Monday, June 15, 2015

my favorite new mama basics


Little Jane just turned two months old, and we are finding our groove. Even with Jane being our third addition I still feel like a new mama. Things have changed in the five years since I had my second child, and I'm loving some of the new mama basics I have found. 
  • Nursing cover - My Covered Goods nursing cover has been essential! This cover is perfect; it is very lightweight and stretchy. We don't get hot when we use this cover and that's important in the summer heat. I like that it has full coverage, and I don't feel exposed at all. I carry our nursing cover with us everywhere, and it has been so helpful for feedings on the go. Covered goods also makes a versatile product: you can also use the cover as a car seat carrier cover and when baby is older it's great to cover the shopping cart seats. 
  • Essential oils - I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy and now love that I can use them with Jane. Our favorites right now are lavender which I diffuse with orange when she is getting fussy. Also, I have been using Gentle Babies when she has any skin irritations. I dilute it with sunflower oil and see relief so quickly. For my recovery I used this new mama spray; it is made with essential oils and is a great natural alternative for postpartum recovery.
  • Mason Jar Tumbler - I carry my Mason Bar Company tumbler with me everywhere. I mean it. It helps keep me hydrated and fits perfectly in Jane's diaper bag.
  • Teething Necklace - I love wearing big, fun necklaces, but with a baby that is not always convenient. They want to chew on my jewelry, so now I have the perfect new mama necklace for once Jane starts teething. 
  • Encouragement - A little encouragement goes a long way, especially for an exhausted new mama. This print is a good reminder to mamas that they are enough and they are doing a good job.
These are great for new mamas whether it's the first child or the fifth.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let Love Grow {the love project}


This summer my second son, Jack, will have a procedure to repair a hole in his heart. When he was 1 month old we found out was born with a atrial septal defect and pulmonary stenosis. We were so scared to find out our child may have to have procedure or even open heart surgery, but at the same time we had hope and peace because we knew he would have amazing doctors and quality healthcare. Not once did I have to worry that my child would not receive the care he needs; I know we are fortunate beyond measure. So when Ashley shared with me about The Love Project I knew I had to be a part.
The Love Project is working to provide for families around the world parenting children with heart disease. These families are faced with the horrible realities of leaving their children to suffer or abandoning them due to financial limitations. The Love Project requires significant funding and that is where other creatives and I are joining together to donate artwork for sale to go to the Love Fund. All funds raised go directly to families in need of assistance to provide life-saving surgeries for children with operable congenital heart defects.
A special online shop has been created filled with 17 original downloadable prints available for purchase. Our hope is that you would join us in providing life saving surgeries and helping preserve families by purchasing a print.
I've created this watercolor painting below for sale in The Love Project Shop. I hope you will consider joining us in growing the Love Fund by purchasing one of the beautiful prints for sale or even by making a donation directly to The Love Project (there is a place at the bottom of this page to do so).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

let's create {my favorite supplies}

"You can't use up creativity. The more the you use, the more you have." -Maya Angelou
I've added a few new things to my art supplies so I wanted to give y'all and updated list of my favorites.


Sketchbooks: Strathmore is my go to sketchbook. I try to stock up on them when they are on sale at Michael's. I just recently tried the Strathmore mixed media visual journal for my watercolors, and I love it. I also use Master's Touch sketch paper for drawing and Canson Mix Media for painting with watercolor or gouache. 
Pens & Markers: Fabre Castell Pitt pens are my favorite. When I say favorite I mean it. I've used several other brands but I always come back to my Pitt pens. They are waterproof so they are perfect if you will be using paint or markers. I also use a Sharpie marker and Pentel brush pen with my hand lettering. For markers I use Pentel color pens. They are wonderful and have a HUGE variety of colors. 
Pencils: I like simple No. 2 pencil for sketching; I use fun, personalized "Pen & Paint" pencils from this shop. The colored pencils by Pentel are definitely a good fit for my collection of supplies. I love the range of colors offered. Also, I have to hide them from my boys. I also have a set of Prismalcolor watercolor pencils that I like.
Paints: Dr. Ph Martin's liquid watercolors are what I'm using right now for the majority of my watercolors. I love how vibrant they are and how easy they are to mix. I still use my Winsor Newton pocket box too. I chose Reeves to try gouache for the first time. The set was affordable and offered a fun collection of colors. My acrylic paints are for the most part an inexpensive collection of my favorite colors. 
Brushes: My watercolor brushes are Royal, and I also like to use Craft Smart and Loew-Cornell for acrylic painting.
Programs: I used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create and edit all my vector art. I still have a ton to learn, but the great thing is I can learn and create at the same time.
Work table: I found this table and knew it was perfect for my studio. I actually only purchased the legs and then went Home Depot and had a piece of wood cut for the top. You can see more of my studio in this post.
I also have an FAQ here for other questions you might have.
I hope this is helpful for any of you who are interested. Remember, whether you have a Sharpie pen and a cheap sketchbook or fine art pens and paper, the main thing is that you are taking time create. Also, it's okay to buy cheap supplies. The first watercolor set I started really experimenting with was $8. I bought it because I liked the colors. It got me interested in trying a new medium and allowed me to get my feet, or should I say brushes, wet.
Now go create!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shop Anniversary Sale!


