an end to 2010

2010 is soon to be over. It has been a bit of a blur but I do look forward to 2011. When I look back to a year ago I had some really great expectations for 2010. Although it has been a great year I am changing my mind set a little and just hoping to enjoy the journey that 2011 brings and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our family.

Kaelyn has thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas decorations this year and will be pretty sad to see the Christmas tree leave the living room. (Yes we keep them up the entire month of December... at least... more time to enjoy the magical sparkle.)

We don't have any real exciting plans for celebrating the New Year. The lovely SD weather has supplied us with plenty of snow and travel is not advised so we're a little limited on what we can do. It is okay though, hubby's been working around the house and I've been working on some design requests. Hopefully shortly we'll have some nice family time. :)

I know Kaelyn is always up for a good time. Whether it's singing, playing or dancing... she's ready to rock it! Ha, ha!

Happy 2011!


DIY Project Before the Holidays

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break. I have tons... ok several things to share with you. First off I'll show you another DIY project. Everything I look at I see possibilities... which is nice for the pocket book and probably the environment too... things don't simply get trashed. So first off is this buffet/dresser which a cousin didn't want anymore and I'm always on the search for more storage. This was a perfect addition to our kitchen.

Before: painted brown... not so pretty.

Then I've always wanted a nice way to show Christmas photos so I figured I'd make my own photo board. This frame was really nice but not quite my style. The cheaply framed cork board was going to be trashed at hubby's work so he brought it home for me. :)

So here is what I did with some primer and white paint:

Don't these items look much happier?! White gives a nice clean, fresh feeling and it goes with everything else. If it was colored I'd most likely get sick of it pretty quick. And the total cost was $5! That's right. We had the paint already from other house projects. The frame was found at a garage sale and everything else was free! I was going to change out the knobs but they actually looked good with the black and white stove and the counters in the kitchen are charcoal. I'm definitely getting lots of enjoyment out of this thrifty makeover. Hope you enjoyed seeing it.


Wishing You...

Merry Christmas!

Photos by
Dolby Photography. Christmas card design by me.


Still Here!

Sorry I've been away for quite some time! Busy is an understatement but I'm sure many of you can relate. It always seems like a busy time around the holiday season. The last couple weeks I had been working really hard for a craft fair that was held last weekend. It went okay, but I think next year I'll just work more on my online shop. I'll be adding some fun things to Enduring Arts etsy shop in 2011... some things that were at the show and some I need to make more of. Other than getting ready for the craft fair, I was working on a custom modern portrait, etsy orders, another design project, then there was a funeral in there, (Sad! But this amazing guy left this world in a wonderful way and we were able to see family we don't often see so that was a blessing too.) and a birthday party. This week has been trying to get the house in order, decorated, Christmas cards sent, some more house renovating projects, a design project... and trying to out run the sickies that have been going around. (hubby and K both caught it... although K didn't seem effected much, she was still her hyper self.) So that's a bit of what's been going on.

There always has to be some fun time worked in! This was the night after the craft show when we spent a little time with family. K was roller skating for the first time. She loved it!

And whenever I get a little extra time it's spent with this kiddo. So you may not hear much from me until after Christmas. :)
♥ Take Care! ♥


You Are Beautiful

Happy Thanksgiving! Not your usual thanksgiving/fallish picture but I thought it would tie in well with what I have to say. I photographed this rose during the summer and even though I've looked at the photograph a few times I didn't see the "beauty" right away. A couple weeks ago I decided to play with it, majorly crop it and lighten it a bit and oh my goodness I was amazed! It was beautiful! (to me any way) And then it really made me think, God sees the beauty in everything... in us, in others, in everything he has created immediately. For us, well we miss a lot, sometimes we don't see the beauty in others or even in ourselves. The thing is, it is there, we just have to look harder. God has blessed us with so much. We have so much to be thankful for... and are we? Or are we bi-passing some important things, taking things for granted we shouldn't? Probably. We are only human. For some reason this flower touched me. It reminded me to look for the beauty in everything, because it is there. I am thankful for so much God has given me and my family. I am continually learning new things from Him. He is amazing. His creations are amazing. And you are his creation... yes I'm very thankful for you. For all of you who read this blog. You take time out of your day to read what I write. Many of you have never even met me, yet you offer support, encouragement, and leave comments... you brighten my day. You are a stranger yet a friend. I know I have family and friends who read this too. (Hi guys!) Even though many don't leave comments on here, I'm glad to hear you enjoy visiting my little on-line space to see whats going on in our life. Its heart warming. So thank YOU. Thank you for reading, thank you for following, thank you to those that leave comments so I know I'm not just talking to myself. You are all wonderful! I hope you will take time to look a little deeper, to see the beauty in God's creations that surround you and what lays within you. You will feel truly blessed! ♥


