Monday, December 15, 2014

Anthropologie Workshop

Even if I don't plan to do any shopping at Anthropologie, I love to walk through their stores and check out their creative displays. It is a place of inspiration to me! I heard someone describe their stores as a "museum" experience.... and I agree.

Several weeks ago my daughter and I attended an afternoon workshop at our local Anthropologie store. It was something on my wishlist of things to do and I was so excited to finally be part of one!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mama Bleu Designs and Southern Weddings Magazine

Mama Bleu Designs featured in Southern Wedding Magazine

Upon returning home from a mid-November trip I sorted through my pile of mail and was delighted to find a package that contained my complimentary issue of Southern Weddings magazine. Oh my goodness is this publication packed full of beautiful photography or what?!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

11 Etsy SEO Strategies To Increase Your Shop Traffic and Sales

11 Etsy SEO Strategies To Increase Your Shop Traffic and Sales |

Etsy SEO. Whether you want to become an Etsy best seller or just reach a sales goal each month, learning and using SEO strategies is the ticket to helping you increase traffic to your Etsy shop and generate more sales.

Search Engine Optimization is the power tool of the internet that helps people find your products. When you optimize your shop listings you are helping Etsy find your products and show them to the right customers who are ready to buy.

I know that SEO can be a bit overwhelming to wrap your head around but the basics of it are pretty simple and there are strategic action steps that you can take to optimize your Etsy shop.

The definition of optimize is to make as perfect, effective, or functional as possible and that’s what we are going to explore today so your Etsy shop will be set up for success!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Good Ol' Homemade Ice Cream

I remember going back to school after my summer break and inevitably my first writing assignment was a two page essay title, "What I did for my summer vacation".  How do you unfold that story in just a few paragraphs for you? The story of my summer is long so I won't bore you with all the details today but will unpack the highlight over the next couple of weeks.

Let me first tell you that you'd never know that I had surgery on my finger the third Monday of July. There is no visible evidence. Not even a scare. I guess if I had to be really picky about it I'd say there is a residual stiffness in my top knuckle but it's very slight. I am so grateful to have all that behind me!!

As for the rest of my summer, it was full....very full! It wasn't filled with vacation memories. It was filled with the ordinary moments that sometimes became extraordinary. Much like the day that I made ice cream with my grand kids! I only wish that we still had my grandma's hand crank ice cream maker but it fell apart years ago.  Making ice cream with my grandma Williams was an all day event that started with a trip to the ice house and ended with a brain freeze from eating the frozen yumminess too fast!

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Own Farmer's Market

I was having flashbacks today of when I had knee surgery scheduled. Knowing it would be awhile before I could get down on my knees and dig in my garden, I spend the entire weekend prior to my surgery making sure that everything was planted and good-to-go for awhile.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Seed Pods, Butterflies and Surgery

The jacaranda trees are dropping their purple blossoms this month. Once the purple trumpet shaped flowers leave the branches you can see all the oval shape pods that hold the seeds of purple promises. My grandson learned about the life cycle of a caterpillar during this past school year. When he looked up at the tree a few weeks ago he started a conversation.....

Micah: Grama.....look up in the tree with purple flowers. Do you see all the cocoons? 
Me: Those are seed pods Micah. Seeds will come out when they pop open.
Micah: No grama. They are cocoons. Butterflies are going to pop out of them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

My husband is a grill master! He loves to BBQ and loves to try new things all the time. And I am the lucky one who gets to taste all the delightful things that come off the grill!!

We have collected several BBQ cookbooks and find that Weber has a great selection of them. Another recipe book that we like to use is by Bobby Flay called "Grill It". We tried his Grilled Portobello Mushroom dish last weekend and boy is it yummy! My garden is thriving right now so I picked a bunch of basil leaves to add to the pesto for the recipe!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Thanks to all the hard work my husband put into making the soil in our vegetable garden so rich and fertile, the harvest we are getting from the plants has been astounding!! Not only that, it looks amazing!!

