October 29, 2010

Art Finds Friday - October 29, 2010


I have been lugging around my rather large 50D camera and 28-135mm lens for  sometime now. I can get fab shots with it. But you know with a wriggling almost toddler it has become too cumbersome. I recently found myself leaving my camera at home so as not to handle both Max and a large camera. Then I get upset at all the shots I am missing. Not so much the arty shots, but more so the recording shots, the life shots, ones that generally don't make it onto this blog. More the type of photos I would post to Facebook, if I had time to do Facebook!

Finally, when I was exploring old photos on my external hard drive I found many old everyday shots I have of my kids when they were younger. I can't get enough of them. So I broke down and bought a point and shoot camera!
me & my new point and shoot at Academy sports shop
 It has a wide angle lens, which I don't know if I like, so while I may exchange this model I am enjoying having this option to capture shots like this:


Cowboy Junkies 'I Cannot Sit Sadly by Your Side'

I have always loved slow sad music. Full of mood.

Lisa of She's Sew Dottie has a lovely new blog that shows off her sewing projects worn by her beautiful children. I like this site because she seems to be all about Artistic Mother things - creating and children. She has a good refresher post on taking photos with kids, we can never be reminded too many times.


Do as I say, not as I do! I do not take good care of my brushes. I often abuse them by leaving them in paint filled water, bristles down. I use them for glue and then the bristles stick together and they end up in the trash. Oh, so bad. Fortunately my brushes are not $10 a piece. No, I buy the value packs at Hobby Lobby or Walmart. There you can get a packet of 25 various size brushes for $4.99. For mixed media and craft paints that is the way to go.

October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mark

October 25, 2010

One thing I love about being a mom

One thing I love about being a mom is that I can make a human being happy and comfortable.

When Maximus is upset he looks for me. I can cuddle him and make it all better. When he is tired he looks for me. I can scoop him up and put him for a nap. When he is hungry he cries for me. I can nurse him. And then he smiles. He smiles and is comforted and happy. And I did that!


The lyrics of his life
were written in silence
before the first sand fell
before the dream began

Born with his mouth wide
the scream releasing his need

I am his mother, so I hear
I hear it first
I orient my face
follow the sound
take the right steps
knowing always the formula,
fine and frayed

We are frozen in this time
dancing every day
just to feel the shift of the earth,
of the world beyond ours.

October 22, 2010

Art Finds Friday - October 22, 2010

Annie Rose in my hallway

I had some of my photos onto large stretched canvas by ePingo. Here is one of them. I just love having a huge Annie Rose in my hallway! It is not cheap, this photo at 27x18 inches was about $80, but ePingo do a really good job, their customer service is excellent and I have this memory of Annie forever.


This week I used some new paints - Eco-Friendly paints by Eco Green Crafts. I got these paints from Stampington & Co. I can't see them listed on the Shoppe, but I am sure they will soon.

I have only 2 colors Sand and Moss.
Pros - very liquidy paint, goes one lovely and thick, nice rich colors, mixes well, for those into eco friendly supplies well they can be assured their money is well spent.
Cons - none so far!
A Christmas guest book I am working on. I painted this cover with the Sand Eco-Friendly paint.


Pomplamoose. Oh her voice, so light, so sweet. The texture of the sounds. That tune, the words. "The Greatest thing is to love and be loved in return". 
Thanks Shannon for the rec!


This week I would like you to go visit Juliette Crane. She does the most adorable, almost fairytale-ish, owl mixed media paintings. And check out her home tour post, I love to look inside other folks houses, don't you? Thanks Juliette for letting us stop by for a visit. All the best with your art.


October 20, 2010

Balsa Wood Ornament Video Tutorial

These ornaments are quick and easy to make. Especially if you have your background papers ready to go!


Balsa Wood Ornament Tutorial from Shona Cole on Vimeo.

