i went MIA – here’s why

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Hey Gang! See my first new piece of art in a long time above? i named it Circus Peanut. It just reminds me of one. : )

i know. i’ve been away for a while. It seems impossible that it’s been 3 months, but it’s true! 84 days since my last blog post and a bit longer that all this drama began.

i use the term, “drama” lightly, because, while there were many times i was scared to death for my health, in the end i think i will be fine – sometime soon i hope!

Here’s what happened;

Back in late march i started feeling like maybe i pulled my right hamstring. i had been painting windows in my new studio and probably overdoing it, so i wasn’t crazy-shocked. i used the R.I.C.E. method a few days and got no relief. It was actually getting worse. It was weird. But then one night i woke up at 3am and couldn’t feel my entire right leg. It was not wonky sleeping or pins and needles. It was DEAD. i was panicky and rubbing it for ages til some sensation started coming back. And when it came back, it was as though someone was stabbing me with an ice pick. i turned on the light because i was certain i must be bleeding. But i wasn’t. Alrighty then, i thought. This is not a hammy. This is nerve related.

Next day we hit the ER. And without giving you the entire play by play up til the present, let’s just say that my ER trip has been one of 3 since then, along with 3 MRIs, a head CT, 3-4 xrays, more prescription pain meds than i can count, plus appointments with specialists in Infectious Disease, Neurology, Rheumatology, Orthopedics, Chiropractics. i had no space left for needles in my arms from all the blood draws. The pain was so bad that i couldn’t move, literally, on a few different days. i also have had fuzzy vision, numb hands and feet, and all kinds of other weird stuff. Again, this feels boring enough already, so i’ll spare you the laundry list.

SOOOOOO, i dropped off the planet. i couldn’t sit at my desk for long, so only the mandatory work was getting done. (i wrote/illustrated a new doodle book for girls!! Thanks goodness you can doodle from bed or the couch!!!) And did i mention i’ve been sleeping AGAINST MY WILL – a lot. Thanks ya much pharmaceuticals!!!

The conclusion seems to be (after many blessed negative MRIs of spine, leg and brain) that my problem is more of a mechanical nature, and all the peripheral issues maybe were just the results of a body under extreme stress, chronic nerve pain and muscle spasms. The day the neurologist prescribed nerve meds….ah, what a day. Mom was coming to drive me to all my appointments because i can’t drive myself. 1) It’s too painful to sit in the seat and operate the pedals with my affected leg. 2) narcotics + driving= bad  3) i never knew when a spasm would come on and send  me spiraling. So, no. No driving for me yet. ANYWAY, mom was sitting in the neurologist waiting room with me and i was about to pass out from the pain of sitting in the chair. Tears were falling off my cheeks. SO embarrassing. They let me go into an empty exam room to lie down. It was pretty intense. i left with a scrip for nerve meds and i’ve been doing a little better since. Still lots of pain and no driving or walking much, but muscle spasms have largely left the building.

All things said, smart money is on chronic piriformis syndrome, which i never heard of before a month ago, but now have been hearing LOTS of people have. Crazy. Ok, maybe not lots of people….but enough people. Google CHRONIC Piriformis Syndrome. It’s different than the occasional flare up kind. OUCH. So, you know. That’s where i’ve been : )

i’ve had many low days fearing very bad things that could be wrong. i’ve had many tearful days of pain akin to non-stop active labor contractions (if those were all up and down your leg) – or, as i described to my husband, the feeling of a charley horse that NEVER eases up. UGH. But, now that we are fairly sure all the big scary diagnoses have been ruled out, i am doing my best to manage my pain, suck it up a little, lean on the nerve meds and do lots of stretches, exercises and chiropractic adjustments to get my old life back again.