the shirt says it all

She really, really does! It's been snowing on and off all day and K
keeps asking if there is enough to go sledding. Ha, ha. Soon enough.
Happy Monday!


In the Studio

Lots left to do for a show coming up the first weekend in December. Praying it goes well and hopefully I can pull off getting everything ready for it. Uggh. Thankfully my medication (for Graves Disease) was changed last week when I saw the specialist so I should finally have some energy again! The hyper shakiness feeling had returned to my arms and head and that is quite an energy zapper... goodness! Fingers crossed that I'm good to go now.

So this is what I've been up to the last couple days. Once I printed out a tiny Jesus Loves Me print I thought it was too cute so my awesome hubby made me a bunch more blocks! I'm thinking they would make fantastic stocking stuffers! The blocks are currently sanded and surface prepped. Next is to paint and adhere the art.

These are getting close to being finished. Yay!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Linking up with Studio JRU. Always fun to see what other artists are up to!


Country Beauty {photography}

So I was planning on doing a painting from this photograph but when I printed it out today I fell in love with it. I think it's better to leave this one just as it is. I have my mother-in-law to thank for the shot. She took us on a little road trip to find some of their cattle. I love how the mamma cow has her ear straight up as if saying to the calf, "yes dear, I hear you." The print has a vintage color like feel to it that I love. And this peaceful country setting... well that is what I have grown to love. Having grown up here I've seen the sight of cows a million times, but now, I'm finally appreciating it. It's beautiful.

I thought others may enjoy this photograph so I added it to the shop along with the photo of echinaceas flowers that you may have seen in an earlier post.


Saved from the Trash

I'm always on the look out for things I can transform from ugly to pretty and usable. Since I've always stuck to a strict budget I like to look at things from a creative point of view. Well one of my last finds was sitting curbside ready to go to the dump. I couldn't let something that was so sturdy and in pretty darn good condition go to the trash! Sure the colors were completely out dated and there were a few little scratches on the side but I knew with a little paint it would look LOTS better. So here is the before:

The coloring was actually a little lighter than the photo shows. The top was made out of the old formica but the rest was a nice hardwood.

Here's the after:

A clean white look with brushed silver pulls. (Same ones that were there just spray painted.) I really like how it turned out. Who can't use more desk space and someday it might even be Kaelyn's if I can part with it. :)

My mother-in-law gave me a few treasures last weekend. I was so excited! One will be a perfect chair for this desk... just have to get it painted.

Linking up with Studio JRU today. Be sure to check out these other talented souls HERE.
Have a great weekend!


Blown Away

Last Saturday I was able to spend a few hours with my mom before going to a Halloween get together. Us girls headed to the Goss Opera House where a couple of my mom's friends were displaying their art. Little did we know that 3 floors of the Goss were filled with art. There was so much talent! I was truly inspired by the work on the third floor that was done by artist, Meranda Turbak. We didn't know anything about the artist but were both so impressed by her mixed media paintings. The imagination, color, story... wow! The size of her pieces were certainly eye catching and when you got close to them there was so much detail. And another thing I loved was that she often finds thrift frames/pictures and paints right over them. She doesn't spend money on buying canvases! How awesome is that?! When we went back down to the main floor and asked about more information on Meranda they told us she was working in the next room. So we headed over to the gift shop area and were able to meet her. It is so much fun meeting artists! She is such a sweet person. We talked for a bit and I sure hope to see her again in the near future. Maybe I can talk her into teaching a class. :)

I think several of you would be interested in Meranda's work and story about her process so be sure to check it out HERE. Also if your in SD and near the Goss be sure to stop by. It has the neatest old architecture and its rustic qualities have been saved. A coffee shop, gift shop that will soon only carry handmade work, a restaurant and art galleries are only a few things this building holds. It's impressive in its self.



