Sometimes New is Good

I find that sometimes ideas consume my little head and until I get them out and onto the canvas, well let's just say I get a little loco!  I know, I'm such an artist.  So the idea swimming in my head was to make portraits of my children.  Now, I am not going to become a portrait artist...nope.  But the thought of my hands capturing their little personalities through paint really excited me!  I take thousands of photos a year with my Canon Rebel....seriously.  So I flipped through and found my favorite shots and turned them into these:

The photo of Mailey was of her in this year's amazing Halloween costume complete with Taylor Swift wig, thus why she has flowing blond curls and not red wavy hair.   I may have to change the color of her hair at some point.  It says, "Her spirit embraced them all".  Which it does, it really really does.  From where she started to where she is now, the one constant is her little spirit and how ginormous it is.  She freaks me out a little with the manner in which she embraces all things.  From humans and animals to her sweet dolls, she embraces each with such an open heart.

And then there is William.  The child Billy and I prayed for almost 2 years to come to us.  The child that came out quiet, that was gentle and kind when Mailey came with a fury.  The child that is so sensitive you look at him wrong through the hair you see tears in the eyes.  The child that saw when I was finally doing his painting smiled from ear to ear in flattery.  The child that "makes my heart sing".

This child is not really mine.  Well he sorta is.  This is my sister Molly's son Fielding.  I just puffy heart the photo of him I used for this painting.  He has this total routine with his smiling....it starts small, then the mouth goes wide open with tongue out and you can not help kiss and gooey all over him.  Seriously.  You can't see the words too well, but it says, "He will forever leave an imprint on your life".  Yep, that's what children do.  You know what I mean?  And not just from the second you see them being born, but from the second you know you are carrying their soul they imprint on your heart.  It's completely and totally unavoidable.  And since this child in particular was not in the grand plan, he has imprinted on all of us more than we ever imagined he could.

So this little painting time has completely and totally inspired me.  Getting completely out of my comfort zone has been a wonderful way to jump start the next series of paintings.  I have big plans up my sleeve for the next two months in the studio, most of which include the brush and paint.    I can't wait to share the journey as it unfolds. 


A Peek at our Christmas Story

I've been meaning to show you a few of my favorite decorated areas for the holidays.....I guess today is the day!  For Christmas Eve dinner we set the tables with our favorite little sparkly houses, daisies, green mums and of course place cards made by sweet Mailey!

In the den we always put out our growing collection of Byer's Choice Carolers.  I love these little joyful characters!  This year we received a baseball player!
Of course the tree is a focal point of the room.  The flocked multi colored light tree is so pretty at night.  I wish my camera could capture it better lit up.....you'll just have to imagine the large colored bulbs illuminating the room. 
 And then in the kitchen hanging from the fixture are those amazing Shiney Bright teal ornaments and a pretty sparkly bird.  I've had the burlap ribbon for years and love using it in the kitchen and sunroom. 
By the way....do you see the new kitchen wall color?  Once the counter tops and stove arrive I'll show the before and after pictures.  It's amazing the transformation already though!  Well,  this is just a glimpse of how we make our home special for the holidays.   Not too much, but what we do have is very special to the family.  I love that Mailey and William get so exited when we pull out the carolers and place them all over the den.   The ornaments on our tree are like dangling charms, each have a story.  And every year we add to the story.....creating our own Christmas story for years to come and years to share.


I'm Dreaming...Scratch that I'm Living the WHITE CHRISTMAS!!

HOLY TAMOLY!  Seriously folks.  Living above the Mason Dixon line you get snow.  I know.  But those of us living below it, like moi, snow is like magic.  It shuts down schools, major and minor roads, and even churches!  And look what came today!!!!  On Christmas Day!!!!   A white Christmas!!!!!  I am freakin' 38 years old and have NEVER HAD A WHITE CHRISTMAS!  I am like freakin' out, can you tell????

Ok, so it's not like snowboarding level, yet.  We've got some cool ripsticks and skateboards that can easily have their wheels removed though and don't think I'm not already scheming.....for tomorrow that is.  Tonight I think we'll keep the fire roaring (real wood one that is....yes not all Southerners have remote control fireplaces) and continue to roast marshmallows till our bellies explode!  Man, can this holiday get any more brimming with joy?  geeeeeeshhhhhh.  We are like a  bowl full of strawberry jello topped with a heavy layer of real whipped cream in the Horne house this holiday!!  Eeeekkkkkkkkkk!  It's snowing!   Ok.  I think I may need to get back outside now.  See ya later!! I simply can not stand it.  Bye ya'll!!


"raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens"

Maybe it's because Mailey has been watching The Sound of Music a lot lately, or just that my happy juices are in over drive this holiday season....but I have a few favorite things to share today!  We are just bubbling over this holiday, ALL of us.  My husband is being super secret about something he's doing and the kids are getting HUGE fun gifts that are secretly stashed at our neighbor's house, which is making her giddy.  This year the kids are getting less, but they are over the top!!  And the best part for me about the entire holiday, everyone is coming to OUR house for dinner.  I can't tell you how exciting this is for me.   Seriously it means more than any gift I'll be receiving.  So, on to my whiskers..... 

I can not get enough of this painting.  I don't know how I got all those colors into the composition without it looking messy.  This is a inspiration piece for the future painting series I'll be starting after Christmas.
The direction of my creative business is a huge "bright colored package tied up with string".  From the new logo to branching out and advertising .  I am really looking forward to 2011 and the ideas going forward!

And of course, a favorite spot.  I look forward to showing you the "new" look after the holidays.  It's amazing how having a place for spreading your creative joy comes into play.  I simply can not think straight when this room is out of order.  And right now, it is in impeccable order and my lists have been started so I can hit the ground running when school gets back in session.

So, a few other favorite things right now:
-my camera bag app for PC.  It's how I get the super cool pictures of my pictures.  :)
-this adorable book for sewing....i am a closet sewer, you'll probably never see me sell anything but birdies, but I sew a lot of stuff.  lots....
-everything in this etsy shop....hint, hint, I am creating a softer jewelry line for 2011 and many pieces came from this shop!!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday week!   And I'd love to hear what a few of your favorite things are.....when that bee stings what do you simply remember?


Christmas Happy

I wanted to show off a little Christmas "Happy" I received this weekend from my little sister Molly:

The potter who made this adorable cream and sugar had a tent at the Country Living Fair we attended together in the fall.  I fell in LOVE with her work, ALL of it.....wonder why?  Molly loved her jewelry.  Wanna know something funny?  Well, this past weekend I gave Molly a piece of her pottery jewelry for Christmas, and she gave me this.  Oh boy was I tickled.  And it looks amazing in my almost remodeled  kitchen.  :)  By the way, the potter is Tasha McKelvey.  Head on over to her lovely little site and see why I may become a new "collector" of her work. (this is a puffy heart moment)


It's Party Time!

I am in awe that 2010 is nearing an end.  A crazy word to use....but seriously where did it go...amazing.  We say that every year I suppose around the holidays.  I found pictures of William's first Christmas recently where he was a mere 11 months old.  So innocent, had no idea what the fuss was all about, and certainly didn't ask for a thing.  Since that first year we've tried to create traditions with our family, ones that hopefully they will carry on with their own families.  William is 10 now and I am holding on to every last morsel of hope that he still "believes."   

Today our family is heading to LA....That's Lower Alabama folks.  Where the weather is warmer and southern comfort food is always a staple.  It's my Nephew Fielding's 1st Birthday!  And if Christmas wasn't enough to celebrate this month, this little man brings even more joy to the table of celebration Saturday.  We'll be tearing into fabulous presents with my Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Uncle, Sister, Brother-in-Law, Fielding and us!   My kids are beside themselves.   Love this part.  Like BIG PUFFY heart this part.
Oh, and I just HAVE to show off how super duper cute he is.  Man.  Didn't know I could love something so much outside my 3 little sets of legs.  Well, make that two little sets and one big set.  And perhaps 20 furry ones.  But you get the idea, right?  Love has this way of creeping into your body, not just your heart because man you can feel it in your bones sometimes.  During this time of year overwhelming joy, happiness and LOVE abounds in our family.  I hope it does yours too. 
PS.......just in case, I'm sending puffy hearts your way to use any way you like.