First on my agenda is to make up for lost time working!!! KIDS, you are gonna see a lot of big sales and fun offerings as i try to make up for lost time. i sure would appreciate any shares and word of mouth referrals you can offer. i can’t tell you how much i would. : )

So!! Yep. That all happened and continues to happen, but life moves on.  i am certainly very lucky compared to so many others in this world. So no more posts about this speed bump. But i wanted to tell you all why i went AWOL.

i can’t wait to get back in touch with all of you and will be making art of all types – many types i can make from a reclining position!!! So watch out!!

xoxo, s

Flower Girlies Coloring Book

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i got the bug to create a coloring book a few months ago and finally completed the work this past week. It’s an experiment for me, something new. i tried to make it ALL the things i love the most. So, it features lots of florals, and lots of little girl characters, with a boho vibe woven throughout. i’ve been toting my paper, pens and portable lightbox all over the house and drawing in spare moments when the kiddos allow. Yep, i am mommy by day and artist by night (more like late afternoon/wee-small hours, actually : )). But my rambunctious boys occasionally play nice and let me sneak in some drawing as i sit by the almighty Lego table : ) Lego tables are the best!

Aaaaaanyway…….

i’m printing it up on single-sided pages so that you can keep and display any completed and spectacularly colorific pages without “wasting” the image that would typically be on the back. i always wished for that little feature when i was a kid coloring my heart out with all my patience and concentration. Oh the horror when your 2 favorite coloring pages were back to back! Tough choices had to made, people. Just sayin’.

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There are 30, 8.5 x 11″  intricate illustrations, imagined, sketched, inked and scanned by my own little hands, tucked into a simple brown kraft cover that makes for elegant presentation and gifting. i’m tying the books up with some cute frou-frou details that are as girly, glittery and boho as the book’s contents, plus a little vintagey gift tag so you are ready to give it to someone special right out of the package.

Because it is an experiment, i am only printing a short run of 100 books to test the waters and see how it goes. This makes the books a little less economical, but i hope the loving care in each and every detail makes up for it!

Be sure to share with all your engaged friends, because i’m envisioning these as THE PERFECT gift for brides to give their flower girls. It’s a sweet thank you and a practical and fun activity to keep little ones entertained during all those in-between waiting periods on the wedding day.

i hope you all love the book!

xoxo, s

The books will be here in my studio late next week, but feel free to order now and you’ll be first in line when the shipping begins!

BUY NOW! - $10 each

Add to Cart

Painted Words + Flowers

Kids’ nicknames are such sweet and personal kinds of things. i got it in me to start painting some nicknames in my watercolor sketchbook. Here are 2. You can grab a custom one featuring your own cutie’s nickname in my etsy shop.

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i’ve also got a nice, loose and scribbly floral for ya’ll today called Blue Ink + Blooms. Find this one on etsy also.

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Later gators!

Weekend Watercolors

Winter seems to get longer every year. i must be getting old. Only early February, and i already am wishing for that blinding golden/pink light that touches the backyard trees as the sun begins to dip low in the sky each long, long day. So here are 2 watercolor artworks i made this weekend with that mood and warmth and feeling in mind.

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Magic Hour

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Enchanted

Catching up again

i think it’s just my MO. Blog regularly, settle into it. Find a rhythm. Then….get bogged down with a big project or deadline, and ignore it for a couple months. ugh. Maybe there is no use fighting it. i’m sporadic!

But, a lot has happened.  i’ve had a lovely holiday with my family, finished my new book, and survived 4 days of solo travel to a trade show in Atlanta to promote my upcoming gift line. Came home from said trip and fell ill for a solid 10 days with the worst combo of yuckiness i have ever experience. My hair hurt! : )

Recovered.

And now i’ve caught up on all the loose ends that followed that little whirlwind and i’m resetting my clock and  beginning to sketch daily and really create again. It’s an ebb and flow sorta thing.

So here’s a little smattering of images from the past couple months for a little catch up.

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Christmas Eve with my sisters. Laura, Jodi, Lissa and me.

