Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Workspace

I am so inspired lately, by all the workspace photos that I have seen lately in some of the blogs, that I follow.  Until today, I had been doing all my projects on a small table in the corner of the living room.  Yeah, that was craziness and I mean all, sewing, painting, cards, drawing, everything. So, today we turned the third room into my work room.  It was previously the storage room, laundry, workout, and home to our movies and bookshelves.  It still is all those things, but we just turned the piles of boxes and tubs into a desk.  We stacked them to a good working height and then placed the doors that once enclosed the laundry closet over the stacks.  The doors had to be removed for the washer/dryer to adequately fit, so they were just a part of that massive storage pile anyway.

I took one of my cute polka dotted sheets from college and covered the area below, so it would look prettier and them put up a giant piece of foam board for my now inspiration board, it's HUGE.  Inspiration Capacity : Endless.

Now I have a huge space to work and all my materials are placed in front of me.  It also allows me to be in a different room while I working on my projects, which is great while the husband is working from home on his book.  We will probably accomplish much much more, not always distracting each other with conversation.  Plus, it's nice to think that I won't be 
spending so much time in the living room, it seems like I'm always in there.

Our extra TV is also in my new work room, so movies/music are an option, plus Baby Einstein can be a great distraction for the Hudson baby, while I work.

So, I'm loving it, and can't wait to start creating in my own little office.  Maybe one day the shoe boxes and oatmeal containers will be replaced with all sorts of "proper"  storage compartments, or... not.  I don't think that my creativity requires new store bought storage containers, as if they are anywhere near the top of our "We Need List."  After all, my workspace... my organization, right?  
And that my friends is what I love about art.  It can be anything you want it to and you can make it happen in a fancy studio, (which I will have one day), or in the spare/laundry/storage room in our little apartment.  Art is everywhere as long as we are willing to create.

So, I encourage you to use the space and materials you have right now, no need to spend a dime, and start to create the life you have always wanted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

one simple thought...

Here's a little thought for tonight, as I am purposely saying farewell to the endless world of media.  I need quiet, I need to just be present in the peaceful joy that is my life.  No drama, craziness, or crazy makers necessary.  Thanks.

"Anyone honest will tell you that possibility is far more frightening than impossibility, that freedom is fare more terrifying than prison."
-Cameron, The Artist's Way.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Antiques: Artist Date #2.

My second artist date was great, although I must admit I didn't go alone.  Matt and I had a lovely time browsing through all the antique shops and dreaming of all the the items we'd love to own.  We have definitely decided that if we had the choice, we'd decorate most of our home with collected pieces from all time periods.  Here are some highlight photos...
a hat lover.
perfect for a summer afternoon
simply delightful.
wishing my bookshelf looked so cheerful.
can't stop dreaming of a rocking horse for my little boy's room.

Week two was pretty good, although I was sick and slacked on some of the writing activities and morning pages.  Reading the chapter, I related to the different people in my life who have been supporters/crazy makers/enemies of my creativity.  I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams, but when it came to art, I don't think that those around me took my passion seriously enough to give me the support that I needed and desired.  I think that hindered some of my potential in previous years.  However,  I am blessed with an incredible husband who has been my number one fan and since being here, I have a great friends who have done nothing but encourage and support so many of my new projects. I finally feel that I have a great group of support around me, that allows me to create my way, rather than impose their own tendencies. It's such a great feeling to have people who really believe in your talent, rather than simply humoring it.  Granted, I've had some great support throughout the years, but it is becoming more and more evident how certain people have influenced my life, for better or worse.

Morning pages have been great, it really does help to flush out all the thoughts that I don't really want to share with anyone and allowing my mind to start the day with a fresh slate.

Looking forward to week three and thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Judging a Book by its Cover

Wouldn't you love to walk into a lovely coffee shop with a marvelous book enclosed in this darling book cover? I would and now I can.

Well, this is just something I put together from leftover fabric pieces, buttons, and ribbon that I had from other projects. I am already imagining all the others I will create... It would be great for a journal cover too. If you just fell in love with this, then stay tuned for the announcement of when you will be able to purchase one of your very own and check our facebook page for other great updates too.

