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

 

My Bursting Heart

Today i was a jumble of nerves. And i felt that lump in my throat i knew was absolutely my actual living, beating heart. And i worried. And i looked over my shoulder.

This dude.

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Three years old and attended his first day of preschool. sigh*

i haven’t painted in a while. Life has been busy with other things. But today i just felt this need to get all my emotions out in paint.

i named this one Bursting Heart.

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It just spilled out of me and flowed onto the canvas in one short sitting. A piece of my heart is not going to be with me all day everyday now. i’m so excited for him!! But i will miss him too.

Good luck. Be kind. And have fun my sweet Grey! i love you!

Magical Terrarium of Wishes

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Here is the little terrarium themed artwork i made for the GTS i referred to a couple posts back. Yes. Children’s market. That’s me.

The top 50 (among about 1,000 entries) will be announced tomorrow. You guys should see the spectacular work rolling in. It is re-DONK-ulous! My husband bought a lottery ticket this week too, so we both have about the same odds : ) But i’m just happy to have participated in my own little way. i like to create a little world & pack it full of discoveries. This being intended for kids wall art, i imagined it being the last thing a little girl would see before drifting off to sleep. Your home, your room, your soft bed ~ that should be the place where wishes grow, right? Happy and content amongst your family who love you?

The instruction for the contest was to include words/lettering of some sort and i wanted the words i picked to be very hopeful and positive and empowering. We all just want our kids to feel that they can dream and imagine and someday make those things come true? Right?

Lots of color + Lots of pattern & texture + Sugary sweet little girly character + Magic

Here are some detail crops. Good luck to all those who submitted!

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sleepy snail and polka dotted mushrooms & leaves (because i like polka dots a lot)…..

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sketchy scrolls and swirls making up the structure of the terrarium, plus ferns, leafies and wishes on the wind….

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4-leaf clovers, ladybug, stripey plants, plus fuzzy moth, moss &  grasses taking root, and many teeny pebbles…..

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my bitty fairy with her miniature beads, dozing on a spotted feather, surrounded by wishes….

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and of course she has freckles.

 

 

A Year of Doodles – monthly themed drawing tutorials for kids

>>>>posted 12.1.14 – HOLIDAY PROMO! – now get 13 months of videos PLUS a 6-page PDF coloring sheet download post on Christmas DAY, so the kiddos can start getting creative right away<<<<<<<<

My first online, kids-geared doodle program, Doodle Days of Summer, was a hit! i have been floored and humbled by the nice feedback you all have sent me! What i thought would just be some fun doodles, ended up being a big confidence builder for kids, and an activity they looked forward to week after week.

So, i am going to keep going!

Here are the details for A Year of Doodles!

The idea is similar to the summer series, but with a few updates/changes.

1) Instead of new videos posting once a week, they will post once a month.

2) i won’t send emails this time, because those proved to be problematic for some SPAM filters. Instead, you will get login info to a group Vimeo page + your password as soon as you sign up. Then, like clockwork, new videos will be posted to that group the 1st of each month. You will have a library of 12 videos by the end of the year.

3) Also different, no printable coloring sheets this time. Instead, i’ll be offering some visuals and ideas for how you can apply each month’s doodle to actual projects…..teacher gifts, greeting cards, iron-ons. There will be a short section at the end of each tutorial that suggests some ways to put your doodles to use as a professional artist might!

IN A NUTSHELL:

- On the 1st of each month from October 2014 through September 2015,  a video tutorial featuring a “month-specific” doodle will go LIVE. Think; hearts in February, stars and stripes in July. The kids can use their doodles to make holiday cards, crafts, and decorations if they like. i will share ideas at the end of each video. : )

- Videos include a super fast-warp speed section showing me creating the doodle start to finish by hand. + a slower, step by step section

- Videos will be hosted on a private Vimeo page online. When you register, you will receive a link to the group page and a password for the videos. Videos run about 25-30 minutes.

-You will have UNLIMITED! password access to all videos, even after the course is finished. So feel free to use the tutorials at your own pace, on your own schedule.

-$35 per individual household/family

****Please note: if you are a camp administrator, scout leader, or teacher and would like to purchase for your group of 6 or more children, please contact me for group pricing. i am happy to provide it!

Feel free to register at any time during the course of the year. Any videos from previous months will be right there on the group page when you log in.

Here’s a little teaser video i had created for the first Doodle Series that shows  a portion of what the tutorials will be like. Take a look to gauge whether the program will be appropriate for your little artist. FYI – Beta testing provided by my 8 year old son was a success! : ) Full length videos will feature the warp speed drawing section with upbeat music, PLUS the slowed down tutorial screen capture section with voice-over as i move through each step. Click the image below to view the video example on Vimeo.


Looking forward to creating with lots of great kiddos this year!! THANKS!

Register Now! 

$35.00USD

Add to Cart

Art + Challenges

Last fall i took a course called Make Art That Sells via the Lilla Rogers Studio. It seemed like a fresh start, and a great segway for me since October was my first month pursuing my art business full time. (If you don’t follow the blog, i parted ways with all of my wonderful graphic design clients and decided to take the plunge into solely focusing only on selling/licensing my artwork – agh!)

Anyway, i had read someone post about this course online. It promised to help artists get into the right mindset and learn necessary protocols for getting their art out into the world and in front of manufacturers. i met so many beautiful people during the course! It has been an incredible gift to be able to connect with so many people in my field. i don’t have a ton of artist friends locally – so developing this network of others doing exactly what i am from all across the world has been a turning point. That alone was worth the cost of admission.

Anyway, the folks at Lilla Rogers also hold an annual design contest (GTS) to choose their next artist to sign/represent. Many of my new friends signed up, and despite the hives i get when anyone mentions the word “competition,” i decided to join in, if only just for the comradery and fun. We were given a terrarium theme and asked to make a wall art piece to submit.

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This is not the piece i submitted. : )

See, my biggest challenge as an artist is to reconcile the fact that i have a few very different styles.

i’ve tried to choose just one and run with it. It hasn’t worked. The piece shown here is more the style of my personal work vs. my commercial work. It’s what i might hang in my home, but not what i want to pursue professionally when it comes to selling my work. Not that i wouldn’t license work in this style….but it’s not my focus.

For licensing and product, i really want to work in the children’s market…..books, kits, toys, decor. i LOVE creating for kids, teaching kids, being inspired by kids.

Kids are my jam.

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The piece here shows my love for messy ink sketching, and drippy, tonal, texturey watercolor. It is also my philosophy.

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“To grow something beautiful is work. Nobody can do it for you.”

Yep. i feel it everyday as i try to grow my little art business. It is so much more than painting pretty, flitty pictures. It’s a lot of work in figuring out exactly who you are and what you want to put out into the world. Then digging in to sleuth out the ways to make it happen.

Worth it, for sure.

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i will share my official children’s market submission with you next week once the competition gallery goes live. But for now, you can pick up my “personal” lil baby piece in my etsy shop. Or, if you want a larger or framed, or stretched canvas piece, you can grab one in my Society6 shop.

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Thanks guys!

xo, s