Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Artistic Mother's Group Forming; I Invite You to Join Us


I have this deep desire in me to create; but as a busy momma, it is so difficult to find the time; but yet so needed. I do not wish to wait until my children are grown. I would like to live the life of an artistic mother before my children and in turn spark their creativity as well.

Being creative helps me to slow down and bring a sense of wonder to my life and that of my family. I feel that motherhood and art go hand in hand. As Donna Rodgers of Homemaking Made Easy so wisely states, "Art and homemaking are inseparable, and I want moms to know that they can do both. It's my personal vision that our homes and mothering are the place where we are destined and designed by nature to express our art." And to quote Shannon Mucha of Blu-Bambu "Art as life; life as art."

I started this group because I have a hard time balancing doing art every day along with carrying on with my every day life. I figured that other women might struggle with this as well. I thought it would be nice if we all came together as an accountability group to encourage one another, find inspiration from one another and build the habit of doing something artistic each day, even if only for 15 minutes, as we go through the 12 projects in Shona Cole's book, The Artistic Mother. I have already read the book. It's fantastic. Even though she has the workshop where she takes you step by step through the projects, it really isn't a project or technique book. It is more of a conceptual book where she is sharing her vision for making art something you do each day. She shares why it is so vital. She says that as moms we should not deny that inner need to create because then we risk depression. When moms are unhappy, they yell at their kids. Then we have unhappy families, and the family is seen as not such a nice place to be. When moms are happy, she is nice to her children; and they grow up to be happy people. Also, when mom is doing art, she is passing that creativity on to her children as well. She is making her home a more beautiful place and therefore the world a more beautiful place. Everyone benefits. It's important for you to be happy, Mom, for so many reasons.

She helps also the reader to make a vision statement, set goals, set up an art area, to prioritize and suggests ways to get rid of distractions that keep you from your art. She suggest ways to fit in doing art while running a busy household. I am getting so much out of it. I think it will help me as well as other women if we can do this together. Her book also spotlights seven working artists.

So we will spend two weeks on each project instead of the recommended one since I know that life happens to give everyone a chance to keep up. But if anyone gets behind, that's okay. It's a no-pressure group. We will blog about our progress at the end of each week and share the links of the other participants so that everyone can click around and keep up with the others.

Some of our participants include one of the women who participated in the Round Robin Collaboration on Page 22, Cindy Mayfield of Yapping Cat Studio; Audrey Hernandez of Small Creations, one of the guest artists, on Page 124; Shannon Mucha of Blu-Bamboo, another guest artist in the book on Page 16; the designer of the book, Marissa Bowers, Vanessa Spencer, the shoppe manager for Stampington & Company and many working artists who do art shows but find they need this because although they do their art on a pretty regular basis they find themselves working like crazy when getting ready for a show, letting the house fall apart; and then when the show is over, they get out of the habit of doing a little art each day. This will help them find that balance that they need. So this group offers something for everyone. So far we have an amazing group of women who have signed up. The list is at the bottom of my post if you want to click around to see who is doing this. I update it daily. I feel so honored to be a part of this with them. I started the group just a few days ago, and it is already growing so quickly. We could possibly have hundreds join us. Another benefit is that we will find other great blogs and others will find us because we are all linking to each other. If the list is too long for everyone to put the links on their posts each week when they do their end-of-the-week progress post, they could just put the link to my blog stating that I have the master list so that everyone can visit around and keep up with everyone. Or they could put the list with links in their sidebar even. Whatever they want to do. Our launch date is Saturday, March 6th. But anyone can jump in at any time if they can't start at the beginning.

Going through Shona's book has given me just the right inspiration to help me build the habit of doing something artistic each day. Shona Cole of An Artful Life, a young mother of five, ages 1 to 10, has found a way to integrate motherhood and art instead of waiting till the children are older to focus on her artistic side. She is offering a free copy of her book. Go here to find out how you can get one.

As Shona says, "There are so many distractions in life, we need to write down our vision and goals, print them out, read and re-read them every day. And what also helps to keep us on track is having blogger accountability." That is what is so great about this project.

For more reading about how to fit art into your life and more information about this incredible book, you can also read my post titled "How I get It All Done." It is on my sewing blog. Click here if interested.

And for a blog that inspires children to be creative, I would like to recommend my 9 year old daughter's blog, Emily of Super Stitches. She crafts and sews.

