Friday, May 31, 2013

The Process

One of the things I love about doing tutorials is that it forces me to slow down and record my process. 
Having a regular spot forces me to constantly come up with new ideas, and to make art all month long. 

It's the kind of motivation that I need. Otherwise I'm perfectly content to sit in a patch of sunshine with a good book for days on end. 

I try really hard to make tutorials that are seasonally timed, and that come out of my own head. If I see an idea that I like somewhere else, I try to take it one step further or to use it as a jumping off point for my own interpretation. 

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of projects designed by other people that I have done for myself or family members. But when I do a tutorial, I make sure that the idea or the process is uniquely mine. Lately I have seen a lot of people that I care about have their ideas (and sometimes even their own photos) passed off as someone else's work. That's the double-edged sword of sharing, I suppose. I share my ideas because I believe that art has a place in everyone's life. And I think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to create something beautiful.

I hope your weekend is full of things you love.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I'm working on...

Artist Trading Cards! 
So much fun in a small bundle.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Quote of the week

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. 
--Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, May 17, 2013


circa 1980
circa 1986

I was going to post this on Sunday, which was not only Mother's Day but also my mom's birthday. However, it took me this long to get my thoughts out of my brain and into a coherent share-able form. So here goes.

My Mom is awesome. She taught me so many things intentionally and unintentionally and I am so grateful that I got to be her daughter. 
The top things she has taught me:

1. Always choose your words carefully. You can be honest without being cruel.
2. Girls and boys are equal in every task. She was one of the only women in her field for a very long time. Her tenacity and hard work have paved the way for so many (and they don't even know it). And this dovetails into
3. You can have a family and a career. She would leave for work at 6 a.m. so that she could pick us up after school and we could have dinner as a family. She was the leader of my Girl Scout Troop--and there she taught us how to build a fire (and cook over it), how to be a leader, how to work toward goals.
4. Always question new information. This is probably because she spent most of her time in a lab and looking at medical study results. But the lesson has taught me to be a careful consumer of information and always look to the original source. Full disclosure: when I was younger, it annoyed me to no end that she was always asking me "where did you learn that?"
5. Learn new things. She was always trying new recipes, taking classes, and reading. When I was home from college in the summer, we took watercolor classes together. I have tried food from all over the globe (one of my comfort foods is Kefta from Morocco). I have continued to take classes online and in real life (and will be going to grad school in the fall). And I have read enough books to fill a library.
6. Find time to do what you love. Yes, spending time being a mom/wife/friend IS important. But it's also important to spend time doing what nourishes you. When I was in high school, I remember she would get up and go running at 5 in the morning. On the weekends you could find her in the garden or weaving at her loom. 
7. Travel as often as you can. Pay attention to what's different. Enjoy the differences. We have traveled together, and we have traveled separately. But we are always scheming our next big trip.
8. Be a good listener. My mom is the person I call when I need to get things out of my head and into the world. I find myself on the listening end of many conversations. It's amazing how much better you can make people feel by just listening, and not merely waiting for a lull in the conversation so you can put in your two cents.
9. Be kind. The world is full of hurt, which as a nurse in a pediatric oncology ward she saw every day. The thing I remember her saying most often is "Don't be mean". And I have said the same to my children. 
10. Work hard. It's true that both of my parents have a strong work ethic. They both have masters-level degrees, and they have both succeeded in their fields. For my mom, I think it is a matter of "do the job in front of you" as well as being the eldest of 5. I learned that just because things are hard it doesn't mean that you should give up. 

This list has the potential to be never ending. I am learning new lessons every year as I go through my own trials of motherhood and finding my place in the world. I would not be the woman I am without such an amazing role model. I hope that I am encouraging my kids and allowing them the space to grow in the way my mom did for me. 

I love you Mom!
(I know you don't like the attention, so I won't do this again. But I just had to put it out there once)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hello, Friday!

My week has flown by.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I'll be working on a painting (sketch, top)and stringing up constellation pendants (bottom). 
Enjoy yourselves, lovelies!

Monday, May 06, 2013

BEST Monday ever

The Earth has music for those who listen

The weather is finally spring-like around here and I am spending many blissful hours outside. But that is not what makes this the BEST MONDAY EVER.

This is the best ever because today I found out that I was accepted to the graduate program. Starting this fall, I will be pursuing a masters degree in Library and Information Science. I am SUPER EXCITED. Today, I am enjoying the good news. Tomorrow, I will buckle down and get all the paperwork started--financial aid paperwork, health history paperwork, enrollment paperwork...and probably paperwork I don't know about yet. 

Oooh, I just love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, May 03, 2013


This is a BIG day. A HUGE day. 
Mostly it's a day of waiting.
Today is the day I find out whether or not I was accepted into the MLIS program. That's Masters of Library and Information Science. Yes folks, I am looking to be an archivist and/or librarian. 

Years ago I got to work at the Fort Sill Field Artillery Museum in the collections department. And part of my time there was spent doing an inventory of their collections: over 100,000 items across 5 buildings. Items as tiny as service medals to items as large as tanks. And I loved it. My parents are both interested in history and were able to draw me in through the narrative of personal items and places. 

Full disclosure: my parents were Civil War reenactors. And oh yes, my brother and I got to play along too. As a young teen this was not my preferred way to spend the weekend (and I spent most weekends with my nose in a book) but you couldn't help overhearing people talk about the reasons they were drawn into the micro culture of reenacting. And for ALL of them it was a love of history. There was some amazingly fun times: impromptu baseball games, everyone playing instruments around the campfire, when we camped next to the Calvary and they'd let you brush the horses. There was also the heat, and the bugs, and the fact that no matter how hard I tried I looked like I'd been hit by a very tiny, very selective tornado. 
But there was the always the pull of the personal items and books from the era that people would bring along to show and share:a woman's diary from 1863 that detailed her wardrobe, household affairs and how to plan meals with the food shortage; Daguerreotypes of soldiers long gone. Every person I met was a historian by choice, and it was fascinating. 

As for my own interest in history, it is far reaching and widespread. I love to read accounts of people from various points in time. I love to see the artifacts in museums and libraries. I like to imagine how people saw their world as we see our own: unremarkable and everlasting.
I am hoping very much that I'll be accepted into the program. I would love to be a part of a society that preserves the past, makes items available to the public, and keeps an eye to the future. 

And that picture up above? Those are Garden Goddess Stones. They were inspired by Byzantine icons and matryoshka. There's a tutorial over here.