season love!

29 November 2009

olafur arnalds

i still can't get enough of this song, or this video:

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.

life images

this is a little collection of images from my inspiration file - some things/ideas i want more of in my life in the coming year. what do YOU want?

27 November 2009

late nights

Most nights I go to bed pretty early [10.30-ish, if I make it home from my LIFE that early. This week, I've been eating DINNER at 10.30, which is ridiculous, but beside the point.] These last few weeks, I've been staying up late. I've had this little project pouring out of my pen, and I can't seem to stop it. So I'm going with it! You can see two weeks worth of illustrated sketches over on my flickr. They make me happy :]


20 November 2009

18 November 2009

ooh, i ...


i hate when i do this - work really hard all day, then get to the end of work and think, there's nothing more i want to do in the world than put on sweats, crawl in my huge squishy bed and watch that new-to-me-jeff-daniels-laura-linney movie i just thrifted. but then i think, noooo, you should be productive and accomplish things. but then, on my way to accomplishing things, i'm tired and i get distracted and i end up staying up 'till 11 in an uncomfortable chair watching random interviews on youtube. i would have been happier if i had just gotten in bed like i wanted, instead of talking myself out of it in the name of 'productivity', which i was too tired to even think about in the first place. gah.

i need someone to give me a good 'chill out, relax, go easy on yourself sometimes' talking-to. i also need to go to bed!

things that have been inspiring me today ...

this music video


and this music video


red furniture


this new journal {currently sitting on my desk}


this amazing desk {i'm on a quest for the perfect desk right now. why is it so hard??}

what is inspiring you today?

04 November 2009

back + forth project

there's a new spread posted on the Back&Forth blog :] go check it out!


here's a sneak peek:

03 November 2009

shortcuts + the long way around

My GPS always gives me the shortest route between me and my destination.

No one ever gives you directions for the scenic route.

No one ever chooses to stand in the longest line in the grocery store.


But sometimes, standing in the longest line helps you find the right word. Sometimes, letting your brain ramble around a little, instead of constantly going directly from thought A to thought B gives you better conclusions, more solid theories and stronger images.

Sometimes I feel like taking the long way home in a world that only accepts shortcuts and fast lanes.

23 October 2009

the three-day cake

Process and product ... I've been writing a lot in my journal + morning pages about how both of those things fit into my life and my creativity. I tend to go back and forth between being product minded in my life and art, and being process minded. I still can't find a healthy balance between the two, but I'm finding that the more I think about it and dive into what it means to be a process-minded yet productive artist, I'm finding that there are situations put in front of me for me to choose which I'm going to give higher value [at least at that moment].

Then came the three-day cake. This cake, to be exact. I've had this recipe for years, and was waiting for an occasion [read: reason] to make it. My birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity! Birthday was on Monday, started making the cake Monday afternoon. Didn't get to actually finish and eat the cake until Wednesday night. Late.

Lets just say that it's hard to complete an insane Martha Stewart recipe when you work full time, are working overtime to make up for some unexpected time off, also do freelance AND have some semblance of a social life. It really did take me three days to finish this cake. BUT ... when it was done. Oh my gosh. Pictures are the only way to do it justice:

[click for biggie. highly recommended :]]

Lesson learned? It's okay to enjoy the journey [process] as much as you value the destination [product/cake]. And it's okay to anticipate the product and put energy into making it the best it can be. And it's okay to halt production to check in with your process. Is it healthy? Is it true to your art? Are you putting too much expectation on it?

Lesson learned: Process is something you trust in to get to a product that you enjoy [or eat].

14 October 2009


{quote (c) erwin mcmanus, design (c) quiet world creative }

11 October 2009

There is an episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelai sits at her kitchen table with every flavor of Pop Tart in front of her. Why? "I don't know which one I like."

That's how I feel today. That's all.

09 October 2009


{i realize that this is a deep and wordy post to jump back into the blogging world after a long absence. i just wanted to recognize that!}

life + life = life

I decided something today: I want to be the person to ask business majors what their back-up plan for life is. I read a little Chelsea Talks Smack today {language caution, but she's brilliantly real and unfiltered, if that's your thing} and I love what she says here:

No one ever asks a med student, "So what are you going to do with your life?"

...because obviously, the answer is, be a Doctor.

Why should the answer be any different for an artist? If you create art, then you'll be an artist. If you want to be a teacher, you will teach. If you want to be a lawyer, you will go to school, you will be a lawyer. For some reason when it comes to a profession that has a shaky monetary value, at best, or lacks an outline- it makes people nervous. It makes people question your sanity, or scoff, or treat you like a child- like you're irresponsible and naive. You're the joke. Then comes the onslaught of questions...."So, what's your backup plan? What if it doesn't work out? How does your family feel about this? Well, don't you want health care?? Are you on drugs?" etc. etc.

Choosing to follow a passion that doesn't have a safety net, or a ladder to climb doesn't mean it's impossible - it simply means you'll find a way to make it work, or you'll give up. There is no grey area. And how you define "making it work" is up to you ... You will be laughed at, you will be jeered, you will be doubtful and you will then lick the wounds, and walk a bit taller.

My back up plan? I don't have a [expletive] back up plan, because when you things get hard, which they always do-in any profession, that "back up plan" BECOMES the plan. It's a cowardly way of giving up. Of surrendering under the pressure of other peoples ideals and expectations of your life.

