Paying good attention to the shapes of each piece… finding the edge pieces first…. biting my lip in concentration when a particular piece was so hard to find but then, the feeling of excitement when you finally find the missing piece!
These are my memories from when I was little working on a jigsaw puzzle on the floor of my bedroom, sitting criss cross applesauce. :) When I was little growing up in the Netherlands, I worked on and completed so many puzzles! It was the perfect thing to do in a place where it rains a lot! Even when your friends couldn’t come over to play, you could always work on your puzzle!
As a mom, I loved working on puzzles with my kids when they were little. Not only were they fun to complete, I felt jigsaw puzzles had a ton of educational value. It was as if I could see their brains working solving a puzzle!
Besides being so good for our brains, puzzles are just so fun! For me, they bring back a feeling we call “gezellig” in Dutch. There’s not really a direct translation but it kind of means something like “cozy” in English. You can gather with friends or family around the table and work on a puzzle together while sipping hot drinks and chatting. Not much more is needed, right? It’s a SIMPLE JOY!
Anyways, considering how much I love puzzles, you can imagine how thrilled I am to share some exciting news with you!
My BIG news is that my hummingbird art is now available on puzzles! I’m collaborating with an awesome local company called Portland Puzzle. They are a family run company that prides itself on making high quality, made-in-the-usa jigsaw puzzles.
I personally visited their work space and was so impressed with the care they take in making their puzzles. It honestly felt like an artisan process!
So excited to be working with these good people and seeing my art of two Anna's hummingbirds on their fun puzzles!
You can order the "Surprise Encounter" hummingbird puzzles directly through their website and if you live in Portland Oregon, they’ll be available at local retailers soon.
Do you enjoy puzzles? Have special memories around completing puzzles like I do?
Would love to hear in the comments!
Thanks for following my journey!
I’ve always loved hummingbirds but have become more fascinated with them in recent years. Painting hummingbirds made me more interested to learn more about them. The more I learn, the more I realize how amazing these small birds are!
So I did something this past month…. I decided to start a Facebook group to create a community for people who love hummingbirds, just like me. I made the group specifically for people living in Washington, Oregon or California. Why these states? Well, there’s some really good groups all about hummingbirds on Facebook already but I found out there wasn’t one specifically for the West Coast.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and thought it’d be fun to learn more about the hummingbirds living in this area. With California having a greater diversity and population of hummingbirds, I chose to make the group for people living in the West Coast states.
The group is brand new but my hope for this community is that:
- we can learn about hummingbirds together
- we can share what gives us joy about hummingbirds
- we can participate with stories, experiences and photos in a welcoming environment
So if you live in Washington, Oregon or California and love hummingbirds, please join our group!
You can find the group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1024381601467928/
I look forward to connecting with you! If you know of a family member or friend who might enjoy this group, will you please help me get the word out by sharing?
Even if you love home decorating, some areas in your home might be more challenging to decorate than others. You might have a low, slanted ceiling in one area of your home, or a small nook that makes decorating tricky. Another area that can be challenging is the stairway of your home.
For many homes, the stairway is right as you enter the home near the front door. In these homes, this area might be the first thing your guests see… of course you’d want to make this area beautiful and welcoming!
But even if your stairway is not by the front door, this area typically gives you plenty of wall space to have fun decorating. If you have a corridor style of stairway and love flowers, why not decorate the walls with floral art so it feels you’re walking through a garden? Or if you’re a tree hugger at heart, with paintings of pines and leaves? Well, you know I’m all about bringing the joy of hummingbirds indoors with my original art and art prints!
Truly, there are so many ways to make your stairway inviting and beautiful!
Whether you’re decorating this area in a new home or would like to give the stairway in your current home a refresh, this article from Redfin might give you some helpful tips and ideas: Redfin Home Stairway Design Tips
I was excited when Redfin approached me for my thoughts on this topic. Besides my tip, there are lots of ideas in this article from fellow artists, photographers and home remodelers.
I feel I can always use some inspiration when it comes to home decorating so I found the article helpful and I hope you do too!
What type of stairway do you have in your home? How have you decorated this area? With art or photographs? Does your stairway decor have a theme? Would love to hear!
Thank you for following my journey!
So you have a few minutes and feel like doing something fun. What do you do?
Scroll through your Instagram feed? Eat a snack? Look out the window to see if there’s a hummingbird at your feeder… (or is that just me?!)
Well, I have another FUN ACTIVITY for you that helps you escape from the work sitting on your desk for just a few minutes.
I found out about it while I was paging through a Flow magazine in Dutch that my mom gifted me while I was in the Netherlands.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Flow magazine but it’s one of my favorite magazines.
It’s chockfull of illustrations, articles about slow, meaningful living and lots of inspiration (and encouragement!) for a creative life. And in case you’re wondering, yes! It’s published in English too. :)
So as I was reading my magazine, my eyes fell on a small blurb about a creative quiz. I don’t know what it is about doing quizzes but they’re fun! I guess they help us learn a bit more about ourselves which is fun and helpful!
