Posts tagged art
4 must-try ways to enjoy art museums with kids

What are you planning to do this summer with the kids? Water parks or amusement parks? Day trips to historic monuments? Camping? How about hitting the local art museums!! They can be a whole lot of fun, too. Kids and art are a fabulous pair.

And art transforms us, while helping us remember who we are. It defines us as human beings and sometimes even elevates our handiwork to show a sliver of heaven and Divine creation.

But even with all that beauty and awesomeness in an art museum space, a family excursion to a quiet, clean, monitored space can sometimes be a total disaster or at best a giant headache. Today I'm sharing our ideas on how to make these journeys peaceful, enjoyable, and can I even throw in... inspirational? Well, let's start at peaceful.

1. FEED AND HYDRATE EVERYONE FIRST

I know it's an obvious, but it deserves its very own point. Do not take children to a museum and expect them to have energy to walk and interest to look unless they are hydrated, fed, and relatively rested (that goes for the adults, too). Hitting the sculpture garden with a cranky, crying, tired child will leave you beating your head against the wall.

Enter the excursion with a sense of energy and enthusiasm and time it well. Early morning and mid afternoon can be a wonderful time to explore art. Side note: make sure you hit the restrooms before hiking up the stairs to the Renaissance wing.

2. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND SHOW YOUR LOVE.

If you're going to a museum you've never been, take the time to learn the highlights and find your own must-sees. Your children will feel your enthusiasm and want to discover right along with you if you set the tone in the right way. It will also encourage your children to find their own favorites and show them off to you! Let them know you're interested in the art they love.

3. HIT THE GIFT SHOP ON THE WAY IN

Never would I have thought this was a good idea until I read this post from Gabrielle. So, we tried it. We went right in to the store (much to my children's delight), and it was a great way to see quickly the most

famous works in the museum. We had each child pick postcards of their two favorite pieces. With art museum map in hand, we made our way around to each of their picks and enjoyed what we saw along the way to these galleries. We then took each child's picture with their favorites, and these works became something personal and a special memory from the visit.

4. IF POSSIBLE, BRING YOUR SUPPLIES.

Many of the larger art museums ask that you check your bags. Smaller art museums are more flexible. When we can, we have the kids bring along their sketchbooks and colored pencils (easy to transport, harder to do damage). Whether it's on a bench or right on the floor, sitting and sketching can take the experience to another level for kids. Let them decide the art work that they want to draw and give them as much time as you're able to complete their finished piece.

Do you have any great ways to enjoy art museums with children to add to the list?

Let's get out there and explore these beatiful places... and bring our kids, too!

xoxo, MJ

 

Ambition

I'm not sure I've ever been ambitious. I used to take this as a knock on my work ethic or even my imagination.

I have good friends (looking at you, H) who have known since adolescence what they wanted to "be." Most of them have worked tirelessly, studied and studied, sought out the people with whom they should connect, and have reached these long-set goals.

When asked the perpetual question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I have answered the question in whimsical ways:

Age 4: a ballerina (I have taken one ballet class in my entire life, and I was much more successful at packing my cute bag than taking on first position)

I don't remember having another answer to that question until junior year of high school (when EVERYone and their brother and sister asks you where you're going to college and what you're going to study). I came up with a sophisticated answer, or so I thought, and said I wanted to be an art therapist. Ha, ha, take that inquisitives!

That's not to say that I'm not driven, or passionate, or even, a little over the top. Doing well in school and entering full force into many activities was never the issue for me. And I'd like to think that my career as a communicator and designer is exactly where I belong, full of potential and life-giving opportunities.

Ambition is defined as:

An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.

And perhaps that's where I get caught up.

Ask me to list the 30 places I'd like to travel, and I'll quickly have a scribbled an exciting list to show you. Wondering what experiences I'd like to offer my children? Got that list narrowed down, too! New skills I want to learn? People I want to meet? Yep and yep. I have SO much that I want to accomplish and SO many people that I want to reach out to along the way.

And I've accomplshed many of these hopes and dreams...

But I'm still not sure I'm ambitious.

If I get to any of these goals or positions without the people that I love or the people I have yet to love, I'm pretty sure they'd fail to interest me. I'm not so much an "art for art's sake" kinda gal. Why go to Paris if I can't have my best friend by my side? Why publish a book if I don't have friends who will enjoy reading it?

