How to Avoid the Holiday Overload When You are a Sensitive Creative

Creative people are sensitive people. We can enjoy the subtle differences among Yellows, a beautiful piece of music brings tears to our eyes, and a mall this time of year is the equivalent experience of throwing on all the lights at 3 a.m. when you were sound asleep. Overload to our sensitive systems can happen easily during most of the year when there is way too much stimulation and Christmas/Holiday time is all about mass stimulation, and yes, that sounded naughty.

My husband and I were brave enough to shop two stores during Black Friday. There were tremendous sales, people rubbing elbows in crowded aisles, overheated rooms and STIMULATION. After about an hour of grabbing what felt like anything shiny and half price, or even triple below the price, I felt like a kid opening up the twentieth present at Christmas. You are excited, happy, and a little fried and twitchy. I imagine this is what gamblers feel like after a big win. You want more adrenaline, more wins, more more! But being a sensitive person I felt the effect on my body as if I had a large glass of caffeine. I was wired and I had no idea how I was ever going to calm down. After several hours after shopping I started to come down and stare at what we bought. I don’t even know what we picked up. I wasn’t sure of my name. I forgot what month it was. And why was my left eyelid twitching so much?

Holidays are tough. I probably sound like a Grinch but I am just focused on the overwhelm heading my way. Unlike the kids, I have a different experience of Christmas. I remember last year spending DAYS wrapping until I never wanted to see Scotch Tape again. We spent money we didn’t have. The house was wall to wall decorations in weird places. And I am learning that for a parent there is a whole lot of the have-tos which make the experience not so much festive for an adult. 

You have to:

  • Buy presents for the mailman
  • Fill out a Christmas Letter filled with exciting details of the year and I am notoriously private
  • Send out holiday cards after you have no money for postage after you spent all the money on holiday gifts and brave the POST OFFICE LINE
  • Decorate the front yard while trying to keep the new puppy in the backyard but she sees you in the front yard and is flipping out and trying to find a way out
  • Send a gift to a relative who told you to disappear and have a good life
  • Make cookies? I am notoriously awful at cooking so this really causes major stress
  • And now the kids informed me they want to celebrate something called Advent. What is Advent? Does it involve buying more gifts or baking? Please say no.
  • There’s decorating the church with Greens and driving around the neighborhood watching flashing lights so I can have a migraine.
  • There’s holiday parties…I really hate small talk. It’s just cruel.
  • There’s also lots of talk of Jesus, of course, which is a bit awkward when you are Jewish. Conflict of interest.

That’s a lot of Have To’s.

Is there a sure sign of overwhelm? You feel way bitchy. And I mean way. I bet my list even sounded a tiny bit bitchy. Your crankiness can spill all over and those nasty thoughts can even escape if you are not careful and you can scream the F word in front of the kids when you didn’t mean it, or tell one to please stop talking because your ears are going to explode. It doesn’t mean you are the Incredible Hulk having a moment, but it does mean you took way too much on and your circuits are frying. All this stimulation and constant excitement is not meant for a sensitive system. A small tree with a few lights in the middle of the Forest to visit? Yes, that sounds more like it.

Is there a solution??? This year I am having limits. A whole new concept I am learning. It’s an interesting thing that explains and sets what I can and can’t do, and what I am willing to do. You want cookies for your class? Well, then Dad will have to go buy some. Family wants to go to a holiday party filled with noise and kids running around? I am willing to do this one other thing like buy all the presents, but I will stay home and watch Rudolph with the Dogs while you visit. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or want to participate, or not part of the family, it just means that I need to take care of myself or Christmas will be renamed The Migraine Holiday, and January will bring in a bad case of the Flu. Thank you for understanding.

Happy limit making, my friends.

Dedicated to supporting my fellow creatives survive the Holidays,

Gallery of Cupcakes

Care to join the virtual designers with your own cupcake design to the Gallery of Cupcakes?



Fun Activity: Help Design Some Cupcakes

Enter the Cupcake Room, and design a cupcake, but don’t be afraid of making mistakes (see reject cupcakes). Print out and download the sheet below to play. Send me your pics and I will share in the Gallery of Cupcakes! Email me.

