Monday, August 25, 2008

Silent Auction for NieNie (Closed)

The Nielson Family, our prayers are with you!

Don't forget to visit Design Mom for other amazing auctions. All helping to raise funds for Stephanie and her family.



Shhhh! Momma Owl is trying to get all her little owls to settle down, for the moon is waining, and the sun will soon be ready to say hello. She is reading her little one's their favorite book, Goodnight Moon. Looks like little brother has already fallen asleep from a busy night of hide and go seek and lightning bug races. Good luck Momma Owl, those other two look like real night owls. (sorry guy's, I couldn't help myself)

Up for auction is the original painting "Sleepyheads" in this lovely wooden frame. This is an original painting (not a print) using watercolors and acrylic paints. The size is 5"x 7" and the painting is mounted on coordinating acid free scrapbooking paper.

Stephanie and Christian and their beautiful family

I just visited Kathleen's lovely blog, Grosgrain, and found out the most heart breaking events that have happened to the family of Stephanie from the very well know blog The NieNie Dialogues. Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a plane crash two weeks ago. From what I understand Stephanie received burns over 80% of her body and her husband received burns on over 30% of his body. It is speculated that the medical bills will soar to the upper thousands if not millions. I am touched by Kathleen's kindness. She has decided to auction off one of her beautiful handmade dresses. Although I am new to the NieNie Dialogues ( I found them through Grosgrains links) I feel the need to help out in any way possible. I have decided to follow in Kathleen's footsteps and host a silent auction also.

Instead of hosting a giveaway this week, I am going to put one of my original illustrations up for auction. To purchase the painting, just leave your bid in the comment section. Check back often. If you would like to increase your bid, just leave another comment with your new amount. Bidding will end on Sunday August 31st at 12 pm my time. The painting will go to the highest bidder. The money will go straight to a fund set up to help the family with all the upcoming expenses. 

I will be keeping this sweet family in my prayers. I pray that they both have a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank Kathleen for passing all this information along. I hope she doesn't mind that I used the images from her blog to put on this post. If you want to find out more information on ways that you as a fellow blogger can help, please visit C Jane (Stephanie's sister's blog) for more details.

I am Working on......

A book every artist should have. There is tons of great reference in this one book. I am constantly pulling this out and looking at the different animals in the book when I do my animal illustrations. It is very helpful for proportion and placement of limbs. Plus I don't always know what these animals look like in fine detail. It's not like I sit and look at Egyptian vultures all day. There are also chapters dedicated to bugs and sea animals. This book retails for 14.95. However I am sure if you do a little hunting you can find it for less on Ebay or

Lori over at Morning Glories and Moon Flowers has already started craving fall and all the wonder's this very fun season brings. It happens to be one of my favorite times of the year also. There is something so exciting about the changing of the leaves into all the beautiful fall colors, the crispness of the fall air, the upcoming festivities of the holiday season just around the corner. Most importantly, Fall reminds me of Family, and brings back a flood of great memories from years of family gatherings past. So all of Lori's talk of pumpkins and fall has really gotten my creative mind into gear. I couldn't sketch fast enough today, and I am worried weather or not I will be able to finish all the new paintings I want to do before fall is over.

Here's what I am working on right now. I got a lot of the under painting done yesterday (as seen in the photo above). I hope to show the finished work by Wednesday. Then I will be adding it to the shop. The next few images are a little showcase of how I gather ideas and thoughts to create an illustration. I use the Internet sometimes for creative inspiration, but I have this huge file of "idea's" that I am constantly referring to for most of my inspiration. 

I love monkey's. they have always been my favorite. These old toys are so funny. The vintage feel is what I tried to capture in my current illustration. I found this image via

I found this cute vintage children's fabric on Fifth Ave Designs website. The frogs playing instruments are my favorite.

Vintage posters have always been something that caught my eye. I especially love this one because "Ringling" is very dear to my heart. I was lucky enough to attend a year and a half of art school at The Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida. I wish that I had been able to finish my education there, but I went and had my little Sloanie instead. Still paying off the student loans though. I'm not bitter, just wish I had not wasted such a wonderful opportunity. Just to set the record straight, there are many things I regret having done in the past. Having my daughter was never one of them.