Catch the vision. Join us today. The more the merrier. I would also like to invite grandmothers to join us because you spend time with your grandchildren and finding time for you to nurture your creative side can be a challenge as well. Let me know if you'd like to join us, and I'll add your name to the list.

If you are joining us, you will need to get the book as soon as possible from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or some other bookstore so that you have time to gather your supplies and start collecting a stash of papers, newspapers, magazines, ticket stubs, scrap booking stickers, etc. The first project of the book will have us starting out making our background papers.

And please do a blog post about it and invite others to join. Please give a link to my blog for those who may wish to join so they can come here and get the details and sign in. I am keeping a master list of all participants.

Each week do a post of your progress as you go through the book. Please include a mention of our group and link to my blog. I am keeping a master of all participants in my sidebar. That way everyone can click around and see the other participants' progress as well.

To make things easier for everyone since our group has grown so much,instead of having to put all of the links in each post or on your sidebar, I have made a button for the group. Just grab my button and put that in your sidebar. 

Please check my blog often for tips, notes of encouragement and exciting news. Coming soon will be a post about a Flickr group for our Mothers' art group and also a giveaway

Thanks and have fun!

List of participants so far. Is your name on this list?

1. Trudy Callan of Artistic Creations With Trudy, group organizer
Linn of Peace Living
3. Jenny of All Roads Lead Home
4. Nicole Austin of Life is Beautiful
5. Shannon of Blu-Bambu. Shannon is one of the guest artists in the book on Page 16.
6. *Cindy Mayfield of Yapping Cat Studio is mentioned in the book on Page 22 as part of the Round Robin Collaboration. Good going, Cindy.
7. Deb Robertson of Works in Progress
8.* Lindsay of Banter
9. Debra of Florentine Lily
10. Joyce of Nanas Little Hobby
11. Stampelot Sue of Stamp Art-o-Rama
12. Marissa Bowers of Art * Design * Photo. Marissa is the book's designer! Didn't she do a beautiful job?
13. Dani of And a Sprinkle of Fairy Dust
14. Kathryn of Flexie Smit
15. Crafter of Creatively Chaotic Days
16. Kathy Smith of Laughable Life
17. Mandy of Eight Is Enough
18. Jennifer of Coplings Hobbit Hole
19. *Angelique of An Artistic Mother's Exploration
20. Lynn Toomey of Let's Gogh Art.
21. Kathryn of KV Creative Designs.
22. bitowhimsey of The Road to Whimsey.blogspot.com
23. *Beth of Acorn Pies
24. Diva Kreszl of Diva's Musings
25. Nicks of Nicks Arty Stuff
26. Jeannie of Backroad Family Adventure
27. Bethany Kartchner of Creative Ruminations
28. Holly of Dreams on the Horizon.
29. Kristi of Lived In Life.
30. *Lucy Edson of Lucy's Crafty Life.
31. Audrey of Small Creations.. Audrey is one of the guest artists in the book on Page 124.
32. Melinda of Melinda's Fabric Fancie's
33. Francesca of Ode To Posterity
34. Jenny of Jenny Powers Art
35. Shelly of Green Chic
36. Rebeccakes of Perpetual Backburner
37. Kristin of Twinkle Twinkle
38. Jen of Mysteries of the Juniper
39. Dana of School For Us
40. Ellen of Shimmer & Tulle
41. Vicki of TX Scrap Addict
42. Java Venus of Java's Whimsy
43. Alena of Serinissima
44. Tracee of Vintage Lilliput
45. *Mama Magpie of Midwest Magpies
46. Becky of Create-ive Space
47. Susanne of Zueeuz
48. Jennifer of Art Bliss
49. Lisa of Life Unity
50. *Kim of Whimsy and the Word
51. Shawna of Why Not Both
52. Grace of A Lovely Thought......An Artsy Side of Life
53. Sharon Manning of Sharon Manning Photography
54. Vanessa Spencer of My Art, My Life.... and shoppe manager for Stampington & Company
55.  Lissy of Memories Contained
56.  Colette of Tea Rose
57.  Contessa Kris of Collage Contessa
58.  Anita of Creative Space
59.  Colleen Blake of Main Street Memories
60.  Latisha of Handmaiden Voyage
61.  Mamma of Mamma Loves
62.  Vickie of Art-A-Mama
63.  Lis of Dandelion Seeds & Dreams
64.  Tina of The New England Cupboard
65.  Amelia of Notes From the Edge
66.  Julie of Julie Jordan Scott
67.  Laura of An Artful Passage
68.  Melody of The Demanding Doll
69.  Suzette of Shabbie Skraps
70.  Laurie of A Million Bushels
71.  Adrienne of A Soul Journal
72.  Eden of Artful Fairy Tales
73.  * Monica of Bohemian Shadows
74.  Thien-Kim aka Kim of Cup of Creativi-Tea
75.  Over Yonder of Who's Learning? Who's Teaching?
76.  Imene of A Journey to a Simple Happy Life
77.  Rani of Scrap Yoga
78.  Andrea of Vintage Bella Studio
79.  Heather of My Everyday Graces
80.  Bertie of Life at Wildberry Cottage
81.  Beverley of Bunny's Girl
82.  Rebecca of My Momentary Lapses of Reason
83.  Lorraine of Love of Collage
84.  Jen of By Jen - My Creative Adventure and Inspiration
85.  Carin of Created With Love
86.  Robinsunne
87.  Sassy of Keep Me In Your Heart
88.  Express of Express & Create Imagery
89.  Emily of Super Stitches
90.  Johwey of Johwey Redington
91.  Esther of Emakesart
92.  Tonya of Plain and Joyful Living
93.  Deb of Hand Stitched
94.  Leslie of Words of Me Project
95.  Jodi of Opened Door
96.  *Kelly of Artful Happiness, News & Notes From The Happy Shack
97.  Deanna of A Crafty Mom's Life
98.  Cindi aka Ericksoc of So, That's Why!
99.  Jade Erin Scarlett of Jade Erin Scarlett OSCI
100 Kristen of Acorn Hill Studios
101 Lisa of All Things Wonderful
102.Sonya of Sonya Mac Designs
103.Dawn of Life Lines Journaling
104.Tiffani of Breakfast at Tiffani's (& Lunch & Dinner &...)
105: Jess of The Rented Cottage Life
Now we just need you!

