November 18, 2007

some great stamps

One of the perks of being an AOC for Stampington is that they send me stamps to use. I have lots of them that are wonderful and fit in with all I make, but my absolute favorite is the Clearly Impressed collection by Michelle Ward, Swirls. (and no I don't get a commission on these :), nor am I required to talk up Stampington stuff... I mention them only 'cause Stampington stuff ROCKS!)

I used them in decorating this little handmade book. I am working on projects right now that combine my own words, photos and paint. These swirls have just the right arty whimsical look I was going for.

November 13, 2007


Many of the folks that read my blog have children so I thought that you would appreciate these videos:

Behold! The joy and freedom of my 3 year old spontaneously dancing to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. (try to ignore my voice telling my son off, the random kids moving in and out of frame and the dark room, we have no natural light in the living room :)

And now for a different mood. This is my 5 year old dancing to my favorite Tchaikovsky music 'Nocturne in C Sharp Minor' with her homemade flower tiara, on a darkened 'stage' with a spotlight (handheld torch) thanks to her big brother.

October 19, 2007

Indie Arts DVD magazine

I recently viewed an hour long tour of Stampington on a DVD magazine called Indie Arts. It was amazing!

I have long been a Stampington fan (it was Somerset Studio that introduced me back into the arts after many creatively blank years) and have wondered what the place looks like, what happens my art when it goes there, what the folks look like, sound like and all that. I was blown away watching this DVD that explained all that!

You get to hear the founder & publisher, who is a major visionary, Kellene Giloff explain where the magazine started and where it is going in the future. You hear from Editor-in-chief Jenny Doh, who is so wonderful to work for and who has an amazing energy and drive. You hear from Jana Holstein and Amanda Nolan and more. You get to see them sort, choose, arrange and photograph art work for Somerset Studio. It is a must see for all Somerset fans!

Check out this project of mine. It was sent out by email today for the new Stampington & Co. Creative Impulse weekly email. This project, the 2 sided Desk Poem will be located in "The Studio' on their web page which is dedicated to projects made by products they sell in their online store. Stampington are really stepping up their game with all the new publications and now this email program. Gotta admire their ambition!

October 08, 2007

October check up

I have been busy with homeschooling and art I have not had time to blog. So much goes through my mind about art in a day but I either talk to Shannon or Mark about it or I am just busy doing it. I have little time to reflect and journal. I am still doing my photo a day, so that takes up much of my self allotted blogging time. My art life is trucking along happily and productively.

I am meeting deadlines for Stampington; AOC work and most recently for their 'Project of the Week' slot on their new 'Creative Impulse' e-newsletter. Also, our church is putting on an art show at the end of the month, I am helping in the coordination of it. I foresee that I will be even busier as that approaches. I have all my art done and ready for it, the deadline was October 7, I have submitted 10 pieces, both mixed media and photography.

I have been published twice this month. Once in Sew Somerset and then in Somerset Memories Aug/Sept. In the latter, there are 7 pages of my art work - a 6 page article and then a one page in the gallery!! I feel the article is my best to date, next to the one in Somerset Home Vol II. My friend Shannon Mucha is also in these magazines, we are on the same page in both! How cool is that!

(I, I, I, I..... not a good style of post, but I can hardly see outside my house at the moment, Hello! tell me what you are doing :)

September 17, 2007

The next Somerset Studio theme

The deadline for the next Somerset Studio theme is October 12 and the theme is Le Chateau. So get creating!

All the stamps in this little piece are Michelle Ward designs sold by Stampington & Co. They are 'Clearly Impressed' stamps, which are transparent acrylic stamps without blocks. They come on a plastic sheet and when you want to use one you peel it off and stick them on either blank acrylic blocks, or, like I do, on the back of other stamps. They are stored on the plastic sheets, which is a great space saver.

