Category Archives: Arts, Crafts, Creativity

What I’m Into Lately

 

Hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. A good friend told me that age fifteen of having a teenager would be the busiest. She wasn’t joking. They want to be involved in everything, but you are their transportation. So here I sit almost at the beginning of February wondering where January (or even the last year really) went. I decided to do a “What I’m Into Lately” post because it’s an easy way to get back to blogging. I have thoughts swirling around in my head for upcoming posts, but haven’t made myself sit down and put those words to paper.

So here you go. What I’m into lately:

British TV

It all started several years ago with Downton Abbey then Dr. Who and now I find myself watching more.

Call the Midwife: An incredibly well done drama that airs on PBS set in the late 1950s, early 1960s that follows the nuns/midwives and midwives of Nonnatus House in East London.

Doc Martin: My chiropractor recommended this one and it hasn’t disappointed. It follows the extremely gruff surgeon Dr. Martin who is now a GP in the village of Portwenn after no longer being able to perform operations due to a sudden onset of homophobia (fear of blood.) The show weaves comedy and serious issues together quite well as you get to know the cast of characters from the tiny english fishing village of Portwenn.

Books

I have recently found myself wanting to read more fiction which has surprised me. In recent years I have only read a very limited amount of fiction. Mainly from Billy Coffey. If you have read any of his I recommend you checking them out.

The Third Target and The First Hostage by Joel C. Roseberg. I’ve never been into prophetic/end of days type fiction, but I enjoy Roseberg’s books and these are his latest two.

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah. Anne Bogel recommended Kristin Hannah to one of her guests on her podcast “What Should I Read Next?” and I decided to see what my library had of her work. An easy read with just enough drama to hold your attention and keep you reading.

Out of the House of Bread by Preston Yancey. Preston has been one of my favorite writers since I discovered him several years ago through his blog while he was still at Baylor. Out of the House of Bread is his second book and I’m loving reading his beautiful words again.

Music

I attribute it to my Scott/Irish roots, but I love the Wailin’ Jennys. I love the mix of folk and bluegrass their music has and their harmonies are nothing short of amazing. I have a Wailin’ Jennys radio on Pandora, and the majority of the time Pandora does a good job of finding other artists that are very similar to them.

My Erin Condren Planner

The choice between all digital or all paper seems to always be a hot topic at the end of a year into the beginning of the next. For me, I’m a mix. I love the paper for my to-do lists which is why I love my Erin Condren planner so much. I bought the vertical weekly calendar which gives 3 blank sections per day. It’s perfect for listing the tasks I need to accomplish each day. I write any appointments on the monthly layout, but these also go in my iPhone as well.

I like the Pocket Informant app which sync with my iCal for my calendar, but also has great tasks/checklist aspect as well. I like having all my appointments in my phone so it will alert me with a reminder ahead of time. I don’t use the tasks aspect of Pocket Informant very often since I use my EC planner for those, but the Checklist is great for making lists of things I need to pick up at the grocery store, etc.

 

Podcasts

I first started listening to the Popcast because Jamie is one of my favorites on social media plus I had met her through Alabama Bloggers and she is amazing. While I am unbelievably out of the loop when it comes to pop culture I do like this podcast from Knox McCoy & Jamie because it is just fun and entertaining. I never miss a week.

What Should I Read Now? with Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. Anne chats with one guest each week about books they have enjoyed or have not enjoyed and then makes recommendations on what she thinks they should read next. This has been great for adding books to my “books to read” list.

Do you have a favorite podcast or two that you would recommend?

 

Recipes

My kiddo loves the chocolate chip muffins I make. He wipes them out within two or three days. They are on my to-do list to make today. I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen. I find that I usually add an extra egg as the local ones I buy are more medium sized than large.

Art

I’m enjoying making these 8×8 canvases with scripture on them (above.) I’ve sold all I’ve made so far and working on more.

I am trying to find a place to hang one of my favorite abstracts I’ve ever painted (below.) It’s called “Ascend.” I have another long skinny canvas prepped and ready to begin this week also.


What things are you into lately? 

An Artist

Edited: Congratulations, Lisa Notes! You won the giveaway! 

