Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Truly Magnificent Group of Artists Bring Some of the Best Children's Tales to Life in the Most Unique Ways

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Gabrielle, creator of artTherapy just launched her business and is having a giveaway offering a FREE career test. How cool!! Here is the link if you'd like to check it out

Do you know why I do this week after week? Do you know why although I initially started a card business I am working hardest on this? This week's submissions are a clear indication of why. Week after week, I have marveled at the imagination, creativity and passion each of you draw upon to create. Each week the work has gotten better and I've watched as all of you have grown as artists. However, this week just simply blew me away.

This theme allowed me the opportunity to get to know you a bit more. You reached within and pulled out that inner child and I dig that in ways you can't even imagine. You challenged yourselves, frustrated yourselves, and ultimately created some of the most stunning work to date. Some of you felt you didn't have enough time to create this week while others felt they might have had too much time and yet, you all played. You stopped the madness of life for a little while and chose to play. That's the best gift you could have given to yourself just as it is the best gift you could have given to me and all who come to marvel at the absolutely incredible imagination here.

I know some of you have been questioning your talent and personal and professional growth while others are just beginning to truly believe in their abilites but I have just one thing to say to all of you. DON'T STOP CREATING! If you are having a tough day, I beg you to remember my words. Please don't ever stop creating....just look at the work here and remind yourself of what you are capable of! When you find that child - that beautiful, non-judgmental, color outside the lines, be who you are without caring what others think child, please play. Through the act of play you are finding your true talents, your true selves. You shine and when you do others want a piece of that. DON'T STOP CREATING! CONTINUE TO PLAY!

This week, the self-discovery was amazing. If you read each story you will find a nugget of gold that each artist found within themselves and they may not even have known they did. These talented, passionate, professionals not only celebrated the worlds of literature and art, they celebrated the sheer beauty and brilliance of the gift of imagination.

Please join me as we wander through a land where things suddenly spring to life....

Lorrie, creator of and Lennymud, created this hilarious piece titled, CHICKEN LITTLE COMES TO LIFE AS A CHICK WITH PMS.

"Because one week the sky is falling, and the next everything just sort of works out!" said Lorrie. "Here is my little chicken on a pink background. One of several paintings that I have been working on for my CHICKEN SERIES. Check out companion paintings in my etsy store including chicken at night and red wine with chicken. Acrylic on canvas board 4 x 6."

Maureen, a talented artist, created this simply exquisite work.

"When Natasha invited us to bring a childhood tale to life, I drew a blank, since some early childhood abuse squashed a lot of memories," said Maureen. "But I DO remember one from when I was around 10. My mom almost banned the book because my sister and I would sob uncontrollably while reading it, even thought we just about had the book memorized and could open it at any page and know exactly what was going on. I remember Sunday afternoons, lying on my mom's double bed, reading and bawling and Mom begging us to stop crying. Can you guess what book from my little sketch? The painting also happens to be my Day 2 entry in the 100 in 100 project that Rowena/Warrior Girl has started . . . the book was Little Women. "

Kelly, creator of Backward Glances, created this truly wonderful piece titled, "Le Luxe Caterpillar".

"I chose "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle as my inspiration book; it was an absolute favorite for my son and I when he was little - a very long time ago," said Kelly. "My Caterpillar is formed of netted seed beads with some extravagant embellishments. He's posing for his portrait in one of the planters on the porch of our library."

As you know I chose Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson as my book. I adore the freedom to create in this story. I LOVE the idea that we can create something that never existed before if we just give ourselves the freedom. As we get older, I think we often limit ourselves in ways we never would as a child. So, I created two peices to serve as a reminder that we need to remain kids at heart.

The first is a poem which will be a framed wall hang as well as the cover of a journal. (My pictures are not great as I had to take them indoors late at night so forgive me but I'd love feedback on it. The first one is in purple with scribbles - a tribute to Harold - while the second has the addition of fun stars. Is there one you like more?)

Here are the words:

How to remain a kid on life’s playground…
even when you’re an “Adult”

Dress in all your favorite things – be sure to include something sparkly. Grab a bucket of colorful sidewalk chalk as you step onto the playground that lay just beyond your door. Draw colorful hearts and shapes around wildflowers that grow out of the pavement along your path. Make sure to sign your name in a rainbow of colors.

