November 30, 2009

Momma's Helper

November 28, 2009

Saturday giveaway details


To date I have done 18 weeks of giveaways! Next giveaway will be each weekend in August 2010


To participate in this giveaway:
1) sign up to be a 'follower'
2) check in for your name on Saturdays
3) if you are picked by the random number generator I will contact you. (If I have not contacted you by Sunday morning that means I can't find your email, so email me at
4) When we talk via email - You tell me which one of that Saturday's offerings you choose, give me your physical address and wait for your prize in the mail.

I will be giving away things that I have made, some of which have appeared in the pages of Stampington magazines, some are brand new, made for this giveaway. I live in the United States, but will ship internationally.

1) To say thank you to you for being a part of 'my artful life' and taking the time to visit my blog
2) To count down to the publication of my first book 'The Artistic Mother - A Practical Guide to Fitting Creativity into your Busy Life.' 

Max is almost a month old! Thanks Shannon for this stripy shirt, glad to get him in my favorite style before he has been in the world 4 weeks :)

November 27, 2009

Making time for art

Check out this article I wrote for The principles I outline in the article can be used to get organized for any kind of crafting - sewing, photography, writing, scrapbooking, collage making.

There are other great articles and eye candy in the online magazine. It changes each month, so take the time today to go visit.

November 25, 2009

Another giveaway announcement

I am participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's blog giveaway this December 2nd (next Wednesday). On that day you simply need to visit my blog and leave a comment to say you want to be in the drawing. I will be giving away this tote bag that I made especially for this giveaway. There will be a little surprise inside too!

In my book there are 12 'stepped out' projects to follow and 2 of them involve sewing, one of those is to make a very simple, but cute tote bag.


Just to clarify - The December 2nd giveaway is different from the Saturday giveaway I will be doing for my 'followers' that will start on December 12th.

You are welcome to enter both. How? Simple:
Dec 2nd - post a comment
Dec 12th - sign up to be a follower

Thanks to Trudy for alerting me to this giveaway day!

November 21, 2009

Collage card tutorial - Jenny Doh stamps

I am forming a new website for folks wanting to get started on collage. I am not yet ready to launch it yet. I am building content pages right now and will be doing that for the next few months. It is a big job and I have only a little free time. But, step by step, overtime I will get it done!

One of the features on the website will be craft tutorials. I will be making the projects for the website as I go and plan to first post them here. That way I can get some feedback and alter my plans as necessary.

Here is the first 'How to' I have prepared:

Paint brush
Water soluble oil pastels
Lead pencil
Water color pencils
Scraps of scrapbook paper, left over bits of paper from other projects, painted papers, fabric scraps, newspaper scraps
ruler & craft knife
Staz On ink - Royal Purple & Pumpkin
Stamps by Jenny Doh I have 'authentic party' and 'smitten for hope'
Folded card


Get out your supplies. Choose your color scheme.


Trim a piece of paper to the size you need your image to be (mine is 5 1/4 x 3 3/4) to fit neatly on my 6 x 5 1/2 folded card)


Rummage through your scrap papers and choose pieces that fit with your color scheme. Move them about until you it on a composition you like.


Glue these pieces down.


Turn over and trim the excess paper.


To unify the background paint a layer of watered down gesso over the whole background.


Mount the unmounted stamps on an acrylic block and stamp images on the background.


Now to make the dress: Stamps the dress image onto a piece of newspaper. Trim the dress.


Color the dress with water color pencils and then paint with a layer of gesso.


Glue the dress onto a piece of patterned or scrapbook paper. Trim.


Glue the dress onto the background.

Add finishing details: Stamp with word stamps. Use color pencils to add details to the stamped images, color the folds of the dress with lead pencil and blend, add more gesso if needed.


Stamp a design on the bottom of the dress, color the edges of the card with pastels and blend with your finger, layer the background onto newsprint and tear it out.
Glue the final panel onto the folded card.


I would love your feedback on this.
Questions - are the steps complete? are the directions understandable? if you are a beginner, does this seem like something you could do? if you are a seasoned collage artist, do the steps ring true to you?

November 19, 2009

left overs

We had a lots of folks bring us dinner, baby gifts and flowers after we had Max. I love how babies bring out the loving, generous spirit in friends.

