Meet the Creatives of The Creative Retreat Book

I knew when I updated The Creative Retreat workbook (and made it into a paperback!) I would want to include interviews from other creative women. And today's the day to introduce you to them! They are so amazing! :) :)

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So . . . last year I had this idea to update The Creative Retreat workbook and make it into a paperback. And yes, I published the original eBook last year so this idea came right at the heels of releasing the eBook. I began to sketch out ideas of how to add more content to the book, and I kept on coming back to the idea of interviewing other creative women. I mean, I could talk all day about creativity, but I’m just me. There are lots of women out there who are making this creativity thing happen, and all of them are unique. I decided to make a list, cast my net wide, and see what would come of it.

And wow. Can I just tell you how thrilled I am to be able to introduce you to these amazing women? I’m thrilled because they’re just like you and me, and they’re doing the thing. They’re out there living life, making things, and being their true selves. I hope that you’ll find encouragement in this snippet of an introduction. There’s much more directly from them in the book!

So without further ado . . .let’s jump into these introductions, shall we?


Each day, I am compelled to recognize and celebrate the beauty I find in my world. —Colleen Meredith

Colleen Meredith—You guys, I had to ask my mom to share her thoughts for this book, because, well, she’s the most creative person I know. Yes, she’s creative in the ways you typically think of: painting, sewing, crocheting, etc., but she’s also creative in every single thing she does. She endlessly inspires me, and I know her words will encourage you too. :)

I encourage people to find the beauty in their lives through my writing and art. —Rachel Anne Ridge

Rachel Anne Ridge—I “met” Rachel Anne through her blog several years ago, but it wasn’t until last summer that I reached out to her after reading her book about Flash, her donkey who has taught her more than a few lessons about life and art. Rachel Anne is an artist as well as writer and so many of her stories spoke to me. I wrote her, and she was so incredibly encouraging about The Creative Retreat project. I’m so grateful to her and for her words.

Now I schedule time for things that recharge me, like taking walks or reading for a few minutes, and put limits on things that drain me, like constantly checking email or social media. —Ashley Brooks

Ashley Brooks—Ashley is an editor and writer who I met last spring when I signed up for a class that was meant to write a book in a month. I didn’t quite do that, but what I did write was the first draft for The Creative Retreat. Ashley also co-hosts a podcast called Chasing Creative that is about finding creativity in the ordinary (and it’s excellent!) After interviewing her for the new book, I ended up asking her to be my editor. She’s awesome. :)

Just last week I cleared the decks of other commitments so I could return to having great gobs of uninterrupted time to read, think, and knit. —Tess Arledge

Tess Arledge—I first heard about Tess when I was chatting with my mom one day about ordinary women making time for creativity. She brought up her friend, Tess, who is an incredible knitter, designer, and teacher; Tess embodies this idea of creating, using what you have, and giving your gifts to others.

Anytime I can focus on creative play and experimenting, I feel more excited about everything, really. It’s good to step away from your regular routine to get fed new inspiration. —Stephanie Owens

Stephanie Owens—Steph has appeared on my blog a few times before since she is a gift-giver extraordinaire. (You can see her write me back cards idea here and her map-making idea here.) She is a filmmaker and photographer, and is the kind of friend who sends me brush pens from Japan and color-coordinated scraps of paper for art projects for my birthday. She also understands how creativity needs a treat and coffee. In other words, she’s awesome. You can see some of her photography here.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time for you. You’ll feel better about yourself and your life and that will project on everyone around you! —Abby Lawson

Abby Lawson—Abby writes about organization, decorating your home, and blogging at Just a Girl and Her Blog. I’ve mentioned her book, Building A Framework, here on my blog before as it really helped me when I was just getting started with blogging. She has two little boys and a busy business, so definitely knows the need to get away for some creative time!

For business, creative retreats are what allow me to keep my creativity fresh and not burn myself out. In my personal life, retreats help me stay sane. —Ellen Russell

Ellen Russell—Ellen is my go-to for crafts and fun printables for boys since I always tend to cutesy up my drawings with cats and dancing little girls, haha. Her blog is full of fun projects as well as advice on how to create with little ones running around. She also has a fun YouTube channel that shows how she makes her printables come to life.

