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Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month February

creative-mom-february-2017-harmonyartmomCreative Mom – February 2017

So far February has been a great month for creative occupations. I participated in an online course that was aimed at beating the winter blues with creative ideas, recipes, and musings on the beauty of winter. It wasn’t a really good fit for me so I was only able to glean a few new ideas but I can imagine that in years to come I will be pulling up downloaded activities to use in winters to come.

Get real Barb!

I had to be realistic. I was not ready to invest in soapmaking supplies, learn to knit more complicated items like gloves, make cheese, or create my own teas. Sometime in the future I will be more in a position to tackle a few of them but now it seemed like way above my skill set (and ability to financially invest).

In a way though, it made me think about the creative activities I already enjoy and find great pleasure in doing for myself and my family.

scrapbook work

Since I have a spot to leave my scrapbooking supplies out at all times, I sit down more frequently to work on my pages. I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for some new paper and a few stickers and this stimulated my creative juices once again. I finished my Hawaiian album and now I’m working on family events in my personal album.


I baked some yummy treats this month for my sweet husband. He does so much around here that to repay him I will often take his suggestions for a recipe to try. I made him flourless peanut butter cookies, almond shortbread, and biscuits so far this month. The trick is then for my hand to stay out of the cookie jar!


Sketch Tuesday and my nature journal have kept me drawing and painting each week. I try to keep both simple and focus on the relaxing aspects of drawing. If things don’t turn out perfectly, no big deal.


Shutterfly has shared so many coupons and free items with me in the past few months that it is an easy afternoon of creating that fits my budget. This wall calendar was a lot of fun to design and customize with my photos. It now hangs right next to my desk and it makes me happy to see my loved ones smiling back at me.


Here are a few more ways I have been creating during this past month. I have customized my little mini travel watercolor palette for my nature bag. I got my passport renewed and my kids and I have been planning a trip to Canada! I have been taking lots of photos from my window during the rainy days. This California towhee was right outside my office window and I was able to snap a few photos before he flew off. I am working on my picture wall and updating my images to fit my current interests.

So, although I had planned to follow the online creative course, I stuck to my basics and feel like I truly accomplished some great creative energy. That really is what it is all about!
So what have you been doing this month to be creative?

Have you participated in Sketch Tuesday?

Have you listened to Music Monday?


Art Show Wall Display 1

You may wish to read this entry from my archives:

Creative Atmosphere in Your Home


Mother’s Journal – January 2017

Traditions. My husband and I have talked at length about maintaining old and creating new traditions in our family. Viewed from the lens of looking back on the past year helped us see more clearly which direction we want to steer this ship in the coming months. We actually wrote down all of our family’s traditions that we could think of as we discussed which ones we want to continue and which to let go. So many of our traditions have fallen away over time with the growing up of children.

Some traditions just don’t make sense anymore. Some traditions without the kids aren’t all that fun.

We had to face the reality of having four very active children who have chosen a rather vagabond lifestyle in their twenties. We love being “home base” and we also love being able to pick up and go whenever we can manage it as a couple. With my husband’s impending retirement this year, that freedom will even increase. We are anticipating the sale of our current house and making a big move sometime in 2017 so it is the perfect time to reevaluate our traditions, feeling out some new ideas.

I have felt a little at drift.

My personality loves routine and thrives on traditions and cycles. The thought of having a year where nothing is put on paper because we don’t know where we will be living has me unsettled. Thus, we came up with the idea to create some milestones for me to depend on and then work within that framework. If a tradition comes from these plans, all the better.


February 2016 Trip to Southern California

Big Plans for 2017

We are meeting my daughter for a warm white sandy beach week in February which gives me that to look forward to and we are anticipating all our favorite traditional activities while we are there. We had a February warm weather trip to San Diego in 2016 and it was just what we both needed. We all have been saving for this trip over the past year because we realized it is something that we want to do to connect each year. She needs to escape the cold New York winter so it is a perfect fit for both all of us. A new tradition!


