Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yay! Some new things!

I'm so excited to announce that my brand-new website is up and running.
My neighbor D has a background in graphic design, and she totally was able to create exactly what I had in mind.
It's not 100% complete yet, but I couldn't wait to show you any longer!  I'm so excited about the way it looks.
There are lots of fun links over there.  Please let me know what you think.

I have other exciting news too! D was able to help me bring some of my original drawings to life as embroidery patterns.

They are all available in my etsy shop right here.  There will be even more new ones coming soon!  :)

I don't know about you, but my week is flying by!
I'll be back soon with a new installment from "You are Beautiful and Brilliant".


Friday, February 15, 2013

You are Beautiful and Brilliant ( New Series)

Welcome to my new series that I feel so blessed to share with you.
I had a calling a few months ago to do something.
I had created some art entitled "You are Beautiful and Brilliant" a few years ago and changed the format of the work to just include the words.
It became apparent to me that I needed to give these away.
To people who needed them.
To people who needed to see them. To Hear the words.
To validate the truth that we all know deep down in our hearts.
Sometimes we get so bogged down by our insecurities.
By our hurts.
By things that have happened to us, or choices that we've made.
No matter what you look like, or what you have or have not done, no matter the color of your skin, the size of your bottom, no matter where you were born or how you were raised, God wants you to know this:

I asked some women if they were ready to share their authentic selves with you.
Women who were ready to share a story about themselves.
A story that may be easy or difficult to tell.
Most importantly, a story that would resonate with someone and validate issues that we all deal with.
My beautiful friend Kate, has a story to share.

I would love to tell you that nothing really upsets me.  
But that wouldn’t be true.  That wouldn’t be true in 242 different ways. 
For many years, I’ve told myself that it is ok, because I’m a really nice person with a kind smile.   I’m a good friend to people and I love to make people feel special. 
As I run past full length mirrors, I’ve whispered to myself that those qualities excuse everything else.  As I order clothes online to avoid trying things on in a dressing room, I comfort myself that God loves me anyways. 
I could blame it on the stress of moving or the sadness of five miscarriages.   I could blame it on one of those miscarriages being beautiful twins that decided they would wait for me in heaven. 
Growing up, there were a few in my family that struggled with weight, but not me. 
That wasn’t my story.  I wasn’t supposed to have to deal with weight struggles, right?
Before marriage, I was a dancer – high school was filled with drill team practice and ballet recitals.  I’m not sure what I weighed. 
I asked mom to proofread this for me – the most vulnerable post I have ever written – and she told me that one day the school nurses called concerned that I was underweight.  My friends that I went to prom with cornered me in the bathroom and asked me if I was anorexic, which I wasn’t. 
I can remember when I was pregnant with Nate; I prayed that I would not hit 200 pounds.  At my last weigh in, I was 199.  I felt triumphant!  That was the heaviest I had ever been.  Ever.  
Before we moved to Arizona, I was at my thinnest after having children and I felt amazing – size 10 and 164 pounds. 
Then, the next time I stepped on the scale I was somewhere in the 220s.  I had skipped right past the 200s and the 210s.  What?  
For a few years, I dressed in blacks and greys, just ignoring what my body looked like. 
I should tell you that I have always felt that those of us that have weight struggles have this unfair disadvantage. 
Everyone can see what we struggle with.  I don’t get to look at others and know their vulnerabilities, but everyone gets to look at me and just know.
 I hoped that if I was nice enough, then everyone would overlook what I looked like. 
Forget what I know in my heart about showing others God’s love.  
Apparently, I had taken ownership of His love as if it was mine to dole out and hide behind.  The more kind I was, the more of His love I would have to dole out.  The more of His love I doled out, the more people would see what I wanted them to see. 
Yeah, that’s not quite how it works, huh? 
And you know what?!  Now that I am taking baby steps into His amazing arms of unconditional love, I’m leaning that it is ok to ask for help with my weight loss, too.
After a long journey of prayer and many talks with my mom, late last summer, I finally realized that God loves all 242 pounds of me.   Just writing that number seems astounding and embarrassing.  There is a teeny little part of me that thinks – I bet people reading this think I have no self-control or they are embarrassed for me.   But that’s ok. 
I am blessed that I’ve come to this point.  I know that my God truly loves me. 
Not like – “hey God loves all His children” but He has given ME talents and gifts and wants to grow ME. 
What?  He wants me to pour His love on others – absolutely, but He also wants to fill ME with His love. 
It is ok to ask for His strength and wisdom in this, too.   God wants His children to come to Him with all things – even those things we think we are not supposed to pray for.    When He told us to lean on His strength, He really meant for everything!  Even that super cute cupcake in the window or the extra large bowl of queso. 
If I can encourage you on this journey, please let me know!  I am learning that I am beautiful and I’d love to help you discover that truth, too! 

Learn more about sweet Kate here:

Kate's Twitter: @SongsKateSang
Kate's Pinterest:
Send Love. Expect Nothing in Return.™

(If you'd like a free Beautiful and Brilliant 5 x7  print and have a story you feel led to share, (or know a group of people who could benefit from these prints) please email me at


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day (a little give-away)

Happy Valentines Day!  :)
I'm doing a little valentine give-away over at my sweet friend Leslie's blog.
I'm talking a little bit about giving God a Valentine.
Are you doing anything sweet today?


