Gift Guide - Peony Party

Gift Guide - Peony Party

These pretty peonies are the perfect springy gift for all your flower loving friends. The blank cards are perfect for newly engaged brides, recent grads, or anyone who might need to send a quick note. The vivid prints are the perfect show-stopper for some delicate, feminine home decor! 


Peony Products including cards and prints

To shop the full peony collection, check out this link


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May 27, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
How To Do The Wet-On-Dry Technique For Watercolor - Tutorial Tuesday

How To Do The Wet-On-Dry Technique For Watercolor - Tutorial Tuesday

Wet on dry describes the technique used when you wait for the first layer of watercolor to dry before you apply paint on top of it. This is great for detail work.  Learn how to layer your paint to get your desired effect in this week's Tuesday Tutorial below.


If you liked this video, head over to our YouTube Channel and like and subscribe to get a weekly dose of watercolor basics.  We'll cover all the basic techniques, a rundown on your staple supplies, and we'll move onto fun, easy, accessible art projects! 


Artists and dabblers welcome! No experience required.



Wash Brush

Round Brush Size 6

Arches 140lb Cold Press Block (or tape down piece of watercolor paper)

Any 3 paints will work. I used Scarlet Lake, Perylene Violet, and Phthalo Turquoise

Water (tap is fine)

Paper Towel


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May 25, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Kicking Imposter Syndrome To The Curb: Knowing When To Sell Your Art

Kicking Imposter Syndrome To The Curb: Knowing When To Sell Your Art

I remember I had a friend in my late twenties who was starting a business.  We aren’t in touch now, but I think of her often.  Every time she spoke about her business or her work she spoke with such confidence.  She radiated proficiency and cool.  Honestly her life wasn’t in great shape at the time but somehow when she talked about it, she made it seem like an asset. Like, yeah -- isn’t it great that I’m living with my parents? No rent so I can save all my money to go toward the business. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about imposter syndrome recently as I approach the one year mark of our business--how paralyzing it can feel and how much it holds us back.  I’m sure we’ve all had moments when we felt like we weren’t good enough, smart enough, whatever enough to do the thing we really wanted to do.  If you haven’t felt that way, holy heck go you! Find a way to bottle that confidence up and sell it for a bazillion dollars! 

But for the rest of us, imposter syndrome can be a huge barrier to our success and happiness.  In my former life as teacher and librarian, I honestly didn’t feel too much imposter syndrome.  I worked hard and I knew my stuff.  It wasn’t until I started pursuing a career in art that I started to really have a lot of doubts.  I have no formal training, I only started watercolor painting in 2018, I certainly have never had my own business before, and definitely didn’t consider myself to have any business acumen at all.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but having postpartum depression while deciding to start my business didn’t help me feel any better about myself or my ability to succeed as an artist.  


On paper, that doesn’t look very convincing, does it? So how did I get from there to where I am now (proud owner and artist of Kate Talcott Artistry, LLC with a successful website, having to turn away clients for custom work, and handling the business stuff like a boss!)? That sure sounds fancy, doesn’t it?!?! Well here are a few things that helped me work through the imposter syndrome: 

  1. I enjoy the work.  While owning a watercolor business is more than just painting all the time, knowing that the main part of my work is something that makes me happy is huge.
  2. I put myself out there, even when it is scary.  I started an instagram account and began to share the artwork I was creating.  While it’s important to not get caught up in those vanity metrics and likes, it is helpful to gauge if you’ve got the chops.  If it’s just your mom liking it, maybe you need a little more time, but if people are starting to share your work or ask if you do commissions, that is a great indicator that there is a market for what you do.
  3. I trust myself.  This is a hard one, but a key one.  I know I am a hard worker and I have always plunged myself into whatever I do.  I have to trust that I will do the same in my business too.
  4. Fake it til you make it. Did I know what I was doing when I got started? Heck no! Am I still learning things EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?!?! You bet your tushy I am.  But with each passing day, the list of the things I know grows longer and longer and I’ve gained more confidence in my ability to figure it out.  Of course this doesn’t mean you should lie, more like faking the confidence until it catches up with you!
  5. Remember, you’re human.  Now this might feel like an obvious one, but it’s one we often forget.  We are human, we make mistakes.  Mistakes are okay! Mistakes can be good! What is the worst thing that could happen if you make a mistake in your business?  In most businesses, nobody is going to die.  What’s going to happen is you’re going to find a way to make it right, pick up the pieces, and move forward.  Now that you know that, perhaps the big scary weight can be lifted. 

