August 28, 2010

Quick and easy soda can earrings

At lunchtime the other day I was browsing the 3rd issue of Stampington & Co. Greencraft magazine and I was arrested by the simplicity, beauty and brilliance of earrings on page 24-25 made by Loretta Castagnolo - out of soda cans!!! I showed them to Lily, who is 8 and into anything pretty, and who as expected wanted me to make her a pair.

We literally took a can out of the trash can, cleaned it and within 10 minutes had a pair of pretty pink earrings ourselves! How is that for immediate gratification?

It helps that I have jewelry making supplies ready in my craft room. But really it didn't take too much - just a butterfly hole punch (mine is a Martha Stewart one), 20 gauge wire, wire cutter, needle nose pliers, awl and earring findings.

1) cut the top and bottom off the can (careful, it is sharp)
2) punch the image (butterfly) from a pretty part of the can
3) use awl to make little hole in butterfly
4) cut a piece of wire about 2 inches long. thread wire onto butterfly, twist into S loop, trim any excess
5) attach the earring finding to wire

Thank you to Loretta for her inspiration (I would have contacted her to ask her permission but there was no contact email or website in the magazine and google turned up little by way of her name).


Last week the winner of my Saturday giveaway chose decorative over functional. That leaves the function journal free for this week's winner.....


of Shimmer and Tulle

Let's talk over email so I can get your address and mail you your journal!


Please check out my post on the Wishstudio. I particularly like this essay as it is all about keeping a positive mind, a mindset necessary to soar through the artistic mother life!

In contrast to the photo of my little guy crying over at the Wishstudio:

Momma loves you Maximus

August 26, 2010

This might surprise you....

This might surprise you but since this time last year I have only read my book once. And that was to proof read it before printing!

I don't know why I can't pick it up and read it, but I can't. I agonized over the words and the order of the ideas when I wrote it, but it seems once it was 'out' of me I couldn't go back. I am looking forward, fleshing out the proposal for a possible sequel. But, to my delight, I have found that in the process of looking forward I am actually living the life that I described in my first book!

That realization is such a relief to me because I have often thought to myself 'who am I to instruct anyone how to be an artistic mother?' I see so many awesome Momma bloggers and artists and photographers out there who seem to have it all together. I think 'what could I possibly bring to the table?' Well, I see now that I brought an honest reflection of a process of living that actually works and is real.

Somehow I got the chance to tell my story in book form and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I am not great with words. I stumble over them, I can't find them as easily as I 'see' them in my head*. For example, to the gentle chagrin of my 'words man' husband I can't say which is left or right quickly without visualizing them first; my goodness how many times have I told Mark 'left.... I mean the other left'! Writing a book was the perfect venue for me to communicate words. From the comfort and silence of my home I could mold my ideas, shoot them off to my editor and have her cut out all the unnecessary waffle. A book is the slow old fashioned way of communicating and that suits me fine.

I know my book is not rocket science, but it is practical and I stand behind what I wrote by the way I live my life. I know I am not a cutting edge artist, but my book has projects that I enjoy doing and are easy and accessible to other busy Moms like me. Moms who like small, pretty family focused things; Moms like me who have one foot in the artsy world and the other in the intense world of raising children - with all their demands for food & cuddles, their laughter and sibling squabbles.

So when I think back to what I said in my book - the stuff about scheduling and art goals and doing a little bit of art a day and seeking inspiration in family - I know it is all good stuff. I am putting it into action, even now months and months after reading my book.

I hope that I do get a chance to do another book (I have have been sitting on a book #2 proposal waiting for the summer & house remodel to be over so I could get back to it) but you know if I don't I am pleased with my first one. And judging from the folks that have contacted me there are enough who like it too. If you own a copy of my book and have gained even one little piece of inspiration from it then I am satisfied. Communication needs to have a purpose and my purpose was to hand on the keys to the life of the artistic mother to as many as will listen!

* Oh, and if you are taking part in the wishstudio playgroup on August 30th, then you will hear me stumble over my words on video!!!

Now let me break the rules of blogging and post my gratuitously pretty photo that is totally unrelated to my post, and post it at the end of the post rather than the start!!!! It was inspired by photos by the fabulously talented Shannon Mucha!


Check in on Saturday to see if 1) you won the follower giveaway and 2) you want to see the adorable soda can earrings I made my daughter this week inspired by Greencraft magazine!

August 21, 2010

Peek inside #3

In my book, The Artistic Mother, there are some projects that have multiple pages, some that couldn't be shown due to space limitations. But as I was in possession of all of the art work in my book at some point or other I can give you a unique peek inside.

This week I would like to show you another of the Round Robin books, shown on page 22 of my book - the one started by the very talented mixed media artist Carrie Harney.

Other pages in this Round Robin book are by Mindy Mitrani, Cindy Mayfield, myself and Sarah Keith.

Confused? well, just enjoy the artwork!


I never know quite what some one would like to own - something decorative or something functional. So this week I am giving away the choice of each.

1) Something decorative (this wall hanging):


2) something functional (this notebook):

which will the winner of this week's Saturday giveaway choose?

I wonder.....

who gets to choose anyway?

it is.....

Kristin of Acorn Hill Studios

congratulations! let's talk via email, you can tell me if are you decorative or functional.

For everyone else, next Saturday I will have another follower giveaway.


Over at the Wishstudio there will be a Q&A for the contributors to the site, myself included. It seems that you can submit a question for myself or any of the other contributors and then the answers will be posted at a later date! Sounds interesting! I may ask a few myself of the other gals.