Wink at a dog, do a dance for a cat, pet a horse and look for elephants among the clouds. Find a grassy field and weave in and out of flowers. Stop….listen to the leaves giggling at the wind’s stories. Make friends with the trees. Spin for no reason other than it feels good. Eat something wonderful like succulent strawberries that make you involuntarily shout, “Yummy, yummy, yummy”.

Roll down a hill and when you hit the bottom enjoy an endless bout of belly laughter. Find a lake, say hello to the fish and collect the diamonds that dance along its surface. Let a balloon float up to the stars and keep another – one that makes noise when you shake it. Watch the late afternoon sun finger paint across the sky.

Invite your best friend to a midnight ice cream picnic. Share wild secrets and silly tales. Sprint across an open field in the moonlight letting a kite with glow in the dark stars trail behind you. Wrap yourself in a blanket like a hug before you drift to sleep.

© Natasha Reilly 2009.

Yes, I'm still on the seashell kick. This shell is painted in deep purple with a moon, stars and wildflowers. The inside reads: Flowers Bloom Even Under the Moon. I am making the chain for it and fixing the inside. I wanted this piece to be a reminder that no matter what we always have the ability to let our inner beauty bloom.

Salvaged Expression created this magnificent piece.

"My piece this week is simply called "The Truffula Tree" and it was inspired by the Lorax," said Salvaged. "I actually wasn't read to much as a child so my favorite stories were movies. Don't worry I had great parents and as I got older I made up for lost time with books! A few years ago I decided to find and watch my old favorite movies again to see if I could see myself in them and enjoy a little self centered nature versus nurture fun. I found them all but the Lorax so when this theme was presented that was the first one that came to mind. Thankfully someone had posted the film online!"

"I discovered a lot watching that movie again. One thing I discovered was that I had merged the plot with The Sneetches in my brain over the years. I realized that the luxurious trees were named after truffles and the secondary moral about destroying what you love. I also enjoyed parts of the movie I couldn't have as a child. Considering that the Once-ler uses the trees to make yarn (ahem) I understood instantly when he started coveting every tuft and rubbing the soft fiber against his cheeks. I laughed when I discovered that the Once-ler was a knitter (for those of you who don't know there is a friendly rivalry between knitters and crocheters) and pretended that the ending would have been quite different had he been a crocheter! When the movie finished I looked at my stash of yarn which I admit looked a little more tinged with short lived guilt than before and started to make a tree. By knitting undone by crocheting returned! I still don't know if I have an answer to if the Lorax made me an environmentalist or I enjoyed it because I was one...or if I just liked the movie, but I do have a fun film to show all my crocheting friends!"

Kelsey, creator of Caffeinated Frenzy, created these two stellar pieces.

"Just to be consistent, I didn't complete my project this week," said Kelsey. "But I have the majority of it done, and have a few photos to share. I read sooo many books when I was little, but I decided to go with Dr. Seuss. This will eventually be a laptop bag, one side depicts a scene from the story of a bright, colorful place. The other side shows the toxic rain we all have to deal with before we get there. This will be available on at some point, I'm debating whether to include it in the winter or spring collection.

Jodi, creator of Beaded Art to Wear, created this phenomenal piece.

"I fondly remember the book "Magic Friend Maker" by Gladys Baker Bond," said Jodi. "The story begins with a lonely girl in a city neighborhood. She longs for a friend. She finds a friend after sharing a special stone she found. The girls share many fun times together, often playing with the rock, the "magic friend maker". When the owner of the rock must move, she shares the rock with her friend so that the magic can work all over again with a new friend."

"In the story, the girls discover that the rock changes color when they put it under water. The piece of abalone I used for the centerpiece of the cuff reminded me of that stone. I created the cuff around the abalone's colors and the colors from the picture on the front of the book. The one little girl wore a green dress and the other a purple one. The bead embroidered cuff is embellished with seed beads, Swarovski crystals, pearls, glass beads, and bugle beads. I used black ultrasuede on the underside of the cuff."