"No, Not anything Out of the Ordinary Doc"

For exactly 10 days now I've been experiencing the worst case of sciatic nerve angst since Mailey was in my belly (she thought it was super fun to play on it like a trampoline).  Oh man, it's ridiculous pain.  What triggered it?  Well,  I am determined to get my mile run under 10 minutes.  So last Monday I pushed the button on the treadmill until I was able to maintain that consistent 8.5 min. mile.  Yep.  Nearly died, but loved every minute anyways.  You know the feeling?  On Tuesday while working out with Kathleen I was complaining that my lower back was tingly feeling.  Maybe I needed new tennis shoes?  By Thursday I was laid up on the couch with a heating pad, and shaking it hurt so bad.  But life must go on.  This Monday, one week after my intial flare up as I lovingly call them, I decided to do this:
Today I gave up and called Dr. Warren.  Dang it.  He asked what was up with my back.  Had I done anything lately to possibly cause the flare up...any falling....anything out of the ordinary?  Yeah.  Nope nothing out of the ordinary at all comes to mind.  But it did start after I ran on the treadmill last week.   I am sure that's it.  Sure. 
Just wanted you guys to see how far up I was.  Above is a picture from far back, and a few years back.  I should have had Mike take the picture of me painting a little further back.  He did all the rolling I did all the edging.  There was no way I could roll, but brushing was fine.  To get to the top moulding I had to climb the ladder and then onto the very sturdy yellow bookcase.   This is a little...I mean BIG project we are working on in the house.  Painting is just a tiny part of the transformation.  I can't show the color yet, thus why you are getting black and whites....but it's going to be super great when it's all done. 

Well, off to try and start putting stuff back where it belongs.   Take care guys!


What A Find!

Just wanted to show off a thrift store score!  When I saw this box amongst all the Christmas gone bad on the shelf I nearly fell over trying to get to it.  I mean look....original cardboard box with amazing graphics and  it's written twice that they are American made.  I bet there are very few ornaments made in America now except the ones we make, with foreign parts though!  Then to open the lid and find ALL 12 ornaments in perfect condition and the most amazing Tiffany blue color....it was a yipppppeee moment for sure.  And the little yellow sticker on the box said, $3.  Yep.  Wallet breaking day I tell ya!
I'll show you how I'm using them later in the week or so.  Right now the area they are in is under construction.  So what's been your favorite find for the season? 


The Great Etsy Shop Update!

Ok blog friends, I finally took the hours needed to size and upload many new items into my etsy shop.  It feels SO GOOD to have it done!!  I am thinking if you place your order ASAP I can get the items into the mail and hopefully to you before Christmas.  Fingers crossed anyhoo.  So now available are hardboard tiles and stands:

statement necklaces:
I also wanted to say thanks to all of you for your continued support throughout the year.  I know you are reading, my stat counter tells me so, and it makes my heart so full knowing that you are there.  It's like I have  a thousand friends I've never even met.  Super cool.

Scents of Christmas

Nothing says Christmas more than the scents to me.  We grew up with real Christmas trees, so the natural smell of tree filled our home.  Now that I am all grown up and have chosen the artificial tree tradition, which is quite lovely covered in flock, it definitely has no smell.  Recently I walked in to a local retailer and found the solution to my lack of Christmas smell in the home:
So if you are wanting the fresh smell of just cut Christmas trees in your home, I highly recommend this candle!


A Little Painting For Christa

Ok, so maybe it's not so little!  I met Christa at the Folk Fest in August.  Sweet little thing loved my pink daisy painting....but needed it to be 6 times the size it was.  Man, I think it turned out amazing!  This afternoon the kiddos and I are headed to Atlanta to deliver the painting then head over to the Puppetry Arts Center for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer production.  We are super excited!  What a wonderful start to our very busy Holiday filled party weekend! 

PS yes, it has taken me until today to get it all ready for her.  Note to those wishing for a custom painting, I do tend to procrastinate.  tisktisk.


Bike JOY

So here's a sneek peek at the project finished by one of my two K classes at the Trinity School for their art auction.....oh man is it cute!  I may have to go and bid on it myself.  :)  Or perhaps I should work on one with with my own two children?

