Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sale in my Etsy Shop!

Tis' the season for unique Christmas ornaments! I'm making tons of cute ones these days! I almost forgot to tell you, check out my Etsy shop and order before December 15th. If you order before then and use the coupon code "CHRISTMAS2010" when you checkout you'll get 25% off your whole order. Not just on ornaments, on anything! Yippee! I love sales! Back to the ornaments for me...

Friday, November 26, 2010


Turkey day has come. It is my favorite American holiday. I love that there's no pressure for presents. And that the whole day is about something we should always be doing and celebrating - giving thanks.

It seems to me that at work and in my Etsy shop, planning for Christmas events once again took over right after Halloween. Thanksgiving gets overshadowed by shopping, football and gearing up for Black Friday. I didn't want to jump right to Christmas without taking a moment to be quiet and give thanks. So here's my little list of thanks.

- I'm thankful for family - the people God gave me that drive me batty but always have my back. The ones who see me at my worst and still accept me. As I learn more and more about children in foster care and the events that have put them there I realize how importance the foundation of a loving family shapes your life. Thank God that he blessed me with a wonderful family to grow up in.

- I'm thankful for food - every year as I plan some veggie dishes to go with my mom's amazing turkey, potatoes and stuffing - it hits me how much this holiday is about food. Lots of food. Family sitting around the table and eating. And I know, deep in my heart that many, many families do not have enough food to feed their children or themselves. And so I thank God for the privilege of abundant food.

- I'm thankful for health - I went to church on Thanksgiving Eve and what will forever be etched in my memory is a beautiful family I know sitting in the front row. This couple got married later in life and have young boys who are a delight. This fall, the husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Watching a man worship God in the face of death is convicting and humbling. This man is thankful for every day he has left on earth and he's determined to use it wisely. I am thankful that God has given me today. I thank Him for the blessing of life and good health.

- I am thankful for cheesy movies! Yeah, that's right. Every year when I watch "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" I'm reminded of how important it is to take the time for other people. No matter how many times I watch the classic "White Christmas," Irving Berlin's song about counting your blessings speaks to my heart. Every time I watch George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life" realize how his humble life made such an impact on the people around him I'm reminded again of the chance we have to make a difference. How much our little lives are unique and profoundly felt on this earth.

- I'm thankful for waiting. Sigh. I didn't really want to write that. I might have to go back and read it a couple of times to convince myself it's true. But in recent years, I've thought a lot about times of waiting. As my husband and I continue to wait with patience and perseverance for children to be placed in our family (through pregnancy or adoption) we have to trust God for our future. This is hard for me. But for that reason, I am thankful. Because when something is hard won - you appreciate it for a lifetime. When plans don't work out how you expected or in your timeframe - be thankful they WILL work out in God's. It is good for me to continually surrender control and trust God in the waiting.

- And last but not least - I'm thankful for my husband. When you're single you wonder and you wait to find the person that will be your companion, confidant and friend for life. When you're married, the search is over. But the journey is not. I thank God for Joel. I'm thankful he doesn't get mad when I eat the last of the brownies, brings me flowers at work just because and loves me unconditionally.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autumn Arrivals

Hello out there! Got some new cute things going into my Etsy shop that you have to check out! Apple pie, hot cider, pumpkin pie and...llamas?

Well, if you have a thing for llamas....and fall...and llamas in fall....this is for you!
Also, if you're stuck on the cutey turtles, this little fall note pack is something to check into.

Stay tuned in to my shop as I'm uploading a bunch of awesome ornaments....so perfect as Christmas party presents. Can be personalized in any way you want. Enjoy the season!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IF: Dessert

Aha! Making a comeback to Illustration Friday after too many months away. I have no idea why dessert made me think of a family of otters. Otters out for an evening float. Leisurely enjoying their dessert of fish cupcakes with seaweed on top. Sure, why not!

I could tell you about how I'm trying out a new technique with blending the pencil in layers on watercolor paper. I could certainly tell you that this new technique is not cutting down the time it takes me to complete one drawing or the hours I sit with my neck craned trying to get the pencil blended right. I could also tell you how much I LOVE otters and will embarass anyone that is around me if I think I've spotted one....

but I'm too tired. So I'll leave it at that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Here I am!

Oh my goodness! I knew it had been awhile but wow, it's been over three months since I posted! Yipes! The thing is, there's a very good reason for it.

I was on the verge of telling you what I was obsessed with and excited about in May and then....even more craziness happened. So here it is....my husband and I are adopting! Sorry if this is old news by now. It took months to get through the process but we are now happy to be licensed and approved to adopt. At this point we are trusting completely in God to match us up with the right child. I have learned so much about adoption in the year or so since we've been thinking about it. It feels as if I've found my life's calling and my heart's passion.

