Are you Shrinking or Shining?

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This morning I squeezed in a coffee date with a great friend, we don’t see each other often, but it’s always great when we do.

As usual I was working on getting emails sent and text messages answered when I should have been getting dressed.   With 10 minutes to go before I needed to head out the door, I started searching for the pair of dark blue skinny jeans that I wanted to wear. They were no where to be found. This isn’t much of a surprise as I haven’t put my laundry away more than once this summer. ( it’s not one of my strong points)

I then pulled on my boyfriend jeans, but I just wasn’t feeling those.

The clock was ticking, so I put on the next two things that I saw laying in front of my face. A sheer black maxi skirt, and bright, woven crop top. When I arrived, she told me how nice I looked. Instead of simply saying thank you and accepting the compliment, I brushed it off, said thanks, this was the first thing that I could find.


Rock the stage style

While this was true, I should have just said thank you. Why is it so hard to accept a thank you.

Someone says that love your top, and you right away jump into explaining how you got it on sale and had a coupon….. just say thank you

Your told that you did a job well, and respond, well this and this and this could have been better…. maybe…. but just say thank you

Your client tells you that they love the color palette that you created… and you respond, well I wasn’t sure if that shade of green was totally working with everything else

Your girlfriend tells you that you look extra skinny these days… you say ,a recent study showed eating chocolate, esp dark chocolate, helped lower body mass indexes! People who eat chocolate 5 times a week were 5 or more pounds thinner than those who didn’t.

Bring on the chocolate!!!

Or  you could just say thank you We spend so much time pushing off the compliments, not letting them sink in. Not allowing them to lift our spirits, renew our energy, and to carry us through all the days that will be filled with lists of what we’ve done wrong, or forgotten to do.

“I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.” -Ranier Maria Rilke

As women, often we try to shrink ourselves, to run from the spotlight, to get smaller, weaker, until we forget who we are. We forget how strong we are We forget that we have a voice We forget that we can say no We forget that we are more than how we look

In her book, Red, Hot and Holy, Sera Beak quotes Teri Degler who said,

“Even of all those women who are comfortable with emotions, very few are comfortable with the feeling of wild, surging power…the trick is to realize that we do indeed embody this power and then to become comfortable with the way this feels. We need, in other words, to come to a place where we can sit and quietly hold this great power in our bellies.”


Are you shrinking or shining?

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stop doing list

Stop checking email and start laying in the sun, here’s how.

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in inspiration, Uncategorized, Who you were meant be

Slowly, but surely I’ve been losing myself, and becoming a grown up.

I’m not sure if was turning thirty or the piece of mail sent to me addressed to Mrs. Daniel Kane, that brought this to light.

Or perhaps it was a combination of time off work, sunshine, warm weather, and wine that set me lose.

Whatever the cause, a sudden new rebel seemed to spring forth over the weekend.

I was drinking my second cup of coffee, and it was time to head out for our morning hike. I finished telling my husband that I don’t like drinking coffee out of traveling mugs, and proceeded to the car with my coffee in a lidless mug.

By the look on his face, I could tell that he disapproved, but it was my birthday, so he was trying to let it slide.

My hands full of too many things, I began to climb into the car, and of course, dripped some coffee. He couldn’t hold it anymore

” I knew you were going to spill that.”

Me: I think I missed the seat, and besides, the taste and experience of a great cup of coffee in the perfect mug , is so much better than always having clean car seats.  ( this felt like a logical argument)

I continued drinking my coffee, and he took the corners a little slower.

Or maybe it was the taste of the fresh air, and the freedom that I felt while hiking. I was skipping, talking to both real and imaginary goats, greeting horses, pretending that I was a shepard, and carefully examining each lovely patch of moss, knowing that I would find the perfect patch.

My legs were tired, the sun was bright,  the moss  just right.

As usual my husband was blazing the trail in front of me, I didn’t care. I stopped and right then and there laid down on the moss in the middle of the trail. Then I made my husband join me, he was reluctant as most adults would be when being told to lay down in the dirt, but he joined anyway.

be willing to be who you are

Be willing to be who you are. Click to tweet

It can be hard, we have jobs, families, responsibilities, and sometimes we just want to kick up our heels, and be, well, irresponsible.

