Dear family with all those kids

Last weekend I had my art table set up at a craft event. After getting up and being awake for 5 hours with no food or coffee due to me running late, my husband text me to tell me he was on his way with the kids. When they arrived, the kids all ran to me, hugged me and started looking around at other tables. My husband handed over the 2 year old and the baby and took off. For about 15 minutes the kids asked all kinda of questions and told me about their day and when my husband came back, he had a coffee and a pretzel for me; God bless that man. They left soon after and I inhaled my pretzel and coffee.

Behind me, there were two women selling jewelry. They started asking me questions about my kids ages and a little about life at home with 6 kids. Then one asked me “how do you have time to draw?” I laughed a little and held up my coffee and I responded with “prayer and coffee”.

Fast forward a couple days to when I retold that same story to another mom. Her reaction to it was “how rude could she be”? I was confused for a minute. What had that jewelry crafter said? Later, I realized what it was. That friend of mine has 4 kids and I can recall a few of her stories about encounters with strangers asking her questions about the number of kids she has and why. I know that bothers her, like it bothers most people with large families and the questions are almost always the same:

Do you know what causes that? (Um, what?!)

Do you plan on having a baseball team?

Do you have hobbies?

Do you not have a TV?

I could go on and on but you know what I’m saying. The point is, a lot of parents with lots of kids seem to get bothered by these questions and once upon a I did too. But over time I’ve learned to take it a different way.

When that fellow entrepreneur asked me “how do I have time to draw” she wasn’t being rude or even intrusive. She was asking because her own life is busy with jewelry crafting, having a family and who knows what else she does with her time. She was asking because she was thinking about her own time being filled up during the day and tried to fathom how my day could have a spare minute in it. This woman smiled from the beginning to end of our conversation and she was a delight to talk to. So instead of taking offense in her innocent question, I chose to take it for what it was, a general inquiry about my life.

I like to believe that most of the time when most people ask questions like that, they are just curious, if not slightly amazed, at someone so willing to raise a lot of kids. It’s most definitely a full time job and requires a lot of time, energy, and, at full disclosure, a strong stomach (kids can be really gross). So when some of those questions are being asked it is formed from a different life perspective and in words that they think are an appropriate way to ask.

Now, there are just plain rude people out there that will just state their opinion on my current method of living. In one such instance I was asked “don’t you think you should stop having kids and start taking birth control?” (again, um what?!) These questions are of course met with sarcasm. In case you’re wondering what I said to that person, it was “I keep having kids for the tax break.” Secretly, I get a little proud of myself with the responses I can come up with in these situations!

So, if you have a lot of kids and are sick of being asked the typical questions that go with having a big family, just try and evaluate the person asking them. They could be, for the most part, harmless and just someone’s extent of trying to connect with you and your life based on their zero knowledge on the subject. So take it with grace and use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to be proud your family and most importantly, grateful.

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I’ve updated my avatar and recorded the process on my YouTube

Death makes brothers of us all

When I first thought of posting this, it was several weeks ago and I had just read about the loss of a friend from school, another friend I had met in the last couple of years and Facebook reminded me with their wonderful ‘on this day’ app that I had another friend commit suicide a few years ago. With the feeling of loss and inspiration, I was going to post these same thoughts then, but life continues to move forward, you follow it and some things get put off until another painful shot comes your way, reminding you of what you once started.

A couple days ago I was traveling with my kids across a few states that took me roughly 8 hours of driving, stops, and getting gas to finally reached my destination around 8 pm. Exhausted, I got on social media and started noticing similar posts only from my former high school classmates. Everyone was talking about him, asking for prayers, expressing disbelief, saddened for his children. It took up every other post in my news feed. Scrolling through the heartache and condolences, one post had a news article that said ‘fatal motorcycle wreck’. I clicked it, read it, saw the pictures that showed a motorcycle on its side and one empty boot laying in the middle of the road and as it closed the article and what happened, it ended with the name of the casualty. His name was Eric.

My stomach crumbled. He was in my graduating class. He was a father, son and brother. He was always kind to me and we were starting to catch back up on Facebook. Just the day before I commented on one of his posts to help encourage him.  And just like that, literally hours after that, he’s gone. And how, dear reader, how do you cope with that reality?