Kate looking at different pieces of artwork


So now the big question: when do you start selling your art?!?! 

Here is the simplest answer...whenever you want to! 

You can start by making stuff and sharing it and waiting for someone to ask.  You can start by making stuff and letting people know it’s for sale.  You can get all your ducks in a line, have your business license, business name, and all that jazz and then start selling.  You could wait and see how it goes for a little bit and then take the plunge into the official business stuff.  There isn’t really one right answer.  If it feels right, go for it! You can always try it and then decide you don’t like it! 

Do make sure you keep a record of your sales though.  There is a certain threshold where you will need to file taxes, so even if you don’t set up your business right away, if it really takes off, you’ll want to have a record of income for when tax time does roll around. 

If you are interested in starting a business, I have a ton of resources available for folks who are new to the game.  I have supply lists, vendor lists, checklists for starting your e-commerce site, styled shoot guides and so much more.  Be sure to sign up with the link below to join my Biz Buds email list and get access to these awesome freebies.

May 19, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
How To Do the Wet-In-Wet Technique for Watercolor - Tutorial Tuesday

How To Do the Wet-In-Wet Technique for Watercolor - Tutorial Tuesday

Wet-in-wet describes the technique of adding watercolor to an area where the paint is already wet, achieving one of watercolor's signature looks.  This is one of those techniques that you've gotta channel Elsa and just let it go!!!! Can you tell we are in the "Frozen" phase of toddlerhood?! 



Here are links to all the supplies used in the video.

**Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get my full list of favorite supplies! 


If you love this content, sign up for my Tutorial Tuesday Newsletter by clicking this link! You'll get each week's video delivered straight to your inbox.  You'll also be the first to know about any updates or promotions! 


Happy Painting! 


May 17, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Makers Monday - Fending Off Imposter Syndrome

Makers Monday - Fending Off Imposter Syndrome

In today's Makers Monday we talk about what imposter syndrome is, why it happens, how to get rid of it, and how to know when you're ready to sell your art.


link to earrings from Macaela Made on Etsy



Check out the form at the bottom of the blogpost if you want to get updates about all our free Biz Bud related content.


Transcript (auto generated, please excuse any errors)

Good morning everyone or afternoon if you’re on the East Coast, today's Makers Monday is all about imposter syndrome--what it is, how to say "goodbye" and how to "fake it till you make it" so. Yeah, welcome! I am excited to see you here. Oh my God. So many fun people here! Welcome!


So imposter syndrome this, I feel like this is one of those buzzwords that we hear a lot. So...What is it? Basically if you don't know, it's something that you feel like you are an imposter or you're a kind of fake like you don't belong, everybody around you knows what they're doing and you're just there somehow by mistake. So if you felt this, you are not alone. This is something that's very common. Yeah. And I know I've definitely felt it and I didn't really realize it had a name. So if that's what you're feeling, sometimes it helps when you have a name to say to call something [stumbling over words] I need more coffee this morning. 


So I feel like in my journey of  imposter syndrome I feel as though when I was teaching and things like that, there were definitely times that I didn't know what I was doing, but I never really felt the Imposter syndrome as much as I did when I became an artist and started calling myself an artist. It's like I felt like I had the formal teaching training and went to a good teaching school. I had done my homework. I had done all the things but then when I moved into the art world, I had never, I mean, like, you know, I did art class in middle school or whatever but I've never done it professionally. I'd never had aspirations to do it professionally.  I was like, "oh my God. What am I doing?" Like, "who am I to call myself an artist?"


I even remember, I had just finalized my business license and we were going around the circle. This is like right before, COVID hit, and we're going around the circle telling people what we did. I was leading a parents group and you know everybody saying their job and I was like, “oh yeah, I'm a stay-at-home mom and I am doing this volunteer thing.” It's like no!!! I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that but like that wasn't what I was doing. I had just started a business so it was, it just felt really weird. I feel like I'm only now becoming comfortable calling myself an artist. 