Note: Due to copyright laws, we are not allowed to do tutorials or step-by-step photos of the projects on our blogs or take photos of the pages in the book and post them. You may post a photo of your version of the project and talk about your experiences and feelings relating to it.

Also, if you are doing this project with a friend, each person must have their book unless you are doing it together under the same roof. No photocopying of the book, please.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Weed or a Flower?

Weeds upon my windowsill?

I should say not!

When presented by sweet little hands
and beaming faces,

but the most beautiful of bouquets.

"For you, Mommy."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dollies for Haiti Orphans

Thank you, Sarah, for the above photo.

Sarah Hanson, the founder of Dolly Donations, providing dollies for orphans around the world, is currently doing an active dolly drive for The Abundant Ground Foundation - Haiti Orphanage.

The Abundant Ground Foundation is a wonderful organization that has an orphanage in Haiti housing 181 children between the ages of birth to 12. They also provide food and necessary items to displaced families through their Abundant Ground in Haiti program.

They would love to be able to give Dolly Donation Dollies to all of their orphans and will ship them to Haiti on 31st of March, 2010.

They need 103 Girl Dollies and 78 Boy Dollies
Yup, that’s a Total 181 Dollies by March 31st.

Sarah is asking for anyone that can to help by making a dolly or two and also asking anyone that will to spread the word by doing a blog post about the drive.

If we are lucky enough to make more than the 181 goal, Stephanie Victor, the President of The Abundant Ground Foundation, said they will be gratefully appreciated, shipped and distributed to the children of the surrounding area that have nothing to call their own.

Please send your Dollies to:

The Abundant Ground Foundation
96 East Raymond Avenue
Roosevelt, New York 11575.

By March 31st….. Remember the shipment leaves the US bound for Haiti ON the 31st of March!!!

Don't forget to pop a piece of paper in with your Dollies stating they are from the Dolly Donations Drive so we can get a tally of how many Dolls are turning up. Also, Sarah would love it if you would let her know how many you've sent.

Please let Sarah know if you would like to take part in this Dolly Drive by leaving a comment on her blog, and don't forget to send her your finished Dolly photos, or join the Dolly Donations Flickr Group and share them with everyone!

