Saturday, December 31, 2016

One Little Word 2017

Hello friends!

It is hard to believe 2016 is coming to a close, and that I'm typing out a post about my one little word for 2017, but here we are. 

And I know many are saying Amen! And Hallelujah! to the close of this year.

A lot of you, a lot of us, have had a trying year. The seas have been rough with choppy waves for so many.

I have felt the sea sickness of those waves coming from our political climate, and from the devastation our friends in places like Aleppo, and even Gatlinburg, have experienced. As a super empathetic person, there were days when thinking about these things has overshadowed what has been going on between the four walls of our home.

But between our four walls these past 365 days, in all honesty (and not at all to sound braggy), things have been rather joy-filled and wonderful.

I was gifted a six month sabbatical from work, we remodeled our kitchen, my artwork has grown and provided me with immense happiness, and my marriage has grown stronger. Not to mention everything about those two boys who call me momma (or fart face...but whatever). 

It has simply been a good year.

Renew was my one little word for 2016, and I chose it this time last year, thinking ahead to my time off mostly. And while it was a good word, looking back it doesn't truly describe 2016 for me. 

That's the thing with choosing a word - sometimes it doesn't quite jive. And that's OK! 

Not that I didn't have time of renewal this past year, because I did. But overall I would say it was a year of growth and challenge for me. And of major gratitude and presence.

But for this year? I was struggling with what word to choose. I wasn't even sure if I would choose one. Then recently a friend posted on Facebook for people to share one word that began with the first letter of their name, to give her encouragement for the new year. And MAGIC popped up right away into my head. So that's what I shared with her.

And then I almost immediately decided, THAT'S IT! 

My one little word for 2017 is MAGIC.

I know it may sound cheesy & head in the clouds. But I mean really...when haven't I been either of those things? (and darn proud of it!)

And this year I feel like being a bit more of those things. Because life really can be magic if we let it be. And I want as much as I can get my hands on in 2017. 

Magic with my art, with my relationships, with how I experience the world and everything in it. 

Do you have a word for the upcoming year? Or a phrase or goal you are reaching for? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

P.S. This image was in my timehop today from last year. So perfect, right? 



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas friends! 

And happy anything else you may be celebrating today!

I'm SO very thankful for you!

We have had a truly delightful and relaxing Christmas, and I'm beyond grateful for that. I hope you are enjoying time to rest, laugh, eat good food and recharge!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New Tricks

Hello friends!

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you are well today and ready for all of the holiday business right around the corner. I'm fighting a cold today but refuse to let it put a damper on my Christmas excitement! 

And speaking of excitement, I have a few new illustrations to share!

I was so giddy the other day when I figured out a new trick in Photoshop to give my lettering more dimension...

See how there is another layer of color underneath? Yep...that is what I'm giddy about! I also played around with a translucent layer of color underneath the pine branches which turned out nicely. 

Here is the pencil sketch of the above piece...

I'm thinking about possibilities for my next Skillshare class teaching these tricks. My first class went amazingly well so I'm itching to create a second!

And here is another fun lettering piece I did last night. Can you guess the movie this quote is from? 

(I know...suuuper hard 😉 )

I've been focusing on creating artwork that I want to see out in the world. Something I would buy if I came across it on a notebook or canvas at TJ Maxx or Target. And these illustrations are getting me closer to that goal. 

Yay for new tricks! 

I had another giddy moment a few days ago when I opened up my first roll of wrapping paper with my own artwork...

Ahhh! I basically want to re-wrap all of our gifts now. But it is a small roll so maybe just a couple special ones. 

It is so awesome that there are online shops out there for artists to create these products without needing to have a license with a company. So many possibilities! (this is from my Zazzle shop)

Thanks for sharing in my illustration excitement! And I hope you are finding time to rest and find joy in this holiday season today.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Free Holiday Printables

Hello friends and Happy Monday!

I've been busy making you things, and I have two free holiday printables for you!

First up is a coloring page:

The idea behind this page came from my son Ben, which makes me love it even more. Who wouldn't wish for presents and candy falling from the sky? No one I know, that's for sure! 

And if this isn't even coloring fun for you, You can also grab my printable holiday coloring book with six fun pages here! These pages are perfect for holiday parties and family gatherings.

And for that second printable, I got so obsessed with the different motifs in the coloring page that I turned them into a set of holiday gift tags!