Death always brings questions. We always wonder why someone was taken, why they were so young, why now. We always feel better when we have the knowledge and reasoning behind certain events that occur. It makes us feel safer. And the reality is, we can’t know all of those answers. We can, though, trust that there is a higher power at work and is taking care of His ultimate plan. So in the case of trusting, what are we supposed to take away from death?

A small notion I have about people dying is for those of us who are in pain to remember the positive in their lives. That there is a reason we, the living, should be inspired by the dead in some way. We can look at the deceased and think about their qualities and adapt something from their lives into ours. Something that would help build us as better humans and bring us closer together. One bright aspect of death is that is does bring us all together. We cry on each other’s shoulders, hug family and friends we haven’t seen in ages, talk to those who we haven’t heard from, laugh about memories, console others, speak about the happier times in life and pay our respects to our brother that has passed from this life. On the final goodbyes that you say to them, be sure to thank them for however they impacted your life and live so that you are an inspiration when your time comes.

 

 

So….yeah

Remember in my last post when I said something to the effect of “hey, I took a break but now I’m back every Saturday” yada yada yada..?  Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t post last Saturday and it is very late in the evening on a Tuesday now when I finally started to write this one. And I will admit, I felt so angry at myself for not posting on Saturday even though I had every intention of doing so. So what happened? And more importantly, why would I even be upset about it?

Well last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday and we had a small party for her and a couple friends. It really wasn’t anything major and everyone had fun and there was great conversation. (Bonus, the house still looked clean when everyone left!) After the kids went to sleep I pulled out my laptop and started blogging about the day and how great it was. It really started out as a great post that was full of emotion, reflection and motherhood. I wrote about half of it and decided to step away to get myself something to drink and that’s when my husband showed me some houses (we are moving soon). Of course we jumped in that rabbit hole and looked at so many houses and I completely forgot I even wrote anything.

The next morning, I realized I didn’t post anything and thought ‘no big deal, a post a day late is fine with me’. But Sunday somehow became one thing after another and yet again I forgot to not just finish the post, but I forgot half of what I was going to write. So I went to bed yet again remembering that I still didn’t post.

Yesterday and today, I worked on commissions. Almost entirely for both days. I went to a friend’s house because she was also working on orders so we had our kids play together so we could work. And work we did. I’m done with a crochet doll that takes forever and was able to work on some individual sketches. But it wasn’t until tonight that I forced myself to sit and finish the blog post. Well, I started a new one technically.

So there are the reasons, so why am I mad? It’s not like I wasn’t doing anything or that I just sat around for three days not caring. So there really isn’t a reason, right? Well, I hold myself to a standard with only a few things in my life. And keeping up with my creative outlets is one of them. I like blogging a lot. It helps me write, even when I haven’t written anything in my novel. I do expect myself to sit for an hour and write once a week about something because it’s not an unrealistic goal. But I also live a lifestyle that has a husband, 5 children, 2 dogs, homeschooling, working from home and  being a housewife. Sometimes those goals are easily over shadowed and even though I  feel great about staying on top of my proprietors, I still get upset when I don’t accomplish those personal goals. It’s so easy to lose yourself in taking care of others all the time. Seeing someone’s gratitude and appreciation for your hard work is a wonderful feeling and is something to be happy about. But when you set goals for yourself, to improve yourself or your own ability, and then don’t have the time to meet that goal, it can feel frustrating and a bit of a let down. But something I have learned and striving to remember, is that its not a failure. Its not a set back. Its a pause. I can pick up things relatively back up where they once were, may not be easy, but its reasonable and perfectly okay. When the time comes, and I can get my goals completed, I like to take a bit of time to appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

So if you can relate, then high five, because it’s nice to know we aren’t alone!

 

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And I am back

So last week, if you noticed, I took it off from blogging. We are currently in the middle of a move and there is so much I had to get done that I had to focus my time and energy into what needed to be done. It was worth it and I am glad to be back on the blog, especially since I have an announcement to make!

