Thursday, December 30, 2010

knowing when to stop


do you ever reach a point in a painting, drawing or creative project where you just have to stop working on it for fear of reaching the point of no return and ruining it completely?   i've reached that point with this painting, hopefully i'm not too late.    something still doesn't feel right with it and i'm not sure what, but i know if i keep adding things to it that i'll just ruin it.   sometimes when i think a painting is done, but i'm not quite sure,  i'll put it in a spot where i have to walk past it at different angles throughout the day until i can figure out what it does or doesn't need.   i'm going to give that a try tomorrow, and if i'm still not sure, i'm going to put it away for a few weeks and pull it back out and see how i feel about it.  sometimes a little time and space is all that is needed to give a fresh perspective on things. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

our birthday boy

birthday boy
fischer turned 6 today!  i can't believe it has already been  6 years since our sweet little boy  came into our lives and changed it forever.  today was fischer's day from the moment he woke up.    grandma took him out to lunch to the restaurant of his choice and to the book store.  for supper he wanted chicken and dumplings which is his absolute favorite.
i wanted to make cupcakes and put dinosaur sprinkles on them, but he wanted a cake with either a t-rex on it or a velicoraptor, i went with the t-rex.  it wasn't  the greatest looking t-rex, but fischer liked it, especially when he added some dinosaur sprinkles to it.  i think it's  kind of hard having a birthday so close to Christmas, but it didn't seem to bother him at all, especially knowing that in a few weeks we will be having his birthday party with his friends.  (he wants  a dinosaur party)
all day there was such sweetness and joy on his little face, along with a  sparkle in his eyes!  i have so much to be thankful for.
fischer's birthday

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

flying with friends

flying with friends

i hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas.  we've been laying low around here after all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  i finished this painting right before all the family descended upon us and our household was turned upside down in festivities.   i do all of my  painting on our kitchen table so all of my art supplies were put away for the last week, but they are back in their familiar places, the counter top, table, and the floor.  i really need to figure something else out, but the kitchen is the coziest room in the house, it gets good light and i can do some quick painting or drawing while i'm waiting for things to cook!  the kitchen gets kind of messy when i'm in the middle of a project and it gets to be a bit of a drag to have to clean up before each meal and when i go to bed, but maybe that's  a good thing!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

around here

winter sunrise
yesterday i woke up to the most beautiful winter sky.  the sun was just coming up and the sky was glowing pink,  everything appeared so still and cold, and indeed it was, the thermometer read -10!  these last few days have seen a lot of indoor activity, mostly of the Christmas kind. 
everyday this week amelia has been asking,  "mama are you going to paint?"  she has been enjoying her watercolors and has figured out how to use them and not make the colors all muddy. 

amelia painting

it always amazes me at  how much they are always watching and learning from us.  i guess i put my paint brush in my mouth sometimes, especially if i'm doing a collage, because amelia will put her brush in her mouth when she is painting and then say, "you do like this mommy?"  and i say "yes honey, i do like that!"

"you go like this mommy?"

i made the most wonderfully delicious  peppermint bark yesterday, which the recipe came  from Amanda Blake Soule of  Soule Mama.  it's three layers of chocolate with crushed peppermint in between.   i started with just one batch in the morning and it turned out so beautiful and yummy that i went back to the store for more chocolate and did two more batches in the afternoon.  this stuff is soo good, it just melts in your mouth  and is going to make fabulous gifts for neighbors and friends.  my family has already eaten up all the little nibblets and are hoping for more.  it just looks so pretty in their little jars!

peppermint bark

i finally got my Christmas cards out today!  yeah!  in between all this Christmas activity i've still been able to sneak a little painting time in here and there.  hopefully i'll be able to finish this one tomorrow.

in progress

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

running behind

hopefully i can get my Christmas cards out in the mail tomorrow, i decided to go with the reindeer painting for the print.  i'm not totally happy with how they look, but since time is short, this is what i'm sending out.  it's not unusual for me to be running behind on getting my cards out,  at least  everyone always seems to get their card before the holidays, even the year my husband tried to send them with out stamps on them!    i wish i could use the excuse that i'm always behind because they are handmade, but i'm just a procrastinator and time moves much to fast for me these days.
every Christmas since Amelia was born, the holiday photo has been in front of the Christmas tree. i wanted to try something else this year, but guess what, i ran out of time, so here they are in front of the tree.  maybe it will become the traditional holiday photo spot as they grow through the years.

christmas photo

Friday, December 10, 2010

a little fairy goodness

here's a sweet little fairy that i finished up today.  i'm really happy with the results.  i've noticed that a lot of my paintings have turquoise in them, so i tried to use a different color palette.  the little butterflies in her hair were a complete accident.  i used painted coffee filters for her hair and after it dried,  some of the darker pieces formed a little butterfly on the left side in the most perfect spot, so i then repeated it for the right side.  don't you just love it when accidents like that happen?

