Living Life Your Way....Interview with Lori Portka

I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...

This weeks interview is with Lori Portka

Hi Lori, tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you for asking me to do this interview, Polly! I live in upstate New York with my husband, step-daughter, two grey-hound dogs and calico cat in a cute little cape-cod house. My background is in education and counseling, but now I am a full-time artist. I love animals and traveling and spending time with friends.

Have you always considered yourself a 'professional artist'?

No, not until recently. I have been actually practicing the little blurb that I say when someone asks me what I do for a living. I tend to stammer at that question. I am learning to answer it with confidence and conviction.

Is the life you lead now the life you've always dreamt of?

It is in so many ways! A few years ago I wrote a week’s schedule of my perfect life and I have had it hanging in my studio. At the time, I was working as a teacher for early intervention doing evaluations. I looked at that schedule I wrote the other day and realized it has become my reality! Today I am doing computer work like blogging and writing this interview, then I will have lunch and paint the rest of the day. I feel so blessed. My husband is a deeply caring man who is also my spiritual partner. I am lucky in that I never had kids of my own, but get to share in the joy of his beautiful kids. And I have always wanted to adopt retired racing greyhounds. Now I have two!

When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?

You know, I think part of my inspiration is knowing that I’ve already made it through tough times to the other side, which somehow always ends up being brighter for having gone through the pain. When my dad died, my mom got sick, my first marriage ended, I lost my job…they all led me to a greater awareness of myself, more compassion and understanding, more open to love. In difficult times I hold on to the truth that this too shall pass. I also have tantrums and cry and feel hopeless. But there is a deep knowing that difficult times always bring gifts along with them.

Fear affects us all at some point. What part has fear played in your life and how have you overcome it?

I tend to have fear around financial issues. It was a core family issue growing up. I have been working hard on changing my scarcity beliefs for a while. For me, it has been letting go and trusting that has been most important. I am always taken care of. The universe shows me this again and again, but sometimes I forget and my mind gets fearful. I would say that I haven’t quite overcome my fear around finances yet, but I am close!

What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?

I really believe that our greater purpose is to serve the world. I am best at serving the world when I am happy and led by my heart. I believe that our dreams are our guideposts to living the life we were meant to live. When I was first working as a teacher I was doing my best work for the world because I loved it. But as time went by I changed, and the light and happiness for that job were missing. It no longer was the best way for me to serve. Currently, I know I am on the right path and I am so grateful. It feels right.

What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?

Being true to myself first, is the most important. I am still learning this because I often want to make sure everyone else is happy with me instead of doing what I know is best for me. When I take care of myself I am less resentful and I am a better partner, step-mom, artist, and friend. Secondly, eating well helps me to feel radiant. I have been a vegetarian since I was 21. I am not militant about it though. I try to eat local and organic as much as possible. I forgive myself when I do not. Having peace around food is just as important to me as eating well. Lastly, is living with the intention to be kind and loving. This is impossible to do in every moment but I try to live with an intention of love and kindness in my heart and this in turn brings me happiness.
*Where can we connect with you?

Valentine's DIY - Fabric Heart Pouch


Hey everyone! I'm excited to bring you the first post of my week long Valentine's DIY special :) I'll be here everyday with a an easy DIY for you to make for your love for Valentine's Day.

Today I have a tutorial to make a fabric heart pouch. These are perfect to fill with some chocolates and give as a gift to loved ones.

heart DIY

You can use any fabric combination of your choice, I used denim for the two back pieces and a cotton for the front piece.

Click HERE to enlarge to full size
Print out this template and cut out piece A from the front fabric and pieces B & C from the back fabric

heart DIY

Next step is to hem the straight edges on pieces  B & C

heart DIY

Then pin all three pieces together, right sides facing, like so:

heart DIY heart DIY

Then sew them all together like this:

 heart DIY

Turn the right way out and there you have it - one cute heart pouch!

heart DIYheart DIY

I filled mine with some heart shaped chocolates - I've made one each for my girls as their Valentine's present.

If you make one I'd love to see your photos!


Saturday Link ♥ Love


Seeing as I'm away for a few days, I left some Link Love set up ready for you :) Hope you're having a good weekend. I'll be back home tomorrow - ready for my week of Valentine's DIY posts!

Here's my link love for this week:


  • I'm busy making Valentine's goodies for those of you who signed up here - still not too late to get some snail mail love from me! 

I hope you're all having a great weekend, I'm looking forward to getting home tomorrow and catching up! Next week is Valentine's week here on PixieMama - lots of lovely DIY's and printables coming, so don't miss it!


List 28: Most Listened to Songs

This week, according to my ipod!


  • Emiliana Torrini - If You Go Away

  • Neil Young - After The Gold Rush

  • Joni Mitchell Carey

  • Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down

  • The Flaming Lips - She don't use jelly

  • Bob Dylan - Maggie's Farm


DIY: Hanging Birdies

Here's a quick and easy DIY tutorial. I've often seen pretty hanging birds on etsy and in fair trade shops. Being on an extremely tight budget means that I can't really afford to buy any. SO - I thought I'd make some myself!! These ones are made from felt, so are incredibly simple to make!

So, to start, here are the supplies you'll need:

 Felt in whatever colours you like, a metre length of ribbon and a bell.

click to enlarge to full size
First step is to print out this template on cardstock, cut out and draw round it onto your felt. You'll need to cut out two birds and two wings out of each colour felt.

Fasten the wings onto each bird with a dab of glue. Make sure that the two birds in each colour are facing in opposite directions like in the photo.

Next, I folded over a couple inches of ribbon and sewed across to make a hanging loop.