I stepped back. And for the first time, after four years, I felt like an artist.

Four years ago I picked up pastels and began. Learning to blend. Learning to mix colors. Learning to draw. I took along aside our son. His gift evident from a young age, we knew it needed to be nurtured.

We have an amazing art teacher. Encouraging as she teaches, allowing us to choose the medium and guiding as we experiment.

My son gravitates to pastels and sketching, seeing easily how to draw a subject. His tender heart seen as he sketches animals and his fascination with architecture shown in other subjects he chooses. His gift amazes and inspires me.

The drawing aspect of lessons was difficult for me. With our teacher alongside, I was able to sketch a few landscapes, and while the paintings I did hold meaning for me they still seemed uninspired.

But there is something about painting. Something about creating a piece whether inspired from a photo or your own imagination where a spirit can find release. So I kept trying, kept showing up at the blank canvas.

I soon found a love for acrylic and abstract. Pairing colors comes natural for me. Finally unafraid to experiment and fail, I begin. Brush against canvas. Colors blending. Layer upon layer. I push myself out of comfort trying different textures and techniques.

I begin discovering my voice.

Many paintings later I still never felt like an artist. Until this one. Inspired by a friend’s story of redemption, I wondered if I would be able to translate the image in my mind to canvas.

Colors chosen, I begin. Colors brushed then blended into one another. Background layer then another and another. It’s the layers that build perspective. Depth. I step away taking deep breaths, knowing from experience it will eventually emerge. It does. When I get to the point where I think it may be finished, I step back.

And for the first time I feel like an artist.

Four years after picking up pastels and then brushes, I felt like I had created a piece of art. The cliquish words of other artists who define art as their way and no other no longer haunting.

Too often comparison paralyzes art. We overhear others remarks and see upturned noses and we think we aren’t good enough. I know first hand how creatives are prone to insecurity, always wondering if we are good enough.

But here’s what I’m discovering: Art (or any creative pursuit) isn’t about comparing our work to that of others. No, it’s simply about growing and sharing the gifts God has given us. Comparison only steals the joy we will find when using the gifts and talents He gives.

I still have much to learn, much more to experiment with, but I am no longer afraid to call myself an artist. And through the process, God calls me to encourage others.

So this week I’m taking a step that really feels more like a leap. I’m putting my art out there with more to be added in the coming days. Would you please stop by and maybe share?

To celebrate, I am also giving away a piece here on the blog! Just leave a comment to be entered to win your choice of one of the pieces below. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and ends Friday, May 10.

Throwing Clay & a Giveaway

Updated: Thank you all for entering! The winner has been drawn and contacted!

I have never thrown clay. As crafty as I am it’s one thing I had never tried. So when the awesome Rachel invited me to come to Birmingham and visit her Aunt Tena’s pottery studio, Earthborn Studios, I couldn’t wait. I had heard of Tena’s pottery before, having enjoyed dining on it at Spring House near Lake Martin. I love the colors and natural organic sense of her pottery. Her pottery is used in many restaurants including Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham and The Belagio in Las Vegas. It was also featured on Iron Chef America when Chef Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club defeated Iron Chef Bobby Flay.

Cahaba Clayworks is the home of Earthborn Studios and offers classes and instruction in pottery.  Located in Leeds, Alabama near Birmingham, it also makes for a fun girls’ night out even if you’re an hour or so away!

I have so many thoughts about working with clay. Of course I’m reminded of  Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. 

I’ll share those thoughts on another day, though. Today I want to share a few photos from the experience and a giveaway from Tena.

Tena and one of the instructors, Nabeel, giving us a demonstration and instructions. They both had such a calm way of instructing and teaching us.

Rachel trying to give me some pointers my first time trying pottery on the wheel.

Nabeel helping me get my clay centered.

Concentrating.

Some of Tena’s beautiful pottery.

Are you ready for the giveaway? Tena kindly gave each of us a beautiful piece to giveaway.

To enter just leave a comment below. I will choose a winner Friday, September 14. Giveaway open to continental U.S. residents only.