I guess all this is to say, I think I've settled on the fact that I'm a community gal. If you and I aren't in this together, then where's the fun?

And if it's ambitious to want to meet new people who will teach the unexpected, then I got this.

And if it's ambitious that I live my life surrounded by talented, warm, giving, and curious people...

Well, then maybe I am ambitious.

xoxo, MJ

 


 


 

Raincoast Creative Salon and Sandra: 12 Blogger Christmas

Happy Saturday to you!! I have a great read for you to enjoy over a cup of coffee or tea (maybe even a great glass of wine). Today's blogger is Sandra of Raincoast Creative Salon. I first fell in love with her work when she interviewed artists in their work spaces and talked about what inspired them. She is a masterful photographer, and she's always coming up with creative collaborations and approaching new topics for her audiences. Enjoy!!

I started Raincoast Creative Salon in January 2012 because I had recently moved to Vancouver and wanted to make some friends who shared similar creative interests. It also was a commitment to making my own creative work a priority. I had spent far too many years putting my creative life on the backburner.

 

Two weeks later I zoomed off to the Altitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City where I knew no one! I spent a lot of time leaning against walls getting the guts up to talk to people and made some great friends. 

 

What keeps me blogging is those same two things. I've built a wonderful creative community (can I tell you even MORE how I love that we are no longer limited by geography for finding our kindreds???). I've spent two years learning photography, photoshop, lightroom, and illustrator. I've learned all sorts of social media and upped my writing game. It's creative - I can do whatever I want. And last month I won second place in the juried Canadian Weblog Awards in the category of arts & culture. 

 


I'm a food and still life photographer. Raincoast Creative Salon is the online home for what I love: creativity, creative process, art, photography and travel. I also share stories about my own creative projects.
You'll find me on Instagram where I host #foliophoto Instragram projects with Christie of Bedsidesign. In real life I host an evening Salon series in Vancouver, Canada for arty types. And last month Melanie Biehle and I launched We Are the Contributors, a community and publication for creatives.

It's hard to narrow it down to three. And looking at the three I picked, they ALL are collaborative posts in some way - I love working with others.

 

I'm a big fan of series and columns as you get to explore a topic in more depth and from different angles. The first "fave" is my Creative Couples series. I'm fascinated by the creative process of artists. Add in a relationship and you have interviews with couples who are creative AND making it work. It's real and there are useful insights for all of us.

 

My second fave is the first post in another series that the supremely talented Erin Cassidy did for me called Art One Oh One. The series is a fresh, hip take on the history of modern art and this first post is about Abstract Expressionism.

 

And my third fave post is the first one in ANOTHER series that I did with Jen Cooper called Talking About Creativity. In this post we bantered about jealousy and got a HUGE response. We're all dealing with it, right?

 

My biggest wish for my blog is that it's inspiring. First, that it'll inspire people to make creating a regular part of their lives. 

 

Second, that it'll inspire people to build an online and real life creative community. Even though many of us are extroverted introverts, I believe that we need a creative community to support and share and inspire.

 

 

Now that it'll be down in writing, I'd better make these things happen, eh? Seriously, though, my first wish for my blog in 2014 is that it'll be a springboard for more food and still life photography work. My second wish is that is that I'll continue to meet and get to know more creatives. And my third wish is that my blog continues to be a starting point for creative collaborations.
Be sure to add Raincoast Creative Salon to your blog reader and join in some of the new projects that Sandra has on her plate! Undoubtedly she'll be showing off some really yummy bites that she's just created as well.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Raincoast Creative Salon.

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Frock Files.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Improvised.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Bring Joy.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Minnow + Co.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design + Life + Kids.

On the third day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Stitch Go.

On the second day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Trouvé Magazine.

And Lulu the Baker !

 

 

P.S. Tomorrow's Day 11 Blogger can whip up an amazing celebration! Stop back tomorrow to par-tay!

P.P.S. Today's sketch for the #30sketch project is inspired by the true words of Beth Ables, a featured artist and blogger on Trouve Magazine. If you're a creative of any type, take a quick read. You will nod in agreement with every line.

 

Trouvé Magazine and Emily: 12 Blogger Christmas

Welcome back, friends, to the 12 Blogger Christmas! I was so delighted to have Melissa of Lulu the Baker join us for the first day of Christmas!! Thank you again, Melissa.

On the second day of Christmas, I'm giving you something so much better than two calling birds (what does that mean anyway?)! Please offer a warm welcome to Emily of EmilyJeffords.com and now Trouvé magazine! It's a brand new magazine, and it is just spectacular in look and feel.