So I went on the hunt to find some lettering ideas and I ran into these wonderful paintings on I think they are super fun. Just thought I would share with you how I gather my thoughts and ideas for sketches. It's fun to get inspired by the creative images I have found. I always make sure that I don't copy someone else's art work though. Making my own artwork is so gratifying.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

So very cool

These past two weeks have been such fun filled ones. My baby girl took her first steps, I opened my Etsy shop, got a DVD of family pictures from mom and dad, and last but certainly not least, I was featured on Firefly Hill Designs blog. A few weeks ago Anne asked me if it would be OK to do a post on my Artfulife blog. I said it would be an honor to be featured. A few posts back I featured Anne and her wonderful blog. She designs and makes wonderful bags and purses. She also has the most wonderful posts about colors and beautiful objects that she finds inspiring. She was much too kind with her post, and I am sure if you talked to my little Sloan she would let you know what a "mean" mommy I am. It sure brought a huge smile to my face all weekend long. It was a huge honor to be featured on her blog.

I know I am not the only one who visits their favorite blogs every day. So I was super surprised to see that the talented artistic trio Dylan & Jo of The Cart Before the Horse had added me to their links list. I love their handmade dolls. They are truly unique and I hope to someday own one. I am tickled pink to be added to their links. 

Before I go I also wanted to mention one more time the kindness of Dana over at Old Red Barn Co.  Dana was kind enough to volunteer to make the banner for my Etsy shop. Thank you so much! What a special and wonderful last two weeks. I couldn't be happier.

If you haven't had a chance to visit the wonderful blogs mentioned above, you should. They are all filled with creativity and inspiration.

Still one of my Favorites

Still one of my all time favorite commercials. If anyone knows the name of this song, I would be grateful to know.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blooming Doodles & Giggles & Scribbles

Sloan's newest creation. It reminds me a little of the day of the Dead art from Mexico with a hint of tattoo style. She was emphatic that I teach her how to draw skulls today, and I would have never thought this is what she would produce. I think it's very creative. You can see this illustration along with others on Sloan's blog, Blooming Doodles. She loves getting comments and if you have any young budding artists that would like to become blogging pals with her she would be thrilled.

This is my little Zoe's artwork. She is very excited to start her own blog also. She wants to be just like Sloan. So whenever she finishes one of her "scribbles" drawings she brings it to me and says, "You put this to my blog mommy?". How could I resist this request. If you know my Zoe she doesn't ask once, no, it's like the 2 year old version of rain man. Things are repeated over and over and then a couple more times. So I had a few moments and figured I would start her little blog Scribbles & Giggles tonight. 

I figure the more these girls draw to more art will become a part of their lives. Even if they don't choose to become artists, I am hoping they will develop a love for the arts. You can visit both blogs by following the links at the side of my blog.

The Kitchen Remodel Update

Most of the major remodel work Dean has done is stuff you can't see unless you pop your head under the house and look at pipes and electric and other very boring but important improvements I am glad my husband is able to do. I know he has saved us thousands of dollars on the remodel because of his job. He does gut and remodels up at Lake Tahoe all week long. He installed an electric water heater under the house. Not only does it heat the water more efficiently, but in the long run it should save us money. Plus taking out the old (disgusting) water heater freed up more room for a cabinet in the corner of the kitchen.

We are always amazed at the stuff we find, or the lack of what we find while doing this remodel. The previous owners had installed the water heater and just left the wall opened behind it. No actual wall was there just some insulation, very grimy and disgusting insulation. Well it's right there in the picture and I think it speaks for itself.

Then Dean found this strange contraption in the wall (leaned against the fridge). At first we couldn't figure out what it was. Dean finally looked inside an there were bricks inside it. He figured that they used this to pull the bricks up and would pulley it down again when they needed more while they were building the old furnace chimney. I thought that was kind of cool. However it would have been cooler to find say stacks of money stashed inside. Oh well.

Then he moved all the plumbing pipes that had been installed in the most awkward places, and put up new drywall.

Oh I almost forgot, he had to finish rewiring this side of the kitchen. When he moved in there had been an electrical fire years ago. So the whole house had to be rewired. I have a picture of the cabinet that he installed but I will have to post it with the next batch of remodel photos. Dean works so hard all week long. This kitchen remodel was only supposed to take a few weeks to finish (hahahhahahah). Although it has stretched into months, every step makes the house look more like our little home. It makes my heart swell with joy when I look at all the hard work we have put into this home. Today Sloan informed me we were never allowed to buy another house. Our house is small (750 square feet small). We love and live in every inch of it. The crazy thing is it only feels small sometimes. Someday we hope to start the addition. For now it works. I have to agree with Sloan. If the time came and we were to sell it would be hard for me to leave this little home. All of our first memories have happened within these little walls. I am glad we will be here for a little while longer. How many of you have gone through a remodel? How many of you are still going through a remodel? I would love to hear your stories on all your remodel adventures.