Then leaving a couple of inches, place the ribbon between two of the felt birds and sew straight down.

(yes...I know I said straight)

Repeat until you have all the birds fastened on. Then thread the end of the ribbon through the bell and sew straight across to fasten it.

And you're done! Told you it was easy and quick didn't I??!


I'm going away...


Just for a couple of days. It's my Grandma's funeral on Friday, so the girls and I are heading home to my Dad's house for the weekend. We're all packed, the rucksack weighs a TON - how I'm going to carry it, plus the food bag, my handbag, push a buggy and watch the 3 girls I don't know :/ We have a 5 hour train journey wit h3 changes so wish me luck!  Sad times, but at least I'll get to catch up with everyone. It's 5 years since my siblings and I were all in the same place together! I'll be back on Sunday and ready to play catch up!

Wednesday Wisdom


You cannot change the world,
But you can present the world with one improved person -

You can go to work on yourself to make yourself
Into the kind of person you admire and respect.
You can become a role model and set a standard for others.
You can control and discipline yourself to resist acting
Or speaking in a negative way
Toward anyone for any reason.
You can insist upon always doing things the loving way,
Rather than the hurtful way.
By doing these things each day,
You can continue on your journey
Toward becoming an exceptional human being.

Brian Tracy



I signed up for Elsie's Project Restyle back at the beginning of January. While I've managed to do a couple of projects, things have been pretty hectic round here and I haven't had a chance to post them!

First up was this butterfly shadowbox. I love the look of old butterfly collections - but am slightly creeped out at the thought of having real butterfly's pinned in my house! 

project restyle - before
This frame we found in the shed at the bottom of our garden, it's hard to see from the picture but it's quite deep (around 1 inch) and the glass slides off.

 project restyle

I came across these butterfly's in a craft shop in town and I knew the perfect project for them 

project restyle - after 

I added some pretty scrap booking paper to line the frame, hot glued the butterfly's on and hung it up :) 
It brightens up my hallway!

The second project was a dress (I blogged it here) I made from an old bedsheet.
Before - old bed sheet and a yellow doiley

After - dress!

I have tonnes to do today, we're home all day waiting in for a delivery. I need to catch up on the housework, girls want to do some art. I have painting and sewing I want to do. A mountain of washing to work through too! 

p.s - Last year I asked Rachelle Mee-Chapman from Magpie Girl a question as part of her 30 stories project. She's just had a chance to answer my question and you can find it here!



Over the last week, I've started using bloglovin' more and more to read my favourite blogs and find new ones! If you're on there too, then do me a favour and follow me :)

Follow Pixie Mama

Living Life Your Way....Interview with Eva

I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...

This weeks interview is with Eva from Lovers in a Dangerous Time


Hey! Tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you so much Polly for inviting me to do this feature! I think it's such a great idea.  A little about me...I'm a newly-wed, married July 2009, to my husband Nathan. We recently picked up and moved with our little kitty Conan from Vancouver, B.C to a nearby small town. Currently I'm a "school-at-home-wife", studying to be a Medical Transcriptionist.

I started blogging about 7 months before we moved, so my blog (http://bottleblack.blogspot.com) chronicles that transition, as well as snippets from our daily lives.

*Is the life you lead now the life you've always dreamt of?
In many ways, yes! I'm married to the man I dreamt of marrying, I got to live (for a while) in the city I always dreamt of living in, and I have great, close relationships with my family and friends.

Of course there is always more I am striving for, and dreaming of. For example, I have always wanted to be a mom! And I hope to be able to travel more some day. My anxiety is also not part of the life I imagined for myself.
*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?

Well it's kind of heavy, but when I was depressed, the knowledge that there is life after death was huge to me. As a Christian I believe this life, and the pain and hurt and trials that come with it, is not all there is. However, we should still strive to make it the best possible life for ourselves and others, right here and now.  Also, the knowledge that life is so dynamic, always changing. So what might feel like the hardest weeks or months of your life will not always be that way. Things WILL change, if we just get through it. One saying I love is, "head down and power through".

*Fear affects us all at some point. What part has fear played in your life and how have you overcome it?

Fear unfortunately plays a huge part in my life right now. I have a social anxiety disorder, and it pretty much affects all aspects of my life. I am often not able to just go out and enjoy myself, go on trips, meet new people, etc without experiencing strong anxiety and a "fight or flight" reaction. This has affected my work life, my school life, my relationship with my husband, family, and friends. It often causes me to feel general anxiety about everyday life too, for example, fearing car accidents, natural disasters, or illness. 

I wouldn't say that I have overcome this by any means. I am working on it, all the time.What really helps is the fast-acting anxiety medication that I have been prescribed. Also, nudging my comfort zone and forcing myself to take small steps, as uncomfortable as they may be, is important as well. For general anxiety, what really helped me is avoiding watching or listening to the news. This may seem like voluntary ignorance, but it's what works for me. The fear-mongering they pump out really gets to me.
*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
Learn to love yourself, and really know yourself. That is something I'm working on right now. I feel like once you have self-acceptance, you can boldly follow where your heart leads you. 

Also, find a job that you enjoy. Don't stay where you're unhappy. Be spontaneous and romantic. I've never regretted being that way, but I do regret it when I'm not.

As a side note, I must say I feel very blessed to have the life that I do. A big part of following your heart is realizing all that you have here and now. It just might be what you were dreaming of all along!
*What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?

I would say acceptance of what we can't change about ourselves/our circumstances, being as healthy as we can be physically, spiritually and emotionally, and be able to find joy in the simple things. That's what life is all about really...those simple moments and pleasures :)