On the second day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me, Emily of Trouvé!

I had a deep need for a vibrant creative community. I am an artist, mother of two, and while I have many intensely creative friends, I needed a an outlet to document and develop my own personal artistic inspiration. What I didn't realize when starting Beautiful Hello Blog, was that I would learn far more about myself and would be challenged creatively as an artist because of blogging. The community and creativity that have come because of I "put myself out there" have been incredible - far greater than I imagined.

My first blog Beautiful Hello, lead into my current creative baby: Trouvé Magazine which celebrates the creative lifestyle and the people who live it. This new magazine has already taken my breath away and inspired every aspect of my life. This is a new magazine I began with my dear friend (and crazy good designer) Amanda Marko.  

Keeps you blogging?  We featured a musician, John French, in issue one of Trouvé Magazine.  He said something that stopped me in my tracks and really resonated with me:  

"One of the largest struggles with being alive is the need to be understood by the people around you."

This is why I blog and write and paint, and mother, and sing, and cook, and CREATE.  To be understood - and to understand myself.  I do this through my artwork, painting nearly every day, and through Trouvé Magazine.  

 

Trouvé Magazine celebrates the creative lifestyle & those who live it. It is a bi-monthly digital magazine featuring makers, designers, artists, and creative recipes, gatherings, and projects. www.TrouveMag.com. You can see my personal artwork at www.EmilyJeffords.com  You can also find me (over posting?) on Instagram (@TrouveMag), Twitter (@TrouveMag), and Facebook.

The beginning of my Painting-A-Day project last summer was a very raw and scary time for me.  The community surrounded me and supported & loved my artwork was completely remarkable and beautiful. You can read about the beginning of that story here: http://beautifulhelloblog.com/2013/07/22/painting-a-day/ Spoiler alert: the blogging and creative community are wonderful, and I love them.

 

Getting to learn more about other artists and creative people is so encouraging to me (I'm - we're - not alone!  There are other people as unusual and passionate as we are!)  The interview with artist Britt Bass on Trouvé Mag is a perfect example.

 

I guess you could call this a VERRRRY love post:  The Trouvé Magazine Issue One.  Hands DOWN the most amazing thing I have had a hand in publishing online ever.  It is full of remarkable stories, creativity, and inspiration. None of this silly, overly perfect stuff - just real people, living real creative lives, and we get to share them within our pages. That is a HUGE honor and one I'm very proud of.  

We would like Trouvé to be a creative household name - a place that conjures up thoughts of inspiration, success stories, real beauty, and true creativity.  

 

To get to meet, photograph, and feature a few of my design/art heroes. It's totally going to happen.... Watch out Molly Jacques.  ;)

Emily and I had the pleasure of first meeting in New York City for AltNYC. I was her apprentice, trying to absorb all her art and city knowledge, and laughing, laughing as we roomed with the inimitable Paige of Approaching Joy. Emily is a true artist, finding beauty wherever she goes, and spreading it, too. In the year I've had following her work, I've seen a true breadth and depth in her talents. I'm a proud owner of an Emily Jeffords oil painting!!

From jewelry to collage to oils to graphic design, her creativity just bubbles over. Emily honors the makers in each one of us, too, with her generous, warm spirit. Trouvé Magazine is a gorgeous new enterprise for she and Amanda, and I spent a lovely hour perusing the stylized photography and interesting articles. If you have not yet subscribed to the new magazine, hop on over now and get on the long list!

On the second day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Trouvé Magazine.

And Lulu the Baker !

xoxo, MJ

PS. Tomorrow brings us into the world of fashion!!

 

 

Spotlight on Bloggers with Shops

On my life list, along with writing a book and seeing Madonna in concert (not of equivalent ranking, mind you), is to open my own shop. As a little girl, I'd set up elaborate markets and tiny boutiques for my stuffed animals to come through and purchase with their wicker baskets in paw.

So I turn to some go-get-em ladies from the blogosphere as my heroines of on-line shops. These chicas canturn a fabulous post, curate a vintage thrift, and paint an oil like none other. I want them all to succeed beyond their wildest dreams in their neck of virtual so if you're in the market for something unique, take a look-see.

