Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ArtsyMama... {Year in Review}

Happy Birthday ArtsyMama Blog!!!
Artwork above by Jenny of Everyday is a Holiday. Please do not reproduce.

A year in review…but it’s only November?! I’m looking back now, because it was one year ago today that this ArtsyMama blog was born! I remember when the idea began. It was early in the morning, Chloe and I were up all alone and she was playing on the floor (left). I started taking pictures of her and began thinking about how I would love a place that I could share the things that I love with others: photography, decorating, scrapbooking, crafts and other creative pursuits. That’s when I thought, why not have a blog?! So then it all began with my first post.
Over the last year I have posted 254 times and have had over 44,000 people visit. It has been so much fun to have a place to throw the bits and pieces of my life out there. It’s hard to know who’s really “out there” reading it. I only know some from my comments. I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog however long you’ve been reading it and will come visit again.
ArtsyMama first year highlights:
My first Self Portrait Tuesday contribution- I only did Self Portrait Tuesday for a few months. It was really fun to play around with different themes and really outside my comfort zone to take pictures of myself.
I had a fun idea to take my camera around with me and the kids one day and took pictures of our everyday life, an ordinary day in January. I took a bunch of these pictures and made a “Just one day” album.
I did a several of what I called Art and Blogging interviews with artists that had blogs. It was fun to pick their brain a bit and talk to them about the intersection of the two their art and their blog and the influences they had on one another.
*Swirly Girl
*Lesley Riley
ABC’s of life- This was just for fun. I was so touched when my sister told me she printed this out and has it in her home office. I still live by these words each day:)
Started my first (of several) 21 Days challenge with Rhonna Farrer. Her challenges really helped my art evolve and made me think outside the box. I *loved* them!
Book of Dreams- I posted an altered book technique each week for 8 weeks. There were participants all over the world, each making their own altered book. Great fun! The first post of this project, my "invitation" to join was my post with the most comments to date.
Book of Dreams
week 1
Inspiration book- This was fun to take a look at the different color palettes that inspire me and something that I hope to continue to add to.
Sera Beak Interview- Her Red Book really intrigued me. Such a neat person to talk with:)
This I Believe book- Made this book after hearing an excerpt on public radio. This was a thought-provoking project to reflect on my beliefs.
JunkMarket- Oh what fun!!! Just love these pictures:)
Birthday post- A nice reflection of where I’m at going into my 31st year.
She Book- This collaboration was with one of my favorite artists and lovely friend Cassondra.
Fall Favorites book- I just love fall and love how this book turned out. I look through it over and over again!
Last but not least, my beloved scrapbook of my Silver Bella experience. A weekend not to be forgotten!!
Wewh, well if you made it through that whole post and feel like leaving a comment. I will be drawing one name from the comments posts to receive a one-of-a-kind ArtsyMama original…this “beautiful” giant bottle cap collage:)
Here's to another year of blogging!!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Proceed with caution: Major ~*EyE CaNdY*~

I've been dying to take a look at the book The French-Inspired Home by Kaari Meng. She is the genius behind French General. Have you *SEEN* that web site? WoW! Give yourself a visual treat and go look!

The book came in for me at the library and it is truly amazing eye candy! It went straight to the top of my Christmas wish list. It has lots of inspiring images and many fun projects. I really like how she looks at different areas of the home in each chapter: the creative space, bedroom, dining room, laundry room and garden, and discusses focal points of each room and how to personalize the French country look in your home.

I love the color palette pages the best. Yummy...and so inspiring!

Also check out her glass jar collection. Amazing!
This reminds me of Lilli's Victorian garland.
Another fun book I got yesterday that was just published last month is called B is for Baby by Suzanne Stirling. It has really, really cute homemade projects for gifts from A to Z. The ideas could be used for a variety of projects, not just for babies. Fabulous stuff!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the 1st birthday celebration of ArtsyMama blog!!! Come on back for some birthday surprises:)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend delights!

It's been a nice long weekend here. The weather has been quite mild for Minnesota. We nearly broke a record of 55 degrees the other day. When I brought out the Christmas decoration boxes, it prompted me to organize things a bit. So that has taken much of my free time this weekend. I did get to an estate sale with my mom yesterday. Found this cute piered candy platter and immediately felt the desire to make almond bark covered pretzels to put on it. Yum! They are nearly gone already:) Also found some more glass canisters for my newly organized craft goodies. While we were out we passed by a fun little store called Crafty Planet. Of course we had to stop in. It was quaint and cozy and had the most fun retro fabrics that I've seen! I bought some sample strips of a few Amy Butler prints. I couldn't pass them up. Her fabrics are GoRgEouS!!! These are from her new Belle line. Isn't this gothic rose amazing:)

Hope you're having a nice weekend!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Let the decorating begin!