We are having our roof replaced this week and I found some of the workman standing in our driveway checking it out. I felt like saying, "I's beautiful isn't it." Summer gardens are that way! They are green and leafy and bountiful.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Teepee Tent

On the days that my grandchildren are here I do my best to develop their imagination with lots of "open ended" activities. A box of Legos can be built into any number of things. A stack of paper, some scissors, a handful of markers and a glue stick can turn into a rocket making party. My goal is to teach their young minds that there is more than one way to do things....and all those ways can be right.

Last week, I thought it would be fun to build a teepee for the kids to play in but I didn't have anything for a frame. So.....I did some creative thinking and came up with a teepee structure that hung from our ceiling fan!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Splash Party

This weekend was warm and perfect for a birthday splash party! High rise sprinklers and giant bubbles were the highlights of the day. That was our Saturday.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Artist Date Nature Walk

If I can't find the bits of nature in my yard that I need for my photo shoots I take a walk around the block and gather blossoms and pods and greens. One of my favorite places to visit is a small park just a block from my home. Last Friday my daughter had the day off so we set up a photo shoot for some new additions to her shop. What I love most about my nature walks is the leftovers! I grab a vase and put together a botanical bouquet that always turns out beautiful!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday Morning Art

My husband was out of town, our house guests were gone for the weekend and I was in the mood to create some art. What that looked like for me was spreading some paint and mix media supplies across a table in front of a bright window. I thought I'd just spend most of my Saturday there but it turned out to be a weekend retreat for me!

I wanted to create two canvases for our friends to hang in a retreat center  they are building in Africa. We had discussed the colors and the words. They were inspired by a piece I made several years ago that hangs in my home, so I used it as my inspiration as well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making Scrapbook Albums

I was introduced to scrapbook albums in the Summer of 1996. I loved making albums so much that I turned it into a career - teaching others how to organized their photos and create scrapbook albums. All that ended in the Fall of 2010 and I haven't made an album least not until today.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Using Our Super Hero Imagination

In my never ending pursuit to encourage my grand kids to discover and use their imagination, I try to show them that they can have fun with ordinary things around the house. A few months ago we built a house from a large cardboard box and painted it with all sorts of fun colors!

This week, after washing several of my outdoor house flags, we turned them into super hero capes!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Collaborating with Young Artists

It's spring break for my grandson so my time with the kids this past Tuesday was extended, without a break to pick him up from preschool. What better day to clear the family room of furniture and roll up the rug so we could spread out some art supplies and paint all day long!!

I know the kids had a great time learning about mixing color and trying out texture making tools. For was right up there as one of my happiest art making experiences. The whole day was full of yeses!

Can I get paint on my clothes? YES!
Can I use a bigger paint brush? YES!
Can I paint the sides of the canvas? YES!
Can I have more paint? YES!
Can I use my fingers? YES!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Dad the Orchid Gardener

He used to be a self-employed business owner. During my childhood he was also a volunteer fire fighter for our city. Now, since he has been retired for years, my dad turns his attention to his garden and his large collection of orchid plants.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mama Bleu Designs and Cottages & Bungalows Magazine

Three weeks into January this year I was contacted by Maggie Abratte, a writer from Cottages & Bungalows magazine. Needless to say I was thrilled that she wanted to do a phone interview with me for the artist feature in their April issue.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's a Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Sometimes you just need to take a break from routine and bake a couple dozen cookies. Just the mention of baking gets my grand kids excited. They play with the measuring cups and spoons and take turns dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl. It's probably one of my favorite activities with the kids!

A friend asked me to share my recipe with her so I thought.....what the heck.....I'll just share it here with all of you. This reminds me of my baking session today. I was showing the kids how my cookie dough scooper works. They watched as I squeezed the handle parts together and made the curved scraper move back and forth inside the scoop. Micah exclaimed "what the....." and Kyla finished his sentence....."heck"! Out of the mouth of babes!!

Long after the kids were gone and I sat down to write this post for you I sat with my ipad in my lap to look as some photos. I noticed a few pictures of Micah that I didn't remember taking. Investigating further, I found 376 Micah selfies that he must of taken while I thought he was quietly playing with his Legos!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sewing Lessons for a 2 Year Old

My 2 year old grand daughter loves to play with my fabric yo-yos so I decided to give her a little sewing lesson last week. I told her to use the sharp point of the needle on the fabric and not her fingers. That was it. I let her do the rest and she did a great job!!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Making a Beautiful Mess of Our Own

Sometimes change happens slowly and other times it gets in your face and it's just right there....right now!!

