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New Large Sized Prints!

    Good morning! I have some great news from the shop--- I have a few larger sized prints in these four designs that are now ready to sell! They measure 11x14" and the colors came out brilliantly. I'm so pleased with them! And I dont know if you can really see how large they are in this photo-- but they are a really great size. They are now listed in my etsy shop, so if you've wanted a larger sized Anne and Diana, Madonna and Child in Blue, Maple and Bittersweet or St. Lucia--- now is your chance!

  In other news, Bonnie over at A Knotted Life was so sweet to choose me as one of her favorite instagrammers to follow and I did a little interview with her HERE on her blog. She's got some other wonderful instagrams highlighted, Im flattered to be a part of the group!

   Ohhh, and also--- Just this morning I noticed that I had several "new blog comments" that needed approving. I'm not sure why, since I dont have my settings set up to approve comments--- but there were some of your comments, some from as far back as June! I'm not sure what happened there. But I did approve the comments now, and sorry about that weird delay! Not sure why it did that.

  Anyhow....today we went on a little walk and I tried to weed out my garden a bit and take out those poor plant souls that didn't survive July and August. Late summer gardens are rather depressing out here. I see lush gardens on other blogs, and people up northeast in their woolies and sweaters already and just sigh. Oh September, hurry please!

   Have a wonderful weekend, friends! Talk later--

Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor!

         If you're a Tasha Tudor lover like me, today is a day to celebrate! This would have been Tasha's 99th birthday. The perfect occasion to have a little tea time celebration, enjoy the flowers, and find some time to "take peace" or "take joy", or whatever Tasha notion captures your fancy!

     Today when I opened up my copy of Tasha Tudor's Garden, I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful pressed autumn maple leaf, which I had picked up in the yard of the Tasha Tudor Museum in Brattleboro, VT. last autumn.
    What a fabulous day we had that day! Started the morning off at the museum with Emily and Alyson and met up with Patricia there. Thankfully, Emily and Alyson humored Patricia and I as we walked around squeaking and grinning and overall acting like a couple of fan girls. I wanted to buy all the Tasha things!!! Really, its probably best you didnt see me that day, grinning like a fool with eyes big as saucers. I was in "The Land of Tasha". And I was with great friends. It was, shall we say, marvelous! 

    Not many people out here on the prairie know about Tasha. But when I do find someone who does, its like finding an immediate kindred spirit. And my kids, of course, know all about Tasha. From taking naps to the soothing sounds of "Take Joy" or "Take Peace" playing on the tv to opening up the season's Advent calendar, Tasha is alive and well at our house!

   And as we celebrate "99", I can't help but eagerly anticipate "100"! I'll tell you a secret--- I'm longing for New England again. Especially now that Autumn is coming back around. I want to go back, and I want my family to come with me. We are dreaming of an epic family road trip....all the way up to New York to where my friend Patricia is, in Albany. I'd love to show Audrey the Tasha Museum--- and Robbie too, because he'll be a little bigger by then--- and share the beauty of that part of the country with Will. 
   So fingers crossed, stars aligned, and a prayer said that next year....we might find ourselves on another Tasha Adventure. We shall see!!!

  Til then, I'm thinking I'll make Tasha's meatloaf (Will's favorite!) for dinner tonight, and maybe snuggle up with Take Peace and knit. Yes....a total Granny dream day ;) I think Tasha would approve though!

  Of course on this special day, I'm not the only one celebrating! Be sure to visit the Tudor Family's blog "Rookery Ramblings" to see a collection of Tasha birthday posts from around the country and the globe! I can't wait to see all the other celebrations going on.

   Til next time, Take Joy!~

Delicious Autumn!