Jenjen Furer, creator of Gotta Love Mom, created this beautiful, touching piece.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” is my favorite childhood book.
(There were probably other books that I truly love as a kid, but this is the book that I can remember.)

Two of my favorite quotes from the book:
"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
“All grown-ups were children first. But few remember it.”

I have four kids. I was working full-time in the city as a systems analyst when my 2 older ones were little. Luckily for me, my parents were around then. When my 3rd child was born, I was telecommuting. I was a WAHM. With my 4th child, I was lucky enough to be a SAHM.

The gift of being with my youngest child is to experience what it is like to be a kid again. I enjoy every minute I get to spend with him. Be it walking (or more like running after him) to school in the morning, learning how to ride a bike, reading books together (He now loves reading Diary of A Wimpy Kid), going to the city, baking or just plain hanging around.

He comes up with the amazing stories, thoughts and imagination that only a child can muster. Here are some of my favorites:

I. On adults kissing
Dad and Josh are watching TV. And a commercial appeared on TV.
Josh: “ Dad, why do people kiss naked while in bed? “
Dad: “Huh??”
Josh: “Dad’s gross!”

End of day, usual PDA in our household.
I’m making dinner and honey comes along to give me a tight big hug.
Josh: “Watch-out people, there’s a child in the room!”

III. Mom, are you working today?
Josh asked, “Mom, are you working today?”
Mom, “Why are you asking?”
Josh: “Mom, you work everyday!”
Mom, “What kind of work do you think I do every day?”
Josh: “Mom, you’re job is to worry!”

IV. Go ask Daddy
Josh: “Mom, can I sleep over Gavin’s house?”
Mom: “I don’t think so”
Josh: “Why?”
Mom: “Go ask your Dad.” (My way of getting out of a possible long
Josh: “Mom, you always say that – Go ask your Dad.
But then Dad always says – Go ask Mommy.
I think you’re just trying to make me dizzy!”

V. Dad, sometimes you make things sound very complicated
Josh is starting to do a walk- over in gymnastics.
Josh was showing it to his Dad.
So Dad, a gymnast himself, explains
“ Before kicking your legs over, you need to lock your knees
So it pushes your body towards your head and moves
Your center of gravity over your hands and then kick over.”

Josh looks up to his Dad and says,
“Daddy sometimes you make things sound very complicated”.

Dad laughing, replied,
“ You don’t know what locking your legs mean?”

Josh nodding his head, says,
“Of course I know what locking your knees mean. But I have no idea what center of
gravity is”

VI. On Happy Meal
Grandpa took Josh to McDonald’s.
Josh flashing his little pearly whites:
“Grandpa, can you please buy me a Happy Meal? Because my mom wouldn’t buy
me a Happy Meal.”
Grandpa (confused) asked Joshee:
“Why wouldn’t your Mom buy you a Happy Meal? “

Josh in a serious tone:
“Oh grandpa, that’s because she does not want me to be happy!”

Grandpa LOL! (Laughed-out-loud).

To read more about what the universe is like to an 8-year old, check out

My little prince
Wake up with a smile,
Eager to greet the morning with a cheer;
Run, jump, dance, hop,
Giggles and cartwheels all around,
Playing in the rain,
Kicking the pebbles every step I take;
Stop to smell the flowers,
Slow-walk to say hello to the birds;
Run after a hopping rabbit,
Laugh at the silly sound of a burp;
Hugs and kisses like a panda bear,
It’s just precious loving life as a kid!

Amanda, creator of Persistent Green, created this sensational piece titled, Sadako's Crane using paper origami.

"This week was an exercise in patience and persistence. None of my original ideas for the theme worked out--talk about frustration. Plus, I couldn't settle on just ONE favorite childhood book, since there are multitudes that I read and loved and dog-eared. Finally, today, I remembered one book in particular that really moved me when I was young: 'Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.' From there, I got the slightly crazy idea to try making a paper crane of my own, completely ignoring the 'advanced' warning on the patterns I found online. Suffice it to say, an hour later and one pitiful, deformed crane later....I decided it was good enough for today! I have a whole new appreciation for origami artists, and enjoyed remembering all my old favorite books."