So imposter syndrome, it's a thing. And today we are going totalk about some ways that we can work around it because we won't let it stand in our way! So, yeah When you get started with something, everything is new and uncomfortable, right? Like there is never going to be something that you started you were like -- "You know what? I'm actually amazing at this!" Like everything is going to have its growing pains. It's these uncomfortable feelings whenever you start a new job. I know a bunch of my friends have started new jobs and it's COVID and they're going into work for the first time now. And they're going to have to go to the office. So even that, they're like "I don't even know where to put my coat" or whatever those are all really uncomfortable feelings. 


So something that helps me a lot when dealing with this is that I I try to acknowledge that it's part of the learning process. Like this is a normal feeling and if you can just say "okay, I'm  feeling uncomfortable" I feel like I don't know what's going on. You can just kind of say okay, "I see that I hear you but I trust in myself to know that I am good at learning how to figure things out." Think of all the things that felt really weird  and uncomfortable in the beginning and now you're like, "oh yeah, that old thing" So, if you'd like to share in the comments too, times when you felt imposter syndrome, or what you've done to help you get through it, I would love to like, share that with the group too! So this is not just me talking on my soapbox. So just acknowledging that this is legitimate--It's part of the learning process is really great. Like this is normal.


Another thing you can do is try to look at the positive, right? Like every situation, you can find something like you can find some spin on it. You could be a spin doctor and figure out a way that it sounds advantageous. So, I had a friend from high school and she didn't like, she was just kind of trying to find herself and figure things out and she didn't like really, I don't know if you looked it like what she was doing on a resume. You be like, "what the heck are you doing?" But the way that she would explain it to people when we would meet people going out for drinks or whatever it was like, "girl, you've got it going on." So it was all about how she made it sound to other people.


I've definitely done this a lot like--in my last post I talked a lot about body image and when sometimes you just got to keep telling yourself that narrative until you believe it, like maybe you got laid off or something with COVID. Like, right now, it's hard and it sucks, but it has given you the opportunity to start and venture forward on your creative business. And so looking at it as an opportunity, even if it doesn't feel like that, and calling it an opportunity and kind of structuring your narrative in that way--maybe it can help you believe it as you continue to go through and get better and better until you're like yeah "you know what? I had that opportunity."


Like I had a terrible ankle break accident and I was like “this is the best thing that happened to me, I had to move out of New York--had to quit my job had to do all this really crummy stuff, but it ended up being an opportunity because I could go back to Ohio kind of settle myself, I met my husband. Like it just became an opportunity because I gave it that permission. So I know it’s easier said than done. For sure. It doesn't always feel that way at the moment.


So [from the comments] Jess says, “mindset and perspective, or reframing is so good. Yes!” Totally great!  


The next thing is fake it till you make it. So I used to do, I mean, I know this is a common phrase but I used to do tap dancing classes and stuff because I thought I was going to be on Broadway, turns out I'm a terrible dancer!!!  But my dad who sang and performed a lot in his youth, he was always like, just fake it till you make it as long as you got your jazz hands and a smile-- nobody has to be looking at your feet. So you can bet I hammed it up.


So, you know, that same kind of idea just until you feel like you're there.  As long as you are, just you know, have the right energy--sometimes it can distract people from the part you don't know, the part that you're still learning. Also, we don't need to necessarily distract people from the fact that we're still learning, right? I think because we're expected to be perfect we're so expected to know everything is a big part of why I want to share these Makers Mondays is because like I'm not perfect and I don't know everything and I want to share these like struggles and journeys with you because it's not realistic to have everything be perfect all the time. It's just not life, right? So, I think, you know, if you want to join me in that effort to make things be a little bit more transparent, I think that's a really valuable part of your journey and process. 


So let's see. What else do I have on my list...okay we've faked it 'til we've maked it....that is not grammatically correct.  You're not always going to feel confident that's just the way of life. Some days we wake up and we're like damnnnn, sometimes we wake up and feel like we look like a sack of potatoes! So sometimes, when I'm feeling those good moments, I like to think of the things that I do do well, and if you want to write it down, you know, even better. Tack that little baby up on a Post-It note and remind yourself how awesome you are--the good things. Like, I love my hair, I love the way that my office looks. I think I am really good at adding texture to watercolor detail, whatever, whatever your things are. I make a mean PB&J sandwich. Whatever your things are, Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, just do it, write it down. So that when you're feeling crummy, you can look at that list and say like that is true. "Who's that gal doing all those good things?!?!" and it's like Oh yeah it's you!!!  