PC_blogetsy_beautifulhello.png

Pretty please do yourself this first favor, follow along with the Painting A Day project going on at my bud, Emily Jefford's blog. Emily is an artist focused on putting her brushes to use to make some dreams come true for her adorable family. And if you are one of those (me! me!) peeps that always stops to watch artists as they create, follow Emily at BeautifulHelloBlog on Instagram where she's been posting videos of paintings in progress.

I look forward to these amazing landscapes each day. She's posting at noon EST, and these are selling fast at $100 so be sure to set your alarm to buy right after she posts.

In addition to these beautiful canvases, Em makes great collage works and gorgeous jewelry...pick up a few of those while you're sniffing around.

PC_blogetsy_lifeidesign.png

Nicki from Life I Design and I met at AltNYC in June, and she convinced me to join in the 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge. Each day for the last thirty days, Nicki has published some amazing black and white sketches in the vein of what you see above. She also added in a few splashes of color (you should go see her tomatoes).

Nicki is retiring some prints from the collection and new work is headed into the shop for the fall so get ready to purchase something charmed for the new teacher or neighbor in your life.

PC_Blogetsy_lifeonchurchill.png

My girl, Julia from Life on Churchill Street has a background in product design and has some great taste for styling, too. She's a crafter and picks up the quintessential objects. In her shop you'll find a smorgaboard of one-of-a-kind children's books, mid-century fancies, and other items you find yourself thinking you "need."

Julia has an adorable family, and they abide in a fresh and vintage space. She was featured over on Design Mom in the Living with Kids series. Go check that out, too.

PC_blogetsy_hellolidy.png

Lidy somehow manages new motherhood while juggling her blog and crafting up a storm and supporting her store. This lady has a multitude of DIYs to roll up your sleeves and dig into. She also features some vibrant prints in her Etsy shop. I remember when Lidy first opened the shop and hearing all of her excitement about the launch. Pop over to Hello Lidy to see all her fun wares.

PC_blogetsy_mermag.png

Stop over to Mer Mag if you want a clean, creative space that will make you happy to exist. Merrilee is on my list of people I'd like to meet. Her projects are made from everyday objects, and they make me feel like I'm seeing a magician at work behind the scenes.

She's an amazing illustrator, and I find her prints direct and brilliant. Get out your wish list of wall art and click over (don't forget to put yourself on that list).

I tell you what, friends, few things make me happier than seeing good people with great talent succeed -- so let's support the creatives! If you are a blogger and shop owner, please leave your site address below (even if I already know you, I might not know your shop). I'd love to ease on over and possibly feature you over here on Pars Caeli.

Let's have a bright weekend. And give it up for an amazing August.

xoxo, MJ

PS. Keep those #celebratethenormal photos coming!!

quality vintage goods, mid century pieces and children's books. - See more at: http://www.lifeonchurchill.com/p/about.html#sthash.W648F1fh.dpuf

Make It: Washi Tape Frames

Hi there, lovelies. It's wonderful to have you back here again. I missed you at the end of last week, but I promise I've been working some magic behind the scenes to move Pars Caeli to a new level of fabulous.

I had a wonderful birthday - thanks for all the wishes - that was topped off by a fantastic performance of Wicked. Though I'd heard the music and read the book, it was my first time seeing the musical, and I loved it!! Many other special, special moments continued throughout the weekend and into Mother's Day.

PC_mothersday.jpg

I have definitely grown into motherhood and grown from motherhood. Lately as they are now 3, 5, and 8, I find myself staring at my kiddos, amazed at the people they are becoming. Where did these lovely souls come from, and how did I get so lucky to share in life with them? I'm not sure, but I am most definitely humbled and grateful.

And on that note, I have an easy DIY I want to share with you. I made these cheeky notecards with vinyl letters last week that I'm stuffing in packages headed out to some of my favorite bloggers who joined in For the Love of Blogging series.

One of my favorite parts to these bundles are some sacred words.

These inspirational quotes come directly from the writers themselves.

I wanted to create something special for these writers, photographers, artists, and stylists. And as any crafter knows, washi tape is the most forgiving medium around so I was able to adjust and rework the prints as I wanted.

PC_washitapeframe_!.jpg

Here's what you need: cardboard, fun paper, glue, washi tape, and a bulldog clip for hanging.

I treasure the words these bloggers shared with me. And I hope they treasure their own words in the same way. Sometimes we discount our own wisdom, don't we? I think with these prints around, it will be a lot harder to do!!