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to apply for a job in the foster care world. It was kind of a long shot. I don't have a social services background, I have been a graphic designer for 8 years...hard to change what you're used to. But...I was offered the job. Even more ridiculous than that...I took it. The month of June was spent fluctuating between bravery and tears. It was so HARD to leave my wonderful friends, my amazing workplace, everything I had become familiar with over the past 8 years. In a way I was shocked and heartbroken that I would do such a thing. But I felt so strongly that life is too short to not be spending time doing what you feel called to do. My work experiences and my personal experiences suddenly coincided in a such a way that I felt I had no other choice but to take a leap!

After more than a month at the new job, I can tell you, I'm so glad I did. I am working HARD. I am exhausting all my energies, pouring out my talents, investigating the things I don't understand, soaking up other's personal stories....and I love it. I really do.

So I am now spending way more time working and much less time on artwork. My Etsy shop is still up and running. I am having fun doing custom artwork every once in awhile. Such as this drawing for a friend's anniverary.

And this wedding invitation for an awesomely original couple...

And trying to enjoy summer while it's here.

Can't wait to update you again on all the craziness that is my life! Be blessed everyone! Life is short...live it well.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

IF: Fearless

Mmmmmm, creativity struck once again with barely enough time to finish this week. The topic was too good to pass up. FEARLESS. I have so many things I could say and illustrate for this one.
Instead I'll just explain my drawing. This is colored pencil on some new tinted pastel paper. The cute little white bunny is about to exhibit fearlessness in my book. He's going to offer love and compassion to someone who is in need. And he might be rejected. Growled at. Turned down or abused. But he's fearless, so he's putting his heart on the line anyway.

As always your comments and criticisms are welcome. I have another bunny illustration that came from sketching this one also, can't wait to finish it.

The first half of this week I kept seeing this topic as FEAR LESS. What an assignment....I think I'll spend a few more weeks on this one!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I totally forgot to share with you guys my latest artistic obsession and how it turned out. I spent a couple of months being obsessed with pandas. They are so exquisite, so beautiful and so foreign to anything I get to see here in New England. I love them. Doesn't help that I live with one....

Okay, maybe she's not a panda but Kita-Bear and Petit Panda are some of her many nicknames! Just to show you the tortured mind behind the artist.... (click on the pictures to see them larger)

First I thought a panda with a parasol would be cute.

But the parasol drove me nuts.

Then I switched to an idea of a human child hanging out with a real-life animal (yes, as an artist I am allowed to live vicariously through my artwork, thank you very much!). So I decided on a little girl and a panda having a tea party. I loved how the panda turned out. And really liked the color scheme I decided on but I could not decide on the background scene. Should it look like a messy playroom? Should there be lots of furniture when most of my drawings are simple? And then I drew the little girl two small. She looks to be about 7 instead of 4 or 5 like I wanted her to be. And compared to the giant panda, the girl and her tea set all seem miniature. Toyed around with just finishing it and them fixing things in Photoshop but that added another layer of questions and decisions. So I put it aside.
Still feeling obsessed and inspired by pandas I came back to the idea again and decided that I would keep trying until I had an illustration I liked. Which meant starting all over. Worked hard on practicing little girl faces and bodies that would look young enough. Changed the perspective of the panda and ditched background furniture for crazy wallpaper. (And somewhere in there the little girl changed ethnicities.....I have no explanation for that one...)
So what do you think?

I was putting a lot of pressure on myself because I'm focusing on building a solid portfolio. So of course I had all these criteria that I wanted to meet which only makes the decision making process worse. I'm pretty happy with the result but I still love the beautiful face of that second panda. And the final product still isn't perfect. Oh, to be a perfectionist and an artist.
I've been obsessing about something else entirely different lately. It has nothing to do with my artistic goals but has become a greater and greater obsession of my heart as of late. I'm hoping to share it with you in the blogging world soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring is here....

and in to celebrate I'm making some of my original paintings available on Etsy! Hooray! Some of these I've shared with you before and others you've probably never seen. Go check em out and tell me what you think!
Hooray for sunshine!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Frugally Fighting Monotony

Had a quick whirlwind weekend to my in-laws in Massachusetts for Easter. We don't go visit often enough but when we do it's always a bittersweet walk down memory lane for my husband. His dad still lives in the house in the same neighborhood he grew up in. Joel has so many memories of his childhood friends, the little traditions they came up with and ALWAYS remembered (honking twice and waving at one friend's house, for instance!) and it always leaves him a little bit reflective and melancholy. Because...he's a grown up now. He remembers how life used to be. It's not that our life isn't happy....it can just seem a little monotonous sometimes....go to work, go home, try to relax, go to sleep, get up, go to work.....we feel beat up by the mundane cycle of routine.