I remember as a teenager circling answers to quizzes in my teen magazines. You’d count up how many A’s, B’s, C’s or D’s you circled and then read the results of your quiz. With online quizzes you don’t even have to count up your answers anymore!
This online quiz is all about finding out what type of creative person you are. It was created by Adobe Create and leads you through a few questions interspersed with some original animations. At the end of it, the results pop up on the screen. I didn’t have to give my email address or personal information to see the results.
I don’t do too many of these online quizzes but as an artist, this one got my attention because it was about creativity.
Creativity can be expressed through so many different activities and pursuits so whether you’re into music, photography, writing, drawing, crafting or painting, I think you’ll enjoy taking this quiz.
In case you’re curious, my creative type is the Dreamer. Seeing that my art celebrates the simple joys, these words especially resonated with me: “… you naturally infuse your everyday life with the beauty and wonder of the imagination.” I can’t help but notice small objects of beauty in everyday life, often in nature, that reveal the magic of simply being alive.
Sharing these observations and reflections with you through my art is my greatest joy!
So… ready to find out what your creative type is? You can find the quiz here but please don’t forget to come back to share your results with me!
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments. And if you enjoyed this post, please share via social media.
Thank you for following my journey!
This is the last week of school for our kids and temps were so high the week before last that we even had the chance to swim in a mountain lake. Somehow it’s almost summer break and yes…. even though it was hot and sunny, the water was still very cold! Are you wearing flip flops yet?
I’ve been continuing to work on my hummingbird painting collection. Painting so many hummingbirds led me to read more about them. Whenever I’m excited about something, I want to share it so I thought it might be fun to create a little e-book all about hummingbirds.
I named this hummingbird e-book “The Joy of Hummingbirds” as watching these amazing birds gives so much joy, doesn’t it? I thought some of you who also feel this way, might enjoy reading a bit more about this tiny, beautiful bird. The hummingbird e-book also includes a homemade recipe for hummingbird food to add to your hummingbird feeder. Making your own hummingbird food is easy but knowing about a few significant things is important.
Since the feedback on my Simple Joys e-book & journal has been so positive, I’ve added “The Joy of Hummingbirds” as a bonus for any new email subscribers. So when signing up, you’ll receive both!
I hope you like “The Joy of Hummingbirds.” If so, I’d love to hear in the comments!
Do you have any hummingbirds in the area where you live? Which is your favorite species of hummingbird? What would you like to know about hummingbirds? Do you have any hummingbird feeders in your garden? Please share!
Have a great start to your summer! Enjoy the journey!
Last month I shared with you that I did a small remodel on my website. Well, I still didn’t feel things were the most positive experience for anyone visiting my site. So I kept tinkering.
I kept making improvements because while I can’t invite everyone to come into my home, plop onto my couch and make them a cozy hot drink, I want people to have that feeling when visiting my site. I want people to feel welcome and appreciated.
I’m sure things are still not perfect compared to many other sites (I’m just flying solo in this art biz with a small budget) but I’m hoping I now at least have a metaphorical couch to sit on. Ha!
I’ve simplified the site even further for easy navigation and now have a legit online shop. Of course you’re always welcome to email me with questions but now you’ll hopefully be able to find answers to your questions much more easily.
I'd so appreciate your feedback on the improvements I've made. Please share if you have any thoughts or tips!
Thank you so much for your support!
I’m so excited! Since the beginning of the year I’ve been working on a collection of hummingbird paintings. Well…. I finally got them all up on the site! And you know how one thing leads to another?! I decided to do a small “remodeling” on the site inspired by the Marie Kondo approach so that visiting my artist website will hopefully be less cluttered and more joyful!
Under the “shop for art” tab, you’ll find the new collection of hummingbird paintings I’ve been working on. You can now easily see which original art paintings have already sold and which ones are still available. If you’re interested in a piece or have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll be updating the "shop for art" tab as new work becomes available. While I’m always tinkering a bit with my website, I hope these most recent changes show you my work in an enjoyable, yet organized way.
Please let me know in the comments your thoughts and feedback about the new collection of hummingbird paintings as well as the website update.
Thank you for checking it out!
Winter. What does it look like where you live?
In the Pacific Northwest, a typical winter day mostly brings grey skies and rain but this morning, we’re waiting for a big snowstorm to roll in. The first flurries have started falling from the sky as I write this but it’s still having a hard time sticking.
Our daughter has been fervently hoping for snow and is pleadingly looking at the sky to encourage those flurries to create the winter wonderland she’s been hoping for. Even without getting snow days off school due to virtual distance learning this year, she’s excited.
Seeing photos from friends and family on social media, my birth country of the Netherlands has also been blanketed by snow these past few days. It’s been very cold there and the ice is now thick enough on the rivers for people to ice skate. I have such wonderful childhood memories of skating on our neighborhood pond with all the kids from school.