She has made a simple Free Rag Dolly pattern, all the steps photographed, and a couple of video tutorials also. It’s made to use up your left over material from past projects and easy enough so that parents can do it with their children. Please use a brown fabric skin tone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, Fran. You are my One World One Heart Giveaway Winner. Congratulations. Please email your address to me. And thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hanging Heart Bag With Tutorial and Book Giveaway Offer

In the latest issue of Stampington's Green Craft Vol. 2 is a heart bag by Becky Shander made out of brown paper grocery bags!

Our family's versions:




INSTRUCTIONS: For your heart bag, sketch a heart shape onto one side of a bag. With the bag flat,cut out the heart shape so that you have two pieces. Machine sew the heart edges together, leaving the top part open. We used red thread. Then lightly color your bag with pastels and blend. We used oil pastels. Becky used decorator chalk. Glue or paste pretty papers, buttons, ribbon, lace etc onto the front of the bag. Punch two holes at the top and put wire, ribbon or braided twine through the holes for handles. You may add some beads and ribbon or lace to the handle as well.

Becky's Version:

Shona Cole's version. Shona is the one who originally told me about Becky's hanging heart bag in the Green Craft magazine. She has done a post about it on her blog as well with a great picture tutorial.

Shona has written a fantastic book called The Artistic Mother. This book shows you, Mom, how you can fit creativity into your life. Go here to see how you can win a free copy of her book.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finding Time For Your Art

"Hi there

I have been reading your blog for quite some time now. How on earth do you do it all?

I studied fashion design. Got married. Had 2 children. Start working from home (making matricdresses, wedding dresses etc.) Then about 2 years ago I took my children out of school and started to homeschool. I really have a problem getting to everything. I must say I do believe the devil is stealing our time so that we do not have time to spend with. Maybe you can give me some advice on how you get to everything.

On a different note. Here in South Africa we get cases that hold all your bobbins. They are see through so that you can see the colour on them. Maybe someone already told you about them. I did not read the comments on your post yet.

Trolene E."


This is an email I received from one of my readers. I thought that I would answer it here as others may benefit.


Well, actually I don't; but I'm getting there. I am juggling a lot of balls being a homeschooling mother of five, the youngest about to turn two. And you know how busy the two's are. I am also a home seamstress and an artist. Something has to give; and for me, that would be the housework. My home is far from perfect. The basics get done. But I have decided that that is good enough if I want to spend time with my family and work on my creative pursuits as well. I would rather spend time with my family and have some me time than have a home that is a show place. Serving my family is more important to me than trying to impress others. It's all about deciding what is most important, prioritizing and not worrying about the rest.

There are several things I do to maximize my time to make sure I have time to do what is important to me. First of all, I have a very supportive husband. He is willing to do most of the grocery shopping on his way home from work. That saves me several hours each week. I don't plan too many activities outside the home. When I run errands, I run the ones that are close in proximity in the same day. I don't watch TV. I don't spend a lot of time talking on the phone. I don't mindlessly surf the internet. I go to sites I need to go to and then get off.

My children help with the housework. I plan simple meals and use the crockpot often. That way I can throw the ingredients in in the morning and forget about it. I follow as many of Fly Lady's routines as possible. That would include doing one load of laundry each day, sometimes a little more. Each morning I follow a quick routine of wiping down the bathroom sink and counter, swishing the toilet, making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, throwing in a load of laundry, and 15 minutes of decluttering.

Then we start our day with devotions and school.

We do a quick pickup of the main rooms before dinner or bed, depending on which works best that day.

Now you ask: When do you sew or work on your art? I try to get up an hour or two before the kiddos so that I can have that time. I do my Bible reading and prayer time first, then work on my art or sewing. I do the morning routine when they are up. Now some moms fit their personal creative time in at night after everyone else has gone to bed. The time you choose will depend on if you work best in the mornings or at night. Yes. Some sleep is sacrificed, but it's worth it. If you have older children, you may be able to do your creative arts during the day. It's just more challenging when you have small children.
One thing I would like to point out is that as moms we usually do the housecleaning when the little ones are napping, but I am suggesting that we do our art and sewing time when they are napping and clean when they are up. Nap time because "me time." It's good for children to see us cleaning and even to pitch in. Sometimes I do my projects when the children are up, and I'll set things out for them, crayons, paints, play doh, fabric, etc.; and we create together. They will often want to do the same thing I am doing; so I will help them with theirs while doing my own. It takes a little longer, but it's fun. We are building memories, and they are learning to be creative, too, and to appreciate the process. So there are many ways to fit it in. Just takes a little thought and flexibility.

