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.  :)

May 15th, 2015... A follow up to this post...

I wrote this post last December... and about 6 months later, I've decided that creating appliqued 'cozies' is lots of fun, but not my creative 'calling.' I suspect this is because I have such a short attention span! *wink!* Much as I love the colors & textures of applique & crochet... my creative 'heart' really belongs to illustration. Put simply... I found I missed my Prismacolor pencils & markers and those itty-bitty doodles on Bristol paper that magically become little pieces of art!

So... I've closed my SimplyCozyInCarolina shop & returned to my 'first love'... creating tiny illustrations for my (now reopened) shop, PholkartStudio. I hope you love my silly doodles as much as I love creating the!  :)

September 8, 2014

Some Recent Thoughts on Creative Goals...

I am really in a strange place recently. The summer's pace interrupted the art goals that I thought I was so excited about... My husband was home, we traveled a lot, we spent time with family & cared for aging parents. I crocheted a whole bunch of kids' hats for World Vision's 'Knit for Kids'... and got excited about learning a brand new craft. Somehow, my sketchbook stayed on my shelf all summer & really didn't call my name. I put my Etsy shop on vacation for an undetermined amount of time. This is really not like me... not like me at all!

I have almost (but not quite) 'broken up with' Facebook... and I'm not missing social marketing a bit (zip-zero!). It's been months since I've "zazzled" or tried to keep up with my website or blogs. OK now, seriously... What gives?

I'm wondering if I've reached a new place in my life where I'm just ready to do something more tangible, more here-and-now... something more meaningful.

Or could it be that this is just part of the up & down life of being a creative person? Life changes...
interests ebb & flow.

What do you have for me Lord, as the seasons change and I adopt a new rhythm to life? Will you give me a 'heart' for something new?... or will you encourage me to keep going with what I've already started? I don't know yet... but my prayer is to be in the center of your will. Help me to have ears to hear your voice & a heart to embrace your direction.

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 all my art plans 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!

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?