Lucky Elephant

Cupcake Mag is giving away gorgeous Lucky Elephant bracelets.  I could never afford one on my own, so here's my little post letting you all knowing about it and gaining myself another entry.


Snow White

With Once Upon a Time gracing our televisions and a variety of new Snow White movies out, I felt compelled to do a new Snow White piece. I'm not actually all that partial to the story of Snow White. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie and Beauty is my favorite fairy-tale retelling, but I've never drawn illustrations for either of those! I think the Snow White story just has more compelling imagery.

What's your favorite fairy tale? 

I drew this for an Art Gala earlier this year


Too Early

I know it isn't even remotely time to be thinking about Christmas. I don't like Christmas music or decorations to happen early. I'd really prefer it if they trickled in slowly after Thanksgiving had fully passed. It would be a little more graceful. A lot more magic.  But I'm in the wrong line of business for that. Even as late as local companies push Christmas advertising, I have to start designing those ads now if they're going to be ready in time for the early  December publications.

How do you feel about the holidays? Which one is your favorite?


Self Portrait

This is me today. Just for fun.


Hidden Garden

I enter a lot of give-aways online and sometimes I win! This month  I won a give-away over at Etsy Stalker and got a gorgeous necklace from Hidden Garden 11 on etsy!

I was pretty excited about winning this one and even more excited when I opened the package. A lot of the jewelry I win is pretty, but not made out of the best materials. I can tell this necklace is well made just from how it feels. The chain is sturdy and that is not just some epoxy sticker slapped on top of a leaf sliver and scrabble tile, that's poured resin my friends. The silver setting comes up around the sides and fits perfectly.

They were also extra sweet and included some little candies. Too fun!

You can read Etsy Stalker's interview with Vanja and Morana of Hidden Garden here.


Another Day, Another Doodle

Just a little doodle girl and a background motif I recycled from invitations I made for my sister.


Preliminary Sketching

I've been sketching out some ideas for a little children's story. Not for publication, just to enhance my portfolio. Most of my illustrative work is a single image for a story, where publisher's like to see that you can complete a story arc and draw the same character over and over again.

I sketched this out at the laundromat, which is one of the best places to sketch in spite of all the noisy machines, screaming kids, and heated conversations in Spanish. Or maybe because of them. How would I know?

The only bad thing about sketching there was that I didn't have a ruler with me, so I was just guessing at the perspective. But I think it's a good first run. Or second run, initially I'd thought to draw this scene from above, but I realized pretty quickly that, that wasn't the angle I was really looking for.


Fairie Photos Part 2

Some more fun in the woods using thrift store finds, a bit of glitter, and a lot of photoshop. My sister and I had a lot of fun planning this, we love random stuff like this. What kind of projects do you take on during your vacations?

Part 1 Here


Amish Neighbors

My neighbors aren't really Amish, but I work in an area with lots of Amish people in it and I've drawn illustrations for four books that have stories featuring mostly Amish people. This illustration is just one I was drawing to loosen up for a day of creating.

The Amish are interesting people, but I think more interesting than what they're not allowed to do is what they are. Yesterday I was getting my hair cut and in the next chair was an Amish lady getting her hair dyed. Last week I was at the mall and saw a group of Amish girls. I see them in the mall regularly, they buy shoes and sweaters there all the time, but I was still a little surprised them toting pink striped bags from Victoria's Secret.

Have you seen anything that surprised you recently?


Pixi Haircut

What do you think? Do you like pixie hair cuts? I kind of want to like them, but I never quite can.
I've had fairly short hair myself, too and I never end up liking it when I look back at photographs, even though people tell me it looks great at the time.

Lately I've been reading a lot of beauty/fashion/hair blogs like Hair Romance, The Beauty Department, and Keiko Lynn and there are all kinds of styles I want to try with my hair, but I realized that I couldn't try most of them with my hair falling just past my chin! So now I'm growing it out even further so I can play.

Do you like long hair or short hair best for yourself?


Custom Illustration: Brian & Shannon

The original photo is by Trinity Bennett Photography
A month or two ago Shannon asked me to draw a cartoon portrait of herself and her fiance, and their golden lab. With the wedding just a couple weeks away, she gave the portrait to Brian as a pre-wedding present and I can finally show all of you!
They are an adorable couple and I wish them both the best!


New Prints in my Etsy Shop

1. Delicious Summer 2. Dandelion Love 3. Starlit Nights 4. What the Heck? 5. Spring Joy
6. Dancer 7. Story Lane 8. Retro Honey 9. Goldielocks at the Bears

I know you all have seen these illustrations when I first posted them, but they're finally available in the shop!