      Like a child counting down to Christmas, I am counting down to September. No matter that autumn officially starts at the end of the month, once the calendar turns over to September, all bets are off in my mind-- it's autumn!
   Going through my photos of last year's New England trip, I found this photo of a little clapboard salt box in Deerfield, Mass. To me, it just screams "perfect autumn dwelling!" and I love to imaging walking through that old gate and going in that pretty door--- pumpkin pie in hand, ready for an autumn party.
   So, I think that's what we should do! (well, figuratively, don't think we can show up at these people's house and tell them we're there to party, haha!) 
   Starting September 1, we will have oh so much fun and revelry here! Sweet treats and giveaways, new art and the Autumn Gathering, all to usher in this beautiful season! I'm getting back into a groove where I can paint more and visit with you more, and I can't wait to see what you're all up to as autumn comes with all its festivities, beautiful colors, and spooky tales. 
   So be sure to come visit often this autumn, to see what's going on! Cut yourself a piece of pumpkin pie, get a pretty mug of coffee or cider and come on over.....it's nearly time for delicious autumn!

   We have one more thing to celebrate as summer comes to a close! Be sure to come back on Thursday as we celebrate Tasha Tudor's 99th Birthday!

An Autumn Gathering for 2014!

      You'll have to indulge me, I just couldn't wait any longer!!! Its the first day of school, and my first full day to scheme about the upcoming autumn season. of course this meant new banners and blog make-over! It also means setting a date for this year's "Autumn Gathering" and I'm so excited to start thinking about my favorite season!
     So stay tuned for Saturday, September 13-- That's when I will list the new autumn items for sale in my etsy shop. We will make pumpkin coffee and put on our snuggliest sweaters and share some folk art goodies!
   I hope you like the new banner and blog look--- after I loaded it up I thought "gee, I hope people don't think I'm insinuating that big ol' salt box is MY home!" ha! I wish! It's one of the beautiful antique homes in the village of Deerfield, Mass. I visited there with my friends Emily, Alyson and Patricia and what a beautiful perfect autumn day! The house in the banner was my favorite. I just love all the rambling extras and the beautiful paint colors.
   The house in the Autumn Gathering banner is from Concord, Mass. It was one of the antique homes situated along the trail from The Minute Man museum. It was set back in a beautiful autumn field, just lovely. We took photos than rambled around the house (it wasn't a private home, of course) and sat on the back stone stoop and rested. I can still picture us sitting there, enjoying the day. We'd just gone by the Louisa May Alcott house down the road that morning, and it was closed til later in the day. So we took photos outside while we were the only ones there--- which turned out to be smart! Then we went to the Minute Man Museum and then walked down the trail and saw some beautiful old homes that are part of the tours and reenactments there. This house was one of those homes.

   As for me--- well, it's going to be around 100 degrees outside all week. I am not too thrilled about this ;) perhaps that is my I am burying myself head first into autumn! I've already seen a few odd leaves changing. I cant wait to walk outside one morning and feel that amazing autumn chill. Where you want just a cup of coffee to warm your hands. And the sky holds just a hint of coming rain. Yes, that would be PERFECT! I am holding out for that day :)

   Til next time, then. Mark your calendar for September 13! And I'll get to painting!

Hello there

     Summer is winding down. And you know me, I'm glad about it. Summer is not my season.

   School starts on Thursday. I'm glad about that too. The end of summer seems to get a little too hot, a little too lethargic. It feels like a rut. The start of the school season is like the start of a new year-- new possibilities! New teachers, new things to learn. And all the kids get back into a routine, I love it. I also love that the start of school means autumn is coming-- my favorite season!

   We've been busy moving things around the house. Moved all my art supplies and books out to the new studio space-- which is lovely, overlooking the garden...except the garden in a frightening mess since we've had no time to tame it this summer.

  We took the tv out of the living room and made a little den out of my old art space, and it feels much calmer in there now. Very much like how it was originally! Just a space for sitting and reading and talking. And bouncing madly, if you happen to be 7 months old and love to bounce ;)

   The auction for my charity painting ended last night, and I'm so pleased to say that we raised $94 to donate to International Orthodox Christian Charities! Am getting it ready to send off to its new home. A big thank you for everyone who bid on it--- and I'm glad it got such a solid price! It will be so satisfying to send them that money-- and I will post the receipt here to share.

