Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gong Hey Fat Choy, Y'all!

Chinese New Year is upon us, and 2010 marks the Year of the Tiger!  This 15 day celebration began February 14th this year, and is observed by Chinese folks and Asians around the world.  CNY is a very important holiday in Chinese culture, more so than any other, including birthdays.  It symbolizes the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  Let's hope this will soon be true, this season has been brutal for so many.  To learn more about Chinese New Year, visit here

Because my daughter was born in China, Chinese New Year is a special holiday in our home.  Every year we learn more about the traditions, and we add to a small stash of decorations we've been collecting over the years.  We trim the house with paper lanterns, eat small oranges for good luck, and attend parties with friends that include Dragon Dances and fancy Chinese restaurants.  Each year I read a CNY story to my daughter's class at school, and we bring her friends red envelopes with coins, a well-loved custom that symbolizes prosperity for the new year.  Our coins happen to be chocolate, always a big hit with the preschool and kindergarten crowd!  For fun CNY activities for kids, including stories, crafts, and games, check out this site.

My favorite hallmark of CNY is to remember ancestors that went on before us, as well as to get the house super tidy to be rid of negative energy and start the new year with a clean slate.  Sounds good in theroy at least, although I've still got some work to do.  Thankfully it is a 15 day holiday, so maybe (possibly??) I'll be in good shape by then.  A mom can dream...     

CNY is an important time to honor family and friends, and for counting blessings, too.  As a Texan who is not so well-traveled, I fumble my way through the holiday and its customs.  Like everything else in my life, I learn about this tradition as I fly by the seat of my pants, but I always enjoy the ride.  In honor of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Tiger, I created the collage above.  The child on the end in blue reminds me of my daughter when she was a toddler, complete with chubby (squishable!) cheeks and cautious demeanor.  This collage is for sale in my Etsy shop.

"Gong hey fat choy" or "gong xi fa cai", both are traditional Chinese New Year greetings, meaning "best wishes for a happy and prosperous year".  To hear the pronunciation and see the Chinese characters for these phrases, click on this cool site.   Gong Hey Fat Choy, dear friends!  May the Year of the Tiger be good to us all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Winner!

Just drew the lucky name for my first-ever blog gveaway!  And the winner is... (drumroll, please) Liz-Anna's on the Lake!!  Liz is my new artist friend I met through the Melange Team on Etsy, and she makes incredible mixed media pieces.  To check out her artwok and blog, visit her here.  You can find the Melange Team shop on Etsy here.  Thanks so much to everyone who entered the drawing.  I will be having another one soon, so stay tuned!

This beautiful furry girl is Bagel, a white German Sheperd mix who is sweet beyond words.  She was running in the neighborhood when my friend's 16 year old son coaxed her into their yard.  Two hours later, she had a litter of puppies, OH MY.  Her babies were adopted by wonderful families, and Bagel came to be a part of mine.  True to her GSD heritage, she is bright, loyal, loving, cautious, and protective.  She also loves balls and stuffed toys.  Here she is trying to nap on the sofa, her favorite spot in the house, next to being in our one of our laps.  My daughter stuck a Bendaroo heart on her head, just to help her look ever so fancy.   

I hope you have all had a warm and toasty day.  :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Melange Team Challenge- TIMELESS

Melange: "a mixture; a melody; hodgepodge; mingle-mangle".  When it comes to mixed media and collage, I couldn't have said it better myself! 

The Melange Team is a group of inspiring and talented mixed media artists who sell their work on Etsy, as they share their artistic journeys together.  I have recently had the blessing of joining them.  Each week they post a theme and a challenge on the Melange blog, and invite others to participate and share photos of their fabulous creations.  You do not have to be part of the Melange Team or an Etsy seller to join the fun.  To play along, visit here!
Since I joined the group recently, I am a little later with my submission for the "Timeless" challenge that was presented a few weeks ago.  Here's what I came up with.  I made this with sweet daughter in mind, who is so proud of being 6 and so intent on striving to do things FOR HERSELF, thank you very much.  Although she is a tomboy and prefers to live in jeans and superhero attire, she is also a little ballerina and loves to dance.  As she grows and fancies herself quite the Big Girl, I am filled with pride and joy.  I also find each step toward indepence a gift that is bittersweet, as every mom can relate to.  The quote I found for this collage was in an old reader and to me, it says it all.

The Melange challenges are a lot of fun!  I hope to be doing more this week, and posting about them here, too.

Just a reminder:  If you'd like to participate in the drawing for the watch face collage pendant, leave a comment with your name and email address by Feb. 14.  Thanks and Happy Monday!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cupid Strikes! Collage Pendant GIVEAWAY!

Valentine's Day, it's my favorite holiday. I adore the Season of Love! But not in a Hollywood movie kind of way. Sugary sweet love songs and romance novels, nah, not for me. All the pink and red, my two favorite colors, that has something to do with it. As well as my love of almost any kind of heart, and memories of messy, sappy Valentines I fashioned by hand as a child. I always heaped on the glitter and glue, and made them with all the love and care I could muster. Valentines created by kiddos, there's nothing better. My daughter gave me one she made in kindergarten this week, be still my heart. The first one she made me at age 3 will forever hang proudly in a frame on my kitchen wall. Maybe that's what I love most about Valentine’s Day, the notion of remembering those we hold most dear. Oh, and all the chocolate, that doesn’t hurt either.

I was very honored to be contacted by Robin this morning, who writes a great blog, Robin's Nest. She searches for and writes about cool art she finds on the web.  She was kind enough to feature a couple of my things in a post this week, and WOW!  I am so touched.  Thanks so much, Robin!  Check out her blog, it's a lot of fun! 

I have been having fun making Valentine-inspired gifts in my art room this week. These heart collages would be great for a friend, daughter, or sweetheart. They are also suitable to leave out year-round. Check them out at

In honor of my favorite holiday, I'm introducing my first-ever blog giveaway! I will be giving away a watch face collage pendant, attached to pearls and a sterling silver link chain. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog anytime before V-day. Be sure to leave your name and email address so I can contact you in case you are the lucky winner. I will draw the winning name using a number generator on February 14th!