September 01, 2007

and the winner is

Lily picked your name today, Tricia Scott. Email me your address and I will mail you your butterfly reminder. I hope you like it in person :)

For my other friends, this got me thinking I have other pieces that I will be giving away over in the future so stop back by. I have so much stuff here, why not give it away?

August 31, 2007

Artist On Call explained a little

The Artist On Call position for Stampington & Co. has recently been re-defined. Stampington & Co. sells art supplies and art stamps. The AOC position is designed to display mixed media work that is done using mainly Stampington products. To date much of the AOC work went in the formerly quarterly Inspirations magazine. Two changes are
1) Inspirations magazine will be annual (and includes a catalog of stamps they sell)
2) Somerset Studio and Stampers Sampler will now also include AOC artwork through out the year.

To me this is an exciting prospect. And challenging. While I am working on my next AOC deadline I have my eye on Somerset Studio's upcoming themes, the next one is Le Chateau (October 12) and I am working on a few ideas for that.

Last weekend I picked up a copy of the Stamper's Sampler to see what was in there (even an avid Stampington girl doesn't know all that is covered by the Stampington empire). I was excited to see a photo of my AOC boss, Christen Olivarez, who to date I had only really talked to via email. She is the Managing Editor of Stamper's Sampler.

There are a few other new AOCs. The new AOCs are not yet listed on Stampington's website, but two I know of are Lisa Bebi and Audrey Hernandez.

I have an October 1 deadline for my next Artist On Call work. I am going to be using some of these stamps by Lynne Perrella. Wish me luck :)

August 25, 2007

Give Away

In Somerset Home I did an article about what I called 'Butterfly Reminders'. I got on a roll making them a while back and have extras. I would like to give ones of these away to someone who would appreciate another bit of art around their house. It would be apt to give away the ones that reminds me to 'Give happily'.

If you are interested please leave a comment and I will do an out of the hat, bowl, basket or something pretty drawing Sept 1.

This piece is 3.5 x 7 inches. All are welcome to 'enter' old and new friends/bloggers!

August 23, 2007

Green Pepper Press Street Team

Michelle Ward, who is a frequent Somerset Studio artist, writer, designer and all around inspiration, has a fun blog which poses challenges or crusades each month. This months crusade is to add music to my blog.

Well some of you know my love for the music of Irish singer Jack L or Jack Lukeman. One of the highlights of my trip home to Ireland this year was to go see him playing. He was wonderful in person, what a performer he is! His voice just makes me melt, the deepness of it. I can't find any links to my favorite songs of his, but this one will do.

August 18, 2007

Somerset Home

Living artfully means to me having beautiful things around my home. Before we had kids my husband and I spent our weekends antique shopping (OK, old furniture bargain hunting). We have filled up our home with what we love. Now we only have space left to fill with small things, art and beautiful touches.

After reading the latest Somerset Home magazine I feel inspired to make more things that are beautiful for my home. Just finding the time is the issue! Somerset Home and Somerset Life combined have enough ideas to lat me years :)

I have an article in Somerset Home on p76, Butterfly Reminders, which I am pretty proud of. Somerset have included the first page of my spread in their online sneak peak, check it out here.

April 06, 2007

Question for you

I have been invited to do a series of art works for Somerset Workshop for October 2008! I will have to produce 2 main pieces that can be easily explained to readers in a series of steps and then many more for the gallery.

My focus will be on altered photos, which is great as I have worked so hard to get it right and have learned lots along the way that I can share!

The first piece that I was thinking of demonstrating is this altered board book wall hanging.

Here is the full image (my camera is not great at taking detailed photos, so excuse the pic) and a one of the pages of the altered book. The book has 5 spreads, I may journal on the pages a little, so I am not quite finished.

Question: Is this a project you would be interested in learning how to make step by step in the magazine? Do you think others would be interested?

April 05, 2007

Art in the mail

I have never sent 'mail art' before. I have sent art in the mail to Somerset Studio, but I always get it back. Recently, I bought some art from Kelly. It was so wonderful to get her package and to find all the extra creative goodness that she so generously added! It is like having little pieces of her in my home.

