Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Sketches: Blooming in Beauitful Ways

As the snow tumbles down once again in our cozy town tonight, I grab my hot water bottle and nuzzle up on the couch with the puppy. So many exciting things have happened this week, including new book and licensing projects. I'll be post more about these (hopefully) this coming week.

This past Tuesday morning, I tucked myself away in the corner of a favorite local coffee shop to work on a PowerPoint presentation, as I was the guest speaker for the Colorado Council International Reading Association's local chapter annual convention. It was utterly delightful to meet many local children who desire to be artists themselves when they grow up! (You can visit my Facebook page for a snapshot of the event.) I can't tell you how blessed I was to be an inspiration to so many children that night. One little boy told me he's already written and illustrated two of his own children's books. Adore!

While sitting at the coffee shop that day, I painted the Harney & Sons illustration above. I'm quite pleased with how well it turned out, including the darling tin! I've got a few more of these up my sleeve, so keep an eye out for them. The requests are coming in and I'll paint them as quickly as I can.

Lastly, this past Friday morning, I woke up to a notification that the children's book I illustrated, "Mia's Magical Christmas Eve" won a GOLD MEDAL Feathered Quill Book Award! I can't tell you just how chuffed I was and excited to see my hard work being recognized. Michael and I must have hugged and cried a hundred times that morning. Awwwww! Yay me! So, let's raise our tea cups together and toast to more fabulous times during 2016! (clink clink)


If you're participating in Sunday Sketches, you can grab the NEW Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog. PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op encouraging and lifting others up in their creative endeavors as well. Thank you!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Places To Be & Places To Go

Just the other day, hubby helped me rearrange the spare room and loft area. We worked on transitioning my studio from the loft to the spare room in order to have more light and room to work. I'm absolutely in love with the new space! From the desk centered in front of the big window for a better "daily view" to the bunting and paper-chains hanging above, it's so me and... well, perfect!

Today, I spent the entire day working in the studio on various tasks, thoroughly enjoying it. In fact, this little guy came to life. Atwood is his (British) name, whose meaning is "Forest Dweller." I thought it quite fitting for this little chap who plans to deliver his love note to many across the way for Valentine's this year.

With evening falling, I'm reminded of the miscellaneous jobs still at hand for tomorrow's reading and literacy event in which I'm a featured guest speaker! I have to say, it's a blessing having an "English major" in the house who can review and edit my presentation. This only means one thing, however,... more tea and toast for the mister! (wink)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Making Life At Home

Since my bad car accident about 20 months or so ago, life has changed quite a bit. Initially, the change was not only abrupt, it brought along with it some pretty challenging times. I went from a full-time student studying Psychology, working part-time on campus and creating art part-time at home to then being forced to an 8-month recovery on the sofa alone! I remember bursting out in tears (and anger) one time to the hubby, frustrated and discouraged from all of the loss. The biggest struggle for me was the loss of my independence, as is often the case with illness or injury. This girl had to depend on my husband to feed, dress and bathe me for quite some time.

Needless to say, it changed me...again...inside and out. As I lay on the sofa every single day for several months, I began to really take note of all those little things around me that brought me joy like never before. It could have been something as simple as the way the sun shone through the front window in the early morning hours, casting a ray of light on a vase of flowers, or how our doggie would climb onto the end of the sofa, curl up at my feet and keep me company during the endless hours recovering alone.

To make a very long story short, life changed significantly. Where would life have taken me had I stayed wrapped up in the anger and frustration of all the loss that occurred, starting that fateful April morning in 2014? Eventually though, I found the courage to once again rise above and move forward! It was the best thing I could've done, despite circumstances at that time. I just came to a point of making a decision this too could no longer define me and had to believe that another set back meant surely something else was in store.

Before the car accident, I would be gone pretty much every day, studying for exams and/or working on campus. Now, I make life at home, our home, and as full-time illustrator... and I couldn't be happier. There's great joy in illustrating for the world around me and a deep satisfaction in taking care of my husband every single day. That reminder alone buoys me when still contending with pain. Just making that perfect cuppa brings such smiles. Life couldn't be sweeter. Truly. I'm not just lucky to have an incredible man and wonderful children in my life, I'm down right BLESSED!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Sketches: Pots of Love

With all of the busy festivities over the past few days, here's a quick sketch of some flower pots and plants that I wish were in my kitchen window. Hee Maybe this Spring but for now, I'll enjoy this cute little illustration instead.

Here's to a wonderful weekend for each of you. Happy SS, everyone! I look forward to visiting everyone with a cup of tea in hand.

If you're participating in Sunday Sketches, you can grab the NEW Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog. PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op encouraging and lifting others up in their creative endeavors as well. Thank you!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Creative Tuesdays: Love Is In The Air

It's not that often I participate in Creative Tuesdays but felt this round was fitting since it's Mr. Toast's (aka hubby!) birthday. So, why not hop on board and wish him a happy birthday right along with the current theme... Love Is In The Air.