So how'd we do this you ask?  There were like 19 kiddos involved in helping to make this bike super lively!  Well, I painted the wood with my favorite black gesso then drew the bike out with chalk.  The kids came in groups of three to paint one area each of the canvas.  I then took the paintings home to dry and frame.  Literally all I did to "fix" them was wipe away the chalk lines and add the doolally lines along the grass line.  Looking at the finished product made me realize that perhaps I need to loosen up a tad with my own paint brush!

Oh, and in case you are wondering what this is all about, it's for the Trinity School Spotlight on Art annual show and auction.  Artists are paired with classes to complete a painting to auction off.  It's the goal for the junior artists to work in the same style and theme as the artist usually paints.  So it would not have been cool for me to show up and paint a chicken or a human.  Right?  And kindergarten kiddos love a bike.  And so do I! 

By the way, vacation is going great.  Except....well I did have to paint a custom painting for someone.  It was kind of important.  I'll show you pics Friday when it's all dry and done.  :)


Life's A Balancing Act

This is an old little painting that I just love.  In fact, I've added it to many of my printed items this season because of the colors.  It's entitled, "Balancing Act".  And today, well life is feeling like one giant juggling game. 
I'm currently sitting in the Goodyear shop having some routine work done on my orangey van.  It's funny, as I've made the list of things to do for the week I can't help but giggle at the mundaness of it all!  Grocery, dentist, school volunteer, plant the bushes I brought, spread pine straw, dry cleaners, bank, gym, puppet show, birthday party, luncheon.  Yep, pretty much looks like a suburban housewife's list of things to do.  Cracking myself up.  Show season is over, the studio is cleaned, the house is decorated for Christmas, our Christmas shopping is done, and well....I really have nothing pressing on my agenda.  Wow.  Life is such an act of balancing this and that.  Since August I have literally had to balance shows, teaching 3 days a week, volunteer jobs, Mommy jobs, wife jobs, getting myself out there in cyberworld, and more.  Now, with 19 days until Christmas I can actually step back, look around and enjoy this last month of the year 2010.   Yep.  Folks I'm taking a vacation (from creating that is).  You'll see me here and there on the blog of course.  I've got a few more things up my sleeve for 2010.  But otherwise I am going to take some time to recharge and re balance my creative little life!


We Do Change

It's hard to believe that I sit here now with a small loss of words.  This morning I had a whirlwind of "stuff" to say about shows and being an artist.  But then like magic it happened.  The crowds came, the crowds purchased, and the excitement of what I am doing right now surged from inside my heart.   Seriously folks this blog post was going to be TOTALLY different this morning.  I had it all laid out in my head.   Well here, let me tell you a tinge of what was going on this morning.  Gotta second?  

So this is the last show of the season for me.  I'm not that seasoned with shows, but I've done enough to get really excited with new ones, and enough to know that from many artisans that this was THE show of the Christmas season.  It is a juried show, with only 125 artisans accepted a year.  I should remind you too, that this is called Apple Annie's Craft Show.  I've yet to talk about this in depth on my blog, but there is such a difference between doing an art show and a craft show.  Yes.  There is.   And I suppose this is what got me so worked up yesterday. 

So anyhoo.....we set up for the preview party Thursday PM.  I had it all product wise....literally.  And perhaps too much.  But that's a conversation I have to have with myself.    I was tickled to see Bailey Jack (an art peep)  who helped me set up and we went to dinner.  I really didn't pay much attention to what was around me art wise.  I was in my little bubble of joy.
But then we got back to a very slow crowd.  Thursday night it turns out is a special invite only party for those working the show and one guest.  I was too excited about my new products and the set up to care about sales this night.    I drove my hour home singing and dreaming of the 1,000's of people I'd meet on Friday.  Yep.  Dreaming is something I do very well.

So Friday came.  And like a clock work women came in droves with their Christmas everything on.  They were all SO happy.  The atmosphere was brimming with joy for the season.  I enjoyed meeting so many new people and talking about my work.   My friend Catherine came and brought yummy lattes and helped me sell this and that and this and that.  Then 2 o'clock came.....and Catherine had to leave.  And I started to....well.....let's just say that it got very slow for many, many hours.  And my mind started to wonder.....and my body started to peek around at the vendors.  And well, let's just say I took a step back and said, man.  What have I become?  sigh.

