Monday, October 31, 2011

An evening with Anne and a cup of peppermint tea.

I took a few weeks off from reading after I consumed the last words of Jane Eyre and then let breath enter my body again.  It was a game changer, that book.  I feel like I need to apologize to those Bronte sisters for ignoring them for so many years.  They don’t get the recognition they deserve, maybe that’s why they were so dark and twisty.
Although, I don’t think I’d be friends with Jane Eyre, she’s so serious and ruled by reason.  I’d roll my eyes at her a lot.  But, Anne Shirley, now we could be the most darling friends, of this I’m sure. 
And this is why.
“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. I don’t exactly want to make  people KNOW more… though I know that IS the noblest ambition… but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me… to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”  “I think you’re fulfilling that ambition every day,” said Gilbert admiringly.
Me too, Anne.  Thanks for getting me. 
And that is when I put my Kindle down and took a sip of tea.  I might have to put that on a giant canvas.

A small crafting discovery: felt and the hole punch

Good morning.  Coffee sure is delicious, huh?  How do you take yours?  My vote goes to a steaming cup of strong, black goodness or on occasion swirled with half and half.  Never sugar. Not for me.

Anyways, this morning I have a clever little discovery for you.  Maybe everyone in the world knew this already, but I didn’t.  It is a perfect trick for decorating your holiday packages. 

Use your paper hole punch to puncture felt cut outs and add them to your gifts and projects.IMG_1554


I used it here to add a little something to my packaging for my paper collage postcards.  It would also be a fun project to have kids decorate felt Christmas ornaments.

Speaking of holiday packages, I’m participating in the Freshly Picked handmade holiday gift swap.  It’s going to be so fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

this place

Whenever I feel a little soul scattered and restless.  Whenever I start with the questions that I can’t answer.  Whenever things look blurry in a life sort of way.  When it’s been too long since I met the salty spray of the sea and I wonder why we live here and I miss my friends.   This place helps.

The summer crowds are gone.  Only an occasional boat is stationed in the marina.  The boardwalk is empty.  The crisp wind chills the air and paints our noses a rosy shade.   The stroller wheels meet the dock with a rickety-rackety sound.  The water coos a soft lullaby against the rocks.  The sky is donned in wispy grey clouds and relaxed sunshine.

I see art in the beautiful imperfection of the weathered paint.  I look up at the endless sky and feel small in a good way.  I whisper, thanks for always being here, to the one who spoke and all was. 

There will still be questions and restless blurry days.  And yet, while we are here, for however long that might be…

this place helps.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A pretty little apron //LTTSA #3


This pattern is darling and a major breeze after the backpack.  It takes me back to a place of china patterns and homemade meatloaf on the table, when I look at the combination of the floral print with the peacock blue bias tape. This one is going to a friend’s daughter, because every little girl needs a pretty apron. I know it will be perfect for baking holiday treats with her wonderful momma.

See more projects from our Little Things to Sew Along here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready or not

If mothers of an older and wiser brand read this, please be kind to my trembling soul.  A knowing smile will suffice, but today I sit here and at last, I’ve captured a few moments of breath and an entire lunch, because mothers need to eat too.

I’ve entered a new awareness and I must admit, it feels heavy.

As in, on several occasions I could be found blankly staring out the window, my mind escaping to a very far away and extremely wonderful place, a land that existed before now.

You see, my son just turned three and the little girl is a professional crawler with a keen sense for all of her brother’s most prized possessions, a baby Godzilla who seeks to destroy all train tracks and anything in her reach.  And age three has brought this perspective of all toys are my toys and you get none.  Then baby thinks, oh look at how fast I can get to all these fun things.  Do you see where I’m going?

And thirty minutes into the day, there I was, window staring and knowing, it was a new day. Time to embrace my most unwelcome role, the referee.

I’m positive it’s my new least favorite.

All the sweetness that abounds in him seems to vanish and her most passionate cries of injustice, oh, Harper the fierce.  Over and over and over again.  And that’s when you find me starring out the window, thinking about things like preschool, nay, boarding school.  Sounds divine.

