Hapy New Year!

Thank you from my very full heart for a wonderful year here. I cherish this space and your participation in it whatever that may be.
Much gratitude.
some wishes for this new year~
may this coming year be filled with health and abundance and generosity.  
may we all look deeper inside ourselves for our true voices to let them sing. 
may this coming year be full of gentle lessons and wholesome foods. 
may we find time and energy and resources to help others in need.
may our spirits be nourished and loved.

Welcome welcome 2011!


Some Holiday snipets...

  1.  7:00 AM Christmas morning: Lilikoi breaking into the sweater stocking I made for her.
  2. Bread Alex made for Velija. My favorite was the olive loaf.
  3. 8:00 AM Christmas morning: Alex making orange chocolate chip scones. (Check it out, all his hair is gone!)
  4. 8:15 AM Christmas morning: The kids wait anxiously to go next door and wake up the rest of the family (except Papa Dane. He was there to watch the stockings being opened.)
  5. Neighborhood Cheesy Christmas party
  6. Look at that face... new red cowgirl boots for her.
  7. and a hat (and a pink tutu, and a handmade hobby horse) to match...
  8. Dress ups from Auntie Becca
  9. Papa Dane and Amy read Lilikoi a new book
  10. Eliseo's first Christmas present


Merry and Bright

Vintage Loomer Christmas photo... maybe 1980?
My great grandmother made all those stockings Each one had our names embroidered at the top. (thank you Aunt Bonny for sending me this!)
My family has flown and driven in, (Mom & Paul, Dad & Amy, and Becca) and we are all cozied up in the Carmona's house (we are house sitting) together tonight. I am happy as a clam to have them close by and to be eating good food near a Christmas tree.

Tacos are on the menu for dinner tonight, and then after the kiddos fall asleep I need to whip up two stockings for them. I am thinking of using some shrunken (felted) wool sweaters. There is no way they will be as nice as my great grandmother's, but hopefully they will look cute enough for Santa to want to fill them ;)

I hope wherever you are that you also are feeling loved and joyful on this Christmas Eve!



Velija on Solstice

Last night (Solstice) we gathered for our annual Velija celebration with our neighborhood friends. This was only our fourth year being invited, but already this tradition has seeped into our lives as one of our most cherished things we do all year.
We gather with friends and share a 9 course Slovakian feast (whiskey, bread and raw garlic, babikies, .smoked salmon, sauerkraut soup with mashed potato, split pea soup, mushrooms, stewed prunes).  To toast again and again in gratitude, and for friendship, and to the spark that remains at this dark time of year. It is about hope and faith that the light will return both physically and spiritually in the world.

As the longest night of the year begins I am sitting at a long, beautifully decorated table with my family, raising a whiskey glass:

Nastrovia! Cheers! To Health! To Ema! (Ema's birthday always falls on this day)
(clink, clink, clink)

I feel very blessed to be able to sit by candlelight and see my friends changing and growing older each year. Some big changes, some small. New babies... different haircuts... changing partners.... It is in the repetition of the same meal and the same group of friends that brings a safe place to reflect on the past, and to say a prayer for the future, and be grateful for the moment.

Cheers! Happy Solstice!


new work

I had some time in the studio last Sunday, and it was wonderful. The studio itself is in a terrible chaotic state~ with unpacked boxes from the craft fair and shipping supplies all piled on top of each other. But I tidied up my work desk, and ignored everything else around me, and went to work. I made a few  4" x 4" collage paintings and finished an 8" x 8" painting that I have been working on for awhile.
This painting had been taking on a completely different direction before this, but then when I set it in front of me it suggested the anatomical heart that I had illustrated a couple of months ago to be incorporated into it (This little illustration was just pinned to the wall waiting). Sometimes it happens like that where it really feels like a painting talks to me. Sometimes they demand even. Sometimes they are suggestive and open to alternative endings. Sometimes they are silent. And this painting seemed to like the idea of the heart being the main focus. Usually the layers of my paintings blend together, but the only stipulation this painting gave was that the heart was to float above the rest of the painting like so. And so it was. And while the snowflakes swirled outside, I glued and drew and dreamed...
Flowering Heart
8" x 8" x 1.75"
acrylic paint, ink, pen, antique and decorative papers, glue, archival varnish
For Sale

{Thank you all so much for your input and thoughtful words about my last post. Just reading them made me feel 100% better about my confusion. For now I think I will just put all of my time and energy into making this blog as perfectly me as possible, and save worrying about being professional for some other day...}


a photo of my little vampire boy, and a post in which I ramble on about the goals of my blog.