No two persons ever read the same book
-Edmund Wilson
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Design that screams me.

Other people influence our decisions more than we realize, this is true for our own design tastes and creativity, as well.  One of the practices found in chapter one of The Artist's Way is to recognize the champions and "enemies," of our creativity, those who encourage us and those who hinder us.

These people, the ones who have the potential to hinder our creative flow can be very special to us, but we don't always see how their impact.  I have many great friends, who tend to be very logical, matching, symmetrical people, they are great.  But here's the thing, I'm not a matcher, I'm artist, I love mixing, and while I believe there is a place for symmetry, but it does not reign supreme in my house.  

Over a month ago,  I covered these eight white frames with this cute pale green paper and hung them on my living room wall.  I was happy with the project and it looked good.  I kept thinking it was something you would find in some great design magazine, simple but making a great statement.  The more I thought that, the more I realized it just wasn't me... It could be better.

Oh, it got better.  Friday, while on my little artist's date, I fell in love with these three papers, that I found among the wealth of scrapbooking products. (I don't scrapbook, it's too meticulous and matchy matchy for me, not my thing.)  Anyways, I knew that I wanted to use them in my white frames, but struggled to envision how three patterns could evenly fit into eight frames....
UNTIL, I remembered that symmetry was not required.

I am in love with the finished product.  It just jumps right off the wall and I have to admit, I catch myself staring at it frequently.  I can't help but smile with each glance, because I really truly feel like I have made this idea my own.

As one who appreciates great design, I'm a big fan of the great looks found in catalogue pages, but I don't want to live in a catalogue, I don't want my house to look just like everyone else who shops at the same places.  I want to live in a house that exhibits our love for life, adventure and creativity... everywhere you look. So, welcome to my house, what is your home like?  What do you want it to say?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Donald Miller Strike Back

It took a few days, but on this late Sunday morning, as I'm home with the baby who isn't feeling well, and myself feeling the same, the rain is falling and the peaceful nature of my home allows me to share my thoughts.

As promised, I wanted to share an excerpt that I desperately needed to hear, myself.  It was one of those perfect moments when the world stopped around me and the words jumped off the page and burrowed deeply in my soul.  

As an artist, writer, and dreamer, I bleed inspiration, I bleed belief in the seemingly impossible, yet there has always been this underlying thought of disbelief.  Can I really be successful?  Can I really write books, that seems so huge, impossible?  I constantly envy those who tell me, "I'm writing a book," with confidence, because I know I want to, but I have never said to myself, I am writing a book.  The very concept of starting such project launches me into this state of feeling incapable of doing so, again and again.  Then, I'll find a speck of possibility and think, "I will write books."  Yet, that remains only long enough for me to feel overwhelmed and then returns the impossibility.  This cycle has happened more than I can count.  

Part of my hopes in journeying through The Artist Way is that I will attain the discipline to start that daunting project.  I don't know what I want to write, but I know I need to write.  I just get caught up in realizing the completed product, rather than just the actually writing page after page.  So, on Friday, I read a quote that will never leave me.

As I mentioned previously, it's from Donald Miller's newest book, which will be available in the fall of 09, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  I hope Donald isn't upset that I'm sharing this, but it was published in the back of a newly released edition of Blue Like Jazz, so I'm thinking it's OK.  Plus, if after reading this, you don't want to pre-order a copy, then there is something wrong with you.  Oh, and if he changes this part of the book in his editing, I'm gonna have to have words with him.

Here goes,

"But the truth about writing and the truth about life is we don't actually know how it is going to go.  If we take action, it come back to haunt us, for sure.  What's worse is that we might not be up for the job, but no good story was ever told without the character taking a dramatic risk."

Yes?  Does that affect you as it does me?  Even now, after thinking about it all weekend, I am amazed at how it answers that question I have asked so many times.  It reminds me of a line from Coldplay's, Fix You... "If you never try, you'll never know, just what you're worth."