And Annie from Sweet Annie's Baked Goods Who makes very cute cookies. says "I struggle with this a lot because I haven't done cookies super long. But now that I'm not teaching, I found myself with this great opportunity but I feel like I should have something as a backup." Yeah. I totally feel you on this one, Annie! So that feeling like you need to have something to be like "oh yeah I'm trying this thing out but like don't worry I've got it covered" right? Like if people ask you like "I'm not just throwing caution to the wind" right, like but maybe that's okay.  I mean your cookies are super adorable and I mean I think it depends but I feel like for me, I know I'm not very good at like half-assing things. I got to put my whole ass on the line and unless I'm like giving it my, you know, Classic 150% attention. It's hard to fully jump in and commit, right? So I totally feel you. Wanting that peace for saying okay I got this in myself. I'm going to do this. I've got faith in myself but then also having that safety backup thing. 


so I don't know maybe think about...something that I've worked with a coach...she's parenting coach but I was kind of seeing her more like postpartum life. What am I doing? And she talked about asking is that list for you, so is that backup option for you? So that you feel like you have a safety net?  And I think that is like, totally legit, but if it's for other people like to make your mom feel better or your friends to not be like, “what the heck is she doing?” Like, I think that if that's very important to you. That's okay, right? There's nothing wrong with that but I do think this is something to kind of do a little bit of the deep dive and say is this really for me and my family? You know? So yeah. Don't hesitate girl! Jump in! 


All right. You're not always going to feel confident.  Write a list of why you rock, you can look that when you’re feeling down. Sometimes I just like to slap some lipstick on and play some Lizzo so you know, whatever works to get you feeling good. Yeah. And for me something else that really helped was taking anxiety medication. So, you know, like I, when I was starting this journey, oh, I think I shared with you guys pretty openly. I had postpartum depression and realized I'd probably been struggling with anxiety like my whole life and I started getting on medication. to help get through the postpartum stuff and it really helped and it allowed me to cut the noise out and focus in on what was really important to me. So I know it's not for everybody, but if that's something that you've been experiencing and you want to talk about it, like I'm I'm definitely open. It's been a game-changer for me.


So yeah, those are my quick tips--think of it as part of part of the learning process, think about it like what are the opportunities instead of why all the reasons it is not going to work, make a list of why you're awesome and look at it when you’re feeling down.  And lipstick and Lizzo the classic combination. Yeah so those are kind of my big like let's kick it to the curb tips. 


So now let's talk about also one of the big hurdles and imposter syndrome. One of the big questions that people have is, "Okay. So I like doing art, I feel like pretty good at it" or whatever like "I'm ready to sell my art" and then you start to like think I'm going to put it on Etsy or I'm going to make my website or whatever and you're like, "ahhhh! what am I doing?" "I'm not ready!!! I'm not good enough" No, you've got this! 


So, when are you ready to sell your art? I think it can be whenever you darn well, please, it might be something that you're doing at various levels, right? You might be ready to sell it to friends and family or just people who are asking about it. I started with Christmas presents so I was like I guess I was buying my own art to give to friends, whatever. So you’ve got to start somewhere and it's okay if it's in your safe network and then as you build that confidence, you know, you can open up to bigger markets. What's the worst that's going to happen? Maybe people won't buy it, but there's always going to be a market for your art and you just have to find it. And it's not going to be like, hey there! all knocking at your door ready to go when you start. Some ways to kind of find your people are to use like more specific hashtags so instead of being like #cardshop that has a lot of hashtags. Do #punnycardforDad or whatever. Like something #punnyaquaticcards. You'll find your people and it might not be right away and that's okay. And it might not be any of the people around you, right? Like I think when I first started making stuff, I was thinking about all the people around me and honestly my style and what my calling is isn't quite meeting what like my immediate network wants, but I am finding a lot of traction with my other things. Just people who I don't like grab coffee with (I mean who grabs coffee these days but you get it) 