Happy Halloween from ...

such a scary tiger! Ha, ha!
Just a quick couple shots from the night. Hope you all had a great weekend!


Memorable Week

This week like so many others flew by but with a couple memorable/exciting happenings. The beginning of the week I made my 100th etsy sale. To some that is very little, but to me it was huge! I can't say how thankful I am for my customers, and for my blog readers and commenters for encouraging me. You guys are incredible!!! I think most of you etsy shop owners know its not a walk in the park on getting customers to your shop when there are so many other amazing talents within etsy. It just amazes me that all these people all over the world found my little space in the on-line world and liked it enough to buy something! I am one thankful girl! ...and my awesome husband surprised me with this cake to celebrate! ♥

Another amazing thing happened for my husband today. Those of you who have been reading for a while know how much hubby likes to run and bike.. Well he found out yesterday that Lance Armstrong was putting on a bike ride about an hour away from us! I was seriously excited for my husband to go and I can say he couldn't wait either! So when the hour finally came this is what it looked like:

Yeah, I told him he had to take pictures for me since I was unable to be there. As you can see quite a few people were in front of my hubby. I can't even see Lance.

But ...

since my man LOVES riding and can kick butt going up hills, lots of people were dropped and he was able to place himself nice and close to Lance. (He did have to work for it though. Hee, hee.)

Lance is wearing the black shirt with the number 28.

And here Lance is signing autographs afterwards. Hubby just took a picture of him rather than getting anything signed. He didn't want to be pushy. :)

We definitely have lots to be thankful for!
Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!


Dispersing ~ New Mixed Media Painting

Wow! It's crazy how much the weather can change in a week. Last week we were painting our house when it was in the 60's to higher 70's and today it is in the 30's with snow! Unlike me, Kaelyn was excited to see the snow and was jumping up and down and said "Lets go sliding!" I'm pretty sure she meant sledding. :) She was not a happy camper when I said she had to wait until there was a little more on the ground. She'll get what she's hoping for soon enough.

Above is my newest mixed media (thought provoking) piece, "Dispersing". It represents our life... the whole growth process. We, like the flower, are always changing. The more we learn about our self and apply the skills or rather talents we know we start blooming. Our goal is to bloom into a beautiful flower. The circles represent the petals than will eventually fall. Its like the memory of us that will be left behind. Hopefully we will have touched others in some wonderful way through our journey here on earth. The flower can be quite a powerful symbol... something beautiful but it won't stay around for long. It grows up so quickly and then disperses its self... so much like you and me.


Major House Project

This post will explain what I've been so busy with last week. Non-stop work from Tuesday through Friday... scraping, taping, priming, and painting. It was a job! Since the inside of our house has done a complete 180 it was time the outside felt some love.

Here are a few before and afters. Note that this house was moved to town in the early 1950's, not sure when it was actually built. I like the charm of an old home!
{starting to scrape; new door has been installed}
{after: color adds character and makes the trim work pop!}
(another angle: scraping}

A little difference don't you think? In the spring we will be working on a deck and a little landscaping. So happy to have this big job done. I'll tell you it was pretty scary! A friend lent us scaffolding, but boy it pretty much terrified me climbing up on that thing. It felt like I was 3x higher than I really was and when it wiggled I seriously thought I was going to puke! Thankfully my dad brought in his loader and lifted me up in that. It felt like I was at an amusement park. There was a section that my dad had to put David up high in the loader with a ladder on top of that to reach a part the scaffolding couldn't get to. That was extremely scary... yes, I was praying that everything would turn out smoothly and thankfully it did! And a huge thanks to my mom for watching K while I was working on the house! Hubby and I couldn't have done this job so quickly without the help of my parents!


