Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

Ok, it's a few days late...but since I'm having a hard time moving on from the holiday season, better late than never. ;) We spent a lovely week-and-a-half in Arizona visiting my mom for Christmas. We took a trip up to Flagstaff to sled in the snow, we baked cookies and hung around the house in our PJ's all day--it was a wonderful, restful, joyful vacation to say the least.

My mom's tree was decorated in old wooden, hand-painted ornaments from my childhood. It's funny how the little things will bring back a flood of memories from Christmases past.

I was looking forward to a break from the cold, winter weather we were experiencing back home, but it was actually COLDER in Phoenix...crazy weather! But we did have plenty of days of sunshine and bright, big, blue Arizona skies with syrupy, neon orange marmalade sunsets. (No photo! Insert imaginary sunset *here*)

Even managed to get some art journaling in at the airport while we waited to embark on our journey and again once we arrived at my mom's house. I was inspired by the wonderful art in the new Art Journaling magazine.

We're back in California now, enjoying the mild winter weather (no snow!), getting ready for Christmas part 2 and 3 (one for us and the kids and another with my dad and stepmom). The sparkling string of lights on my porch will stay lit until January 1 (and probably will stay up for the next 6 months, until I remember to take them down!).

Christmas only comes once a year, who says we can't make it last as long as we want? ;) Curl up with a hot cocoa, peppermint stick and listen to the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas. We can stay in denial for a little while longer, can't we? ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

“When the Cat’s Away…” Daily Giveaways

Happy Holidays!

I love giveaways! :) I just had to share this with you...Alpha Stamps, one of my favorite places to go for inspiration and unique art supplies is having daily giveaways from December 27, 2008 through Sunday, January 4th, 2009. All you have to do is leave a comment on that day’s blog post by 11:59 pm (PST).

Check out the details at:

Happy creating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Getting ready for the Winter Performance. Maya's class sang two sweet songs. The theme was Peace Around the World. (Pose was her idea--cute little foot pointed back!)

Playing with wintry shadows and light in a little corner of the playroom.

Our house minus the overgrown trees! Let the sunshine in! (Palm trees means you know your'e in California!)

Kelsi and Mo hangin' out on a bright, crisp December day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And Speaking of Inspiration...

Check out Susan Tuttle's new book: Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations + Explorations
It is full of inspiring projects and lovely, wonderful, amazing art by a variety of artists. To celebrate her new book, Susan is hosting a give away on her blog--one lucky winner will receive a copy of the book! Just go on over to her blog and visit this post, follow the instructions, and voila! You may be the lucky one.

29 Days of Giving

With the holidays fast approaching, it only seems natural that we are filled with the spirit of giving. Of course, we should be giving year round, but I know, life gets in the way and we tend to forget and move it down on our "to do" lists. I'm gulity, too--no worries. ;) But it doesn't mean you can't start now. Today. There is always room to give. Spread the love!

I stumbled upon a blog entry of artist Chrysti Hydeck and I was inspired to share this experience. Take a minute to visit and read and be inspired to share with others. It involves many generous and lovely give-a-ways, but it isn't just about "getting stuff." It's also about sharing your thoughts and inspiring you to give a little of yourself as well.

I was talking with Raul today about how at first it seemed that technology brought people closer together (faster transportation, communication, etc) but at the same time it can also push us further apart (email versus snail mail, phone call versus an unexpected visit, talking on a cell phone while sitting with your best friend at lunch, etc). But overall, I think it has brought us closer together and made it easier to connect with one another because we share a common interest or curiosity. It gives us a chance to see people in other parts of the country that we might have preconceived notions about as human and like us rather than keeping up barriers and prejudices that separate us. Same goes for learning about other people in other parts of our world. It gives us a chance to see each other in real time and to read real words written by real people who we have so much in common with even if we don't speak the same language.

I feel connected to a large community of artists just by posting here every once in a while and visiting other people's blogs and websites. But I also have a need for real life connection, too. That's what lead to my adventures at Artfest last April and what inspires me to take that journey again this April (even though I will be 8 months pregnant by then!). The need for human interaction also inspires me to meet once a month with a lovely and talented group of ladies where we exchange ideas, gifts, stories, laughter and make art.

I hope you will also be inspired to reach out to those that inspire you and make time to connect with others that share your passions. Making art is so much fun and it is so wonderful to be able to share it with others, too.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas is Coming...

