December 21, 2011

these days are sweet
my little ones are preparing,
counting the seconds
until Christmas morning.
like the original children
naming the coarse sugar
that sparkles on the tongue
from the curve of a cookie

I am tempted to hide
from the loud goodness that is here
but I enter the kitchen of seasons
composed and ready
my tranquility measured out
in spoonfuls
by my God who knows how much I need

today, everyday

December 17, 2011

And so life goes on
dogs fight and get hurt
unplanned vet visits are added
to an already busy week,
somehow school gets fitted in,
the toddler screams for a 'nu nu'
Mama tries to understand
as the laundry quietly grows
and lunchtime rolls round again

But later the lights are lit
on the living room tree
and the world becomes low and pretty
all woes forgotten, forgiven even,
the sounds are soothed in the dim space
and now appreciated for the life and soul they represent

the light always moves us like that
showing over and over a place of birth
a sudden energy, a new spirit
that makes everything brighter.

December 15, 2011

It's the season

It's the season of sparkles
and lights, evergreens and globes,
smiles and counting down,
full days and forgotten diets.

It's the season of caroling, 
red scarfs and hats,
plates of cookies, homemade and sugary
of silent nights, 
stars that appear in the sky, magically.

It's the season of the nativity
being shepherds or angels,
Mary wearing blue, Joseph standing by
in awe of what his woman has done.

It's the season of a gift given
wrapped and unwrapped
so inspiring
the thank you note is a book
written day in, day out
until the season comes again
and we find the next chapter is only beginning.

October 05, 2011


Annie, 5 and Shona
I feel rusty. Blogging. We used to be such good friends!

I am just popping in with an update.

Writing - I am still plodding through editing my novel. Two wonderful friends read it and gave me excellent feedback, all of which I took to heart. But the best thing was they loved it! They wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. That was what I wanted, no needed, to hear. So the story is in place and working. The sentences and grammar, well, I'm still hacking away at that.

I have started the process of writing another book. I have to say I prefer the creative production of the story to the editing process.

Photography - my iphone and I have become inseparable! And all those processing apps have cut down on the time it used to take to upload, import to photoshop, upload to the net etc. iphone - very busy artistic mom friendly indeed!

Mixed media - not so much. I have only so much time for creativity and until I get these stories out of my system I am loyal to the writing process. One day I will crawl out of this cave and return to my first love, visual art.  She is letting me go for now.

The apartment - completed and beautiful. We use it almost everyday for college classes my husband leads and a kid's art class I am teaching with Shannon Mucha. (I plan to take some good photos of the finished place soon and post them).

Lily, 9
And my family. My people. The lights of my life. The reason I get up in the morning. The beauty of my day.

Nothing could tear me away from this life, this mothering, this homeschooling world. So here are a couple of photos of my beautiful kids. A time stamp.

Oh and anyone interested in seeing photos from our 2011 summer in Ireland I have made a set of photos here in Flickr or on Facebook.
Laura, 7 looking so like me when I was little

Matthew, 11 got a new dog, Athena the perfect little dog for our family

Maximus James, almost 2, all boy, obsessed with trains and movement

Lily at her first gymnastics competition

The utter joy of homeschooling with our friends the Muchas. Bringing paintings to life. 

June 23, 2011


Just a quick note to explain my absence - I have been writing a novel!

Yep, I always wanted to do it, but never had the confidence or the story to actually do it. I tried about two years ago and set that aside. Back in March I needed a new creative project and I found an old journal where I wrote to myself about my big dream to write a novel.  I knew the time was right, I couldn't put it off anymore, so I just started. It took me about 3 months to write, writing a little every day. I finished my first draft at midnight on June 12.

Now I am in the editing process. I am reading my words through and seeing so many flaws. The story is good, but needs so much shaping and pushing and pulling.  This process is not as fun as the initial writing, but without sever editing no one will ever read it.

So on I plod. Making time, showing up to do the work no matter what kind of day I had. I am applying all the processes that I talked about in my book, The Artistic Mother. I am fitting creativity into my busy mommy life.

I would be lost without a creative project. It just happens that this year it is writing.

Kitchen colors!!
Well... and house designing/decorating too. These past few months as I mentioned in previous posts I have been birthing a new apartment. We are converting our garage into a granny flat. It is almost finished (next stop wood floors, then plumbing fixtures, paint touch ups and viola). My head has turned the corner to decorating - today I went to Target to pick out bedding and dish towels. I won't be able to fully furnish the place before we leave for Ireland this summer, but it will be ready enough. I will post pictures next month when it is closer.

Lily, 9 T-shirt painting

And of course, life with children continues. We have been doing a little school, just reading and writing, drawing and crafts, always crafts!

I hope you, dear visitor, are well and I do apologize for disappearing from blog land. All of my creative energy has been tied up in non-internet related activities. And it feels good. I am where I need to be right now.

May 06, 2011

Blank slate update

I have decided on the color scheme!!! It seemed that 'cool' was most popular, thank you to those who commented and emailed me, your input was helpful in my decision making process.