There are eight different cheerful tags, ready to be attached to gift bags, boxes, or any package you desire! They would also be fun embellishments for your holiday scrapbooking. 

And because I couldn't stop there, I also turned it into a pattern!

I pretty much want to wrap all of our Christmas gifts in these happy houses. Or move into one of them. I mean a candy cane roof? Come on. 

I added it to my Zazzle shop as wrapping paper and ordered a roll...SUPER excited to see how it turned out! You can see it here

If you share the printables on social media, I'd love to see how you use them! Tag me @mandyfordart! 

Happy printing & even happier holidays!



Sunday, December 04, 2016

{new coloring book!}

This is how I like to start a Sunday morning...

Coffee & coloring perfection.

I'm excited to share that my new printable holiday coloring book is now available in my Etsy shop!

There are four new pages and two of last year's favorites. 

These pages are perfect for any age and a great addition to holiday parties and family gatherings. Or you can keep it all to yourself...I won't tell. 😉

Click here to shop!

And if you're looking for markers to use, check out this blog post where I share my favorites! 


Monday, November 28, 2016

{getting cozy}

Things are looking all glowy and cozy at our house these days...

My goal is to cover as many spots with twinkle lights as possible. 

Ones like this are my favorite.

Ben helped me with the little shelf display above. He picked out all of the pieces and I did a little rearranging and added the lights. We make a good team!

And oh how happy I am to have these kitchen shelves to add little snow-topped houses and holiday cheer to! 

The rest of the house may look like a tornado went through, but at least I have these happy scenes to distract me!

Did you do holiday decorating over the weekend?


Friday, November 25, 2016

{Etsy SALE}

Happy Black Friday!

Are you doing some serious shopping?

I must admit I'm having a bit of trouble getting started on my Christmas shopping this year, and if you are too I have a sale in my Etsy shop to get you going!

I'm offering two deals:

BOGO Free prints 
(free print of equal or lesser value)
*Simply purchase the print(s) you want to pay for, and entere the one(s) you want for free in the notes to seller at check-out.


20% off of your total purchase of $10 or more 
Use code "SAVE20"

Not only do I have lots of happy prints in my shop, I also have holiday cards and my 2017 calendar. 

OH, AND everything in my Society6 shop is 20% off + free shipping today too! (Helloooo mugs!)

And if you are local, you can purchase lots of my goodies at Roscoe's Coffee Bar, Veach's Toy Station, or The Tin Cup!

Happy shopping!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

{a November exhale}

Hello out there!

Is anyone still with me over here on my lonely blog?

November has been a bit of a doozy hasn't it?

Are you feeling that way too? 

Mine has looked a bit like this: I started back to work which was in itself a big shift. I also spent the entire last week sick with a nasty sinus infection and chest cold that I'm finally on the other side of. And I had an art sale last weekend. And oh yeah...there was an election.

Deep exhale.

I've found myself medicating with cozy sweaters and of course lots of coffee.

And cat cuddling...

As well as doing my best to be kind to everyone I encounter...

Especially those who might feel extra tender and scared right now.

Have you needed to implement extra self care this month? What have been your methods?

With Thanksgiving two days away, I know most of us are also probably feeling some sort of pressure or tension. Whether it be with making sure the meal is prepared, or spending time with family you don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with or...

Another deep exhale.

Stick with what you know is good and true, and let the rest slide away. That's my best advice. And maybe a bit of this...

We really are all in this together. And I hope in some small way I can help you feel encouraged today. 

And now on to some fun art news!

I'm working on putting together a new printable holiday coloring book! Here are a few sneaks at the pages in progress...

I'll have it in my Etsy shop soon!

And I'm working on a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday Etsy sale. I'll share details very soon once I figure them out! 😂

Oh, AND if you are local, I'll be selling lots of my illustrated goodies at Roscoe's Coffee Bar on Friday, December 2nd from 6-8 pm...

There will also be a bunch of other amazing local artists selling their creations. So come see me and do some Christmas shopping! (Follow the event on Facebook)

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving (my American friends!) and times of rest and perhaps a few more deep exhales during this busy holiday season.

Lots of love,


Thursday, November 03, 2016

{Society6 Sale!}

Happy Thursday!

How is your week going friends? Good I hope!