Felicia Kramer, creator of Another Bright Idea, created these two completely unforgettable pieces titled, “Red and the Big Bad Wolf” and “That Darn Poison Apple”

Well, either I was a deprived child or I’m just too old to remember any favorite childhood books. So I decided to illustrate some traditional fairy tales, and that’s when I remembered just how gruesome and scary some of them are. So instead of calling them “fairy tales” I’m calling them “scary tales.” The wolf appears in a lot of those stories, but probably the most well-known is Little Red Riding Hood. So here we have my version: Red and the big bad wolf. The apple shows up a lot, too - sometimes poisonous, as in Snow White. (Yes, Snow White, not Sleeping Beauty.) Of course, my version is a little more risque than the Disney version.

Red and the Big Bad Wolf

That Darn Poison Apple

Kris, creator of Lisianblue, created this amazing piece.

"I had a book of stories by Hans Christian Andersen that I spent many an afternoon reading in this beautifully illustrated book," said Kris. "I even read to my own children from this enchanting collection of stories. One of my favorites is "The Wild Swans". It is a story of 11 brothers and their sister, Eliza, their father the king, and of course the wicked step-mother. The step-mother banishes Eliza to the country to live with some peasants while the princes are turned into swans. The 11 swan princes fly off to some foreign land, but are able to return once a year for a short period. At 15, Eliza returns to the palace, but the wicked step mom, stains Eliza's beautiful face and tangles her hair while putting some foul oinment in it. Upon seeing his daughter, the king declares that this unkempt girl is not his daughter. Poor Eliza wanders into the country, and eventually sees the 11 beautiful swans coming to rest at sunset. Resuming their human form only at night, Eliza and her brothers are reunited. The 11 brothers carry Eliza to the land where they now live, and she is determined to find out how to break the spell. She learns that she must make flax out of stinging nettles, spin it and then weave it into cloaks to put upon her brothers. However, she cannot utter a word once she starts this process, and to make matters even more complicated, the nettles must come from a graveyard. Eliza does fiinish the 11 cloaks and succeeds in breaking their wicked step-mother's spell. There is so much more to this wonderful story, which you can read here:

It's interesting the thoughts, feelings, emotions that I go through with some of these projects. The Wild Swans, is one of my favorite stories so I decided to do a swan. Just one, not 11. I have a pattern for a scene with a swan, but didnt want to do this whole scene. I copied the swan, and then drew a circle around it, and drew in cutting lines for the glass, representing the sky and water. I started with the water pieces. Got them all cut out, and they went together great. I started on the swan pieces and it sort of started falling apart at this point. Well, after gettting all 54 pieces cut out, it just wasn't going to go together very well. I redrew part of the swan and recut those pieces. Now they didn't fit with the water and sky pieces. Ok, fine I'll just do the swan - and thats what I did. More redrawing and recutting. Then to top it all off, as I'm feeling very frustrated with the way it's not all going together, I went in my bedroom to get my book - only it wasn't there. And, I have no idea where it went to, or even when it went someplace else - but the funny thing is I went right to the spot where my Grimms FairyTale book is, expecting this one to be right next to it - as it has (had) been for many years.
I started this Monday evening, worked on it most of the night, pretty much all I did on Tues, and then for about 5 hrs today!
The moral of this story: when my gut tells me that the pattern just isn't going to work very well - listen! and then adjust the pattern! (before cutting)".

Don't you just want to whip out that favorite children's book or read some of the fabulous ones listed here and then play?? Me too!!

Please share your thoughts, ask the artists questions, leave a comment and some love here. Then, go visit them at their shops and blogs, share some more and tell a friend! Thanks so much for visiting!!