Click on link:

Cupcake Decorating Sheet


Gallery of Cupcakes

Here’s Some Cupcake Creations from Fellow Idea Emporium Designers:

Artist: David Wagenfeld, Adult artist, MI

“Lemon Juicyfruit” from Artist: Jacqueline Johnson, Adult artist, FL


Field Trip for the Imagination: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms


It’s Blog Tuesday! Woot! And I’m tired of my Facebook Feed of Gloom and Anxiety. I like to think when you step into the Idea Emporium you are transported into a magical mall. We visited the Phoenix Art Museum not too long ago and the whole family loved the Infinity Rooms! They are pure magic and you are immersed into a magical world. This interesting artist creates with mirrors and sculptures whole new mind destinations. Ready to hug your imagination?


Visit a Field of Pumpkins

A giant pumpkin is at the beginning of your museum tour created by the 88-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. You can peer into the holes for a “whole” new different perspective. We saw this one in person.


She also has a work that is a field of pumpkins. Trippy, eh? It’s sculpture and mirrors. Now that’s a Pumpkin Patch! Don’t see Snoopy anywhere. This exhibit is over at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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What is interesting about this artist who loves creating art installations she calls Infinity Rooms, is that 1/ her parents and family discouraged her path into art which caused her much anguish and solidified her path, and 2/ she suffers from mental illness and channels her anxiety and obsessions through her artwork. You can read more about her here.

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I found this pumpkin sculpture she did on the Internet and now all I want to do is make life-size pumpkins out of clay.


The part we visited in the museum was the Firefly Room. A little scary at first when you walk in for those who don’t like the dark or small spaces, but then enchanting and deeply magical once you are inside.

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Yayoi Kusama’s You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies (2005)

She brings a fairytale to life about fireflies. You walk among a dark room and tall trees are simulated in the middle as if you are deep in the forest. Fireflies (small LED lights) light up the entire room as you walk the edges of it. It’s a tranquil yet magical experience.


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For Further Exploration I Found These Links of her Other Infinity Rooms:

An article on her mirror rooms in the Los Angeles Times

Trippy! Love Forever room

Check out these candy-colored dots!

A few of the rooms on Mimi’s Cute Lips Blog

“I wanted to show the cosmic image beyond where we live” video

Until next Blog Tuesday,


Have you joined our Facebook group? 



The Gift and Curse of SOUND


I’m telepathic. It’s a weird skill and one I didn’t know I had until my first animal communication class back in 1998. I later became an animal communicator because I could hear the thoughts of the animals pretty clearly and I love animals and wanted to help them. For over fourteen years I was a practicing animal communicator. When I stopped in 2014, I thought my head would grow quiet and I’d have a rest. Instead, I find I pick up on thoughts and sounds even more and I need to be careful what affects me without me realizing it. I become overly exhausted from too much sound, whether a noisy mall, too loud neighbors, or the kids making noise in the middle of the room with repeat nonsense sounds.

There’s so much noise right now on the Internet and the feeds and you can inadvertantly pick up the Noise in your head and walk away with it, much like a tune that bounces around in your head you can’t get rid of.

When there was so much of the political unrest after the election and right before there was a collective Sound of Helplessness and Anger. Anywhere you felt that in your life it flared up to deal with.

When there were horrible floods and hurricanes, the Sound was feeling overwhelmed or flooded in your life.

With the current Weinstein story and sexual abuse stories, women everywhere hear the Sound of when they were abused. It’s like a note on a keyboard that is pressed and immediately, you are back there, experiencing that disrespect, that violation, that betrayal. That sound brings back the energy and pulls you in.


Don’t get lost in it

Sounds are good if they bring up experiences to heal. That’s the gift of Sound. Face it, deal with it, let it all out. But if Sound brings something up you shouldn’t get lost in it. It’s not now, it’s then. Honor it, learn from it, watch it from afar, and then bring in a new sound. But recognize it. You are reacting to a certain time, a certain note being played. You are safe.