My daughter and son-in-law have been looking for a new apartment for months and one became available this past weekend. They put in their application and were accepted almost immediately. Moving day is this Saturday.

A rain storm is coming in this week. It's supposed to be a good one...which is great because we really need the rain. My sister reminded me that moving in the rain is good luck. We have done it a couple of times! But it won't be raining on their moving parade this weekend. They will be staying nice and dry in their stairwell because their new address is right down stairs!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Secrets to Using SEO Keywords in Your Etsy Storefront

Secrets to Using SEO Keywords in Your Etsy Storefront |

We've already learned that the strategy behind Etsy SEO is identifying and using strong keywords in your shop. Although the primary placement of keywords should be in your Titles and Tags, there is a little known secret about using SEO kewords in areas of your Etsy Storefront too.

I know you want as much of a competitive edge as possible, so we are going to discuss tucking strong keywords into other areas of your shop that Google will read.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Playful Patches

My grandson plays hard just like his daddy did at his age.  Playing hard means scrapes and bruises and worn knees of all his little pairs of pants. Instead of putting a regular patch over the holes I thought I'd have a little bit of fun with them!

I started out by ironing a patch over the hole and chose pink because the torn opening reminded me of a mouth.  Robots are one of Micah's favorite things right now so I did some free-motion stitching around the patch to resemble a little robot head.....with a big smile!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Art of Journaling: Morning Pages

Every once in awhile I'll take a break from my work and walk the 3 blocks to our local library. Sometimes I peruse the shelves for a certain topic and other times I just browse to see what catches my eye. What's funny is that both of those things happened at the same time this past week. I was looking for The Artist's Way and what caught my eye was The Sound of Paper. They were both on the same shelf. It never occurred to me to notice that they were both by the same author!!

I checked out the books and strolled home.

That night I picked up The Sound of Paper and started reading. I was enthralled with her encouragement to "undertake" 3 creative tools: Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Walks. I thought yah, I have time to do all that.

A couple of nights later I started reading The Artist's Way and guess what (that's when I noticed that the books were by the same author).....she mentions it again. You don't need to tell me twice!  Well, I guess she kinda did.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Creative Inheritance

The creative spirit that brews in me every day, that grabs my attention when I wake and keeps me up late into the evening, is an inheritance that I value. I know that we all have the capacity to create.  I love how Emily Freeman lays this out so beautifully in her book - A Million Little Ways. We each do it every day whether we're aware of it or not. But for some of us it is a way of life.

I took it for granted. I thought every little girl was taught to sew and knit and create scrapbooks out of bound newsprint pads. It didn't occur to me that while I was learning to add embroidery stitches to my jeans, my friends were learning to play the piano or pitch a soft ball. I didn't know that I was being uniquely equipped for a creative lifestyle.

Friday, January 31, 2014

DIY: Chalkboard Art on Serving Trays

Have you ever seen the potential of a thrifted item, purchased it with intentions of doing something wonderful with it and let it sit for years and years and years? I have done this more times than I'd like to remember!!

I purchased this wood tray at least 20 years ago! Putting a coat of chalkboard paint on the bottom of this tray was the perfect way to cover the ugly newsprint transfer. I love how I can write out a word or holiday message on it now. What's most fun for me about it is that I don't leave it in a cabinet or above my refrigerator anymore. It's now part of my living room decor!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DIY: Branch Bouquets

I was asked by someone recently about how I bring the beauty of the garden into my home. Since I don't have the budget to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers each week and my flowering garden plants are in their quiet winter mode, that answer is not among my multiple choice options right now.

When nature is fully clothed in its blossoms and green leaf shrouds we can miss the architectural beauty of the trees and plants that we walk by every day. We have over a dozen mature trees on our property and they drop a lot of branches. I like to collect them, like a freshly picked bouquet, and arrange them in my favorite vases.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DIY: Rustic Garden Tool Wreaths

Several years ago while out on a walk I noticed a "wreath" of garden tools hanging on a large side gate of a home just a few blocks from our neighborhood. I became intrigued by it and eventually went by to investigate how it was put together.