August 14, 2010

Kitchen re-do video

The dust has been cleared away and I am officially back to an organized life. Phew, my advice - don't go into a kitchen renovation lightly. It really does affect every part of your world. Thankfully, I am loving my new kitchen; the space and style suits our family. (you can see a little of what my old kitchen looked like in this post from 2009)

The new look Cole kitchen

I have a lot of catch up to do in terms of Somerset art deadlines, so it will be a while still until I am back to regular blogging. I promise to be here on Saturdays. After that, if I get to visit your blog and do more posts I will consider it gravy.

Here is a video I made last night of my kitchen.

Mentioned in this video are:

Shannon Mucha, my dear friend who came over on numerous occasions to help me arrange my house and reestablish order.

And the Wishstudio playgroup 'wish play create'. I am leading the first of 5 weeks of crafting classes. Mine is on August 30th. You can sign up for it here at the Wishstudio.


I am busy planning my year schedule. One thing I am super excited about is that Laura is starting ballet and jazz. I just have this feeling that she has what it takes to be a dancer and this could be the beginning of that path. I found a class that is on the same time that Lily is at gymnastics, so schedule wise it is doable. I have always loved dance. I recommend this dance video, the quality of the recording is not great, but the feeling is all there. It is a beautiful picture of marriage.

My dream has always been that one of my children would be a dancer, one a singer/musician, a writer and one an artist/photographer. (I do not tell them this, I do not want to be a stage mother and I don't want to influence them from their God given path, but I am sure that it oozes out at times). Oh, but to see talent develop in front of me would be bliss.

Laura will be doing ballet this year!


On to this week's giveaway. 

To recap - I like to giveaway something handmade to folks who sign up to follow my blog. It is a way to practice giving and to say thank you for being a part of my blog. I have been doing this on Saturdays since late last year. I use the random generator to find a winner. 

This week I am giving my 'winner' a choice of gifts. 

First choice is this little birdhouse. It is wooden and decorated with scrapbook papers, stamps and paint. It was featured in a Stampington magazine, but I can't remember which one! 

You can see it hanging from it's beaded handle in my craft room:

The second choice is this ATC notebook. I showed how I made it a few months back in this blog post.

and the choice goes to

Nelesc of The Reconstructed Life

Let's talk over email. I can get your mailing address and your choice and mail it off next week.

Thank you to everyone who is listed at a follower of this blog. I appreciate your shout out of support.

August 07, 2010

August Follower Giveaway

This is a little recycled paper journal I made a few months back with my Bind It All machine. All the journals I make are one of a kind. I can never bring myself to repeat what I made. Sometimes I have a hard time with giving my stuff away. I know I can't hoard it all forever, but when it is gone to a new home, it is gone. So I don't take my giveaways lightly. It is bitter sweet, while I want to hang on to everything I make, I am happy that my artwork is going somewhere, to be used and appreciated.

My goodness, I am up over 700 on the followers list! That is astounding to me, humbling too.

Today there is only one winner of this journal. And using the trusty random generator I would love to give it to.....

Jayne of the blog A Novel Novelist who lives in the UK.

Thank you for being a part of my blog. I will contact you by email to your your address :)

And thank you for everyone else too. You make this a blog worth keeping up.

sometimes a slice of cake is just what you need

August 06, 2010

finishing projects

So while I am waiting for up my home remodeling project to finish up (floors being laid today) I am planning my year. I am making my goals and visions for this year's art and school and life in general.

One new goal for my older kids (Lily age 8 & Matthew age 10) is for them to do some finished craft projects. I was going through last years stuff, putting away workbooks, sketching projects and paintings on construction paper in the abyss that is my school closet and I noticed how prolific my kids are; but also how many drawings and paintings are not quite realized, not quite finished enough to say 'done'. Which has been fine up to now, they are young and is still fine for my 6 & 4 year olds, but I am going to expect more from Lily and Matthew this year. So I am planning out projects for them that will result in finished pieces. I think that it is good for them to see something through and for them to feel pride in their handiwork.

To that end, as I mentioned in my last post, I am taking part in an online Mom and kids art workshop at the wishstudio. Here is a little bit more about the classes. I hope you will join us, it is going to be fun & perhaps your older kids could take part in too:

this fall, carve out some juicy creative time for you and your little ones and join our online art playgroup!  the group runs for 5 weeks from august 30th through october 3rd.every monday a new 1 hour project will be presented by a fabulous guest teacher encouraging you to play and create in a variety of different mediums throughout the weeks.  our virtual open studio allows you to work from home, at your own pace, and when it’s most convenient for you.  along with all the artsy fun you’ll enjoy connecting with other moms and sharing your work and creative time in our private playgroup flickr pool.  all projects are designed to be inspiring and engaging for both mom and child – this is not simply just for kids! supply lists will be provided in advance for you to gather everything you’ll need for each project.  our exciting  and exclusive schedule of workshops is as follows:

august 30th :: Mixed Media Love with Shona Cole
september 6th :: All About Me Photography with Tracey Clark
september 13th :: Hearts of Stone ~ Plaster Pendants with Stephanie Lee
september 20th :: Wish Jars with Mindy Tsonas
september 27th :: Spirit Dolls with Pixie Campbell
the playgroup costs $48 and you’ll find full class descriptions and registration on our workshops page.
hope you’ll join us and help us spread the word!


Tomorrow I will be announcing the first August, 2010 Follower giveaway winner. 


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