One year a long time ago (we were in our 20’s and just married!), my husband and I visited my family in winter. We got lucky and it was cold enough for ice skating outside. Near my hometown is an area known for its many windmills. We headed out with my dad, put on our skates on the edge of the river and carefully stepped on to the slick ice. It always takes a minute to adjust but soon, we were off! We skated for miles past old windmills and little booths on the ice, selling hot choco and split pea soup.
Thinking back of this special memory, I might just have to make a hot drink right now…. it’s so cozy to snuggle up with a mug while it’s cold outside!
What special memories do you have from winters past? What’s a typical winter day where you live? Do you like snow?
Please share in the comments. Would love to hear from you!
P.S. I’ve been working on a series of hummingbird paintings. You can follow along on my instagram page!
Happy New Year!
Phew! We made it to 2021! I hope your holiday season was filled with the magic of twinkling lights and a warm, cozy feeling. I realized that this new year would start with some of the same challenges of 2020, but the first week of 2021 was intense!
I spent time at the end of last year reflecting on my personal goals for this year and I’m really excited to share them with you. There’s something about putting your dreams on paper that makes them feel more tangible and attainable. Goal setting can provide some structure too when the chaos, unpredictability and complexity of the world around us makes it so hard to focus.
In that spirit, I want to encourage you to reflect on what your calling might be, what you feel passionate about, where you feel you can make a positive difference, and what gets you fired up to jump out of bed in the morning!
I have two big personal goals that I want to focus on this first quarter:
1. Finish the Oregon Master Naturalist course
I’ve really been enjoying learning more about my beautiful state and building a foundation of knowledge in a wide variety of nature-related science topics. I’m especially looking forward to the wildlife unit which will be taught in February. Can’t wait! As part of this program I’ll be giving back to my community through volunteer work. I’ll keep you posted on where this journey will lead.
2. Create 20 hummingbird paintings by the end of March
I really loved painting hummingbirds last year so I want to lean into and explore this subject even more. I’ve become so curious about hummingbirds that I’ve started reading about them. They’re fascinating! I’m planning on sharing tidbits of what I learn with you. Keeping my fingers crossed that you like hummingbirds too! :) I’ll be posting progress of my hummingbird art project on instagram if you’d like to follow along.
Do you enjoy goal setting and planning? What are your main personal goals as we head into this new year? What are you excited about in 2021?
Would love it if you share in the comments! Thanks!
We’ve somehow almost made it to the end of this year! Am I the only one who feels this year has been the strangest time warp?
While this year has had plenty of heartache and uncertainty, I wanted to share
three highlights of my year with you:
The Sketchbook Project
I started 2020 working on a sketchbook that my friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This sketchbook was part of a larger, global creative movement called “The Sketchbook Project.” With input from my instagram community, I decided to create illustrations around the theme of “simple joys.”
Once completed, I sent my sketchbook to become part of the Brooklyn Art Library. Due to the pandemic, it took awhile for them to include my work in their digital library but it was very recently published. So exciting! Would love it if you take a peek here and favorite it if you feel inclined.
Growing and Learning
This year, I spent considerable amount of time reflecting on my art journey, educating myself as well as exploring with color and shapes. I worked mostly with acrylic paint and decided that play was my therapy for not only getting through this tough year, but also helpful in figuring out where I want to go with my art.
I’ll share more about my goals for the new year soon but it definitely felt like my art went through a strong transition period this year. I designed a new logo and completely updated my artist website. Seems like this will always be a “work in progress” but I’m much happier with how it looks now.
I started an online art gallery with Fine Art America to provide my customers with more options for art prints, framing and gift items. This is also where you can see which original artwork pieces are available.
So if you have any blank walls that could use some joyful art, I’d feel honored to help you!
If you follow me on instagram, you often see me posting pics of weird mushrooms and beautiful Pacific Northwest nature. I love exploring the woods with my family and most often find my “simple joys” in nature.
During the fall of 2019, I took an online course through Oregon State University as a first step towards becoming a certified Oregon Master Naturalist. The next step was the field course which was unfortunately (along with many other things) cancelled for spring 2020. Thankfully, OSU decided to offer this course as a hybrid this winter. I was admitted to the course (yay!) and recently started with a combination of zoom calls and homework in the field on my own.
Just like with anything, the more you learn about something, the less you feel you know…. so I’m not going to be a nature expert anytime soon but I feel really good about becoming a more educated advocate for our natural environment and finding a way to give back to my community through the volunteer work I’ll be doing.
I’d love to hear about YOUR reflections on the year.
Did you learn something new? Gained a new insight? Became curious about something? Found a new medium to express yourself creatively? Fell in love with someone or a new pet? Celebrated a milestone or special anniversary? Became an advocate for something you’re passionate about? Learned what gave you most joy and peace during this difficult year?
I read all my comments so please share!
Finally, thank you so much for your support and encouragement! It truly means the world to me!
Wishing you and your family the most joyful holiday season!