Roben-Marie Smith

Roben-Marie Smith











Roben-Marie Smith

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Entries in ten things (17)


currently: ten things

1. Sneak Peek. This is what is on the worktable. Something cool coming soon!

2. My love of feathers is no secret, so it is always a happy surprise when I find them in unexpected places. This one was at the beach today! So wispy and white. I love it!

3. I was so thrilled to meet a fellow Documented Life member, and talented artist, Andrew Borloz, this past week. He was kind enough to take time out of his travels to the South to meet with Art to the 5th! We shared a lovely meal, some good laughs, and of course our chunky planners. Andrew's took the cake! His is HUGE and wonderful and complicated and amazing. He is surely artistic! Can't wait to see what he has in store for the next challenge!

4. Writing out snail mail. I love snail mail. I had so many pen pals growing up and writing a note or a letter to a friend or loved one is something I still take the time to do on a regular basis. There is something oddly special about receiving a penned note from someone. This week it was pretty cards made from art journal papers that went to some special people out there! You know who you are and I love you!

5. Learning that time is precious. Time for work and deadlines is so important and most often necessary but it isn't what makes the heart or soul tick. Time for loving and caring and helping and supporting - that is the time that counts. I fall behind on the other stuff- that other stuff that is also important, but playing catch up at all hours of the night and answering emails during what used to be my "wind down and watch a show or read time" is a sacrifice I am learning to live with. I complain sometimes, yes, but just make myself feel better for having so much on my plate. Too much most days. Having the time to do what REALLY counts in my heart and in my LIFE is ultimately all that matters to me anymore. I panic over the deadlines. I grumble over the piling up of chores. I sweat out all the last minute stuff, but I have made a conscious decision to live by what matters to ME. I have to be happy with my choices. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if a friend thinks I made a good choice, it only matters that I chose for myself. I have survived the worst of family tragedies. Something no person should endure and I know that FAMILY and the time spent with them matter the most. Everything else will wait. And if I miss a deadline, fire me. My family will still be here to love and to love me back.

6. Spending a day at the beach with the kids. Our favorite. Heavenly. Doing things as a family is important for us. Doing things that we ALL love is even better. It is the ultimate best day!

7. Waiting for April 1st. This is hitting the stands! Haute Handbags is such an awesome publication and this issue is packed full of yummy goodness! Can't wait for you to see it!

8. Playing with inks and string. I am always looking for something new to dye. I love how the end result is usually an unexpected surprise. This week I played with Dylusions Inks and a ball of cotton butcher's twine! The colors weren't quite as vibrant as I had hoped, but I still love it! I am going to try to crochet some small flowers with this!

9. Creating some happy mail! This is not much different from snail mail, but I like to send lots of fun stuff in these packages, instead of just a pretty note! I have been the very honored recipient of tons of happy mail lately, from members of the Documented Life Project, and I am so grateful for all the time and creativity that goes into each piece. It would take forever to list everyone here, but please know that I LOVE IT ALL! Thank you for each beautiful happy piece!

10. Loving that this week will be Spring Break for the kiddos! I am always the first one to admit that I wish it was summer all year long. Not for the weather or the vacations but because I really and truly love having my kids at home with me. I miss them when summer is over and they head back to their schools. I enjoy all the time we spend together and the things we do together, so I feel this big void when they aren't here. I am anxious to play some games, watch some movies, take some walks, head back to the beach - Yay for Spring Break!


currently: ten things

1. Playing with my new Artist Print Pack Papers. I have found a color scheme that I can't stay away from and I am hooked. I am cutting them up and pasting them down. I am folding them and stitching them and using them every which way but loose. These colors are just what I needed to jumpstart my Spring.

2. Enjoying this view. There is nothing like it. Period. I know I complain about not having enough hours in a day, about not getting into the studio early enough, about folding laundry at midnight, but the truth is, I wouldn't trade ANY of that to lose this view. I walk into the room and see this and my heart swells to bursting. I forget for a moment that I am behind and busy and stressed. I only see this. Love and companionship and family. I only want this. In that moment it is enough. Nothing else matters.

3. Finally helping unpack the last few boxes. Our three grown daughters have moved in together and I couldn't be happier. I love that they are so close to home, but I love even more that they are together. They are the perfect support sytem for each other. It makes me smile to see them laughing and joking and helping one another.  I am blessed to have such lovely young women for daughters and I can't wait to see how they blossom together.