As of today, I haven't started that book, but I am starting to believe that if I do take that risk, my story will be better for it.  So thank you Donald, thank you.  I'm glad you decided to take that dramatic risk for yourself.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Fine Time for an Artist Date

Today was the perfect day for my weekly artist date for two reasons.  First, the week is nearing an end and second,  after a long week of the little baby boy who wouldn't sleep, if I didn't get out of the house for a while, it wouldn't be such a beautiful day in this neighborhood.  Thankfully, my amazing husband knew that and strongly suggested, more like ordered me to get away for a while, probably for his sanity, as well.  

Off I went, even the feeling of driving away, in an empty car was lovely.  My first stop, Michael's, the home of all arts & crafting goodness.  I went in with about ten dollars to spend and no time limit.  The next glorious hour or so was spent wandering up and down each aisle, with the exception of all things knitting, jewelery making, and clothing embellishing (no feathery boas for me.)  

I put all sorts of things in my basket and took most of them out, eventually.  One by one, I decided upon my little items of inspiration for today and was very pleased.  I even engaged in a mini-conversation with the cashier, about how amazing a $500 gift card to Michael's would be.  

All the excitement of my fun little projects almost caused me to cut the date short.  Fortunately, a text saying that Mr. Hudson was sound asleep encouraged me to visit my second stop.  

The moment you walk into Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite moments ever, it never gets old.  I wish I could bottle that coffee smell and let it fill the air of my home, oh wait, it does, at least twice a day.  Anyways, enough about my coffee addiction.  I really enjoy that moment, the doors are pulled open and the aroma of coffee and paper fills the air.  

More aimless, but perfect wandering lead me to grab a couple magazines, and a newly-released edition of one of my favorites, Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller (including a sneak-peak at his new book coming this fall) intrigues me.  I wanted to see what goodness his next book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, would bring.

As I drink my Venti Iced Passion Tea, unsweetened, of course, I finally figure out that if I had to pick one style for my home it would resemble something found in the pages of Better Homes and Garden's 100 ideas for Flea Market Styles  

I really would love anything found in these pages.  I never want everything in my home to match perfectly, because I'm all about this statement:  Great style is about mixing, not matching.  Thus, I don't have to pick one style, PERFECT; Everyone thinks my style has been defined, and I don't feel like anyone is putting me in a box.

The absolute best part of my afternoon was found in reading the sneak peak to Donald Miller's new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.   Since, it is something completely different, you'll have to read the next blog.  I promise, you won't be disappointed. I wasn't.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So, it's always a great feeling when someone wants to buy something that you created, something that you poured yourself into, and in the end, look upon your creation and are pleased.  I've had a small amount of success with sales of my art, literally- small.  I am confident that as my talents grow and as I keep painting, so will my success.  However, I still paint to paint, not to sell, because, the moment I begin creating on demand or for profit... I am certain that a great amount of the truth and expression will fade.

Someday, I'll just delight in the fact that someone I don't know will see my work and want a piece for themselves... I think about that day often, but for now, I'm happy to be in the stages of growth. Last week, some friends told me they were interested in purchasing one of my paintings for another friend's birthday.  So, I named the price and we made the exchange. Later, I received word that the birthday boy was very happy with his gift, which of course, made me happy too.

The piece was affectionately named, 1984, after reading Orwell's masterpiece for our book club, Cafe Classic.  I had the painting on display, when hosting the monthly meeting and it received great reviews, both the book and the art.  I thought I'd share a glimpse of 1984 with you.

While the original is gone and no longer available to you, cards and prints can be found here... or maybe you'll find something else that is begging to decorate your life.  Most of all, I hope you are inspired to find the art all around you.

Oh, one more thing on the subject of business. I received my business cards and postcards in the mail yesterday.  Isn't it delightful to see your name printed on a card?  Well, it made me a little more excited, it sure did.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just a little something...

So, my incredibly talented, photoshop-loving husband whipped up this new banner for my blog, from some photos I took today. I am a big fan... of both the banner and the husband, naturally.

I'm always inspired by the blogs I read and their lovely designs, which make me want to know everything there is to know about web & graphic design, absolutely everything.

