Saturday, May 28, 2011

I've been dating my website.

I've got a secret for you, I've been dating my website lately. We've had a couple of really hot dates! I revamped my website completely in February. A total redesign to showcase my work and make my life easier. No more week long struggles to add or delete images. Who has time for that? Not me. I opted for a WordPress website using Headway. I lost my beloved disjointed rollovers, but you just can't beat only having to spend 15 minutes switching images in and out is a dream come true! 

Of course, I was so convinced of my genius and mad design skills, that I figured the money would then start rolling in. (Insert crickets here.) I added such brilliant SEO keywords, how could the masses not flock to my site? (More crickets.) In desperation, I turned to my Twitter buddy, Sarah J. Bray, for help. She's a genius, for sure. You should definitely go check out her website! She recently launched a new program where she walks you through hot dates with your website. I signed up immediately! I've been doing it for two weeks now and I'm loving it! She's got me thinking in new ways. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, but I have great hopes! I love her writing style and her insight. I've wanted to work with her for awhile and this is the time.

This is an affiliate link. I'm really using her program and wanted to share how excited I am!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Little Witch

Working on some things for my portfolio. You may remember her from my 2010 Sketchbook Project here.

How Glee ignited a spark

From the 2010 Sketchbook Project--I can't post without a picture!
I watched the Glee season finale tonight. It wasn't their best show, but the scene with Kurt and Rachel singing on the Wicked stage meant so much to me! It reminded me how important my dreams are. How could I forget that absolute certainty I've always had? Their passion was contagious! I can't wait to get started! Never mind that I haven't stopped at all, that I'm working hard every single day including weekends striving for it—I'd just forgotten how that passion feels. Watch out world, here I come, right after I eat a chocolate chip muffin!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An open letter to Oprah

Photo from the UK Telegraph
With the end of the Oprah show, I find myself looking back at what that show has meant to me in my life. I've been watching since the very first show. I was a big Donahue fan, so I was skeptical when Oprah came along, but I became an immediate fan. When she started doing more meaningful programing, I was a fan for life. I watched her show through major life stuff like college, marriage, divorce, marriage again, pregnancy, raising my kids, all the while quietly nurturing my dreams. I took her example to heart by working on becoming a better person (still a major work-in-progress). Her mantra "Live your Best Life" became my mantra. I thrive on learning and she has been one of my greatest teachers. Do I always agree with her?—No, not always, but that’s ok. I take what speaks to me and leave the rest.

I've always had this feeling burning inside of me that I'm destined for great things. It's so faint right now, that I'm not sure it's even there, but I have faith. I'm not even sure what these 'great things' are. Maybe it's the raising of my boys, maybe it has to do with my art, or perhaps it's something I haven't even dreamed of yet. I trust it will come if I keep plugging along and being open.

I always strive to lean towards the positive and toward possibility and I thank Oprah for being the champion of this. For setting an example and giving us the tools. For constantly reminding us of what's possible. Of the importance of being open to all that life has to offer. Of the gift of service to others. Her legacy is huge and far-reaching and I can't wait to see what's next!

Thank you, Oprah for being your true authentic self and giving us the mandate to be our own true selves, too. I’ll miss the show and I’ll be watching for what’s next.

P.S. I've been watching her Behind the Scenes show and I love it. I love seeing great people doing great work. Doing their absolute best. Is anyone else concerned about what they’ll all be doing now that the show’s over? Where do you go after you’ve had the best job in TV?

Monday, May 23, 2011

How I spent this school year and lessons learned

Outside the event where hors d'oeuvres are served.

I have been involved in a huge project since September. I have an eighth grader. He's been at the same school with mostly the same kids since he was three. That's a long time! As he says, he's spent his whole life there. Last Saturday, we, the parents, hosted an African themed Dinner Dance for his class. This is a tradition at the school. There are about 55 kids in this grade. It's a semi-formal event with the parents and kids having dinner together, then a father/daughter, mother/son dance, then the parents leave and the real fun begins. Some years it is beyond spectacular. One year the parents built a 20' long pirate ship, I kid you not.

A tent in the courtyard area

I was one of four women on the committee this year. We opted for a toned down version, for which I am grateful. I was disappointed at first, but in hindsight, I'm very happy. Trying to run an illustration business and put on an event this big is tough. This was an amazing experience for me. I'm not a planner of events. I didn't even enjoy planning my own wedding. All those details are beyond me and, frankly, don't interest me. Why not elope? Thankfully, my other committee members handled those pesky details, while I concentrated on the design.
Hallway to the main room. I had the kids paint the masks in class.
I've never considered myself a leader or project manager. It's a bit of a joke in my house that I'm just not a people person. That's why I work for myself! I do, however, love collaboration! I love coming up with ideas, but bouncing ideas around with other people adds to the fun and to the outcome. This event was all about collaboration. I don't even lay claim to the design. I had a vision, albeit, not a very clear one. I do have a fully formed idea for an Arabian Nights theme which I hope to use when it's my little guy's turn. The safari theme had me seriously stumped.

The stage. A handful of parents spent over 100 hours making these
papier mache elephants. The mama was 6' tall!

Entry tent

Tent facades vignette

I really enjoyed working with all of the other parents on the work nights. I'd lay out the projects, explain what I was thinking for each one and let them loose. They far exceeded my expectations every time. Some of the parents consider themselves creative or crafty, but most didn't. It was amazing to see them soar, to realize they are creative. I've always wanted to inspire other people and this event was all about that for me. In some cases, I had no idea how to make my ideas come to light. It empowered me and them (I think) to hand off my ideas and see what they would come up with. I feel like I've found my calling in the last week.
Place settings

It took three days to put it all together for the dance. Until the end, I wasn't sure what we had. I concentrated on the walls of the main room. We had a photo area committee, a stage committee, and a courtyard committee. Six dads came in late Thursday night to dress the ceiling! I couldn't sleep much that night, so when Friday rolled around I was no longer thinking clearly. I had major fog brain, but since we had lots of help, it didn't matter. In the midst of all this, I got a call that my dad had fallen on Friday afternoon, and I had to take him to the ER. He's banged up, has a broken hand, but doing great. This was another lesson on trust for me. I had so much support that I knew I could leave for hours and it would be ok. It was better than ok!

Two of my favorite guys and me.

In the beginning, I wondered if I should be taking the time away from my business to tackle a project this big, but I'm so glad I did. I found new confidence and skills that I never knew I had. I'm still wondering how to apply them to my business. I'm worn out from the experience, so a few more days of processing it are in order.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I have gardening on my mind lately. I wish thinking translated to doing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dream Pig & Illustration Friday

This week has been full of promos and sketches for new portfolio pieces. I felt the need to let loose and have some fun. Alice the Dream Pig is the result. The upper text reads: "Alice flapped her wings and flew westward towards the sunset". Remember to always Dream Pig!

BTW: Alice is also a 'beginner' at flying so this fits in with the Illustration Friday theme, thank you very much!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Whale painting on driftwood

I painted this little whale on a piece of driftwood I found at the beach last year. It was so fun & quick. I must have more of this kind of fun.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When pigs fly

Just a quick warm up sketch of the famous flying pig. Maybe my house will be clean now that pigs are flying;) 

This little guy may be featured in a painting I'm doing today. Wish me luck.
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