4. Adding to the collection. When I get stressed out or nervous I like busy work. Carving stamps has been a great outlet and I am enjoying learning the ins and outs of the craft. It isn't as easy as some of those gals and guys make it look. Details are tough. I am sticking to something I love and working out the kinks. They aren't perfect and that's just how I like them.

5. Hanging with the peanut. This little one seems to be spending more and more time with me in the studio. She is enthralled by all there is to see and her head is on a constant swivel. She loves to feel the bristles on each paintbrush. She giggles when I crumble up a wad of paper. I love that she is loving the artsy side of our world. Now if I could just get her to hold a crayon without eating it.

6. Missing the company that filled these spaces the last few weeks. It is so quiet when everyone goes. I think it was compounded this time with two of the girls moving as well. It seems as if this house went from loud and busy and full to quiet and half empty over night. It makes me a little sad when I wander around this place and see all the empty spaces. I know we still have two at home and I also know in a few days things will be crazy again. They all come and go and make our life full and happy and noisy. I look forward to tomorrow. Today is too quiet.

7. Creating the Week 12 Challenge for The Documented Life Project. Where does the time go? The weeks are flying by and I find myself keeping a steady track of time according to these weekly prompts. It continues to make me happy to document my daily life in such a creative and colorful way. I hope you will take the time to read a little bit more about my team and I and the project here and then join us for some daily documenting yourself!

8. Getting published here. The Documented Life Project has been featured again and this time it is in this colorful and creative magazine available in the itunes and googleplay store. It was an honor to be part of such a fantastic publication and in celebration they are allowing us to give away some free issues. Check back on Thursday to get your free coupon code!

9. Working in my art journal. Even just a few minutes a day can keep me creative and inspired and most importantly - happy. I like art. I like making art. Devoting 15 minutes a day to my art journal has changed the way I create.

10. Enjoying seeing all of the new artwork my son is creating. He is surprising me at every turn. This flamingo was so lovely- so spontaneous. So something he wouldn't draw before. Glad to see he is also getting out of his comfort zone and trying some new things when it comes to art.


currently: ten things

1. Working in my Documented Life Project Planner. Every week I look forward to the artistic challenge part of this project, but lately the actual weekly planner side is catching most of my attention. I can't say enough times how much this has made documenting my daily life so much more beautiful, both visually and emotionally. Enjoying what you do has such a positive effect on your mood. I am so in love with this project and it is only March. I guarantee you are going to get tired of hearing me talk about it!

2.  Finally getting that updated headshot. And no, it wasn't taken in the car by my son, like the last one. I hate getting my photo taken. With a capital H. So this session was no different. In fact, if truth be told, it was harder because it was planned. I got dressed, did my hair and walked to the lakefront with my daughter. She is great. She doesn't judge, she makes me laugh and she is honest. To a fault. So 678 photos later I had ONE I sorta liked. Not because she is a bad photographer, she is awesome...but because I can't take a good photo, when planned, to save my life. I freeze. I panic and I just plain hate it. If I don't know it is happening it is usually the best photo ever. Maybe next time I will hire her to follow me around for a few days!

3.  Enjoying the busy work. I love packaging things up. I love printing and stapling and sorting and collating and taping things up. This stuff makes me happy. I'm a wierdo , right?

4. So happy to have been part of the newest 21 Secrets Live - 2014. It was a blast and a new thing for me - a live spreecast. I won't lie. I was a wreck up until Wednesday night thinking about it, because the only thing worse than getting your photo taken is being LIVE on the internet! As it turned out, all the worrying was for nothing. My hostess, Lisa Wilson, was awesome and all the art journalers that joined in were super fun! It was a great night and I am glad I didn't let my huge fears stop me from participating! 

5. Strolling through my hometown market. It is so small and quaint and lovely. I know most things are a few cents more, but the atmosphere alone makes it worth it.

6. Playing around with a few new ideas over here. Thinking that I am liking where things are going. I am crazy busy, but that's okay. I like to stay busy... and, I would rather like what I am doing and be non-stop, than to have all the time in the world and hate where I am headed. 

7. Looking in and liking what I see. I am adjusting more and more every day to my new home. I never thought I would be so comfortable here. That I would settle so quickly and with such firmness. I feel safe and comfortable and happy. As I sit on the porch, watching the sunset, it is strange to think I was so very afraid of this move. Now, things are just plain good.