My husband Mark weighed in also and said we needed to pick a color that allowed us to put furniture from our house out there (he plans on buying some new things for our house), so that means we have to go somewhat warm (as most of our furniture is heavy and dark). I found a compromise. I have chosen colors inspired by the stonework on the outside of my house and a tray with a glass bead handle that my husband won at a silent auction this week.

On the walls I will do a light, yellowy beige, the trim will be white and in some of the rooms the walls will be a light sea green blue/gray.  The accent colors will be burnt orange and turquoise. The fixtures stainless steel and the countertops black (with flecks of blue and yellow). I found a tile at Home Depot with all the colors in it for the backsplash in the kitchen. I am very pleased with how this is going!!!

If you are interested I did a video update and posted it to Facebook.

May 03, 2011

Blank slate

Yes, I know I am a lucky girl right now. I get to choose the color scheme for the granny flat we are building. This week I need to choose do I go warm, like my current house...

or cool...

I think my mother would like cool, Lily & Matthew wants cool. Mark likes bold, warm and colorful but will go with whatever I choose. I am torn. When I am looking at house books I always like to look at the cool, sea colored, shabby chic houses, but when I am in a furniture store I always go with big and heavy and medieval.

torn, torn, torn

I have this blank slate to work with. I think I will be mood boarding this week. 

View from door to French doors off living room

View from living room towards back bedroom (left) and study (right)

View from living room to kitchen, that window will have the sink below it

Taped, floated and ready for paint. Oh, I have to pick cabinet and counter top colors too!!

Do you have any suggestions for helping me make that choice?

April 20, 2011

Creative Spring

First things first....

Homeschool Mom advice.
Beading - colorful. bold.
It is the thing to do when she is 5 and everyone else is doing school.

Second. This: I am taking my own advice (the words I laid down in my book). Living day by day my own creative dream. Fitting art time into my day, everyday.

This time not mixed media, not even photography. I am writing. Creative writing. I feel like I am flying.

I hate to be so oblique here and not tell you exactly what I am working on. It is so against my nature to not be straight forward. But I have to honor the Spring of my creative venture. At least for now.

And my kids are ever growing and pushing inwards and I have to meet that challenge. I have to help keep their world moving forward. I have to keep them challenged and encouraged. Everyday my husband and I wonder where each of their huge personalities come from. One day is more awesome and creative than the next.

I look back at this blog and I am amazed at how many people I have met. It is wonderful to have found so many people who 'get' what I am doing here with my art and book and homeschooling and all that. People that are committed to living the artistic life in their homes too. I don't want to loose that. So please, while I am not blogging regularly please don't forget me. I will have something awesome for you in a few months. Seriously. Trust me. I am using my time diligently. I am excited and hopeful.

Stamp from CRESCENDOh 'Everyday Me' by Christine Mason Miller.

April 13, 2011

A touch of nostalgia

I made this using a supplies from Stampington & Co. For directions on how to make this card pocket folder please go here.

frozen in time
I see an old friend
from way back
he is looking in the window
of a store on Grafton street
his image tight
never older
I am looking from above
leaning from a small wooden chair
in Bewely’s mezzanine
and he doesn’t see me
he doesn’t even remember

those days, ‘Dublin
in a rainstorm in the summer
keeping warm’. But I remember it
I remember his thin shoulders
would pull up when he laughed
bending at the waist towards me
the smell of his leather jacket
I thought we would never make 19

‘we’ didn’t
but 'I' did

that was the year I met
the true love that
misses my shape when
when I am late for bed,
that knows my face
older now and loves me more.

‘Dublin in a rainstorm in the summer keeping warm’
- a line from my favorite Sinead O’Connor song ‘Troy

April 09, 2011


Thank you to my sweet girls for doing the 'beauty shot'
These are so cute - ABC flashcards. The directions, with photos, are over at CRESCENDOh. I know they are not 'art' but they represent so much of my life - making stuff for and with my kids. I made the cards for Max, but my girls set up the shot, adding in bits and pieces to make it a little group shot.

It just makes me smile.

I am going to finish off the rest of the alphabet by the time Max need them. I think I will have to get them laminated as they won't last as they are!

Being creative is such a joy, really. Creativity is a big part of our home and life. It makes everything possible and exciting. Everyday something happens here that is new and fun and artistic, be that my kids painting, building fairy houses and pet shop worlds or me making decisions on the apartment we are building for my parents making a necklace. A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I needed a big project. Well, I found one! I am not ready to reveal it until I have waded in a little deeper. But I am excited. I have something fresh to work on. I love fresh. I love spring. Don't you?

March 29, 2011

Around my home

I took a workshop called 'A Slice of Inspiration' with Darrah Parker over at the wishstudio. I didn't know it until I was doing it that I really, really needed that class. It was refreshing to walk around with her 'seeing' suggestions, capturing those details that I see but sometimes don't see.....

printer's drawers that house my bills and receipts

the almost tidy stairs where the light is lovely in the morning
lamp that was a glass jar at my entry
Max's trike in the fireplace???!!!

oh my speakers that make everything lovely

his patient waiting to get up

school in PJs

fridge love

I think that I like when my art time allows me 'see' my life, cause when I am just living it I know only the messy mundane.

