First Day of Teaching – Quite Peachy Actually

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I don’t know if I admitted it this past summer, but I didn’t really enjoy the classes I had been teaching.  I felt frazzled prepping for them and bored while there.  This left me a little gun-shy on pulling the trigger for teaching more art classes.

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Well let’s just say I’m glad I tried again. I had a blast this time!

The previous sketchbook class I taught was a 3 hour class once a week.  I planned three different projects for each class.  In a nutshell, I was dragging 6 boxes of materials in and up 3 stories and the kids didn’t have the stamina to do art for 3 hours… nor did I!

So, for this class I kept it simple.  Paints, brushes, canvases. And I made the class 1 1/2 hours long.

Just changing the amount of time worked better for my own personal fast paced energy.  Somehow, in the matter of 1 1/2 hours I got kids age 10-14 to add five different layers to these paintings.  Well the hair-dryers helped!  WE CRANKED which left no time for boredom or dilly-dallying and the kids were so astounded at what they’d done they were smiling ear to ear.

Ahhh, so that’s why you do it.  To see those faces.  Yeah, It was pretty cool.

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I also got to be a proud mama because I forced my daughter to take the class!  Look at her painting.  She’s only 10 years old!!!! What can I say, I’m her mom and a very proud one at that :)

Can’t wait to see what we do next week!

Thank you Universe :)

Dia de Muertos Skulls

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I have a girlfriend that is going to help me start up an Etsy store.  She thought it would be fun to start with a Day of a Dead theme.  I think most of us color loving folk can’t get enough of the Dia de Muertos motifs.  They are just so fun, whimsical and cheery.  Also celebrating our loved ones that have left this earth has a lot of beauty to it.  Pretty cool tradition.  To read more about Dia de Muertos, check out this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

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I just got the skulls to the final glaze fire.  They should come out very bright and playful…I’ll post their completion.

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I’m also still plugging away at these tiles.  I haven’t shared what they are for yet, but it’s a great idea…just wait and see!

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I start teaching acrylic painting today – Ages 10-14…I’m a little nervous…I’ll share how that goes…

I’ve started a new painting too. When I get far enough into it, I’ll let you see :)

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So I went from being snow struck with two bouts of flu, to dusting myself off and getting back into the world.

Feels good. I dare say!!!

A Valentine Breakfast

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I want to tell you about a tradition my mother started when we were little kids.

My mom worked full-time in another state and somehow with the very small amount of free time she was given always created a special home.

Most Valentines Days land during the week.  Single woman? Two little girls?  Yeah that’s romantic!

Out of necessity my mom created a very special Valentine tradition.

The night before she would pull EVERYTHING RED out of the cabinets.  Soup cans, cereal boxes, cups, dishes, scarves, pretty table clothe, you name it.  She found what she had and smeared all over our kitchen table. Then she would sprinkle candy hearts everywhere.

Somehow she took a regular old morning and made it MAGICAL.

This is what I carry in my heart.  You can create magic with very little and create memories that last a life time.  Thus the tradition continues!

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My heart was warmed to find these two extra table settings on Facebook this morning.  One was my little sister who has carried on the tradition with her kids and the other is my best friend from childhood who remarked how my mother had rubbed off on her to.

Ahhh….Amore. Sweet and Simple.

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Next, I am sharing with you the one treasure that was handed down to me from my departed grandparents. I have no idea why my mother, filled with the challenge of sorting through an entire home of 70 years of their life together handed me this. Maybe because she knew that as tiny a memento as it is, it would not go overlooked.  My grandfather was incredibly romantic.  He made cards for my grandmother every morning with her breakfast.  He drew heartfelt images on every one of his employees paycheck envelopes every Friday.  He was an amazing lover of people and life.

My thought on this little chipped porcelain trinket box with it’s cracked lid is that it must have been one of a thousand tokens of love my grandmother received.  Why was this one kept?  What about it allowed it to be glued back together and put back on the shelf?

I then go into detective mode. Was this piece of sea glass from a special trip?  Was it given on a special day?  Were they old then? Were they young? Where did the box come from?  What was it’s life story?

I keep it in my bathroom and every morning I think of my grandparents.  I think of my grandmother’s special little bunny collection in her shower window.  Their house, their time with all of us.

It’s strange how such little things can have lives of their own.  I hope my home is loaded with similar treasures and my kids have to sort through them when I go and carefully contemplate those who have come before them.

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I leave you with this image.  It sort of sums up this month for me.  Like this little bike stuck in the snow, I too have been stuck.  I’ve been sick with respiratory illnesses tied into two bouts of flu.  My energy has been zapped. All my dreams and aspirations put on hold as I wait to heal. I’m sort of frozen.  As I write the snow is coming down.  By tomorrow morning the little tricycle seat will have disappeared and there will not be much to show for this little bicycle.