   Other than getting poised for fall....not a lot going on around here. Hope to get to the studio this afternoon and do some more work. Autumn on my mind! :D

Art for Charity: "A Child's Prayer"

         In an occasion that hasn't happened in, well, at least seven months if not more, I was able finish a painting in about a day! And I'm so glad it was this one, because it's very special!     This is the painting I wanted to create to raise money to donate to relief in the Middle East. I feel like its so important to help in some way-- even if it is very, very small. I've listed this piece on eBay and the auction goes through Sunday evening. After which, I will donate 100% of the profit of the painting to International Orthodox Christian Charities, which provides aid to refuges and those suffering in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and all over the world.
    You can find the link to the auction HERE.

   The painting is called "A Child's Prayer." The idea was a simple one--- an Iraqi girl lighting a candle and praying for peace as an icon of the Theotokos and Christ look on, as if praying as well. Subtly in the background is the symbol "N" for "Nazarene", which has been used by the terror group to mark Christians as targets for violence and death. It has also become a symbol of solidarity for those who stand with the middle eastern Christians.

   I'd like to add, too, that my feelings about what is happening to these people aren't just because they're Christian. They are human beings, and there are minority groups in this area being persecuted who are just as worthy of our help and protection. My strong feelings come from the fact that these people are being so ruthlessly treated in an effort to erase them from their homeland in ways that makes my blood run cold. I can hardly stand to see the photos of the children and mothers crying, let alone see the photos of the much more terrible things going on.

   If history teaches us anything, it is our duty to stand up for those being mistreated and brutalized because they are fellow human beings. There need not be any other reason. The idea that "its far away and not my problem" never leads to peace. 

   And so, whatever bit of funds this painting raises, my hope is that it helps lead to the building of peace and bring aid to those who are suffering. Please take a moment to take a look at the auction and feel free to share it! I appreciate your visit so much!~


Original Painting: Stille Nacht

      The idea of this painting has been floating around in my mind for a long time. I love the Christmas carol "Silent Night", and all the quiet comforts that it celebrates on a Christmas Eve. I can remember as a child learning the song in German, it's original language, and bits and pieces of the words still catch in my mind when I hear the tune.
   In recent years, I learned more of the back story of the song--- written as a poem by Joseph Mohr in 1816 and a few years later set to music by the church organist, Franz Gruber.
    Supposedly the priest was called out on a particularly beautiful Christmas Eve night to bless a newborn baby at a home high in the snowy mountains in the Lungau region near Saltzburg, Austria and the poem was his trek up the mountain and thoughts on the nativity.
   Of course most of this story revolves around the priest and his impression of that quiet night walk in the snowy beauty of the mountains by torch light. But I can't help but think what a special night it must have been for those long-ago parents, gazing at their new born child, nestled in their little house while the snow and stars shined outside.

   And so my painting, "Stille Nact" (Silent Nigh in German) was created! I had seen a beautiful quilt online and when I saw its beautiful pattern and colors I thought "That's it. That's the quilt for Stille Nacht." And set to work.
   Research for this included: watching "Rick Steve's Europe Christmas Special" and "The Sound of Music." Which, I am disappointed to realize, shows NO winter in Saltzburg at all! How can that be!?! Its such a beautiful place all covered in snow! However, it did inspire me to tuck some Edelweiss into the scene (can you spot it?) and I painted a portrait of Saltzburg the town in the painting hanging above the bed. So there's a little city and a little country all in the painting.
  And although this painting certainly does have in inspiration of a 'time and place' I hope that it also speaks to people personally, of those very special and quiet moments so full of joy and peace. Perhaps it will speak to you about a wonderful time like this in your life? I hope so. 

