Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge

Have you ever seen the Sketchbook Challenge website? Check it out - they do different themes each month to inspire people to work in their sketchbooks. You can upload photos of your theme-related sketches directly to the blog, or upload the photos to your own blog and then post links to them on the Sketchbook website. They select a winner each month, and the prizes are usually great art supplies. Check out the FAQ for more info.

The website inspired me to start my own sketchbook challenge. It's sort of an early New Year's resolution, but the challenge is to try to draw in my sketchbook at least once a day. It's been a really long time since I've done artwork on a regular basis. It's hard to do - with so much time and energy required to chase a toddler and work, I never have the time or energy after she goes to bed to get out all the supplies needed for painting or collaging, or anything that requires much setup or cleanup. I get overwhelmed by the thought of all I have to do and then I end up just doing nothing. 

The sketchbook challenge reminded me that I don't really need a lot of stuff to continue to do art on a regular basis. Maybe I can't do big paintings or collages like I used to do and I probably won't be able to until my kids are a little older, but I can still draw. That doesn't take any setup or cleanup, just a sketchbook and a pen, and maybe some markers or oil crayons. It's easy, which is good for my chaotic life. I started my challenge last week and so far I've sketched every night. They're not good art by any means. But I don't care, if feels good to finally be doing some artwork again on a regular basis, albeit small. So try it - get a sketchbook and a pen, that's all you need. 

My new multi-media sketchbook - thanks Mom! These are relatively new, 
and good for all different types of media - pens, paints, and pencils.
 The blank sketchbook page, with endless possibilities, saying 
"Hey, draw on me!! No setup required!!"
 Some of my latest sketchbook pages, from my older sketchbook.

 As much as I can I'll try to get Bean involved. 
This was her last sketchbook page, she called it "Faces."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Ideas Tuesday

Love this DIY clothesline for a kid's bedroom. It's so easy, even a non-sewer like me could probably do it!! From Rowantree Design
 Funky 3D letter font, from How About Orange
 I love this project idea using an old thrift store painting, some tape or sticky letters, and paint. From Craftzine. I may even have to borrow the quote, since my daughter was born on St.Patrick's Day. This would be PERFECT for her bedroom.
This is totally funky but it's a creative use of all those old VHS tape holders we all still have laying around. A picture frame with a hidden message in it. From Divaani
 This is such a sweet idea, photographing your little girl in your wedding dress for display at her wedding. I think I may try that soon. From Pinfluence

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo of the Day: Frog Pond Skating

I took a walk at lunch today through Boston Commons, with no coat, and I walked by the Frog Pond Ice Skating Rink. Today they skaters were half skating, half swimming, with huge puddles of water in the middle of the rink from this unseasonably warm weather. Oh well, the rink is still beautiful to see, and I'll take the warmer weather! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inspired By: Kiki and Polly

This week I'm inspired by Kiki and Polly, the artwork of Lisa Golightly. Check out her website and her very inspiring blog, and her Etsy store for what she has for sale. Here are some of my favorites, but there are many more that I love. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


With this holiday weekend we've been able to relax a little, finally. Here's a couple websites I've found for if you're having a hard time finding the time to relax: The Quiet Place, and Do Nothing for Two Minutes.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Earlier in the week I posted about vintage children's books. Since it is Thanksgiving week, Bean and I have been reading one of my very favorite vintage children's books every night, one that my parents read to me when I was little, called A Child's Grace, by Ernest Claxton. Such a simple, sweet book about being thankful for love and the little things in life. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Easy Alphabet

Love this easy pipe cleaner alphabet idea from Aesthetic Outburst. Now that's a great, easy, no-mess winter project for ya!!

New Ideas Tuesday

Project inspiration via Pinterest
Easy Very Hungry Caterpillar snack idea via Cute Food For Kids
 Paper Doll magnets DIY idea via One Pearl Button
 Fun art supply storage DIY via House to Home

Monday, November 21, 2011

Inspiration - Vintage Children's Books

I've always been a big fan of children's book illustrations, I've always found them inspiring. I found this great blog Stopping Off Place via another one of my favorite sites Vintage for Kids. Stopping Off has scanned and shared images from hundreds of vintage children's books, including this one, Round and Round and Square, by Fredun Shapur. I love the simple use of shapes, and the simple story. What a great way for kids to learn that so many things are made up essentially of different circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. I tried to find this book online but evidently other people like it too because it's nowhere to be found! Check out the blog for other great vintage books and their inspiring illustrations.