Love her + her thoughts on this. I started thinking down this trail when I started working on a new website this week {an early birthday present from my dad - super awesome!} I told one of my best friends about this new project, and he replied, "So you're going to start selling your paintings?!" And he was REALLY excited about that idea {props to my awesome friends for being supportive.} I just thought ... do I wanna make my website about selling paintings? Do I wanna make my LIFE about selling paintings? And suddenly I was sucked into my usual vortex of insane over-thinking {we're talking ... laying awake at night after working a 12-hour day and then waking up at 4 am to think some more ...}

I feel like by defining my public image on my website, I'm defining myself - my values, my beliefs and my goals. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Do I want my life to be about more than selling paintings and prints? In asking myself questions about my upcoming website, I've been asking myself questions about my upcoming life, too.

{about paintings and selling them: i love painting. LOVE it. but when i look at what percentage of my time is ever, or has ever been, spent painting, it doesn't follow that the next portion of my life will be devoted to selling them. i mean, i probably will, but that's not going to be my focus. but really, the largest percentage of my time has been spent playing the piano in a room by myself, so what the heck does that mean??}

It seems really intense {my friends can laugh and understand that that's just part of who I am}, but I've been led up to this moment by so many events over recent months, and by people who have crossed my path.

What am I waiting on? I've got a life to live {and not a ladder to climb}.

PHEWSH - that was my diatribe from my last few weeks of life. Thanks for reading to the end {if you did!} If you made it to this point, I'd like to offer a lovely image as a reward. You guys are the best!

best door - memphis tennessee

21 September 2009

journal + pages

i just recently finished a journal and thought i'd share some of my favorite spreads [i just typed 'favorite friends' and i don't really know why? but i guess they're friends? anyway. it's been a long day!]

living out your gifts

This might just be one of my favorite photos of the year. This is my [genius] friend Rowan, doing what he does best [being a genius]. I love this photo so much; Rowan is a huge inspiration in my life, and this shot just captures his focus and drive.

07 September 2009


I think it's mildly ironic that a day off of work found me discovering more about work than any of my normal days AT work. [did you have to read that sentence as many different times as I had to re-write it? sorry! I'm ADD!]

Anyway, back to work talk. Or not really work talk, more like life talk. Through a series of clicks on a random blog, I found a link to the website inboxzero.com. Lots of reading, video watching and note-taking later, and ALL of my inboxes are currently at zero. Zero, people! I can't tell you the last time that my inboxes were at zero ... probably because they never really have been? Merlin Mann [in his video on inbox zero and email processing] proposes that your inbox should only hold emails that you haven't read yet. It's remarkably common sense, yet somehow, my e-mail inboxes somehow drain so much time and life away from my time and life!

Here's an idea from Mr. Mann: what is your life about? What are your priorities? Once you know this, answer the question: Do your internet viewing history/inbox/RSS feed/blog roll/bookmarks reflect what you are about? Or do you spend time looking at/reading/digesting things that you really don't care about?

Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist's Way [and oh man, could I blog about THAT book right now] suggests that for a creative, reading other people's words is like ingesting tiny, word-sized bites of junk food for the brain and spirit.

I guess I'm just feeling a little self-protective these days. I only want to engage my brain in things that reflect what I am about. Do I really need to bookmark 9,000 links to 9,000 websites I will never actually visit? Do I need to collect books that I don't really enjoy? I have big dreams for my life, and every word-sized bite of food I take in either adds to my dreams [nourishes] or takes away [depletes].

So thank you, inboxzero.com, for making me assess my life. I think I needed it.

31 August 2009

back + forth project!

P.S.! Betsy and I moved the Back+Forth Project into a new little home :] Be sure to check it out!


faces + places

My friends Nate + Rachel got married two weeks ago in Minnesota, and this weekend was their reception at home in Georgia. My genius Mom did their flowers for their reception. Some of my favorite faces from the celebration:

new + loves

This has been my creative life for the last few weeks: New visual journal pages:

Psalm 23: In progress ...

Palette and color :]

Brand new journal! I love love love starting new journals. They're such a part of who I am.

Huge canvas just waiting for some paint...

19 August 2009

Back + Forth

Earlier this year, my beautiful friend Betsy and I decided to start a journal collaboration. She completed the first spread in the journal (her blog about which can be seen here) and mailed it to me. My spread took it's formation clues from hers, and her next one will take it's cues from mine, and so on. We have very different styles, so the cohesion of the look of this project is going to be so interesting.

Jumping into this spread was so much more difficult than I had expected! I battled lots of fears to get this color on the page: fear of Betsy not liking it, of nobody 'getting' it, of it being too scattered, too 'much', too odd. I like to be assured of the outcome of the things that I attempt. I have often been accused of taking a "Ready ... Aim ... Aim ... Aim ..." stance in my life. I don't often take explosive action. I don't often try new things.

Then Betsy sends me a beautiful spread surrounding the idea of daring to dream new Dreams. As I was pondering what that looked like in my own life, I happened upon an article about Marissa Mayer, a female creative exec for Google. She had a quote in the article that I fell in love with, because it embodied so many of my thoughts about my own fear. So my pages were born around that quote - it answered, for me, the questions that Betsy's pages raised in me.

Okay, enough words, onto an image: collaged ink sketch + acrylic paint + handwritten text + type-written text.

click image for large version

About fifteen minutes after I put the final touches on these pages, I found myself muttering the words, "I never really try new things!" with a little laugh. I caught myself in that phrase, then quickly wondered if journaling can work retroactively. Yikes bikes.

17 August 2009

new + photos

just got my camera back from the shop :] here are some happy snapshots from this weekend in quiet + world: