Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Favorite Time of the Year

I'm so excited! I know Thanksgiving hasn't arrived yet, but the holidays are just around the corner and I'm already enjoying the early preparation in anticipation of what is to come! I'm big on nurturing special family memories and traditions and since I'm an artist and scrapbooker I love creating during this season! I've been listening to Christmas music and getting a head start on my holiday planning and projects! I find that the earlier I start the more I can relax and enjoy this time of the year. Here are several fun ideas and helpful links that you may enjoy as well!
  • The Christmas Station: 103.7 Lite FM: 24 hour holiday music. If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area you can listen on the radio. If not, you can listen online.

  • OrganizedChristmas.com - Simplify Your Holidays and Celebrate the Season: I found this to be a very helpful website that has everything you need to easily organize for the holidays and allow your family to enjoy them with less stress and more time for what is most important during the season. You'll find great holiday plans you can follow, wonderful articles, and creative ideas. I'm setting up my Christmas planner and following the Christmas Countdown plan. This plan officially started the last week of October, but you can jump in at any time and get going. Adapt it and make it work for your needs!

  • December Daily: Ali Edwards' holiday mini album project. I am so in love with the idea of this! December Daily is a mini album you create the foundation of before the holidays and then add to each day of December until Christmas. It is a mini journal/scrapbook that documents the special times you have throughout the season. This isn't meant to be a stressful, "how in the world can I get this done?", project. It needs to be a fun, stress reducing, holiday activity that allows you to capture and remember the wonderful traditions, activities, and yes, even mundane, everyday happenings during the month. It will be so fun to look back through the albums each year at Christmas and remember the holidays before. I've been enjoying working on my pages for the album, doing a few at a time whenever I have a few spare moments. Here is a little sneak peak:

Go here to learn more about Ali's amazing ideas and philosophy behind the project. I hope you'll join me in the fun and share your album as well!

  • Fit-To-Be-Scrapped Holiday Letters E-course at Big Picture Scrapbooking: I just enrolled in this fun, inexpensive, self paced class in which you learn new, out of the box ideas for your holiday Christmas card letter. I create an annual letter each year and I'm so excited to be inspired by others and get some new ideas, as well as get some tips on getting my letter done quickly and easily.

I'll be back soon to share some of our family traditions and fun ideas for kids, as well as more of my December Daily album. Have you started doing anything holiday related yet?

Happy creating!! :)


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn Has Arrived

I just love this time of the year. The temperatures are now down from the suffocating 100+ degrees they were during the summer. The leaves will soon change to their beautiful new colors and I love the amazing smells of the season; spiced cider and the smell of a cozy fire in the air are favorites. I just put out my apple and cinnamon candles! I'm also looking forward to finally being able to make some of our favorite fall dishes. Chili and homemade soup are especially tasty this time of the year! I've got the mantle decorated with a fall vine, scarecrow and pumpkins. The fall wreath is on the door and scarecrows are happily welcoming friends to our yard! All the fun fall activities are now beginning. We are looking forward to our yearly tradition of going to the pumpkin patch soon and Halloween is just around the corner.

So, Halloween is a big deal in our house! My daughter has always loved to dress up. She never watches or listens to anything without also dressing the part. Whether it is a Disney Princess or Velma from Scooby Doo, she is in character. Naturally she loves the opportunity to dress up and actually leave the house to go trick or treating. She is still deciding on who she will be this year. It ranges from Woody or Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story or Daphne from Scooby. Such fun memories to make. I'm so excited for her!

We will be carving the pumpkin soon and enjoying the yummy roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on. Here is last years Jack-o-lantern:

Lately I've been trying to catch up on my scrapbooking. Catching up is a never-ending process, but I figure I'll keep plugging away a little bit at a time. I found the cutest Haunted House album from Deja Views. I plan on starting an album for each of my children showcasing their Halloween Costume for each year. I'll just add onto it every Halloween. I hope to have some of it done to share soon!

What fun fall traditions does your family have?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Artist Love

I'm so looking forward to this:

I've always loved Georgia O'Keefe, especially her amazing flower paintings. I did a really cool project with my 1st graders when I was teaching based on her flowers. We drew enlarged flowers, cropped up close, outlined all the shapes with thick lines of white glue and then painted them in with watercolors. I wish I had a picture of one of them; they turned out so beautiful. The glue outline resisted the watercolor paint and created a cool effect.

I feel inspired! Flowers, watercolors, me....it's a date!! :) What is inspiring you these days?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summertime Fun

Summer is flying by! Things have been super busy but we are enjoying the more laid back schedule. Here are some favorite summertime things I've recently been enjoying...

  • Sleeping a little later

  • Spending time with family we don't get to see as often as we'd like

  • Reading - I'm totally into the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer; almost finished with Eclipse and can't wait to dive into Breaking Dawn.

  • Ice Cream, smoothies, Italian Ice, frozen fruit...anything to beat the 100+ degree weather

  • Spending sweet time with my kids

  • Having my hubby home from his recent youth trips (camp and mission)

  • Catching up on movies I haven't seen (He Just Not That into You, New in Town, Confessions of a Shopaholic)

  • Tackling some projects around the house (cleaning out the garage and pantry, decorating my son's room, purging stuff we don't use anymore...feels so good!!)

  • Seeing the new Harry Potter Movie...been looking forward to it for a while now

  • Taking lots of pictures; now I need to start getting them scrapbooked

I haven't had much time in the studio these days. Things have been super busy with the kiddos home, but I'm hoping to finish up a few pieces that are almost complete. I also want to try some smaller "quick and easy" paintings; I've really been itching to get out my watercolors! I really hope to have some new art to post very soon!! :)

In the meantime...here is one of my favorite summertime songs...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Painting!

I had hoped to post this much sooner, but life has thrown us a few curve balls lately. I've had some health issues come up, but I'm hanging in there. The hardest part is how much I've missed painting! I can't wait to get back to it very soon!! :)

This is the piece I created for our church's Easter Show. I've called it My Salvation and the verse is from 1 Peter 1:8-9, "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls". I was trying to illustrate the inner feelings of my relationship with Christ. How even though I can't see Him, I know He's there...protecting me, loving me, guiding me and teaching me. He is my joy and He is my salvation! I am so thankful for my relationship with Him!

It is mixed media on canvas with acrylic paint, collage, and painting crayons.

Thanks so much for visiting! I hope to be back soon with a post about my new, reorganized studio space! Hope you are all enjoying your day and finding some time to be creative!!

Take care!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!!

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned!"  
~ John 3:16 - 18

I just wanted to wish everyone a blessed Easter!  I hope you and yours have a wonderful day!

I'll be back soon hopefully to share a new painting I did for our church's Easter art show!

Take care,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Me at 33!

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

Wow! Another year has passed and another birthday is here! Time really does seem to fly faster as I get older. It has been a great day; I've taken it easy and while my daughter was in preschool I painted and started planning a new scrapbook layout. My hubby is taking me out to dinner tonight; what is better than not having to cook on your birthday? :)

The past year has been a good one, full of blessings. I have so much to be thankful for! A healthy family, a wonderful church home, amazing people in my life. I'm blessed with an amazing, supportive husband and wonderful, free spirited little girl! I can't imagine my life without them! I also feel so privileged to be a part of the ministries God has blessed me with, from my MOMS group to our LifeGroup. Such awesome things happen within these ministries and I'm thankful He can use me to make a difference!

I've loved how this past year I've really taken time to re-dedicate myself to my creative side and made it a priority. I feel like God has given me this gift of art and I love to express it. It makes me so happy to create new things! I lose myself in the process. It has been a blessing and gift to become involved with our Collage Ministry and get to know the other artists at our church. God has provided some amazing opportunities for me through this group and I'm humbled and honored to be able to share my work with these new friends!

I'm also thankful for this amazing world of "artful bloggers". I've had the opportunity to get to know some amazing people/artists from around the world and have learned so much from the online art community! I love that I can share my work and life with others this way.

I'm excited about what lies ahead on the horizon and what the future will bring. I feel like I've stretched and grown a lot in the past year and I'm curious as to what life will be like next year at 34. I hope I continue to grow in all areas and I can find new ways to balance life...my family, my art and my ministry.

I'm finishing up a few new paintings and finally took some photos of my newly reorganized studio space, so I hope to post some new images very soon!

