Sunday, February 27

Behold, I am making all things new. Revelation 12:5

If you've read my blog for any time you know that
I've only in the last 3 years found this art gift.
And that's exactly what it is to me:
a pure gift.

And I know that gifts are meant to be used and given away,
but I'm kinda like a five year old at a birthday party.
I wanna cling to this gift that I brought,
that was meant to be given,
hold it tightly in my hands,
and not let it go.

But I'm learning to surrender. to lay it down. 
I'm learning that the gift does not belong to me.
The gift, in fact, has very little to do with me.  
It is to be used and given.
And the gift to me is that
I get to be a part of it.
a broken vessel.
a jar  of clay.

As I good friend (and by good friend I mean therapist) recently said to me:
Do you hear yourself? And why do you think this belongs to you?
This has very little to do with you.
Like your time. Like your money.
It's not yours. It doesn't belong to you.
You get to use it.
That's the blessing.

I keep reading and rereading different parts of this book.
And it's helping me get perspective.

So now, before I start anything in the studio I pray.
I had to write down my prayers.
They help me remember.
Because I forget.
Here they are:

Lord, please use me. Please use this gift.
Lord, let me be available to you.
I lay it down at your feet.
 Please use it for your glory.
Please lead me where you want me to go.
Please remind me that it belongs to you and you you alone.
And not me. Please use it. Use me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this gift. For this time. For this space.

My dear sweet friend Henri Nouwen,
always, always speaks right to my soul.
I love this prayer:

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love.
— Henri J.M. Nouwen
(The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life)

Now, that's what I'm talkin' about. My heart.
Thank you, Henri.

Friday, February 25

Play time.

I finally got a few hours in the studio to play
and I am a new woman.

It's been so long since I've really played.
really explored. really had fun.
really not cared about the outcome
just enjoyed the process of creating.

(Here are the crazy canvases I started with.)

Fall was hard.
I went back to work full time.
I got pregnant in September, which is a  blessing,
but I went into about a 3 month coma after that.

School. home. eat. asleep by 7:00
couldn't even make it to Jeopardy.
This was about all I could manage for 
October, November, December 

(I added a layer of paint.)

In January I came back to life
but spent every waking moment finishing this big commission
and other projects I had promised since way before my coma.

(Then some paper.)

I'm not complaining (I think)
because I'm so thankful for the work.
but that's what it was:
more work.
a labor of love,
but labor nonetheless.

so now that I am (almost) caught up with my promises 
(I have 5 baby gifts & a birthday gift to go)
I spent some time doing what I do best:

Never underestimate the value of play.
Mystele has so many wonderful things to say about this,
but it really takes me to this place
where there's no have tos
just pure fun.

(I wasn't sure where to go next, so I stopped. for now.)

I'm trying really hard to work quickly & intuitively.
To hold it loosely in my hands.
To let myself experiment.
To not overthink.
And it's fun.

Wednesday, February 23

Somerset Studio: The Art of Lettering

I came home from work yesterday to find best surpise in my mailbox.
The new Somerset Studio:

I submitted an exemplar so long ago,
that I had forgotten about it.

By the time I found out I'd be in this issue
I was thrilled.
(of course)

They always have gorgeous photography & layouts.
I'm so thankful to be a part of this issue.

I have been obssessed with paper and doodling
and lettering since at least fourth grade.
Typography was one of my favorite classes in college.
The whole class was about fonts:
san serifs
avant garde
I love it all

It's amazing how subtle changes in lettering styles can create
a change in the enitre mood of a piece.
Life is a Beautiful Ride - (11x14 Size)
Parada Creations

I thought I'd share some of my favorite lettering artists with you.

Bicycle Bird  Print Raw Art Letterpress

Raw Art Letterpress

Tuesday, February 22

35 Things & Cravings

3. Video Jack’s Johnny Cash routine
Jack has been obsessed with Johnny Cash
ever since my dad showed him
You Tube videos at 18 months.
He wouldn't watch anything else.
Of course every time I turned on the 
video camera he clammed up.
But I finally got him.