I have shared how I am not really ready to part with my art, not ready to have them go off and be big in the world all on their own. So to challenge myself I am going to take this Wednesday Stamper theme of envelopes a little further. I am going to mail it to my friend Shannon.

Not that I think this envelope is all that, but I am including a little piece of art inside. I will admit, this is a safe step for me as I spend lots of time in Shannon's beautiful, eceletic house (for example, on Friday's our crazy husbands are teaching themselves Olde English so they can read Beowulf in the original language!), and I had a little practice when I gave her one or two other pieces recently for her birthday, so if I want to see it to see what I made, remember what I was thinking when I made it, see what needs improvement then I can. But all in all, this is an important step for me in learning to be generous with what I create, one I see so many others have taken (I am amazed at all the beautiful Etzy shops there are!).

(By the way, the stamp I used is another one I carved, I am on a roll:)

April 02, 2007

More carving!

I have been stamp carving again this weekend. I love that I can make my own stamps, it opens up a whole new world.

The top flower stamp is a design I found in a Dover copyright free book. I printed out the picture and burnished it onto the Speedball Speedycut rubber and carved it with a #2 V-shaped cutter. It is not perfect, but I like the funky, handmade look it brings.

My other new tool is my scanner. I got a HP Photosmart C4189 All-in-one scanner at Walmart for $120 and I have been scanning in old pictures and using them. Now I can do at home what I used to have to go to a copystore to do! Yeah, product development and the advancement of society!

This is a shot of me and my brother when we were little having 'see who can open their mouth the widest' competition. Not very poetic, but I think with my mother visiting from Ireland (she is here for 3 weeks) I have been inspired to use old photos of my life in Ireland in my crafting.

March 28, 2007

The Wednesday Stamper challenge for this week is to show how we use color with stamps. I like to use paint. Here I stamped the dragonfly which is a Stampington stamp with StazOn ink and used Golden Fluid acrylics(yellow ochre, teal and crimson) to paint the wings and body.

March 27, 2007

Somerset Studio challenges often really challenge me to stretch myself in new ways.

I am working on making something to send in to the special publication Sew Somerset (deadline May 15). I am not a fabric/sewing person, but I wanted to give it a go. I had bought fabric paints at Christmas when I was asked to submit pieces for the upcoming Altered Couture Volume 2 (available May 1, I have 2 altered children's dresses in that publication). I found that I liked working with the fabric paints.

For this is a wall hanging that I used fabric paints on a scrap of fabric I had left over from when I attempted(struggled) to make a quilt for my now 5 year old (my Mum finally sewed it together when she was 3 :). I used my often dormant sewing machine to stitch on the altered photo. I think it is a start, but I have a ways to go with the fabric paint/sewing paper art. Nothing like an art challenge!

March 21, 2007

I Remember

A while ago I posted about stamp carving. Well I am still at it. I have carved leaves and grasses and fishes and designs which I have been using in my art work. But still my favorite is the eye. It was one of the first things that I carved, I got to use it today for the Wednesday Stampers theme for this week, which is Eye.

March 18, 2007

Mixing media

This is an example of something I have been working on within one of my larger projects. It is not finished, but I wanted to share that I have been have a wonderful time combining my various loves, altered photography, stamping and paint. I have lately been stitching art pieces together, which is a fun alternative to gluing. I have so many ideas and thoughts, they are almost bursting out of me.

Within the hustle and bustle of being a (homeschool) mom of 4 under 6 I am somehow finding the space to do it all. Creating art for me, at this season, is about finding balance between being the mother I was designed to be and being the artist I desire to be. My arms are wide open to it all.

March 11, 2007

The joy of Gesso

Gesso is the white paint like stuff that is used to prime canvas. When watered down it can be used to whiten images that are too bright and makes a great surface to stamp onto.