PC_washtape)2.jpg

STEP 1: Design your print. Load paper. Print.

STEP 2: Trim print and cardboard to the same size. These are 5x7 but make them in any size you'd like.

STEP 3: Glue paper to cardboard. I used rubber cement just because I love it.

PC_washitape_6.jpg

STEP 4: Add washi accents. Make sure that you use the washi tape around the edge to combine the cover the cardboard/paper seam.

STEP 5: Add a washi either right next to the framed edge or a bit closer into the center for more of a matted look.

STEP 6: Attach a bulldog clip for hanging!

PC_washitape_5.jpg
PC_washitape_3.jpg
IMG_1725.JPG

Have you ever framed your own words?

xoxo, MJ

P.S. A brand new Celebrate the Normal is headed your way on Wednesday; don't forget to tag your photos. And, I'll be joining in Anne's Love Yourself in a special Tuesday post tomorrow. Hint: The temptations of Photoshop.

Celebrate the Normal: Contributor's Art

 

Hello, my dears. Oh, this world. The tragic events in Boston remind me that life is fast and sad and amazing, and that we all need to stick together. The life that we get used to, the life we call normal can all disappear in just a moment, sometimes leaving us with a feeling of loss and a wonder for why we hadn't noticed the goodness before.

So, we're sticking together here at Pars Caeli. We're making a community of appreciators, of lovers, of doers and thinkers, of artists and creatives, of mothers and friends, of those who celebrate the normal.

I have been so touched by all the submissions I received in this first week!! Yeah, I'm blessed with talented friends. Woot for me!

Really clear to me as well is that normal is not ordinary. When put inside the frame for viewing, these moments in time become elevated experiences to savor.

Clear to me as well, we have much to celebrate. We see that in the littles around us and the natural beauties in the environment. It's such a gift to be able to perceive a bit of the world through another's eyes... so big thanks for all of our artists this week. Please scroll down and enjoy these endearing images (and go visit some great blogs while you're at it!!).

Are you ready to join in the fun? This week we'll be focusing on viewing the exterior. The prompt is:

Please take your photos and use the hashtag #celebratethenormal. One submission from each artist will be featured next Wednesday. Be sure to get snapping before Monday at midnight! You need not be on Instagram to participate. :) Tweet it out - #celebratethenormal and invite your friends, too.

Lucky by M.J. of Pars Caeli
Palm tree gazing by Louise of Laid Off Mom.
Just Another Wednesday from Instagram superstar and friend, Jen Mygatt. Follow her work on Instagram at @jenmygatt
A little spring bouquet of happiness c/o Trader Joe's by Theresa of Inspiration Coop
"This appeared one morning recently on our deck. Let us wait for the peeps and #celebratethenormal" from one of my BFFs
Sunlight.. from Julia of Life on Churchill St.
Wagon ride from Jill of Every Day is an Occasion.
Bath time by Colleen Duggan

Colleen created a great post around the topic with some other great photos that you'll want to see. My favorite line from the piece,

"If I ever become a Saint (Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?), I want to be the Patron Saint of the Beautiful Ordinary."

No worries, Colleen, I'll totally vote for that!

 

Here's to gratitude right here, right now.

xoxo, MJ

 

For the love of blogging: The artist

What's going on, lovelies? I am so delighted to kick off this new Thursday series on Pars Caeli. As I mentioned last week during Melanie's book tour post, we are celebrating blogging and bloggers all throughout the month of April.

Pars Caeli is one year today (see the very first post)!! And though I'd love to throw some great contests and offer gifts, this blog runs on a $30/month budget so instead I'm bringing you inspiration and wisdom (with some laughs thrown in) as my gift. I've lassoed an amazing cast of bloggers from various backgrounds and experiences; some fresh on the scene and some with years of experience. I hope their passion (and mine) for the great big blogging universe will encourage you to go after your dreams, both big and small.

First up, Paige of Approaching Joy. **Disclaimer: Paige is one of my favorite blogger pals. She and I are headed on a great adventure in AltNYC in June!! One year ago, she was also the lady who pushed me off the blog diving board to click "publish."

 

I started blogging at Approaching Joy in late January of 2012.  Before that I had kept blogs for a few weeks at a time but always got frustrated when I couldn't make my space "pretty" and gave up quickly thereafter. I actually took a blog design class in conjunction with starting Approaching Joy so design was less frustrating... kind of...