If you haven’t noticed (or if you have) I have changed my blog headline to ‘artist and creator of handmade inspirations’ from ‘an illustrator with a few stories to tell’. Recently I was talking to one of my best friends and my husband and they both told me that I should expand my art into all things creative. I like to make art pieces but I also do other crafts such as sewing, crocheting, origami, etc. I really enjoy being creative in lots of different ways, so instead of limiting myself to just one way medium, I will start including all arts and crafts projects I make and also start having them for sale.

So while this is a brief post, its informative and fun! I will post things that are for sale in my shop tab so be sure to keep up that and check back frequently to see what’s new! I also post a lot on my Instagram which shares over to my Twitter and Facebook also, so follow me on anyone of those and you will also see progress photos and posts on new items! I am still on YouTube and Patreon also, although because of the moving process, I won’t be uploading new videos every week, but I will have new prints and stickers every month on Patreon! You can always check those out because those prints are at a special price for my monthly patrons and will only have limited quantities for sale in my shop!

Featured image is the March Patreon print and stickers!

Where is the creativity?

Have you really ever felt that your creativity has been stifled or even worst, lost? Maybe you feel like you have gone through all the ideas you will ever have and haven’t had a new one in days, weeks, or months. These are times were the creative person can really feel beaten down and without purpose. Creative people need outlets that best suit them, being music, art, writing, building, crafting, photography, sculpting, etc. If that outlet seems to be lost or at a block, then there is a sense of ‘limbo’ as I like to call. Basically, there is the want to create without the motivation or inspiration to come up with something. So what are you supposed to do about it?

This is a hard question to answer, to be very honest, because everyone is different and has different ways of motivation. So to give you one set of ‘rules’ to get you out of a slump would be an exercise in futility. But I can give you some of what I do for myself so maybe it can help you set up some ways to get out or, better yet, avoid the block you get from time to time.

  1. Thumbnails- there are certain things that I know I like; nature, water, my family, food, hiking, tea/coffee, fantasy genre, Final Fantasy franchise, birds, dolphins…..so when I feel like I have nothing new to draw, I create thumbnails of things I like on just some notebook paper. Sometimes it jogs some creative ideas, sometimes I toss the paper. But I got something done that day and it can feel like I got the bad ideas out of my head and a good idea or two can begin to blossom in my imagination.
  2. Things I am not good at- hands, feet, animals with lots of fur, wrinkles in clothing, cars; those are things I am not good at or at least not satisfied with drawing. I don’t practice them during my bout of creativity because they tend to make feel held back. But when I have times of ‘blah’ I practice these ‘blah’ things and one of two things happen, I figure out a new trick to getting better or I am reminded on why I steer clear of these categories. (If you are a person who can draw cars easily then a virtual high five for you because that is awesome!)
  3. Studies- We all have someone we admire or look up to for inspiration for our own work. Try doing some studies of their work. Start a piece like theirs and see if you can figure out how they got that. While you can’t adopt their own style as your own, you can use it to shape yours. One of the YouTube artists I follow uses markers and colored pencils for their pieces. I love mixed media, so when I don’t know what to draw I will look at their other pictures, try to draw something similar, and use a color palette similar to theirs. It helps me to try other styles and learn something new. I usually just have this in my sketchbook so I can look back at it for a reference.
  4. Talk about your slump- this is mostly why I am writing this blog post. I have no idea what to talk to you about this week, so I thought I would help myself get motivated by maybe helping you get motivated! While I was writing this, I actually did come up with a solution to one of my problems I am having so it did help me. But talking about not feeling up to your creativity can help, especially if the people around you genuinely want to help you and know you.
  5. Do it anyway- Oh, this is so much easier said than done. Simply because, what do you do if your brain just feels like it turned itself off? You find a way to climb over the block. Some people like to do something creative every day. Some don’t. One thing does not always work for another person. Personally, I am someone who likes to do something creative everyday, even if its not drawing. Luckily I have my kids who love creative time and will often ask me do help with their own projects. While these projects are still relatively simple compared to my own that I take on, its still being creative and really, there is nothing better, to me, than seeing my kids love something that made and tell me thank you for the help. That always makes me happy.

So while this information may not be new to you, I hope that it helps you not feel so alone. Not every great artist/creator has inspiration pouring from their ears. We are all humans and have struggles, so this kind of experience can be turned into something good with a little time and patience.

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