January 26, 2015

Time for a Blog Makeover

I really don't know how this happened... but somehow, long ago, this chubby mermaid became the star of my blog header...

She's a character from one of the first art cards I made years ago... Yes, she looks gigantic here, but she really only measures a teeny-tiny 2.5" x 3.5". Still, she's very sensitive about her weight (*wink*).

I think I just related to her, with her flowing auburn hair (the color my hair used to be). She's all dressed in a cheerful shade of purple & swimming happily in the sea. Cute little mermaid... she's perfectly imperfect, and I liked that about her. Somewhere along the way, we became fast friends, and she's followed me all over the web.

Fast forward a bunch of years and many colored pencils & markers later... this sweet silly doodle showed up in my sketchbook. And once again, I just knew I could relate to her. She's growing older, but she continues to smile at the future. She's comfy 'just being herself'. She loves God and is blessed to encourage others along the way. She still believes in the magic of art & creativity, and it brings her so much joy! She's a little bit 'creakier' these days... and you can see the laugh lines around her eyes.

I'm not sure yet what her name will be... maybe something old fashioned, like Clara or Felicity or Grace. But I am sure that she's the perfect companion for me as I continue on my arty journey!

January 23, 2015

Still Doodling...

I'm still doodling over here... and thought I'd share a few of my favorites from my January 'Draw Everyday' Challenge (which has turned out to be the 'Draw As Often As You Can & Have Fun Doing It' Challenge!). I abandoned the idea of numbering each card I drew... but I've kept the same freehand border & stay in it only when I want to. That's what happens when you make up the rules as you go along!

So, while the crockpot is simmering & the dryer is humming & the coffee is hot, here I go sharing a few designs that I like... in no particular order.

'Love One Another'

'Whimsical Flowers'

'Rainy Day'

(Hmmm!... I think I'm noticing a weather theme here.)

...and because I love drawing children, a couple more 'kid-themed' designs doodled their way out of my pencil too.

'Future Engineer'

'Amanda Loves Books'

I have to say, I really have enjoyed doodling these little challenge cards... they've been just the jump-start my creativity has needed.

So, maybe I'll keep on doodling some more...

January 12, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays...

So... It's been one of 'those' days. Foggy, drizzly & cold outside... and I've been at home trying to find my cleaning enthusiasm while conquering our mountain of dirty laundry. (Really!... where does all that dirty laundry come from anyway??). Folding the (now) clean mountain of laundry, then walking the dog in my yellow raincoat... I wonder what we're having for dinner tonight. Aside from the yucky weather, it's been a pretty normal Monday at our house.

Most Mondays I eventually get my 'engine' revved up. I make a big pot of coffee, treat myself to a piece of dark chocolate, & turn some 'coffee house' music on Pandora... or maybe some Amy Grant or James Taylor. Happy music... Comfort music... 'Music to get things done by'. But today, the 'blahs' have followed me around the house all the day long... 'Blah, blah, blah blah blah!'

And then it hits me!... What better way to chase away my 'meh' feeling than to give it a face... and maybe a cozy pair of pink bunny slippers & a nice cup of hot coffee in an 'I Love You' mug.

And so I did!  :)

This is #5 in my Doodle mini-challenge... just something quick & fun I'm doing to help me get my drawing 'mojo' back. I think it just might be working.  :) 

January 7, 2015

The 'Draw Everyday' Mini-Challenge

I'm blessed to be a member of a little online art group. It's a 'safe' place where we can share the many ups & downs of being creative and marketing artwork.

During the month of January, some of us are doing a mini-challenge to encourage us to draw or be creative every day. Sounds simple, right?... Well, that's what I thought too!

So, I decided to doodle a tiny card each day... sorta my version of the illustrated calendars I've admired online. I wanted the whole process to be straightforward, portable & simple... so I cut some 4x6" cards in half & decided each card would have the numbered date & be done in my favorite Prismacolor markers & colored pencils. I envisioned each doodle taking less than 10 minutes (ha!).

The little 'Man In The Moon' above was the first to doodle its' way off my pencil. Believe me, he took LOTS more time to create than I'd thought he would! (...This is supposed to be quick & easy, right?).