I really do love this time of year when the air turns crisp and cold and sometimes the sun peeks out to warm you up when you really need it. Fall has come and gone with a few leaves lingering on the trees. With the scorching temperatures gone (for now) I can pull back the curtains and let the LIGHT in! Our house is full of an enchanting warm glow during the sunlit hours of the day and, like a cat, I move from room to room following the sun for warmth and light. We got the trees trimmed in the front and back of the house and it makes for even more wonderful, light-drenched rooms. The leaves protect us from the scorching summer heat and in the winter, they draw back their shades to let the light pour in! I'm loving it. ;)

For the second time in my crafty life, I participated in a craft fair! But this time I learned my lesson and I bought affordable supplies that I could transform easily into delightful works of art. Last time I did this, I opted to learn several new crafts and the laundry piled up to the ceiling! And the kids ate cereal with water! (ok, it wasn't THAT bad. Good thing dad's the cook in the family. I just provide the basics and do the shopping. Funny side note: We were all watching tv one day and a commercial came on that showed a smiling mom carrying out a hamburger helper casserole out to her family sitting around a perfect dining room table. Maya turned to me and Raul and in a serious but inquisitive tone remarked, "Moms can cook?".) Ok, so craft fair. It was fun and it gave me the confidence boost I needed to prove to myself that I can make a living from my craft. :)

I wore my butterfly earrings out yesterday and got many compliments from friends and family. "Wow, you made these?" Yes, I did! :) And it was fun! I do have the goal of having my own Etsy shop up by the end of this year. Well, I think it's just around the corner, even if it's not technically launched January 1, 2009. ;) But big things are on their way. I just know it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hats Are a Good Thing

Maya when she was three went through this funny "phase" where she loved to wear hats. But not everything she wore on her head really qualified to us "grown ups" as hats. But she wore them anyway. In public, too! To the store, out on afternoon walks through the neighborhood. She is a fearless wearer of things that others might be to shy to wear out where others could see them.

She still loves to dress up in cat ears and dog masks when we go to Target or walk around the block to the bagel shop. Once, while wearing her plush dog mask on a shopping trip, she made several children giggle, moms and grandmas smile and coo, "awww, how cute" and a grown man jump in surprise when he exclaimed, "Oh man! I thought that was a stuffed animal and then it moved!"

We had to stop off at the post office after a birthday party one day and she still had the party hat on. But instead of wearing it on top of her head, she stuck it right into the middle of her forehead. "Do you want me to fix that so it's on top of your head?" I asked. "No, it's ok, " she said, "I'm a rhino!"

Be fearless. Wear something funky on your head today. Or mismatched socks. Or bright orange underwear. Just something different and out-of-the-ordinary to celebrate the creative and weird. ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Old Friends, New Seasons

I've been working on some jewelry lately. It's funny that when I started making art again about two years ago, I started with jewelry. I collected every jewelry and beading magazine I could get my hands on. And then my artistic interests took me on a whirlwind adventure in stamping, card making, mixed media, and collage.

And now I'm back where I started. It feels good to return to a familiar activity. I feel a connection to the beads, wire, fibers and doo-dads that I combine into wearable art. It's like I've reconnected with an old friend and we've just picked up where we left off like no time had passed at all.

Today was a scorcher (for November) at 77 degrees! Stranger things have happened. (Like snow in March...and we're only 85 feet above sea level!) A stroll to the park with some friends from the neighborhood was just what a day like today called for. I sat barefoot in the grass and chatted with the moms while Maya collected acorns with her girlfriends.

The evenings are still cool and require fuzzy socks and extra layers. So it's kinda sorta maybe lookin' like Fall...but today was like Fall trying on Summer for a change. So does that make it Fummer or Sall? But nothing beats a warm, sleeping kitty (and a cute little monkey) to snuggle up to. I know there's a song to sing when you want the rain to go away or the sun to come out, but is there a "go away summer" song I can sing? ;)

Friday, November 07, 2008


Ok, this is new to me. I've been tagged by Catherine, who I met at Convenzione in Pleasanton (we took Lisa Kaus' class and I had a great time chatting with her!) I'm a new blogger and have never been tagged and I don't even think I know seven other bloggers (other than those blogs that I follow and don't have the courage to comment on! I'm shy.) but here goes...

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Ok, 7 random facts:

1. I am 31 with a 6 year old daughter, 15 year old stepson, 13 year old stepdaughter and another one on the way (due May 14, 2009)
2. I am a night owl and I loathe the early morning!
3. I am Japanese, Italian, and Irish
4. I love soft, furry things and once owned a fuzzy blue sweater that was so soft I had to touch it at least once a day (it is now replacec by a white fuzzy scarf that I love!)
5. I curse like a sailor (especially in the car on the freeway. crazy $#@! drivers!!)
6. I was president of my school in the 6th grade
7. I believe there is life out in outerspace (like, aliens! E.T. and Contact are my favorite movies!)