Photo of the Day - Bubble Wrap

Forget all the expensive toys there are out there today, my kid played with bubble wrap for about 45 minutes and loved it!! Seriously, she was all over it and was really happy to sit there and pop the bubbles one at a time with her hands, or jump up and down to pop them all at once. It was great, I think I'll be stocking up on this for winter. Toddlers can be so tough sometimes, but when it comes down to it, they're really easy to entertain. As a disclaimer, I was there with her, no need to worry that I was leaving her alone with plastic wrap!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


A blog I follow, Portrait of an Adoption, is doing a 30 day series of guest posts in honor of national adoption month. It's a great series and I recommend checking it out. Yesterday's post, Real Life, Not the TV Version, was especially meaningful to me. It was written by an adult adoptee who connected with her birth mother several years ago and has had a relationship with her since then that has helped her to fully understand who she is.

The reason it is meaningful to me is because it verifies our decision to go with a semi-open adoption, so that our daughter can have contact with her birth family if she chooses to do so in her own time. Before we entered the world of adoption I had several of the same questions that strangers and even close family and friends continue to ask me now. I often get asked if I feel threatened by the potential for Bean's family to be involved in our lives some day. Do they have any rights? Won't it be confusing for Bean to have two mothers? Am I scared that her birth mother will try to be too involved?

I can't deny asking these same questions and thinking about them often, especially before we learned about the realities of adoption.

Even now, even with knowing way more about adoption, the thought of Bean calling anyone other than me mommy brings tears to my eyes immediately. Maybe I'm not strong enough, but no matter what I learn about reality versus fiction in adoption, this thought will always make me teary-eyed.  That's why the latest post is so meaningful for me. It reminds me that this is an irrational fear. It's not based on reality and I need to let it go. I am her mommy, I always will be.

Mommy is the one who wakes up with you at night, eases your fears about monsters, rocks with you for hours when you have a bad day, makes sure you have a balanced meal every single meal of every single day, and frets over the details of how to transition from the crib to the bed. As Bean grows up with us, I continue to grow and learn what being a mommy is all about. Her birth mother gave me the gift of being a mommy. She will be Bean's birth mother forever, I will be her mommy. I have to have faith that my daughter will know that. Hearing this from an adoptee is incredibly reassuring.

Do I worry about it being confusing for Bean? Yes. Even though she knows she is adopted and knows her birth parent's names and has a picture of them on her wall, I know that some day it will confuse her in so many ways regardless of what we do. She'll probably go through a period where she questions her existence, questions why she was adopted and not kept by her biological parents. We'll do our best to help her understand and come to terms with her story - she'll question it and it will confuse her.

But as this guest post says, and confirms for me again, people need to know where they come from and it doesn't mean they question who their mommy is. There's a strong biological pull that can't be denied. As she says, there are people connected to adopted children other than their adoptive families. The need to find the truth in one's self is critical for most people. Not all people - I know some adult adoptees who don't feel the need to know. But most do, and once they do they feel whole and right, and often develop healthy relationships with their birth families. I am happy that we have a semi-open adoption with Bean's birth family. For as confusing as it may be for her some day, she'll have answers to her past. She'll be able to more easily find out her truths, to know where her personality comes from. As the author says, to understand fully who she is.

Am I scared her birth mother will try to be too involved? No, not at all. She's shown incredible grace in leaving us to be a family. I am not worried about that. In countless adoption stories I hear that birth mothers only want the best for their children. They don't want to intrude, it's usually the other way around where the adopted child or adoptive parents ask for more involvement. And it is often too difficult and emotionally painful for birth mothers to be overly involved. I'm not worried about that at all. In my mind, Bean's birth family is part of our extended family now and forever.

Do they have any rights? Legally, no. But emotionally and physically, yes they do in my mind. I may be Bean's mommy and fret over every single little detail of her life. But her birth mother and father worry about her every day too, probably more than I will ever know. They are the people who my daughter is biologically connected to. They may not have legal rights to her, but they have a connection to her and that's stronger than legal ties.

Just writing this is emotional for me, as I'm sure it was and is for the authors of all the guest posts on the Portrait of an Adoption series. My daughter is a strong person. She'll want to know everything. I'm pretty sure that in 30 years from now she'll be writing one of these blog posts. The thought of it all still makes my stomach hurt a little, but the more I talk about it and read about it, the more I have faith that it's all in her best interest. Being educated on reality versus fiction in adoption is really important for everyone involved in it. Check out the Portraits series and follow them on FB if you can. For my daughter's sake.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Happy 40th Anniversary to my Mom and Dad, married November 13th, 1971

Friday, November 11, 2011

Featured Etsy Artist Friday - Wallfry Prints

I love love love these prints from Etsy artist Wallfry. Very cute, and very reasonable. Here are a few of my favorites. 

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