Day Two found me out of town & staring at the blank card from my ziplock 'travel bag' without a clue about what to draw. Thinking "winter", after a long while I finally came up with this chilly penguin. Two down, 29 itty-bitty cards to go...

By the time Day Three was over & not one pencil scribble to show for it, I knew it was time to switch over to 'Plan B'... 'Draw as often as you can & don't worry about it. Just Keep Drawing!!' ...So that's my game plan & I'm sticking with it!

The opinionated perfectionist who lives in my head has already been ranting about the 'cuteness' & originality of my little cards. Not only that, but she's completely outraged by the scan quality of these little pieces of art. No worries though... I have banished her from my studio for the duration of this challenge. I can still hear her knocking... but I'm not letting her back in!

December 20, 2014

Blessed Beyond Words!

'Joyful Mail'

The mailman has been delivering Christmas cards to our house this week... friends from near & far! It amazes me that, over the course of our marriage, Joe and I have been loved by so many special people, far too many to count!

Often these Christmas cards contain personal letters, updating us on the highs & lows of the past year for each family. I loved the JOY in one of the first cards to arrive in our mailbox... a photo card of a grandma, surrounded by her ten 'grands' at the beach. While her year had held many ups & downs... this grandma's perspective was that she'd been 'Blessed Beyond Words'... and so it is for our family!

Lord, thank you for your kindness & generosity to us. This past year was filled with love and joy, courage and fears, disappointment and challenges. And in it all, we are so grateful that you've been right here with us through all of it... We have indeed been blessed beyond words!

December 11, 2014

Keepin' Warm & Being Creative

Today's the first day I really needed to bundle-up while walking our lab, Winnie... 28 degrees is way past chilly for this Carolina girl! Post-walk, my favorite mug is filled with piping hot coffee, I'm wearing two pair of socks, and I'm covered up with a warm fleece blanket while typing this. Hot chocolate would be an extra good tummy-warmer this morning too!

This is a sketch I did a couple of years ago when I was attempting to create my 'Daily Doodles.' Just wanted to encourage myself to do a quickie sketch each day without really planning it out. This one made me smile, so I decided it was a 'keeper!' ...Hope it makes you smile today too!

Materials I used for this Daily Doodle: One 3x5 card from Office Depot, a mechanical pencil & good eraser, a #3 Micron pen, Prismacolor markers, Prismacolor pencils & a dash of humor!

December 10, 2014

Simply Cozy In Carolina

Photo Credit: Big Stock

Much to my surprise... I opened a second Etsy shop this fall. After much debate, I decided to call it SimplyCozyInCarolina. Somehow, the name just seemed to fit.

Now, I've been an Etsy fan & seller for many years. My original shop is PholkartStudio... my little 'home' for the silly drawings I love to create.

But over this past summer, I caught the Crochet Bug. I became interested in creating kids' hats for World Vision's Knit For Kids program which "unites thousands of volunteer knitters to fight poverty with our knitting needles." (or in my case, a crochet hook!). I love their mission to care for children in need, and I wanted to be part of it in some small way.

After inventing a basic hat pattern, I headed to my favorite local craft store and bought lots and lots of brightly colored acrylic yarn. In the evenings, I crocheted away... and in no time at all, my studio was overflowing with colorful hand-crocheted kids' hats in all different sizes... Yes, it was time to send off my very first box of hats.

Pretty soon, I received a thank you email from Knit For Kids... all the goodies that they'd received in October were headed to children in Uganda, Romania, Costa Rica, and Rwanda. I hope some cute little heads & ears will be warmer this winter.

In between hats, I started to make coffee cup cozies with the leftover yarn from my creative stash. I'd admired some cozies with felt applique designs on Etsy, and I thought they looked like fun little projects to make. One thing led to another... and pretty soon I'd crocheted a rainbow of cozies, just waiting like little canvases for me to add my own designs. This was a lot like illustrating with a needle and thread!... and I fell in love with my new-found hobby.

And, that's how SimplyCozyInCarolina was 'born'... totally spontaneously one Saturday morning. Just for the fun of it... I wonder where this latest creative venture will take me next.  :)