Friday, August 21, 2009

It's not about me.

These are not my own words, but words for me today. Maybe it's for you too.

Put Others First in Your Thinking
When you meet people, is your first thought about what they’ll think of you or how you can make them feel more comfortable? At work, do you try to make your coworkers or employees look good, or are you more concerned about making sure that you receive your share of the credit? When you interact with family members, whose best interests do you have in mind? Your answers show where your heart is. To add value to others, you need to start putting others ahead of yourself in your mind and heart. If you can do it there, you will be able to put them first in your actions.
But how can anyone add value to others if he doesn’t know what they care about? Listen to people. Ask them what matters to them. And observe them. If you can discover how people spend their time and money, you’ll know what they value.
Once you know what matters to them, do your best to meet their needs with excellence and generosity. Offer your best with no thought toward what you might receive in return. President Calvin Coolidge believed that “no enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.”
(from Failing Forward)
Put others ahead of you in your mind and heart today.

Friday, August 14, 2009

if I'm being honest...

You may never have known, but if I'm being honest...
  1. I would wake up every morning and make fresh, homemade bread... if I liked mornings.
  2. I would take dance lessons of some sort... if I had any rhythm.
  3. I would live on a farm... if I didn't have to take care of the animals.
  4. I love taking personality tests, even though I hate being defined. Personalities fascinate me.
  5. I most often, as in always hate small talk.
  6. I really enjoy helping people get rid of stuff. It's a lot of fun for me. I am not a pack rat.
  7. All of the candle scents that I like remind me of fall.
  8. I love the idea of being a runner... so far, it's still in the idea stage.
  9. As much as I love seasons, I anticipate all the seasonal drinks at coffee shops even more.
  10. The last art class I ever took was the generic one in middle school.
  11. I have dreams about claw foot bathtubs, floor to ceiling in-home libraries, and a perfectly lovely front porch with a swing.
  12. Ever since I saw The Swiss Family Robinson as a girl, I have wanted to live in a tree house.
  13. I miss California.
  14. I can't think of a single animal that I would want as a pet, except an elephant.
  15. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a lawyer, an actress, and the first professional female quarterback {all because of Steve Young and Jerry Rice}.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You want me to make what?

There is nothing more dangerous than when someone calls and says, "I have a very special project for you." You never ever ever know what that could be. It's kind of scary, and mostly fun. That's pretty much what happened when Leah called about this special project for her dad's (our pastor) birthday party.

"We need a stick horse, " she said.

My immediate thought was, and you thought of me? But what I said was, "Ok, sure."

My project, make a stick horse, using the head of a paint roller/stick and whatever else I wanted. Talk about starting from scratch. She said something it being just like making my Little Jolies toys, but different. Hmm, just like that.

I gladly accepted my challenge, I do like a good challenge. I'm not going to lie, I had a lot of fun making this crazy horse. A lot. Perhaps, the most fun was that I got to use whatever I could (in a certain price range)... I had to envision the whole thing. I like that.

I used:
8 pieces of brown felt, 2 pieces of black felt
Yellow yarn + glue gun
Two crazy eyes
Brown ribbon + two gold buttons
The paint roller head + stick

Here he is, he's silly, huh?

Now, I sure don't see a future in creating stick horses, but who knows. Have you made anything completely out of the norm lately??

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

what I learned from the baby boy #2

This post is a little different from the normal, but it's something I know I needed to share. As I learn lessons and grow in my faith, I do not think those lessons are for me alone. Our stories strengthen and encourage each other. Stories are meant to be told. We must journey and grow together. This is not about art, neither is it about creativity. But, it is about my life and my faith, I strongly believe that my art, creativity, life and faith are inseparable.


For the past week, this lesson has stayed fresh in my spirit, I’ve tried to write it many times, and each time was unsuccessful, right now, I feel compelled to try again. Perhaps, if I ignored that prompting, it would be washed away with the tide of new thoughts and lessons, just as the waves wash away pebbles on the shore. Read this quote, take a breath, and don’t let it go too quickly.

“We seek God’s hand more than we seek His face.”