Some day soon the light will shine, the earth will warm, and I too like this little bicycle will resurface.

Until then, I will rest up and embrace my dormancy.

Tis the season.

Happy Valentines Day Everybody.

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FABRIC FOR THE BIRDS

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MISSION COMPLETE – FABRIC PANEL COMPLETE!

CARDINAL FINAL PANEL3I actually finished this fabric design a few days ago, but the weather has been so lousy I couldn’t get a good photo and the computer editing was taking forever…I should go back and re-photograph …but not any time soon!  It’s good enough for me!

I just loaded my design onto Spoonflower ,ordered a swatch and now I must wait…I hate waiting!  If the fabric looks good I can make my design public and other lovers of Cardinals can order my fabric too.

Speaking of great love of Cardinals.  CBS Sunday Morning had a beautiful segment on Cardinals.  Check it out:  http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/nature-cardinals-in-the-oklahoma-snow/  I must warn you, this segment forces you to decompress, quiet down and be present… This is hard for me to do, but I truly understand its importance… treat yourself!

Other news…

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I have a 4ft x 6ft canvas sitting in my bedroom…massively unfinished. I plan on “JUST SAYING NO TO EVERYONE” in the new year – as politely as possible mind you, because my time has been leaking all over the place.  I need to take it back.  This starts Monday.  Sorry world.

Pottery – I’ve got nothing.  My poor instructor has been sick for almost a month which slowed the kilns to a stand still.  I have lots of cool things I’m doing there, but they have been locked up.  Next week I shall take pictures I hope.  Photos always allow me to visually see productivity, which I need since I always feel like I haven’t got much done!

I am working on stopping this.  The “WORRYING ABOUT TIME” thing.  I’m not sure why I always feel like I’m in a race or need to sprint to the finish line, especially since I don’t even know what the finish line is mind you!!!

Isn’t that the definition of insanity??? I have been feeling insane all month!

Well January is pretty much gone.  My New Years starts Monday.

Taking my time back

Creating an Action Plan

Stopping the Time-Worry Tape Recording in my Head

Freeing up Self to Embrace Happiness

Yep. Tall order.  But, I’m ready to dig in.

Wish me luck!

Block Island Laundry

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I am the worst blogger ever!  My last post was from the week before Christmas. Yikes!

I finished this painting before Thanksgiving and never posted its completion.  Somehow with all the holiday prep I threw it in the basement and never thought of it again until today.  This is also the time of year for booking Block Island summer rentals which I am sure helped me to remember.  Oh to be warm…hot even…. To think of a summer breeze…Oh, take me to that place!

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I just started creating ceramic tiles.  I have this awesome idea for what to do with them.  When they are completed, I will share my idea! I can’t wait. I can’t wait… I’m giddy with decorating excitement!

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I have these strange pottery experiments too.  I’m not totally thrilled with them, but they shall spawn other ideas.  I had a woman contact me from over ten years ago.  She used to love these polymer clay flower boxes I used to create. Here are some old photos of them…

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Sanding, painting and finishing the wooden boxes was way too labor intensive, so I stopped making them.  However, I’m thinking maybe I can use my old polymer clay concept, but in pottery?  I can’t get that amazing color in pottery glazes. So maybe I continue with polymer clay flower bouquets but attach them to pottery boxes instead of wood… well it’s on my radar…I’m still thinking about this one…

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OK. I am one hour away from completing my cardinal fabric design.  I need to stop playing on my computer and get back to work.

I plan on whipping myself back into shape and doing a lot more blogging and art making…so better get going!

Thanks!  M

Take My Advice – NO ELF ON A SHELF BEFORE DEC 15th!

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I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but for me, the elf on the shelf is a struggle!!!

There is nothing worse than your kids waking up and finding the elf in the same place as the night before.  We tell our kids Charlie our elf must have gotten trapped in a snow storm traveling to the North Pole the night before, but this only works so many times before they are crushed.

The reality is my husband and I can’t manage 25 days of hiding an elf.  Simply put, ten days is pushing it!

I made the mistake of having our elf come to the door packaged from the North Pole each year.  This in itself is getting hard to keep up!

So our elf has gone from coming on Dec.1st to slowly making his way to arriving on December 15th… This means Mom and Dad only have to make it through ten days of hiding and still we struggle!

Sadly, my poor kids keep asking and asking where our elf is when everybody else from school got their elves three weeks ago!