Supplies needed:
- Background paper. Click here for my tutorial on making background papers. 
- Balsa wood, which is a super light weight wood that is typically used in the crafting of model airplanes and so on. I did a quick search to see where you can get it online and I found it here at JoAnn's fabric store.
- Craft knife (and cutting board) and or scissors
- awl or bead reamer to punch a small hole
- Rubber stamp. I used a stamp that I got from Stampington & Co. in my capacity as an Artist On Call for them.
- Glue, I used a regular glue stick
- 26 gauge jewelry wire and wire cutter
- Craft paint and brush
- 7 inches of thin ribbon
- some beads for decoration

In my book, The Artistic Mother, the 5th project the "butterfly reminder" is made using balsa wood. If you own my book and are thinking about having a go making a 'butterfly reminder' then I hope this gives you a feel for working with balsa wood.

I thinks these ornaments will end up on Lily's pink Christmas tree this year! Did I just say Christmas???

October 18, 2010

The Perception of Mess

I can tolerate a fair amount of mess, for instants on my craft room table, in my school room, at least for a while. But after a few days I feel the discomfort well up, I miss the clean lines of the floor and tabletops and then it bursts and I make the kids help me in a flurry of clean up. Usually when this happens I am a little blustery with them, huffing and puffing about how they don’t respect their things or my wishes to keep the house tidy.

The other day I was sitting at my computer which sits on the bar and I looked over into the dining room/kitchen, which is an area I like to be consistently tidy, and I caught myself sighing over the disorder:
Playing Clue on the dining room table after school

 But then I stopped myself and thought ‘you know my kids moved the table centerpiece to play a board game!’ I have these awesome kids and they are happily playing, together, in the middle of the day! This is a good thing.

At that moment I reminded myself that mess is going to happen with kids about, there will be a bulky high chair and an abundance of dishes in the sink. Reality. And instead of seeing my house as something lovely that gets messy I can choose to see that this house is a lovely backdrop for my kid's life and activities.

These chair are their thrones at meal time.
These walls are the color of their daily life.
These ornaments are the texture of their story.
Matthew, Lily, Laura, Annie, Maximus - they are the main characters, the reason for the theatre!

My home is not meant to look like a house in a magazine article. My home is meant to be for living. For the living of my babies, my little people. That is so freeing!

After choosing to change the way I look at things, later in the evening I even sat on the chaise lounge with Mark before the dishes were cleaned away! Wow, that was a big deal for me because usually I like to relax after the kitchen is clean. And it was a nice time, the kids were playing and we got to chat about the day. And then I cleaned the kitchen.

I won’t become a slob any time soon, it is not in my character, but I am practicing being a little cooler and keep my focus on the people rather than the things.

Annie Rose, 4 1/2

My house is the backdrop to the story of my kid’s life. I like that.

October 15, 2010

Art Finds Friday - October 15, 2010


I have joined an online group called Mortal Muses. There are 9 leaders or muses and they post challenges each week in their main site and then group members can upload themed photos to the Mortal Muses Flickr group. There is also an ongoing theme of 'Everyday Beauty' which has it's own Flickr group. I am still getting a feel for it, but it resembles Shutter Sisters. There are a lot of productive, creative women out there taking some fine shots!
Everyday Beauty


ATCs I made with the Claudine Hellmuth Studio paints

Product: Claudine Hellmuth Studio paints
- Altered orange
- Purple palette
- Modern red
- Blank Canvas
Pros: Lovely creamy paints, covers well, vibrant colors. I love dipping the brush into the open jar rather than having to squeeze the paint out onto a palette. I am so glad I bought these, I think I will get some more colors.
Cons: more expensive than cheap-o craft paint (but you pay for what you get, ie this paint is better quality), the paint seems to dry even faster than craft paints (and I live in a super humid climate where nothing dries!)

Where to buy them? Stampington & Co.  and Micheals art and hobby store in the US.


I discovered the blog Mama Without Borders when visiting some of the folks who are listed on my sidebar as 'followers'. Minerva used to be a journalist and is now a stay at home mom to 2 lovely kids and she blogs about "about creating a beautiful home with finds from around the world that reflect a love for the arts, crafts and crafting, handmade goods, and vintage treasures". Her blog is full of lovely rooms and inspiration. My favorite is the 'children's nook' section. Take a look!


Balsa wood ornaments!