Aris' First steps

I wanted to post a little snippet on this the other night, but things have been busy. My little Aris will be 14 months this week and she still isn't walking. She is just a late bloomer on everything. Plus she is still super tiny for her age. I still can dress her in some 3-6 month stuff. I jokingly call her my little elfin child. The other night all the girls and I were enjoying the backyard and what do you know, Aris took 4 steps! Not to me, but to her sissy Sloan. Sloan freaked out and was so excited that she was the first one Aris walked to. Since then Aris has taken a few more steps here and there. So she isn't officially walking yet, but very close. I am most excited at the fact that this winter, I won't have to spray and wash the knees on all her little sleepers, overalls, pants and dresses.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Newest Illustration

Here it is folks! The newest illustration. I will be adding it to the shop tonight when the little ones go to bed. 

I hope to add at least one or two more pictures of this in a frame before the day is through. Before I go I just wanted to tell you about the kindness of a fellow blogger. Dana from the blog Old Red Barn and Co. was kind enough to offer her creative computer talents and made me an Etsy banner with the above illustration. I wanted something a little more fitting for the upcoming fall season and she did a beautiful job. She just volunteered her time and talent and helped me out more than she will ever know. I am not very good at navigating my Mac yet, need to play around on it a little more. So this random act of kindness is very much appreciated. If you haven't visited her blog lately you should stop by and say hello. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. I look forward to having another giveaway hopefully by next weekend. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So I worked on the shop while the kids were resting. I think the pictures look a whole lot better than they did. Now for the banner, that will have to wait until the little ones go to sleep tonight. If you were sitting beside me right now you would see me giggling with excitement. I know this sounds very silly, but this is a huge leap for me. I am very pleased that I have made it to this step. OK, gotta go pick Sloan up from school. Talk to you soon!

Please Don't Mind the Mess

So I did it! I opened the shop last night at almost midnight. It looks ridiculous. I figure the more I do this the faster I will become at loading the pictures and listing the art. It took me forever to post one item. The pictures are dark, and it makes my art look pretty undesirable. I also need to work on an illustration for the banner. Please bear with me while I work out all the kinks. The cool thing is, Susannah over at Sitting Pretty Studios, said I already had three people who have added me to their favorites (she was kind enough to add me as a favorite). Very exciting. She also gave me some very helpful ideas to improve the look and feel of my shop. I figure it will take me a few more days to get it looking exactly how I would like it to.
So all the little ones are napping and I am going to take a bunch of photo's and get cracking on some artwork. Please feel free to leave some constructive ideas and any helpful advise that you would like. All will be appreciated. Hope you all are having a wonderful day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hello Etsy!!!!!!

Here it is folks, the first item up for sale in my new shop!

Well it's official, the store is up! However I am not ready for the big reveal quite yet. I have a few kinks to work out first, like almost everything. So if you do decide to take a sneak peak at it right now, please forgive me for the lack of a more polished look that I am trying to achieve. Plus I don't know how to link my Etsy shop to my blog and I have a million other questions to figure out tomorrow. Hope all is well and I look forward to getting some constructive (go easy on me) criticism when all is said and done.

And the Winner is................

The winner is KKJD1!

Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway. I am so thankful for all the kind and lovely comments that each one of you leave. It is very encouraging to hear such positive things about my artistic creations. When life gets busy and family takes up a good deal of my time, it's easy to want to give up on my dreams, or at least put them on hold. Somehow the encouragement of others gives me that little push I need to keep on keeping on. Thanks everyone! Hope you all have a great week.

P.S. Congratulations Karen, please e-mail me so we can discuss the ideas for your illustration. I will post a reveal of the illustration before I send it in the mail. 


This is my newest most favoritest thing in the whole wide world. Anyone who has seen my feet knows that this was a much needed purchase. My husband just informed me that my nasty feet really needed this. Ahhh yes, how I love Dean's brutal honesty. No I really do. When he tells me I'm beautiful, I know he really means it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I haven't done a thing today. Well I went to church, and cleaned the house and then I took a super long nap with my Zoe. I feel like I haven't done anything productive though. I guess sometimes you need those days. I am heading to the chair in my livingroom to work on some new sketches.
I went to one of my favorite stores yesterday, TJMaxx, and bought some frames for the artwork that I am going to put in my shop. I also found some cute frames at Target. The frames that I really love are the ones you can find at antique markets and yard sales. They are super gaudy and really elaborate, they are my favorite. They are also hard to find. Well enough about frames. I must go and work on art. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"You Decide" Giveaway

So here it is folks, another Artfulife giveaway. Only this time I am going to mix it up a bit. The winner of this giveaway gets to pick what I paint for them. I will paint any animal that you would like for the little one in your family. If your little guy likes dogs, I will paint him an illustration with a dog theme. If your little sweetheart likes kittens, then the illustration will be a kitten theme. The sky is the limit. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling me the animal you would want used in "your" illustration, and why. If your name is picked, I will paint the animal theme you left your comment about.  Last day for entries is Monday, August 18, 2008 at 4 pm. My little ones love to pick the winners, it's Zoe' turn to pick this weeks winner. 