Fighting the Resistance


I stumble to the kitchen reaching into the refrigerator for orange juice. Some need their coffee. I need orange juice.

It’s barely after 5:30 a.m. I was awake until midnight. A bit later than usual, but these days it makes no difference how early I fall asleep. Eyes heavy my body pushing my mind back to sleep. Sometimes body wins and sleep comes again. Other times neither win out as I lay there not sleeping, but not starting the day either.

Body vs. Spirit

This is my struggle. Body so tired yet spirit wanting, but weak.

Of course I’m greeted by the view above when spirit wins the battle. So often though I allow my body to win. The morning rush then taking over and words soon forgotten.

Words flow to my mind early in the morning and late at night when I lay head to pillow. In the morning when the house is quiet and before the tasks of the day assault my mind. Before others can pull and tug at what they want from me.

On mornings when I start my day early I realize how much I can accomplish so one would think I would be more inclined to start my day when my mind tries to nudge my feet to floor so early.

Yes, it’s truly a battle. I think to myself “if I can just make it a habit. Habits overcome resistance.”

Steven Pressfield calls the struggle creatives fight against the resistance. And it’s true. There is resistance.

I wonder if there is more to the resistance than we may realize. Especially for those of us whose faith and art wrap tightly with one another.

Is this resistance the enemy trying to suffocate the gifts God has given us to share?

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27 NASB

I believe we are all creative in our own ways. No, some may not be defined as creatives, yet we are all gifted in some way. He created us in His image after all. The ultimate creator created us in His image. Perhaps the resistance is stronger for those defined as creatives. Though I can’t say for certain I wonder. Or is it because those of us who create with words, paint, music, and images release something so much a part of our spirit? People connect with music, words, art and images in a way unlike any other. And so often it’s how we connect with God. It’s how we connect others to their Creator.

Art Must Be Shared

Art must be shared. Why else would the need to create feel so strong? Because our art is a gift. And just as with grace if we hold on too tightly we strangle it. We must hold our gifts with open hands. Grasping our gifts, our art, too tightly hides their reflection of the Creator.

This is my challenge. Making a habit of carving out time each day to write. Blocking out distractions of the day and focusing on the words He gives. Somehow making it all work together in harmony.

In what aspects of life do you find yourself fighting the resistance?


Life: Unmasked

I am.


Words fumble out when someone asks me what I do. A question I rarely know how to answer. So much of who we are is wrapped up in what we do and there are days I grow weary of needing to define myself.

What I am coming to realize, though, is that while my worth is not defined by what I do, all the aspects of my life define me.

I don’t struggle to define myself as wife and mother. The struggle for me is declaring myself in the realms of arts.

I hesitate to call myself a photographer, an artist, a writer.

But those are aspects of my life that I love and in part define me.

I’ve always loved taking photos even as a child and while those first photos taken with my 110 film camera (remember those?) never seemed to capture what my mind saw, my skills have grown and are growing still.

I am a photographer.

The desire to paint came more recently. God gave our son such an artistic gift. Four years ago we decided to cultivate his gift more by enrolling him in art lessons. I enrolled with him painting alongside him in the beginning. My art time has been spent painting what I see in photos or trying to paint the works of others in an effort to learn. Now I’m beginning to find my own voice with my painting.

I am an artist.

But writing has been with me for as long as I can remember. From the time I learned to read and write with a pencil I loved writing. I graduated from college having spent four years reading and writing and I had no idea what I wanted to do. One of those degrees where you can do almost anything or nothing. Still I’m proud of that degree.

Somewhere along the way those voices that try to squelch who God created you to be overpowered. Amidst life, marriage, running a household, changing diapers, and chasing after the most adorable auburn haired boy I stopped considering myself a writer.

But thankfully God doesn’t give up the dreams He has for you even when you do.

I am a writer.

My writing will look different than it does for others. Even if my writing is never published, even if it only reaches the small audience of my blog, even when the words are hard and seem to bleed onto the page, I have to write because it is a part of who He created me to be.

I am a photographer.

I am an artist.

I am a writer.

For the next 15 days I am joining with Jeff Goins and others for a writing challenge. You can read more about it by clicking on the image below.