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My boys with Santa

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The fun, freebie coloring pages i made for my Year of Doodles subscribers

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Smattering of sketch and watercolor cuties

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Another of my customizable blanket designs available through JoannGrace Designs

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Hubby and i working hard on the art studio interior

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Watercolor name paintings for 2 precious new babies

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Sneak peek of projects in my new painting book for kids releasing later this year

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Fun times rolling out my new gift line in Atlanta at America’sMart

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Card designs now available from Calypso Cards

….and a sampling of the many new goodies in my etsy shop.

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See ya’ll soon! xo,s

Holiday Stocking Project – Concussionless Christmas

It was an instant decision. Boy #3 (19 months old) had yanked a weighted stocking hanger almost onto his noggin for the eleventy-billionth time, and i was OVER it. i made a sketch in 30 seconds and showed it to my husband. Wood and hooks were purchased. The next day, i hung our family stockings on this.

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It’s gonna be a concussion-free zone for all Christmases present and future, my friends. Why on earth didn’t we make this darned thing sooner?

i guess maybe i resisted.

When i was a kid, i’m pretty sure each of us kids used the very same tack hole every single Christmas to hang our stocking on the wood mantle. i guess the holes just stayed there all year and we didn’t notice them? Had to be….i probably figured i’d do it the same way someday.

Fast forward to when we moved into this house. Hubs and i started down a very loooooong road of major projects. (for reference, we are about 6.5 years in now and there is no end in sight!) But one of those first projects in the early days was building a fireplace surround. My husband built it, i tiled around our fireplace with a whole lot white, clear, milk glass and irridescent pebbles we had used in our wedding centerpieces. The nostalgia! Then we spent a mint on a beveled glass mirror to fit perfectly in the space above the mantle. i only tell you this to sort of explain why i resisted the tack holes in the mantle once we started putting up stockings. It was so much work! i struggled to poke holes in it!

Each year i’ve gone back and forth. i don’t want to be too precious about “things.” i think the tack holes are sort of sweet and homey. But i still didn’t do it. We’ve been getting by with those weighted mantle hooks that work ok for empty stockings, not so much full ones. But this year, we hit the threshhold for their usefulness.  3 boys in the house is the threshhold. Yes. But the littlest dude just lost one of his favorite holiday party games – “Get a goose egg on my head for Christmas.” Sorry kid, you’ll have to angle for Santa-Sympathy points some other way.

This mantle topper is not pull-down-able. And…….no holes : )

Merry Christmas!!

xo, s

This Busy Holiday!

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Hello friends!

This holiday season is all abuzz here at my house. We are finishing up my new art studio inch by inch.

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If you follow, you know that our little house is busting at the seams since Baby Lang arrived 18 months ago and we set a plan into action to reclaim the bedroom my business occupies. We built on an art studio and have been slaving away at getting it finished up ever since. We’ve wired outlets at 1am. I chose a day of laying tile with friends as my 40th birthday gift. We’ve grouted the floor with the little kids fussing by the baby gate to get in. It’s been a labor of love…but i think we’re ready for it to be complete already! ; ) Soon!! Then i will be happy as pie with a view of the kids playing outside in the backyard and will have a little space to give some kids art lessons. i’m so excited!

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Until such time that i can teach local kiddos LIVE and in person….don’t forget that a wonderful holiday gift for creative kids is my online doodling series, A Year of Doodles! Kids will be able to watch and follow along doing one themed doodle every month for 13 months PLUS printables and bonus coloring pages on Christmas Day – all for just $35.

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Beyond that, i’ve been working on a new book that will come out in 2015. It’s an art book for kids. There is paint involved. My fingers are crossed you will all love it! My facebook and instagram posts have been fewer since all the art i’ve been making is for the book and top secret. But i’ve snuck a few peeks in there and want you to know i am still here!