Here is a wood & bead bird hanger I made. The lower one is the bird before Gesso is applied. It is a Dover copyright free image and I find some of them a little garish. The Gesso helps tone it back.

My detailed photography needs improvement, but the words in the pendant say 'Dream Big'. This is something that I really am doing in my life right now. I am burning the candle at both ends, but in a good way. God has given us all 24 hours in a day, I am accountable for how I use mine. So I am dreaming big things and stretching out there, praying about everything and using my minutes wisely. Why not? I have only this one shot at being alive!
In my blog searching I found a link to a group called the Wednesday Stamper and their theme for this week (ending tomorrow) is white, so I am going to add this link to them!

March 10, 2007

This weekend I have been working on photo altering. I got out the box of photos I took last year on our trip to Ireland and have been sanding and painting a bunch of them.

This one is of a view of Dalkey Island from the side of Victoria Hill about 5 minutes from the house I grew up in, where my Mother still lives. When I lived there I took the beauty for granted. Now that I live in a flat, unbeautiful (hot and humid) part of the States I cherish these photos and memories.

I don't know what I will 'do' with these altered photos. Perhaps I will make a travel journal, or maybe another wall hanging, or I might incorporate it into a larger canvas..... hmmm, ideas are floating around. I love the act of creating.... bringing something into existence that was not before....

March 07, 2007


my pimped pic!

I was not going to do the month of March's SPchallenge until I saw the ever inspiring Misty Mawn's picture. The challenge is use online tools to create or enhance your image, they have a list of tools that can be used. I have been playing around with photoshop for a while and have done tons of fun arty things with photos, so I guess I was a little burned out on it photo altering. But I was able to do this one in 5 minutes with my son helping me (he is going to do his own once I finish this post). I love stuff that is quick and fun and a little different.

That photo is huge, ahhhh... I....

March 05, 2007

I had in mind to make something else tonight, but I had a bad day today (hormones, Monday, you know the story), lots of frowning faces on my accountability chart, so I decided to make myself something to wear that would inspire me to be a better Momma tomorrow.

The pendant I made says on the back 'joyful mother', now how can I wear this and lie? Tomorrow is a new day and I get to start over and BE the joyful mother my babes deserve.

As I was writing this, my 2 year old woke up from sleep and wandered out to me. She said 'I want on your lap mommy'. How can I resist a sleepy cuddle. So now I am writing this with Laura heavy in my arms. She has already forgiven me for not being quite 'on' today.

Tomorrow really is a brand new day and I will wear this necklace with a full heart.

March 04, 2007

It is official, the problem is the solder. I used lead solder to make the pendants for the butterfly pieces and they turned out great - smooth, shiny, no burnt bits. Then tonight I made this one with the lead free solder and the pendant is the opposite. OK, it is not that bad, but just not satisfactory to me.

Note to self - work on getting Silvergleam solder, I believe that it will make all the difference.

Thank you to all of you who left such nice comments on my butterfly piece. It encourages me, and makes me think that I am on the right road for now. Thank you again. I am honored that you would visit me and take the time to let me know.

It is all give and take. Through blogging I have found so many neat artists who have their own little art worlds that I can slip into and visit and enjoy and learn from. What did we all do before blogging? Waited longingly for the next issue of Somerset Studio... Okay I still do that, but now we can find out easily what other artists are doing online right now. I have a list of blogs I check out daily and weekly, you know who you are! It's fun, it's free, it's colorful. It's inspiring.

March 02, 2007

This is the first finished piece of a set of 7 mini hanging thingys I am making for the next issue of Somerset Home. I have made all the parts of the others, but have yet to assemble them. If I had another hour or 2 in the day I could get it done!

The accountability partnering I am doing with Shannon has been so fabulous. I am getting all the important things done as my list is there in the kitchen as I pass reminding me of what I need to focus on. And I am aware of it as I talk to Shannon through the week. It is like a constant reminder of my priorities.