Anyway, Yeah, I think. I think it's just when you're ready. I mean, I don't know, I don't know the answer. You know the answer for you and if you feel like you're ready to put your toes in the water, go for it!  And I think that kind of goes in conjunction with pricing, like, first of all, I am like 100% doing one on pricing I will definitely do one on pricing, but I kind of have been waiting a little bit, so I feel like I have a little bit more under my belt in that department, but I'm always going to advocate for you to bump up your pricing. Like, if you feel like people are really like, “what a good deal”… Put it up, put it up. So if for your first couple ones, like just while you're getting your feet wet and figuring out what your routine is like if you're starting custom work and you want to, you know, maybe your Aunt Rhonda or whatever wants to commission something, as you're figuring out how you're going to do your payment system, what supplies you're going to use, how Your shipping is going to go. Yeah, just a hundred bucks and then move up from there, as you figure out how much TIME it's going to take you, how much your supplies cost, how much shipping cost. Like, I do a bundle pricing for my commissions, and I just know that shipping is going to cost an arm and a leg. So that's part of the price. So I don't have to be like, hey and your shipping is blah blah even though you are paid me for the painting time, but needless to say you’ve gotta start somewhere. You might lose a little bit of money or it might be you know like I don't know if this is right or whatever but something that you're comfortable with until you get comfortable with your process and then as soon as you feel that little bit of comfort, you just hike it up. If you are too comfortable with your pricing, I think you're not pricing high enough. That's just my my subtle subtle plug to shower yourself with gratitude for your worth. 


Anyway, I think I think that's all I have to say on this topic. Does anybody have any questions or comments while I kind of wrap up? You can go ahead and type them in. I just want to hype my earrings. This is not an ad or anything, but I think they’re so cute-they're from Macaela Made  made on Etsy and I'll put a link in my blog so you can see but they're just so cute and I'm obsessed with them. 


So there are Makers Mondays every Monday live at 10 am PST, they won't be LIVE for like 3 months. I'll pre-record them. because we're having a baby, but once we come back it'll be live again. And anybody who is on my Biz Buds newsletter will get a chance to see the topics ahead of time for the ones that I'm pre-recording and you can ask your questions there. So it's like you still get your input. You still get your questions answered. I'm ready for you. So I'll be sending that out in the next couple weeks if you're interested in that. DM, me and I will add you to the list basically. What it is, is Every Monday You get a reminder of what the topic is. You get links to my blog. A lot of times I have awesome little freebies of like, you know, like the worksheets to help you through these topics or checklists to be like, what do I need for my styled shoot blah blah blah All kinds of good stuff.  All my stuff is free right to your inbox. And basically I'm doing it because we need a community, we need a community of fellow creators because this stuff is tough and you shouldn't feel like you're alone. So anyway, that's that!  Thanks for hanging out and playing along and it's been great to see you all and thanks for tuning in. So I'll see you next week, where we'll talk about. I can tell you... we're going to talk about time blocking. [Wooohhhh] It's not spooky. I just am a weird ghost apparently, so we'll talk about it Next time! Bye! 

May 17, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Gift Guide - Class Of 2021

Gift Guide - Class Of 2021

It's that time again folks! The class of 2021 has worked their little tushies off and now it is time to celebrate our newly graduated seniors!

Here are a few of my favorite celebratory cards that are perfect for your pun-loving graduate!  Look below for links to all the products! 


perfect for your leafy green lovin' graduate!
perfect to celebrate such a momentous day
the perfect veggie pun to get you in the mood to party
let your graduate know that you support them as they venture onto their next big step!

Congratulations to the class of 2021.  I know this is not the year you expected but you made it! This is a great testament to your resilience and strength! I cannot wait to see what the world has in store for you!
This definitely calls for some bubbles! Cheers!  
May 13, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
How To Do A Watercolor Glaze - Tutorial Tuesday

How To Do A Watercolor Glaze - Tutorial Tuesday

A watercolor glaze is achieved when you paint one color and let it dry then add one or more colors over it to create a deeper, richer color.  Watch the tutorial to do a quick exercise and learn about a fun, easy project to get to know your paint better! 


Here are links to all the supplies used in the video.

**Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get my full list of favorite supplies! 


If you love this content, sign up for my Tutorial Tuesday Newsletter by clicking this link! You'll get each week's video delivered straight to your inbox.  You'll also be the first to know about any updates or promotions! 



May 11, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Gift Guide - For The Kiddos

Gift Guide - For The Kiddos

Isn't shopping for kiddos the absolute best? With our little gal's second birthday coming up, I couldn't help but make a little gift guide for the tiny tots in your life! While I'm eagerly working on expanding my line for kiddos, we still have some pretty cute stuff to keep you covered! 



Our onesies are super soft and cozy! This "All Dahlia'd Up" onesie has been a huge hit!