have a wonderful weekend!  i know ours is going to be a snowy one! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010


chicka-dee-dee-dee, chicka-dee-dee-dee,  i love these little birds and their sweet little song.  they are one of the few birds that stick it out here in Wisconsin for the winter.  what brave little guys.    i'm thinking Santa will be bringing some yummy bird seed to fit in  this stocking.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a butterfly for christmas

butterfly path

i started this painting back in august or september.  i can't even remember what the original painting started as or what i was trying to do, i remember not liking where it was going so i  just kept adding more paint and eventually i got so frustrated with it that it went into a corner for a few months.   occasionally it would catch my eye but i would quickly look away with a little "hmmmph".  about a month ago  it caught my eye again and this time i felt the urge to add a few quick touches  to it, but then it when right back to its corner.   i did this several times over the past month and now i reached a point where i can say that it is finished, and i think i actually like the end results.
this painting is going to a friend of mine for her Christmas present.  she had come over and seen it hiding in its little corner awhile back and said she really liked it and my immediate response was " you can have it".  i think i told her it would be her Christmas present, if not, she knows now!

Monday, November 29, 2010

it's the holiday season

i hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, i know we did, we actually were lucky enough to have 2 Thanksgiving meals, one on Thursday and one on Saturday, so much good food and company.   the kids had so much fun with all of their cousins and probably wore themselves out, for  today started with Amelia throwing up and then followed shortly there after with Fischer,so i guess our extended weekend continues.    amelia's feeling better, hopefully fischer will be soon.


now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas countdown begins.  i'm still hoping my Christmas spirit will kick in.  this coming weekend there are all sorts of fun Christmas activities to go to so that should help.   here's another Christmas painting i did.  i think my favorite part of it is the background.  i used watercolor pencils on the paper and then covered it with tissue paper. i really like how it gave it  a vintage look.
i sold my first ever  painting!  i had taken some paintings  into Tulips  here in town and  "Tattered Wings" sold the day after i took it in!  pretty exciting.  it was really hard for me to take that first step to get my paintings out there.  it took lots of encouragement and support from a wonderful friend who pretty much had to "hold my hand"  as we took them to the store last week.  a big THANK YOU to her.

tattered wings

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

safe travels

safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

a proud little reindeer


can you believe Thanksgiving is this week?  it just can't be.  that means Christmas is just over a month away! we've had a pretty mild fall here and my Christmas spirit hasn't kicked in yet.  colder weather is here, now i can only hope for some snow to help put me in the Christmas mood.  here's a proud reindeer that i painted in hopes of sparking a little bit of spirit.  i did the ornaments close to a month ago and couldn't figure out what to do with them.  i think they found the right place.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a boy and his dragon

a boy and his dragon

i finished this painting last evening.   fischer was definitely the inspiration for this piece.  he loves dragons, dinosaurs, swords, gold, treasures, shields, and magic.  one evening a few weeks ago just as i crawled into bed and closed my eyes, this little image came to mind.  do you ever have that?  i love it.  it's when my body finally comes to rest and just as i  close my eyes, little visions and images flash before them.  i wish these little images were always creative ideas, but they're not.  sometimes this is when i realize i forgot to do something that day or it triggers stress and worries about the kids or bills or if i played hockey that night, i replay it over and over in my head.  lucky for me though, i usually fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

i made this painting for fischer and wouldn't you know it, the little art critic doesn't really like it.  at first he didn't like the dragon because he was smiling, he thought it should be mean looking.  after reading Puff the Magic Dragon to him, he realized yes, dragons can be friendly.  so now he says he doesn't like the boys nose or mouth, and he doesn't like the striped horns, he thinks they should be black.  i was surprised at how specific he was about it all.  i thought he'd be happy i actually painted a boy instead of girl for a change.  oh well, i'm happy with it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

can it be?

woodland fairy

Oh my, can it really be 3 weeks since my last post?   according to my blog, my last post  was on  October 20th.  wow,  i guess i decided to take a little break from blogging.  actually it became a break from the computer all together, except for the occasional e-mail check.   i love reading all the blogs out there and seeing all the amazing work that people do, but sometimes for me it becomes too much.    too much information, too much inspiration, too many choices, so many talented people.  sometimes this inspires me, but it can also backfire and make me feel overwhelmed, over stimulated and my own ideas don't want to flow.