And then my mom’s voice pops into my head with something about evidence of the sinful nature of man displayed in children and another voice muttering something along the lines of, one day you’ll miss this. I roll my eyes, literally and inside my head, so the voices can see too, and think that I probably won’t miss this exact part, thank you very much.  But, I can’t listen to these voices for long, because well, someone just found a train track and is destroying it, piece by piece.  Cue unhappy three year old.

I send my husband a text, is this my new forever, referee for life? and he responds with a stupid smiley face, because he probably doesn’t want to type,  yes, maybe.  Smart move.  BTW, I hate stupid smiley face texts.

I mean, it’s no wonder people seek out refuge in their vice of choice, lucky for you, mine brings me to the click-ety clack of computer keys, where I can write down a bunch of life and by the end, feel lighter and know that everything will be fine, probably.  Boiling water has just been poured into the French press and it is nap time, so, there’s the bright side.

I sit here and wonder what my mom felt like with five kids. five.  But lucky for her, I never started any sort of shenanigans with my siblings, so there’s that, for the record.  I can imagine a few of my best friends reading this and feeling validated in no longer wondering if their kid needs a sibling.

So, here I am, my resume just got longer and I get to admit once again, that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. 

Referee status, consider yourself acknowledged.

Olivia, lover of Jesus, wife, mom of two, artist, writer, coffee admirer, super fan of nap time, hater of stupid smiley face texts, window starer, and referee.

linking up with Just Write

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a non-birthday birthday


Let’s talk about birthday parties for kids. Parties are fun, mostly exhausting, but fun.  For his first birthday, we had four. FOUR parties, and traveled from Tennessee to Alaska to Kansas and back. By the last one, we sat on the couch in a birthday overdose haze and let the grandparents do everything.  We vowed to never have more than one party per birthday ever again.  Sorry to the rest of our children.  But, this year, as we approached #3, I couldn’t think of anything better than a whole weekend together as a family.  Matt works two jobs, so our weekends are only Sundays and that day fills up way too quickly.  So, he took a few days off and we had an amazing four day weekend. FOUR WHOLE DAYS.  It was the best thing ever.

The weather was ideal fall.  Cool in the shade, warm in the sun. We didn’t want to waste such a marvelous thing, especially with all this talk of, I can’t even say it.  I can’t.   Naturally, we went out for donuts and coffee, our favorite bacon maple glazed long john donuts and s’mores donuts and apple fritters.   Then we found the most wonderful park and spent the next few hours playing in the delicious fall sunshine.  We visited the new Whole Foods that is only three miles away, where we fell in love with their burritos.  We may or may not have eaten there twice in two days.  The rest of the day we laid around, played with birthday gifts, watched movies, and skyping with family. 

I love planning parties and creating all the special elements, but hands down, out of all three, this was my favorite.

You know, the very first memory I have is my third birthday. I was wearing a red dress and watching Zorro with my brother.  I wonder if he’ll remember this one?  What is your first memory?

What are your thoughts on kids’ parties?  

Thursday, October 20, 2011



When I found out that we were expecting our first baby, I bought a journal and began to fill it with letters to my child.  I keep it near my bed and write in it on occasion and one day I want him to have it.  I have one for his sister too.

This weekend, we celebrate his third birthday.  As I was looking through the journal today, I read these words that I wrote about the day we met face to face.  I saw his squirmy little face looking at me, one eye closed and kissed his perfect little cheek.


Happy birthday, my love.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the 2 in 1 clutch from lbg studios

Hooray, I won a little giveaway from A Little Gray and LBG Studios for the 2 in 1 clutch pattern and then I took approx. 17 coupons to Joann's, it’s the only way to go.  I love the tweed, which is a bit more brown that my cool photo pictures show.  The inside is this crazy green and brown zebra print, I was in search of  wild.

I think this one will be used often, I could even throw a diaper or two inside for those silly babies. I love that it's not huge or too small, but cute and functional. I get so weary of gigantic diaper bags that you hard ever really need.  I'll definitely be using this pattern again and think of how many friends would love this kind of gift... I can already name five.

Merry merry.

I’m biased. I know, but I am just crazy about our newest card from Furthermore Creative, which is us, of course.  But, sometimes you have ideas and when they come to life, they are even better than you thought.  That’s how we feel about this little charmer. It makes me want to pour maple syrup on something.  I love how Matt can capture emotions in his drawings.