Ok, now you're it:


Have fun! :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween has come and gone! Maya was a bat this year.

She had a blast trick-or-treating with her grandma and grandpa from Arizona.

Cesar, our cat, enjoyed his traditional spot as the "head" of Freaky Freddy.

Even Zach got into the spirit of the holiday and dressed up in his dad's old army uniform. He was the spitting image of a younger Raul. ;) Zach had the idea to lay down in a cardboard "coffin" we had set up on the front porch originally intended for our dear, headless Freaky Freddy. He managed to scare the bats out of a lot of trick-or-treaters just by laying there! They didn't know if he was going to spring up at any moment, or if he was even a real person. I didn't snap a photo because the image of my young stepson in an army outfit laying in a coffin just didn't seem like the kind of kodak moment I wanted to share. Call it a weird mom thing, but the image was just too close to my worst nightmare! But he had a fun time, and we give him such a hard time for being so anti-social that it was fun to have him share in on the Halloween hi-jinx.

I carved a little politics into my pumpkin this year. ;) I don't think it is a spitting image, but all the kids who came to our door last night shouted with excitement, "Obama! Look, mom! It's Obama!" We'll see tomorrow how this all turns out. If you haven't already, please go and VOTE! Even if you're not in a "swing" state, it's still important that your vote is counted. And even if the lines are excuses! Just do it. Be a part of history. Nomatter who you're voting for, just vote. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

File under M for Miscellaneous

I had a blast at Anahata Katkin's two-class retreat in Cardiff (near San Diego, CA). I learned so much and really pushed myself creatively. I feel like I walked away with some great ideas and new techniques. Raul went with me, so I didn't have to drive the 18 hours (round trip!) alone. He was stuck at the hotel with no internet connection the first day--poor guy! But that night, we went out for dinner at a lovely Thai restauraunt in Encinitas and strolled around the artsy and touristy shops before heading back to the hotel.

The next day, we ran into another dilemma--check out was at noon, so where was the poor guy to go all day? We got up early, took an early AM stroll on the beach and had breakfast at a cute little diner in Encinitas. Then he hung around the town all day while I attended the second workshop with Anahata (Funky Wall Paper People!). Between the book store and the coffee shop (with wireless connection!), he was all set. I left class a little early on Sunday so we could get back home at a relatively reasonable time. So it all worked out! I met some amazing women at the retreat and saw some wonderful art. It was fun walking around to get ideas from others and to just admire the work of my fellow artists!

Maya and I have been walking around the neighborhood in the evenings. It is the best time to go for a little stroll. Great light for photos, and every one else is out and about walking their dogs or watering their yards.

It's mid-fall now, but some days it still feels like SUMMER. (And some folks STILL think global warming is just something liberals made up for just for the heck of it?) It is cooler at night which is a great reason to break out the flannel sheets and warm blankets, so at least in some way it kinda, sorta feels like fall. But I'm still wearing flip flops during the day...crunching on fall leaves in flip flops--it's weird. ;)

I'm getting excited for Halloween now that it is, indeed, October (and not mid-summer! See previous post!). I made these cards for a tag swap with my Bay Area Art Sisters--a group of ladies from the Bay Area who met at Artfest and decided to continue getting together once a month to make art.

I'll be missing our next meet-up which will be at the Book Arts Jam at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Ca--I'm so sad I'll miss it! But I look forward to our November meet-up. These gals are an inspiration and a lot of fun. It's nice to know there are artsy women that are in the area that I can meet with in real life. I love the internet for it's instant interconnectivity and convenience, but NOTHING beats meeting with folks face to face and that essential human interaction we all need.

I'm ready for crunchy leaves, rainy days, the smell of decay, pumpkin carving, and cold, smoky, moonlit nights. I'll even start wearing regular shoes if Fall finally decides to show up!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Artfest 2009, Here I Come!!!