This giveaway is to celebrate the opening of my new Artfulife Etsy store this weekend. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I can't wait to see what animal I get to paint next. 

The size of the finished painting will fit into an 8"x 10" frame.

P.S. The painting will be in my illustrative kids style. I don't have enough time to do the photo realistic paintings that I have done in the past. Maybe in another giveaway when the kids are older.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And the Winner is................

The winner is Toni, of Amazing Grace.

A special thanks to all of you who left such kind and thoughtful comments. Thank you also to those of you who posted about the giveaway on your blogs. I have so much fun doing these giveaways. I love meeting each and every one of you and taking a peek into the fun and creative things you are surrounding you and your families with through your blogs. What a wonderful tool. I hope to see you again.

I am working very hard on a few new paintings for my Etsy shop. Check back because I will be posting a sneak peak of each of them. Also on Friday I am hosting another giveaway in celebration of the grand opening of Artfulife's Etsy shop. So I am off to play with the little ones, and paint my little fingers off. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Toni, just e-mail me (my e-mail address is to the side of my blog) your address and I will send your painting off this weekend.

Newest Illustration

"We are Family"

I finished this little painting up last night. I already know what frame it will go in. I just posted it on the dotted scrapbook paper so it would stand out. It won't have a dotted background when it's framed. This is the first painting I will be selling out of my Etsy store.

Today was my first day of watching a little one year old named Spencer. Things were not going as mom really wanted with the last babysitting situation. I offered to watch him. Right now we are seeing if it will work for both of us. If  everything goes like it did today, I will watch this little guy until he goes to kindergarten. I don't want to get too excited at how well things went today, but I would love to be able to help this family.

I will be posting another  illustration in the next few days. Please look for my Etsy shop's grand opening this weekend. I will be offering a super fun giveaway on Friday in celebration of the event. Hope everyone has a great week.

Thanks for all your kind comments about Sloan's little accident. We were very blessed. It could have been so much worse. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday Night Emergency Room Visit

We had such a blast all afternoon and evening on Saturday. I walked to Butcher Boy and picked up some yummy meat. Dean was working all day on installing the new water heater. So BBQ was just what would make the perfect day even better. We ate and then while we were cleaning up I asked Sloan if she could carry the cups and my glass into the house. On her way up the stairs, she tripped. The mason jar broke. Sloan started crying and screaming. Dean is like, I think you might want to come take a look at this. Blood was all over the place. When I first looked at Sloan's mouth, I couldn't see any of the bottom front teeth. I thought for sure my daughter was going to have to wear dentures the rest of her life. Once we got her cleaned up I found where all the blood was coming from. Poor little thing, she had a laceration that went strait through her lip. We couldn't tell if she had glass in the hole or not. So off to the emergency room we went. Thankfully they only had to use some Dermabond instead of stitches. It was so traumatic for Sloan, but once we got her calmed down she was wonderful about the whole thing. She has such aversions to Dr.' of any kind. I don't half blame her. She was amazing and I was sure to let her know how wonderful and brave she was.

Today when I picked her up from school, she had picked off the Dermabond! I could just spank her little buns! (not really, please don't call social services) But I couldn't believe it. She doesn't understand what scars are. It's a pretty good sized laceration. Little stinker. So I had two choices, take her back to the emergency room and have them put more Dermabond on the wound, or grab some liquid band aid from the store. I chose the latter. We will see if she leaves it on. The Dr. also put her on an antibiotic because of her diabetes. I know it's hard to see the wound to its fullest in this picture, but trust me, for a mom it's the most horrifying thing to see on one of your kids.

Saturday Afternoon in Technicolor

For all of you who are not family or close friends, I will apologize now for all the photo's of the kids. I have no family here in Reno (just friends who have become my family) so I have to post a lot of photos for all the Grams, Grampas, Bummas and Pop Pops, aunties and uncles who live so very far away. If nothing more maybe you can see through pictures, what a blast we had that day.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday Afternoon in Black and White

Family, these are for you! Miss you all tons. I love you guys so much!