 

I say "kind of" because, when I was taking that first blog design class I spent anywhere from two to three hours a DAY for two weeks trying to figure out what I wanted my blog to look like.  It bordered on obsessive, and I think my roommates thought I started an illegal drug habit (since I spent most of that time in my room, yelling at my computer.)  I think I even blogged mostly about blog design in that first (icky) period.

 

Luckily, it was just one of those things that I had to get out of my system and then I could turn my attention to fun stuff.

 

 

 

I keep blogging because (wow, this is going to sound horrible) but I kind of feel like it's my pixel-child.  

Newborn phase: Design, establishing, and not a lot of sleep.  
Toddler phase: Learning what I need to learn.  Links, code, etiquette, tantrums, etc.
Elementary phase: Going out, meeting people, having fun.
Angst-ridden teen phase: Where I'm at now.  Transitioning from blogging "what I should do" into "what I want to do."  Oh yea, total blog rebel over here.

 

 

Most of my best inspiration happens while I'm away from the computer. Pinterest is cool but, personally, nothing beats a walk on a trail, a cup of coffee at a local shop, or a drive down a dirt road to really get my creative cogs turning.

 

 

 

I feel like I know the blogger behind the screen in all the blogs I read. At times this means I am interested but intimidated, empathizing over rough spots, or taken aback by someone's hard work.

 

But always, always, I can see their personality, or else I won't keep reading.

 

(I choose to answer this question in a "Zombies just ate the Internet" kind of way, instead of a "my computer broke, sad day" kind of way.) If I had to stopping blogging tomorrow, I would lose a sizable chunk of my personal community. The people I've "met" through my blog have become friends and sisters, people who I share inside jokes with, people whose children I care about, people who make me smile on a day when everything else is gray.

 

Serious sadness.

 

 

Outside of the blog I make art (which I am trying to work up the courage to share more often on the blog.)
Outside of the blog I make delicious dinners with my husband.
Outside of the blog I drink way too much caffeine, am allergic to the dogs I love, and try to be kind to everyone I meet.

 

I'm also trying to start a business that ties art into community and makes it a big part of my region's culture. But that's a big secret that I'm only willing to share with Pars Caeli readers.

 

Love it!! Thanks, Paige for gracing the pages of Pars Caeli and for your constant support throughout this first year. Follow Paige on Instagram at @approaching_joy to see some of her latest creations. And if you want to have some fun, engage her in some witty banter via Twitter.

Have a bright weekend, friends! I'll be saying a prayer of thanksgiving for each of you that stop by this site. It's been an eye-opening first year, and I hope to share so much more with you over the next 12 months.

xoxo, MJ

Itty Bitty Lovelies in Illustration

 

Monday greetings, friends! Are you tired out from the Oscars last night? (raising hand here) I attempted to work and blog while watching. Nope, failed there. Nevertheless, I was delighted by the glamour on the red carpet (yes, Jessica Chastain) and disappointed by the hosting and wowed by the musical presentations.

I told the kiddos that the red carpet is the Super Bowl of Fashion, and my daughters got into the festivities dressing up in my college formal dresses and interviewing each other with their imaginary microphones. Really cute.

So, here we go last week of February. A something different for you today. I have a soft spot for illustrations and hand lettering. Today's Itty Bitty Lovelies are just some fun eye candy to bring you a smile to begin your week. Check the P.S. at the bottom for a super helpful and informative illustration from my girl, Paige.

MJ's Itty Bitty Lovely for the week: spend at least two minutes just looking at someone you love. This week don't talk, don't let them realize you're doing it, and gaze at your loved one. I spent some time this weekend just staring at my children, trying to memorize each wrinkle and hair - appreciating the fabulous souls they are right this moment. You don't need kids to do this - pick a coworker, BFF, spouse. 2013 needs more grateful contemplation. Let's contribute our part.

You are the Cheese! Art Print

       From Poppy & Red on Society6

Retro Geekery poster, quote print, pop art, nursery art, inspirational quote, motivational wall art - Viewmaster, expand your view A3

From RestyleShop on Etsy

8x10-in Will Rogers Quote Illustration Print

From Unraveled Design on Etsy

xoxo, MJ

P.S. If you're thinking you'd love to find your way into a magazine article/feature? Check out Paige's info illustrative.