In 2015, my business is going to be shifting and focusing more. Let’s face it. i love kids. i love creating for kids (and kids at heart!)

i am going to be narrowing in on that focus moving forward and there is going to be a lot of fun stuff ahead. There will be a little line i’m hoping to manufacture myself for your crafty kids…..some OOAK hand-made wearables for kids scattered in here and there, lots of new kids art and products, and a revamped etsy site to boot. i will still be making my same colorful paintings and grown-ups are always welcome to buy into the color explosion, of course!! But i will be working to make my art present in the kids marketplace. i will love each and every share and shout out ya’ll could give me! i always say that my customers are the sweetest in the world. i email with you guys and know so many of you personally now! You are my village.

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So thank you for your patience as i write 52 lessons for the new book. It’s a lot! haha! How the authors of those 101 projects books do it…..i do not know!! Mad props!!

Happiest of Holidays to all!

xo,

s

October Wrap-Up

My last post was on October 1st. Truly, i do not know how this happens. There must be a worm-hole. It feels impossible that a month has flown in the blink of an eye. i had to look at my Time Machine backup to see what i did all month.

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There was this. Another in a series of type watercolors that have been turned into custom name blankets by Joann Grace Designs. You saw the Dream A LIttle Dream image in the last post, right? Well, here it is as a blanket for my adorable niece, Ava.

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And here’s a more boyish version of the art that can be customized onto a blanket as well.

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i also made some fun zip pouches from paintings that i took off their frames.

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And i’ve been trying to pull together some collections of work and submit to companies for licensing possibilities.

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My gift line with PMI comes out next spring too….and i’ve been working behind the scenes to prep marketing and packaging with the licensee…..catalogs, displays. So much is going into it. i really hope you all like it! i will be posting peeks of the items soon!

OH!! And i’ve also got a new Year of Doodles video all loaded up and out to subscribers. The November installment was a fun one for me. If you are not already signed up, check out all the details HERE. You can join in at any time. All videos and printables are archived as we go and accessible anytime. If your kids love to draw, and you like the idea of about 30 minutes of quiet time each month when they follow along with the video tutorial, you will like this series! Here’s a peek at November. The step-by-step makes it totally do-able for kids.

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i also completed this fun and whimsical commission. It’s 2, 16×20 watercolors for a lovely customer’s kitchen in her new home. Thanks Amanda!

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My baby brother got married and my mom and i made my nieces these flower girl dresses, so that was a project!

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But the biggest project that has taken root in October, is a new book i am writing. It is a painting book for kids and will be out next year. Not sure how much i can share just yet, but i am giving it my heart and soul. You guys who follow know that my heart is in making art with, for and inspired by kids. My aesthetic is so influenced by the carefree innocence and pure, fresh spirit of children. So this book feels very special to me already. i will share more  details as i can. But if i go absent over the next couple months for a few days at a time, it’s because i’m painting and taking photos and writing instructions!

So now we are all caught up and i must run to take my little candy-mongers out for trick-or-treat! Happy Halloween everyone!!

Giveaway Time – Sleepy Girl Print Set

Hey gang. You are awesome. You deserve free stuff. i’ve got some free stuff.

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Make a comment on this post telling me your favorite lullaby or sleepy, dreamy song to sing to your kiddos at bedtime. Random number generator will choose a winner on friday morning who will receive these 2 free little prints.

xo, s

 

UPDATE: Random Number Generator chose comment #8 as our winner. Heather, i’ve emailed you for your mailing address. Congrats!!!

Dream A Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream by Stephanie Corfee

i made this little watercolor painting today. i just love this little song. i think it is the most nostalgic lilting tune and sleepy lyric ever. How can you not feel hopeful singing or hearing words like this;

Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me………

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me”

Many singers have recorded it, but my favorite, simple and beautiful version by The Mamas & The Papas can be heard here.

Dream a Little Dream of Me” is a song, from c.1931, with music by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt[1] and lyrics by Gus Kahn