Birthday Invites and Logo Design

I have been busy with a variety of projects lately... makeover projects on items around the house, art projects and a few freelance projects as well. Here are a couple of the latest design projects I worked on for others:

Dr. Seuss Birthday Invitations
The request was for a fun saying with possibly a fish illustration - Dr. Seuss themed. So I came up with the fun saying, "Oh the places he will go! from there to here, from here to there, a one year old is everywhere!" Yeah, we read a lot of Dr. Seuss books in our house so it didn't take too long for that to pop into my head. And isn't it the truth, a one year old is certainly on the move! Ha! The cards were requested to be flat so on the back I designed the cat's hat with the one. Something simple but adds a little extra spice... better than just leaving it blank. The package also included thank you notes where I illustrated the cat in the hat saying thank you from the birthday boy. It was a fun project!

Then the design job I just completed was a logo design which was then made into several vehicle decals. I've made a few decals for Larry before but he recently decided on adding trenching and some sort of graphic so here is what I came up with:

Freelance projects always keep my job interesting. Each request seems to challenge me in a new way, sure some I struggle with but when I get to the end of the design process and see the end product I can't help but be pleased with the outcome.


New Art Print: Raining Down Love

Finally this design has been put to color. I made this one the same time I designed "Radiating Love" but never got around to putting in the color until this week. I have a few boy color options that will be added to the shop soon.

This is a pretty simple modern design with lots of white space and placed in the upper right to resemble the placement of your heart. Isn't it wonderful knowing that God is always showering us with His love no matter if we deserve it or not?! I thought these would make great reminders for children's rooms. You can read more information about the print HERE if you're interested.

{detail view of Raining Down Love}

Have a wonderful weekend!


Still Here!

This Grave's Disease has been taking a lot out of me lately. I've been completely drained of energy the last few days. Thankfully I'm starting to feel a little better now and am sure the beautiful weather has helped a bit. Saturday after my painting group, hubby, K and I took the boat out. This is the boat that David built 4 years ago. We didn't think it was going to make it out on the water this year as the summer seemed to fly by. But when you have 70-80 degree weather in October you can't pass the chance up. So even though rain clouds were coming we went for it. Kaelyn was so excited to go and no way was she going to take a nap and miss out on any boating time.

The rain clouds had gone by, there was food to eat, the scenery was beautiful and it was oh so peaceful. This was a much needed mini getaway. Even when rowing it was relaxing!


A Bit About Drawing

{Fighter Pilot ~ pencil drawing}

After participating in Kelley Berkey's drawing challenge I was asked to share some tips/hints on how I draw with charcoal. I figured there may be a few other people who would like to know a bit about my drawing process... I hope this information will help you in some way.

I go about drawing with pencil and charcoal in very similar ways. Above is an example of my pencil/graphite drawing and the drawing of Kelly done in charcoal can be seen HERE. I first start with a light sketch of my subject. I try to crop or angle to the most interesting view. I prefer to work from top to bottom especially when I use charcoal because it can smear quite easily. It helps to lay a clean sheet of paper under my hand if I'm working over something I have already drawn... I don't want a grungy looking mess to happen after all the hard work. Whether I use pencil or charcoal I never just use one pencil unless its a super quick sketch. If you aren't aware of the numbers and letters on the pencils, it is useful information. H means the pencil is hard and will show light lines, the higher the number is with a H the lighter it will be. B's are soft and give you darker colors... nice contrast to the H's. B's will give your picture depth. I use 6B to get my darkest areas in my drawings. When using graphite pencils I prefer working with the pencils from scale 4H to 6B. For charcoal I use HB, 2B, and 4B with a lot of blending and erasing to give an even larger scale of lights to darks.

For a realistic look, blending is key. I use pretty small pointed blending stumps... I've never had a need for the large ones. If I'm working with a large area, I use my finger. If I'm using charcoal and I want an area to look really black, I will not blend it. I simply work up the dark color in layers until it is solid and you don't see the paper any more. If you try blending it, it loses the rich dark color. I start with the lighter areas and gradually layer up with the dark areas/shadows.

Another useful tool that helps me immensely when drawing is a needed eraser. You only need a small one because you can keep pulling on it to have it clean its self. I like to roll it into a point and use it kind of like another pencil only it takes away to give lighter areas. This works awesome when working with charcoals and you want a smooth transition between light to dark or if you want to give highlights to an area.