As my Mum usually is here to help us when I have a baby I have always said I don't need meals brought. But this time I didn't say no and am oh so glad I didn't. It was so good to not have to think about what was for dinner, good to not cook, and best of all good to eat something different. We were brought the loveliest of meals, and each one fed us for 2 days and some lunches! Thank you to my friends.

It has been lovely too having flowers about the house. I rarely get flowers for our house, but as Max's flowers are dying and we have been combining the healthy ones into one vase, I am missing the blooms in the kitchen, on the dining table, by my computer.

But there is nothing as lovely as a dying flower.

Makes me think of the movie Great Expectations.

November 17, 2009

Emily Dickenson - I am alive - I guess

I am alive - I guess

I am alive -- I guess --
The Branches on my Hand
Are full of Morning Glory --
And at my finger's end --

The Carmine -- tingles warm --
And if I hold a Glass
Across my Mouth -- it blurs it --
Physician's -- proof of Breath --

I am alive -- because
I am not in a Room --
The Parlor -- Commonly -- it is --
So Visitors may come --

And lean -- and view it sidewise --
And add "How cold -- it grew" --
And "Was it conscious -- when it stepped
In Immortality?"

I am alive -- because
I do not own a House --
Entitled to myself -- precise --
And fitting no one else --

And marked my Girlhood's name --
So Visitors may know
Which Door is mine -- and not mistake --
And try another Key --

How good -- to be alive!
How infinite -- to be
Alive -- two-fold -- The Birth I had --
And this -- besides, in -- Thee!

By Emily Dickenson

It is so good to be alive. Today as the weather in Texas finally feels like it should, cool and sunny, just in time for Thanksgiving next week. I am typing (one handed) with a sweet warm person, blanket wrapped, in my lap. It is good to be alive.

I am looking for poems that are all about birth and motherhood. I am telling you, they are hard to find. If anyone knows of any, please send me a link. Or if you have written one yourself, would you share? I want to read poetic visions of this most beautiful state of being.

Here is one I wrote for Max:

November Baby

bundled against this new cold
more a reminder of the place from which he came
wrapped these past months
an early gift

he breathes without me now
he thinks behind that rapid eye movement
his body a portal for a life untold
footfalls to be filmed
pre-whispers written

here I am again in love with the
necessary curling of limbs
the soft skull
it’s delicate hollow unfilled,
unfocused eyes,
mind not yet made up
on whether he likes the cold
his mother’s cradle, brown blankets
blue soother, bassinet, bouncy seat

the stroller waiting outside
to take him to new places
to the gate at the end of the drive.

November 16, 2009

Echo - Week 3 - Abundance

Collaboration is one of my favorite things. I need to have deadlines and accountability to pull myself out of the busyness of every day life and create. Shannon and I have been working together on various art projects pretty much since I met her 3 years ago. It is lovely to have that regular art friend contact to talk to and be encouraged and inspired by.

This 'Echo' collaboration was authored by Susan Tuttle and Chrysti Hydeck.

Shannon and I both come up with some images for the theme. I send her some which she pairs with her photos. She in turn sends me some images and I pair them with my own. So we each have an interpretation on the theme to post on our blogs. Here is Shannon's 'abundance' collaboration.

Over Christmas Shannon and I will be working on a couple of photo book collaborations that we will be sharing with the world in 2010, all on the theme of motherhood and art. I may be a little early in announcing that, but having the fire of accountability is like being plugged into an electric socket! We will get it done. We will :)


I have an article featured over on, on the theme of getting some creative stuff done over the busy holiday season! Go check it out.

Lily and I love watching the editor Jami's fun craft how to videos. Go to and scroll down to the 'Product Demo' section. There are usually 2 a month, we like to curl up on the sofa and watch them on my laptop. We always feel inspired to make something after that!

November 14, 2009

Back to making

Firstly, I wanted to say 'Welcome' to the new folks who signed up to follow this blog.

Remember, if you sign up (see the follow this blog tab on the right) you will be automatically signed up for my Dec-March weekly blog giveaway. I am cleaning house and giving away things I have made in appreciation to those who are with me on this artful journey. Check out my post about it to learn a little more!