It's a "big" one for him, so there are lots of fun things planned over the next few days with a few gifts here and there, to boot! I do hope he enjoys every bit of his celebrations - he's certainly deserving of it all. So, here's to you, my handsome rugged Englishman. Happy Birthday! You're one incredible man, husband, father, friend and confidant! Thank you for who you are and all you do! We're all blessed to have you in our lives. xx

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Finding beauty in the little things

As most of you learned from my previous post, I just love fresh flowers on our dining room table. One of the many ways I like to find joy and beauty in every day things. When the mister listed off things he'd like to "implement" in the new year, one of them was having fresh flowers on the table every month. That's certainly fine by me. Especially since I work from home every day. It's nice seeing some form of life in the house besides myself and the doggie. Hee

Today has been quite successful in catching up on some of the work that had fallen to the wayside last week while sick. Now, I'm off to (secretly) shop for hubby's birthday that's coming up this Wednesday! Oops! Did I just announce his upcoming birthday in the bloggie world? :)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Sketches: A Little Bit of Me

It's early Saturday afternoon here and I'm enjoying some comfy cozy time with the mister on the sofa. Although doing work stuff, he's got his hot water bottle by his side and a buttery slice of toast in one hand. As for me, I'm having a small bit of porridge and a latte. It's chilly and quite dreary here today. Unusual for Colorado when it's known to be sunny 90% of the time!

Yesterday, since I was feeling a tad better, we ventured off to our favorite little bakeshop in Old Town. One of my preferred pots of black tea here is their Assam (originating from India). Besides its revitalizing bold taste, it's known for a list of fabulous health benefits too! Who could ask for more?

For those of you wondering about the little doodle of myself and our doggie, this was something I whipped up for the Colour Collective art co-op on Twitter that I participate in throughout the year. This challenge was geared towards introducing artists to one another, including things we like and dislike. Of course, my "like" list is much longer than what I had room for. Other things I enjoy (and sometimes love) include dark chocolate, fresh flowers on our dining room table; the smell of autumn leaves; how newly fallen snow sparkles like a million diamonds under the morning sun; buttered popcorn, knee socks and more!

While extending my list, I mustn't forget about all the things I love/like about my mister, either. Uh-huh. One cannot ignore his dashing smile (as listed above) but also his incredible humor, fabulous hair, the way he walks, his big caring heart, his splendid homemade lemon shortbread and when I'm dancing on his toes in the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil for our first morning cuppa! In fact, most would say, we've certainly found our own recipe for love.

OK, so now that you know a little bit more about me (and a lot about the mister!), I would love to know more about each of you! What are a few things you like and dislike? Have fun with it...


If you're participating in Sunday Sketches, you can grab the NEW Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog. PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op encouraging and lifting others up in their creative endeavors as well. Thank you!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Illustrated New Year Love

This evening, despite still feeling somewhat sickly, I ventured up to my studio to take a peek of the work currently on my desk. Initially, it felt a tad overwhelming to see my current projects slowly piling up. Thankfully, I have wonderful customers who have been more than understanding and supportive of me being ill this week. Otherwise, this girl would be a bit more stressed out at the moment!

One of the projects I've thoroughly enjoyed doing these past few months is a hand-painted calendar for a sweet customer who lives in Canada. Sadly, January will almost be over when her darling 12-month calendar arrives but she's still delighted at each month's illustration designed just for her.

I'm off to rest a bit more this evening in hopes I'll be up and about in full force tomorrow. The mister will be home in a bit so am looking forward to his arrival and having tea. Thank you so much for all of your lovely get well wishes. I appreciate each of you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hot water bottles and tea

Sadly, the mister is better but I'm still feeling quite under the weather. It's not easy trying to stay put when my creative work is slowly piling up in the studio. However, as I knew oh so well with the hubby earlier this week, the only way he would get better is to stay home and rest. Alas, I'm trying to do the same.

Fluffy pillows, my grandmother's blanket, tea and a hot water bottle - my 'best friends' until I'm better. Oh, and of course puppy kisses from our little guy and sweet nothings from my wonderful hubby.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Learning To Grow In All Things

Over last summer, I was slowly drawn to having little pots of various plants displayed in our kitchen window. At first, it was simply the idea of just how warm and cozy it made our kitchen windowsill look not just on the inside but also the outside, when neighbors would walk by and look up. Now, I find it quite joyful to take a peek in the window every day to see how my lovely seedlings are coming along. My favorite to attend to was my lovely lemon tree, for that one was 'birthed' from actual seeds from a real lemon. Sadly, it died while we were away in London for a family funeral due to a lack of watering. I've now planted new seeds and am waiting for the new leaves to burst their way through the dirt, nestled down in one of my favorite mason jars.