8. Squealing with joy at the sight of these sweet little buds. This is my lemon tree. I have been growing it for a long time. It started it's life with me as a tiny shoot in a plastic bag, picked up at a roadside stand on the ride home from St. Augustine some time ago. I have coddled this plant. I want some dang lemons. I have fertilized and watered and talked to it. It just never did much at all. It grew quite a bit taller, but if you ask me, it is still pretty gangly looking and FAR from a tree. Then today I looked down and saw these buds. Beautiful lavendar and white little buds. I saw TONS of new shoots. Not just on the ends of the limbs, but EVERYWHERE. Like an explosion of leaves and purple. I am so very happy. I think sometime soon, if the bees and the butterflies cooperate, I just might have those lemons!

9. Giving you the update on the violinist. She had MPA's this past week. From what I, in my vast orchestral ignorance can gather, understand that these are like the FCAT or standardized testing of music in the schools around here ( and maybe elsewhere ). My daughter was her usual wreck of a self while waiting for this event to begin. She is at that stage in her musical "career" where she worries she will make a huge and fatal mistake while on stage. She has continued to earn her seat as First Chair, so the worry is warranted. Well, as it turns out, I guess all her fretting was for nothing as well - her orchestra garnered all superior ratings and went home happy and proud and knowing all their hard work had paid off. ( My husband and I chaperoned the event and were therefore allowed to view all their musical performances. Was I at all worried?  I went home with six less fingernails. No worries here. )

10. Finishing up a super easy and Springtime pretty tutorial! It involves paint and something from the kitchen- Look for it on Thursday! I think you are going to love it!


currently: ten things

1. Amazed at this young lady. She is growing up so fast. I look at her and wonder where have the last few years have gone? How did this little peanut turn into this young lady over night? From an underweight and helmeted infant to a violin playing, intelligent woman to be - all in the blink of an eye. I am proud of this not so little anymore girl, but I sure miss my curly haired baby.

2. Art journaling like crazy. It seems as if when things get crazy around here, I do what I do best. Keep myself busy. I tend overwork myself and overthink things. Okay, everything. I get everything done and then do more, anticipating a busy day tomorrow. I sit on that stool at 11 PM and paint away. I have learned that art journaling is such a release for me, that I can't climb into without having created something- even if it is only 15 minutes of mixed media.

3. Enjoying good conversation with my girls. I am so blessed to have three grown girls who are fun to talk too. We can sit for hours and do nothing but laugh- at silly videos, ugly selfies and silly videos. We can vent about the serious stuff and find a way to smile through it all. I love my girls. I have waited a long, long time to enjoy their company like this. I am so grateful that they are open to what I have to say about life- that they all at least listen, honestly, with both ears, and then have to courage to tell me what they think. I am grateful they are independent, and smart and living life. They are making mistakes, some of them BIG ones, but they are bright and beautiful and in touch with their faith. And so I am happy. Happy to have them share a cup of coffee with me, happy to see them living their lives, mistakes and all, happy to call them mine.

4. Having fun with clothespins. I scored a big bunch of clothespins recently, old, but in mint condition. I prettied them up and am using them all over the studio these days. I loves pins and clips of all kinds, so these make me smile big!

5. Sending Mail Art. I am really enjoying the mail art swap that I am a part of right now. It is so amazing how kind and happy and generous people are. Even though most of our conversations are limited to emails and chats, I feel like I have come to know some of these people and treasure their friendships!

6. Liking my new contact cards. They are pretty and bright and feel so good - you can win me over with texture every time. These won't be the last ones I order for sure!

7. Re-discovering my die cut machine. I had really forgotten about it. I have a very limited number of dies, but the few I have I like. I must have cut a hundred of these pretty circles and flowers. Now- what to do with them?

8. Liking the view. When I get up from the worktable, and it looks like this- you KNOW it was a good day. All those glorious and colorful markings, a sign of happy creating!

9. Not believing that we are already on Week 10 of the Documented Life Project! Another reminder of how quickly time flies. I have come to realize that daily life is more than a routine- it is an opportunity to be creative, mark down what is important, what is both lovely and ugly. Our lives are worth so much. We have been given the gift of remembering- writing it down, sketching it out, photographing it, can make those memories tangible, something to leave behind. I am loving it. Okay, I am addicted. Totally. But it is worth it. My life is worth. Isn't yours? Want to document alongside of me and the rest of Art to the 5th? Read more about it here!