And here I am dropping the ball yet a little bit further…Charlie our elf is coming on Dec 18th… an all time low.

So how do I curb my kids disappointment?  With creative writing of course.  Now my kids get amazing letters with their elf or should I say amazing excuses :)

This year Charlie the elf was in charge of South America.  Next year he might only be responsible for half of the state of Rhode Island which will free him up to come closer to Dec 1st… but then again, next year he may be in charge of China which means he might not make it until December 23rd…

Either way I’m covered :)

You know if you are going to lie to your kids about mystical figures, why does it matter how much you lie?

A lie is a lie.  I still don’t even know why we do this to our kids?  I only know it’s been passed on from generation to generation and there is a small bit of satisfaction in doing to others that which was done to you…

So there it is.  I stink at following up on these crazy traditions.  My kids are lucky if the tooth fairy remembers to drop some bit coin…

So to all of you out there…LIE.  Lie your pants off…change the tradition to fit your schedule and lifestyle.  You’ll thank yourself and the kids won’t ever know what was real to begin with.

But it’s all good….because remember…

SANTA LOVES YOU!   ;)

Taking the Christmas Out of the Cardinal Motif

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My title sounds very humbuggy doesn’t it?  Well it wasn’t really my intention.

It all started with a dream.  I was dreaming about designing fabric.  Thanks to Spoonflower I can actually do that without spending another ten years in school!  In my dream I wanted a cardinal fabric, but I wanted a cardinal fabric for all year round, not just a holiday fabric.  What I mean by this is if you look at notecards, fabrics and wrapping paper they generally only use cardinals in the winter or Christmas season.  Cardinals are usually depicted in a blue background with snowy trees, or with red ribbons, pines and berries -you know Christmassy. In my dream I made a fabric that showed my love of these birds during the other seasons of the year.

I particularly love to watch the cardinals in spring.  This is when the parents take their babies hunting for food and show them all different survival techniques.  I can get lost in my back yard for hours.  I almost always see the cardinals in pairs, always looking out for each other and I thought this was important to depict, even if the brown female isn’t as “picture worthy” as its male iconic counterpart.  They are all beautiful.

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So I woke up and got busy.

I did a little homework to figure out what cardinals like best (besides my bird feeder and fencepost!)

I made a list of cardinal favorites and tried to find ways to incorporate them into my design.  Here were some of the items:  wild grapes, mulberry, sumac, hack berries, dogwood, Hawthorne, native cherries, elder berries and Spiraea.

Instantly the dogwood flower stood out visually.  I knew I wanted branches.  The reason the birds like the trees mentioned above is because they are dense and twiggy allowing the birds some wonderful hiding places.  I also know that cardinal eggs are a pale green with brown specks.  I wanted them and I also added wild grapes, a Hawthorne leaf, a dogwood leaf and a nest.

It took me a day or two to map it out.  I chose gouache paint for its opacity.

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I spent a bit of time thinking about the color scheme…I’m still debating the color scheme though…

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and now I’ve started painting… I totally understand how using a computer to create fabric makes WAY MORE SENSE, but I thoroughly enjoy the process and the painting…so I’m gonna do my own thing regardless…

Plus I get a beautiful painted panel when I’m done.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.

I’m getting pulled every which way with my kiddos and the holidays.  I try to block out the multitude of people who ask me what I’ve created this year and why this year isn’t as prolific as last year.  I know the answer.  It’s because being prolific came at a price.  For each thing I was not doing in order to “Be Creative“, someone near and dear to me was doing.  Everyone around me rallied with pitching in with all the daily chores and special events in our lives.  That was an amazing gift from my friends and family, but it wasn’t something that could be sustained.  I went on a “Creative Trip” which had a beginning and an end.  Now I’m back from my trip and have to make time for all things, not just art.

Boo Hoo.

But actually I’ve made my peace with it.  I still devote a big chunk of my week to art and being creative.  It’s just not as flashy and easily visible.  Thanks to my blog I can see my path. It’s slow and steady and I’m still learning something new every single day, along with being a mother, wife, teacher and 40-year-old woman whose metabolism has disappeared and forced her to have to actually get out an exercise a few days a week (<— that’s been the worst thing this year. I can no longer get away without exercising!)

It’s all good actually.  Really good!

About to Get My Craftin’ On!

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I made this flyer for a special event this Sunday.  I met with the store manager yesterday and we created samples of the 6 different cards people can make at our workshop.  The owner of the store said to “do whatever we wanted”.  We scoured Pinterest and found cards we’d love to make and receive!  I sure hope people come and join us.  They will have the opportunity to make some really cute holiday cards and it’s free.

  You can’t beat that!