I got my registration packet today and I am so thrilled at the thought of another Artfest! I was going to post a picture of the beautiful cover art but then I realized that not everyone has received their packets yet and I didn't want to spoil any part of the surprise! So I took a photo of one of Maya's little octopus toys (which, coincidentally, the same toy appears in the inside of the registration packet!) And here's this year's logo:

Maya asked if she could go to Artfest this year and I told her I'd take her when she was a teenager--to which she replied, "Awww! No fair!" ;) She is a little Artfester at heart and I can't wait for the day she is old enough and we can go together as mom and daughter! This event is something I hold so dear to me and with so little "rites of passages" these days, I am excited at the thought of being able to take Maya one day. I think if I would've known about Artfest as a teen or college freshman, I would've knocked away all the worries and "what-ifs" and just been an art major or gone off to some funky art school somewhere instead of majoring in something "practical" and struggling to make every job I had more "artsy". ;) Oh well, you live and learn! And that's just all part of the fun of life.

I've got flowers on my mind and striking color combos. I kept passing this fire-bright flower every day this summer on the way back and forth to Maya's swim lesson, and I always thought, "I should bring my camera next time." I remembered to bring my camera yesterday on a little walk and I snapped the above photo. I also like those two colors together: a bright crimson and a darkish tealish blue. Might just have to use that somewhere again...

And I've got Mandalas on the brain, too...I'm preparing for Anahata Katkin's Mixed Media Mandalas class which I will be attending next weekend in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. I saw this cactus-like plant full of these Mandala blooms and had to snap a photo. It is also strangely reminiscent of a sea creature, too, with tentacle-looking tendrils flowing from behind. A coincidence that Sea Creatures is this year's Artfest theme? Hmmmm....I don't believe in coincidence. Everything seems to be connected in one lovely way or another.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome to the world...

...Satchmo James McMartin!!!
Born September 4, 2008 at 12:02 am
8 lbs 9 oz, 21.5 inches long
Cute as a button.

Parents Kelsi and Jeff McMartin are so proud! And we are proud of them, too. They made a beautiful little angel together. Mama Kelsi labored all day--her strength and peaceful state were inspirational! And papa Jeff was right by her side the whole time with gentle words and a comforting touch. Satchmo came into this world a peaceful, happy baby. At only a week old, he's already looking around with much wonder and he seems ready to move around! We are so happy you are finally here, little man!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Art Life...New Beginnings

I took this amazing class at Convenzione called "Gridlocked" with Lisa Kaus last weekend. We worked with fluid acrylics, water soluble oil pastels, found objects and other fun stuff. I just wanted to share my work-in-progress. The final step is to coat it with a yummy smelling layer of beeswax. It never appealed to me to work on a wood substrate before this class. I think it's the best surface to adhere big, chunky found objects to--another thing I didn't quite get to finish yet; the chunky bits will get some tiny nails and wire attachments to keep 'em on there for good. ;)

What else is goin' on? Maya stared First Grade last week. She came home from the first day proclaiming that it was just too long of a day and that I could pick her up around lunch time. ;) I hear ya' little one. I didn't like how much school cut into my free time--how much time it took from me in general! I don't do too well with structured, scheduled blobs of time.

I think that's part of the reason I did something really scary and wild last week: I quit my job. I do enjoy teaching art to kids, but it's not my passion. It is my "security net" job. What I really want to do is be an artist full time. It's no coincidence that this decision was made soon after I received Kelly Rae Roberts' new book, "Taking Flight" last week! I have also embarked on a new adventure with Kelsi where I will be facilitating art experiences with new and expectant moms. It was perfect timing. The new venture is called "Expressive Arts Play" (or "Mama Love"). The blog is up and running, we've got three exciting, nurturing classes we're hunting for the right space. ;) Updates soon! We expect our first classes to start in October.

Oh, and today was the first day to send out Artfest registrations for next year's gathering in Port Townsend, Washington. I am SO excited. I can't wait to see what classes I get this year. I'm also considering driving out this time. AND I just signed up today for Anahata Katkin's weekend workshop in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Ca! I get to take two classes of hers that she taught at Artfest last year--Mixed Media Mandalas and Funky Wallpaper People. I couldn't be more thrilled! Hooray for the creative, fearless, artful life!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Life 101

Take a walk down your street a little before sunset. Take your camera with you and snap little photos here and there--whatever catches your eye: funky colors, pretty flowers, interesting textures...

...ballerina bunny shadows...

Take a walk with a loved one to the park, or to get an ice cream cone or pearl tea.

Take along a small satchel of art essentials, spread out a blanket and just doodle.

Take your shoes off and plant your feet in the grass (or mud or sand or dirt).

Or just lay in the grass and look for bugs, or roll down a hill, or look up at the sky through the tree leaves.

Most of all, just love where you live and explore it every once in a while. I dream of moving to far away places--the high deserts of New Mexico, the coast of Maine, the Redwoods of California (ok, not that far, I guess)--but why dream away your life? Why not just live away your dream?


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