This is the idea behind these pieces, each has a little reminder of things that are important to me. They are in my home as little visual reminders to 'create daily', 'love wildly' 'pray constantly', 'give happily', 'serve lovingly', dream big' and 'play freely'.

February 25, 2007

Susan Tuttle over at Ilka's Attic posted a photo last week and a challenge to create something with it. I used it as my canvas per week photo.
I decided to give the little girl a happy face, that of my little Laura. I guess as she will be hanging in my house I wanted to have someone cheerful to look at!

February 20, 2007

SPC - Momma me

This is the real me at this 'mother of young' season of life. Everything I do is done through the filter of my children. It is a time of constant movement, with no time to linger on my thoughts, I am pure action.... where's the Ergo?, do you have your shoes? no, you must wear real clothes, just a minute kids, momma is checking emails, here let me help, bedtime, storytime, Latin songs, time for math, have you done your literature?, lunch, no we are having turkey/cheese today peanut butter tomorrow, where is Laura... please get down from there, do you need to go potty? 'I need you momma', Mom Matthew won't let me have it, share please, do I have clean socks?....

Through all of this noise I have had to steel myself to get art done. There is no time to think. I have to be ready to craft when the time comes... usually late in the evening or perhaps a half hour in the afternoon. I can't do research, I just jump in. I can't plan the perfect collage, or pendant... I just do it. This is a good thing, I am really being me.

More SPC's here.

February 19, 2007

I usually paint my backgrounds, so this is a little new angle for me - I used a photo that I worked on in photoshop as the 'art' in this pendant. My son took the photo a while back and I played with it in photoshop.

I am pretty happy with the image, but not so with the solder. I have determined to try yet another type of solder, the one Sally Jean Alexander recommends... Canfield Silvergleam... if I could only get my hands on it.

February 16, 2007

More Somerset Studio

A while back myself and 4 other artists were sent a stamp and asked to make some art work with the stamp. It was a stamp of a woman by Paper Artsy Stamps. I had such fun with this project. I made a bunch of stuff, but sent Somerset the 9 pieces that I had completed by the deadline. They have included 6 of them in the March/April 2007 issue of Somerset Studio. I am so excited! (Look out for the May/June issue, I have an article in that one, and one in July/August... but I am getting ahead of myself!)

Many artists create best with freedom and openness. Art can come when we are free to choose any theme, any color, with tons of free time to do work. I can do that when I just want to enjoy the creating process and am making something just for me. But I also love to create within deadlines and rules - such as use 'just this stamp', or 'use just this color' or 'illustrate this idea'. Sometimes my creativity is squeezed just right by parameters set by others. A blend of both is what I seek and at the moment have. Some days I make whatever I want, other days I work on the specific deadlines I am facing. It is a good balance.
Other artists who's work I admire are in this issue are Lisa Guerin and Claudia Roulier and Kristen Robinson is on the cover. Enjoy! And Pam Garrison has a great article on arty blogs. I am going to check her site out this weekend.

February 14, 2007


Joyfully Home asked me what do you need to start beading. I am by no means a professional jeweler. I use stuff that I find at the craft store, nothing fancy. I the same beads & tools for my necklaces and for my canvas wall hangings.

Here are some suggestions:
This is a great starter tool set: the 3 Piece Mini Tool Set . It includes a Chain Nose Pliers, Round Nose Pliers and Wire Cutter. It is around $10.

Wire comes in different gauges, the smaller the number the thicker it is. I use 20, 24, 26 and 28 gauge the most, they are about $1-2 a spool. You can get wire in different colors, but I like the silver the best. Wire is good for making individual parts for a necklace, but if you want a full beaded necklace you will need Nylon coated stainless steel stringing wire. It is tough like wire but very flexible.

You will need what is called 'findings'. You can get a starter box of findings for about $6-8. Findings are the earing wires, clasps, spacers, head and eye pins - all the bones of making jewelry. You will also need crimping beads if using the stringing wire.