Thanks as always for stopping by! Have a wonderful, creative day!
Take care,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rainy Day Musings

It is a cold, rainy day here in north Texas. I'm enjoying it, even though I'm missing the beautiful 80 degree weather we've had the last several days. I don't know what it is about the rain, but it makes me want to cozy up inside, get some things done around the house and be creative! Perfect for sipping Hot Chocolate as well...one of my faves! :) Next week is Spring Break and I do hope we are back to spring-like weather again by then.

I'm still sorting through "stuff" in my new studio area. I can't wait until I finish organizing. Most everything is put away; it is little odds and ends that I need to find homes for or just get rid of. I'm trying to purge a lot...simplify!!! I also have a lot of "memorabilia" from years past up until now that I need to sort through and find a better way to organize and store. Someday I hope to include most of it in my scrapbooks, but it is too much to think that will happen anytime soon. It will definitely be a process! Anyway, I can't wait to take pics when I'm all finished. What a big job it has been, but so totally worth it.

Here are two newly finished pieces. They are both on 8" x 8" canvas, mixed media with collage, acrylic paint, and painting crayons.

This is "My Strength", inspired by Psalm 43:2, that no matter what we face God is there for us to cling to.
This is "Waiting in Hope", reminding us that even though we sometimes have to wait on God, He is always there supporting us through everything.
I hope you are having a wonderful day! Thanks so much for stopping by!! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Girls

Happy Monday!! I finally got a few pictures of some recently finished pieces to share. These are two paintings I did while taking Wyanne's Mixed Media Painting with the Girls class. I had so much fun and Wyanne is such a great teacher. This is my first time painting the full figure in one of my mixed media pieces. I had lots of experience drawing figures in my figure drawing classes in college many years ago, but this was new to me. It was challenging, but really fun to see their personalities develop!

Here is Autumn Resting:

She is peacefully resting under the tree with the colorful leaves falling around her. The verse is "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2.

This next one is Spring Ballerina:

I've always loved dancers! I took a few ballet classes in my earlier years; it was great exercise! I even decorated my daughter's room in a ballet theme! I just love the grace and beauty of ballet dancers. Her verse is "Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation." Psalm 149:3-4.

In both of these I used acrylic paint, collage elements (paper flowers, decorative paper, old sheet music, tissue paper, and recycled magazine clippings) along with water soluble oil pastels and watercolor pencils. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm planning to open up an Etsy shop soon and hope to find a good home for these sweet girls!

I have a few newly finished portraits to post soon and I've got several fun projects I'm currently working on. I started a piece for my newly reorganized studio space and I'm working on ideas for an upcoming show. I can't wait to share what I've come up with!

Have a wonderful day and I hope you find time to do something creative!! :)

Take care, Jennifer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catching up!

Wow! Where has the time gone? I hate that it has been so long since my last post. The new year has brought with it the same busyness as always! I've been working hard to simplify things in preparation for some big life changes coming our way. I chose "Simplify" (from Ali Edwards' One Word Challenge) to be my "One Word" for this year. The word I chose last year was "Create" and I really enjoyed seeing the progress I made from the beginning of last year to the end with trying to focus on creating more in my everyday life. I started painting again, took several online art classes, participated in a few art shows and just made time for creativity and tried to make it a priority everyday. Now I'm adding "Simplify" to my life! I've been very busy re-doing, re-organizing, and re-thinking several areas in my home, including my studio! I can't wait to share pictures when I get things a bit more organized and cleaned up. I'm also revamping my filing system, trying my best to purge and remove clutter and just all around re-evaluating my organizational systems in all areas of my life. I feel like I'm off to a good start!

I've also been busy painting and I have a few pieces almost finished that I can't wait to share. I've been having a few blocks when in comes to finishing up and I'm not sure where they are coming from. I think I've been struggling with fear and perfectionism. Thoughts of "If I do this will I like it or will it mess up my piece? What if this changes that?" and so forth. I know I need to just push past it and create! Why does it get so hard at times? Do you ever struggle with this? I'm reading a great book, Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings, by Kelly Rae Roberts. I so love her! Anyway, it touches on many of these things and has been so inspiring. I'm really enjoying it!

So, now that I've been building my body of work, I'm getting excited about the possibility of opening up my own Etsy shop. I've had some interest in my work and I'd really love to dive in and take this next step, but of course all of those fears and anxieties rear up again and make me wonder if I know enough to be doing this! Any advice out there from you pros? I would sure appreciate it! :)

Well, I'd better be off to get some painting done before preschool is over for the day!
Take care,