   Well, as for me-- today I hope to get some painting time in the studio! If all goes well (fingers crossed, knock on wood, what-have-you) and children cooperate! 
   Have a great week, and I'll be back to chat with you soon!~

Something Small

      On Friday, I was holding my baby and lighting a candle in solidarity for a friend about to deliver her baby. My heart was heavy and joyous all at once. I was so happy for this long awaited moment to finally be arriving, but I had also been reading about the terrible things going on in the middle east-- especially to women and children there--- all in the name of religion. 
    Earlier I had been worrying about things---- How I'm never able to get my house clean all at once; how making the transition from working in the house to a new studio space that will add extra costs of heat, air, and power while we also loose the rent in having my brother living there; why everyone says that nursing is a 'great way to lose weight' and I still look like a large Bavarian milk maid seven months in. 
   But learning about the horrific things going on in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq stopped me in my tracks about this. How foolish I was to be worrying about these relatively petty things when people were losing their lives, their families, their homes for more than a millenia. 
   Trying to walk that fine line in not wanting to know so much that it made me despondent, yet wanting to know what was going on so that I could find out about organizations offering aid to these areas, I read articles and talked to friends about it. As always in these situations, I feel the overwhelming urge to do something, even though I know what I am capable of is very small.
   But don't you remember being little and reading about Anne Frank or stories from the Holocaust and thinking "If I was there, I would help those people!" I do. And I think we all feel like if we see terrible things going on, we would try to be brave and make a difference and do the right thing. Even if its so, so small. Small is better than nothing! Sometimes something small makes all the difference.
   I've decided that I want to make a painting and donate the proceeds somewhere they may be of help. A friend pointed me in the direction of International Orthodox Christian Charities as a good place to send aid, so I think that is where I will donate the proceeds to. So....that is what is on my agenda at the moment.

   Sitting here this morning writing this, I've got a little one jumping in his bouncer, and a big one just woken up and watching cartoons on the couch. Dogs are snoring, and birds are twittering outside. It is sunny, a perfect Sunday morning. I am so lucky to be here, in this place, in this situation. All those little worries of mine seem petty now.
   I hope that where ever you are reading this from, you are feeling lucky too. We all have our problems and worries and things to deal with or overcome. But I trust that if you are reading this blog, you are relatively safe and warm and fed. We are the lucky ones--- and we do have so much. And to whom much is given, much is expected. Let's go out into our communities and reach out into the world and help! 

   I've decided that I'd like to make a habit of charitable giving through my art in different ways. Most particularly I'd like to focus on giving to organizations that help women and children. So often they are not able to control the decisions made around them, yet are often the first to be harmed by those decisions. As a woman and mother, I feel like that is where my heart lies. 
    As always--- thank you for coming here today and for reading. I appreciate you so much! Have a wonderful Sunday!~

   Hello there, my friends! It's been a bit since I've posted here, hasn't it? Sorry about that! We just finished up a week of VBS and I'm also moving all my art supplies (and seemingly everything else I own, including roughly 5 million books) into my new studio space!

  I do have a new piece to show you though, that I finished last month! This was my first commission to take on since going on 'maternity leave' and it was a large (24x24") canvas square family portrait of a very sweet family in the setting of the parent's alma mater. 

   The inspiration for this piece was a simple springtime scene (May Day figured into the setting, thus the wreaths and flower crowns) but also a simple and soothing color palette. The buildings of the campus were also prominent figures in the painting, and while not as central as the family, they were still important and so they take up a good bit of the canvas space as well, since they are so special to the family.

   I love to put in small details for people, although sometimes--- especially in a large piece like this--- they are subtle and seen only upon closer inspection. Some of the little details though include blue birds, bees, lily of the valley and little May Day decorations on the trees and buildings.

   The painting is now safe in its new home and much loved by its family--- the perfect end for a piece, if you ask me! I love creating these heirlooms for families. If you're ever interested in a commission, you're welcome to check out my commissions page for pricing and sizing!

   Well, its started to rain here, a gray and wet morning. Perfection! I hope this is a sign of a cozy day for us!~
  Til next time,