I use my needed eraser and blending stump more often then I use my actual charcoal pencils. Sometimes when I'm wanting a light gray area, I will just use my blending stump. If there's already a bit of charcoal left on the tip I press softly with it to give light gray areas. I will then use the needed eraser to lighten any spots where there isn't a smooth transition.

How much time you spend on blending is entirely a personal preference. I like to layer up with a variety of pencils and then blend... sometimes it is harder to erase after you blend and of course the harder you press the harder it is to pick that color back up.

I suggest if you're new to drawing start with drawing a ball and play around with the light to dark ranges. Practice making it look and feel round. Make sure you think about the light source (where the sun or light shines on the object)... you will need a highlighted point (white area) somewhere with a shadow (your darkest area) that the light is not shining on. The contrast is what will make your image pop.

The more you practice the more you will get used to your pencils, blending stumps, and needed eraser. Have fun!


Completed Outfit

Seriously, can time go by any faster?! My goodness, and in less than a half hour it will be October. It feels like September just began. This week I've been busy on lots of house projects nothing to big and exciting though. Some paint touch ups, a little wall texturing, and I completed curtains for the living room today... 8 yrds of material and that was only 2 windows. Its surprising how much a room can change by curtains and the wall color. Wednesday I had blood work done again to check my T levels. I have that done every 3-4 weeks. My body is still adjusting, but it looks like my daily medication is keeping the levels where they need to be. I'll be spending a lot of time with family for the next week plus and watching little ones, so not sure if I'll have any time to blog. I do have a couple pictures to share of the outfit I made for Kaelyn. More info can be found in my earlier blog post HERE.

My first outfit ever made. Couldn't forget a matching headband. :)

Yes, K's 2 and happy to let everyone know it... but not always in such a nice way. Watch out for the 2 year old tantrums. Oh my!

These fun photos were taken by my talented friend from Dolby Photography.

When I get more then 5 minutes of computer time I promise to share a little about how I work with charcoal. I haven't forgotten about it.


Weekend Wedding Plus

Our days have been well filled, which has left little time for blogging. I did want to get a few fun photos posted from this last weekend though and share a little of what we've been up to. Last week I got a fairly large load of Kaelyn's baby stuff ready to consign for a Children's sale. A percentage of the profits go to charity which is nice and the consignor's also make a bit themselves. It was definitely nice getting rid of some big stuff but it is kinda sad to see it go too. It's crazy how much space baby stuff takes up!

Saturday our family headed to a wedding. Kaelyn was exceptionally good through the whole service. I had no idea how it would go as the ceremony was during her usual nap time. Usually when she's tired she falls apart. Other then having to run to the potty a couple times just minutes before the wedding started, she stayed nice and quiet and just watched all the people around her.

Then on to the reception. K had a blast! Well before the dance ever started she wanted to show her moves on the dance floor. It was so cute. Not too much time went by and more kids joined her and here is a shot of them making their own train. The little girls were bundles of giggles and the older boy got a kick out of them too.

{me & my girl}

When the dance finally started K was mesmerized by the balloons. It was so funny with everyone dancing around her and she was just still holding onto a balloon. She acted like it was her job to hold it and couldn't do anything else at the same time. Ha!

Several people got a kick out of her and started handing her balloons. The guy thought she might start floating if he gave her enough. :)

{watching the newlyweds with daddy}

When she FINALLY let the balloons go and started dancing and pulled me out to dance with her they changed to the dollar dance so the actual dancing scene for her was short lived. We had fun, and she went the whole day without a nap which led to her sleeping all night... wow! That doesn't happen around here. She never sleeps!
On Sunday, we headed up to hubby's dad's place to give him a bike that David fixed up. David really needs to start taking before and after pictures of the bikes he fixes up because they turn out amazing. When David told me he was making his dad a CASE orange bike I kinda wondered, but after seeing it done, I love how it turned out...

Isn't it a beauty?! There's even a blinkie under the seat for any night riding. :) I hope his dad will put it to good use. It's definitely a good addition after having his heart attack.
I think I'll be adding a turquoise bike to my wish list. Good for your health and who doesn't want to ride in fashion!