Month: July 2010

This Moment

daughter sleeping in baby carrier

Because people, smiles, and laughter, more than anything else, is truly what makes a house a home, here’s this week “this moment”…

“{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.” -SouleMama

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Have you read The Agony and the Ecstasy by Iriving Stone?  Here’s a quote from the book, (Michelangelo after being asked to create something uninspiring) “He needed work, not merely because of the money involved but because he was growing restless. It would put marble in his hands”.  While Michelangelo is very well known for his painting ability, working with marble was Michelangelo’s living breath, the thing that kept him alive everyday.

"David" by Michelangelo

"David" by Michelangelo

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration and passion lately, the two fuels that drive great work.  But what about success?  Does passion and inspiration always lead to success?  Unfortunately not.  And when I say success I mean financial success, success through society’s eyes.  Please don’t judge.  I am by no means driven only by financial success, rather usually by passion, but with a family comes responsibility, meaning bills, and so I must let “financial success” channel my decisions, along side my passion and inspirations.

In The Agony and the Ecstasy, we read about how Michelangelo’s family, the Pope, and the Church stood as barriers to the artistic genius that Michelangelo was.  Often his passions and inspirations were set aside, or put on hold, as he was forced to respond instead to the demands that society was putting on him.  And while Michelangelo does respond, it takes him an entire life to learn the value in balancing these two powerful forces.

Being an artist is a balancing act, but it’s important to find that line and learn to walk it.   It might be a means to “putting marble in your hands.”  And so today I share with you some lessons I’ve learned from Michelangelo, along with links from other artists on the web as they talk about these same lessons…

I leave you with one final quote from The Agony and the Ecstasy , “Life has been good. God did not create me to abandon me. I have loved marble, yes, and paint too. I have loved architecture, and poetry too. I have loved my family and my friends. I have loved God, the forms of the earth and the heavens, and people too. I have loved life to the full, and now I love death as its natural termination. Il Magnifico would be happy: for me, the forces of destruction never overcame creativity.”

Define Yourself As An Artist

Do you struggle to see yourself as an artist?  I know I did for a long time.  I felt that because I didn’t have any “formal training” I couldn’t be classified as an artist.  Other people saw me differently though.  They classified me as an artist due to my passion, my creativity, my experience, and the work I was producing. What does it mean to be an artist anyway?

Artist Pendant Necklace

The Gilded Lilly on Etsy

Here are some definitions of artist from the Web:

Do any of these definitions describe you?  Should you be defining yourself as an artist?  Then why aren’t you?

This Moment

Because people, smiles, and laughter, more than anything else, is truly what makes a house a home, here’s this week “this moment”…

baby at the beach

“{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.” -SouleMama

Before and After Pictures – My New Studio

Did you like the before and after pictures I posted earlier today?  I love cracking myself up, often left alone to laugh at my own jokes.  Here are the real before and after pictures of my new studio slash office, our new painted walls, and newly refinished hard wood floors.  What do you think?
Living Room
A place to put on shoes
Dinning Room
Walking into my office, off the living room
A place to sit and think
This picture is titled “She was always prepared for what she suspected might be just around the corner” by Lisa Kattenbraker
Here are the pull down blinds for the french doors –will hang soon.  This will help give privacy like I mentioned in “Create a Space that Works for You”.
My HUGE work space!
More storage
I love adding details like this to spaces, details that help the space shine just a hint more than it would without them.
More details
More storage and organization
When creating a space that works for you, think about how you can hide practical pieces like this functional, magnetic curtain rod, which is being used to hold my quilt tops.
The french doors look into the living room
I might need to lock you all out now, I have a lot of work to get done 😉
To see more, follow these links to see our home’s exterior, our back yard, Monet’s bedroom and our bathroom.
Thanks for taking a tour through our newly renovated home.
What do you think?

Before and After Pictures – My New Office

So what do you think?  Was my remodel a success?  He, he, he.