Sometimes we want to wear jeans to work, when our boss says that we have to wear slacks: put on your jeans

Sometimes we want to ignore our email and go and lay in the sun: give yourself an hour in the sun, your email responses will be sooo much better

Sometimes, okay lot’s of times, we have the urge to buy expensive, coffee, because it makes us feel so good. Buy the coffee

While listening to Danielle LaPorte , she shared her idea of making a stop doing list, it sounded wonderful, so I dove in and wrote one.

stop doing list

It can be all too easy to create to-do list, today let’s create a stop doing list; here’s mine

1. stop checking email when I don’t have time to respond

2. stop skipping workouts ( even if it’s only 15 minutes, I need to make time to move)

3. Stop doubting myself

4. Stop waiting until the last minute to buy gifts ( which means that I need to get on my Mother’s Day shopping)

5. Stop comparing myself to others

6. Stop putting off starting

7. Stop allowing facebook, email, and twitter to intrude on my studio time

8. Stop willingly giving into resistance

9. Stop Expecting things to make sense ( this is going to a tough one…. I probably won’t succeed, but it’s a good reminder)


stop doing list

Leave a comment and share your stop doing list.




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Looking fear in the face, and stepping forward

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in inspiration, scarf style, Who you were meant be

amber kane handwoven scarves

I made a big decision, took a leap , and when I said yes,  it was bliss, i felt free.

I shared with the world, or at least all those who follow me on social media, that i was becoming a gallery owner, with this came lots of likes and words of encouragement, and then thoughts of failure started to creep into my mind.

I heard myself saying this will either be a very public success of a very public failure. luckily i didn’t allow my thoughts to stop there.

the truth is, we’ve gotten a very warped sense of what failure is, we’ve learned that failing is  always bad. failure is only bad, when you fail because you did not try, you didn’t rise, you didn’t give it your all.

therefore this will be a very public success. period

amber kane handwoven scarves

With most things I dive head first, minus my dusting ability which my mom always told me was “ half-assed” and she was right. Little did she know, so was my vacuuming, I was just more skilled at faking it. She would tell me that I was to vacuum my room, I would put it off, then I would hear the fateful garage door opening, signaling that she was home from work, and I was out of time. I didn’t want to get into trouble, but at this point actually vacuuming the floor was out of the question.

Instead, I would quickly pick up any noticeable “dirt” and  run my fingers up and down the carpet creating vertical lines that looked very much like I had vacuumed, it worked every time. ( I’m only revealing this secret now, because I no longer live at home, and my current house is mainly made up of hardwood floors which my  husband graciously cleans)

amber kane handwoven scarf and black and white tunic


The only way that my gallery owning adventure would be a public failure is :

1. if I didn’t even try, if I saw the dream laying before me and I walked away because I was too afraid ( I considered doing this for a few days)

2. If I signed the lease and then kicked up my feet and hoped that magically the money would start pouring in.

3. If I was so afraid of failing publicly that, I kept the gallery a secret.

I”m already well on my way to success. I said yes, I shared it with the world, and two days in already launched into full blown planning mode, and created my dream kids summer art classes.

Failing only happens when you don’t try. The rest is the story of a life fully lived.

154 N prince St, amber Kane gallery

154 N Prince St Lancaster, Pa. See you there.

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Failing and Rising in life: permission to fail

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While teaching, I’ve been talking a lot about making mistakes and starting over. I find that in the classroom students rarely want to start over. They seem to think that they need to get it right the first time or not at all.

I shared that all good artist make a ton of work that no one ever sees.

Pablo Picasso produced about twenty thousand pieces of art

­ Albert Einstein wrote more than 240 scientific papers

­ Johann Sebastian Bach composed a cantata every week

­ Thomas Edison Filed over one thousand patents

­ Richard Branson started 250 companies

­ Joyce Carol Oats published forty­ five novels, thirty­ nine story collections, eight poetry collections, five dramas, and nine essay collections


While in college our pottery professor told us to break out bad work, to ensure that no one ever saw or used it.

For a brief moment failure felt wonderful, it felt free, I was liberated.  It felt so good to throw dishes  and hear them crashing into the ground. I highly recommend that you try it.