As you may have noticed, I have been absent from the blog recently... and it is partly due to a chock full life schedule and consequently a lack of time to sit and tell stories at the computer. But also hindering it is a personal ambivalence of the direction of my blog. I feel like I am straddling the fence of having an art blog and a personal family blog. Often I feel weird about linking to my blog from my Etsy site when so often I post about unrelated art things.  The thought that some stranger would pop over here thinking to find juicy art stuff and find me on a rant about lack of sleep, and teething troubles, and boogery kids bothers me.  I have this vision of being a "serious" artist-type, and this doesn't fit in with that. And then on the other hand sometimes I hold back on art related blog posts with the fear they could be terribly boring to my family and friends who so kindly read the blog.


and so I came up with my newest way to amend this dilemma. I would make another blog location where I would copy and paste all of my art posts so if someone wanted to connect with me just on an artistic level they could. I could link to that blog from my Etsy and make more solely artistic networks. And then I could feel free to gush on about my kids for as long and for as many posts in a row on without the thought that someone out there could be thinking how dull the mothering part of my life is.
Makes sense right?
Now, a couple of years ago I already tried to make just a family blog separate from this blog. It didn't work. But it was because it was way too much work to maintain two blogs. The trick to this newest idea is that I would be copying and pasting.

Anyways, I explained my problem, and shared my solution with Alex, and he just looked at me like I was completely nuts (He truly doesn't even understand the problem). And he just said "No".  He said I am am always making things WAY more complicated than need be. That it is MY blog and I can do what I want, and if people want to read it they can, or not. End of story.
 I think there is a lot of wisdom in his thinking, but why do I still feel so unsettled with it? I know that it is my truth and my reality that I am both a mother and an artist~ and this blog reflects just that. And I certainly don't want to give up sharing all the awesomeness that is my family and daily life stuff. And while it is true that a general rule of thumb for my life is is that I only want to surround myself with people who love me for who I am wholly. But, from a career mindset, I would like to network and connect with other people who may not be interested in the rest of my life outside the art realm. Please tell me, how do I do it all???

Any advise or thoughts you can bestow upon me would be greatly appreciated. Realistically can I wear two separate hats? Or am I destined to wear one hat that looks like a jester hat?


Big Crafty

This past Sunday was the Holiday Big Crafty, and as always it was great fun!!!

It is such a wonderful and creative fair, and I felt lucky participate again this year. Here it is Thursday though, and I am still recouping and getting our house back in order from the bustle of getting ready and the social intensity of the fair.
My booth looked awesome this time, just really nice. I filled my antique printers box with black beans to display my earrings. The ornaments were arranged in my wooden cupboard. And one door displayed the pendants, and the other had my original paintings. Ema surprised me with an incredibly cute sweet mess banner for an early Christmas present. It all looked tight, well stocked, and pretty. I made a ton of sales and had a lot of great conversations.
I forgot my camera at home :( but I drew this picture of my table to give you an idea of what it looked like.



Alex finished installing our woodstove which has been awesome!!!

but the real star of this picture is Eliseo's thighs... right???



at the condor cage at the zoo

The family was driving around on a wet day recently and during a break in the rain Alex turned the windshield wipers off. From the backseat Lili piped up "What happened to the heartbeat? I want the heartbeat back!"

We couldn't bear to correct her.


more family

Thanksgiving trip 2010
Auntie LuLu, Eliseo, Gramps, & Lilikoi: 
holding a photo of Gramps and LuLu when they were little.


vacation and home again

Lilikoi getting to take a real bath (rather than the sink bath she gets at home) at Gramps's house on vacation.

We are home again after a wonderful Thanksgiving week spent in the suburbs of Chicago. We stayed with Alex's dad (Alex Sr. aka Gramps) and his wife Laurie. Gramps, Alex, and the kids went to the zoo one day (I stayed back to work), and Gramps took Lili for blustery walks to the library. We visited with some of Alex's closest friends and got to see all our kids melding and playing together~ so cute... We had Thanksgiving at Gramps and Laurie's and got to see three of Alex's uncles, his Aunt LuLu and several cousins, it was great fun. We took the train (a highlight for Lili) to meet Alex's high school art teacher near the city for lunch, and that was sweet.Gosh, I am sure we did so much more, but those are some highlights.

I was listening to the Chicago radio broadcast "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" today and it hit me that people from the Chicago area seem to be funnier than the rest of us... Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Some of Alex's friends are hilarious without even trying to be. The same can be said about Alex's extended family (although some of them work very hard at it). Just an observation...

Also, something else you should know about Chicago: you can get chocolate cake at a drive through. That really won me over.



I finally have finished most of my holiday ornaments and listed them in the etsy shop today! They are going to look so cute adorning a tree!