I know today is a big day for many of you. You have been anxiously awaiting decorating your home for Christmas. The boxes will come out of the attic today and your house will be sprinkled with the spirit of the season. Can't wait to see pictures on your blogs!

I began my decorating a bit early this year after being so utterly inspired by Silver Bella. I came home with the lovely things that I made and just couldn't put them in a box in the closet. I had to put them up! So I've had some decorations up for a few weeks. However, I did get out the rest of my boxes today. In one of the boxes were some of my favorite vintage stockings and this lovely welcome sign that was my grandmothers. Truly vintage!

Let the season begin!!! I'm off to play outside with the kids. It's 50 degrees here in Minnesota! Downright balmy:)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving!!
Feeling very grateful today for all that I have. Really feeling the love this year:) I am so fortunate to have such a wonderfully caring family, an amazing husband, two beautiful kids, supportive friends and such a full, creative life. I am also very thankful to all of you for your continued inspiration and encouragement. I feel much gratitude.

I was so excited today to use my black and white plates again that I first used here. In the background here you can see my craft supplies dresser. I love to change it with the seasons and have recently added some beautiful glass containers I've been finding for my supplies. Here are some of my other seasonal displays: fall and summer.

Also wanted to share that this candle (right) I found at Kmart. It's Martha Stewart Winter Garden scent and smells exactly like an Anthropologie store. You know the smell, don't you!? If you want that in your home, now you can have it:)

Be well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My jacquard world

I seem to be completely obsessed
lately with jacquard prints. Totally into the Brocade home look. The jacquard and the glass together look amazing! I was inspired by this photo from their catalog (left), so I found the flocked paper at Target and used some extras from my Silver Bella kit from Pam and made this cutie little dress (below) to go with my holiday decor. So easy!

Found some really fun glass canisters just like this at Home Goods and Ikea that were very inexpensive. I put my art supplies in them and they look good enough to eat:)

*~ I {heart} you~*

Then and now

Eight years ago today my life changed forever. I married a truly amazing man and have been grateful to be taking this journey with him every day since. I am blessed, I am thankful. I love you, Joe!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

**~Glitter gals~**

My world seems to be all about glitter ever since coming back from Silver Bella:) I see it everywhere. I was at my parents yeterday and saw this lovely rose covered with a glittery frost. Gorgeous!

One thing that's really fun about having a blog is meeting new people. The only way I know who really reads my blog is through the comments that people leave. Many times it's my loyal, faithful readers that I have been in contact for some time. People I have gotten to know and we have formed our own kind of blogging friendship. Then sometimes I'll see some new names in the comments and I'll start to see them leave posts over and over again. I love this! I go check out there blog and sometimes we email back and forth and get to know each other a bit. Before you know it, I've expanded my world of blogging buddies. Recently I have met three Jen's (Jenny, Jennifer, Jen...not sure what they each prefer), that have all been so friendly and fired up about art and glitter and yummy eye candy, I couldn't help but give you a glimse into their world too!

The first is Jenny Everyday is Holiday extraordinaire. She seems to live in world of wonderfully delicious pink glittery vintage goodness. Her art truly looks yummy enough to eat. What a breath of fresh air! Her work is amazing and she is so very delightful:)

Next is Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom Ba. Her work is over the top glitter, glitter and more glittery goodness! I LOVE it:) She is so very kind and full of fabulous inspiration!!

My third new friend Jen is over at The Cottage Nest blog. She has an amazing eye for decorating. She finds the most amazing stuff, so creative!

So there you go, three fabulous new friends that I love to take a peek inside their world and hope you take a look too! I just love that about the internet. Each one brightens my day and inspires me to create. Bright and shiny goodness:)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Winter Wishes

I know, it's not officially winter yet, but it sure feels like it here in Minnesota. I wanted to share the new My Mind's Eye Magnolia line papers I just found yesterday. I made a giant scrapbook page with six sheets that hangs above our couch. It has pictures of the kiddos from the last few years. It really ties in all my holiday colors together. These papers are cardstock weight and double sided and are just yummy!!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Evolution of ArtsyMama

Ali's EZine challenge for this week is to take a look at our own art evolution. This comes at a time that I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my blog, since I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of starting ArtsyMama. I have been thinking about the amazing online art community I have so enjoyed and started looking over my own art over the last several years. I tried to piece together the evolution of this wonderful adventure as a "life artist".