10. Playing around with some packaging ideas. I love experimenting with re-purposed items, color and packages of any kind...who knows what this will turn into!?


currently: ten things

1. Finishing up this mini tutorial blog post. I can't wait to share this fun project with you. Look for it next week on the blog!

2. Working out the details on this repurposed project. I love the notion of creating a new project. Trying out different materials, sampling paint colors and creating the prototype take time, but it is amazing how the original seed of an idea morphs into something so different during the creative process. Can't wait to share soon!

3. Trying out a homemade recipe. Roasted chick peas with assorted spices. Today I added cumin, garlic salt and red pepper flakes. These are YUMMY! I love how they get a little crunch to them and fill a void when you are craving something like a potato chip!

4. Planting ornamental cabbage with my spring flowers. These plants are so pretty. Ruffled edges and assorted shapes, sizes and colors make for beautiful additions in all sorts of potted arrangements.

5. Still loving these hand carved stamps. So much, that I carved another one today. I wish I had more time to devote to this craft. It is so rewarding...maybe in the near future.

6. Making pretty pockets and tags. Something as simple as a pretty ugly neon paper pocket can be transformed into something beautiful with a little paint, a few stamps and hand written lettering. Sending these along to a few special documentors I just happen to know!

7. Adding photos into my Documented Life Project Planner. I found these cute little pockets on a recent trip to the craft store. Twelve in all -  January through December, they are perfect for holding a few favorite photographs taken during each month. Another way to remember those special moments that are worth documenting!

8. Packaging up some mail art goodies. I can't wait to send these off to some pretty special people that I have come to know. I, in turn, have been the happy recipient of many similar parcels! Running to the mailbox each day has become a much anticipated event around here.

9. Stitching up some cool stuff. Nothing better than paint, paper, fabric, and a sewing machine.

10. Painting my Planner Cover. I took the plunge. I wasn't sure I wanted too, but now that it is complete I am in total love. A hundred (ok maybe ten) layers later and I just want to carry it around and stare at it all day. Thank you my talented friend Lorraine for your awesome video on how to do this - it made my day!


currently: ten things

1. Feeling Happy that I have found a way to make my daily life pretty. Making appointments and keeping track of schedules for a family of seven isn't always FUN, but now it is at least artistic. Documenting my Life has taken on a whole new meaning. I can't wait to grab my planner and make the next note. Pulling it out at the Dentist is sure to be a showstopper. Read more about it here.

2. Making Lots of Lists. With a recent move, the launch of a new project, a big family, and my own artistic efforts I am always making lots of notes. I used to use post it notes. They were everywhere. My desk and worktable often looked like the attack of the Skittles. The problem was this- I liked making the notes. I liked lining them up and looking at them, and I especially loved counting them... but I never had that awesome feeling of making great headway. Checking things off feels good. When I completed a task before I just crumpled the paper up and tossed it in the basket. No more. Now I am making lists. Pretty lists. Now I have the luxury of physically checking said task off and feeling good about it. Of course I do all of this in my planner. ONE MORE reason to pick it up everyday!

3. Sending Mail Art. Having connected with so many wonderful and talented people lately has sent my heart soaring. I have been overwhelmed and amazed and wholly grateful for all of the positive and uplifting comments I am fortunate to read each day. Thank you all for the love. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. It makes me smile in the biggest way.

4. Pausing to relish the Clean. I am a tidy person. Okay, so that is an understatement. Most days my family wishes I would take a chill pill, but order is my thing. I need, I like it, I have to have it. So when I get on a serious roll in the studio I often have to leave my stool to attend to my real life. You know- the family, the carlines, the cooking, the errands, all that stuff. No matter how much it might make my skin itch to leave those messes in the studio, I have too. I am in the middle of big things.I can't, realistically, and believe me I have tried, clean it ALL up EACH AND EVERY SINGLE TIME. So I walk away, feeling irritated and try to forget about it- which I do. Life takes over. But going back in is hard. I work better with a clean slate, so every few days I just have too. I have to pack it all up and pretend like I am done and start over. Yeah. I know. But it is how I operate, and so looking at a clean studio makes me sigh and feel happy and ready to do great things.

5. Wrapping things up for Etsy. I love this job. My mom always said when I was little I wanted to grow up to be a professional gift wrapper. What an awesome job that would be. I wish.

