Sunday, December 30, 2012

True Free Spirit

As the new year approaches I am looking forward to a fresh start as I'm sure you all are.  One major thing I really want to work on is acceptance...I have a hard time accepting "what is" - A LOT.  I know I'd be more at peace and happier if I could just accept what is and try not to obsess over something I can't change.  

Something else I'm looking forward to is being more open and painting more freely and I'm hoping to do that while taking the online class True Free Spirit with Mindy Lacefield.  I'm sure I first saw her art over a year ago or so and I was instantly drawn to her childlike, whimsical and colorful creations.  
Artwork at right from Tim's Sally/Mindy Lacefield

I truly hope I can really connect with my true self through my art and really free up any blocks I have when creating...I see her art as a way to also connect with my inner-child.  I hope you'll stop back throughout the course and see some of my creations that I make while taking this class.

Are you looking forward to any new events or changes in 2013?  I'd love if you'd share them!  

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  Happy New Year to you all!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Wishes to you...

Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I'll be honest, the past week has been a rough one for the world and for my family as there was a tragic death that will leave a scar on some family members forever.  But I still want to send you all some holiday wishes from my heart.

I wish you and your loved ones a cozy and special Christmas.

© Jill's Dream Artwork

I wish you some comfort and peace in your heart.

I wish you some rest and relaxation.

I wish you a promising and happy 2013.  I wish you special time with those you love.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Beginning to look a lot like...

Sorry if it sounds cliche, but "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" around here (well except that we haven't had any snow yet).  My little Christmas decorations are some of my favorite items around the house...they have charm, sparkle, memories and a touch of sweetness.  I'd like to share some recent pictures I've taken as I've started decking the halls at home.

This is a picture of Isabella on her first Christmas - such a little sweetie pie - she only had her bottom two teeth then - a great memory.

Giraffes are my favorite animal - this is a wooden carved one from a local German shop.  Every December I add a red ribbon to brighten her up.  

I typically like sparkly and bright, but I couldn't resist this rustic and simple burlap stocking from another of my favorite shops called Harvest Home.  I added a little evergreen twig to make it come to life a bit.

The above three are close-ups of parts our fireplace mantel.  Aside from the tree, the mantel is my favorite thing to decorate. I do love having a natural fireplace during the cold weather - so cozy.

Here's a painting I've been working on just to hang up during winter.  It sort of represents Shane, Isabella and myself, three snow people holding our twig hands.  I might have a few more things to add, but it's almost finished.

Thanks for taking a little tour of some of my holiday decorations.  We're chopping down a tree tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll be sharing pics of the tree and my favorite ornaments in a few days as well!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snowman Love!

I live in Wisconsin, always have, but I'm not a fan of snow. December!  If we don't have a white Christmas I'll admit I'm pretty sad--really sad to be honest.  Even though I'd prefer to live by the Caribbean Sea, I love snowmen.  Chubby, white, fun...I love painting them too.  I also work in a school, so of course I always am holding out for a snow day!  Since I've been painting snowmen for a few years and these past few days I thought they'd be a perfect subject for a blogpost.  December is a day away, so snow should be coming soon.

Here are a few 3x3 canvases I recently painted and can be used as ornaments.  They really are fun subjects to paint!

© Jill's Dream Artwork

This one is called "Our First Snowfall" and I painted it last year I believe.  I love their sweet hats!

© Jill's Dream Artwork

I just sent this one to an old friend from grade school who now lives in South Carolina - she must miss the snow!  This one is called "Angels we have Heard on High."

This is one of my favorite photos of winter a few years ago - Isabella and I had a snow day together and built this snowman.  Well, temps changed, she started to melt backwards, then froze again, just like that.  She stayed that way for about a week--it was great!  We said she was doing yoga.

This was our first snowfall of 2009 and our dog Mazie's first experience with snow-what fun!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Even though I'm not a cold weather fan, I found myself smiling and looking back fondly on these wintery memories.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Top 10 Favorite Children's Books

My daughter is getting older; she's almost twelve, but we still enjoy reading picture books together as well as her young adult fiction.

Here are a list of my favorite children's books--some are still favorites from my childhood, and some I've discovered through her childhood.

1.  Pete and Pickles
Even if you don't have children, I recommend this heartwarming and FUN book, with a great message.  The artwork alone will capture your heart and attention.

2.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

I guess this is where my daydreaming and wishing to live in a fantasy world begun perhaps?

3.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I don't know how old I was when I first read this book, but entering a wardrobe that had another world behind it--wow--I was hooked.  To this day, I really wish that could come true--seriously.  That and magic carpets.

4.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? 