I made these balsa wood ornaments using the background papers I made on my first video tutorial.

Next week on Workshop Wednesday come back to watch a 5 minute video of me making this ornament!

October 13, 2010

October 11, 2010

The flawed mother

I am particularly hard on my kids if they ever dare utter the words ‘I’m bored’ or ‘what should I do now?’. I won’t tolerate that mainly because in my life I have struggled with being bored and aimless.

Before the age of about 28 I didn’t have any dreams or goals. I lived in a vacuum of the present tense. I lived life affected by the moment, affected by those around me and the goings on of the day. I never  considered developing any skills to any accomplished level. I have journals full of angst, desperate words wanting to believe in and be excited about something, anything! I tried many activities – dance, poetry, fine art, academics -  but nothing ever stuck with me. 

I think that now I do have what I was missing - purpose, drive and passion (how I finally got that is a story in itself, for another day) - I hold that up as a yardstick in my parenting. This can be a good thing, but it can also be potentially harmful.

Left image by Shannon Mucha, right by me

In the case of combating pointlessness - I give my kids lots of options, of things to do and believe in. I talk to them about the importance of finding something to love to do. If my kids show any interest in any topic we talk endlessly about it, buy a book about it, sign them up for a class, take them to a show, order a documentary on it from Netflix, generally generate excitement about the topic. We cover every base!

It could be argued that it is unfair to do that to my kids - to fill up their minds and schedules because I am particularly sensitive to what I lacked by way of passion. I swore not to try to live out my life through my kids, like the stage parent who pushes their kid to be an actor cause they missed the boat themselves. But it is hard not to, isn’t it?

But as it also stems from a desire for them to be happy and productive (I could never wish the emptiness of pointlessness & boredom on them), I can cut myself some slack here, but I think it is good practice to keep in context my personal failings. 

So while I don't let my kids say they are bored. Ever. I do realize that sometimes having nothing to do as a kid can be freeing and helpful. So sometimes I purposefully don't give them stuff to do and tell them to go play. And you know, they always find something fun to do or create. My goodness the amount of stuff my kids create in a week is astounding!

And in regards to their interests - if it sticks, great we keep going. If not, we let the interest fall by the wayside. I really don’t mind what they are interested in, as long as they are interested in something! Life is so full of good stuff to do and believe in, I want them to help them find their path.

So my principle is - when I feel myself getting overly upset at how they are acting I look at myself to see if it is something that has been my own issue. I try to step back and be cool. Then I pray that they are protected from my shortcomings and that good things will come from them instead!

October 08, 2010

Art Finds Friday - October 8, 2010

I got some Glimmer Mist from Stampington & Co. last week.
sea glass - a very light blue, so light it is only good for spraying on white
olive vine - a lovely strong green
sunflower - end of summer kind of yellow
red velvet - soulful red

Pros - I like using paint spray effect, fun to use and cheerful.
Cons - these bottle leak and drip like mad. I have to remember to put the cap on before I shake them as they splatter all over!

I have recently discovered Kate Earl while listening to my Fiona Apple station on Pandora. I enjoy the sound of her voice and this kind of sad music.

A picture Lily, 8 drew last week of Mr. Duck, something that caught Laura's eye when 'antique' shopping!

Each week I will be linking to one of the artists who have chosen to 'follow' this blog. I believe that by checking in here they are probably somewhat of a like mind, a person that I would be friends with in 'real life' and so I wanted to recognize our community a little. 

Becky Caldwell of The Gritty Bird
I love her eclectic jewelry designs. And the sound of her life:
"My days are generally spent running the house, home-schooling and working on my art. My work includes mixed-media paintings and jewelry. I truly love making things and honestly I get a bit down if a day goes by that I don't get to. Creating has now become my therapy, my release. There is nothing more wonderful and freeing then watching your art slowly come together and then joy of seeing the finished results." Becky Caldwell
A kindred soul!

* note I have changed this column to Art Finds Friday rather than just five things, that way I can focus on arty things - art in the larger sense of the word: 2D and 3D art, photography, mixed media, poetry, links to artist's sites, supplies, ideas relating to and so on. 