-The God Chasers, by Tommy Tenney

Through my little boy, God showed me a picture of how He desires us to seek His face, to seek Him, and not just what’s in his hand. Here it is. As parents, We provide everything that our baby needs to thrive, to be successful, and to be happy and healthy. We feed him, bathe him, change even the smelliest of diapers, rock him, change his clothes, clean his room, wash his clothes, pack the diaper bag for outings, and make sure he’s safe and contented. He depends on us for all these things and trusts that we will take care of him. He feels safe with with mommy and daddy. Of course, as he grows, he’ll take on some of those responsibilities, but he’ll still need us.

While he needs us to do everything for him, he’s not satisfied with just coming to us when he’s hungry or dirty or tired, he generally wants to be with us, he wants to be loved, held, tickled, kissed, and to play. Overall, he would like all of our attention, if possible. Sure, he can contently play on his own for a decent amount of time – knowing that we’re in the same room or just around the corner (but he nevers goes to far, that he doesn’t feel safe), but when he’s done, he’s very interested in being with mommy and daddy, in fact, that’s all he wants. Even more… it’s what he needs. It’s not enough to be in the same room, he wants to be involved with what we’re doing or he wants us to drop it all and be with him. {At times, it’s exhausting, but that’s not the point here.}

The amout of time that our baby boy wants to be with his mommy and daddy is the exact picture of how God longs for us to be with Him and how we should want the same. Yes, He gladly saves us, meets our needs, comforts us, provides, strengthens us, makes crooked paths straight, gives us direction, pours out numerous blessings, speaks to us in moments of desperation, causes the impossible to be possible, and even guarantees that there will be a rainbow after every storm. He does ALL those things and more, when we come to Him in need. But, He wants to dwell with us, to be with us. He wants us to desire Him, not only what’s in His hand, but Him. He wants us to seek His presence, not just on Sunday morning or a few hours during the week. And the thing is, that is how much we should desire to be with Him.

How often do we ask God for something? Is it more than when we come to Him longing just to be with Him, not seeking anything but Him. One of the definitions for the word dwell is “to exist in a given place or state.” He wants us to want to exist with Him.

What if I locked my bedroom door and told the baby that he could only come to my door when he needed something, that he must knock on the door and I would give him what he needed. Thus, we’d peaceful co-exist, but we wouldn’t be together or have much of a relationship. {Besides having my son taken away, I’d be a terrible mom.} He would know I was there and I would know that he would come when he needed me. I think we treat God that way sometimes. We knock on the door, with our “dear Santa letters” and then expect action and walk away, but we forget or don’t think to say, “I don’t need anything, I just want to be with you. I want you to be with me today, as I work, clean, think, create, take care of my family, relax, and live.”

I don’t have anything profound to conclude this. Everyday, I’m learning more about desiring God and how that changes my priorities and focus. I know that coming to God with our petitions is important, but there’s more available to us, if we desire to be with Him as He desires to be with us. I think this is evident in Phillipians 4:6, 7… “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension with guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

I think that peace comes from being in His presence, from resting in it, and is strengthened with each passing moment. Perhaps, the more time we spend in His presence, we know our needs will be met, but are curiously still more interested in Him than what’s in His hand.

from the pages

Sunday, August 9, 2009

in memory

It is with great sorrow that I write this. Today something happened, something tragic (only a minor tragedy for some... for me, much bigger.) I don't even remember how it all happened, but it did and it happened so quickly, that I can't make sense of it all...

Today, as I proceeded to make the daily afternoon coffee, the container holding the freshly ground coffee struck my french press and yes, it shattered. I literally stopped breathing for one second and almost cried, yes, cried.

Of all the things in my kitchen, of all the things in my house, my beloved french press.... not a vase or pitcher or a hair dryer or picture frame... the one thing I use every single day.

She's been with me since Christmas of 2005, as a gift from my friends. For the last four years, she's made me delicious coffee while I lived in Florida, Michigan, California, and now Tennessee. Everyday, for the last four years, my french press graciously gave me that perfect cup of coffee in the morning, often in the afternoons, and occasionally, some evenings, too.