Felicia Kramer said... Natasha, you're right - this week is a home run all the way around! Here goes:
Lorrie - you and your work always makes me laugh - chicken little etc. - so funny!
Maureen - you definitely have a style all your own - love this week's work. And thanks for reminding me about Little Women - one of my favorites.
Kelly - you get the prize this week! Not that I like bugs, but that caterpillar is seriously creepy cute and lifelike. Wonderful.
Natasha - I like the stars the best. and lovelovelove the words! Perfect. The shell is great, and again, the words are perfect.
Salvaged - Don't ask me why, but I have never heard of the Lorax. But that doesn't stop me from loving the Truffula Tree.
Kelsey - Looks good so far - can't wait for the finished product.
Jodi - gorgeous cuff. Just gorgeous.
JenJen - Another reminder of a favorite: Little Prince. I'm following your blog and your writing gets better and better. And your kid is hilarious!!!
Amanda - I had to laugh when I read about the cranes. I went to school with a guy who did these all the time and tried to teach me; I was the worst student ever. My cranes looked really sick. I think yours turned out great!
Kris - sorry you had so much trouble - by that point I would have been bleeding profusely. However, the end result is wonderful. Love the swan!

Good job everybody!!

SalvagedExpression said...

I knew this would be a fun week and it definately is!
Backward Glances that caterpillar is amazing!
Natasha your piece was so fun! It definately made me remember things about being young particularly that favorites outfit.
I can't say I've worn a favorites outfit in a long time but I do play a subversive version of dress up. Tomorrow I'm debating between mad scientist, time traveler or starving artist. :)

Natasha said...

Right Felicia! I mean a serious home run!! I love it all...and YOUR creations...Felicia...they were need to do something with those...they are just brilliant works...loved them scary tales rock! Thank you for your words as well..I dig the stars too....that was such a fun piece to write...I'm going to go play again in a moment hehehe

Salvaged - The Truffula Tree is so awesome!! It was just such fun ... it made me want to play seriously and your discovery was perfect...I want to sit and have a nature versus nurture inspired me!! Loving your creation oh yeah!Thank you for the words about my made me bounce around all giddy like a loon...can you please share what you will be wearing tomorrow...even send a pic? Right now I have a black T on with a little skill and crossbones and below that it reads: don't mess with mommy and pink snowflake pj bottoms....OH you just inspired me to share something in a out next week there will be a post for you...hehehehe..I'm so excited!

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Yay! I've been looking forward to this all day--finally got home and could come revel in this week's creations. For some reason, it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood activies--going inside the lovely air-conditioned library, wandering up and down the rows and gazing adoringly at all the covers. My love affair with books definitely began then. We also had a "Bookmobile" that visited us out in the country--looked similar to an armored truck, but filled to the gills with books! Awesome.

Thanks for all the wonderful memories.

I LOVE Jodi's cuff! Holy cow, that's gorgeous.

Natasha, I like your second illustration in particular--reminds me of the sidewalk chalk part. :) So fun. I love your sense of play.

Jenjen @GottaLoveMom said...

Natasha, I love this week’s theme! It’s so much fun and playful.

Lorie, so cute but true that everything will just work out fine in the end; (Chick w/PMS – how cute)

Maureen, I think you just inspired me to do the 100 days of watercolor. I think it can be a great way to relax my mind.

Kelly, that caterpillar of yours truly came to life, and the background – such deep colors. You definitely rock!

Natasha, I love reading everything that you write – you have a way of “nudging” me to be me. You have a way with words that I can only aspire to be. I can’t wait for next Wednesday! Keep painting seashells.

Salvaged, you always have fun!
Kelsey, I can’t wait for the finish product. There’s something about them that just makes me feel like a pretty little girl.

Jodi, I love the story of the magic friend maker. And the cuffs – you are the bead master!

Amanda, I wish I can do the Origami cane. I, too, once in a while do the Origami thingy with my kids. It looks easy but it’s very hard to follow those instructions.

Felicia, I agree with Natasha – your pieces are unforgettable. Every week, I look forward to what you submit. I get curious every time on how you put them together (I still don’t have a clue what the secret formula is.) My 17yo saw me looking through the TST and he said, “WOW, mom – whose work is that?”. (And thank you =D )

Kris, thank you for sharing that wonderful story, the Wild Swan. I can’t wait to read the rest , and what a beautiful swan you crafted. Hardwork but what a beauty!

Kudos everyone =D

Mackin-Art said...

This IS the best week ever!!

Felicia - love your scary tales, especially the apple image.

Natasha - your piece should be required reading for everyone, especially with the current economic situation.

Oh, they're all just wonderful!

aquamaureen said...

well, I add my voice to the chorus that singing, "Woohoooo, what a wonderful week!!"

