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Giveaway: Print of St. Brigid

   The last day of January finds itself cold, gray and raining all day. I had big plans to work on some home improvement projects, but there just didnt end up being enough time to get it done. So instead, I'm snug inside and bringing you a treat!

   The Feast of St. Brigid comes tomorrow, February 1! Since I just completed my Brigid painting and got in some prints, i thought it would be fun to give one of them away! So--- if you'd like your own St. Brigid, you're in luck!

   Entering to win the 8x10" print (unframed, but it will come nicely packaged!) is easy--- just leave a comment on this post with a means to contact you. Tell me why you'd like Brigid--- or suggest another saint for me to paint! I feel a series coming on!

   And if you share this giveaway on facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. be sure to let me know, and you can enter your name again! Sound good?

   Sending you many blessings for The Feast of Saint Brigid!~

Updates from The Prairie Project

   So last week I made good on my decision to start looking around my own back yard for fascinating history tid bits, and I've been pleasantly surprised with all that I've found (and remembered!) and the wonderful response on Instagram. If you'd like to see all the #prairieproject posts, your best bet is to go through my instagram (you can see the pics on the left sidebar as they get loaded) but I thought I'd share some highlights here:

The grave of "Chief" Sapulpa, the Creek Indian man who settled in this area after the Creeks were removed from Alabama. He and his family are buried in this simple cemetery nearly hidden among 1970s development.

    My Great-great grandma Lula Mae, an Indian Territory beauty, who lost her first husband (and father of her son, Jesse, my great-Grandfather) but found love again with a local businessman who's name still graces the building of his mattress factory.

   Robbie and I visit a friend's tame buffalo at her farm out near Beggs, Oklahoma. I can now say I've received sloppy buffalo kisses (anyone have some hand sanitizer?)

  What the oil boom looked like here in Oklahoma about 1910. This is when one side of my family came here--- looking for their wealth in oil. We're still lookin!

    My modern day downtown takes on a look of the past when put into black and white

    It's been a fun project for sure. It's also made me more aware of the fact that people just dont learn about the history of many of our states--- we learn to about the Revolutionary War, perhaps the Civil War, but things like the Western Migration, the promise and pitfalls of 'manifest destiny', the fate of the Native Americans as their land was taken piece by piece....these are all the stories that lurk within many of our pasts.

   I am a lover of history, and story above all. I love that we all have a 'story.' Every place has a story. And they don't have to be forgotten :)

  May you stumble upon some intriguing and wonderful stories for 2015--- can't believe January is almost over!!!
  Happy Weekend!~

New Painting: St. Brigid

     Oh my goodness, I have been trying to write this post for days. Finally, finally I am able to sit down and no one is crying, no one needs a nap or a snack, and I can just sit for a minute (knock on wood)

    This is Saint Brigid-- the first in what I hope to be a series of saints that I will create this year! The original piece has already been sold, but I have already ordered prints and I hope to have those in next week, just in time for St. Brigid's Feast Day on February. Talk about going down to the wire, right?

   We've been having fun gathering a list of saints to paint in the future over on the Audrey Eclectic Facebook page--- but I'm totally willing to take suggestions here as well! Do you have a favorite saint you'd like to see added to the group?

 Funnily enough, I started this St. Brigid many months ago...but during the move to the studio I lost the painting! Just last week I found it again in a tub of supplies and thought "I need to finish this girl!" I was so pleased at the great response she got--- and it's fun to challenge myself to explore and interpret the personalities and stories of the saints through paint.

   What I always remember about Brigid is she was "both a slave and a princess." She was the daughter of a powerful Irish Chieftain and a lowly slave woman. She was able to identify with people in every level of life, and gained the respect of many. In the painting you will notice that she's holding what is known as "the St. Brigid's Cross" and it's one of my favorite shapes. So geometrical and intricate, but made just of grass or straw. Come Palm Sunday, I'd like to give it a try!

   Well, off to start dinner and get ready for the coming week. I am so happy to be in a position where I look forward to Mondays--- the paint brushes are calling me!

