May 1, 2014

My Aha! Moment

I have to be honest with you... I feel a little foolish about writing this blog post. At the beginning of last month, I thought I had my art plans all figured out... I was going to create digital stamps & offer them for sale to crafters through my Etsy shop, PholkartStudio. I set about the process of creating TWO new blogs... one to feature my handcolored digistamps & another to host a monthly challenge for crafters who create handmade cards. Yes, my plans were coming together nicely!

But something just wasn't sitting right with me... and without taking time to explore my discomfort, I pushed those uneasy feelings aside & pressed on with my plan.

Midway through the month, I began to realize that I just wasn't very happy. I was feeling a constant inner push to create brand new designs. I had put on my organizer's hat & was directing my new operations, clucking over each area like a mother hen over her chicks. I had taken on the role of marketer/social media guru with new zeal & began spreading the word about my big plans... In the end, I discovered I was juggling too many balls in the air and I was feeling completely frazzled!!

Finally, I took time to listen to my heart. And I rediscovered what I probably knew all along... I missed creating colorful little pieces of original art by hand & I missed working on my illustrated art blog. As a BIG introvert, I had been pushing out beyond my comfort zone & I wasn't spending quiet time renewing my energy. Most of all, I was running out ahead of the Lord.

And so... I began the process of pulling back & deleting. No more digital stamps. No more challenge blog. I put the brakes on my daily social media. And I went back to my studio & started "makin' stuff."

Honestly, I began to feel lighter... and happier... and more "me" almost right away.  My inner self breathed a deep sigh of relief.

So here I am... a little lost, a little 'between things,' with no big plans or arty business goals. I'm just trying to show up each day with my sketchbook in hand, trying to listen with my heart to the Lord & hold whatever comes next for me very loosely.

Thank you Lord that you keep loving me even when I go off in my own direction. Thanks that you have good plans for me & I can trust you to lead me. Please help me to listen to you with my head & my heart... and to follow wherever you go.

April 4, 2014

And Suddenly It Was Spring!

Background Photo © Studiobarcelona |

Last time I updated this blog, it was January & I was setting some goals for myself for the New Year... and here it is April! How did THAT happen???... Apparently, I should have added a goal to blog more regularly too!

Actually... I HAVE been blogging... just not here exactly. Since January 1st, I've added TWO new blogs to keep up with (because yes, I'm a glutton for punishment!). The first new blog is called PholkartStudio Too! (P*S Too for short!). It's my 'Color Me Happy' Blog... My place to show off my handcolored digistamps & tell a little story with them ('cause I love to color & I love to write too!). And the second new blog is the PholkartStudio Challenge Blog, where I'm hosting a monthly papercrafting challenge for crafters who enjoy creating with my digistamps. The very first challenge is coming up on April 11th... and I don't mind telling you I'm a little nervous about whether crafters will join in or not!... Oh, the perils of trying something new!

And (if adding more blogs wasn't enough!), I've reopened my shop on Zazzle & started offering the art cards I love to make (ACEO's) once again in my Etsy Shop (yes, I DO think I may need professional help!).

Some days I wonder just WHY I'm doing all these things!... Do I really enjoy juggling lots of arty projects & driving myself a little nuts??? Well, truthfully... YES!
I love what I'm doing!
Each new day is filled with colorful, creative possibilities!... and honestly, what could be better?  :)

January 8, 2014

Three Goals For 2014

(Background photo © |

And suddenly... It's January, 2014!! Time to hang the brand new calendar in the kitchen & give some thought to my priorities for the year ahead!

It always seems that, as I take the Christmas ornaments down & try to shift life into 'Normal' again, I have the overwhelming urge to purge our home of things we don't need... and to organize myself better for the New Year.

This year is no exception.

I'm not a fan of making New Year's Resolutions... but I am a fan of reevaluating from time to time & setting new goals... What worked? What didn't work? And what needs to be changed?

So, here are a few of the things I'm hoping to do in 2014...

DRAW REGULARLY - OK, you might be surprised by this one, given my love of doodling!... But days can go by while I fritter away my time online, admiring what everyone else in the world is creating! Mind you, I do love that finding creative inspiration is as easy as clicking my mouse!... Still, the best way for me to grow as an artist is by picking up my pencil (& eraser!) everyday & practicing.

JOURNAL - With all those creative 'voices' out there pursuing their many different passions, it's easy for me to feel a bit lost about what it is that I'm called to do. That's where journaling comes in for me. Scribbling my thoughts down on a semi-regular basis helps me process what I'm thinking & feeling. It's also my way of having conversations with God about what He wants me to do & be. Keeping a journal helps me tune my ear & my heart to the Lord's voice.

(A little side note... I'm not talking about some form of artful journaling here!... I'm talking 'scribble your honest thoughts on notebook paper with your favorite Sharpie pen to get them out of your head & heart and onto the page.')

EXERCISE - My husband & I recently joined a nearby gym. I've 'failed' gym several times over the past few years, but I'm determined this time to keep it simple. Go three (or more) times a week, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes... Repeat, repeat repeat! It's all about showing up & doing the work. My middle-aged bones will thank me later!  ;)

How about YOU???... What do you hope 2014 will hold for you? And what are some simple steps you can take to move toward your goals?