Oh, also, I'm joining the experience of The Artist's Way with some of other folks, you can read more about it here. It is something I started to do once before, but after a few weeks of the journey on my own, I just quit. I'm hoping that this time, the accountability and encouragement will help me prevail into unhindered creativity. I have been feeling rather uninspired as of late, so I look forward to focusing on disciplines and discoveries that will ignite that creative flow, in full force.

Holiday Lover: Easter

I adore holidays.  I love all the fun that they bring.  I love the feeling of looking forward to festivities, the excitement of decorating, and enjoying time with friends & family. I dreamed about the idea of being able to make holidays so very special, when I had a family of my own and that is now a reality. Granted, the baby is not actually aware of the difference between every other day and holidays, but there is no reason to hold back.  Go forth and celebrate.

Beyond all of my blessings, this particular Easter, I am aware of the blessings of protection and safety.  On Good Friday, tornadoes swept through our town, destroying many homes, taking two lives, and injuring others.  We were merely miles away from the detrimental storms that overwhelmed our community.  Images and news reports affected us deeply, as we were reminded that life is fragile and priceless.  It has been beautiful to see so many people join together in helping each other and we look forward to learning of how we can help ourselves.

I can not forget to take a moment and acknowledge the real purpose of Easter, while it's become a holiday of bright colors, decorated eggs, family gatherings, and pretty baskets, it's one of the most important times to remember the greatness of the resurrection of my Lord.  Without His death and resurrection, I would be lost and incomplete, living without the abundance of his blessings and joy.  So, thank you Jesus for taking my place and for the glorious triumph over death.

Now, moving on to the festivities...

I was inspired by this and decided to make my own Easter tree using these cute little designs from Spagats    
I am already thinking of how I can make a tree for just about any occasion or non-occasion.  It was so easy and very fun.  Hudson even helped my pick out the branches, well, as much as a baby can help.
Decorating eggs is always my favorite activity, I suppose it's the artist in me.  This year, I wanted to try some cool natural dyes, but simply didn't do it.  I did, however, attempt to use my acrylic paints on the eggs, which didn't really work very well, but it was fun.  Next year, I will have to plan out ways to make the most beautiful eggs ever.

Finally, I can never stop taking pictures with my cute little family...
so here are some of our very first Easter family photos ever.

Looking forward to the next holiday...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raindrops as Art

I've been spending some time looking at my collection of paintings, thinking about how I can grow as an artist and in this process, I fall in love with my work, all over again.  One of my absolute favorites is this, "Rain Sounds."  Being an English major and one who delights in rainy day accessories, I combined all the things I love to create this whimsical piece, where letters are falling as raindrops, from a salt shaker, yes a salt shaker.  Good thing this little girl is safe from all those vowels and consonants under her bright pink, over sized umbrella and her feet are protected by her radiant yellow rain boots.  Don't rain boots always make you happy?  Is it even possible to see a fun patterned pair of galoshes and not imagine splashing through the deepest puddles?  Have you experienced this joy?  What accessories brighten your day? What things bring you back to the carefree days of childhood bliss?

Interesting in cards, prints, and more? 
It's all here, at Red Umbrella Arts

Friday, April 3, 2009

Scrabble is A-R-T

Friday evening is usually game night around here, as long as the Hudson baby cooperates. Tonight's game was Scrabble.  I'm a big fan of this one, being a lover of words and equally,  a lover of winning. 
This week, the delightful spelling game brought me just a little more than letter-combining, word creating, competitive fun.  Tonight, Scrabble also brought me a little bit of inspiration.
There are two boys in my life, one holds my hand, while walking beside me and
 the other I hold tightly in my arms.

A few of my favorite things: words, buttons, paintbrushes, ribbons, and the color pink.  
Honestly, this might have been more fun than actually playing the game.

A combination of all the things I love the most, 
the ones who have my heart 
and the art that drives me.

Another perfectly lovely Friday night, and in case you are wondering... I did win the game.

P.S.  Many Scrabble inspired projects to come, I promise.