The inside reads, Merry Christmas, merry us

I can’t help but see this design customized to say, Merry Christmas from the AndersenSmitroniskiwallaboos. I mean,  photo cards are awesome, but this one would stand out.  We could even throw a few bambinos in the mix too. Your little family could be immortalized in a festive cartoon for all of time.  Think about it and then send us a message.

Find our newest card here.

And we’re also on that old facebook thing on the world wide web.

Merry Christmas Merry Us Greeting Card

Thanks for reading.  Are you thinking Christmas yet?

Friday, October 14, 2011

On Jane Eyre and the most scandalous statement of 2011.

I have  a confession to make.  Last night I finished Jane Eyre for the first time in my life.  And then I wildly and emphatically proclaimed to world via select social networks, HOW IN ALL THE GREAT EARTH HAVE I NEVER READ JANE EYRE UNTIL NOW?  Because, really?  How is this possible?  Whenever people would mention Jane Eyre, I’d shrug my shoulders and say, Oh yeah, Jane Eyre.  But, No. I didn’t have a clue.  How silly of me.  How foolish of me to shrug in response.  And now, whenever people shall mention it, I will clasp my hand to my chest and sigh, Oh, Jane Eyre. It’s like I’m a new person.

To have a Bachelor of Arts in English, to be a lover of books and now at 27, finally know this story.  I’m so disappointed in myself.  I must tell you that a few years ago, I checked out a copy from the library, but the first few bleak pages launched me into boredom with all that mistreatment at Gateshead and the way that Jane was just so serious.  All that logic and reason was exhausting.  I closed the book in ignorance and returned it.  Oh, silly, young me.

Now let me tell you, even when I found myself sneaking in every moment possible to turn another digital page of Jane Eyre, she still exhausted me with her rational nonsense.  She’s a thinker, that Jane.  Just calm down a little Jane, just a little.  But, then the wonder of this story is that she feels reason the way others get swept up in emotion, just a wildly.  Wild with reason, that Jane Eyre.  “And as I think and breathe, I must love him.” And the other characters, namely the men, are her greatest foils. Ms. Bronte,  you’re totally brilliant.

I happen to be a very involved reader and a total feeler (INFJ, right here) and if you were a fly on the wall at any point, here are a few things you may have heard me shout out, resulting in ridiculous glances from my husband.

  • You love him, Jane Stop talking. You love him!
  • Who the f$#( is Grace Poole? 
  • Ahh, no marry him anyway! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who wanted them to still get married after finding out you-know-what. Does this make me a horrible person?) 

Passion and reason are huge themes of this book. I would say that Mr. Rochester and St. John are both extremely passionate suitors, but on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Mr. Rochester lives and breathes for Jane, as if he’ll crumble into a million pieces without her, and he loves her He loves her, gushing out obsession, passionate love.  St. John is passionate also, which you might not see, but in the way that the Mr. R. is wildly blinded with consuming love for his little Jane, St. John is consumed with reason, duty, and responsibility for the mission/for his position of ministry and for that reason, he feels his proposal to Jane just as strongly as Mr. lover-I-have-a-tragic-secret.  I mean, why else would he think this an acceptable and enticing proposal, “You were meant for the hardships of  a missionary’s wife.  I’m not really in love with you, but we could do the work together?”  Wrongo, Johnny boy.  Gah, I wanted to scream, DON’T MARRY HIM.  Well, I did.

Upon reading the end, I let breath enter my lungs again, and my head fall back in the most Kathleen Kelly dramatic of ways.  And then the most shocking idea traipsed into my little head. Please sit down, are you sitting down?

For the longest time, I would swear that there was no greater romance ever penned, that there was no set of lovers that could even stand in the shadows of Miss Elizabeth Bennett and her Mr. Darcy.  Yet, today as I sit here, as if I’m about to say the most scandalous of statements, I believe we have some competition. 


Watching the film tonight.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Patchwork Series



My new set of prints is finished.  They was so much fun to make.  I used paint and scraps from old books, art paper, and lace to create each design.  There is something magical about the process of collage, making something out of essentially nothing.  Then they were digitally finished, thanks to that cute man I love.