Six years ago today I opened up my shop. I was a new mama creating artwork for friends and family. I had someone encourage me to sell on @Etsy, and I wanted to see what this handmade marketplace was all about. I had no idea how much things would change and grow. I went from making large, custom paintings to small, fun paintings to illustrating and designing art prints, stationery, and so much more. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to create and share my artwork with people around the world. I am so grateful for the support I have received from my family, customers, and friends. 
It's time to celebrate Pen & Paint today! All prints (5x7, 8x10, and 11x14) are buy one get one free. No coupon code necessary. With every print you purchase you can get a FREE print (of the same size) of your choice. Enter the free print description in the message to seller at checkout. Sale is for 5/27/2015 only. 
Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

dreaming big

For the past three days Pen & Paint has been represented at Surtex by Jewel Branding. Surtex is the annual trade show for the surface design industry, and that means my artwork has the opportunity to be viewed by manufacturers and retailers around the world. I honestly can’t believe it! This is a dream come true.

I opened my shop six years ago in May of 2009 as a hobby and creative outlet. I left the workplace to stay at home with my first child. I loved to create, and I started painting for friends and family.  After three years of painting custom canvases and nursery art my work evolved, and in 2012 I began drawing and designing art prints. I changed my shop name to Pen & Paint and began a new adventure. The shop grew and I learned so many things. I finally felt like I was an artist and I knew it was what I wanted as a career. I was no longer a stay-at-home mama who painted and drew, but I became a work-at-home small business owner. Last year my husband and I realized it was time to take Pen & Paint full time. This meant my shop would become our main source of income, and my husband resigned from teaching to help take care of our children and assist with the business. This was the biggest, scariest thing we’ve ever done. What if the shop didn’t bring in enough income? What if I failed? I had dreams and plans, but the fear of the unknown was really hard for me. I had to constantly remind myself giving up wasn’t an option.

One of my goals in taking Pen & Paint full time was to begin licensing my work. I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do with my artwork, but I was limited because I could not produce them on my own. I wanted the chance to create artwork for home d├ęcor, textiles, and so much more. I spent several months looking for an art agent to represent Pen & Paint. I knew I needed someone to handle the business side of licensing so I could focus on what I love – creating. I found Jewel Branding and knew it was the right fit. I was thrilled when they accepted me as one of their designers. Since January of this year I have been working to create patterns, greeting cards, wall art and other designs. These designs and pieces of artwork can now be licensed with companies for products (meaning you’ll be able to find Pen & Paint on a variety of items sold in stores)!  Some of my new designs you will see integrated into the art prints and stationery I sell in my shop as well. I still love running my Etsy shop and the opportunity to share my artwork on a handmade and personal level with my customers. My shop is what supports my family 100%. I am SO grateful for the support and encouragement I receive from my customers because without y’all none of this would be happening!




I share all of this to encourage you to also dream big and make it happen. Whatever that thing is that you want to do, you can do it. There will always be fears and what if’s. There will be failures and setbacks. It will take time and patience and lots of work. It will be HARD and you will want to give up, but nothing worth doing is easy, right?