Secondly, I have added comments to my blog as I have had a number of queries about how to comment. I appreciate you wanting to say hello. I usually get comments at Facebook as my blog post automatically appear on FB as a note, but not everyone is on FB, so please feel free to leave me a note here! I love to hear positive things :)


I took a card making workshop at my friend Nicole's house this morning. Nicole, a Stampin' Up consultant has everything laid out and cut ready to put together. Sometime is it nice to do something with your hands as you chat to friends and glue without thinking too much. Oh, and eat yummy food. Nicole had a lovely lunch prepared for us. Being a nursing mom I was first to dig in to quiche, muffins and fresh fruit. An unexpected delight. Thanks Nicole!

Now I have some handmade Christmas cards ready to go, in a year I had not planned to send cards!

And of course Max was there with me. He was perfectly well behaved. He was awake and then asleep and then awake. It slowed me down, but I was happy to be out on our first trip together, so no worries.

I have been working on my own card creations this week too. I have some stamps by Jenny Doh. They are adorable. Here are some of the cards I have made to send off to Stampington in my capacity as an Artist On Call. I have a few more in the works too.

November 13, 2009

The beginning of a relationship

Laura holding her brother.

Oh the sweetness of new.

I need to enjoy this while it is happening.

November 12, 2009

Children and the opera

My husband is taking the kids to the Opera on Friday night. Lohengrin. It is a tale of love and envy and sorrow. We have the book, we have the DVD, now they get to see the real life production. My kids love to watch opera, why? 1) because their daddy loves it, shares it with them and is enthusiastic about it 2) because we have children's story books with the opera stories, so they are familiar with the stories and 3) because it is loud and large and has great costumes.

We follow a similar pattern for all kinds of subjects - providing the opportunities for as much as we can while enthusiastically supporting all their interests. As a result my kids interest are wide, they don't know it is uncool to be interested both in sports and art, to be a jock and an indie.

They love poetry, art, reading, travel, juggling, time with family, church, their friends, music, gymnastics, karate, drawing, running wild in the forest, swimming, biking, going to the theater, singing, building houses on the porch, math, science, crafts, movies.... Of course, each of my children are drawn to slightly different things, Matthew to juggling more so than Lily; Lily to drawing more so than Laura; Laura to the opera and jazz music more so than Annie; Annie to storytelling more so than Matthew and so on. We recognize that and nudge them gently in the direction that seems to resonate with them most.

Like most parents I know today we spend hours talking about the kids, their personalities, interests, future. We are completely invested in who they are and are becoming.

I so wish I could go back in time and be like my kids. I remember being so bored as a child, with little interest in anything. My parents believed the schools would teach me about life and somehow magically I would find my path.

Eventually I did, I am here, a mother who does collage art and some photography and writing, but how I wish I could have found this path earlier. I am determined to be the adult version of my kids, I continually search for enthusiastic models for my life experience. I have written my book, hoping that it will be a model for someone, a young mother who wants to find the time to do art. If I can help one person find the path for them then all this work will be worth it.

In preparation for the Opera, Lily made her own illustrative book of Lohengrin. I used my new 'Bind It All' machine to bind her book.

November 09, 2009

November 07, 2009

Zutter 'Bind it all' (and new baby shots too)

Recently I sent some loose journal pages to Stampington & Co. and they bound them together with this machine - Bind it all by Zutter to make a finished journal. The journal is featured in the Autumn 2009 copy of Somerset Memories.

I was so enamored with this tool that I bought one myself. My mind boggles with the possibilities - binding photos, my kids stories and art, gifts of journals, storybooks I write for my kids.

I made one book before I had Max, I got round to binding it yesterday. I was amazed at how easy it is to use. I just followed the directions of this Stampington Video:

Here is how my book turned out:

I used the Bind it all Machine, the 6x6 canvas board covers and the Antique Brass O-wires 3/4 inch set. You can get all these supplies at Stampington & Co.


I can't help it, my camera eye is itching. Max is so sweet and my kids are so in love with their brother. He is constantly pawed and held and loved. I can't help but try to capture these moments.

November 05, 2009

Cherishing these days

I had forgotten how small, how helpless newborns are.

How much they sleep and nurse.

How much sleep I need.

How mother and child fit together so perfectly.

Max has brought all this back to me.

He has brought me back to a time of immobility in a busy world.

I know this time of tiny is so fleeting, so precious. I am soaking it up, thinking about who he will be and how complete and perfect life is right now.

Oh how good God is and His creation! *Sigh*

November 04, 2009

November 03, 2009

Into the world

11/02/09 5:09pm
8.5 lbs, 20 1/4 long

We'll call him Max.

November 02, 2009


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