They will be available as prints, greeting cards, and postcards.  If you head over to the shop, you’ll see all three designs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art: Float away


This morning started out clear and blue, and then thick, heavy clouds rolled in and brought a thunderstorm.  I’ve got a thing for thunderstorms.  Louis & Ella accompanied the rain for the perfect painting soundtrack.

I created this collage ages ago, but never felt like it was finished.  Today, I added this dreamy little scene.  I want to float away with them and watch the sun sink below the horizon.

It’s 11x14 on framed canvas, I’ll be adding it to the shop in the next few days.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New set of prints

In the works...

The place where the Divine and the human are most destined to interact, creativity

The art of

Art of Losing myself, on soft canvas,  2007.

Creativity is intimate because it is us most truly, spontaneously, and totally.  It is also intimate because it is Spirit working through us in so profound a way that Eckhart says, God “becomes the space where” we want to act. 

Creativity is not a noun or even a verb—it is place, a space, a gathering, a union, a where—wherein the Divine powers of creativity and the human power of imagination join forces.  Where the two come together is where beauty and grace happen and, indeed, explode.  Creativity constitutes the ultimate in intimacy, for it is the place where the Divine and the human are most destined to interact.

From Creativity, by Matthew Fox


“We reach for God in many ways. Through our pictures and our prayers. Through scriptures and sculptures. Through our writing and our worship. And through them He reaches us.”
From Windows of the Soul, Ken Gire


Friday, October 7, 2011

Jacket into Cape Refashion

On my latest solo Wednesday adventure (Do you know how much I adore Wednesdays?), I found this jacket at the thrift store.  It had good bones as they say, who are they? Good pattern, good collar, good buttons, good pockets… and who says we should listen to them?

The plan was to refashion it into a cape, thanks to the cutest little blog called, scwhurlie.  She does some really great tutorials, and she’s so adorable.   So, today, on this Friday of windy fall wonderland wonder, I did just that.


Urban Outfitters is selling them for $60,  and Anthropologie double that.  Mine really broke the bank at $3.99. Don’t you think I need ten more?

Also, the Elizabethtown quotes are involuntary at the point in my life.  Kind of like how for everything there is a Friends episode.  It’s pretty serious.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The day my painting came to life.

It came to life. I saw it with my own eyes. I felt the breeze dance around and through me. I  sat in the middle of swarm of leaves twirling and prancing in the warm October wind. It was magical.

One Fall Morning

I remember today, I painted it in 2007.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a true creative

Last night, after a fun splashy bath, we built towers on the floor of their bedroom.  Not your average tower, but the mixed media variety. Every single kind of block we have, we threw them all in a pile and began construction.  And as soon as that little boy of mine decided it was ready, he’d knock it down.  Normally, I encourage this behavior because his I-just-knocked-the-tower-down-laugh is a treasure, but I heard myself saying, “Hey, we’re trying to build something here.”

That’s when it hit me, “no seriously, we’re trying to build something here.”

Like, in life.

Every day, every moment, all the challenges, the victories, the affirmations, the questions, the dreams, the lost sleep, every time we give until we have nothing left, and every second we keep going, keep living.  It’s all about what we’re building.

A story. A legacy.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

-Steve Jobs [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs, a true creative.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art at Bordertown

Friday night we took over the walls of Bordertown Coffee on the U of M campus.  We basically had the place to ourselves, I guess college students don’t study on Friday nights, but then again, I never did. Bordertown is in the coolest old building.  If there is one thing that Minneapolis has, it’s really old cool buildings.  And tons of coffee shops. Oh yes, and 1,000 months of winter. You see my dilemma.

Anyways, I shot a little video when we were finished, to share with everyone.  If you are local, stop by this fall for a pumpkin spice chai and a little art show.

Art at Matt and Olivia Moore at Bordertown Coffee, Minneapolis, MN.

Monday, October 3, 2011

deep refreshing, life-sustaining breaths

Yesterday was the kind of day you crawl into bed, hide under the covers, and are truly glad that days end.   

Today is full of new mercies and new strength found in the cool, crisp air, foliage painted in oranges and reds, and mornings spent at the trunk of a grand tree drinking coffee with your sugarplum playing next to you, and your little boy throwing rocks down the slide.  

You lay on the ground, gazing up at the clear blue sky and you revel in the beauty of autumn and new days and deep refreshing, life-sustaining breaths. 
And remember everything will be just fine.