Are you all enjoying your labor day weekend? Any big plans?

I was a little surprised to find myself without plans this weekend. Other years I've done crazy things like driving to Florida with a friend, learning to drive stick shift and then driving under 48 hours. Or I've done normal things like cookouts.  This year I'm mostly planning on doing some illustrations for my sisters and meeting some friends for Starbucks.

What about you? Do you do special/crazy things for Labor Day or is it pretty much your average weekend?


Back to School

One of my friends has started teaching 5th grade this year. She asked me to make her a "Back to School" coloring sheet along with the question, "Do fifth graders still like to color?" I figured they still like to color, but I wasn't sure if they're still admitting to it in the fifth grade.

Turns out they are, they loved this coloring sheet and I hope your kids (or, you know, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, baby-sitting charges, legal wards, etc.) will too. Just click the picture on this page and it will take you to a larger version. Right click save as and print from your computer.

As always, this page is available for coloring only. You may not use it for any other purpose what-so-ever. Thanks :)



I designed this wall paper while frustrated with Adobe Illustrator. You'll notice that no part of the wall paper is designed in Adobe Illustrator.



I obviously have been looking at too much surreal art lately.



I've notice that the people I draw tend to either be seen straight on or maybe at a 3/4 angle. So I'm trying to develop what they look like from the side and other angles.


Fairy Land - Part 1

My sister and I were goofing around and got to talking about taking some photos with sparkles on her face. We make lots of grand plans that usually don't happen, but somehow this one turned into a week long mission to find glitter, a fairy-like outfit, and hair style. Thank goodness for thrift stores and pinterest. My sister loved this hair style, but we couldn't get it right till someone pinned this tutorial. Viola! It was easy and beautiful.

I've only got a handful of the photos edited and many of them didn't turn out because of the low light (in the woods), but I'm have so much fun coloring them up in photoshop!


In Reality

I am not big on reality tv. Most of the shows seem to consist entirely of yelling. Whether you're training children, trading families, baking cakes, stranded on an island, running a restaurant, or stuck in an over-crowded house, the main point of the show is, apparently, to be as loud as possible.

For a long time American Idol was my exception to my reality tv loathing, but even on American Idol I had to skip the audition week. There was less screaming, but I can only assume they didn't have a need for it with all the caterwauling would-be divas. And eventually the show just failed to hold my attention.

For a season I watched So You Think You Can Dance. I love their commercials (which inspired the drawing in this post) and I love the creative movement I see on screen. It's a wonderful way to sketch. But of course that show has it's own concentrated noise. I can only handle so many Hot Tamale Train declarations before I change the channel.

Now lately I find myself watching America's Next Top Model, a show I never thought I would be interested in. There was one Wednesday night when absolutely nothing was on and I thought, "Well, as background noise..." and they were playing the season where Anne won and I just found her wonderful. Not to mention the photography. And I had thought I was going to be sickened or depressed by watching all these ultra-beautiful, stick thin girls, but I was amazed by how girls who really aren't all that stunning, were gorgeous when made up and set in the right light in front of the right photographer. 

Do you watch reality tv at all? Which shows do you love? Which ones do you hate?



 This is the face of the new thank-you card I'm having printed up soon.
It's not the face I make when I walk into my bathroom. That look is one of fear and trepidation.

Yes. There are still crickets in my house.

I don't know how they're getting in.
The apartment manager says he has treated for crickets and has now requested that I round the little fellows up and invite them to stay in cozy plastic bags. I will then drop those bags by the office. Presumably this proves that I know what a cricket looks like and haven't gotten it confused with a mosquito or a grass hopper.

I wish I'd known they wanted that Thursday. I got home from a truly hideous evening of sitting in traffic and of course there was a sumo cricket contentedly enjoying the bathroom rug.  I could have urged him into a baggy then. But since I didn't know this was desirable, I smushed him good.

So now I'm in the unfortunate position of hoping another big cricket shows up, so I can bag and tag him for the landlord. I have already caught one of the tiny ones, but these are not going to convince anyone that I have reason to be grossed out. They may chew through cloth, plastic, and wood just as well as their mighty brethren, but they look completely inoffensive.

Does anyone else have problems with bugs? What do you do?


Serenity Now

I'm not feeling as calm as the girl in my doodle right now.

For the past several days I have been finding crickets in my apartment. Big ones.

They were usually in the bathroom so I looked online and some people said crickets might come up drains that aren't used very often and are dry. Like in attics or basements.

Other people said it was incredibly unlikely that crickets would come up a drain. That they're probably coming in through a broken seal on a window or something.

Well I guess my life's incredible.