6. Making lots of collages. I am in that mood. When I get in that mood I stockpile things. Collages, sheets of hand written journaling, gelli prints. I like to be able to reach for things as I need them and not have to stop and branch off on a "side project" every time. It helps. One whole day of stockpiling these things means weeks of uninterrupted creating time!

7. Collaborating with the talented Lorraine Bell. When this girl does something, she does it right! She is amazing and so when the opportunity arose for me to join in with her on a little something, something- well I couldn't say no. There is some pretty cool stuff in these bags and they are yours for the taking in just a few days! Check back soon!

8. Stitching up some more fabric tags. These are my favorite little additions to projects right now and so of course I had to stitch some up for my fellow Art Fivers! Stitching is a great way to add dimension and texture to all of your projects. I even love to stitch on paper and have shared a little video tutorial here!

9. Trying New Things. For all of the artsy things I have done and tried in my life, I can honestly say I have never been much of a "drawer." I have tried but I just never seem to get it. I don't feel like I have the steady hand required for fine art- but recently I heard something said, and it triggered me into trying. This is what happened on day 1. I have a feeling there will have to many, many more days of practice to get the hang of this.

10. Loving these Painter's Paint Pens. (and no they don't pay me to say this-I really do just love them!) I picked one up to try it out and was hooked. I have been looking for more colors ever since. I go through the black and white ones like crazy, but the colors are awesome too. Opaque - just like I like them. And the pens actually work well too - I haven't had any clogging or issues with them yet, and I have been using them for months now!


currently: ten things

1. Volunteering at my daughter's Violin Solo Ensemble. My husband and I worked this two day event that played host to over 600 students. It was an amazing display of talent and community. I enjoyed getting to know so many different young musicians from the tri-county area, each one as friendly and polite as the next. 

2. Feeling proud. I was fortunate enough to be invited in to listen to my daughters solo performance at the above mentioned event. Her score was a Concerto in A Minor. It was a long and complicated piece and one that she has only been practicing for about a month now. She amazed me and floored the judge. I was prepared for the usual jitters, the occasional flawed note, the skip in the beat of her steady rhythm. It didn't come. She took us all by surprise, and pulled out all the stops, playing a perfect score and earning herself the highest Superior rating and medal. 

3. Feeling obsessed over this planner project. It made me happy to just walk into the studio this morning and see it sitting next to my work area.

4. Filming some short tutorials for the blog. Be looking for a few fun things to come in the near future!

5. Loving this beautiful bright new roving a sweet sweet girl sent to me! What a wonderful surprise along with the most fantastic pair of hand knitted fingerless gloves! I am so blessed to have such wonderful pals all over the world! Thank you sweet Linda!

6. Thinking about Valentine' Day and how I am so lucky in love! Cards from cupid are my favorite to make and I always enjoy coming up with new ideas for the kids each year. I will be working on some this week!

7. Crocheting again. I go in spurts. Mostly because I am so dang busy that I have no business picking up a book or a crochet needle or anything else that takes time away from the fifty other things I should be doing... But I LOVE these things, and so I do them anyway. This means I stay up way too late, way too many nights a week. Oh well. Soon enough I will have another pretty yarn project to show for it!

8. Realizing my heart physically hurts when one of my children is feeling sad. Life is so dang hard. The lessons she throws our way, even harder. I wish I could soften the blow for my children. I would gladly deflect some of the hurt. I have been there. Love is not easy. It's like riding a bike. It's great fun, and a breeze until, for one second, you take your eyes off the road. I have three grown daughters. Three times I have tried to give the best possible advice I could offer on love. But I can not steer the bike for them. They have to do that. All I can do is help pick them up off the ground, brush them off and hold them tight, all the while my heart hurting deeply. Next time, maybe they will remember to wear a helmet.

9. Loving my newest thrifty find- an old cassette tape holder. It's a great organizational tool for all of the smaller papers, envelopes and ephemera I use on a daily basis when I collage. I haven't decided if I am going to paint it or not. For now I am leaving it natural, like my pine countertops. It's so cool!

10. Working on something new. I am experimenting with some new colors too! More peeks coming soon!


currently: ten things

1. Taking the time to THANK those that matter. It is so easy to overlook the little things. I know I have been talking about this alot lately, but it matters. The little things really matter. I can't think of a single time that a small THANK YOU didn't make someone smile. Making the time to let people know you care is rewarding. They won't forget it and neither will you.

