I entered the Minted/West Elm photography contest.

UPDATE: 
The Minted contest voting begins tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this), Friday, January 29th! I'm not sure of the time…the website just gives the date.

You can view my designer profile here:





Well, I took another leap and entered the Minted with West Elm art print/photography contest.  I stuck with photographs and have no idea if I'll come close to winning but I sure wasn't going to go down without a fight! Meaning, I at least entered. In my opinion, a lot of times the people that look like they're having major opportunities are quite simply the ones who have put themselves out there a million times before something clicking that one time. It's the whole philosophy of "daring greatly" because it's not the critic that counts, but the one in the ring. 

You know what else would reallllllly count? If you'd kindly take a moment, head over to my design page and vote for my photographs.  I'd appreciate it by the buckets. 

Fingers and toes crossed
and grateful for you. 


Paper bird's nest and feathers (a VIDEO how-to!)

Good morning everyone! How are you on this Tuesday? I want to thank each of you who watched my last photography video. I'm warning you though, I only want to make more videos now! It is the teacher in me, I suppose. I truly love creating and explaining and teaching.  I miss that about being a classroom teacher.  I certainly do plenty of that with my own children (like all day!) but there's something really nice about connecting with you all through video.  It feels more like we're hanging out, instead of me just blasting a blog post.  So, I've got some fun video ideas planned for the blog and I hope you'll carve out some time to watch! I am long-winded even when I try not to be and talk with my hands at an almost humorous level.  I'll go ahead and give you that disclaimer for all videos here on out. 

Today we're making paper bird's nests and painted feathers! Watch, learn, and enjoy!  The photos below are a few ways you can put your creative nest to use.  





Thank-you for being a safe, kind space for me to be brave. 
I wish I could give you each a hug and a cup of tea! 
(see ya tomorrow!)


our adoption

Back when we first had Anna Ruth and we were such new parents, it seems like I blogged a ton of details about my kid.  Things like the moment their first tooth popped up and desperate questions about sleep (or lack there of).  Then along came Betsy and it was survivor mode, having two precious girls 17 months apart and the details got less blogged.  Which leads me to where I am now. Certainly not the same parent I was with one tiny, overwhelming newborn.  I've learned I love to share my heart on art and lessons in general God is teaching me on the blog.  Delving into parenting topics or family matters is a whole different ballgame.  For the most part, I like to keep this stuff to myself.  I have a close circle of gals I can reach out to if need be, but this blog is mostly for recording memories.

With that said, many of you in real life have asked about our adoption.  I've put off writing about it because it's this wonderful, new, sometimes overwhelming, bittersweet adventure we're on and finding words to put to it is a challenge.  You may be stuck on the word "bittersweet" that I just wrote.  Long ago, when we were first married and talking adoption, the only image we had was of gathering our darling baby in our arms, marveling at what they looked like and what personality they would have.  We now have a very different image in mind.  We picture our darling baby and can't wait to figure out who they are and when they'll show up in our home (our hearts are already stolen for them).  But this time, we also picture the precious expectant mama who is such a special person to us.  We don't know her yet, but we pray for her daily.  Our story is intertwined with hers.  And to get painfully honest, while we're celebrating a tremendous gain (our new baby!) she is enduring a tremendous loss. Bittersweet…. 

I've had many questions, like "How long will you wait?" or "Will it be a boy or girl?"
At Bethany Christian Services they do things a bit different and we like that.  They truly believe that God has a perfect match for your family, that no time limit can be stamped on, no gender specified.  In about a week, we will be an official "waiting" family.  That doesn't mean we wait on a list for the next baby.  It means we wait until we're perfectly matched in God's best timing with our baby. The expectant mama will be the one to choose our family.  

So it could be this spring or next fall or winter.  We are trying not to get impatient because we are so truly overjoyed for our baby.  I've been asked a lot how the girls feel and my answer is "very excited!" .  So excited.  We've had several home visits throughout the course of our journey and each time they've thought our baby was coming.  They cannot wait to have baby home with us. 

