Saturday, October 1, 2016

Who Did YOU Want to Be?

I'm working on a jewelry order for Mercy Ships International today and my fingers need a break!  The anchor tags I'm creating attach to the clasps on the Heart for Africa Necklaces and they are tiny...less than 1/4" in length.

  Am I crazy for enjoying the stamping, cutting and filing such tiny little pieces of silver?  I find it to be quite therapeutic, actually.

 I often place things on my worktop that inspire me or guide my thoughts a bit while I work.  Today I'm pondering a phrase from a Kelly Rae Roberts print I found on a recent shopping day in Dallas:

What I love about this little question is that it doesn't ask what you wanted to be, but who.  It doesn't ask what you wanted to do, or see or have.  To me it asks what kind of person you wanted to be.  What did you want people to think of when you came to mind?

Really consider the question, dig a little deeper and try to remember.  When you hit upon the truth, don't be surprised if you feel a quickening in your spirit...a tug at your heart because no matter how much we've been tossed about in life our hearts know who we were meant to be.

So here's my big confession for today: Things happened in my life during the past few years that changed me in ways I don't like.  I am far more cynical than I like to admit.  I find that I'm hesitant to be involved, fearful of losing more but lately I've been feeling ready to move forward.

For everything there is a season...
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
 a time to mourn and a time to dance...
(Ecclesiastes 3:1a & 4)

I'm not meant to stay in a place of mourning indefinitely and, quite frankly,  I'd very much like to enter a season of laughter and dancing!

So who exactly did I want to be?  I wanted to be someone who loves fearlessly and tenaciously.  I wanted to use my gifts and talents to bring a little bit of heaven to this earth.  That's what I wanted then and in my heart of hearts that's what I want now.

Of course, now that I've bared my soul (which took a fair amount of fearlessness, I must say), I just have to ask: Who did you want to be?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Greetings from Edmund and the rest of us here at Casa de Smith!  It's the first chilly morning of Fall.  Is there anything more exhilarating?

Much has happened since I last hit the publish button.  I'm sure the same is true for you.  Life has a way of sweeping us up and carrying us forward whether we're ready for it or not.  Sometimes before we know it we are in unknown territory, just trying to stay afloat.

The past few years have been full of change.  My nest is empty now as my baby birds are off learning to fly on their own.  We've lost a few family members and a very dear friend of mine moved far, far away.  I have to admit that a deep sadness settled into my heart for a time and there was just nothing to do but move through it.

Lately, though, I've been thinking it's time to start writing again.  (An artist can only go so long without expressing herself before she explodes.)  I don't even know if anyone else will ever see this.  I'm just writing because I need to write.

A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity.

So today I'm just getting my feet wet, remembering how to insert photos and how to center quotes and make them that pretty blue color...just getting over the hump of getting started.  I must say it feels good to be back here.

I hope this post finds you well and happily creating a beautiful life for yourself.  I'm off to create a second cup of coffee before I get to work on a jewelry order.  I guess some things haven't changed :-)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kitchen Progress and A New Necklace Design

Hello dear friends!  My apologies for disappearing for a time but those of you who have been visiting here for a while know I am apt to do such things.  It's that artist's temperament in me, I suppose.  The good news is that although we had some sad things happen in our lives these past few months we also have much to celebrate in our messy, complicated, beautiful life and I am grateful for every minute of it.  God is is good.

After reading through my last post (almost 2 months ago...yikes!) I realized I left you with a terribly unkempt view of my kitchen, so I'll begin with an update.

We pushed hard to get to a livable stage before setting our little project aside for the holidays.  There are many details waiting to be seen to, but here's where we are today:

I am so, so happy with our progress so far.  The space feels fresh and spacious yet cozy and inviting...just perfect for our little house in the woods.  The island was rescued from being storage in an old barn, so refinishing that is now also on my to do list.

In case you need a reminder, here's how my kitchen looked a few months ago!  You gotta love paint.

My favorite detail so far (other than the island) is the feet we added to the cabinets.  We tried lots of different shapes and styles to see what we liked.  I thought I wanted something simple and streamlined, but when I sketched these out on a whim those curvy lines put a big smile on my face.  They are very furniture-like and complement the crown molding we installed on the wall cabinets.

The best thing about these cabinet feet is that they remind me of the furniture in the enchanted castle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  So now I have a kitchen that makes me feel like I live in a fairy tale.  How fun is that?

I didn't get to the backsplash before Christmas, so if I hope to get enough momentum going to make that happen soon.  The kitchen would then be just about complete except that I've decided to add some cabinetry to a blank wall, so there's a bit more redo chaos in our future.  (So glad the huz is a good-natured fellow.)

Here's the wall in question.  Built-in bookcases will work quite nicely here, don't you think?

To get a sense of how the space will feel with the changes, yesterday I moved a bookcase and our outdoor bistro set in to see how I liked it.

Not at all what I envision the end result to be, but I'm really enjoying hanging out here this morning.   I'm thinking some club chairs and a low table would give it a nice coffee house vibe.  We'll see.

I've been busy in the studio as well.  It was a good Christmas season for my jewelry business and the new year found me happily putting together some new pieces for the Mercy Ships International online store.

They have a special offering put together for Valentine's Day that includes the newly released necklace, matching earrings and a box of chocolates.  How fabulous is that?

I can't say enough about what a blessing my dealings with the creative team at Mercy Ships have been to me this year.  Let me tell you, this organization is the real deal.  They not only change lives, they save them.  Mercy Ships volunteers offer hope and healing to people who are otherwise forgotten.  Some time when you have a few quiet moments, read their story.  I promise you'll be encouraged and inspired.

