A peek at the things that inspire me

I just got back from an AMAZING beach vacation with my AMAZING family. The older I get, the more I realize how important my family is to me and how I just adore them all. And I never want to take them for granted. Thank you family for another vacation filled with life-long memories. I cannot wait until our Christmas vacation when we are ALL there! Yippee!


It was a vacation that started out at sunrise for me. The sun rose at 6:20am. I was in front of the ocean running for 40 minutes by 6:30am. Heaven on Earth. Or maybe this is heaven.


Sand castles? No. Sand dogs? Yes. Sand art by me and The Soph.


Last day before heading home. I was on the beach all alone. I just couldn’t bring myself to go back inside and end it. My dad came out the last hour I was out there. We had one of those father/daughter conversations that you know you will remember the rest of your life. It was such a wonderful moment. I will cherish it forever.

But anyhoo. A week off two weeks after one decides to quit their J-O-B that offers a steady paycheck means lots of work when one returns. However, one of my things to make sure I am doing once I was working from home is to begin regularly blogging again. Today’s post is to show you a view into my studio. I am someone that surrounds myself with things that inspire me and bring me great joy in life. I am maybe a lil’ ADD, so I need lots of pretties to look at. Here is a glimpse into my wonderland. I am finishing two commissions today and will be happily painting and thinking thoughts of gratitude to the Universe for allowing me this amazing life.


My loyal office mate. He is the loviest and cuddliest of the three dogs. Also the drooliest and the eating sketchbookiest. sigh…. Working on his office gossip and coffee making skills.


I met Loren Long at the LA SCBWI conference last year. It was a HUGE moment for me. I adore his books and aspire to be like him. SUPER nice guy too. Amazing artist and writer. His book, Otis made me cry it touched me so much. Also the “Be Happy” cards I left for all my awesome coworkers at my job when I left.


I love childrens’ art. I bought this at a fundraiser at The Soph’s school. I love how you can see “Believe” on top from the Mother’s Day card The Dude bought me.


Just love The Soph’s creations. A monster and a bat. Kid art I bought at a fundraiser hanging in the background. Is there anything better than kid art? No rules. No judgement. Just joy. Love.


What my desk looks like right now. Finishing Whatif Monster orders to be mailed out today. Pet portrait I am finishing today. And of course my trusty computer. Need my Pandora, iTunes and iChat.


I am not a huge list maker, but need it now. Not so much to keep me on track, but because in the last 5 years I can’t seem to remember jack anymore. It is being a mom, just getting older, or maybe all the wine. Maybe all three? Anyway, need reminders now.


I ran out of wall space so I created more by hanging a ribbon an using mini clothes pics (SOOOO cute!!!) to hang the pieces of love I love. Here you see my favorite pic my mom took of me and The Dude, The Soph when she was just 3 years old and in pigtail and the lovely Skyler who is ALWAYS happy. Plus my agents card she sent when she mailed the contract agreeing to me my agent. Good day.


The Soph and I running our first 5K together! Bon Jovi tickets, a Christmas card from the LOVELY Wahlers, a family that I am no longer legally related to, but will forever be in my heart, and my first check stub for a school visit that says “WRITER” on it. 😀


This is my seagull. My husband got it for me on Tybee Island when I swooned over it and HAD to have it. We got it when we were there for the half marathon we ran in February this year. Rained for the first 8 miles. BUT it was FLAT.


Some of my children’s picture book collection. I collect the once that make my heart feel like they may explode out of my chest from joy when I read them. They are being held up by a doxie REAL McCoy. For reals. I love this dog SO much and it was given to me by the wonderful Tammy and Jason Canterella. I love these two so much. And don’t even get me started on their should-be-illegal-she-is-so-cute daughter, Violet.


Life changing books for me. Selma. It just touches me. I bought it in Athens (with the above-mentioned Tammy) and carry it often with me in my purse. Imagine my shock when I realized AFTER I signed my book deal with Kane/Miller that THEY published Selma. How is THAT for coolness!?!? Also The Giving Tree. I ADORE Shel Silverstein, he is a huge influence on me. The Giving Tree was the first book I was read to the first day of kindergarten.Very clear and vivid memory for me. Ferdinand is somehow just a recent discovery. Loren Long talked about how it was an influence on him and you can see it in his Otis book. Ferdinand made me cry the same way Otis did. I hope to create the same feeling with one of my books one day.


I am SO influenced by my daughter’s creativity. She is by far one of the most imaginative and creative people I know. I love this monster purse she made.


More clothes pin love. I love the art of Stephen Huneck. I felt like I got punched in the stomach when I realized he committed suicide last year. Such a loss for this world. I also love to paint flying pigs. And I love cute babies. Does anyone NOT??


Says it all. It’s how I live my life.


My bestest friend in the world, Melinda. Known her since art school. Not sure I would be me without her. She is part of me and knows every single, teeny, tiny thing about me. Good and bad. And still loves me. Everyone needs a Melinda. A can of Schmidts that my equally lovely friend Tammy got me when I married and became a Schmidt. Come to think of it everyone needs a Tammy too. But you can’t have my Melinda or my Tammy. They are taken. Sorry. Also a card that came with flowers my hunnie gave me for valentines’ one year. It says, “Will you be mine, forever?” I keep it to remind him that HE asked ME. I said yes. No backsies, dude. Sorry.


My first Whatif Monster prototypes. A Naked Mole Rat a la Mo Willems. My hippo teapot which was truly fantastical birthday present from hunnie. And Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster sculptures. They are usually on the mantle in the other room, but I am working on the book and need them in here so I can hear them better.


My flipflop lights from the Awesome Maggie. I loves me some Maggie. And another mantra of mine.

There you have it folks. This was supposed to be quick, but didn’t work that way. Now off to paint!!

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