And after…

Create a Space That Works For You

I’m pretty sure sharp scissors, hot irons, needles, and craft glue are not the wisest toys for a baby. It was this, plus many other factors, which prompted our last home renovation project. And in the midst of chaos and destruction, I realized that the most important step in a home renovation project, is to create a space that works for you, a space that solves the problems you are encountering day to day. Let me explain.

My old office space was completely out in the open, right off the living room, in the midst of all the day-to-day action. Along with not being a safe place for Monet to play, it was also too loud for me to focus. Often my daughter Monet would throw fits because she could see me when Daddy was watching her. These were just a few of the problems I was encountering in my “work space” and so we decided to embark on a home renovation project by first creating a list of problems and frustrations, and then brainstorming practical solutions to these problems.

The solutions to my problems were quite simple. For example, french doors with pull down blinds will provide privacy, a quiet space for me to work, and safety for Monet, at the same time not closing that space off too much for future home buyers who might like the open floor plan that is so popular in homes today.

Other solutions included buying a large table for me to spread out on, keeping me off our dinning table and keeping my mess in a confined space with a door.

Along with that, we found the perfect storage unit with open shelves to hold the many projects I’m always working on; add in a few bars here and there to hang my quilts on and voila, my space issues have been answered. We continued this process through the remodel, solving many problems, and as a result I now have both a beautiful and functional workspace.

This is the art of making a house a home, creating a space that is not just sentimental and pleasing to the eye, but also a space that is functional and realistic, a space that allows both you and your family to live comfortably.

And so I advise, before you pick up a hammer or a paintbrush on your next home renovation project, first brainstorm the problems and find solutions for the space you’re renovating, aesthetics coming second not first.

No matter how big or small a home project is, always make sure you are creating a space that works for you, a space that is solving the day to day problems you are encountering in that space previous to the remodel. If you’re not careful, to consider this important home renovation tip, you might just be creating a prettier space with the same problems.

Get Back to Work

While it’s important to let chaos and change have it’s time and place, I do believe that routine is important for getting stuff done.  And so today I am so thrilled to report that I’m back to work after being absent for the past two and a half weeks.Most of our house remodel project is done.  I will most certainly be sharing before and after photos with you in the near future.  I also had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Illinois, where I visited my entire family whom I rarely see.  I had a wonderful time; tears come to my eyes as I sit here and miss them.  Yet, I am so excited to be in my new studio today.  Like a kid in a candy store, I can’t help myself, I must get my hands on some fabric and start sewing.

Be Patient During the Chaos

Are you in a position of comfort and routine?  What a dream!?  I bet you’re tempted to stay there right?  Yet, have you considered what a little chaos might add to your life? Let me explain…

My house is in complete and utter disarray.  That’s right, “The Artists’ House” looks more like the inside of a storage unit than anything else these days.


The reason being that we are currently remodeling three rooms in our small six room home: refinishing original wood floors, creating a studio slash office space for me, and repainting 2/3 of the house’s interior.  And while this project was my idea, chaos like this goes against every bone in my body.  My personality demands control, order, and routine; unfortunately my life could not be further from that right now.

Yet, in a couple days when this “little” project is all said and done, the results will absolutely be worth the chaos it took to achieve what I know will be a beautiful space.

This really got me thinking beyond my home, and instead about the things I create everyday.  Often when I step out of the daily routine of what’s comfortable, both me and my work grow and evolve. And even though it’s more comfortable to keep creating things that are familiar, I think it’s important to step out and try new techniques, ideas, and inspirations within the realm of one’s work.

Are you too comfortable?  Where do you need to step out of your comfort zone to achieve something beautiful?  The results might surprise you, as long as you can be patient during the chaos.

Well, its back to work for me.  The bucket of paint and brush are screaming my name….

I’ll be back in a week!

While I truly enjoy making a house a home in Utah, I’m actually from Illinois and currently visiting family there.  I’ll miss you while I’m gone.  See you in a week!