April 2016 Shenandoah National Park

There is also a trip on the books now to meet two of my children over the summer for a trip to Canada….I will fly to New York and the we will all drive together up to Toronto. If they both decide they will be living in New York, this may also become a tradition.


New shared hobby- kayaking!

My husband has planned a big camping trip in August that we can take no matter where we find ourselves living at that time. We decided that we would pick the week and any of the children that can join us will be more than welcome. Our gathering as a complete family has become highly impractical so we need to just enjoy what we can have which is a wonderful trip to a beautiful place, either on our own or with some of the kids. There may be a time in the future when we can be located more closely together but this time isn’t that chapter in our lives. At least right now there is only one child living out of the country (in Guyana!).

The Big Move

In the meantime, as I pack boxes and give things away, my mind is more at ease with the “coming together” times we have placed on the calendar. I will let you know how the anticipated new traditions go as we put them in place.

Maybe this is a time for decluttering all aspects of my life. As I wrote this post, I realized that I have been doing this clearing out in a physical way with my material possessions. It only makes sense now that I am doing the same thing with our family’s traditions…clear away all but the very best and meaningful rituals that still touch our hearts.

Like a flash of understanding, as I finish this post, it occurs to me this also fits in with my word of the year which is PURPOSE. I have been researching, reading scripture, and meditating on the idea of purpose. Do the traditions we are keeping serve the purpose we are intending…to bring joy and connection?

And so I will leave it there. You can imagine me as I go through the next few months contemplating these thoughts. There will be big changes but I will strive to keep connected through the joy of traditions both old and new.



Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month January


harmony-art-mom-creative-month-januaryThe cold wet weather has been conducive to staying in and being creative. As I look over the past few weeks and what was accomplished all tidy in this post, it appears as if I am a really crafty artsy person. In reality, all of these projects were done with small snatches of time. It all adds up.

Making time for drawing and other creative pursuits is reachable for most of us if we keep it accessible. I like things put away but if I leave the art supplies sitting out I am more apt to sit and work for a few minutes.


I am trying to participate in Sketch Tuesday every week. Right now I am keeping it simple with a simple notebook and a pencil. So far I have completed 2 of 2 Sketch Tuesday assignments. If you want to join us this week, the theme is art studio. Click the link for more information.


Over on my nature study blog, I made a goal for 2017 to sketch in my nature journal every week. I was actually at the point of finishing up one nature journal and starting a fresh one so I had to create a cover for the filled one. I decided to go whimsical.

instagram-outdoorhourchallenge-smallWhile I am thinking about it, you may wish to follow my Instagram account for more nature images and nature journal pages. You can click the graphic above to find me on Instagram or search for my account outdoorhourchallenge.


I always have a scrapbook project to work on and this month I finished up our last trip to Hawaii from 2014. I decided to use an 8″ by 8″ Creative Memories album with spargo pages. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these photos and recording the experiences. It must be time to go again!


I am always taking photos in my yard. Winter time can be a challenge to find something interesting but I wanted to take an image of the paper white growing and blooming in between the pavers. Someone decided to do a photo bomb and get in the shot. Miss Cocoa is our front yard greeter…such a sweet thing.

harmony-art-mom-creative-month-january-1My husband and I took an early morning hike in the rain down to the river when it was at close to flood stage. The adventure was recorded in my nature journal along with a page on some lichen that I brought home on an oak twig. It is hard to sketch lichen! Secretly I am struggling with my drawing skills and have a plan to learn more by studying other journalers and books I have on my shelf and some ordered up from the library. The one book that has the deepest impact on me is the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. He suggests sketching every day to improve so I am trying my best to complete something daily. (Affiliate link above to Amazon to a book I have used and love!)

Read my complete review of this book over on my other blog: Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling.


So what have you been doing this month to be creative?

Have you participated in Sketch Tuesday?

Have you listened to Music Monday?

Don’t forget to do something to feed your creative soul!

Art Show Wall Display 1

You may wish to read this entry from my archives:

Creative Atmosphere in Your Home


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