I came home from work today and since the apartment manager hadn't been by, I thought I'd run some water down the shower drain, just in case it was drying out enough during the 23½ hours I don't use it to let crickets crawl up it.

And a HUGE cricket popped out.

Yeah. I guess it's dry.

Fortunately, I have a drain that can be popped closed. So I can stop them from coming in until the landlord is able to fix it, but I cannot even begin to describe how grossed out I am.


Happy Birthday

It's not really anyone's birthday, I just finally got around to designing a birthday card to be printed.
I generally just draw them up as needed, but I've always thought it would be nice if  I sold birthday cards and soon, I will.

What are your favorite birthday memories? What other kind of occasion cards would you like to see in the shop?


Annoying Children

Goldielocks is sort of the ultimate self-entitled brat.
You think kids today are rude and inconsiderate?
Obviously this is an ongoing problem, and Goldie is here to prove it.

I can only assume that Goldielocks exists because of parents who wanted their kids to be respectful of the neighbors and basically ended up threatening their children with voracious, porridge loving bears who would settle for dining on small children if angered.

Recent experience has shown me that the need for these types of stories/threats is still in existence.

I went to see the final Harry Potter flick last night.  The theater was packed, of course, and I ended up sitting next to a family of two million, three thousand of which were children.  I was prepared to put up with a little whispering, but apparently this was a foolish thought.

There was no little whispering. There was talking. A running commentary of the movie from children not old enough to see it. "There's Harry. He's sad.", "Neville! She's getting Neville!", "I bet they're french kissing."
All this was accompanied by the flash of one fidgety child's L.A. Lights sneakers.

It took all the restraint I had not to lean over and inform the children that when they were in their own living room they could talk as loud as they pleased, but not in the theater. My friend wanted to tell their parents that they owed us $8.50 for the large portions of the movie we couldn't hear.

So when I have kids I'm telling them the story of Goldielocks, the girl who was obnoxious at the theater and was eaten by the bears sitting behind her. 

Have you encountered any wretched children recently? did you do anything about it, or suffer in silence?


Robin McClure: Freelance Writer

I designed these business cards for my friend Robin McClure. They each have a different type of writing Robin specializes in so she customize her marketing plan to specific customer needs.

Listing all the kinds of writing Robin is good with might actually have the effect of making her sound like an amateur.  But putting one type of writing on the card shows that it's a type of writing she focuses on. So I took the five kinds of writing that Robin specializes in (Contemporary Fiction Writing, Travel Writing, Web Content Writing, Freelance Magazine Writing, and Fantasy Writing) and I made cards that were distinct for each, yet had a cohesive look for Robin's writing identity.

Thanks to Moo cards we were able to do that without paying for full runs of five different cards. Usually people have one image with all their information on one side of the moo card and they alternate pretty pictures or patterns on the other side, but we used the side that remains the same to have just a simple background and logo and the changing side to have the changing information.  They arrived today and I think I was as excited as she was to see them in print!


Cartoon Portraits

 When I draw in public, people often stop to ask who I'm drawing.
Typically I'm not drawing anyone at all. Most of my illustrations are pure imagination.

But when I doodle during youth group lessons I have such a fantastic and interesting group of kids around me that I have to draw them.

These girls are a couple of my favorites, they have the most gorgeous hair, phenomenal taste in clothing, and they're hilarious.

So when Tiffany asked if I would draw a picture of her and her bestie, I said yes on the spot. I'd never drawn a picture of the two of them together, but I've always thought I should.

I sorted through their facebook photos, did a couple sketches and
emailed them to Tiffany for approval. Once she'd selected her favorite I started coloring them in. This photo already had a gorgeous color palette so I tried to keep it similar. I sent that off for Tiff's approval and then it went to print, which took  about a week.

The best part was that at some point during this process another girl from youth group had requested I post a sketch I'd drawn of her and Celeste commented that the girl was so lucky because she'd always wanted me to draw her.

Which made the whole project even more exciting :)

Edit: I offer a similar service in my etsy shop, for those who are interested.


Great Stories

I don't know about you, but I love having an outlandish, completely absurd, but absolutely true story to tell.
So when awful things you'd never want to endure happen, I always think, "What a great story!"
Which is why I loved this wall paper by Ross Moody the second I saw it.
by Ross Moody at 55 HI
I have it on my computer at work, to make me smile on rough days.

What's your favorite absurd, yet hilarious, story?


Punk Kids

. To me the idea of eating in the office break-room is the same as saying, "I'd like to have an hour that feels, looks, and sounds like work, but not get paid for it." Instead I drive my car to church parking lot on cloudy days and the park when it's sunny. The park is farther away, but the shade trees are worth it.