New Routines

     This weekend the kids and I went out to the carriage house and cleaned up the art studio some more. Now that Robbie is a little older and more 'free range' to entertain himself, I've decided to try in work more in this great space, and so we've been carving out time and getting into a new routine to make that happen.
   Its going well--- I've already got a painting done! If you've been peaking at instagram, you've seen it :D a little St. Brigid! I've got another piece drawn out and ready to start painting in. 

   I'm not sure if its the New Year or the baby turning one, or these things all happening at around the same time, but I've felt a strong urge to turn over a new leaf and have a fresh start. I feel like I'm coming out of a cocoon, and it's nice. Having a baby in intense. You turn your life upside down for this little person that you're completely in love with. You are the main source of comfort, food, love, and protection. But as they grow and learn to be independent by degrees, there's a nice 'coming home to yourself' feeling. I was able to get a nice hair cut (first professional cut since 2013!), I'm trying to exercise more and think about projects and doing things outside of our nest. Baby is finally ok with hanging out for a little while with dad or his grandma, and so slowly, some independence is coming back. It's nice!

   Also beginning to dream and plan more about our trip "out east" this summer and I cant wait. I am so excited to show my family all the beauty of New England. And I'm so excited to not be in Oklahoma for part of the hottest part of summer ;) I love ya Oklahoma, but I do not love your brutal summers!

   Speaking of Oklahoma love--- I've started hashtaging the "prairie project" photos I'm taking on instagram. Instagram has proven to be much easier to do this with, since its done with my phone and not the big camera. I will start posting these pics here on the blog once a week or so to share here with you. I hope you enjoy! :D

  Well, better get started with the day!~

January Quiet

    And so here we are in winter, with the holidays behind us. I know that its easy to wish this time away in hopes of spring (which reminds me, I have tulip bulbs in the refrigerator, I digress....) This time, this cold gray January time, is a good time for quiet and selfish projects. Although I am working on a scarf for my brother, I just cast on a hat for myself. 
   Because A.
                 How could I just start and finish ONE knitting project at a time? That's crazy talk!
and B
               January is selfish knitting month and darn it, I'd like to have something knitted and cute! Although I admit, its much more fun to knit and give it to someone. And hope their eyes gleam with delight and awe of your awesome skills. Luckily, I know my brother appreciates a good hand knit, so he's one of the few I will invest a scarf in, haha.

   Of course this time last year--- I wasn't doing any knitting! I had a brand new baby on my hands! Do you remember? I do. I can't believe he's a year old already. Such a sweet, loving, ornery little boy! He's his mama's baby, for sure. Which works out well, since Audrey seems to be her Daddy's girl.
   For his birthday I used the dala horse cake pans I got for christmas and they were perfect--- the little one I made his cake with, and he did enjoy shoveling that little cake into his mouth, and then swigging down some whole milk. Yay for babies who can drink milk in a cup!

   I've also been looking through some of my favorite books for painting inspiration-- including a couple about Williamsburg that I got for Christmas. Williamsburg is so fascinating to me, even though I've never been there. Someday we will go! 
   I was browsing my books the other day with some coffee and Boston Brown Bread, which is now one of my Favorite Things. It has raisins and molasses in it, so it is sweet. With a bit of butter and honey, it is pretty much heaven for breakfast.

   Well, I must go for now. I'm glad you got to stop in today, and I hope you're having a wonderful 2015!~!
  Til next time,

First Painting of 2015: Candlelit Vows

    Sometimes the idea for a painting just takes hold and it just seems....meant to be, from rough sketch to finishing touch. This painting was one of those lucky pieces! I sat down to paint it....when....this weekend? And finished it up Sunday evening.

   It was so much fun to create, and a little back story started running through my mind as I painted it, but I didn't want it to be too specific of a piece--- because I'd like for it to work for many couples, no matter what denomination of Christianity they are practicing. 