In a world where negativity seems unchecked it's so important to remind ourselves that there is good in the world.  There are still people who care deeply and are willing to give of themselves to help others.  There are countless unsung and unselfish acts going on around us every day.  May we all have eyes to see the good and hands to do our part!

I hope you are well and happy and that your year is off to a good start.  I'm so glad to be back in the swing of things here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mulled Cider + A Big New Project

It's been cold and drippy outside this week but we stay cozy in our warm little house, watching the flames dance around in the wood stove and sipping warm drinks in the evenings.

Our favorite is mulled cider.  The recipe varies depending on what I have on hand, but it usually goes something like this (as you'll see, I'm not too big on exact measurements:

Simmer together: 

a quart or so of apple cider or juice (no sugar added)
a few slices of pineapple 
a few slices of citrus fruit with peel
one stick of cinnamon 
a few whole cloves

That's fuss!  I usually use oranges for the citrus but lemon and grapefruit are also great.  Just use what you have and be creative!

Oh, the aroma of simmering cider makes me so happy as it wafts into my studio!

I apologize for disappearing from my blog without explanation for the past few weeks.  First there were internet issues, then we suddenly decided to jump right into a major project because, well, that's what you do just before the holidays, right?  My kitchen is finally getting a much anticipated face-lift!  Here's the before photo:

I have wanted to paint my cabinets for years, so the first thing I did was sand and prime them, waiting to choose the paint color until the new counter tops were installed.

Progress to be sure, but still a long, long way to go.  Between working on the kitchen and filling jewelry orders I'm going to be a busy girl between now and Christmas!  Here's the situation today...counter tops are in and the long wall of cabinets has its first coat of the yummiest color of white I could find.  The whole ordeal of preparing the cabinets for paint deserves a post of its own, so stay tuned for that.

Not as much drawing and painting as I'd like going on here lately, but plenty of creative momentum!

Wishing my friends in the States a wonderful Thanksgiving Day this Thursday.  The best way I know to stay happy is to cultivate gratitude so let's get out there and count our blessings!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

You Guys Rock!

It's been loads of fun checking in and seeing what everyone is up to at Art Every Day Month these past few days.  I gotta say, you guys rock!  So much talent!  I wish I could make it to everyone's blog every day!

I am happy to report that I did finish up that mug sketch I showed you in Saturday's post and I ended up adding ink + watercolor this afternoon.  It's a happy little piece...`

The real-life mug was thrown in porcelain and the potter chose to leave the outside surface unglazed except for the little flower petal thingies.  Let me tell you, this is one scrumptious little piece of pottery goodness and I've been going through way too much coffee because I don't want to put it down.  (Actually, I don't really drink a lot of coffee, I mostly just enjoy holding a warm mug and smelling the aroma.)

I also added a quote to my inspiration board today.

These words are meant for you, remind you of just how great it is that you are tearing down the walls of self-doubt and complacency and entering new territory.  This is your time, my friend.  It's time to let your light shine.  The world needs what only you have to give, so be strong and of good courage!  

Putting your art out there is like offering the world the most fragile part of you, hoping and praying it won't be crushed.  We become true artists when our need to express what is deep within us overtakes our need to impress, to succeed or to fit in.  Artists are honest and they are brave.  Artists live big!

So to every artist participating in Art Every Day Month or putting your work out there in other ways I say, "Thank you for your courage!  May your life and your art expand in ways you never dreamed possible!"

Linking up today with:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Little Laid Back Sunday Afternoon Fun

I really do enjoy playing with the different drawing apps available for iPad.  For me it's very relaxing and the endless color and tool variations make it really fun.  This afternoon I've been altering photos from my camera roll.  Remember this one from last month's trip to Baltimore?

Groovy Kind of Love, November 2013, created in Sketches for iPad

And here's a handsome young man I just happened to photograph walking toward me the other day.  I can't believe this guy is so grown up!  (Notice I refrained from calling him my baby.)

So.Very.Cool., November 2013, created in Sketches for iPad

That's it for deep thoughts or words of wisdom, just a little laid back Sunday afternoon fun!  Hopefully next time I'll remember to save a few screen shots along the way so I can show you a bit more of the process.  

Have a great day my friends!  Happy creating!

Linking up today with:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sprucing Up My Little Haven

Day 2 of Art Every Day Month and I'm still on track!  Woo Hoo!!!

This leisurely Saturday morning has afforded me the time to do a bit of sketching.  I have a new porcelain mug I just love and, since I can't keep my eyes off of it anyway, I thought I might as well commit what I see to paper.

Symmetrical curvy vessels like this can be such a challenge.  I usually begin with a sort of "grid" so that I will end up with at least some sort of balance.

It's always hard to decide just when to stop.  I think I'll add a little ink and watercolor later.

In other news, yesterday I found a few treasures at a second-hand store that have helped me cozy up my studio.  I finally found the funky chair I've been looking for along with a velvet pillow in a very yummy shade of green and a curtain that I think ties them together perfectly.

The botanical + bird prints on the curtain suit me just fine.

So here's what my studio looked like yesterday morning:

Not bad, but I really wanted a comfortable place to sit when I check my emails or just need to mull something over, so here'e the new and improved version.

There's just something about the color orange that puts a smile on my face every time.  I am a happy girl when I sit in that chair.  Unfortunately I'm not the only one who loves it!

So now I have a great place to sit and visit all your lovely blogs and read your sweet comments.  Slowly but surely my studio space is becoming the little haven I always dreamed of having.  Life is good.

Linking up today with:

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