Of course you will need beads. Beads of all sizes come in little packets, on strings or in boxes usually in coordinated colors. Fancy beads are more expensive and you don't get many in the packet. Beads are often glass, stone or plastic. I like glass beads best, they are bright colors which appeals to me. I like to buy beads in assorted packs, which are good for finding random beads, but not so great if you find a size/color you want to repeat in a necklace.

You may need a bead storage tray once you get lots of beads. They are about $2 a piece. I buy the little packets of beads and then pour them into the trays, I am up to 5 trays! Buying beads can become an addiction :) When I am about to bead I pull these trays down and spread them around the table with the lids up so I can see what my choices are.

If you are working with wire you need First Aid tape to protect your fingers :)

I am sure there are lots more tools and supplies you can buy, but this has worked for me so far.

February 13, 2007

Just my cup of tea

Somerset Studio has a new book coming out, one I am definately going to buy. It is called Somerset Life.

Here is the by-line:

'The publisher’s dream for Somerset Life, a new annual publication debuting April 2007, is to encourage readers to make every day extraordinary: by infusing daily life with simple pleasures, art, romance, creativity and beauty. It will capture the imagination with stunning photography, insightful and entertaining articles, and imaginative ideas. Somerset Life will show readers how attention to the little things in life can lead to an inspired and artful way of living.'

February 11, 2007

Today I stayed home from church with a sick child. Mark took the others, so in the quiet of my house, in the daytime, in the real daylight :), I always do art things at night, I painted papers.

I covered bunches of white paper in Golden's gesso, which dries super fast, and then slopped on the paint - crafty, cheap acrylics and Golden's expensive fluid acrylics. I made monoprints of the sheets, let them dry and then painted over them. I sketched fruit and hands and eyes and painted over them. I scraped the paint and splattered the paint. I stamped with some of my new stamp carvings. No direction, no project in mind, just paper covering for the sake of it. It was fun and now I have over 40 new background options. Yeah!

February 05, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge - Black & White (2)

SPC 'Give and Take'. This represents to me the relationship I am building with my friends and fellow artists. I have given and taken from some special girlfriends these past few months. We are together in this life to learn from each other, to share ideas, friendships and inspiration. It is how we were designed to live. We give to eachother, we take from eachother, we are in community together. It is a beautiful thing.

February 04, 2007

Creating with kids

This book is a mother daughter collaboration! My almost 5 year old, Lily, decorated all the pages (9 pages per signature, 3 signatures) over a number of days. When the signatures were ready I sewed the pages together and cut out the cardboard for the cover. Lily chose the cover paper and glued it on. We used rubber cement for the binding.

Lily was so proud of her little book, she put it beside her bed so she could look at it. (I messed up a little by scoring the cover paper, so when it folded around the backbone the paper tore. I have to work on it some more).

We followed the direction for bookmaking from the book 'The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books' by Gabrielle Fox.

February 03, 2007


Turquoise Cro asked me if soldering is easy. Well, here is my long answer:

When I first started I was delighted with the process, as it is a pretty fast learning curve. You can make soldered pendants the first time you try them that look pretty good. I couldn't believe how awesome it was to watch the solder melt! It truly felt like I was making something from nothing.

But now I have been doing pendants for 7 months I am struggling to get better at it. I assumed that I would improve, that my pendants would look like they do in Sally Jean Alexander's book 'Pretty Little Things', all shiny and smooth. But they don't. They don't really look much better than my first attempts. This is frustrating.

My pendants have grit or little black burnt bits and sometimes seams. (I made this tonight and am unhappy with it)

I have attempted to solve my problems by buying better/different tools & supplies:

1) I have tried 4 different solders. Jean recommends Canfield Silvergleam. I have not found it in the store, but I have Canfield Lead FreePewter, which of course won't be shiny, but still is not smooth. I have tried Mastercraft 60% Tin/40% Lead. I tried Oatey Safe Flo Laed Free Silver. I tried DGS Lead-Free solder. None of them have been any better than the other. I guess I will keep hunting for Canfield's Silvergleam.

