Precious Christmas.

This is Mary's profile from from the book. I liked it so much, I wanted to repaint it.  So serene, silent and calm. I'm thinking of just that as I enter this Christmas Season.  Turning off the noise, and focus on Christmas.

It's time to sign off for the year. Time to tune things down, celebrate and contemplate. I'm thinking of all my blessings. All the miracles of this year. All the struggles and the weights on my shoulders...and how they've made me stronger. All the ways in which the Lord has blessed our little family, as we've journeyed and adventured one more year together.

The reality is, that's its all so wonderful.

My heart is just really full.

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season and New Year!

I'll see you all in 2012!

Love to you and yours,


The Beauty of Different.

It started the other month while I was brushing her hair in the bathroom.

"Mom, if I had to choose between two things, I'd choose the different one."

She surprises me all the time with these statements. So obvious , so profound.

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 It wasn't always that way.

The first week of school was filled with:

"Ashley has glitter shoes, Mom! Can we go get some?"

"Everyone else has pink coats. Why can't I have a pink coat?"

" Everyone in my class has bangs. When can I cut my bangs?"

I was sorta freaking out. I was not ready for this. Already? No. Please no.

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But Before school last week, she boldly announced that she doesn't like Barbie's any more.

"Good!"  I thought. I never liked them anyways, and the ones we have in the house migrated from neighbor's houses or were gift's from somewhere. And now that I think of it, she hasn't played with them in months.

"How come?"

"They're boring.  But mostly cause I'd rather play with something different."

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Earlier this year, we went to the D.I. (thrift store) and I let the kids pick out a $1 toy. Addie chose a gorgeous African fabric doll in traditional African clothing. Later that day, after playing with her for a few hours, she came upstairs and said:

"Mom, isn't it wonderfu! My doll looks just like me!"

(Translation: I chose the doll that was the most different of them all, and because I'm different, she's just like me!)

I love that girl.

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I've been thinking a lot lately about the pressure out there to be up on what everyone else is loving these days. We "like" "tweet" "comment" "pin" so much that pretty soon that unique find at the flea market isn't so unique any more. Indie bands go mainstream with enough you-tube hits that they aren't even your special find any more.  You know?

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As a  commercial artist it's something I'm rather aware of.  There is so much awareness out there, that it can so often take away our inner artist. It happens by accident really. I find myself always on guard.

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The Beauty of Different. I can't claim that wonderful phrase. Karen has always been a hero of mine.

But, Pirate girls. Innocent, dainty and a little different.  You may or may not be seeing some fabric of the sorts come spring.

They've been on my mind.





Fox in my kitchen.

I have a fox in my kitchen. A really awesome-fun-to-be-around-fox. He's a chef. And he cooks things. And while you never know what you are going to get, it's always really really good.

Massaman Curry? Yum. Chocolate Torte with Raspberry? Yes please. Rustic European loaf with imported cheese? Love.

Today was cranberry apple bread and homemade turkey soup. Tomorrow will be something completely different.

But here's the problem. He's an artist in the kitchen. And like me, he's hard to pin down. He is sneaky and mysterious and you never know what he will invent. Although, you never worry, because it's always

The problem? I can't get him to write a single thing down. Mostly because he is a busy father. But also, because he never makes the same thing twice. And really, that's what it takes to write down your recipes. First time is the playing, and the second time is the recollecting.

So this is where I am putting on a little pressure. We all need a little, right?  I've been wanting to illustrate more food lately, and I've convinced him that I'd illustrate his recipes if he wrote a few down. How does that sound? Pretty wonderful. His mother will love us for it. He's going to love me for it. And every one else who has been privileged to be at his table.

So, 2012...the year of some illustrated recipes? Maybe even prints? Hmmmm.....smells good;)



Dear Baby Faces,

People told you love would get richer and more amazing, but you had no idea how.  You couldn't comprehend loving more than you already did. All you knew were the hopes and dreams you were willing to work for no matter what. What you didn't know, was that every bump, every bruise, every child, every laugh, every dream come true, made your heart stretch bigger.  And then there was more room for love. Eleven years more love.

And oh, it is so grand.

Kissing the moon....





Book Giveaway #4

I'm saving the best for last folks.


