Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lessons from Nature

Closing out the year with a hike along the lake, through the woods seemed perfect.

So we grabbed jackets, hiking boots, cameras and the dogs and leashes
and headed out of doors.

Out to romp along the trails, stopping to observe the everyday little miracles...

nature's collages on dead stumps and logs
mossy old growth forest

sprightly rose hips
huckleberry and blackberry leaves
and mushrooms everywhere

Under the canopy of towering trees, even a drop of water is a splendid jewel 
and we find dazzling shapes and colors in the quiet winter woods.

Even the dead leaves have an elegant beauty
and the sketches, photos and slices of cut paper turn into art 
that brings a slight whiff of the woods to my work table.

What bliss to hike and snap photos and sketch, then come home 
to the studio to turn it into art.

Life is a daily succession of thousands of miracles that usually go unnoticed.

How wonderful to find time to be still and simply see.

Nature teaches the sweetest lessons.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in our hearts

Sometimes Christmas seems like a picturesque dream... 
perfect gifts wrapped in plenty of time and perfect meals set on the table to the adoration of friends and family.

But every year something calls me back to reality.
To the real Christmas.

This year it was a crisis in the life of a dear friend that left her sobbing in my arms on Christmas Eve while we sang the carols that speak to the deepest things of the heart.

Christmas was real because it was full of love and beauty in spite of the imperfections and mess.

Homemade and genuine like the ornaments I designed a couple years ago for one of my favorite companies.

My gifts were hardly wrapped.
The house was messy chaos.

But love was here.
And that's all that matters.


Merry Christmas, my friends. 
Merry, merry, real life blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Home. Made.

Pardon my temporary absence.

Behind the studio doors there is a flurry of making and doing.
If you peeked through a window you would gaze on a sight of messy creativity
and immediately understand what's been going on.

I can hardly find the glue gun.

It's probably behind the Sizzix machine.
Or under the carton of finished candles.

Maybe behind the tool box where the scissors belong.
But they are currently scattered on the ironing board behind the door.

Don't ask why.

There's a hand cut paper star in the window and a tiny tinsel tree on the sill...
because Christmas isn't Christmas unless it's authentic and home made.

I've been working and playing into the wee small hours.

And now there's a Christmas moon like a blessing over us all.
I'm going back to my paintbrushes and cup of tea.

God bless us, every one!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Living the bucket list

Recently someone asked me, "what's your favorite place and your favorite time?"

Right here, I told her.

Right now. This very minute!

Every precious minute I want to be living my bucket list.

Down the road is a mom and pop craft shop and on the side, someone painted these signs and left colored chalk nearby. It's a glimpse into the deepest desires of so many hearts.

It's made me think how grateful I am that I am actually living my list.

Being blessed to make art that people use on products is part of living my bucket list every day.
These new purse notes from Graphique de France are just one more example of my art in stores now.

Isn't this Christmas gift wrap fun? 
I love the quality of this made-in-USA paper which is made from 100% recycled paper... gorgeous and ecologically responsible ~ and in stores now.

But I have other things still on my bucket list...
and looking at the things these people wrote makes me think.

Some are mundane like the person who wanted to do ten push ups or the one who hopes to dance the night away or visit Sydney. 

But others inspire me...

the woman who wants to be drug free, the boy who wants to live in the moment,
the person who is trying to leave a legacy or the one who wants to learn "to love myself".
Me? I want to eat another icy lemon gelato in Italy, to better my art, light more candles.

To become a truly wise person through and through.
And spend more time gazing at the setting sun.

What's your bucket list?

Are you living a piece of it today?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

On the other side of the camera

I don't suppose anyone is ever completely comfortable in front of a camera but when the camera guys let you snip away while you chat, it's like a visit with your favorite neighbors.

By the time this shot was snapped, all my art and the interesting props had been removed and the camera geniuses were photographing the paper crafting products about to be released by Sizzix. 

This round is for the eClips machine, a collection of wonderful art that you can actually cut in a jiffy on a truly amazing machine. 

It's so close to my own original hand cut look you won't believe it.

 It'll be introduced in January at the Craft and Hobby Association's big trade show in California, where I'll be doing live demos.

Busy snipping away for the remaining items yet to be finished.

Do you have something you'd like to snip lightning fast on a Sizzix machine?
If you do, let me know what it is and I'll see if I can fit it into the last few images. Wouldn't that be fun?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The joy of creative weekends

Near me is the most amazing nursery a gardener could wish for:

So when they asked me to snip in one of their greenhouses during the annual Arts Alive weekend I could not resist. Creative inspiration is always guaranteed in a greenhouse.

It was a sparse crowd. I should have been disappointed, but it gave me extra time to visit with my gifted friend Laura, who was beside me making wreaths.

I bought one, but since one is never enough, I had to go home and make more myself.

Want a quick tutorial?
I thought so!

I took long flexible strands of viney plants (honeysuckle, climbing rose, kiwi, wild rose and grapevine) and simply twisted and coaxed them into a circle. If they're not fresh enough, you'll have problems with breakage.

When you have a fairly complex and sturdy shape, toss it to the ground, which enables you to see if it's nicely symmetrical.

Gather spindley twigs, rose hips, berries that will dry well, or anything else that suits your fancy.
I found that only nature's shopping cart worked for this project... nothing store bought. 

You'll want a sharp pair of clippers.
And wear gloves.

I raided my neighbor's drying white hydrangeas. Perfect.
Ditto for the birch branches that fell during a storm.

Weave their stems into the structure of the wreath, working your way around until it's a pleasing arrangement.

Soon you'll have a gorgeous wreath. 

Or call Christianson's in LaConner and ask for one of Laura's beauties.