  However, I liked the idea of the icons representing Christ and Mary as 'attending guests.' And the guests themselves represent various stages of life this couple will see-- from little children, to parents, to grandparents. So much legacy and tradition is wrapped up in the ceremony of a marriage, and I wanted to capture this--- plus the excitement of a fresh new start-- in this piece.

  This past October we celebrated our 10th anniversary--- can you believe it, a wedding without Pinterest? And I hardly knew any of my so crafty and talented friends that I know now! We did get a little crafty though--- I remember saving dried hydrangeas from friends and friends of friends and then floral spraying them fall colors for our centerpieces. Oh, the olden days!  ;) hehehe....

   I do love a good wedding though, and I've been the photographer at three of them for friends. It's always so much fun! 

  As for the painting -- it is now for sale in my etsy shop! You can see it HERE. It would be a wonderful unique present for an upcoming wedding, or even an anniversary. I think it's a favorite of mine already, and I'm looking forward to it finding a good home!

  Perhaps with you?
Til next time--

New Year, New Hopes

     I'm writing to you today on this very gray and chilly first day of 2015. That feels so strange to write and read, doesn't it? 2015. Have we really been in the 2000s for 15 years now?!

   Of course, you know me--- I'm usually thinking back to farther times. The older I get, the more I love history-- the architecture, the fashion, the skills, the 'how they did what' aspect of it all. of course, I'd never turn my nose up at central heat and air or a dishwasher. But I am enamored of the 'olden days', as you see in my art.

   A few days ago, with some Christmas craft store gift cards in hand, I decided to indulge myself in an old timey interest that I've been intrigued by for a while, but didnt have the supplies to play around with it--- Calligraphy. Especially Spencerian Script, the real swirly, elegant, Victorian style script that is so beautiful on old documents and letters from the past.

   I bought myself a pen, some ink, and a book to read. I've also been watching some youtube videos (I LOVE these especially, but artist Heather Victoria Held) and am practicing a little each day! Perhaps one day I'll use the calligraphy in my art or in a project, but right now I'm just having fun. It's good to try new things!

   Another exciting plan for 2015 is our 'epic summer trip' where we will load ourselves up and drive EAST. Like....waaaay east. Stopping in upstate New York to visit friends and tool around New England. I am SO excited and can't wait to be in the area that is so dear to my heart and imagination! I long to see those old salt box houses, the old brick buildings that have seen so much history, even the sea...

   Sometimes, though, I feel like I am constantly longing for a place that is entirely too far away. As a lover of history, all of "history" seems to be far removed from me, and it's frustrating sometimes. Of course, I know, there is history here, under my feet. I guess the problem is, we don't really learn much about the midwest or Oklahoma itself in history class. I took an Oklahoma History course in Jr. High and I remember NOTHING from it. What in the world were we doing!?! I later found out my very high school stood on the grounds of a former Native American Mission School--- and we never talked about it. I learned this after the fact, as an adult. It seems such a shame.

   That's why I've gotten this idea to focus a little more on the interesting and unique things around me, right here on the prairie. I feel like it will do my good to invest in my town, my state, my region. I want to feel proud of where I am from--- and I want to share these interesting places and scenes with you!

   So for 2015 I am going to take on "The Prairie Project." I am going to put more effort into exploring my own back yard. I will always have a passion for Early America and the sites that are important to our past--- but I want to expand that love for history to where I am as well. So many people have poured their heart and soul into this land, I don't want to overlook it.

  Above is the little blog button I've made for the series--- do you know the location? It's the Little House on the Prairie homestead near Independence, Kansas! Yep--- its where Mary and Laura and Ma and Pa lived! Places like this are where I want to go, take the kids and take the camera, and learn and remember. I'm excited!

   I am also excited to PAINT again! It's been a while! And yes, I know I'm out of several prints in my etsy shop and I will get those reordered and back in stock! Please check back again if one you'd been waiting for is no longer available. And of course--- THANK YOU--- to all who shopped the etsy shelves bare, as it were, lol! I appreciate it so much!

  And so...with that, I will sign off! I've got some ideas for new art and want to get started!
Happy 2015, my friends!~