This is one of the first books I read to Isabella as a baby and I loved to use different silly voices for each animal and watch her delighted expression for each page.  Such sweet memories are tied to this book. 

5.  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Sarcasm, adventure and Greek mythology all wrapped up in one book...did I mention humor--oh and sarcasm?  Can't get any better than that in a young adult book.

6.  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Another one of the first books I experienced with Isabella at bed time.  It's a simple, sing-songy book that has memorable words and a sweet little mouse to find in a different spot on every page.

7.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

I guess I'll never forget the sweet and unlikely friendship of Charlotte and Wilbur and the terrible sadness I felt when Charlotte died and left her babies to become new friends with Wilbur.

8.  Imagine a Night 

The pictures in this book are so captivating and extraordinary.  They appear to be one scene and then almost magically transform into another scene.  Awe-inspiring art for sure.

9.  Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

The illustrations are so lively and hilarious and it has a great message for kids to be proud of themselves, especially their quirks.  A great message for adults too!  I'll never purge this book from Isabella's collection even when she gets older.

10.  Knufflebunny by Mo Willems 

Great illustrations with actual photographs in the background, sweet little Trixie speaks her first words and we watch her parents panic as they search for lost Knufflebunny.  Honestly, so sweet and memorable. 
I really enjoyed looking back and thinking of some of these really colorful and memorable books of my childhood and those I've first been introduced to in my daughter's childhood.  I would love to hear if you have any favorite children's books or maybe some of my list is the same as yours!

Monday, November 19, 2012

So Very Grateful

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and I of course am thinking of all I have to be grateful for.  I actually think about that everyday to be honest, but I thought sharing them in a post would be a great reminder of all the gifts I have.

My colorful, creative, loving, caring and sparkling girl Isabella.  She brings so much joy into my days.

Amazing, fun and supportive, life-long friends...friends since grade school - priceless for sure.

Being interviewed for a local magazine called 30 West - yay!

Achieving one of my goals of having my artwork for sale in a "real" shop, the Waxwing in Shorewood.

A new sweet little niece Cora born this August. 

Attending the Bloom True Artist Retreat by Flora Bowley this September (another item I had on my list of dreams and goals for this year).

Of course I have tons more to be thankful for, like my eye sight, the beautiful sky, my cozy house, my creative community of friends, etc. but these are just a few that stood out from 2012.

I found this great quote yesterday while reading the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and I'll leave you with this:  
"It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful" 
by Brother David Steindl-Rast.

What are some of the things you are grateful for from the past year?  I'd love to hear them--it always makes my heart full to hear what others are thankful for.  

Thanks for stopping by - I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Books on My Christmas List

Next to painting and eating good food not made by me (read: restaurant), reading is one of my favorite things to do.  Since Christmas is only 43 days away (according to my daughter), I've been dreaming of a few new books I'd love to add to my collection.

1.  Art as a way of Life

 -When I went to the Bloom True workshop with Flora Bowley in September, she introduced us to this inspiring book.

2.  Art Journal Freedom: How to Journal Creatively With Color and Composition by Dina Wakley

-I love her art and I'm sure this will be a great, colorful inspiration.

3.  One Line a Day:  A Five-Year Memory Book

-I'm a sentimental person and I love to look back at the past but just can't seem to stick to regular writing, but this seems doable, just writing one line every single day, and it's small enough to fit into a tote bag if needed.  I was thinking of getting one for my daughter too--she's 11 and I thought it would be a great way for her to reflect on her days and then enjoy them years later.

Do you have any new books that you'd like to either receive for Christmas or buy for yourself this year?  I'd love to hear about any of your recommendations!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dreaming and Trying to Keep my Shine

I have a lot of dreams, some of them have come true...some of them I'm still working toward.  But, wow, not having them happen right when I want them to can be pretty hard sometimes.  Makes me wonder if they ever will come true or even if they're meant to, you know?  Sometimes I even wonder if these dreams of mine are realistic.  But, are dreams meant to be realistic anyway?  Probably not.  Whoever thought of walking on the moon was probably considered a nutcase at first.  Whoever thought we could send messages by typing on a computer wasn't probably too realistic many years ago either, right?

© Jill's Dream Artwork

But I've really been wondering:  if they were meant to be they would happen and they wouldn't be so hard, right? Well, maybe not. Probably not. Maybe if they aren't happening, I should throw in the towel--maybe it's a sign these dreams of mine aren't meant to be. I've heard that saying many times about anything worth achieving is probably hard work and worth that hard work.  Well right now, things have been a little hard for me.  I don't really want to go into specific details, but I'm having some struggles.