Every boy wants to be a Super Hero. It's true. No way getting around it.

You'd never believe me if I told you this book is a 5 year old boys dream book. My 5 year old loves being read to, but would rather climb trees and save the world than sit down for 15 with his own book to read out loud. The Astonishing Secrets of Awesome Man is the first book I've seen him with in bed, in the bathroom, in his hideouts, and reading after school for reading homework. He loves a good book..but this is the first one I've found him wanting to READ himself. It has power, I'm telling you!

Awesome Man is written by the Pulitzer prize winning Michael Chabon

Illustrated by a new friend of mine Jake Parker, we actually have a signed copy...which Ian proudly shows any friend who comes over. It says "You're Awesome, MAN!"

Why do I love this book?

It's a classic Super Hero book told from the perspective of a 5 year old boy. Complete with words that every boy wants to use... but in the realize that Awesome Man is really just a boy, and you see him hugging his mom in the kitchen. It's absolutely Awesome.

Here's a trailor of the author talking about and reading the book.


You get get the book here.

For the giveaway, USA and International Entries welcome!

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #awesomeman  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post (DO NOT comment with your Facebook Likes or Tweets. I'll tally those up on their respective pages)



Book Giveaway #3




OK. So, this isn't exactly a picture book. I am stretching the lines here...BUT...this has got to be my favorite little sewing project book from this year.

Liesl Gibson...genius behind Oliver & S... has become a dear friend and she has done such amazing good for the world of sewing. Especially Children's crafts. In fact, most of the clothing I see up in my FLICKR GROUP is a pattern from Oliver & S. And I don't blame you. I love her designs.

This book is fantastic. Her projects are so well laid out, and since I'm shipping this will most likely have time to make a quickie project by Christmas!




You can purchase Little Things to Sew here.


I'll be shipping this book off tomorrow! International and domestic welcome....

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #oliver&s  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post (DO NOT leave a comment with notices of your twitter or facebook likes. Posts only. I'll tally the tweets and facebook likes separate. Thanks!)

5) Visit the Oliver & S blog and say hello!



Congrats to #79 Shiying for winning!


Today, I am so excited to giveaway one of my all time favorite books.

Penguin. Not a book from this year, but a classic in our house!

Polly Dunbar is one of my favorite illustrators...and brings SUCH a fresh whimsical style to her picture book making. She's from the UK and the daughter Joyce Dunbar, another very well known Children's book Author.

So, without further ado....

PENGUIN is the story of a little boy who gets a penguin for a present. The penguin won't speak to the little boy....until.... (well, I can't exactly spoil the ending, can I?)

Perfect read.

I'll be shipping this book off tomorrow! International and domestic welcome....

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #penguinbook  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post


I”ll tally up the entries at the end of each night…so only 1 day to enter for each book!



Congrats to Christel Nolle in the Netherlands for winning! #106



*Each day this week, I'll be giving away a new favorite book of mine! Entries are for one day only, and I'll ship them out, brand new, to hopefully add to your gift giving this year!

So we have a lot of books at our house. But not enough either! We're big readers, and I'm constantly gathering up new favorites...mostly picture books...but also how-to's, novels and non-fictions. I have too many that I love...and I've been wanting to giveaway some of my favorites for a long time!

These are all brand new, never been read, and are gifts from moi to hopefully add to your christmas giving this year!

I've been wanting to share with you some of this year's favorites, and I thought a really fun way to do that would be to offer a giveaway every day this week of some of my best loved reads. Picture books are a favorite gift of mine to give, and so I thought I'd give some here too! We have a brand new nephew this year, and the new parents were asking me what my favorite books were since they had no idea where to start! I was so excited to really think about the books that I've loved! start off..

I'm giving away a copy of A PERFECT SQUARE.

I absolutely adore this book. Simple, bright, and playful...but will make you, the reader, contemplate how you handle change.

It's the story of a perfect square (made of colored paper) and every day, he gets torn, ripped or cut and is transformed into various images. Perfectly inspiring both artistically and emotionally...a wonderful read for children and adults!


To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For additional entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #aperfectsquare  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post


I''ll tally up the entries at the end of each only 1 day to enter for each book!



Yay! Gina F. #73 for winning!