I've prayerfully written this post.  It hasn't taken me long to realize adoption is  another topic people feel really (really) passionate about.  I pray I've written this in a way to honor our journey and given you a peek into what it's been like behind-the-scenes the past few months.  
If you have any additional questions please feel free to ask (I'll probably answer depending on the question-ha!) or feel free to check out Bethany Christian Service's website.  We are so thankful for them.  

A sneak peek at the spring collection! (and retreat?)

 Good morning friends! 
We are in the middle of a week-long battle with some kind of winter crud/cough and icy weather outside. So, a cheer-up is in desperate order! Art makes me happy.  It is a deep well of joy for me that (almost) never runs dry.  Colors calm me and encouraging words lift my spirits.  I love that in the midst of sickness and winter, art is there, ready to cheer.  I love that art is an invincible spring or summer. 

This spring will bring new and exciting things to the shop because I've teamed up with Brett to create handmade, wooden frames for my original paintings.  Each of these original paintings will be available at the shop opening (Monday, February 1) in a handmade frame, as well as an 8x10 art print.  
 "Promises"
(8x10 original and art prints available)

"Beautiful Dreamer"
(8x10 original available in a handmade, wooden frame as well as 8x10 art prints)

"Happy Camper"
(8x10 original available in a handmade, wooden frame as well as 8x10 art prints)

"A beautiful story"
(8x10 original available in a handmade, wooden frame as well as 8x10 art prints)

"Serendipity"
(8x10 original available in a handmade, wooden frame as well as 8x10 art prints)

 "Wander"
a mini, 5x5 original painting! 
This will be available in a handmade, wooden frame, as well as several other mini originals and photographs! 
This piece is simply one of my faves.  One day during my treasure-seeking at 410 Vintage in Fayetteville, I came across a stack of quilt squares, each lovingly stitched with names.  They've sat in my craft room for months, feelings of guilt hanging over them because I thought it would be "wrong" to cut them up.  Then I just had this vision of how much history those squares and names held and wanted to combine that with my lifelong heart-cry that people should tell their story. 

You know I believe this with every fiber of my being.  Not just one certain type of group telling their story, all people, all types….telling.  We matter, don't we? Each of these from moment's past mattered and the same is true of us today.  My favorite name up there? 
"Grandpa". 

This original piece will come in a handmade, wooden frame. 

As we get closer to the shop re-opening (Monday, February 1) I'll share peeks into the completed, framed pieces, as well as share what photographs will be available.  And of course, after this first round of paintings/photographs are listed, more will come!  I have more ideas than time right now and I like that.  

Now, let me take a poll.  I'm on the fence about hosting another Rosy Retreat, a mix of a craft/photography day. I don't usually share my "on the fence" decisions with the general public because other opinions can muddle my thoughts.  But, hear me out and let me know what you think?

I love, love hosting retreats and decorating an event (see previous blog post!).  I adore teaching and gathering women together to make and learn.  So what's keeping me from trying? For one, we will hopefully have a newborn sometime this spring or summer.  That reason isn't totally justified because if that happens I could postpone the retreat and I know you fabulous people would understand. 
I suppose the biggest reason I can't decide is because I've worked really hard on a couple of events with very little sign-ups due to conflicting schedules, lack of funds, etc.   So, there's my on-the-fence private thoughts I'm letting you in on today.  

Would you be interested in attending a craft/photography retreat? 
If so, would a weeknight or a weekend work better for you? 
Any other thoughts? I look forward to hearing what you have to say! 



A tea party by me

Sometimes I get really fun texts and messages, like a couple of weeks ago when a friend wrote, asking if I could style a tea party for her daughter's birthday. 
I quickly (and enthusiastically!) wrote back "Sure!" and got to work, sending her my vision and ideas for the dreamiest tea party ever.  
Over the next couple of weeks I worked on handmade napkins, straw flags, paper flowers, and a giant garland.  Then I styled it all at home, taking detailed photographs to send along with step-by-step instructions to my friend.  All that was left to do was deliver the party in a box to my friend, the day before the birthday!  She sent me pictures the next day of the party set up at her own house and it looked wonderful!  I hope you'll enjoy these styled shots from my own home today!










