Tuesday, June 11, 2019

New Printables!

Hello friends!

How are things in your corner of the world? I know I've been super quiet over here on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know I've been keeping myself busy with lots of new projects. And I have an exciting one to share with you!

I'm super excited to be back in the Illustrated Faith Print & Pray shop with some new printables! "Give it all you've got" is my motto these days, and all of these designs were created with motivation and encouragement in mind. 💛 

The first set is full of fun ephemera including rainbows, lettering & of course coffee cups, washi strips, and lots of cute hexies. 

And the second is a set of four patterned papers...

There are so many fun projects you can create with these sets! They are fantastic for not only bible journaling, but scrapbooking, adding to your paper planner, card-making, art journaling, and really any sort of paper crafting.  

You can check them both out, as well as my other printables, here!


Friday, May 03, 2019

A Dose of Encouragement

Oh yes, it's Friday friends!

Thanks goodness.

How are you doing over there? I wanted to share a bit about what's going on with me lately, and a few links to inspire and encourage you.

I've been blessed with commissioned artwork requests the past few weeks. The serendipitous thing about this is that just when I decided to take a break from working at the crazy pace I had been, some really wonderful and meaningful projects came my way.
This is the most recent one:

When this request came to me, I immediately knew how I wanted the finished piece to look. One of my favorite things about these pieces is that they stretch me to draw new subject matter. I had never drawn an amaryllis before, and it was a fun challenge. 

This dog portrait was a surprise birthday gift which made it even more fun to create...

And how fun is that name?! I used one of the owner's tattoos for inspiration for the flowers and color palette. 

And finally this piece was created for the shared bedroom of two young sisters. Do you see the little bee and lady bug? Those represent them...how sweet is that?! 

I'm sharing all of this with you to prove that the universe has your back. Just when I felt discouraged and that my art wasn't the quality it should be, or reaching the audience I wanted it to, these projects came my way. 

That validation means everything!

And as I promised, here are a few links to encourage and inspire you...

Hope you have a fantastic weekend friends!


Monday, April 15, 2019

Keep Going

Oh, hello there friends.

Boy has it been awhile since I blogged. A lot has changed for me in the past few months, and even in the past few weeks. A lot of growing and discerning where things are going, and where I want them to be going.

Have you been in a similar season? It can be exhausting, right? But also freeing. Figuring out who the heck you are, what matters to you, and what path feels right for your soul. 

If you follow along with me on social media, especially my Instagram stories, you know I love to start a slow morning with a good book and a mug of coffee. 

Last weekend I read Keep Going by Austin Kleon and it was so lovely and encouraging that I wanted to share a few of my favorite snippets with you. 

You're not supposed to start with the end, but I will say that the last page made me cry and say YES! out loud and nod my head and then cry some more. It was exactly the reminder I needed on the day I read it. 

Don't you love when a book finds you at the perfect time? 

One of the serendipitous moments where the book met my life is where Kleon talks about creating a "bliss station" in your home. 

My husband and I recently switched desk spaces at home. He needed a more private space so he moved into our downstairs rec room, and I moved my desk into our family room. This has been the best surprising game changer for me. I hardly every used my art space before because I had to be alone and away from my family, and when I'm home I want to be with them. 

"Creativity is about connection - you must be connected to others in order to be inspired and share your own work - but it is also about disconnection. You must retreat from the world long enough to think, practice your art, and bring forth something worth sharing with others."

Now I'm sharing the space where we do life together and it is perfect. If I need quiet I just pop in my headphones and get to work. I still do love creating from the comfy corner of our couch, but last night I sat at my desk to work on an illustration and it was so wonderful. It is amazing what this switch has done for my motivation and attitude toward my art. 

Kleon says, "A bliss station can be not just a where, but also a when. Not just a sacred space, but also a sacred time." Depending on your life and schedule, it can be hard to find a place and a time that works. The important thing is to find one that works for you. 

Another lesson in the book that hit super close to home for me was the notion of doing the creative work and letting go of the tight grip on BEING the artist. 

For the past year and a half I have been so focused on results and productivity, that I had lost the joy of simply creating. I don't recommend this unnerving path, but at the end of the day, coming back to joy feels like returning home after a long trip, and that is a particularly wonderful feeling. 

"Art and the artist both suffer most when the artist gets too heavy, too focused on results."

It had gotten so heavy for me, this "professional artist" life. I was so weighed down I could barely breathe. And when you can't breathe, you can't create. 

One of my very favorite creative folks, Andy Miller, recently said that your art won't be alive if you aren't living. Boy, isn't that the truth. 

"If you want to change your life, change what you pay attention to."

I've been focusing a lot these days on what I'm giving my energy and attention to...on the vibes I'm sending out into the universe. And I'm seeing miraculous changes happen both for me mentally and in my career. My confidence has grown. I'm owning my strengths and talents in a way that is helping me share them in a more authentic way. 

Being open is SO important to creating space for those miracles to find their way to you. 

This book is a fun, quick, and encouraging read, and I really recommend it if you are feeling stuck and need a gentle kick in the pants to get you going again. 

*And if you need a few extra things to make you feel good about the world, I recommend these:

  • Lennon Stella. This girl's voice has been playing on repeat for me lately

Sending joy-filled vibes to you!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Product Alert

I have a super exciting new product collaboration to share with you today!
I'm over the moon to share that I'm creating monthly printables for The Reset Girl

Holy cow. Yep...that's what I'm still thinking as I share this news even though I've been working on this for weeks. #dreamproject

My first set, Happy at Home, is available now!

I've been a long time fan of TRG and am pinching myself that my creations are now a part of their store. Ahhh! I can't wait to get started on my next set. 

If you have themes you would love to see send them my way. I am always collecting inspiration!


