Spring is here!

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Many of the buds seem to have appeared overnight; a sweet reminder that God’s mercies are new every morning.  It’s rainy today, and there may be snow tomorrow, but I’m so glad to see these little hints of what’s to come!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 2:22-24

Working on Thumbnails

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Work on the storybook Bible continues!  These are thumbnails, the “seedlings” that will become finished drawings and paintings in the book.  (Above is Anna from Luke 2:36-38)

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Angie Smith has done a beautiful job writing the stories for girls, each featuring a woman from the Bible.  The redemptive narrative is thoroughly woven into every page.  It’s really, truly beautiful.

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Emily Rose has been assisting me by editing and scanning my artwork for the publisher.  (My work is never perfect and can always use a touch up to make it ready for the book!  She does an excellent job!)

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The publisher, B&H Kids, is planning on an October 2014 release.  We can’t wait to share it with you!

Spiced Rooibus Tea

We’ve had days of beautiful, sparkling snow, just perfect for the Christmas season. Mother and Emily Rose have been busily packaging all the orders for Clementine Pattern Co.. Daddy has been faithfully taking them to the post on the way back to work after his lunch break, lightening the load for us.  (Thank you, Daddy!)

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I’ll frequently take tea to the studio, so after nearly exhausting my tea supply, I decided to experiment for a spicy, chai-like tea.  It’s nothing radically new, and the ingredients are rough estimates – but it’s yummy!  Next time I think I’ll add more spice or steep it longer for a stronger tea:

SPICED ROOIBUS TEA
1 spoon of Rooibus tea
1 good pinch of cinnamon
1 good pinch of nutmeg
a few “petals” of star anise
a sprinkling of ginger root
1 small pinch of allspice
Stevia, to taste

Combine ingredients in a cloth tea bag.  Bring a kettle of water to boil, then steep the tea for 5-6 minutes.  Add cream if desired, and enjoy!  (Makes one serving.)

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Drawing and painting for the storybook Bible continues in the studio . . .

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Everything beautiful in its time

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The first week of July we were able to fellowship with dear friends, visit the Gettysburg battlefield, and see the Civil War Museum.

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After recovering from from a nasty bug, I worked on sketching and drawing the cover of the story book Bible cover.

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A bit of nature keeps itself occupied on my desk while I work.  Except George.

He’s really high maintenance.

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Now that I’ve finished the cover drawing for the story book Bible, I’ll be spending this next week painting, and then Emily Rose will get it ready to send to the publisher.

What gain has the worker from his toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart,
yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful
and to do good as long as they live;

also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil
—this is God’s gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

The Lord’s Provision for the Zimmermans + Giveaway Winner

Praise the Lord, the Zimmerman’s goal was met yesterday evening!
A big “Thank you!” to everyone who entered, donated and spread the word to bless the Zimmermans.

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The Giveaway for Little Tait’s Preemie Fund is now closed, and the winner is . . .
Samantha R.
(Entry #480)!  Thank you so much for entering the giveaway, Samantha!
(I’ve sent you an email with the details!)

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!”
—Psalm 98:1a—

Chalk Art Giveaway for Little Tait’s Preemie Fund!

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Four years ago, Little Tait was born three months prematurely and spent three months in NICU.  Today, Little Tait is now a happy, healthy little boy.  (Read more of his story here.)  However, his parents are still chipping away at the last of an almost 1 million dollar expense.  The hospital has agreed to settle if they can raise $100,000 in 90 days.  They’ve reached $80,222 and are believing, with God’s help and the help of His people, to be able to reach the goal by Monday.

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You can help the Zimmerman family and enter a giveaway for one of my large Chalkboard art prints, “Teach Them Diligently.” Simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter:

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The giveaway is for the 11″ x 14″ print — it fits perfectly in an 11″ x 14″ frame.  We bought an antique white frame from Hobby Lobby, and it looks just lovely!  (You can find this print in my Etsy Shop here.)

“Teach Them Diligently” will go to one winner, and will be announced on Monday at midnight (June 17th).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As the Zimmerman’s deadline quickly approaches, please consider making a donation and praying for the Lord’s provision for them; it would be such a blessing.  You can find out about more giveaways for Little Tait’s Preemie Fund on Little Tait’s Facebook page.