Recently I was cleaning the studio, and I threw piles of scarves away.  ( don’t start stalking my house and going through my trash.)

Throwing the first one out was hard, and then it felt okay, and finally it felt liberating. I was letting go of pieces that just didn’t work. I was giving myself permission to make mistakes, big, bad , ugly ones that I couldn’t save. I gave myself permission to fail over and over again.

And then I forgot, that failing is good. This seems to be lesson that I have to keep learning.

Say it with me:

You might fail, it’s okay

It might not work, do it anyway

I’ve been thinking a lot about failure lately, and our mindset around we. In school we learn that failure is bad and to avoid it at all cost. But outside of school I’m realizing that failure usually isn’t that bad, unless we make it be.

Almost everything that great that I’ve made, started from solving a failure.

I tried a lot of designs, they didn’t work

I tried to save them, and made them worse

I spent a lot of money , and did a big show, and didn’t make as much money as I wanted

I meant to leave my teaching job, but I didn’t

These aren’t really failures, at least not the negative, horrible, hate yourself kind. They’re the kind that come with living fully.

I”m not sure that you can reach your full potential without falling a few times. If you’re not failing, then you’re not daring enough, you’re not pushing boundaries, you’re staying safe.

While safe feels good, sometimes oh so very good. It’s boring.

And so each one of us will fall and together we will rise .

I have a new perspective on my teaching and my purpose, and continue to work to allow myself to fail and fail miserably in the studio. ( it’s very possible that’s happening right now) I”m sure I  will all fall many more times, and I will get back up, and each time it will be with more grace and beauty.

Please join me.

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It’s okay to be smart

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in inspiration, Who you were meant be


I often share student quotes on my facebook page. It’s a way to give the world a glimpse into the classroom, and make people smile.

Yesterday I posted this:

while learning about creating visual texture:

student: is mine good?

me: Do you have at least 2 textures?

student: I think

me: What are they

student: a scarf

me: what texture is that?

student: I don’t know

me: What does a scarf feel like?

student: soft

so your texture is soft, what’s your other texture?

student: black

me: black is a color

student: mountains

me: mountains are not a texture, what do mountains feel like?

student: rough

me: so your 2 textures are soft and rough

the art of patience and questioning…now I’m going to have some wine

Many comments followed, and as I read and responded to them, I began to really think about why this conversation happened. While in my mind women have progressed, we’ve been liberated, and are equal to our male counter parts, when I stand in the classroom, all too often I realize that’s not true.

Students wonder why my husband and I don’t have children. We’ve been married for 7 years, which means to them that we should have children. I honestly and simply respond, we’ve decided that we don’t want kids. This response causes many more hands to raise, it’s as though they’re unaware that having children is a choice.

Yesterday a male student asked what my husband was like.

Me: what do you mean?

him: is he really tall?

me: no, he’s actually shorter than me.

student: wow, that must be rough, is he at least really buff?

me: Yes, but I”m not sure why that matters.

him: he is artsy or into sports?

me: why can’t it be both? He’s both very athletic and enjoys cooking.

When my husband shares that he does the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, he his met with great praise, often times followed by, what does your wife do? On the flip side, if I were to cook, clean and do the laundry ( as most people seem to think that I should) no one would praise me, or ask what my husband does.


So it appears that we haven’t come as far as I thought.

Back to the student quote. I watch female students pretend that they are unintelligent, or at least less intelligent than their male classmates. And after pretending for long enough, it becomes a part of who they are. They lose themselves, as they attempt to become who they believe they are to be.

And for this reason alone we need more confident, powerful women, sharing their stories. Being vulnerable and telling the truth.


Leave a comment sharing what makes you feel confident

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Why you should stop trying to live a balanced life

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in inspiration, Who you were meant be

work life balance


Yesterday an Art Education student from Messiah College interviewed me about being a teacher and an artist. One of the questions that she asked was how I balance teaching, making art, and life. My gut response was, ” I don’t”. She looked at me a bit confused. I continued, people that want to make an impact aren’t living “balanced lives.” They’re going, full force ahead into their mission, dream, business. When we think of people living balanced lives we seem to have a picture in our minds of someone successfully juggling work, kids, marriage, free time, hobbies, exercise, and who knows what else.

