Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2017!
Recently my friend Seth asked a handful of bloggers to calculate our most popular blog posts for a re-cap he presented on his blog. It was heartwarming to observe and recognize that my most visited post was the announcement of Sam's invention of "purpose" and the opening of his online shop: see HERE. Also in the top ten was a follow-up, when he was featured in my column for Somerset Studio: see HERE. I know that blog reading is down in general, and that most people tend to visit on facebook rather than clicking through to see full posts. So I thank you all for taking the time to swing by here, and to check in from time to time with your kind comments.
Here's to a creative and productive year ahead for all of us. I hope you find your purpose (one or more!) and that if you already know yours, that you can help a loved one find theirs.
My friend Nathalie, host of Creative JumpStart, has prepared a video that is a visual interview. She asked the questions, I sent her graphics for my answers. I love this kind of interview. Check it out. You can sign up for a month of motivational tutorials from 27 artists, to get you plugged in to making cool stuff HERE. I hope you'll join us!
When you get to the end of the video it will show you some of the other interviews that have been posted so far - click on those too. Super fun!
I'm excited to announce that I'll be a participating artist for Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017, hosted for the 6th year by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to kick your creativity into high gear in January 2017.
Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with other artists and crafters.
Throughout January participants get access to 27 downloadable videos from 27 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:
Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and to learn more details:
If you sign up before November 30th (11:59 pm EST 2016) the cost is only $40.
Afterwards it will be $45 until December 31st, 2016 before it goes to its regular price of $50.
Treat yourself and jumpstart your creativity for the new year - a full month of inspiring posts to get you plugged in to making art!
I participated last year - with my first video! It was super fun to see how each jumpstart artist interpreted the prompt of the theme, and I learned a lot of really fun techniques (from artists I knew and artists who were knew-to-me) and it definitely got me motivated for the new year. This will be my second year, and only my second video - I know! I'm a dinosaur....eventually video-making will become more of a habit...I hope! I am grateful to my friend Nathalie who pushed me out of my comfort zone to make these videos.
I love the theme for 2017 - MIX, MATCH, & MASTER and I have translated it with a quick and easy project that everyone should try!
So what are you waiting for? Sign up here at:
Chime in below if you are coming along for the ride and we will get excited together!
AND..........if you're a cyber shopper (who isn't?) Stencil Girl Products has deals all day long TODAY.
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Official shopping details: www.stencilgirlproducts.com
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Monday, November 28, 2016 from midnight until 11:59 a.m. CST (Central Standard Time)
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SHOP for my designs HERE.
Save 20% off all* stencils Use code: cyber20 Monday, November 28, 2016
from noon until 11:59 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time)
PLUS 10% discount when you buy 6 stencils of the same size!
AND orders over $100 get a FREE large stencil of Mary Beth's choice!
SHOP for my designs HERE.
Lots of really amazing designs at Stencil Girl Products - stock up for yourself, and double up to get some gifts!
Oh my...it's been a while since I blogged. A sign that's it has been a busy and fun summer! Can't believe it's September already. Fallon will be starting at Rutgers next week. I love the beginning of a school year, even it if doesn't have a direct impact on my personal daily life anymore (packing lunches, driving carpool, monitoring homework....) However, I always regard this time period as a chance to start anew. Three quarters of 2016 is over but we still can view this month as returning students do, with sharpened pencils and fresh perspective. Shake off unfinished projects, clear off the table, open your mind, and begin learning something new. Change of season, change of routine. That's what September means to me - although I do try to hang on to the last pleasures of summer a little longer.
My next two classes will be at Pratt in NYC. See my WORKSHOPS page for the particulars. Hope you'll come!!
I had two terrific classes at The Ink Pad last month. It's always such a treat to see how the artists interpret the projects. I always leave feeling so energized and motivated when I see the magic of creativity at work. Thanks for joining me!
I'm off to float around the pool again while catching up on my reading. Have a great holiday weekend!
