Charting Your Next Course 🗺

Finding your next best life has been much on my mind lately, as friends begin to retire and wonder, “what’s next?” In the financial services industry, so much is written about saving for retirement…but so little about what to actually DO with that free time. For folks who have been completely immersed in career and family, this change can come as quite a shock…although we can all say we have had some practice during the last 14 months (sourdough bread, everyone?)!

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to share some fabulous resources for those who are just beginning on this path. There is a seemingly-infinite number of creative outlets which can inspire and delight…but how do you FIND them? These authors/editors provide lots of thought-provoking material to help you find your own groove. Remember, it’s kind of like dating…some of my friends fall in love with an art form at first sight and happily pursue the trip down that colorful rabbit hole, while others need to have coffee dates with a number of arts/crafts before they feel that spark. (Once you do, trust me, there is a passionate tribe on FaceBook just waiting to greet you and guide you every step of the way ;)!)

So…to begin –


Ingrid Fetell Lee wrote the bestselling book, Joyful (please forgive lack of underline there, WordPress is crabby this morning 🤦🏼‍♀️), and did a terrific TED talk on the topic. I believe that this book should be required reading for every graduate, retiring person and…well, basically everyone. Ingrid writes in (for you left-brainers) a data-rich form about the common “aesthetics of joy” found in every culture. This book won’t tell you what your next life will be but it will open your eyes to so many things around you and create the perfect mindset for exploring.


British author Beth Kempton has written several beloved books but, before she was published, she ran this website and offered a “New Year’s Revolution” download each December to help you envision the possible and make it the achievable. It really helped me think through how I would turn my hobby into much more as my career matured.


Canadian editor/designer/writer Janine Vangool is a one-woman creative powerhouse! Her magazine, Uppercase, is an ad-free celebration of all things creative…the theme changes each issue. You may never get into letterpress printing but it sure is cool to learn about…and an article several issues ago about needlepunch (needle what? Heehee, my new obsession – betcha didn’t know there is an International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day, did you?) Janine has also published a series of books titled the Encyclopedia of Inspiration…C for Ceramics, Y for Yarn, you get the idea. If you think you might like to do something creative, a subscription to her magazine is the perfect introductory prescription.


Author/illustrator Lisa Congdon has written several books on finding your creative voice and getting out there to use it…she is also a delight to follow on Instagram.

Make sure to set up an account on Instagram to follow cool practitioners. Whatever might interest you, trust me, there’s a hashtag that will lead you to more content (eg…#fountainpens). Also…once you decide to travel a path…do NOT assume that Amazon is the best source for materials. Often, you get what you pay for – life is too short for poorly-made tools that might discourage you from a potential new passion. Your new best friends on those FaceBook groups can help advise here.

Happy travels 😊!

Published by neonkittyquilts

Laurie is a fiber artist who combines her passion for animals and quilting by producing pet portraits though a technique she calls "Pet-lique." A frequent teacher at IQF's Open Studios and The City Quilter in NYC, she has been published in Quilting Arts magazine and The Canadian Quilter. Her art quilts have been juried into special exhibits in Houston and the National Juried Show of the CQA. She sits on the board of the Quilt Alliance and is an enthusiastic member of SAQA. Laurie lives in NYC and Connecticut with her husband, their two angelic German Shepherds and three mischievous felines.

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