This was so. much. fun!! 
I'll share a tutorial for these gorgeous coffee filters soon! 

I minimalized (shocker) plus new art is coming!

Is "minimalized" even a word? My computer thinks it's not, but let's just run with it.  A couple of days after Christmas something came over me. Perhaps it's what they call "nesting" or maybe just the thought of a blank slate and a new year.  Whatever it was, I suddenly couldn't handle all the stuff, specifically in the kitchen.  As I've already shared,  I am spending a tremendous amount of time cooking and educating myself on raising a healthy family.  A.k.a. eating at home almost all the time, which equals a lot of kitchen time.  So one morning Brett took the girls to town and I made it my goal to clear everything off the counter. 
This is what stayed.  It's very unlike my normal style and I simply love it.  As soon as I plugged in the "wish" letters, a sense of calm came over me and my breathing slowed.  Sounds dramatic but I'm not even kidding.  Something about all that clutter in the kitchen was making panic rise up in my throat.  I'm all for removing panic-inducing things. Even if it's as simple and silly as decluttering the kitchen. 
"Before".
"After"……
ahhhhh….doesn't that feel nice? 
I think so.  I'm warning you that I'm also going through a "let's paint everything white" phase. I don't even know who I am anymore! I think Chip and Joanna Gaines have wiggled their way into my brain. 
I moved a few other things around too, eliminating some of the clutter.  And I love it.  I may even simplify a bit more as spring gets here.  Or just keep adding to my list of things to paint white. 
(my favorite thing about the kitchen-my sweet helpers! Making granola)

I try to be intentional about what gets to stay out in our home.  I am very, very big on our home being a bright, fun, interesting place for all who walk through the doors and especially for the girls.  I like to have things they can touch and explore everywhere.  This coffee table is actually an old trunk that was Brett's dad's during the war. (WWII I believe)
The ever-changing mantle…. 
the butterfly print came from Paper Source in NYC and the old window is off the barn at Brett's childhood home.  My sweet grandparents gave me a few of the bottles, and the others I bought at a garage sale down the road.
I'm also a firm believer in having maps and globes available for exploring! Almost once a day we visit the map or globe for some reason.  I pray the girls are realizing what a big, fantastic world we live in.  Our slice of the world is pretty great (ok, really great), but there is still so much to see beyond the farm gate! 



We spend so much precious time around this dining room table. I have books everywhere in our home, all the places we might have five minutes to plop down. 
Calendar from 1Canoe2….bought at Paper Source in NYC.
Farm boots are a country gal's best friend! 
This lamp turned out to be one of my favorite things about the dining room. The base used to be black, but a few coats of paint later it looks much fresher. 

I scooted our handmade table up against the wall in the art room so the girls have a giant desk.  They love to sit at this table and color, imagine, draw, and create! 
The piano is such a hodgepodge.  A happy one I suppose. 







In my art life I've also been busy (NOT decluttering, lol) preparing a tea party for a friend. I made the decorations, styled the table, set it up a home, and photographed it for her so she could duplicate it at home.  Then I dropped off a box of party supplies the day before the tea party for her little girl.  It turned out adorable! I'll share more pictures of the table set-up with you tomorrow! 


Although we woke up to a dusting of snow this morning, we have the hope and anticipation of spring on our hearts.  I've been painting away, bright colors going here and there.  Thoughts of camping, summer skies, dreaming on dandelions are keeping me warm during these long winter days.  

I'm excited to announce the shop will open back up Monday, February 1! There will be a whole new collection of art prints, originals, and wooden, framed prints and originals as well! There will be a giant giveaway to kick things off so stay tuned! 

Now, your turn! Are you a rearranger or do things stay the same at your house? 
What do you want to see in the shop this spring? 

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