On mornings when I was extra tired and subconsciously ground more coffee, that rich, strong coffee was the perfect companion. When I curled up with a good book, a delicious coffee was always necessary. Ok, anytime really.

What can I say, this is a big deal in our house. Even though I don't exactly need coffee at 10pm, I feel a loss knowing that I can't make any right now. Sure, there's always that other coffee maker.... sure, it works.... and sure, it makes coffee {if that is what you call coffee}. It's not the same. I don't care what you say, it's not the same. Next, you'll be telling me that some pre-ground generic coffee sold in large canisters is good, too.

We'll hopefully get another one soon and everything will be ok, but I don't even want to think about the mornings until then. What a sad thought.

Thank you my lovely French press for your wonderful years of service to me, I'm not sure what I would have done without you and I hope the next one will only strive to be as good as you have been to us. I miss you already, what a terrible way to go.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

all new

Only a Reflection, 2009.
Visit my shop Palette Theory for cards + prints.

For now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What I Learned from the baby boy #1

As I'm writing this, the aroma from my coconut coffee is sending me into sensory heaven and my baby is unloading all of his toys from his toy box. There might come a time when I tell him not to do that, but what good are toys if you can't have fun with them. I love watching him sitting on his bedroom floor playing contently. So, who cares about a little mess.

If you think back to your favorite childhood memories, they probably consisted of making a mess of some sort, like covering yourself in mud to collect the worms from the creek or digging through boxes of hats, gloves, dresses, and jewelery to create the perfect dress-up outfit. I did both of those, I was very girlie and very much loved playing in the mud.

As adults we strive to successfully complete life in a way that leaves the smallest mess. Perhaps, we are missing something. Anyone who has watched a child play knows that the greatest fun requires the grandest mess. Life and creativity are kind of like that, I think.

Some shy away from the creative stirrings deep inside of them, because it's scary, it's unpredictable, and it probably messy. So many people tremble at the idea of any sort of disorder that they can not fathom intentionally causing it. We like everything orderly, matching, labeled, and dare I say, color-coded. (Oh, by we, I did not mean me. Too much order overwhelms me and causing the feeling of the life being sucked out of me, gasping for breath. You think I'm joking?)

Perhaps, it's a desire to have a sense of control, to avoid the chance of the unexpected from happening, it says, I can handle anything that comes my way, because I know where everything is, at all times. Yeah, good luck with that. The more I learn, the more I realize I have control of so little and truthfully, I find great amounts of boredom in the idea that I am so prepared for everything that there is no adventure or surprise left. But that's just me. We're all different, that's the beauty of it all. Some of my closest friends have to do lists for their to do lists and the hours of their days are filled with color-coded, cross referenced label upon label. And I love them, in spite of their illness, or even because of it.

I remember the first time I saw my wedding dress. I called it controlled chaos, some straight lines and some round, gathered bunches. I loved it. It was elegant, subtle, but unique. It was calling to me.

I think my whole life is controlled chaos. Believe it our not, I really like things clean in my house, like bathrooms, the kitchen {even though I hate cleaning it}, and every other week, I refold everything in the dressers to make room for the newly folded laundry.... but don't even think about evoking any sense of order on my art room and I will forever defend the idea that it's easier to find my clothes in piles on the floor, it just is.

When I'm painting, if I'm covered in paint, it's probably a success. When I'm working on a project, the supplies are scattered in utter delight, not disarray, delight. I like to think that a little mess allows the ideas and possibilities to breathe and fill the air, like the sweet scent of a candle. I often find the creative process to including messing something up to make something else. After I'm finished, I never look at the disaster I made thinking, oh great, now I have to clean that up. I look at my end result and say, that was fun, well worth the mess.

To be creative is to risk, to risk failure or success, to risk creating a disaster or a masterpiece. It's messy. It's unpredictable. It's just as much about the process as the completion. It takes courage to create, to try making something out of "nothing." Life is the same way. Without taking risks, you can avoid failure but you will also miss the chance of any successes. By creating nothing, there may be no disasters, but there will never be any masterpieces. The choice is ours. We've each been given the gift of life. It's ours, but we must open the box to discover the contents... and that could make a mess.