“Claudia visits the Jolly Cottage”

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The past few weeks have been more full than usual — traveling, vending our wares at the Family Economics Conference (which was wonderful!), visiting with friends, celebrating a new marriage, and preparing for a little more traveling and vending.  I’ve loved it, and here in the next week or two I’ll be starting work on the next book, the Storybook Bible for girls, with Angie Smith.  I can hardly wait!

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While tidying up the studio I came across this drawing from a couple years ago.  I wondered what it would look like in color, and since the original drawing is on cheap sketch book paper, watercolor was out of the question.  I experimented with Photoshop and a few PS watercolor brushes.

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 ”Claudia visits the Jolly Cottage”

Perhaps it’s an elderly neighbor in need of a friendly visit, or a young mother who will be surprised by an afternoon’s rest while Claudia makes dinner for her . . .

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,
and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and
among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death,
to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity,
as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-17—

Oh, and I’ve added some brand new note cards to the shop!  And who knows, Claudia might end up there soon, too!

Spring happenings

A couple weeks ago I finished up a new chalk art print!  It’ll be in the shop soon as a print and as boxed note cards.  But more importantly . . .

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This Saturday, our precious friend, Sarah, will be getting married, and she’ll be moving far away to NC with her wonderful, godly husband, Jordan.  This week we’re enjoying hosting his family and getting ready for the big day!  It has been beautiful to watch the Lord weave Sarah’s and Jordan’s lives together.

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Spring in the Studio

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Audrey Bunny

What is all this talk about a children’s book?  Well, pull up a chair, pour yourself some coffee.  You might want to read this first.

It was on the last day of November when I received an email from B&H Kids, a division of B&H Publishing.  They had an author who was interested in my illustrations for her upcoming book, a storybook Bible for girls.  That definitely peeked my interest, so I let him know this was a possibility I wanted to explore.  I was itching to know who this author was, so I looked around their website looking for any hints: the only thing I found was an author’s profile and a press release mentioning her upcoming children’s book.  I hoped it was her.

The very next day, another email popped into my inbox.  I think I just about squealed when and I saw it was from Angie Smith.  (You may already be familiar with her — she’s a vibrant, delightful woman who thirsts after God, is Todd Smith’s wife, and mother to Ellie, Abby, Kate, Audrey, and Charlotte.  The Lord gave Audrey 2 1/2 precious hours with her family.  This video will give you a good background of her story.)  We started emailing back and forth, all the while talking with my family, praying, and wondering if this was something the Lord wanted us to do.

I was reading everything about Angie I could find, and I couldn’t wait to meet her.  I wrote to Angie and the publisher that we’d be in their area in a couple weeks (even that was providential timing with a story behind it!)  They set up a meeting for breakfast to talk about the storybook Bible in depth.

When we got to TN, we met Angie and Todd at a cozy little coffee shop where we both ordered a French press and talked about so much more than a book.  We talked until the coffee shop had to close and we moved the conversation to her home.  My heart is almost too full for words when I remember that night — it was so sweet to see that the Lord had clearly brought our families, kindred spirits, together.  While we were together that evening, we also talked about her book “Audrey Bunny” which was already being illustrated.  Nonetheless, I remember Todd saying that they were praying for a miracle that I would be able to illustrate it anyway.

After the meeting with the publisher (and another long, wonderful talk with just Angie and a heart-wrenching farewell), we headed home and I let Angie know that I would be joining the team for creating the storybook Bible!  They are just dear people, desiring to honor the Lord with the books they produce, and so very gracious. (They’re a delight to work with.)

The publisher called and said he had an additional offer along with the storybook bible.  Audrey Bunny.  And you can imagine I said yes.  : )

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There’s so much more of the story I’d like to add, but for now . . . my heart is so full of thanks.  Thanks to the Lord who knows and loves.  To Angie, for inviting me to be a part of their family’s journey and Audrey’s story; I’m so honored.  And my tremendous family (especially Emily Rose’s amazing skills) who have always been such help and encouragement.

I’ll write more later.  : )

“Audrey Bunny” should be available in October