On our way back I had an idea, the whole drive back (including getting stuck in traffic) we brainstormed some crazy little activities that we could use for a date night or any day that we wanted to break out of the normal routine. Took a little doing to think outside the box but I'm proud of what we've come up with. Things like:

- go to a restaraunt we've never been to
- put on loud music and dance around the house
- memorize a Scripture verse together
- go to a store and pick out mushy cards for each other and then put them back (that's courtesy of my frugalista aunt, awesome idea!)
- grab the guitar and go down to the lake to sing praise songs at night
- make a fort in the living room (seriously, who didn't make a fort when they were little!)
- write an encouraging note on a dollar bill and then go spend it
- make up a new word and use it
- draw a picture of heaven
and one I think will go down in the history books of good memories with Joel and Elena....
- learn how to say "Excuse me, you're sitting on my sandwich!" in 3 different languages!!!

These are just a few! We've agreed that whenever we decide to pull a card we HAVE to do what it says even if it's not convenient. There are so many things on our minds lately, the tragic death of a co-worker, flooding, marriages in turmoil....we need to give ourselves ways to let go and have fun. I want to be able to look back on my life and marriage and be able to say, we tried hard, screwed up a lot, but we sure did have fun together!

I love you, Joel, always, no matter what.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

IF: Rescue

My little drawing for this week's topic, Toby the turtle and Filmore the frog, setting sell to go rescue a lost friend. LOVED this topic, by the way....there's a million drawings I could have done....all of them with children's faces...I see them all the time. So many needing to be rescued.

This topic coincides with news I just heard this week. My sponsor child in Haiti is alive! His home and the surrounding area were completely destroyed...but he and his family were spared from the horrendous earthquake. I am so happy to hear this news. After months of worrying and praying. Oh, to start writing him letters again! They will be filled with the joy of knowing he was rescued and is being taken care of now. The same organization that has allowed me to be a part of his life over the past several years is working tirelessly to help his family and many others like his. May God strengthen and bless their incredible work.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

IF: Brave

"She often thought herself a fairytale princess, held captive and forced to go to bed against her will. And while the stairs to her bedroom tower seemed friendly enough in the light of day, by nightfall they had grown into something more dark and ominous."

All colored pencil....let me know what you think!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Upcycled Art....otherwise known as FREE!

I'm so proud of myself. It rarely happens. Not just that I'm satified with a project but that I can make a piece of art without agonizing over every little thing for days, weeks, months on end. To start and finish a project in one day....ahhhhh, this is the life.

I was helping my mom redo her bathroom the last couple of weekends. It needed a little fixing and a fresh coat of paint. She already had a new shower curtain and bath towels in a lilac and dark purpley blue color. Of course my mind goes immediately to what wall art would update the bathroom and stay with this color scheme? I was thinking flowers and butterflies. I remembered that I saved a gorgeous calendar from 3 years ago of exotic butterflies. I flipped through looking for inspiration and then it hit me.

I took a page out of the calendar that matched well with the color scheme. Took a nice shadow box that I've had (I think a friend gave it to me....thanks Aimee!),

took about an hour or so to carefully cut around the butterflies, pop them up a little and voila!!!!

Upcycled, calendar art! For FREE! I love it! Now, I'm not endorsing packrat behavior but it's fun to see what we can do with some saved things....calendars are great for making envelopes, magnets and a bunch of other neat, useful things.

For the other piece I'm thinking some big flowers (first I was thinking lilacs but now...) with a butterfly resting on one....but should I use paint or pencil....oh here we go....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

IF: Propogate

Just a quick sketch with a little bit of Photoshop tweaking for this week's Illustration Friday. I wasn't a huge fan of the topic....but I've been missing a lot of the latest IF challenges because of that excuse! The truth is I've been busy...it's hard to sit and be creative when there a bunch of other things engaging your heart and your world.

I'm noticing as I look around my little world that hope is under attack. So many people I love are dealing with financial strain, tragic loss, horrific health problems, relationship conflict and the depressing thought that the cycle might never end. It creates in me a shocked sadness...a profound questioning of my Creator who sees all and knows all. So I retreat. I cry. I become Eeyore for a little while. And then I get defiant.

I was listening to a discussion recently about foster care and kids in custody of the state. The social worker in charge was discussing one scenario with an angry teenage boy. She said with finality "This teen will never be whole. He will never be able to have a normal life." It was as if the air was sucked out of the room. There was just silence where there used to be warm hearts that had hope for change. Until finally, one man spoke up and said, "I refuse to believe you." I have been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to do hard things in this life. One thing comes to mind. Defiant love. I understand that sugarcoating doesn't help anyone, that we live in reality not fantasy...that life is hard. But let's not deaden our souls to the very thing that makes us human...the HOPE of change. The quest for healing. The joy of sacrificial love.

