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Giveaway Winner

Good morning, everyone! Thank yo SO MUCH to all who commented and shared about my giveaway of my June Madonna print!

The winner has been selected and it is LYNN! Lynn, please send me your mailing address and I'll send you your print! :D

If you didnt win this time--- dont worry! I have copies available to purchase now in my etsy shop! 
Thanks everyone!~ h

June Madonna-- Prints & Giveaway

  As part of a monthly series, I've challenged myself to paint a Madonna for each month. This little painting is my "June Madonna" and I was very pleased with how she came out--- standing in a field of lupine with a bright, brilliant summer sky behind her. I chose to make this Madonna fair with freckles and red hair--- I like to create my Marys in a variety of looks.

  The original of this painting has been sold, but I DO have prints in my etsy shop! It is available as an 8x10" print.

   I've also decided its high time for a giveaway, and I am offering a FREE print to anyone who comments on this post. The  giveaway will be open through Tuesday, JULY 18. All you have to do is leave a comment! And if you share this post on social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc) come back and let me know in a separate comment and increase your chances to win!

Also--- please note--- I'm going to close my shop for a bit beginning THURSDAY July 20 for summer vacation. I will reopen it in early August! So if you've had your eye on a particular piece in the shop--- it might be the time to snatch it up! :D

  Thanks so much and I hope you're having a wonderful summer!!

NEW Greeting Card Sets!

   Hello there, and thanks for stopping in! I appreciate you coming by, especially since summer can get so busy and hectic.
   I've been busy too, painting, tentatively starting to plan our school agenda for next fall, anticipating our coming travels and also--- fluffing up my etsy shop a bit with new items!

   Aside from original saint mini-paintings that I added a few days ago, I've got new notecard sets! These are all sets that you can use throughout the year for any occasion--- including my pieces "Eliza's Knitting", "Anne and Diana", Stella Maris" and "Summer Cottage Garden.
   The sets are all listed now in my etsy shop! There are 4 cards in each set with matching envelopes. They each measure 4x6"--- so are also great for framing! And they are also printed right here in town so 100% made in the USA! Each set is $12.

  Here they are:

Summer Has Come

 Beautiful garden and house at Old Sturbrdige Village in Mass.

    Well, summer is most definitely here! It has me dreaming of New England and salt box houses, airy light rooms, and beautiful bunting. Out here on the prairie it is hot, but there are adventures back east to look forward to.
   I am finishing up the last painting for my colonial crafters series, and then--- believe it or not--- I'll start autumn and halloween work! Working on autumn and Christmas work help me beat the heat though, and I'll be listening to Christmas music in no time! Gotta stay ahead of the seasons...
 A light and airy interior at Old Sturbridge Village

Patriotic scene just outside Old Sturbridge Village

     Aside from painting autumn and Christmas, I'm making plans to teach a few classes out in the studio for autumn and Christmas art. It gets so hot here in the summer and the studio doesnt have central air, so I think it will take the summer off.
   But I want to do some really fun things out there starting this fall-- especially because this coming October will mark 10 years that I've been making and selling folk art! I was surprised to realize it--- a whole decade of folk art!
   There's been lots of changes and many adventures in those ten years. So there will be some celebrating in order come October!

   I've also added a link for information about wholesale purchasing of my art. If you own a shop and have a sales tax ID, you can order art wholesale from me (prints and cards!) Please email me if you're interested in selling Sleightholm Folk Art in your shop!
  Right now I am selling in shops in Oklahoma and Arkansas. I'd love to branch out!

   Well, signing off for now--- thanks so much for stopping by!
Stay cool and inspired!~

***** Photos taken by me, 4th of July Weekend 2015 at Old Sturbridge Village***

Stella Maris, Star of the Sea

   Stella Maris, Star of the Sea is one of my favorite names for the Virgin Mary. It is so evocative, with so much meaning. "Stella Maris" is Latin, meaning "star of the sea" and this moniker has been applied to Mary since medieval times, referencing Mary as the guiding force to Christ.
   Because of its allusion to the sea, however, it has become a favorite name for Mary for seafarers, and the name of many coastal churches, schools and sanctuaries.  Over the centuries now, Stella Maris has become known as the guardian and protector of the oceans and seafarers, prayed to for intercession for safe passage and success in nautical endeavors.

   I decided recently that I'd like to create my own rendition of Stella Maris, and of course you know mine would have a folk art twist. Living in Oklahoma, I am overwhelmingly landlocked. My experience with the sea is extremely limited, but its always held romance and mystery to me. Especially when I learned a while back that my ancestors were the founders of Nantucket--- and I am a direct descendant of Peter Folger (who also happened to be Benjamin Franklin's grandfather!). These settlers of Nantucket were hearty Quakers, pacifists on land but masters of the sea and fierce whale hunters.
   With this New England vision of the sea in my mind, I created my Stella Maris, guiding a ship into port in a storm, and also letting a whale swim to safety from the viciousness of men.