A new class for August 13 - FLIP OVER NYC. Get it? It's a flip-style book you will flip over. Ha! Super fun to work on this one. Come take the class with me at The Ink Pad. Call (212) 463-9876 to register. Then on August 14 we will be making a Frond Chronicle Journal. Learn how to make your own stencil/mask sets (from four different materials), then use them as tools with paint. This one is a favorite and often requested. See samples below. Hope to see you in class!
It's a big day here. Sam is 24! Tomorrow he will join a community of friends and former classmates in a talent + fashion show at our high school. Sam's painted cards will be on display as a 'talented entrepreneur'. It's been so much fun watching these kids practice the 'runway'. After lunch out with his girlfriend Brianna we go the final dress rehearsal for the big show. It's going to be an action packed weekend. Lots of favorite memories in the collage below. Can't believe ~ 24!
Thanks to all of you who have shared your enthusiasm for his new enterprise of Painting with Purpose and the launch of his Etsy shop. We sold out and restocked the shop twice, and have been busy painting and folding more. Super fun!
SAM AND I HAVE BEEN BUSY!
We are excited to launch this new venture together, and are making our announcement today,
the beginning of Autism Awareness month.
SPECIAL NEEDS is a phrase that has a double meaning. Yes, Sam has 'special needs' in the way most people think. He has autism. But don't we all have special needs? Rather than shy away from the term we are embracing it to remind us that sometimes you just need a little something special. We hope you like our offerings and will choose to purchase when you want a card to send a personal message.
PAINTING WITH PURPOSE: Our goal is not to make profit but to cover our costs, and more importantly, give us a daily purpose. Our products may not be perfect, but that's the beauty of being handmade with heart. We will be donating a portion of our profit to make a difference in the lives of families who are affected by autism.
CREATING OUR OWN DESTINY: After years of working with agencies trying to find appropriate employment we've decided to create our own destiny with the self-imposed ambition to have a daily purpose. Painting with Purpose has become one of our mantras. Sam loves to sit at the easel and paint piles of paper everyday. Painting, cutting, sorting, counting, labeling, packaging and mailing will be a fun way to insert productive activity into our day.
RIPPLE EFFECT: (And the secret behind our logo) We hope that our choice to open this shop will have a ripple effect and inspire others to do something similar. If you know of a family that is also trying to gain employment for their adult child with special needs maybe you could suggest they find an item that could be handmade and sold too. When there isn't a clear path of what to do after graduation, this could be a worthwhile endeavor. I welcome any questions on how to get launched.
See our brand new shop, HERE.
As I mentioned here on the blog, a little while ago I had an epiphany. It wasn't a lightning bolt idea, it had actually been simmering for some time. After meeting with our sixth job coach in nearly three years, with grand hopes of finding appropriate job placement for Sam, it was becoming clear that we needed to invent our own plan for daily purpose. Sam has great skills and has had some work experience, but the applications and interviews were going nowhere. We couldn't even secure a regular volunteer position.
My first vision was to come up with a project that Sam could manage on his own, giving him a routine and a schedule - something that he loves. I purchased a die-cut machine with the intention that he could make sets of gift tags and sell them on Etsy. I buy tags from there all the time so it made sense. The endeavor would be a chance for him to be productive, and see results. Cut, sort, count, package. We began. Then, to explain better what we were doing this for, I pulled out some painted cards Sam had made back in middle school with his class. His teacher, Mrs. Reiss, had her husband make the boys some tabletop easels, and they painted papers which were made into card sets. The boys sold the cards from a table at school events, and even had a display at the church holiday bazaar. As I was reminding Sam about the handpainted cards he got really excited, and it was a *sign* we needed to drop the die-cut tags and focus on painting. So painting it is - and eventually we may circle back to tags, but we also have a few more project plans that will debut later in the year. Sam has purpose. Mom and Dad are proud. Family is supportive, and cheering, and tolerant of the dining room take-over during the painting sessions (he paints 30-40 sheets at a time!).
A few photos from 2007 when Sam's class was selling cards. Thanks to my friend Maureen Reiss, and the other teachers who got the boys started with the process of painting with purpose. Who knew this would become a daily focus? Awesome.
And a re-cap of our adventure - it's only just begun! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us. It's made the process really fun!