I guess you could say it really all began with this book that I started when I was 3 years old. I loved to write in it about myself, color outside the lines:) and give insight into my mental state (here it says, "what do you dream about at night" and I said "monsters" and drew a picture of a monster...hmmm.....). As a young girl, I loved to collect things and make pictures with them, whether it was sticks and stones from a walk, shells from the beach or candy on a gingerbread house. However, I feel that it is important for me to note here that I didn't really take any "art" classes in school. I've always kept my art to myself (until I started this blog) and didn't want any sort of critique. I've also never been much of a drawer, so never considered myself an "artist". Isn't that strange that we always think that to be an artist you have to learn how to draw or paint!?
My art evolved more out of my writing. I have kept a journal on and off for years. It was when I discovered Sabrina Ward Harrison back in 2000, that I started to be intrigued about adding images to my words. I started to do more of an art journal style experimental pictures, words and paints. I also discovered the amazing journals of Teesha Moore. This really opened up a whole new world of expression for me. I continued to journal a lot and started a "Journey into Motherhood" journal in Feb. of 2002 when we decided we were "ready" (are you ever really!?:) to have children. This journal was full of magazine images, articles, lots of my journaling and pictures of my blossoming belly. This is probably my favorite journal to date. I love to page through it and re-live all of the emotion of those times.

Then in the fall of 2003, when Lowell was just a wee baby, I began a fabric altered book of him. This was a pivotal time that I learned lots and lots of new techniques. I sought out online communities of altered artists and learned about printing onto fabric, adding embellishments, using napkins as backgrounds, sewing mini quilts into the book and tons more. Each evening I would sit at the table and pour my heart into this wonderfully tactile book that I was creating. It was all about experimentation and expression. I found so much joy in combining my love of vintage items, fabric and pictures and combining it all into something so meaningful.

I started to get more and more involved in the online altered book community. I participated in swaps, even hosted some and also did some round robins. This was a great way for me to try lots of new things in a totally open environment. I didn't have to worry about what other people thought, it was all just about the process. It was also very fun to get mail and have a little piece of art from people all over the world.

When Lowell was small, I also began a more "traditional" scrapbook of him. We were taking so many photos of him that I wanted somewhere to put them all. I also wanted to tell the story that we were living, so I ventured out to my local scrapbook store for the first time! My layouts were simple, but even then I tried to use ephemera and other bits of our everyday lives on the page. I also began to add some fibers and tags to add some interest and "artsyness" on the page.
I think it's also interesting to note that my art seemed to evolve as the number and variety of scrapbook papers did the same. I would find paper that was the style that I liked and it was that much easier to develop a page that I liked, rather than starting from scratch. I started looking at magazines and getting a feel for some scrapbook artists whose style really appealed to me. I continued to try new things and create without judgement.
I also attended a few scrapbook conventions and my layouts evolved as I incorporated new techniques and I found out about new products.
Another turning point was when Melba started her Mixed Media Memoirs on her blog. This was really the first time I scrapped about myself. This was very challenge to put myself out there, but I loved the results.

When Rhonna started coming up with "challenges" on her blog, I really took off! Boy do I miss her blog:( Her 21 day challenges were real turning points. I had to create so quickly to get a page done, photograph it and put it on my blog each day for 21 days that I had no time to second guess my work. It was what it was and I think the book I created is my most favorite ever! She also had some amazing creativity challenges that really helped me to expand my skills.

I also love to look at idea books and was thrilled when Ali and Elsie's latest books had challenges in them. These have been very helpful to always keep me creating something and trying new things. I loved that Ann(i)e would post a challenge from Ali's book on her blog and that would motivate me to give it a try. I came up with some layouts that really had me thinking outside the box and came up with some layouts that I love. Many others do challenges on their blogs that inspire and motivate me. Thank you for that!

I think that having a blog has had an enormous influence on the evolution of my art. It has helped me to constantly create. It's also led me to meet the most amazing artists all over the world and keep in contact with them. Looking at other peoples blogs has influenced my art tremendously. I love that I look at my blog and say "That is so ME!" It just oozes ArtsyMama!!! In the past I've been perplexed when people say that they can see my style evolve, but now I see where I've been and where I'm at now and the process of getting here. Thanks for taking this journey along with me:)