Watching him I learned that if he's going to have fun, he's going to have the most fun possible and make sure he empties every single toy from the box. I hope I have that same determination to make the most of what I've been given to live a life story that is worth telling, mess included.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a girl and her skirt

Fact: If I used credit cards {I don't} and if I had no self-control {I do}, I would spend a fortune, mine or someone else's at Anthropologie, but seriously, what girl wouldn't? During a fun little post I wrote previously, I mentioned wanted this dress. Well, the sad truth, I'm not getting that dress. I'm not getting any dresses for a while, so I decided it was time to make another skirt. I am quite proud of the first skirt I made for the Coldplay concert, oh Coldplay. Feeling courageous, I set out to make another one. I have to admit, I adore it. I've already worn it more times than I can count and each time, with a different shirt, talk about versatile.
{This is the dress from Anthropologie.}
{This is my version.}

It's not the exact brilliant orange color or shape of the dress, but it's a fun red, almost coral-ish, with the slightest white stripes, you could only see up close. It's perfect for a warm summer day, with a solid colored tank wandering through pretty little shops or dress it up for a night out. I used gold and black vintage buttons on the back, and I added an over sized sash to tie in the back.
Did I mention that I bought the fabric for about 50 cents at a thrift store? According to my budget, that's more in my price range.

in words #3

Monday, August 3, 2009

Found Treasures

Note to self: Visiting a certain "thrift" shop, on a certain day, when there is a certain "50% off EVERYTHING IN THE STORE" sale... may not be the best idea. However, I did score these little lovelies.
{It was pretty much love at first sight with this beauty. $1.50.}
Some girls dream of that fancy set of matching, designer china... not this one. I have visions of a huge collection of mix matched plates, are you the least bit surprised? I didn't think so. One of my most favorite restaurants, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, displays a random collection of saucers on the center of all their tables. This always makes my heart happy. Some people would call it haphazard or too random, but it's bliss to me. Each person can pick there favorite plate, which probably says something about their personalities, at least I think so. What would these little plates say about me?
{25 cents a piece, sadly I only found four.}
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Also, don't forget about the 1/2 off sale in my Etsy shop for

Saturday, August 1, 2009

this week...

{Sister, Mom, and Me}

I had a lovely week, my mom and sister were in town. I think they were mostly here to spend time with the Hudson baby. Until early next year, he's the only grandchild on my side and he's kind of a big deal... My mom doesn't live close to us, so she took advantage of every moment to love him. There was no complaining when she willingly changed diapers, bathed him, feed him, played, and rocked him to sleep. {I miss my helpers.} He adored them both and showered them with many, many wet, slimy kisses and lots of hugs. Christmas was the last time they saw him, so he was pretty much a whole new baby, being nine months old and all.
We made lots of delicious foods, like this and this... and this {which is the husband's favorite.}
We played monopoly, scrabble, apples to apples, and skipbo. We heart the board games.

{Hudson with Gigi and Aunt Laura}

We spent a day in Franklin, TN, which is just a marvelous place. Sadly, two of my favorite shops have been closed since my last visit, stupid economy. However, I did get to try something that I have been wanting to try for a while, an Apple & Bacon Paninni with cheddar cheese on sourdough... it was divine. Who knew the combination of apple and bacon could be so great... well bacon with anything is amazing, right?

My mom treated us to a tour of the Historic Carnton Plantation, that was pretty cool. One of the battles fought in Franklin was apparently one of the bloodiest of the entire war. I'd like to go on record for saying, if they wanted to give me that house, I'd gladly live in it, it's gorgeous.
{we kind of belong here, no?}

All in all, fun was had by all, although, I'm sure the husband was overwhelmed with all the sister bonding. It was wonderful to see my little sister. She leaves soon to spend her senior year of high school in France, let's talk about how jealous I am. I'm so excited for her, it's going to be amazing and I will have to live vicariously through her until it's finally mine turn to travel.

I'll leave you with one more picture, during a leisurely stroll, we handed the Hudson baby a flower and he knew just what to do with it...

I've very excited to return to my neglected art projects, I feel like it's been too long.