2. Spending alot of time in the studio. I am enjoying all the time creating and am trying to balance time with a paintbrush and time on the computer. Can I just say yuk! I don't love the computer. It is a time sucker. I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to letting it take over. If I allow myself one hour for computer duties then why am I checking Safari on my phone when my hour is up. I am trying to be more aware of what I am doing and how much time it is taking. I want to create. Being on the computer is necessary, and there are things I NEED to do each day- I just have to be careful not to let time get away from me!

3. Loving my new Golden paints. I splurged awhile back and picked up several colors. Wow! They are my favorite paint EVER. I was afraid that would happen. Now I need, okay WANT, every other color known to man. I am pretty sure I don't have $200 in my budget for paint when my paint cart is filled to overflowing. I made a vow to use what I have, BUT I am going to save my coupons and treat myself to ONE new golden every few weeks. All that time on the computer- I think I have earned it!

4. Stitching on my zipper pouch. I came across a few spools of thread the other day that did not have labels. They were those beautiful multi colored strand spools. Yummy! I wanted to test the colors, so I decided to add some colorful circles to my pouch in the name of research. I love the bright pop of color now! It goes perfectly with the rest of my bright and beautiful DOCUMENTED LIFE PROJECT planner!

5. Sewing up a few pretty covers for art journals. I love my small art journal. I take it everywhere and so I recently made a pretty stitched cover for it, complete with a pocket for my pens and paintbrush. I have been trying to use up all of my smaller quilt blocks and this is a great way to piece the prettiest scraps together!

6. Believing that Documenting my plain ole' regular life is important. Read more about it here.

7. Packaging up goodies! These days are the best. It makes all the long hours and pizza dinners worth it!

8. Playing around with watercolors. I am NOT good at this yet, but I am hoping to be more vigilant with the practice. I love the way I can manipulate the color. I love how I can mottle it with the dab of a paper towel. I love how I can virtually wet it and start over...yea, a lot of that happened. As with all new things it was hard. I wanted to toss it aside and create something I NEW I was good at, but I didn't. I stuck it out and even taped it in Documented Life Planner. Is it my favorite thing I have ever created? - ummm. NO. But I tried something new. THAT is worth documenting!

9. Looking at my worktable and sighing. I have too much stuff out. I have too many things going on right now. I am feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed, truth be told. I like order. I want my table to look like this all the time. It makes me feel good to tidy things up at the end of the day. It calms me to go to bed knowing things are in order. I feel fresher and less stressed to start a new day with a clean slate. Lately my life is not letting me do that. I can't complain. You have to be very careful what you ask for! I looked around last night and realized the very best I could do was to make some piles. I NEEDED each of these projects OUT and accesible. Realistically I don't need to start from scratch each morning. Realistically I need to make some piles and get to work and widdle them down. This is my plan. This weekend. For sure. After the family movie night Friday, and the Glow in the Dark Golf Event Saturday Night and an Orchestra Ensemble on Saturday and Church on Sunday...yea. After all that.

10. Taking a break to have some fun and remind myself that all work and no play made Jack a very dull and grouchy boy! Business is business- I am learning that, but I am also learning that we have to take time to step away. You have to refresh your heart and mind from time to time. Without the occasional intermission we start to breakdown.  Good things can't happen unless we are in a good place. It isn't good enough to just want it. You have to committ with your whole heart, and for that you need time to breathe and laugh and reflect.


currently: ten things

1. Enjoying the sweet sound of violin. I am so proud of my youngest right now. She recently tried out for the All County Chamber Orchestra and made the cut- first violin section. This is not the first year she has auditioned, but her third. She has made the cut the past two years and so I was not prepared for her reaction on the ride home that day. She cried. Not just a little. She cried hard and long. And then it hit me- she cares. She finally cares enough to be worried about failure. She has always practiced and done well. She has always given her all, but there was someting missing. That little extra edge of determination maybe? When she walked away from that judges table she knew. She knew there was always the chance she was not good enough. And so she cried. She told me later that she was worried that her piece was less than perfect. So for thirty minutes I listened with my ears and my heart to all she had to say about her music and her posture, her scales- her fears. And then I told her- This is great. THIS is what you have been working toward. You finally care enough to not want to fail. You have a whole week to wait for the results of that audition, but a whole lifetime to care. You are there.