It does help to have support of those closest to you as well.  A personal cheering squad so-to-speak.  I have a girlfriends that are here for me...I do wish some of them lived closer though!  Unfortunately, some of the people "closest" to me just aren't part of that cheering squad, and I think that's what's making things feel so much harder to handle right now.  But I really am thankful for the ones that are here right now.  Don't know what I'd do without them!

©Jill's Dream Artwork

I also get tons of inspiration from a few great authors such as Patti Digh and recently Danielle LaPorte who said in her book The Firestarter Sessions:  "Intend to shine...You can be a magnet for goodness even in hard times, if you simply choose to accentuate the positive and focus on where you want to go" (p. 102).  This quote is something pushing me forward right now.  Hopefully you can find a little inspiration from it as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Getting Ready...Trying to Find Focus

I've been pretty busy lately getting ready for three different things that are taking place really close together...these kinds of times are when I really need to prioritize and focus.  Those of you who create know that can be hard because many of us have a few projects or paintings going on at one time so just working on one and getting all the things done for ONE event in the order they are going to happen just doesn't happen.  

This Thursday I have an event close to home called "Wine, Women and Shopping" at Shorehaven in Oconomowoc and I'm going to be showing some new items so I've been feeling a bit wacky getting them done.  I'm trying to get more art pendants, hand-painted picture frames and wood mounted prints ready as well as working on original paintings for a minis exhibit which are due in less than two weeks for an event at Artbar in Milwaukee.  
(picture frame for the silent auction at Wine, Women & Shopping)

(a few pendants made from my paintings)

(one of the minis for Artbar, Riverwest Milwaukee)

Also, I was accepted for a holiday exhibit at the Waxwing in which I've already got some work, but I need to prep a few new things as well as update my bio and inventory.  I love working on all this stuff but I find myself getting wrapped up in one thing like painting some minis and then I realize, hey THIS Thursday is the first event I have to be ready for--put that mini away!  As much as working on all of this at the same time is energizing and exciting, I will be glad when Thursday is over for sure.  I'm actually waiting for an order of cradled birch wood panels from Dick Blick which I hope come today--I need to mount some little prints, varnish them and have them dry by Thursday afternoon.  

But right now, the sun is shining so I'm going to take a walk and rejuvenate myself to do some more prep when I get back.  Have a great fall afternoon! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall's Here and I'm Thinking of Food

Fall has been here for a couple of weeks but today it seems like it's officially arrived because the temperature is dropping tonight, maybe down to 48 degrees.  I've even heard some relatives in Minnesota have a bunch of snow already too.

At this time of year I start thinking of homemade chili, chicken and dumpling soup and just getting cozy with some good comfort food.  Now, mind you I really can't stand cooking.  I just really enjoy eating.  I'm a sloppy cook and baker--really sloppy--and my cooking sessions have a tinge of disaster in many of them.  I find cookie batter in odd places in the kitchen MONTHS after I cook.  Tonight while making homemade mac and cheese I dumped a bunch of cheesy water from the kettle that I was rinsing right into the baking pan of mac and cheese that I was just about to put into the oven.  Water everywhere, on the window above the sink, the counter, the cabinets, my pants, socks, my daughter, the rug in front of the sink and yes IN the mac and cheese--which I mopped up with paper towel.  For the record I ate from the other side of the dish.  Ugh.

Avocado Enchiladas- You had me at avocado and again at enchilada
Avocado Enchiladas
Well, Pinterest has got me eyeing up some really yummy dishes and desserts that I will make this fall. I will probably complain while I'm doing it, but if I want to eat, I gotta cook, right?  I am in the process of recruiting my daughter to cook more though--it really doesn't agree with me.  Here are a few that I'm drawn to and will be trying soon.  I think.  If you love food as much as I do, pop by my Pinterest "yummy" page and check out some good-lookin' food!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups. Four ingredients and no baking. Definitely on my holiday baking list this year.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Also, if you have any REALLY easy dinner suggestions that a picky picky family (not me) will like, I'd love to hear them. Or if you'd like to make some of the recipes I've pinned and drop them off here, that would great lovely too of course. Thanks!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Painting Birthday Party

I got the fun opportunity of bringing my supplies to a good friend's house and "hosting" a painting activity for her daughter Taylor's ninth birthday.  I showed them a few samples of birds, butterflies and flowers and demonstrated some fun ways to make marks using stencils, doilies and bubble wrap, but they really just wanted to get started and paint their own masterpieces.

Here's Taylor discovering the joys of bubblewrap.

 The birthday girl and her friend were ready to pose.  

Still waiting for one of the girls to finish her masterpiece, but they didn't want to wait for a photo.

All done and ready to share their paintings!

 I really enjoyed my time with the girls!  To me, there's nothing sweeter than children's art. I'm looking forward to hosting another painting party soon.

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