Everything doesn't always go as planned, and I don't always get to do everything on my list. But this is what I aim for. But even if I only get to sew or paint for 15 to 30 minutes each day, think about all that can be accomplished at the end of a month?

I think it's very important that we make this time for ourselves and do a little something each day no matter how busy we are.
I find that I am a better mom when I take a little time to invest in myself. I have more to give. It really helps to prevent burnout, even just doing a little something each day, even if only for 15 minutes.

You are probably still saying, "I just don't know how I can do it. You don't understand. There is no time. My life is too busy." I hear you. My friend Shona Cole of An Artful LIfe has been such a help to me and she has been helping me to work through this. She has taught me many of the things I have shared with you that I do. She has helped me to learn how to make time to create. She is a homeschooling mother of five small children, the youngest being a newborn. She is a photographer and an Artist On Call for Stampington & Co. Her mixed media collage work has appeared in many of their publications since 2005.

She has found a way to work on her art every day while still keeping the family life ticking. She has written a book that covers all of this called The Artistic Mother - A Practical Guide to Fitting Creativity into Your Busy Day, published by North Light Books, which is now available for sale at Amazon and bookstores across the nation on March 8, 2010.

I have just finished reading this book, and it is incredible. There are even more ideas for making your art a part of your every day life a reality than what I have shared with you in her book. She actually has figured out how to get it all done, including keeping the house up. And she shares all of this in her book. I am in process of implementing what I have learned from her book.

Shona starts off getting the reader thinking about her vision, setting goals, breaking them down into steps, setting up a dedicated space for doing art. The instructions and photos are very clear and easy to understand. If you are a beginning artist, Shona points out that it is very important to follow step-by-step instructions of other artists at first; and then you'll be able to branch off on your own with your own ideas. And I love the short essays of the artist moms that are spread through the book.

The book is broken down into three major sections:

The first section has lots of photos and mixed media collages scattered throughout. Here Shona discusses things like the nature of creativity and some practical, common sense, ideas to becoming motivated to do art on those days when you are too tired or unmotivated by the intensity of motherhood.

The second section is a very brief how-to guide for taking decent photos, writing basic poems and doing collage.

The third section is a 12-week workshop and a day-by-day action plan to guide you through making 12 different projects. The first week is more of a prep week. The daily art challenges can be spread over days. The goal is to get you creating, daily, not just to get the projects done.

Spread throughout the book are short essays and art by momma artists. They will inspire you with their creative vision and lives.

If you are already an artistic mother creating daily while raising your children, then this book will be an affirmation of your lifestyle and an encouragement to keep on keeping on. But if you are someone who is not living that life consistently and would like to be, then this book will teach you what you need to know to get there.

The principles taught in this book will help you no matter what your creative outlet is, not just mixed media art, but sewing as well. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Order the book through Amazon by clicking here.

To win a free copy of the book, go here.

When you go there, you can also sign up as a follower to be a part of the every Saturday giveaway for followers.

I would love to hear your time management tips. What does your schedule look like? How do you work it all in?

UPDATE: I received this follow-up email from Trolene.

Hi there
Thank you again. I must say I learned a lot from reading your post. About 2 weeks ago me and two friends were just talking about that if you make time for God first all the other things get done. Talking about practise what you preach. I think the first thing I will do is to only put my computer on once a day and just do what is necessary. Secondly I think I will go to bed earlier and then to get up earlier. I always get much more done early in the morning. At night I'm just not that focused anymore. And lastly but not the least I'm going to buy your friends book. That sounds like a good idea.The only thing I struggle with is the house. Sometimes I see a lot of people at my house who comes for fittings and I am forever making excuses for the mess (in my eyes). One of the ladies husbands once told me to never make excuses, because its my house and I should live as I see fit. Thats so difficult also because I sometimes find it difficult to be creative in chaos.One of my good friends told me the other day that I must remember all artists work in a mess. I must say I also have a very supportive husband. When things go crazy he will cook, but he's not very big on cleaning:)

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