Max is a typical 15 month old - climbing on tables and chairs, flushing the toilet, opening the fridge, rummaging in the pantry, spilling things just because he can. He is not bad, just curious. And messy. I can't watch him like I would a first child because I have to do school with the others. And so, he bounces around making messes that I have to tidy. I am so glad that God saw fit to give me an artistic vision. He knew I would not survive this crazy life without it!

March 25, 2011

Art has a life of it's own

I was really moved by this quote on Chatting at the Sky this week. Emily has been writing about art this year on her blog, so I have become a regular reader. She is a lovely writer, and seems like a nice, gentle, kind soul herself.

I am looking ahead and laying out possible 'big' artistic projects I want to work on. I have things I am making and I am doing creative things everyday - recently I have made 3 necklaces, altered a small journal cover, made a couple of cards, did a home photoshoot for the wishBIG ecamp (which I posted on Flickr), played with photoshopping two images together, wrote a few poems, edited 2 super short kid's videos and have a couple of mixed media projects for the weekend. And this will continue, but I need something new and consuming. Something exciting.

Usually, I panic when I don't have a project right in front of me. I get insecure. I call Shannon. I bug my husband. I flap my hands at God, even though I know that this in between project stage is part of the creative process. I just have to learn to let it sit well with me. Be okay with the uncertainty.

I think there is a little fear in me that I may never do anything worth a lick again. I am afraid that is it, the well is closed. But when I look back, that is never the case. I am constantly finding new things that excite me to do. 

But also, and why I like Emily's quote, "art has a life of it's own". So, art will find me as it always does. 


March 23, 2011

Journal prompt download

I created a pdf download to accompany my Good Coach series over at CRESCENDOh this month. Well, the download is available in this week's post and will be in the archives from now on!

There are 12 mixed media cards, some of which look like these photos (6 sheets, 2 up on a page) ready for you to print out at home and write on or cut up or whatever. Each card has a journal prompt that is related to the topic of artistic mothering. Just a little something to get you thinking.

If you want to download free some of my art head on over here.

 I also created a little folder to hold the 12 journaling cards so I have included also the how to directions for making the journal. It is really a simple project, and if you like folders and papers and books it is a satisfying project too. I hope you will take a moment to go visit and let me know your thoughts.

Oh and this weeks post is '5 tips for making time for art'. I wrote some pretty common sense things, but you know I need to be reminded of even the simplest things. When I doubt that, my husband says 'everyone knows how to do sit ups and other basic exercises, but there are countless exercise programs and books on the market which present some very basic truths over and over. He is right, we need to continually review and be reminded and refreshed. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to keep doing! 

These are the directions you get when you download the journal folder how to instructions!

I really appreciate Jenny Doh for creating this wonderful art space called CRESCENDOh and giving me the opportunity to be a part of it.

March 21, 2011

What happened at the front gate?

1:30 pm, I am at the front gate
sitting on the iron two seater
listening to my son cry for 'out' -
out of the stroller
out the straps that contain his form
of the wheels that brought him here.
He wants to explore -
walk the road
pick up rocks
examine the mail.

He knows not that there
is danger on the road -
fast cars, fire ants piled on the edge.
But more, he knows not that I am tired
I want to, no need to, sit here
quietly on this solid bench
away from the house
from the familiar asking of his siblings
from the sound of Schoolhouse Rock
multiplication songs,
songs, I know now by heart

He persists
he is his own energy force
and I am weak to his red round lips
his blond layers, his little boy blue.

A simple click of the red button
and he is free!

I rise and follow,

My camera now full of life.

I am breaking all the poetry rules by doing something so literal, but you know poetry of the ordinary is worth the rebellion ;)

March 16, 2011

Me too! video

Being the youngest of five Maximus has a lot of kids to watch and learn from. Fortunately, my big kids are wholesome and creative, fun and happy. Maximus likes to be with them and do what they do, go with their flow, join in the noise and be part of the ruckus.

The latest fad in the Cole home is scootering. Everyday my kids (minus Annie, who is just not the sporty type) go around and around the house, the garage, the driveway on their razor scooters. Their favorite place to scooter is outside on the road..... you can see what Max sees and how he wants to do it too:

Me Too! from Shona Cole on Vimeo.

And Laura, her sweet servant heart, is ready to help him in anyway he needs.

How is this boy only 10?

and me too! After that I raised the handle bars and man, those things can go fast!!!

If you are on Spring break, I hope you are having some fun family time. We are not as we had too much time off in January when my family were here! But it is hard to keep focused on grammar and math when the weather is so good in Texas. It is like an Irish summer, fresh and lovely. I love Spring.


I have a post over on CRESCENDOh about working with kids, it is a part 2 from last week's. I am talking about being mentally and physically prepared for doing art with kids. There is some meat there, some things to think about. I hope you check it out and if you do please leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts.


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