Hearing too many stories may be overwhelming you. Your empathy is on overload. You don’t need to hear more Weinstein experiences from actresses. You already get his number. You need to fight Sound with Sound. Hear your own thoughts, and music is the antidote to take you there.



And need to get away from the world? Join our Facebook Group! It’s over here. We talk new thinking and feeding the imagination, while avoiding the Feeds.


When the path is too hard..stop or keep going?


I had to drop my 3d animation class. It was so so hard and felt like an uphill climb every step of the way.

I really needed a beginner class before this one to introduce the program instead of diving down into an exercise of engineer-brain type compiling of a very intricate catapult in chapter four we were expected to recreate. The book was awful, and how I learn I needed a different approach, introduce tools one at a time in the beginning of the book instead of in chapter three after we used them. I feel like I was set up for failure. When I found out my options were either muddle through this class and then have to take the advanced class (this wasn’t advanced?) to earn the certificate, I panicked. I felt like I was being tortured and the catapult arm we were creating did look remarkably similar to a medieval torture device. I later heard there would be a change in the certificate’s requirements in the Fall so I could hold out for that and take two different better suited courses. The choice for me was already made.

When things are so uphill is it a sign you should stop or do you need to keep going?

I tend to hang in there for better or worse, as an overly committed and too responsible person, but what if that is not what is best? Wouldn’t it be easier if large signposts dropped from the sky directing us?

I don’t have that, so I look to the experts on investigating this question.

I found The Dip by Seth Godin in an second-hand bookstore. He writes, “You should quit if you’re on a dead-end path. You should quit if you’re facing a Cliff. You should quit if the the project you’re working on has a Dip that isn’t worth the reward at the end. Quitting the projects that don’t go anywhere is essential if you want to stick out the right ones.”

With that 3d class, I hit a Cliff and the reward in the end was learning a program I already decided was not right for me and I wouldn’t use.

Some things are full of slow growth and demand persistence. Do you stick with those? Like building a website or building a new project? Or finding a publisher. 😉 According to Godin, you need to see, after lots of work, forward movement. If there isn’t any, that’s your signpost.

So many movies I love, usually the dance movies I mentioned in a prior post, the star has to move through many obstacles in order to succeed. Usually, it’s the love of what she is doing — dancing — keeps her keeping on, so to speak, to the end. “I’m going to dance the shit out of it,” one character says at the end of Center Stage. She sticks to the love of what she’s doing — that’s her reward.


It’s the pursuit then of what you are doing. Are you still feeling joy? Are you still enjoying what you are doing? Is the process however hard at times still what you want in the end because you are enjoying the process? Or, are you miserable, having headaches, and waking up with dread or anxiety?

Martha Beck in Finding Your Own North Star, writes, if you’re feeling “choked hostility, or numb depression, or nauseated helplessness is a sure sign you’re steering away from your North Star toward a life you were not meant to live.” If it’s hard getting there and not for you, you will feel like you are carrying a ton of hard weight and will be in a low energy state, wanting to sleep all the time with no rest.

Perhaps then, when things are so hard, and you hit a huge wall, they are clear indicators you are heading the wrong way. There are signs! There are other ways to climb that tree or whatever else you are trying to accomplish. Maybe there is a better fit somewhere else. (And you have to believe that it is out there.)


Looking back at my life I see whenever it was way too hard and nothing seemed to work, I should have jumped ship and found another way to get there. Perhaps swim. And where I was meant to be, there was flow, or at least support along the way, and that joy.

Something to expand your thinking this week:

Where in your life is an endeavor way too hard? Is there an alternative that would be easier, simpler? Is it an indication you need more help or should quit? What do you think?

Until next time,


And hey! We are building a tribe for the Idea Emporium! Are you on Facebook? The Idea Emporium Playhouse is an offshoot of my Designing Fairy Biz page. Join us over here. Or find the link at my biz page here for creative prompts, stories, peeks at the book and movies in the making, and questions to expand your thinking and imagination and more!