tattered wings

right around my last blog post i started reading the book "Simplicity Parenting:  Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids"  by Kim John Payne.   this book inspired me to simplify the kids play room, when you walked through you just felt stressed by all the "stuff" that was in there.  if i felt stressed by it all, i figured the kids did too.  i got rid of at least 2/3 of the toys and  oh my goodness, it feels so much better when you walk through.   my husband immediately noticed and said how good it felt, fischer  even said "thank you".  surprisingly, he hasn't even asked for any of the toys i got rid of. the play room is easier to clean and they play with the things they have always played with which are sticks, rocks, rope, blankets.  remember the old concept, less is more?  by having less toys, the kids will play deeper and use their own imaginations instead depending on so much stuff to do it for them.


which brings me to why i haven't blogged in awhile.  i hadn't  been feeling very inspired and was having a  hard time getting my thoughts together.   i hadn't made a conscious decision to stop blogging these last few weeks or reading blogs, but it just came about, i think the book influenced this.  i really don't spend a lot of time online, but i realized  i  needed some time to get my head around my own art, my own ideas, without being constantly influenced or stimulated by others ideas.      with less things to distract me, influence me, or overwhelm me, i feel that i can concentrate more on my own art and let my own style come out, which i'm still trying to figure out.  i'm still going to read blogs, but i'm going to really limit the amount of time i spend and also the blogs i read.  i can't say that my creativity is overflowing at this moment, but i feel like i'm in a better space and it will only continue to improve.
this past week i've been busy getting some of my paintings ready to sell at a local store.  it's the store i mentioned in my last post,  Tulips.  i do most of my paintings on recycled wood.  i usually paint the edges, but my husband was very kind and put a frame on a few of them and it really added a nice touch to them and gives them a nice finished look. it's amazing how long it takes just to prepare everything, but tomorrow i'm planning on taking 10 of my paintings there.  wish me luck. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

some gifts

we have this fun new store in town which opened over the summer,  Tulips Boutique.  they offer mostly hand crafted items, many of which are local artists, they have over 30 local artists that they feature!  i think that is pretty darn good for this small little town!    i've been in there at least 3 times in the last month and they are always getting in new things. 
i have a friend coming to wisconsin whom i haven't seen for almost 2 years and i wanted to pick up a little something for her.  i usually try to make all of my gifts, but i had a very short notice on this one.   i decided  the next best thing is to support a local artist.   one the  artists who has pieces at Tulips, is Amy Arnold,  with her  business called Peepwool.  she makes hats and dolls out of recycled sweaters.  here's the hat i chose for my friend.  very cute indeed.  when you walk around Viroqua you can see Peepwool has many supporters!


i couldn't help picking up this little pillow also made out of a recycled sweater for amelia, it's either for her birthday or for christmas.  she loves her pinks and purples.  i'm not sure who the artist is on this one, i know she lives in Soldiers Grove and her craft business is called "the yellow room."
last christmas i tried to make all of my gifts handmade, but it was very overwhelming and stressful.  this year i decided i will still make a few handmade gifts, but the majority of gifts will be handmade items from local artists.

i really have to practice styling with my photos.  they really don't showcase the artists pieces very well.

Monday, October 18, 2010

a little something

i thought i'd share with you the poster i picked up at the Viroqua Harvest the other weekend.  i haven't found out who the artist is behind it, so i can't give proper credit, but i love it and have been drawn to it from the moment i saw it, i think i might have to frame it.  what a creative idea to have the man on the moon play fiddle to the little carrot and radish!  i'm always in awe at the talent and creativity that is here in our little town.

viroqua harvest

i also thought i'd share with you the little guy that is going into my next painting. 


Friday, October 15, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual started by Amanda Blake Soule, of Soule Mama
"A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week
A simple, special, extraordinary moment"

have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

the harvest

this past saturday i had my first experience with pressing apples.  i had asked a friend of ours, Todd,  if we could use his cider press, having never done this before or knowing what was all involved,  he graciously brought it over.  to my surprise it filled up the back of his pick up truck, for some reason i thought a cider press would be much smaller.
luckily we were able to find apples yet, since it is at the end of the season for them.  for cider you don't have to get the pretty apples, you can get the 2nd and even 3rds(which i never knew there was such a thing.) i guess cider tastes better if you use a variety of different apples, it has a more complex flavor.
luckily Todd and his wife decided to do apples too, and came over and set everything up.  the whole apples go into the hopper which is run by a small motor that chops up the apples and comes out the bottom into a bucket.  the apples are then put into the wood press( Fischer is looking into it) and then the cider is pressed out manually. 
here's Todd and Jimmy manually pressing the cider out, which was quite a workout.
and watch that yummy cider pour out!   what a delicious treat to put your glass right under there and catch some fresh cider!