    I am happy to share with you now this piece as a print (the original has been sold) I currently have Stella Maris, Star of the Sea as an 8x10" print and also 11x14" (the 11x14" print is shown below with the title on the print. The 8x10" is just the print with no text)
   This piece as an absolute joy to paint and went fast--- a big blessing when you're a painting mama who is usually creating in snatched fragments of time. I hope you like her, and if you're interested in a print, you can find it now in my etsy shop!
Thanks for your visit today, and hope you have a wonderful week!
Stella Maris, Star of the Sea--- Pray for Us!

New Art:: Colonial Crafters-- Sewing in the Garden

 Here is my latest painting in my Colonial Crafters series! This piece depicts a mother and daughter sewing in a Williamsburg inspired garden area. I love the rusty brick and white houses of Williamsburg, and it reminds me a bit of my carriage house studio, which has a bit of Georgian style on its own!

I currently have the original of this painting listed in my etsy shop. Perhaps it needs to come live with you? :D I'm working on another Colonial Crafters piece, this time to do with yarn....there's probably gonna be a spinning wheel too!

  I dont often work with these more pastel colors, but I like how this piece turned out! Very fresh and springy!
Hope you like it too!~

Living History: The Murrell Home in Oklahoma

    This past weekend, my daughter and I set off on a gorgeous late spring morning, just after torrential rains and window-shaking thunderstorms the night before. The storms had brought in cooler temperatures, which get fewer and farther between as we head toward summer out here in Oklahoma.
   We were headed toward The Murrell Home in Park Hill, OK, just outside of Tahlequah. It was a place I'd read about that sounded very intriguing, but I wasnt prepared for such a gorgeous house in breath-taking grounds. Here, in the woodlands of Oklahoma of all places, was a wonderfully restored antebellum home, built just after the Trail of Tears in the 1840s. It is the only remaining home from this time period in Oklahoma. And I was in love with it from the get-go.

    The story of this house is so intriguing, and it no small feat that it still stands today. It was built by merchant George M. Murrell, who had married Minerva, the niece of Principal Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation. The ancestral lands of the Cherokee were in the southern states, and George, a native Virginian, met the Ross family in Tennessee when he started working for Lewis Ross.
   In quite the shocking turn of events, George ran off with Lewis Ross's 15 year old daughter Minerva and got married. It seemed to have worked out alright though, because Murrell was welcomed into the prestigious Ross clan as a son. And when government pressures led to the forced removal of the Cherokees from their ancestral land, the Murrells joined their Ross family members and made the arduous and often deadly trip to Indian Territory to start a new life. This trek has now become known as The Trail of Tears.

     The Murrell and Ross families settled in the small community of Park Hill, near modern day Tahlequah, living first in a log cabin by the creek, and then building their gorgeous Greek Revival Plantation home. The Murrells, having originated in Virginia, were slave owners, and some Cherokee families also owned slaves. Slave labor was used to create the home and outbuildings and running of the household. It's hard to imagine how a marginalized people could marginalize others, but that is an uncomfortable part of history that cannot be ignored. We must learn from it.
   And while the Murrells, with their general store business and connection to the Ross family were affluent in their time in place, their high rank in society couldnt prevent Minerva from contracting Malaria, which she battled for several years until succumbing to fever. A couple of years later, George Murrell married Minerva's younger sister, Amanda, and together they had 6 children.

   The plantation thrived through the next two decades, but then the entire area of northeastern Indian Territory was ravaged by the Civil War. Union and Confederate soldiers both rampaged and looted the area, burning or destroying many of the homes and buildings of the settlers, including the home of Chief John Ross. Somehow the Murrell's Home, called Hunter's Home because George liked to indulge in English style fox hunts on the grounds, survived.
   The Murrells left the territory for the duration of the war, leaving it in the care of Ross family members. After the war they did not return to live there full time, preferring to stay in other family homes in Virginia and Louisiana. However, the Indian Territory house remained in Ross family hands into statehood. The home passed through a series of owners from 1912 to 1948, when it was bought by the state of Oklahoma and opened as a museum in the 1950s. The first curator of the museum was Jennie Ross Cobb, who had lived in the house as a child, and remembered the decor and furniture of the home from childhood. Because of her efforts and expertise, about 80% of the furnishings in the home are original to the home, having been gathered back from Ross family members to return to the house.

   There is a gorgeous working garden in the back yard, and you can buy the produce freshly picked from it. There is a smokehouse on the property build in the 1890s, a spring house right on the bank of the creek, and smaller log outbuilding on the grounds.
  It is a beautiful living history museum, and I was excited to hear that they have living history events every third saturday. This saturday they were making corn husk dolls, and Audrey was able to make one of her own. There were also chickens, baby turkeys and an accommodating cat on the grounds, all of which Audrey had to fawn and fuss over. I think she loved it just as much as I did! I cant wait to go back to visit. You can check their website for more coming events. I am anxious for the fall when they'll have an antique farming event and also ghost story tours near halloween.

   After our self guided tour of the house (no pics inside, sorry to say!) and petting all the animals and exploring the grounds, we headed back towards home. If you're a lover of history, classic architecture, heirloom gardening, or just gorgeous places in general, The Murrell Home is a wonderful place to visit!
   Perhaps I'll see you there?

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