2) I have used different gel fluxs, made no difference.

3) I have bought 4 soldering tools, 3 cheap ones, the last one was $70. Each tool was awesome the first 3 times I used them, but then the tips got dirty and put little black burnt bits on the solder that I can't remove. I don't know if it cause the glue from the copper tape is burning, or if my tip cleaning methods are poor.

4) I have tried using a sal ammonic block. I followed the directions, but all it does is leave a sandy grit on the tip that then gets left in the solder on my pendant.

5) I have tried wiping the tip on damp paper towels and on a specially designed sponge. Neither kept the tip clean after 3 uses.

Well, on the more expensive tool it looks really clean, but still there are burnt bits, grit and rough seams.

6) I have tried cleaning the tip frequently and infrequently, neither made any difference.

7) Temperature control - I thought that the cheap tools were getting too hot, so I got one with a temperature gauge. Doesn't help.

The only thing that helps is changing tips or getting a new tool, as I said the first few pendants I make with a new tip or new tool look great - shiny, smooth free from burnt bits and lumpy joins. After that they look rough. I can't keep buying more tips.
Should I try different copper tapes? using more solder? using more or less flux? give up? Relax and live with it? What would Sally Jean say?

January 31, 2007

Art scraps

I like to keep my scraps handy and somewhat organized.

It may not look like much, a pile of scraps with paint. But these are invaluable to me actually getting anything done!

When I have lots of time/energy to do art I can paint & stamp bunches of papers & alter lots of photos. I keep all my scraps & stuff I couldn't use in other projects. I throw them into a few old cigar boxes, a large one for bigger papers, medium for mid size ones and small (you get the picture). I have these boxes open and sitting at the edge of my painting table. So then other times when I need a background for a pendant or a card or a bit of color for a collage but don't want to get out the paints and make something up, I reach for my own ready made papers. And it beats using pre-printed store bought papers.

Thinking ahead, being organized and not throwing any papers out helps me fit some art into my busy schedule.

January 30, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge - Black &

It took 3 children before I felt the depth of the challenge of motherhood. Laura... "how do keep a wave upon the sand, how do you hold a moombeam in your hand?" She is one of those people born with a force of will that means she must be destined for something great.

She scared me, she rattled every selfish bone in my body. I didn't want to have to work at being a mother, I wanted it as easy as it was with my first 2. I have tried to run from her, but when I did I made it worse. I am no longer running, I am embracing and the more I indulge in being her mother the more her great sweetness is emerging.

January 26, 2007

This is a peek at what I have done for the Nature issue of Somerset Studio. It is called, unimaginatively, Nature Girl. This is not a great photo of it as I can't photoshop it due to the pine needles sticking out. I like the painted stick :)

It is due February 15 and it is for the July/August issue. Somerset must see a ton of art, I would love to go to their office to see how it all happens. I have sent them bunches of stuff and so far everything that was published has come back intact. Can you tell I am a big Somerset supporter? :)

January 25, 2007

I got this book 'Art Stamping Workshop' by Gloria Page after reading it again and again in Barnes and Nobles. I felt a little guilty enjoying it for free so I put it on my Christmas wish list. I had thought about one day carving my own stamps, but felt so daunted by it.

The day after I first read this book in the bookstore I was in Michael's craft store and I saw Speedball carving tools and the rubber Gloria recommends on sale. I bought a bunch of it. But it has been sitting in my workshop for months. On a whim tonight I decided to try it! Wow, it is so much easier than I could have imagined.

The first thing I carved was the eye (Shannon, I was thinking of your awesome collage today... apple and the eye!), then the spiral and then I launched into my self portrait, might as well go for the big leagues now I am feeling bold. Of course, that took a while to do and my shoulders hurt from the tension. But I am so pleased with it that I had to share. I wonder where this new technique will lead me?