we strained the cider into a large garbage can (clean of course) and then poured it into the metal container which we could use to fill the bottles.   we had neighbors coming and going during all of this, some just to see what was going on, others to help out a bit. 
todd and his wife made 10 gallons, and we made 22 gallons.  a  neighbor of ours  helped out during much of this so we gave him some cider, we had a new neighbor move in next door, so she also got some, my parents went home that night with some in their cooler, and any lucky friend who happened to stop by that evening got fresh cider!  the rest we froze.  the whole experience was very enjoyable and all that cider was well worth the effort.
in between pressing cider, we made it to the first annual Harvest Celebration.  it felt very right to be celebrating natures harvest just as we were harvesting all those apples.  the Harvest Celebration began with a parade that had hand made puppets and were all human powered.  later that evening there was a cabaret show which included a fire circus which was a hit for people of all ages.  what a celebration on a beautiful day. 


the goddess of the harvest and the man on the moon!

 these are a few of the reasons why i'm so happy to be living where i do, i feel very fortunate!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a new painting


wow, i actually finished a painting!  it feels like forever since i made anything.  life has been so full and busy lately that i haven't had time or energy to paint or draw.   i thought once school started maybe things would slow down, but no, it seems things have sped up instead!  there has been lots of canning, freezing and dehydrating going on at our house, but the end is in sight, yeah!   i have a little more applesauce to make, more pears and apples to dry, some  green tomato relish to can  and perhaps a few apple pies to make and freeze and then i think that should be it!  we had to buy a bigger freezer for all of our goodies.

amelia painted a little picture this afternoon as i was finishing mine, and of course she wanted me to take a picture of it, just like i do with mine.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

on the table

just a little something i've been working on in between canning, freezing and dehydrating.  i'm trying to incorporate the collage technique that i've used in my last 3 pieces and using it with my girls.  hopefully i'll have a finished painting in the next day or two.

Friday, October 1, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual started by Amanda Blake Soule, of Soule Mama
"A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week
A simple, special, extraordinary moment"

on the front porch

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

harvest moon

harvest moon

initially,  this piece was going to have a black cat, but i like the crow so much more.  i'm really happy with the results of this piece.  i feel like i'm in grade school again with all the ripping and pasting i've been doing.  i remember in art class all the little square pieces of tissue paper that we would glue down onto our  pictures.  it was always so much fun.  the other night i was thinking about my past art teachers and realized that they are the ones whose names i remember.  i think i might remember one or two other teachers i had, but it was my art teachers that left  the biggest impression.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

things we found this weekend


young and old



i hope your weekend found some of the same!

Friday, September 24, 2010

fallen leaves

oak leaves and acorns 
there's no denying it, fall is here.  i'm seeing a shift in what is inspiring me lately, as seen by my piece in the above photo.  even though i'm not fully ready to embrace the idea of fall, it's hard not to be influenced by all that fall has to offer.  pumpkins are showing up everywhere, along with gourds of all shapes and sizes,  squash is ready to be picked and eaten, yummy apples and pears, and on our daily walks we could spend all of our time collecting beautiful leaves which have just fallen.

fall inspiration
here's the beginning of my next piece, a pumpkin!  i might add a nice black cat for halloween, or maybe some maple leaves, we'll see.  hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ground cherries


have you ever heard of ground cherries?   they're one of my favorite fruits and a must have in my garden.  they are a small, yellow fruit, about the size of a small cherry tomato, and they are enclosed in a lantern type husk, similar to tomatillos. the taste is very hard to describe, a little tomato, maybe grape, but very sweet.  there is definitely some nostalgia for me when it comes to the ground cherry.  my grandma  always had ground cherries in her garden and  i always looked forward to going out to her garden to find them or better yet she had a bowl full waiting for me. every time i pop one of these little guys in my mouth, i think of her.  i love it.


it seemed that only people in the area where my grandma lived had ever heard of them and grew them.   we lived 3 hours away and no one around us knew what they were.  i now live in the same area as where my grandma lived and they are still popular around here, but if you go outside the area there aren't too many people who have heard of them.  i know very little about this yummy little berry, so i Googled it.  according to Wikipedia they are also called cape gooseberries, but i've never heard that name before. they are similar to the tomato plant and are in the same family as the tomatillo.   i think they are native to central and south america.  they are an annual for us but they will reseed.  i guess you can find them along roadsides, but there are many different plants in this family and not all are safe to eat.  

ground cherries

i grew mine from seeds from Seeds Savers Exchange.  the day i planted my little plants in the garden, we received an unexpected hail storm and they all died.  luckily i was able to get more from a friend who grows them on their farm.


last year i made jam from them,  this year i might try a pie.  my grandma used to can them with either apples or pears.  they also store very well for months.  last winter i was able to buy them at the farmers market in january!  what a treat.   my favorite way to eat them though is right out of the garden, that's amelia's favorite way too. 

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