I’m on a mission to help you break down the walls that stand between you and your creativity. Let’s do this! —Lauren Lanker

Lauren Lanker—What can I say about Lauren? She is such a joy and has been so incredibly encouraging of this project from the beginning. She blogs over at The Thinking Closet about creativity (her blog is overflowing with creative and thoughtful gift ideas!), and just recently welcomed a sweet little girl into her family. I’m so glad she shared her thoughts about creativity for this book. :)

A creative retreat for me looks like a break from the stress of everyday life to create something with my hands, even if only for five minutes. —Maggie Groover

Maggie Groover—Maggie reached out to me last year when I did my first letter-writing challenge, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. If you’re looking for card-related crafts and inspiration, she has so many great tutorials on her blog. I love reading her perspective because she shares how she adds bursts of creativity to her life even with a busy schedule as a high school student.

Let yourself enjoy whatever it is you chose to do, and don’t judge yourself too harshly on whether you did it right. —Vickie Simmons

Vickie Simmons—Vickie is my aunt, and so creative, I had to ask if I could interview her. She would shake her head and say she’s not creative, but just between you and me, she always has had a gorgeous garden, she makes beautiful bird feeders out of glass cups, she used to make porcelain dolls (I remember looking at them with delight when I was little), and I seriously could go on and on. I love how she has such a wide variety of projects that she enjoys making. Ahem, must be in our blood. :)

Retreats give me the opportunity to get ideas out of my head . . .They help me recharge, experiment, and stretch outside of my usual routine. —Emily Kennedy

Emily Kennedy—I “met” Emily online last year, and love her creative spirit. She writes over at Two Purple Couches about crafts and DIY projects, and I enjoy visiting to see what she’s been up to. It’s been fun to see how she’s been creating her own craft room space this spring and summer. And I love that she decided to dive into learning about watercolor painting last year when she first started taking creative retreats.

Quiet time to have a mini-retreat is like a breath of fresh air. It breathes new life into my business and reduces my stress. —Beth Anne Schwamberger

Beth Anne Schwamberger—Last year, I came across the podcast Brilliant Business Moms which was, at that time, cohosted by Beth Anne and her sister, Sarah. I loved the community they were building (that’s where Ellen and I met too!) and have learned so much through their podcasts. As of the initial publishing of this post, Beth Anne is about to launch her new Brilliant Life Planner, which sounds absolutely amazing.


I’m still pinching myself that ALL of these ladies said, “YES!” and offered their words of wisdom and encouragement for the new Creative Retreat book. You’ll learn what creative retreats look like for each of them, how that creative time benefits them, and also hear their thoughts on what to do if you’re just starting out with taking time to create. I’m so grateful that they’re a part of this project; truly, we’re all better when we do things together, right?

I hope you have a wonderful {and creative} day, friends!

P.S. If you want to learn more about The Creative Retreat book and the different packages that are available, click here.

6 thoughts on “Meet the Creatives of The Creative Retreat Book

  1. I am so honored to be included, Jennie! I have so enjoyed the process of creating retreats and giving myself the time and space to learn and make. They’ve even inspired me to host craft nights, share my love of watercolors and hand-lettering, and attend classes in flower-arranging :) I cannot wait to check out your new paperback! (ps – thanks for stopping by our Merry Monday party!)

    1. Oh my goodness, Emily! That is SO awesome! I’m so glad you’ve been giving yourself this time and space this year. Go you! :) Have an amazing day! :)

  2. Aw, thanks so much for the shoutout! It’s awesome to be included among so many other creatives in your book. (And it was a delight to work with you on editing!) This workbook is going to impact so many creatives in the best way. I can’t get enough of the message you’re sharing with your work!

    1. Thanks so much, Ashley! :) And thank YOU so much for being a part of this book; I can so relate to your perspective. :) Hope you’re doing well!

  3. So honored I got to be interviewed for your book :-)

    And I am so, so excited to get a physical copy of it! I just took a mini creative retreat yesterday, and it was incredibly refreshing. I felt like a different person afterward.

    You are so inspiring Jennie – keep up the amazing work!

    1. Thanks so much, Ellen! Your encouragement means so much to me. :) :) And I’m so excited to be able to send you a copy! Starting to package them up today…whoohoo! :)

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