See you next week,

October 06, 2010

Workshop Wednesday

I am still only learning how to do video. It made sense to start at the very beginning and do a quick video for you on how I make painted and stamped background papers. Back in March I did a photo tutorial on the same subject, so while this is pretty much the same information it is fun to see it in video form. I would like to get quicker at making these. The whole process was 4 hours from making the video to editing it, not including stoppage time to take care of the kids!

I use my painted backgrounds for so many things. It is a good prep step for mixed media work.

Making painted and stamped background papers from Shona Cole on Vimeo.

Note on the video: In case it is not clear I worked on 2 sheets at the same time and show me painting both of them. The colors I used were: Purple Cow by Americana, Metallic Gold by Ceramcoat (I refer to it as bronze in the video at one point!) and Baby Pink by Anita's - all cheap craft paints from my local craft store, Hobby Lobby.

I hope you enjoyed that! Let me know what you thought - is the video too long? hard to see/grainy? Did I leave out any details? I plan to do some more videos, so any feedback would be helpful.

I did another tutorial video over on CRESCENDOh, this one is about 2 minutes long and is on 'making rubber stamps your own'

It isn't apparent, but I did that whole video with my 11 month old on my back, thanks to my Ergo. He was lulled to sleep by my movement and talking!

October 04, 2010

Mother Muses Monday - starts today!

So today I begin my musings about motherhood. I have brainstormed lots of topics that hopefully are interesting to you - from abstract parental vision to concrete issue involving schooling and behavior, to making time for art while raising kids.

To kick off my Mother Muses column I wanted to share a little about my parenting philosophy. It is not very concrete but that way you can see where I am coming from.

3 of my 5 kids

You know, I can't really talk of my parenting without including my husband, Mark. He and I are a team...... Well we see our kids as individuals. Due respect and assistance. We see that they need to learn to navigate this world ‘cause one day they will be fully functioning members of society.  And that it is our job to get them there, as parents, teachers, guides and later friends.

We believe it is our job to discern what it is they need to learn about and are exposed to as they grow. We see it as our special privilege to do this, something that takes time and effort, but that is worth every morsel. Our parenting comes before everything else we do with our time ~ art and jobs included. So we constantly seek out ways to help develop their character and educate their minds.

But also we see that they are not ours to boss around and make them into people they were not designed to be. Neither do we see them as appendages meant to make us look good. So we tread carefully as we parent. God has a plan for each of our kids and we will do everything in our power to not mess that up, but to help bring that plan to fruition!

In our search for the right parenting path we look for wisdom in the Bible, through talking with friends and through our constant analysis of our kid’s personalities and actions, gifts and interests. Really, Mark and I go on weekly dates and spend a whole lot of time talking about the kids!

We really do enjoy our kids. They are all so different, so interesting to us, so beautiful, so awesome. We feel deeply lucky, blessed and all other good things to have each of our five children. We know them, we have fun with them. We strive to show them the best things in the world - art, culture, academics, books, media, friends, church, travel, family, Biblical truth.  We strive to make them feel loved, secure, free and utterly accepted.

Bottom line is that we try to actively love our kids, each independently, but also as part of the Cole family. Everything we do is steeped in love, love, love. Love covering our scheduling decisions, our tone of voice, our soothing when we get tired or mad. Love covering our plans, our fun activities, our discipline of poor behaviors and habits. Love in our prayers for them.

Yes, prayers. I pray for my kids daily. I thank God for their lives, I pray for their health and safety (body, mind and spirit) and that they will be sheltered from my bad qualities and that I will be a good Mommy.

So that is the outline, the heavy stuff. Next week I hope to be a little more light hearted. But then again, I am not a particularly light hearted person, especially when it comes to my kids! So we’ll see!

If you have any questions or comments on what I say here, please leave them. I may not be able to respond to every comment, but I read them and if you ask a question I will get back to you. I also would love to hear from you. I would love to know your parenting philosophy. Perhaps consider sharing it on your blog too? Let me know.

(Oh, I am so excited I have a 5 minute video lined up for you on Workshop Wednesday!)


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