Their arms and legs are doing a dance trying to keep everything moving and in the air.

work life balance

To me balance looks like someone standing on two feet. Standing firm, knowing who you are, where you’re going and what balls you want to drop. Knowing what things you need to let others do, and what doesn’t need to be perfect.

My bed is never made, my laundry rarely put away, and I’m okay with that.

How balance is looked at and understood, needs to change. Right now people are chasing after something that doesn’t exist.

A balanced life needs to be about standing up. Standing Firm, Standing for the things that keep you up at night, that get your heart pounding. Do those things, and let the rest drop.

Stand Firm. Stand Tall. Stand up. Balance works best with two feet on the ground.

Work life balance

Leave a comment letting me know what balance means to you.

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OPPS I made a mistake

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in scarf style, Who you were meant be

Woven Wall hanging

I just finished hosting my first webinar and things didn’t go as I had planned. While there are plenty of times in my life where I’m totally cool with flying by the seat of my pants, when I’m doing a presentation I like to be prepared.

I practiced, I did test calls, went through the tutorials, all of the things that a good student would do, but today when it came time for the call it seemed that everything went wrong.

The music wouldn’t stop playing and I couldn’t figure out what was going on, my phone kept dropping the call, and the sound just wasn’t that great. Needless to say I was a bit frazzled and was not at my best.

So I’m doing the best that I can to fix it, and that means creating a new video recording and sending it out to everyone. When I got off the call I was frustrated and a bit down on myself.

Woven Wall Hanging

But then I started to reflect on my creative process and seemed a bit ironic that this happened. As you may already know, most of my best scarf designs come from me making total mistakes and then figuring out how to fix them.

The scarf with the braid is the most popular design and it happened because I was making a Christmas present for my mom, but didn’t start until Christmas Eve. I miscalculated the warp, and had a scarf that wasn’t long enough to be a scarf, but I didn’t have time to start over. When weaving there is a yard of yarn that is considered “waste” and can’t be woven, I needed that “waste” to become a part of the scarf. I sat and stared and finally decided to do some french braiding. It ended up looking really cool, and resulted in a whole new design. 

amber kane scarf

I’m also working on a whole new product that resulted from a lot of mistakes.  Yup, I’m working on making woven wall hangings, and am pretty excited about it. So I guess what I’m learning is that we can’t control everything, sometimes things don’t go the way that we planned, and we need to forgive ourselves and work through them.

What mistake have you made that turned into something really great?

PS: if you want the video recording of my call today, click here and sign up. Plus it will help to cheer me up!

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Why Style Matters

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in scarf style, Who you were meant be


one of a kind scarf

For years I said that I wasn’t interested in fashion and that I didn’t care about clothes. When I started designing high-end scarves I began having a serious battle with myself. I couldn’t stop myself from making scarves, but felt like I was feeding into the consumer market that I didn’t like. Feeling like I was adding to the pressure of women thinking about how they looked didn’t feel so great either.

Recently , I accepted that I am interested in fashion, how we dress and present ourselves, I’m interested because of the story that we tell through the clothes that we wear.

Whether you like it or not, the way that you dress and present yourself is telling a story, what story is your style telling?

As many of you know, along with designing scarves, I’m also a high school art teacher. Research demonstrates that by age 15 only 10% of students are divergent thinkers. In order to come up with creative ideas, one needs to be a divergent thinker, this means that I have my work cut out for me.

What does this have to do with style? A lot actually.

Schools teach creativity out of our students, therefore, even though I’m teaching in a school, I need to make my room feel different from students experiences and expectations of what a classroom should feel like. And the easiest way to make that change, to  look different than what students expect a teacher to look like.

During the first two weeks of school students referred to me as Cat Women, a white Alicia Keys, and an overall superhero. They also exclaimed that I’m totally opposite any teacher that they’ve ever met. This is exactly what I want to happen in my classroom, and it was possible in large part because of my style.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money, or go on a huge shopping spree to change the message that your style is sending.  But you do need to get honest with yourself. Look in the mirror and ask what your look is telling those around you. If you don’t like the message, it’s not hard to change. You can change the message that you’re sending with what you already have in your closet, plus a few accessories.

Leave a comment telling me what message your style is sending.


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