Ready to ship! See HERE.
EDIT (June): See my story in Somerset Studio (July/August) HERE
It's Leap Day! An extra day on the calendar. It's like having a snow day, and thankfully there are no flakes forecasted. I'm in the studio today working on a new-to-me format with supplies from my studio stash. My fingers are sore but I'm enjoying a new process. I'm completely making this up as I go. Don't you love stretching yourself with something different? You always bring fresh perspective to your default way of working. I'll show you soon.
Take the opportunity today to leap!
Leap quotes from 2008 HERE.
(security envelope art, colorized in photoshop)
Brrrrrr. It's a cold one here today. Hope you are nice and toasty wherever you are, and wrapped in love.
My grand plan for launching my new stencils in January got side-lined. Some fun assignments came my way so I shelved my own stuff until these new things are done. I'm not sure when I can tell you about all of it with the exception of a new venture that will begin in April. I will have some sneak peeks for you in the coming weeks. Thanks for your interest in the new stencils - I will squeeze in some production when I can and will post here when they are ready. Gotta say, it can be crazy to be so busy, but I'm not complaining!
Merry Christmas from the Wards! The theme this year was Graham's idea. We took the photos downstairs with all our instruments (yes, that's my own bass!) and the lighting was poor so I planned on converting to black and white. However, the colored version ended up being pretty good! So here's to a colorful Christmas! It's likely we will have the windows open this year - and may be out on the deck since it's expected to be in the 70s. What? Can't complain!
I'm going to wait until Friday to post our annual Christmas picture card as they are still arriving in the mail and I don't want to foil the surprise. If you've come by hoping to see my photo review of the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows it will be here eventually. We usually visit NYC over Thanksgiving weekend with my mom but this year my parents are coming for Christmas (today!) so we are saving the event for this weekend. The digital composition below is created with some of my new stencils that will be released in 2016. I like to mess around with them in photoshop to see how useful they might be in real life. I'm excited for these too!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas. I always expect the reader interprets what I'm saying, which is: I don't know the particular holiday you are celebrating this year so please take these words as wishes for a glorious season with loved ones.
I'm excited to announce that I'll be participating as an artist in 5th annual Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2016, hosted by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to kick your creativity into high gear in January 2016. Nathalie has extended an invitation to me for several years and I always declined as I'm not a video girl. So how cool is this? I made my first one!!
Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters.
Throughout January participants get 25 downloadable videos from 24 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:
Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and for more details:
You get 25 videos for just $45 (USD) for a limited time if you sign up before December 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm (EST)! After that the fee will be $50.
But wait – it gets better: as my valued reader, you’ll get $5 extra off today. Just use this coupon code during checkout:
*This is a limited offer valid from 10:00 am Dec 4, 2015 to 11:59 pm EST on Dec 11, 2015.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up here nathaliesstudio.com/cjs, and apply the coupon code during check out process.
Chime in below if you have any questions or if you want to share your enthusiasm for jumping along with us.
For those who have served and for those who are serving, thank you.
Last year's display of poppies in England is worth revisiting. The English still honor vets with poppies. I was saying last year that I rarely see them here.
The first photo is from 2012 - we were in the UK just before 11/11 and poppies were everywhere. The next grouping chronicles the amazing ceramic poppies (888,246) that were installed at the Tower of London.
Twenty-five years ago today, on a very frigid Friday evening in St. Paul, Graham and I were married in front of friends and family. While it doesn't seem like yesterday, it certainly doesn't feel like twenty-five years. We have built a happy life together. We have three great kids, we have lived in four cities in four states, have had six addresses, and archived a lot of traveling miles, good memories, and are ready for more . Our first wedding dance was a Bon Jovi song, and our secret private vows included the same lyrics, "I'll be there for you". Serendipity....that track is from the album "New Jersey", where we now live. 25 years ago we never would have believed that NJ would become our home.
Silver anniversary! I married a good one. Graham is my best friend, a wonderful man, partner, and father. I always say I'm a lucky girl, and he continues to make me feel that way. I know he doesn't like to be featured on the blog, but I can't pass up celebrating US today. Love you.