Monday, February 11, 2013


"Start by making your own home a place where happiness and love abound, through your love for each member of your family and for your neighbor. Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for home. Make them long to be with their families. So much sin could be avoided if our people really love their homes.

-Mother Theresa
It's no secret that I've been pining over a brand new home the last couple of years.
I wanted a bigger house (ours is currently 1900 square feet), with newer everything.  I wanted a bigger lot, preferably one with a couple of acres.  I wanted a pool, and I wanted more bedrooms.  (We currently have two kids sharing)  Most importantly, I wanted my own space.  A space to work.  A space for a studio.  A space to create.  A space that I could close the door.  (Are you noticing the "I", not "we"?)

I scoured the internet for houses.  I looked at a few with one of my friends, who is a real estate agent.  I did drive-by's and talked to financing people.  I convinced myself that we could afford our dream home. 

It's not that time.  My husband and kids were never on board.  I realized that we could not move without making huge financial sacrifices.  I was willing to put our family in a sticky situation to have the house that I thought I deserved.


Thankfully I saw the light (after my husband gently took the blinders off :)  I realized that I am not entitled to a brand new house just because I want one.  (Hello, age of entitlement)  I realized how lucky we were to have survived the huge housing boom.  So many of our friends have gone through unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and broken marriages due to all the financial stress.  Why wasn't I happy and content with what we have?  Is it my intrinsic nature to just want more?  Or is it a sickness that we all share as a society?

I am encouraged and excited to make our home a lovelier place.  I love to decorate, re-decorate, move things around, create my own wall art, and find new furniture on a budget.  I've been so inspired by my friend Tiff over at House of Belonging and her series on "re-booting".  I'm ready to start with what we have and make it even lovlier. 

Here's a few pictures I took over the weekend.  I'm planning on painting a lot of furniture that we already have.
This big bookcase for example.  I'm thinking white?

This room needs big bright fluffy pillows.  Maybe sell the black chair on Craigslist and look for a colorful chaise?  Oh, and the TV stand peeking out from the corner?  Turquoise please.

This is the bathroom in our house that serves as the kids bathroom and guest bathroom.  It is small but easier to keep clean!  :)  I'd love to make a mosaic mirror for above the sink.

Those are just a few projects I have in mind.  I'm excited to get started.

Oh yes, and my pinterest boards?  Maybe I'll finally get to a few of those ideas!  :)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Painting Self-Portraits with Four-Year-Olds

This is a great age to start self-portraits with kids.
It is one of my all time favorites.  :)
I thought I'd share a little tutorial with you if you're interested.
1.  I sit right next to the child and draw my own head.
I give them top and bottom marks as seen below.  Otherwise their circle or oval is usually very small.
I draw the ears, neck, and shoulders on my page and they mimic on their own paper.

2.  Next, they paint.
Skin color first, hair, and then their shirt.
I am always impressed with the hair!  ;)

3.  I let them dry overnight.  Next, I loosely outline their shapes with a sharpie marker.

4.  Sitting next to them again, we talk about how eyes are not just a black ball on your face.
They have eyelids, and eyeballs.  I show them how to draw a "football" shape and do the rest.
They mimic their own version.  I do the same thing with the nose and lips.

5.  I outline the nose and mouth shape for them, and then they use a small brush to paint the inside of their eyes, add eyebrows,  and any details they want on their shirt.
I love how original they all are.
The theme of our pre-school art show this year is "Fairy-Tale" ball, so we added metallic crowns to turn the self-portraits into princes and princesses.  :)

If you make any let me know.  I'd love to see them.
They make me happy!  :)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Valentines Day Sale!

I'm having a sweet Valentines Day Sale over in my etsy shop!
This is a 3-D mixed media painting measuring 8" x 14".  Comes with a hanger on the back.
$30 with free shipping available here.

"love" is ready to hang and measures 4.5" x 12.5"
$15 with free shipping available here.

"love lives here"
 mixed-media painting measuring  9" x 9", with hanger on back.
$22 includes free shipping available here.

Set of 3 different shelf sitters with fabric posies.
Each one measures 3" x 9".
$15 for the set with free shipping available here.

Also, ALL 8 x 10 prints are 25% off for Valentines Day.  Please use code VDAY25  (Sorry, no discounts on pillows at this time


Friday, February 1, 2013

Another week in photos

It's a busy time of the year for me.
In addition to every day life with family and work, I'm in charge of two different student art shows, and working on the mural at Habitat for Humanity.  I am not complaining (although I did bite off a little more than I could chew), but I am considering it a busy season and will take time for rest after everything is complete.

My week in review:

My little sidekick learned to sew.
He can't reach the peddle so he puts it on the chair and uses his knee.

We spent the weekend at Disney World.
The Main Street Electrical Parade is still my favorite.

Love this crew!   :)
(Ava was sad because she didn't like the safari ride!)

When I was in high school I wanted a VW van so bad!!

 So cool to watch this happening...

Almost done with a 30 x 40 custom dog painting.  I've had so much fun painting it.
I'll be sure to share the finished result!

I've made the "Tree of Life" pillow many times, but I think this one is my favorite so far :)

My life in a nutshell:  balancing chores with creative time.  I'm always trying to balance.

I hope y'all have a blessed weekend.
I'm looking forward to a little downtime! :)