Friday, December 21, 2018

Holiday Permission

This is your permission.

Permission to be fully you during the holidays.

Permission to be sad about what isn't, while joyful about what is.

To not allow others' anxieties, hang-ups, and issues to become your anxieties, hang-ups and issues.

Permission to feel lost and yet found.

To be whole. To be rooted. To be free.

To feel grounded in the middle of everyone else's chaos.

You get to decide.

You are in charge. 

And isn't that a lovely thing?

Sending hugs, peace, and light to you,

Monday, December 10, 2018

One Little Word 2019

Hello there friend!

I hope December is treating you well so far. Is it flying for you like it is over here in our corner of the world? Goodness it will be Christmas like...tomorrow? And 2019 like...in a week? It certainly feels that way.

I've been thinking about writing this post for a few days now. To talk about my OLW (one little word) for 2018 and what I've chosen for 2019. I've been choosing a word to guide my year for several years now, and most years my words have served me so well. Like in 2017 when my word was MAGIC

For 2018, I chose the word balance

This choice came after a chaotic and anything but balanced end of 2017, when I decided I had to pay better attention to self-care and focusing on the things that mattered in 2018. 

Little did I know what the coming year had in store for me. 

2018 was not balanced at all. Comically so. Like when I look at that cute acrylic word cut out up there, which I keep in our bedroom, it makes me giggle every time. 

It was the most painfully awkward and mentally draining year I've ever experienced. Counting down the days until 2019 over here. 

It caught me by surprise, knocked the air out of me, left me in a panic more times than I could have imagined, and forced me into painful experiences of growth I would not have chosen. 

Family illness, huge shifts in relationships, crazy big changes in my day job, my boys starting middle school, and all of the challenges that come with working an 8-5 while also working toward an art career at the same time.

I had lunch with a friend a few months ago, when I was in the thick of the hardest part of the year. Thank goodness for friends who'll let you confess that you are losing your shit while sharing a plate of BBQ nachos.  

She helped me realize that every significant area of my life was out of balance. Work, family, extended family, my art career. Nothing felt settled. No wonder I was a disaster. Ha! 

Now this is the part when I get really honest with you. For most of this year I have resented my day job in the worst way. I was in a terrible downward spiral. I wanted out. All of the change and upheaval at my job, while mostly positive, were too much for my slow-to-change soul to handle. 

One of the most challenging parts of this year? 2018 required me to use my voice in big, scary ways. You know that saying about speaking your truth, even if your voice shakes? Yep, this year had that covered for me, quite literally. 

I found myself in situations where I had to speak up about extremely difficult things. (Going back to that voice shaking thing here.) There were so many times when I wasn't sure if I should have said anything. And then after that hard experience or meeting, someone would come up to me and thank me for speaking up. And each time that happened, it became clearer to me that my voice mattered. 

The words I said actually made a difference...brought about change. Whoa. I had never experienced that before. 

And then in early November my body decided it was not having any more of this nonsense and totally went on strike during one of my biggest work event weekends of the year. I ended up in bed for three days straight after a massive panic attack. It was like my body and soul had a come to Jesus meeting and decided no way, no how, was Mandy going to spend two days being hostess to 80 people.

But that weekend was like a reset for me. I came out of it feeling relieved and ready to face whatever was ahead. And so very thankful I had come through the other side. 

I also realized that I've been trying so hard to keep areas of my life separate from each other. 

The Mandy who works 8-5 in higher ed AND the professional artist Mandy. 

The quiet, introvert Mandy AND the not afraid to speak her mind Mandy. *It was such a surprise to meet that version of me this year...I think I'll keep her.

The Mandy who is mourning change while simultaneously thanking God for new opportunities. 

The Mandy who is thankful for her current life while at the same time dreaming of more.

I want to remember in 2019 that I can be all of the things I am, all at the same time. 

I can be filled with anxiety while also using my voice and speaking my truth. I can work 8-5 in a seminary and then come home and draw illustrations for my art agent. I can be humble while also sharing my gifts and knowledge. 

It might seem a bit silly to even need to say these things because they are all a part of who I am, but for some reason I've fought letting them all live together. 

So when thinking about a word for 2019, I wasn't even sure if I was going to choose one. I mean, 2018's word fell totally flat on it's face. I knew that if I was going to choose one it needed to be exactly the right thing. I didn't want an unattainable goal, or a word that would put unneeded pressure on me after the dumpster fire of a year I had just gone through.

And then I figured it out. 

My word for 2019 is...AND.

More specifically, the ampersand (&) because it's just so darn cute. 

I want to embrace every single part of who I am this year, and not worry so much about making the wrong choices, saying the wrong thing, looking or acting differently than others might expect from me. 

I didn't realize how much I was doing this until everything I relied on got flipped on it's side this year. 

If you've made it through this entire post, bless your heart and thank you. I know I don't blog like I used to, but I have so many friends that have been with me since the beginning of this crazy little space, and I appreciate each and every one of you so very much.

I haven't decide on a talisman for 2019 to keep my word close to my mind and my heart, but with how much I love the ampersand I might just have to get a few different things. I've been pinning ideas here

Do you have a word for 2019? I'd love to hear more about it in the comments!

Here's to a new year of embracing every single little thing that makes you, you! 


Friday, October 26, 2018

Coffee Talk

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that whatever you are struggling with, you may think you can't handle, but you are most certainly qualified.

I would tell you that you are growing and learning, and through this hard stuff you are becoming even more of the person you are meant to be.

I would tell you to keep moving forward, to remember to take deep breaths, and to not feel guilty for that extra dash of cream and sugar in your cup.

Wishing you an encouraging, cozy, and joy-filled Friday friends!



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