I am usually nice and acommodating in my everyday life. But I've decided, try to take away my hope....and you'll be met with stubborn defiance.

Let's propagate hope.

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope; Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love." Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And the winner is....

Thanks everyone for playing...I loved all of your comments and quotes about love. Happy Valentine's Day! Stay tuned for more fun giveaways...I'll be sending Mary her little box of treasures soon. Hugs to all of you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

February Giveaway!

I've never done a giveaway before. Well, I mean, a bloggy giveaway....I give away things all the time. To friends, to Goodwill, to my poor unsuspecting neighbors who can't seem to avoid me....but an honest to goodness, bloggy giveaway...that sounds like fun too!

So this February, the month of cupids and hearts and chocolates and flowers and panic for men everywhere....I'm going to give away a one of a kind surprise box from Elena's Easel. It IS better to give then to receive. But hopefully one of you will want to receive this little box of goodies. Hand painted by moi and with one of my prints on the top (that would be the Love Turtle, also available here). I'm not telling you what's inside, you'll just have to wait and see when you win it! But there will be some wonderful artsy things from my store and maybe some sweet treats too! All you have to do is leave me a comment with your email address and tell me your definition of true love...

If you're friends with me on Facebook, leave me a message on my wall and that will count too! The winner will be randomly picked and announced on Valentine's Day (February 14th) and I will send your little box of goodies right out to you! Happy February everyone....make sure you tell the people you love that you love them...not just on Valentine's Day but every day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

You would think it would be genetic....

but I did not inherit my parents' skill with a camera. When I showed my dad (a professional photographer for decades) the B&W pictures I took for my college photography class, he looked at them, thought for a second and said "there is no black and white in this picture!" Yes, thank you Dad. I know. So if you catch me blaming my inadequate pictures (which by the way is kind of important if you are trying to sell your work people have to be able to see it and love it if they're going to buy it!) on the camera, the lighting, etc. I'm lying. I stink at taking pictures.

Of course it doesn't help that my assistant is always getting in the way.....

He munches on my props,
he can't keep his tail to himself,
and he's nosy.

Why don't I just lock him out of my art space when I'm working you ask.....

because I've already locked this one out! If they were both running around together even worse things could happen! Oh well! Just a day in the life of a non-photographic, pet-loving artist.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heartbroken for Haiti

My heart hurts for the people of Haiti.

I have been wanting to write this post for over a week. But every time I tried, the words just didn't come. It was too overwhelming to think through and type out. I want this blog to be a happy place but life I can't leave out the reality of life. And if we were all silent when something hurt, healing might never come.

I'm sure by now, you've all read countless articles, seen dozens of pictures, cried tears and whispered desperate prayers. The news of devastation coming from Haiti continues after the strongest earthquake in more than 200 years. The quake measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, and was centered 10 miles from Port-Au-Prince, the nation’s largest city. In the days following even the aftershocks were large enough to cause significant damage and terrify the people trying to find their loved ones. A country that was already struggling, is in absolute chaos.

This is personal to me. My heart became attached to Haiti several years ago. When I decided to sponsor my beautiful Idson Etienne through Compassion International. I'm still not sure if he and his family are okay. Pictured below are the Compassion centers in the vicinity of the earthquakes, Idson is in center HA254 which I highlighted with the white circle and arrow. The dot with the red triangle is the center of the first quake.

While I pray and worry and wonder, I so easily feel completely depressed and despairing of the situation. The grief and pain for the people of Haiti is overwhelming. But as we know, great trials and suffering brings out the true character of human beings. People from many different countries are donating supplies, money, services and their very selves to helping the people of Haiti at this time. Bloggers are blogging, believers are praying, artists are using their talents and governments are acting on the behalf of those who cannot help themselves. Although my heart is broken for my little Idson's country, for his people, and how much they have suffered. I see a glimmer of hope. I have hope that those who have been tirelessly working for the orphaned and the impoverished before the earthquake might now be in the spotlight, making our world aware. I have hope that people who have never been interested in adoption, yet see the devastation of children who have fallen victim to circumstances might follow their heart and open their home. I have hope that while the Haitian people and all of the workers poring into their country work together, the unity of the human spirit will forge friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime... and change the world. I have hope that God can make beauty from ashes. I don't know how.... but I have hope.

Keep hoping and keep praying for miracles. Idson and his family and thousands of others need them.

For information on how to help, visit these organizations' websites:

And for a really comprehensive list check out this article.