What made the difference? Was it the connection with our childhoods? Sharing some of our background? I don't know--I just know that these pieces really moved me.

giraffelabel said...

i can't believe i missed out on this one! life gets in the way again. but, i love that i know exactly where to look to find a quick "vacation" from life. i love everything this week! i smiled and smiled as i read and looked.

thanks for sharing!!

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


Awesome as ever, all! :-)

More details on the flip sides of the wedding, but everyone's work was just amazing!!! :-)

Natasha was right - this in some ways was indeed the best TST yet! :-)

BB & GF! :-)

Natasha said...

Amanda - I LOVED your Crane! I love the story, the fact that you challenged yourself to create something so different and this memory that you shared here. The colors of the crane are gorgeous...the whole piece filled me with always terrific made me want to try my hand at origami!! And thank you for your words...I like that one as well....there is nothing like a little sidewalk chalk and some playtime.

Jenjen - I loved your piece...I loved the humor and wit of your son, the way you shared ..all of it. I so enjoy reading your work and that captured the joy of childhood in that...I love that your 8 yr old will have this forever...what a gift!! Thank you for your words as well...and always be you, you are wonderful!

Mackin-Art - I opened your submission this week and went Wooooo!!! I couldn't wait to load's fantastic...what exceptional has such a real feel ....I love the way you created it, the setting you chose to photograph it...ALL of it!! Seriously it!

Aqua - your piece was simply striking...I REALLY feel like you need to do something with it...the colors, the movement within the touched me...I could stare at it for hours fills me with joy...and thank you for the story you shared as well...HUGS to you, you sweet colorful soul

Giraffelabel - I MISS YOU!! How are you?? How's life?? I love that despite the craziness of it, you drop by to share and are a dear...hope to see you here again soon :)

Phoenyx Ravenswing - MISSING YOU! I know you are super swamped right is everything with the wedding?? Wishing you all the best ...thank you for taking the time to cheer and be here...hope to see you very soon :)

Natasha said...

Caffeinated Frenzy - I LOVE that bag...truly the colors are amazing and I totally think it should be's why would add SUCH happiness in the winter when its dull and dreary out...oh it just makes me so damn happy

Jodi - that cuff is's incredible...truly fabulous and not only do I want it...I want to get that book for my, just fabulous

jodi said...

Natasha, First let me thank you for picking this theme. It was really fun to think back about all my favorite childhood books. Boy, there were a lot that came to mind. Harold will always be at the top of the list.

Lorrie - I love the chicken. And I definitely know what you mean about one week the sky is falling and next week things are so smooth. Guess that is just life.

Maureen - It is so funny that you picked "Little Women", I just watched the movie the other day while I was working on my cuff. I want my daughter to read it this summer.

Kelly - Your caterpillar is FANTASTIC. I also love how you photographed it. Beautiful beadwork.

Natasha - I loved your poem. Very good advice for everyone. Some days it is so hard to remember what it was like to be a kid. As my kids finish up school for the summer I'll need a lot of reminding. I am sometimes very guilty of being a "MOM'. Sometimes I need to be a kid with them.

Salvagedexpression - Just perfect. Just perfect.

Caffeinated Frenzy - I hope you'll share the finished project. Love what i see so far.

Jenjen - Thank you for sharing the stories about your son. I have a 5 year old who says some of the best things I've ever heard and she makes me laugh everyday.

Persistent Green - I really proud that you didn't quit even though your original ideas didn't work.

Felicia - I have to totally agree with you about the scary tale thing. You should see some of the Barbie movies that our out there now.

Kris - The swan is beautiful. I love the color you picked. I also really enjoyed hearing your work process and the ups and downs. Makes me feel like we are all in the same boat when it comes to making our creations come to life.

Thank you to everyone's kind words about my cuff.

meherio68 said...

Beautiful work everyone! As allways, but with a twist— I think this week I enjoyed yours tories even more than usual...
Thank you for sharing them and giving life to them. I look forward to being able to take amore active part again, but reading you has really been a pleasure!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

I love seeing what everyone came up with! The stories that went along with the pieces were incredible :) As were the pieces themselves!