It has been a doozy for me going back to work but I'm happy to report I'm hanging in there with the help of my trusty coffee, a slightly embarrassing amount of candy, (THANK YOU HALLOWEEN!) and a yummy fall scented candle in my window.

Thank goodness for a lovely view!

Now that November is here I'm starting to think about Christmas shopping. Do you shop early? I try to start in November so I can space things out and not get too overwhelmed by it all. 

And speaking of Christmas shopping, Society6 is offering their best sale of the year right now - $5 off + FREE shipping on EVERYTHING! Woohoo!

So if you've been eyeing something in my shop for yourself or a gift, now's the time to grab it up! The sale is good through November 6th.

Use THIS LINK to start shopping!

I recently purchased one of their pillows in my new acorn pattern and I'm super happy with the quality...

(Don't mind the lumps...I need to buy a proper pillow insert!)

And of course I have lots of mugs, totes, phone cases, and other happies in there as well!

Their totes are super great quality - heavy canvas and the image is printed on both sides!

I'd like to think I'm helping you beat the Christmas shopping overwhelm by sharing this sale with you. 

So, you're welcome! 😉 

Happy shopping!



Tuesday, November 01, 2016

{go with the flow}

Well friends....that is my office there behind me.

Which means one thing. 

My lovely sabbatical is over. All six months of it. Which is SO hard to believe. 

Cue all of the feelings. Seriously...ALL of them within a span of about 4 hours. 

This morning I went from "OK this isn't so bad" to "I might cry" to "NO ONE TALK TO ME!" to "OK my coffee has kicked in I guess people can see me" to "I can totally handle this". 

I really do drive myself nuts, but that's how my brain works. Can you relate? Please...someone tell me yes. It is a rollercoaster living in my mind. 

A virtual amusement park! 😂

But honestly I wouldn't change it for a thing. 

The sabbatical was a tremendous gift.

And as much as I am resisting going back to work, it is here and happening and I'm going to do my best to embrace this new season and look for all of the lessons it will teach me. 

Because I know it will. 

And this is going to be my mantra for the week as I transform back into "professional" Mandy (if that's even a real thing!)...

Maybe you need this reminder right now too? 



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

{October happenings}

Hello friends!

How is your October going so far? 

We've been squeezing in all sorts of fun fall activities at our house. The boys are on fall break this week and I've been soaking up being able to enjoy every minute with them (OK..maybe not EVERY minute because 8 year olds are a but nuts, especially after 8 pm 😜 😂). But seriously I'm not taking this time with them for granted, and honestly getting a bit weepy about the fact that I go back to work in two weeks. It will be bittersweet for sure. 

In art news, I've also been working on new illustrations and patterns! I've found that anymore I can't let a day go by without creating something new.

So here are a few peeks into our past week through my Instagram photos...

Morning walk through the lovely. 

Working on some happy fall signs for an upcoming show! Gold sharpies are one of my new favorite things.

Orchard! They still humor me with a photo, even if tongues need to be stuck out.

Outdoor office = sabbatical life.

This needs no explanation, right?

I've been stocking up on cute new dresses and cardigans in anticipation of going back to work on November 1st. (Easing the sting a little, you know?)

The above is an Old Navy dress and TJ Maxx cardigan, and the cardigan below is from my favorite local boutique, Luxe Lizzies!

We are lucky to live super close to an arboretum that has beautiful nature trails. We definitely need to take advantage of it more! This nature walk has been the highlight of my month with them for sure.

Random happy fall doodles

Another sign I'm working on for that upcoming show. These chalkboards are double-sided so I'm thinking about fun double quote concepts. 

A new happy illustration...I have missed doing daily quotes.

And brush lettering! A fun new thing to practice. I'm using Sakura Koi brush markers here. 

Perfect fall break morning (you can grab the mug here)

Pottery painting! It had been awhile since I took the boys to do this, and I was excited to see how much their dexterity and creativity has grown. 

And new patterns!

I can thank my Pattern Camp group for the creation of these. Jessica (our fearless leader) gives us a weekly challenge, and these were acorns and ghosts. So fun!

Here were my original sketches for the ghost pattern...

With my favorite fall treat in hand of course! I ate WAY too much candy corn + peanuts yesterday. Addictive I tell ya!

So whew...that was a lot of photos but a fun recap I think! Hope your October is going along fabulously as well!



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