The Excitement Theory: when you are lost


I hate and I like my 3d animation class. It really feels like Rocket Science and what should take a shorter time always takes forever. I am grateful most of my homework is done during the day when the kids have school because my language at the computer becomes very…colorful. The guy who wrote the manual for the class is a psychopath who wants readers to dive into the book for the first few chapters and THEN he explains simple steps on what is in this tool or that. He teaches in a way that is backwards from what I need. My teacher, God love him, understands the book full-heartedly and speaks his language. He doesn’t see the dilemma. The book skips super simple basic steps and then expects my exercises to look the same. It doesn’t. See below.

The part I like? I do like the challenge of trying to conquer the book. My brain needs to bite down into something or it tends to reel around itself causing me great angst at 3 a.m. in the morning. The conclusion of all this is I probably won’t be a 3d animator. It’s not path. That seems to be a clear direction or indicator there unless I want to fund headache research with the amount of Tylenol I buy.

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So far this looked good. We had to make a cartoon hand with very specific instructions.

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My finished cartoon hand. Yes, I am brutally aware that my cartoon hand looks like he is giving the finger. Thank you to Ben for pointing this out. Subliminally, I think I expressed what I was really feeling. But hey, the thumb looks very Micky Mouse-y, which I dig.

Which brings me to the most important lesson. By experiencing what you don’t like, you become much closer to the path meant for you. That’s direction!


I don’t like crafts but I do like to paint. Follow painting.

I love designing from a simple idea. I can see a halloween-like birdcage (today shopping in Michael’s) and think, “Omg! I can make a drawing of an unusual bird for that. And it would have a goth feeling to it. And tiny black trees everywhere. And then make it move up in down in the cage…” Note my excitement. Design that bird.

On the other hand, I don’t like crafts. I don’t want to copy the watercolor technique of Jane Davenport even though she does have a cool whimsical flair she is making boo-coo bucks on. Those styrofoam houses are cute but I’m bored with the designs. I don’t want to collect all the Halloween miniatures and make a display in my kitchen. There’s no ideas there I can jump off. I need to follow more designing.

The problem becomes when you try to convince yourself you like something. Or, that something would be good for you, like my 3d class. I think if I had one of those engineer minds and was one of those people who like to take the dishwasher apart just to see how it works, this would be for me. Wouldn’t it be great if I could do 3d designs in my work? my husband tells me. Yes, it would really cool, but to get to that place I am afraid my head will explode and that will be very messy for all involved. If I can just get a B in the class and not put an ax to my computer, I will be happy.

I will let you in on a teeny tiny secret I am learning now. Ready?

I get most off path when I think I need to follow what others want. Wow, I really like when you write about XYZ. So I write more about XYZ but meanwhile, I’m really excited lately about making an animated playhouse for the Idea Emporium. I just went off path.

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If you gave an online class about being sensitive again, I’d buy it. Crap. I’ve been thinking and wanting to make a zine lately. About being authentic. It’s tickling at me, but I am wondering if anyone would buy it. But maybe I should create what they want instead, but that’s not what is coming through me right now.

Excitement Theory

Deep down I do believe that what has your spark, your enthusiasm, your excitement right now has this cool, registering energy that people pick up. It’s you on your very specific yellow brick road. They react to it. It’s kinda like a new haircut you are excited about and now you are feeling all confident and buzzing and everyone likes your pic on the Facebooks.

And what if they don’t get excited? Ah, indeed. That’s what I am grappling with. I think that’s when you have to have a little faith, a little trust, that the theory that what gives you the most excitement and turns you on is for you. I need to stand by it. I need to at least test drive that for awhile. I could be very wrong, but at least I am enjoying the journey along the way.

What do you think? Have you tried this theory? Does this resonate with you,

Until next Blog Tuesday as I contemplate making this zine, and definitely making a dark goth playhouse for Reg…


Imaginary Finds: The Resurrectionist

Here at the Idea Emporium the imagination is celebrated and design ideas are born. The store manager saw this book today. Have you read it?

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From “Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?” I found the book here.