Our "Thank Ewe" cards are perfect to have on hand for your little ones' birthdays.  We have one with a pink and a blue bow and come in a pack of 8.

Our Market Haul ABC flashcards are a true crowd pleaser! Perfect for ages 2-5! It even comes with the cutest little "Market Haul" tiny tote for them to carry their tiny little veggies in! I also hear it makes a great bag for barbie! 

Don't want to miss out on the fun?!?! Snag you and your little a set of matching Market Haul Totes (one adult sized and one tiny!!) to take to the market! Matching accessories that are eco-friendly?!?! Yes Please! 


Stay tuned for our weekly gift guides by signing up for newsletter! We'll make sure you have the just-right nifty gifty for all your people! Shower your favorites with all the adoration they deserve! 


May 05, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
How to Do a Watercolor Wash - Tutorial Tuesday

How to Do a Watercolor Wash - Tutorial Tuesday

Welcome to the first weekly tutorial video of hopefully many to come! Over the next few weeks I will be going over the basics of watercolor techniques and tools.  Then we'll move onto some fun projects! I'm so excited to kick off this YouTube adventure! If you want to get the latest, go over and subscribe to my YouTube channel or join my email list that will send the video right to your inbox every week!  


Each week's blogpost will have the video, a transcript of the video, a list of linked supplies used for that video, a photo of what you'll learn and sometimes some downloadable goodies.  Always feel free to let me know what you'd me to cover in future tutorials, either on Instagram, or by filling out this form.


an image of different types of watercolor washes


A watercolor  wash is usually used when you do a background or a large area.  It can be done with one color or many.  It is achieved when you cover a large surface with a watery mixture of your paint.



Here is a link to the supplies used in this video.


If you'd to get a list of all my favorite supplies fill out the form below to get the clickable PDF sent right to your inbox!




May 04, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT
Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Imagine you’re in third grade--your habitat diorama not only extends into several shoe boxes, but at the center of your Stonehenge of micro dioramas lies a lake with real water in it.  Now imagine you are a Freshman in High School and you stay up all night perfecting your Monopoly themed “Freshman portfolio” and have your first coffee the next morning.  Fast forward to your senior project where a solid essay would have sufficed, instead you insisted on putting on a production of The Fantasticks--not only staring as the main ingenue but also directing and producing the play.

Sounds impressive, right? Well, sure it was! And did I get extraordinary praise and accolades for these elaborate and (dare I say) over-the-top projects, of course I did.  Was I a total brown nosing teacher’s pet?!?! You bet your booty I was!

All my life I have received great praise and derived a tremendous sense of satisfaction and self worth from going above and beyond in all that I do.  I relished the moments when people would call me a “Leslie Knope.”  My perfectionist tendencies have served me well both in the classroom as a student and as a teacher.  It lent itself well to role as a librarian.  I’ve always considered my “prior proper planning” to be my winning feature! I was ready for anything.  You should have seen the dossier I gave to my mother when she came to help us out when I gave birth to my daughter.  There were five pages about the dogs alone! 


Kate looks at her painting with her coffee cup.  She doesn't look content, as if she is looking for flaws.

Until about a year ago, I felt like this quality was not only a main part of who I was as a person, but also the biggest thing that I had to offer this world.  About six months into my new role as mom, I started to struggle with postpartum depression. It became pretty clear that it is impossible to be the perfect mom, doing all the right things.  The depression made it increasingly difficult to do simple tasks, let alone excel at them.  I felt like if I didn’t do everything perfectly then I was a bad mom, a bad wife, and ultimately a bad person.  

Right around this time, a little thing called COVID-19 (maybe you’ve heard of it) arrived on the scene and made it infinitely clearer that nothing was predictable.  Oh, did I mention that right around this time I decided to start my watercolor stationery goods business?!?! (A true perfectionist move--to jump into a large project even when you’re in way over your head.)

Now, I don’t regret starting my business at that time.  It actually was incredibly helpful in getting me through my PPD (along with therapy and medication) but my mindset at the time was “I’ve gotta do it all” and “nothing but the absolute best”.  Needless to say, this led to a pretty quick burnout and many a panic attack.  I had gotten my shop up and running, sales were going well, everything looked professional, but I was a HOT MESS.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I could hardly eat, my stomach was in knots, I didn’t have anything to give back to my family emotionally.  I was no longer able to do my best work.  Something had to give. 