2. Packaging up goodies for etsy. I am not going to lie. I get behind the eight ball sometimes when it comes to my tiny piece of the world wide web. I LOVE making hand crafted items and it gives me great joy to share them with all of you- but sometimes I find myself wondering if all the time spent is worth the reward? And then I get an email, a note, a comment from one of you gushing over something you have grabbed from the shop and I sigh. It is worth it. It is worth the effort and the time. The reward is in you. In the people I have that come here to read about my trials and tribulations, my projects, my plans, my art. I am so grateful for each of you and look forward to sharing more pretty things with you in the future!

3. Learning to work with new color. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know I am big fan of WHITE! My entire home is centered around that one non-color. A neutral palette is what soothes me and even my studio is white. I love having such a perfect "life size substrate" if you will, when I go to create. But when I make art I use color. The same colors. Lately, I have been trying something new. I am going bold. I am learning to reach for colors I would normally pass over. I am learning to create outside of the lines and give those brignt and beautiful colors a chance- and I am loving it.

4. Celebrating a birthday- mine! I don't mind sharing with you that I turned 47 this past week. I used to think I would be afraid of getting older, that I would dread all that came with age. Sure, my hair is a lot grayer and I have to walk three times as far to stay fit, but I am not all that bummed out about another year claiming me for it's own. I no longer wish I was that person I was five or ten years ago. I no longer look to future to see who I will be then. I am ok with right here, right now. I am okay with 47. This year I might be another year older, but I know that I am a tiny bit braver, a little wiser and a whole lot happier!

5. Taking a new class. Brene Brown's- The Gifts of Imperfection. I recently claimed this year for my own. I am ready to stop worrying about EVERYTHING and start living with what happens. I wanted to stop wondering when IT would happen and just be okay with what IS. I wanted to be enough. I KNOW I am not perfect. I SHOULD know I am enough. We all should. But we are so very hard on ourselves. It is sad. I am not going to do it anymore. I am ready. This is my year. I might meet my goals, I might not...but I will LIVE this year, and close it as well, knowing- I AM enough.

6. Documenting the little things. My life is full of them. As a matter of fact, I am not sure my life would be much without them. THE DOCUMENTED LIFE PROJECT has given new meaning to those little things. I used to carry around my agenda, nothing more than a calendar to make a note of appointments and meetings. Now my planner is part of me. My life now, is no more outstanding- I don't attend galas or go to celebrity concerts, but I DOCUMENT my life in a whole new way. I like writing the time of my latest appointment in hot pink ink. I enjoy stapling in a photograph to remind that this day was extra special because... I love having a place to doodle, draw or make lists while I wait. The little things that make up my life are who I am. I chose to be a mother and chauffeur to five children. I chose to stand by a good man through thick and thin. I made a life around all that these choices entail and for ONCE I can flaunt how much I love it. The good, the bad, the regular, the boring, and the occasional outstanding days are now a beautiful place for me to color outside of the lines!

7. Realizing I have a style all my own. I used to really worry about this. I mean how in the world could I really be any kind of artist if I didn't have "a style?" A few times over the years I have wanted to give up. I never felt like anything I did really shouted "that is who I am!" And then one day a friend said something to me, something I had heard her say before- "let it find you." Well I heard her- but what the hek did that mean? How was a style going to find me? And so I decided that maybe it wasn't up to me after all, maybe if I was meant to be any kind of artist God would let me know. Someday. And so I quit worrying. I stopped wondering if I was an artist at all and I just made art. And then it happened. I walked into the studio and picked up something I had been working on, and I saw it. This is me. I made this. This is what my art looks like. And I knew. Did realizing I had a style make me a "REAL ARTIST" ? Ummm. No. But it sure felt good knowing I had found it!

8. Organizing in the studio. I received a beautiful new box style tray by Kelly Rae Roberts from a sweet friend on my birthday. It is bright and colorful and is divided into four sections, three long and narrow and one short and wide. It has turned out to be a great container for storing and filing all of my favorite bits and pieces for The Documented Life Project and Project Life. The best part? It had this wonderful message on the bottom. The message was most definitely meant for me this year. I loved that by covering it up it was secret and special to me- something I knew I needed to read, to hear. A hidden reminder when I need it. I love it!