January 24, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge. I resolve to be sweeter to my babies. Sometimes I get hung up on the to do list and am something like a drill sargent telling them to put on their shoes, load in the car with an attitude of 'do it now, get a move on'. I have read lots of parenting books that tell me to keep my kids on strict schedules and to obey my voice first time. I have found myself almost resenting their moments of disobedience, not because I am worried about their character but because I thought to be a good Mommy they should obey me and if they disobey it reflects poorly on me (now there is a confession!). I use to resent them waking up in the night as baby sleeping all night was a badge of motherhood honor... Oh Matthew has slept through the night at 10 weeks.... I see now that there is a little more grace in motherhood. Annie is still nursing at night, Laura now comes to our bed everynight. I am welcoming them. They are only little, they need my love, kindness and guidance.... not just my orders.

January 22, 2007

January 21, 2007

Here is a piece I did for the 'With One Stamp' section of Somerset that should be out in the next issue. Somerset mailed me and 4 other artists a stamp and we had to make art with it. I did 9 different pieces for it, I don't know yet which ones will be published. I am so excited to see what the other artists have done with the same stamp.

An update on this piece - it was purchased by Jenny Doh for a gift to a friend! What an honor.

January 20, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge - New Years Resolution: Create More.

My time to create starts at about 9-10pm, when my house is in order, time spent with my husband and my kids are in bed (minus Matthew, who is a late nighter like me… I have tried to fight but lost the battle, at least he does his own thing in the evening). I stay up to 1-2am. So that is a long time to myself, 3-4 hours. Often by 10pm I am tired and just want to check emails, read blogs of other creative folks or watch a DVD…. I am resolved to try to do less of that and more in my project center. I have no excuse… I don’t have to go all the way outside to the workshop anymore, as I moved everything in. So…. Yep, more art here. I met every Somerset Studio theme in 2006… and thanks to in the interest of Somerset editor Jenny Doh in my art I have more deadlines to meet in 2007… Yeah!

But more than just doing more creating, I resolve to keep it balanced with the rest of my life. To be ready to create in the evening I have to think a little about it in the daytime. But I can't let that focus lessen my joy in doing my daytime stuff. My friend and artist Shannon Mucha and I have been talking about the balance between art and keeping focused on home/kids/school stuff (not forgetting keeping my husband a happy man:) I am not in a season when I can just do my own thing. Mark, Matthew, Lily, Laura and Annie are HUGE in my life. The flame for both worlds must burn brightly. With prayer and re-visiting my goals and not getting sidetracked into entertainment and laziness I believe I can do this. I am doing it. Little sleep for me!

January 19, 2007

January 18, 2007

I am finally all moved and working in my new creating space. I love that everything I need is right here.

I am working on a stuff for a new section in Somerset Studio called Somerset Workshop. This department started in the current issue (Jan/Feb 2007), where the artist, Connie Govea Stuart shows you step by step how she makes a collage piece. I am working on an altered photo with a stamping technique for a journal cover. I have a deadline of Feb 1 for mine, but I don't know which issue it will be in. I have just finished my submission for the Nature Preserved theme for the July/August issue of Somerset, which is due Feb 15. And after the workshop stuff is done I will turn my attention to Somerset Home. I had 4 pieces in the last Somerset home so I am hoping to do as well again. Work, work work. I love it!

Oh, by the way the hat is covering unwashed hair. Some mundane things just don't get done with 4 kids and lots of art to do. That reminds me... gotta do some laundry also.

January 09, 2007

Art tools

I have been making these soldered glass pendants for a while now. I found the most frustrating part in the process was the glass cutting. I just couldn't get a straight edge. I would get it as straight as I could and any little extra glass I would sand down with my drimmel. Not the best method. Well for a few dollars I just made my life easier by what feels like hundreds of dollars! I got this glass breaking tool called a running pliars. Oh my goodness! I cut a ton of perfect pieces of glass tonight. Yeah! I also bought a new, heavy duty solder iron which I hope will make my soldering better, smoother.


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