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, May 18, 2015

Surtex 2015


Pen & Paint is at Surtex! You can find my designs represented by Jewel Branding at Booth 417. This week I'll be sharing a bit more about my journey over the past six years, my new designs, and this wonderful opportunity to create for the surface design industry.


Monday, April 20, 2015

baby moccasins and a few things on Monday


1. We have the sweetest new addition in the studio! Baby Jane arrived on Sunday 4.12.15, and we are so happy to have her here. You can peek at more photos of her over at @pen_and_paint.

2. Jane has her first pair of shoes from Freshly Picked. Y'all, these are the softest, most beautifully made baby moccasins ever! Freshly Picked has wonderful customer service and super fast shipping. Also, Susan, the mama entrepreneur behind the company, has been an inspiration for me for several years now. I love seeing another mama start a handmade business and grow it so successfully.


























I chose these pale aqua mocs for Jane. One day her sweet little feet will be running around in these!

3. See those nursery designs in the top pic and the feather pattern above? Those are some of the things I've been working on for Surtex! Surtex is in a little less than four weeks so when Baby Jane is sleeping I'm finishing up my designs for the show. I'll be sneaking in a few more designs in pics on Facebook and IG from time to time so you can see what I've been up to.

4. I've been overwhelmed with the generosity of others during this pregnancy. From lots of sweet hand-me-downs to diapers to precious gifts we have been showered with so much love.

























This sweet doll is one of my favorite gifts, especially since here dress is made from vintage sheets like my grandmother had. 

5. As we adjust to having a new baby and running Pen & Paint I have thought a lot about a series on the life of a work from home mama. It's a balancing act that requires so much. I never want to give the impression I do it all, because I do not. I cannot and will not ever do it all, but I do want to encourage others on how you can make things work as a mama and a business owner. I don't know when I'll have the time to write that though... maybe during late night feedings, ha!

6. Don't forget about Mother's Day! Mother's Day cards are in the shop and you can order a card plus a 5x7 for $13.50 plus shipping or a card plus an 8x10 for $21.00 plus shipping.

7. As always, something good to thinking about:
"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." -Mother Teresa

Friday, April 10, 2015

shop talk

Mother's Day cards are in the shop. This year there are three different designs, all with the simple message of "Happy Mother's Day" on the front and blank inside for you to wish the mamas in your life a happy day.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Let's celebrate!


It's time to celebrate my birthday!
Use the code HAPPY33 for 33% off your order in the shop.
Code is good from 3/27 - 3/29.
Have a happy weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2015

a few things on Monday 3.23.15


hoop from Itty Bitty Bunnies for the gallery wall over the crib

1. The crib is up, our bags are packed, and we are counting down the weeks until baby girl joins our little family. It won't be long until we get to meet her. I still feel a little bit of disbelief we will have a girl in our house!

"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Hans Christian Andersen

2. As we prepare for her arrival I'm staying busy with the shop and preparing for something I've dreamed of for a couple of years now - Surtex 2015! I won't be there in person, but I'm so excited my work will be represented there with with Jewel Branding.

3. My work desk has constantly been a mess. I'll have watercolors, shipping supplies, and sketchbooks spread all over. I'm trying to keep things a bit more organized with these little boxes from All Ready Memories. I'm loving my new washi tape holder, and the smaller boxes fit my thank you notes & business cards perfectly. 


Use the code PENANDPAINT for 20% your order with http://allreadymemories.bigcartel.com.
4. My birthday is next week (3/31). I've got my Year of Pen & Paint giveaway and sale still planned. I'm going to be honest, since I feel we are on baby-watch the dates may be a little before or after my actual birthday, but I'm still excited to celebrate another year with y'all!

5. The "You are Doing a Freaking Great Job" book is out! It includes hundreds of pieces of encouraging artwork by fellow artists and myself. You can find the books online, at your local bookstore, and at Barnes & Noble. 

6. April 1st be sure to head over to Natalie Creates Shop. Natalie and I have a fun bundle for sale I think you'll like!

7. Lastly, the shop will remain open and orders will continue to go out regularly thanks to my wonderful team (my mom and my husband). I'm so grateful for their help over the past 8 months and their continued support to keep Pen & Paint running!