As I stood in the kitchen this morning, gazing at the potted plants, I was reminded how we're all encouraged to all things. Having a healthy body is great. In fact, hubby and I have really been making an effort to improve our daily habits all the way around. However, growing is more than just in daily, physical choices. Whether working through old hurts that tend to trickle into our current daily life from time to time or facing new challenges along the way, we must always remember to care for our heart and soul as well. It's not always easy but a little tender loving care will go a long way in the end. Remember, no matter what comes your way, always LOVE yourself, inside and out.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Sketches: Floral Beauty

As I continue working through the darling tea cups and mugs sent to me, I find great joy not only in simply having fun and fine tuning my own technique/style but am also touched at the number of lovely peeps who are sharing a part of their daily life with me! Enjoy this one above sent by a lovely lady who lives in Delaware.

Happy Sunday Sketches! We'll soon be celebrating 6 years of this wonderful art co-op! Woot!

If you're participating in Sunday Sketches, you can grab the NEW Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog. PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op encouraging and lifting others up in their creative endeavors as well. Thank you!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Another winter wonderland in our little town

The mister and I awoke to a lovely wintry wonderland this morning. The pine trees around our home are now filled with large dollops of white beautiful snow. As I sit here this early afternoon looking out our big picture window, the snow continues to tumble down as if inside a magical snow globe.

Tonight, we'll simply cozy up on the sofa with our hot water bottles and cups of tea, staying warm.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Teatime on a Cozy Thursday Morn

As my Thursday slowly moves forward, I sit here in this giant brown comfy chair with a hot cuppa in hand, watching the sun gradually fade behind the grey clouds that are seizing the morning sky. It's a bit gloomy out but still cozy on this winter day.

I'm continuing on with my tea cup/mug illustrations and have included the second one above. If you'd like to see the original photo of this darling cup, you can find it on my Facebook page. There's still much to do in the studio before the week ends, so I'm off to knock out a few more tasks on my list. This gal is actually using a planner this year! Hee

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

In A World Where Teatime Rules The Afternoon

In a world where teatime rules the afternoon...that's our world, for sure. Uh huh. An afternoon without teatime is rare in our little cozy home. In fact, you can find the hubby and I sipping on a cup of PG Tips (almost) every morning before starting our day. There's something incredibly soothing about holding that perfect cuppa in hand...closing your eyes....taking in the moment where you feel not a care in the world could bring your down. Ahhhhh....yes, that is...teatime!

So, to celebrate the fact we love tea that much, I'm dedicating an hour or two every day to doodle out YOUR favorite tea cup/mug...(or coffee, if you prefer!). The illustration above is the first checked off my life and I'm absolutely in love with the results. If you'd like to see the actual photo sent to me, you can check it out over on my Facebook page. If you'd like to see your favorite cup/mug doodled by muwah, simply email me (or Facebook message me) the photo. Until then, enjoy this darling illustration. xx

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Sunday Sketches: To Encourage and Inspire

Every new year we find ourselves reflecting upon the past 12 months and whether we succeeded in completing various goals. Last year, Michael (aka Mr. Toast and hubby) stumbled upon a blogger who developed a different way to set objectives for the coming year, ones that would stay with you while taking on new adventures and facing life's challenges along the way. The idea is to encourage us to not just ask questions about ourselves (as many do at year end) but to then sift through a list of words, writing down only those that make our heart jump when reading them. Eventually you find yourself choosing one word to guide you through the year to come.

In 2015, I landed on the word, surrender. For me, my focus was on surrendering the fears of feeling like I wasn't a good enough artist; to truly accept myself and what I had to offer the world... and that is exactly what I did! A year later, I'm an accomplished children's illustrator with over 10,000 followers on my art Facebook page. During this time, I illustrated four books and have three new ones forthcoming, including an illustrated cookbook. It's quite exciting, let me tell you!

Did I meet the "challenge" of my 2015 word? You bet I did, which contributed to the excitement of choosing my word for 2016. So many wonderful things unfolded last year, both planned and unexpected, that I'm looking forward to what this new word will birth for me in the year ahead. So, what word did I settle on? INVIGORATE! Although there were initially five words that sparked tingles inside my heart, invigorate tugged my creative soul the most. I not only desire to restore and strengthen my own heart but to do the same for others around me...and then some.

My hope for 2016 is to create art that will transform hearts and lives across the world—to set hearts ablaze through inspiration, excitement and encouragement. Big dreams, I know! The crazy thing? Michael chose the exact same word! Uh huh. I can only imagine how we're going to set this world on fire together.

Happy 2016, my bloggie friends!

If you're participating in Sunday Sketches, you can grab the NEW Sunday Sketches button HERE.

Submit your artwork by signing up below with a link to your website/blog. PLEASE make sure to visit each other! One of the biggest reasons for this co-op encouraging and lifting others up in their creative endeavors as well. Thank you!