I just figured out how to make a coupon for my shop too. So I made one for all of my blog readers as a thanks for all of your kind support this year. Get 10% off any sweet mess art for one month. Just fill in this (2010HOLIDAYS)  as a coupon code when you check out. OR, let me know you are a blog reader when you come visit me at the BIG CRAFTY on December 5th to see my ornaments in person and get a discount!
*Also, my earrings will be listed sometime next week hopefully  : )
 I hope everyone has safe travels this Thanksgiving! 


Ornaments in progress

 Here are some of my miniature prints for my 2010 ornaments. In these pictures I I had just applied a high quality resin dome sticker very carefully onto the print. After that step,  I cut away the excess paper . I am looking forward to seeing them all complete!


Alex and Eliseo

 When Alex's Mom came to visit she brought along a gigantic suitcase of childhood memorabilia. It was fun to look through old family photos. Particularly noteworthy was how striking the similarity of Alex and Eliseo is.

 and I think this one of David and Alex looks just like Lili and Seo.


piece work

Once a week I trade childcare with my friend Michelle. I take her daughter for 3-4 hours one day, and she will take Lili the next. 
Often I try to get all set up so the moment Lili is gone and Eliseo goes down for a nap I can start being productive. 4 hours sounds like a nice chunk of work time but honestly, it often doesn't go as planned. Seo will wake up after 30 mins, or....... I can't think of what else would prevent me from accomplishing what I set out to do. But, I promise you, 4 hours is gone in a heartbeat it seems...
I used last week to take some photos of my new earrings. I am still trying to fine tune my designs, but it was fun to take some photos and start thinking about how to make them stand out and look pretty when you are seeing them online.

I found this pretty milk glass holder at the thrift store recently. I don't know why, but I just love milk glass. And the jewelry looks so nice against the white I think.

After much deliberation and searching came to the conclusion that I didn't love (and I want to love these) the ear wires I could find, so I started making my own. I learned how on You-Tube. It is amazing you can learn almost anything online. And then I had my supplies shipped to my door.Amazing.

I had hoped to have all my earrings posted online and ready for the start of the holiday season, but it just isn't happening. Time feels short, but surly an hour here and an hour there will lead to a satisfying bundle of work.



I was just thinking to myself it had been awhile since I made a blog post... Then to see how long it has been... it must have been another whirlwind of a week. 

Let's see. 

Alex and David's Mom and younger brother came to stay for a few days over Halloween which was a ton of fun. It is such a shame to live so far away from them! Here is my Mother-in-Law Kiss to the right. Awesome right?!!!
Okay, here is the cuddlier side of Kathleen:


Lili's other grandma (Memere Linda) made her this beautiful princess dress for Halloween.
Here is Princess Lilikoi and her Unicorn Daddy-O:

Halloween and trick-or-treating was all great fun. We celebrated Alex's upcoming birthday with a costume party later that night. Then Tuesday was his real birthday. He made this chocolate peanut butter birthday cake... Then Wednesday morning he flew to NH to pick up our new car that my Mom and Paul gave (!!! ♥ !!!) to us. He drove the 18 hour drive back home yesterday.
Today is slated to be a day of installing our new wood stove. It certainly is getting chilly~ so yay!



This is the first image that I created that for this year's ornaments. One of my favorite color combinations... A 30x40mm print of this little blue deer will be inlaid into an oval shaped copper bezel picture frame, and it will have one or two beads dangling at the bottom. I don't know yet  if it will be a blue bead, a red bead, or one of each.

POST SCRIPT: It was painted exclusively to the tune of Bob Dylan's "Nashville Skyline". If you haven't revisited this album in awhile I recommend doing so promptly. 

off day

 Here it is 12:38 AM and I don't feel a lick tired. It is the consequence of drinking a cup of delicious coffee at 4:00 PM... At the time it seemed like a good idea. A reward for the challenging day I was having with Lilikoi. And it made me happy... Or in the very least it helped take the edge off.

Oh she was a difficult punky child today. Drove me crazy. Probably gave me 5 more gray hairs. I kept saying "Why Lili, WHY????!" and "WHAT do you NEED Lili???".  To no avail. Usually I can pinpoint reasons why she acts out, but today I was in the dark. She must have just rolled out on the wrong side of the bed. Which was unfortunate, as I rolled out on the other side. She didn't get the memo that her Mama was in a GREAT mood, and it was a GORGEOUS fall day outside. Ahhh, well. Some days are just like that.