December 11, 2013

A Very Simple Christmas

It's beginning to look a little bit like Christmas at our house again this year! Our wreath is hung on the front door... just a simple green wreath with a red bow. It feels welcoming to me. I hope it will make others feel welcomed to our home this season as well. 

Our artificial tree is assembled & fluffed & strung with lights. I miss the smell of fresh pine from a real tree, but this is a season in our married life when holidays mean traveling away from home. The twinkling lights are bright & cheerful. They give our home a festive feel. Sometime soon I'll carry down our boxes of ornaments from upstairs & add to the tree's sparkle... But for now, the simple, un-embellished tree makes me feel happy.

On top of the old piano in our dining room, I've arranged the Nativity scene... just a replica of someone's skilled hand carving. I love the folk art feel of it & its' rustic simplicity. It's a reminder to me that Jesus was born in the humblest of circumstances & laid in a feeding trough used for the stable animals... Amazing Grace!! God sent His only Son to live & walk among us. Who would have thought He could love us so much?

I took this picture from our deck last night... It reminded me of the carol, "Silent Night". This year I have found myself longing for peacefulness, for time to meditate on the true meaning of the Christmas season. My husband & I have scaled our gift-giving & holiday shopping back. In truth, I'm relieved not to be bustling about looking for 'who knows what to give to Uncle Harry.' I'm content to miss out on the crowds & glitz & commercialism so often a part of the Christmas season. I'm feeling more centered, less stressed & more joyous. Yes, the Merry feels like it's returned to Christmas for me this year!

Last Sunday at church, we sang the well-known French carol, "Angels We Have Heard On High." I know I must have sung this song thousands of times over the years. But somehow, the words of the third verse jumped out at me this time... so much so that I scribbled them down on the bulletin so I wouldn't forget. They really sum up what I long to do this Christmas season (& always!)...

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the Newborn King.

~ Wayne Wold

May YOU be blessed in knowing the love
of Jesus, our Savior and Lord
this Christmas!

November 14, 2013

Counting My Blessings

"Cozy Winter Home"

We had an unexpected early taste of Winter here in North Carolina, as the temps dipped down in the twenties overnight... No snow yet, but it sure has been cold enough for snow! First dog walk of the season, I bundled up in my scarf & hat & my winter coat, with a scarf I'd knit wrapped almost up to my nose.


"Boy, I'm not ready for Wintertime yet!... I really don't like being cold!... Wasn't Halloween just a few days ago???" that little voice in my head begins to whine & complain...

And then I remember (something I'm prone to forget if I'm not very careful)...  

This is a very good day to count my blessings!

So, today I'm thankful for...

  • A warm house on a chilly day
  • A hot cup of Chai tea in my favorite mug
  • The space heater that's warming my toes-ies
  • The fleece blanket my sons gave me for Christmas... I'm cozier because of their love for me
  • A sunny 'Carolina Blue' sky with not a cloud in sight 
  • The sound of my dog snoozing right next to me while I type
  • A brand new book I can hardly wait to read
  • ... And a wide-open day to enjoy being creative!  :) 

Lord, I have so very much to be thankful for!... Please teach me to notice and count the big & small blessings in my everyday life... good gifts you have given to me!

November 11, 2013

Color Me Happy!

Just recently I decided to add some colored samples to the PholkartStudio DigiStamp shop on Etsy. I love color!... and I wanted to give my basically black & white shop a little more colorful friendliness!

What I didn't expect when I started my sample-making project... was rediscovering the joy I've always found in the process of coloring! With some music playing quietly in the background & a few stolen minutes to myself, there is something so peaceful & even prayerful for me about coloring! It takes me back to a time when my little girl self spent hour upon happy hour filling coloring books with hues like Blue, Green & Yellow-Orange, Purple & Red.

Now that I'm all grown up, my favorite coloring materials have changed from that wonderful new box of 64 Crayola crayons (my very own!) to my growing stash of Copics, Prismacolor markers & colored pencils. But that little-girl-love for coloring still remains!

 ...Yes, there's nothing like the blessing of simple pleasures!

October 22, 2013

The Trouble With Dust Bunnies

I love having my studio in our home!... There is nothing like blogging in my PJ's with a fresh, hot cup of coffee in my favorite mug. I love curling up in a comfy corner of the couch to sketch while listening to our lab, Winnie, snoozing happily on her bed. I love brainstorming new ideas & jotting them down while fixing dinner. I love having Aha! moments when I just drop everything & follow my latest creative intuition, playing with markers & colored pencils.

But there are some things I find hard about working & creating at home... and most often my biggest hurdle to overcome is ME!

Yes, I'm one of those bed-making, do-the-dishes, work-comes-before-play kinda people. I'm the kind of person who sees the spider webs, the dog hair, and all those dust bunnies. And it's hard (really hard!) for me to ignore them & go on with my next "great" creative idea. No... first I think I must banish the dust bunnies & all of their friends from my home, and then (only then!) do I feel OK about indulging myself in a little creative playtime.

As you can probably imagine, the playful side of me can get pretty exasperated with the dutiful side of me! 

So today (once again!) I want to remind myself that life is a balancing act... and there will always be dust bunnies! Sometimes the best thing for me to do is to ignore all the dust bunnies life holds & simply let the little girl in me come out to play.