So this is where I have to say something strong.  I think there is a place for all of us who create.  Whether it's Santas, gourd bowls, Christmas centerpieces, or hand knitted scarves.   There is.  And honestly on the ride home today I was thinking to myself, the crafters with me this weekend...well kudos for them for having the COURAGE to get out there, share their talents, and spend a weekend selling at the biggest Christmas Show in the Altanta area.  I mean seriously.    There are so many of you out there right now, perhaps reading this blog for the first time who fear getting out there and selling your work.  But the vendors in the Carroll Center with me, let's just say they made me stop and think about who I am and who I want to be.  You know, things they do not change, but we have the power to change ourselves.

I will continue along this path of being a thriving artist.  I have so much to be thankful for after this weekend.  Profitable sales, meeting new friends, building lasting friendships, being inspired by others and being gently reminded that I am not alone on this journey.  And I will always enjoy being in the company of a courageous crafter in a church gym.

PS  If you'd like to see more pictures of the show, head on over here.

It's Sunday morning and I am back in this post.  Sweet Dianne left a comment that I replied to, but now think I'll share my response to it here.  She said my post seemed a bit confusing as to what I was trying to say.  Super sorry for that bloggers.  But you know when you have so much swirling in your head and you write it and think it sounds great to you, makes sense to you?  But maybe not so much to others?  Yeah.  I may have crossed that line.  So here was my response:
Sweet Dianne,

I'd say it is VERY good to be open to change. And that was the main point for myself, I need to change my attitude. I think I've put myself into a bubble of high expectations for not only myself but those around me. I need to let go of the stigmas and enjoy this journey more. You know, the variety of work at the show made me realize that by offering so many different crafts, you appeal to a broader audience. My audience did come, and man I had the best sales of the year in a church gym of all places! I have work in 4 galleries, a booth in a local store and this was my 4th show since October 31st.  So about change, the show will not change...it's been this way for 30 years, and it is the best show by far I've been in behind the scenes wise. But I can. 

I've been struggling with my path for sometime now.  There are so many directions to take as an artist.  And although I love the shows, my question on Friday, "what have I become?", was during a slow time when every part of my body ached and I missed my children terribly.    And as I was doubting my place, a customer entered the booth and exclaimed "There is so much JOY in this art!!!"   I got teary, said thanks, and breathed in slowly knowing my heart was where it was supposed to be.  Now this life may not always be easy , comfortable or exciting.  But it is my journey to take.   So readers, I hope you are a little less confused, and don't mind me spilling my soul out right here.  I think it's good for you to know that I have true fears about my future, true doubts about the steps to take, and true passion for what I am doing.   It's so easy to paint a "Happy" picture in blog world.  I hope that I paint a  "true" picture for you.  Best wishes with your own creating.  And thanks so much for your honesty Dianne. 


Tiles and Excitement

Last week and into this has been one of those "A-HA" exciting moments for me.  I've done tiles, framed and unframed for a couple of years now.  But this is the first time doing them totally in my own house with my own press.  It was really cool.  And very productive (I didn't mess one up!).  The results exceeded my expectations.  I really can not wait to share all the new products this weekend at Apple Annie's.
In fact, I am a little over the top about this weekend.  You see, it's a new show for me.  And new means exciting and scary and nerve wracking and anxious and wilisell and willtheylikeme emotions all bound into one ball for me!  So there.  Yep.  I said it, I am nervous.  And I am sure I've been driving a few friends crazy with all my new ideas (wink..wink..) and set up ideas and booth display frenzies.    Love you guys!!
I just can't help it!  This newness is what I needed to spark a fire in my creative bones and make me over the top excited again about my images.  You see, this weekend I'll be showing my work to potentially 6,000 new Mattie buyers.  6,000 people!!  Wow I know!!  So you see why I am over the moon and back again happy?
Ok.  So I need to slow down a twinge and focus.  When you are reading this I'll actually be setting up already.  So send some love my way.....even send yourself.  Because this show is ALL day Friday and until 2 on Saturday. 

And never fear, those of you who are far far away, I plan to spend hours next week in my PJ's uploading everything into my ETSY shop that doesn't sell while catching up on many sappy girl movies.   Have a lovely weekend ya'll!  I'll be back Monday with some pictures of my corner booth (I know....another exciting element to the show!!) and a tale or two I'm sure!
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