Yesterday, on the other hand, was an AWESOME day with her. We had her Kindermusik class (always a high point in the week) and it was dress up day there. She was a ladybug, and I painted her face red with black dots.  Other errands included buying art supplies and going to the thrift store to complete our Halloween costumes (SCORE!!! EEP, I am so excited!) And the ladybug brightened days everywhere we went.

Perhaps today was just such a disappointment to wake up and not be a ladybug...
Luckily, even the most frustrating days have high points. And today's (aside from that coffee and Alex and I eating Stromboli by candlelight after the kids fell asleep) was walking Lili's best little friend back to her house after a bicker ahem, play-date this morning. In a last ditch effort to keep peace I painted rainbows on their faces. And then as we were leaving they both decided to wear hats. Who wouldn't??? When they stopped halfway and traded hats I wanted to scoop them both up and squeeze them they were so gosh darn cute. See?


slowly but steadily updating the shop...

Here are some pendents I have been updating in THE SHOP. Some are older designs, some are new... I also added a few recent original paintings as well. Finally got this favorite one up! Seo has been taking killer (2.5 hour!) naps this week so I have been able to carve out a little work time during the day which is nice.

I also have been dreaming/designing new holiday ornaments~ I think they are going to be reeealllly cool~ more on that later ;)



While Alex has been away at work (building this house!) the kids and I have been homebodies this week. Both have come down with colds and are super boogery. Seo has been feeling particularly bad (You can see Seo's new teeth (and boogers) in the photo of him.) , and was up in the middle of the night for a couple hours the last two nights (*sigh*). Despite the sleep-challenged nights and the fussy baby, it has been enjoyable to putz around the kitchen, dream up some fall craft projects and decorations, and pull away some of the cobwebs that have accumulated on the ceilings of our house.

I know, I should have left them up for Halloween right???
Happy days...


find beauty

 Find Beauty 
vintage and handmade papers, oil, fluid acrylic, 
photograph of the Swannanoa Valley, type, on wood block.


Back, back, back... and off to unpack.

We are back from the festival and I am SO happy to be surrounded by tubs. Tubs of dirty clothes, camping supplies, art, food... Tubs that need sorting and unpacking, but signify the end of this week.

It has been a week of change and lessons to go with the flow.  In my mind I had a tight plan as to how the week leading up to festival, and the festival itself, were going to unfold. It involved both Alex and I creating art in every spare second to be as stocked as possible for the fair. It involved planning a smashing birthday party for Lili while camping. It involved my Mom flying down from NH to help with the kids at the festival. And finally, it involved creating the best booth space possible so my art looked great and we would have a very profitable weekend.


Several big events collided this week, and they turned my "plans" upside down.
  1. First off, Seo has had a heck of a time cutting his first two teeth the past two weeks. And it resulted in fussy evenings that disrupted my art time, and sleepless nights.  I did not get the last minute quality art push of my plans. 
  2. My Grandfather's funeral coincided with my Mom's trip down, so sadly, she couldn't come down to visit and help with kids.
  3.  And lastly, 20 minutes after we had finished setting up our booth, a gigantic gust of wind came and torqued, toppled, and destroyed our vendor tent.
We knew the wind was going to be fierce on Friday, and yet as I watched our booth collapse with all my artwork inside I was in disbelief.  But we had a strong tent! I was thinking. But we had it screwed in and ratcheted down so tight! How could this be happening???
Maybe if we hadn't been so rigid we would have survived the wind. It is hard to know~ but it serves as a potent metaphor for the rest of the changes to my plans this week for me. Sometimes it is best to bend with the changes rather than try to fight them, you know?

I had a moment when I finally burst into tears. It was after dark fell and the kids were asleep. My artwork was in disarray and I sat behind where my booth was supposed to be. A line of white vendor tents, and then a gap of green grass.  Like a missing tooth. And as I looked at the blank space, all the sadness of my grandfather's death, and the bitter sweetness of Lili turning three, and all the hopes and fears associated with putting myself out there in the art world came crashing down. Alex gave me a hug. Later everyone bent over backwards to help us borrow a new tent and start the weekend over. And so we did.

It all turned out beautifully despite the setbacks. Most importantly, no one or things were hurt (aside from the tent) in the tent collapse. Lili was right behind the tent and it is a miracle she wasn't seriously hurt by the tent flying at her. (Also, seven other vendors lost tents and nobody else was hurt either.)  The Carmonas, Becca, and our friends helped with the kids a bunch. I survived throwing my first ever three-year-old party. Aside from the wind that first day, the weather was gorgeous for the festival.
We listened to amazing music right from our booth. We took morning family walks, watching the steam rise off the lake together. We had a successful time vending. My earrings were popular. We met new friends. Seo's second tooth burst through his gums. And Lili happily turned three.