The art of creation

 

I've been thinking a lot about creativity lately. First, I had my daughter, M, in art camp last week, and she came home with all sorts of inspiration. Second, I've been following and loving this series by Sandra and Jen on Creativity (go over and get inspired, while you nod your head at all the points that hit home!). Third and fourth, I'm an art major (I wear that badge proudly more than a decade after college), and soon and very soon, I get to talk about art, family, and creativity over at Classic Play!! Oh, sorry, too excited. More about that on Wednesday.

One of my favorite college courses was entitled Art as a Response. Art can be such an amazing way to express all that is good, challenging, confusing, and wrong with the world. Around here, summer is the time to respond. Granted, it's always a busy time, too, with kiddo camps and classes, friend gatherings, and extra professional stuff for me. Nevertheless, the art student in moi still thinks of summer as a time for projects and doing. Did you make a potholder from the loom or the latch-hook run over the summer like I did as a child?

 

As a grown-up, I try to go to the art as a summer treat. As I mentioned yesterday, we visit local museums and take in art fairs wherever possible. Sometimes this warm inspiration has to keep me going through the long, gray months of winter here in the Midwest.

I have big hopes that I can turn inspiration into creation this summer...likely in August when professional life calms down a bit. I have my calligraphy pens ready to work some hand-lettering goodness on a few prints that have been in m brain for way too long. And my once-termed "living room" really wants to just shout out its new title as the ART ROOM but it needs a creative wind to blow through it with some touches of whimsy and organizational structure.

While I wait to dig into those, I'm succumbing to the best kind of peer pressure with a blog DIY date. I'm totally delighted to be meeting up with Louise and a dozen other great bloggers on a fun DIY date. If we lived anywhere close to one another, we'd have a crafternoon over at Louise's house, like all of her besties get. But, instead, we'll enjoy it via the blogosphere.

And our inspirational material: Washi tape. I'm still craftering away on this, and I can't wait to show you the results!!!

How are you taking in the art this summer? XOXO, MJ

ps. I'm still trying to figure out how to transfer my Disqus comments, and I really want to talk back to you...please know that I'm working to get them up ASAP. In the meantime, I'm having a lovely discussion with you...in my head.

Funday Fashion Monday: Art museum

 

Hello!! Welcome, welcome to our new home. Don't you just love shorter URLs? I have a new crush, and it's on SquareSpace, the wonderful new friend of Pars Caeli. More on this great move later...for now, I'm just so excited that you're here. It's going to be an amazing week, I promise.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Please and thank you for your patience as we unpack boxes and organize the closets over here in our new home. There are kinks to work out, but it's so exciting to finally be here.

I had a lovely weekend! How about you? We spent Saturday on the shores of Lake Michigan, digging big sand holes and riding on the truck/ship combo known as the Duck. Sunday we celebrated Rembrandt's birthday with a trip to one of our local art museums that was hosting a family day.

Have you visited an art gallery or museum lately? Have you taken your children? I took my two little ladies yesterday, and we came with our sketchbooks and pencils, ready to capture some inspiration. They loved every moment, and we could have easily spent more than our 2.5 hours waltzing through the galleries. If you haven't read it yet, check out Gabby's post on visiting art with your kiddos. Check the comments esp, great ways to get more out of the experience!

Here are some great summer finds for your next trip to the art museum (or anywhere else wonderful this sunny season).

Those shoes: A nice cork wedge to help you go up and down those flights of stairs as you ponder whether the modern art or the kinesthetic sculpture garden or the Renaissance oils were REALLY your fave.

These earrings: These lovelies are just the right amount of dangle mixed with a touch of sparkle.

That flattering tank: The levels of shirred fabric on this one compliment curves and the tone will coordinate with summer's great pops of color.

This sweater to keep you cozy: Not to be granny on you, but museums can get chilly so keep this bright mustard cardie in your purse or on top of the tank, just to show that you know how to mix it up with color.

That leather yumminess: This tote is supple, large, and can hold all the supplies you take into the museum and all the gifties you take home from the shop.

The sketchbooks and pencils: I find spiral-bounds to be child-friendly and ready to go anywhere they're needed. We stretched out on the floor right in front of our favorite paintings to capture the colors. These pencils are lead free, and they come in a CD case. Super handy and great quality for the price.

That, that skirt: My fave piece is the amazing tiered lace skirt. I've seen lace detail a lot lately, and this lace is done well and wearable. It comes in two colors, and you'll have a tough time deciding which is more awesome.

That's all friends. I hope your Monday is bright. What were you up to this weekend?

XOXO, MJ