In working with a parenting coach, Christy Keating at The Heartful ParentI realized that this perfectionist lifestyle, while serving me well in the past, no longer worked for me.  In having a child, a family, and a business, as well as my own self to care for, I could no longer pour myself into projects in the same way.  That was a game for my 20 year old self. (But honestly, I probably could have used a lot more balance back then too).

With juggling multiple areas of my life, the planning and predictability, the “perfect-ness” if you will, was no longer serving me.  It was actually holding me back.  Instead what I needed was a plan with flexibility--a plan that allowed me to step back and say, “actually my daughter needs my attention right now,” or “I could really use a nap.”  

I know this message may seem counterintuitive to most small business owners--we’re constantly told to hustle hustle hustle, no rest for the weary, no pain no gain, blah blah blah. But since deciding to take a step back and break up with my perfectionist ways I’ve actually been able to be more productive during the times that I am working.  Additionally, I have an exponentially better relationship with myself and my family.  

This year, my word of the year is GENTLE, so I am constantly remembering to be gentle with myself.  This means gentle with the goals I hold myself to, gentle to myself when I don’t meet expectations, gentle with myself when I need a break.

Kate sits with her planner looking happy and relaxed, smiling at the camera

If this sounds like something that might be a good step for you, I wanted to share a few things that helped me leave behind my perfectionist ways. 

  1. Breaking up with my to-do list.  Now I don’t totally go rogue or anything. I still have tasks and goals, but rather than having 100000 things to do each day for the whole week and feeling like a total failure when I only accomplish one of them and everything else gets derailed--I now have a list of what I need to accomplish for the week and a few bonus items if I have the time.  Each day I take a look at the list and think about what I’m in the mood for that day.  Some days I’m really in the mood to write delightful blog posts and other days I just want to paint.  Some days I need to just do some yoga and play with my daughter.  I try to plan my days intuitively, based on how I feel that day.  Obviously there are going to be times when we can’t do this, but by living intuitively most of the time, it helps us not burn out when we have to put our nose to the grindstone.  This is one of the benefits of being my own boss.
  2. Knowing it’s okay to not follow through sometimes. Whenever I would say I was going to do something, you can bet that I made that bitty boo happen.  Did I kill myself doing it?!?  You betcha.  But did I do it?!?!  Of course. Many times these things didn’t even really matter to anyone but me. For example, I made a goal with myself this year to send one letter a day.  Old me would have freaked out if I didn’t stay on top of it.  Old me would have made it happen even at the expense of other more important things.  New me is not doing a great job with my goal of one letter every day, but when I am able to write a letter here and there it has been much more enjoyable when it’s being written out of pleasure rather than sheer stubbornness. There is strength in releasing tasks that are not serving you at that time. 
  3. Saying NO! This is one that I know a lot of folks, especially people pleasers like myself have trouble with.  When making my goals for this year, I made sure to be pretty clear about what I did and didn’t want to accomplish, and I’ve gotta say, it’s helped make it a whole lot easier to say no.  If it doesn’t serve my goals, it’s not happening.  I’ve had a couple requests to create materials for styled shoots for wedding vendors and since I am stepping back from weddings this year to focus on my products, this was an easy no.  And you know what?!?!  It felt good! 
  4. Watercolor as a Medium. While the above list works well for anyone in any line of work, I have to say that watercolor itself is great for helping me let go.  I don’t know if you know this, but water doesn’t exactly do everything you want it to.  Watercolor is an art form where you can plan and manipulate the paint as much as you want but sometimes water will still have her way with your painting.  I’ve actually found a lot of peace in this.  I’m learning to love the unexpected beauty of water’s wily ways with every painting.
  5. Therapy and Medication. I would be remiss if I forgot to mention these two crucial ingredients.  Therapy has helped me to unpack a lot of why I feel like my perfectionism determines my feeling of self worth.  Medication has helped take the anxiety out of letting some things go.  Rather than focusing on the things I’m missing, it has helped my brain to quiet down and focus on what I am doing in the present.

I know I am not the only one who struggles with these feelings.  I hope these little tips are helpful for you too.

If you want to know more about how I broke up with my to do list, I’ve provided a little handout cheat sheet so you can try it too.  Sign up for my email newsletter to get the PDF.  My newsletter is where I share all my discount codes too! EXTRA bonus! Woohoo!



February 23, 2021 — KATE TALCOTT