I have always assumed that this is a little bit odd to the kids at the park. I know when I was a Jr. Higher I would have been a little weirded out that people just came and sat in their cars facing the park. Are they kidnappers? Are they selling drugs? Why do those people just sit there in their cars and then randomly leave?
 We would have whispered and made up stories and freaked ourselves out.

These kids appointed a spokesperson to come knock on my window and ask me. He was very polite and maybe a little disappointed that something as prosaic as shade has us congregating. Adults really are boring.

I was mostly amused, though I put on my best "I am adult whose time you're wasting for no good reason" face, but I was also a bit shocked. I would have never confronted a strange adult. Not even if I had my friends five feet away.  Not even if the adult looked harmless (I probably look harmless).

What do you think? What would you have done as a kid?


Star Light, Star Bright

I finally have something new in my shop! And more to come!

I love the stars. When I was in high school and my family would drive back from Wednesday night church, it was in the country and while the stars weren't as crazy amazing as in other instances, I still loved to stare at them the whole ride home.

This illustration was inspired while I was reading P.L. Traver's Mary Poppins. There's one story in the book where the kids look out their window at night and catch Mary Poppins and the gingerbread ladies ( who make it, not are made of it) pasting the starry gingerbread wrappers into the sky. I've always especially loved that bit of the book. 

I think Traver's must have loved the night sky too, because another story is about one of the stars coming down to earth to do her Christmas shopping and in Mary Poppins Returns the children go to a circus and Michael wins the moon.

I still love Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns even though I'm well past the intended audience age.
What books do you still love from childhood?


Tell Me A Story

I have a story addiction. I love tv, movies, gossip, but most of all, books. I don't get all dolled up, but I do go for walks around my neighborhood and read at the same time. My brother wants to know how I pay attention to reading while I walk, when it's really the other way around. I might forget to walk, but reading is automatic.

I especially love fantasy stories - I'm on a Robin McKinley kick right now, reading Chalice.
What are you reading right now?


Spring Joy

Well, my internet is working properly, so all's right with the world.

And I'm so excited to have my computer up and running that I finished several art projects the past couple days. A couple were commissions, but others were my personal illustrations, which will be finding their way into my etsy shop within the next couple of weeks.

I am loving the warm weather lately, so when I haven't been glue to my computer I've been wandering around my neighborhood. I've lived here a year, but until now I haven't done much exploring. I was so excited to find a park near by and a lovely neighborhood for strolling in!

Though I am a little disappointed with the vending machines around here. One simply wouldn't work and another gave me warm soda. Gross.

What's your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
Least favorite?


The Internet

A few months back I got cheap internet through Comcast. For such a slow speed I'm pretty impressed with how fast it actually is. I don't watch videos on it or anything, but for email and uploading pictures, it makes pretty good time.

The problem is that the connection is hideous. I had someone out last week to fix it and he was much pleasanter than I've found Comcast employees to be in the past. But my connection still comes and goes as it pleases.

So I'm having another Comcast person come out tomorrow. It seems like it should be a simple thing. They hook up the internet and it generally stays hooked up.

But this is not how my life works.


Summer Tastes Delicious

When I was a kid we couldn't wait for "Mr. Frosty's" to open. It was a tiny soft serve stand with those candy eyes for the kid's cones. I'm sure there was nothing special about it, but it was ice-cream.

When I was a teenager UDF (United Dairy Farmer's) was our ice-cream shop of choice. Lucky for impatient teenagers, that delightfulness was open year round.

Now I live not far from some of the most delicious ice-cream ever made. "The Chief" has crazy long lines, but it's well worth it.  And I kind of think it's fun that everyone comes out and hangs around together waiting for their ice-cream cones.

Do you have a favorite ice-cream shop?

What's your favorite flavor? Last year mine was peanut-butter, but this year I'm loving mint-chocolate-chip.


Fiction Addiction

Lately I've been re-reading the Harry Potter series. I love that Rowling populated her books with a huge family of red-heads, because I think red-hair is gorgeous. Of course, I don't own the entire set, so I'm spending quite a bit of money buying a new book every week but....Harry Potter.

Last Sunday I was sitting in one of my favorite cafes and a guy walked passed me, came back and asked me if I was reading "The Chamber of Secrets" for the first time or not. At first  I thought he might be hitting on me, but no. He's just really, really excited to see someone enjoying Harry Potter.

That might be taking things too far.



It's been a long time since my last post. Probably that has cost me most of my small readership.
But sometimes you just need a break.

I haven't had internet for almost a year, so that meant creating a post at home, saving it to a thumb drive and uploading it to the internet somewhere else later.