I had visions of black jeans, cowboy boots & hat
and a starched collared shirt,
but I was happy to get this version.

I have been loving being awake &
 functional in my 2nd trimester.
I'm in mellow, blissful, pregnancyland.
I didn't even realize it until my friend at school said,
"you're so pregnant right now."

And I can actually do some life & get some painting in.
I have been craving studio time.
Now that I'm painting again,
I just want to paint and paint and paint.

It's a good thing I have to family and work and sleep
because I can totally see myself dropping out of society
and forgetting all personal hygiene to
paint and paint for days and weeks on end.
Okay, so I'm a little extreme.
Do you ever feel like that?

Saturday, February 19

I heart George & Abe

I love February.
Not only is it a love fest,
but I get to talk about George and Abe
I am a big nerd when it comes to these guys.
I heart them both.

Kids love learning about them.
I love teaching about them.
and you know what I love even more?
4 day weekends.

Most people will find this really boring. 
But, if you have a crush on George Washington, too
this is a great documentary.
probably not going to go viral.
but interesting.

Good Times & Girly Prints

Celebrate good times
come on.
I'm celebrating.
over the moon.

I just reached my 200th sale on etsy
 and that, my friends, is a dream come true.
Just wanted to share my joy & celebrate with you!

A word of encouragement:
if you have an etsy shop.
It can be really discouraging.
I didn't make my first sale until 2 months after I opened.
I had forgotten I even had a shop.

Even after that, it was slow. super slow.
like maybe selling a print or two a month slow.
but little by little
month by month
business started to pick up.
honestly, it still surprises me when
people pay money to buy my art.
I don't know if that will ever go away.
I still think: really?!?!

I just wanted to say
thank you
thank you
thank you
sweet, kind blogging friends.


if it is slow right now,
just keep on going.
don't give up.
slow & steady
said the tortoise.

Thursday, February 17

And the winners are....

Today is the official end of One World One Heart
So many great blogs to visit & people to meet.
Thank you Lisa for hosting.

The winners of the give away are:
Lezlei Ann

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered!

OWOH winner and... ramblings.

We have a winner...
We just don't know who it is yet.
Today is the official end of 
One World One Heart blog hopping extravaganza.
I'll be announcing the winners  tonight.

and some thought s on blogging...

How can I know what I think till I see what I say?
E. M. Forster

This is so true for me.
I just want to do art.
I'm not a writer. It scares me.   
In the studio I go and go and go.
in a frenzy.

It's not until I stop.
 and think about the process.
and see my words. and read them back to myself.
that I make connections between
my art and my real life.

And as much as I want to lock it up in pretty compartments
& stick some gel medium & rickrack on the top,
life is one messy connected mess.

Blogging helps me sort out the mess.
And most of the time I don't even know what I think
until I sit down to blog about it.
and it comes out.

I'm surprised by what's in there.
Kind of like art.
The writing, the painting,
take on this weird life of their own,
kind of like having kids,
so you are a part of them,
and have a hand in creating them,
but they're not entirely yours,
because they grow up and do their own thing. 

New inspirational prints in my etsy shop.

Monday, February 14

Lovefest 2011

In kindergarten Valentine's Day is
a complete love fest.
Pure sweetness all day long.
And for the teacher:
double sweetness.
Pure love.
All day.

Getting a little paper Valentine
might not seem like the most exciting thing,
but to 6 year olds, it's right up there with Christmas.
and not just getting one, but 20.
and giving them is equally as thrilling.
they've never done this before.
and they just bask in the love.
they are utterly shocked.
all day.

 Overheard 1176 times:
"Mrs. B.! Ellie gave me a card!"
And the are so delightfully surprised
by the whole thing.


My favorite part:
It's pieces of paper.
Not expensive toys.
or an amusement parks.
Little scraps of paper sent with love.
Hoping your day is full of delightful surprise.