9. Sewing some stuff. I have missed my sewing machine. Except for a few stitched pages we have not made much magic together lately. I am ready for that to change. I have gathered some supplies and have a few things planned! I am looking forward to the feel of fabric again and to making some pretty things.

10. Enjoying the view. I dreaded my move. You know I did, but I have to say, I am enjoying where I sit. ALOT. I love the windows and the lovely light that shines in them. I love the openness of the room and the feeling of being a part of what is going on the rooms around me. I am grateful for the surprise of natural overhead lighting for those late nights working- thank you to my better half for that. I couldn't believe it when I flipped the switch that first night. I am very thankful for such a beautiful creative space!


currently: ten things

1. Making mail art. I have been using some prints of my favorite canvas BE BOLD.  "Be Bold. Take a chance. Live life right!" It reminds me to hold my head up and take a chance on life. I like spreading that message and what better way than through pretty mail art. I have also been adding in some yummy vintage grocery stamps from the sweet and talented Michelle and some cool retro postage stamps from my fellow Art to the 5th pal, Barbara.

2. Trying to make a new house our home. I am trying to make a list as I go. For every negative I try to list a positive. NEGATIVE: My laundry room went from the size of a small bedroom to the size of a small closet. I lost five cupboards, two countertops and room for three drying racks and an ironing board. POSITIVE: My new laudry room has a window. A beautiful, bright, sunny window. I can see the tree line of the lake from that window. I can see the sky and thank God for all His blessings from that window. I am making progress.

3. Carving some stamps. I love feathers and wanted a feather stamp. I had some erasers and the tool. What I ended up with is something more akin to a leaf or branch, but I like it. I haven't had much time in the studio, so ten minutes of carving filled a void. I can't wait to carve some more. I need the practice.

4. Packing up the last few loads.  A person really never knows just how much they have accumulated over the years until they go to pack it all up. I did a more than thorough job of purging and still had more than I could imagine. I gave it all a second look with this thought in mind. "Is this just a THING I have collected or is it something that has meaning in my life. Does this object have a purpose or does it add value to who I am as a person?" I was able to donate several more boxes of perfectly good "stuff" to the church this way. And then I had a thought. If I could get rid of so much excess physical baggage in my life, then I could do the same for mental luggage I have been carrying around as well. I choose to leave those thoughts and feelings that weigh heavy on my heart behind this year, hopefully lightening the load on my mind as well.

5. Creating challenges for The Documented Life Project. I have found this to be a fantastic way to keep track of all the little things in my life, as well as for making time to add a little art to the daily grind. You can read more about the project here. This months' challenges introduced us to the New Year as well as to each other. February is fast approaching, and with it, a whole new set of fun challenges! I hope that you will take the time to check it out and document alongside of me and the rest of the Art to the 5th.

6. Playing with light. I have been taking a few moments lately to play with natural light in photography. I love the way it can tell the story of a photograph. This new home of ours is filled with windows. The selling point for me. Windows galore. No longer will an indoor photo be off the table.

7. Appreciating family. For every single thing that you think is going wrong, something good comes out of it in the end. I lost sight of what real family was for awhile. I was so caught up in worrying about what everyone else would think about me, us, that I forgot that I was not in control of the big picture. God was. He leads my family. And while I may not always have the tightest grip on what that plan is I know that I trust Him. My family might not be picture perfect in alot of peoples eyes, but it is the most beautiful thing in my possession and I will not lose sight of that again.

8. Putting my studio back together again. Like most of the other rooms in this house I lost a lot of space in the studio. In addition I lost a walk in closet and two full walls of space. I did gain two more beautiful windows and a view of the front porch. The lighting is beautiful and the layout works. I am learning that by trying to follow the layout of the old studio I make the most progress. With a few small revisions and a truckload more of purging I think it will work.

9. Amazed at how God continues to speak to me. I have had so many prayers answered lately that I can not find the words to describe my thankfulness. Loud and clear His answers come. Most recently He gave me two tangible reminders in addition to my anwered prayers- a beautiful heart rock to add to my collection and this lovely coral cross. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to look up. For me, all it took was a quick look down.

10. Wishing I could have a real live peony bush. I love these flowers. To me they are just so lovely. I have this pretty "silk" version, and they make me happy just to look at them- but I long for the real thing. I wonder if they would even survive the brutal temperatures of the Florida sun? Is there an indoor version? Do they like the shade? I guess I have some research to do.