But. I now have internet. And I can sit here in my pjs, watching Seinfeld episodes and typing on the internet in real time.

It's fantastic.

I also hope this will mean more frequent updates to my etsy shop. But I'm starting with the blog. It's easier.

I'm doubly delighted because it is also finally starting to resemble springtime. It's wonderful to open my windows and feel a nice breeze coming in. Or to wander around the neighborhood without freezing to pieces.

What's something you've been waiting a long time for? Have you got it yet or do you expect to be waiting a while longer?


Bunny Love

I'm pretty sure rabbits are without question the cutest animals ever. And not pretend cute like some animals where you see a cartoon and the animal is adorable but in real life it's dripping with snot (yeah, I'm looking at you cow lovers) , but actual adorability.

They're so ultra snuggly and their little noses really do sniff constantly and their eyes are so huge and sweet! I'll take a bunny-rabbit over a dog or cat any day of the week.

When I was little my parents had friends who trained their rabbit to go in a litter box so their bunny could just hop freely around their home! I assume they also rabbit-proofed their wires and what-not, but maybe people smart enough to house train their rabbit are smart enough to teach the same rabbit to only chew on food?

I don't know. All I do know is that when I one day have my own home, I absolutely want to do that.


We're going to the chapel and...

Curly Cutie OOAK Card
I haven't had much to post lately, because I've been working on top secret projects like wedding invitations and business cards, rather than my personal art or etsy shop art.

I'll post both projects when I'm done, but I think most brides like to keep their invites special for the invitees, so those'll probably have to wait till the wedding is over.

I just got done with all kinds of crazy wedding stuff in September, when a close friend of mine got married and now I'm jumping into more as my sister's very short engagement rapidly approaches the wedding date. I shared the funky bronzer story from my friend's rehearsal dinner, but what I didn't share was the torture of trying on bridesmaid dresses.

If you've ever been in a wedding you know that the dress shops do not carry every size for you to see what actually looks good on you. They carry each dress in maybe two or three sizes, so like... an 8 and a 22. Maybe. Maybe just the 8. So if you're a 14 like me, you just have to cram yourself in the 8 and guess if it might look nice on you if it were to be the correct size. No one at the dress shop ever understands why this is problematic. Why would you care if you look good in a dress you're shelling out $150 bucks for? You're only wearing it once, right?
 I looked halfway decent in my dress last time, but I gained a bit of weight in the couple weeks before the wedding, which wasn't enough to have an effect on my everyday clothes, but did mean the top of my dress wasn't as it had been originally. Good times. This time I get to pick my dress and it will have straps, blast it.

What's your favorite/funniest bridesmaid (or groomsmen) fiasco?


Sugar and Hearts

I mentioned before that I love Valentine's Day, so here's another Sweetheart Valentine. It isn't romantic, but if you know someone who's a sweetheart, whether it's a sister or friend, it is the perfect card to send them at Valentine's Day or any time of the year.

I know I'll be sending out valentine's to some charming friends of mine, just because they're special :)

And since there's a group of us that are single for v-day this year, maybe we'll get together and do something special.
Along the V-Day theme, I also have a coloring page for the kiddies. Click on it for a larger more printable image, but please don't use it for anything other than a coloring sheet. It isn't for selling or altering other than with crayons.
I feel like our divergent thoughts on Valentine's Day start early...


Ohio - Nerdiest State

I came across this map of shame - you've probably seen it. It shows which states are worst at what. Some are fairly benign other are wretched. But in light of my Summer Reading post/Library Rant a couple weeks ago, I'd like to point out that Ohio is the nerdiest state based on having the most library visits per capita (link).
Unlimited library access at work!

Indiana is the least green state, which I have to say, would not have been my first thought. We have the stupidest city according to some report a few years ago (go, Ft. Wayne!), but with all the Amish using buggies and solar panels I wouldn't considered us to be the least environmentally friendly.

What's your state worst at? Were you surprised?


Goldie Locks

Hand Colored with Ink & Colored Pencil
My latest ooak listing. I hope to have some more up tomorrow. The fact is I have a BUNCH of these in my apartment, I just haven't gotten around to editing the photos yet. They all have bright, colored envelopes to go with them, that have sticky closures (no gross glue taste!) and of course they're all adorable.

I did a show back in December where I had a pretty good crowd of girls standing around carefully trying to select the very best of my business cards to take home. Which was a nice distraction while their mom's were mouthing their orders over the little girl's heads!

But of course the guys weren't as excited. One dad looked at a card similar to this one and said, "It's all about the hair isn't it?" His tone implied he'd rather have his team lose the super bowl every year for the rest of his life than deal with my art on his walls, but his wife seemed interested!